Exciting News….Hopefully

Just wanted to update you all and let you know I’m working on one MAYBE two different giveaways. Now granted it may not appeal to all of you but I hope it will appeal to some. So keep it tuned here. If you haven’t already done so make sure to subscribe either via the RSS Feed or via the Email Feed.

Ten Ways to Survive a Divorce: Part 2

600xpopupgallerySo as promised here are the remaining five ways to survive a divorce. Again these are not fact or based on any scientific research. Rather than are my own ideas and some are things I’ve done myself to get through my recent divorce. As always feel free to share your own ways to survive a divorce in the comments section.

6. Turn to Religion – If you are or were religious what better place to go to get your mind off your divorce than Church/Synagogue/Mosque/etc. Sometimes you have to give up control and turn it over to a higher power. You may be pleasantly surprised of the results when you do this. It’s also a great place to make some new friends that you can turn to when you are down and need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to your problems.

7. Go Shopping – Now most guys reading this are probably going “Harold are you crazy? You want me to go shopping?” Ok I know that typically most guys are the first species to want to hit the mall and buy stuff, but trust me. Go out and get some new clothes. Same applies to women so I’m not just saying this to the men. Buying a new outfit or outfits can help boost your self-esteem. Maybe get those outfits your ex never would let you get or said always made you look stupid, etc. Treat yourself to something fancy. You deserve it.

8. Make New Friends – Ok so how can you accomplish this you may ask? There are various ways. The easiest and most comfortable way is the Internet. Sign up on some friend sites like MySpace,  Facebook or Twitter (see my How To: Twitter article if you need help getting started). You’ll be surprised how many people you may know that are on here. Or you may find some new friends that live near you. Reconnect with old high school classmates that you haven’t spoken too or seen in years. Another place is dating websites. I won’t specifically endorse any here but there are alot of great ones out there and believe it or not they can be very beneficial.

9. Take Some Trips – If your bank account allows it go on a trip. Take a cruise or take that long road trip somewhere you’ve been wanting to go, but never could because your ex didn’t want to go there. Or go visit family. Anything to get you out of your house/apartment and get away from all of the stress that you are going through.

10. Learn to Play an Instrument – Why not take the extra free time you may have now as a divorcee and learn to play an instrument. Learn to play the guitar or the piano or the drums. Whatever floats your boat. This step has two advantages. First off you’ll learn a new talent and get your creative juices flowing. Secondly you can use your new talent to impress that new guy or gal you’ve been hanging out with. Note: Women LOVE guitar players or so I’m told.

Well there you have it. Ten ways to survive a divorce. Nothing too difficult and some fun thigns to do to try and take your mind off your divorce. Again none of these are facts, etc. but I personally have done some of these steps when I was getting divorced and after my divorce was final and I can honestly say that they helped me out tremendously. I hope they can help you in your journey through divorce.

Ten Ways to Survive a Divorce: Part 1

divorce-main_fullSo it’s happened. you’ve gotten divorced. How are you going to make it? You’ve been living on two incomes (in most cases) and sharing the living costs, bills, etc. Now you have to pay for stuff all by yourself. If you kept the house you’ve got a mortgage payment to pay for and maybe a car payment.  Add to that the fact that you’re now alone all the time. All of these things can add up to a lot of stress and can cause you a lot of unwanted suffering. Here are ten ways to survive a divorce (whether male or female) and make the best of your new life.

1. Start Writing – Whether it be a blog or an old fashioned diary/journal. Get your thoughts down on paper or on the Internet. I personally have taken to reviving my blog to express my feelings, etc. I’ve found that it’s helped me  a lot.

2. Get a Pet – Get a dog or a cat or any kind of pet that you can play with and hold or that will be around you and lay next to you. Build a bond with that animal. Animal shelters are a great place because the animals there have, just like you, lost someone and feel abandoned. Both you and the animal will understand how each other feels.

3. Work Out – Working out is a great way to release a lot of the stress you’re going to inevitably run into being divorced. It’s also a good way to keep in shape and get your exercise. On top of that you can meet some new friends this way and even another potential mate.

