With you every step

Today was a rough day for me. It was a roller coaster ride, to say the least. I woke up a little late, but took the time to give thanks to our Lord through my morning prayer. Each day I begin by getting on my knees and praying to Him for strength, guidance, and courage. After, I pick up my Bible and I read for instruction. Today was no different.

Last weekend my many years of sin, lack of morals, and refusal to back away from temptation lead me to the place nobody wants to be; rock bottom. I had a sudden awakening. I opened my eyes and realized how the actions I have succumbed to have truly hurt the ones around me that I love. Suddenly, I was lost. I needed salvation. I needed peace. I needed my Lord and Savior. And I found Him.

From that day forward, I gave up my wicked ways and I promised to follow Him wherever He leads. I made a decision to try my best every single day to stay strong and to live my life according to His will. By doing so, I pledged to give up anything that would distract me from my daily walk. This includes drinking, partying, running around with women, and doing anything I always knew to be wrong. Sometimes I fail.

This weekend, I went against my better judgment and allowed the closeness I shared with Shelley to open up my desire to want to be with her in a permanent arrangement. Our marriage is over…there is no question about it. As much as I want it to work, now, it’s too late. I accept the fact that there are issues we can’t get past, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would be putting our friendship in dire jeopardy if we were to try. But I also feel a love for her that I never recognized as her husband. The right thing for me to do is to let her go and not interfere with the new relationship she is in with a man whom she truly cares for. This is the instruction I was given from God.

Unfortunately, I can be hard-headed and I did not listen. I found myself back in love with her and yearning for a life that I know is not right for me. Because of this, I got hurt. She called me last night to talk to me about a conversation she had with her new man and for a brief moment, I thought she was going to give me what I desired…A new chance. That didn’t happen. Instead, she gave me a speech about how we needed distance so she could nurture her relationship and I could fully get over her. I’m not going to lie…That hurt.

I was in pain, but I had peace, so I was able to deal with it. I came home and went to bed and prepared myself for the new week ahead.

The first thought that came to my mind as I awoke this morning was that of fear and doubt. I have always had a relationship with God, but never a serious one. I have my days when I am close to Him, but it doesn’t last and then I find myself living the same life I have become accustomed to. In the end, I find myself getting nowhere. It seems I fail at every turn. My recent failure to sustain a marriage seems to have given me the true desire to be a better man, but I’m not sure it’s enough motivation for me to truly change who I am. What if I don’t have it in me to be the man God needs me to be? And so I randomly opened my Bible this morning and got my instruction from 2 Chronicles, 15:7 – “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

“Be strong and do not give up.” These words I repeated to myself all morning. I want to be rewarded. I need to be a strong Christian man. “What would you have me do, Lord?” I asked. I am new to this level of faith, so I wasn’t sure if I got my answer, but I suddenly felt I needed to go to church tonight. The church offers a program called Monday Night Live, and it is encouraged for all members to attend. The program is designed to be a 12 week course on how to communicate the message of Jesus to non believers. I don’t think I could actually hit the streets and talk to random strangers about coming to Jesus, but, again, I felt like I needed to do this. After all, I promised Him I would follow wherever He leads.

The message I received must have been the reason for my sudden jump in my mood. I was energized and feeling really good about myself. I started thinking about the singles Sunday school class and how great it would be to get involved with them. If there was any better way to get over Shelley, this was it.

Shelley. I think I’ll reach out to her and share with her this good news. That’s when my day took a turn for the worse.

Again…against my better judgment, I reached out to her and surprisingly, she was very receptive to my texts. We seemed to be getting along really well and suddenly, I wanted to see her. I tell her I really want to talk with her more about the conversation we had last night because I felt I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to logically discuss this idea that we needed space. I wanted to explain that I’m OK with the idea, but I still wanted to be friends on a limited basis. She tells me we can meet up for coffee at some point this week, but she’s pretty busy every night except tonight or Friday night. These were my choices. Now I am supposed to go to the church tonight, so Friday would be the logical choice, but we are talking about me. I’ve never been the most patient guy in the world.

This is when I actually had the audacity to argue with my Lord.

“I can’t go to church tonight, Lord, I need to see Shelley. There’s plenty of time for me to attend this class. Besides…I’m not ready for that yet”.

So I tell Shelley, “OK let’s do this. Where do you want to meet?” After a long discussion over such a simple matter, the words actually came out of my mouth…”Let’s just meet for a drink. I’ll be OK to have one”.

Did I really say that??? Did I really just go against everything I believed in a desperate attempt to see the woman whom I know is going to break my heart, yet again?? She tells me “OK”, and the next thing I know I’m sitting in a bar waiting for her to show up.

I think you already know how this is going to turn out.

