It is that time of year! This is the time of year when I usually take the time to apologize to all those I may have offended over the past year. While I believe 2016 owes all of us an apology for what we have had to put up with, I still think it is good to at least acknowledge where I could have taken a different path in this blog!
First to my family, who have to put up with me and cringe at the mention of my writing in fear I will put something in here that they don’t want to be shared. I am not always the most observant, so I am sure one if not all of them have had reason to be annoyed by a post over the past year. This I should hang over my computer as it will be used every year I continue to write this blog. Second, to anyone who read this blog over the past year. You probably clicked on it hoping it would be funny or insightful and instead got the musings of a fifty-something-year-old getting close to complaining about kids walking on his lawn. This blog has had no theme and has been about as ADD as I am, to that I say sorry. Finally, to all political candidates of all parties and affiliations. I loathed you all equally this past year and can not say how much I pray that the next election cycle is very different than this one. I don’t apologize for the loathing I apologize to the American people on your behalf. You won’t do it, so I will for you.
Before you had the Kardashians, there was Zsa Zsa Gabor! Which I might add the now gone Gabor was way better at the being famous game. This lady knew how to say the right thing, show up at the right time and work the media like no other. Of course in her day it was probably easier to get the media attention, and it didn’t require a sex tape to do it. She used marriage as a PR stunt, hence the nine marriages and said things about men and other things at a time when it was scandalous to do so. Some of my favorites “I’m an excellent housekeeper. Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.” and “A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.” I don’t know if it was the accent or the delivery, but you could not hate her for saying these things it just made you like her more. She married for money or the press it seemed, and I hope the guys she married understood that. If any of those poor saps married her because they loved her, they got taken to the cleaners. As she most famously said, “I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?” And she got her share of every one of those nine millioniares and still managed to do it with style!
In 1983 Bob Ross started the show “The Joy of Painting.” In 1983 I was just out of high school and just not into painting or PBS for that matter. I remember PBS as the only station that showed Sesame Street, and I was aware that they had yoga on in the morning because my mother would turn it on and follow along. I would not have dreamed of following along with this soft-spoken guy who enjoyed a little tree here and there and a small stream in a way that would put an angry charging tiger in a coma. Today every time I come across his show I smile and have to stop if only for a moment and admire the genius. No, Bob Ross is not Picasso, his paintings are not great art, but his quiet enthusiasm and his love of what he is doing make the show something special. To watch him, in what seems effortless to him start with a blank canvas and add a little here and a little there till a peaceful scene emerges, with happy little trees and bushes and the encouragement from Bob that you can make anything you want to as well. I have to say that with his prompting I have tried to paint, it did not look anything like the happy scene I saw on the television. I did, however, enjoy doing it and that is the genius. Just getting people to pick up a brush if only one time is Bob’s legacy, and I would think he would say, that’s nice!
So if I haven’t mentioned, I am under a deadline to get the bathroom and bedroom project before Christmas. There is a lot left to do so I am trying to figure out what I can wait to finish after the holidays. So as I am getting close to the closet with the tile, I look up at my wife and say, should we just skip the closet for now? Now, I did not mean, should we never do it, but the reality is if I did do it now it would probably be a long time before I get back to it. I was just trying to figure out how we are going to move back into the room before everyone arrives but you can probably guess what my wife was thinking. Her comment, yeah right, if I want to have an unfinished closet for the next twenty-eight years! So the closet is not skipped, and I will have to find other things we don’t need to be done, say having a working toilet or shower!
When I was a kid, I had several jobs which were very physically taxing. I split wood with my brother in law and cousin. A guy would bring trees which they had cut down for houses to being built to a large open area which we would then put onto a gas log splitter and cut into firewood which he would sell. Some of the tree sections would take all three of us to get onto the log splitter. During the summer we would work six days a week for eight hours a day. This weekend I was tiling my bedroom I worked Saturday and Sunday, and today I can barely sit in my chair my body hurts so much. Look I know I am not in the greatest shape, but I am not a total couch potato either. I am just thirty years older than when I was doing all that manual labor, and I could not do this for a living. Every time I whine about my desk job I need to remember today and thank the Lord above that I get to do what I do and not construction. To those of you who do construction every day, my hat goes off to you. I don’t know how you do that day in and day out without a Doctor and Chiropractor on speed dial! This old man isn’t cut out for that!
We all have a style of learning when it comes to new systems or computers. I am a poker, I mean I will click on everything and “poke around” until I understand what the system does. Some are more methodical in that they read and learn it and are very cautious and don’t do anything they don’t understand. I drive those people crazy! They ask me not to mess with their system, but how am I going to learn if I can’t poke around? Some are smart and give me a “developer” area which I can go knock around in or they have a sandbox which can be restored every time I oops! When they are trying to show me how something works, they have that look of despair on their face, and they say things to me like, please whatever you do don’t do “x.” It gets bad when they are looking over my shoulder as I am clicking away on every box seeing if it will let me change something I can see the pain and twitching in their eyes. Most of the time all they can say is, no don’t touch that, but you and I both know I am not going to stop. Maybe I could be a little kinder and wait for them to leave my cube before I go clicking around but at some point, depending on how close they sit to my cube, they will hear the clicks and wonder what hell I am causing.
I have family coming for the Christmas, and my bathroom and bedroom are still under construction, so I took last week off to try and get it further along. I have to say I made a dent, but you never get a far as you think you will. There always seems to be more to do. A few things I realized as I was working were that I am not the most detailed person. I am more of a big picture guy. I would rather swing a hammer and do framing than mudding drywall. In doing the detailed work, it requires time and patience. You have to take your time to get it right. I can do that kind of work, and I have many times over this project, but it isn’t my favorite. Trying to cut a circle into tile is ridiculous! First I tried a drill bit that had a center bit and an adjustable arm, fail. Then I tried a bit to drill a starter hole and a jigsaw blade, fail. Finally thanks to Youtube, I saw a video where a guy used a three-inch grinder with a blade, that worked. Luckily we did remember to buy ten percent extra on the tile so I could make mistakes. Another thing I learned is that I am grateful for my desk job, this manual labor stuff is hard on the old body, I am back to work to regain my strength and heal, at least until tonight when I have more to do.