The trials and tribulations of a middle-aged PACS consultant,
father, and garage sale junkie as he engages in his
never-ending search for sanity in an insane world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bring back 2010

It’s a New Year. Whoopee! Nearly twenty days into the new year and already I long for 2010 again. I vowed years ago to never make resolutions I can’t keep (and even more directly, to never keep those that I make) and so far I’m right on target considering that my one big resolution was to blog more. Considering how 2011 started out though I probably would be better off saying nothing at all.

I spend New Years Eve in bed – alone- under my down comforter with a pair of jeans on, tee shirt, sweatshirt, my heavy winter down jacket with a hood and gloves on and was still shivering like crazy with the flu or whatever you want to call it…I can think of much better ways to ring out the old and ring in the new, but let it suffice to say the week between Christmas and New Years was sheer hell. Thankfully I’m healthy and my body won out in the end. I’d shudder to think what might have happened had I had any form of compromised immune system.

December led me to more contracts than ever before and I finally celebrated being able to relax a bit financially going into 2011. And then, just like that- poof- almost every contract that my clients had verbally committed to disappeared like Al Sharpton at a Klan rally. All of a sudden I went from what was a rancorous feast at a churrascaria to eating in the church hall with the elderly people from the trailer park our church feeds every month, people looking for a free meal and some companionship. Thankfully I had some embers in the fire that will get me through the next month or so (I learned a long time ago to never ever to put your eggs in one basket) and have few longer term contracts pending as well. Still, it taught me that once again the only thing you really can trust in is yourself.

I saw yet another long time PACS veteran pass on and while little was said about him- two short paragraphs was all- I do miss having Tom Goliash around. Tom and I agreed to disagree on just about everything since we met in the early 80’s. He was brash, he was direct, he was opinionated, he was everything you aren’t supposed to be running a company- but above all Tom was true to himself. You never had to guess where you stood with Tom- if he liked you he liked you for life, if he thought you were an a$$hole or an SOB you would hear it from his lips directly, not through third parties. As crazy as it sounds I liked that about him. He was an entrepreneur back in the days when the PACS market could sustain entrepreneurs even though almost no two products he ever delivered to his clients were exactly the same. Thankfully I don’t believe they conducted many GMP reviews back in the days of AVP and Megascan and by the time he founded UltraRad a few years back he finally seemed to have his act it all together. Tom was a dedicated husband married for 44 years to the same woman, a father, grandfather and friend and a guy who had one thing so few have in this marketplace- passion. He could have easily retired with the money he made from the sale of his company but instead decided to jump back in with both feet again after taking just a little time for himself to enjoy his passion for sailing. Tom deserved more than just two short paragraphs and while he is gone his presence will be long missed by those of us who knew him.

The day after Tom’s passing my world turned upside down yet again when my very best male friend in the entire world completely decomposed and ended up having to formally address the demons that have haunted him since his childhood days by entering a rehab facility. While his timing was abysmal-he had a week long all-expense paid vacation in Hawaii waiting for him two days later as a thank you for exceeding his quota yet again- it was bound to happen. In so many respects my friend is a huge success- he makes a boatload of money, is a super dad to his kids, is a wonderful friend- and yet he has two weaknesses. He just can’t say no and takes care of everyone but himself often at the expense of himself. A large part of his problems stem from a toxic ex wife who just won’t let go three years hence and keeps hounding him on everything from financial support (he gives her more than twice what the courts would have mandated plus pays for everything related to the kids and still it’s never ever enough) to his personal life about who he dates and what he does. It finally got to the point a little over a week ago where the only rest he got was in the place where he had taken comfort for the past 30 years. Unfortunately once he started his escape this time he just couldn’t stop escaping and needed help. I and a few of his closest friends have been meeting to put together a plan to keep him on the straight and narrow, but we all believe he needs to stop living his life as others think he should live it and instead live his life for him.

The final coup de grace was a change in my own life circumstances. For only the second time in nine years since my divorce I took the chance to get to know someone quite well this summer. All was going fairly well yet we hit a bump in the road that was more like a Florida sinkhole than anything else. As I thought about what I told my friend in rehab I couldn’t help but hear myself talking as well. I enjoy my new friend a lot yet I am trying to absorb myself into a lifestyle that really isn't me and have my friend absorb a lifestyle with me that really isn’t her either. In the end this lead to a few uncomfortable situations and misread communications which just isn't good. I am about as close to being a cowboy as Martha Stewart is to giving my house an award for cleanliness, but that's OK- I Yam What I Yam and frankly Roy Rogers I ain’t. The same can be said about her not being my divine garage sale goddess although she has gone to a few with me and done quite well. Yes, I will mourn the loss of a very dear friend if it comes to that yet I also celebrate my ability to finally open up and share MY feelings directly instead of hiding them behind a wall as has so often happened in the past. I have grown and that is good, even if this relationship did add a very nice vintage Luis Vitton bag to add to the collection of baggage my friend says I seem to carry with me. I always said though if you have to have baggage, then by all means make it the best…

I have so much to share….and yes, lots of PACS news too. Standby- it looks like it’s going to be a very interesting year…

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