When It’s Time to Go…

The Mrs. and me have been working all summer to get the house ready to sell…been here for just about 24 years, kids are almost on their own, and a 3700 square foot house on 1 acre of yard just doesn’t have the appeal that it used to…

So, we’ve spent the summer packing, fixing, and arguing about what is done, what isn’t done, what still needs to be done, and at times questioning my selections of some contractors we’ve had around the house the past couple of months…a list of improvements to the house the last 2 months goes like this:

  • re-finishing wooden floors throughout the downstairs
  • new kitchen countertops (along with a new sink and faucet)
  • re-painting just about every room downstairs along with the hallway, and master bedroom and bathroom
  • brand new windows on the 2nd story of the house
  • 2 separate visits from the plumber to repair and replace old and failing plumbing
  • fireplace and stove servicing company
  • a landscape contractor because… I’m No Gardener Either…  and… I’m Still No Gardener…Part 2…
  • a window cleaner…what the hell?…spending thousands already to fix the place up, what’s a couple hundred more between friends?…
  • Stanley Steemer, got to clean the rugs, am I right…

Everything really came to a head when on one Friday I had the painters, the window installers, and the window cleaners all in the house at the same time…now you might think that’s poor planning, but I didn’t plan on the painter taking 10 full days to paint the house (neither did he to be honest), the window installers came late because all the rain we’ve had recently has messed up their schedule, and the window cleaners were there the same day as the window installers because, blah…blah…blah…you get my point…

And all of this was sandwiched around 2 truckloads of stuff I now have to store in a storage place so that the house shows better, a garage sale, assembling a large charitable donation of stuff we don’t use and stuff that didn’t sell at the garage sale, and  working 40+ hours a week at the market… 

So on one of my days off, I figured it would be a good time to pack up my personal stuff…non-clothing items I wouldn’t need until we figure out where we’re going to live once we sell the house…and both surprisingly and sadly, it all fit into just one large Home Depot moving box…and it also brought to my memory the movie, The Jerk with Steve Martin…remember that scene where he’s leaving the house and he’s taking his stuff with him…in my true Navin R. Johnson style…

“Well I’m gonna to go then! And I don’t need anything..except this…my orange jersey from Flyers Dream Week…and that’s the only thing I need…just this jersey…and my hockey card from Dream Week – The jersey and the hockey cards and that’s all I need…and my expired New Jersey real estate license. – The jersey, the hockey cards, and the real estate license, and that’s all I need… and these Hess trucks. – the jersey, and these cards, the license, and the Hess Trucks… and this wizard statue. – The jersey, these cards, and the expired license, and the Hess trucks, and the wizard, that’s all I need…And these runDisney medals – the jersey, these cards, the expired license, the trucks, the wizard statue, and the medals, that’s all I need…and my high school diploma and transcripts, and that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one…just these – the jersey, and the cards, and the expired real estate license, the Hess trucks, the wizard statue, the medals, and my high school transcripts…and the diploma for sure.”

Well what are you looking at? What do you think I’m some kind of a jerk or something!

IMG_0142

If It’s Gonna’ Be…I’d Rather It Not Be Up To Me…

There’s an old saying about not defecating where you eat…well, I would never do that, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m about to share…

The problem here is…I live near where I work, not that I do the aforementioned defacating…I could walk to and from work if I had to, and I have…so if an emergency were to say spring up…maybe the store night manager has to leave in a hurry?…who they gonna’ call?…yeah, it was me…and it was after putting in a 9 hour day…I had just gotten home and was settling into my favorite old-man Bahama shorts and t-shirt… maybe even a quick nap since my wife was away at church for the next hour…when the cell phone started ringing…

Normally, I would have just let it ring and go to voice mail…but no, my son, thinking he was doing me a favor, hurried over to pick it up…some day, God as my witness, I’m tossing that kid outta my house…

EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935

And of course it’s someone from the store…and of course he felt that I needed to take the call rather than lay down and nap in peace for an hour…and yes, it was the store and they asked if I could return to work for another fun-filled 5 hours as the night manager…see, here’s the thing, remember I said I could walk to work…well, it turns out I wasn’t even the first choice to fill the role…I wasn’t called until they were left with no choice…maybe I should be grateful for not calling me until everybody else said no…but for some reason I feel like my talents were disrespected by them not calling the easiest, closest alternative?…how screwed up is that ass-backward logic, right?…