All I wanted to do was ensure her that I was not in a bad place and I am totally cool with how things were going to turn out for us. I wanted to explain how I’m going to be OK without her and that “it wouldn’t take me long to get over her”. BAD CHOICE OF WORDS!

The more I tried to explain my feelings, the deeper of a hole I buried myself into. To make matters worse, she then explains how her new man is so good with communicating and he actually makes an effort to make her understand what he is saying (which is something I apparently can’t do). And just to add salt to a bleeding wound, she mentions how she now questions how sincere I really am about my new found faith since I’m sitting in a bar with a drink in my hand only one week after I said I would never do that again.

So now I pissed! I’m angry with myself for the situation I’m in. I’m angry with her because she can’t hear what I’m trying to say. And I’m angry with this whole idea that I just want to love her, but instead, we are back in the same spot we were in when the marriage failed. The jukebox is playing a hard hitting, hate song called “Bad Religion” by a band called “Godsmack” and Shelley is suddenly so frustrated, she ups and walks out without saying a word. How could things get any worse? All I can do is run out to my truck, shut the door, and start wailing in the loneliness that my life has become. I’m so irate I start pounding my fist into the roof of my truck and I’m crying out to God “WHERE ARE YOU?!?! WHY DID YOU MAKE ME THIS WAY?!?!? WHY CAN’T I BE STRONG AND SMOOTH TALKING LIKE I NEED TO BE?!?!?”

I get myself so worked up that I actually start puking out the side of my truck and then I find myself staring into the night wondering “Why???”

Like a crazy man, I suddenly start talking to myself out loud in the parking lot. Actually, I was talking to the devil. I admitted to him that he was good. He set this trap so perfectly that I blindly walked right into it. I’m so weak that I can’t resist him and I see now that I can’t put any blame on God for this one. This is my entire fault.

In one final desperate attempt to reach out to my Savior, I say to Him “OK…What now?”

I turn to my left and I look up to a billboard next to me and in the corner it says these words…

 

Image 

 

With you every step.

There are no words. All I can do is cry.

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Clearly I’m Insane

When I was a child, I used to go to this little daycare right there by the house I grew up in and where my parents still live in Georgetown. Directly across the street from us was a huge undeveloped field where all the neighborhood kids used to play and run free.  Across the field sits a little house that served as the daycare where I spent many days at that time in my life. If you ask about specific recollections from that time period, I really couldn’t tell you much, as my childhood memories are almost nonexistent for some strange reason.  I kind of remember the background and little bits and pieces, but nothing real specific with the exception of one dramatic summer afternoon. This would be a precursor of my life to come.

The schedule at the daycare was the same every single day. Like the day before, and the day before that, I ate lunch in the kitchen and then headed back for my afternoon nap. Of course, before I could do that, I had to get my blanket, because how in the world can you get to sleep without the security of a blankie, right? So I head up to the front area to the cubbyholes right there next to the front entrance. Mine is right at arm’s length. I don’t have to bend or stretch…I just reach in and grab my beloved blanket. As I back up to head to the nap room, something catches my eye. Right there, a mere inches from where I was just standing, there’s a huge black snake curled up in the cubby just below mine and he’s looking at me like “What? You got a problem?”. “No sir” I say. “Just headed back to take my nap.”

He just looks at me and sticks his tongue out.

Now I’m a child. A small child. I don’t think I was in Kindergarten yet, so I must have been 3 or 4. Even still, I know what a snake is and I am fully aware of the dangers of this evil creature. I remember thinking to myself “This is a daycare and there are a lot of kids here. I don’t believe a nasty snake has any business in this cubbyhole. I suppose I should let the grownups know before someone gets bit”. Slowly, I walk to the kitchen where the teachers are cleaning up and the rest of the kids are finishing their lunch. I don’t know how many kids are there. In my mind there are 30 or 40. In reality, it’s probably 5 or 10. I walk up to the teacher nearest to me and I simply say “There’s a snake in my cubbyhole”.

Her first reaction is fear. “There’s a what?!?!?”, followed by anger because she doesn’t believe me. “Don’t you EVER come in here with a story like that!”. Then finally concern as she suddenly sees the seriousness in my demeanor. Together, we walk back over to the front of the house and, low and behold, right there just like I saw a few minutes before, there’s a big fat snake sitting in a cubbyhole.

And just like that…panic erupts.

Kids are screaming at the top of their lungs, adults are trying to calm everyone down, and we are all suddenly in emergency mode. We’re being evacuated to the playground out back (which ironically sits right there next to the field where the snake originally came from), and the cops are on their way. You would think it was hostage standoff by the seriousness of the situation. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “I want my mommy”.

