Thought Process

I usually have a pretty good idea what I want to talk about when I sit down here and start writing. Not today so much, as I kind of got blindsided this morning. Not too bad, and while it was something I wasn’t expecting, I wasn’t truly that shocked except the news that came along with it pretty much sucked. I have to be a little vague about it, since I don’t know the whole story, but let’s just say I am bummed.

Change happens, all the time. I get it, I have seen it my whole life. Maybe that’s why I feel ok about this morning, or maybe it will sneak up on me later and I will be pissed or something. It’s like my bracket for the NCAA tournament yesterday, it got hit hard, but I feel ok because I can just sit back and watch now, with no hidden agenda of cheering for a team I hate. Good things can come out of bad things.

It’s not my place to talk about what changed this morning, until an announcement gets made. It affects me a little, and some of my people, but it won’t ruin anything or devastate my existence, it is just something to adapt to. It isn’t anything personal, it just feels that way when you are invested in the people around you. Roll with it, I still have goals to get to, so a bump can’t dislodge the focus.

My lesson here is to roll with the changes as they come along. Having been through a lot of loss through life can make you a little stoic when things happen. You can get upset, or make a decision to withhold judgement until you get through the chaos of the moment. That’s the place I feel like I am in now in my life. I can get mad, but what does that accomplish? Not much but waste my energy, when things may just end up great after everything settles. Time will tell.

So, my thoughts got a little messed up with where I may have gone when I knew I wanted to write this morning. I don’t know what time I get the rest of the story today, but for the 3 people I know this whole thing affects the most, thanks for everything, the whole way through. People touch your life, and hopefully in a positive way. These 3 did, for absolute certain. We keep going, growing and I know they will too. I send out lots of love to them in the universe today, because I know it will find them and great things will happen. Everything is good for me, this is a small turn on the long road of life. We go through them, readjust and navigate our way through. It is the first day of Spring, if that can’t get you into a positive place, I don’t know what can. Keep going, keep growing.

Spring Ahead

It’s time change weekend! Yay! But, it is also the time when so many people will complain about an hour. The old “I am losing an hour of sleep!” crowd will be piping up in the next few hours. I have an unsympathetic message for them: Boo Hoo! You waste so very many hours of your life, I do too, and to that I say, what is one more hour? You will get it back in 8 months or whenever we do that Fall Back thing, so it evens out.

It gets me thinking about all the hours I waste, plenty, believe me. I waste time with the best of them. But I have gotten a little better with some of my hours, like the time I spend on me. Lots of people don’t spend the hours on themselves so much, which is really awful to think about. I mean, we have to give some of our hours to work, we get compensated, hopefully accordingly, but what about the rest of those hours we get in a day? How are you spending them?

I start my days at the gym, and even though the camp is a half hour, it is about an hour of my day between the driving time and the goofiness we get into after the camp, pictures, laughing or crying (depending on the day!) That’s a good hour, the best of my day most days. Then I come home to my doggo, The Zelda. She is a great part of my day too, even though she drives me nuts sometimes. But I don’t have any regrets about my time with her, except time getting tennis balls from underneath the couch. We walk, we play and the time is great. When you think of the amount of time you get with your pets in life, every hour with them is precious, so enjoy them all you can.

I regret a little bit the time I waste on social media. I mean, some of it is good, keeping up with family and friends, but it is a giant time suck. One of my co-workers downloaded Tik Tok last week, and she quickly found out it had to go! She said she stayed up late watching Tik Toks, and she couldn’t believe how much time she spent! She has 3 kids, a husband, dog and a lot going on, so her time is a premium. She took it back off her phone a day later, knowing she can’t afford to have that time sucked from her! I was proud of her, that is something a lot of us couldn’t do, I would be willing to bet. I waste enough time of the Facebook, I don’t do the Tik Toc for that reason alone. Not that I have so much going on, but I don’t need that!

I haven’t been spending enough time with the people I love. I don’t know if you ever can spend enough time with them, truly. This is partially the result of the ‘Rona, I mean we all know what that has been like. But I really need to do better at this now that things are slowly returning to normal. It is time to re-engage some people, and get back into it, safely of course, but I miss people. A lot. And this spring I plan on venturing out a little more as we progress. I have wasted enough of that time, for sure.

