This is a depressing time of the year for me as I truly enjoy summer. I think it is due to the frentic energy of the kids as they try to cram as much fun and chaos into summer vacation as they can.
My house usually winds up as 'kid central' for some reason. Various friends of my off-spring can be found sleeping over for a night or two. Weekends are particularly chaotic as several friends are usually running around "Chaos Manor".
One child in particular has left so much clothing over the summer my wife has created a shelf in the laundry room for her clothes to the point she has enough for a three day stay! I expect to see mail arriving in her name soon :).
I must say this summer has been particularly restful. My wife visited her parents in their country for two weeks leaving me with the two youngest children. The youngest ones are not quite old enough to stay by themselves as they could possibly cause chaos capable of disrupting the time/space continuum.
For the first week I paid the college age daughter to stay with them (she earned that money!) and the second week I simply took a stay-cation.
The stay-cation was wonderful! It was truly delightful to get up and have no real plans!
I would get up, take the kids to the gym for us all to get a early morning workout (surprisingly both kids liked this), then a breakfast, puttering around the house or going to the movies, to the local pool or whatever.
I think I could handle retirement...at least for a few weeks...
My local pool had a wonderful party on the 4th of July. The economy has hit my area pretty hard which means the pool membership is down a bit. Due to this the pool manager decided to have a 'simple party' with no fireworks but games consisting of 'Jello Eating', greased watermelon wrestling (Tossing a vaseline covered watermelon into the pool and letting the contestants battle it out like football), the 'biggest splash' contest and the 'best diver' contest.
It was fantastic! I honestly can't remember when I had a better time at a party!
The biggest splash was hysterical! A kind burly man who announces the kids swim meets leaped off of the high dive and did a cannonball that sent water so high it actually touched the branch of a high tree that overlooks the pool!
The creative dive was won by a woman who used to compete in college but had not dove in 20 years! She practiced for a week before the contest and showed us why she competed in college. It was a shock to all of us as we did not realize she had this talent.
Sometimes the best partys are the simple ones.
We managed to squeeze in a camping trip this year!
It has been years since we visited Myrtle Beach in SC so my wife and I got the rig to Lakewood campground at Myrtle Beach.
Camping at the beach is a wonderful thing, I just don't care for hotels at the beach full of screaming teenagers whose idea of a good time includes copious amounts of alcohol which then makes them obnoxious to everyone else. Yes I am getting to be crotchety...
Lakewood Campground is a Christian based campground which is a bit quieter than the others, they have wonderful shaded spots to pull your rig in. Each site offers water, cable, electricity and there is a wonderful cyber cafe nearby which you can use to get free wireless internet access.
There is also an on-site food place which will deliver hot food to your campsite in a reasonable time. We 'ordered out' since we were worn out from the long drive and were pleasantly surprised when our order arrived in 20 minutes and it was actually quite delicious! I don't think I have had a better burger even in a restaurant.
Every morning my youngest daughter and I would get up and go boogie boarding at 7:00 while the others slept. Boogie boarding is a pasttime I have enjoyed since I was 8 years old and still love it. I have taught all of my kids how to catch waves and they are very good at it!
The waves were incredible during our time there! I caught one wave that had to be eight feet tall! It was high enough that when I looked down I could see the top of the head of a man in the water before the wave crashed down sending me zooming towards the shore.
Nightimes at the campground were amusing to me, people like to get up and walk around to see other peoples campers or go to the outdoor rec center which is by the ocean.
Sundays are also nice, they have a Church on the ocean! You can sit in the pews while fans give you a nice cool breeze as the preacher gives a sermon accompanied by the sounds of waves crashing in the background.
Small wonder some people have chosen to retire and live on permanent sites at lakewood....
(See attached link for more info on this neat place).
I loved walking around Lakewood camping resort.
There are 'permanent sites' which consist of either pre-fab houses or large campers which are tastefully permantly parked with beautiful decks built around them which helps disguise the fact you are looking at a camper.
Large RV's which obviously cost a great deal of money would be in one area and 'travel trailers' were in another.
The travel trailers really interest me, I would see some that were obviously fairly new parked to ones that looked to be forty years old. One trailer was of particular interest as it appeared to be made in the early 60's and was occupied by a husband and wife who had to be in their 60's also. But there they were, enjoying camping and having a blast in that little camper without a care in the world!
One site was particularly amusing to me, a small pop-up was housed on it occupied by a man and his wife and five girls who ranged from pre-teen to teenage years! I have no idea how they all fit in this pop-up by finally decided he must have removed everything from it and they simply used it to sleep in at night.
One evening, as I was walking around I saw the man sitting by himself outside and said "I saw you earlier this week with all those girls..you're outnumbered aren't you!?"
He replied with a mournful "Yes Lord! I tried to have a son to help even up the odd's but the Good Lord has a sense of humor!"
That left me with a smile for the rest of the week.
Summer is here in full swing and the summer activities for the kids have started.
My youngest daughter had signed up to go to a summer camp with her Church youth group and spent the latter part of Sunday packing for her week long vacation which was to start at 8:30AM Monday morning.
As I was leaving for work at 7:15 my wife informed me that she had forgotten to purchase two 'throw away' cameras for our daughter to take on her trip, was there anyway I could drive to the store and pick up two cameras and get them back to the house before they left at 7:45 to meet the bus.
This statement alone describes the one of the differences between my wife and I.
If you ask my wife how long does it take to get to the store, she will base her estimate on how long it would take her to drive to the store if it were 12:00 Midnight, no trafffic, all green lights, no cops, while driving an alcohol fueled dragster at it's top speed.
It you ask me how long does it take to get to the store, I will estimate in traffic, all red lights, while driving the normal speed limit.
However, I am glad my wife is the way she is as it makes life more exciting.
Not wanting to disappoint my daughter, I took off in my Quixotean quest to purchase two cameras. Somehow, I managed to find two camera's and deliver them right when they were walking out the door to drive to the Church.
My youngest daughter is at the age where parents should not be seen nor heard. It is my opinion that teenagers at this age try to fool their friends into thinking that they do not have parents and heaven forbid you should actually talk to your child if he/she is in a group with their peers. You will get stared at by your child as if you had just walked up wearing an easter bunny suit and holding a carrot.
As my daughter stood in line with her peers my wife realized she forgot to pack water for the bus ride and so she walked to our daughter and simply said "Oh honey, I just remembered we forgot to pack you some water! So just see if they have some in a vending machine at the first rest stop".
According to my wife, our daughter rolled her eyes and sort of 'hissed' my wife away.
I told my wife she should have gotten a bullhorn and blasted out "[Daughters Name]! DID YOU REMEMBER TO PACK CLEAN UNDERWEAR!?!??!?"
That would have been fun....
(of course I didn't mean for her to really do that....sort of)
I can't believe Michael Jackson passed away!
While he was about as unusual as an individual could get, I do believe he had a good heart and can respect the talent he had.
I believe a lot of his problems were due to people taking advantage of him, from all the news reports and stories that have been repeated I have yet to see evidence of someone grabbing him and saying "Hey! Wake up! You're over forty years old now! Time to grow up!"
In a situation much like Elvis Presley, it seems Michael Jackson was surrounded by 'yes people' and Doctors who allowed him to continue his bizarre behavior and pump him up with drugs and pain killers.
Truly a tragedy. I certainly hope his kids have a good life and will be well taken care of.
The "Climate Bill" has passed through the house. There is no way I can claim to know every nuance of this bill but I personally don't think Government should be involved as Government has proven it can barely run itself so why should it get involved in this?