4. Volunteer – You’ve probably got more free time now that you’re divorced. Why not spend some of that time volunteering in your community. Help out at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Help with the homeless shelters if there are any, etc. Not only are you spending your new free time efficiently you’re providing a service that helps out others.

5. Get a Roommate – So you kept the house. Or you moved into a big apartment. It’s empty and lonely. Why not get a roommate? Not only will you get someone to talk to, hang out with, etc. you’ll be getting help with those bills you are having to pay all by yourself. Just make sure you get a roommate that you can trust. That’s the hardest part.

So there are  the first 5 steps to surviving a divorce. I’ll come back with the remaining 5 in a few days so check back for the second half of this post. Also if you have advice of your own feel free to leave them in the comments. This isn’t a definitive list that is set in stone but rather just my own thoughts and some are things I did to help myself survive my recent divorce.

Life’s Little Surprises

Sometimes life throws you that curveball everyone talks about. Sometimes you swing at it and you miss. Sometimes you get a home run. The point is you never know what the end result of your swing will be until after you’ve already swung. I’ve been through a lot in my 29 years on this earth. Some good, some bad, some well just whatever, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. I look back at my life and stop and think about the crazy stuff I did in college and how much I could have done differently. I wonder sometimes what might have been had I stayed in Illinois. What might have been had I gone to college in Ohio as I originally planned. But then I stop and realize that I am here, in small town Iowa for a reason. I was put in Newton, IA on purpose. I got married to my ex-wife for a reason. It was all planned before I was ever born. I know some of you are going “Has Harold lost his marbles” and I can see how one might think that. No I haven’t gone all weird on ya and crazy. I just have always thought that everything in life happens for a reason. I think that I met my ex-wife so that I would end up in Newton and get the job that I have now. A great job that is close to where I live.

curveball

Me getting divorced was God’s way of doing just what I had told him I wanted him to do. Take over and do what needed to be done to save my marriage. Well he saved me from a lot of continued heartache and pain and showed me that getting divorce was the right thing to do. I know that the religious sects say divorce is not a good thing, but sometimes you have to just say “God I’m sorry, but I have to do this” and move on. I did. I was angry though at first. I was pissed. I was cursing at God. How could he do this?  I asked him to help me save my marriage and he let all of this stuff happen? How could he do that to me? I now look back and realize how foolish I was thinking that. I realize that I was speaking out of anger and frustration. It took some very strong people in my life to make me realize that he did just what I asked. He helped me. He showed me the right thing to do and got me out of a situation that was unhealthy for me.

I went back to church this past Sunday as my mom and step-dad were in town visiting. We all went as did my new girlfriend. It was great. I was nervous because I hadn’t been there since that Christmas Eve service. I got some looks and what not because A) I was back after so long and B) had this woman with me that wasn’t my wife. In the long run I’m glad I went and I plan on going more often now. My girlfriend wants to go with me to so that’s always a plus. To have someone like that to stand by you and do stuff with you is great. I never had the support from my ex-wife. I never got what I get from my girlfriend I have now. It’s such a great feeling to get back 100% what I give out. Words can’t describe how that makes a person feel. How it warms your heart knowing they aren’t just going through the motions.

I just had all of this on my mind and thought what better thing to do than to get on here and get it down in writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this so leave your comments and let me know what ya think. Take care.

The Blame Game

blame1You know sometimes people feel the need to find that one person and make them the example. Most times that one person hasn’t even done anything wrong but because their newer or whatever they get the blame for everything. Is this necessary? I mean why should someone who has been doing things the way they’re trained and taught then turn around and take the fall or take the blame for something they had no control over. Especially when the situation wasn’t even necessary but was created to HELP people out? I just don’t get it. I guess you can blame it on a generation gap or something. I don’t know if the older generation just feel the need to find the younger person and make them feel like they did some big thing that was wrong or what but it’s ridiculous.