But it was just a snake. Not even a rattlesnake. The thing wasn’t going after anyone. He wasn’t gonna grow wings and start flying at people. He doesn’t even have legs to chase after anyone. He’s just sitting there doing nothing. I’m looking around at all the chaos and I’m like “Really? Is this serious enough for these kids to be crying? Why??” By this time animal control is there and they have the snake in their possession. The situation is under control and still, kids are hysterical. I almost had to laugh.

Throughout my life, I’ve always had this cool, relaxed, rarely fazed, laid back attitude where serious stuff doesn’t have much of an effect on me. Granted, I haven’t been in a whole lot of life and death situations (aside from the time my girlfriend and  I were held by knife point in a Texas Tech dorm room, or the time that a child predator was following a friend and I home from middle school), but things don’t seem to matter to me. If I can deal with a snake sitting 6 inches in front of me at 4 years old, how hard do you think it is for me to deal with….say…a divorce? Not too difficult, my friends.

Many of you have shown some real concern for me and I really appreciate the kind words and support. That being said, you must understand who I am. I miss Shelley. She’s an absolute wonderful woman and the best wife any man could ever ask for. For me to walk away is absolutely insane, but this is my choice and I’m not all that upset about it. Why should I be? This is a new chapter in both of our lives. A time to explore new options, experience new things, and grow stronger as individuals. That’s cause for a celebration. I realize that I am probably one in a million who would dare say something so idiotic, but that’s just me. I’m the eternal optimist.

Or I really am insane…which may very well be the case.

 

*Before you ask, the answer is yes…I really did get held by knife point in a dorm room, and yes I was being prayed on by a sick man is a white van with the words “free candy” on the side. Maybe one night I’ll tell you all about it. Not thins night…I’m going to bed.

**OK fine…so it wasn’t a van and there was no “free candy” written anywhere, but he was def following us. I was almost flattered!

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The Doctor Says I Have Diabeetus

Shortly after I started my current job, I attended a company sponsored health fair in the cafeteria on a Tuesday morning not expecting to experience anything out of the ordinary. Really, all I wanted was all the useless swag that was given away, and of course I got the usual…Half a dozen cheap pens, a red, heart shaped stress ball, a plastic case with some Band-Aids, and a cool miniature foam chair that was apparently designed to hold your cell phone that you’re not really suppose to have out on your desk but you do anyways. Making my way through the booths, I grab a lint free eye glass cloth from the optometrist table, bypass the YMCA guys, and decide to stop by the sugar testing station right there by the vending machines. I thought “what the hell” let’s see what they tell me. This is the first time I’ve done this and I’m a little nervous about this tiny mechanism that shoots a needle into your skin to draw just enough blood so this little machine can give you crap about the package of white donuts you bought from Wag A Bag on the way home from work yesterday. I brave the test and wait to see what the overenthusiastic nurse has to say. It kind of scared me when the smiling nurse’s face suddenly turned sour.

“Are you fasting this morning?” she asks.

“Um, yea. Why?” I say with more than a hint of curiosity in my voice.

“You really need to see a doctor as soon as possible. You’re sugar is way too high”.

Now I’m a little freaked out. It’s never usually a good sign when someone in the medical field uses the phrase “You need to see your doctor ASAP!” Nine times out of ten we’re talking about bad news. OK so I really can’t think of a one case scenario where this would actually be good news, but give me a minute…I’ll think of one.

This is the last time I ever go to one of these heath fairs!

Over the few years since then, I’ve gone back and forth in regards to my overall health. There are short spurts where I’m actually conscious of what I’m eating and do think twice about that side of fries to go with my mashed potatoes. I actually drink more water and I take the dog on regular walks. Hard to believe, I know, but it happens. Other times (like the present), I don’t care and I just live in the moment. It’s all about what tastes good and indulging in fatty rib-eyes, chocolate milk shakes, and especially golden, crisp fried chicken. Wash it down with a mouthwatering Pepsi and I’m a happy boy. Unfortunately, that lifestyle makes for a really bad doctor’s visit.

Two weeks ago I finally broke down and went to see a new physician since my last one retired and left me to run wild like the dog through the neighborhood when he gets away without a leash. Cousin Pete recommended his guy, so I went for my initial visit to endure the standard physical exam and then head down to the lab to get some blood work done. Three days later, the nurse called and says “Your lab results are back. You need to see the doctor ASAP!” Yea…what else is new?

The truth is I always knew I was going to get diabetes. It was inevitable. It runs in both sides of my family. I am fully aware of the symptoms of the disease and all the possible repercussions that arise from it, but I also know that it is treatable. It’s not something I can cure overnight, but I will get past it. Shelley suggested I make small daily changes in my diet as opposed to throwing away all the bad stuff and filling up the fridge with vegetables I know I hate. I’m going to get burned out too quick, she says, and it’ll be too easy to fall back into old habits. This actually makes really good sense. She suggested taking baby steps and changing one small habit at a time. For instance, this morning, instead of drinking one of those miniature HEB orange sodas before work, I had a glass of orange juice. That’s progress, right? Last week for dinner, I had steamed vegetables instead of fries with my chicken fried steak. I probably should have had water, but hey…One thing at a time.