I CAN say with authority that I have worked with businesses and manufacturing organizations for over 30 years and can report that every business that I am currently working with has jumped on the 'green' band wagon in an effort to cut costs so they can stay competitive.
One large MFG company has even hired an outside company to come in and handle their recycling for them. The recycling company is doing the work cheaper than the MFG company could do it AND the recycling company is even SELLING the recyclables and putting money back into the pockets of the company that hired them.
The net result being, the MFG company doesn't have to pay the recycling company a single dime and is getting free money in return!
There are plenty of businesses doing this and companies are already touting "Green Products" in order to get bigger sales as studies have shown that consumers PREFER 'green products'.
I for one do not want the Government to get involved with the Green movement that is already underway.
Remember how the Government decided to bail GM out and it was just a 'loan'.
We would have been better off throwing that money into a blast furnace!
Personally, I think the way to have handled it was to give every US Taxpayer a check for twenty thousand dollars that could only be used to buy a car built by the car companies asking for a handout. GM or Chrysler.
If the US taxpayer used the check, they would not have had to pay taxes on the car for two years.
If the US taxpayer decided NOT to use the check to buy a GM or Chrysler car, they could opt to use ten thousand dollars to help purchase a car from another auto manufacturer who builds cars in the US.
That would have really given GM and Chrysler incentive to get their acts together and come up with a very decent, reliable car for 20K in order to make sales.
June 01,2009 - Today marks a day I had hoped I would never see, General Motors has filed for bankruptcy.
General Motors in the 50's was seen as the company that could do no wrong, each year it turned loose new cars to such an eager public that people would actually take days off to go see the new cars.
During the 60's, GM missed the mark with the Corvair (though I thought it a neat car) and actually hired detectives to 'find dirt' on Ralph Nader. They then had to admit this in court and tarnished their image.
From the 70's to the 90's GM made horrible cars and during the 90's GM (IMO) became fat and lazy and turned out high priced SUV's that were bland and guzzled gas because they made an outrageous profit on each SUV!
Some people may argue "Well, if the public did not want SUV's, GM would not have made them!" That could be true but Toyota and Honda did not make SUV's and you don't seem them filing for bankruptcy!"
What I don't understand is that it appears the Government (in other words, the US taxpayer), is going to get 60% of GM which apparently consists of "Bad GM' while the other 40% of GM rebuilds into a profitable company.
Regardless, I am confident our Government will run our 60% share with the efficiency that they have run Amtrak.....
I have been enjoying going to my Gym lately due to the new floor show.
The floor show consists of a 40ish year old Gentleman who has skin that is tanned so dark it appears to be leather. He is husky to the point where he is almost fat and has a large belly. He covers this up with a weight lifting belt that has the word "Bounty Hunter" written on the back in magic marker. He wears weight lifting pants and a ripped shirt and walks around carrying a gallon jug with some concoction in it. The jug has the words 'Gorilla Juice' written on it in magic marker.
I have seen this guy pull up to the gym in a Viper with the a personalized license tag that says "LiftRDie" written on it. Rumor has it that he is a bounty hunter of some sort. If this is true I don't know how he has not been killed yet because his antics are hilarious!
When I first saw him, I was walking to the free weight area when I kept heard someone yelling "ARGH!" and "YEAH!" accompanied by weights being slammed together.
I arrived to the weight room and saw the "Bounty Hunter" slamming weights onto a leg press machine, I estimated the weight to be a good 900LBS.
During my 20 minutes in the weight room this guy would:
#1: Walk around the leg press and shake the machine while yelling.
#2: Go to talk to the young ladies while making sure they saw various 'medals' on his shirt by brushing them with his right hand.
#3: Wrap his knees and ankles while slapping his thighs.
#4: Stand in front of the mirror and flex.
#5: Talk to the guys whom I consider 'hard core' lifters.
Finally, right before I left to hit the treadmill for my run (I hate that machine!) the 'Bounty Hunter' managed to get two big guys to 'spot' him.
He climbed into the leg press and instructed the men to get on either side of the machine.
They got ready and looked intense....this was going to be momentous, the Bounty Hunter was going to show them something!
The Bounty Hunter began yelling, he placed his feet up on the press board and shook his legs and with a mighty yell he began pushing...
His face turned red and he yelled louder.
His face turned even redder and he strained mightily.
His face turned white and he strained even more, I expected body parts to begin shooting off of him...
With a final scream he pushed hard...lifted the rack approximately 1/4 of an inch, let it drop with a resounding 'CRASH!" and then leaped off, said "Thanks" to the two men and strolled out.....
I laughed about that for days.
Hopefully I will see him again, he is very entertaining.
It seems economy downturn has increased the number of SPAM messages I receive. My company has a 'SPAM Filter' built into it's firewall but the spammers and scammers are determined to somehow reach my wallet through the email system. Everyday I receive letters from people claiming to have millions tied up and they desperately need me to wire them thousands of dollars to help them and they will repay me with millions!
Somehow I am supposed to believe that out of the entire world, these people have decided an unknown programmer in the US can help them!
But, apparently people do fall for these things. I have read many stories of college Professors falling for these schemes, one poor fellow actually used his entire life savings of 250K in one of these schemes. I guess this proves one can be highly intelligent yet lacking in common sense.
I ran across the story of how one man began playing a joke on a scammer, after reading his story I believe I may do the same!
Summer is almost here and so starts the Summer swim season for my youngest daughter and youngest son at our local pool. I really enjoy watching them compete though I am not a 'competive parent'. I think sports are very good for kids as long as the kid is taught to take a loss with grace because no matter how good you are in a sport, there will always be someone who is better!
Some parents really push their kids and I don't like this. One father in particular has a child who is very talented but can't seem to please his father no matter what he does. I observed the boy absolutely destroy his competition in a 'butterfly' event but when the kid came up to his dad after the event the father simply said 'You could've done better if..' and began to critique the kid.
A few days later I was at my GYM and saw the same man with his son, apparently the boy had been working out and was hurting but the dad was telling him "You have to just IGNORE the pain if you are going to be on top!"
I really don't like parents like this, kids only have 18 years to be kids. Let them enjoy being children (within reason) while they can because they have the rest of their lives to be adults!
In the meantime, I plan to enjoy watching my kids compete and will be proud of them whether or not they win or lose!
The last two weeks have been difficult for me, the final people affected by my companys layoff left on April 30th.
A lot of people stopped by my office to say goodbye and for once I found myself speechless as I honestly did not know what to say.
Some of the people were a complete surprise to me as I did not know the names of all the people affected.
I am probably one of the few people who enjoys running errands on the weekend. I like going to the grocery store to 'pick up a few items' and also
enjoy running to the mall and observing people as they run to various stores.
I also like talking to people, which is something that fascinates my youngest daughter.
Recently I needed to pick up a cake for my youngest sons birthday and my daughter accompanied me. My wife had ordered the cake from the Publix bakery and when I went to pick it up I noticed it was not engraved. I then asked the two ladies behind the counter "If I flatter you two with false compliments that don't mean a thing could you please engrave the cake?"
My daughters eyes bugged out but both ladies laughed and one of them said "Ok come on, come on lets hear them!"
So I responded, "You two are the purtiest ladies in the entire store....just don't talk to the ladies over at the deli today where I have to go buy some chicken strips..."
The ladies laughed harder and while one began decorating the cake and the other one said "Ok, keep talking!"
I continued "Have you been working out? You have lost SO much weight! You're nearly skin and bones!"
She laughed and stomped her foot as if to get the laughter out and handed me my cake back.