When you change your clocks that don’t automatically change, when you dig out the owner’s manual for your car because you just don’t remember how you did it last October, and when the hour changes, don’t complain about that hour. Make the best of the hours you still have. You have time now, make the best of it, and be happy you do. Lots of people lose the hours that mean the most to them in silly ways, I do it too, and I think if we put ourselves in a better spot to make the best of our time, you won’t even notice that hour slip away at 2 am. And remember, the Spring Ahead means it is time for Spring, the time of rebirth and renewal, that’s for all of us. Enjoy it!

Sugar, Sweetie, Honey!!

Nope, we haven’t ventured into a Waffle House in the Deep South. I wish!! These aren’t my pet names for any of you either, I don’t think I have yet crossed the age threshold for calling people this, although I feel it close by. Instead, this is my 18th day or so of having given up sugar for Lent. Checking in, looking forward, and lots of pep talks for myself and my Sugarless partner in this, Bri, the one who sweet talked me into this, as it were.

For those not of the Roof Company Mafia, Bri works with me at the SLR, she is the Gutter Department Goddess. She is fun, and up until the point she talks you into giving up sugar, one of my favorite people I have met in my migration into working a straight job. She also works as a fitness coach, and so she knows this stuff. But she also loves the sugar, and I know this is hard for her too, because she lives a short walk to the Mexican Treat store, Frio Mexican Treats, and they know her by name there. I don’t really know how she got me to do this, but I sit in a corner, and I am easily backed into that corner from time to time, and an easy mark for peer pressure. I assume she used this to her advantage. Don’t tell her, but I am glad she did.

I have mentioned how things are at the office, and others that work in offices have confirmed that this goes on all over. Sweets and treats are often available, donuts, cakes celebrating every single thing, cookies, all things sugar, all the time. It’s a trap. I love getting caught in that trap. I love sweets. There is no shame in my donut eating game. But there needs to be because the weight gain has been all too real since I have been sitting at a desk the better part of 9+ months. The recent gym weigh-in knocked the reality of that home for me, so something has to give. That’s how Bri got me, the day after weigh in when I was weak. She offered me a donut shaped life preserver, wait they are that shape anyway, and I took it.

It hasn’t been that bad, truly. My office mates are being good sports and not pushing Rice Krispy Treats at me all week. We did have a birthday, but they respectfully kept the cake away from me. We had a cake sitting in the break area all day yesterday, and I even made eye contact with it once, and I stayed strong. I am doing ok. I didn’t even really have any sugar withdrawals the way some people do. I am amazed by that. We have a ways to go before Easter gets here and I get paroled from Sugar Jail, but today, as I sit here typing, I am ok, truly.

Challenges are supposed to challenge you, hence the name. Since the new year started, we have done challenges at the gym, we did the squat thing, and then we let one of the coaches make a month’s worth of daily things, which were awful mostly, but the gang of us stuck with it. This sugar thing is just my current challenge. Like the others, I have support through it, or I am sure I would stumble. Through all of it I have chosen to look for the benefits instead of focusing on what I am missing out on. That has really been a big difference for me, and something I haven’t always been able to zone in on. When you look at it like you are denying yourself things, you could be setting yourself up for a fall. Change the mindset, change the outcome.

So my sweet tooth is in a holding cell, and I am seeing some positive things. As this Lenten season continues, I will continue to try to stick to this. If Bri can hang in there, so can I and when it’s all over, I will meet her at the Frio, and we will dominate something delicious and sweet, or maybe we will eat some plants or something. Hahaha, that’s cute that I think I could choose vegetables over churros! The good outweighs the bad, but ice cream is better than spinach. Have a great Lent, and whatever you have chosen as your challenge to get you to a better you, keep at it. We aren’t denying ourselves things, we are making things better for a great season ahead!

Mystical

I like the word mystical a lot, because it can take you a lot of places. Van Morrison takes you “Into the Mystic” and I love the 80s movie “Mystic Pizza.” It is kind of a magical word and I like magical things.

I find as I am aging, and especially while we have been progressing through this pandemic, I am feeling more spiritual. Not religious, but spiritual, mystical and more in touch with my touchy feely side. I have been given lots of time to reflect, and I do. While others have spent their time thumping their political chests and worrying about other things they can’t change, I have tried to reach a spot where that stuff just doesn’t worry me. Still reaching, as it turns out it is a lifelong quest, not a weekend retreat.