The everyday role I have in the store is also shared by 5 other employees…when you have a store open 24/7 and 7 days a week, you need lots of leaders…and if you’ve ever read anything else I’ve ever written, you would know that I’m the token old man…older than any two of them put together…so when an emergency like this pops up… and it really doesn’t, this is the first time ever…but when it does, you can bet that these young whippersnappers are off doing fun things…not laying around in their old man shorts and t-shirts…

To wrap this up, the night went smooth with no problems and I was done by 1 AM…I do have to laugh though…the youngster who is in charge of scheduling said that I can just leave early from one of my shifts this week…I may be getting old, but why the hell would I leave early at a later date and lose the overtime I put in last night?…making the 14 plus hours I worked all at straight time?…sorry kid, I may be old and you may be smarter than me…know all the new math and stuff…but I still remember the value of time and a half vs. straight time…the value of a buck vs. a buck-and-a-half…grow up!…

IMG_0142

I’m Still No Gardener…Part 2…

Last year I showed off my lack of gardening prowess…

I’m No Gardener Either…

I thought maybe I would show you again my lack of horticultural skills…my yard seems to be where weeds go not just to grow, but to thrive…and now after 23+ years in this house, I’m also starting to see that when they built this house, whoever planted the original gardens sucked every bit as much as I do at gardening and landscaping…they failed to take into consideration future growth…and now due to my lack of enthusiasm towards gardening and bushes and trees that were poorly laid out at the start, these overgrown, hard to maintain beds have become…well, overgrown and hard to maintain…

The wife and me have decided it’s time to downsize…maybe move into one of those over-priced active adult communities…in other words, find a neighborhood with other old people who don’t want to do nothing either…except maybe sit on a lounge chair at the neighborhood pool…Yaasss!!…and have someone else do all of the yard work…

So in preparation for that special day when we leave our current cares behind, we’ve had to start fixing this dump up a little…throw crap away, replace and repair stuff, and give it some curb appeal…except my yard didn’t get the “we’re moving” memo and has decided to grow and over-grow stuff I’ve never seen before…that is, the parts of it that are still hanging in there and haven’t choked themselves out from overgrowth and poor bed planning…

So, once again this year, I’ll share a few of the highlights and lowlights from my hot 5B6DD517-F1AE-412E-B809-18FEAB4EC799mess of a yard…like these stumps and whatever is left attempting to grow in this bed…I’m not sure what all of it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s poison some darn thing or another lurking in there…waiting for me to grab it…on a side note…how about that patio…you really wanna sit there?…

 

And then there are these formerly beautiful boxwoods that lined the front of our 0CFBA1F6-76E8-4168-AB51-C24FFF8BBE05house…I’m well on my way to killing these things now…you know there is no saving them…they have to come out in the name of curb appeal…our future realtor agrees…strongly…so, in the next couple of weeks, out they’ll come…all in favor of planting something new…something smaller…something that will make it easier to clean around each year…not that I’ll care…I wonder what that weed is that’s growing up through the middle of it?…seems to be one of the few things in the yard I haven’t killed off…

Moving on to this poor specimen of a tree…I think it was once some kind of Japanese 62077606-915E-4F00-A151-BF642311BF88something or other…the fact that I don’t know should tell you I probably didn’t deserve to have it in my yard…I just remember it was expensive…obviously…was is the proper description for this pathetic looking specimen …so, tragically, one of these days it will have to suffer the same fate as the aforementioned boxwoods…once again, our realtor would absolutely agree…

23856534-2304-4A2F-A93C-9E5BF8FD01DF Finally, some good news…something that has actually taken root and grown better than even I could have imagined…and apparently multiplied too…these frigging things…they’re like thistle on steroids…they also have this prehistoric need to survive built into them…these things have spikes or needles, whatever…they cut right through my gloves…there’s no pulling these like ordinary thistle…but, out they must come…shame, they’re the only two things not just growing, but thriving on the acre of death I call my yard…hopefully soon enough, my yard will be somebody else’s problem…my realtor would agree…

 