I get into work today and there’s an email from an employee upset about something that happened last night. I recently ordered a change in the Internet service for some of our employees that sometimes work from home. It was to upgrade their Internet speeds. It wasn’t asked of me nor was it necessary but it was an upgrade in speed that would actually REDUCE the cost of the service’s monthly cost. In these bad economic times what better than to save the company money right? So the orders weren’t scheduled to go through until today after 5:00 pm. One user emails us last night that his Internet was down at 5:00 pm and he had to spend two hours on the phone with the Internet tech support guys to get it working. The tech at the Internet company tells our employee that there was no order to upgrade speeds for his account (there was and is trust me). Then the tech feels the need to tell our employee that was the reason his Internet went down. Wait so there was no order for speed upgrade but that order for speed upgrade was the reason our employee’s Internet was down? Yeah that perplexed look on your face now is the same one I had.

I’m talking to my co-worker about this and they tell me that basically I screwed up and I need to fix it. Excuse me? Fix WHAT? There’s nothing to fix. I didn’t do anything wrong. First off the employee isn’t supposed to call for support and only four people here at the office are to have access. Ok so it was after hours and he needed to get it up and working fine whatever that’s not my issue with this. The issue is that I get told that this employee is upset and that I didn’t do something right. I did what I had been trained to do. So if I didn’t do something right, when doing what I had been trained to do, how can I be faulted for that? I don’t see the logic behind that at all.

I just feel like I’ve become the whipping boy for my department. I’m the youngest person in the department by at least 10 years or close to 10 years. 90%+ of the other people in my department are over 40. I guess because I’m the young one I don’t know as much and am naive and so I can’t do things right. Or is it that I can’t do them the way they WANT me to do them not necessarily the way they SHOULD be done? Just because you’ve done something a certain way for the past 10 years or whatever doesn’t always mean it’s the right or best way to do it. It just means you’ve been doing it that particular way. So when someone else comes along and does it their way that’s different than your way don’t right away assume that it’s wrong. So my way takes less time and is easier. Does that automatically make it a bad way to do it just because I’m not doing it the way you’ve done it for over 10 years? Absolutely not!

So yeah I just felt the need to rant and rave today. Thanks for listening.

New Look

Just a quick post to get your thoughts on the new layout. Like? Hate? Like the other one better? Let me know. I’m basing what I keep off your comments so please let know.

How-To: Twitter

twit21So you’ve heard all about this Twitter thing right? What is it? Why use it? How does it work? Well I’m here to give you a brief, but informative how-to for getting an account setup and how to get started using Twitter. Remember that this is just a basic introduction to Twitter and there is a lot more you can do as far as how you can send updates from your cell, how to post pictures in your updates, etc. This how-to guide is just to get you started on your journey into the world of Twitter. Click the images for a full size version of the screen shot.

Creating An Account

Step 1

Head on over to http://www.twitter.com. Once there click the big green button that says “Get Started—-Join!

twitter1

Step 2

Fill out the form with the information it’s requesting (Full name, Username (this is whatever you want to show after the www.twitter.com/ when people find you), Password, and Email. You’ll have to type in two randomly generated works and click the green Create my account button.

twitter1b

Step 3

You’ll be asked to see if any of your friends are already on Twitter by logging into your email accounts. Currently the accounts supported are Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and MSN. If you don’t want to do this you can click Skip this step at the bottom of the page. If you do not wish to do this step skip down to Step 4. If you choose to find contacts via email just click the service you want to use and it will have you login with your email username and password. Don’t worry though. Twitter doesn’t save this information. Once you log in to your email account click the green Continue button. If any of the people in your address book on your email service have Twitter you’ll be able to select them and start to “follow” them on Twitter.

twitter2 twitter2b

Step 4

If you’ve clicked Skip this step when adding contacts from your email address book you’ll be taken to a page listing popular Twitter users. You can follow these people or click Skip this step. If you want to follow them choose the ones you like and click the green Finish button. If you don’t want to follow any of the suggested people click the Skip this step link. If you choose to Skip this step go to Step 5.

Step 5

That’s it. Now keep reading below for a brief introduction to using Twitter.

So How Do I Use This Thing?

