Recent studies have shown, making up everything you say is 95.2% more efficient than doing research.

If you like reading nonsense, you've come to the right place. If you have a thirst for knowledge, you should know that I make up 100% of the stuff I write on this site, without doing the tiniest bit of research.

Getting your feelings hurt over a blog that is tongue-in-cheek makes YOU the idiot, not me. I reserve the right to edit your comments to make you look insane and stupid.

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Christmas Letter 2018

2018 started out a lot like 2017. There was immense stress from being sued by my father, and fear of the unknown that came along with all of that. There was still plenty of business stress left, as the company distributor was still burning through excess inventory from their huge forecast error in 2016.

To add to all of that, at work we had to update our entire quality system to a new revision, 13485:2016. It was a pretty major overhaul, and required revision to almost every one of 800 quality system documents. Between preparing for trial and overhauling the quality system, I was working a ton of hours, and going home and working more after the kids (and wife) went to bed.

In January, Nicole left her job of nearly 10 years at the transplant institute and took a position as an ICU nurse. She knew she wanted to get critical care experience, and the idea she could have 2-3 days a week off with the girls was too tempting to pass up. Not to mention the savings in daycare.

At the end of January, we were ready for the audit. The auditor came in and was more than a little impressed with the work we’d done, and we passed for the first time ever with ZERO findings of any kind. Those of you who are familiar with quality audits know that’s unheard of.

February was spent preparing for depositions for the trial. Mine was scheduled for mid March, and I had an absolute metric ton of information to digest, understand, and memorize ahead of that. Nicole will be the first to tell you that I was a machine when it came to getting ready for that. I put the finishing touches on the financial analysis just a few days prior to my deposition. That financial analysis involved going through 16,000 documents one page at a time, highlighting relevant transactions, and creating a fact-based history of what had happened financially in the company over 7 years. I boiled down 16,000 pages to a single binder with about 400 pages.

In March, I gave my deposition. The opposing attorney did his level best to get me confused, and then threw a curveball at me right before lunch, essentially accusing me of writing a check after I had resigned (which would of course not be cool). I spent the entire lunchtime fretting about what he could possibly be talking about, because I certainly didn’t have a recollection of doing anything like that, and I hadn’t come across a record during my analysis. After the fact, I went back and looked, and the check he was talking about was written 5 weeks BEFORE I resigned. The question was simply designed to rattle me. Which it did, so nice job, opposing attorney!

A week later, my dad gave his deposition. I won’t get into the specifics except to say that he called me “lazy, with no follow-thru, and with a terrible memory.” So that was endearing! Feelin’ the love!! To be fair though, he had told me the day he filed the lawsuit that if I ended up out of a job, I was “collateral damage.” Equally endearing.

In April, I began taking my certification tests I’d been studying for (kinda), and I obtained my ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor, and Certified Biomedical Auditor certifications. These are industry-recognized certs that help those of us who work in an ISO / FDA business setting.

In May, I turned 40, and my friends and family from all over the country showed up for a surprise party at my house. Not only was it a great party, Nicole planned the entire thing without me getting even an inkling of it, and that’s impressive because she’s terrible and surprises! Nothing really changed with turning 40 except that I finally felt like the grey in my beard was justified.

In June I met with the CPA to go over my financial analysis and make sure he was on board with its accuracy. He was able to look at all of our company records, and he was satisfied. He also looked at my personal bank statements to confirm none of the money in question went to me. I appreciated that he was so thorough, and would have been able to testify (if needed) that I hadn’t taken any money for myself.

June was also Olivia’s dance nationals in Ohio!

In July, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream of working directly in healthcare. As an 18 year old, that was paramedic aspirations, but at 40, I felt I had the sauce to do a BSN/RN. I met with the people at Research College of Nursing and went over my prior degree information. I then applied for their accelerated BSN/RN program. I had to start taking prerequisites right away to be ready for a January 2020 program start, so I had to enroll for them before I even knew if I was accepted. Risky!

August 6th was supposed to be the start of the trial. So naturally, at the last minute, we got bumped. That was some serious emotional letdown, because we were ready to rock and roll. Once the dust settled, our date was set for December 3rd. I didn’t want to spend 4 months stressing, so I told our attorney I wasn’t going to spend one second on trial prep until after Thanksgiving. He agreed.

In August we also took the girls to the Missouri State Fair. As is tradition, it was eleventy million degrees. They still had fun though.

In September, we got a wild hair and took a weekend trip to Branson. The kids had a great time and we got to check the box for “family vacation” even though it was only 2 days.

