Saturday, September 2, 2023

I misplaced my wallet, and I got scared.


I've had friends who have been robbed.  I've had friends who have been pick-pocketed.  And I've had friends who have lost or misplaced their wallets.  Consider me one of those who have temporarily lost a wallet, only to find out that it fell out of my trousers in a safe place.

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Today, I started off by taking care of some laundry that had piled up, and paid some bills.  After a couple of days spent presenting as a male, I felt that it was time to get back into a dress and go out as my authentic self.  So I looked for my wallet, in order to transfer my ID from the male wallet I was using to the female wallet I intended to use.  And then a mild feeling of panic came over me.  Could I have accidentally left it at the buffet last night?  Could it have fallen out of my pocket when getting out of the car?  Where could it have gone?  Will I have to contact DMV, my car insurance company, and my credit card companies to get replacements for what I usually carry?  

Luckily, all of this worry was for naught.  When I came up from doing the laundry, I was in male mode and my wallet was in my back pocket.  After checking all of the places where I might have put the wallet, I ran out to the car and found nothing.  At this point, I felt that I was in for an excruciating time, as I would need to start the process of replacing the contents of my wallet.  But I was in luck.  My wallet had fallen next to the toilet.  (Yecch!  Lysol, please!)

Now, I have made sure that the wallet is in a safe place, and I am ready to go out as Marian....

Friday, September 1, 2023

Preparing to finish up the electrical work


This is how I'd like to stay on a Monday morning - comfortable in my bed, catching a couple more hours of sleep after the sun has come up.  But this will not be the case, as I will have to wake up and get dressed as Mario, and then move furniture around while the electricians finish up their work in this apartment.

The first go-round with the electricians wasn't as bad as I thought.  Yes, I moved a lot of furniture and sweated because they didn't turn on the AC when they could have.  But, it was over in less than two hours. And I see a way, that with a small amount of effort on my part, that they could be out of my place in less than an hour.  That will leave me the time to meet with TCL for a long delayed lunch, and maybe have time in the evening to do something else.

There has been a benefit to all of this work.  I've been forced to clean up my place enough to get access to all of my electrical outlets.  Next, I will need to get things clean enough to have visitors (other than girlfriends) come to this apartment for the first time in years.

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Now that I can see this apartment's progress towards being a welcoming place to have guests, it is time for me to look at buying a new sofa.  I have the sofa picked out, and I'm waiting for the expected Labor Day sale.  After trying out this sofa on 3 visits to the furniture store, I will be in Mario mode when I eventually purchase it.  

Once I've purchased the sofa, I'm looking at buying a new coffee table.  Gradually, I want to make my living room a place where I can be proud to have my friends visit if invited.  Yet, there's a part of me that would rather get together outside of the house, as I'm so used to NOT having people over here.

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After 40 years in one place, one accumulates a lot of unused stuff.  The Swedes have a word for what I'm doing: Döstädning, which means "death cleaning."  It is not a morbid concept.  Instead, it is a way of justifying the removal of clutter from a person's abode, so that the person can live a more happy life. I also like the Danish concept of Hygge, Pronounced "hoo-ga," this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.  Recently, I have learned that the Swedes have a word for something I've striven for. Lagom is a Swedish word that roughly translates to "just the right amount" in English. Pronounced 'lar-gohm,' this term is more about frugality and striking a balance in your daily life between work and relaxation.

Throughout my 40-year career in technology, I found that I was living a life out of balance, a life that was not cozy, and a life that isolated me from others.  Now that I'm retired, I've found that I want something more out of the rest of my life - a connection to others, a feeling of comfort when at home, and being comfortable in my own skin.  In short, I want just the right amount of the things I enjoy in life, so that the rest of my life will be more enjoyable than the years before.

I tell people that it's not who has the most things when s/he dies wins.  Instead, it is who has the most rewarding experiences when s/he dies wins.  One can't take things into the afterlife (unless one is an Egyptian Pharaoh.)  But one can enjoy life to the fullest.  And if there is something afterward, those experiences will be what makes us rich.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Less is More

Lately, I've been driven to gradually eliminate clutter from my apartment to make room for the electricians to work on my electrical outlets and switches.   As a result, there is a great improvement on how the apartment looks, and a higher likelihood that I will again have a cleaning lady make regular visits to the apartment.

Looking at the above two pictures, you can easily see an improvement in the appearance of the area around my loveseat. Still, the work is far from done.  I now need to clean up more clutter in my bedroom, and then make room in my downstairs storage compartment to hold stuff that I use on a regular basis.  I'd consider storing containers with out-of-season clothing in this compartment, along with large packages of consumables (i.e. Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, etc.) that need not be kept in the apartment proper.