Updating Your Status

So now that you’ve made yourself a twitter account how do you use it right? Simple. When you first login you’ll be taken to you Home screen. At the top you’ll see a box that says “What are you doing?” This is where you type in whatever you want your followers to see. You have a 140 character limit so you’ll have to keep the updates or Tweets simple, but that’s the point of Twitter. It’s a tool to allow you to give short little “Tweets” to let your followers know what you’re up to. Once you’ve typed out an update just click the update button and it will post your new update.

twitter25

Finding People To Follow

That’s all there is to writing Tweets but how do you follow people? At the top you’ll see a bar that has links. One of those links says “Find People.” When you click that link you’ll be taken to a page with some tabs at the top. Those tabs say Find on Twitter, Find on other networks, Invite by email, and Suggested Users. The first tab is used if you know what username or First or Last name someone has used to sign up with Twitter. The second tab is used to find via your email address book like discussed in Step 3. The Invite by Email tab is where you enter in the email addresses of friends of your and Twitter will send them an email to join on your behalf. The Suggested Users tab is a list of random people on twitter that you can follow. I’m not sure how it bases it’s choices but it’s most likely the most popular users on Twitter.

twitter3 twitter3b

twitter3c twitter3d

Changing Your Settings

And that’s all there is to it. You now know how to post updates or “Tweets” and how to add new people. Once someone is following you you can Direct Message them via the link on the right sidebar. You can also change your account settings via the Settings link on the menu bar at the top. If you want to change the picture that’s next to your name on your page click the Picture tab in the Settings window. You can also change the page’s background and color schemes from the Design tab on the Settings page as well. There are some predefined themes or you can upload your own picture to use as your background as well.

twitter4 twitter4b

Conclusion

If you have any questions after signing up feel free to follow me @HaroldMartin and send me a direct message. Or you can type @Haroldmartin – and then your message as an update on your Twitter page to reach me as well. Hopefully this has helped you figure out how to sign up and use Twitter. These are just the basic instructions and there are a lot more things you can do with Twitter once you start exploring around. Enjoy.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 3

loveIn Part 1 and Part 2 you got to find out about my past failed relationships and get my back story. In Part 3 I’m going to try and semi-analyze my past relationships and what went wrong, what could have been done differently, what was the constant. My hopes are that this will somehow help someone out there that may have or is going through similar situations that I’ve gone through in the past.

Let’s start with Terri. Wow. That was a train on a collision course with the side of a big mountain from the get go. To start she lived in Montana. I lived in Illinois. Why the hell was I looking for a girlfriend so far away. Well I wasn’t LOOKING for one that far away it just happened. My second mistake was letting her stay with me for so long. Being around her so much so fast was a mistake. We got on each others nerves fast and grew to despise each other. I loathed anytime I could get away from her towards the end.

Next there was Mary. Mary and I messed up the minute we crossed the friendship territory into relationship girlfriend/boyfriend territory. Now I’m not saying you can’t ever date your best friend. On the contrary. I say that your girlfriend, france, wife, etc. should be your best friend in your life. But the thing is when you cross over from friends to girlfriend/boyfriend you risk losing that friend if the relationship doesn’t work out. Tha’ts what happened with Mary and me. After we split we stopped speaking to each other.

After Mary I decided to date Jessie. What was wrong there? Well she was the an ex-girlfriend’s best friend. Biggest mistake you can ever make is dating the best friend of an ex. There’s just no logical reasoning to confirm doing this. Of course I didn’t see that. Why would I? I’d been on a roll of bad relationships so far so making a sound decision was a moot point for me by this time. See one thing I failed to mention is that when Jessie called me to tell me she was sorry about the split between Mary and me she said the words “whatever you need Harold just ask me” and that was a mistake. That turned into sex and then dating. Hey come on now. She said “anything” and I clarified that sex fell into the anything category so don’t be giving me the stink eye sitting there reading this. I was following the rules….I think. So yeah Jessie and I were doomed from the get go. Sex THEN dating. Doesn’t usually work out when its that way. Plus she had a kid with a total psycho (just never to me) that couldn’t seem to let her go. I should have run away but I was stupid and hell I won’t lie the sex was good. I didn’t want to give it up that easily. Ultimately it was what I knew would happen all along that ended things. Her going back to her ex. But I was just stupid and hoped it wouldn’t happen.

I moved to Iowa and took time off from “dating” anyone seriously. I had girls that I hung out with and other “stuff” but nothing serious that I’d call a girlfriend. That was fun for a while but I started to miss having someone steady around. I don’t remember how Mary and I got in touch after I moved to Iowa but we did and as you know started dating again. It too was doomed from the get go. I still held a buried resentment for her leaving me for another guy, but as usual I was stupid and ignored my gut feelings. I mean I asked her to marry me. DUH! And as my gut had told me things went back to the way they were towards the end of our first relationship with her constantly complaining and blaming everything on me. That’s why I ended it.

