Job Hunting|Company Review: Innovision Dynamics

The opinions expressed are solely mine and based on my independent research of public information and personal experience. If you believe I do not have all the facts, I hope you would respectfully let me know in the comments. I prefer discourse much more than dispute.

I’m having some technical issues with Glassdoor, so until those are resolved, I’m going to post this review of a job interview I went on this week because I genuinely feel that people need to know about this potentially deceptive hiring practice.

This is going to be long as it took me three days of research to figure this out.

I applied for a position on Indeed (I think) for a marketing assistant position with a hidden company. The job description was incredibly vague, with their website claiming they value soft skills over experience. I got a call back from a really nice woman, and we chatted for a couple minutes about the position. At the end of the conversation, she said something along the lines of “this completes the phone interview, and I’d like to invite you for a second interview tomorrow. When are you available?” I was thrown off because normally an initial phone call is to schedule a phone interview so that the applicant has time to prepare. Blindsided, but feeling like this must be a good sign, I agreed to the in-person interview yesterday.

I felt like it went really well and was feeling really positive about the company and the possibilities for growth that came with the position. I was told things like “intense management training program,” “entrepreneurial opportunities,” and “regional director in four years,” and I’ve got to admit I walked out of the second interview with stars in my eyes.

The only hang up I had at that point was the terrible reviews here on Glassdoor about another company named Innovision located in California and the absence of the Cincinnati Innovision I was applying with. I intended to ask if they were in any way affiliated with the west coast and if so, I wanted to have a conversation about those reviews. That made me nervous and I wanted to see if I could just figure it out myself, so I started looking online. Short answer: No, it doesn’t seem to be affiliated with that Ric guy in San Diego. But the long answer isn’t much better.

Innovision Dynamics was incorporated in Cincinnati in September of 2017 with the registered address as being 4000 Executive Business Park, Ste 100. The statutory agent (aka “CEO”) is Jennifer Suma, whose LinkedIn as of today has not been updated to reflect the new role, which is confusing to me, albeit minor.

While looking at her LinkedIn, the website suggested I also check out another woman named Jessica Vihtelic, another CEO or owner or something of a similar marketing firm in Cincy. Since I’m job hunting, I did. Ms. Vihtelic owns Momentum Marketing Group, a foreign corporation from Michigan, that registered in Sharonville, Ohio, at 300 Business Way, Ste 200 in March of 2012.

Stay with me.

So then I decided to read the reviews on Glassdoor about Momentum Marketing Group and all of the reviews about the interview process were completely spot on. It was like someone was writing down my experience for me; uncanny. But hey, they’re different companies. Maybe they just have similar hiring practices. I’m new to the marketing world so I assumed that’s just how the industry works. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. But the similarities were so striking that I started to wonder if they were maybe somehow affiliated with each other.

Just on a lark, I reverse engineered the address listed for Innovision Dynamics. Here is the link: https://homemetry.com/unit/4000+EXECUTIVE+PARK+DR,+100,+Cincinnati+OH
Spoiler Alert: the tenant is Momentum Marketing Group, Inc.

I then decided to check out the reviews on Google for Momentum.

“Jennifer Suma
1 review
8 months ago
I have been a part of Momentum Marketing Group for 6 months and have done nothing but grow in my skill set as a professional, a communicator, a manager and a leader of others. This has by far been the most posative and motivating work environment of my 11 year career. Momentum has shown me that there is no limit to success and I am excited for my future with the company as an Executive!”

Maybe this is all circumstantial, and maybe they’re not the same company on paper. But the REVIEWS FOR MOMENTUM MARKETING GROUP (excerpts below) were my exact experience interviewing for Innovision Dynamics, except that I’m not going to Sam’s Club to take notes today.

Guys, do your homework!! If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always check your state’s Secretary of State website business search and make sure that the company you intend to invest your time into is worth it!