I’m not gonna to say I’m going on a diet or that I’m trying to lose weight, but I do need to be more aware of my diet and the way I treat my body while I’m still fairly young. I’m going to be really grumpy in my old age if I have to depend on someone to help me run my normal, everyday errands. That’s a really scary thought! Luckily, I’m not one who looks to the future with fear. When the day comes that I find myself sitting next to Raul in the nursing home commenting about the hotties playing bridge across the way, I’ll still find the good in everything around me. No doubt about it!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, my friends, and I hope you all have a great day! I would love to tell you I’m going to drink water all day and stick to my safe diabetic diet, but let’s not be ridiculous. Come on…It’s Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving is Here; Time to Get Stupid

Hello my friends. The holiday season is officially here! These next two months are your excuse to kick back and let your glutinous appetite take you for a glorious ride. After all, you can’t expect to stop eating bad now, right?

This week is Thanksgiving and it’s time to shovel in the food. No matter where you are in regards to the health of your body, you’re gonna get stupid on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you’re fat or skinny, young or old, donut maker or a fitness trainer, you’re crazy idea that one should stop eating when one is full is going to go flying right out that window. You know what I’m talking about and you have no shame because this is the one time of year that you can eat like a Neanderthal and feel totally guilt free.  Come on…it’s Thanksgiving! So what if your 1,200 calorie a day diet has become a way of life…it’s Thanksgiving! So what if you live a healthy lifestyle and you pride yourself on eating a balanced diet and your motto is “eat to live, not live to eat”…it’s Thanksgiving! So what if you’re a vegetarian. Screw it…it’s Thanksgiving. The goal is to make yourself sick from eating way more than you have any business even thinking about eating. And you’re going to love every minute of it.

Please don’t tell my doctor I said that.

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Hello, my friends. Today I begin a new chapter in the life of Rob. Over the last 3 months, I went through a change that will affect me for the rest of my life. No longer tolerant to stand by and let things happen to me, I have started taking steps to gain more control of my life. Sort of. I mean I’m getting there.

My first change came about when I decided to move out of the house I have shared with my lovely wife for the past 3 years. And by “I decided” I really mean Shelley decided. After having a wonderful conversation about how successful I’ve been in flying the marriage straight into the ground, it was clear that something needed to change.

Life Lesson #4; discussing your marital issues in an attempt to find happiness only works if you discuss it with your wife…not your mistress.

My next change is to work on my strong desire to be alone. Right now I’m sitting in my bed without a care in the world. The dog is by my side, and Blind Melon is in my ear buds. I’m drinking a cold Pepsi and writing a blog post for you, and I couldn’t be happier. There’s something wrong with that, I think. I should want to be more active in the world around me. Most people fear the thought of being alone, but not me, my friends. This is where I’m safe and I’m most at peace.

Actually, I’m not alone. Cousin Pete is in the other room watching Nascar. I should be in there with him, but watching 43 cars make left turns over and over and over is not exactly something that gets my blood pumping. That’s not to say I won’t suddenly gain an appreciation for the sport during my time here, but as of today I just don’t share the same passion as everyone around me.

You might be wondering what I’m talking about and how I went from life with Shelley to life with Cousin Pete. As I said, “the decision” was made that Shelley and I needed a break so we can focus on ourselves before we attempted to focus on each other. Right or wrong, this is absolutely necessary before we can even attempt to rebuild our lives together. Not knowing where I was going or how I was going to survive financially, Cousin Pete was generous enough to offer me a room in his 3 bedroom house in Hutto that he occupies by himself. Now were a couple of wild and crazy bachelors living together in this awesome party house. It’s just like college all over again. Except instead of beer in the fridge, we have Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper. And instead of discussing privacy issues when we’re with a female friend, we’re discussing the laundry schedule. So maybe it’s nothing like college at all.

During my time here, I have a lot to learn about myself and what I really want out of life. In the process, I need to focus on prioritizing my life so that I can really appreciate the good in my life instead of chasing after things that make my life a living hell. I hope to really get to know Cousin Pete as I did when we were kids. He’s an awesome dude and I can learn a lot from him. I just need to make the effort instead of sitting in my room writing to you. Don’t worry, my loyal readers, I won’t neglect you.

Welcome to the Life of Rob. This is me. This is my new life. Journey with me through the changes I am about to experience and read all about the wild adventures I will find myself involved in (with or without Cousin Pete). Stick around…You might even laugh.

