Welp . . . after a Summer vacation punctuated by a month of Summer School, the new school year began yesterday. As it now stands, I have another three years of taking my youngest to High School and picking her up. That means I will have just celebrated my 75th birthday when she graduates, unless I can afford to buy her a car before then.
Problem is, She has so many issues I’m worried she will be a real danger behind the wheel, not so much to the world, but to herself. I should be able to afford driving lessons for her pretty soon, then we’ll find out how well she’s going to do.
I have to admit I’m reaching the point where I really miss being a grown-up, solely a grown-up. If I live to be 90 I’ll have plenty of time to enjoy my children as adults, and plenty of time to once again enjoy being an adult. Since I’m already close to 13 years older than my father was when he died, I’m not sure I’ll make it that far. Which, basically, leads me to believe I need to just appreciate what I have now and stop worrying about the future. I’m normally pretty good at that, but it seems the beginning of school has jarred my psyche somewhat.
We’re on our way to San Diego, aboard Train 768, from the Simi Valley Amtrak station a few minutes from our house. After a half hour layover at Union Station in Downtown LA, Fullerton is our next stop. I chose this method of travel thinking it would be a bit of a different experience for the girls. Also, the commute in a car is not one of my favorites. Frankly, driving is not one of my passions, even though I’ve done a lot of it.
It’s the end of Spring break for the girls and I’ve been squirreling away money so we could do something before it’s too late. Our oldest will be 15 in less than three months and she already inhabits a different universe than Linda and I do, and this may be the last time we’ll be able to enjoy a couple of days together for many years.
After we get to San Diego we’re going to head to the hotel and see if we can check in early. If we can’t, we’ll check our bags in, head to lunch, and then to the USS Midway Maritime Museum.
Tomorrow is reserved for the zoo. Our younger daughter really, really, really wanted to go to the zoo, so she’s very excited. I already purchased our tickets online, though I printed them out, as I wasn’t convinced they would accept the .pdf they sent and I saved to Evernote. The Midway has an app and our tickets are available in it. Amtrak scans everything (as does just about everyone, I suppose) and I just confirmed with the Conductor the .pdf they sent would be just fine off of my phone. I’ll do that on our return.
The trip is a bit longer than if we had driven but, unless you’re Agoraphobic, it’s far less stressful. I am, after all, writing this as we now head toward Irvine. We’re headed almost due south and will soon be skirting the Pacific Ocean. So far, the urban scenery has been pretty grim. I’m looking forward to seeing some open, less sullied space. I need to give a shoutout to Google Maps, and GPS technology in general, as I no longer have to guess where we are. For someone with a slight bent toward orienteering, it’s a bonus.
There’s a bunch of guys who, apparently, are on their way to a bachelor party, a fact I just learned after this rather loquacious woman got on and immediately started a boisterous conversation with them. I can barely hear them, but I’m sure most of the car can hear her, and her male companion who chimes in now and again. Unfortunately, Aimee (our oldest) has her ear buds nestled tightly in her music saturated skull and is missing the show. This was one of the reasons I thought the train would be interesting for the girls. Dang!
Just pulled into San Juan Capistrano; not a swallow in sight but, the Pacific is nigh. Surf’s only a couple feet and it’s a bit choppy, but there are some stalwarts out apaddlin’.
San Clemente Pier
The edge of the continent, slowly eroding
San Onofre which, thankfully, has yet to melt down
We’ll be there soon and I have a family to attend to. So far, so good. There’s a bit of a party atmosphere aboard this train. Looking forward to exploring the Midway. Now I have to decide whether or not to punk the girls for April Fools. 😀
About two weeks ago our youngest daughter was sitting on the couch in the family room and asked a simple question, “Why are there bubbles in the ceiling, Daddy?” Much to our chagrin, once we looked up it was difficult not to notice areas that were clearly filling up with water. We had a leak (another one, as it turns out, since we’d had one almost two years ago). We immediately fetched a couple of buckets and pierced the paint holding the water in to relieve the pressure. I also immediately called the Plumber, who fortunately was able to come out and fix the leak.
Stage one was complete. We’d stemmed the tide. Unfortunately, the ceiling was now ruined and – as Shane the Plumber pointed out to us, there was still a fair amount of water up there. Next stage – contact the insurance company and get someone out who can fix the ceiling and bring us back to status quo ante. Would that it were so easy.