“All the jobs title are Marketing but they are actually sales. They called it event marketing which is tabling and giving away samples at big retails. They were not very honest about the job opportunities.” –Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seven Hills, OH, 12/01/2017, Glassdoor.com

“I recieved an email to call them to set up an interview because they had trouble finding my phone number at the top of my resume. Going into the interview they told me how there was only so many positions available for their internship program. The first interview was only 7 minutes. While waiting the front desk lady was calling applicants to set up interviews. I then was called in for a second interview at a local Costco where I had to take notes on a guy harassing customers about car wax. Then he interviewed me in the cafeteria area in Costco. I declined the third interview.”  –Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cincinnati, OH, 5/2016, Glassdoor.com

“Thinly veiled multi level marketing firm (read: Pyramid Scheme).” — Andy Krew, Google+

“Worst experience of my life. I turned down multiple offers for this pathetic excuse of a company. They misled my with regards to the potential success it has to offer. They have poor management and trainers who lack intelligence. They reprimand you for taking your full allotted breaks and create lies in order to control their employees. I have left this company and have yet to receive my 2 weeks worth paycheck. It’s been over a month now. Such a disgrace.” — A A, Google+

FINAL THOUGHT:

Why do these big job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, CareerBuilder do nothing about these types of companies’ accessibility to jobseekers? (Above case in point: 73% negative interview reviews) Are they really going to tell me that they’ve never heard of Glassdoor and what’s being said there? I’ve actually had an interviewer bring up her own company’s reviews on Glassdoor without any mention from me; everyone knows what everyone is saying and it needs to be addressed.

If there is no punishment for the feedback, the only answer is, of course, for the jobseeker to just keep looking and hope she finds a company that is willing to be honest about who they are as much as they expect her to be honest about herself. But aside from that, the company seems to be able to carry on posting jobs with great titles and smiles … an essential bait and switch. Illegal? Perhaps not. Shady af, tho.

The silent disregard for misrepresentation by a potential employer is complicity. Preying on those searching for opportunities for professional growth and advancement — or worse yet, desperate to put food on the table — with vague job descriptions and empty promises is irresponsible and truly highlights the priorities of the job boards applicants are forced to depend on.

 

Sources: Ohio Secretary of State Business Search, LinkedIn.com, Glassdoor.com, Homemetry.com, Google.com

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Memoir, 6/?

I am giving guided meditation another try.  I lie on the couch with my eyes half closed for a predetermined amount of time and listen to an Australian man tell me that it’s okay to think thoughts as long as I recognize the emotions that come with them and, long story short, don’t let it all ruin my day.  I guess I would try just about anything for a good night’s sleep.

I gave up on it for a while because all that deep breathing just kept reminding me of my nightmares and it made it really hard to note, pause, and release the focus.  Meditation was like my boggart and I couldn’t cast it away, so I stopped doing it.  I reasoned that the intrusive thoughts were bad enough on their own, and to actively revisit them over and over seemed counterproductive.  And then I started reading about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in relation to bereavement, and I’m not going to self-diagnose myself or anything, but it got me into much more research about different types of therapy and how revisiting memories on my own terms can be helpful instead of trying to react to thoughts that intrude in a way that feels out of my control.  It made sense to me, so last week I started back up with the Aussie and have really given it an honest effort so far.

Today was different.  The same memories came flooding back, but this time it was like I was watching them and not actually experiencing them.  I didn’t get lost in it.  I didn’t cry; that’s a big one.  I noted the scene and then let it go.  At the end of the session, I felt lighter. Or looser. Like I had simultaneously loosened my belt after packing in too much comfort food but yet also just lost ten pounds off my shoulders.  Sisyphus catches a break.  I don’t expect it to work like that every single time, but it was like a runner’s high.  I may have found a new dragon to chase.

When we set out from Huntington the next morning, we were still in a fight.  Josh was beginning to resent that I was no longer working, and I was resenting his resentment.  I (not so) calmly explained to him that I specifically asked him if he would resent me for quitting my job, and he said he wouldn’t, so how could he now – after I’ve already quit, and really, why NOW, when we are driving to spread Dad’s ashes – bring this up and make it a thing?  He already said he supported it and he’s not being fair; I am the only one allowed to change my mind in the relationship.