The political stuff became all consuming for some people. That just isn’t healthy, and that became so obvious in the events up to the election and the months following it. How upset were some people you know, like all the time? Constant obsession. What good came of it? A lot of hard feelings, a lot of snarky comments between people who are supposed to be friends or family. At the end of the day, it didn’t change outcomes, it didn’t make our elected officials any wiser, more empathetic or interested in anything more than money. Wasted energy, wasted relationships and so much bitterness. That time would have been better spent trying to baptize your cat, and the cycle seems to be on again already. Jump off that ride, and enjoy your life and family.

I have been trying to meditate regularly. It has been an interesting effort, and I think it has helped me from getting too riled up about all the politics, the continuing arguments about how the pandemic is handled or not handled, and the changes I have had to process in my existence. That’s where the Mystical stuff comes in, really. Paying attention to myself, instead of all the noise around me. I still get ticked off at things, believe me, but at the end of the day, I can wind down and replay what upset me and breathe my way through it. It’s like that Serenity Prayer, about resetting myself and accepting that I cannot control what others do. It’s me, all me, that’s where my attention must be. I can’t change other people, just how I react to them. It’s been quite a gift that I gave myself. I just have to keep practicing it.

When you meet other people who are pretty grounded you can feel it from them too. It’s not that they don’t have things upsetting their apple carts, they just figure their way through it is a more calm way, because they learned how at some point. Being the noisiest person in a room isn’t for everyone. People that have that calm really draw people to them, without being that center of attention. It’s like a leadership thing. Some people are just born leaders, and the people that follow don’t always know why, just that they feel better with that person. They don’t often have to pound their chest for your attention, you just somehow have it. You feel better in their presence. That is a gift, and I would say it falls under that mystic thing.

With all this self-awareness stuff, the Algorithm Gods at Facebook put wonderful memes and sayings all over my news feed. I share a lot of them, and I think they help someone out once in a while. It helps me out more. I have been on my path by myself for a long time, and at times it is lonely, but these things often get others onto my radar. I find that there are a lot of people trying to follow a more mystical, spiritual path, and it is nice to see them out wandering with me. The confines of organized religions aren’t for everyone, and I don’t mean to make that sound negative. Some people do much better on their path with a guide, a pastor, rabbi, priest or whatever your religion has. They need the guided tour, and I am so happy it is there for them. The mystics of the world are on a more secluded path, but not alone. It is still a spiritual journey, just using their heart as a guide to their soul.

February ends today, the shortest long month we have. I have been paying close attention all month to how it affects others. It is a time that people get antsy, impatient for spring. It is a time before we know the changes coming will really get here. We tend to be in the hibernation mode yet, but we are beginning to stir. My meditations lately have addressed that, and I think I got through this February better than any I have had most of the other Februarys of my life. It really was magical. Or maybe that was mystical.

As March begins, I hope you are enjoying more daylight, more renewal and paying attention to the little changes that happen every day. Focus in on yourself for a little each day, instead of giving everything away to others. When you notice small things, big things can become more apparent. Put yourself on a mystical journey, and enjoy all that is around you and those that you love. As the world turns, I say Namaste.

Comfortable

Who doesn’t love to be a little relaxed and comfortable? I think there are people who aren’t used to it, but it is kind of a goal in life. We want comfortable shoes, we want the chairs and couches to be comfortable. Driving for hours makes you long for a comfortable seat in your ride. So it’s a thing, and it should be that way for your mind and soul too. Get them to a spot where you are comfortable in life. There is a thought process that encourages you to not get too comfortable with your life, that you should always be striving for more. We’ll see about that.

I have had my comfort levels stretched out a bit this past year. I was very settled in my old routine and job, I had been there 10 years, that is gonna happen. I had joined a gym that inspires some changes, but even there I have a level of comfort that exists among all the challenges. I have come to realize in the past couple of weeks I have reached a level of comfort at the new gig, about 8 months into it. That brought me some real calm, and at a time where calm isn’t an easy thing to come by, it gives me comfort. How wonderful!

The connection between what I knew and didn’t know seems to have moved a little closer, and it happened over some time. It wasn’t like a giant epiphany, is just developed and grew a little at time, which is probably for the best. I still have days where I am only pretty and that is all I am contributing, but that has benefits too, probably to be discussed at a different time. It helps so much that the people around me get that, because they too have days that all they bring to the table are good looks and a sense of humor, we are a pack like that. Birds of a feather. Wink wink.

