Monday, May 8, 2017

A Baby, A Dog, And A Blind Woman

If I could read my daughter's mind I'd probably read something like this.  "What am I doing out here with a baby, a dog, and a blind woman?"  It's a good thing I can't read her mind, she may be thinking something worse.

Alexa said the high would be 81 degrees and nice weather was expected.  So out of the blue I asked Andrea if she wanted to go somewhere.  She asked where would I like to go.  I remember her mentioning a place with a rock in the middle of the lake that was close by.  She went online to find directions to Burbank Beach.

Now don't get all weird on me; beach in South Dakota.  Yes, there is a quite nice beach here. 

We proceed to get ready.  I put on my swimsuit and then my clothes.  Andrea does the same.  Then she packs up Jason's diaper bag.  Off we go.

Heading to the beach on a Sunday morning is new for us.  Not only because we now live in South Dakota but I've never been a liker of sand.  to add to that, I've recently gone inactive from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Few active members would dream of doing anything on Sunday other than going to church or something spiritual at home or at a friend's or relative's home. 

We pile into the van; Andrea, Jason, Sparkles, and I.  We make for a most unusual group.  Jason was one day short of turning six weeks old.  Sparkles is a sixteen-year-old Pekingese; we call him an old gentleman.  I am blind; just light perception.  Andrea is my youngest daughter.

We park, gather up our things, Sparkles, and Jason.  The dirt, or should I say sand, road is closed to vehicles from this point on.  We have a walk of about three quarters of a mile to the lake.  The going is good at first.  Then we walk through some kind of dry, dead vegetation.  I called it thistles but they weren't prickly.  Sparkles didn't want to walk through it so I started carrying him.  Andrea has Jason, the diaper bag, and the blanket.  I have Sparkles, my cane and a bag of snacks and things.  I learned I was sadly out of shape.  I slipped while going down a sandy incline.  I put sparkles down but he didn't want to move while I got up.  Next I put Sparkles on my shoulder and held him by his harness.  This worked until he began to choke.  Down he goes again but now we're out of the thistles and into shifting sand.  Sparkles wants to walk in front of me and is a real hazard.  I take the blanket from Andrea and she takes Sparkles.  that was the longest three quarters of a mile I can remember.

Now for all the things we forgot.  We forgot how the wend blows here.  We had such a time getting the blanket spread out.  I tried holding it while Andrea put the diaper bag down.  Other corners would take to flight before we could drop some driftwood on it or plunk ourselves down.  the blanket was sandy before we had a chance to sit on it.  So there we sit.  Guess who needs to pee?  Me.

"Take off your shorts and wade into the water,"  Andrea suggests, "Then pee."

I take off my shorts, stand up and start walking.  "There's a little step of a drop off."  Andrea warns.  Because I have no idea when I'll reach this drop off, or how far it actually is, I immediately sit down.  I figured I could scooch to the water, bypass the drop off and then stand up.  The best laid plans.......My feet hit the water, COLD.  Feet out of the water, back up, stand up.  "Is there anyone around?" I ask. 

"No,"  Andrea replied.

"I'll just pee right here."  Peeing while dressed and standing is a "skill" I learned from my grandmother.  Learn everything you can from everyone you can.

I thought we could use a cloth diaper over Jason as sun protection.  Wrong.  The wend blew so much the diaper wouldn't stay put and we didn't have anything else to weigh it down with.  For the most part we watch him and Andrea shaded him with her body. 

At some point Andrea took Sparkles to the rock island in the middle of the lake via an underwater bridge.  He didn't want to go at first but later he was playing in the water.  Andrea took pictures of us from a distance, and video of Sparkles in the water.

I put some sand in Jason's hands so he could experience a new texture.  I told him wend when there were strong gusts.  I pointed to the sun and told him what it was.  When Sparkles and Andrea got back I put Jason's hand on Sparkles and said, "Wet dog". 