The first few hours of that day were unnaturally long and quiet. “Unsettlingly” is maybe a better word, although it may not actually be one, as I was in fact unsettled at the intense, white hot rage running through me in the subsequent silence. I thought over and over, “Why? Why did I even invite him? Why are we taking this trip right now? Why did I quit my job? Why did we move to another state? Why did he die? Why did I end up back in West Virginia in the first place? Why did I leave to begin with?” My mind just kept flashing through everything in my life that hurt, and I was so mad about it all.  The beast in my chest screamed furiously, intertwining its tendrils of anxiety and shame with my rib cage, seasoning my stomach with the aromatic flavors of guilt and nausea to the point where I thought I might actually throw up.

And then I rolled down the window. The air whipping at my face brought me back to the present, and it was just around that time that the sun’s reflection in the rear view mirror was finally out of my eyes and I could actually take in the landscape.  The way the rolling hills can kind of meld into the horizon, where everything gets a little hazy and even in broad daylight you’re just not sure what’s green and what’s blue and where that line actually is filled me with the hope of possibilities.  The openness of the road, of the fields, of the big sky unobstructed by familiar mountains, it all brought to me this feeling of insignificance, which was strangely peaceful, like I forgot for a second there just how big the world is.  Josh and I, while still recognizing we had some stuff to sort through, apologized and put our argument aside for the moment.  We turned on some beats, sparked up and talked about nothing, like we always do. Yammering on about the worst thing the president has done so far, speculating what he might do next; recounting old memories of the Rejuvenation Station and before the 100 Year Flood; debating art and who decides if it’s good; singing stupid songs and talking shit about people we used to know.

One summer when I was around 10, Dad and I took a road trip to see his mother in Florida.  I was ecstatic to be out on the open road, just him and me, 16 hours to go until it was sandy and sunny and warm.  We both were really into the Bobtail game, where every time you see a tractor-trailer without the trailer (but not a tractor!), you shout out “Bobtail!” and get to punch the other person. He was so much bigger than me and his punches didn’t hurt, so I was sure there was no way my punches were hurting him either. So I made it my mission to scout for the bobtails in every nook and cranny of my line of sight as we continued south.

At one point I fell asleep in the passenger seat for a few minutes. I woke in a panic I have only ever since experienced in military basic training.  Dad was screaming, “Bobtail! Bobtail! Bobtail!” over and over while punching me in the arm.  We were passing what seemed like a ten-mile long lot of parked bobtails. Maybe for sale? Maybe in the shop for repair? I’d never know. I did know that there was no way he could call them all before we passed the lot, so I started screaming for bobtails and punching him back — the two of us hollering at the tops of our lungs and just wailing on each other. I also knew  that the speed limit on that interstate was 70 miles per hour and as we passed the last row of tractor-trailers-without-trailers, the speedometer was only reading 55. I reckon that was his way of paying me back for insisting that we could only listen to NSync’s latest album on repeat the whole way there.

And the whole way back.

Memoir, 5/?

I prayed yesterday.

I gave up on religion a long time ago.  After voluntarily attending church throughout most of my young adult life, I shook my head at it all and have decided to opt out.  Too many people with convictions too strong demonstrating so much hate and intolerance. I do not serve those idols, regardless of what symbol has been affixed to the front of the building.  The idea of a big mansion in the sky has just become ludicrous to me; the idea that we all die and have a big reunion at said mansion, even more so.

I have read a lot of books on death this year.  That’s not entirely true.  I have started a lot of books on death this year and haven’t been able to finish them.  The ones I have picked up have been focused on finding that higher power, much like some addiction groups I’ve been to.  Some books, much like those addiction groups, will flat out say I can’t be successful/whole/normal without some higher power.  So where does that leave me, the nonbeliever? It’s as though I’ve been left to drift forever in a sea of unhealthy thoughts and feelings with no anchor, save a faint savior in a Santa Claus from outer space.

