My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

God, Please Help Me Drive

Posted by Iszi on September 5, 2007

God, I need your help. Of course, I’ve always needed your help. But, I seem to be too stubborn or intentionally ignorant to bring myself to that truth. Or, even if I see the truth, I refuse to admit it. But now is one of those times I’m honestly crying out.

I know I could bargain with you forever – I could say “If you do this, I’ll love you and follow you for the rest of my life.” but there would be no point. Whether I am truly sincere or just think I’m sincere, or even don’t really mean it, you’ll know. Even if I am sincere, my will may not be strong enough to stand up to my words, and you’ll know.

I can’t offer anything in return, other than my love. By earthly standards, that is nothing. Even by your standards, my love (rather, the ways that I express – or don’t express – my love) is minimal. But, it is all I really have to offer.

So, I really have no angle here except that I’ve come to realize how broken I am, and I need fixing. I know you’re the only one that can completely fix me in any area, so I come to you for this now. Knowing that you are a gracious and loving god, I pray that you will hear me (I know, you will.) and that you will answer with the help that only you can provide.

With all of that off my chest, what I have come to ask you for is forgiveness.

Wow, that’s odd. But I suppose it’s right.

God, please forgive me for my stubbornness and foolishness. I can’t begin to know entirely what I’ve been doing, or why. I just know it’s been wrong, and I need you to forgive me for that. I need you to give me direction – clear direction – and help me to get right.

I suppose that is the root of my problems. I’m just not right, and I need you to fix that.

Thank you for your Son, and thank you for allowing us to come to you through knowing him. There is no measure to the value of that gift which you have given mankind.

Thank you for your Holy Spirit, and for the Spirit’s counsel. Without that, I could not have the peace that I feel you have given my heart now. Also without your Spirit, I would never have recognized the true root of my current dilemma.

I do look forward to more talks like this – preferably under better circumstances, of course. I just hope my heart can stay in tune, and that my will would follow. Please help me stay focused.

Thank you.

I love you.

Amen.

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Is this what depression feels like?

Posted by Iszi on August 31, 2007

Fatigued
Frustrated
Stressed
Non-expressive
Un-motivated

I’ve never considered myself very much subject to my emotions, but that’s what I’m feeling these days and I feel like it’s holding me back from a lot. Is this what depression feels like? I don’t mean the usual “Oh, this and that happened to me, and I’m so sad.” type depression that we all go through from time to time. I mean like clinical depression. That kind of funk that you can’t explain, and yet you’re trapped inside and can’t seem to get out of it.

Part of a song that’s in my current CD lineup in my car, pretty much covers a lot of where I feel like I’m at right now.

“Still running uphill, swimming against the current. I wish I weren’t so fucked. Feels like I’m stuck, lost in a sea of mediocrity.”

- As I Am, by Dream Theater

I’ve gotta get out of this. I don’t know how, but it’s gotta happen.

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Ow, my head…

Posted by Iszi on August 30, 2007

I’ve come up with a new catch phrase today:

“Fecal Misalignment”

This is to describe an issue that is caused by someone (or to describe someone – usually someone other than the person using the term) who just doesn’t “have their shit straight”.

And today, I think my job title has been changed to “Fecal Re-Alignment Specialist”.  So, let that simmer a bit and you’ve got a good idea of how my day’s been.

There’s plenty more details that I could pour into what brought me to this, but I really don’t want to burn more brain cells trying to explain it right now.  This week *was* going great, but now Friday can’t come quickly enough.

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God is Dragging Me Back…

Posted by Iszi on August 6, 2007

…kicking and screaming, no less!

Well, after months upon months of various vehicular and personal issues giving me excuse after excuse for avoiding church and all related functions, it seems I now have no choice but to return to where I probably should have been in the first place.

The vehicular issues are pretty much resolved 100% now.  After the death of Murphy, I was blessed with family-loaned resources towards the purchase of a new car, and came out with nothing less than my most recent “dream car” – a 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC.  The exterior isn’t quite the color I would have picked if I’d had a chance to be picky, but it’s growing on me quickly.  Very little work – if any – really needs to be done to the car, and it is in awesome shape for a vehicle of its age!   I could go on and on about this car, but I’ll try to leave that for another post.  I do promise I’ll be getting pictures up this time.

Another “excuse” that I was going to have – after the car – for not going to church would have been extra time needed out of my schedule for court-required community service.  Those keeping track of me here might recall that I was assigned 38 hours, to be completed for “any non-profit organization” within 60 days.  Well, for the first half of that period I wasn’t able to do much since I didn’t have a car.  That meant that by the time I did get my car, I had only a few weeks to complete part-time what amounts to a week’s worth of full-time work.  Further, my availability for such work is entirely outside of “banker’s hours” (plus travel time) due to my work schedule.  There’s only one non-profit organization I could think of that not only would be willing to work around my schedule, but also would have enough need for me to fill those requirements in such short time – my church.