I didn't want to carry Sparkles so I asked Andrea if there was another way back.She said there was but it's longer.  I asked if there were thistles and she said no.  I said we should take the longer way back.  The bags and blankets got heavier with every few steps. 

"that was fun," one of us said, "I'm glad we came."

As you can see, I' haven't written on this blog for some time.  I've been going through major changes in my life.  If you read my last photography blog, Blind As Eye Look you'll learn about my going blind  I also talk about selling my house and moving to South Dakota.  Beazle Passed away August 2016.  The Beazler is a blog I dedicated to her; but it's also a place for me to talk about what's on my mind.  I came out as an atheist on my last Beazler blog.  I'm working on how this blog will be different from The Beazler.  I'm thinking this may turn into my adventures as a blind person.  I haven't decided yet.  I'm open to suggestions.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stay Away from Bank Of America

May 6, 2011.  Supposed Closing Date

Bank Of America, shortened to BOA has turned what should have been a joyous occasion into a nightmare.  I thought the selling bank, GMAC,  was bad, and it is, but BOA is much worse.  They draw customers in with low mortgage rates and closing costs but as the loan process continues they become all but impossible to work with.  I found only a few people there competent. 

The monster in my dream was sleeping in the beginning.  I had just confessed to my real estate agent, Michael,  there was no way I could afford the closing costs Guaranteed Rate was asking.  I emailed him and told him how much money I had and how discouraged I was.  Admittedly, I didn't have a whole lot of money; and I expected not to hear from him again.  I just knew I was going to find my earnest money check in the mail one day.  Instead I received an email from Michael saying he had talked to a friend at BOA.  His friend had run some numbers and the figures were much lower than those from Guaranteed Rate.  I won't mention his name because it is not a common name.

I was having a good dream, pure bliss.  Michael sent information about the property to BOA guy.  BOA guy tells me which documents he needs and I fax them over.  BOA guy emails both Michael and me that he got the documents.  Bim, Bam, Boom, sweet dreams.  Next BOA guy emails us both the pre-approval letter.  We're talking hours not days.  The next thing I knew the sellers accepted another offer.  I was heartbroken, but then I got angry.  I determined to find a house I liked even better.  When I found another wonderful house BOA guy ran numbers again.  Negations went back and forth between me and the selling bank with our agents doing all the work.  BOA guy promptly ran numbers when asked.  All good things must come to an end.

My file got escalated.  The dream began to change.  I got an email from three different people, each telling me name and position.  I had no idea who I was supposed to contact for what.  I actually got a mass email from one of these people telling a group of us our files had be forwarded to underwriting. 

Dream gets bad.  I started getting email from one or another of these three people asking for all sort of random papers to be faxed to them.  Then they started asking for different versions of the same thing.  For example I sent the 1099s from Social Security because they tell how much money we got last year.  As everyone knows there was no cost of living increase so the amount would be the same.  Still, they wanted the award letters sent out by Social Security about the same time as the 1099s.  Next they wanted to know how long my disability would last because this wasn't on any of the papers they already had.  Social Security swore up and down they don't give out medical information; that would have to come from a doctor.  I got creative.  I dug out a letter I had from an eye doctor that first saw me in 1965, a letter from a doctor that saw me in 2010, and sent a picture of me so they could see my eyes for themselves.  I'm hoping they will logically conclude that nothing will change after all this time.  Someone would ask and I would send. 

BOA guy called to ask for money for the credit report and appraisal.  Silly me, I thought I was on the home stretch.  Only in my wildest dreams, the nightmare had just begun.  FHA inspector wanted the siding fixed, sellers didn't want to pay, negotiations again.  Michael tells sellers if they don't fix the siding we'll be forced to cancel the contract.  they agree to fix the siding and the inspector passes it. 

Now I'm told they have everything and papers are going to processing.  I breathed a great sigh of relief.  I start packing setting up utilities, looking at paint colors, making plans, enjoying myself.  This euphoria didn't last long.

