That’s skydiving.

Sometimes, I wonder if my PT typing should have been done in a document saved on my hard drive. I actually started that way when they suggested it. I just didn’t do much of it all really.  I’d pull up Word and just try to think what I could type and would type some gibberish for a few minutes, then move on to something else.

Of course, at this point I’m not sure that PT is the reason I type. In a way, in a lot of ways, this typing is the only way I know today is different than yesterday, or tomorrow. I don’t know if it’s just because of the day, yet I’ve also been pretty introspective the last few hours- well, it didn’t help that I got called out (properly) at one point either. With a goal to be precise, let’s get through the day.

I woke up early at five thirty and couldn’t go back to sleep. The website was going off the hook, as of now 1589 people have come to this website today and collectively have read 2,557 pages on this site. As expected, there were more than a few comments in the US Fun Jumper group. For the most part, the ego’s abounded and I was able to get the screenshots I needed to show common attitude among skydivers in that group.

As you might guess, it is just as impossible to classify all “mountain climbers” or “kayakers” in single sentence, yet that group does form itself into a subset that is more predicable.  Generally, a waiver is required to skydive and knowing that, some skydivers think they can act with immunity.  And for the most part they do. Again, all skydiving locations (drop zones) can also not be bundled together, from the smallest places with a single engine Cessna to others with fleets of large planes.

A friend of mine, that I will refrain to name, will often will use the term “That’s skydiving”. Whether the conversation is about TI’s not getting enough handicams, videographers not getting enough jumps, fun jumpers not getting enough slots, packers not getting enough tips, students not getting enough instruction, pilots not getting enough skydives, DZO’s not getting enough profit… the list could go on and on, and on. That’s skydiving.

Hmm, it sounds like something else. Life.  Competition for resources is the name of the game, same as it was ten thousand years ago, in some circles.  However, gone is the day when you could just pick up a rock and kill someone you didn’t like or someone that completed to well for those resources.

Today, we have civilization. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone is civilized.  The first word is the process, the second the effect.  So what is the real action of that verb? What is the process of civilization? Governance? Yeah, I suppose that is it. Rules, law, order, peace.

Okay, back to the order… I’m feeling a bit self-conscious with my writing today, so I’m going to through out the brain damage disclaimer, one more time. I’m doing my best people!

Checking stats in bed, reading up the comments and then downstairs to collect some and put into my Q&A response and posted it to the group. I tried keeping up with the comments, and there were some good ones too (this is NOT ChatGPT, however you may call me ChatTBI) and it was actually a very odd birthday gift, to be meme’d. I’ve never been Bart before.

I think it kept me company for parts of the day, my computer dinging nonstop, birthday wishes on the my public Facebook profile and a few on the personal one too.  Mostly, it was the fun jumper comments though.

I received a phone call that I was not expected. Franz, the owner and my old employer at Skydive Tecumseh. He said he hadn’t read my posts here or here, yet he seemed well versed and said he wanted to “help me out”.

That is how you know Franz is a great guy, he’s always willing to help out.

Like twelve years ago when we worked together on a project to grow the drop zone. Me being a digital guy, and then a much more capable PHP developer, I created a tandem booking system, as well as dozens of websites as he tried to compete with the then ‘Skyride’.

When my older son was expelled from school and I had to take off work to homeschool him, Franz offered to “help me out” then too.  You look like you need some cash right now. How about I’ll give you 5k (then I think it a little more) and I’ll finish the rest, here sign this paper to keep the lawyers happy.

What a guy to help me out when I needed it.  Of course then, he took what I build, changed the logo and called it Burble- and every skydiver reading this already knows: Burble is the near ubiquitous software that books skydives for drop zones all over the world. I can’t imagine the monthly royalties that I sold for 5k. Franz is always willing to “help you out”.

I used to be (ha..) bitter about that, yet sometimes I’m happy to just learn a lesson, and I did. The only person I can thank for rejecting Franz’s first offer is Franz.  If he offered me 5k to sign a waiver for him and Shaggio today, well I know how smart of an investment guy he is and I know if he’s buying for 5k, I’m gonna hold what I have.

I questioned his motives directly and he didn’t budge, yet he also couldn’t answer when I asked why he didn’t want to help me out yesterday, or the day before, or the month before, or the year before or at any time past the point when his manager tried to put me in the ground. 5k I asked, is that how much my life is worth? The remaining working years of my life? 5k, really?

That was another gift I received today and from Franz, I know now the value of my hand (and that’s just one of twelve.)

I asked if he wanted to hear a counter offer and he tried to be so smart to not negotiate, yet his curiosity won out and now we are in “negotiations”.

Here’s the hard part though, and probably what I have to fix.  I don’t want money. I want to skydive with my sons. Yet, that now will likely never happen, as a whistleblower I may never be welcome in skydiving circles again- by either of them too.  Makes me wonder how to collect a “solstice boogie” out of a lawsuit, yet I don’t think that is a thing. Hence money will have to do.

After Franz’s call via Facebook, that got me thinking about my old phone, the business line number and phone still held captive by AT&T. I’ve made some progress, not with the phone, but with the number at least. I didn’t know it was possible, yet somehow after all the steps I’ve taken between Xfinity and AT&T and all that; I ended up with both phone numbers working together, on my new phone alone.