My prayer, if I can call it that, wasn’t much.  It was a tune stuck in my head from my church camp days:  “God is bigger than/the air we breathe/the world we’ll leave/and God will save the day/and all will say/My Glorious.”  With that, I felt the smallest exhale, a momentary droop of my shoulders.  Whether or not I am born again is a question I can’t answer.  My mind returns to Santa again and I wonder if maybe the secret of God is the same:  The mythology may be a comfort to some, but the truth is the spirit in all of us and how we choose to share it.

I picked up the rental car in the afternoon and we started driving that evening.  The first stop was Poca to drop our cat off with my mom while we were on the road.  I was miffed by this change in route, since I had planned to see a lot of World’s Largests in Illinois and if we went to West Virginia then our westward route would be through Kentucky instead, and not only are there no World’s Largests in Kentucky that I know of, but I had also driven that road no less than ten million times, I was sure of it.  I was even willing to just leave the cat at home for a few days, although now I’m positive that wasn’t the right answer.  So I blamed Josh.  It was definitely his fault somehow.    I was angry the entire five hours it took us to drop off the cat and head to a cheap hotel in Huntington.  When we got into our room, I was no longer angry at Josh but at myself.  I had lashed out at the person I love the most, a captive audience in the passenger seat, because I was so nervous and on edge at the thought of actually going through with this trip.  I mean, we were on the road.  It was real, and I began to doubt if it was such a good idea, if it might just make me feel worse.  Because I was already feeling worse about it, and I questioned if those negative feelings would only grow with the distance I put between myself and home.  Instead of vocalizing those concerns, I treated Josh like an asshole for wanting to do what’s best for the cat.  I hated myself so much in that hotel room that I sobbed myself to sleep.

When we picked up Dad, I remember choking the question out to Regina: “Can I take him with me?”  It was no problem as we had already discussed it and I knew she knew I was going to ask.  But it was still so hard to articulate.   She brought the urn out from her bedroom and I grabbed the little wooden box I’d brought with me to tuck him in.  The box itself had special meaning to me but no latch — a detail I had up until that point not considered to be major.  As I brought it into the kitchen to set on the table, I immediately felt like an idiot.  What if I spill him?

Regina held the urn while Josh manhandled the screwed in plug on the bottom.  I think we were all holding our breath, praying nobody dropped anything.  When he finally wrenched it open, I was so overcome with curiosity.  Was that really my dad in there?  As we unceremoniously scooped him into a Ziploc bag for me to tuck in my little wooden box, I noticed the smell to be stale yet oddly fragrant, an unfamiliar smell like an old folks’ home or a hospital or …  It was as if it was the funeral home’s one last ditch effort to be as stuffy as possible and throw potpurri in with the ashes, except there was no potpurri in there, just ashes.  Or maybe it was that I was expecting something different, although I didn’t know what or how.

I tucked him in the little wooden box and wrapped a hair tie around it to hold it shut and then buried my dad in the bottom of my backpack for safekeeping.

Memoir, 4/?

I haven’t left my house much lately.  I haven’t really wanted to.  There doesn’t seem to be much out there for me, or maybe it’s that I don’t have much to offer the world anymore.  There’s a great sense of dread that comes with the idea of normalcy, and I have yet to understand how everyone can so willingly embrace it.  I’m not sure I even know what normal is or if I believe what I’m telling you now.  So far all I can say for sure is that I haven’t left my house much lately.  I watch the sun rise across the river and into my window and before I know it I’m watching the sky turn orange and red and it’s 5:30 and what exactly did I do all day?  Most days it’s tough to recall.  Just the conversational “How was your day?” becomes an accusation somehow, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t less than great and that I’ve, in some way, made some acceptable progress in some area in my life. Anything at all.

