Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh God, please let them invent a youth serum!

My wife and I did a lot of yard work Saturday, including cutting back a bunch of Red-Tip Photinia bushes in our front yard that had gotten HUGE.  We cut about a third of the height off of them, and they were still about seven feet tall!  I actually had to get out my small electric chain saw for some of the shoots, because they were too thick to cut with limb-loppers.  Plus the bushes were about six feet or more across, which made for a lot of reaching while trying to cut (while standing on a ladder!).

After all the cutting and bundling of limbs for trash pick-up, we were both dragging ass back to the house.  Needless to say, we've both been very sore for the last couple of days, especially our arms and shoulders.

I guess I've let myself go too much lately.  For some reason, neither my wife nor I have wanted to do much extra around the house for the last couple of years.  Part of it was probably me getting laid off from my staff job and having to work contract jobs (with no benefits) for the last few years.  That, and all the bad news you hear can really get you down.

Yet, this year we've done a lot of new yard planting and decorating, cut down (and cut up) six trees that had died, replaced the flooring and repainted one room in the house, and more.  Maybe (I hope) you can only handle so much time "in the dumps" before something within you rebels and tells you to get your ass in gear.

Sore or not, it always feels good to get something done and see the results.  I still wish, though, that they would invent something that would give me the stamina I had about 20 years ago!  As Dr. Smith used to say, "Oh, the pain, the pain!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Letter to a younger me

To a younger me, from your older self,

First of all, don’t be tempted to “go with the flow” throughout your life.  I know it’s easy to spend your life reacting to things that happen to you, but you’ll be much happier if you act instead.  Don’t try to pre-think what you will be doing later – what you end up doing with your life will be more surprising than you could ever imagine.  Use your gut feelings – you’ll find that they can be fairly reliable.
You will meet a girl in junior college in art class who is very sexy and outgoing and will come on to you.  DON’T GET INVOLVED WITH HER!  She will give you lots of great sex, but she will rip your heart out and put you through the worst time of your life, for the same reason that she became involved with you – she has very little self control.  Go with the girls that are smart, and take chances with girls.  I know that one of the hardest things in life is to use your courage, but you will be unimaginably happier if you do.  The worst thing in life is to miss out on love you could have given or had.  Using your courage will give you some of the best times of your life.
Ignore what most other people think.  Listen for good advice, but ignore it when anyone tells you to do something or be a certain way because everyone else is like that.  You will find that the people that other people look up to are the mavericks who don’t go along with the crowd.  It’s hard to do at first, but very rewarding afterward.
You have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), so getting bad grades is not completely your fault, but you can still get through it.  This is why you have trouble paying attention in school.  It’s also the cause of your knee constantly jumping.  Unfortunately, ADHD won’t get much known about it until you are older, so you’ll have to make allowances yourself.  Caffeine helps, as do other stimulants.  Ever notice that you calm down and focus with stimulants?  That’s why.  Tell Mother and Joe, though.  It might help them understand you.
Try getting good grades in school anyway.  It is probably the easiest thing you will ever be asked to do, and it will save you a LOT of grief at home.  You will find that what they teach can be extremely interesting, if you want it to be.  You will find this out in college later.  An English/Literature teacher in college will give you some of the best knowledge you will ever receive – “Classic books didn’t become classics because they’re boring”.  Keep in mind that things will get better (and more interesting) in college.
Although you love art, you probably won’t be able to do it as a profession.  Keep it that way.  You’ll be happier doing art your own way at your own pace.  Concentrate on computers and electronics, especially computers and programming (some of the most important people in the future will be computer geeks), or psychology/sociology.  You will take a personality test one day that compares your answers with those of successful people in many fields.  Your’s will come closest to college professor and minister.  Think about it.
One of the hardest things to get through is your step-father Joe.  Telling yourself that “it will make you tougher” might be true, but it’s also crap, because it will also give you some emotional baggage you don’t need.  Be up front with him about sports – you simply are interested in other things, and sports won’t “make you a better man”, mostly because you are a borderline asthmatic (that’s partly why you have such trouble with allergies and sometimes get coughs that won’t go away).  Weights, exercise, and your bicycle will help a lot more than anything else.  Playing in a team sport is worthless.
The same is true about getting through the bullies at school.  The best advice I might give you would be to take karate, but I’m not sure even that would help, but it will definitely give you more self-confidence.  The sad truth is that you’re a late bloomer and a physical and emotional introvert.  The only thing that I can say is that it gets better by the time you’re a senior in high school.  There won’t be any bullies in college either.  What happens in high school, other than, to a small extent, grades, will matter NOTHING later in life, so don’t think twice about it.  Believe it or not, what other people think about you at that time of your life is one of the least things you should have to worry about.  You won’t even come into contact with any of them later on.
Remember – don’t sweat the small stuff, and the older you get, the more you will realize just how much of life IS the small stuff.  Figure out what the most important thing in your life is, the one thing that matters more than anything else.  Once you do that, everything else either fades into the background, or falls into place behind it.    J

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring is here and the warm weather chores begin!

We spent the last week or so ripping out the carpet from the spare bedroom/computer room/library.  For some unknown reason, the original owners, who we bought the house from, put white berber carpet in the entire house.  It has been a job keeping it clean looking, so we have gradually been replacing it with laminate, parquet flooring, and peel-and-stick tile in the different rooms, and this was the last.  We've also been painting the walls as we go from the original - you guessed it - white as we went.

During this last room renovation, we were also doing a lot of landscaping, including cutting down 3 dead trees, spreading about 20 bags of cedar mulch, trimming a lot of bushes, and burning branches.  Because of how small our town is, we can still burn leaves and other yard waste, but we try to keep it to a minimum, although the smell can be wonderful sometimes.  

We're definitely beginning to feel our age, though.  The first few times of real effort after the winter leave us with more aches each year.  Oh well, better to have worked and ached than not to have worked at all.