Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

One Year Later

I’m sitting in the library uploading business card orders to  my printer and waiting on a meeting with another local businessman.  It’s been one year and one week since Virginia passed due to complications from breast cancer.  A lot has changed.  I’ve chronicled most of my changes here and I don’t really feel the need to rehash.

I spent most of the day May 12th crying over Virginia.  The wounds are still there, though with the passage of time they hurt less.  I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day without Ashya.

It’s been a frustrating year as I’ve been looking for work since September of 2010 when I got laid off.  It gets very frustrating to hear potential employers tell me that they’d love to hire me but won’t because I have too much experience.  I’m in my 40s with a wife and 5 kids to take care of, don’t tell me that I’ve got too much experience for  the job.

I explored the option of going back to school but ultimately didn’t because my former employer keeps forgetting to send me a written notification of being laid off (a necessary prerequisite to getting funding).  I’ve taken tests to see if there’s another career option that I’m suited for, nope I’m uniquely suited to do what I’m doing.

I finally went out and started up my own business and much to my surprise (but not my wife’s), the business is taking off with a sudden burst.  www.aliengraphicsnow.com  I’m excited about the prospects.

However, I realize that I’m where I need to be.  God called Virginia home.  God sent Ashya to me when I needed her.  God has not let us go hungry, without shelter, and has kept our gas tanks full.

One Year Later, and I’m finally realizing what it means to let God be in control.

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Memories of Virginia, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | 2 Comments

Peeking in my window

It’s Thursday morning December 9, 2010.  I’m sitting in my favorite Panera Bread waiting for the library to open.  Christmas music is playing on the speakers.  Nearly every table is occupied with a customer.  Most of them have their laptops or iPads out.

The sky is gray outside and the sun is refusing to show itself today.  I know how it feels.  Neither Ashya or I wanted to get up today.  All three of the live-in boys felt the same way.  It’s just gray and cold enough outside that a nice blanket of snow would cheer things up.

Last night we had practice for the children’s Christmas program at church.  I have been blessed with a group of talented young individuals.  What they lack in polish they more than make up for in enthusiasm.  After church the family went to see Soccer Dude’s game.  His team won 6-4.

The job hunt is still proceeding.  I’m willing and ready to work but not desperate enough to take a part-time, minimum-wage, burger-flipping job as yet.  I’ll keep applying for jobs that suit my skillset.

Still no net service at the house.  Apparently we live far enough out in the “rural” area that there’s no DSL coverage.  I guess I find southern Missouri’s definition of “rural” amusing.  I can see plenty of neighbors from each window in the house.  In Iowa that would be defined as a neighborhood.

The Pirate has been doing well in his new school.  His grades keep coming back in the high 90s.  48 Fan is dancing with GC Jazz for the first time next Monday.  I should be in attendance at that concert.  Pvt Black Spartan is still serving our country.  She did want everyone to know that she passed her most recent PT test.

God Bless everyone.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Which Direction Do I Go?

It’s no secret.  Ashya and I are planning on getting married sometime in the near future (ie within twelve months).  There are too many indicators that she and I are destined for each other.  She meets each and every one of the criteria I had prayed about that my next wife should have (including the bonus ones that I could live without).

We’ve been wondering about the time table for our eventual nuptials.  We’ve been concerned with the melding of two families, who’d have to move, which school system the boys would attend.  Typical stuff to be sure in this day and age, but we want to make sure that we do this right.

I had a good job here in Iowa.  She has a good job in Ozark country.  Soccer Dude and First Mate enjoy the schools they attend, likewise #48 Fan and the Pirate.  We weren’t entirely sure which direction the we were headed.

I make no secret about the fact that I believe prayer works.  We began praying for direction.  Today I got a shock.  My boss informed me that due to rising costs and falling revenue, my position was being eliminated.  I didn’t take it too well at first.  I packed my desk and left.

