I sort of stumbled across Photo Friday today after a long absence. Several years ago I posted very often but these days it just seems harder and harder to find the time to get out and shoot good photos. This one, taken in my backyard looks like it fits the bill for the Photo Friday topic this week.
I will never understand my family, or more particularly, my mother.
Moms's oven broke last week for the second or third time. It's always the bake element in the oven. About three years ago she asked me if I could find a new bake element for her oven. I went down to her house to get a model number off the oven and she handed me the factory parts manual. The model number was underlined as was the part number for the bake elements. This was on a page with the toll free number to Sears Parts Direct. I ordered that part and installed it thinking that oven was not going to give Mom any more trouble for years.
Last week I got a call at work from my mother telling me that her oven had stopped working again. She told me that a friend (and former electrician) had looked at it and had tried (unsuccessfully) to find a replacement bake element. Mom asked me if I could get her another one and I said that I would. I thought that I might even still have the email confirmation from the previous order. I looked through my various email accounts but found nothing and then I made my first mistake. I got really busy at work. I had a week where I was really, really busy. Then Mom called me at work Friday morning. "Had I gotten that part ?" she asked. "Oh, I am so sorry Mom. I forgot" I replied. I promised to drop by after work to get the model number and info to order the part again.
Friday, about 5:00 pm....I stopped by Mom's and started to look at the oven for the model number. Just as I was pulling the oven away from the wall Mom asked if the manual would help. Would the manual help?!? There it was, lying on the china cabinet with the model number underlined and the toll free number clearly visible at the top of the first page and yes, the part needed marked with an arrow pointing to the part number. "Do you want me to just call these people and order the part again", I asked. "Oh yes" Mom replied. I called the toll free number and spoke to the representative. He confirmed that the part number was in stock and could ship Monday. He told me that it would cost approximately $83.00 including shipping. "Mom, do you want me to order this? It's going to be $83.00" I asked. "Yes" she said. I need it. I then asked when we would receive it. "After Thanksgiving" was the reply. I asked if there were expedited delivery options. "None for this part" was the reply. I asked Mom if this was okay and she assured me that it was. She'd get my middle sister to warm her Thanksgiving ham for her and all would be well. End of story, right? Wrong!!
It's Saturday morning and me and the wife are headed out to do some Christmas shopping. Susan likes to get it done before the Black Friday rush. My oldest sister sent me a text asking about the oven part. My mother had called her to say that her oven wouldn't be fixed before Thanksgiving and I ordered a part that cost $83.00 (including shipping). I called my sister to see what was going on.... My sister had found someone in a city nearby (about an hour away) who had the part in stock for $28.00. Could I confirm what the part was; did I have a model number? Yes, and yes. I sent the pictures that I had taken of the catalog. My sister said that Mom was stressed about paying $83.00 for the part and not happy that it wouldn't be in before Thanksgiving. Well, I did try and came up short once again....some decades you just can't win!
Well, look here. The old dusty blog is still hanging around. It's been almost a year since my last post. And to think, about this time last year I told myself that I was going to breathe some new life into the old Simple Contemplations Blogspot. And what happened? Life happened!. You're walking along, minding your own business and what happens? You get busy, you get sick, you get better, you get sick....and you just plain start to slow down. Work becomes harder. Exercise and staying fit becomes harder. Being creative becomes harder. Getting along with people gets harder. And to top it all off, you realize that you're almost 65 and still haven't figured out where you fit in.
