THE GREAT MOVE…HALFWAY THERE

moveupdate

If you have been following Marc’s Blog since mid-summer you may have caught one of my postings on “The Big Move.”  After  23 years in our current house, Rosemarie and I decided to uproot ourselves and become pioneers in the wilderness…well, I suppose South Florida can sometimes be interpreted as the wilderness.  We accepted an offer on our house today which means we are halfway through the process: one house sold, now one to buy.  More on that later.

I refer to us as pioneers because, for the first time in our lives, we do not know where we are going. We’ve always been super organized, acutely aware of our compass heading and never without a plan.  We have none of those things this time.  I look at it as a great adventure.  Rosemarie views it as a disaster that has given her more angst than raising teenagers. She’s not happy right now…too perplexed. She needs a timetable, a GPS heading and knowing she has enough gas to get there.

Actually we have a rough idea of where our next home will be.  It’s just a two-hour drive across “Alligator  Alley” which is the highway that runs east-west between the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida on the east, and Naples on the west.  We have visited several communities in the Naples area, one of which will more than likely be where we find our new home.

So why did we undertake such a monumental mission at our age?  We are both retired and should pretty much have a carefree outlook on the years ahead.  Well, that is exactly what we are doing–looking ahead, but with  our eyes focused and our minds clear on what is important.  Two things influenced our decision. I suspect there are many people going through the same process.  We looked at our expenses and realized if one of us was no longer here, it would be a rough ride for the one remaining.  It made sense to reduce our cost of living to the level where half our current income could keep up. Reason #2 was a lot easier.  It had to do with pain and the increasing amount both Rosemarie and I are experiencing going up and down the stairs in our two-story house.  A one-story house would serve us a lot better.halfsign

Our  house has been on the market for just over eight weeks.  We have had a constant flow of potential buyers, one or two silly offers, but nothing we paid much attention to…until this weekend.  We wound up hosting a bidding war between offers, one local and one from another state.  One was texted to our agent at 2:30 in the morning.  One offer screamed loud and clear, “accept me!”  So we did.  And now we have a budget for the new house and a specific date for leaving this one.  Rosemarie is a little happier.  I’d say we’re halfway there.

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INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN, KNOWINGLY

Parting of a road at Haagse Bos, forest in The Hague

This is turning out to be a year of big changes with unknown destinations.  I had no idea back in January that I’d be sitting here in October wondering where I will be living by the end of the year.  Our decision to sell our home of 23 years came in late summer.  It was motivated by economics and health.  We need to be ready for tougher times when social security checks are strained and maybe even reduced and stairs to the second floor get even tougher to climb than they are now.

The house is up for sale with much of its drawers and closets and cabinets empty of their usual contents which now sit in boxes stacked in the garage.  The movers are standing by, as is the realtor on the other side of the state who is waiting for us to arrive, check in hand, to buy a new home in any of two or three communities we have already screened.

Meanwhile, if that is not enough to handle, I have made some major decisions to abandon much of what I have been doing the past ten years in my retirement.  I have written 11 books.  I’ve kept up this blog, having published over 640 postings in seven years. I have created and maintained ten websites.  Physically, I’ve had two knee replacements and a hardware store dumped into my lower spine.

It has been an active, and sometimes daunting, retirement.  But much of this, too, is about to change.  I have shut down all but one of the websites and I have more than likely published my last book.  What will I do with my time now?  Well, like moving our home, I’m not sure.  I might take guitar lessons, walk the dog more or maybe catch up on some movies…or something entirely unknown to me right now.

For one who has always been compulsive and overly organized with a fine-tuned compass, all this change without knowing in what direction I’m going is a radical transition in personality.  But that is what I have learned about retirement.  It is an entirely different state of mind.  The race is over, other than to keep up with my health and just keep on keepin’ on.  There is no career move to ponder; no more formal education or training sessions; no more chasing down salary increases (those are missed!) and basically no more material lures to lust after except maybe a winning lottery ticket.

So it has become easy to give things up, replace them with other things or even remain thingless.  I don’t think I will do the latter.  If one thing is certain, I must be doing something to keep my mind active.  I am not one to sit still, so I am, indeed, curious as to where all this will lead.  Cue Dylan…How does it feel to be on your own, With no direction home, A complete unknown, Like a rolling stone?  It feels okay.