I start getting more random emails from the unnamed three.  Some want papers I've already sent them, while others want papers that don't make any sense or don't exist.  An example of a paper that doesn't make sense is a breakdown of the mortgage payment for the house in Pine Bluff.  They want to know how much for principle, how much for interest, how much for taxes, and how much for insurance.  Who cares, it all adds up to the same total.  An explanation of the dispute with Citimortgage on my credit report doesn't exist.  I've never had a dispute with Citimortgage ever.  Do they believe me?  No they don't.  "but your credit report says there's a dispute."  I ask for a clue, when, about what.  This impossible person says the credit report doesn't tell any of that, it just says there's a dispute.  She keeps asking me about this clueless dispute.  They were so tenacious they contacted Citimortgage for documentation about this alleged dispute.  There's confusion about whether they're waiting for a response from Citi or if they got documentation saying there's no dispute.  Their right hand doesn't know what their left is doing.  One will say we have everything while another is still asking for stuff.  One will say we got it while another will say we're still waiting.  Which is it? 

Here is an email I got from a member of the trio. 

It looks like it will be a few days, we are waiting on the documentation on the dispute from credit. We will not be able to get this probably until  around Tuesday. Please understand that we are trying our  best to get this to closing table. I did not copy your agent on this because I did not know if you had discussed this issue with him.

This is another example of what I mentioned before.  Another of the trio said they had the document from Citi and the package had gone to processing, again.  If this is their best I'd hate to see what would happen when they screw up. 

Looks like I'll have to tell Michael about things I have no knowledge of that don't exist so the BOA trio can copy him about them.   This person must not know who recommended BOA to me. 

This person obviously doesn't realize most people will be loyal to their real estate agent over their pain in the butt loan person.  Think about it, your real estate agent listed that first house you wanted to look inside so he is given extra credit in your mind for having good taste in houses.  Even though you didn't buy it he showed you more houses.  He listened to you think aloud about the houses you were seeing.  He wrote up one, then another offer and helped negotiate with the sellers.  And in my case he picked me up for each appointment.  He's frustrated too, I want my house and Michael wants his pay.  We're both fed up with BOA.  Michael said he called one of the trio and expressed his frustration and said closing in another week is unacceptable.  We don't know what if anything will come of it.

I'm under extra stress because there is a penalty clause in the sales contract with GMAC.  There is a per Diem charge for every day after May sixth that we don't close.  I agreed to this because I was under the impression from BOA had everything they needed and GMAC had stretched closing out another week from April twenty-ninth.  Both Michael and I have made BOA aware of this penalty from the beginning and ongoing.  Michael has contacted GMAC's agent to negotiate an extension.  I pray it happens.  I'm not too happy with GMAC either.

The FHA inspector required the damaged siding be fixed in order for the house to appraise properly.  GMAC reluctantly agreed to fix it if we raised the sales price by five hundred dollars.  I felt gypped and insulted when I saw the "fix".  Somebody had put a few pieces of orange siding on a house with tan siding.  Some pieces were about a foot long while others may have been eight feet.  Orange siding lengths were place wherever needed.  I realize labor is expensive but most of the work could be done without standing on a ladder.  I feel I could have called Metro Board Up or Construction, got some scrap tan siding, and had them install it for much less.  It's insulting because if they had used tan siding I would have looked at the work, said something like oh they fixed it and gotten on with life.  Now I'm  blogging about being ripped off. 

"They're all crooks," my mother is fond of saying, "They're probably not going to let you have it.  I'd tell them to kiss the bottom of my foot." 

I told Mom, "I don't think I could be that nice." 

We did a walk through Thursday before we knew we weren't closing the next day.  Seeing the house again was a big morale booster.  This is my house, the house I'm buying all by myself.  When the closing is over one of these days and all documents are recorded I will plaster the Internet with this blog post. 

May 29, 2011.