When I started shopping for a rental car to drive to Arizona, I couldn’t believe the prices for a one-way trip.  Since then I’ve been able to justify the cost in my mind but I was genuinely shocked that it was essentially the cost of a plane ticket.  It makes no sense at all to rent a car to travel far distances when flying takes a fraction of the time and costs the same, probably cheaper at times.  But this trip wasn’t about making sense; it was about making peace.  So I booked a Nissan, signed my name in blood, and moved on to plane tickets for the trip home.

Somewhere around this time, I began to feel like maybe I shouldn’t keep this experience all to myself.  After all, I was planning this great adventure to my mind’s promised land of healing and closure, of beginning a new chapter in my life and all the joys that come with fresh starts.  So just to kind of throw it out there, I asked my brother if he would like to come.  I didn’t figure he would have enough vacation time to take the whole five days, and frankly I’m not sure either one of us would have wanted to be in the car with each other for five days straight, so I wanted to know if he would like to meet me at the North Rim to be there with me when I said goodbye for the last time.

I was pretty surprised when he said he would.  And even more surprised when he suggested we end the trip in Las Vegas instead.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do that, since I was planning on the symbolic finality of the Grand Canyon being the end of the road and taking off out of Flagstaff instead.  Now that I think about it though, I find more meaning in continuing the journey westward with my brother than I would with ending the trip in Arizona.

When I left home for good, my favorite part about coming back for the holidays was getting off the plane in Charleston or Columbus, whichever the case may have been.  Usually Charleston.  That airport is so small there’s no way you couldn’t find who you were looking for.  And since I tend to prefer the red-eye flights, I was always coming in at odd hours so whoever was there waiting was definitely waiting for my flight.

It was the anticipation, the hurry-up-and-get-your-shit-and-out-of-my-way, straining my neck around each corner for the first glimpse of my family waiting for me just on the other side of security.  I see everyone’s smiles, their eyes flash with recognition and relief, my eyes mirroring the same.  Quick hugs, small talk at baggage claim, “How was the flight?”  and at my insistence, a trip 45 minutes out of the way for midnight breakfast biscuits at Tudor’s in Nitro, with no resistance.  Bacon, egg, cheese, and hashbrown all stuffed into one giant fluffy crumbly sandwich, with a side of fried apples, a Diet Coke, deep belly laughs and that quiet calm that comes over you when you know you’re in the right place at the right time with the right crowd.  We’d all part ways bleary eyed in the early morning hours, and I’d hop in his car and head on up to the holler to pretend there was nowhere else in the world for a little while.  Airports are hard.

Memoir, 3/?

Forgiveness has always been taught to me as something that should come naturally and with much grace.  Given partially, begrudgingly or with difficulty, the point is moot, yet you should always try to forgive everyone so neither of you has to carry around that kind of baggage.  But I really never heard much about how that applies when learning to forgive myself.  In church growing up, I got the sentiment that Jesus forgives me, so I don’t or shouldn’t need to forgive myself.  As an adult, things just aren’t that simple.   There are things I’ve done and said that I can’t take back and can’t even apologize for.  Harsh words, bad choices, carefully chosen silences and moments of inaction.  I left a lot of things unsaid and not worth saying now to ears of which little impact should be received.  Where do I put it all?

At first, I planned for a solo one-way drive with a flight back home.  It would be a time for me to do some introspection and a chance to clear out my inner cobwebs, do some serious emotional spring cleaning.  This journey would be a soul cleansing release of pain, and I would be able to let go of the hurricane that continued to rage somewhere deep in between my abdomen and rib cage. I would come home with clear eyes and look forward to restful sleep.  I could say goodbye and move on.  But then I got to thinking about the practicality of that and the potential safety risks that could be involved with traveling by myself thousands of miles in a rental car through terrain I’m sure my shitty phone wouldn’t get signal in.  Add to the fact that I’ll be sleeping in free campgrounds along a major interstate in a tent at best, and it just didn’t seem like a sound decision anymore.  Was I being too cautious?  I felt like I was getting old and losing my adventurous spirit.  But looking back on it now, I think that my priorities were changing.  And he wouldn’t have gone alone and wouldn’t have wanted me to go alone either.  So I invited Josh along.