Also in September, Nicole got a job offer to work mother/baby at Liberty Hospital, which is literally 5 minutes from our house. Mother/baby was her inspiration for becoming a nurse in the first place, and she was excited to make the switch.

And we did family portraits!

September is also when I started taking prerequisites for the nursing program. I enrolled in O-Chem and Nutrition. They were the hardest class and the easiest class I’ve ever taken, respectively. I studied my butt off for chemistry, and I never cracked the book for Nutrition. I got A’s in both classes.

Literally nothing happened in October except for pumpkin patch and Halloween!

November brought Thanksgiving, which was also the trigger for me to start ramping back up for the trial. In a business case based around financial stuff, there’s just a ton to commit to memory. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got my acceptance letter to the 2020 accelerated BSN!

December 3rd finally rolled around. It was time for trial. I woke up that morning at about 4 AM and was wired. Nicole went with me every day but Wednesday of that week. Day one was the “Jim” show. He pontificated and patted himself on the back and talked about how great he was for the entire day. He insisted everyone call him “Doctor” which was hilarious (since he’s not). He even set up a little… I’m not making this up… he SET UP A BOOK DISPLAY OF HIS BUSINESS BOOKS ON THE LEDGE BEHIND THE PLAINTIFF’S TABLE – COMPLETE WITH LITTLE DISPLAY STANDS!!!!!! There is a time for shameless self-promotion. I’m not sure a jury trial is it.

Day two, Jim continued his testimony which proceeded to be as entertaining and hilarious as it was infuriating. Ironically, during the entire time he testified, he never presented any of his own financial records to try and prove his case. He relied entirely on our historical financial records, which we had already proven conclusively were hot garbage through our examination of 16,000 pages of bank records. And don’t be confused – we gave them the records in discovery – they could have looked at everything for themselves.

On Wednesday, it was finally time for my testimony. Our attorney guided me through a bunch of facts and documents, then it was their turn to cross examine me. That’s when it got fun.

So in his deposition, Jim accused me of deleting a set of invoices. At the time of Jim’s deposition, I had already provided all of those invoices, WITH BATES STAMPS, in discovery. I couldn’t tell him so at his deposition, because I wasn’t allowed to talk. So, I sat there amused, a little bit angry at the false accusation, and mostly astonished he hadn’t looked at the records we had provided.

Fast forward back to the trial. Jim’s attorney, on cross, accused me of deleting those invoices. So I got to say “They aren’t deleted, I provided them on discovery.” The attorney looked dismayed – he had taken Jim’s word for it, and TWO YEARS AFTER THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED, they still hadn’t looked at our discovery records. I checked my notes, and said “You will find them at Bates Numbers 3977-4026.” Preparation paying off is always a beautiful thing. I was certain they’d bring that up again, and I was ready for it.

And that was that… the cross examination wrapped up in a hurry after that. Once I was done, we had a number of witnesses, attorneys, ex-employees, that had fact knowledge and had interacted with Jim. We put on a hell of a case – we had a hell of a legal team. But then it was to the jury.

So we all went into the break room and paced. For my grandma, it was wondering if she’d have a retirement left. For me, it was wondering if I’d have a job. Four hours of deliberations later, the jury came back.

We won. He was told to pay us six figures net and “punitive damages” to be determined by the judge. Now, I know my dad. He will never accept that it was a just verdict. He will blame us, blame others, blame the jury, claim he’s the victim. He’s incapable of admitting when he’s wrong. I’ve never heard him admit a mistake in 40 years, and I can assure you he isn’t Jesus.

I have to admit, the week after the trial, the emotional letdown had me cranky and on edge. It was 21 months of extreme stress (which was his goal in filing the lawsuit), and my family’s well being was at stake. We had hundreds of people praying for us, helping us out with the kids, bringing food, even doing the worship planning for the church (which is normally my job). As we get further away and the victory sets in, we can finally stop talking about the trial, about my dad, etc. Having our family all together and happy has been amazing, as once again demonstrated at Christmas.

My siblings had been reluctant to hang out the past few years, because the dynamic was so toxic. Not so anymore.

So as I enter into 2019, I have more prerequisites to take (Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Pathophisiology) prior to the January 2020 start date. I have four amazing daughters and a beautiful wife. I have a mom and siblings who are finally free, happy, and flourishing!

Olivia is going to start high school in the fall. She’s also in competitive dance again, and was one of the few girls at the studio to be selected to do a competitive solo! Elaina will be starting real school in the fall of 2019, so she is growing up fast. Mia is almost 3 and is the toughest kid I’ve ever met. Molly is 2 and is entering into an obstinate phase, but she’s still one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. Nicole is finally in a job she loves, with several days a week to spend with the kids.

