Sunday, October 24, 2010

Come On Justin It's A School Night!

You would think the people who schedule shows for Justin Bieber would be more considerate to his fan base. My 9 year old is at his show tonight with her mother on a school night! Doesn’t he have school in the morning too? :)

The two girls spent a good part of the day getting ready for tonight. If I didn’t know better, I would think they were going out to try and score teenage boys.

Alissa’s new concert outfit was cute for a 9 year old, but my wife’s outfit was hot. What the hell! I took her to a Tom Petty concert a couple of years ago and she looked like she was going to work!

This will be Alissa’s first concert. I was 17 when I went to my first concert, Foreigner at The Forum in Inglewood, former home of The Lakers.

I saw a lot of shows back in the 80’s. Here is a list. I saw most of these shows before I got married at 21. It’s a lot.

Foreigner, The Police, The Who, The Clash, David Bowie, Journey, Heart, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Cougar, Queen, Def Leppard, Billy Squire, Oingo Boingo, Men At Work, Stray Cats, INXS, Flock of Seagulls, The Pretenders, Missing Persons, Berlin, English Beat, and Styx.

These were the bigger names. There were probably just as many smaller shows that I saw too.

Most of those shows were good. Oingo Boingo and the Stray Cats were really fun to see. They just got up there and played while everyone else bounced around and had a great time. Queen and Bowie had big elaborate shows with lots of glitter, not as fun, but very well done. If any of these shows were disappointing it might have been Elton John. It just seemed like he was going through the motions.

When I went to see Tom Petty with my wife at The Indian Wells Tennis Gardens it had been over twenty years since I had been to a concert. And some things never change, the smell of pot. I had to laugh to myself when I smelled that familiar scent about twenty minutes into the show. I guess some of us never grew up.

I wonder what kind of mischief goes on at a Justin Bieber concert? I doubt there will be pot smoking. I’m sure I’ll get the low down on that tomorrow morning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It Wasn't My Plan, But I'm Fine With It Now.

Back in February of 2009 I got laid of from the work.

I was crushed.

Even though I had done nothing wrong, I felt like there was maybe something I could have done to keep my job.

There wasn’t anything I could have done. My employer wasn’t the golf course I worked on but the home builder that built the golf course. And we all know what the housing market was like in 2009.

I was on unemployment until November that year. I took a job at a different golf course for much less money and way lower on the management scale. And I was happy to do it. I was beginning to think I would have to get back into retail or the restaurant business. My time in turf school would have been wasted.

I should not have worried. When I look back at things now it looks like there was some sort of plan, something I really didn’t have any control over.

I think God wanted me some place else those nine months. And as it turned out, I needed to be home.

Sarah’s Return

We brought home our oldest daughter Sarah from a residential treatment center a couple of months before the lay off.

She had been there for almost two years, with little results. The county that we adopted her from was helping us finance the treatment and decided they would not pay for this type of school if her behaviors were not improving. They suggested a home for problem teenagers. They did not recommend bringing her back into our house.

We thought she needed one last chance at being a part of this family. We didn’t adopt her just to give up on her and send her away. So against the recommendations of the county, we brought her home.

I was excited that she was coming home and so was she. But after a couple of months the honeymoon was over and Sarah was out of control again.

For nine months I endured Sarah’s weekly therapy, two different “super nannies” provided by the county, and countless nights of arguing and her running away. I could not have done the first two if I was working.

As much as we wanted things to work out, we knew she had to go. So when she told us that on her 18th birthday she was “out of here!” We made it all possible, and held her to her word.

Finding Work

I did not spend all of my “unemployed time” babysitting my 17-year-old daughter.

I continually applied for work at most of the local golf courses, but all I got was the cold shoulder. I didn’t get a single interview for 9 months. I know times were tough, but there were some job openings and I had a good resume with experience in the positions that I had applied for. I should have had some contact from of these golf courses. Something wasn’t right. I would eventually find out what that was from my current employer.