This week I had a moment that let me know I am doing OK. One of our sales guys came in, with a past customer on the phone. He needed to schedule a time to go out, and we are supposed to handle that. So, Kevin and I sat there, talking to the gentleman, and I got the basic stuff I need to have, and one thing we do is to make sure the homeowner will be available, with no other plans. I ask him, and he says he will be there, his only plans will be to do some baking. I joke with him that Kevin will be over, and maybe he will bring a container to bring some baked goods back. We have a good little laugh, and I get this customer on the schedule the next day.

You know what happened. If you read this regularly, you know of my charm and how I overwhelm people with it. That’s right, Kevin went out, did his deal, and Lee the Awesome Homeowner sent him back to the office with a loaf of Banana Fudge Bread for ME!!!! YES!!! I felt that awesome feeling I used to get when my regular guests would bring me Christmas candy, snacks they know I like, or little gifts. It was comfortable, and even more important, it was comfort food! I felt like I connected, and without ever meeting this person, I did what I have done for many years, and it felt comfortable.

I miss my people. So very much. And the hardest thing about this job is making a connection with people I can not see. It is all over the phone, and I can only imagine what they look like, how they are and all I really know is where they live and that their roof needs some love. I get to see the people I work with, they are the bridge between me and the phone people. It isn’t an instant gratification thing like I am used to in a restaurant bar setting. I didn’t think I would ever get to that comfort level. But for a minute or two on a phone call with Lee, I got it. And that bread is good! I will be sad when it is gone.

Changing your life is so scary, because you feel like you may never have that certain comfort level you are used to and cling to. It may be necessary sometimes due to things beyond your control, like my situation was. I work with and for great people, and they have helped me tremendously by being friendly and patient. But until you start to sink into it and feel comfortable, it’s a struggle. You know, I have talked about it before. A little loaf of Banana Fudge bread doesn’t mean I know and can do everything in my job perfectly, but it means I can relax a little and know I am getting there, to a level of comfort that I can grow with. I can do this. I can breathe and be a little more comfortable. Thank God.

823

I knew the date was coming around, because I am kind of nuts like that. Facebook in its time tracking way of memories reminded me of a journey I started 3 years ago today. I found my new family, my FIRE Family. It didn’t feel like family that first day, my family never made me do push-ups. Maybe that was the problem.

I have made more progress in improving my overall health in the time I have been at FIRE than I did in the previous 48 years of my life. This past year I hit a skid, like so many did, with the pandemic. The gym was closed for a stretch, and so much changed in such a short period of time, and things got out of hand. I lost the path for a while. Not exactly derailed, just a little lost, that’s all. I put some weight back on, and let myself eat more snacks and junk that I had in a long while. Pizza really re-emerged in my life. I hadn’t realized how little of it I had eaten until I was eating gigantic slices of it on my breaks at Costco because we could have it for free.

Things started opening back up, including the gym, and I waddled my pizza eating butt back through the doors. It was what I needed for my physical self, but also my mental health too. That place is where I made the connection between the two things, and that is where I need to be to get back to the balance. It seems a little tougher this time, might be age, could be something else. But I keep going, and there are some great workouts and some I am struggling hard. And what is important is being there for the other people too.

We have been doing this ridiculous challenge this month, 100 squats per day, but for “fun” we add on ten extra each day, and it’s cumulative. By January 31st, we are doing 400 squats. But, or butt in this case, most of the days we are doing this as a group at the end of camp. Support, accountability and group pain. Today was 320, after a 45 minute camp and we did it together. Family. Dysfunctional Family. That’s my FIRE Family, and we are quite aware that we have lost our damn minds.

So that 823 up top, that is the number of times I have walked through the doors there in 3 years. I think if it hadn’t been for the pandemic shut downs, I might be closer to 900. Before it all shut down, I was going to 6 camps a week, a cardio class one night a week, and a few Friday night Black Labels camps a month. They added up quick that way. Now I am back to 6 camps a week, but none of the extras for now. I am proud of that number, 823, because that many times I did something for me. I expect it of myself now, and while it isn’t easy each day, I find it inside somewhere to do it, to give myself that one thing each day to be proud of, and I am.

Not every person can do this, I am well aware. I am surprised I can some days, but the support helps a lot, and it’s why I try to be supportive while I am there too, and why I like and love every post I see on social media from the various FIRE locations. They do it for me, I am damn sure doing it for them. It changed me, my life, my attitude and my health. I would wish that every person can find something in their life that can make the positive changes they need, physically yes, but more importantly mentally. I can do all of this because I have found a mental strength that was sorely missing for me many years of my life. Not that I didn’t care about others, I just didn’t care enough about me. But I do now, and it helps me care about the other things and people in my life too.

