Our family sat down to watch the recent Veggie-Tales cartoon “It’s a Meaningful Life.” In it there was an interesting little quote:

“For every regrettable there’s a hypothetical.”

Wow. It brought back memories of a singular event the likes of which I’ve not really been faced with again. This movie gave an illustration of what could have been if the main character hadn’t had fate get in his way. In this story, the choice wasn’t so much his, but bound to circumstances beyond his control. The life he could have had if it hadn’t been for the unforeseen accident was not as desirable in the end. But again, the thing that changed the course for him was out of his control. The thing that changed mine? Well, let’s say the choice was fully within my control.

A decision I made at that moment, led me down a different path. I have to look at my life as it is now and be content. I -am- content. Sure, I strive for more, to do more, to keep my family fed, housed, clothed, with some change to spare for fun times. In a related thought, it occurs to me I try to keep myself as busy as possible in order to forget. Had I made that -other- choice, some 23 years ago, where would I be today?

Would I be in the same position I am now? Would I have this wonderful house we built? Would I be married to a woman who cares for me so much? Would I have the same job? Would I be facing the challenges I find with Sam and his conditions?

I don’t know. I just -don’t- know, and I never will. Why? Because we can’t construct an alternate future. The reality of what could have been will never be known, it can’t be. There is no such thing as time travel, unless you count the constant forward movement. There is no going back. Seems regrettable.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened. I often dream of what it would have been like. Even today there is constant mystery surrounding the big “what if.” I sometimes think this pain in my heart wouldn’t be there, but then I try to remind myself that it’s that pain that helps define who I am. I try to think how different it might be, but then I tell myself it could have been far worse; things could have unfolded much differently than what I daydream. I could in all fairness be less than who I am today.

Still the pain is there and though I try to tell myself I have no regrets, I lie. There is one. It’s only one and it shall haunt me the rest of my life. I’ve written of it before but it’s doubtful you’ll find it. I sometimes go months without it haunting me, and perhaps it’s not fair to say it haunts me anymore. I’ve faced it and overcome it, but the regret still hides deep in my heart and rears it’s head every once in a while.

It’s but a dream now, a shadow cast upon the dim recesses of my mind. Barely there, persistent and nearly transparent. And it’s things like this quote from the movie tonight that cause it to alight in my thoughts. The melancholy grows sweet again, I taste it and allow it to ferment the memories. Once more I shall drink of it’s reminder of things I could have done had I performed the other thought of two, yet without knowing where it would lead or how it would have left me, today.

With that drink, a spark occurs that tells me it’s the mystery of it all that burns in my blood and shall never be quenched. For it is in the mystery we are all drawn, to know what ends shall come: who did it, why, when and where. But this mystery is one without end, a book that was never written, an ending that will never be known. All because, of a different, choice.

Asa Jay

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I’ve needed to post something here for a while now. I guess now is as good a time as any for you see, I have a plethora of other activity going at the moment and I can’t actually interact with -any- of it, so I might as well write.

On my primary Windows machine, running XP SP3, I’m engaged in a huge backup. I’ve not accomplished a full backup for better than a year so I’m due. The size is approximately 50GB and I’m only backing it up to a local external USB drive. It’s now on day three. I calculate is has a few hours left to go. In order to allow that machine to run with as much CPU and RAM available to the backup, I’m avoiding using that machine. Please understand, that machine is nearly 10 years old, running a 1GHz processor and a maximum of 512MB of RAM. Yes, I’ve checked and double checked, that’s the maximum the motherboard will take. Sigh.
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Sometimes it seems like God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want him to. That simple statement seems true but we should analyze things deeper before we allow such an idea to permeate our thinking. Sometimes we don’t get what we prayed for but what we do get is an answer to prayer.

Those who have been following this blog know about our son Sam and his dual struggle with Autism and Hirschsprungs disease. Since September of 2009 we have been praying that we might be able to reverse the Ileostomy he was given so he might lead a more normal life. That year of prayer was recently answered but not necessarily how we had wanted it to be.

