14 years.  I have spent 14 years with this company.  At one point in my life, as outlined a few years back on
these very pages, I never dreamed I’d make it this long with one business.  At the turn of the century, I was
encouraged by many people to simply hold down a job.  I started this website while I worked at Radio Shack
answering inbound phone calls.  I really liked that job, but I found it to be stressful, and there was an
overwhelming sense of negativity that I dealt with and remember clearly to this day.  The experience was
valuable if only because I will not put myself in that type of work environment again.  It was empowering to
then quit that job in order to further myself.  However, at the time, I had empowered myself into joblessness.  I
possessed no skills, and chicks dig guys with skills.  I had nothing to fall back on, no inherent ability other than
to clean up and speak well.   I mention leaving that job because it is a totally different experience now leaving
this job.  In 14 years since, I have developed a skill set that translates broadly across my chosen profession.  It
turns out that I had an ability to allow myself to fail, to succeed, to be trained, to experience, to question, to
develop in such a way now that I leave this job, I leave it with supreme confidence in my ability to succeed
wherever I go.  I do not fear the future, rather, for the first time in my life I feel professionally armed and ready
in a way I never have before.  It took me a long time to realize that I am an asset.  I should carry myself as if
people are lucky to work with me because of my work ethic and the intangible value I will always bring to the
table.  I will raise your game, appreciate and recognize when you raise mine in turn.  For years though, I have
failed to carry myself in this way.  I have mentally always been that kid, the one that was hired into the
company at $8.50 an hour and lucky when he got a promotion.   I believed this to be the reason recently my
advancement opportunities had dried up.  I could just see the higher ups roll their eyes collectively if my name
came up.  I failed to realize I had actually ever earned anything.   He’s just a kid. He won’t make it.  So, I
resigned myself to a little corner in North Richland Hills and I just wanted to be left alone.  I didn’t want emails,
I don’t want recognition, good or bad because at the end of the day, this was all I was ever going to be allowed
to do at this company.  If I’m going to be forgotten,
then let me be forgotten in peace.  I could just sit here and
no one will ever know that Steve checked out a long time ago.  Unfortunately, this happened just this way, it’s
terribly true, but you’d never know it.  I performed, just as I was expected to do, day in day out, and carried
myself at least on the outside as a proud advocate of the company and anyone around me, my dear wife, peers
in the office, and good friends know this to be true.  I still spoke up in the office, it was to get my less
experienced coworkers to see the big picture, the performance goals we were working towards, giving them the
'whys' and the 'what fors'.  This unwavering loyalty to this company though, wound many of my close friends
up.  I traded a lot of time, gray hair, stress, empty High Life bottles, you name it, to make this work for the
time I’ve been here.  This guy writing this bled collision center blood, and it just wasn’t paying off.  I resigned
myself to my fate here.  My memory is one of the most unforgiving aspects of my personality.  Understand,
dear reader, I am accountable for every move I made.  I am assaulted by a crystal clear recollection of the
decisions I made that got me where I was today, issues that I was presented with, career moves I am
accountable for, my silent voice about my dead end career.  Every decision I made was my own and while I
learn from them, and have grown wary with my trust in a good way, I still found ways to beat myself up over
the past.  That was - until I applied for a new job.  More than a new set of responsibilities and new shiny
location, I was forced as I put my resume together to reevaluate just what it is I do bring to a workplace.  Those
virtues I packed away, all that skill that I routinely use every day, is actually a dynamic part of me that I have
undervalued for just far too long.  I would challenge any one reading this to not fall into the same trap your
author did.  I feel as if I’ve been asleep for far too long.  Mike Jones of Discover Leadership, a small three day
program that meant very much to me, still sends a message daily.  It’s automated for sure, but the message s I
receive are very important nonetheless.  Mike says,” Steve, if you live off the compliments of people, then you
will die by their criticism. Accept personal responsibility to reinvent yourself, not because there is something
wrong, but because you are worth it and so is everyone that potentially views you as a role model.”  The
message for me is to value oneself – because no one else is going to value you for you.  This can be
professionally or personally.  Mike breaks down the concept of personal value perfectly.  This is what I’ve
learned - I‘m not going to stand around and wait for something to happen.  It took colossal brass balls to
potentially jeopardize the earnings potential of family to up and leave a place I have so much time invested, but
the future is now.  I want my boy to look up to me.  I want him to be proud of his dad, and he wasn’t going to
be with me sitting in a corner waiting to be forgotten about.  I feel so good today, I look forward to that feeling
tomorrow and every day after.  I left my previous job with no skills, I leave this one knowing I will never
undervalue myself professionally again.
It is 2016 now.

It's a brand new day.