Find your Fire. It doesn’t have to be FIRE, but whatever it may be that makes you feel strong, inside, outside or both. It exists and it can be reached. Look around and see how strong you can be, if it does happen to be at FIRE, I know a whole gang that will lift you up and cheer you on. 824 comes on Monday for me, and I only go up from there. Happy day my friends, and very importantly, GO PACK GO. Completely unrelated, but very necessary today and tomorrow.

Go Pack Go!!

People who know me understand very well my obsessive love of the Pack. I have written previously about it, but today I am feeling a little extra crazy. It’s Playoffs Baby!!! I just am so very excited!! It’s ok, I am ok, I promise.

Maybe it’s the way the past year has been that is raising the crazy bar a little for me. It has been a year of tempering expectations in everything. Which sucks. It felt like every little thing you looked forward to got cancelled. Because it did. When football was getting ready to start, and the training camp schedule changed, and no preseason games, I said I will believe there will be games when they actually play them. With a lot of caution, and planning and so very much praying from me, they actually played! It felt good, even if it didn’t feel normal with no fans. I was just happy to have the season.

It has been a good season too, mostly the Pack has played well, and a quick run down of Aaron Rodgers’ stats tell you all you need to know about him. MVP much? My whole game watching dynamic changed. I got to watch every game all the way through without working. Dreams do come true. I watched them alone, mostly and at home. Zelda isn’t the fan I am, so we occasionally had to take walks at halftime, but she let me have my way most of the time. That’s a win, even when the Packers didn’t.

My superstitions have mostly been kept to a dull roar, but I did this week get to treat my new co-workers to a little of my Playoffs Crazy this week. I was pretty subtle, but I wore something Packers related every day leading up to yesterday when I just Packered it up all the way. Yes, I do have green shoes, and a suitable yellow/gold pair as well. Several pairs of Packers socks to choose from, many shirts, hats, and the more subtle yet effective green eyeliner. Usually I reserve that for game days, but it is playoff week, so green makeup is acceptable every day. I explained it this way to several people: See, the Rams (this week’s opponent) can study and prepare for the Packers. Look at game film, scout the offense and practice all they want. They are not ready, nor can they prepare, for me and the things I use to dismantle their hopes and dreams of advancing. Nothing, they are helpless against my yellow pants. I am not saying the things I do to prepare for games will guarantee a victory for the Pack, but I would hate to not put the effort in, and have them lose because I didn’t care enough to try. You’re welcome, Packers.

This is me. I have done weirdo things like this for years. I probably couldn’t stop if I wanted to, because I do want to, very much, be an active participant in the intimidation of opposing teams. I do some of it for the Brewers too, I have some impressive stuff I pull out for them too. It’s just worked better for the Pack. And I have friends that do it too. My friend Matt has a whole Voo Doo thing he does for games, and he texts the pictures to a select group of us before the game, just to be sure. He even has some more strange things than I do, but I don’t find them odd, because I know. My friend Stacy has her crystals and stones, and I know people who have all kinds of things that help get them through and help the Pack all at one time. We are holding up our end of the bargain, for sure!

One of my favorite denials in my life is pretending I am not superstitious, but I so am. It is fun working with new people this year and giving them a glimpse into my crazy. I wore Packers gear to the gym this morning, it’s game day all day baby!! It’s fun, and it makes me feel great, and even when they don’t win it is being a part of a community, even if I watch the game alone. People who don’t get sports, don’t like or watch any, are missing an opportunity for a community, and friendships that are crazy yet stable. Loving one team and hating another is an interesting way to bond, and it has brought me some fantastic relationships over the years. I know those people who aren’t sports fans have their own things, so I am not knocking them, I just like the way I get there for me. It’s fun, frustrating, great and awful. What a ride!

I am obviously hoping for a big win today. If it doesn’t go the way I hope, I will likely be ok. But should they win, the crazy goes on, and I will have another week of compliments on my sweet shoes, and I may have to dig out the yellow pants. My office is in the back of the building, most everyone is safe, I promise. My boss is a Bears fan. He may find me insufferable this week if the Pack advances. It’s his own fault, he offered me the job, he has nobody to blame but himself. Ok Friends, I have to go start getting ready, it’s only 6 hours to kickoff. Have a great weekend, and most importantly, GO PACK GO!!!!