More Bubbles and Damage
Because of the age of our house, everyone now suspected there might be asbestos involved and we needed to have someone come out and test for both it . . . and lead, which might have been in older paint. Sure enough, asbestos was discovered but no lead <whew!>. So now we need to have specialists come in, completely seal off the room to avoid contaminating other parts of the house, and remove all the offending material.
One problem. The room has to be completely emptied and nobody says they expect me to do it on my little lonesome. Hint – there are items of furniture in that room most 35 year old men can’t move by themselves, let alone a 65 year old man. So the guys show up but the room is as it was. They get all confused and, ultimately, leave without saying a word. Thus begins a bit of a Keystone Kops routine of non-communication, mis-communication, and confusion.
Family Room Empty – Living Room Stuffed
As of today, I’m pretty certain things have been worked out. The company I was referred to by Shane the Plumber came out and packed up everything and moved almost all of it into the living room. Tomorrow the remediation company is scheduled to show up, seal off the room, dry the attic, and remove any asbestos they find. Unfortunately, they will have no choice but to seal off the back of the house, rendering it unlivable. I’m waiting for the adjuster to get back to me and authorize our staying at a local residence inn for Wednesday and Thursday nights; they say we’ll be able to return on Friday.
In the meantime, the kids have school and life goes on. We get a two-day “vacation” I really don’t want yet have no choice other than to take. So . . . we’re off on a mini-adventure as of, well, as of now since we’re going to have to pack up and gtf outta here early tomorrow.
It’s been something like thirty years since I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the following limerick but, for some unknown reason, it popped into my head a couple of days ago and I can’t shake it. I’m interpreting this to mean I have to share it now. First, a smidgeon of background.
A long-time, close friend had heard the word “manurial” and thought it was kind of funny. Frankly, I have no recollection of the context in which it came up; perhaps it was on a late night talk show the previous day. He wondered about its actual (not supposed) meaning and, alas, it was before the Internet. We did not have a dictionary immediately at hand. Now, this friend was one of those people who’s constantly coming up with ideas, but seldom following through with them. That night, as I lay in bed, I suddenly had an inspiration and felt compelled to pen a limerick. This is what I wrote:
Our Loren though entrepreneurial, Is, nonetheless, quite mercurial. His numerous Schemes Drive us mad ’til it seems We can’t help but think he’s manurial.
There! I’ve now recorded it for posterity. I can’t believe I’ve carried that one around in my head for all these years. I also wrote one about a guy I worked with whose last name was Luckett, but you can probably figure out how that went, though I believe I was able to avoid the use of “Nantucket”.
There were others. Maybe I’ll recall them as well some day. Please don’t hate me.
And so it begins. Another Summer vacation filled with excitement and challenge. I know my kids want to spend the entire seventy days watching television and swimming. They’ll want to do it at home and at their friends’ homes . . . and back at our home with their friends. They will resist anything that smells of homework or, heaven forbid, learning.
My job is to stand in their way and keep them from having a good time. We can be sure that’s how they see it. I see it as a challenge to figure out creative ways to get them to think without it appearing as though that’s what I’m doing. I have some ideas. My education has been mostly unconventional and I am a life-long learner. Hopefully, I can instill in them some of the excitement I get out of the chase for knowledge.
I picked up my youngest from school today. I got there a little early so I could find a parking space and walk in to greet her. The kids were all assembled on the lawn outside their multi-purpose room, sitting fairly patiently with their classmates and their teachers. I had the opportunity to thank my daughter’s teacher for all she’s done this year and, let me tell you, she was challenged on our behalf. She earned whatever they pay her, which I’m pretty sure isn’t enough.
About three minutes before Noon, the Principal said a couple of words and put on the single version of James Brown singing “I feel good!”. When it was over she said a few more words. Then she did something I wish I had been prepared for, because I would have loved to share what would have been a powerful, exciting 15 seconds of video. She looked at her watch and started a countdown from 10 seconds. The kids got into it – big time – and the area was filled with the full-throated chanting of around 350 – 400 kids. When they reached zero they erupted into cheering.
I haven’t experienced a casual and cavalier Summer, where I really wasn’t required to do anything but have fun, for a long time; somewhere around 50 years. I don’t really remember the feeling any longer. However, for about 10 seconds today, while those kids were marking a big step in their lives, I think I was able to capture the sheer joy of it all. It was awesome!
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.