Saturday, December 4, 2021

Enjoying a needed lazy day doing very little.

After a large feast, one's body needs time to recover.  And today was my time to rest.  I could have gone out and run some errands.  Instead, I relaxed in bed all day until evening came.  And then, as the sun went down, I started to fill up another donation bag (or two) with clothing from Mario's side of the closet.  I feel that if I lose weight, I would be better served by buying a new wardrobe in my new size, instead of wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear in several years.

If you wonder why I might refresh Mario's side of the closet some time in the future, it's simply because I'm not sure if I want to close the door as going out as Mario now and then. Until then, I have more than enough clothing on that side of the closet to get by.

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Right now, I know of some people who are also doing this sort of house/apartment cleaning.  One person I know has a deadline to get a residence cleaned out.  Another person simply has to pack up his goods and move out of a condo he's been living in for 3 years.  And still another person I know is simply doing a declutter operation, so that her place stays clean.  This person has suggested that I hire some help (as TCL has done) to facilitate this process.  I am not yet ready for this yet.  Instead, I'm treating my cleaning task as a form of "Swedish Death Cleaning."

My current goal is to prune both Mario's and Marian's closets to something resembling a normal couple's closets. And this involves a little ruthless pruning of things that are no longer worn in either mode.  I have already pruned garments given to me by my former cruise partner.  But I have kept a few of the things which are compatible with my current wardrobe style.

Hopefully, I will get the bulk of this cleanup done before I have the opportunity to bring someone back to the apartment.  But first, this cleanup, then getting my cleaning lady in to do her magic....

Friday, December 3, 2021

I'm grateful to have friends who accept me for who and what I am.


This is a picture taken on Thanksgiving Day.  The daughter of our Host & Hostess caught a female praying mantis and is keeping it in a tank in their living room.  I accidentally knocked the paper cover off the tank. And in the precious few seconds it took me to cover it back up again, the mantis had escaped. By the time we noticed it was gone, it has encamped itself on the fireplace mantle, from where the daughter got control of it again.

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This year's Turkey Day was much more pleasant than last year.  Instead of trying to find a nice restaurant to eat at within a day or two of the holiday then scuttling those plans for Boston Market takeout because of FH's daughter's issues, it was nice to know I had a place to go to and a nice place to share a meal with friends.  (Did I ever mention that FH lives in an apartment that depresses me, due to its paint scheme, its clutter, and general style?) 

I am very comfortable around the host & hostess of game night, and they know and accept me for who and what I am.  And I am grateful that they invited me (and other game night friends) over to their house to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I'm even more grateful that they were able to accommodate Vicki as my plus one.  

Yes, much of the day was centered around food.  But there was also a lot of good conversation.  And for the first time, no games.  It just wouldn't have been right....

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Work - Should I or shouldn't I?


Today's post will be a quick one....

I don't recall ever feeling physically exhausted from 40 years of working in front of a computer screen.  But this job is very different.  There is not enough visual downtime from low level mental processing.  So an interesting question comes to me - Should I or Shouldn't I continue going to work?  Should I retire for good?

Although I enjoy going to work as Marian, it's not the work I wanted to do.  But the money coming in is very useful to me.  And I need to make it last.  So I was having a conversation with a friend at work, and we were discussing financial issues while I was working at indexing documents.  She didn't understand what I was trying to do with money (planning on putting money into Roth IRAs 2 years in a row instead of using the company 401k plan), but it made sense after an explanation.  This gave us an opening to talk about finances after work one day.  It should be an interesting conversation....

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

One step forward and two steps back.


Although my company has been around for a while, it became another corporate poker chip in the game of "business line poker."  The more they try to do good by the employees, the more they make mistakes in doing so.

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The first example of trying to do the right thing was a pre Thanksgiving pot luck lunch to help build team morale.  But asking people to spend time and money to help with this event was a big mistake.  Many of these low wage employees don't have any excess money to spend on this event, nor do they have the time to do the cooking in advance.  So after a few days, management started putting up signs saying that the pot luck lunch was cancelled.

Next came the mandatory attendance for the new 401k plan.  Although its provides for a better match for employee contributions (50% of an employee's contribution up to 3% of the employee's salary for the pay period), the company chosen to provide the funds is a high expense fund provider.  The old plan put money into Vanguard funds.  The new plan uses Fidelity.  Needless to say, when the only choices are Lifecycle Target Date plans, the fund management company effectively double dips into the load pool.  To make things worse, the company match isn't fully vested until one has been there for 3 years.  I plan to be retired by then.  So it makes more sense for me to open up a Roth IRA with Vanguard.

As I would describe things at the office - two steps forward and one step back.

