Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quickie: It could have been much worse

This man's name is Eganam Segbefia. And over the past few months, this man's skills in playing his horn have improved quite a bit.  Of course, when one plays a musical instrument for hours at a time in the subway, one can get paid for practicing.  And though he's not at the point that I would buy a CD of his, I enjoy listening to him play when I reach the Times Square shuttle.

Today was my 6 month anniversary at work.  It's hard to believe that I've made it this long. Unless someone in authority tells me not to worry, I'll always be walking on eggshells. As they say: "That's why they call it work!"  So I'll focus on the other, more pleasant parts of the day.  For example, for the first time in a while, I was able to wear a long sleeved shirt into the office, as the heat and humidity was low enough to make it comfortable. (But it was not cool enough to chase the women out of their skirts and into trousers. So that's a small blessing.)

When I see this gentleman, he is usually playing a well known tune. Often, he plays "The Flight of the Bumble Bee", and I joke about swatting the bee.  If he plays the "Saber Dance", I'll joke and ask where the Cosacks are.And if he plays the theme from "The Godfather", I'll compliment him on playing "Family Music".

One thing I know - I'll miss seeing him when one of us is no longer in the station on a regular basis.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Visiting Long Island - again!

Three Pictures - and this should give you a clue about what my brother and I are dealing with in getting the house in a shape where it is ready to rent.  In all 3 pictures, you can see wallpaper which has seen its better day, and needs to be removed before we can start work on doing anything important in these rooms.  The bathroom has a sink and medicine cabinet that dates from when the house was built. In addition, the bathtub has a chip on the side. The kitchen has appliances which are at least 20 years old, and will need to be replaced before renting can take place.  But we will also need to replace the cabinets as well, as the ones we have there now look like crap.

Soon, we will have emptied the entire main floor of furniture, and our next tasks will involve tearing apart both the kitchen and bathroom.  These are tasks I want to put oft until the weather becomes cooler, as I don't relish doing this work in the summertime heat.  We plan to replace the kitchen cabinets with prefabricated items, keeping our short term costs as low as possible, and replace the appliances shortly afterward.     The bathroom will require more thought, as we will either need to replace the tub, or to fid a way to fix the chip.  And then we will need to replace the sink, medicine cabinet, and lighting fixtures with ones appropriate for the 21st century.

- - - - - -

I should have started where the day began - with GFJ.  She stayed over from Friday night to Sunday morning, and then left with a few friends to go to Bethel Woods, while I trekked to Long Island.  While driving to Long Island, I called Lili back, and she told me the bad news - her sister had died.  I couldn't say much to comfort her , especially when she had the choice of being in Connecticut for her son's minor surgery, or being in Florida for her sister's wake. Lili will be sitting Shiva for a while, and I will see her then. But I have duties to my family, and they come first.

Once I got to the family homestead, my brother and I went to open up a joint bank account for us to deposit joint funds related to our dad's home, insurance proceeds, and anything that can stay in our hands instead of going to the state or to the nursing home.  My brother told me that he dealt with the funeral parlor, and will be delivering a bank check to them in the morning for the prepaid funeral arrangements.  We still have to deal with issues of a promissory note to get access to the current value one of our dad's insurance policies, giving about half to the State for dad's care.  If I have it bad, my brother has it several times worse.  So I am not complaining.

So far, we have mostly emptied the living room of excess furniture, leaving only the entertainment center, a table, and a couple of chairs for us to sit on.  Today, we tossed a woman's dresser and an end-table from the master bedroom.  Next week, comes the men's dresser and bed headboard from the same 60 year old bedroom set.  Sadly, the furniture has turned into junk, and is not even good enough to give to a local charity.

Once we were done moving furniture to the curb, it was time to start taking pictures of items we want to sell.  There are a lot of them, and most are related to the machine shop trade.  Looking at some of the packages, they seem like they are decades old.

 But some of the items are more interesting.

I'm sure a railroad buff would love to have an unopened set of playing cards issued by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.  It is fortunate that I didn't open these decks when I was a kid.

- - - - - -

I'm not going to go into detail about the rest of my day.  Seeing my dad is always a little bit draining for me, now that he is in the nursing home and has nothing much to say.  He is my dad, and I'll be there for him no matter what.  But I don't always have to enjoy the "no matter what".