 

*Because I already know how concerned you are, Cousin Pete’s laundry time is Sunday afternoon because he’s not as wild as yours truly who washes my clothes on a Saturday night.

**I don’t mean to brag, but I did watch “Unforgiven” on my laptop last night AND I ordered Papa Johns while doing laundry at the same time. Yea, you heard me right. You’re going to learn that I’m pretty crazy sometimes. I even went ahead and paid the extra charge to have the pizza delivered, too. What!

***Fine…I didn’t finish “Unforgiven” because I fell asleep. Don’t judge me; I only slept 4 hours the night before.

 

I’m pretty sure this is how Shelley feels…

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Welcome (back) to the Life of Rob

A small number of you know that I started this blog a couple of months ago as a way to let go of some thoughts that had been running through my mind for a long period of time. I had some great response and many (4) people complimented me as a great entertainer and encouraged me to keep writing. I could not make it public that Life of Rob existed because I said some things that may or may not have been appropriate for all ears. I’m not proud of that, but it was either that or take a firsthand look at the inside of Austin’s favorite mental facility, Shoal Creek. This was the first step in the life that I now find myself living in.

I have temporarily turned all of my previous posts private while I edit everything I ever wrote. I feel there is some good stuff that I would like to share with you, my new readers, but not just yet. You’ll have to wait. If you really insist, I MIGHT email you something, but only if you ask nicely.

So here we go…Life of Rob 2.0

Update: I decided to leave up my very first post because it’s an important introduction. Your welcome.

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I Wanna Stab Myself in the Eye

Man this has been a crappy day! I’m so glad it’s over and the weekend is almost here. It’s Wednesday night and I’m sitting in my really comfy “slightly used” leather chair writing to you, once again, from the man-cave.  I still haven’t seen any big spiders, so I think we’re OK.

Did you ever have one of those really bad days that you just wanted to stab yourself in the eye with a plastic spork from KFC? Like maybe you left the house kinda late because you were busy writing a blog post instead of getting ready for work and you hit some unexpected traffic and you end up getting to work three minutes late. And then you’re coworkers are bitchy and you’re computer is too slow and you feel like everything you touch turns to crap. Then you start plotting to cut out of work early and you almost get it worked out, but then your boss sends out a department wide email to remind you about the mandatory safety meeting at 3 pm. Now your beyond pissed, and really, your just downright snarky, so you reply that safety meeting email over to your buddy Chris with some wise-crack comment about the boss being so short he needs a step ladder to get into his Escalade and a phone book to see over the steering wheel, but when you hit send, you realize you didn’t change the name in the “TO” field to Chris and now you start freaking out because when you hit “SEND” on an email, there ain’t no coming back from that. I mean there is the option to recall the message, but the only thing that does is draw the recipients’ attention more to your embarrassing mistake then if you had just left it alone. You might as well get one of those really big white poster boards from the dollar store and write in big letters “Attention boss: please disregard the email I accidentally send to you this afternoon 09/14/2011 at 1:46 PM. Please observe and comply with the follow up option that you agree to erase this humiliating email from your inbox.” Now that I think about it, you may need 3 poster boards for that. So then you spend the next hour wondering when the boss will come across the inappropriate, yet highly accurate email, or if he’s already seen it, but just hasn’t said anything…yet. And to make matters worse, you’re about to go sit across from him in an hour long meeting while we talk about why texting and driving the forklift at the same time is just not safe practice. The last couple of hours of your work day feel like they go on for weeks.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Now if I know you, my friends, like I think I know you, you’re staring down at you iPhone (or Blackberry because you’re too mature, or your Cricket because you’re too poor, or your Android because you’re way to hip to use an Apple product in the same way Apple users were way too hip to use PCs in 1999) and your mouth is open and you might even be scratching your head and it’s killing you because you’re wondering…is he serious? Did he REALLY want to stab himself in the eye with a plastic spork from KFC? The answer is… not really. I mean I may have seriously considered it if I actually had a plastic spork from KFC at my desk at the time, because if you think about it, it’s really not a bad option considering the situation. I, for one, can think of many ways why you would consider stabbing yourself in the eye with a plastic spork a win. Sure, it would hurt like nothing you’ve ever felt, and chances are you might lose the eye, but overall, I think the good outweighs the bad in this case for many reasons.

As a matter of fact, I can think of ten reasons why stabbing yourself in the eye with a plastic spork from KFC could be considered a win.

