Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday again!

Hello all, sorry it's been a while since I've posted.

I read your comments to my IM post, and I freely admit that the gag-factor was high, and I deserved a ration of ball-breaking. But come on, guys, tell me that you have never gotten all coochie-coochie-coo with your gf's, especially after a fight, when you know you're going to be laying some good pipe as soon as she gets home...

All is well here, and I'll try to post more updates this weekend so I can get caught up. I would have done so this week, but I came up with a great idea and I've been working on it for days.

Remember the "choose-your-own-adventure" books? It turns out that there are some online / iPod versions around, and I decided to try my hand at writing one. Of course, being the kill-a-flea-with-a-sledgehammer type of guy that I am, it was not enough to just crank out the normal five-page-pamplet-size stories that you usually see; mine is up to about 7,000 words (about 30 printed pages), and it's just about done. I'm looking for somewhere online to post it, so stay tuned.

PS Speaking of ball-breaking, check out the vid I posted on LonelyGirl15's site...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mending fences

August 6, 2006 (cont'd)

"I'm leaving. Try to grow up while I'm gone," Tim says, closing the door gently behind her.

In a weird way, I'm proud of her for handling this with such maturity. At the end, at least--throwing the spoon wasn't exactly an adult-like thing to do. But she got herself under control quickly.

We've had huge fights before, and have retreated to our respective corners of the house to cool off, but this is the first time one of us has left. I flew off the handle, I know, and it wasn't necessarily because of what she asked me. The question was reasonable; what I objected to was that Tim was fine with my decision until her mother told her to be less than fine with it. Her opinion seemed to change 180 degrees before my eyes; at some point, Tim has to be an independent adult.

I know I was mean, but part of it was my frazzled nerves, part of it was the offense I took to being questioned by someone close to me, and part of it was intentional, to show Tim that she crossed the line. Having said that, I don't want to lose her. If she does not call or come home, I will call her, because I want to talk this out reasonably.


An IM window pops up as I check box scores.

Tim: hello

Steve: hi honey

Tim: honey? so im not a bitch anymore

Steve: i never called you that

Tim: no but you called my mother that and worse

Steve: i dont want to fight with you anymore

Tim: me neither! :-(

Steve: do you see my point

Tim: do you see mine, she is my mother and i love her and respect her opinion even if you dont

Steve: i don't like the way you went about it

Steve: if the question is from your mother then let your mother ask me

Tim: but after she said it, it made sense to me so i wanted to know too

Steve: you lied to me and said it wasn't her idea

Tim: im sorry

Tim: but why does that matter

Steve: because sometimes I feel like she manipulates you and tries to come between us

Steve: and it makes it worse when you dont tell me the truth

Tim: so remember our rules? you can ask me to change something

Tim: and it cant be don't listen to your mom anymore

Steve: sigh

Steve: can it be, ask your mom to move to Bora Bora

Tim: steve!

Steve: im not stupid. what kind of an idiot would i have to be to quit without having another job lined up, unless i didn't have a choice anymore

Tim: i know

Steve: i had to quit, for my sanity and my health. i could not wait around until i had another job

Tim: i know!

Steve: but i feel like you were doubting me

Steve: do you trust me

Steve: totally and completely

Tim: YES

Tim: i know you are not an idiot, you are the smartest person i know, and you are very successful, i am so proud of you

Steve: i need you to trust me then, that question really hurt me

Tim: do you trust me??

Steve: YES

Tim: then you have to trust that i won't let my mother change my opinion of you

Steve: lovely weather we've been having :-)

Tim: lol,,, stop it

Steve: ok, ok

Steve: honey i am sorry i swore at you

Tim: and im sorry i threw a utensil at you

Steve: remind me to buy plastic spoons

Tim: LOL

Tim: seriously, i need you to believe that my mother could NEVER make me feel differently about you

Tim: i love you

Tim: lovelovelovelovelovelove

Tim: i know you don't believe this but my mother loves you--she is not trying to split us up, she is just being nosy

Tim: she does this to everyone

Tim: when she gets sick and goes to the doctor, and he tells her what is wrong she sits there and argues with him

Steve: ack

Tim: its her way of expressing love lol

Steve: if shes not trying to break us up then why did she try to break us up at Christmastime

Tim: she honestly felt i was getting too involved and was going to get hurt or was going to hurt you. now she knows we are together permanently

Steve: as long as you dont kill me with flying spoons first ;-)

Tim: dont you have something to say

Steve: i apologized

Tim: *ahem*

Tim: Tim: i love you

Tim: lovelovelovelovelovelove

Steve: baby

Tim: ?

Steve: I lovelovelovelove

Steve: lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove

Steve: lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove

Tim: lol

Tim: ok, ok

Steve: i do have one thing to ask

Steve: if a question comes from your mother can you please tell me that

Steve: ?

