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.

*****

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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WHAT DREAMS WERE MADE OF

LifeCovI do not remember where I was on November 25, 1946.  Afterall, I was only a few months past my first birthday.  But thanks to my dad’s sense of history he put away that week’s edition of LIFE Magazine, its tenth anniversary issue.  Lucky me,  I still have it.

For the younger readers of Marc’s Blog, LIFE was America’s formost picture magazine. It arrived weekly at hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of mailboxes from 1936 through December 1972.  It was literally a weekly graphic representation–a snapshot–of what was going on in America and elsewhere around the globe.

This particular issue commemorates the past decade of LIFE’s life and looks ahead to the future.  For me, personally, it’s a real hoot given its depictions of the times and events of my very first year. As such, one specific article caught my attention.  It features “The American Dream” as it existed in 1946.  The  piece is highlighted by a full double page photograph of what items “most U.S. families” included in their dreams…most of which were materialistic. Here are some of the wishes that dreams were made of in 1946: “a trim colonial house on a generous plot…a convertible station wagon, $2,890…automatic washing machine, $241…an electric stove, $266…an aluminum ladder, $22.”  And yes, as seen in the picture, dreamed about was even the family helicopter…at $48,500.   Perhaps if I had priced my aluminum ladder at $22 at my garage sale last week, it may have sold.  My asking price of $85 had left it still leaning against the wall inside my garage.  See if anything here is in your dreams….

dream

LIFE also broke the dreams down by sex.  You can ponder the two pictures below to see what his and her dreams were made of 73 years ago.  Oh how times have changed…as have dreams.  (I am sorry the pictures aren’t better quality; I dreamed they’d be better!)

lady2A WOMAN’S DREAM in 1946 would probably include most or all items in this picture, which cost about $1,000,000.  Among costliest are a lace dressing gown, $595. a diamond necklace, $330,000, and emerald ring. $300,000, all worn by the  model; sable wrap. $75,000, and mink evening coat, $10,000, both behind her; emerald necklace, $75,000 , and black evening gown (on bed), $625.”

Meanwhile “…A MAN’S DREAM in 1946, when people seem to want more outdoor living and sports than ever before, runs heavily to sporting goods and includes the parka and trousers worn by the model, $85; his rubber boat, $70; 12-gauge shotgun, $562; tennis racker, $22; steel fly rod and reel, $45; snowshoes, $18; golf bag and clubs, $203; bicycle training device, $79; bow and arrow set. $33.”

mandream

Given my age and probable state of mind at the time LIFE celebrated its tenth anniversary, I suspect the only thing I was dreaming about back then was a frantic search for my pacifier and would somebody pullllllease change my diaper.

*****

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THE GREAT GARAGE SALE…part of The Great Move Series

garagesalegraphicOur Great Move continues…

I  have packed more boxes and made more repairs to things that were either broken or needed to look better.  Part of the moving process is to seriously purge whatever is no longer needed, desired or could be a deal-breaker.  The procedure has been three-fold.  Whatever is touched goes in one of three categories:  pack up and include in the move, throw it out or save it for the garage sale.  Yesterday was the garage sale.

This was my first garage sale.  It was my last garage sale.  It is all a bit too exhausting, but worth the effort, at least once.  Gagage sales have a culture all their own.  The people who attend them regularly are very much a part of the culture.  This is a species of humans obsessed with garage sales.  Their entire week is devoted to monitoring the garge sale advertising media for the upcoming Saturday’s list of garage sales. They  accumalate a list of locations and times and by Saturday morning they have developed a game plan as to which ones to “hit” and in what order. This is almost a science if not a finely tuned, well honed procedure. 

From my end, setting the bait was quite easy.  I Googled “where to advertise garage sales” and up came the usual list of a gazillion choices.  I selected one and one only.  Its service was free.  What I did not know at the time was that this particular website was linked to others with the same mission.  Within seconds of completing my sign-up with the website I began receiving e-mails from other website “welcoming” my advertising.  Eventually, I must have had 4-5, maybe more, websites advertising my upcoming garage sale…all free.  And, likewise, the garage sale attendees immediately sprung into action.  

I began receiving e-mails requesting more details beyond what appeared in my ad.  One person suggested I call her back at the number she provided so we could discuss her needs exclusively–I assume they were needs related to what I was selling at my garage sale.  Another person was willing to give me $50 if he could come the day before for a private showing.  Every day my e-mail was peppered with questions and requests. Fortunately,  I walked away from advertising for a minimum three-day run in the big city newspaper that wanted $80 for the opportunity.  Hey, I had gotten plenty of publicity for $0.  Beware, however, not all respondees follow through.  I  had several interested in buying out an entire category of goods, my radio collection for example, who failed to follow through, let alone even show up.

Thursday evening before Saturday’s main event, I held a “prep party.”  Two incredbily generous friends joined Rosemarie and me for dinner after which we attacked all the goods that were stacked up in my livingroom.  These all needed to be sorted, dusted off and priced.  I had purchased a “Garage Sale Kit” on amazon that provided lots of signage with stick posts, a “how-to” booklet and a gazillion little round neon-colored price stickers.  It took us the rest of the evening to complete the task.  Eveything was placed on tables set up in the garage. Then, come Saturday morning, all we basically had to do was carry the tables out onto the driveway.