I notified family and friends.  There were tears, questions about what I’m gonna do, and promises of prayers and support.

The more I talked with my Ashya and my Dad, I began to realize that this piece of bad news has a VERY large silver lining.  I left on good terms with my boss.  He was very sorry to let me go.  I really liked my job and really didn’t want to leave.  God replied by having the job leave me.

So I will be looking for work in the Ozarks.  Why?  Ashya already has a good job and there is no reason for her to leave it.  My house in NE Iowa is to small for the combined family.  We found a nice house big enough for all of us in her neck of the woods (literally woods). 

So, I’m updating my resume and portfolio.  If you have any freelance graphic design work you need done don’t hesitate to give me a holler.  Things are gonna be a little tough but we’ll make it.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Introducing the NEW clan.

I’ve received a number of requests for this after my posting Meet Ashya T’Sai. Yes there are wedding plans for the future and no we’re not publicizing the date as yet. Ashya is a single mom with two boys. Since they will be showing up in posts from time to time, I thought it best to introduce (and reintroduce) the whole clan.

Vulcan Stev – yours truly. An ad man for a local paper, I was married for 21 years to Mrs. Vulcan Stev who recently passed away due to complications arising from breast cancer. I am a movie buff, enjoy comic books, science fiction on the big and small screen, role playing games and renaissance faires.

I am also an avid puppeteer and have preformed “Goober” at many shows across north central Iowa.

Ashya T’Sai – my better half. We actually graduated from the same high school at the same time. Ashya was a member of the same science fiction literary club that I was in high school. Her interests and mine mirror each other so closely, that the only thing we disagree on is how to ingest caffeine. I prefer mine cold and carbonated, she prefers hers hot with two sugars and cream.

Pvt. Black Spartan – serves our country by working for Uncle Sam. She’s my oldest. She’s a chip off the old geek block. She’s a better D&D player than I am and has traveled more than 400 miles just to attend a Renn Faire.

I asked her once what she did in the military. Her reply was “I could tell you Daddy but then I’d have to kill you.” Since she’s a qualified sharpshooter with the rifle and black belt to boot, I believe her.

Jazz – my adopted daughter. Pvt. Black Spartan asked Jazz to stick around the house after she went back to base. The reasoning was that with mommy gone, Daddy and the younger brothers needed a female around to make sure we didn’t kill ourselves doing something “bachelor stupid”. Jazz did what her friend asked and hasn’t left.

Soccer Dude – Ashya’s oldest. He’s a nice kid and fine young man. But he’s the kind of guy Ashya and I didn’t associate with in high school. As a junior he’s captain of the soccer team, has lettered every year. Seated number four on Tennis team his first year playing, consistently finishes in the top three in 5K’s that he runs for fun. Then to top it off, plays more musical instruments than I thought one person was capable of playing.

48-Fan (PIT #2) – my oldest son. He is also a junior and your typical teenager with a driver’s license. He’s a member of the school’s Academic Decathlon team and was the only Freshman in school history to qualify for state. He’s earned a significant number of metals and has lettered every year. Participates in school theater productions and provides a considerable number of voices for various characters in our puppet shows.

The First Mate – Ashya’s youngest. He and the pirate are two little peas in a pod. He plays bass guitar and seems to think his primary mission in life is to sneak up on either his mother or I and attempt to scare us half to death. When he doesn’t have his laptop up and running to play online games with the pirate, they are outside shooting their air rifles.

The Pirate (PIT #3) – my youngest. The Pirate enjoys his laptop and Wizard 101 MMORPG. When he’s not on the laptop or out getting in trouble with the first mate he is actively avoiding household chores. He is of the opinion that Ashya and I are getting married for the sole purpose of his and the first mate’s budding friendship.

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Meet Ashya T’Sai.

Demotivational Poster, Vulcan HumorAs most of my regular readers can tell you, I am a widower.  My wife, Mrs. Vulcan Stev passed this past spring after a battle with breast cancer and then liver cancer.  Rather then rehash what I’ve already written just click here.