I did close on May thirteenth.  I started working with a higher up at BOA and he moved things along like crazy.  He also discovered that GMAC was merely servicing the loan on the house for BOA.  That meant there would be no penalties for closing late.  He called me the morning of the thirteenth saying, "Can you close at four?"  Even though I was a Kroger and had a gillion things to do, I said, "Yes."  I called Michael, finished grocery shopping, put the perishables in the fridge, showered, went to the bank a got a cashier's check, and met Michael by 3:30.  The closing attorney brought in a sheath of papers.  She'd rifle through them, before presenting one for me to sign.  Then she would shuffle the papers again and come up with another.  I don't know how she kept them straight.  there were many, many papers, some the same thing.  She shuffled and gave papers, I signed or initialed, Michael witnessed when needed, she took them back and randomly put them back in the pile, it seemed, and the process started again.  It took about an hour altogether. 

this process is like having a baby.  You go through the pain of labor, and it is terrible; After the baby is born you don't remember the pain as being so bad.  We're in the house now and the frustrations I went through to get hear don't seem to have been so bad now.  The nightmare has been replaced with a dream come true.

The Ward members moved most of our things on May 21st.  Andrea and I spent that night here.  We reluctantly went back to the apartment the next evening because Andrea had another week of school.  Our last week in the apartment was spent quite Spartan.  I kept the computer there and we slept on an air mattress.  Yesterday morning a couple from church came and drove us and the rest of our stuff over here. 

Dream realized!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where am I Again

Everything is shut down.  There's several inches of snow and ice on the ground and more is still falling, yet slowly.  The kids have had snowball fights, made sleds from storage containers, and generally worn themselves out.  The School's computer has already called to inform us that school will be closed tomorrow as well.  We didn't get much snow when I lived in Arkansas so I wasn't expecting this, not in Atlanta.  Atlanta, Georgia that is. 

Snowstorms were predicted days in advance.  Some didn't believe there'd be bad weather while others got prepared.  To me, it was like history repeating itself.  Weathermen had predicted the ice storm of 2000 days before it hit.  Back in 2000 I was one of the skeptics.  We'd never had a serious ice storm before so why would we have one now.  I was proven wrong.  The ice came suddenly, knocked down healthy tree branches, which in turn knocked down power lines.  Some people were out of electricity for over a week. 

I decided to be prepared in case we lost power.  I sent Andrea out to gather more wood.  We determined the oven rack could be used in the fireplace as a grate.  I inventoried the food we already had that would be easy to cook in a fireplace.  I went to the store to buy more food and wood.  I felt foolish doing these things because the sun was out and the sky was bright blue.  We left most of the food on the table so we could easily find it in the dark if necessary.  We were ready so we waited. 

The blowing snow finally showed up last night.  There was more snow than I'd have expected to get in Atlanta.  There was about four or five inches out there.  Andrea, a neighbor boy and I went out to play in it.  This was good snow.  It was almost powder.  Snowballs fell apart on contact without hurting when they hit you.  I figured it was time for me to go in when Andrea said she was going to go get some more friends.  They had a great time and came in cold and wet.

The snow changed to sleet overnight.  I could hear the sleet hitting the windows this morning.  I turned on the radio to hear the commentary on the storm.  I've always enjoyed listening to such things.  The announcer talked alot about abandoned cars on the roads and freeways.  This is a foreigh concept for me.  I don't know if people in Arkansas stayed with their cars or just didn't leave home in the first place.  It seems to me if the weather and/or roads are so bad to make you think about leaving your car; you'd think again and decide to stay with it afterall. 

So far we still have electricity so I'm happy.  I will get comfortable and watch The Walton's tonight.  Goodnight everyone.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

There's a Fee for That and Mixed Blessing

Right now I'm so angry I could spit.  This is bad because I don't plan to rant about the low lifes who put explosives on a plane from Yemen.  I'm going to rant about my gas company.  Yes, my gas company, we choose our gas company in Georgia just like most of us choose our cell phone provider. 

