Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011 Update

    Okay, so I haven't really been making the progress in writing that I would have liked. But, as I may or may not have said recently, 2011 is going to been (and, so far, has been) a game changer.
    Child number 3 is due on Sept 12. That will give her a chance to bond with me before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim takes over my life. Notice I said "her." I don't mean to get silly or superstitious, but I -do- think that this one will be a female. Obviously, statistically, the probability is great that it will be a girl. Middle name will likely be Danielle (Daniel from the Bible); first name is still a decision. And, of course, it could be another boy, which would still be wonderful!
    I put my notice in to step down as general manager of Papa John's in early January; that notice ended Sunday, February 28th. This week I am still on salary helping to train the new general manager, Tony Williams, whom I had the pleasure of training in ROC (Restaurant Operations Certification) last November. Tony was an excellent choice when compared to myself for a few reasons:
    1. He has no local friends or obligations;
    2. He has no wife/ fiancé/ girlfriend;
    3. He has no kids;
    4. He is young enough to still be able to be energetic week-in and week-out, working 50-plus hours each week;
    5. The crew knows him a little from having worked with us some last year, but;
    6. They will respect him on the tightening up of any standards which I may have let go lax the last few years;
    7. He has had long enough with Papa John's to learn why the company is great, but not enough for it to grow stale, great or not;
    8. He had some limited experience running a pizzeria (Hungry Howie's) in Statesboro for a few months in mid-2010;
    9. He's ROC certified.
    The most negative aspects are:
    1. He doesn't have NEARLY the experience in position I've had (would have been eight years as GM this June, and 12 total years with PJ’s);
    2. He doesn't have the local relationships with vendors, businesses, etc. that I've garnered;
    3. He doesn't have the relationship that Mom and I have for LSM - Mom is a little worried about it, but I don't think she has reason to do so;
    4. He doesn't know the crew as well as I, so there may be some issues leading to turn-over (hopefully not!).
    Either way, I'm happy! As I've said repeatedly, it is not, and never has been, a bad company, nor have I had bad experiences with Stan, the owner, or Terry, the area supervisor; in fact, Stan has been, in many ways, a second father to me, and, at the least, a mentor. I'll miss that, actually. But, as has become increasingly obvious, I needed to lose the stress and the responsibility. Others can do it, and many do, but I cannot. I cannot keep Bethany happy or spend the time I need to spend with my kids. I cannot focus on my music, or writing, or art. The passion for success as manager went away as it became somewhat mentally boring. It's made me stoic, OCD, and more strongly bi-polar (properly put, it manifests itself more). It has moved me further from God, although the last twelve months I've made, I believe, much progress in setting this aright. And it was probably the primary catalyst for my divorce from Gill - not something I regret, by the way, as Bethany and I are more compatible, and I have two (almost three!) wonderful children with her!
    So I have three days - Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - remaining on salary as a Training General Manager for Tony, then I will an hourly shift runner beginning Monday! The last two days have been quite a mental journey for me, coming to terms with some aspects of the change that I hadn't really expected. It is really strange for me to refer folks to another person, e.g. team members with requests, hiring inquiries, physical plants issues. It is odd to not be responsible for making next week's schedule (I am training Tony on this, however, so I will still be giving feedback and such); Bethany and I figured up that I have made somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 schedules (EVERY WEEK) since being promoted to general manager, not including the schedules I made or oversaw for other stores, such as Fernandina Beach, Brunswick, or Thomasville. The schedule, petty as it may sound, has been a continual source of stress for me for eight years! And a habit. So the feeling I have for not having to make it is amazing, but still strange, like I am abandoning a responsibility.... As we move forward, food ordering, hiring, paperwork, shift runner follow-up, MCE preparedness - all these things will be primarily Tony's realm, not mine. And I still don't think it's quite sunken into my brain yet!
    Moving on to other things, I turned THIRTY on February 20th. Thirty. It's only a number, and, like any other the other "milestone" birthdays, this one hasn't really felt any different. But I am CHOOSING to make it different, because I want this year to be a year of action. Thirty is the age at which Jesus Christ began his ministry in earnest. As my name, Joshua, is a derivative of "Jesus," I choose to see this year as a renewal of my commitment to Christ and the Lord. (I, however, in no way mean to assert that I am a valid comparison to Jesus; I simply want to walk in His shadow, and more strongly following Him at age thirty exemplifies this desire, I hope.) As has been the case for a little over a year, and certainly since I began getting treatment for manic-depression, I want to read the Bible more. Time is an issue here, and shall be rectified not only by not having to work 50-60 hours a week, but by not having those Papa-John's-related worries constantly creeping into my brain, taking my focus from the Cross. I hope to be able to study my religion better - get to know God better. My great friend Jeremy has somewhat recently been ordained by the Baptists, and he's currently attending seminary; hopefully God will help him teach me some things, as they (Jeremy and God) already have in recent history. I purchased a number of books from Amazon, with tax return money, that promise to marry the intellectual concepts presented by modern science - e.g. quantum theory, bio-molecular science, string theory - with simple understandings of God and my beliefs in Christianity. It's a journey that I meet with elation!
    I am making a renewed commitment to writing, starting here, online, as proof of my commitment. It astounds (and scares) me that I first created Ti'rerae Solom (the fictional fantasy world in which my writing endeavors take place) in June of 1994 - that's almost seventeen years ago! I am well beyond time for getting things going into high gear with writing. Paul, God bless him, has helped me keep Ti’rerae Solom from going stale over the years, most recently by writing a story that takes place on the world himself. With his, and Mom's, help, I have completed the map of half the world ALMOST to my satisfaction. We've worked up a tentative timeline for major world events. We've determined major players in history, religion, and culture. I have gotten to know most of my main characters (protagonists and antagonists) very well. So it's obvious it's time to really start writing, and this WILL be the year it happens.
    I had thought to write some specifics of the newer stuff I've decided regarding T.S., but I think I'll save that for tomorrow's post, since tonight's theme is broader.
    I have made a renewed commitment to music and well, and I believe that my friend Frank (I have the best friends and family in the world!) will be a big part of bringing it to fruition. I want to record! And share! Not that I expect anything to come of it financially or elsewise, but I simply miss sharing music with others. It's not nearly the passion for me it once was, but I miss it and want it back! And with so many talented musical friends, Frank and Paul among them, there's no reason we shouldn't be playing our hearts out! Again, the extra time and lesser stress of my new lifestyle will allow for it, I know!
    And the same goes with drawing. Those who knew me in school, knew me for drawing or playing the piano. And it sickens me that I've not completed a drawing in over ten years! OUCH! I mean, I still doodle, but I have nothing to show for myself as an "artist" - for shame! Again, it will change this year; I have faith.
    Tomorrow I will discuss more of how this year will rock, including my relationship with Bethany, finances, computers, gaming, movies, etc. My faith is strong! For now, I go.


  1. But seriously... Loved seeing you're making progress with making your life better. You're the man, Josh. Also, sorry I didn't tell you happy birthday. I'll be hitting the 30 soon with not much to show for it. Needless to say, this is inspiring. Feel free to include me in any ruling the world plans, creative or otherwise.

  2. My first contribution will be to the T.S. world. Her name is Fihora Selen. Do with her what you will. She's named after the words I had to type in to prove I'm not a robot and leave a comment on your blog

  3. WOOOOT! So excited for you guys. It's the end of an ERA. :D

  4. Very excellent and exciting! When you get around to reading whatever bio-molecular books you're getting, you should also watch Ben Stein's documentary on the same(ish) subject called Expelled.