Mentor.

I’ve been approached by a friend who has asked if I would mentor her teenage son in tech, development, hardware, etc. I really like the idea but I’m not sure yet where to start.

I put it to a group of friends to see where they’d recommend beginning. At first I struggled with tasks as if he was an intern, but that’s not what a “mentor” means to me. I had a mentor when I was in my 20’s, and he’s been a life long friend, but that relationship began when I became his employee.

When I began in tech, I had already grown up around computers throughout elementary school. That was unusual in the early 80’s and definitely gave me an advantage over time. Starting with Apple Basic in 4th grade helped me to understand coded logic, the difference between files and folders, the internals of computers. That all worked to my advantage shortly after I graduated high school and started building desktops and servers for myself. Then my second bench tech job introduced me to the industry in greater detail, in sales, customer service, margins, more complex systems and the consequences and vulnerabilities of our data over time.

For this fine young man, whom I met for the first time last weekend, I’m recommending that he start off in two areas: installing Linux on his desktop, and Arduino projects for remote data collection (sensors, mostly). Since desktop and server hardware are a thing of the past, the ability to collect and aggregate data in the cloud is where I see the next series of trends continuing. He’ll never have to swap out a video card or exchange a SCSI drive (yeah, I’m that old) unless he choses to tear apart his laptop… even their days as user-configurable systems are numbered.

Looking forward, I’m excited. This could be a new direction for myself, my kids and our future.

Bad Dad

This probably makes me the worst dad ever, but when the boys are horsing around and someone inevitably gets hurt….I’m usually unsympathetic. After assessing that it isn’t a serious injury, I ask 3 basic questions:

1. Are you bleeding?
2. Is it broken?
3. Do I need to cut it off?

If the coast is clear, as insult to injury, “You going to do that again?”

Jude’s First Custody Exchange

Tonight’s custody exchange was the first time Jude was out of his car seat where he could watch the entire process. Rylan and Caed gave hugs goodbye to Jaimi, Jude and me; then stepped into their mother’s car and drove away.

After a long weekend of playing nonstop with his brothers from sun rise to sunset, I could see Jude’s confusion as his big brothers drove off. Jaimi strapped him into the car seat. Jude began to cry.

Jude cried for nearly ten minutes. He was so upset that Jaimi climbed into the back seat so that he wasn’t alone. He was inconsolable.

I stared ahead, listening to Jude’s frustration while choking back my own emotions, and thought about my first custody exchange. Rylan was four then, Caed hadn’t yet turned two. I hadn’t been allowed to see them for over a month and even then had to file for an emergency hearing with the courts. Rylan didn’t understand why he had to leave after his weekend with me. There weren’t adequate words to explain it then, just like there weren’t words to explain to Jude tonight that his brothers would be home soon, but they were going to sleep somewhere else this evening. Saying goodbye just didn’t make sense to anyone in either events.

We’ve suspected that saying goodbye to his brothers would eventually become difficult for Jude. Returning home to the deafening silence of a house sitting lifeless in its own disarray has always been difficult for us. But now there’s a toddler whose big brothers are just… gone. We didn’t expect it to affect him so soon.

We returned home and Jude settled. He ate and was happy. He spent lots of time in our arms. He was fine as the alternate reality set in and the house temporarily became a home for three – instead of five – again. We tucked him in and said goodnight, then curled up together in the glow of an old, forgettable movie.

Dreams for Sons

I peek in on all of my sons sleeping and I find myself calmed in their snores and deep rest. I wonder when I last slept so peacefully. Perhaps their age?

All I can hope for is that they dodge the miserable bullets in their lives that I caught in mine. While I want to prepare them for the world that awaits them, I want to do so without making them bitter and cynical, without tarnishing the magnificent humans they are.

Before they lose the chance of comfort of a purely trusted embrace, the flavor of a delicious meal or their lost breath due to an awe inspiring sunrise, I hope they will find the sanctity in each before the world clouds their ability to appreciate the wonders it possesses.

Experience will wage that war upon them soon enough, but perhaps they’ll miss that train and find themselves sleeping soundly as their own children dream.

That’s probably my greatest wish for my sons, a sound nights sleep while their children dream of sunrises, delicious meals and the images of their fathers held in warm trusted embraces.

Grief Recalled

Tom Ashbrook on NPR’S On Point is one of my favorite interviewers. His show is on now and he’s discussing grief and losing his wife in November. Partners in love and life since the age of 16. Its not live so I can’t call, though I wish I could.

There’s so much that strikes deep and familiar that I find myself parked, just listening and remembering what it was like to be widowed and consumed at the age if 27.

In those early days grief was not “more”, just less familiar. When smiles and laughter were a betrayal and the idea of finding peace was unattainable. There just aren’t words, ever, to put that type of loss into consoling perspective.
Time is the most vicious antidote to grief. Not because it cures but because it eventually renders one familiar with their heart forever changed. If we choose, we tap back into the world that kept moving while we withdrew and hopefully provide some help and insight to those freshly minted in loss. Somewhere along the line we might be startled by the sound of our own laughter and allow it to continue. But we have to allow it and that is a horribly difficult embrace.

Tough Guy

“Tough Guy” cruising around, pushing a tough stroller along side his tough wife and adorably tough kids… Cute. Then I notice the ginormous Honda “H” logo tattooed on the side of his neck.

Wait, what?!?

Revelation: Dating Can Rock!

I’m not sure what to think: I had what’s called a “date” with this stunning woman last night. We sat down for omakasa at Bluefin in Newport Coast. The crazy part was that the company, conversation and food were so good that I didn’t take a single picture, didn’t check Facebook or Instagram, and actually failed to look at my mobile even once. Instead, I looked at an actual person (who was hawt!!!!) and spoke to her without using my thumbs! It was so strange but awesome!

Did I mention she was stunning? And AWESOME?

So, I’m sorry there’s no pictures and I was gone for so long. But, seriously, you guys need to try this “date” thing. Its so new it doesn’t even have an app yet.

 

Leaving Aliso

There were a million things I would have rather been doing today, notably some quiet time reflecting under a tree. Instead, I had to spend the day wrapping up the last details of our move.

I’m officially out of Aliso Viejo, a city I’ve called home for the better part of over 15 years. The highest highs and the lowest lows in my life, those redefining moments that irrevocably change who you are as a person and what you believe in, all happened within the confines of that twisted little town.

Today my tenure ends there. Its not ironic that it happens today, and certainly neither mystical or planned; it simply happened today. Now its time to hug the kids, see them off and grab a shower. Today is one Sunday I’m glad to see end.