Hell of a Guy
No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Defying Gravity…

12/31/2011

A song in the play “Wicked” is entitled ”Defying Gravity.”  A couple of weeks ago The Nancy and I were traveling back to The Farm from a foray into Winchester, Virginia and enjoyed listening to the soundtrack from the play.  The song “Defying Gravity” resonated and got me to thinking about my own gravity defying life.

I am not into self-aggrandizement and am really not comfortable in settings where people say nice things about me – it’s not my style.  I am just a guy who knows the Universal Presence some of us refer to as God has smiled upon me all of my life, and I haven’t a clue as to why.  Bloviating is not my style, so what I am about to write is not a boast but moreover a point of fact.
 
I recently retired from a job that provided me with six-figure income for many years, and now a handsome pension that will allow me to live a comfortably yet conservative life.  This is truly amazing to me in so many ways.  I have to be honest and own up to being a not-so-bright kid from a blue-collar neighborhood in Baltimore with a mere twenty-two disjointed college credits, and one who quite frankly made it through life with an innate ability for bullshit.  I know I didn’t make it on my looks, but nonetheless I made it.

This begs the question, why?  I said earlier I haven’t a clue as to why, but I do know exactly why.  In my rapidly atrophying medulla oblongata I inadvertently created my life without ever realizing it.  I knew early on I would never make it in this world using my hands – frankly, I have no mechanical ability at all: well, maybe a tad, but a small tad at that.  Being the lazy ass that I am, I knew I would never make it via an education.  I hated school and was determined to do as little as I needed to get through it.  The only reason I have twenty-two college credits is because I needed to take some courses to get my GI Bill money ($325.00 a month) at a time when I needed the mulla.

I have written many times before about being the consummate underachiever.  If awards were given in this category I would have received top honors.  I mastered the art of it, but somewhere deep within me there was a plan, a course, a path that led me to a management position and a rewarding 28-year career.  I defied gravity while so many others of my ilk did not. 

My granddaughter coined the phrase “The Best Day Ever.”  It is one The Nancy and I have adopted and declare every morning.  This is going to be The Best Day Ever!  This has been The Best Life Ever!

I think deep within my soul I have always thought of each day this way, though never voiced it, never realized I was declaring it.  It took a four-year old to put it in perspective for me.  I was successful in life because of my attitude toward it.  My glass has always been full to the brim, and never just halfway of anything.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Friday, December 30, 2011

Five Weeks of Retirement Bliss…

12/30/2011

Consider this a status update on my retirement.  Retirement ain’t cracked up to be what everyone has told me it is to be.  I am not complaining, and no “buts” are included in this statement.

You may have heard this before elsewhere or read it here at one time or another.  Someone once said if the word “but” is used in a sentence, everything prior to the “but” is a lie.  Example: “I hate to bother you, but…”  Admit it, we have all done it.  But in this retirement thing, I am not complaining.

Now here come my non-complaints.  Firstly, I have remained busy these five weeks, though at times I sit and wonder what to do next.  There seems always to be something to be done – little chores, little projects, much of what I have put off forever.  But, there are times when I feel I am not doing anything constructive.  Make work is more like what I am up to these days.  I do not have any plans to change what I am doing or how I am going about my present life.

I do not have a Bucket List and don’t plan on developing one.  There are things I want to do and am delighting myself in my rampant procrastination.  I suppose the greatest thing about retirement is the mere fact I do not have to do anything at all…ever.  Life is still full of possibilities and choices, and I have complete control over the choices I make.

If there is any real disappointment at all it is the issue I am having with sleeping beyond 5:30.  I would really like to be able to sleep and wake up bathed in sunlight.  In the past ten years I bet I could almost count on my fingers the number of days I have awakened to daylight.  Believe me, it sucks, but I ain’t complaining, just saying.

Okay, okay!  I am complaining, so sue me!  Some years back I made the decision to accept full responsibility for what happens to me in my life.  This is the bed I have created for myself, and though I may not be able to sleep until sunrise I am loving life and loving the fact I have reached an age wherein I can bullshit to my heart’s desire and it simply does not matter.