One week after I wrote the I’m not fishing post, I broached the subject with my pastor and my church.  I wanted them aware of the fact that I was not looking at leaving the church but rather looking to go to a place where single women my age attended.  I wasn’t about ready to start dating someone I didn’t know.  So in order to get to know the women when I was ready to start dating, I had to go to where they were.

The members of the church all agreed this was a reasonable thing for me to do (though there was gnashing of teeth over “It’s too soon to be dating”).

Two days after I asked for prayer that God would illuminate my path towards “Single, Ready-to-Date”, I got an e-mail from an acquaintance from High School.  She was now a single mother and her children had questions about Renaissance Faires and Role Playing Games and how both of those activities can fit into a Christian worldview.

I make no secret about the fact that I am a Christian.  I make no secret that I believe that Role Playing Games are not Satanic in nature and can be enjoyed by Christians.  With those things firmly in mind, I honestly answered her questions to the best of my ability.  I was no more thinking about my recent prayer request than I was thinking about supper two weeks from then.  Here was a friend from High School asking my opinion on a subject that I know pretty well.

One e-mail turned into two.  Two e-mails turned into many.  E-mails gave way to text messages.  Text messages gave way to phone calls (Thank God I have unlimited texting on my phone and we’re both on the same network so we’re not paying for all the additional calling and texting).

I’m not going to bore you with the all the details and some of the details are highly personal, suffice it to say that over the course of these conversations we not only renewed a friendship but we sparked something more than that.  I journeyed to the wonderful land of the Ozark mountains to meet her family this past week.  After meeting her family, asking her parents permission (I know I didn’t have to because we’re both adults but I did anyway) to date their daughter, Ashya T’Sai (vulcan for Lady Love) and I officially began dating.

What? How could you? Isn’t this too soon?

Ashya and I are friends from high school.  She and I share the same faith (not just Christianity but the same subset).  I don’t blog much about this but I work with kids in the church.  My main form of doing this is with a puppet team, Ashya and I were on the same puppet team in high school she still works with the Wednesday evening children’s stuff at her church.

My last request was that the next woman in my life should understand me.  Mrs. Vulcan Stev and I loved each other very much.  We did not share many interests and once the kids were gone from the home we were going to have to reconnect.  I did not want to start dating again at age 43 and have NOTHING in common with the woman I dated.

Ashya, not only gets my sense of humor, she’s as bad as I am with puns.  She not only likes movies but our DVD collections are nearly identical.  The only reason we don’t watch the same TV is because I have dish and she doesn’t.  The only major difference between the two of us is that she likes coffee and I have to get my caffeine cold and carbonated.

I’m not going to question God’s timing.  I asked God where the pond was and he responded with the fish.  It’s like he was telling me that I didn’t have to worry about this because he had everything under control.  I loved Mrs. Vulcan Stev and I always will.  However she is now a treasured part of my past.  Ashya and I are the future.

Just to give all my geeky buddies an idea of her geek cred, her son, PIT #4, (not sure about that nickname yet) was given a whole slew of ducklings.  I suggested that she name one of the ducks Howard.  Not only did she get the reference but she laughed for a minute or two before saying, “That’s perfect.”

Ashya and I are not playing the dating game.  We’re not in this just for fun, she still lives in the Ozarks and I live in North Central Iowa.  We’re in this for the long-haul.  She’ll be showing up in these posts, I just wanted to introduce her to everyone.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Top Secret: Why I haven’t been updating this summer

Please pardon me in advance if I ramble through this post.  My thoughts are jumbled and I’m trying to make some coherent sense of everything that is running through my brain.

My wife of twenty-years passed away in May.  I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of her passing.  Paying off the debts left by her passing, coming to terms with being a single parent, and realizing just how big a gaping hole in my life was left by her passing.

