Blog Assignment 3

I chose the podcast “Brain Sparks”.  The guest speaker was Jeff Patton.  The podcast was a follow up to a webinar  that occurred the day before the podcast.  The purpose was to answer more questions about the original topic of story mapping.  He discussed the importance of knowing your audience and how to build a team with the right people.  A balanced team is important for the functionality of a web-site .  When building a site is also important to look at your content using several different target persona’s.  The main thing is usability.  Usability is a non-functional requirement, but it is very necessary.  Documenting your concerns helps to scale down a site to a more manageable balance of content and usability.  There was a large amount of helpful information in this podcast and I would recommend “Brain Sparks” to anyone involved with building a web-site.

Three and a Half Years of Hell

The day I died was the day I found out my ex-wife moved my kids to Texas.  When my children were born I truly discovered my purpose and who I am.  Above all else I am a father.  What happens when that gets taken away?  Unfortunately I can answer that question.

From the time my ex-wife and I split up we had joint custody.  My son started school and our arrangement was put on hold.  I live on the other side of the state so I couldn’t exactly take him out of school 2 weeks a month.  I was working towards moving closer so I could get my time back.  The problem was my body wasn’t cooperating.  My bones were starting to hurt and I had no idea why.  One morning I woke up and my knee was twice the size it was supposed to be and I couldn’t straighten it out.  I had no insurance so all I could do was visit the Emergency Room at the hospital.  They wouldn’t help fix me they just kept giving me painkillers.

I had my kids for the summer shortly after my health problems started and it was great.  We went to either the park or the library every day.  I had even worked out a way to move close to their school so I could get my joint custody back.  I asked my ex-wife if my kid’s would be going to the same school and she said yes.  The children and I finished our summer and they went back to their mother’s house.

My health problems had started getting worse during our time together and I was hurting in more places (pretty much all over).  I was getting scared I had Bone Cancer.

I tried to call my kid’s several times over the next week and finally the ex answered and told me they were getting on a plane to Texas.  I was frantic.  We were still technically married so the court’s wouldn’t get involved without an expensive lawyer.  I couldn’t work so I had no money for that.  I would have gone to Texas to get them but I didn’t know were they were and I was on my way to being bed ridden.

The reason for her move had nothing to do with me.  She decided sometime after we split that she wanted to be a stripper.  She even bought fake boobs.  She found out she could be making a lot more money running around naked in Texas.  I have a daughter.  I don’t want her growing up thinking that stripping is an option.  She is far too intelligent for that.

Three and a half years I went without seeing my kids.  She would occasionally answer the phone so I could talk to them, but sometimes I would have to wait months just to hear their voice.  It is a terrible feeling not knowing how your kids are.  She would get mad at them if they told me what school they went to.  I can deal with any kind of physical pain, you just think of something else.  The pain you feel when you don’t know where or how your kids really are is unbearable.  You can’t think of something else when your kids occupy your every thought.

I’d like to say I was strong 100% of the way but I would be lying.  I gave up for a while.  I pretty much laid down to die.  Eventually I moved back home to get help.  I finally started getting insurance through the state and found out what was wrong with me.  I have Ankylosing Spondylitis.  It is an aggresive form of rhuematory arthritis.  It is caused by an overactive immune system.  My body was attacking my joint’s.  My hair fell out in patches from a combination of stress and my immune system.

Eventually my health started improving, but my general outlook on life was still incredibly miserable.  Every year for Christmas and Summer she would tell me she was bringing the kids, and every time my heart was broken.  The part that made me mad about that is, she told the kids too.  My kids and I have always been very close.  They would get just as excited as I was.

Finally after another dry spell of phone calls, earlier this year she answered the phone and said she was back in Washington and had been for a couple of months.  After three and a half years I was gonna finally going to get to see my babies.  I t almost felt as good as the day they were born.  When I saw them I couldn’t have been more relieved.  They hadn’t changed too much and looked like the same beautiful happy kids I remembered.  We spent the whole summer together and everything was perfect.  Even the petty arguments between each other, and the mysterious cracker crumbs in all my son’s pockets.