Oh, I almost forgot, I more or less finished up my tattoos for the time being.

Kimber K6S

The Kimber K6s is a 6 round double action only revolver chambered in .357 magnum. I have been shooting with mine for about 6 months, so I thought I’d share a quick review.

This gun looks and feels very well made. My only other revolver is a Ruger LCR, and it feels like a toy next to the Kimber. The Kimber is stainless and has a unique notched cylinder that makes the gun quite narrow even though it adds a 6th round of capacity.

The two inch barrel makes the K6s easy to conceal – small enough for strong side IWB or ankle carry. I typically carry this as my back up gun, so it’s almost always on my ankle. The Wilson Combat Sentinel is my primary and goes IWB during casual dress, or strong side OWB under a sport coat or cold weather clothing.

At the range, the Kimber performs well. And I say that with one major caveat. Unless you are Duane The Rock Johnson, you are not going to want to shoot .357 magnum in this gun. It kicks like a rabid donkey and is quite painful after just 2 or 3 rounds. You’ll want to use 38 Special ammo. I have a ton of .357 magnum ammo that I’m working through, and I never shoot more than 6 rounds in a session. And I wear a glove. Not practical for the real world.

At 10 yards I can put a 6 shot group within 3 inches, and at 20 yards, I can get 6 shots in 5 inches. Further than 20 yards, it’s probably not going to be the best gun for you, simply because of the short barrel. But that’s ok. This is a snubby revolver intended for last line self defense, and if someone is attacking you, they will be much closer than 20 yards.

Double action only isn’t for everyone. That means no hammer to cock, which also means no hammer to get caught on your clothes when you try to draw. I like that, personally. However, it means a very firm, roughly 12 pound trigger pull. This contributes to the accuracy issues as you get closer to 20 yards. That said, the trigger is extremely crisp, and you can actually feel the gun cock as you pull back the trigger, and you can pause when you feel the click. This essentially gives you a single action trigger pull from there – useful if you have time to draw and aim carefully… not so much if someone is shooting at you.

If you’re looking for a well made revolver for concealed carry, and you like the option of double action only, this gun is the best one on the market. Just make sure you load it with 38 Special.

2017 Christmas Letter

Hello beautiful people who still check this site even though I barely update and when I do it’s unreadable hot garbage!

2017 started with a bang heard round the world. My mom filed for divorce. Of course, my siblings and I have been telling her to do that since 1994, but better late than never! Granted, my father won’t go away without a fight. But while you might think all of that drama would be stressful, I can honestly say that for her, myself, and my siblings, this has been a year of incredible freedom and peace. I can’t remember a time when it was this calm, happy, and loving. For plethora reasons, that’s all I’ll say about that for now.

That brings me to work, I suppose. In 2016, our distributor, who is not known for creating accurate forecasts, ordered double what they normally do. I pushed back and told them this was really weird and were they sure, and they said they were positive. Well, turns out they were not correct, and they had actually ordered twice as much as they needed.

My previous boss had this notion that we could force them to keep buying stuff they didn’t need, even though the contract didn’t dictate any such thing. I found out part way into the year that the distributor was looking for a way out of working with us because they were so sick of him emailing threats to “call the CEO” and other such nonsense.

In reality, the distributor had screwed up, but I don’t believe in throwing tantrums to get my way, especially when “getting my way” has no contractual basis or logic to it. Instead, we calmly worked with the distributor and came up with some very reasonable, workable short-term solutions, understanding that excess inventory would eventually be depleted.

What that meant was 2017 was a slow year – but ironically more profitable than previous years… imagine that. We have a solid core team that works hard. We have a ridiculously integrated quality system that we continually upgrade and spent significant effort on this year. We digitized 100% of our records and all current and future record-keeping is in the cloud. We cut costs, consolidated our space, updated our workflow, and overhauled our entire inventory system.

On the personal side, 2017 was a lot of work, but it was so much fun. Having two one year olds is a challenge as any parent of twins could attest.

Molly is the perfect baby of the family. It makes us not want to have any more. She was destined to be the youngest. She’s extremely mellow and sweet. She’s almost never mad. When she cries it’s for a minute or two then she’s over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mia is very spunky and she lives life at 110% at all times. That means when she’s happy she’s HAPPY, when she’s sad she’s SAD, and when she’s mad, she will slay you and anyone who resembles you. She’s also tough as nails. I tripped going down the stairs with her and about killed myself. She’s more likely to break the stairs than be injured by the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