Several things to be prepared for:  people arrive early.  Have a barricade set up to keep them out so they aren’t in your way while you are setting things up.  Next, be prepared to haggle.  No one wants to pay the sticker price so consider that tip when you set prices from the git-go.  Also, depending on the size of  your sale, be prepared to have enough people to help you.  There will be large surges of customers to deal with and you will definitely need others to help you if you want sales to go smoothly.

And finally, expect all kinds to people to show up.  Some are perefectly normal…others not.  Some will spend an inordinate amount of time on various items and eventally leave without buying anything.  Others will talk on forever, telling you their life’s story and expect a free therapy session in return, regardless of what you know about therapy.  And, oh yes, you will never sell everything so make sure your wonderfully committed friends stay afterwards because you will have to clean up and decide what to do with all the leftovers.

Okay, garage sale done…Monday the rug cleaners come…Tuesday I reseal the driveway….Wednesday I install a new timer to replace the broken one that dictates which part of the sprinkler system waters which part of the lawn and for how long. The list continues but I am forever getting closer to the goal:  putting the house on the market!  Carry on!

*****

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TIME SPIRALS

I’ve had little time of late to simply settle into my thinking chair on the back patio and ponder whatever comes to mind.  The big move we are undertaking has kept me busy filling boxes and checking off items on a never-ending to-do list.  Time is being consumed at an excellerated rate as I race to complete the move within a self-imposed deadline.  There’s that word again…time!

Time is my biggest hang-up. There is no stopping it.  How fast I wished it would go when I was an anxious child always wanting to be older, be one of the big kids.  Most of my adult life I did not pay it much attention.  I just followed through every tick, every tock taking each for granted that there’d always be one following the other. How wasteful!  And now…well, now that I am in my 70’s, time looms over everything I do, or so it seems.

I have become super alert to the passing of every day, attempting now to seriously make the most of each one.  It follows that I would want to clean up any messes I’ve left behind, mend any fences broken, finish what’s been left undone.  But these are daunting tasks and they are burdens some of which I placed upon myself, others having been thrust upon me from alternative sources. Trouble is, some messes can’t be cleaned up, some fences can’t be repaired and some unfinished things are best left alone.  It is how life is meant to go…not always perfect and certainly not always the way you want it.

This is where all the what-if’s come in, along with the regrets and guilt. But it’s not all negative.  There are things that went well, brought joy and happiness and, most imporant, offered up some peace of mind.  It is a mix of all these elements–positive and negative–that have launched Rosemarie and me into our current “move” status.  There is some practicality to our needing to downsize at this point in our lives. There are expenses that can be cut and chores elimenated. But there is also a need for change, a revitalization of sorts in that we could both used something new in our lives.  What better to turn upside down than the environment in which we have lived the past 23 years.  Getting rid of the stairs alone will be a “big deal!” Physically, they have become the nemises for both of us as each assent and dessent challenges our muscle and mind.

It is true what they say, that youth is wasted on the young.  Well, maybe not wasted, but lots of it tossed about aimlessly.  But that is part of the process we are all meant to go through.  Some of us are just better navigators than others.  My scope nowadays is more finely focused and my goal is to sop up as much glitter as our golden years will yield…time willing.  

*****                                      

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THE BIG MOVE …continued

Boxes

My surgery has healed enough that I  am back to packing things up.  That means I’ve been busy, methodically going through each room, each closet, each drawer and deciding what gets put in a box headed for the new home, what goes to the garage sale, what is given away or what is destine for the dump.Cardboard boxes on white background

Despite that it is going on 23 years that we have lived in this house, the process of packing it all up and moving is as daunting a task as it was when we moved several times within the first five years of our marriage.  If anything, it’s even worse because we’ve had a lot more years to accumulate stuff.  What always amazes me is the number of  boxes we have.

One important thing I’ve learned is to label each box with its contents, preferably on top and on at least one side.  You will be glad you did when you arrive at your new home and you are desperate for a can opener.  There you stand, staring at 30-40 boxes stacked wall to wall and if they are not labeled, good luck finding the can opener.

Cardboard boxes on white backgroundMeanwhile, there is a great opportunity to witness a humbling experience and it comes just after the movers, or your friends who were good enough to help you move, have unloaded the final item from the truck and bid you an exhausting goodbye.  And you?  Well, there you are alone with your boxes…a gazillion of them.  It is now that you realize your entire life, everything from Scrubby your first bath buddy, to the award for being student of the year in fifth grade, to the first all-A’s report card (well, maybe not everyone has that) to dating souvenirs, to the set of china your parents-in-law bought you, to your kid’s artwork, etc. etc. etc.–it’s all here, your entire life’s collection of material goods, stacked several feet high and wide…in boxes.

The boxes, however, contain much more than just “things.”  They harbor all the references and memories that expose the links to your soul and everything you have done in your life.  Inside these walls of cardboard are items that represent all your most cherished accomplishments,  all your failures and all your in-betweens.  Each is a mini-warehouse of goods that trigger emotions  you’ve openly expressed or kept secretly tucked away.  If the boxes could come alive, they’d be a heap of pulsating pulp, Cardboard boxes on white backgroundinhaling and exhaling, sighing and smiling or seething with anger or frustration. All that you are, have been and will be are here before you in a mountain of brown fiber waiting to be reopened and let out again.

And that’s what moving is all about.  Enjoy!

*****

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