*****

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THE GREAT MOVE…WAITING FOR THE SALE

To update you on the Great Move (sometimes I have referred to it as the “Big Move”…I haven’t decided which I like better so I am using both)….anyway the house has been on the market for three weeks.  Our realtor says all the feedback from our visitors has been positive.  Not a negative response from anyone and, so far, not an offer from anyone either.  Patience, patience.

Rosemarie and I do not like this phase of the transition.  The house has to be ready to show on a moment’s notice.  All our “clutter” has been stowed away in drawers and closets.  These are the things you use all the time and want at arm’s reach.  But when it comes to showing your house for sale, they represent clutter that needs to be “gone” when someone comes to inspect your goods.

The driver and passenger in the car backThis “inspection” part is a pain too. We have to leave, including Bill the Dog.  Sometimes we run an errand.  Sometimes we go to the park up the street and watch the grass grow.  Sometimes we park at the end of our street and just observe.  There we sit like two detectives on stakeout.  Some people go in and out of our house in five minutes or less.  Others may take up to a half-hour inside, then yak with the realtor outside for another half-hour.  There is something unnerving about sitting down the street from your house while complete strangers are busy going through it.  I will be happy when we finally have a deal.

“Unnerving”–there’s an emotion that doesn’t come around often, thank goodness.  As I sat in the car the other night I got thinking about emotions. Humans are not the only animal that show emotion.  Dogs do it all the time.  I’m not sure, however, if you can tell if a snake is happy or sad.  It may depend on how fast his home sells.

To kill some more time I started listing all the emotions we humans are capable of exhibiting.  I am sure I missed some.  Many are the same, others supplemental, still others totally opposite.  Happy or sad; hysterical or calm; hyper or sedate; eager or suppressed; positive or depressed; in love or out; high or low; proud or ashamed; bragging or embarrassed; angry or joyful; secure or threatened; shy or outgoing; and so it goes.  You can add more.  But these are states of mind we experience at one time or another and they all exhibit an emotion that few of us can hide.  True, there are times when we discover those people we think are the happiest, are really among the most troubled…Robin Williams comes to mind.

3D Illustration Emotionen als Freisteller

There is one emotion I was feeling the other night while Rosemarie and I sat in the car waiting for a couple to complete their tour of our house.  It was the emotion of disappointment.  I felt disappointed that we hadn’t lucked out and sold the house right away.  After all, we are about 75% packed up and ready to move and there are one or two places available right now that we would buy.  But beyond the house, I think disappointment is the most impacting emotion, especially when it is disappointment you may have in other people…people who let you down, people who steal and cheat or those desperate people who work for robo-call companies.  Anger you can usually get over. Happiness can be fleeting or elusive altogether.  There is a necessary balance one needs to achieve when it comes to handling the full range of emotions, at least handling them well and not letting any singular one drive you batty.  But disappointment, I find, is a lasting and challenging emotion.  It’s chopped full of ingredients like guilt, misgivings, regrets, self-doubts, second guessing, sometimes a little anger and a bunch of should’ve/could’ve/would’ve’s.

Now, I am not manic about my collection of emotions.  I keep them neatly stacked in orderly fashion on a shelf in the back room of my mind. I know where they are and I can easily lay my hands on any of them at any given moment.  They lie dormant most of the time, but if a situation or conversation sets off a spark, well, I will usually conjure up a past experience and relive it for a moment more.  It’s hard not to.  That’s why I think emotions are the king of human personality…they carry so much weight and never say die.  It’s all that baggage they say everyone lugs around with them as they go through life.  Most of it doesn’t fit in the overhead.

Funny, isn’t it? …the mountains of thoughts you ponder while waiting down the street…waiting for your house to sell.

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THE NEW ORWELLIAN AGE

 

If you attended high school in the USA there is a very good chance you had to read a book called “1984” by George Orwell.  It’s always been pretty much a basic read for high GlassMan3 schoolers.  I don’t know if it still is, but my guess would be it may not have the same impact it had when I read it in the late 1960s.  In the book, individual freedom and privacy are disrupted by “Big Brother.”  He has a presence everywhere in the form of cameras and other recording devices that monitor and control the populace.  Big Brother is always watching everyone.

