Full Stop

    There are times when things get so hectic that I almost lose myself in the struggle to stay ahead of the game. I have been going through one of those times recently, and I have forgotten the most important rule when things seem to be out of control—FULL STOP.

    Full Stop means simply what it says. I am stopping everything that is contributing to my sense of being overwhelmed. I need to re-prioritize things, and that is impossible when I am juggling cats and chainsaws at the same time. Job issues, exhaustion, worry about the ongoing pandemic, concerns about Hal and The Stooges, making sure that there is food on the table, basically everything that has been on my mind needs to be thrown onto the floor so I can examine each one and then decide which one to tackle first, then second, etc. This is the only way that I can get a grip on things after they reach the crisis point.

    Job issues are important, but not at the expense of my personal sanity. It is so easy to just say that this priority must come first. Closer examination and experience has shown me that this is seldom the case. If I am not comfortable and secure at home, that makes any job issues even worse. Learning how to correctly put things in order is key to finding inner peace at times like this.

    Getting more rest is the easy solution to the exhaustion problem. Now, if someone has a formula to add another 8 hours to each day that I can devote solely to rest and relaxation, I would be eternally grateful. Sadly, this also has to be built into the plan that will emerge from the full stop period. If I am not rested, nothing else will be easy. Therefore this priority moves to the top of my list.

    The pandemic is something that worries all of us at times. Since there is only so much that I can do, I just take care of that and then deliberately move this to the bottom of the priority list for the time being. It is one of those things that is out of my control, so there is no use putting extra effort into worrying about it.

    Hal and The Stooges will always be at or near the top of my list. I have to be rested to make sure that I can devote my best to them, therefore this moves to second place, behind rest, but ahead of the job and the pandemic.

    Putting food on the table is directly related to the job. Therefore it must be placed behind the job priority.

    At this point, I have the following list in order:

  1. Rest
  2. Hal and The Stooges
  3. Job
  4. Putting food on the table
  5. Pandemic

    This gives me something to plan around that I can live with. In order to get more rest and have more quality time with Hal and The Stooges, I can arrange my own routine to put these two things first. The job and the putting food on the table issues are also directly related and come after that. The difference is that those two things will not be allowed into my personal time with the top two priorities. The pandemic is something that I will remain aware of, we will do what we can to protect ourselves, but that is the extent of the effort for now.

    This is the FULL STOP exercise. It is the easy part. Putting this into practice will be the tough part. I have to stand my ground and defend my plan against outside influences. Not doing so is what got me into this mess in the first place.

    I hope that this helps someone out there. Willingly offered for free. Do what you can first to protect your own personal sanity. Then deal with the job, and put the things you cannot control at the bottom of your list.

Unsettled On The Job

    Right now, I am extremely tired and disenchanted with my job. I have been dealing with anonymous complaints about some of the presentations I conduct for some time. I have my suspicions about who the person is, and suffice it to say that they are high up in the company. So high up in fact that I wonder why they have the time to bitch and moan about my job.
    
    Since it does no good for me to complain to the person, I am left with the option of responding to whatever complaints they choose to mention each week. Of course, it would be absolutely awesome if they would give specifics about what they think is wrong, but that never happens. I am just left to try and piece together what someone means when they say something is “wrong” without clarification.

I find that I am more tired more often than I have ever been. This has to be connected to the job issues. Where I once loved my job, today it is nothing more than something that I have to do. The joy and passion are gone, and I cannot see them coming back. It is amazing how much feeling good about my job can be missed. I find myself counting the minutes and seconds until quitting time now.

Hot Days

There are summer days when it’s so hot that moving is uncomfortable. Today is another one of those days. Sitting on the balcony reminds me of a sauna without quite as much steam. When the sun goes behind the clouds, the relief is immense. The birds sing until the sun blasts through again, then the birds go silent again, as if the effort of singing is just too much in a hot day like today. Thunder has started. Skies have darkened. Wind has picked up. Relief at last.