I the thing that bothers me most, aside from the time we lost of course, would be the fact that there are so many fathers out there that don’t acknowledge they even have kids.  Since they were born I have devoted myself to giving my children a better childhood than I had.  My dad was there, but we didn’t talk or interact much aside from discipline.  She even had a little girl with a guy after we split up that want’s nothing to do with the child.  I am not abusive in any way. I have never hit a woman in my life.  When I discipline my kids I make them run laps or learn about something.  When disciplining my children I explain what the problem is and I help them find a solution.  Out of all the crap parent’s out there why did That happen to me?

I would like to be able to say I forgive the ex, but i honestly can’t, not yet.  My grudge is keeping my eyes open till we finish our divorce,  which is scheduled for February 2012.  I can’t wait,  I’m even a little giddy.  She can’t take my kids away from me ever again.

Fatherhood

     The first time I held my son in my arms my whole world changed.  I often sit and think about how much my children have changed my life, and like any father that understands his role, I spend a great deal of time wondering what I could be doing better.

     I wasn’t thrown in to Fatherhood at an early age, I was 22.  I had previously joined the military because my girlfriend at the time (now my ex-wife) had gotten pregnant.  She had a miscarriage while I was in Basic Training and got pregnant again shortly after I returned home from A.I.T..  I have always wanted to be a positive influence for my kids, even before I had kids.  The problem was I didn’t have kids yet, so I didn’t feel I had to be a good influence for anybody.  I wasn’t really bad, I was just selfish.

     The day my son was born I lived on the opposite side of Washington State (we were separated).  I probably could have made it there in time to see my child be born, but my ex-wife’s sister forgot to call me.  When I finally received the call he was already new to the world. I called my Momma and we drove to Tacoma in record time.

     When I saw my son for the first time I think I might have been the happiest man in the world.  When I held my son for the first time my whole world changed forever.  I really can’t say that enough.  I try to explain that to some of these young guys coming up, but it is something that can’t be explained till you are holding your little one in your arms.  That feeling doesn’t diminish after the first one either.

     I was there when my daughter was born a year and a half later.  My ex-wife and I married sometime between.  We were married because of my son.  I don’t regret it because we later were blessed with my daughter.  I was a truly amazed to see that little girl born.  Her mother had the epidural so she was calm throughout the birth (If the woman hadn’t put me through so much hell over the years I would say I was proud of her).  I think I was more stressed than anyone else in the room.  Shortly before midnight on Christmas my daughter announced her arrival with the sweetest sounding cry I had ever heard.  Then I was forced to cut her umbilical cord.  The old knees got a little shaky at that point.  I was glad I was there to do it, but if I ever have any other children I think I’ll leave it to the professionals.  I almost passed out at soon as the scissors started cutting.  I felt like I was hurting my little princess.  I recorded her first cry on a key-chain I had bought for the occasion.  The next morning I rushed to my job so I could let everyone hear that beautiful sound.

     A marriage should never be held together by children.  Three months after the birth of my daughter, my ex-wife and I separated.  It was difficult but we were not meant for each other.  I’m happy with my family the way it is now.  I don’t have to argue about everything down to my socks and I have my kids.  I don’t have custody but we see each other regularly and I get them for summers, holidays, and weekends.  I plan on moving closer to them within the next year so I can have more daily interaction with them.

     My kids are my motivation, inspiration, and everything else that gives a man reason to move forward.  Without my Bubba-Ray and Princess Stinky Butt, (both are nicknames of course)  I can honestly say my quality of life would be very poor.  Hell,  after everything I’ve been through throughout the years, I probably wouldn’t have survived without them.  I just hope they never forget how much they mean to me.

Ryan T. Wingate