After months of rejection letters and no replies at all, I finally got an interview for an hourly position at the place I work now. It was the only interview I had the entire time I was unemployed, and I was sure I had aced it. But I got the same old rejection e-mail a week later.

I really knew something was wrong when I saw the same position posted on the company’s web site a week later. I wanted to call the lady who interviewed me earlier and see if I could reapply since the position was open again. But I didn’t know if I would be pushing my luck.

So I started applying at all of my local retailers. I thought my golf course maintenance career was over.

Someone Is Watching Over Me

About a week after I saw that job posted again I was at church.

As I was walking to the parking lot I saw a familiar looking lady. We made eye contact and she smiled like she knew me. I thought I knew her but I couldn’t remember from where, until I had got in the car. It was the lady that had interviewed me. Weird.

Now I am really wondering if I should call her back about that job opening. I could tell that she wanted to talk when I saw her.

I decided to call her the next day and ask if I was eligible for that opening, but I wasn’t going to say anything about church. I wanted to keep things professional. Interviewers and possible employees shouldn’t be talking about church.

When I got a hold of her the next day I asked about the opening again, intentionally ignoring the fact that I saw her at church the day before. She said, “I’m really glad you called back. Didn’t I see you at church yesterday?”

So much for ignoring church.

“ I have been thinking a lot about you Tom. You and I had such a good interview that I was sure that I could hire you. But I have to tell you something Tom; we got a bad reference on you. My boss said he might hire you at the level you applied for, but you would never be promoted, which is what you are aiming for. Is there something you would like to tell me?”

I didn’t provide any references that would say anything but nice things about me. But I knew exactly who had talked to these people, a superintendent that lost his job because of me. He used to work for my current employer before he was my boss at my old golf course.

At first I tried to explain things without using names or details because my old employer said I couldn’t comment on the situation or my old boss or I could be fired. So I never did. But it hit me as I was trying to explain, I sound like I’m hiding something. Why am I being loyal to the company that laid me off 9 months ago? They can't fire me now, and I cashed all the severance checks.

I stopped what I was saying and said, “This doesn’t sound entirely honest. Let me start over.”

Then I told her whom I thought her reference was, and why he lost his job because of me, in detail.

She could not confirm if my suspicions were correct, but said that things made a lot more sense to her now and that she would get back to me about the position that I had applied for. She called me the next day and informed me that I had an interview with the new superintendent. That went very well.

My new employers created a new management position for me. The pay wasn’t that great, but it had benefits and it covered the money I received from unemployment. But the pay didn’t really matter, I was just glad to be working again.

Coincidentally I had two other job offers the same week, one retail job and a one at a commercial nursery growing herbs. The nursery job would have paid a lot more, but I didn’t want to ignore all the good signs that came with the golf course job. The lady who saw me at church really went to bat for me and I wasn’t going to let her down a week later for a few more bucks.

Today, almost a year later, I am back to my old management position, assistant superintendent, and back to a salary that my family is accustomed to. And I really like where I work. They make me feel wanted.

I hear about my old employer from time to time. Things didn’t get better after I was laid off. There were more lay offs. They actually terminated everyone and rehired the ones that they wanted as part-time employees.... with no benefits. I don’t want to work for a company that treats employees like that. As it turned out, that lay off may have been the best thing for me.

It All Makes Sense Now

They say that hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back at the last two years things I can clearly see what God has done for me.

1. He took me out of a bad job and provided severance pay (No one else on the maintenance crew got that.) and unemployment benefits.

2. He put me in a place where my family needed me, home.

3. When things calmed down at home, he found a better job for me.

I truly feel blessed.

The Shiny Blue Bottle

My photo
Indio, California, United States
My 9-year-old daughter gave me a bottle for my birthday. She told me the shiny blue bottle was filled with her love. I'm not sure I'll ever get a better gift.