After Mary 2.0 I took yet another break and then I met Cathy. She was great. Sweet. Caring. Nice. I thought this was it. I found someone who is perfect for me. Yeah she had a kid but her daughter liked me. We all got along. Well except for her neurotic and mentally disturbed cat HAHA! But the whole psycho ex thing popped it’s head up and this time it was directed towards me. Now I think I can proudly say I wasn’t stupid this time and I knew when to get out. I wasn’t going to risk injury to myself with this guy. Wasn’t worth the possible risk.

So that moves us my most recent relationship that failed. Angie. Wow. Where do I begin. Well as with Jessie we started off with the sex and THEN dating. But unlike Jessie she wasn’t the best friend of an ex so my brain said it was ok and not to worry. I’ll be honest, and she knows this herself, I never intended to have more with her than a sexual relationship when I came over to meet her the very first time. Don’t ask me how but it just felt comfortable and I stayed the night and then the next night and so on. I just felt close to her. I’d never done this with any of the other girls I’d “hung out” with in the past that I wasn’t dating. It was a new thing for me, but it felt right. This was my mistake and trust me I’ve learned from it. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in my life though and this relationship I don’t regret. We shouldn’t have gotten married though that’s for sure. And I should have ended the marriage back in February 2008 when I was sitting in the car in the driveway with a bag packed, but like I fool I let her crying and pleading to stay draw me back in. I know her “true” reason now for wanting me to stay at that time. She’ll never admit it, but I’m not a fool and I know why.love4

So after realizing what all I’ve done wrong in everyone of my failed relationships I have to ask the question “What is the constant in every failed relationship?” Well to answer that I refer to something a fellow blogger told me. He told me that I was the constant. In every single failed relationship the one common denominator is ME. Now what does that mean? It means I was causing these relationships to fail. That’s not saying I was doing anything wrong, at least not on purpose. What it means is I kept getting too close too fast or giving too much of myself too much and too fast. WHen that happens you open yourself up for a broken heart or getting used and/or trampled on. That’s happened to me every time. I’ve gotten my heart broken more than once. I’ve gotten used and trampled on almost every time as well. Now I won’t get all psychological on ya, but I think a another reason that I’ve had so many problems with relationships was due to my mother leaving when I was only 9 years old. Now she didn’t just up and disappear. Her and my dad got divorced and she decided the best thing was for me to stay with my dad as she had no idea where she’d be living, etc. He had a steady job, a place to live, etc. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing if I were in her shoes. She now regrets that decision though and thinks that her leaving had a lot to do with me always needing someone around that was a female. Granted I had a step-mom (who is a GREAT GREAT woman) around most of my life after my mom left, but sub-consciously I think I am always looking for that “motherly” aspect in women. Someone to take care of me and treat me good and love me unconditionally. Hopefully all of this makes sense. It does to me so I guess that’s what matters most right? It’s no different than when a girl has what they call “daddy complex” where she’s dating or sleeping with lots of different guys. She’s trying to fill a void her mind had created when her dad left her life.

So there you go. This ends the Confessions of the Safe Guy series. Hopefully it has helped you get a better look at my life on a personal level. I originally started this series in the hopes of writing it to help others but it just turned out differently. I still feel that it can help some guys and even girls possibly realize what NOT to do at least when it comes to a relationship. Let me just end by saying don’t give your all in a relationship and not get anything in return. It MUST be an equal partnership for it to work and you both need to know each other. Know each others dislikes, similarities, etc. It’s good and perfectly fine to have stuff in common, but also have things that you differ on. It’s actually not good, at least in my opinion, to have everything in common. Especially if you are both stubborn and hard headed. Just ask my ex-wife about that one.

Abortion: Right or Wrong

abortionSo I’m on this roll of talking about topics that spark controversy and get people talking. I figured why not keep on that with the topic of abortion. This one topic I’m pretty strong about in regards to where I stand and as much as I’ve been pushed to change my beliefs I’ve stood firm.