When  I  was in high school, 1984 was still a ways off in the future. When it finally  arrived it was a relief that nothing in the book had come to fruition.  There were no cameras on every street corner, let alone ones scattered throughout your household.  But wait, maybe I’ve got this wrong…and Orwell didn’t. It may be his timing was just a little off.  Stay with me here, Big Brother may, indeed, be watching.

When I got a new iMac desktop computer four years ago I thought it was pretty cool that there was a camera built into the  monitor screen. Yep, you can see it if you look closely enough.  I though it was a lot better than the separate clunky camera that drooped over the top edge of my PC monitor–the  one I had to keep adjusting so the shot was framed correctly and the camera didn’t come crashing down onto the desk.  It wasn’t long, however, that a rumor started making the rounds warning everyone that crafty hackers had found a way to actually turn your camera on without  your knowing.  Imagine the number of voyeurs who couldn’t wait to check that out.  Well, this rumor made me paranoid enough to consider putting some opaque tape over the apple camera while I had already dismounted the PC camera and left it facing a blank wall when it wasn’t in use.

Next came a Christmas gift two years ago.  It was a new-fangled gadget called the “Echo Dot.”  This is a small black instrument that looks exactly like a hockey puck.  Inside is a little person named Alexa who is almost like a genie in a bottle.  Call out her name and she will answer just about any question you may ask, from wanting to know the weather, the score from last night’s game, how many calories in a bowl of oatmeal and what time will your amazon package arrive.  If Alexa hears music playing in the room she will even take a moment to tell you who’s singing.  Alexa is obviously listening to what’s going on in her environment.  I told a friend about my new Echo Dot and she immediately went into outrage mode.  “Don’t you know she monitors every word you say and everything you do on your iMac or iPhone and somebody somewhere is collecting all that data and it’ll eventually be used to sell you, harass you or otherwise invade your life?”

Next, I had to buy a new printer.  I’ve had reasonably good luck with Hp printers so that’s what I got.  Now, as  you know, printers are like razors.  The razor itself, or the printer, are not terribly expensive…but the blades and ink will keep you in lifetime debt.  But, aha!  Hp supposedly has felt its customers’ pain.  Now it has a new “instant ink” program that you can sign up for.  Hp says it will save you money.  The instant ink cartridges have more ink in them than the Hp high-yield cartridges and they will mail them to you postage-free on a frequency based on your page usage. They say you won’t have to run to the store for ink ever again and you will save money to boot.  So I signed up and within one week I got a supply of instant ink cartridges which look exactly like the extra set I bought with the printer.  Then, over the weekend, my printer began putting out pictures with weird, horizontal zebra stripes.  I checked my ink supply and determined that two cartridges were low, but not quite ready to be replaced.  I replaced them anyway because I suspected that was the problem.  I used the cartridges I  bought with the printer–the  official Hp cartridges you normally  would buy at Office Depot.  Guess what?  I got an e-mail from Hp telling me that I did not use the instant ink cartridges they has sent me and therefore, they could not keep track of my page count and ink usage.  In other words, my printer is talking to Hp!  How else would they have known I used the store ink and not the instant ink?

Where will all this end? How many things in our household will be eavesdropping on our conversations and activities and delivering that information to outsiders.  It could go from the sophisticated to the downright ridiculous.  Imagine…you buy and have installed a new toilet.  A week or so later you get your pre-ordered “instant” supply of toilet paper delivered on your doorstep.  Meanwhile, on your laptop, there’s an e-mail from the Kohler company, the manufacturer of your new toilet.  It reads:  “Hello! We’ve noticed you have not flushed at the usual rate the past several days.  This could result in your not receiving the correct count of rolls on your next toilet paper delivery.  May we send you a free supply of laxatives to help you resume your normal rate?”

Big Brother may be knocking at the door any day now!

*****

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DAMN SPELL-CHECK…FULL SPEED AHEAD!

I WriteNowadays, I  describe myself as a writer.  Before I retired, most of my life I wore labels like broadcaster, program director, marketing director, executive, or manager.  The trouble with the writer label is that I do not live up to reader expectations.  True, I have written and published 11 books since retiring those other labels, but I am not an accomplished writer at this point. My books do not sell well.  Part of the reason for that is because few people know they exist since they lack good marketing (a money issue) and/or they simply just aren’t that good.  There is one bad aspect of my writing that I cannot excuse nor seem to correct…and that is, I am prone to making mistakes in the simple mechanics of writing.  My spelling is not always  correct.  My typing is not always accurate. My ability to catch mistakes is weak.  Yeah, all those things give me problems.

