Riding I-95 North and South. Empty Nest. (Not)

It’s 1:35 a.m. I’m up. What’s that kid’s tune? How does it go? Head and shoulders knees and toes. Knees and toes. I wiggle my toes, roll over in bed to my other side. Beyond fatigue. Restless. It all aches. Get up and write about it.

560 miles. 4.5 hours down on I-95 S to Washington, D.C. 5.25 hours back in heavy traffic.  Three hours in between clearing out Eric’s apartment and filling a U-haul. Who said girls accumulate more sh*t than guys? Clothes. Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. Box Spring. Mattress. Headboard. Television. Couch. Chair. Dresser. Boxes and more boxes and more boxes. Five flights of stairs. I’m too old for this sh*t.

It started at 5:15 a.m. yesterday. No, that’s not correct. We moved him in almost 2 years to the day. Job in DC. Girlfriend in D.C. Followed by break-up with girlfriend four months ago. No reason given. We loved her. He bristled upon any query. Someone who had become a welcome addition to the Family, Gone. Sad, really.

And it was but a few weeks after we learned of the break-up (via Facebook status change), Dad started in on his Son.

Your job enables you to live anywhere? Why sink $2,000 into rent every month?

Your Mom would love for you to come home.

We’ll get a puppy, really, if you come home.

I’ll knock the wall out between your old room and your sister’s room. You’ll have a giant suite!

Think of the money you’ll save if you move back home. You’ll be able to afford that travel you so love to do.

Did you talk to your Boss about changing your base location to NY?

Are you still paying $2,000 a month rent? On your salary, how do you save any money? [Read more…]

Monday Morning: “meh”


Photograph: Robert Bahou. “It is no secret that I am drawn to animals, as I find that they exhibit a truth uncommon in photographs of humans. A truth that can only exist if the camera’s presence is unknown, or in the case of animals, misunderstood. Animals don’t prepare themselves for a photograph the way people do, leaving them sharing a truly honest portion of who they are with the camera. This is why I decided to spend 2015 working on Animal Soul, which is now available for sale.”  See more of his animal shots at his web site here.

TGIF: 5:00 P.M. Bell!


A farmer in China’s Hebei province rides his 1,300-lb. pet pig. (Chen Xiaodong, wsj.com August 31, 2018)

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Photo: (via Newthom)

Walking Cross-Town. With the lid popped off.

“Bring an umbrella. It’s going to rain.”  She follows the weather. She barks out the forecast. It will be 35 years in September, and I’ve found she’s right 50% of the time. And I remind her of the 50% on the wrong side. It keeps the wheels on the bus going round and round. I mumble under my breath: How hard can it rain? Do I really need to haul an umbrella around, another 1.5 pounds in my already overstuffed bag.

I take the umbrella.

It didn’t have to be this tight on time. It really didn’t.  I could have postponed an 8 a.m. conference call, taken the earlier train and given myself ample wiggle room to walk, to take an Uber or to catch a cab. I even thought about it, at length.  But no, No Sir. Why defer, when you can do it now, right now. Pack it tight, pack it in.  The Counselling Blog (I need it / I read it / I won’t admit it) shared a quote yesterday that was shared anonymously:  “I try to contain my crazy but the lid keeps popping off.” I get it. I do.

I have a 10:30 a.m. training session that I am leading with 20 colleagues. The train is scheduled to arrive at Grand Central at 9:59 a.m. It’s 10 minutes late, and it’s a 13-minute walk across town if you hit the street lights just right. Tight. Too tight for a guy who likes to arrive early, set up the room, sit and relax, and review my presentation notes.

I exit Grand Central Station. It’s raining. No. I mean, it’s Raining. Sheets. I stand under a covered area and look for Cabs. Are you kidding? Waiting for a Miracle. I pull up the Uber app and it says no availability for 12 minutes. I don’t have 12 minutes and it would take another 15-20 minutes to get across town in this traffic.

I pop open the umbrella. There are streams of rainwater rushing down the streets into the drains. Monsoon on Madison. Puddles are accumulating at the cross walks. The marble in front of the major hotels is smooth, gray and slick like ice. I need to slow my pace as the umbrella in my right hand is stretching me up, my overstuffed backpack in my left is pulling me down and my smooth, leather soled lace-ups are struggling to stay anchored to the concrete slabs – an off-kilter Rickshaw teetering on a single wheel. Treacherous. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


Source: Ross Cooperman (via Newthom)

Truth (In Step Counting)

“The goal is to take ten thousand steps per day, and once you do, it vibrates.”  “Hard?” “No,” she said. “It’s just a tingle.”