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quickie: Thinking about work on a day off

In the shower this morning, I looked at the issues at work from a different perspective and it's just as shocking for different reasons. One of the issues I have is an inability to retrieve information which is in my brain when I need that information.  To illustrate, let's say that I've been working on antique cars all my life, and dealing with carburetors for regulating the air/fuel mixture for the engine. Then all of a sudden, one is working with fuel injectors (with a little more technology thrown in).  Now, one doesn't have to work on the engine to understand what is going on.  But one has to know how the pieces fit, and where they fit. And though I know how and where they fit, I'm having a hard time retrieving this information when called on.

I know there is a normal process of aging, where memory is harder to use for new things. And this is what frightens me.  From a person who always found it easy to pick up on new ideas, and was open to those new ideas, I am now a person who is having trouble using those new ideas - and is having trouble because of it.

Should I be worrying?  If so, I don't want to end up like my grandmother.  She went senile a little after my grandfather died.  I don't feel that I have anything to worry about yet, as what I'm experiencing is normal for my age.  But I can't help wondering - what if there was something wrong in my mental functioning that I should be worrying about and planning for?


Saturday, August 27, 2016

A blast from the past

This was truly a blast from the past - my former therapist called me from Hawaii.  Of course, he wasn't as interested in talking with me as he was in trying to reach out to DCD, another former patient of his.  Of course, he caught me at a bad time, and I made a little mess taking some ravioli I was boiling and pouring it into a colander so that I could respond to his call.

After I gave him the information he was looking for, we chatted a little about life.  He is finding Hawaii to be a very mellow place, with his "New York": style being a little too aggressive for the islands.  So he will need to change - and I expect that will be very hard for him to do. But Hawaii is a wonderful place in which to change one's life. And I wish him all the success he can have in doing so.

I started therapy with this man in 2002.  At that time, he was working out of an apartment, and shopping for a small home where he and his wife could raise a family.  Within a couple of years, he had bought that house, and shifted his practice to the new location. And I was with him until he shut things down in 2015 to move to Hawaii.

During the 12 or so years he lived in his house, he experienced a 20% net gain on his investment. (I won't mention dollar amounts here, but if someone did the research, they would be able to find the information I omit.)  And he paid everything off in 10 years. When we talked today, he mentioned that he respected me for my frugality with money AND what I've done with my money.  This was unexpected. Yet, when I see my consolidated figures on Mint.com, I realize that I do have a lot to be proud of.  If I take away my share of the parental homestead AND take away the value of the insurance money I got when my wife died, I'd still have a substantial amount of money in retirement assets.

We chatted a little about my life, but I didn't go into any details.  And we chatted a little about where he lives, and again, not much detail.  But I do have an invite to see him if I'm ever in Oahu, as he's about 2-4 miles from Waikiki.  But if I were to go to Hawaii, I have one question, with a followup.  How much time will I be out as Mario, and how much time will I be out as Marian?  And if I'm there as Marian, would I want to see him this way?

Friday, August 26, 2016

My boss is back, and game night didn't help me tonight.

Game night.  Normally, it eases my tensions and makes me feel better.  But tonight, it couldn't overcome the depressed feelings that I got because my boss is back.

I won't go into details, but I didn't keep him informed (via emails) of what was going on in my project, nor did I call his boss in to be of help with Tuesday's meeting.  This got him really pissed, and he belabored the point way too much for me to feel good for the rest of the day.  Later on, he asked me some questions about why I made some choices, and I answered with a mention that I asked for help, and then got referred to a person other than who my boss would have asked for help.  Peeling back the onion a little, I showed him my email to this person, and he made a big stink about giving him a different answer than what I was looking for while he was out.  I think that he sees that the is something about how we relate to each other that is causing me to doubt myself, and also give incorrect answers to his questions.

What I don't want to tell him is that his way of saying I'm doing things wrong is so heavy handed, that it is triggering transference of problems from early childhood that bubbling up to the surface, and causing me to fail on the job.  All I want to do is make it to the day when I'm eligible for unemployment insurance - and then the firm can let me go.  I'll always be grateful for the chances they gave me.  But I don't need the stress he's putting me through, nor do I need the headaches from someone who misjudged me from the start.  (He is a good person, but we have never been able to get in sync with each other.) 