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I liken this process to answering the question:

How do you eat an elephant?

The answer given is:

One bite at a time.

That's the philosophy that RQS and I have been taking with cleaning out our respective apartments.  Both of us are dealing with the emotional value of objects.  With RQS, it is furniture and glassware inherited from family members.  With me, it is furniture and glassware inherited from my late wife, as well as some items gifted to me years ago.

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This evening, I watched a YouTube video on how to tell if you have too much stuff.  I'd say that most people of my generation have had to deal with this problem.  This has been a problem of mine for years now, and I feel that I must attack it while I'm still healthy enough to do so.  In the past 12 months, I must have donated 8-10 large bags filled with unwanted items and clothes and delivered them to a nearby donation center.  I have also given away 6+ boxes of unwanted books to a local library's thrift shop.  And I'm not done yet.

Part of decluttering is to provide temporary organization to the things one wants to keep, so that space can be made to hold things that are to be given away or trashed.  Once enough space is available, one removes the scaffolding of the temporary organization, and repeats the process until enough clutter has been eliminated to make a home feel comfortable again.  In my case, I have also taken on a philosophy that old things that are needed, but no longer are comfortable or reliable (i.e. worn out sofas and mattresses, and TVs that no longer work properly) should be replaced as needed to create a more comfortable living space. This means that I will be improving what's left in my home.

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Hopefully, in a few months or so, I will have a place that I will feel comfortable having guests in again. Until then, it will be a process of pruning what I own to a level where I consider the apartment a home, and not just a cramped nest....

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Electricians were here today....


It was 11:30, and the electricians left the apartment, with an appointment to come again next Monday for the next round of headaches.  But things didn't go as bad as expected, as moving a couple of things resulted in a better apartment.

But first....

RQS and I usually get up around 10:30 when she's here.  Today, both of us were up around 7:30, so that we could be showered and dressed by 9:00 am.  The electricians were waiting outside at 9:00 am sharp, and had turned off all the power in the apartment by 9:05 - not giving RQS a chance to get acclimated to anything.  (She made the minor mistake of opening the refrigerator door once to get milk for her coffee, and this was the only time I got slightly upset - no power meant no refrigeration, and I didn't want the contents of the refrigerator to get warm.)  By 9:15, I was moving both boxes and furniture, so that the electricians could rewire the outlets and switches.

What was being done, you may be asking - and why?

When these apartments were built, virtually all the interior wiring was aluminum based.  Over the years, it was shown that aluminum wiring could cause a fire, and that special connectors had to be used, so that the wiring in our buildings wouldn't be a fire hazard.  Although it is a low risk, our bank required that we do this work in order to get our mortgage refinanced.  This is for good reason.  A fire in a building adjacent to our complex may have been caused by wiring issues. So we chose this month to deal with this issue.

I knew that this would be a headache for many of us, and I made sure that people knew that many of the seniors living here may need help moving things out of the way.  (I did, and I still have most of my body mass and muscle strength.)  So, when the electricians started work on the refrigerator and stove circuits, both appliances had to be moved out of the way.  (The area behind the refrigerator is quite grungy, and I'll hate it if I ever need to clean the linoleum back there.)  Once done, the refrigerator was pushed back into place, and voila!, the refrigerator was now level.  I no longer have to play games to take care of this.  Instead, I now have to figure out why the door won't close completely.  (But that's another story for another day.)  

Midway through the work, the owner of the electrical company came by, and I made sure to compliment the two fellows who worked on the place.  However, the boss wondered why these fellows didn't turn on the AC once the breaker box was serviced, only leaving circuits meant to be dead as dead.  (I wondered why as well, as it was as warm in here as in the NYC subway today.)  Within 90 minutes, at least 10 outlets and 6 light switches were rewired.  Only 3 outlets are left, and they will be done on 2 different days.

Once the 2 guys left, it was time to relax before taking RQS to the train station.  Although I still had a lot to do at the end of the day, I no longer worry about how disruptive this work would prove to be....

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

With 4 indictments, you get egg roll.


As I started writing this entry, our ex-president has just had his 4th criminal indictment.  My friends know how happy I am to see this, as this man has no empathy for his fellow human being.  Like the late, great Dame Edna, they'd both say that "it's all about me."  Unlike Dame Edna, the ex-president is a malicious and corrupt grifter.

If one is a "Conservative" by today's standards, one dispenses with the rule of law and order when their side breaks the law.  In the case of our former president, most GOP politicians defend our 45th president because they are afraid of his supporters.  The ex-president is the leader of a cult, and he is an expert at leading it.  The "sane" members of the GOP fear this cult, and go out of their ways to avoid its ire.

