Tell the Truth or at least don’t lie

This weekend had me going to the store with a list of things that may come in handy in case the world decides to take a huge dump on itself and fling its poo into the ceiling fan. after hearing the news about the chemical attack in the UK and learning that Trump is planning to fire all of the people that talked him out of going to war with Iran, I decided to take a few things into my own hands and filled the trunk of my car with $120 of food. Granted, this is all in the moment and hopefully it will amount to nothing.

The other piece of news that had me concerned was regarding the lack of ice on the north pole on how the “polar vortex” has been out of whack, sending the north east into abnormal icy conditions while places like Alaska and the north pole saw temperatures above freezing. This is what concerns me most about having a child. what exactly do I tell her while she is growing up. “sorry kid, we tried our best but driving pick up trucks and dumping oil into rivers was just how we did things. good luck!” as the month progress and the news continues to flow in the time line for several things that were supposed to happen decades from now are already happening. We will see heat waves. Crops will fail and people will die. So yes, i bought a shit ton of canned goods (and a few hundred bullets) just in case one day the supermarket shelves are bare.

I have heard all kinds of advice on what to teach or tell children growing up in this world. Constantly move, be nomadic in how you live your life and move to where the resources are. Learn a trade to make yourself valuable. Invest in gold and silver in case the dollar collapses. then there is the crazy stuff. dig a bunker. Be prepared to marry your sister. find recipes for cat and dog.

I won’t lie to her. It would be nice to give her the bad news in a way that won’t make life feel pointless. Do I think the human race will go extinct? The way we currently live our lives not giving a shit about the debt that will be paid by future generations, sure. We are facing famines, heat waves, rising oceans, refugee problems, and diseases we have never seen before. Do I think the next generation may have a shot at changing things around? No, but i think they will be the crafty ones that learn how to adapt.

The start of Zoey’s life was tough and knowing that I can’t help but think that she will have a natural callus to tough it though the hard times. I can stock up the basement pantry and make sure that we are able to defend ourselves if needed but the real work comes when i start teaching Zoey how to thrives in the apocalypse.

 

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Can I get a Ramen? (or) Stocking up for the Apocalypse

My grandmother died on Tuesday. A morbid or uncomfortably personal announcement to start out with, but one to set the mood for the rest of this post. She was 79 years old and i was only able to meet her four times during my life. I found out her health had declined and that she might leave us soon just before the weekend. the next day i came down with the flu that had me out of commission for four days. On day number four, the one that i was finally starting to recover I received the call that she had passed. Times like this come as a reminder of how quickly our life can change. One moment we think about retirement and the years ahead for a goal that we may never reach. the next moment someone we know is hit by a bus and we say “fuck it, I’m eating this bacon and enjoying that beer because YOLO.” I don’t know where the balance is and this is something I have always struggled with. At the same time all of this crazy business is happening my girlfriend’s dad is in the final stages of colon cancer. The world is changing all around me. The polar vortex that keeps all the cold air at the north pole can no longer stay where it belongs because all the ice is gone. Russia is using chemical weapons in foreign lands. Trump is meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss which country has the best porn stars. Congress is willing to vote on saving puppies in planes but not on gun control to save the lives of children. the list of crazy goes on and on.

I’m stocking up. I have my list ready. Canned goods and non perishables are on there of course. Ramen supplies to keep my hobby going during the apocalypse is on there as well. .45 APC ammo since my supply has dwindled from practicing. And baby food, lots and lots of baby food. I don’t know what the future is going to bring. I watched a documentary called LA 92 on netflix and the damn thing freaked me out. I kept thinking “well if that thing with trump…” “If a cop shoots a black kid here…” “If this global warming thing kills the crops this year…” Ya, I’m not too positive about the future. Having a child changed a few things. Now I worry about her having food. I think about the world that she will be growing up in. I live in a small city that thinks it’s a big city. We had the Uber shooter and the Cyclists that were run over by a drugged out douche bag. We had a giant oil spill in our river and the city’s response “let’s brew beer.” I know we are not immune here from the problems of the world. I know that whatever the future brings my daughter will have to face it. In the meantime I will keep the basement stocked, just in case, and when i’m not thinking about the end of the world you can find me in the kitchen making ramen. Maybe that is what the world needs. Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen said “feeding the world will bring it peace.” So maybe, if we all try a little harder, and clean off our pots and pans, we could bring some peace to world by making some ramen and slurping away our problems.

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Almost a week has passed and for a few days I was doing well with my goals for the year. Then, the weekend came. In my defense the weekend is the time that i get to spend quality time with my lady and our daughter. So when we went out to breakfast this morning I didn’t feel bad paying for it. Most of the things i bought this weekend, or at least paid for, were necessities of one sort or another. Did i need the leather work shoes that were $15 at Goodwill? No, But at that price my personal shoes will last longer and in the end save me more money. Should i feel bad for spending daddy daughter time at the local burger joint Nonla Burger when a double burger is $3? No probably not.

The other dilemma i came across is a business that I have been running for almost a year now. It’s a small antique booth in a mall where people have come to depend on typewriter ribbon and other related products. I had several typewriters when sarah and i started this adventure. now neither of us have the time or the money to invest in keeping it going. yesterday on a trip to see how low our supplies in the booth are running i learned that people have been asking if i also repair typewriters. i was interested in this as a side job a year ago but didn’t know how to get the word out. now i find myself with a possible answer to my antique booth issue and yet my time is limited these days.