The Dilemma of Sports in a Pandemic

Like everyone else, I long for a return to more “normal” times. I miss sports, but I have survived without them for months now. By far, the most important thing has been to combat the Corona-virus and get the disease under control. Sadly, we are failing on that count due to politics and rampant stupidity. Parts of the country lacked the self-discipline to endure the necessary restrictions to combat the virus, and now everyone is paying the price for their ignorance.
We have no leadership, just a DumbShitOrangeNazi in the White House who in controlled by Moscow. The blithering idiot has allowed nearly 150,000 Americans, and counting, to die from his lack of leadership. He refuses to take charge of the situation, but he is responsible for it.
We lack credible testing even after nearly 6 months of this condition. Tests that might be valid if processed in a timely manner are useless when the results take 1-2 weeks to come back. While more and more Americans become sick and die, the situation remains the same.
This brings me back to sports. There has been a concerted effort to get sports back up and running. This is far out of proportion to the benefits that sports actually creates for society. While millions of Americans cannot get proper testing, millionaire athletes are tested repeatedly and promptly. This is simply WRONG on all levels.
Honestly I don’t think that sports should return under those conditions. We can wait until the virus is controlled via vaccine, because I will see the silhouette of an anonymous victim every time I see an athlete playing a game at a time like this. An athlete’s life is worth no more than anyone else’s.

Bored

    This is one of those days when I wish we had never heard of Coronavirus or COVID-19. Social distancing is hard, and there are days like this one when I long to get out. Sadly since I am in a high-risk category, it is safer and more advisable for me to stay at home.
    I cannot afford to run unnecessary risks. I understand why some people throw caution and common sense to the wind and venture out unprotected. I just cannot bring myself to justify that risk. A trip to the grocery store or pharmacy is about all we ever do anymore.
    I would love to go to Best Buy to look at electronics again. I want to go and try out mattresses since I want to upgrade the one I have. Sadly, neither of those things will happen anytime soon. Neither will a nice dinner out at a restaurant in town.
    At least I can take comfort in the fact that Hal and I are safe and well. The Stooges are happy, and I love to cook. Having said that, I do give upon and order delivery or take out every once in a while because I can only eat my own cooking for just so long!
    At least the weekend is here. There are of course, no plans, but that is the new normal. Not even plans to drive around and see whatever there is to see in this new town and neighborhood we have lived in since April of this year. Staying home is the safest thing to do, just like wearing a mask, but it is far from the most exciting thing as well.

The Waiting

    With appreciation to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the waiting is indeed the hardest part. Whether I’m waiting for the workday to end, or waiting for the weekend to arrive, the feeling is still the same. The anticipation of something good is like a drug, but so is the waiting when you know that something bad is going to happen, just a different drug.

    My personal hangup is waiting when I don’t have to. Some things are so far off in the future that waiting will only make me crazy, and yet I find myself waiting anyway. I felt that when I was counting down the days until I left the Navy. I thought that period of waiting would never end, but eventually it finally did. The effort of just waiting at that time was physically exhausting for me. I have tried since then to not let waiting get the best of me.

    I’m waiting to pay off more debt before I do anything for myself. I know that this is the right thing to do, but I still find myself waiting for the effort to pay off and be over. I’m not as good at not waiting as I thought.

Realization

   Today, things became a bit clearer around here. The incessant speculation about when, if ever, things will get back to “normal” rages on. I have decided that personally, I am not prepared to entertain the idea of things returning to normal for at least another 18 months. I wish that I could be more optimistic, but I prefer realism to optimism at any time.

     I have watched the growing crisis in this country and I don’t see any way that things can return to normal in less than 18 months. We are dealing with a large segment of the population who refuse to accept reality or facts, about COVID-19. These are the people who we see at the grocery store or the pharmacy or the gas station, no mask in sight and often leading their children, who also have no masks. These people call the pandemic a “hoax” or talk about building immunity by not taking even the most basic precautions.

     There are already stories about “COVID parties”. I understand part of this. When I was a child, my classmates and I were often sent to other children’s homes when those children developed chickenpox, measles, or mumps. The key difference is that those diseases were well-known and the effects were understood. Getting those diseases was a part of growing up because there was no vaccine, but as I said, those diseases were well-known and almost never fatal. It was the best our parents could do to prepare us for adulthood. Then vaccines were developed for these diseases, and the parties went away. Having them start again is criminally stupid because there is so much that we still don’t know about the Corona-virus.

I still believe that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come. The fall and winter will be brutal, especially if schools are forced to open. The traditional flu season will simply be more devastating this year as COVID lingers. Obviously, the longer people wait to take this seriously, the worse things will get.

     Realization is an important part of life. I know that things are not great, but they will get better eventually. They will improve even more quickly if we all work together to make them better, instead of just blindly following whatever bullshit the Nazi In The White House tells us.