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After I left the office, I went to a meetup of the FTF's in Fairfield, CT.  Although it took over an hour to drive there, it was worth the drive to be having dinner with friendly faces again.  No, it's not like the group I used to attend in the Hudson Valley - I'll take whatever camaraderie I can get these days.  But I can't help but think that I would have been in a better position 3 years ago in the Hudson Valley,  had I known to deal with issues with the ex-girlfriend and with my former cruise partner at that time.

But I'm not going to dwell upon the past.  I've talked about it more than enough, and I'm doing better than I should be doing after last year's disasters.  And that's something to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Gradually, my blog is finding a new voice


Lately, I've noticed something.  With getting out and about as Marian being a common occurrence, other things have been taking up bandwidth in my life.  I'm seeing that I've been focused on the vacations I want to take, instead of affairs in my life.

In the past, I wrote too much about things in my life that included way too much about what was going on in others' lives.   Now, I have little to say about most of the other people in my life - save for minor things, or for very important things.  The things in the middle are gone.  An example of the little things would be going on a date with MWL or CWS.  An example of the big things would be the kerfuffle with FH.  It is no longer what I once said about FCP.  Sadly, I'll never be able to make it up to her as much as I once wanted to do this - she's permanently pissed off at me, and me at her (for other reasons).

Unlike the years leading up to 2020, I was not working then.  With 2020 and 2021, work has taken up a lot of my time.  And not much has been worth reporting here because I don't have as much time to live my life as before.  But that's OK ...for now.  I plan on retiring again soon, and getting back to many of the activities I love, and seeing the people I want to see again.


Monday, November 29, 2021

As much as I'd like to go on this cruise, I can't do so.


A year and a half ago, I was thinking of a Panama Canal cruise that went from New York City to Seattle. This cruise route is no longer being offered, and I doubt it will be offered until 2025 at best.  So the above route is the best alternative I can find that does both a full transit and will bring the total cost of the trip in at a price under $5,000 (at the time I'm writing this entry).

Now that I'm sailing alone, I have to focus on being more frugal than I was a couple of years ago.  Although this cruise sails out of Florida and ends in California, I can fly to Florida, meet up with a friend or two, then sail to San Francisco (via the canal), and then fly home with minimal difficulty.  However, this would be a trip made in Mario Mode.  So I'd leave all my feminine trappings at home.  

This trip would have one big advantage - I could change my plans and have a new travel partner come with me.  If I'm very lucky, a woman with whom I've had a few dates will be coming with me, as we share the same interests in trips.  But I'm not counting chickens before they hatch - I'm still waiting for the eggs to be laid.

As I said, I won't be going on this cruise.  One of these two conditions will be true: (1) I'll still be employed by the firm where I work now, or (2) I'll be working in a new organization.  Either way, conditions will make it impossible for me to take this trip in 2022.  And, I'm not sure if I want to take this bucket list cruise in the same year that I want to take my Hawaii cruise.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Lunch with a friend, then taking care of business afterwards.

I had scheduled lunch with a friend today. And, as usual, I was running a little bit late.  But my friend was also a little bit late, due to not seeing a permit restriction on the parking meter.  So, we ended up getting to the restaurant at the same time. Lunch was at a place I used to go to regularly when I worked for the bank.  So I knew it was likely to be good, and likely to be moderately priced.  And it was.  The conversation flowed like water, and the two of us are likely to meet up again soon - at least, I hope so
Getting home quickly was a must, as I knew that my GI tract was going to play a game with me - and it did.  But after a few minutes, I was OK and ready to go out again.  But I took it easy.  While out, I spoke with MWL, and she wasn't feeling that well.  So we cancelled our get together for the next morning.. This freed up my day, and I proceeded to go back to bed and sleep a little bit.  

Since daylight was gone, I knew that there wasn't that much I could do. Doing a lot of apartment cleanup is still needed, but something I wasn't ready to tackle.  (Maybe if I had someone in my life that meant a lot to me, I'd find the energy.  But that story is not one to be told today.)  Yet, I did find the time to look for two very important documents and found a third as well.  When I'm ready to sell my car, I will need both the finance company release of lien and the title to my car. And I found those two documents neatly filed away - something I don't usually do.  And then, I found the mortgage company's release of lien to my apartment.  This was something I didn't expect to see filed where I found it.  This was a nice stroke of luck for me.

Afterwards, I debated to whether I'd see the new Ghostbusters movie.  Part of me wanted to stay home. And part of me wanted to go out.  At the time I started this entry, I did not know what I wanted to do.  But I went out anyway - and enjoyed a good reworking of the original story - this time, with one friendly ghost.

Was she dead or alive? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

  I hadn't seen Pat in months, and I haven't been able to reach her by voice or text.  Given that she's 84 years old, I figured ...