I thanked her and told her she should be in the movies she was so purty and left them laughing.
My daughter turned and said "How can you do that!?"
I replied "What?"
She said "Just strike up a conversation like that?"
I told her that it was my belief that everyone is naturally friendly but over the years we have become so paranoid that we quit talking to one another. Every now and then I do meet people who don't respond to me but I just keep trying.
On Saturday I took my three daughters to the mall.
I gave them the usual speech:
#1: Do you guys have your cell phones? - Check.
#2: The oldest one is in charge, the other two listen to her!
#3: If I call your cell phone, you better answer because if I call and don't get an answer I will go buy a bowtie, a propeller hat from the gag store, suspenders, and put all of that stuff on while wearing black argyle socks with my shorts and come looking for you! If I then find you I will call out every one of your names!
All three yell - NOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Item number three has worked well, so far I have not had to follow through on my threat but I am still hopeful. The three of them know I am just nuts enough to follow through on my threat because the middle one left her cell phone with me a few weeks ago while she was at her Church group on wednesday night.
While I was waiting for her a text message came through and the name of a boy popped up. I didn't know who the boy was but was feeling bored so I texted back "Leave me alone!" Of course the reply came back "Wts wrong?" and I replied back "U no wht!"
Unfortunately my daughter came back right when this was getting interesting. She saw the phone and shrieked "Oh no you didn't!!!!!" Fortunately she saw the humor in the incident and contacted my hapless victim and told him her dad was insane...
Back to the mall.
After dropping the girls off I wandered the mall and decided to get a haircut. I was fortunate that I did not have to wait and as the hair stylist began cutting my hair I mentioned that the mall seemed to be dead.
"Well, at least THIS side of the mall is dead" he replied.
He went on to explain that the salon (I guess you can't have a barber shop in a mall) was in a part of the mall that had Sears, Belks, and Radio shack as the primary stores whereas the other side of the mall had Starbucks, Game Stop, The Apple Store, dELiA*s and others.
He had a point, it seems that teens still spend money and not many teens would be caught dead going a Sears or Radio Shack.
Mainly because old fogies like me would be in Sears or Radio Shack....
I'm reading today that Chrysler has a plan to pretty much turn their company over to the UAW. It is ironic to me that Ford, GM, and Chrysler were once the most dominant businesses in the world, let alone the automotive industry, are now on life support. Out of the three companies, Ford appears to have the best chance of survival.
Due to personal experience with GM, Chrysler, and Ford I would be hard pressed to buy a car from any of those companies. I do hope they start making good cars, I would love to support them but I feel when one invests in a car it should be expected to give reasonable service as long as the owner maintains the car adequetely. I have always maintained my cars in a manner only an obsessed individual with a type "A" personality would and had a horrible experience with the last GM and Ford products I owned.
IE: Being stranded in strange places due to transmissions suddenly deciding to die though the vehicles were properly serviced WITH transmission flushes at the dealership!
Personally I don't know of anyone planning to buy a new car anytime soon. On the contrary, a friend of mine who is the manager of a local NAPA store informed me that business is booming due to the fact people are choosing to repair their existing cars.
Overall, I personally think (most) people across the US are just plain tired of chasing the dollar and are learning to get along with less. This is what is causing a problem with the banks, not many people are interested in taking out a loan for a bigger house or a newer car.
These days, people just want to get out of debt so they will not ever have to worry about losing everything if they ever lose their job (again).
Can you believe our Government forced the head of a company to step down?
Now, I am not a big fan of GM or Rick Wagner but I do believe it is wrong for the banks to have been handled differently than General Motors.
I imagine this is how the firing took place.
Scene: Oval Office at the Whitehouse, President Obama is speaking to the head of AIG (Edward Liddy) and GM President Rick Wagner.
Edward Liddy: I'm sorry your Lordship, but I have spent all of your money and have nothing to show for it.
President Obama: And just what did you DO with all of that money?
Edward Liddy: Well as we discussed, we all took bonuses and then went and bought some other banks. We also put in some money saving ideas such as not using toilet paper in our restrooms, instead we are using $100 bills! We also got rid of those costly water coolers and instead we installed Champagne dispensers! As discussed, the rest of the money went to campaign contributions...democratic of course...
President Obama (Pressing Button on desk): Tim? Have another truckload of money sent to AIG headquarters!
Edward Liddy (Bows): Thank you your Lordship!
Rick Wagner: I bear bad news your Lordship...
President Obama (Sighing): Not again Rich.
Rick Wagner: Uh that's Rick sir...
President Obama: Whatever, get on with it!
Rick Wagner: Even though we worked out some concessions with the unions and shut down some plants, we still cannot sell cars because the country is in a recession due to AIG!
President Obama presses a button on his desk, a wall slides up and Donald Trump glides out silently on a chair held by a hydraulic arm...
President Obama: Donald, would you do the honors?
Donald Trump points at Rick Wanger...
Rick Wagner: NO!
Donald Trump: YOU'RE FIRED!
Rick Wagner is carried away by guards...
It is also interesting to me that our government is now promising to back up car warrantys. I can imagine how this would work...
Scene: Car owner pushs Buick to Government authorized repair facility.
GM Technician: Welcome to the Obama Auto Repair Center! How can I help you?
Car Owner: Whew, my engine fell out a few miles down the road and this car is only a year old! I'm glad it's under warranty (produces warranty)
GM Technician: I see, hmm, are you sure you need an engine?
Car owner: What?!?! How can you say that!? I want an engine put in my car now!
GM Technician: No need to be rude sir,.. (Types on a portable laptop)...well! The only reports of engines falling out from GM cars are from owners who have a Chevy. So far no reports of engines falling out of Buicks. It must have been something you did!
Car Owner: But..but how can you say that? My car is a Buick and the Chevy model of the same type has had reports of it's engine falling out!
GM Technician: Yes and if your car was a Chevy we would fix it for free!
Car Owner: Well how much will it cost me to fix it?
GM Technician: Thirty thousand!
Car Owner: Thirty Thousand!?!? I could buy a new car for that!
GM Technician: And don't think we wouldn't like that but you should just opt for the repair otherwise you need to pay the 50% sales tax.
Car Owner: (Sigh) Ok, just repair it.
GM Technician: Ok! Say would you like to put a Chevy motor in it? They are the same car you know!
The Publix I generally frequent for shopping has a new cashier that I have begun avoiding because he "creeps me out."
He is approximately 30 years of age and seems very pleasant but he talks in a lilting sing song voice that makes me nervous because his facial expression never changes!
Cashier: THANK you for shopping PUBLIX toDAY! Hmmm I see THAT you have some PIZZA dough...are you planning to make some PIZZA tonight....Thazzzzzz nice! Are you planning to WATCH a moVIE alzo? I like NET flix for my moVIES.
I am serious when I say this man will look at you with a pasted on grin that never changes! I have studied him to see if perhaps he has a problem of some sort but I haven't found anything out of the ordinary so I have come to the conclusion that he is a maniac waiting to happen.
I truly expect a future dialog to go like this:
Cashier: THANK you for shopping PUBLIX toDAY! Hmmm I see THAT you have a BUTCHER knife! (Picks up knife, stabs bagger in arm) YES, the knife is VERY sharp I think it will do well for YOU! That will be $32.56, have a NICE day.
Speaking of PUBLIX, the other day I had a wierd thing happen. I was standing in line holding a basket of items that we always seem to be short on (eggs, milk, bread, etc) when suddenly a woman in business attire with a wild look in her eye came zooming around a corner with a cart full of groceries and skidded and disappeared into another aisle. Normally I don't pay attention to things like this but the woman was pushing a small 'kiddie kart' that the Publix I frequent has for children.