Tim: ya sorry i lied :$

Tim: if its a reasonable question i have a right to ask, if you don't feel its reasonable you can just say you do not want to answer that

Steve: ok, i'm just letting you know i might say that sometimes

Tim: i will try to understand

Tim: and can you please remember the rule about no personal attacks

Tim: i seem to remember some bad language ;-)

Steve: can't seem to recall any...

Steve: ok, i will work on that

Steve: ok?

Tim: k

Steve: hey where r u?

Tim: coffee shop lol

Steve: can you please please please

Steve: please please please

Steve: please please please

Tim: i get it

Tim: please what

Steve: come home now?

Tim: you sure u want me there lol

Steve: o ya, i want you

Tim: me too

Steve: dont break the speed limit

Steve: ok break it

Tim: i love you honey

Steve: i love you

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I guess Chuck E. Cheese is out of the question at this point?

Sunday, August 6, 2006, 7:14am
Steve and Tim's house

It's an amazing dream.

Tim's long hair falls on my thighs like autumn leaves. She takes my cock between her lips with aching slowness, careful to shield her teeth, so that all I can feel is the soft insides of her mouth. She caresses me expertly with her tongue, and presses her fingers gently against my balls. The orgasm rises in me; my abdominal muscles tense and shudder. My God, is a dream going to make me cum?

" that baby?" she whispers, as she pulls my cock from its cozy warm spot and the full weight of her body lands on me.

My eyes open. This is how I wake up most days, with Tim on top of me, or, if I am lucky, with my boxers off and my dick already awake, showered, dressed, and halfway down the road to hard-onville.

Our bodies bump together and I feel her nakedness; I like that I don't have to wait for her to get undressed. Not 10 seconds later I am inside her, my hands clutching her naked ass, pulling myself more deeply inside her.

"Happy birthday, honey," she smiles when we are done, tying her bathrobe closed, and instantly I know that I will remember this for a long time: Not the sex, but her smile and the soft sincerity of her voice. God help me, this is actually beginning to resemble a healthy relationship.

I never realized how important weekends were for me, mental health-wise. When work was only "crazy", as opposed to "an endless parade of ballistic mayhem", I could kick back on Saturdays and Sundays, sleep until 9:00 without feeling guilty, and return to work on Monday ready to conquer whatever obstacles hindered my productivity. Now, I don't need an alarm clock anymore; I can't stay in bed past six, no matter what my calendar says.

"Why did you give your notice to Dan if you didn't have another job lined up?" Tim asks as I sit down at the kitchen table.

She's been talking to her mother. I heard the phone ring while I was in the shower, and it must have been her calling. That question had Diana written all over it, with its thinly disguised insinuation. It sounded like something Diana would say; I could close my eyes and see her saying it.

Tim and I have had this argument before. Her mother snaps into action any time she perceives a loss of control over Tim's life, planting poisonous seeds in her brain, as a reminder that Diana, not I, ruled Tim's every thought and deed long before I entered the picture.

I am never comfortable about having my competency questioned, least of all in my own house, by my girlfriend. She wouldn't lecture Tom Brady about football, nor Donald Trump about real estate; why doubt me, when I have achieved so much, so quickly? It's disrespectful of everything I have accomplished.

Normally I would rein in my temper, try to understand Tim's side of things, and calmly explain my point of view. But I have too much work on my mind to allow for anything but a 30-second conversation. And Tim should know better anyway.

"Do you do everything for your mother, Tim? Do you clean her toilets, and wipe the oatmeal off her chin?"

"What?" she sneers.

"Your mother called you, and put that little nugget in your head, and you came right back and threw it in my face."

"No she didn't."

"Who was on the phone just now?"


"Thought so. Do you trust me at all, Tim? Do you think I'm a complete idiot?"

"All I was saying--"

"You know how stressed out I've been. I can't sleep, my heart races all day long, I feel like I'm gonna drop dead any minute. I can't do this anymore, so I gave my notice. You know that!" I spit. The yelling only serves to coalesce my concerns, to encapsulate my anger into a single fiery pill that burns my innards like a Habanero pepper.

"I know!"

"So why the fuck are you asking me that question? Are you a fucking idiot, or do you just lack the guts to stand up to your asshole mother?"

"Don't you ever talk about my mother that way!"

"That's right, defend her, Tim, because you can't stand up to her."

"She just--I just, was asking you a question! If you didn't want to answer you didn't have to!"

"You shouldn't be asking. By asking you're doubting me. You're making me sound like an idiot who doesn't know enough to find a job before he quits!"

"I'm not doubting you!"

"No, your mother is, and you're just following orders."

"Stop saying that!"

"Stop doing it."

"Fuck you, Steve," she shreiks, flinging a spoon at me. She misses my head by inches, and the spoon clangs noisily against the far wall.

The noise startles us into silence for a moment. We stare at each other.

