Scenes From My Work-A-Day Life: 2/12-25/21

Finishing up building #17 for the new tenant and a couple of work orders.

Contractors don’t want to take out their own trash? How bouts we take the trash to you? We deliver.
Tenant calls, “We have fire!”
Upon inspection, it seems to be coming from a giant, rusty hole in a radiant heater that hangs above several tons of water-softening salt! Who knew salt softens metal, too. Only every northerner who’s ever driven a car. 😏

We installed a new radiant heater transition tube (bottom) which heat-treats itself on the first cycle – thus the glowing red.
All the electrical crap I had to drag out just to find and replace a single faulty plug that lowered the voltage on this circuit from the expected 120v (which runs everything you’d typically plug in) down to 78v (which won’t run a damn thing). Glad we found it before they were covered by desks!
The new tenant hired a contractor to assemble their office furniture. And that’s all they do; it’s like dying and going to Ikea hell! Some were made to toil in green pastures.
Better them than us!
My work-wife disassembles a failed central bath fan motor – while I take pictures. Hey, somebody has to document that he does something besides play on his phone and chat-up the tenants. 😉
Installing the new central bath fan motor and belt.
Testing the new motor.
A quick T.P. test confirms the motor is moving in the right direction. Trick-o-the-trade. 😉
Pulling out the floor scrubber/sweeper from the new tenant’s building and bringing it back to our shop.
“You need a moppin’, mon? I can do it standin’ on my head, ok?”
Meanwhile, some genius drove through the mailboxes in front of our office during a weekend snow storm. We thought maybe this would be the Post Office’s responsibility. Nope! We have to somehow fix them until they can be replaced.
First we had to remove the damaged aluminum bases. No chance we could straighten them with just a MAP gas torch & a hammer – but we tried it anyway and failed.
Then we cut a series of notches along the edge to allow for straightening the base, applied heat with an acetylene torch, beat it into submission with a sledge-hammer, and finally ground-off all the old welds. That’ll do, pig.
Our team leader welded the aluminum base back onto the mailbox and then we re-installed it. Two more boxes to go. Just one problem…
…we have two boxes – and three bases! One of our parcel mailboxes has gone missing! 😳
Maybe somebody told Louis DeJoy there were mail-in ballots inside. 😏

Acquitted

Acquitted

I can feel the bile rise from my gut;

a reflux from that traitorous vote

born of fear and without shame

for a cowardly, treasonous act.

A democratic republic, 

the envy of a hopeful world,

falls by their whim

while blood continues to flow

from that wretched wound 

born of pride and prejudice.

Random Book / Random Page; “Beyond The Rhine; A Screaming Eagle In Germany” by Donald R. Burgett

A random selection is made from my neglected bookshelf, eyes closed.

Today’s random selection was one of my father’s books that I inherited, written by an acquaintance of his, Don Burgett, who was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne.

My dad was also a veteran of World War II but he never saw any action. He was on an ocean transport on his way to invade Japan when they dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the war. He spent a little time in Japan then brought home some war souvenirs (I still have his Japanese “Nambu” pistol) until he was shipped home and discharged.

Burgett, on the other hand, saw all kinds of action in WWII and lived to tell the tales.

Don Burgett grew up on the west side of Detroit, just like my father, so that must have been their connection; they probably went to school together. I remember my dad being proud that he knew the author of “Curahee; A Screaming Eagle At Normandy”, Burgett’s first war memoir which actually earned him a blurb of praise from Dwight D. Eisnehower.

My dad had a signed copy of “Curahee!” somewhere around the house in the old days but I don’t know what happened to it, though it was once of his prized possessions.

Funny thing, and i’ve noticed this with all VFWs, even though my dad never saw any action, WWII was still the defining event in his life. I knew he felt some survivor’s guilt about that, “…when so many better men never made it home” he once lamented.


Today’s random page from Donald R. Burgett’s “Beyond The Rhine”

Today’s selection from “Beyond The Rhine; A Screaming Eagle In Germany”, describes a scene after Don Burgett and his company learn of the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from a radio left behind by German civilians who fled the American invasion.

