Thursday, May 24, 2007

Some Stolen Poetry, An Omen, The Two Offers, My Own Private Demon, Four Cakes, and a Fruitless Conversation

It's time to break the writer's block and get some clarity.

The Stolen Poetry
"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief

-- Bob Dylan, "All Along the Watchtower", John Wesley Harding

Ain't Bobby so cool? (ducks incoming projectiles from Hootie Haters)

The Omen

This morning, I think I was witness to some sort of omen. At our office park, there is always a plethora of Canada geese nibbling here and there, thanks to the retention ponds which grace the premises. While taking a break to look out the office window, the other developer summoned my attention and asked me, "Are those vultures out there?" I rose to look and verify. Lo and behold, they were indeed vultures. All I could think was that word must be getting around about our company's financial condition.

The Two Offers

I have two solid job offers on the table.

The Payment Subsidiary of the Big Online Auction Site has extended a verbal offer for their site in the sprawl of the Southwest. I received word of this via phone on Friday of last week. This follows a phone conversation that I had with the manager out there a week prior.

The offer appears to be about the same as what they were offering for the Silicon Valley, except for the salary. The base pay is about 5/6 of what I would have made in the Silicon Valley, but it is 1/3 more than what I make now. Once you factor in the obscene cost of my current health plan, the number jumps up to 50 % more.

This also doesn't include the quarterly bonuses or restricted stock units, which are chunks of company shares awarded free of charge for employment duration.

Right now, I'm waiting on the written offer, which should have arrived on Tuesday of this week, but has been held up because the person who does these things has been out of town the past few days. I'm told by the HR person that I should be expecting an e-mail by tomorrow at the latest.

I have an offer in writing for the Startup in the Upscale Shopping Mall. They have been so kind as to offer me about 30 % more than what I'm making. Their health plan is much cheaper, too.

Given that I'm emerging from a startup in the midst of death throes, I'm a little gun shy to jump onto another. It is reassuring that they've gotten an unusually large chunk of dough for their first round of financing. Plus it's leadership includes people who have started a company and shepherded it to sale, which is more than I can say for my current managers.

The other downside is the commute. It would go up to 30.5 miles from the current 25.7 miles, passing through another stretch of highly congested traffic. It is unclear just how flexible they are with work hours.

I was hoping by now that there would be three offers, but the New England Dating Company has been slow to reach a decision. It's been three weeks and two days since the interview took place. I've been placing calls to the recruiter once a week for a status update, and he says that I'm still in the running, reassuring me that if they had not been interested, they would have told me so right away.

During this week's phone conversation, I let the recruiter know that I have two offers pending and that I would like to get some guidance on whether they believe that I would be a good fit.

I have a feeling that I'm going to need to make a decision soon.

My Own Private Demon

The imminence of a decision gives me a chance to segue into a confession of sorts. Recently, the Drunken Housewife wrote about her Dark Flirtation with Selbstmord.

If my demon did have corporeal form, I'm pretty sure it'd look something like Kelly Clarkson did last night, but that's beside the point.

(2am pauses to take cold shower because he doesn't smoke.)

(deep breath)

My demon is the belief that nothing short of a full scale revolution in my life on the personal and professional levels will make authenticity possible in my life. In concrete terms, this means gaining a job that pushes me to my fullest potential and promises long term growth, even if it involves moving far away. It also means giving up on my marriage because it is such a hopelessly out-of-balance arrangement.

The demon whispers that my life is ticking away, and I've wasted too much of it already. The age of forty is less than two years away, and see both my father and father-in-law in situations of deep physical disability before the age of 60, brought about by stroke. I think about the stresses I face in having to maintain a wife who is as lazy as she is asexual, wondering if the same fate awaits me.

What makes things so tricky is that the demon's words contain kernels of truth. My life could use a dose of personal heroics to restore hope in the future, but I question the urgency of the demon's voice. The demon comes to me with the far away job offer and says, "This is your last chance! It will usher in the revolution you need. You'd be a fool to turn it down."

The demon is adept at Google, and it brings to me articles like "Middle of nowhere: Loneliness of the Midwest network start-up", a depressing survey of software startups in the Midwest that ran in Network World in August of last year (emphasis is the demon's).
Experts say what's missing in the Midwest is the entrepreneurial culture found in high-tech centers such as Austin, Boston and San Jose. Cities such as Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Indianapolis don't have enough experienced entrepreneurs and can't attract them from outside the region.

The first thing a venture firm will do if it is investing in a Midwest start-up is to move the company," PricewaterhouseCoopers' Lefteroff says. "You can't recruit out there, so it's hard to build these companies. . . . If you're an entrepreneur or a scientist and you get recruited into a market like Indianapolis and the start-up doesn't work, there are no other job opportunities out there. In the Bay Area, there are more job opportunities than people to fill them."