What I need is a good proofreader.  I don’t see half my mistakes until long after I’ve exposed them to everyone.  This often makes me look really inept.  Part of  the problem is when and how I write. I have a sleep disorder that scatters my snooze time throughout the day and night.  It is not unusual to find me at the computer at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning catching up on e-mail, writing a posting for my blog or even tackling a chapter for a book I may be working on.  Despite being awake, or appearing to be, I am usually sleepy all the time.  It has become part of my life for many years now. I am almost narcoleptic in that I can fall asleep in the middle of writing a sentence or talking to someone on the phone…or even while peddling my bike around the neighborhood–yes, I actually did that!

My last posting on my blog, the one about losing weight, had so many mistakes in it I was embarrassed having published it.  I must have read it at least a dozen times and usually missed seeing a few typos or outright misspellings on each pass.  Am I too much in a hurry?  Guilty.  I am hyper by nature and tend to do things too quickly.  Do I run spell-check?  Yes, I run spell-check, so imagine how bad things were from the very start.  I have learned that you cannot always trust spell-check to do the right thing.  Add to that dilemma, the auto-fill or auto-correct functions that Microsoft refuses to allow me to disengage permanently.  It will often finish a word I am typing with a word I had no intention of using.  In this last, the one right before this one, the computer auto-filled the word “word,” replacing the “d” with a “k.”  This time I caught it; many times I don’t.

Earlier I submitted an advertisement to amazon for one of my books.  The ad would appear on Kindle units and would push the Kindle version of my book titled, AGAIN.  These particular ads are limited in space, most of which is taken up by an image of the book’s cover.  The author writes a brief bit of copy that goes under the illustration.  I wrote one sentence.  It was rejected. No, there were no spelling errors.  The reasons given:  “The ad contains inappropriate capitalization and should be sentence-cased.”  I began the ad with the familiar term “WHAT IF…”  True, I capitalized those first two words merely to “showcase” the  premise of what I was about to say.  I suspect it was a computer making the  call.  The computer doesn’t understand showcasing.  And, I have no idea what their Grammar Nazi reference to “sentence-cased” means.  It is pretty  bad when  you’ve been writing commercial and promotional copy all your life and someones rejects  your one-sentence submission.  Go figure.

So where I am going with all this is to apologize to my readers.  I am sorry there are often inexcusable errors in my work.  It is not intentional and I have lots of personal angst putting up with the problem.  Lately, I’ve been trying to let it go–just roll with the flow and stop beating myself up over it.  Easier said than done.  I am compulsive, competitive and shooting for competent.  My aim is just not perfected yet…and may never be.  Still, I hope you get something out of what I have to say, not necessarily how I spell it.

*****

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IT’S THE WEIGHT THING…AGAIN!

fridgeMy recent spinal surgery played a dirty trick on me despite the great success it was as far as relieving me of a lot of pain.  It did not, however,  relieve me of some of the excessive pounds I’ve been involuntarily carrying around for several years.  Now, it is entirely fair that I should not have expected to lose weight because of the surgery…but I certainly did not expect to gain some either.  And that, dear friends, is the dirty trick that I’ve been dealing with for the past three months since the operation.  I am at my heaviest—-ever!

I have learned that trying to lose weight, and keeping it off permanently, is one of the toughest assignments you can put down in your assignment book.  Dieting was a very rude awakening for me about twenty years ago. Up until that time I had always been skinny–still am in most parts of my body except in the same location where most people suffer from excess fat…around the waistline.

I inherited my father’s body.  He had no money to leave me so instead he shared his genes.  He was skinny most of his life–just like me.  But when he hit his senior years his midsection took off like a freight train hitting the down side of the mountain.  He drank a lot of beer so I naturally attributed his excessive girth to his excessive consumption of the brown long necks that fought with the chocolate milk for shelf space in the fridge. Now, having accumulated a similar length of inches around my midsection with as much as a speck of Bud or Miller, I feel bad having so misjudged the cause of his problem.  It wasn’t beer.  It was excessive eating, especially late at night, and lacking the discipline to simply…STOP IT!