The church I go to has a pretty active media department, which I had always been involved with to some degree or another when I was going there, and they have always been short on volunteers.  Also, I’d had brief involvement with the children’s ministry in the past, and even interviewed once for the facilities department when I was job-hunting awhile back.  So, with four services running on Sundays, and various nighttime services during the week, I knew there had to be some way I could put these hours in at the church.

And there has been.  Three of the Sunday services are covered by camera, for both recording and remote-viewing purposes.  Typically, when we were going regularly, my wife and I would maybe work cameras for one service and sit in on a second one.   Now, to cover my hours, I’m working a camera straight through all three covered services.  That takes care of 6 hours a week.  For the extra few hours that are needed, I’m assisting with recording for another media project on some weeknights.

So, where I had let myself grow distant from God and the church due to trials in my life, the same trials are now pushing me back to the church whether I like it or not.  I’m almost done with this bit of CS time, but I’ve likely got another assignment coming soon in order to dispose of the ticket I received from the accident that put Murphy out of commission for good.  It seems I’m stuck with this church for awhile now, and only God knows where that will lead.

I suppose I should just trust that this is for my own good, and really is something I should have been doing more of in the first place.   Funny thing is, I’ve literally asked for this.  In times when I became aware that my heart was growing cold and distant, I’ve told God “If you want me, you’ll have to make me come back” because I knew that I was in no state of mind to make the choice for myself.  So really, I should be glad my prayers are being answered.

—————-
Now playing: Disciple – By God
via FoxyTunes

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Murphy dies.

Posted by Iszi on June 20, 2007

Okay, I just have one question right now:

What

the

HELL?!?!

If you haven’t already read the backstory of all the headaches I’ve had with my current vehicle, check it here before reading on.

So, as of last Tuesday, I thought I was getting pretty close to being in good order as far as my vehicle was concerned:

  • Half-Dead Transmission: Murphy was scheduled to go back to the shop Friday to get the half-ass re-built transmission fixed under warranty.
  • Brakes: While driving on the half-ass rebuilt transmission, the front brakes started squealing and grinding at me. The necessary parts had already been purchased for preventive maintenance anyway, so I made plans to meet with a friend to have them replaced after the transmission was fixed.
  • Control Arms: Parts had already been purchased, and plans made with a friend for the repairs to be done, (again) after the transmission was fixed.
  • ABS Wheel Speed Sensor: Parts purchased, plans made, pending transmission fix.
  • Tune-up Needed: Parts purchased, plans made, pending transmission fix.
  • Sway-Bar Upgrade: Parts purchased, plans made, pending transmission fix.

Everything was waiting on the transmission to be straightened out, which was supposed to happen on Friday. This was either because I didn’t want to burn up new parts/fluids if I needed to run in low gear again for awhile, or because the time that might have been spent fixing those other issues was otherwise occupied attempting to repair the transmission.

So, Wednesday morning comes and I’m thinking there’s just one more day between there and Friday – one more day until I can hand off the car, and when I get it back it should be clear sailing through the rest of the course.

Wednesday afternoon, I got into a little wreck.

I was going to make a left turn across three opposing traffic lanes. The first two lanes were stopped to leave the intersection clear, because the traffic on my side of the intersection was backed up. The third lane was open, but seemed clear enough to cross given the speed limit of the road. By this, I mean I should have been able to see anyone coming in that lane – traveling at or near the speed limit – that might pose a risk, before I decided to cross. I didn’t, so I went. Of course, there’s some idiot in a minivan that – despite roads being wet from recent rain, and despite seeing traffic in his lane stopped on the other side of the intersection – still wants to approach the intersection at probably 10+ over the limit.

Of course, the locals being as wonderful and helpful as they are, there were plenty of witnesses who stuck around to speak with the officers, who came to the scene shortly…

NOT!

None of the witnesses (and there were plenty) even stopped to check on us, let alone stay to offer statement to the police. Just by coincidence, an FHP officer came by shortly but only stayed long enough to firmly instruct us to move our vehicles out of the intersection, and inform us that he would be calling Orlando PD to the scene.

Orlando PD took at least an hour to arrive. Then after hearing both sides, took another hour in their vehicle to fill out two short-form reports and issue a citation to me for failure to yield while making a left turn. The other driver received no citation, and I was deemed at fault. Given that they claimed to not check either of our driving histories, I’m really curious as to what took them so long in that process, but knew better than raise that issue with them on the side of the road.