Unfortunately, the names of the Grand Jurors who indicted the ex-president and his henchmen on RICO charges are public record.  This means that it is likely that they will be "punished" for indicting the leader of the cult.  This is a shame.  All jurors (Grand and Trial) should not have their names published in the public record.  Sadly, in Georgia, Grand Jurors' names and addresses are on the public record, and in this case, puts these people at risk.  Don't be surprised if some cult member attacks one of the 23 grand jurors on the case at some time in the near future.

And now the "fun" begins.

I expect to see the prosecuting attorneys all fighting to get their cases on the docket in ways that the individual trials don't conflict with each other.  The Federal trials will not be on TV.  But Georgia's might be.  We need for the public to see everything, so that there is no chance to say the ex-president and his cronies were railroaded.  We need for people to see that justice was fair, and based on all credible evidence.  Hopefully, something will allow this to happen.

But what happens before, during, and after a fair trial?

Many people who are part of the MAGA cult have given up on classic American principles.  They feel that the elite live under different rules than the rest of us do, and they are right to some degree.  Clinton lied under oath when referring to Monica Lewinsky, and no one from the Democratic party stood up to say that a felony was committed and that he should be disciplined (or impeached, then removed from office).  Because his wife stood by him, she got one of two choice US Senate nominations and easily won the vacant seat.  People in this class were told that globalization would bring them more and better work, and instead were put on the dole in states where no new work was to be found.  Can you blame them for supporting a cult leader, when he says the very things the masses want to hear - even if easily proven untrue?

Since many in this cult no longer believe that we have the rule of law, nor do they believe that we have fair elections, they feel that it is OK to use violence to achieve their ends - nothing else has worked for them.  What will happen to the jurors who indicted their leader?  I'm afraid to find out the answer to that question. I'm even more afraid of what will happen during the trial, and after a possible conviction.  Could you imagine what would happen if this man and his henchmen are sent to prison - as they likely deserve?

I'm afraid for America.  Very afraid.... 




PS: MAGA Lunatics have published the names and addresses of the Grand Jurors, so that they can extract their revenge.  Let's hope that they can stay safe from harm.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Last minute preparations for the Electricians


My apartment, from what few pictures I've provided, is an obvious cluttered mess.  Although RQS and I have been working on getting this mess cleared out, there is still too much clutter in the way of my electrical outlets to do all the work on them at once.  This means that I will have people invading my space for several days to come.  AARGH!

It could be worse.  I have the resources to move furniture out of the way, as if I were playing a game of Jenga™.  But I will only be able to move furniture away from one wall per day (at best).  There is way too much heavy stuff (e.g.: 75 y/o file cabinets, beds, dressers) in the way of each wall outlet to get everything done in one fell swoop.

So, I expect to stay in Mario mode until this work is done. YECCH!  At least, RQS will be with me most of the first day of work.  And I will miss her when I drop her off at the station this afternoon.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The handymen have arrived!


As I write this, the work on fixing my wall has started.  The sheet rock panel behind these tiles have been removed, and the studs and the sheet rock of the apartment adjacent to mine is now visible.  The work my brother did about 15 years ago finally failed, and the handyman gave me a simple explanation as to why it happened - we didn't mount the replacement sheet rock correctly.

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My brother has gone from having several dead-end jobs in his youth to being a lead financial comptroller in a multi $100mm corporation.  While raising a family, he bought a house needing a lot of TLC, and learned how to take care of all of its repairs himself - he couldn't afford any help to do most of the needed work.  Now, he's able to spend some coin to do the kind of repairs to his place that is not worth his effort to do himself.

Why do I mention this?

I give my brother a lot of credit for improving his life under a great amount of stress.  Now, he plays catch-up with his life, and I hope he's happy with the trade-offs he has had to make to get by.  I did not have to make the same trade-offs, as I was widowed almost 30 years ago, never had children, and didn't need to buy a house to "keep up with the Jones's."  Yet, at this stage of life, I wouldn't mind having some of what he has.  And he wouldn't mind having some of what I have.

It was a good thing that my dad got to see both my brother and I develop the skills to live life on our own without parental assistance.  A wise friend once said that a parent's job is to raise children so that the parent is no longer needed, but will always be wanted and always loved.  That's one thing my dad did well.

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One thing I learned from my dad is that some jobs simply need to be done, and others needed to be done well.  In the case of the bathroom tile wall, this time the job needed to be done well.  So I hired it out to a professional.  I could have done a crappy job myself, then need to do a bigger repair in a few years.  Instead, I spent some coin (which I am lucky to have) to do it right and to forget about it.  I hope my dad would be happy with how I make my decisions now, as I still think of what he might do had he been in my position in life.

RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...