I’m not for abortion….somewhat. I don’t think that it’s right that that a woman can just decide that she doesn’t want the baby and have it aborted. To me this is just an easy way for a woman who wasn’t being careful to get rid of what she deems as a “mistake” and not have to worry about it anymore. Now I know there are some of you that are saying “but Harold what if she was safe and they used protection etc?” I’d reply by saying that it’s still wrong. So you were safe right? You used birth control and condoms and you still got pregnant. I still find no validity in killing that child. Give it up for adoption then if you don’t want to keep it. But why end the life of an unborn child just because you don’t want to deal with the pregnancy? I know that some people out there don’t believe a fetus is a living thing until so many weeks right? Sorry I’m with the belief that life begins at conception. As soon as the sperm and the egg combine you have started the formation of a living thing. Period.

I just don’t think it’s right a young girl can go have an abortion without her parent’s consent. That just opens to doors for any young underage girl to get pregnant and be like “oh I’ll just get an abortion” when she gets pregnant because she was young and immature and irresponsible. If abortion is going to stay legal, which we all know it will, then I feel that if the woman is under 18 she must have parental consent to have the abortion. Another thing I hate is how the man involved is completely taken out of the picture. Why is it that when woman has a baby the man is hunted down for child support and the argument of “it takes two to make a baby” is thrown around. But when it comes to abortion the man has no say in what the woman does even though “it took two to make the baby she wants to now abort” right? That just doesn’t seem right. Why shouldn’t the man have any say whatsoever in this decision. Yeah I’ve heard the argument “it’s my body and no one but me is going to decide what to do with it” and that’s fine if the subject that was being discussed took two people to create.

Now if you recall I said I wasn’t for abortion….somewhat right? How can that be you ask or what do you mean? Here is what I mean when I say somewhat. I am 100% against abortion in regards to what I mentioned above. Period. What I don’t have a problem with if a woman has been raped or in cases of incest. In those cases, especially incest, I feel that aborting the pregnancy is the best way. I am somewhat on the fence when it comes to abortion when the child is going to be born with a major disability or medical issue. I’m still not sure where I stand on that one yet. As far as rape I just don’t think it’s fair to force a woman to bring a child into this world that was the product of such a violent and horrible crime. Why put the child through that. He’ll never know his real father either. So those are my two instances where I feel abortion is a viable option.

untitledNow I’ve also heard the argument of “how can you be for the death penalty but against abortion?” Two different things. At least to me. To me you’re comparing apples to oranges. The death penalty is there to make someone pay for committing a crime. They’ve been born, had a chance at life, ruined it, and now must pay for their crime. Abortion is nowhere near the same. This living being never has a chance to live and make those choices of what path to go down. You’re never giving it that chance to live. So yeah apples to oranges.

Exit Signs

exit_signOk so you ever walk around your office and think of random stuff? Well I do and last week I was walking down the hall in my office building and just happened to notice the Exit Sign flickering as if the bulb was going out. It got me to thinking just how energy efficient these signs are that were put in years and years ago and have not been changed or upgraded since. I’ve seen the one signs that are just a clear piece of material that appears to be lighted up from a light source above where it goes into the ceiling. I”m assuming those are more energy efficient than the old style ones. Of course the geek in me got curious so I did some research and I was right. Those single faced EXIT SIGNS do have an integral light source and are all up to ENERGY STAR specs.  I guess this was a requirement that started back in January of 2006 and any signs made after January 1, 2006 must meet these specifications.

So now you’re sitting there wondering why on earth would I write about exit signs? Well it came into my head after a conversation with someone on being more “green” and saving energy back on Earth Day last week. That of course came up while discussing President Obama’s visit to Newton, IA last week to tour the wind energy manufacturing plan, Trinity, on Earth Day to talk about his ideas for conserving energy. So I guess it just sparked this idea and I felt compelled to write about it. So now you know if your company is using old and outdated stuff or not. Of course there’s probably not much of a chance to get it updated by you saying something but you never know. But at least you can try right? Going green isn’t easy though. It takes time and patience and does sometimes cost more money at first but eventually you start to see the savings.

1 2 3 4 5 6