Here’s an excerpt from an update I wrote in early January 2017:
On Christmas Eve I installed a new light bulb in a lamp inside the bunker that will supposedly last for 22 years. Ha! I give it four months. Am I wrong? I have a backup bulb for when it burns out. But I guess I’ll be 76, so maybe my surly nurse can screw it in for me? Oh, she’ll be mouthy, but will have a heart of gold.
Well, I was wrong when I predicted it would last four months. It made it nine months. The box it came in said 22 years! Where did that number even come from? Is it based on anything, or did some whistledick in an exotic land pull it straight out of his speckled ass? Is it even possible for a light bulb to last 22 years? If so, I have a feeling it would cost more than what I paid: 99 cents at Ace Hardware.
A 99 cent light bulb that lasts 22 years would be the worst business model this side of the toothpick industry. Or the dog-eat-dog table salt racket. What everyday things do you rarely need to buy, but are crazy-cheap when you do? Help me out, won’t you? How about shampoo? I go through a bottle a year, maybe. What else?
Speaking of light bulbs, I’ve noticed in old movies (1930s/1940s) general stores, or whatever, sometimes had a screw-in bulb socket right in the top of the checkout counter, so people could test ’em out before they left the store. Apparently a lot of bulbs were duds back then, and were not exactly inexpensive. So, you could twist it in before paying, and confirm you got yourself “a good one.” I don’t know why, but I love that kind of stuff.
But, that’s enough scintillating light bulb talk… I’m off work today, for no other reason than the fact I still have 135 hours of vacation time for the year, and can only carry over 40. I’m running out of daylight, my friends. Maybe I’ll take two weeks in a row? How cool would that be? It would translate to 16 days off, while only using 10. Yeah, they’d never approve that shit. But I might take two full weeks, separately. We’ll see how it goes.
What’s your vacation time situation? I get 144 hours of PTO per year, and 40 hours of floating holiday. We can carry over 40 hours of PTO only. When I left Warner Home Video in 2007 I had 500 hours of PTO, which was the most they’d allow you to have on account. If I wasn’t capped-out, I’m sure it would’ve been higher. It was nice when they paid me for all that, but something got screwed up and the IRS came after us. Years after the fact… So, there you go. What appears to be a silver lining is sometimes a knife blade, waiting to lop your wiener off. Pass the beer nuts.
Over the weekend Toney and I were in a Home Goods store, and they had a pepper grinder that was — I’m not exaggerating — four or five feet tall. I asked her to snap a photo of me holding it, and when she handed me back my phone here’s the precious memory she’d captured. WTF?? Not only is it a mind-boggling failure, in terms of photography, but also wildly unflattering. I just stood there looking at my phone and blinking for a long time. I don’t understand a lot of things, and this is one of them.
Speaking of Toney and vacations… she’s going to fly to Myrtle Beach this weekend, by herself. Remember when I went to Long Beach Island alone, back in May? Well, this is her side of the bargain. It feels a little weird, but she deserves some downtime, that’s for sure. And we still can’t go off and leave these two hooligans alone. Well, we could. But when we returned there would probably be a big black circle on the ground where our house used to be. I wish they’d grow up already. Sweet sainted mother of Cool Papa Bell! But anyway… she’s going to the beach and I’m going to try to keep a lid on this place for a few days. Wish us all luck! Especially me.
There was an insert in yesterday’s newspaper showing the results of a wide-ranging reader’s poll that I did not participate in or even know about. You know what I mean… Best seafood restaurant (Cooper’s), best craft beer selection (Backyard Ale House), best grocery store (Gerrity’s) etc. Most of it’s standard stuff. However, a few of the categories were a little bizarre in my opinion. Like best cancer center. Seriously? And best local sweet corn. What in the hell? Best basement waterproofing? It’s weird stuff, right? How about best sun porch builder? Best drug/alcohol treatment center? Best paving contractor? It’s some of the strangest stuff I’ve seen in the local paper since the Helen Keller fashion show. Or this bizarreness:
I’ve always said this place feels like a foreign country. It is very odd. The people are more cynical and angrier than anywhere I’ve lived. And I feel like it’s either seeping into me, or just the natural progression of a curmudgeonly son of a bitch. Nature or nurture? Who the fuck knows? But Toney and I have a plan to get out. I’m glad we raised our kids here, it’s better than Atlanta or Los Angeles in that regard, but now they’re raised. On paper, anyway. We have no connection to the place, whatsoever. Over the next couple of years we’re going to scope some places out, and make the move southward. We’ll prepare the house for sale, zero in on a specific location, and shake everything up. It’s exciting, just the thought of it. And God knows we’ve done it before. Several times. What kind of changes do you realistically see for yourself between now and, say, 2020? Anything big? Please tell us about it in the comments.
And I’m going to call it a day, my friends.
I have to take Toney to the airport on Thursday morning, so I might not update again until Friday. We’ll see how it goes.
In any case, have a good one!