Saturday, October 02, 2004

On my mind...


Today was the first day I got to drive the stagecoach, and I loved it. It was very different from what I am used to riding saddle. Kind of difficult at first, but lots of fun. I have been around the farm for almost 4 months now, but today was my first day as an official employee. That is the only reason I was allowed to drive.


Now that I got that out of my system, I have to vent slightly about the first debate. I am not the most politically involved person, but how is it that anyone can say Bush won this thing? Please explain this to me? Kerry was on target, precise with his answers, and able to close an answer on time. Bush wasted more time looking lost than actually answering the questions that were asked of him. I am not endorsing one candidate over the other. But I do have an opinion as to what type of person I would like to see representing me as an American for the next four years. Bush was not even close to it.


My PC has some sort of minor "infection" with an attachment to a network of websites. Be very careful if you hit "next blog". I have been hijacked. My home page is unable to be changed; my yahoo companion bar has been changed into an elite bar, whatever that is; and pop-ups are unblockable. The code is attached to the website from everything I can read about this type of "hijacking", so all of you seeing this are safe. Is this a virus? Not by definition. Can anti-virus software stop it? No, it can't even detect it. Can a firewall stop it? Only on maximum protection with all 3rd party cookies blocked, which then makes the internet completely inaccessible. How do you solve it? Pay another program more money until hackers go to work on another way to get around standard protection. I now have three different programs on this computer and need a fourth just to remove this crud. Not me. Not this time. We bought a Mac.

I can't do the PC thing anymore. Owning a PC reminds me of what it used to be like to be single and dating. Right when you think you know how to deal with her little fits, she dumps you. Right when you think it's safe to take off the raincoat, she tells you she has been sleeping 3 other guys. The heartbreak and extended hours trying to make it all "the way it used to be" is too much to bear anymore. Everything I read and all the people I talk to made the decision to switch SO easy. Are they more expensive? Hell yeah. Is it worth it? We'll see, but I think in the long run, we made a better choice. She will be here on Wednesday.

In closing, all is really good. I have no drama and things are very good.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

All this work, just for you...

Believe it. I have killed most of my day today making this site as pretty as I can make it and adding other stuff to do when you are bored with me. But it was worth it, because don't believe it for a second that I did all this just for you. I am just an anal perfectionist with a little too much time on my hands today. That will all change next week.

I have been a stay home dad for the last 3 years with soccer to keep me sane and the blessing of my lovely wife, Becky. Re-entering the productive workforce feels weird. Oh, poor Sean. He has to go to work now. No, I don't. I want to. For the first time in my life, I want to go to work. I want to go and teach the sport that has been so good to me and share that with other coaches, parents and players. And I also want to go to the farm and chase chickens, maintain horses and share the farm with our visitors. The frosting on this cake is my beautiful wife of ten years and my two boys I get to share this all with. Not a bad place to be. Not at all.

Am I still a stay-at-home dad? Yes, I get to keep that luxury. Do I still get to sit at home during bad weather and play PS2 once in a while? Yes. Yes, I do. It keeps getting better and better. My youngest and I get a lot done around the house and we go out running errands. Was it always like this. No, it wasn't.

The first 6 months of staying home with with a 4 year old and a 1 year old for me was REALLY hard. In order to pull it off, we had to reduce to one vehicle and my wife needed it to get to work everyday and some Saturdays. Even in the middle of Kansas City, you get tired of going to the park EVERY SINGLE nice day we had. Most guys might think that sitting at home and playing PS2 all day would be THE LIFE. Let me tell you now, you get done with it pretty quick. Money is tight, so new games are far and few between. You can only play so many years in your franchise mode of NCAA before you start seizing in the middle of night and complaining of thumb cramps. The worst injury I ever sustained was searing all of my fingertips off from accidentally placing my hand on a hot manifold of a lawnmower. OUCHEE! Bored, injured, in pain and grounded to the homestead. I'd hit ROCK bottom.

The step down was hard for me. Or should I say, step ASIDE. Some other men might have been able to do it with more grace than I did. But I was a whiner. It was made easier for me by doing one major change. Swallowing your pride. I had to suck it up and be a man. My wife beat me at the career game and for good reason. She keeps her mouth shut at work. I learned to do that over time. Lots of time. But not when I was young. I thought everyone wanted to know how to do everything better and more efficiently in the corporate world. I was wrong, and it earned me more pink slips than I care to count. Oh well. I was young and retarded. I got the hint. So we moved from Colorado to Kansas City for my wife's career and the betterment of our situation. It worked out in the end, but I had my doubts in the beginning. My marriage became stronger, my boys received some much needed fatherly parenting, and my own idea of a career eventually landed in my lap by freak accident. Funny how it all works out...

This is me with my boys. During the summer months, I shave their heads due to the humidity out here. My youngest in the middle has the uncanny ability to look lost the moment a camera is in the room. He is really mine and I didn't find him on this vacation in the Ozarks.