Okay, let’s get this over with:  Hi, my name is Marc and I am a heavy ice cream abuser.  I can eat ice cream with my morning cup of coffee and not even miss the Cheerios™ with a sliced banana.  I not only have a large bowl every night, I spoon-graze throughout the rest of the day, and night.  When I first get serious about dieting, which takes months to reach the actual attempt level, ice cream is the first thing I give up.   Right now, for example, I have not had any ice cream–not a lick–for at least three weeks.

Like any addict would, I am going through withdrawal. I get lots of angst in my gut, along with the shakes, the pacing restlessness and the shameless pursuit of a substitute substance.  This could be chocolate pudding, jello, cold leftover mashed potatoes …anything that remotely resembles a spoonful of cold, creamy, succulent mint chocolate chip.  I know what is coming.  It’s happened many times before.  There will be an evening when I begin cursing the dirty trick I’ve been dealt, rationalizing that ice cream is a part of my body composite so I may as well accept it and relieve myself of the anxiety, anger and aggravation that has been accumulating within the corridor that runs between my navel and cerebellum.  I will finally cave, grab the car keys and off I’ll go to the supermarket for my fix.  See, like I admitted…I am an full-fledged, scoop-carrying addict.

Keeping the kitchen well stocked has always been my responsibility.  In my skinny days it was not a problem.  In my fat golden years it is.  When I roll up and down the  supermarket aisles, I am a masterful artist who knows where every item is located and which of those I will deftly maneuver from shelf to cart with no thought of calories, fat and sugar content or the overall erosion of my intestines it will cause.  I think only pleasant thoughts….taste, oral satisfaction, sense of contentment and the delightful sensation of true love between substance and oral need.

The best way for me to lose weight, I’ve decided, is to turn the grocery shopping responsibilities over to Rosemarie.  Here is why:  she eats less than a bird.  She demands almost no food at all to exist. That, along with her hatred of grocery shopping, means her trips to the supermarket would be just about non-existent.

The amount of edible commodities in our house would be reduced down to a single box of raspberry ice pops and maybe a six-pak of applesauce cups.  If I were to try this, I will definitely lose weight.  It may be my only hope.  It may also lead to your seeing one of those short obscure newspaper stories buried on or near the obit page.  It would be about a man who was found passed away…a mere shadow of himself transformed into a flat mass of material resembling some kind of previous life form. He was discovered in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator with one arm stretched out reaching for a small, aged and torn wrapper from a long-gone pint of Chunky Monkey.  Oh the Humanity.

******

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THE GREAT MOVE INCHES ON

MoveUpdate8-9I realize I haven’t updated you on The Great Move  for several weeks.  I apologize to the 654,381 individuals out there who have been pacing the floor fretting about it. I know, I should have given you an update sooner than this.  So here’s a bullet list of how goes the great move, includng some background info for any of you just discovering Marc’s Blog

  • Last spring, Rosemarie and I decided we need to downsize now that the reality of a paycheckless retirement has been well established in our humble household.
  • We figured we’d sell the house and, with ca-ca-cash in hand, we’d go shopping for a new place with the idea of paying in full, thus reducing one major monthly expense. The challenge is in the timing–we have to  be able to close on our current house at the same time we close on the new one.  If there is a gap it means the moving truck has to be parked in storage and we have to find a temporary roof over our heads.  It’s a nutty way to move, but it’s put a lot of suspense and excitement in the process…along with a good measure of anxiety.
  • Since we’ve lived in our current house for 23 years we have accumulated a lot of stuff that had to be “attended to.”  I assumed the role of “purger” while Rosemarie maintained her “hoarder” status.  Let the wars begin.  I’d throw something out; she retrieve it, insisting it retained priceless value in our lives and how could I even think of gettng rid of it.  Well, you  can imagine how this impeded the forward progress of packing up this three bedroom/+den property with  the goal of squeezing everything into a small condo suitable for the two of us, plus Bill the Dog.
  • The prep work involved in getting the house ready for sale has been exhausting. Rosemarie switched from painting canvases with brilliant sunsets to dabbing a fresh coat on all the baseboards and doorways. I proceeded attacking a list of plumbing, electrical and construction items that needed repair or cosmetic work.  If Lowe’s and Home Depot don’t award us with a Customer of the Year honor of some sort, I will be extremely disappointed.
  • We have decided to “go west” although we will do it in the Toyota Sienna and not the covered wagon (another thing Rosemarie insisted we hold onto). We currently live in the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida. Going west, means the west coast of Florida. We have made several trips there to sort of get the lay of the sand and have decided that the Naples area is where we would like to live.  The trick will be finding a place we can afford in this, let’s say, prosperous community of Floridians.
  • By now, a lot of our prescious belongings are jammed into 37 boxes stacked in the garage.  Most of the pictures are off the walls and bubble-wrapped.  The bookcases have been emptied as have the china cabinet and a few other warehouses full of things. “Things” are defined as any items that exist and take up space and need a go/no-go decision rendered upon them.  There are sooooo  many of them.
  • Oh, almost forgot…as some of you know, in the midst of all this chaos and calamity I had to stop for a little spinal surgery. Is there such a thing as little spinal surgery? I had to have a bunch of screws, rods and spacers installed in my lower lumbars. Lucky for me, Pep Boys had all the parts in stock.   Do you grasp the dilemma one faces having had spinal surgery whilst packing up boxes? As you exit the hospital, they give you stern medical directives that dictate that I shall not lift, push, pull or otherwise move anything heavier than ten pounds?