Anyway, I say the wreck was “little” because there were no injuries, no cars involved other than the two of us, and no apparent mechanical damage to the vehicles. He’ll need a new headlight and turn signals, and just a little body/paint work to get things straightened out. I’ll definitely be needing some whole new body parts, along with the headlight and turn signal that was damaged.

While my car is mechanically fine (at least, not worse than it was, as far as I can tell) it’s not physically drivable. The damaged body parts are up against my front-right tire, and rub particularly nastily when trying to turn the wheels. Since my insurance coverage is liability-only, the insurance company will pay for the other driver’s damages but not mine.

So, now I’m left with a busted-up car that has a practically brand new suspension (from having to swap out the dead air ride system) and a freshly – albeit half-assed – rebuilt transmission, that’s got more body damage than it (or the aforementioned parts that have been repaced) is probably worth, and is not drivable. Further, I currently don’t have any means by which to pay for repairs to this vehicle, even to just “get it rolling” temporarily.

Even if I could just get it rolling, I don’t think I’d feel at all comfortable with that – not just from an aesthetic standpoint but also from a functional/reliability standpoint. Leaving stuff hanging out as it would leaves it all the more susceptible to damage from the wonderful summer weather we experience here in Florida (Read: Regular afternoon downpours.) and also make it more unstable against the wind drag experienced during my frequent highway commutes. (60 miles daily on a 65 MPH highway, when I can afford the tolls – or about the same distance, at an average 40-50 MPH, when I have to take non-toll roads)

So, I’m left with the decision: Get the car just barely fixed enough to drive until I can get it fully fixed (if that would ever happen) or get a replacement vehicle. The latter of the two options isn’t much doable, either. While I can probably squeeze enough out of my budget to make monthly payments on a used vehicle (for about the same price as I bought this one) I have no currently-known means of providing a down payment.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of the ticket I got from the accident. Fortunately, my court experience on Friday (for which I had fortunately pre-arranged alternate transportation, since the car was supposed to be in the transmission shop) brightens up the prospects on that one a bit. I told the judge that I didn’t want to contest the speeding ticket, but couldn’t afford to pay it ($180+) either. Without any trouble, he assigned me 37 hours of community service, to be done for any non-profit organization, within 60 days. So, hopefully I can get a similar deal for the left-turn ticket if need be.

All this crap is leaving me pretty wasted, though. Support from home isn’t as great as I’d like, either. My mom insists I keep the car, while I continue to argue that a replacement may just be wiser and more economical in the long run. Without her support, my preferred option isn’t likely going to be possible. Even if it is possible, I don’t know that I’ll feel 100% comfortable doing it, despite the fact that it is what I have come to strongly feel is best for me and my own family! On the upside, my in-laws are being more graceful than expected when the issue is brought up, and my wife – who is usually hysterical through these kinds of times – is being much more supportive and reassuring than I’d normally expect.

Meanwhile, I’m limited on transportation resources for the commute to/from work while I figure all this out. The people who have been, are, or would be giving me rides are getting tired of doing so or being asked to, and quite frankly I’m sick of having to ask it of them as well.

I don’t know how much more of this shit I can take, really.

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My car, “Murphy”.

Posted by Iszi on June 5, 2007

Yup, I’ve named my car. Don’t know if I’ve already mentioned this, but his name is now “Murphy”. Let’s see how things have gone so far, since I’ve had Murphy…

  • Immediately or not long after purchasing the car, in which “everything worked” according to the the “dealer”:
    • Discovered turn signals/hazards didn’t work. Fixed at dealer’s cost.
    • Discovered stereo system to be malfunctional. Dealer said he would refer me to someone for repair. Not done yet. I’ve just been living with it.
    • Discovered radio antenna not working. Still not done either. Living with it.
    • Heard “clicking” sound coming from wheels. Suspected tie rod ends and replaced them, but no change. Currently suspect control arm bushings. Parts have been acquired. Installation pending.
    • ABS and Traction Control failed due to bad ABS wheel speed sensor. Have part, installation pending.
  • Late last year, the air suspension system started to leak and eventually failed completely. Replaced air struts with coil conversion kit.
  • About a month after fixing the suspension, lost 3rd and 4th gear in transmission:
    • Tried replacing MLPS. Still no good.
    • Tried replacing transmission with one from a ’98, working on a friend’s driveway. Various circumstances forced us to abort the operation. Drove the car in 2nd gear while searching for an alternative.
      • Meanwhile, replaced rear shocks which were completely toast.
      • Discovered malfunctioning aftermarket alarm system.  Disconnected it, and now the passenger power door lock won’t work.
    • Had another friend try installing the ’98 transmission at a Ford dealership, with adaptations for compatibility in the ’93 vehicle. “New” transmission failed shortly after installation.
    • I gave up and took the car to a local “Remanufactured Transmission” shop.
      • Tried re-building the ’98 with appropriate adaptations for compatibility. Transmission “shifted funny” according to trans shop owner.
      • Re-built old ’93 transmission, trans shop owner said it’s good. Over the past week and a half I’ve found:
        • Speedometer off by at least +10%. Suspect wrong speedometer gear accidentally used in rebuild
        • Transmission shifts late in full throttle.
        • Vehicle makes buzzing noise with light throttle, when in Park. Suspect valve body. Could be due to adjustments made during rebuild process. Also could be related to the late shifting problem. May or may not be related to previous transmission failures.