As for my other goals, i did Kayak the new lake that has formed down town from the flooding this year. I went not once but twice this weekend and dodged a sherrif deputy who was standing on the shore watching me. How many times in my life will one be able to kayak through a large portion of downtown? News 13 was filming me paddling across the water and somebody with a drone flew it overhead as i was about to land on the shore. In my opinion the hiking goal was met. plus i carried the kayak the two blocks to the former pond.

So maybe I didn’t meet my savings goal this week. new opprotunities have arisen and I have been debating taking advantage of that. After i finish this blog I am off to finish the Self authoring Program. There isn’t much left. My only fear is that I still don’t know what i want out of life. Well i guess some things need to change.

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Surviving Trump’s America

Something happened last week that changed my life for the better. I started a new job in a place that I have loved since I was a child. The public library had a job posted that my girlfriend found on their website. She sent me the link and said I should apply since I qualified for the job. It was a mixture of custodial and maintenance and had the same hours that I was currently working. The position was closer to my home and gave me more freedom to do the things I enjoy doing rather than limiting what a person could do. In previous positions, I was restricted from fixing machines or doing repairs I found in my area. I applied for the job and after a series of interviews I was offered the position.

Finding a job like this in Trump’s America is a rare thing. The policies put into place by the Republican party since the 1980s have made jobs like mine a dying breed that continue to go extinct. Let me explain. The library has a union that has been in place since the days it was part of the Public-School system, because of that the library has benefits that continue on until today. I have better insurance than either of my previous jobs which included a local non-profit hospital and the county government. one would think the best of the best would be found at institutions like these, but sadly they follow the status quo and are short sighted on their thinking. The staff has gone out of their way to greet me and learn about the new guy in their facility. In larger organizations boasting thousands of employees one is overlooked and viewed as just another cog in the machine. The financial security I now feel comes from the jump in pay I received in my new job, almost doubling what both on my previous positions paid. Granted, that is partially due to added responsibilities I received with the expectation of doing repairs and keeping up the grounds around the facility but these are things I did at my previous jobs with no added pay. Simply put, if I repaired a machine I needed to perform my job somebody else was paid for it while I prevented a complaint from being received by my boss.

The policies and economics of my new employer are exactly what I had been arguing for since I left college and joined the workforce full time. Working at a hospital for 14 years taught me that most organizations, even the ones that boast how well they treat their employees, are quick to slice the pay of their workers before cutting own profits to save an image, the wrong image or prestige rather than charity. It always bugged me that the CEO of a non-profit hospital was paid over 3 million dollars a year while many of the departments of that hospital were understaffed and had equipment decades older than they should have been. When I left the hospital, the ER still had machines with 3.5-inch floppy disk drives for detecting heart attacks. Note to self, when an organization has to continue screaming about how great they are, they usually are far from it. Those who are great are too busy being great to fight for recognition.

For the past 17 years, I have been living off of a pay of twenty thousand a year, and the early years it only came from overtime if I made that much. The sad reality is that most people are unwilling to fight for more and how can they in a country that destroyed their unions and took away the rights of workers for fair pay. If one did complain about how little they made it wasn’t uncommon for employees in higher positions to say “be thankful for the work you have.” If the conversation continued they would become irritated or angry because I was questioning their position on the hierarchy ladder. In truth that wasn’t the case. I knew many nurses who worked endless overtime or had second jobs to pay the bills. They were required to continue their education with the payoff being little in the end with more responsibility and longer hours. This wasn’t just in the hospital either. In the County, we had republican economics playing out with a majority of Democrats in office. I never once saw a Union representative and when the Union negotiated the new contract with the County we received a higher cost healthcare plan with a higher deductible that ate up the raise we received. Our pay increase was only a few cents and the county approved the construction of a new courthouse at the estimated cost of 70 million dollars. Even Democrats run on the policy of investing in short term projects with little benefit instead of people.

So where do I go from here? I have a few plans. My little ambitions include filling my modest wine cellar. Stashing away some money in my savings account. Finally repairing my fence that currently fits the image of a ghetto alleyway. Finally, and the most important task, paying off my house years ahead of the thirty-year schedule. Most people either forget or don’t realize that if you only make the monthly payment you actually pay three times the amount due to interest. My $60,000 house will cost me $180,000 if I only make the minimum payment. That is not including the cost of interest and taxes paid on the property.

Why paying people more isn’t a national call of duty I will never understand. I have known so many people in my life that worked their asses off, sometimes to death, without ever having a sense of financial security. Charles Bukowski wrote about this phenomenon in several of his books. People think that the artist must suffer and be driven to write great works of literature. Bukowski argued that his best works were written when he was financially secure and didn’t have the pressure to rush something out. I found myself in that boat a few years ago after writing After the Day and rushing to finish the sequel Red Tide. Trying to stay afloat and keeping a roof over my head I continued writing and releasing books that were poorly edited, if at all, and lacked the rewriting they needed to make a better story. Currently Trump is cutting funding to the arts and in doing so will hurt the quality of our culture adding pressure to those who are trying to survive and therefore undermine the quality of their product for a short-term goal of paying the bills. Welcome to Trump’s America, the Republican wet dream of destroying that which the majority of people love.

While some will argue that I am being over paid for what I will be doing I will leave you with this. My pay will afford me to buy a bottle of wine I could not buy before, paying for the truck driver who delivered it, the wine maker to stay in business, the field hands that picked the grapes, the advertising agents that promoted it, the glass makers that produced the bottle, the graphic designer who made the labels, and the list goes on. People who make more money contribute to the economy, rich people do not. End of story.

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