Archive for December, 2015

Hey Mason!

It is December 18th, 2015, and it’s been a fast year! I usually say that every year, but the last three months have flown by. At the beginning of this year, I was working at Minco like always. Things were pretty uneasy. I didn’t know what was going to become of my legal situation. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to purchase a firearm or get my concealed weapon permit back. I applied to a couple of jobs, one at NDT and one at Alpha, and I waited. Then, I waited. After a couple of months, I waited some more. I was really getting stressed out about my finances. I wasn’t making very much money at Minco, but I had finally finished my degree. I was also waiting very impatiently to get my degree in the mail. I was waiting very impatiently to get my rights back, and I was waiting very impatiently to get a better job! All three things were weighing heavy on my shoulders. All I could do was go to work everyday and wait.

Finally, after six months or so, I received my bachelor degree in business management! Your mother was more excited than I was haha. I’m happy that I got it, but I was more concerned about proving I had a degree. Nobody ever tells you if you need proof or not. When filling out an employment application, the job might require a four year degree…how would they know? I had no idea at the time. Next, I would FINALLY get the go ahead for my new job at NDT. I ended up taking you and your mother down for the Fourth of July this year just to hang out with JR. He got me the job, and that pretty much counted as my first day. Dude, that job was stressful, but not in the way you might think. The job was easy. It really was. The problem was that it was 100% travel. The job was located in Tampa, and we were living in Tallahassee. I would drive down Monday morning and drive home Friday evening. It was easy to do that, but I missed you and your mother terribly. Don’t tell your mother, but I cried myself to sleep one night I was in Tampa by myself. You had just turned one year old, and I was afraid I was going to miss your first steps. You didn’t like it because you had fun with me, but it was hardest on your mother. Honestly, she didn’t deserve it. I felt bad for making her take care of you by herself. She “understood” like she always did, but she wanted me home more than she wanted the money. During my two deployments, she suffered through me being out of town long enough. From day one, I started looking for other jobs in Tallahassee. I took the job because it paid three times as much as I was making at Minco. However, we decided that I would go back to working at Minco if it meant I got to see you guys every night.

In some kind of dream-come-true scenario, a job I applied for in January finally became available in August. I planned the interview for a Monday before I had to drive down for work for the week. I went in and interviewed at Alpha. After just a couple of days, my buddy (again I had a buddy get me a job) called to offer me the job. I’ll never forget. Your mother and I were on vacation with her parents. We were camping out in their pull behind camper at Little Ocmulgee State Park in Georgia. I felt such a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew that the rest of the year was going to be very different. I’ve been at Alpha for four months now, and it is really turning out good.

Next, I aimed for getting my Concealed Weapon License back. My mandatory waiting period had expired, but I was still nervous that I was going to get denied. I called on November 16th to setup an appointment. I went in a couple of days later to get my fingerprints taken and to pay the fee. By November 30th, I had been approved, and they had mailed my license out! Again, I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. I never carried concealed without a license, and it had been five years since I had my license taken. I’ve always had a pistol in close proximity to me, but it feels good to be able to carry concealed again. I never leave home without it. I’m still super happy about getting my CWL back because it really makes me feel like a citizen again.

Lastly, I wanted to get my own Federal Firearms License. Every since working at the indoor shooting range, I wanted to do things my own way. Obviously, I don’t work there anymore, and I’m still not on speaking terms with my dad. I got in really good with an awesome guy named Lee, and he let me take the wheel of his FFL. I ordered some parts and sold some guns to friends, but I really couldn’t do exactly what I wanted. I’ve wanted my own FFL for years. I didn’t want to apply for one until I had my CWL because I was afraid of getting denied. Well, I’ve had my CWL for two weeks now, and I just finished filling out the paperwork for the FFL today. The first half of this year was really stressful, and there was no end in sight. I had no idea what the end of 2015 could possibly have in store. Even this past summer, I didn’t know how long I was going to have to stick it out at NDT. It was a great job with great people, but the travel was very hard. I stayed mission oriented the entire time. I did the best job I could no matter what I was doing – Minco, NDT or Alpha. When the going got tough, I had already prepared myself mentally. I played scenarios out in my mind constantly, and even though I had no idea what was in store for me – I was never surprised when something happened.

In the last few months, things have accelerated faster than I ever could have imagined. Alpha is going great. I’m getting paid well. I haven’t done a fence job for KLD in about a year. Now, all of a sudden, I’ve got three jobs lined up in a months time. One for your mom’s uncle Mitch, one for a buddy, one for a buddy’s boss. I’m creating another company all together and applying for an FFL. I’ve got three really great things going at one time. Just four short months ago, I was travelling to Tampa and back weekly with no idea what was going to happen in the coming weeks. Your mother thinks that you are our good-luck charm. I think you are too. Anyway, I’m not totally enraged at how terrible this year was like I was in 2012 and 2013 (and prior years).

I want to wish you a merry Christmas! Your mother and I are so extremely happy about you. We went to your Christmas play today that daycare put on. I felt such an unusual happiness come over me. I was so proud to be a dad and see your little face – just like I am everyday – but this time it really hit me. It wasn’t just babysitting a kid on the weekends or giving you a bath or taking you around town. It was your first Christmas play, the first time you were in a school type function with teachers and classmates, etc. I felt like a dad. It reminded me a lot of the feelings I got when you were born. A moment that slows down time and really makes you realize what’s happening.

You don’t just jump immediately into being a dad overnight. This was one of those moments that made me feel like I had accomplished something great. It felt like a milestone – like graduating high school or boot camp. Moments that make you feel proud of yourself are rare. I’ve only had a couple that I can remember. It’s very hard to explain, and you won’t know the feeling until you’ve accomplished something great. Moments that make you feel proud of your son – that was a first for me today. It really made me smile.