Monday, March 20, 2017

A Comma's Story

This week I'm sharing a blog I read. I hope you enjoy it. As an editor, I see so much drama with commas, lack of or overuse of. Enjoy...

bewilderd commaThe comma stood on the corner, bleating, “Please, can someone help me? I know I belong somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where.”
Devon Taylor, copy editor, sat at the counter of the diner counter across the street and watched as passers-by skittered around the pitiful punctuation mark. They looked away determined to not notice it.
Devon (destined to become The Nib) couldn’t really blame them. Commas were notoriously slippery creatures. But there was something about this comma that made Devon think it was truly in trouble.
The editor set down the empty coffee cup and wandered across the street.
Until next I ramble on...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What I've Learned OR The Rainy Day is Here!

I've made 70 circles around the sun. If you want a more impressive number, the moon has made over 900 cycles around the earth in my lifetime, so far.  BUT... In that time, surprisingly, I was able to learn a few things. Some of them were easy, others took a little more ... shall we call it wedging with a sledgehammer?

I'm retired.  I spent many decades working, always giving my all to my job, fretting when I couldn't make it in due to illness and feeling guilty when I was on vacation when a big project had to be finished. A friend of mine told me "This company doesn't give two farts to the wind about you. Don't stress yourself, they don't."  But I did.  I actually thought the company couldn't continue without me.

I was wrong.  I retired. I left and went back about one month later to see how things were going. Some people didn't even realize I had retired and been gone for any length of time. Everything still stood, life continued and didn't care if I was there or not. Yeah, I was a little depressed. I felt sure there would be a myriad of questions of how this or that was done. The questions didn't come.

In fact, it wasn't until about 6 or 8 months after my retirement that I got a frantic call about something failing. Seems they cleaned house over the weekend, getting rid of a lot of old equipment. They removed the sign "Do Not Turn Off" and removed the server over the weekend. On Tuesday, when the one employee attempted to print a seating chart - it failed. I got a call the following Monday as to what could be the problem since I wrote the program. Found out they removed the server which removed the program, the source code and the compiler. There was nothing I could do to help them. I'd printed out the source code with an explanation of what each line of code did for every special program I created, but it was deemed a waste of paper and tossed. They "hoped" I had a copy at home. Uh, no.

It was obvious, my last place of employment, and several of the others prior, had no regard for me or my work. Unless it impacted them and/or the bottom line ($$) they didn't care. Why should I?

So, again, I reiterate - Unless you own the business, don't fret about it or kill yourself, nobody cares. In other words, go to work, do your work with pride and go home and enjoy your real life.

What else did I learn? Learn to pick your fights. Sometimes you don't actually get that opportunity. Yes, the opportunity to pick your fight. It seems no matter what you do, the fight is coming to you and you're going to be in the mess. When that happens, take the appropriate action. BUT, if you can avoid a fight, do so. Is it really worth the effort of fighting about whether this or that is true or false? Step back and evaluate the battleground. Give it a lot of thought. With you winning or losing, will it make a difference? Next week, next month, next year - will the outcome have some bearing on it? So, it don't make a difference, why engage? If you win, it won't matter. If you lose, it won't matter. So why even get involved? Walk away.

Another tidbit - Money. What did I learn about mone?. One never seems to have enough. When I made $1.25 an hour, I wanted to make more. When I made almost $50 an hour, it seemed I still needed more. I didn't realize until I retired the true reason for that... even though it had been flaunted in my face at one time. Each person will consume to the level of income. That is almost a universal law. When I was cut back during a company-wide crisis back in the 80s - another employee friend of mine moaned that he wasn't sure how he would survive the 15% cutback. Sorry, but I couldn't empathize with him - I'd been cut back 22.5% and when I explained my situation, he explained he had a much higher cost of living. Our friendship sort of withered during the cutback and never re-bloomed when things got better.  It didn't matter how much one made, we all lived to the full capacity of our income and a cutback, whether 15% or 22.5% - it hit the paycheck. So, what did I learn about money? Try to stay within the means of your income. Actually stay within 75% of your income and avoid using credit. Yes, it is only a few dollars each month, but the number of months is astronomical in the long run. I am currently working to eliminate all debts and expenses except those needed for day-to-day living that one can not eliminate: trash removal, phone service, electric, water and other such amenities.

Another fact of growing up. A friend of mine retired shortly after me and from what I can tell, he quit shaving, showered when others made faces or flat out told him, and basically vegetates in his house. He said to me: I cleaned and shaved every day, put on a fresh shirt, tied that tie and wore a suit with shiny shoes for a professional look. He decided to go feral. Okay, I retired and gave up the fancy suit and tie look. Yes, I'd worn "monkey clothes" for most of my working life with a few days of simple dressing. After retirement, I started to wear shorts and t-shirts, going barefoot when I could. I would put on long pants and a nice polo shirt when going to town. By the way, this is my year-round apparel wearing routine. Yes, I walk outside to get the mail wearing shorts, even when the snow is blowing, I just add a hooded sweatshirt or jacket. And I wear moccasins almost daily.  Sunday, when I go to church, I tend to dress up - a nice shirt, slacks, socks and shoes, but the minute I get home, they get changed to shorts and t-shirt.  Retirement is about enjoying life - your way - but it always means that you still need to function within society, so one does need to bathe and consider hygiene.  Still, it is your life, enjoy it as you see fit... you worked for this moment, enjoy it.

Remember the phrase - We're saving it for that special time? Exactly when will that special time happen? We had "good" china, special candles and fancy clothes for a special occasion. Of course, it could anything you have that you've been saving. Why? When will it be that special moment? Use it. My wife and I have lugged special china I bought while in the Navy all over the USA with us as we've moved over the years. Always keeping it for that special meal. I think we've used it maybe 3 or 4 times - hardly worth the effort of keeping it all these years - over 40+ years! We are now considering down-sizing and it will be up for sale. Why? At this point in time, every day is a special day and we don't use them - we use paper plates for convenience. Time to clean house. We had some crystal china my wife had collected and we finally decided to use them as everyday plates. Rather fancy for a meal but we used them and finally sold them. My mother received a blouse that was expensive and she saved it for a special day. She's gone and the blouse was sold in the estate sale, never worn. If you have it, use it. You woke up today so it is a special day, make it even more special and enjoy the stuff you're saving - otherwise it will be sold at a sale. It may mean something to you, but to those who "inherit" all your fine things, it probably won't mean a thing - 25¢ blouse or 10¢ plate. Enjoy what life has given you, don't stash it away for a rainy day.

Oh, wait - that might be the magic phrase I'm trying to allude to - Forget the rainy day, enjoy it now!

When it comes time to regret, you'll always regret the things you didn't do. Seldom does one regret doing what they did. They may think it a better choice not to have participated, but will they regret it? Not really!

I enjoy my family, my community, my hobbies: traveling, writing, fishing, gardening and being with my wife.

It is better to have ______ and lost than not to have ______ at all. (fill in the blank to fit your need)

I see rain but I also see a bright sunny day in my very near future. I'm purging myself of all that is holding me back, cleaning house, and moving forward. In the words of Johnny Nash...

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.
Look all around, there's nothin' but blue skies Look straight ahead, nothin' but blue skies
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Yeah, the perfect song. Enjoy it... and remember, you are your first priority and that includes your family. The rest will fall into proper place.

Until next I ramble on...