IMG_0142

She’s In the Navy Now…Hooyah?…

So you’re the United States Navy…and you discover that you’ve lost track of one of your newly graduated officers…can’t find her…she showed up at your base on-time as required, but for some reason you’ve lost track of her…so what’s the first thing you do in that situation?…do you call Mark Harmon and the N.C.I.S. gang to help find out what happened?…no, you call her mom and dad to ask if we’ve seen her?…apparently, the Navy has a somewhat  Archaic  system to track their ships and which personnel are on them???…

Are they out of their freaking minds?!!…I’m on edge about my daughter being in the military already…I can’t tell you how much more my anxiety level grew after that call… turns out she was out to sea…on her ship with the rest of her crew on their way to their next destination…where she was supposed to be…did they even think to maybe contact her ship before calling us?…WTF?…

There’s a military acronym for this…it’s called SNAFU…situation normal: all fouled up…actually, I’ve given you the sanitized version…if you’re sitting somewhere reading this, I’m sure you can figure out the other word used to replace fouled…and really, that’s probably what this was, just a paperwork SNAFU…a communication error…but please US NAVY, next time?…if there is a next time?…don’t waste time by calling me or her mom…she has a cell phone…just call her, maybe shoot her a text…and if that doesn’t work, then call Mark Harmon first, not me…oh, and do you think you can get Cote de Pablo to help locate her too?B8A7F674-E270-417F-BF5E-7D4AA9218F8F…she was great, and let’s face it, the show went downhill after she left…

IMG_0142

“Excuse Me Sir, But I Am Not A Liar”…

Had a strange, somewhat interesting conversation with a customer at the market the other day. This customer was in search of a manager who he thought could somehow enable corporate changes in our policy of who gets carded when purchasing alcohol in our store. He found me instead…which is to say his dream of corporate change was about to head over the falls in a barrel…a cheaply one made at that…

…So this gentleman’s disagreement was that we were lying about WHY we card our customers when purchasing alcohol…I gave him the most obvious answers…the answers he was really entitled to…not good enough for him…he insisted I tell the truth…I promised him I was…not good enough…the real truth, like him, was out there, and he wanted that other truth…tiring of his personal agenda, I pressed him back to tell me why he thought we carded all customers…his answer was both simplistic and obvious…Captain Obvious-like obvious…his answer was liability

It was here that I decided I had enough of this conversation…of course we do it to reduce our liability…what company doesn’t put rules in place to protect themselves from liability?…he then went on a rant about how this country had too many regulations…how the population was too divided against itself…how there were too many hand-outs…our politicians were failing in their duty to us…he was really warming up now…and starting to Infect other customers happy little Saturday morning grocery shopping experience…time to change the subject back to his initial complaint…so I simply asked him if for some reason he had been denied a purchase in our establishment today…his answer was almost ridiculous when you consider all the argument he had put into it…he only drinks once, maybe twice a year…my first thought was that maybe today was one of those days?…a thought I kept to myself by the way…

 After a couple of minutes of back and forth I decided I had to politely end this guys dream…EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935…one technique I’ve developed is to politely ask the customer’s name and shake their hand signaling my intention to move on and end a pretty much no-win circular conversation…but with this guy I felt a couple things needed to be cleared up first…after all I gave this guy a lot of time…so I made sure that he understood that his wish for us to change our carding policy would not happen, not even a little bit…and for some reason…using this interaction to improve my ability to understand other people’s motives…I was interested to know what this customer’s political party affiliation was, if he had one?…his complaints of too many regulations…of a nation divided…his objection to some, not all social programs (hand-outs)…of politicians who fail to do what he thought was right (drain the swamp?)…and his answer didn’t surprise me…

IMG_0142

Finally…I’m Out…Almost…

I got an unexpected gift in the mail this week…another check for $600 from Federal Express as part of their Contractor class action settlement…I guess there were some in the class who never claimed their portion of the money?…

After I signed the check and handed it over to my wife to deposit electronically, two things came to mind…the first you probably already guessed…why the hell did I waste my time signing something that just got deposited electronically?…and that this check officially ended any business relationship with Fred Smith and his management team of  hired thugs, backstabbing thieves, and overpaid lawyers…I only say overpaid because even the lawyers couldn’t defend that ridiculous contractor model FedEx they had…and still have by the way, they just call it something different now…but who knows?…maybe I’m wrong and FedEx was elated to be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to We the Uneducated Rabble who chose to Rebel against their authoritarian rules…yeah, right!…because that’s what soulless dictators enjoy the most…a little rebellion…