The good news is, the car is driveable for now. But, I don’t know how much downtime (and I’ve already had too much) will be needed to solve the remaining transmission issues. Fortunately, anything more to do with the transmission should be getting covered under the shop’s warranty.

After the transmission is free and clear, I’ve got parts and plans for:

  • Replacing upper and lower control arms in front.
  • Upgrading rear sway bar.
  • Replacing brake calipers, pads, and rotors.
  • Full tune-up.
  • Replacing ABS wheel speed sensor.

Hopefully, when I’m past all that I should have a car that (with good maintenance) will last me for a good few years to come. It’s just getting past the transmission that seems to be the big hurdle. My head is probably going to explode if it comes back from the shop again with any more problems after I take it in to be fixed next weekend.

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Time to get some stuff done.

Posted by Iszi on June 1, 2007

Finally, for the first time all day I actually feel like my brain has some capacity to process information and get work done.  I’m not sure what did it, but if it’s that Sudafed I took at 1, I’d have to say I’m very disappointed in the response time there.

Still, it’s not a moment too soon.  It’s 4:20, and fortunately I’ve got an hour to pick up from a short day earlier this week, so I’ll be working until 6 instead of 5.  So, maybe there’s still a chance to actually accomplish something today.  (Or at least, to feel like I did.)

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Sick

Posted by Iszi on June 1, 2007

I’ve gone to work sick before.  Actually had to work 3rd shifts at 7-Eleven on a flu for two weeks once.  Yeah, it was hell, but it was doable.

Oddly enough however, working in an office job with something even simple as the common cold seems to be a totally different beast to tackle.

This sucks.  6:00 better come quickly, and this cold had better be gone by Monday!

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Almost giving up.

Posted by Iszi on May 14, 2007

Okay, I’ve about had it.

(Man, if I could have a buck for every time I start a post like that…)

I’m tired of this car feeding me crap! I really do love the car – and I mean seriously love the car – but I really cant afford nor tolerate handling the problems that it’s been giving me lately!

It started off relatively small. Okay, maybe not really that small, but compared to now I say small. Awhile ago, the air-ride suspension gave out on it. I knew it was on the way out anyway, and had already planned on swapping to lowered springs with the coming tax return, so we had that done. Not such a big deal.

What is a freaking huge deal now though, is the transmission. First, it started with a little slip. I kept thinking of that Han Solo line from Episode IV when the Millennium Falcon was under fire: (roughly quoted) “She’ll hold together… [blast] Oh, come on baby, hold together!”. Well, she didn’t. The transmission eventually gave out (or so we think) and it was determined at the time that we needed to get a new one in.

Being of small means and even smaller mechanical knowledge, it seemed my best option was to find a used transmission from a reliable source, and find someone with experience to help me swap it in. I found a used transmission and torque converter to go with it, from a seemingly (and I still hold to be) reliable source for a very reasonable price. Now all I needed was someone to put it in, or to help me do so.

At one point, I found someone that said they would do it for me, but the price they were asking upfront was more than I could immediately give and they could not accept payments. Moving on, I thought I’d found someone else, but things just didn’t work out. We ran into complications along the way, and in the downtime while we were trying to figure our way around the complications, an injury prevented him from being able to help further. So, we put the car back the way it was and I looked around some more.

I found a “mobile mechanic” who was willing to allow me to work with him on the job for reduced labor cost, but later found that the task was going to be a bit too specialized for me to trust to a first-time dealing with a mechanic for whom I had little to no reference.

So, I went on the search again. Meanwhile, a paycheck bonus provided me with just enough money to compensate for the original offer that was extended for the job. I got back in touch, and the transmission was swapped out this past weekend. There’s only one “small” problem: The issue hasn’t gone away, and in fact some new symptoms have come about as well!