You've probably seen these, the cart is about half the size of a regular cart andis made of metal and has the stores name on it.
I stepped out of my line to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me but sure enough this woman had grabbed a 'kiddie kart' and was pushing it around the store all bent over while shoving items into it and talking on a cell phone.
I began chuckling to myself imagining the conversation: "Yes YES! I got it! Boy have I had a rough day! My feet are killing me with these high heels on and I somehow managed to grow into a giant today! Yes a giant! How do I know? The shopping cart is small!"
I got back in line and suddenly heard a commotion and the woman zoomed into the line beside mine and stood there tapping her foot while standing behind the small cart. Suddenly she looked around at the other carts and turned beet red and then....walked out of the store leaving her cart!
When she left everyone around the cart began laughing....
Seven years ago, a co-worker and I were discussing 'spare change', somehow we began wondering how many $ would exist in a five gallon jug of spare change. Shortly after that, my co-worker decided to relocate to Texas and the day after he left I found a five gallon glass jug in my office that had a single quarter in it. A note was under the jug that said "Why don't you find out? Here's a quarter to get started!"
On the way home that day, I purchased another five gallon jug. Since that day seven years ago I have faithfully put my pennies in one jug and all silver change in the other one. I have no idea how much money either jug contains but I hope it is a lot because the way things are going with the economy that is going to be MY RETIREMENT!
I don't know what happened to me yesterday but I really began getting ticked off thinking about the exorbitant bonuses the bank CEO's received from the last spendulus package.
Just think, some of these guys got over 20 million dollars for RUNNING BANKS INTO THE GROUND!!!! I could have run ALL of the banks into the ground for FIVE MILLION DOLLARS and saved the tax payers plenty on paying bonuses!
I think I began getting angry as I was working on my thirteen year old car, I was repairing a molding piece that had come off because GM decided during this time that doublesided tape would certainly hold molding onto a car. Over the years I have had pieces simply slide off due to age and have used 'plasti-weld' to repair them like they should have been installed to start with.
As I was doing this I began getting irritated that I had to do this repair to start with due to the fact GM had cut costs yet they were looking for a loan because no-one is buying their cars due to the the fact cars made by US Manufacturers have not been reliable.
A while back I talked with a former Ford quality control engineer who was downsized years ago. He told me that he attended a meeting with the Ford executives where an idea was pitched to change the rings in their problematic transmissions which would make them more reliable. The cost? $20 per transmission. But the idea was shelved because the execs felt that they could convince people getting repairs to buy new cars!
Then, I began thinking of the CEO's and their bonuses. Which led me to think of how I have been frugal for years in order to build up my retirement portfolio which has now dropped dramatically thanks to the wall street crooks.
This led to a foul mood which took a while to get out of.
Oh well, no-one ever promised me a Mercedes Benz....
In the future, I truly believe that there is going to be an upsurge in anger towards the people who work on Wall Street, particularly the CEO's who seem so incredibly out of touch. (See Link)
I wish it wouldn't get to that point but I can truly understand how angry one can get over this.
Lets put all of these people along with Bernie Madoff on a deserted island with only the basic tools and let them build their own houses from bamboo poles and eat banannas. We can circle the island with boats that will SHOOT them if they try to get off.
To entertain themselves they can sell each other palm fronds as investments.
One thing I have noticed from reading various articles from various journals and from talking to other individuals is that the US worker is really getting tired of working so hard. In the days of our parents (or Grandparents, depending upon your age), if you worked hard for a company you could eventually expect to be promoted. Even if you weren't promoted, if you worked hard you could stay with the same company, retire and get a watch upon retirement.
Over the years this attitude has changed, it seems that NO-ONE trusts upper management anymore! The prevailing attitude seems to be that upper management is only there to get in, get rich, get out and damn the consequences! Due to this, the average worker no longer TRUSTS their employer and thus does not want to work so hard...why should they? They are DISPOSABLE.
Onto fun things.
My youngest son's Cub Scout troop was having a Pinewood Derby which he naturally wanted to enter.
It had been a few years since I had participated in one of these so I did some research on Pinewood Derby cars and was shocked to see how seriously people take this now!
There are web sites devoted to helping one get the most out of their 5 OZ block of wood cars!
You could easily drop a hundred dollars in order to win a five dollar plastic trophy!
After reading many articles, my son and I decided to build a wedge shaped car with rounded edges and lead fishing weights stuffed in the back. We painted the car with plastic paint to cut down friction and rubbed the car with teflon wax.
We then spent a weekend 'deburring' the axles, this means removing all sharp edges from the nails used as axles in order for the wheels to run without 'catching'.
We spent another day sanding and polishing the plastic wheels.
All total, we probably had four days of work in this 5 OZ car.
The last time I had participated in a Pinewood Derby, I remember it being an all day event where all the scouts got together and the whole day was a picnic. You raced your car on each of the six tracks and the cars that came in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd were moved to the next race to compete against new cars and the whole thing started again.
It was really a lot of fun watching the kids stare each other down and prizes were handed out at the end of the day to the tired but happy winners.
I imagined this race would be the same and I actually had problems sleeping all week in anticipation!
I imagined me and my son, standing shoulder to shoulder, taking on everyone with his car! GRRRRRR!!!!
On the Saturday of the race, his pack was to report at 11:00. We showed up at the race site and had his car checked in to verify the length and weight was ok (no problems) and turned it over to the event organizers.
We sat in some folded chairs and I then realized the only people present were the kids / parents from my sons pack.
I looked at the track and saw that there were six race lanes and a box was at the end of the track which had wires coming out of it.
I took a closer look and realized the box had photo-electric cells attached which fed into a computer.
The computer also had a long cable leading to the front of the track and was wired to the 'drop bar' which held the cars back.
What this meant was the person running the laptop could simply click a button and the cars would be released and the times recorded electronically!
So, the first race went and my sons car was in lane one. The bar dropped and the cars went and an electronic voice announced "Winner...lane....ONE!"
They then moved the cars around, and my sons car won in another lane.
Again the cars were shuffled and I spoke with one of the organizers who told me the program they used insured every car was raced on EVERY track and the average time was recorded. The car with the fastest average times were then selected as 1st and 2nd and 3rd.
In less than 45 minutes, the whole thing was done and my son had won first place. They gave him a ribbon and said it was time for the next pack to come in and the winning times for the entire troop would be announced the following week.
I talked with an event organizer and was told that instead of personally racing against other cars, each packs 1st, 2nd and 3rd place times would be compared to get an overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.
That way each pack would have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner and could get a ribbon.
During the first week of January I reported in to the job site I was supporting and suddenly did not feel very well. I decided to have my blood pressure taken so I walked to the nurse's office and let her take my blood pressure and listen to my heart. Fast forward 6 hours and I was walking out of a heart clinic with orders to rest for five days and to take a nuclear stress test because my heart had picked up an extra beat somewhere.
It is believed this happened due to a side effect of some medication I had started taking due to an inherited genetic problem with my pituitary.
Fast forward 10 days and I am at the heart clinic again sitting in a waiting room.
When I reported in, I went into a room where they stuck a plastic needle in my arm (after chasing me up and down the hallways..I HATE needles) where I was allowed to eat the snacks provided as I had fasted the night before. While in the waiting room I watched in infomercial on the TV in the waiting area. Perhaps it was coincidence but the infomercial was health related.