Elaina is everything I would hope for in a four year old. She’s stubborn, funny, imaginative, emotional, and cannot for the life of her put a shirt on by herself. Her favorite activity is her “pick one” (iPad) where she watches YouTube shows. Her least favorite activity is eating dinner when I tell her to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia… she’s 13 in every sense of the word. She has become a woman before our very eyes. For a couple of years, we saw a child with occasional flashes of womanhood. Now, we see a woman with flashes of childhood. She dances competitively and has practice 4 or 5 days a week. She plays cello in the school orchestra. She’s got all A’s and B’s in school. She’s 5’10” and about to pass me up within the next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this year. I can honestly say it has flown by. Having 3 kids during that time probably had nothing to do with it. With the kids, we struggle to find time together, we run constantly, and we collapse into bed between 10:30 and 12, then start over again the next morning before 6. She’s adores our kids and they adore her. She’s the best wife any guy could ever ask for.

We have aspirations of living in SoCal, so maybe that will be the next big change for us. Or maybe it will be changing our last name to get rid of negative associations. Or maybe we’ll decide we need more kids. Maybe she’ll be having me committed to a mental hospital tomorrow. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Over the course of 2016-2017 I finished two full sleeve tattoos and started a full back piece (5 months to go on that).

If you have been a reader here or you know us personally, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018. Keep your stick on the ice.

Violence Can’t Stop Hate

I’m sure I’ll step in a big pile of poop with this post, but I’m going to go for it anyway. PREFACE: I stand against bigotry, sexism, and hate in all of its forms.

The past couple of days, politicians and leaders around the country have been falling all over themselves trying to praise Antifa for their work against the Alt Right. Now, I never even heard of the “Alt Right” until the 2016 election cycle. I didn’t know it was a thing. Sure, I’ve heard of neo-Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists, but never Alt Right.

Alt Right has become an all-encompassing term used to describe “white nationalists,” who are even more loosely defined as “nationalists who happen to be white.” As I’ve written before, nationalists exist of every race and color. However, Alt Right has been defined as a white guy thing.

Nationalism:
noun

  1. patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts
  2. an extreme form of this, especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries
  3. advocacy of political independence for a particular country

Let’s look at that for a minute. Is it possible for non-white people to have patriotic principles or feelings? Is it possible for non-white folks to have a feeling of superiority over other countries? Is it possible for non-white people to advocate for political independence for the country?

So “nationalism” isn’t a bad word. We could debate the merits of nationalism all day long, but it’s not by definition anything racial whatsoever. It’s essentially…. America rocks, other countries suck, and we ought to look out for our own rather than have a global perspective.

There are extremists that really are racists and fascists. We saw this boldly demonstrated by a bunch of chuckleheads in Charlottesville carrying Nazi flags and advocating white superiority. This… and let me be CLEAR…. this is a lunatic fringe at work. Should we counter protest these idiots? OF COURSE.

This is America, and I believe that they have the right the peaceably assemble and say whatever idiotic, bigoted, backwards stuff they want to say. Just as I believed Westboro Baptist Church had the right to picket with their stupid God Hates Fags signs. Just as I believe BLM has the right to march through the streets saying “What do we want? DEAD COPS.” In America, we can say whatever we want and believe whatever we want, no matter how ignorant.

What we CAN’T do is hurt other people. I don’t mean hurt their feelings… people these days have incredibly thin skin. I am talking about physically hurting people. That’s never OK.

So, what I’ve said so far is, pride in country is great, wanting to put America above other countries is… selfish, but not inherently racist, and that lunatics on all sides have the right to say what they want, but not to hurt other people.

Antifa is an anti-free-speech, violent bunch of thugs. They are, ironically, fascists. They want to change the way the 1st Amendment works in America, and that’s not OK. They committed so much violence in Berkeley that Berkeley has essentially blocked any conservative speakers from speaking on campus.

Ben Shapiro, who himself can often be extreme to the right, says it well in his Politico article:

“And so here we stand: On the one side, a racist, identity-politics Left dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate beneficiaries of privilege and therefore must be excised from political power; on the other side, a reactionary, racist, identity-politics alt-right dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate victims of the social-justice class and therefore must regain political power through race-group solidarity.” (Full Article)

Trump was annihilated for condemning “violence on both sides” after Charlottesville. But he is right to do so. The neo-Nazis were demonstrating peacefully (disgustingly, as well, as is their right) and Antifa showed up with bats and masks. If we really want to kill white supremacy and neo-Naziism, we can only do so by doing it the American way – if they have 200 white guys holding Nazi flags, we should have 2,000 white guys across the street peacefully counter protesting.

Violence births more violence. Hate births more hate. So, white guys on the left and the right – when racism and hatred comes to your town, stand up against it. Use your voice and your presence, not baseball bats. If you physically attack these hateful people, you are validating their argument that they are oppressed somehow. You are asking to escalate it into a real race war.

