2019- Isn’t this supposed to be my year?

2019 and life, (as it is supposed too) has moved on. In retrospect, oddly enough it seems that I am the first in our area to begin social distancing, long before it became popular due to COVID-19!

Facebook for the most part is in my rear view mirror, and I have written my Final Curtain Call on Betty’s blog. Instagram, twitter and such have been shut down as well. My life has become about something it hadn’t been for many years. About me.

A very special person has entered my life as well. This came as a shock too many, but truth be told I had been alone for a very long time. The person I started seeing our family had known for many, many years. This was a benefit for me as I never felt the need to explain anything in regards to emotions felt or struggles had during this time. Good days, she understood, bad days she understood more, and at the end of the day I had someone neutral to confide in with no judgement.

Some friends disappeared, which was fine, I valued the time we had together and understood their choice to no longer be a part of my life. Some who I thought were friends tried to ruin my reputation, which I will never understand. Things were said that blew my mind, lies were told and all the small town horror stories you hear and think could; “never happen in my town”, did.

As my friend, I have your back through thick and thin, which means I will always choose you, support you, and be there for you regardless of whether I agree with you or not. Only you can ruin that relationship. Of course other friends showed their true colors by never once wavering, having my back, standing up for me, and understanding that life is meant to be lived, not submerged in misery, ghosts of the past and constant sorrow. Believe me there was easily enough sorrow over the past several years (not including my job) to drown even the most resilient.

Nose above the water line we moved forward.

April 17th was important to me when chronologically moving forward because I guess it was the day everything began. We didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, it was the nexus or center of me finding out there are no passes given for good behavior, for surviving even the roughest of struggles, that God is never done teaching you to overcome life’s hardships.  A moment in time reminding you that you are never in control, ever! Also, a reminder that no matter what happens in your life it will always be your responsibility to handle these stressors with dignity and strength. Fact is it was quite the opposite for me, it was in fact the beginning of me no longer handling hardship well, being the one in our family that every one could rely upon. No grace, no dignity, no plan, no strength. I had been Knick named Iron man on several occasions by a few close friends and family. It was of course, for me a flattering joke.

It was the end of that persona.

It started simply enough by doing nothing more than tearing out a moldy, rotten floor from the side room off the garage.

We (My girlfriend and I) tore right in early one morning to the sagging, rotting floor of my old fishing room. After ripping out the first floor board we realized we needed to begin digging deeper, for every single board from that point on showed us that more of the floor needed to go. By the end of the morning we had ripped out 80% of the floor complete with all the floor joists. It wasn’t looking good at all. This project that appeared simple and more repair like than complete overhaul was rapidly showing us the building was filled with deep, black, moldy rot. Once all the dirt and dust settled we stared at it for a bit and decided to call it a day.

2 days later I began to cough..

April 20th, 2019

A few minutes before getting off work we break a structure fire. Rolling out of the apparatus bay it is quickly evident by the large column of black smoke coming from the general area dispatched we had in fact a “worker”. Two minutes later we are turning a corner and staring right at the building. It’s rolling. Heavy black smoke pouring from the eves, roof, the windows to the rear of the structure and everything in between. We are going to work.

My crew and I force entry to the front door, we break right and begin a search of the building as cars are parked out front and no one has seen the landowner. Quickly through our search and with a thermal imager we realize this house is under renovation. We still complete our search to be thorough and begin pulling ceiling to determine where the fire is in the attic space. The secondary line is manned at the front door and an additional attack line is battling the fire from the B/C side of the structure. Between them knocking down the fire, taking away the heat and us locating/extinguishing fire in an attic space the red devil is once again smothered. Fire kept to the structure, no impingement of neighbor’s homes, no loss of life, another great job by our amazing crews.  

Coming out of the structure for our first bottle change we are all feeling really good.

Realizing the kids were expecting me home, I turn over my area of responsibility to an auto-aid crew from a neighboring city. My crew and I are in rehab and stripped down to cool down. I grab a water and walk over to the engine retrieving my phone so I can let the kids know I am ok and just running a little late.

Turning my phone on, the screen has blown up with over 10 missed calls and four or five texts! My 14 year old son has sent them all.  Staring at the screen I am thinking to myself, holy shit kid it’s not the first time dad has been held over for an emergency, what the hell!

My opinion quickly changes upon opening the first text. Walking across the street to a bench and away from where anyone can see me. I begin to cry. Life has punched me in the gut once again.

And so it begins…

One year ago I walked…


One year ago I ran screaming away, as though I was a man literally on fire! What was I running away from?

This blog…

It wasn’t easy setting my emotional self on fire. But I did.

Yet it is in those moments where you as a human being know exactly what is best for you, you find yourself. Those moments helping nourish your soul, your mind, while giving you the necessary space to expand your future horizons.