I even fantasize about sitting down with my wife trying to explain my struggles, talking about how we're headed in very different directions, that it's no more right for me to force her to live my route as it is for her to demand the same for me. I implore her to seek dissolution of our marriage through mediation, where we draw up a plan that will allow her and the kids to live comfortably in the short run. As the kids grow older and enter school, the spousal support will phase out with the expectation that she will be able to provide more for herself.

My conscience confronts the demon, saying that I once witnessed the dissolution of a marriage as a child, and that I would not wish it on anyone. How could I leave behind the two little girls who jump for joy the minute I walk through the door after work, beckoning me to pick them up and hold them? Surely they deserve better than that.

The demon replies, "Suit yourself, but mark my words, I will be back in a few years. But this time I won't be in thigh high boots and a short skirt..."

(2am takes another cold shower, while the demon shakes its head.)

The demon continues, "Yes, I'll be here when that feeling of eschewed guilt festers into bitterness and resentment so strong you can taste it, and the only thing that will be able to wash that taste from your mouth is a bottle of liquor or the kiss of another woman's lips. Even then, that might not be enough, and you might find yourself in a mutual suicide pact with the Drunken Housewife."

It's at this point when my soul crumbles in a feeling of entrapment, torn like some third rate Pontious Pilate and not a bowl of water in sight.

Four Cakes...

Some of you may have doubted my posting about my wife's baking habits. This week proved to be another case-in-point. She is baking and decorating four, yes four, large cakes in one week's time.

The first cake was baked on Saturday, and was meant for a birthday party on Sunday, to be given in honor of her other best friend's daughter's fifth birthday. Unfortunately, that party got postponed until this coming Saturday. Not to worry, her regular best friend made use of it by taking the cake to her daughter's school on Monday in honor of her daughter's 8th birthday.

The second cake is a graduation cake for the preschool co-op where my wife serves as Vice President of Education. This one is graced with the names of the graduating students and marshmallow fondant mortarboard caps. It was completed this evening for Friday's ceremonies.

The third cake is a replacement for the first cake, prepared Friday evening and served early Saturday afternoon at the make-up party.

The fourth cake is yet another cake for the 8 year old, which will be a party involving relatives, held at a local playground on Sunday.

All of these cakes are two layer 16-inch cakes. It suffices to say that my wife is stressed and quite unpleasant around the kids and me.

And a Fruitless Conversation

The fruitless conversation took place late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. I was gloomy looking, and my wife asked me what was wrong. I tried explaining some of the things that had been weighing me down... her refusal to take an active role in pleasuring me during sex, my worries about our financial well being, my feeling adrift in life, etc.

Her response was the usual defensiveness, deriding my concerns as the product of an overanalytical mind. She blamed my lack of sexual satisfaction on Passionate Marriage, saying that she had been tempted to throw the book away because I treated the book "as some sort of Bible". I asked her how she could have formed such a negative opinion about the book without having read it. I don't mention it much to her. She then said she probably wouldn't understand the book even if she tried to read it.

She asserted that I would be unhappy no matter how many times she "jumped my bones" a week, and then made a mocking remark about how she's a "lazy fuck". I've never used those words around her.

I said that I had gotten confusing signals on why she was unwilling to touch my genitals. I noted that at one time she said it gave her anxiety. Another time she said it was just killing the mood. Yet another instance, she claimed it was because I was hairy. She said that there's no one cause.

In response to my concerns that she was turned off by me but couldn't admit it, she said that there were some things that she found sexy, like when I am happy or when I wear cologne. She said she didn't know why she had become so unwilling to do sexual things with me. She rattled off some possible causes, our inability to get pregnant, the stress of adoption, deaths of relatives, and other things.

She then tried to put me on the defensive, accusing me of hiding masturbatory activity from her while she slept. I admitted to doing it, but I wasn't trying to keep it secret from her. I just didn't think she wanted to be awakened by it. Moreover, I was not going to allow her to dictate to me what I could do with my body.

On the money front, she said that she had done "the best she could" when we were sinking, and that I was part of the blame anyway. She also contended that we weren't as bad off as I said we were because we still had about $1,000 in the bank.

She said that she hoped that we could follow the example of my aunt and uncle, who have stayed married for almost 30 years, in spite of financial hardships (he was laid off several times), and how they were so close with their kids, who are now grown and out of the house.

On the job front, I told her that I had sold myself out too many times in the past by making decisions based on fears... fears of failure, fear of others' disapproval, etc. This time, I was going to make the decisions based on what I wanted. She said it sounded like I was putting too much emphasis on myself and taking the rest of the family into account.

The conversation ended on an uneasy silence between us. Somehow, I felt like the demon was watching this conversation and smiling.

A few days later, she got a call from the former therapist saying that she had been re-added to the health plan network so they could start going again. I don't know when she will start going, so maybe there's some hope there. The conversation from Saturday leaves me with little hope that she will self confront and come to terms with what's bugging her.
blog comments powered by Disqus