Bullshit is not complaining and bullshit isn’t lying.  It’s just bullshit, and if I must say so myself I am getting better at it every day.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Odd Christmas…

12/27/2011

My 68th Christmas was truly a tad odd, certainly not the typical holiday it has always been for the first 67 years of my utterly fantastic life, but I might have to add this definitely was The Best Christmas Ever.

Early last week I received a call from The Nancy’s dad telling me her mother had fallen and broken the femur in her right leg.  Thus began our Christmas odyssey.  We came to Bridgeport, WV on Thursday where Nancy has spent most of her waking hours the past five days in a hospital room with her mother.  I put in more than a few hours myself, at least six on Christmas Eve, and I hate hospitals.

Christmas Day I dropped The Nancy off at the hospital and drove to Richmond, VA to share a little Christmas with two of our three daughters and two of our six grandchildren.  So far we have been away from home for five nights…yuck!
 
The good news is that today The Mother-in-law will be discharged and moved to a rehab facility close to her home.  The second part of the good news bubble is we, too, will be heading home.  I know our cat is missing us after being cooped up in the house all this time.

The Mother-in-law had a rough time of it the first few days.  Older people can get a little confused in hospital surroundings.  This particular old person was way off her nut for a while, but has bounced back to being her old ornery self – a welcomed sight, for sure.  Had someone told me the woman we saw last Thursday as we first entered this hospital is the same one I just saw, I would have doubted it top to bottom.  Amazing transformation!  Who says drugs are bad?

I have not had the “pleasure” of being in a hospital for an overnight stay in a long, long time.  This place is just a year old and very state-of-the-art.  They have a room on this floor where someone sits and monitors all the beeps and blips coming from patients’ rooms.  Technology has taken over hospitals as it has everything else.  The nurses all carry a little gizmo that turns a light on outside the room they are in to alert others a nurse is in attendance.  The Nancy and I guessed the beds in this place must have cost several thousand each.  It is quite the place I sincerely hope I never have to spend a night in.  The only thing I can think of about the place that reminds me of hospitals of old is the food.  It still sucks.

The M-I-L is to be released in just a few minutes.  Once we get her settled in a new room in a new place we are off to our habitual abode in good old Downtown Berkeley Springs, WV, population 711.  It will be good to get home to my own bed, my own bathroom (I hate using public ones) and my own beer supply.

This, too, is The Best Day Ever.

And that is all I have to say about that… 

 
Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Holly Jolly Christmas…

12/24/2011

What exactly is a “Holly Jolly Christmas?  What is a “Holly Jolly” anything, for that matter?

I know the record of a “Holly Jolly Christmas was recorded in 1965.  The song, which makes little sense, since there I no definition of what a Holly Jolly Christmas, get stuck in my head at this time of the year.  The song was written by a Jewish guy named Johnny Marks, the same guy that wrote the lyrics for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and that classic Christmas song everyone knows and loves (?), “Run, Rudolph, Run.”  All kidding aside, they do add to the joy of the season.
That said, The Nancy and I have spent the last couple of days with The Nancy’s mother in a hospital room.  My favorite mother-in-law of 2011 took a bad fall and broke her right femur and is on the mend, albeit, not without a little confusion of her part.  We are pleased, given the severity of the break, and even with the confusion she is encountering, she does not seem to be in a lot of pain and appears to be content.
 
We hate for The Nancy’s mom to be in this state at this particular time of the year, but such is a part of life, and this too will pass.  Even with this going on we got to spend this morning with the grandchildren as they had their Christmas today since their nurse mother has to work tomorrow.

Life goes on, life is good and we are looking for this to be The Best Day Ever, The Best Christmas Ever.

Still, the question at hand goes unanswered.  It is one of life’s little mysteries.  What the hell is a Holly Jolly Christmas?

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
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