I didn’t know my new phone could do two lines. Surprised by the Facebook call, I realized that with my old phone off, maybe I was missing calls this day. Still upset that I can’t use the old phone, yet glad I have the number, I resigned myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to pay two monthly bills now, one for Xfinity and my new phone, and then still to AT&T for the number, that now also works on the new phone.

I would have done it online, yet now I can’t access the accounts (so much “customer service”, there have been dozen of people playing around in my account to try to make it work) with all the pins changed and reset and everything else. So I decided I’d drive up the AT&T store and pay it with their kiosk.

Another lady (Laura, I later found out) helped me when I fumbled at the machine, stepping over she asked me “so you want to pay for a prepaid line.” A good step, to clarify what I was trying to do, yet I responded in the negative. No I don’t want to pay AT&T to use my number on my Xfinity phone, but since that is how the system works, yes, yes I want to pay twice for my phone just in case I get a call today.

I guess I don’t know the look on my face, yet the feeling was resigned, here let me grab my ankles. I then saw something in her eyes that I did recognize- you know that moment you decide you want to call someone an asshole but can’t?  Yep, I just want to get fucked here, so please help me use the machine to accomplish it, I said or something like it.

I saw something rise in her, from the bottom up to her throat, she had a few words she wanted to use and was processing a better set (it was either that or a throat punch coming.)  When the words came out, they were well formed. “If you want me to help you I will, but I want to know which problem to fix- do you want to pay a bill”, motioning to the machine, “or something else”.

Well I.. and went through the whole story again. I don’t know why, but repeating things literally hurts. It’s the same as trying recall any other memory on demand, trying to remember all the same words I said the last time. I can’t stand misquoting myself. She listened and gave the expected reply, “We can’t unlock phones here” and I came back with “I know” and pointed around at all the staff members that have already tried to “help”. I didn’t give her the chance to mention the 1-800 number, as I quickly let her know that they can’t help either.

Intent to show me how easy it was, she dialed up the support number. At the time I didn’t even have the old phone with me, she said I wouldn’t need it, just the number to look up the account. She seemed happy when she got the right person on the line, yet he smile faded later when she was told the number itself wouldn’t work (as the number is now on my Xfinity phone I guess.)

I can be back in ten minutes with it, I said anxious and happy to have an alive and helpful person assisting me. “No, I’ve got lunch soon and I don’t want anyone else to deal with you,” my forehead wrinkled and she kept going “so you don’t have to start over again with someone else”, okay. I think there may have been several meanings there.

I ran over to Kroger for some quick shopping, just enough for the day, home for a salad lunch, then back up the AT&T after three. This time I just went in and sat, knowing she’d come help me when he finished with her current customer (a cute old lady with a little dog on her lap.) It didn’t take long and I handed her the phone. She asked for the code, then disappeared to the back office. I waited and walked, did all my PT steps back and forth through the place (so much bigger in there than my house.)

She came back out when she had the right person on the line on her own phone, and handed to me to answer several questions as she stood nearby. After I was put on hold, she started helping others. The tech came back a few times to apologize for the delay and more holding. At the end she came back and announced my phone could not be unlocked, it was a prepaid phone.

My eyes almost exploded and Laura was quick to take the phone; she let them know it was a prepaid phone, yet she’d already waited through the hold for the prepaid department whom had transferred her to this business side agent. When that agent told her she could transfer her back to prepaid, it was Laura’s turn for her eyes to explode, I grinned and she went to the back room.

Back out a few minutes later she gave me (another) post it not with some numbers on it. They had found two previous unlock requests have not gone though and she assured me this time, now that they knew what was going on, my phone will be unlocked, in two days.

At this point, I don’t care. My number works I just have to pay two bills, it’s better than the headhurt of trying to fix this. Maybe it will work in two day maybe not, I don’t think it matters at all. Now both the numbers are on the one phone anyway.. idk idc.

Back home for the rest of the day, I tried distracting myself with cleaning. I’ve gotten sick of smoking pot all the time and have tapered down to just enough to not notice my constant headache but I think I’ve got to get used to it at some point, and as I had ran out the day previous, today was the day to start. I was actually going to quit both, the tobacco pipe too. It had also just ran out.  I made it til just past the call with Franz, and bought some tobacco on my way to the AT&T store.

I need to smoke less in the evenings though, I think that is part of why I’m having sleeping issues lately. I took a mile walk to the north (it’s so routine now, I keep forgetting I measured a south mile) and ran into some friend when I passed the party store, invited to join them for a concert at Chase’s downtown, I had to pass. Even the few minutes standing chatting felt like too much, I couldn’t imaging trying to stay on my feet that long- or a big crowd of people.

Mostly, the introspection the last few hours since.  What am I going to do in my life, whatever is left of it? Does it really matter if I get disability or collect via lawsuits? Whatever keeps the mortgage paid so I can sit here and rot for the next forty five years.

And there was another gift, a big one for the day. I’m 45. Even the healthiest people rarely live to 90, certainly I won’t make it that far. So, I’m now officially at least half way dead. Woohoo. Oh, so many times I’ve wished I wasn’t Catholic, was less well trained, or could just forget. No shortcuts to the finish line allowed.

So that is how my day is ending.  I’d hoped to get a phone call, maybe one of my boys. It didn’t ring. Maybe Sunday? I doubt that too, it’s a work day for them.

Bitter, alone, and hurt.

Happy Birthday, one day closer to the end.

Time to rest.


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