I went back to work two-weeks after her passing.  The small-town paper where I work was entering its busy season with local fairs, the local high school softball team winning a second-straight state championship.  Needless to say I was running into a lot of working late.

With PIT #3 playing summer baseball, my schedule was even more fragmented.  I finally got the last bill related to Virginia paid off in late July.  I began to work on my 2009 taxes.  All this while I began to realize that my social circle did not include any single females that I might consider dating once I was ready to start dating again.  I’ve covered this all in my I’m not fishing post, so I won’t rehash that all here.

I began asking God where I should go to find single women who shared my faith and my call.  Two days after I began praying in earnest about what to do, a friend of long acquaintance sent me an e-mail.  We graduated from the same high school and went to the same church 25 years ago.

She had a question about my involvement in Role Playing Games and Renaissance Faires.  At this point I was thinking all about answering her questions as honestly and openly as I could.  I was not thinking about my recent prayer request.  After 200+ text messages, 50+ e-mails, and a phone call or two, I began thinking about my recent prayer request.  Sometime into our fourth or fifth day of talking with each other we began to realize just how similar our faith, calls, and geeky interests were.

I have promised her that I will not change my facebook status, or mention her name until I have met her parents and informed them of my intention to date their daughter.  Am I old-fashioned? yes.  Am I being a gentlemen?  yes.  Does she appreciate this aspect of my personality? in her own words, yes.  Are there other reasons for this requirement? yes, but I’m not at liberty to spill those beans.

So to sum up, spring and early summer were spent working and dealing with Virginia’s estate, mid-summer I spent finishing up my 2009 taxes, late summer through now I have been communicating with my girlfriend.  I have been living life and accomplishing things that need to be done.

Will I be introducing her to my friends and readers here.  Yes but, I need to introduce myself to her parents.

She’s been teasing me because I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time.  Every time I sit to write I get writer’s block because all I can think about is her.  I’m heading to her part of the country over Labor Day weekend to introduce myself to her family

I’ve got more original demotivational posters in the works, some rpg related posts, and some movie stuff that I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around.  Now that work is back to normal, I’ve finished off taxes and the estate, and the PITs are back in school, I should be getting some writing done.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, News, Reviews and Culture, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , | 3 Comments

I’m not fishing yet.

Chilly WillyRegular readers of this blog are aware of the fact that two months ago my wife passed after an extended battle with breast cancer.  I’ve been coping with the aftermath of her passing (paying off her debts, hospital bills, incurred expenses, etc.).  While I’ve been doing this, I’ve also been back at work during one of the busiest points of the year.

Because I’m back at work I’m left with one day during the work week to get the 9-5 M-F stuff done.  Yes my boss would gladly give me some extra time to accomplish these things, but I’m the ad man for a small town Iowa paper.  I have deadlines to meet and if I don’t get my job done the paper has no advertising.

In the past two months, I have been coming to grips with the fact that  my wife is not coming back home.  She has been healed of pain and has finished her fight.  As much as I’d like to pretend she’s away at a conference and will be coming back, she’s not going to walk through the door.

It’s tough.  I don’t have anyone to snuggle up against at night.  I don’t have anyone to sit listen to how good or bad my day at work was.  Yes I’ve still got my boys at home, however there’s a very large difference between one’s partner and one’s offspring.

I’m only 43.  I have to realize that PIT #2 is closer to leaving home than I care to admit.  PIT #3 will be home for a while longer but eventually (despite his protests to the contrary) he’ll go off to college, find a girl, and settle down somewhere (hopefully) other than Daddy’s house.  Even if both of my boys decide to attend local college and live at home during that time, they’ll still be gone before I’m 60.  I’m not spending the rest of my life alone.

This brings me to the title of this post.  I took stock of the number of (known) single women in my life.  Including my writing partner and baby sister, I came up with five.  As I said, one of those is my sister, that leaves four.  My writing partner lives in California and has made it clear she’s not leaving the state of the Governator, down to three.  One of these is a co-worker and good friend.  Aside from the fact that she has a boyfriend moving to Iowa later this year, we are neither’s particular cup-of-tea. Two.