I began to pack all of our gear, keeping in mind that everything we bring will have to fit into our backpacks for the flight home.  I packed the tent, two sleeping pads, a few blankets, some throw pillows, a couple changes of clothes, the percolator, coffee, trail mix, the camp stove, two camp chairs, a tarp, some pasta, a couple gallons of water, and some other small survival must-have items like a hatchet, extra lighters, tinder, a multi-tool, cord … things I thought I wouldn’t need but was afraid I might.

The year I got married, he bought a

Class C RV.  It wasn’t the first RV he’d owned, but he was creeping closer to retirement and to his dream, and this RV was different somehow.  I can’t remember a whole lot about the Winnebago we had

when I was growing up or the pop-up camper before that, and somehow this Class C was full of hope and adventure in a way that was new to me.

Josh and I went with him on the maiden voyage to one of the Carolinas.  He wanted to pick up a custom ordered car trailer and said if we could come too we’d take the RV down.  So we all piled in with the dog and set out.  It was a short trip, just an overnighter, but he was in technicolor.  We stopped at a campground on a lake and pulled in by the water.  We didn’t fish, but now I wish we would have.  Regina, my stepmom, made spaghetti on the stove and set out a red gingham plastic tablecloth.  We had proper dinner and built a small fire.  I don’t know what we talked about or how long we stayed up after that.  I guess that part doesn’t really matter.  We were in our element, and we were happy.

Shortly after that, he let Josh and me borrow the RV for our joint bachelor/bachelorette party.  We took it to Summersville Lake with all of our closest friends and partied for a few days before the ceremony.  Those are some of the best memories of my life, despite the argument he and I had upon returning the RV back to him.  He was angry that there was damage to the exterior and that the interior was dirty.  I remember him saying, “It’s like you thought to yourself, ‘To hell with Dad,’ and just did whatever you wanted anyway.”  That hurt so much because it couldn’t have been further from the truth.  If he had just seen the back roads we had to drive, if he had just given me a chance to clean it up after camping in the rain for three days… if.  Had I been any younger, I wouldn’t have said anything, but I couldn’t let him think that I was that type of person, so I told him as much.  We talked it out, Josh and I cleaned the RV, and he realized the damage had existed prior to our trip.  But I swore I’d never borrow it again, and I didn’t.  And for some reason a pang of guilt still lingers.

Memoir, 2/?

I thought that everything would be immediately fixed like the end scene of a movie, but that didn’t happen.  I was worse for a while there.  I finally went to see a doctor about a prescription to help me get through the day because up until recently, I haven’t even been able to remember to brush my teeth on a daily basis.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have much success.  I somehow felt more dead than I did to begin with.  Recent weeks have been a pending question mark.  Where do I go from here?  The dreams are less frequent now, yet still haunting.  Some time has passed so I imagine that’s where the large part of the credit is really due.  Sometimes the dreams come when I’m still awake.  I see him lying in the bed with a tube in his nose gasping for air, and I’m gently reminding him to take deeper breaths and get that oxygen.  He looks over at me and nods and keeps trying.  Then I walk into his room again and he’s dead.  And all I can see are his hands, gray and laid at his sides.   They could fix anything. They could fix this.

They can’t fix me.

I’ve always considered myself a list maker.  Checklists are the future and I am determined to be prepared.  So as with any other task I set out to do, I made a list of everything I would need for the drive.  In the true spirit of the journey, I planned to camp the whole way, preferably for free if I can find a safe place to set up shop each night.  So I turned to the Internet and began my research.

I thought about the last time I drove across the country.  It was the month that the State of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, so Josh and I took off and drove 1,400 miles to Denver in an old Ford Fusion.  It was history in the making and we had an unreliable hook up so what the hell.  We mostly traveled by atlas for that trip, and thanks to Roadtrippers.com got to see some really offbeat and interesting things along the way.  I remember Colonel Sanders’ grave in Kentucky, the World’s Largest Spur in some podunk Middle town, the hair-band-guitar-player-turned-construction-worker reliving his Tumbleweed days with us while we waited for the path to clear.  The front desk clerk at that shitty motel in east Colorado who hated the Devil’s Lettuce, and that restaurant downtown that kicked us out for naively lighting up a joint.  There’s so much land — and so much corn — that you’d never see if you didn’t drive by, and it was my first time seeing the Rockies and the Denver skyline coming from the east on I-70.  It was breathtaking.