I swore I wouldn’t be back. I swore I would start a new blog, under a new alias, eventually creating new material for all three of my readers to enjoy from what I always imagined was a big comfy, easy chair. Yet, I didn’t come back, I stayed away, far away, in a place where the world couldn’t touch me, hurt me, crush my independence. Where supposed friends couldn’t turn their friendship into something owed, or try ruining my reputation by spreading falsehoods and hearsay. In a place where I could rebuild myself and no one needed to know. A mental place that kept no record of time, or love, or friendship, or family, or well loss. Yeah, I would never face the written word of loss again, or feel the need to share, hoping to help others. A place that left a portion of my mind blank. It felt very safe there in the dark. I couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see you. Like when you were a little kid, burying yourself under the covers at night because it felt warm and safe. The best part? You couldn’t see me either. Only close family and friends mattered because I could feel them, know they were there, and hold them close. I didn’t need to see them in this dark, blank world I had created to know they cared.

That was wrong.

Many things have happened over the last year, both good and bad, amazing and scary, to which I will delve later. But suffice it to say, my brain is, or has been struggling. The very same weight I claimed to toss (cavalierly I might add) from my shoulders just one year ago was replaced by a new, heavier, weight! Succumbing to its enormous pressure I felt choked, smothered, and dull inside. I was mentally dying..

The answer was right there all along, under my nose, sitting covered in dust (my laptop) on my unused desk; I needed to write.

Not only do I need to write, but I want to write! I still felt the need to share, to let those who jumped onto this journey we call life know they are not alone! We all struggle and succeed in life and we need to do it together! We need to share these journeys and laugh! To revel in the absurdity while expressing our own similarities and differences.

The trouble for me was twofold.

To start

To start under the same blog.

After much thought, I have come to the conclusion/realization that Betty is just who I am.

Betty was born from a necessity, evolved and ultimately became me, or I became her? Not sure, maybe there is a “they” in there somewhere! Fuck! Sorry, I digress.. The reason I am back or coming back, or thinking of coming back is because I missed her, him or “they”! Whatever, you get the point, either way once again, I am hoping all three of my readers are still there, still interested.

So here goes! Bring it! I want to hear from the three of you, and don’t leave me hanging!!


Last year I walked away looking for peace, new horizons, knowing deep in my heart after the struggles of the year before nothing, and I mean nothing could ever hurt me again. (If you’re confused, its ok, just scroll back to all posts from 2013-2018. You’ll catch up) Oh there were also the depressing ponderings of memories churned up from the year 2001 as well but hey! Who is counting right?

Yep I had hit the ceiling, dropped the trifecta and survived! First wife passed away, father dropped dead in the driveway of our property and then, second wife passes away. Oh there were other little family tragedies in between as well, but we as a collective whole trudged through.

I was looking at life, at the prospect of the next few years thinking, no, knowing nothing bad could ever happen to myself or my family again! We were safe, we bore the brunt of loss and survived!

It felt as though we had done a good deed for god, or the mafia, not sure which is better at this point but damn it! I knew we were in the good graces of some higher power! Whether it was god or Tony Soprano I really didn’t care. The way I saw it we were kissing some feet or a ring and either way we were getting the nod! This of course meant in the struggle department I was untouchable.

June 28, 2018

Lying in a cold hallway, staring upwards at the tile ceiling I am waiting my turn. There are four of us here. All dressed the same, in our one piece, easily removable, light blue gowns. Our hair covered in netting, our skin growing colder from the low temperature.

My mind is racing. Racing at a hundred miles an hour. What the holy fucking hell had I done in this life to lead to all of this! For the past month I have cried, and cried a lot. I have pushed people away, while holding others close who refuse to give up on me! Truth be told, I want you to hate me! I NEED you to hate me! I want you to go away! I don’t want you in my life, because if you as a person are not in my life you cannot be hurt when this is over!

What did I do God? I keep asking that. I did everything you have asked of me. I came to church when I didn’t want to, I changed the way I was living from reckless and absurd, to organized, caring and with charity. I traveled across the globe to administer to the less fortunate, to rebuild, to love and care for those I never knew. I dedicated my life to public service with great pride. I wrote about it and shared, all of it! Making me nervous and scared because I really don’t like putting myself out there that far. That is how you get hurt. I even let someone else in, close very close and she is in the waiting room with two of my three best friends, terrified, scared and she chose to be there when others would have, no, should have run! I did all those things God and what have I received for my efforts?


Two wives dead, my dad gone, my dog killed. My two favorite horse’s dead, a struggle to keep this ranch going, shattered relationships and a fire career that feels tattered and destroyed. A new human being let into my inner circle who is scared to lose me so soon, which leaves her suffering because of me! My closest friends scared once again. Four children that don’t know what if any future may hold and feel so lost after five years of this continuous BULLSHIT!

Yet here we are….

A bulky man comes down the hallway and leans over me with a smile telling me its time. He grabs the gurney, and with a smooth calm voice reminds me it will be alright. As he is pushes me through the double doors the spot lights from above illuminate the white room, I ask if he could please play some Van Halen for me. He chuckles and asks; are you a Van Halen or Van Hagar fan? Van Hagar of course, is my reply! The needle is inserted, my hands are tied behind my back, I am asked to take a deep breath and count to twenty. He laughs and says, me too! I drift off with a smile because I have found a new kindred spirit.

My world has once again turned deathly black…