‘I was stunned; we were all stunned. I looked about in disbelief. This wasn’t possible, he was the only president I had ever known.’

page 82, Beyond The Rhine; Himmelgeist

You may or may not know that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to FOUR presidential terms – which is why a twenty year-old Burgett felt like Roosevelt had been president forever – more than half his life by that point (In 1947, with the passage of the Twenty-Secondt Amendment, presidential terms would thereafter be limited to two four-year terms).

Anyway, on our random page, 83, Burgett begins by asking, “Who the hell was Harry Truman? None of us knew.” But Truman, who had been Vice President, was now their commander-in-chief as they bunkered down in the town of Himmelgeist in Düsseldorf, Germany, east of the Rhine River.

A nearby command post displays a map of the enemy lines with push-pins and moveable strings while his company looks on in interest and nearby German civilians look on in horror.

“Billets” are assigned to the company men, that is, civilian households commandeered by the military who’ve been given only minutes to collect their necessities and get out. After the company men rush to inhabit the best sleeping spots, Burgett describes their necessary mindset:

‘We felt no remorse for putting civilians our for a few days, more or less. We felt they were all Nazis; they had started the war; they had destroyed countries, cities, and families; we were far from home; and many of our comrades were dead or crippled because of them.’

page 83, paragraph 3, Beyond The Rhine; Himmelgeist

In the next paragraph, Burgett describes how a group of volunteers had to go back across the Rhine in a wooden boat to retrieve the bodies of their fallen comrades who they had to abandon in a battle days before. When they get there, they find that the German civilians had already buried the bodies together and marked the grave with a cross and the date of burial.

Today’s random book/page selection was a good reminder for me about the savagery of war and how it turns people’s worlds upside down, whether you be the conquerer, like Burgett and his company from the 101st who slogged through blood, rivers and mud and took whatever necessary for rest and comfort, or the conquered like the German civilians who were forced to accommodate them as they march their way through their country.

Given current circumstances in the United States, it reminds me that sometimes violence can be righteous and necessary when pitted against an enemy whose worldview has grown so distorted by carefully controlled propaganda they will concede by no other means – and also that, how you interpret this last sentence is entirely dependent on your worldview.

-Sudrakarma

Random Book / Random Page: “Life Studies; An Analytic Reader” by David Cavitch

As a new blogging idea, I thought it might be fun and informative to visit my terribly neglected bookshelf, then, with my eyes closed, randomly select a book, randomly select page, and then share the selection with you.

How i’ll choose the selections…

Today’s very first selection is from an old textbook called “Life Studies; An Analytic Reader” (circa 1995) which is basically filled with writing examples designed to prompt would-be writers to ‘…formulate more complex, analytic responses to readings.’

I have no idea where I got the book, likely a garage sale or thrift store, no-doubt intending on becoming a better writer…someday. I never did read it. Can ya tell? 😁

So without further ado, here is today’s random selection from a chapter called “Insights”:

So much for “my body my choice” 😉

Ok, first….ewwwwwwwa! 😁

Secondly, a quick Google search reveals that Russell Scott is a lawyer who wrote a book called, “The Body As Property”, which no doubt was the source of the above quote.

So what do you think? Should your body be “community property”? Before or after you die? 😁

Feel free to respond with levity – or however you like if you actually have a relatable story or some other random thought.

Isn’t this fun? 😁

Scenes From My Work-A-Day Life: Polar Vortex Edition

It’s a crisp 11°F here in Southeast Michigan today (the wind-chill has been censored for your protection) {{{{{{brrr}}}}}}, so I thought i’d huddle inside and share some recent work photos.