Terms, Conditions, Blah Blah Blah.

It has been a wild week. Exhausting, really. I am not a fan of politics, overly, and I don’t do well in conversations about it because I don’t truly believe I am going to convince anyone, and they won’t change how I perceive things, so I mostly stay out of it. But people love it, and fight about it and solve nothing along the way. A lot has changed over the years, and the Twitters and Instagram and Facebooks of the world have facilitated that. People fight over the color of a dress and weird noises.

Donald Trump got banned from Twitter, his favorite medium, yesterday. Folks are either wildly happy or just ticked off about it. A lot of chatter about loss of Free Speech, how can they do that! Well… He agreed to it. What? This is America, we have Freedom of Speech! Not like that, exactly. Nobody said he can’t speak his mind, he just can’t do it there anymore, and he agreed to that. More on that to come.

When you signed up for a credit card, they gave you a pamphlet of the terms of the card. Did you read it? I know I didn’t. The small print and legal stuff means little to me. I get how it goes, I use their card, and pay them back. If I don’t pay them back at one time they can charge me extra for using their money. I agreed to it whether or not I read it. Right? So, if I don’t want to pay the interest, pay it off. Simple. I follow their rules, or I have to pay extra, and I said it’s ok. I agreed to their terms.

Similar is the way bars operate, kind of. You can go into any bar as a legal adult, and spend money and drink there. You don’t see the signs in as many places, but sometimes there is one hanging somewhere the states “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone for Any Reason.” You don’t have to sign or click on anything, but by walking in, you agree to their terms, it is implied and the laws are written to back the bar up on it. If you go in and behave, you can keep drinking and hanging out. But, if you start getting too drunk, or start a fight, or harass someone, they are going to kick you out. I saw it on Christmas Eve a couple of weeks ago. I know this guy from my bartending days, and he was at the same bar. He was talking to me and my brother. He is a little obnoxious, but since I know him I just tolerate it, and hope he wanders off. Well, he didn’t, and someone else told the bouncer he was bugging me. He got the boot. They came around and told him he had to go. And he did. Not his first time getting kicked out of a bar, we used to send him home quite often back in the day. But he knows that it can happen, he didn’t abide by their terms, and he had to go.

When you download an app, a Facebook, Twitter or whatever, they ask you to accept the terms and conditions before the app installs and is useable. It’s pretty standard thing. We all do it, and likely never read the long boring script that lays out all of those terms. Click accept and start reading and posting! All is right with the world, you are following people and liking posts and posting your own stuff, so much fun and entertainment! We probably all know someone who got tagged and did a stretch in the Facebook jail. I know several. All of a sudden you don’t see their stuff for a few days, and you know what happened. They posted something, someone got upset or it violated their standards and the account gets held a few days. One friend did about a month in FB Jail a while back. He came back ahead with a different profile, and that is a way around, but you get the idea. They usually know what they did. Do your time, and come on back out into the Social Media Playground.

That’s what happened to Donny yesterday. He violated their terms and conditions one too many times. They deemed that he was not playing nicely with others, and they put him in detention. Forever. Or at least until he is out of office, I am sure. But people are freaking out. He too, at one time, agreed to their terms and conditions. He agreed to it. He maybe didn’t read it, most of us don’t. They update their terms occasionally and ask you to click accept again, you don’t read anything, click and move forward. There is no exemption button for POTUS or anyone else. They gave him a pretty wide berth as president, but this week he crossed their imaginary line one too many times, so they yanked him. But it is their line. They can move it on us any time they want, and because we hit “accept” we have no recourse. It is their sandbox. You got kicked out for throwing sand. Bye.

I suggested to someone last night that there are other platforms, or start your own if you don’t like it. He didn’t like that. Pitched an online fit, and people like to jump on someone like that. The Internet is a nasty sandbox. People pee in that all the time and aren’t very nice. I wouldn’t engage any more, because I did what I wanted to do, I made him think, and he didn’t do so good with that. Did these people truly believe there wouldn’t be any fallout from all of this? I guess so, and they thought Trump would continue on unchecked, because of his office. Terms and conditions. They serve their purpose whether you read them or not. Even in the Oval Office.