After months of waiting, we were finally contacted by the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee Wisconsin. They were now ready to bring Sam in for motility studies; to determine the condition of his colon and see how it was functioning. Shelley and I were elated to finally be on the list so we could find out Sam’s progress. We had been praying for nearly a year for his colon to recover and become fully functional so we could hook him back up. We began our planning and looked forward to Sam being tested.

Unfortunately I had already been scheduled for a company trip during that time, however it didn’t really matter as we had made the decision early on that only one of us would accompany Sam on this trip. Off I went to Austin Texas while Sam and Shelley flew to Milwaukee Wisconsin. As parents we were both anxious to learn the outcome of the testing to know if we might be heading down a new chapter by getting Sam hooked back up.

At this point, it is crucial to understand how Sam’s quality of life has improved immensely. Since his operation last September he has been healthier, more energetic, less disruptive, doing better in school and in general exhibiting -less- autistic behaviors. A quick generalization of the situation would indicate having the Ileostomy was the best thing we’d ever done for him. And now we were seeing if we could reverse it.

Sam's 7th Birthday

Sam's 7th Birthday

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Change can be hard, and I’ll be the first to admit I resist change. When it comes to work, I get very comfortable in a job, sometimes too comfortable. Sometimes it’s time for change, sometimes because I’ve done what needed to be done and it’s time to find a new challenge, to move up in the corporate world, to force myself out of my comfort zone for a little while in order to make progress. Today, that change happened.

I have worked with Itron, Inc. for nearly 14 years. I had a year away from the company as I pursued other advancement opportunities but was able to come back when that didn’t pan out. Initially I worked in engineering as a technician. I had past experience in electronic production with Hewlett Packard and the step to a technician was the professional advancement I needed at the time.

As a technician I worked with electrical, mechanical and software engineers. I was exposed to sales and marketing, production and many other functions in between. During my time as a technician, I discovered I really didn’t want to be an engineer, I wanted to be a manager. I wanted to lead. This is what led me to completing my Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management at Whitworth University.

Currently, I work in Customer Service with Itron. Upon my return I wasn’t able to get back into engineering, but that turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. My manager and I have had many conversations, one of which illustrates how the company is held up by three things, like three legs of a stool: Engineering which builds the products, Marketing and Sales which sell the products, and Customer Service which provides a conduit for customer feedback as well as help with products. I had engineering background and now over the last three years I had gained customer service background. My next logical step was into the marketing area.
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I had the hard drive in my Home Linux system crash a couple months ago. Since then it’s been an interesting experience getting things back together and “normalized” again. Fortunately I’m using removable drives via the front of the case -and- my previous system is still sitting on a functional drive. I was able to use the old hard drive in the system while I strategized on a plan going forward. That plan was executed, well, let’s just say “attempted” a little over week ago when I was on vacation.

Nobody usually starts a vacation by saying “hmm, I think I’ll get that Linux system upgraded and back to normal.” Nobody except me. What in the world was I thinking? It should have been simple, yes my last backup was a few months old but no matter. Let’s install the latest version of Ubuntu and just keep on trucking. That seemed to be my first mistake.

I’ve used Kubuntu in the past and I’m running Ubuntu Studio Edition for video and audio editing on another machine. The Ubuntu series of releases seem to be redefining ease of use for Linux users; bringing the idea there is a replacement for Windows into reality. So I start off by downloading an ISO for Ubuntu and then Kubuntu. I burn the CD’s and I’m ready.

The install takes a couple of tries to get started. Darn video thing again, need to shut off APIC or APCI or… I forget… anyway, I finally get the installer running. Now to configure things.

I worked on configuring the video, for hours. I could -not- get the default drivers in Kubuntu to properly display the Operating System on my NEC Multisync LCD 1850E. Kubuntu recommended a download from NVidia. Well… okay, I’ll bite… … Wrong answer.
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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton