Thoughts always on my mind

I could, at anytime, contract a bacterial infection that kicks my ass and destroys my quality of life, or kills me. What would it take? Touching the wrong surface? A careless hospital worker? A rogue germ on the escalator at the mall? It’s hard dodging an invisible enemy year after year.

I need all my clothing made out of these. Adios, bacterial invaders. Too bad I can’t reach inside my lungs and swab out the invaders with one of these.

I may have cancer now and not know it, or get it at anytime in the future. I’m in the death zone and potentially a doctor’s appointment away from it. My mother has cancer, my grandmother died from it. Should I take this as a hint from the universe?

At any moment, a stream of crimson fluid might blast from my lungs. I think about this throughout the day – each day – when I bend over, when I go to sleep at night. when I walk up a hill, when I accidentally eat food that thins the blood. (This salad dressing has garlic?) I think about it every time I cough. Every time. 

Why do I sweat the small stuff, especially considering the other thoughts that live in my head? I should be doing more with the life I have left and not worrying so much.

I worry about my wife and daughter, especially my daughter. My wife works out of the house, so I know she is okay most of the time. But my daughter is getting older and independence is calling. At 10 she thinks she knows it all, and when I gave her the “stranger lecture” before the festival last weekend, she grumbled and told me she already knew it. Every time I read about a missing child or teen or young female adult, I get sad for the loss, and worry.

How many admin tasks will my boss send me today? Menial, administrative work tasks feel like walking up to a chalkboard, opening my mouth wide, and running my teeth across the surface. The thought of it alone gives me shivers. End of Day (EOD), Close of Business (COB), End of Week (EOW) work emails = the classic comedy scene where Lucy works in the chocolate factory.

I need to read and write more. How did I spend three nights in a row watching the first three Alien movies? Final score: Aliens 3; creativity 0.

I suck. I am a failure. I have not lived up to my potential. If I had, my wife would not have to work for one of the world’s worst bosses and be stressed all the time. I should not have sold my Apple stock years ago. I should be running my own business and in control of my own destiny.

How many days has it been since I’ve taken a shower?

That’s the stuff I think about.

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My neighborhood – redux

I tell people that if the real estate boom had just continued a year longer, my neighborhood would be fantastic. The houses would have fresh paint, lawns would be bright green and flush with rich fertilizer, not brown and decaying, and fences would be standing, not leaning and cracking. Butterflies would flutter from manicured yard to yard, and hummingbirds would drink from flowers, not puddles of radiator fluid.

Two of my nearest neighbors dream of running me over in their cars. Or another way to dispose of me where I suffer a slow, painful death while they watch, delivering a kick to my kidneys when needed. One of those neighbors parks his cars on his lawn. A classy sight. And I ask: What two houses have the police visited the most in my 15+ years of living here? Hmm, let me think.

What’s black and gray and cracked all over?

Can you blame me for wanting to build a wall around my house?

Police helicopters find my neighborhood enjoyable to visit. Maybe I need an opaque bubble, not a wall.

At over 1,800 square feet, our house is well below the national average of 2,480 sq ft in 2011. I want a bigger house so I can fill it up with junk and long for an even bigger house.

The city recently replaced the corner curbs with handicap-friendly tapered corners. I’m happy they did. Unfortunately, they forgot to fix the broken sidewalks, which are cracked and raised, making it a Disneyland-like adventure to charge down them in anything with wheels. Scootering requires one’s complete attention to avoid the 6-inch raised sections of concrete that come out of nowhere and cause your heart to skip a beat when you fly off of your scooter like a circus-cannon performer.

Empty shopping carts litter the streets. Neighbors play a game at night and move them in front of someone else’s house. Good one, you got me, Mr. Joker. This goes on until the day the basket-wrangler shows up and herds them back to the store.

My neighborhood reveals an ongoing recession, not recovery. Where there used to be large construction waste bins in front of every other house, there is only one now. It’s reminds me of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It stands out, the giant, ribbed-metal container, a reminder of more prosperous times. I threw a stick high into the air, but it came back to earth and missed the dumpster. Bad shot.

People in my neighborhood don’t say hi when you walk past them on the street. (Or, they don’t say hi to me, which kind of makes sense, especially when I’m wearing my “I’m contagious, stay the f**k away” shirt.)

People half a mile beyond live in larger houses with green lawns and park their cars in driveways and garages not filled with items for 10 year’s worth of garage sales. Okay, it’s a not a scientific study. I’ve fixed it to support my case. I admit that. Maybe. I’m not sure. I can say this: the houses a half a mile away are in better shape. The ratio of brown lawns filled with dandelions and weeds to nice houses with maintained grass is 1 in 30 houses. In my neighborhood, it’s closer to 10 in 30.

This may not look like much, but hitting one while riding a Razor is like hitting a wall. And this is a mild one.

“Romney for President” signs grace many of the lawns cluttered with car parts and rusty lawn furniture. I don’t have the heart to tell them they will be in the 47% of us churned into Soylent Green when he becomes king. They pray for the second coming of Reagan, at least that’s what one of them told me today. Mitt Reagan or Ronald Romney? I like the latter name. Catchy, like Richie Rich.

On the upside, there is not one plastic pink flamingo to be found in my neighborhood. Garden gnomes, yes. But pink flamingos, no.

Life is good after all in my neighborhood, though I suspect if someone did place a pink flamingo on their yard it would get stolen.

(BTW, please visit my eBay page. I’m having a sale on Pink Flamingo lawn ornaments. Mention this blog post and get 5 for the price of 1. You’re welcome.)

Odds and Ends in October

I’m entering the dark months.  Otherwise known as the months when the odds are I’ll be hospitalized – probably more than once. They’re also the bleeding months, especially autumn. Not sure why that happens.

We’re almost done with the kitchen. We’re this close (I’m pitching my two fingers together with a tiny gap of space between them.)

I’ve haven’t written about the remodel yet because I don’t like to think about it more than I have to. The contractor is a good guy, but he and I disagree about the quality of the backsplash installation. His assistant had to go back in and remove some glass tiles because there were gaps in the mortar that showed through. I’ll never do a glass tile again unless it has an opaque backing on it.

This is the backsplash we went with. Expensive and a pain in the rear to install. If my time machine was working, I’d go back and undo this decision, or know to hire someone with specific knowledge of how to install it.

So, that’s why the remodel has gone on for so long. Should be finished in couple of days when he cleans up the last round of grout and seals it. I can’t wait to have it over with. I don’t want to go through a kitchen remodel again.

I’m giving up on moving to a new house. I know that sounds strange having just remodeled the kitchen, but I don’t like the two neighbors around us. It’s just a matter of time before one of them loses it again. If this were high school, my classmates would be voting me, “most likely to be killed by a neighbor.”

I want to move, but trying to find a house right now is crazy. Looks like the market has finally hit bottom. Every time I find a house I like, it gets multiple offers in a matter of days. There is a shortage of good houses right now. Or should I say a shortage of houses that meet the qualifications of my wife who doesn’t want to move.

I went to see a fixer-upper yesterday with my agent and when we got there it had just entered into escrow. Argh. It had been on the market a week. Low supply, high demand. So, I’m giving up. It’s probably better anyway because I don’t want to saddle my wife with extra debt should a meteor fall from the sky and bean me in the head, though my head is pretty hard and filled with rock. Might not bother me. I’m more concerned about it ricocheting off of my noggin and hurting someone else.

I think I’m going through a mid-life crisis. I see the clock ticking, but I’m having a hard time changing course. Tick tock.