I don’t know what happens next. We all see them demanding he resign, or get impeached again, or kicked out. It’s less than 2 weeks until he leaves, but if he gets kicked out, more ugly is going to come out. I think he is damaged, I have always felt that about him, but now he is really in a corner. Cornered, wounded animals are still very dangerous. That is really why they pulled his account. They don’t want him to rally his base into more actions like what happened Wednesday. It doesn’t take a lot of knowledge or wisdom to get that. It sounds like they made it so he doesn’t have the nuclear codes anymore either. I don’t know that he would have gone that way, but nobody thought a sitting president would encourage an insurrection either.

What I know is that we are all tapped out right now. The ‘Rona, the election and all the drama with it and now this event of Wednesday. I feel beaten down, tired, and I believe a lot of others feel it too. So please do what you can for self care right now. Set up your own Terms and Conditions for yourself, and make others accept them. I think we need that right now. I think we need to limit things that stress and create anxiety. Don’t engage with those who are looking for a fight. Protect yourself, and care for yourself. I am fond of saying you are your own number one asset, and I mean that. The fatigue of all of this is very real. I do think that is what is hurting Trump right now, his fatigue of being himself, and because he has been at it so long now, it is chipping away at him and making him act irrationally. I may be wrong, I am not trained in anything like that, but the edges are unraveling. If he doesn’t leave office prior to Biden getting sworn in, willingly or not, I am perfectly ok with him just golfing out the rest of the term. He needs the break, and honestly, so do the rest of us.

Faking It

I would say a lot of us are going with the “Fake it Until You Make It” thing at the moment. Not on purpose, really, but sort of as a survival thing. I kind of didn’t realize I was doing that until I had a conversation a few days ago with a nice young lady I work with. She is in her early 20s yet, and the world hasn’t really gotten to her yet. Still hopeful, full of dreams and ideals. Talking to her is always a breath of fresh air, truly. When you get to a certain adult threshold, a lot of that goes away before you really even realize what happened. She is just genuine, and wants us all happy.

The course last year took on me had me in a fog a lot of the year. Things kept changing, and I changed with it, but there is no point that I can say I have felt comfortable since February. I just kept plowing ahead, but I didn’t feel like I was a part of anything resembling my life once the doors of the restaurant closed behind me on March 17th. My guess is a lot of people have felt the same, since nobody has had a big helping of normal at any time lately.

Believe me, I know how fortunate I am that the opportunities I have had since that day have come my way. You may say I am blessed, you may say I have been lucky, and I fall somewhere in between those emotions. I am thankful that I have maintained full time employment. Not everyone has been so lucky. I was unemployed all of one day, and kind of not really, since on March 18th the official word that my Solea wouldn’t be re-opening hadn’t come to me yet. I was working by the 19th of March.

That was surreal, and it felt fake. Fake like at any moment I would get kicked out, like someone would come up and say “You don’t work here, get out.” Everyone was very welcoming, so that was all in my head. My head can be a pretty odd spot to end up some days, so that really was just me, but I think there was so much constant chaos at Costco that it took a while to really feel like I really worked there. The first paycheck helps. Haha. But as I was hired as a “seasonal” person, the gig ended.

I was again fortunate to know people, and ended up at my current job. A straight gig, 8-5 Monday-Friday. I cannot even begin to tell you how fake that seems. Even still, 7 months into it, with paid holidays and weekends off, it still feels so weird. I am more comfortable, but I got a good reminder this week again of how computer illiterate I am, which is a hoot to me, and sort of to those around me. They have no idea how I don’t know how to transfer files and things. Like what rock was I under for the last 20 years? Alcohol. I was serving alcohol and food which required little computer skill. People skills? Hell Yeah!! I got that for days and days, but every single day I feel it’s a win to get my computer turned on and find the tabs I am supposed to have available.

So I am faking it. Absolutely. Every day since June 1st at this job, especially. But it’s good, in a way. Every day when I drive in, when I hit that last round about before I head down that last stretch of road to the office, I wonder how I got here. What happened? But now I know more of the people better, and I see some of them are kind of faking it too, their backstories are varied and some of them fell into this too. It is hard to get a sense of permanence, because all of us in any situation are still navigating the pandemic. Also the never-ending election stuff doesn’t give any sense of stability either. So I will keep in a very Fake It stance until we can emerge a little bit from this.