Before I moved here I thought this was a good idea.  There would be rate competition and if I didn't like the service a provider gave I could change.  That is at least once per year for free.  I did my due diligence and decided on Georgia Natural Gas. 

Everything went fine until yesterday afternoon.  I noticed it was taking an extra long time for the water to run hot.  I stocked it up to my impatience.  Later Andrea said there was no hot water for her shower.  I took a peak at the water heater and instead of seeing a blue flame, I saw a black void of nothingness.  So I looked at the furnace.  I couldn't really see anything so I turned off the light and still saw nothing.  I wasn't alarmed because I had opened the utility closet that morning to look for the dog carrier.  (It wasn't in there.  It's still missing.)  I thought opening and closing a door that is rarely moved might have blown out the pilots.  The funny thing was I didn't smell gas. 

None of my neighbors knew how to light the water heater so we skipped our showers.  No big deal for one night.

I called the apartment maintenance first thing this morning.  I told them I needed my water heater lit and my furnace checked.  A maintenance man came out shortly.  He did his thing for a few minutes and reported, "You have no gas."  He went on to say I needed to called the gas company.  I checked my online bank and saw the payment had cleared the middle of this month.  The gas company's computer also had credited my account for the payment. 

After explaining my problem to the customer service rep this is the garbage I got.  "Is your meter locked?;

"I don't know.  I don't even know where my meter is."

"Did the maintenance man say your meter is locked?" 

I could see this was getting nowhere fast.  "He didn't say anything about my meter and he isn't here now." 

"Ask him to come back and see if you're meter is locked.  If it is not locked I can call Atlanta Gaslight and have them come fix it.  If your meter is not locked it is an issue with something else like your appliances and there will be a fee to have them come out." 

I didn't know if I should hit the floor or the ceiling first.  I chose the ceiling.  "I'm not paying.  This is not my fault.  I live in an apartment and these are not my appliances.  They are both off so it's clearly a gas problem.  What does Atlanta Gaslight have to do with this?. 

Apparently Atlanta Gaslight distributes gas to companies light Georgia Natural Gas.  The meters belong to Atlanta Gaslight.  If they come out and the meter isn't the problem they want to get paid. 

"This is not my property, and this is due to no fault of my own.  How could this happen anyway?"  I rant.

The rep didn't know how this could happen.  She also had no idea why I was without gas.  In fact her records showed everything as being fine. 

I had one more question for her.  "Could you have turned off the wrong meter?  My neighbor in J is moving, maybe you turned off I by accident.  She couldn't even tell me if the people in J had gas service with them or another company. 

As I was leaving the building while talking to the apartment management on my cell, I saw my neighbor in J's brother.  He was amazed that the gas company would ask if my meter was locked.  He said he would go take a look.  When he returned he said one meter was lock but he couldn't tell which unit it belongs too.  He also said his brother hadn't had their gas turned off yet. 

I called Georgia Natural Gas back and told them to send somebody from Atlanta Gaslight to fix my gas problem.  I went to the office to talk to Management about this fee.  I spoke with Irish, the assistant manager.  She was also floored about the fee.  She asked how much the fee would be.  I told her they said it would be at least sixty dollars.  Irish was astonished too.  I told her that a meter is locked but I don't know whose it is.  I also told her I wasn't paying a fee.  Irish then called the head of maintenance to see if he'd go take a look at the meter to see if he could figure out anything.  He reminded her of how they had gotten in trouble for unlocking a meter in the past.  Irish said to go ahead and call the gas company and we'd both dispute the fee.  I told her I had already called because this wasn't my fault. 

The first maintenance man came back this afternoon to see what the gas company did.  I told him they hadn't been here yet.  He and Andrea went to look at the meters.  Andrea said he pointed out one that was definitely broken and three others that were off.  That couldn't tell which meters belongs to who.  I'm surprised nobody else in the building has complained. There are ten units in this building.