The infomercial was about some sort of colon-cleansing product. The announced described how "Over the years" our systems were FULL of impacted fecal matter which were lining the walls of our systems like spackling paste, this led to poor health and the inability to have daily bowel movements!
Then, a very attractive young lady wearing a leotard...who could have the entire world on a string...began talking to the camera about how her bowel movements had improved so much since taking the sponsors product!
I could not help myself from thinking of this girl attending a high class sorority party, gliding into the room and telling everyone about her bowel movements and so I began giggling which then set off the person beside me and soon the entire waiting area was roaring with laughter to the point a technician came in and said "What's so funny?"
After a nice two hour wait which consisted more "colon blow" testimonies, X-rays and Andy Griffith reruns I was called to go to the torture room.
The technician placed electrode pads all over me and instructed me to get onto the treadmill.
First I walked, then I walked faster and uphill, then I jogged and after they decided I wasn't going to have a heart attack I was allowed off while the technician watched my heart rate recover.
Fast forward three hours and the Doctor was telling me that everything looked great and my heart was pumping / recovering fine though I still have an extra beat which does seem to disappear as I exercise. The hope is that there is still some medicine in my system that will eventually "go away" and my heart will go back to normal.
Well, my company had layoffs. The cuts were pretty large and fortunately I was spared. Apparently my co-worker and I are among a handful of people that have knowledge of systems that are profitable to the company and so they need us. So, we were kept on and were also asked to "Come up with a training manual in case we are out and they need someone to fix the system".
Sure boss, I will do that...I hope you can read Mandarin Chinese!
Since the layoffs happened last week not much has been accomplished in the form of work. To be fair, the companys severance package is pretty generous and those affected will still be with us for a few months...some may even be re-hired in the future.
Sigh, I just read where the average 401(k) balance went from $69,200 in 2007 to $50,200 last year losing an average of 27% in value, my own 401K certainly falls within that range. These days, even though I am grateful to still have a job I just don't feel motivated to go to work! But I must do so as I need to earn money to fund these bailouts to insure the Bank CEO's can grant themselves bonuses.
I see where GM is making noises which I believe are to prepare the American people for another round of auto maker bailouts. This whole thing is so STUPID, the American auto maker is supposed to compete against other car makers and they proved they couldn't do it without taxpayer help.
Help! We are getting our butts handed to us so give us some money!
IMO, we would have saved a lot of money had we given each registered voter a 30K check which the voter could only use to buy an American car from GM, Ford or Chrysler. If the Voter bought a car with the check they would not be required to pay taxes on it for 2 years. If the Voter decided they did not want a car, they would have to send the check back.
The car companies would have been SCRAMBLING to entice the public to buy a car, I imagine they would have been offering cars costing exactly 30K that would be loaded to the MAX with options.
Sometimes you have to find a laugh whenever the opportunity presents itself. This morning I drove my wifes White Honda Pilot and noticed it was low on gas. I pulled into a gas station and began filling up when not one but TWO identical White Honda Pilots pulled in and began filling up around me leaving the pump on the other side of me open.
Another car pulled in on the other side of me and the owner got out and walked around and then looked up and saw the White Honda Pilot in front of him, the White Honda Pilot across from him diagonally, then he looked over and saw mine.
He looked at me with a puzzled expression and I said in a deadpan voice "You can't join the club unless you buy a White Honda Pilot!"
His laughter kept me cheered up for the rest of the day...
Here we all are in 2009! I am sitting at work after two weeks off and everyone is anxious, it seems to me that no-one wants to make a decision on anything until after President Elect Obama has been sworn in and the effects of his policies are known.
During the two weeks I was off, I noticed that not many people had put Christmas lights up. It seemed to me that everyone was in a state of depression and was ready to shed 2008 like a 70's plaid jacket from the Herb Tarlek collection (points if you know that reference).
My two weeks wound up being a bit boring yet relaxing. My wife and I had planned to take our youngest daughter and youngest son to Washington but those plans got changed.
On the first day of vacation I went to the gym to stretch and play racquetball. I had planned to stretch a lot as I had noticed my legs had been getting stiffer and stiffer during November, I was even having problems getting into my car as my legs just would not bend correctly. I had planned to play racquetball to help shed some weight as I was noticing it was harder to button my pants and my socks were leaving a 'ring' around my calves when I took them off and my face was swollen.
So I stretched and then played one of the worst racquetball games I had ever played in my life, I couldn't run! I was trying to 'will' my legs to run and I just couldn't move! My racquetball partner kept asking "Are you ok?" and I would reply "I'm having an off day"
When I got home I felt as if I couldn't catch my breath so I went to see "The Witch Doctor", this is my term for my Doctor who has an MD degree but left regular practice years ago to go into 'holistic' medicine.
When he saw me he listened to my heart and his face went white. "You are not far from a heart attack!" he exclaimed as he had me listen to my heart.
My heart was not giving a normal beat but was sounding more like a drum solo from a Louis Prima song.
My Doctor explained to me that my heart was surrounded by fluid which was also pooled in my legs, face and abdominal area and this was all related to the infamous 'tuna' incident from a few weeks back.
He left the room and came back in a few minues with a cup full of a mixture of lemon juice and cayan pepper and ordered me to drink it. It was the nastiest thing I had ever had but it calmed my heart. He then had me lay on the table and began doing 'percussions' on my back.
Percussion means 'beat the patient' in Doctor talk. He pounded on my back to break up the fluid and then held my calves and explained that the soreness in my legs was due to oxygen deprevation which happened because my heart was not working as it should. He then began massaging my legs while I tried to crawl out of the room to get away from this maniac who seemed to be trying to seperate my calf muscle from my bone.
I promise you, this procedure hurt so much I was ready to give him my bank account number and password if he would just let go of my leg!
After an hour of being beaten and tortured, we listened to my heart and it was back to a normal rhythm. I was told to drink cranberry juice along with the lemon/cayan mixture until the next day and then to return for....round two!
I did as I was told and I spent the night getting up to get rid of the cranberry juice. The next morning I was shocked as I found my pants were loose and my face was not swollen. When I reported in to my Doctor I told him what I noticed and he told me he estimated I had over 20 lbs of fluid locked up and 10 lbs were in each leg.
More torture and I was given instructions to only walk on the treadmill for a week and then I could do racquetball but stay away from weights as my heart got stronger.
Needless to say, this ruined our trip plans as my Doctor did not want me sitting in a car for hours.
That afternoon my oldest girl needed to meet her swimming trainer at my local gym, my daughter is gearing up for a competition and has been training hard.
So, I decided this would be a good time to get some treadmill work in. I put on my exercise clothes, got my keys, my cell phone, water, towel, wierdness magnet and off we went to the gym.
When we arrived my daughter headed for the pool while I went to the cardio room to walk on the treadmill and watch the news on the tv's they have mounted on the wall.
When I arrived I took a treadmill next to a man who seemed to be limping on the field, he looked at me and gave a wierd grin and said "Hey!"
The wierdness magnet began burning a hole in my pocket.
"Hey!" I replied.
"You know, some guy was yelling at me in the locker room earlier and I don't know why!", my new best friend told me in a loud voice.
"Oh really, that's too bad!" I replied as I watched the man on the other side of my buddy move to a newly empty treadmill.
"Yeah! I don't know why he did this unless he doesn't like Obama because I told him I sent an email to Obama telling him what he should do because, you know, he TOLD us to send him an email and I did just that telling him how he could fix the economy!".
"Oh?", I said nervously as I began to realize my new friend was a few fries short of a happy meal.
