Out like a Lion

Cold and snowy Sunday. Last day of March is memorable I suppose. Well it’s been a fucking hard-core memorable March for me for sure. The kind of month I can live without for awhile.

I had a blueberry pancake breakfast worthy of the weather, then headed to the garage to tackle that mess. When one moves, any items that are not clearly marked for a specific room wind up in the garage or in the basement. Yesterday I got the basement sorted. Today I got the garage organized. It was cold and sort of sucked but it had to be done. I am at my best when I am heads down accomplishing a task. Best to keep my mind focused on an objective.

The weeks continue to roll. Had a nice moment this week on the way to work. Just before the final turn on to the road that takes me to the parking garage, a gaggle of geese were slowly crossing the road. It’s always funny when this happens. People are driving aggressively or distractedly or whatever their routine is. But when we see geese and we all have to stop to let them complete their slow crossing, everyone seems to chill and enjoy the moment. These geese have not a care in the world as far as we call tell. And they presumably have no understanding that they are slowing routines that drive the economic activity of the world’s largest economy. But if they do understand, they clearly cared not. They simply had to get to the other side of that road to see what the food situation was like over there and we were on their schedule.

So we all had a pause and a smile before racing back off in our various directions.

I lost some time yesterday. Not sure how exactly. I set out for Lowe’s which is about 15 minutes from the house. But I missed the exit. So then I checked GPS and saw another Lowe’s that looked relatively close. It wasn’t. I drove another hour or so. Got lost a couple of times. I would get on track and then just completely zone out and when I came back I was far off course and had to backtrack. Must have driven 100 miles on a 20 mile trip.

Then I got in to Lowe’s. And lost two hours there. I just wandered. I only needed a few bits of hardware to put some clothesline up in the basement. I finally made it out and to Target and had basically the same experience there. So what should have been an hour trip became nearly 5. I just can’t get my shit together on weekends. I was so tired today it felt like someone hit me in the head with a sledgehammer. I guess my victory lap last weekend when I thought I was feeling better was premature. These are sort of uncharted waters for me. I have had very few days of true depression in years. I used to get pretty bluesy for weeks at a time, but that was years and years ago. In my 20’s. So not sure what is going on.

This feeling of detachment and disinterest is something I have known about, have sort of sensed, but never really had it fall on me like this. Or put differently, I’ve always known I have a potential to trend in this direction, or am prone to this feeling, but I have mostly always kept it at bay. I’ve long thought for example, that I am not destined to live a long life. I’ve always assumed life would eventually get boring. And we all have a fascination with what comes next. Perhaps that is one reason why I’ve never really planned to accommodate a long life. But I also have felt that as long as I am here, I need to enjoy each moment as much as possible. This means choosing meaningful work, even if it is not always financially rewarding to switch careers. We spend a lot of waking hours in our jobs, and I have always taken my work seriously, so it is not a choice for me to work in un-engaging or unchallenging conditions. I have a short tolerance for petty, mean-spirited, or uninteresting bosses or colleagues. When I get good at something and am no longer challenged at work, I go do something different. And in my personal life, I have chosen to have fun along the way rather than saving for the 65+ retirement planning. So I have largely done the things I wanted to do. And will continue this approach as long as I am financially and physically capable.

Anyway….humans are complicated. Including me I guess. Probably there is a road map out of this space and I can choose to have someone assist in providing direction or keep wandering around Northeast OH roads and Lowes and Targets and hope to stumble on the right path.

I’ve noticed that as the unemployment rate has dropped, the quality of assistance as Lowe’s and Home Depot has dropped precipitously. Yesterday, the poor old man trying to help me was completely clueless. My intention was to have them cut vinyl coated steel cable to my specs and then assemble the hardware there. But this old fella, who probably should not be working anyway, acted like I asked him to help me build a nuclear reactor. So I got cable cutters, picked out my hardware and bought a 50’ cable in a box and assembled at home. One of the outcomes of very low employment is a lack of competition for jobs—this means many people wind up in positions for which they are not really qualified.

Not a criticism—just an observation. I am glad people are able to get jobs. Not glad that companies continue to pay wages that are too low rather than pay a little more to get someone better qualified.

I had my second day of financial training this week. Some good stuff—lots of detail about the health care industry accounting specifics, analytics, forecasting, budgeting, risk management, portfolio management, and all kinds of other cool stuff. It’s a large and complicated organization and the knowledge is good. The work we are doing in replacing the ERP modules will touch almost every aspect of operations at CC. So this was good contextual information.

In my ongoing photo documentation of CC locations, I snapped a nice shot from the offices in main campus where the training was held.

There were around 30 of us in the training session. At break time, everyone would step into the hall and make their calls and check voicemail. It reminded me of the old days, when there would be a huge group of pay phones in the halls of conference centers and hotels. During breaks, we would all race to the phone banks and first call to check our messages. This meant dialing the number of your long distance provider, putting in your unique account code, putting in your passcode, and then when connected, putting in the passcode to retrieve your voicemail. Then, if you were clever enough to keep the account open you could start returning calls. Otherwise you had to repeat the process of getting through the authorizations. Later, when I was working in Europe, I would have to input this complicated string of digits in my laptop, using commas to create spaces and guessing on the timing between the computer managed functions. In some cases, the phone networks in some countries were still purely analog and I had to use a little device that I held up to the phone receiver which replicated the digital sounds and allowed the analog network to communicate with the digital network.

But none of that this weekend. Just a mad scramble to stay on top of the 150+ mails while being sequestered in training.I had a cold beer while reading hard-copy NYT at Cedar Creek Grille on Thursday. The week was long for a variety of reasons so it felt right to belly up, relax, skim some articles and enjoy a cold IPA.

I slipped away today for a Cleveland International Film Festival event—screening of ‘Boy Howdy – The Story of Creem Magazine’. Was good. Not great but well done and lots of cool stuff to learn. 70’s rock and roll craziness at its height. Larry would like it as he is the rock and roll historian in our family. A couple of nice shots of the Cuyahoga River from downtown. A reminder that Cleveland at heart is an industrial working city–and I am sucker for a working port.

Good progress on the house today, so truly almost finished now.

I’ve been simmering a marina sauce all day. Time to give it a try. Listening to Tom Waits and time to break out a clean wine glass.



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