"Can we please talk about this calmly?" she asks.

"No, we can't talk about it at all. I don't need your mother's advice, and even if I did, I didn't ask for it. It's rude to interfere."

"It was just a question," she insists, lowering her voice as if to reduce the impact of her words.

"Bullshit, Tim. What if I walked up to my brother and asked him, 'Are you still a child molester?' Would he get angry? I would assume so. You can imply a lot with questions."

"I have a right to know the answer. And I have a right not to be screamed at for asking," she says, her eyes locked solidly on me. "You hate my mother so much that you can't even talk to me anymore."

"You have a right to know," I say. "You do. She doesn't, and this question came straight out of her mouth."

"Why do you hate her so much?" she asks, her voice rising.

"Because she interferes with our lives, and she doubts me, and she makes you doubt me."

"Well, I don't know if I can be with someone who thinks my mother is so horrible."

"I guess that elminates 90% of the world's population, then."

"I'm serious."

"Fine, get out then."

She looks at me.

"Oh, and thanks for treating me so nicely on my birthday."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A line in the sand

Sarbanes-Oxley has given my company dozens of new responsibilities: complicated, labor-intensive recordkeeping and ass-covering, all of which requires the creation of lengthy procedures and endless documentation. The company doesn't dare put the money that they need to into these projects, because it's money that goes down a rabbit hole; they are, after all, initiatives that won't make the company rich.

Instead of creating a national corporate compliance department and staffing it, as they should, the company split the work into quarters and dumped it on me and my three counterparts across the country. They know we are already overworked, and the additional projects make it hugely difficult to run our offices, but remember, CEO's and CFO's are making these decisions. They have revenue targets to hit, and they have Wall Street boots to lick. They would love nothing better than to stand in front of a room full of reporters and crow that their "SOX" compliance costs 25% less than comparable companies'. Sure, for the people actually doing the work, life is hell, but those are just details, and true leaders don't sweat details. True leaders are on a first-name basis with every maitre-d' in town, and work short weeks so they can drive to the Hamptons on Friday morning to beat the traffic.

My job is to run an office of 100 employees, with an annual budget in the neighborhood of $100 million. I worked 50-60 hours a week before; now, I have forgotten what it's like to come home when the sun is out, and weekends are no longer for sleeping in, but for catching up. As soon as I heard we weren't staffing up to meet the new demands, I called Dan Johnson.

"You're beginning to sound ungrateful," he said, without a trace of humor.

"You hired me to run an office. Now you're asking me to oversee government compliance."

"Compliance is part of your job."

"It's most of my job, now."

"Do you know how many people would kill to sit at your desk, Steve?"

That's right, Dan, change the subject, because you know I'm right.

I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere with him. This was the job, and it wasn't changing.
But my strength has always been in managing people, in building strong relationships and finding effective solutions to business problems. Compliance, to me, is tedious and boring. Still, I did not have another job lined up, and the pay was good where I was.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 10:06am
Steve's office

I have reached the point of no return.

Emails continue to flood my inbox, employees with problems continue to flood my office, and new compliance projects continue to monopolize my time. I simply cannot do this anymore, without letting it take over my life.

I decide to make the call that I have been putting off for months, a call which will do serious damage to my career. I have stalled as long as I could, hoping that things would miraculously rebound. They have not.

"What have you learned today, Steve?" Dan says.

"That I'm no longer the right man for this job," I reply.

"Bad day, hm?"

"Bad year, Dan. If this were a six-month situation, fine. But my entire job description has changed. It's not the job I was promoted to."

"Steve, I don't have to tell you--"

"That other men would kill to have this job? Be my guest. Go and promote one of them."

He pauses. I'm sure most people don't have the balls to answer him that way, and he must be surprised.

"Steve, you are better than this. Are you just going to give up? Tell me what the problem is, and tell me what you need to solve it."

"The problem is Sarbanes-Oxley, and I need you to hire a national compliance department to get that work off my desk."

"Not going to happen," he replies sharply.

"Then you'll have to find someone else to do my job."

"You better think about this, Steve. This is career suicide for you. If you walk away now, if you just cave in and quit, it's going to affect you for the rest of your life. You'll never work in this business again, that's for sure."

He's right. A high-level executive my age who quits and does not take a similar or better position with another company will be judged unable to handle the pressures of a corporate insurance job. Word travels fast in the industry around here, too.

And you know what? I don't care. Maybe this is the level of commitment that is required to be an executive now; if so, I don't want to be an executive. I'm smart, and I work hard. I'll find another job, even if it means a cut in pay.

"Thanks for the heads-up, Dan."

"Are you giving your notice?"

"I'll give you until the end of September, if you want."

"Think it over, Steve. Get back to me on Monday."

"I've already thought it over. I wouldn't have called you if --"

"Monday, Steve."