"Oh yeah! and he called me to thank me for my suggestions and you know I voted for him because I don't pick no losers! I just sent him an email!"
For the next 10 minutes, my walking buddy repeated the same story and kept moving closer and closer to me so I finally told him I needed to go and went downstairs to walk on the indoor jogging track. I hated I could not see the news but this man was making me nervous. I tried tossing the wierdness magnet in a trash can but it kept rolling out and following me down the track.
After a few laps, I saw my racquetball partner talking to someone. After our match my partner had called to check on me as he was concerned about my performance and I decided to update him. As I approached my partner the person he was talking to turned around and it was my treadmill buddy!
As I approached, 'Buddy' said "Oh I wish I was that guy!" as he pointed to me. My RB partner looked at me puzzled and said "Oh?"
"Oh yeah!", Buddy continued, "He has a BIG house with a wide screen tv and works for the secret service! I know that because I SEEN the earphone piece coming from his ear!"
All this was completely odd to me as I had never mentioned my house or TV (I don't even on a wide screen) nor had I put an earphone of ANY type in my ear that day so I had NO idea where this was coming from.
"Yeah!", Buddy said while staring at me, "I seen this guy on David Letterman talking about protecting President Obama and all the adventures he has! He leads a great life!"
At that, Buddy turned and strolled off leaving my RB partner and I thoroughly confused.
President Obama, if you are missing one of your advisors, I can tell you where I saw him last!
Each weekend it seems I spend most of my Saturdays running various errands that I never seem to get to during the week. For some reason, last weekend I wound up visiting small businesses which wound up being rather fun to me.
Friday night, my wife asked me to go to a small Arabic store she had found to pick up some meat pies she had made for a dinner we were hosting. The store was in a small shopping center near our house, I had passed it many times but had never stopped before.
I went to the store at about 6:30 and it was deserted, I walked and said "Hello" loudly and a thin dark skinned man came out and said "Yezzir, what kin I do four YOU" I replied that I had come to pick up some pastries for my wife. "NAME!?" the man asked in a loud clear voice. I gave him my wifes name and immediately his face broke into a grin and he said "Ohhhh, [Ms SP]! She is zuch a nize ladee! I haff your order in the bak!" He then yelled into the back "Ah ka lacka lacka lacka" and a pretty young future heart breaker of about 12 came out carrying a white box. Obviously the young girl was the mans daughter as he face broke out into a smile of joy when she came out.
He walked her to the cashier and spoke to her in a small tone as she began ringing up my purchase. With a firm yet tenative voice the young girl told me the total and as I gave her my debit card she expertly processed my card as her dad looked on with warm eyes.
As I left I could not help wonder how people complain about working in the US when obviously this man managed to open a store and start a business even though he is probably having to learn our language. As I snuck one of the meat pies out I could see why my wife bought them, I think I found a new vice as those things are DELICIOUS! They almost didn't make it back to the party!
On Saturday I needed a haircut, I am fortunate to have a full head of hair at my age but it always has a mind of it's own and sticks out all over the place. But as long as my hair stays on my head I am happy. I went to my regular stylists place but he was closed which was unusual as it was a few hours before his normal closing time. My wife was bound and determined that my hair was going to be cut so when I informed her I was going to wait another week she made a few calls and told me there was a small barber shop nearby with someone waiting to cut my hair.
I was intriqued, I had not set foot inside of a 'barber shop' in YEARS. I followed the instructions and wound up at a small barber shop. I walked into the shop and there was a man who appeared to be in his sixties with great hair who was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, and a nice short sleeve shirt. "Yes sir?" he asked me. I told him I was the guy whose wife was sending him to get a hair cut. He laughed and said "Well lets see what we can do!" as he began chattering away about football and womens tennis. I was envious as he told me about his life, he is a retired widower who only works Thursday - Saturday in order to pay for his 'partying' and he spends the rest of his time at the beach in a beach house he purchased back in the 70's. The downturn in the economy has not affected him as he has always lived within meager means in order to stay at the beach.
I envy his lifestyle.
I have been madder than a wet hornet ocer the auto mfg's having their hands out due to poor planning. This really steams me, these guys have been making SUV's for years in order to make quick profits and suddenly find themselves unable to sell ANY cars. In spite of this, the foreign car makers, even though business is down, are somehow able to sell more cars than the American auto mfg's.
Now how could this be?
<font = sarcasm> Could it be that perhaps they are making RELIABLE cars that get good gas mileage? What a novel concept! </font>
What is astounding is that this is a REPEAT of the 1970's when we were in a 'oil crisis' and people began buying VW's, Datsuns (now Nissan), Toyota's and Honda's while GM and Ford were trying to push full sized vehicles like the Monte Carlo and LTD.
GM then began offering the pitiful Vega and Ford unveiled the fiery Pinto.
Why can't American auto makers make a reliable car that lasts for more than 5 years?
This morning I passed THREE American cars on the side of the road with their hoods up and drivers pacing around the car. I kid you not, every one of these cars was a GM Vehicle!
A few of the businesses I support have already been affected by the loss of sales from the American car companies.
One of the businesses makes electronic components for one of the American auto mfg's truck line. Since that companies business has lowered it's forecast for truck sales, the company was forced to tell it's employees they will close on Friday for one month instead of the normal two weeks they do each year.
They are doing this in hopes they will not have to layoff employees and hopefully it will work.
IMO - Bailing out the american auto mfg's is like trying to bail out companies that still make typewriters. The company CEO's should have been prepared because after all they make MILLIONS of dollars for 'brilliant' leadership.
What the heck are these CEO's being paid for now? Begging?
Good grief! Hey GM! Pay me a million bucks and I will go to Washington and cry my eyes out for you!
When Honda's CEO declared a few years ago that his company would not make an engine with more than six cylinders, he was laughed at. Honda's not at the trough asking for money.
When Toyota began selling it's Prius, it was called a 'novelty'. Toyota isn't asking for money.
Meanwhile, American auto makers pushed big bulky SUV's onto the markets and did not have a plan for when gas went over $3 a gallon. But they want us to bail them out for lack of planning.
Realistically, I know we MUST bailout the car companies because if they were allowed to fail we would suddenly have hundreds of thousands of workers out of work on top of our already staggering umemployement numbers. To me this is like a doctor telling me I need to have a colonic in order to get better. You don't want to do it, you're going to get it in the end, but maybe it will help.
Here's hoping next year will be better for us all...
Last week was Halloween and the local school was having a 'Fall Fest'. Since my wife and I are involved with the school we agreed to help out and I found myself in charge of a 'Bungee Run' game. For those of you not familiar with this game it involves two particpants strapped in harnesses that are attached to individual bungee cords. The particpants then run down lanes as fast as they can (in socks) and try to see who can go the farthest. Once the particpant has gone as far as they can they slap a 'market' onto a velcro strip that runs the distance of the lane to show how far they went.
If you give up you will be pulled back by the bungee cords onto the soft inflatable lane.
For the first few minutes my task was straight forward: Put two kids in the race, make sure the harnesses were on correctly and let them go three times. Soon, a young man I knew got onto the track and was paired against a young girl who was at least four years younger than him.
The young man began crowing how he was going to get further than anyone and would win. So as soon as the race started I leaned over and gragged the bungee cord behind the young girl and began running with her..taking the strain of the bungee cord so she could win.
The young man slapped his marker down and let the bungee cord pull him back, the young girl (totally oblivious to what I was doing) went even further and slapped her marker down and I let the bungee cord pull her back down the lane As she passed me she began giggling as she realized what I had done.