  1. You are guaranteed to get the rest of the day off from work. How the hell is your boss gonna tell you not to go home when you’re obviously bleeding all over your shirt and your desk and you’re coworkers are all freaked out. That’s as good of an excuse as any to leave early.
  2. You get to spend the rest of the afternoon with really cute nurses in the emergency room. There’s no waiting room for the guy coming in with a spork hanging out of his face, my friends. That’s a golden ticket straight to the operating room where the pretty girls are at.
  3. You get some really good drugs from the doctor for a really great price. 80 count bottle of hydrocodone from Walgreens at the unbelievable price of $20? Yes, please.
  4. You get to play the “I’m too sick to…” card at home for the next couple of days while you lay in bed and watch Episodes I – VI continuously…again. This time on Blue Ray!
  5. You get to wear a really sweet eye patch and people can’t call you a douche or a hipster because it’s for medical reasons. Chicks will totally dig you!
  6.  You get to sue KFC for a million dollars because they didn’t specifically warn you that stabbing yourself in the eye with one of their deadly sporks could cause serious injury. It was bound to happen!
  7. You will most likely have a newspaper article written about your dumb ass that will most definitely end up on failblog.com and when that happens, you can totally go into the comment section and plug your blog while directing potential readers where they can hear all about the incident.
  8. You will suddenly have a topic worthy of writing a blog post about, and people may actually read it!
  9. You can write up a serious article called “Safe Workplace Environments and the Eating Utensil” and travel the country giving speeches at company safety meetings and you’ll suddenly be famous.
  10.  You totally just dodged the bullet regarding the really funny email you accidentally send your boss rather than your buddy. High five on that email too, it was hilarious!

That’s a win in my book!

Warning: The preceding article was just a joke and the brilliant author claims no responsibility for future incidents of people stabbing themselves in the eye with an eating utensil, whether it be plastic or silverware. Thank you and have a great day!

Good night, my loyal readers!

*Seriously, people, I should NOT have to explain myself after every post I write. Before you flood my inbox with the obvious question…The answer is no. This did not really happen to me. Today.

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Fun with Craigslist

I was first introduced to Craigslist about seven years ago by my good friend Julie. She had been talking about this amazing website where you could get almost anything you wanted, but I didn’t quite understand the absolute power of the site, so I sort of shrugged it off and put it in the back of my mind. At the time, I was intently focused on driving Alfonzo T-Shirts & Designs off a cliff, and was doing so quite successfully, so I couldn’t be bothered with another trendy website. It wasn’t until a few months later that I first discovered the “free” section and within a week, my garage was filled with 700 records, a Nordic Trak ski machine, two “slightly used” leather chairs, and a box full of women’s v-neck shirts with a tiny pocket on the left chest. Needless to say, I immediately discovered that just because the stuff is free online doesn’t mean you HAVE to take it, 2004 Rob! There is a reason someone gave away her precious wardrobe of classic Kohl’s specials, and it is not so you can flip them and make a huge profit. I promise!

Over the years, since then, I have dealt with Craigslist a lot and not just for the free stuff or the “casual encounters” section, either. I’ve bought countless TVs, DVD players, video game systems, laptops..You name it, I’ve probably bought it. I also sold, gave away, or bartered 99% of said merchandise on Craigslist along with most of the crap I find in storage units and what I buy at garage sales. I’ve hired overpaid workers to help me finish large jobs, answered gigs for beer money, and I even got my Jack Russell of terror from the “pets” section. The majority of the customers who have utilized the service of Centex Moves* have come from my ads, and I even sought out technical advice from computer nerds. This truly is more than just another “trendy website”; it’s a source for everything you could ever want or need.

While Craigslist is an incredible outlet to satisfy the needs of a natural born hustler like myself, it’s not always cupcakes and cartwheels, my friend (yea, I just made that up…feel free to use it). There’s some pretty scary stuff out there, and you really need to be mindful of who you’re dealing with. You might come across someone who is just crazy enough to follow the advice they see on Life of Rob. (Of course the likelihood of that happening is pretty much slim to none, since I’m no more popular than an ad trying to push gay pride t-shirts on a group of Texas Republicans).

Whatever. I still have you, my loyal readers. And because I love you, I now offer you the top ten list of ways to have fun with the people you are dealing with on Craigslist. Or get you arrested. Just don’t call me to bail you out.

1. When you show up to sell something to a potential buyer, look around nervously and sweat profusely when you’re making the deal. Also, scratch your face and arms a lot and then ask the buyer if he knows where you can score some good stuff.

2. Check to see if you’re potential buyer is on Facebook and if her pictures are public. If so, print them all out and put them in a shrine in your living for her to see when she gets to your house. She’ll think it’s really sweet.

3. Make a deal to sell something for a really good price, and then when the buyer shows up at your house, act like you don’t understand why he’s there and get really angry when he tries to explain he just answered a craigslist ad. Pull out a knife to make things really interesting.

4. When you arrive to meet a guy, and he has his wife or girlfriend with him, try to make a deal to “borrow” her for a couple of hours. Ask if she is for rent and how much per hour.