The other two are nice enough but after talking with both of them and going on a few dates, it’s quite clear that there is no future for me and either of them.  One of them keeps bringing up a past boyfriend in EVERY conversation and makes it quite clear that he holds the strings to her heart.  The other expressed an interest in pursuing a relationship but since that pronouncement, she has hooked up with not one, but two different guys.  OK, I’m not stupid.  I don’t need to have it spelled out for me.  That leaves me at zero.

Now, I have a lot of meatspace acquaintances.  They are all either married, children, or well past retirement age.  In my social circle, aside from the previously mentioned women, there are no adult single females in my life.  Four months ago that wasn’t a problem.  It’s still not a problem but left untouched it will be.

I’m looking for some specific traits that the next Mrs. Nibbelink should have.  She should share my faith.  She should like children as my puppet team and volunteer work deal primarily with children.  She should also understand my geek factor.  I’m not saying she has to like the same movies, TV shows, gaming choices, or even like going to Renaissance Faires (those would be a nice bonus but the first two are the deal breakers).

So where do I go to find said person?  The local bar? no not if the first two are my primary conditions?  A singles club? possibly but there aren’t any locally and I still have my boys to look after.  A church that shares my faith? well yes that’d be the first place to start looking.

Therein lies my problem.  My current church has NO singles group.  So I need to find a church that has what I’m looking for.  I’ve been asking around, checking out local church websites and basically shopping for another church to attend.

Oh my.  You’d think I announced the apocalypse.  This is causing more furor than my looking into getting a tatoo.  I’m getting lambasted from all sides for everything from disrespecting my wife’s memory to leaving a church home for no good reason to being in mourning long enough.  *sigh*

To put it into the metaphor.  Just because I’m trying to find the pond where the fish are does not mean I’m planning the fish fry for this weekend.  I’m not ready to go window shopping yet, I just want to know where the mall is located.  I’m not ready to start dating, but when I am I need to know where to go looking for single females that meet at least the first two conditions.

Gals, I’m not yet ready for any sort of a serious relationship as I’m still grieving my departed wife.  I am lonely and I am looking to meet some new people.

Thanks for listening.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , | 7 Comments

The Database is still here, just inactive.

Greetings,

I wanted to take some time before I hit the sheets to let everyone know that I have not given up on this blog.  Things are beginning to calm down in the aftermath of my wife’s passing.  Most of the expenses have been paid.  Most of the paperwork has been finished.

What remains to be done is the reorganization of the house.  I need to decided what stuff needs to be moved where.  I need to actually start throwing out the stuff that Virginia were working on pitching before she passed.  However with my full-time job this leaves weekends and evenings to accomplish those things.  Weekends and evenings are when I wrote for the blog.

The blog is not going away, it just won’t be updated as regularly as I’d like.  I’ve got about seven articles in various stages of completion, some movie reviews, some gaming lists, and a D30 article or two.  Once I get through some of the neglected household tasks that had been placed on hold due to the upheaval in our lives, I’ll get back to writing.

Thank you for staying with me.  Your patience will be rewarded.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, News, Reviews and Culture, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , | 4 Comments

Tattoos are not leading me down a path paved with good intentions

Recently, I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo.  I realize that getting a permanent scar is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I also understand that some might have moral or aesthetic objections to tattoos.  However, this posting is not about the moral and/or philosophical implications of getting a permanent body decoration.  It is, rather, a look at why I’m thinking of a tattoo and what I’m thinking of getting.

A tattoo is not something that I lightly contemplate.  I am deathly afraid of needles.  Don’t like ‘em, try to avoid them whenever possible.  See, needles come in two sizes; the 5-inch small needles and the four-foot three-inch diameter large needles.  To say that I don’t like needles is an understatement.  Yes I know, that needles are what a professional tattoo artist uses to ply his trade.  That has always been the deal-breaker for me in the past.