I once had a job that I liked ( don't get me wrong, I like my current job as much) and lived in a city that I absolutely loved. Everything that I liked to do was within minutes of my home. Bicycling trails, hiking trails, lakes with swimming, and neat shops and places to eat. And what happened to all of that? The owner of the company that I worked for did what companies sometimes do....hire a new general manager with absolutely no experience in the industry with no idea of how to do what you do....And what do they do? Instead of trying to learn about your business and processes and why you do what you do they try to re-invent it from the ground up. Forget that it wasn't broken. Forget that it didn't need fixing. Forget that they just ain't going to listen to a damn word you say because they've decided that they're smarter than you. What happens then? In my case, the rat bastard made my life miserable with his management style that consisted of bullying, badgering, cussing, and berating. There is only so much of that a person can take. But, when you get to the point of thinking that there might just be a quick way out of this misery you get a call with a job offer "back home" that literally saves your life. A good job with good people. And did I say "back home"? Yeah, back home. I had visions of reconnecting with old friends and getting closer to my family. I envisioned have Sunday dinners and family get togethers where we all just enjoyed being in each others' company. My wife gave up a seventeen year job that she absolutely loved so that we could move "back home". I owe her so much!
Well...guess what? You can't go home again. People change; you no longer have that much in common with old friends and for reasons totally unknown, family gatherings are awkward. You're the one who moved away. You're the one who had to work and couldn't always make it home for holidays. The one who wasn't always there when Mom and Dad needed help or the just needed someone to be with them. And the people who were there do remember.
I've realized lately that I just don't fit in "back home" I'm happy here but not really content. I think of running away but then there's the mortgage, the car payment, health insurance; oh yeah, health insurance! Over a thousand dollars a month just for health insurance. I'd said all along that I'd like to work until I'm 67 or thereabouts. I still like my job and it pays me well but truth be known, I'd love to retire now. Just can't afford it. I never planned for this part of my life, always going and doing and spending as if the money was just going to keep flowing for eternity. Almost 65 and not a lick of savings. How stupid is that? Man, what a dumb-ass I turned out to be....Oh well, I guess I've rambled enough....Going to go think a bit about selling this old house, take whatever profit I can get out of it and getting the heck out of here! This isn't really going anywhere so I guess I'll wrap it for now....maybe more thoughts later.
I posted the title of this blog page on Facebook as a humorous
response to someone’s concern over stray and/or lost dogs. Of course, things
didn’t go well for me after that and I ended up deleting the entire message
thread. It did have one good result; my oldest sister saw the post and we started
to reminisce about childhood days gone by and one of our goofy dogs.
This is where I must clarify…. We say one of OUR dogs but,
truth be known, we never bought or owned a single dog ever. Oh, don’t
misunderstand. We had plenty of dogs. I’d just never say that we owned one.
Our dogs just seemed to wander up into the yard. One of my
sisters would give them a snack or two and the stray would tend to hang around
a bit; sometimes for years! They were always to come and go as they pleased.
One of my favorite dogs during my junior high school years
was Buster. He just wandered up one day. He was a friendly dog and we all enjoyed
playing with him. My mom supplied table scraps for Buster which meant that he
was always well fed. Buster followed us every where we went. We’d hike down to
the creek and Buster was always right there with us. If we went for swim in the
creek Buster went for a swim too! Buster even had a few odd talents (for a
dog). He would bring things home. And I mean good things like hand tools,
clothing, and cakes. Yes cakes. He once came home with a Dolly Madison Pound
Cake, fresh in the un-broken wrapper. We eventually found out that he had
discovered that one of our neighbors’ storage room doors didn’t latch properly
and Buster would help himself (and us) to whatever he could get away with.
One fateful day when we were all playing in the front yard
Buster walked out into the road in front of our house. He put his head down
like a charging bull and did just that; charged a car and butted it head on.
It knocked him through the air about 10 yards and he spent the next hour or so
running around in crazy circles. He’d vanish for days at a time after that but always
seemed to make it back to our house for one more snack. I have to say that I
really don’t remember what eventually happened to Buster. I know that my sister Janet will tell me.
She could make this story so much more interesting that I am able.
Anyway, the whole point of this story is this. When I see a stray
dog, I don’t jump to the foregone conclusion that it is lost. I don’t think
that it has escaped from its yard. I just assume that it’s a free spirit
exploring its world. I know that there are people who feel distressed over this
and feel that they must “rescue” the poor lost animal. I don’t, and I make no
apologies for being this way.