How are you feeling through this? Do you have a sense of a stability, or are you just wandering around waiting for the all clear to sound? When the storm seems to have passed, will we know for sure that it has? It’s been about a year now, and living a year on edge it tough. We first started hearing about this plague around this time last year, not possibly knowing what would transpire. I traveled to Florida in February with my BFF Amy, and some people wore masks then, but it wasn’t prevalent. But we still cast a side eye at those that coughed or cleared their throats near us. We didn’t know what was coming, but we couldn’t be sure. 2-3 weeks after we got back the shutdowns started. And nothing has felt real since. Fake. Maybe that is what survival mode is, just faking it. And hopefully you make it. It isn’t a fun way to live, I am learning. I am still true to myself, I haven’t changed my colors, just my locations. What I hope is that it starts to feel better, more normal that this is where I am now, and I am feeling a better level of comfort, but it’s still so very strange. It’s a struggle, but I am a survivor of many strange things in this life. I hope we all are, this time around. That’s not a fake thought, it is incredibly sincere. Hang in there.

The Low Set Bar

I just read an article written by my Service Industry Hero, The Bitchy Waiter. (Darron Cardosa) I stumbled upon him a few years ago on the Facebook, and he spoke to my soul. His life is quite different from mine, but we were both career restaurant people, and while he did his stint in New York City, and me in Appleton, we had enough similar, um, complaints about humanity. I just knew he was writing to me, letting me know that our souls were not crushed, just beat up a little by the industry we loved. Not exactly an abusive relationship, but dysfunctional and fabulous at the same time. It helps to know you aren’t alone, you know?

So he got to write a couple of things recently for Food & Wine, and in this particular article he wrote about the new year, sort of. He makes the point that just because we are in a new year, that things won’t just magically go back to “normal.” And then he mentions the things that restaurants in many states have had to do to adapt to the ‘Rona. Buying and installing plexiglass partitions, spending money on propane heaters for outdoor seating, and the propane. Lots of things that aren’t typical expenses. All of the sanitation procedures that got put in place and the expense of that. It all was money that was spent, and then in a lot of states, they got shut down anyway. Carryout only in some places. Some never to reopen, unfortunately.

He made a great point. 2021 isn’t going to have to do much to improve upon what 2020 was. The bar is set pretty low, all it has to do is suck even just a little less than 2020. With the vaccine thing getting going, maybe that will help. Maybe we can start to phase out masking. Hopefully some of that plexiglass can come down. There was just so much stumbling and figuring out what we could and couldn’t do, you didn’t always know what could possibly come next. About this time last year was when we were first learning about the virus, that it might be a thing. Yeah, just might be. It feels like the only conversation available on a bad first date now.

I wasn’t really looking for a New Year, New You moment. I am looking at survival as a more necessary topic these days. Hanging on has been the jam for so many months now that I have no intention of putting too much pressure on the 2021. It doesn’t seem fair. I am totally down with the idea of keeping that bar low enough to let 2021 have a chance. If we can keep it moving forward instead of standing still we will have already won. Don’t get me wrong, I am still all about moving forward, and improving. But we can pace ourselves this time. Give it a chance.

What I would ask is that you keep supporting those businesses you love. The restaurants and small shops. They have had to adapt and spend money on resources just to stay open, that we don’t always think about when we wander out and about. People always post these memes about closing the big stores for the next shutdown, if God forbid, it came to that. Give the little guys a chance. Well, we all know that ain’t gonna happen. Choose where you spend your money, and support who you can when you can. You will still need things those big stores have that the little guys can’t get. I have wanted to spend a lot of money at places that my friends own, and when I can, I do, but my situation isn’t as liquid as it used to be, I have to budget differently. Just support who you can. A little goes a long way for these businesses. Believe me, if their door is open, they will appreciate you so much.

If you are hoping for big things this year, go for it. You can’t get there wishing for it to come to you. I have some things to work on too, 2020 was rough, but I am still here. We can’t move forward looking back and bitching at the rearview mirror. I hate how much a lot of us lost this past year. But I am fond of saying that no one year is all bad or all good. There are 365 days in most years, one extra last. You cannot possibly have had 366 bad days in a row, so look for those good moments and improve upon them. Don’t look back, you are not there anymore. Happy New Year Friends!! We will be ok, that bar is low enough to crawl over if we need to.

*Follow The Bitchy Waiter if you would like a little insight on the inside of the Service Industry, and have the ability to not take it too personally if you are not a part of that industry. He is quite funny, and a bit insightful too. I am a big fan!