Someone is supposed to be here between two and six.  It's now 5:44 and no sign of anybody from any gas company. I'll call again at straight up six o'clock.  They tried to assure me someone would come tonight.  I asked at what time can I assume nobody was coming.  They said midnight.  So two and a quarter more hours.  Who wants to bet nobody comes.  I'm thinking up compensation for my inconvenience.  I'm thinking a free January or February bill.

Well the gas man showed up just after midnight.  I was surprised to say the least.  He didn't understand why my meter was off either.  he did his thing and re lit the pilots and checked for code compliance.  The water heater passed but the furnace failed.  He said the furnace had a possible crack in the heat exchanger.  So my furnace needs to be looked at, fixed, and preferable replaced.  Unfortunately Georgia isn't as strict as Utah.  If a gas furnace or water heater is condemned by the gas company they put a lock on it that can't be removed by anyone else.  Once the problem is fixed they come out, inspect it, and remove the lock.  In George they just turn the gas off to that appliance with the problem, put a tag on it explaining the problem,  say it needs to be fixed, and call it a day. 

The problem I have with that is he also said they had tagged my furnace before for the same issue and apparently it wasn't fixed.  I asked how would I know if it got fixed or maintenance just came in, twiddled their thumbs and left.  He said I could call the gas company to come back and look at it.  I wonder if that would involve a fee?  Oh about this infamous fee; the gas man doesn't think I should be charged because he has no idea why my meter was off but unlocked.  He did say he'd talk to the people in charge of turn ons and shut offs.  I can see a fee dispute ahead of me for sure. 

I'd be looking for a second opinion about the heat exchanger if, number one, it was my furnace and responsibility, and number two, a heat and air guy had said it needed to be replaced.  I know they say that sometimes to get business.  I don't think the gas supplier is in the business of selling furnaces so his findings are probably legitimate. 

You're no doubt guessing how all this can be a mixed blessing.  Well if my gas hadn't gone off for some yet unexplainable reason I wouldn't have know there was a serious issue with the furnace.  Well into battle I go.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Make up Your Mind, School

"Mom, guess what?" my thirteen-year-old daughter exclaimed.  "We can wear jeans to school now!  I knew you wouldn't believe me so I got (math teacher's name) to write you a note." 

Sure enough, the math teach had written a note stating the same thing my daughter had said.  Later that evening the school's computer called and gave the message about wearing jeans as well.

This shouldn't be a big deal to me but it is a deal of some size nonetheless.  This school changes its dress code willie-nillie.  Why can't they come up with a dress code before school lets out in May and stick with it until the following May?  This seems logical to me.

Instead, they change the dress code whenever the mood strikes.  I took my daughter to the school to pick up registration materials back in early July.  I was given a sheet of paper listing the uniform colors.  For this blog I'll just give the shirt colors for now.  Shirts could be red, white, navy, or gray.  We bought red, white, and gray.  When we got to orientation on August 20th (School started August 23rd) They had a changed uniform policy already.  Now shirts could be only red, white, or navy.  So back to the store to make an exchange. 

What kid doesn't have jeans?  What's the point of having uniforms if you can wear jeans?  The only rule is no designs on the legs.  My daughter and the friends she walks to school with all wore jeans today.  I bet the entire student body did too. 

My new neighbor was especially upset because of the change.  She just moved in a few weeks ago from out of state.  Her money is tight and she had just purchased uniform pants for her son.  He had been wearing shorts but because of the change in the weather shorts are no longer practical.  My neighbor said her son has plenty of jeans and the new uniform pants can't be returned because they've been worn once. 

The dress code calls for coats to be school colors but solid.  This would make since if, most people didn't come from out of state, and they stuck with their policies.  My daughter has two coats, both of which still fit.  The solid one is not school colors and the other is a red and black plaid.  Now they don't wear coats to class.  They leave them in their lockers.  So please explain to me why it would matter what color their coats are if they're only wearing them to and from school.  I am not buying another coat. 