We’re nearing the end of the process of rehabbing a building that will soon be occupied. Sometimes that means gutting the whole building and starting over. Thankfully, this one just required a coat of paint and new carpeting.
…and some minor drywall repair as a consequence of ripping-out said carpeting.
A utility cart jammed with all I need to cut-in, prime, and repair drywall.
This is how I roll, baby. 😉
And this is how you roll 17,000 sq ft of old carpeting right out the door. Luckily, the warehouse was large enough to put the 30yrder inside beneath the 2nd floor double doors where the young bucks could pitch it out by hand.
And while the young bucks pulled out the carpeting, I painted the warehouse. My back just can’t take all that tuggin’ anymore – not if i’m to stay upright.
The removal of the dumpster made room for the delivery of the new carpet and tile. This time, though, the carpet comes in easily installed and replaceable carpet tiles instead of giant, awkward rolls – which will be gladly left to a third-party installer.
My co-worker takes a break inside while Bernie freezes his butt off outside – waiting for a contractor, no doubt. 😁
Maybe he was waiting for me to fix his rooftop furnace. Even though we have our hands full with the rehab, HVAC service work still needs to be done. Pictured (LL) is the 24’ ladder I use to climb onto the roof of bld #2, (LR) the rooftop furnaces, and (top) a helluva morning view of the frozen north pond.
And while I was out in the frozen tundra I noticed somebody had already backed-in to and damaged our recently-installed safety railing. Nice…
Back at the rehab building, some other details needed attending to – like the replacement of a leaky faucet.
The tools needed to accomplish the above.
I managed to solve the mystery of the missing fire-extinguishers; mostly they’re used to hold doors open…in an emergency. 🤨
But today, i’m literally “chilling” while I rest up for another work week…
…and taking in the sunshine where I can get it.

Until next time, stay warm and stay safe out there.

A Mused Poetry Challenge: Rant!

Been a while since I did one of these, but this month’s challenge invites us to rant! And who doesn’t like to get off on a good rant? The rules are/were as follows:

Life’s not been great for quite a few humans recently, myself included. If I were a mature, serene type, I’d likely suggest a mature, serene acceptance and a moving forward with healing. …I’m not really that type, though, so this month’s theme is:

  1. Snarky Rant. That’s right: a jaded, sarcastic, fed up, perhaps even nihilistic poem in an “I stick it to you, sucky events!” manner.
  2. The Length is your call. This is something you get to call the shots on, after all!
  3. Rhyming is also up to you.
  4. The Rating’s still PGish to keep general audiences happy, but there are always asterisks or near-fudges for situations like this.
  5. Despite the he** you may have endured, make us laugh. As we lay, prone, in the minefield of calamities, help us hold our bruised ribs in a knowing and painful release of the bad times we all relate to.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next MONTH (February 5) to submit a poem.

If you’d like to make your own contribution, fill out the form here.

So here’s my contribution, a verse inspired by a conservative friend’s audacity to post a meme that accused Democrats of “a conspiracy to seize power” – you know, like, less than a month after Republicans literally led a violent insurrection on the Capitol Building resulting in five dead? The unmitigated gall! So, it’s rant time.

Cognitive Assonance

The mental gymnastics required for those leaps

must be exhausting; The Hill was too steep.

Projecting your crimes unto every other

with a straight face; you’d sell-out your mother

before you’d begin to point at yourself;

that precious pride should be put on a shelf,

wrapped in the flag that you desecrated, 

with the constitution you once advocated.

No, you’re not the patriot you once pretended;

your line of credit’s been over-extended.

The amount of denial and projection required

to maintain positions in which you are mired,

are swirling with madness into the commode.

I’m really surprised

your head

doesn’t

explode. 

Morning Scribbles 2-3-21

Sorry for the lack of engaging content but I neither want nor need anything else in my life right now. The routine is all I have. Desire has given way to simple, practical matters of daily living.

I was telling a virtual friend this morning that I’ve learned in this last quarter of life that I don’t do well with unstructured time, so the addition of my daily workouts have helped fill a hole in my day that I don’t have to think about – I just do it.

I understand now why older folk find such comfort in their routines, because without it you have nothing to do but ponder the inevitable or fill that void with drama that nobody wants.

My boring daily routine: I get-up, feed the cat, put on the coffee, get the work clothes, take a shower, get dressed, partake in the inter-webs (aaaaand….I just dumped coffee all over my desk and my bills and my tax paperwork – what a pleasant diversion from my dull routine – as if life is saying, “You bored? Take that!”), go to work, work, leave work and call my mother on the drive home, play with the dog, work-out, eat dinner while watching a program, clear the dishes, go play guitar or write for an hour or so, come back upstairs, maybe read a little, get ready for bed, sleep…..rinse and repeat.

Monday through Friday that’s pretty much the routine without fail – with the exception of Thursday evenings when my brother comes over for Game Of Thrones night, after which I have to listen to his weekly sermon (at exaggerated, booming volumes the entire neighborhood can hear- he doesn’t seem to have an inside voice) on exactly how the world is going to shit. He’s retired, but he has nothing to do but care for our elderly mother and watch the damn news all day.