I’m here at work, a new workplace, another transfer in a year and a half’s time and there’s a picture of my soon
to be born son peeking out from under my keyboard.  It’s amazing how my perspective on working everyday
has changed now (after just working for simply a paycheck all these years of whatever it is I’ve been doing)
now that I know he’s coming and coming fast.  Like in a week and a half.  I’ve written for years on these goofy
little pages about my work, first from a cubicle at Radio Shack, then Caliber, from the parts room in Colleyville,
to the corporate office and the heights of running one of those boxes in the Mid-Cities. Some of the stuff I’ve
written makes my stomach turn as to read that old stuff now I find it to be so totally unfocused, ridiculous,
nonsensical, whatever you want to say about it, I’m half ready to delete it all just to save myself the
embarrassment of someone else reading it.  I can’t believe the sh*t I wrote.  What is apparent after reviewing all
the text I plastered on these pages is this; I’ve always placed an importance on work.  Small wonder since you
know, it allows us to do things like eat, own a home, etc.  As Jaxon, that soon to be born son I mentioned, gets
closer and closer to opening his eyes for the first time, those work priorities and perceptions have changed just,
shall we say - slightly.  By that, I mean a lot.  Going to work every day is important yes, but I’ve awakened to
a much greater job and responsibility than anything I ever could have or will write here about any day to day
job or some stupid car part.   Just last weekend,  Dema and I set his little room up and the accomplishment I
felt after standing back and admiring what we had done was a greater feeling that overwhelmed any similar
feeling I’d gotten getting any car running or any work position I’ve accepted.  The knowledge that we are
welcoming this little guy with open arms, that we are happy to bring him home, that he is the piece that  adds
to our family in a way we feel personally blessed by God, is impactful.  That we are in a time in our lives that
we can provide for him – is a feeling that I will always struggle to put into words, and I continually find as the
days get closer to seeing him for the first time, that nothing work or
pleasure related else matters to me as much as being his father.  This is the new something I just have to ‘do’ –
and what I mean is, that this is the most important thing I’ll ever do is to grow this little boy into a man one
day and for that I’m ready.  Though I have no idea what struggles will come my way, though I have no idea
how I’ll handle certain situations and I’m sure I’ll scratch my head plenty of times in the next few years and
hopefully decades to come, I will always do my best to be a good father every single day of the rest of my life.  
Lucky for me, I’ve had lots of positive role models in life, chiefly, my own dear Dad.  If I could just model
myself after him, I’ll be in perfect shape.  So, yeah I’m ready in a lot of ways.  I’ve got a new perspective on
my place in this world, and like I said, I can’t be happier. As for this mish mash of online garbage that came
before more recent posts on these pages, one of these days I’m going to close this little corner of the web down.
The era of the 'vanity' page is over for me (as a hey-look-at-me-OMG everything I do is so awesome!!!), and
now it’s a complete archive of my foolish life for a bit and all the things that were really really really important
once.  There's no inherent harm in a balanced, online archive of your exploits, but it can't be written as foolishly
as I originally conceived this corner of the web as.  Expect a less in your face approach.  I’m ultimately glad the
old pages exist in that I have that sort of divider here that comes with the epiphany of the greater things waiting
for me and my family.   I’m not any less embarrassed about it, but hey, we do get to see just how far one guy
can come it just thirteen years… I guess that’s why I’m posting this here as opposed to anyplace else online,
for as that once ultimate online thought depository, it seemed fitting to place a cap on all that stuff with this
post. As my wife and I look ever forward to a totally new day very soon for our new and expanded family, it’s
a new day.  For once, forever, I’m truly happy.  

Jaxon and Dema, I love you very much.  I can't wait to see you guys when I get home from work.
The Archive
One month and a half in.  Jaxon has been with Dema and I for that long now and wow, has he changed and he’s
still an infant!  He’s much bigger, of course and his face is fuller and his body has grown as he has turned from
newborn to bouncy little boy, who by the looks of it, will be very tall one day with those legs.  WE've been
adventurous with him too, taking him to exotic food places!  We’ve taken him to his first Mexican food
restaurant (Casa Rita), his first Italian restaurant (Carrabba’s), steakhouse, (Saltgrass), wing joint (Pluckers) and
taco stand (Taco Stand).  He’s just charming in public and I feel like the proudest father on earth when people
see us carrying or holding him.  He has been to grandma’s house twice now on both sides, and had a great night
over at Aunt Val’s.  He hasn’t slept much in the little room we made for him, but that’s further down the road.  
I enjoy having the little guy in our room and knowing he’s near us.  He likes his playmat and the little fox that
jingles when he touches it.  He sat in his first car that wasn’t a Nissan Rogue when he got his picture taken
sitting in the back seat of the Camaro.  I might have preferred the Mustang, but… that’s another article.  My
wife has just been a champ.  In a very short period, she’s gone from expectant mother to full on crisis
management comfort provider, food source, soother, playmate, new father confidence builder – certainly she is
the rock a new family needs.  I don’t remember seeing any manuals laying around the house detailing how to be
a perfect mother, so this must just be something Dema was naturally perfect for.  I hope that I’m holding up
my end of the bargain.  I wrote last time that I changed a situation at work that will allow us both to continue to
provide what we need to raise this boy and it turns out that it was good move, and that fills me with gladness.  
Hard work, but I don’t even care when I come home and see Jaxon being cradled by his mother.  We’re going to
get around to taking this little guy to the ball game too one day when I’m not scared that the Texas Rangers
won’t get run out of their home ballpark, though I should remember that the last two times I went, we actually
attended a rare win during this bleak, cold season.  So life is really good right now, and things make so much
sense right now in my life that I’m just blown away, and I sometimes just smile for no reason at all to myself.
A lot of people told me before Jaxon was born that having a kid was a game changer and they just weren't
kidding, though I had no clue just how much could change for us so positively.  The way we found out we
would be welcoming him back in October, the planning, the preparations at home, the anticipation when Dema
went into labor, bringing him home, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  Dema may have changed the laobr - but
again, another article.  I just wouldn't have wished for any of this to have gone any different up to this point.  
Everything is just perfect the way it is.