BLM can’t affect these racist idiots. Because the racist idiots see them as sub-human. We white guys have to step up and show them that this isn’t the 40s, it ain’t the 60s, and it ain’t 1860. Time to join the 20th century.

Surviving an NPD Parent

When you have a parent who is a narcissist (imagine Donald Trump), you can never have your own thoughts and feelings. You can only have thoughts that align with that parent, and can only have feelings that mirror what that parent is feeling at that exact moment. Anything else is met with a confusing mix of guilt-tripping, rage, manipulation, and attempts to fill you with self doubt.

I have severe sleep apnea. Before it was treated I was having trouble with short-term memory. I had learned to cope with this by taking lots of notes, and repeating important things in my head over several days. The interesting phenomenon was that I had no trouble at all accessing long-term memories. So with that method, I was able to cope with the day-to-day rigors of a detail-oriented job.

My NPD parent, however, used the fact that I had at one point struggled with memory (not understanding that I wrote down literally everything I ever said to him, and everything he said to me), to convince me at all times that I needed to defer to his memory of how things happened. However, it was totally at odds with what I’d written down about 85% of the time. But he built in the self doubt because it benefited him… he got to “always be right.” I learned as a child not to disagree with him, so instead I allowed him to try and convince me that I was always wrong about my recollection, and he used that to essentially blame me for whatever he wanted to. This led to a pattern of him attributing statements and decisions to me that were actually made by him.

My wife and I were talking about this recently, and she said “Pete, I know he always told you that your memory sucks and he was always right, but Pete… you actually have a good memory.” It was the first time I’d had that parental commentary challenged by someone who talks to me every single day. If anyone would be aware of my memory failing, it would be her. The fact was, I really was remembering things correctly, and my parent was using his knowledge of my “weaknesses” to push me around.

The notes I was taking were always in stark contrast to what he insisted I had said, and it made me question my own sanity. I simultaneously worried that if I left the business venture in which he and I had engaged, that it would quickly fail. But how could that be, if I was the memory-impaired imbecile that I had been convinced that I had become?

“Perhaps the most commonly shared fear among children and spouses of narcissists is that your efforts to change your situation with the NPD individual will be the cause of his catastrophic self-destruction. You are not only aware of his capacity for rage, but also his deep vulnerability. Even though you have never understood his problems, you have long sensed the presence of some deep wound. You can’t imagine the guilt you would feel if your actions precipitate his deterioration. The dilemma for you has become a growing awareness that survival is coming down to him or you. You may be adhering to the belief that the goodness of love and patience of time will bring change and healing… I will simply say that the NPD person is unlikely to change without the proactive efforts of someone close to him. Much like the dynamics of alcoholism, the NPD individual needs to see the consequences of his narcissism to recognize that he must face his behaviors, if not his inner issues, in order to continue his relationship with you.”

I know this is a sentiment that my entire family felt for years. Eleanor Payson wrote those words in her book “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists.” The book was extremely eye-opening for me as it so perfectly described not only him, but me, my mother and my siblings. The pathology of NPD is so predictable that she is able to perfectly describe my home growing up.

My own pathology is described in three pages of this book, written years before I read it. “Left under siege, this child must tap into her inner self for inventive means for survival and often become resourceful, and determined…. Yet the untold side … is the anger and rage you must feel for the endless insults to your dignity and integrity…. For the “rivaled against” child, this unresolved anger will lead to….a repeating struggle for positive mutual regard in their relationships…. Many “rivaled against” adult children strive to excel in their family business or other enterprise, hoping to surpass the NPD parent’s success in order to gain approval, revenge, or both.”

I hid my true thoughts and feelings because they weren’t wanted. In fact, they were explicitly NOT wanted. I was expected to be a “yes” man, and if I did not, I was either bullied, ignored, or told that I wasn’t smart enough or my memory wasn’t good enough to be right. As a result of my silence, we entered into many terrible business arrangements and honestly hurt good people along the way as a result.

The point of all of this is self reflection. One of the most common things for someone who grew up in my spot is lack of empathy (which I’ve long felt), and often repeating the patterns of the parent. I don’t want to do any of those things, and I certainly don’t want to lack empathy – especially as a father. It’s easy to dismiss a kid’s problem as insignificant, because I know with 39 years of life experience that it really isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things. HOWEVER, to my child, it is significant, and that should be enough for me. Right now, it seems like the biggest thing in the world to her. It’s not silly if it’s important to one of my kids. It matters.

At the end of the day, money, power, status, sex, and whatever selfish pursuits a person can have are completely meaningless. What matters is our spouse and our children.