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How I shook off fate
How I shook off fate
I may not be a college graduate, but it lessens not my intellect nor does it measure my success.
I was born in California, but moved to Pennsylvania when my mom remarried. I was six. Fast forward to 15...lots of trouble at home...I was quite rebellious though it mostly centered around me wanting to be with boys. I had a good head on my shoulders but little self-control over my lasciviousness even then. I never did drugs, did well in school, committed no crimes, but my parents always overlooked the good. In any case, after running away from home, I ended up in a group home for girls in Latrobe, Amish country. One of the girls had some serious family issues, incest. She had to face the man who did this to her during family visits on Sundays. If we wanted to shave our legs, we had to ask for a razor...showers could be no longer than 10 minutes. One girl managed to take the razor apart and had cut up her wrists pretty badly. The last girl I'll mention was a chronic bed wetter at 15. She once tried to hide it by placing a heating pad atop the mattress and left it on all day. When 17, I moved a step up, to an apartment living program. There were four girls and one female adult "overseer" in a home. There were also similar places for boys.
At 18, I won my freedom. I got an apartment with another girl, was in the process of trying to find a job and having some much needed fun. Is it any surprise that a girl who just spent 3 years in a jail-like environment would begin to spread her wings? The very first day, we ended up at the local mall. We approached some guys and asked if they were 21, they were. We asked them to get some beer, they obliged. We ended up partying together and of course, I had sex with one of them. He hung around for several days, finally went home. I then got together with one of the counsellors from one of the boys homes. Yes, you read correctly...one of the counsellors who had met me during one of the events where all the kids would get together...talent shows, bowling once...stuff like that. He wanted me, but I didn't sleep with him. Odd, I was sleeping with most anyone at that time. Shortly after this, I met Reno...and then moved on to his friend, Charles. It was about a month since my 18th birthday had passed, I still hadn't gotten a job, things were looking grim. I finally decided it was time to take my grandparents up on their offer to live with them in San Diego. The very day I was to leave, the first guy I had gotten together with called me. I told him I was moving...he wanted me to stay and marry him. I'm glad that I did not take him up on his offer.
After moving to California, I began working full-time and attended a community college part-time. I wasn't quite done learning about having fun, I partied a lot, school wasn't important. I wasn't all that happy with the choice of an education in psychology...school bored me. From 18 to 21, there was a series of men. I fell in love for the first time ever...and then had my heart broken. I drank a lot, experimented with some drugs. Too many men, so little memories of names.
When I was 21, I met my ex-husband. Things happened quickly, karma caught up to me...I ended up pregnant. I was very much in love with him at the time...though looking back, I don't think I really knew him all that well. We got married in Vegas the day before our daughter was born. 5 years later, we had another child. 2 years later...my world changed.
My ex-husband has never been very successful or made that much money. I wasn't looking for a mansion and the high-life, just some kind of security for my kids. I always had faith that he wanted to do better and he would do small things to fool me into believing this lie. I was a stay-at-home mom so hadn't much room to nag at him, I could go to work afterall. I wanted to be with my kids during the early years. Things didn't quite work out that way.
Don't think for an instant that I was happy with what I had made of my life, I had bitter disappointment in myself.
Tax year 1998...so little money earned, we claimed the Earned Income Credit. It was something like $2000. We decided that we would buy a computer. I went one better. I decided that I was going to build the computer. The only computer I had ever used was a TRS-80 nearly 20 years before. I bought all the parts, I put it together...and it worked! I had taken a book out of the library and read old issues of Maximum PC, I managed to figure out the basics of the software...partitioning, formatting, then the OS - Win 98. Then drivers and whatnot. I can't say that it went smoothly, I reinstalled the OS many times, lost a lot of data and made a lot of mistakes, but it was fun. I absorbed a whole lot of information quickly. And I found the Internet. Which was the initial cause of the demise of my marriage, but I'll not go there now.
About six months later, I started messing around with Web site creation tools...specifically, AOL's hotdog express. Hey, it gave a newbie a start. I was curious about how a web page worked...I decided the take an HTML class at a local community college. I actually dropped out of the class early on, but continued to study from the books. I learned HTML. I then took an online PERL programming course. This I followed through with and earned an A, of course.
And then I met "W". I am his only employee. I have a huge workload and a lot of responsibility. I taught myself PHP and mySQL during this time and I still use my beloved PERL. I dable a bit in a propietary software that some of our clients use, but this is mostly "W"s area of expertise. I do everything else. I set up a single dev server where before, development was done on individual work computers. I set up a source/version control system, even if I'm the only one who touches the files. I set up a project tracking tool, a client site statistics program...mostly open source but some of my own tweaks added. I even created a web developer start page that listed all clients sites and various information and relied on a user login system in order to access the info. I had a chance to play with MacOSX Server...from DNS to Kerberos and I'll soon have the opportunity to set up a dual boot WinXP/Linux box.
I don't party much anymore. It's been over a year since I've gone out drinking with friends. I far more enjoy going to movies, concerts, dinners and the like with someone special. I rarely drink, it only gives me headaches. A couple glasses of wine or beer and I always feel awful the next day. I do recognize that it does help to loosen things up when first meeting someone. A nice fruity cocktail will be fine.
Go ahead, try to tell me that I am less educated than a college graduate. Heh, I won't even get into how much I read of world events, business news, tech news and just plain weird or funny stuff. My mind is ever a sponge with endless capacity. It's not to say that I'm a genius or well learned in more disciplined endeavors, but I love learning for learnings sake and greatly value this in others.
There are some things I've left out of my life's story, I'll leave those events for another day.
4/3/2006 4:49 pm
Excellent job....I dont know ya but im proud of you |