5. Answer any ads you see from someone selling a shovel and/or a wheelbarrow, and make a deal. When you show up at the seller’s house, have a really wild look on your face and cover yourself with dirt and fake blood. Tell them you’re in a hurry and need to get this done quickly and then make them promise they never saw you.

6. Answer an ad offering a free dog and show up in a food truck. Inspect the dog thoroughly and comment on how fat it is. Tell the owner this dog will work out great, and if children are present, wink at them and tell them the dog will be in good hands with you.

7. Make a deal to purchase a video camera and ask a bunch of random questions like, “How hard is it to conceal”, “Does it work well in low lighting”, or “is it good at focusing when pressed against a window, especially if the blinds are mostly shut”.

8. Show up at either the buyer or seller’s house in a suit carrying a briefcase and tell them you have an AWESOME opportunity for them. Make sure to let them know they look like a brilliant entrepreneur and then make them sit through an entire presentation on how your global Fortune 500 Company can make them independently wealthy in 3 years.

9. When making arrangements to meet somewhere, ask if the location is anywhere near a high school and explain that you’re not allowed within 1,000 feet. It’s funnier if you’re making arrangements to buy Hannah Montana: The Complete Second Series.

OK I actually just ran out of ideas and I can’t think of a really good #10, so I’m leaving it to you, my devoted followers. Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I will publically recognize the best answer. Plus, the “winner” will receive a mystery item from one of the boxes o’ crap my wife is sick of looking at treasure I have accumulated in the garage. Probably something from the last storage locker I bought. I promise it’ll be cool!

*Back to the Centex Moves mention. Due to the overwhelming success of one of my previous posts, “10 Ways to Lose Repeat business”, many (2) of you have asked if I really did do all of that stuff and suggested that, if so, I really need to live my life in a bubble. The answer is no…of course not. I did wreck my truck, but my trailer was empty. Also, I wasn’t really trying to take a picture of the girl in the Old Navy sweatshirt. I mean there was no girl! *sigh* Never mind.

On a side note, I’m actually pretty good at customer service and have received a handful of emails praising me for my professionalism. So there!

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Real Life Hall Pass: My Super Exciting Friday Night

Have y’all seen the movie “Hall Pass”? Well I haven’t, but I’ve seen the previews and the premise of the movie is very similar to the current situation I am in at this exact moment…Except instead of hanging out at a bar drinking with my buddies while surrounded by beautiful women, I’m actually at the house writing blog entries while surrounded by a tremendously hyper dog and an old cat.

Tomorrow, one of Shelley’s cousins is getting married in San Diego, so she flew out this morning to attend the wedding with her mother, and left me here at home with an unspoken “hall pass” to do whatever I want (as long as it doesn’t include any kind of general fun). But the jokes on her, because I am having an outrageous evening! Brace yourself, my friends, because you’re about to go with me on a wild ride!

After I dropped off my beautiful bride at the airport this morning, I drove back home and let the dog out before I took a long nap so I could be fully energized for the night to come (I slept part of the way without my CPAP sleep mask because, yea…I’m THAT crazy). After I woke up, I took me a long and relaxing shower, shaved, and headed out to Supercuts to hang with one of my girls, Michelle (by “hang”, I mean getting my haircut). Looking fresh and hip with my incredibly sexy haircut, I took the drive out to Barton Creek Mall. You heard me right. That’s down in Westlake, people. That’s like the best mall in town! Because I’m so smooth, I found a parking space right up front next to Dillard’s, and Lids happened to be right there around the corner close to the Banana Republic.

If you need a break from all this excitement, feel free to do so now. I’ll wait.

Back? OK great. So I creep right into Lids and go straight to the section with all the baseball teams, and I pull out a sweet Rangers ball cap and it fits perfectly. Many of you already know that I have a hard time finding the perfect hat because my head is weirdly shaped and only certain hats look good on me, but this one did. So after I tried on a handful of others to make sure this was the right cap, I went ahead and purchased this bad boy. If that weren’t enough, I said “screw it”, and I renewed my membership card because for only $5, I get special members only offers and this year I’m totally gonna take advantage of that sweetness. Because of my naturally rebellious nature, I went ahead and refused to have the guy put the purchase in a bag and I walked strutted out of that store wearing it because nothing enhances a great haircut more than putting on a fresh new ball cap. On my way out, I came across a sunglasses kiosk nestled in between the AT&T stand and the place that sells remote control helicopters and I didn’t hesitate to stop. I found myself an ultra swish pair of shades and the dude working there said I could get another pair for the unbelievable price of $22.50! Hell, the one pair itself was $17, so how can I say no to getting a second pair for an extra $5.50? That’s just crazy talk!

Man…by that time it was only 8:00 and already I had a fresh haircut, a new Rangers cap, and not one, but TWO brand new pair of glades.