Well, okay, the big news has been saved for last.  The house went on the market this past week.  We have had two visits so far, and another two are scheduled for today. In the meantime, we have a few communities we are interested in over in the Naples area.  As they say, don’t you just love it when a plan appears to be coming together!  “Appears” being the operative word here.

*****

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MOMENTS OF TRUTH

Truth and lies

Truth be told, lots of us have trouble telling the truth.  I admit it, I’ve passed along a few white lies here and there.  It’s usually when I turn down an invitation to something I don’t wish to attend.  No doubt you’ve done this too.  You don’t want to insult the person or leave them with hurt feelings, so you come up with an innocent excuse like, “Ah gee, I  have a doctor appointment,” or something like that.  Okay, I accept a white lie.  It’s intention is really not to lie, it’s just a convenience-maker and confrontation-avoider.

Now, let’s switch to the nitty-gritty lying.  There are various levels of lying at this point.  They range from low-level fibbing to high-level out-and-out intentional deception.  It’s the low-level stuff that irks me and has led to this particular posting. Here’s as example:  You are the person hiring someone to fill a position.  When you have selected that person, you sometimes can’t avoid having to get back to some of the other candidates you interviewed.  In fact, in my book, I think if people came in for an interview they DESERVE a follow-up conversation explaining why they didn’t get the job.  Of course you dance a little if you have to do this and you usually tell the person that the one who was hired had more experience, or better skills, or was the boss’s daughter, whatever.  Rarely do you tell the TRUTH. You fear confrontation or hurting the candidate’s feelings…or you don’t have the guts.

I take the other tact. I explain to the losing candidates why they didn’t get the job.  I do this with honorable intentions.  Perhaps it will help them do a better interview next time and then get the job. So go ahead, tell them if an offensive odor came in the room at the same time they did.  Go ahead and tell them they appeared to have done no homework about the company or the opening and had no substantive things to say or ask about the position.  Go ahead and tell them they were dressed inappropriately, or as much as you respect their right to pierce whatever part of their body they wish, your company has an image it wants to present to its customers and a nose ring with a chain connecting to your ear just doesn’t cut it.  If the person on the receiving end of your critique doesn’t agree or doesn’t welcome such honesty, well, so be it.  Move on.

Now, with all that in mind, here is why I chose this topic to write about.  I attempt to be a writer.  I am self-published because I don’t have the time and patience to deal with publishers.  I went that path when I first started writing.  I  may as well have attempted to be a rock star.  Rejection letters are a way of  life in the world of book writing.  Once in a while you get an honest rejection with useful critiquing of your work. Mostly, however, you get the dance:  It a topic outside of our audience’s interest…don’t give up, you have great potential…it was interesting, keep writing!  Stuff like that.

Publishers Weekly is a major trade magazine for writers.  They offer writers like me a chance to  have their work selected for a review along with some coverage in their magazine.  Admittedly, the competition is overwhelming so one should not expect to be chosen when they offer the invite. I submitted one of my books a few years ago and it was not selected.  I gave it a second try this year.  Last week I got the  rejection e-mail.