We have a good time for the most part. My oldest is wicked smart. He and I get along and connect on most everything. I mean, look at the picture. He looks like he robbed me of everything I have on the genetic level. He is now in Cub Scouts and plays soccer as a goalkeeper (imagine that). Don't get me wrong, I had something to do with that choice. But he can choose anything he has any interest in. But I do have hundreds of soccer balls and all of the equipment all over the house, so the choice easy to make. I started kicking soccer balls at him when he was just a toddler and used to carry him to games and practices inside my soccer bag. He would just sleep through the whole session. It was very convenient.

My youngest and I just recently got to know each other, so I will let you know how that turns out. He was a momma's boy for the first three years of his life, although I was the one who stayed home with him and did EVERYTHING for him. Sounds odd, I know. But it's the way this balled bounced out. And no, I didn't bounce him, often. I mean, ever. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The "farm" part explained...

Is there really a farm, you ask? Yes, there is. Why, do you ask? Not sure. Do I own a farm? Yes and no. Let me explain this now...

I have two boys. One is 8, the other is now 4. That, in my opinion, is a farm. If you have kids, you are shaking your heads in agreement. The rest of you are in the "I don't get it" category. Don't worry, we still like you. Then, I have my other farm. We moved from the big city (Kansas City) to a suburb south called Olathe, which means "beautiful" in another language. It's my own slice of heaven. Well, when we moved here, we discovered a farm just a couple of blocks away. It is a city maintained old farmstead and stagecoach stop with rich historical value. They have a barn with a lot of diverse livestock. Better yet, they have horses. Honestly, I love horses. They have a deep personality like no other animal. They can say more with a single body movement than some people can say in 10 minutes of deep conversation.

I began volunteering to feed all the livestock on the weekends just after my grandpa died. He was a true Texan rancher and my personal childhood summer escape. He taught me everything he could about horses, saddle breaking, roping, barrel racing, cattle ranching, etc. I enjoyed those summers more than he will ever know. After volunteering at the farm for a couple of months, I was asked if I would be interested in a seasonal position working with the livestock as a guide, driving the stagecoach and breaking the horses for events and parades. Let's see, another volunteer opportunity turned paid position. Lemme think, um, ok, yeah.

Am I busy? Yes. Do I mind? Not at all. My days are filled with exactly what I wanted to do and was willing to do for freein the first place. Sweet gig. Definitely.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

A history of the "soccer" part of the soccerfarm...

Allow me to let you get to know me better. Not well enough to stalk me. But well enough to know why I might name my site the way I did. Soccer saved me. Soccer showed me where I might find happiness. Not immediately, mind you. But in its own subtle way, it led me to my own personal salvation. Let me explain...


When I was school-age, I was tall, skinny & shy. Not athletic with a regular build, but undersized and awkward. My best defense was an equally awkward sense of humor and fast feet. So, I survived any possible beatings I might have received due to my speed. No shame in that. When I was in 3rd grade, I asked my mother to sign me up for soccer. Not because I thought I might be good at it, but because everyone else signed up and I hadn't yet. Honestly, what was I going to do after school while everyone else was at soccer practice. Right?

Well, my speed was discovered almost instantly, so I was placed in the "wing" position so I could outrun my opponents while all of my friends who had a little bit of natural skill were placed in "central" positions. She forgot to teach us alot. Like that whole passing thing for starters. The ball came to me close to never. When I did get the ball, it was just short of a disaster. I had no ball control because I was faster than the ball; I always had a bad first touch off the ball and I was mauled near the sidelines, so I just kicked it out. After that, I became the kid no one would pass to. After an entire season of useless practices and horrified games, I was done. That was my first season of soccer. Use your imagination how fast I was willing to sign up again. You guessed it. Many, many years.

My next experience was my sophomore year in high school. Amazingly, I was able to make the JV squad. It was amazing. I figured I fooled the coaches into thinking I was a good soccer player by just running down field. Coach wasn't as fooled as I thought. I played my first game as a defender. Not exactly a speed position. Coach was short defenders and no one else would volunteer. In the midst of trying to defuse an offensive assault late in my first game, I went to head the ball out of the box off a deflection from the keeper while he was down. As my head hit the ball, it felt like I was suddenly heading a medicine ball. An opposing striker was going for the fancy "bicycle" shot to finish the offensive series. Imagine the foot-ball-face sandwich. Eww is about right. Long story short, this game would be the last in my record short scholastic career.


Why, do you ask? Not quite sure. I mean, the sport had made it's imprint on me in more ways than one. Well, I was a senior now and life was getting kind of boring. My high school graduation requirements were all but done and I decided I needed to take a new lease on this whole soccer "thing" and try coaching on for size at age 17 . My little brother's team needed a coach for the same parks & recreation department I played for when I failed. I mean, played. This was my chance to redeem myself for being a goof of the sport.

I studied the sport from any media resource and experience I could get my hands on. I ended up tasting just enough success through that experience that I kept coming back for more, and more, and more. I went from volunteer coaching one team in a po-dunk (ever think you would see that word in print?) little GI town to coaching other coaches and players now as an academy instructor for my little town in Kansas. It gets better. They now pay me to do something I have been willing to do for free for the last 12 years. Pretty sweet deal, you say? OH yeah...