I posted on some of the various forums that I go to, one of which is where I met the sources for the parts and labor on this project, to try to figure out what could still be causing these issues. Now, there’s a bit of a blame game going on. Though no one will openly say it, that’s what I get the feeling is happening, and right now I’m the latest target.

At this point, I don’t much care whose fault it is that the second transmission has failed (and it’s being said that it is internal within the transmission at this point, whether a pre-existing problem or not) I just want to find the root cause and get it fixed.

But now, it seems I’m out of money, way past out of time, and running short on reliable or expedient human resources. I do still have faith in the people who have been helping me, and am very thankful for their aid, but (by no fault of their own) right now the speed at which they may be able to help me isn’t quick enough for the speed at which I need to be helped.

There’s only one option I haven’t considered yet, and while it is probably the easiest, it is the one I dread most. My wife’s family has always been more than generous in helping us in times of need, especially when it has come to vehicle-related problems. Before we married, my wife already had accrued debt to her grandmother in amounts I’d rather not even think of, and I’ve worked hard to ensure that any further funds borrowed from her family were payed off as soon as possible. As of right now, I think this is the first time in few years that I can say to my knowledge that all our monetary debts owed to family (mine and hers) which I have had part in have been paid off. I don’t think anyone knows how badly I want to keep it that way, either.

But, her grandmother may be the only one that has the funds to help us if we need to actually get a new transmission and have it put in by a professional that will warranty the hardware, and his work.  It’s either that, or get a new car – the second car in less than a year’s time – for the same price.  I personally feel that we’ve spent way too much money and headache on this car to give it up after such short a time of ownership.  Further, I am convinced that after this transmission problem is overcome, we will have a car that – with proper maintenance and care -  can last us much longer than any of our past vehicles which have only carried us for a year or two each.

It’s not something that I really want to do, but something I think I might have to do.  The question is, will I be able to tell when the “have to” time has come.  Or has it maybe even already passed?

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Discourtesy and Carelessnes know no social bounds.

Posted by Iszi on May 7, 2007

So, it’s been a relatively long while since I’ve been in the “dead-end job” industry now. A little over a year, maybe pushing two I think. I’ve started to grow comfortable in the office environment now, actually beginning to feel like I’m in a job that’s halfway worth something. (Still barely paying the bills, so I’m not fully up to “worth something” yet.)

However, there is this one thing that haunts me still which I thought had been left behind when I got out of the “lower class” businesses, so to speak. I thought, now that I’m in a large office building working with professional businessmen and businesswomen, that these would be generally people of better class and behavior.

Apparently, that only applies outside of the restroom. (Even then, not entirely so, but today I’m griping about the restroom.) Yes, everyone who works in this building is mostly of the business-professional type, with the only exceptions being those people needed to maintain the building and serve in the food areas. Even those seem to be good-quality people. But there’s some days when, much to my dismay, our bathrooms just don’t show it.

I would think with the higher quality of people that would be expected in this environment, that I should not find:

  • Toilet paper left lying about in the stalls.
  • Paper towels thrown on the floor next to the doors.
  • The “captain’s log”.
  • A bathroom that reeks of weed!

Most of these aren’t one-time deals, either! Today is probably the second or third time in what feels like just as many months – or less – that I’ve gone to a different restroom just so I don’t have to smell fresh-smoked marijuana while I’m doing my business. And I know it was done during the work-day because the same bathroom was smelling fresh and clean when I used it just after getting in this morning!
I also can’t count how many times I’ve looked near a bathroom door and had to pick up paper towels that should have been in the trash can not 4 feet away! Or, had to flush a toilet because its contents were too disgusting for me to bear leaving. (I can understand being absent-minded about it once in awhile, but when something like that is in there, have mercy!) It’s no longer in my job description to be taking care of such things, but I can’t stand leaving it for those that do!

One that I really don’t get is this one stall where there is always a long piece of toilet paper hanging on the inside of the door! And I do mean always! There’s been days when I’ve personally taken it down and flushed it or thrown it away, only to see it replaced some few hours later! I’ve even stopped and looked around to try to see some purpose for it, and I just don’t get it!

I was going to end this with a disclaimer for sounding snobbish or stuck-up, but I just realized I shouldn’t. Why, because I really don’t care! I’ve personally been in the “lower-class” category – and still am in some ways – and even then see no excuse for any of this behavior in public or in your own workplace! So, to see this happening in a higher-classed work environment so to speak, has really just rubbed me wrong.

This is the kind of stuff I had to clean up behind back when I was working in fast food/retail, and things I thought I had moved away from when I got out of that business. Didn’t these people’s mommas not teach them nothing?

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