"Aw Mr [SP]!", the young man yelled with a grin, "Why you want to do me that way? You cheating man!"
Race 2 started and the young man got two of his friends to help him pull his bungee cord even further. I pulled at my little friends cord but could not stretch it further because of my angle. So I motioned to the girls father and held my arm out. A big, beefy hand slapped onto my arm and that big man pulled me all the way to the end...DETERMINED that his little girl was going to win this contest. He stretched that cord so far I was sure he was going to pull the entire display down, when he was satisfied his girl had won he let go. I dared not let go as I was sure his daughter would have been catapulted over the parking lot by the bungee cord so I let the cord drag me back before I felt it was safe to let go.
I decided to stop pulling on the cords before someone got hurt and decided to make the race more interesting....I went to the end of the track and held out a twenty dollar bill and said "If you make it you can have it!" That livened things up...soon students were crowding around the track waving money in front of their friends faces and laughing as the particpants strained against their harnesses.
After 90 minutes I was losing my voice so I turned the game over to another helper and left for the day.
My son is a cub scout. My son is a happy go lucky kind of guy who I believe enjoys the social aspect of the cub scouts as I have not observed him picking up the cub scout book and reading it or doing the assignments which will earn him medals. I can't fault him for this, my own cub scout career was not very steller and I quit going after two years. I have nothing against the cub scouts, it just takes a certain amount of discipline that I did not have at that age.
My sons troop appears to have picked up every ADHD/ADD kid in our little town. I do believe Pepsi Co should use this troop to market energy drinks because I swear they have more energy than any kids I have ever known!
IE: Two weeks ago we met at the clubhouse of a local swim resort.
One boy had to give a presentation on Polar Bears, his dad holds up a poster and the boy stands near a couch and keeps dropping on the couch while he is talking. He would flop face down on the couch with an audible WHUMP sound and his dad would then calmly say “Ok now, stand back up!”
The speech went like this: The Polar Bear (WHUMP!) has hollow (WHUMP!) hair that people like to (WHUMP!) collect and use to make (WHUMP!) lures for the (WHUMP!) FISHING INDUSTRY! (WHUMP!)
One of the cub scouts is a very serious 8 year old that carries an organizer and is on a quest to memorize the entire manual. Whenever a question is asked you can count on this young man to raise his hand and have an answer.
I do worry about the young man though, as he always seems to pick the worst case scenario for ANY situation.
For instance, I observed this give and take session between the Cub Scout leader and the young man (Billy).
Cub Scout Leader: Why do we need to follow rules? Yes Billy?
Billy: Well, because if you don’t follow rules like when you are driving, you could get in a wreck and DIE!
Cub Scout Leader: Yes, uh correct. Now we also have rules on the playground to help us be safe such as...Yes Billy?
Billy: You have to be careful when swinging a bat on the playground because you could hit someone in the head and they could DIE!
Cub Scout Leader: Uh, ok. Now, there are OTHER rules such as warnings on labels? Yes Billy?
Billy: Uhm, things like poison have warnings on them telling you not to drink it because you could DIE!
For some reason the leader did not pick Billy to answer any more questions....
This week we met at a local police department headquarters. When my son and I arrived the kids were buzzing around the building chasing each other until one of the Deputys managed to herd them into a room.
The Deputy did a good job of explaining what he did and the various tools he used such as the taser. Naturally half of the kids wanted to be tazed and I believe a few of the parents were willing to let them be guinea pigs.
The Deputy then escorted everyone outside and showed them his patrol car. He showed them his portable laptop, his gun rack, and explained how the car was built to take punishment.
Then, he turned on his lights and siren.
The effect was electric! Almost every kid began screaming and running around in circles, one child stood in front of the police car in a karate stance throwing punches and screaming at the top of his lungs. My own son simply covered his ears and said "That's LOUD!"
The deputy turned everything back off and the parents began chasing their kids.
That scene will always amuse me.
Well the election is over! After two LONNGG years we finally have a President. I have heard that after (future) President Obama attended his first briefing he asked for a recount to see if perhaps McCain had won after all.....
I am glad Obama won the election by a landslide which proved this wasn't a fluke and to keep others from saying the election was rigged or stolen.
There are those who say Barack Obama has no experience in Washington, perhaps that will be a good thing in the years to come because the ones with Washington experience have not done a very good job in running the country unless you count running it into the ground.
I had an interesting thing happen to me the other day. I was working at one of the MFG plants I have supported for years and went to eat lunch in the lounge. On that particular day I had packed a lunch box and had thrown in a power bar, raisins, some almonds and one of those personal packets of Tuna.
I had not eaten tuna in over six months, the last time I had tuna I had been eating it regularly and then one day I ate tuna and felt as if I tasted it for two days so I decided to quit and had not packed it until that day.
I first checked the packet's expiration date (it was no-where near the expiration date) and then opened the packet and ate two forkfuls. I then began feeling nasueous and decided to stop eating. I drank some water and went back to the cubicle I was working from and then began feeling worse.
Within a few minutes I felt REALLY bad and felt as if I was going to lose everything from my stomach. I got up and headed for the nurses office to see if she had any antacids when I passed a restroom and had to go in QUICK.
I immediately 'emptied' my stomach into a sink and began hiccuping hard. I was hiccuping so bad I could not catch my breath. As I was bent over the counter a person came in and began going "Hey buddy...are you ok? ARE YOU OK? DO YOU NEED THE NURSE? WHAT'S HAPPENING!?!?!"
I was glad someone was concerned but I was hiccuping so bad I could not talk. I managed to gasp out "TUNA!" and limped out of the restroom holding my chest as it was now sore from all the hiccuping. The moment I got out into the hallway, a person who I have worked with over the years saw me limping down the hall all pasty faced and holding my chest.
You guessed it...PANIC TIME!
"[SP]! Are you OK!?!", He asked.
Again I managed to gasp out "TUNA!" but it probably sounded like 'ARGWARBLNA!"
He immediately whistled down the hall to get the attention of another person I knew who came jogging down.
He also asked "ARE YOU OK? WHAT'S HAPPENING"
THe first guy replied "I think he was heading to the nurse!"
Now, these two guys are rather large men and before I knew what was happening they each grabbed an arm and began dragging me down the hall so fast I my feet weren't touching the ground! One of them pulled out his plant specific cell phone and called the Security desk and said "[SP] was walking down the hall clutching his chest! I think he is having a heart attack!"
"ARGWARBLNA!" I gasped.
In no time, a big beefy guy came running down the hall with a defibulator. At this time I realized I had a big problem. If I was not having a heart attack (and I was sure I was not), these three well meaning men were going to GIVE ME ONE by shocking me!
We made it to the nurses office where I managed to break free and leap into the restroom and deposited more of my lunch. Before I could explain what was going on the nurse said "Get him on the table!" I was pulled out and lifted onto a table and the nurse grabbed my arm and began taking my blood pressure.
"Should I call an ambulance?" The guard asked.
"Wait!", the nurse said, "His blood pressure is perfect! I can't believe it's this low with all this going on!" She checked my pulse and said "Whatever it is, it's not his heart his pulse is normal"
At this point I managed to explain what was happening and that I was holding my chest because I was sore from hiccuping. The three men relaxed with a visible sigh and left after a few minutes. I thanked them profusely.
During the next hour my stomach emptied itself of all tuna, my breakfast, the supper from the day before, the B-day cake I had when I was 12 and I also believe I was getting rid of stuff from other peoples stomachs.
Finally I felt stable enough to drive home and just rested for the rest of the day and decided to give up tuna.