Flash forward to now.  Virginia’s wish was to be cremated and have her ashes scattered on the wind.  We actually used some of her ashes while planting a tree that was a gift from her best friend.  For this reason, there is no memorial, no marker, nothing that says to the world Virginia was here.

I began thinking of what I could do for a memorial.  I still want to donate some of the life insurance to cancer research but I have to finish paying off the bills before I do that.  The P.I.T.s have suggested the Virginia Nibbelink Memorial Entertainment Center (basically a new HD Big Screen TV).  I haven’t ruled that out but I’m not quite sure I want to spend quiet time thinking of my wife while the boys are playing video games.

The thought hit me that I could get a tattoo.  A tattoo with Virginia’s name on it, something that would mean something to me.  What design should I get?  A pink ribbon with her name on it? possibly.  But that’s almost cliché, I wanted something unique.  I thought about getting a tattoo of her RPG character with the pink ribbon, but that seemed to be a tad excessive and would require wa-a-ay too much explanation to the casual observer.

Then it hit me.  I’ll get a tat of a Klingon bat’leth sword with a pink ribbon encircling it.  I’ll put Virginia’s name on the ribbon and underneath her life span.  The sword would symbolize Virginia’s determination to defeat the cancer.  I ran this idea past my kids and was given the thumbs up across the board.

I began to tell family and friends about this idea.  My parents cautioned me on the fact that some folks that I deal with on a daily basis find tattoos offensive and I wouldn’t want to alienate those folks.  After taking everything into account I decided that I’d go ahead and get a tattoo on my arm right where a short-sleeve shirt would cover it.  That way it would a personal thing visible only to family and close friends.

My daughter’s best friend who has been helping the Nibbelink bachelors to survive without killing themselves, loved the idea and gave me $20 as a Father’s Day present.  The bill was inscribed “Tattoo Fund”.

Honored by her simple act of generosity, I posted about her gift on Facebook.  Oh my you’d think I had announced the apocalypse.  No fewer than 13 people chimed in each telling me that it was either a good idea or telling me that I was going to hell for even thinking about getting a tattoo.  One friend who shares similar religious beliefs almost ignited a flame war with his tongue-in-cheek comment (Hank I understood what you meant and we’re cool).  Somebody else in his own unique way directed me to the attached flow-chart to help me make the decision (ironically the flow chart actually indicates that I should get the tattoo).

So here I sit.  I have examined my own personal convictions and beliefs.  I will be getting a discreet tattoo in honor of my wife.

I will post pictures of it when I get it.

I just wanted to let everyone know.

Graphic courtesy of The Daily Weekly

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , , | 4 Comments

Time? Who has spare time?

Time is relative.  It has been four weeks since Virginia passed.  I’ve got the car title transferred, I’ve got the bank accounts sorted out, I’ve got the paperwork going for numerous other things…   I’m trying desperately to get my life back on track, but I feel like BP has got a better handle on the gulf than I’ve got on my life.  There aren’t any fewer hours in the day because she’s gone, it just seems like it.

I’m back at work and trying desperately to get ahead of the projects that piled up during my two-week hiatus.  I’ve been shooting photos for some stories.  I’ll be back to normal at work in a couple of weeks.

Back home is a different story.  The one-armed paper hanger has it easier.  Many, many little fires are demanding my attention.  Every time I think I have one thing solved to satisfaction two more items erupt in my face.  Things that I thought were handled months ago have come back to bite me in the butt.

I need a decent night’s sleep.  I need some help.  I need someone who understands exactly what I’m going through.  I’m not declaring myself ready to date, I just need an adult who speaks the same language (so to speak).

In the meantime, thank you for listening to me blather enjoy some demotivational posters.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , | 1 Comment