Oh yeah, I forgot one more boring little detail of my daily routine: every morning I make a salad for my lunch – and that’s what I have to do right now.

Good morning.

Morning Scribbles 1-31-21

My first impulse when I wake up too early on a weekend is to post what I’m feeling. My second impulse in the morning is to delete what I’ve posted because I don’t want the responsibility of explaining to family members or co-workers why I posted it. The feelings are fleeting and usually depressing. This morning it was:

‘Hate is waking up too early on the weekend and not being able to fall back to sleep. Unconsciousness is my favorite mood lately.

impulsive early-morning FB post

Within seconds, my sister “liked” the post and I immediately had second thoughts and deleted it. She might casually mention it on the phone to my mother, or worse, my brother the ex-therapist, who will then give me a call asking if I’m really feeling ok, no doubt after they’ve exaggerated the whole thing and worked themselves into a dramatic lather.

I get it. They worry. But I’m fine. It was just a moment and I had the poor taste and low impulse-control to share it.

So I can’t really be my self on Facebook anymore since my family has inhabited it. Yeah, I could take the time to filter all my comments, separate family and co-workers from the rest of the crowd, but I can’t find the energy to bother with it anymore.

I don’t have that same problem here on WP because I don’t really know any of you mf’ers – and I love you for that. I have the advantage of relative anonymity and I can go on and on and on with my blather and you’ll likely just ignore it because you have your own shit to deal with.

So, yeah, I’m susceptible to depressive episodes where I’d rather stay asleep than wonder what the f*ck i’m going to do next besides work myself into disability, whine about the end of my sex life, and grow older and even more crankier and depressed in a world that’s already too cranky and too depressing.

On the plus side, I’ve managed to keep my work-out routine going for a couple weeks and I’m heading in the right direction to make it a permanent habit. So there is some balance in my life, but I’d do well to remember that keeping that balance is entirely up to me.

Good Morning

Notify Me

I need a hit.

Oh where, oh where are my little, red, numbered pills?

They must be here somewhere, my little dopamine hits. Where are you?

Doesn’t anyone love me anymore?

Doesn’t anyone besides those insatiable advertisers want to give me some non-transactional attention?

Are there no more tiny hits of validation to get me through my mornings?

No “friends” who “like” me?

No little stars or hearts filled in with life-affirming blue or red pixels?

What shall I do in your absence?

Sit with the stillness and contemplate the cosmos and my mortal entropy?

Shall my mind be idle with this insufferable sadness?

Will I be forced to satiate myself with the trappings of the material world in your absence?

Can food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, work, or (gasp) even exercise ever hope to fill the gaping void left in your wake?

Will there be no more little moments of fleeting happiness to get me through?

I’ll check again in a couple minutes.


Inspired, in part, by the following article: http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/

The Bridge, The Root, & The Screen; Three Metaphors

I am the bridge,

not the destination.

I was born to traverse troubled waters and get you over,

from here to there

and then back again.

(Time and turbulence flow beneath me, accelerating toward the inevitable, moving faster than you can enjoy it. Only time-past takes its pause, frozen like a morphing glacier; memories still churning, changing, but so slowly you don’t notice)

I am the bridge,

supporting you without fail,

asking nothing but your presence; sturdy and stable,

tensions braced in every direction, spanning the divide.

I’ll get you across

from here to there

and back again.

You’ll visit from time to time

and sometimes pause, lean over my rails, and watch the time pass below

⁃ but you won’t stay,

because I am the bridge;

I am the means, not the ends,

to get you from here to there

and back again.

~

I am the root on the riverbank,

exposed by time’s erosion,

the vine to which you cling until you’ve found your footing,

the dirt and debris of your steep ascent falling away and out of sight.

I am the root; your leverage, your strength, holding fast to the earth and the tree of life, unmoved, while you reach for things above and beyond me.

~

And I am the screen,

the passive receiver of your projections;

your fears, desires, and longings drape over me like colored light.

I am the screen; unchanged, dull, hanging, white, lifeless without your fiery flicker, your dynamic adventures, your comforting stories of redemption and romance.