It simply said my book was not chosen for a review and they encouraged me to keep on writing.  Now, here is how I look at it.  Someone, a human being, picked up my book, looked at it, maybe even read it, and decided it was not worthy of a review in Publishers Weekly.  I don’t want a simple “you didn’t make it.”  That does me no good.  This person had a reaction to my book. I want to know what it was. That would be very helpful information. I may or may not agree with it, but it would  be great feedback to have.  I think if I  went to the trouble of submitting my book they should at least give me a sentence or two why it didn’t  make the cut. If my writing sucks, tell me.  If there were too many  mistakes, tell me.  If the story line was yucky, tell me.  Yes, it is true that the truth can hurt…but not telling the truth can hurt even more.

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UP IN SMOKE!

First, a Hurricane Dorian Update since it was the topic of my last posting…Lucky us, we may have dodged a bullet as the latest tracking has Dorian heading north.  This means we will not get the brunt of the storm, only tropical winds and rain which we should be able to handle.  It still means we  have to prepare the house, bring everything in from outside and make sure we are prepared for a power failure, two or three.  Those north of us will not be as fortunate.  We wish them good luck and be safe.

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smoking cigarette on black background

As I continue to pack things up for the big move, two blog postings ago I shared an article from a 1946 copy of LIFE Magazine.  I have a few others in my collection and I thought you may get a kick–as I did–seeing some of the advertising that was featured in LIFE back in the ’40s and ’50s. The cigarette ads are particularly amusing–and sad–given the number of  people who still smoke today.  Here are a few smokey examples.  This first one featuring a doctor was the best…

DrAd

EmbassyAd

 

 

 

I don’t remember Embassy Cigarettes.  It must not have been a very popular brand, despite the heartfelt encouragement of its advertising.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Old Gold’s response to some of the early medical concerns about smoking…

OldGoldAd

And here’s a last bit of puffery that’s close to my heart, given my career in broadcasting…

CamelAd

I smoked my last cigarette in 1976.  It took me years and multiple attempts to quit before I finally made it.  Given all the publicity about the harmful effects of smoking that are now well established, I still remain amazed at the number of young people who give it a try, get hooked and fail to give it up….humans are a funny breed.

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GONE WITH THE WIND …an unexpected part of our Big Move series.

We are moving soon.  You know that if you’ve been following Marc’s Blog lately.  As items for discussion come up, they are presented here…as is today’s posting….

DorianCone

I don’t mind practical jokes, but when it’s Mother Mature instigating them, it may not be so funny.  As luck would have it, Dorian is headed our way, give or take a few hundred miles.  Dorian is a hurricane.  She wasn’t supposed to be.  She was supposed to be a tropical storm, a weather condition a lot easier to deal with. So okay, we’ve lived in Hurricane Alley long enough to “get it” and we should be prepared.

Normally at this time of year we are well stocked with hurricane supplies.  There’s a box of canned goods and other packaged foods to feed us for a few days with or without power.  And if the latter is the case, I crank up the generator and give an outlet to each neighbor for their fridge so they don’t complain about the noise the generator makes.  We gas up the gas cans and the car, store water and make sure we have enough candles, flashlights and batteries.  That is the basic drill.  Depending on your wind tolerance you can embellish it with a lot more items.

We were brushed by famed Hurricane Andrew but suffered far less than our neighbors to the south.  We were hit badly only once.  That was in 2005 with Hurricane Wilma.  We had lots of trees down, fences blown over and our roof was ripped apart.  There was over $30,000 worth of damage to our property which didn’t unnerve me half as much as I lie in bed during the storm’s peak and listened to the beams in the attic creaking loudly as the winds blasted the upper sides of the house.  It was pretty scary.

So now, along comes Dorian right when we are preparing to put the house on the market.  Any damage to the house could be a serious deficit, both in cost and time needed for repair.   And guess who isn’t prepared?  Yep, us! I sold the generator; we haven’t shopped for food supplies, all closets are packed up, meaning I’d have to start ripping open boxes to get to the candles, flashlights, matches, etc.

So I figure if we are to be hit head-on by a hurricane, now’s the time with so much of our guard down. It’s the perfect storm!  I shall attempt to remain positive and wish away this storm–far away.  But I can’t help but look at all the packed up boxes, the threatening weather forecast and our lack of readiness and think the approach of Dorian certainly paints the picture gray.

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