Archive for the Personal Story Category

Roots

Posted in Personal Story, Random Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by bigtuna185

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I’m having a son in two days. That’s a reality that’s still hard to catch up with. I’m going to be responsible for raising another little human. Who decided this was a good idea? At what point did everything around me change? If you take the time to ask me how I’m doing, I can almost guarantee that nothing I say is accurate. The truth is that it’s difficult to understand how to feel about this. I’ve never been more excited to welcome a new addition to our lives, but at the same time nothing has ever been more terrifying.

I think that I’m going to lean more towards excited for now though.

I wanted to take the time to explain to my future son, Ezra, what it means to be a part of our family. What it means to be a Troche.

Now I had coined a bit of a sarcastic family motto a while back that really only is known between me and my wife. Regardless, I find it to be on point when you think about it.

“A Troche never forgets, but always pretends that he forgets.”

Now if you look at that negatively, then that would indicate that people in our family would tend to try and get themselves out of trouble, more often than not through lies and deception. This is true to some extent based on the stories I’ve heard about some of my family. However, I like to spin it more to the positive, in the sense that as a Troche, you may not expect much of us, but we will absolutely surprise you with what we’re capable of.

We’re a family that, for a long time, has struggled with being honest, being transparent, being good communicators, being selfless and compassionate, and being attentive. It is a family history that seems like it is built more on mistrust than it is on love. This isn’t to say that the family doesn’t love each other, but in the past they have done a poor job of showing it. I can speak for me and my cousins in the same generation that this has been the case. Family, for all of their flaws, will always be family. I don’t say this out of resentment, but awareness that things need to change.

We’re finally growing into our namesake. We are taking over the mantle of the family name and defining it under our own terms. We get to choose what being a Troche means from here on out. My son will know who he is and where he comes from, but I also want him to know who I am, what I stand for, and that he will have that to lean on if he ever comes upon times of trouble or doubt. These are some of the things that I have learned in my short 27 years so far:

  • Be good to everyone, regardless of whether they are good to you.
  • A hard truth is better than a soft lie.
  • A sincere apology goes a long way towards mending bridges.
  • Respect the work that someone has put into a project, whether assigned or chosen.
  • Common courtesy is not common. Go out of your way to show kindness to others.
  • Be a man of your word.
  • Having a good reputation and being reliable are two traits that are immensely valuable.
  • Show and speak how you feel whenever necessary. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe.
  • Being vulnerable does not make you weak; it reveals the character of others.
  • Just being there when you’re needed can be enough to show that you care.
  • Becoming a good listener will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
  • Be unashamed of who you are. You were made that way for a reason.

And finally

  • No matter what you’re going through, God will take care of you.

These proverbs, if you can even call them that, are a short list of many things that define who I am. These are some of the core values that I’d like our family to become. Someday I might be considered a patriarch in my family, and I would hope that these would be readily apparent without having to say it out loud. I want my family to know that this is a part of me just from my actions.

I’m so conscious of how, from here on out, everything I do or say will affect my son. My wife will be responsible as well, but there’s just something, man to man, that goes beyond that. The wisdom that I pour into him must form a solid foundation, so that even if he goes wayward, he will still be grounded. I cannot control everything that he will do, but I can control who I am for him to look to.

I can’t wait to meet him already. The real work is yet to be done.

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How 8 Words can Get You Fired

Posted in Personal Story, Random Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by bigtuna185

wordsI’ve been feeling the itch to write again lately, although I’m not entirely sure what to say at this point. So much has passed and changed since the last time that I updated anything on here. My about page and profile are so outdated that at this point they might as well be about a different person. But writing never really leaves you, it just kind of waits for you to come back.

The last time I wrote about something personal I got a great response from it, even though the subject matter was less than enjoyable to write about. There’s been a topic that I’ve been meaning to come around to and address, but I’ve felt that there would be more backlash than support should I decide to publish the post. I’m at a point now, though, that I don’t care for what readers might think, just that I know it’s something that needs to be said.

What follows is an account of how I was pushed out of a job that I loved. All parties will remain nameless because it isn’t so much about who was involved as it is about the need for the full story to be told, lest egos and man’s pride get in the way.

It’s important to start with where I am now in relation to the events that are yet to told. I’m married to my beautiful wife, I have a son on the way, we have an apartment that we live in comfortably with landlords who not only understand and empathize with what happened to me, but have gone through it themselves, and I work 3 jobs so that we can continue to maintain this standard of life. Where I am now isn’t the end of the story, but it serves as a guidepost as to how difficult it has been when it needn’t be so. Don’t get me wrong. We live a GREAT and BLESSED life, but I can’t help but wonder what it would be like had events transpired differently. Anyway, onward. Continue reading

Trial by Fire

Posted in Personal Story with tags , , , , on June 19, 2017 by bigtuna185

I’m not quite sure how to write about this, but I know that I need to. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had to watch my family go through.

We were coming home from our vacation in Florida, away to be at a gaming tournament for my brother’s birthday. It was a great weekend for all of us, my dad, my step-mom, me, and my brother. It was one of those weekends where you felt the stress of the past year just kind of dissipate and evaporate into the humid Orlando skies.

We arrived back at the airport without any issues, and, being that we were in Newark, we had a long drive back through New York traffic in order to reach my dad’s house on Long Island. Save for a few expletive filled moments directed at the various idiots driving on the road (as there are many), there were also no problems driving home.

