Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V.D.

It's Valentine's Day.

Time for reflecting on those loved ones that are important in your life.

I'm more fortunate than most. I've had the privilege of spending the last 20 (give or take a few) with my long-suffering, wonderful wife. I mean, really, honestly - would YOU want to be married to such a cynical S.O.B?

I didn't think so.

I mean, I can be a real pain-in-the-ass. Really. Not kidding.

Those of you who know me personally, know what I mean. I have a VERY low s**t tolerance, I say what's on my mind, I tell the truth (from my perspective) whether you want to hear it or not, I've been known to drink like a sailor, I tend to piss people off by saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times (whether or not I'm "right" doesn't matter) and I'm generally grumpy around people most of the time. But, I say what I mean, and mean what I say. ALWAYS.

My idea of a perfect vacation is to be holed up by a pool or other body of water (or in a bar with nice, comfy couches) with a large rum drink and a stack of bulls**t mystery novels. The only people I want to "interact" with are: 1) a waiter or waitress to get me another drink and/or 2) my family who are with me at the time. The end.

No chit-chat with fellow bar patrons, no sight-seeing tours, no taking calls from "important" people on my cell phone, no checking voicemail, no timeshare spiels, no running, no horseplay, no gum chewing, no lifeguard on duty.

I even leave my laptop at home. What part of "unplugged" confuses you? Where's my drink? Are you GROWING that f**cking orange tree from a seed? Is that steak going to happen TODAY? You get the picture.

Quite a "dream" catch, huh?

This month also marks the 10th anniversary of ClickWare. Another love of my life, sometimes a mistress that I lavished too much money and time on. The lure of good business has sometimes clouded my judgement on the truly important. I spent a good deal of my twin children's first year (the toughest time in raising children - at least in my case) traveling 6,000 miles away making money for other people. I've been "this close" to revolutionary ideas that make a heap of cash only to be torpedoed by others who were more savvy (at the time) and who played a game that I didn't even know existed.

I started one of the first "membership" sites on the world wide web in 1996 to great promise. It faded just before the big cash "bubble" came into play.

I'm not a TOTAL loser - I've done pretty well over the years - there are just some things that hindsight have made too crystal clear. Things that sometimes keep me up at night. Things I wish I would have done or said. Things that I now know that I wish I'd known years earlier.

Some things can't be taken back. Some things can't be undone. Most things I would never change - even if I could.

The number one thing I would never change - is meeting my wife. I literally KNEW, from the moment I saw her - that someday she would be my wife.

I was 16 years old.

I got married to her at 25.

The 9 years in between were not the most pleasant in my life. We got together and broke up 4 times. Finally, a mutual friend invited both of us to her birthday party (without telling either of us the other would be there) - and we got back together - this time for good. I made the decision that it's time to s**t or get off the pot - and I didn't want to lose her (again). I asked her to marry me - and to my utter surprise, she said yes.

We married in the summer of 1990 - in the sweltering heat of beautiful downtown Bakersfield, California. We were young, thin, sexy (I even had a mullet!), dirt poor and happy as hell.

It's the single best thing I've done in my life. Bar NONE. Well, maybe except having children with her. But it's definitely in the top two!

My wife is a true friend. She's seen me make a total ass out of myself, she's been there to share in the triumphs and flops, been there "in richer and hopefully not poorer" (actual wedding vow I made to her), been there to encourage, to push, to help, to pull, and sometimes carry me to achieve things that others have said were "impossible."

She's been the most patient, loving and kind parent to our twin children. She has sacrificed her high-paying career and years of study to get her MBA to learn how to be the best mommy she can be. Then she kept on doing it. Full time. Day in and day out. For the past (nearly) 6 years. She is a truly remarkable woman - a truly unselfish person who has given up so much of her own dreams for the well-being of our family. I wanted her - and everyone else who reads this column - to know just how special she is to me.

To my wife, Brenda - I would be lost without you. I love you.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thought for today: Tell the person that's special to YOU - how much you care about them.
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