I should probably stop here and continue this later, because it’s late and you need to get to bed, but you’re on the edge of your seat and you want more, so I’ll continue.

I walked on out of that mall swimming in awesomeness and by the looks I was getting by those teenage girls, it was pretty obvious I was fly like a rock star. I almost went into Brookstone, and then maybe the LEGO store, but it was time for me to get the hell on because a man’s gotta eat. As part of my “hall pass” I get to eat wherever I want and no woman’s gonna tell me where I can or can’t go! There were so many choices and I started to text Shelley to ask for suggestions, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m gonna drive out to Wells Branch and get me some Bill Miller BBQ. Hell yea, people. I ain’t no sissy going to SuperSalads or something lame like that, I’m eating ribs tonight! (Also the dog loves it when I have ribs because that means he gets to eat good too). So 45 minutes later, I’m standing in line looking intently at the menu when I finally see it like a beacon in the night…the rib plate for $7.25. Yea that comes with THREE sides! And right underneath it, I see something that literally made my jaw drop…rib plate PLUS one additional meat for $9.45. Am I dreaming?? Are you gonna tell me with a straight face that I can get another meat of my choice for only $2.20 more? No doubt homey, bring it on. I’ll take brisket. But not just ordinary brisket, I want the moist stuff. They call it “marble”. I pay the lady and of course I have to wait a good 5 minutes for my food, but that’s all cool and the gang because I had 2 games of Words with Friends going so, whatever.

Flash forward to an hour later and the dog and I are chowing down on our voluptuous meaty goodness while watching TIVO recordings of last season’s NCIS. By now, it’s already 11:00, so it’s time to go ahead and start winding down. That’s when I sit down to write this blog. It’s now 12:30, but I don’t care. Even though I have another big day tomorrow, I may go ahead and stay up another 30 minutes or so.  I can’t promise anything, my friends, but I may wash the truck (inside and out), get some laundry done, and even make it to Target for some screen protectors for my iPhone (but I don’t know about that just yet, I may not have the time). I think I’m just not gonna plan anything and see where the day takes me. I’m pretty spontaneous like that. I may get really stupid and get me some Hooter’s wings while I watch the Texas game. Again, I can’t promise you anything. You’re just gonna have to wait until tomorrow night to hear what adventures I get myself into. Until then, my loyal readers (I think I may have actually dropped back to 9), have a good night. Sweet dreams!

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Worst Business Advice Ever: 10 Ways to Lose Repeat Business

There’s no better way to run your business into the ground than to have really poor customer service and make it unquestionably certain that the next time your customer needs a product or service that you provide, he will look elsewhere. OK, there are many great ways to run your business into the ground (and believe me, I know), but this is definitely a great start. Drawing from years of professional experience, I give you, my loyal followers, the top 10 ways to lose repeat business.

10. Customer service is overrated. So you sold them a TV that won’t turn on when they get it home. That’s their problem now!

9. Make sexual advances toward the client. She will love you for this. “Do you work at Subway? `cause you’re giving me a footlong!”

8. Be continuously late for every appointment. You’re client expects you at 4 pm so leaving the house at 3:45 to get there is totally fine even though it’s an hour drive.

7. Talk about your previous mishaps while you were making other deliveries. They’ll think its funny and won’t worry at all if you will get into an accident with the antique $1,000 grandfather clock in your trailer.

6. If he has kids, keep asking them their names and then call them the wrong name over and over. “Hey Taylor, do you want to help me out?” “My name’s Colin!” “Sorry Kevin”.

5. Stop off at a bar before arriving to meet the client. It’s just so much more comfortable to deal with people when you’re drunk.

4. Make racial jokes based on the customer’s ethnicity. “Hey Habib, been to any flight training schools lately?”

3. Be totally careless and if at all possible, break something. No explanation needed here.

2. Be sure to compliment her about her daughter and use phrases like “Wow she is HOT! What grade is she in again?”

And finally, the best way to absolutely guarantee you’ll never hear back from you customer again…

1. Actually get into an accident with the customer’s $1,000 antique grandfather clock in your trailer.*

*In my defense, it was drizzling, the road was wet, my tires were bad, and the cute girl in the Old Navy sweatshirt walking down the street was looking at me like she knew me. Not my fault. At all. **

**Ok she wasn’t really looking at me like she knew me, but she was really, really cute. ***

***Also, when I tried to take a picture of her, my iPhone didn’t want to cooperate and the guy in front of me DID NOT need to brake that quickly.****

****And the grandfather clock was fine! Geesh! Calm down! It’s not like I broke it!

UPDATE:

Life Lessons #1: If you’re going to start a blog and talk about things only you and your buddies usually talk about, don’t tell your wife you started a blog! (See comment below)

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