Could this be a subconscious attempt to sabotage myself going on?  Maybe.  But with my father being diagnosed with bladder cancer within the first couple of weeks of me working there, and his health decline through the past 6 months that put him in the nursing home, it's easy to understand some of the extra stresses I'm dealing with.  Add to this a 2 hour commute each way, and I really don't want to go into the office anymore.

Today was the worst day I've had in months, and it's because I see no hope in going into the office anymore.  I am now truly going through the motions to stay employed as long as possible, and will embrace unemployment when it comes. For a person who always worried a bit about money, this is a lot to say - especially when becoming Marian for a few hours can't break me out of this funk.

So I dread going into the office in the morning, as I'll have to deal with my boss for at least a couple of hours. And much of that time, I'll have to deal with him being very critical of my work.  All I care about is that I don't get laid off until after I qualify for unemployment insurance.  (Didn't I just say that before? :-)  )

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Whining and Dining for the first time in a while.

"Bad Moms", the movie.  If you liked "Brides Maids", you'll like this film.  When I realized that the Whine and Dine group was meeting tonight and that my boss wasn't around to notice I would be leaving early today, the decision to go out for a night with the girls was a no-brainer.

- - - - - -

This morning, I realized that it would be my last day of freedom.  That is to say, it would be the last day that my boss was out.  So I made sure that the tasks for which he gave me grief last week were taken care of before he got back.  This way, he'll have no cause for complaint.

Strangely enough, I struck up a conversation with another of my coworkers as we left work, and he had similar, but not as extreme a set of issues with our boss that I have with our boss.  It's a matter of detail, and a matter of attitude.  Neither of us could say that we have a bad boss.  But we could say that he thinks very differently than the average person in our shoes.  My boss is a strategist, while I'm more of a tactician. Before I can see the big picture, some of the meta-details have to be pointed out to me, in order for me to be able to  see that picture.

I was glad to have left early, as I made the 5:11 pm train with a couple of minutes to spare, then got home early enough to read some of my email before changing into Marian Mode.  But I still ran a few minutes late, as I got to the theater as the rest of the Whine and Diners were taking their seats.

Bad Moms is reasonably amusing.  And if you are a cisgender female, you'd laugh at the jokes much more than I did, as you would have more of the mothering experiences than I ever will. There is one scene with a "Hoodie" and uncircumcised manhood that is hilarious - and probably more so if one has female genitalia, simply because of the point of view being expressed by the women on screen.

After the movie, it was off to Charlie Brown's (next door) for some drinks and a bite to eat. I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but I have a 6:00 am wake up call - and I want to be well rested when I see my boss in the morning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another good day at work - will wonders never cease?

I only met this lady once. And in one 60 minute presentation, I remembered her forever.  And now, I'm approaching the age she was when I attended an ACM meeting on Long Island to hear her speak. For the most part, I see very little activity in the ACM these days.  The ability to program a computer became common by 1990, and by 2000 the age of "Big Iron" was almost over. Yet, my career with these machines lasted another 15 years or so, until the business that gave me a good paycheck became obsolete.

- - - - - -

Today was the second of three days where my boss was not around. And this made things much easier for me, as I did not have him commenting on what I did and didn't know.  So when I had a meeting with the client, I was able to breeze through my agenda (admittedly short) and get key information about this client's needs.  If I had more time to prepare, I'd have had a longer list of questions to ask of the client.  But I think he was glad that I took up as little time as I did, as he was booked for back-to-back meetings all day.

As much as I could have stayed late and gotten more work done, I decided to go home and take care of my own needs. Although I have another two loads of laundry to take care of, I'm not going to operate washers and dryers in a laundry room where the lights aren't working. I'll take care of this need tomorrow or Friday - it all depends on whether I am able to go to the Whine and Dine tomorrow to see a movie with the girls.

- - - - - -

I was talking with GFJ this evening, and started cleaning off my desk. Her mom called, and she forgot to call me back.  Both of us are exhausted, and I'll bet that I miss making it to the dealer's service department for overdue periodic service this weekend.

And now back to cleaning up near my desk.