Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Beating the Odds

What are the odds? In Powerball; to win, it's approximately 1 in 292 million. Getting struck by lightning; about 1 in 960,000 in a year (1 in 12,000 for your lifetime). Death by asteroid strike: 1 in 75,000,000. You could say that is astronomical! But this pales in comparison as to why I am the luckiest man alive and beat the odds. Read on to see my proof.
What if:
In September 1992 I never stopped in the Western Avenue Air Force Recruiter's Office?
I didn't do well in my entrance exam to qualify for any job in the AF?
I didn't choose to be a Law Enforcement Specialist?
I did take up my Recruiter's offer to leave for Basic Training in November of 1992 versus my March 93 date?
In March 1993, my plane didn't get delayed for a day to San Antonio and I started a different training flight?
After Basic Training, my Tech School training flight started 2 weeks earlier than it did?
After I graduated tech school, I didn't swap orders with another dude and ended up going to Charleston AFB, SC versus Yokota AB, JA?
In 1994, I never applied for a special duty assignment to work in Naples, IT?
In 1995, I never got selected for the job in Italy?
In November 1995, when I was selected to go to Zagreb, Croatia, my orders never got cancelled?
In December 1995, I didn't go to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina?
In April 1996, Diane Bradley didn't send out cards to "Any Soldier" for Operation Dear Abby?
On 3 May 1996, I never grabbed her card out of those thousands and read it?
On 6 May 1996, I never wrote back to her?
In Sep 1996, I didn't call her, or for that matter she never picked up?
I never curtailed my orders in Italy to return in Feb 1997?
I never received orders to McClellan AFB, CA?
After meeting for the first time in the Minneapolis airport, when she gave me the rose, there was no spark?
After cooking for her, she had second thoughts?
On our trip to Reno, when I proposed, she said "No"?
After she got back home and I started work, she got cold feet and didn't want to move to California so we could be together?
After I explained to her what it would be like being a Military Spouse, she said "No," and packed her bags and moved back to Wisconsin?
After our wedding, when we finally, really got to know each other, especially our first year, she didn't gather the courage to tell me my actions were hurtful and couldn't go on?

I could go on, but I hope you see the point. I don't know what to call it? Some believe in fate. Others believe in miracles by the grace of God. There are those who believe in the astrological signs when planets align just perfectly. And then there are people who believe in a Butterfly Effect...one little happenstance that creates a larger ripple effect across time. For me, maybe it is just blind, dumb luck. I have to thank Chris Rybitski for the initial cause. Why? As I was driving down Western Avenue on that September 1992 afternoon, wondering what to do why my life, I saw the AF Recruiter's office and in one fleeting thought, I said to myself, "Screw it! If Chris can handle the AF, so can I!" I made a U-turn and walked in. It was that one life decision, that set my whole life in motion. I ended up marrying the best woman in the world and for twenty years, she has been by my side, through everything. This is my proof, that I beat all the odds and am, in fact, the luckiest man in the world. So tomorrow, I celebrate with my beautiful bride.

Happy 20th Anniversary Diane! I love you!






Saturday, March 11, 2017

Middle Age Changes

Everyone goes through this and I truly believe women are better equipped to handle this. I will be 46 soon and over the past year or do, there have been changes going on that for the most part are tolerable but sometimes can be embarrassing. Maybe embarrassing is not the right word; uncomfortable, different, unexpected. As I have aged, I don't see myself getting older. I still work out regularly, for the most part and I still like to get out there and have a good time. Yes, my hair is gone, my eyesight is slightly worse, and I don't recover as quickly as I did when I was younger from certain activities like drinking or hard workouts. In fact, if I suffer a minor injury, it takes twice as long now to recover than just five years ago. To me, this is expected and I can tolerate it. However, there is one thing happening that I knew would happen but is still hard to accept. That is the flooding of emotions that have entered my system. I know why this is happening physically, but dealing with it mentally and, well, emotionally, is sometimes hard. There will be times when I am watching a sitcom or movie comedy but during an emotional scene, my eyes will well up with tears. It won't happen for a week or two and then, BAM, here they come. Forget about dramas or emotional shows, like This is Us, or Silver Linings Playbook....I may end up being a wreck at the end. What is pretty cool is that Diane and the girls don;t clown me about it. I sometimes talk about this and they are OK with dad tearing up. Maybe that's the best thing I can do as a dad is let them know, it's OK to get emotional once in a while and not be afraid to be emotional. I want them to know it's OK to have feelings and express them as well. Of course, sometimes, you have to keep them in check depending on the situation.
So, I am dealing with this by sharing my experiences. I may write about it more or whatever comes to my mind. It's been too long and writing helps me. This will sound cliche, but it gives me some balance and that's one thing we all strive to have. I mean, I don't want to be that cantankerous old man neighbor in his boxers, robe and slippers yelling at them got-dam kids making all that got-damn noise. Instead, I'll just go watch a M*A*S*H episode and tear up when a serious issue comes up. It will make me feel better afterward.