I bought a Fitbit of my own…Ten thousand steps, I learned, amounts to a little more than four miles for someone my size. It sounds like a lot, but you can cover that distance over the course of an average day without even trying…I was traveling myself when I got my Fitbit, and because the tingle feels so good, not just as a sensation but also as a mark of accomplishment, I began pacing the airport rather than doing what I normally do, which is sit in the waiting area…I also started taking the stairs instead of the escalator and avoiding the moving sidewalk…

To people like Dawn and me, people who are obsessive to begin with, the Fitbit is a digital trainer, perpetually egging us on. During the first few weeks that I had it, I’d return to my hotel at the end of the day, and when I discovered that I’d taken a total of, say, twelve thousand steps, I’d go out for another three thousand.  “But why?” Hugh asked when I told him about it. “Why isn’t twelve thousand enough?” “Because,” I told him, “my Fitbit thinks I can do better.” I look back at that time and laugh—fifteen thousand steps—ha! That’s only about seven miles! …

I was averaging twenty-five thousand steps, or around ten and a half miles per day. Trousers that had grown too snug were suddenly loose again, and I noticed that my face was looking a lot thinner. Then I upped it to thirty thousand steps and started walking farther afield…

I look back on the days I averaged only thirty thousand steps and think, Honestly, how lazy can you get? When I hit thirty-five thousand steps a day, Fitbit sent me an e-badge, and then one for forty thousand, and forty-five thousand. Now I’m up to sixty thousand, which is twenty-five and a half miles. Walking that distance at the age of fifty-seven with completely flat feet while lugging a heavy bag of garbage takes close to nine hours—a big block of time but hardly wasted. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I talk to people…

At the end of my first sixty-thousand-step day, I staggered home with my flashlight knowing that now I’d advance to sixty-five thousand and that there’d be no end to it until my feet snapped off at the ankles. Then it’d just be my jagged bones stabbing into the soft ground. Why is it some people can manage a thing like a Fitbit, while others go off the rails and allow it to rule, and perhaps even ruin, their lives? While marching along the roadside, I often think of a TV show that I watched a few years back—Obsessed, it was called…

For reasons I cannot determine, my Fitbit died. I was devastated when I tapped the broadest part of it and the little dots failed to appear. Then I felt a great sense of freedom. It seemed that my life was now my own again. But was it? Walking twenty-five miles, or even running up the stairs and back, suddenly seemed pointless, since without the steps being counted and registered, what use were they? I lasted five hours before I ordered a replacement, express delivery. It arrived the following afternoon, and my hands shook as I tore open the box. Ten minutes later, my new master strapped securely around my left wrist, I was out the door, racing, practically running, to make up for lost time.

David Sedaris, from “Stepping Out” in Calypso  (May, 2018)


Photo: Thad Zajdowicz with “Keep Walking

Flying to Michigan. With best-laid plans.

You made a tough call. You considered the various alternatives and consequences, and it turned out badly. Accept it, and move on, right? No. You b*tch at your stupidity, you stew in it, you try to find others to blame, and then you grudgingly lurch into resignation, slide into acceptance, and then drop into peace. But not until you proceed through the steps, one by one by one.

It’s a White Plains, NY to Detroit to Northern Michigan flight plan.  A major storm sits on top of Detroit. Our pilot circles around the perimeter hoping it clears.  It doesn’t.  We divert to Cleveland to re-fuel.

We all sit on the plane as it re-fuels, the pilot looking to get back up and to Detroit.

The scheduled layover in Detroit was short. I fumble through my Delta app to learn that I will miss my connection.

I then proceed to make a critical (and flawed) decision. I ask to get off the plane to see if I can catch a Cleveland to Minneapolis to Northern Michigan flight and arrive late, but on the same day. (I learn that this is a major deal for security reasons as my luggage is in the cargo hold and cannot be retrieved – and, separating passenger from luggage is a no-no.)

They let me off. (After taking a photo of my ID, my boarding pass and my luggage receipt.)  They make the same offer to the rest of the passengers. Noted, no one else follows me. The attendant explains: “Sir, now you know that you will not have your luggage and it will be shipped on the original flight path arriving tomorrow.” I shrug, smile: “No problem.”

It’s 2:30 pm. The flight to Minneapolis is scheduled at 6pm, then connecting to Michigan at 8:30 pm.

The storm moves on from Detroit, and guess what? It slides on over and camps right on the top of Cleveland.  And it sits, and sits, and sits. Torrential downpours, lightening strikes, and rumors of funnel clouds.

It’s 8:00 pm. With delay after delay after delay.

It’s 9:00 pm and we take-off.

I find a Delta Service Center in Minneapolis to assist in re-booking my flight the next day.  The airport is emptying out. I find a McDonald’s (Open 24 Hours!) and wolf down three Cheeseburgers, the highlight of my day. Is there anything more satisfying than a McDonald’s cheeseburger on a empty stomach? My fingers tremble as I unwrap the yellow wax paper.

I find a cab. He’s annoyed. “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting in this cab line for a long ride?” [Read more…]

Jerry Seinfeld: “This guy just makes me laugh…”


If you can’t access the video above, go here: Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco on family

 

Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Where is he?)


Notes:

  • Photograph: It’s the real-life Scooby Doo! Six-foot Great Dane Presley weighs over 13 stone – but runs to his owner’s arms at the slightest fright – Dailymail.com (via Newthom)
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again
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