Saturday, August 30, 2014

The importance of feeling relevant… is it really that important? I’ll know soon enough

This is me, late summer 1996, a year or so after I moved into my current apartment on Monroe Avenue.  I’m surprised how differently I look from this photo now, and I’m also surprised I’ve lived here this long. 

I’m comfortable with my space & I like the street I’m on and that’s pretty much it.

It’s only worth mentioning because this past summer, as I’ve seen my investment portfolio rise (and sink, and then rise again), I’ve confided to a couple friends that those early-retirement plans are still a go, the closer I get to that date (or it gets to me).  At the same time though, I confess to worrying a little what will become of me after said event, as I have no real plans in mind.  

In the book “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think” by Wess Moss, he says that unhappy retirees tend to read a lot of books.  Really, Wes??  Gosh that’s one of my favorite pastimes!

I guess it really struck home a few days ago, when I read on Facebook about someone I once knew in high school (single like me, a year or so younger) going to Guatemala with his church-group to install a new water purification system.  I admire Joe & what he does… he makes a difference.   I sat there at my desk reading this and felt pretty irrelevant.

But God works in mysterious ways (so I’ve heard) and after work, as I got off my bus and headed home I saw three people sitting and talking on the low stone barrier in front of my apartment building.  There’s Bill, Jim & Theresa—the oldest residents here, in more ways than one.  (Theresa is 82 and has lived here since 1983.)  Bill says “He’s home!” and Theresa says “See Jim, I TOLD you Doug doesn’t get home until after 5!”   I said “Have you guys been waiting for me?”  and Theresa hands me a slip of paper and says “This was in the lobby this morning.” 

It says “On Monday Sept 8, the basement & lower level area will be cleaned out.  This includes the emptying of unreserved storage lockers, which will have their locks removed.  You MUST call this number to reserve your new storage locker ID, which can be found below in yellow.”

Theresa says “Doug I have 35 years of stuff down there!  And that black woman beside me, Jolene?  She’s always wanted MY locker because it has HER apartment number on it, and now she’s going to claim it and I’ll have to move everything out!”  Bill says “Back around ‘94 or so, I traded mine with some youngster because I wanted a bottom locker and had a top.  I certainly don’t want to change back now.”  

I said “Did anyone call building management?”  No.  “Does anyone know what they mean by new storage IDs?”  No.  Theresa said that was why they were waiting for me to come home.  I suggested we all head to the basement.

It was pretty apparent, those yellow IDs stenciled on the floor.  I said “Guys, ignore the apartment numbers painted on the lockers—see how this works?  5T & 6B, fifth locker top, sixth locker bottom.  Theresa, Jim, where are the ones you use?”  “Here’s mine Doug, it has 22T and 23B painted in front!”  “Mine’s 19B but my apartment is 203 and this door still says 205!” 

I said “Don’t worry about it, just keep your stuff where it is.  I’ll call management and reserve your new IDs for you.”  “Oh Doug, thank you!”  “See, I told you Doug would fix things!”   Really guys?  Really??

Well, it’s not purifying water in Guatemala, but it’s a start I suppose!

Hope everyone has a nice Labor Day Weekend

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Destroy, destroy... I’m ready to destroy everyone in my path (just kidding, folks)



I admit I wasn’t in the best of moods this morning.  After a long work week, I sat there at my desk Friday afternoon & calmly tried to fill out my weekly timesheet while not watching the stock market take a bad tumble—my dreams of early retirement zapped by the evil robots on Wall Street.

And then the next thing I know, it’s around 4am, I’ve just awoken in a sitting position on my couch with my head resting on my right shoulder, and my tv is shouting at me to wake up and watch this nifty infomercial for the “Hurricane Mop”.  Meanwhile, my (very hot) laptop is busy branding the name TOSHIBA into the tops of my legs.  Arrgh!

So when I went to bed and got up (again) still feeling grumpy and out of sorts, I made a cup of coffee and thought I’d see what the folks on Facebook were up to.  I was greeted with this alert:  “Courtney has tagged you in a photo”.  (That’s my youngest sister.)  Oh I hate being tagged in photos.  I clicked on the link and it was this cheesy artwork of a baby deer surrounded by baby bunnies and blue butterflies.  At the top was the caption “Family is…”  and of course I did what any older brother in his right mind would do, gagged on the swallow of coffee in my mouth and then responded with this!


Now I was just kidding of course (cough not really) but WHY IS THERE SO MUCH DRECK POSTED ON FACEBOOK.  For example, a couple posts below Courtney’s wretched love-fest were some words of wisdom from another relative:

"Don't expect others to heal you, you have to understand that the healing of a broken heart is an inside job..."

Christ Almighty, c’mon!  Why why why!   Not a day goes by that I’m not getting some life-lessons on there, with those infernal quotes.  Not just from family, but half the women on Facebook.  And then there’s my cousin, who enjoys sharing stuff like this:

Maybe this is his way of balancing out all the putridosity (or he’s just trying to stir things up), I don’t know.  What I DO know, I read this article (you can too, click on the photo) and it made me gag just as hard as that other stuff!

I’m just in an extra-sore mood today.  Normally this stuff doesn’t affect me like this, but it seems today there’s a wealth of it & there’s no stopping me.  I visited ‘The Town of Waynesburg’ page (my old hometown) and these are the types of posts I’m greeted with:

“FREE SOFA NEEDED!  I haven’t had a sofa for awhile but now I need a free one!”   (I need lots of things too—especially when they’re free)

“RINGER WASHER NEEDED!  NEW!”   (Er… it’s a ‘wringer washer’ and they stopped makin’ those contraptions in 1945)

“CHEAP STOVE WANTED!  OR A FREE ONE!!  A GRIDDLE WOULD BE NICE TOO”  (I’d like one with a griddle too, mine only came with burners) 

I know I’m being a real pissy pants here, forgive me.  But if people can post these requests on Facebook for everyone to see, then why can’t I share some of them here!?  Oh I wish I could kick something, it’s just that kind of morning.