That was two weeks ago,since then I have felt sick watching the stock market. Work has been a bit slow lately, IMO I think everyone is emotionally numb from the market fiasco as well as the election year.
I am personally sick of politics. I am so weary of the debates (boring) and the accusations that I don't care WHO gets elected as long as we can end this!
I have not been helping my mood by watching my 401K shrink. Logically I know that the best thing to do is to do NOTHING but wait but it still makes me mad to read about how the AIG executives spent 86K on a hunting trip to England while asking for more funds.
I know quite a few people that would LOVE to take the AIG executives hunting.
I think the interaction would go like this:
(AIG Exec) "I want more money!"
At least there is one bright bit of news in all this, the price of Oil is falling faster than Congressional Approval ratings....
Over the years I have come up with a simple set of rules I hope to pass down to my sons. I learned these rules the hard way starting at age 6 and have kept the best ones.
#1: Naps Are Good For You.
#2: The girl you married at recess will marry someone else next week.
#3: Don't get into a fight with any kid named Briggs, Biff, Or Rusty, you will probably lose.
#4: As you get older, don't be surprised if your best friends are named Briggs, Biff, or Rusty.
#5: No matter how fast your car is, you can't outrun the highway patrols CB radio.
#6: When getting anything repaired, always get a quote first and if the person doing the repairs asks "How much you got?" Walk away.
#7: If your 6 months pregnant wife ever asks for a towel to dry herself off with after showering, never...NEVER EVER hand her an extra large beach towel no matter how good your intentions are. This one may save your life!!!
#8: If you think you look good while dancing, have someone video tape you before going to a party to save yourself embarrassment.
#9: If your wife says "I'm not laughing AT you...I'm laughing WITH you" she's lying.
#10: Your wife will probably wind up being your best friend, treat her right.
#11: Always hold the TV remote close to your body.
I am now adding a new one:
#12: NEVER discuss politics at work during an election year!
This week has been a politically charged atmosphere at work. I am sure everyone's nerves are on end due to two years of campaigning by both parties and the current financial crisis.
Due to my job, I often have to visit MFG plants which are primarily populated by blue collar workers. The majority of these workers tend to vote for the Democratic party and will not accept any view point which has any hint of conservatism.
During one break, I witnessed a heated discussion from a lone McCain supporter and an Obama supporter. After a few minutes the Obama supporter slammed down a beefy arm on a table and thundered "I'm talking about the Democrats!" I'm not sure what led to that outburst but he managed to clear that side of the break room in a hurry.
Most of my co-workers are up north and are scattered about in New York and Boston. They are staunch supporters for Kerry, Kennedy and Hillary but otherwise appear to be fairly intelligent :)
Personally, my political beliefs tend to be Republican but I have in fact voted for the Democratic party in cases where I honestly thought the Democratic candidate was better qualified than the Republican choice.
This fact came out during a recent email thread started by the other loan Conservative co-worker in my group. I mentioned that I had voted for the Democratic party and someone asked would I vote for Obama. I replied that I simply did not believe Obama had enough experience and did not want to turn the country over to him.
Boy. Did that start something.
One co-worker immediately pointed out Palins lack of experience. I replied that Palin was not running for President. That bought back a reply mentioning Biden's experience. I replied back that if Biden was running for President I might be persuaded to vote for him. Soon the insults began flying concerning the candidates. I personally did not participate in the name calling, my other conservative co-worker handled that.
Grumpy Old Man! (McCain)
John "McSame As Bush!"
Clinton Version X!
Palin Has No Experience!
McCain fired rockets out of planes! Obama fired staples into telephone poles!
And so on and so on.
I for one will be glad when this election is over, I feel as if I have heard enough over the last two years and am ready for this to be over with and maybe we can all get back to work.
On my drive in this morning I stopped by the new Walmart to pick up some personal-size bottles of milk for my lunch and other items when I noticed they had an entire aisle devoted to summer items 50% off.
While I know logically that this happens every year it really brings me down as it means summer is ending!
I don't know why this brings me down, perhaps it is the child in me that still thinks he has to report back to school but it really depresses me when I see beach towels, flip flops, and other items marked '1/2 off!' next to new displays touting the latest fall fashions.
Maybe I'm just too 'sensitive'.
A rather funny thing happened to me as I was leaving the store. As I approached my aging 12 year old land yacht I noticed a woman one row in front of my car looking distressed.
The woman appeared to be in her 40's and was dressed as if she was heading to an aerobics studio.
This woman would:
1: Examine the end of a car that I assumed was hers. 2: Stand up and flap her arms and yell "[obscenity]" 3: Look around with a distressed look. 4: Goto 1
Even though the voices in my head told me not to, I decided to ask her what was wrong.
"Someonehitmycar!" she yelled hysterically.
I looked down at the car which appeared to be a 90's vintage Geo Metro that was actually in great shape except for the rear taillight which was broken and a small bump on the fender. Obviously someone had backed into this little car and drove off.
"Oh my, someone bumped your car" I said in a sympathetic voice.
"YES! WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT!?!?" the Woman shrieked higher. Nearby, dogs began barking.
"I KNOW IT'S AN OLD CAR BUT IT's MY OLD CAR AND I TRY TO KEEP IT IN GOOD SHAPE AS I HAVE HAD IT SINCE HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!" The woman exclaimed.
As I tried my best to keep a straight face I said "We don't know if anyone did this on purpose, someone may have just bumped your car without realizing it since you have such a small dent. I know it's painful to you but it looks like the damge is very minor and can probably be fixed easily"
Big mistake. For some reason this managed to amazingly add volumes to her voice.
"WELL WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS!? I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS! WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THIS TO ME!"
At this point I realized that my best action was to get the heck out of Dodge as my new friend was drawing a lot of attention to herself.
"I've got an idea", I said pointing up to the security camera's, "I bet the security camera's recorded the incident and you might be able to get the license plate of the car who hit you!"
My new friends eyes bulged out, "YOU'RE RIGHT!" she exclaimed and began jogging to the store.
I then jogged to my car and left as fast as I could while obeying the speed limit...
Question for anyone actually reading this blog: Has anyone been paying attention to their 401K during the "recession that's not really a recession but has all the signs of a recession depending upon which analyst you believe?"
That's yet another way to get depressed, looking at your 401K. I just looked at mine and can see it has gone down, from what I have heard the best thing to do is to 'leave it alone' as the stock market WILL come back and is showing all signs that it is recovering.
One person who should never have to worry about his 401K is Michael Phelps. During the morning break I was reading that his endorsement deals could land him over 40 Million dollars.
40 Million dollars and he is, what, 19 years old?!?!? Boy did I mess up in my choice of careers!
If I would just have tried harder I could have been 6'3" tall, part dolphin, and winning gold medals by the truckload!
Don't get me wrong, I think Michael Phelps is an amazing young man and is a HUGE inspiration to children everywhere. I watched an interview with him yesterday and was touched by his devotion to his mother and how kind he was.
But I can still be jealous! :)
Can you imagine being his age with millions in the bank? I overheard him say he was going to "stop training for a few months and just relax"
This made me admire him more because I must admit if I had his bankroll I would have stopped training for a few DECADES. Heck, if I were his age and had millions in the bank you could not remove my derriere from the couch with anything less than a five ton forklift. I would have sat there and watched TV, eaten pizza and played video games until I was buried with a remote in one hand and a pizza slice in the other.
Good for you Michael Phelps, you are an inspiration to kids and parents everywhere!
Hmm, now where is my youngest son?
"Hey son! Want to go to the pool and swim a few 100 laps!?"