As we made the turn onto the street where my father lived, I put away my copy of A Game of Thrones that I was re-reading, carefully dog-earring the chapter that I had left off on. I know you probably shouldn’t do that to books, but it’s better than using a bookmark and worrying about whether or not you lose it. Then I have to worry about the bookmark instead of the book, and I refuse to e-read, so here we are. All I could think about was getting to go home and see my wife, who I hadn’t seen for the past four days, her parents, eat some good food, relax on my couch at home, and feverishly look and apply to jobs for the summer. I never got to do that though.

The funny thing about plans is that they are never real until they happen. What happened next was not planned.

The car coasted down the bumpy, neglected road, and the first thing you noticed was the yellow tape. You know, like police tape stretched along the fence and lack of fence where a tree had previously fallen a few months ago. Then you look up from the tape and see what appears to be a house, but it no longer is. It takes a few seconds for the brain to add up and process the situation. Charred black, windows and doors blown out, a skeleton of its former self, my father’s house was destroyed. Burned.

I can’t tell you how much it hurt to hear my step-mom cry out to God or anyone for an explanation. To see them walk among the ashes of their now former life, coming to terms with the fact that things would never be the same again. The tears didn’t come to me, nor to my dad, as shock started to set in. Duty took over as a first born son, moving to try and do anything, say anything that might alleviate the situation. But mostly I couldn’t help but just stand there and look at it all.

Brown leaves from the trees overhead swayed in the branches from the gentle wind that blew that day. Brown I realized because the smoke and flames had been so high that it had killed a portion of the tree in a neighbors yard, suffocating it. The surrounding homes were still okay. Luckily, the fire was contained to the middle of the house and didn’t spread. Luckily is a bitter word here. Neighbors came out, anxious to know that my family was alright, that there was no one trapped inside when it happened. They didn’t know we had been on vacation, but they saw that a car was missing from the driveway. Cars drove past trying to see the spectacle that was my family’s tragedy. And you know they went out of their way to look at it. The house is on a dead end street.

My car had been in the driveway when it happened, the entire front, passenger side of the frame melted and drooping into the ground. Cracks and bubbles covered the windshield, straining under the intense heat that surrounded it earlier. The interior was all completely unharmed, so I was able to salvage everything from it, but the smell of burnt plastic was thick in the air inside. My dad’s car, sitting next to mine, useless due to a flat tire for months, wasn’t so lucky. The entire hood of the car was melted and gone, the engine looked like an ice cream cone left out on a hot summer’s day, the fabric on the inside of the car was torn apart and burned, and the rear window of his car looked as if it had been blown out. I didn’t have a car anymore, but that was nothing compared to what my family lost.

They attempted to sift through the wreckage to try and find what little things they could: in the end a few photo albums and a lock box with all of the house paperwork were the spoils. Nothing else could be done for it though. Unfortunately there were some kittens inside that didn’t make it, but the other cats were rescued and taken by a neighbor. The outdoor cats, meanwhile, all wandered along the front lawn, specters from a past life sent to comfort the grieving.

There was a man who showed up at some point who specialized in home fire aftermath repair/consulting, and things of that nature. A tricky business to get into. You don’t want business to be good, but you also need to make a living somehow. It’s a fine line to walk across. This guy did not even come close to finding the line. We realized that at some point the night before, he had tried to call us and tell us what happened, but at 1 in the morning when a random number calls, you don’t pick up. And so we didn’t. Anyway, this guy gets out of his van and tries to shoot the ol’ bull with everyone, asking people where they went to school just to see if they knew the same people that he knew. He was extremely outgoing, and charismatic, and picked the wrong time to showcase these qualities. I didn’t know how to tell him to leave, because we kind of needed him in order to figure out the next step. Eventually one of my dad’s friends showed up and told him to give us at least 24 hours to work through this.

It was a weird process. The initial emotion gave way to focused responsibility on what to do next, followed by more bouts of emotion, followed by action. Family showed up to support us. It was all very strange. To add to it, we still don’t know how it happened. The fire marshal had no answers, and the only information that we got from the situation was a 40 second clip on the news.

I think the hardest part about all of this for me was that I knew that I got to leave and go home. For my dad, my step-mom, and my brother, they couldn’t do that. Home was gone for them. Home was now ash in the wind, and I felt bad. They had nothing left, and there was nothing I could do except go home to my still moderately comfortable life. I prayed while I was there because it was the only thing I could do. Through that time, I heard God tell me “there’s a plan in this,” and that gave me comfort. Our plans may not be concrete, but His are, and hearing reassurance that there was purpose and love behind this was enough. It gave me strength to be there for my family.

At one point I asked my dad how he felt, which was dumb considering the situation, but I wanted to get a handle on his stability. The words seemed to get stuck in his throat, like he was preventing himself from processing the situation: “I don’t know how to feel!” And I just left it at that. This mental portrait, of my dad, silver gray ash covering his shoes, with a streak of red that trickled down, blood from a cut he had gotten while looking for the lock box key in the remains of the house, functioning, yet broken at the same time. I would wish for anything to give him back what he has now lost. But for right now, all we can do is rebuild and remember.

And by the way, did I mention it was Father’s Day?