Not wanting to take that same route again since I felt that it wouldn’t be in the true spirit of the trip to take a road I’d already traveled, it looked like I’d be going through Utah and coming into the North Rim if I wanted to see new sights.  Based on prior conversations, I knew Utah wouldn’t have been the route he intended to take.  He was going to go through Texas and New Mexico, but he had never been that way before, I don’t think.  Back then it was fine by me because I know how beautiful the Southwest is.  But since I was calling the shots on this trip, I wanted to recreate that first eyes-on experience that he wouldn’t get to have.  I put the route into Roadtrippers again to see what there was to see, and I created an itinerary with a rough timeline, as well as the camping checklist, a cost estimate, and a budget.  I do like to prepare.

He used to say that if a person has to mow their grass with their headlights on, they’ve got a time management problem.  He also used to say that your piss-poor planning didn’t constitute a crisis on his part.  He was extremely organized.  He had a full basement, two-car garage, and two sheds packed full of everything he’d ever needed at one time or another, and if you asked him where one specific thing was, he knew.  He always did. And he’d lend it to you if you needed it.  I liked to think that this supreme organization technique was a lasting residual effect of twenty years enlisted in the Army.  Maybe a chicken-or-egg scenario.  But he always read the manual and he was always prepared.  He never planned piss-poorly so that he never had to inflict a crisis on someone else.  And I don’t think I ever once saw him on the mower with the headlights on.

Memoir, 1/?

Today I’m thinking about quitting smoking.  I make this declaration like it’s the first time I’ve considered it, but truthfully, it isn’t.  I think about it every day.  But somehow if I say to you that I’m thinking about it, it carries more weight in the universe.  And whether I actually go through with quitting smoking or not at this point has become irrelevant because it’s the thought that counts. I was quit for the better part of this year.  It was so easy, the time must have been right.  I did a lot of yoga, stopped eating meat, stopped drinking a bottle of wine a night.  Brent, my therapist back then, was helpful in assisting me with quitting the addictions.  But I guess I just wasn’t ready to talk about what was really wrong yet.  I kept deflecting to mundane daily gripes and pains and just couldn’t get into the good stuff.  So I quit Brent too.  And here I am today telling you I’m thinking about quitting smoking.

When I quit my job, I knew only one thing for sure, and that was that I had no idea what to do with myself.  Getting to the point of actually quitting my job was a different journey entirely.  So much guilt and pressure, repression and shame, all stuffed away so I could still function, or even better, excel.  That’s what I thought everyone expected, but more importantly, it’s what I expected of myself.  And I was okay for several months, learning and growing and excelling.  Until I wasn’t.   I figured it was time for closure.  That must be it.  After a particularly rough wave of bereavement around the first Father’s Day, I had this great moment of clarity that I was going to take a road trip.  I didn’t know when or how I would afford it or if anyone wanted to come with me, but I was certain it was the only way I was going to be right again.

He wanted an RV as far back as I can remember.  That was the dream.  When it came time to retire, he’d go on the road with (hopefully) his wife and his dog and they’d stop overnight in Wal-Mart parking lots for free and nicer campgrounds as they got to them.  He’d come park in my driveway when I moved out of state and stay for a week. He’d go to the Grand Canyon. I could feel his excitement as it seeped into my skin and I wanted nothing more than to tag along.  He had a way of getting so pumped up about something it would make my skin burst and my eyes well up.  And so we would sit on the back porch while I smoked and daydream about all the places we would go when he got the RV and I got enough vacation time saved up.  He’d come stay in my driveway for a week.  We’d go to the Grand Canyon.