I had the option presented to me in 2010 to take the two options Don Draper had before him in the opening episode, Public Relations, in the AMC series Mad Men this year. I could chose to make “comfortable” decisions and wind up “dead,” or “be risky and possibly rich.”
While I’m not dead in November, I’m not financially rich either, but there are bright spots on the horizon with more than $115,000 in proposals currently out for consideration and hire–and that’s just in Q1 2011. Multiple times daily I drop to my knees and ask God to help bless me with those opportunities.
2010′s Tragic Events
This year has been a hard year. In January I joined the ranks of the 15 million other Americans who suddenly found themselves out of a job. Was I completely distraught by that reality? Not entirely. Quite frankly I’d seen things happening I could no longer support.
In March, with the onset of Spring Break 2010, I found myself leaving my house on a Friday night with my three girls after another tragic family dispute of which I was the victim. By late March I’d found an apartment and moved out. Two days later, without having the opportunity to find a home for my favorite dog ever, Molly, a three-year-old Great Pyrenees who I’ve written about extensively here, was given away. I’ve not seen her since. This year alone I’ve lost my job, lost my house, lost my wife and her four kids, lost my dog, and the list of losses has continued to build up throughout the year.
From April to mid-September, I worked my tail off on another project which all along promised to reap great financial rewards. That didn’t happen.
Since mid-September I’ve been on a quest to do as Don Draper suggested to a swim suit company’s executives–I’ve decided to be a little bit risky.
After studying business models in PR that do and do not work, I’ve learned a lot about positioning myself as a unique service provider. I don’t believe in the Old School PR firm models. They produce “value” with little at all, over charge their clients, and many of their principles don’t realize or know what to do with this thing called Social Media.
Probably the best new friend I’ve made in 2010 is Veronica Galaviz. About 1:30 a.m. on April 20 her estranged husband broke into her home, tried to kill her, set the house on fire after she’d gotten out, and then killed himself.
Since late-April, I’ve been helping Veronica begin to tell her story of survival. We’ve created LivingToShare.org and on Dec. 11 in Addison, TX, she’s having the first fund-raiser for her new 501 (C) 3 charity designed to raise awareness about domestic violence. We’ve designed t-shirts for her and are still working on revisions to the site, so when you go there, know there are more changes coming. (We shot some pictures in October for future marketing purposes. You don’t know half the hell this woman went through in the past year because the Rowlett Police Department in Rowlett, TX wouldn’t help.)
Of all the tragedy that’s happened this year, I’m thankful Veronica is still living to share.
Thanksgiving 2010, Where’s My Christmas Stuff?
Over the past month, I’ve been working with what will soon be my second ex-wife to help get my ClaxtonCreative.com business going. She helped create those cute little pouches we’re also selling over on our Website SantaCantGetSick.com where we’re selling an anti-mocrobial product that you slide ink pens and even grocery store checkout styluses through and the sponge inside kills 99 percent of the germs on the pen. (If you’re going shopping all night, just think about all the germs you’re going to come in contact with every time you sign for a purchase, either with an ink pen or a stylus!)
After trying and trying to help, it became apparent last week that there is a limit to what I can do to help others. After that, I can’t do anymore.
So last weekend, after getting 85 percent of my stuff out of the house in April, I asked to get my tubs and tubs of Christmas decorations. (They’re out in the shed where it was close to 100 degrees at the time.)
You see, I’m one of those people who for the past 30 years has had the tree up in time to enjoy it on Thanksgiving as well. For what feels as much as petty as getting rid of Molly so quickly, I was told that I would have to wait to get my Christmas stuff this year. I still don’t have it. A tradition has been broken. I feel like Brett Favre is going to feel like soon about not getting to start and the record/tradition etc having been snapped.
A Gift Thanksgiving Meal?
I thought long and hard at the beginning of the week about writing a few of my Christian church friends and family and asking them to help me get a Thanksgiving meal delivered. You see, unemployment has run out. While I’m getting smaller jobs in anticipation of the bigger ones, I’m practically the poorest I’ve ever been in my life.
Mom still tells me from time-to-time that when we were growing up in our Air Force Family days with dad’s sole income, and us four boys and one girl, that the meals we tended to enjoy the most were the ones at the end of the month when we were hanging on until payday. I didn’t ask anyone for help for my Thanksgiving meal.
Instead I bought an inexpensive fresh turkey. I bought enough of the stuff for fixings. And as I write this, the good stuff has been prepped and is in the fridge.
Thanksgiving on Even-Numbered Years
According to the revised divorce decree with Ex1 this June, the girls are technically not supposed to come to me on even-numbered year Thanksgivings. Even Thursday night visitations are over-ridden.
But at this point in the day, it looks like she’s going to bring me the girls tonight for a later dinner regardless. Up until about two hours ago, it looked like for the first time ever, I was going to do Thanksgiving Dinner by myself. My dad lives in Northern Indiana. My mom, brothers and sister all are in Alabama. There just wasn’t money in the budget for travel this year. (Even driving the girls back to their mother’s tonight is going to consume precious little gasoline that I do have.) I could probably have asked to join friends, but I didn’t want to be in the position of explaining all the drama. Does that make sense? It does to me.
So back to my two choices. I had the opportunity to sulk about the losses of 2010 today and be very down about things. But I’ve found some unexpected blessings in today already.
From my morning Thanksgiving post, I’ve received several comments and Twitter messages offering thanks, prayers, and requests to reciprocate from people I only know online. While watching the Today Show and then The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I’ve been tweeting about aspects that have netted some great replies and conversations–again with people I may never meet in person.
When I lamented about being in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a kid and how I missed the snow that’s falling today, @TrulyTrayce sent me this picture from her backyard in Wisconsin. That was one of the best gifts so far of Thanksgiving 2010. Thanks, Trayce. You don’t know how much that meant. (You’re invited to check out her site)
Back to Thanksgiving 2010
And so here I am, mid-day on Thanksgiving 2010. By choice and my mental choosing, it’s been a great day. It’s been a fantastic day.
And while I have so little in my banking account at this writing I’m embarrassed about it, I’m one of the richest people I know because I have an unfaltering love from my girls, I have already talked to my dad today, I’ll call my mom in a little while to see if my nephews have helped her find a chameleon in one of her rooms that she’s been dreading the past several days, and I have friends from around the country who I’ve been talking with who would even take the time to share a photo of the snow that’s in their backyard. And I also have my faith that God has a plan for all that I’ve gone through.
I also have the knowledge that my friend Veronica is alive. An additional surprise? I received a text message this morning from my divorce attorney wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving, and now my girls are coming to dinner later today.
With all that, who needs a ton of money? I’m one of the richest people whom I know. Though it’d have been fun to be up at a stupid hour tomorrow shopping. But alas, everything is going to be okay. And don’t forget to check out our Black Friday sales over on SantaCantGetSick.com.