I've always been against school uniforms.  The arguments in favor of them just sound like weak parenting and feel good liberalism.  Kids may as well learn from the get go that life isn't fair or equal.  Some people make more money than others.  If parents can't afford expensive clothes then tell the child no.  It's that simple.  Buy what you can afford.  Some say gang colors are the reason for requiting uniforms.  Come on, if gang members can't wear their colors to school they will come up with another symbol: hairstyle, jewelry, facial expression for that matter.  Every problem can't be cured with conformity. 

School dress code should be wear clean clothes that cover your cleavage, midriff, and butt.  Then leave the rest to the parents.  Some will dress from Nordstrum or Bloomingdales, others will dress from the dollar store and thrift shops, while most will dress from stores in between.  So what, that's life. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Turning 50

I turned fifty, (the big 5 o) today.  Surprisingly enough, I didn't dread it.  I can hardly believe it, but I didn't dread it.  I expected to dread turning fifty because it took me two years to get over turning forty.  Now that was traumatic.  For some reason when I turned forty-nine I felt as if I was already fifty.  so I will have been fifty for two years in my mind. 

Reflecting on my life is something I tried to avoid.  What have I done in the half century I've been on this earth?  Well at least the past quarter century.  Let's see, I've gotten older, I've gotten fatter, and I've managed to see the world!!!  Oh, I almost forget about that,  I travelled extensively after I was twenty-five.  Lets keep this positive roll going.  I moved out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but I'm still saddled with a house built in 1889.  See there's a flip side to everything.  So I'm a landlord now, is that a good thing?  I have three daughters and two marriages.  The daughters are great.  I discovered I'm not one to be married.  One daughter is living on her own in the Midwest, another is in college, and the youngest is still a teenager.  I'm a legally blind contributor to several stock photography agencies, that counts for something. 

"What do you do for work?" people used to ask me.  "Look,"  became my standard reply.  That was true, I looked for work.  The only exception was while I lived in Utah.  There I worked my way up from fast food restaurants to the high end Mulboones.  However, my favorite job was working for SOS Temporary Services at R. and R. Donnelley.  It was ideal for me.  I walked to work in about fifteen minutes.  We could clock in five minutes early.  It was assembly line work packaging computer programs and the books that came with them back in the day.  We talked and played the radio.  Lunch was fort-five minutes, enough time to walk to Arby's, sit down and eat off the dollar menu.  Next clock in five minutes early, work some more, and off at 3:30.  Where else can you get paid for a extra fifty minutes a week?  But mostly I looked for work. 

I started looking after I graduated from high school.  I didn't get hired so I went to college.  I didn't get hired so I got Married.  I got divorced and did the fast food, Donnelley thing.  While doing the fast food thing I looked for better work.  After we moved back to Pine Bluff I looked for work some more.  I even got an expert certification in Microsoft Office to prove to an employer  that I could use a computer.   in 2007 I gave up looking.  I had been looking since 1979.  The trigger point happened when two people whom I had known for ten years asked, "Can you see to do that?"  I was floored, astonished, astounded, and even gobsmacked.  People whom I had known for ten years were asking me if I could see to do a copy editor's job.  That did it.  Some, maybe many, would disagree, but I was through.  No more taking the bus to places to fill out applications or interview, no more explaining what I could and couldn't see, no more explaining to a prospective employer that I can work in a fast paced, cluttered, demanding, etc, environment without hurting myself.  If people I had know for a long time didn't realize I could do a job, how in the world could I convince someone I just met?    

I turned my passions into extra money.  I won't say profit yet.  I started submitting photographs to stock photography agencies; and lo, and behold they were accepted and some sold.  Others have sold over and over.  I've sold  AVON products on and off for several years.  It's okay but I much prefer selling the candles I make here at home.  Everybody loves a vacation and I love Polynesia.  Kalani's Kandles was born out of that combination.  I specialize in exotic, tropical, and unusual fragrances.  You can get a candle that smells like Hawai`i or a candle that smells like money. 

So turning fifty today got me thinking about my life.  It is what it is.

Until next time,