Anyway, I took this opportunity to do something else I’ve held off from doing…getting rid of all that FedEx clothing I had to purchase through the years…the shorts and long pants I bagged and sent off to the nearest clothing collection bin…the shirts, which I obviously couldn’t give away or give back…although, I really would have enjoyed sending them back to Fred down there in Memphis, or to his minions in Pittsburgh…but no, these I took delight in ripping them in half making them of no use to anyone…and for me this really signaled that I’m out, for real, that part of my life is now in the past…almost…let me clarify…my days of driving a truck…of working 10+ hour days with no overtime…working 6 days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with no overtime…working with no paid time off of any kind…ARE OVER!

I still have a connection to FredEx…a business arrangement with my former employer who is a FedEx contractor…and it still has a couple of years to go…but as of now…and I can’t say this negatively enough… “Fred Smith, you can kiss my Irish @$$, I’m through with you! I’m a grocer now. Never will I ever write about you and your independent contractor sham of a business model.”…on these pages…for the most part…(however I do reserve the right to re-post my holiday classic FedEx mutants post…)

And to my former employer…don’t sweat it…I didn’t cut up your shirts with your company logo…I’m saving them for you…you know, the ones without all of the salt stains from my sweat…

IMG_0142

My Annual Physical And Prostate Exam From Ol’ Doc Hook…

I like my family doctor…genuinely seems like a nice guy…usually we have a good patient-doctor relationship…I don’t visit him much which allows him to see some of the older more profitable patients…and he keeps my required by him prescription rolling…unless of course I don’t visit him for my annual physical…which as it turns out, I’ve missed a couple with the Hook…though to be fair, it was only last year…the 2 years prior were on him…apparently he had other things to do…one year he even had me take my physical with his physicians assistant…and her trainee?…

I remember when we got to the part that involved a glove, some lubricant, and my prostate…she said she would have her trainee do this particular part of the exam…”Your trainee?…sorry mam, but what made you think I was even going to let you do it”, I protested…

…sorry, but Ol’ Doc Hook is the only one who gets to finger-diddle my prostate…if I’m paying full price, I want the headliner…not the back-up band…

So anyway, back in January, my pharmacy…those bastards…refused to refill my Dilantin prescription…ahh, seizures…forcing me to call ‘Ol Doc Hook’s office for a renewal, which of course…after a 15 minute test of my Patience spent listening to crappy music and commercials where they told me Patients Matter Always…did they mean patients or patience, I was no longer sure…they refused to do the one thing that mattered always at this moment in time…and they adamantly refused to do it too!…

“You haven’t seen the doctor in over a year…you need to have an annual physical done before we can refill it!”

A year?”, I scoffed, “To be honest with you mam, I haven’t seen the Hook himself in almost 3 years…he’s hardly ever there…”

…that snarky answer didn’t really get me any closer to a new script, so staring into a near-empty vial of my daily drug, I finally conceded to try and match my schedule to the Hook’s…or in other words, take whatever date they give me and shut-up about it…they all happily agreed I would be in on March 5th…renewing the prescription however?…no problem…all I would need to do was visit their website where I could request a refill, it would only take 24 – 48 hours to be called in..

…on the day of my physical, as I laid on the table, knees to my chest…my dignity and my pride left far behind in the waiting room …the Hook’s freakishly large, and in my opinion, under-lubricated index finger playing an uncomfortable game of hide-and-seek with my prostate…same place as always, Doc…Doc seemed to be mailing this one in…he wasn’t hitting me on the knee with his little hammer…not asking me to turn my head and cough…hell, he didn’t even check for a pulse…and when this sham of a physical exam was done, Ol’ Doc ordered some tests…

46405881-125E-4614-A87D-AA01EFA44B01

anyone reading this who knows me, and there might be 2 or 3 at the most, knows that I am in no way “giddy”…the photo below closely represents my outlook on life…okay, dizzy yes, giddy?…hell no…c’mon Hook, do your job…know your patient…I thought I mattered…

IMG_0142