What? Me Worry?

Source: Mad Magazine

Let’s talk serendipity, shall we?

I am amazed at the moment at how some obstacles are smoothed out simply by doing nothing. It’s the ultimate reward for procrastinators or those caught in what we in polite society refer to as “circumstances.” Naturally, it doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, I see it as a strike against all those authority figures from my childhood. Take that, you previous brow beaters.

It’s also not the smartest approach to problem-solving either, of course. We can look no further than governmental bodies for what happens when things are swept under the rug. Be it carcinogenic water pipes in Flint or inadequate care at VA hospitals, problems fester until the public at large eventually shouts a full-throated roar of protest.

Occasionally, though, some of us mere mortals privately strike a little gold in the avoidance department. Take your humble blogger, for instance. I’ve managed to pull off a couple of feats lately and done absolutely nothing in making them happen. I’d say it’s karma or even fate, but then I’d be going all crunchy granola on you with that higher vibrational claptrap. So we’ll just chalk it all up to really dumb luck and leave it at that.

What originally lured us to live in Florida, or as Gorgeous might put it on a challenging day, “the false pretenses under which I was brought here,” was based on an understanding I thought I had with my ex-wife about a condo property that we still jointly own. The agreement — such as it was — lasted for a few weeks until my ex decided that it wasn’t in her best interest. So she subsequently changed her mind. At the risk of coloring myself a chauvinist, I’ll just leave it that it was her prerogative to do that. Words were quickly exchanged and then we collectively moved on in search of our separate Kumbayas.

In spite of that initial disappointment, my own internal compass was resolute. I believed, and continue to believe, that moving to the Sunshine State was the best decision. I love palm trees, beaches, and a place where election results are shrouded in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not invisibility cloak. And, okay, Florida not having a personal income taxes may play a small role here too. I do have my greedy side.

“Taxes? Never!
Source: Openclipart.org

Without boring you on the details (a sly way of saying that I’m still intimidated by my ex’s attorney), I have been waiting forever to have my name removed from the above property, and also a second one. It’s been both a waiting game and also a test of wills between the mortgage company and the tendency of my ex to make quick, sweeping decisions about her life. Time was on my side if I remained patient.

Sure enough, in January she decided that she’d had enough of year-round humidity and hurricane watches. With the snap of a finger she made plans to move back to California. Both condo properties were immediately put on the market, and now within three months there are solid buyers for both. Closing is scheduled for next week and a date has been set aside for me to go in to separately to sign the documents. In the language of my tribe, I’m kvelling.

The role I played in bringing this about? Zilch, nada.

I have had my share of sleepless nights thinking about it all, but I kept my mouth shut after our earlier row for fear of engendering any bad feelings or purposeful delays out of spite.

My new mantra for surviving life issues is a simple rhetorical device: “what would Donald Trump do?” I then do the opposite. Nevertheless, it is a shock to actually see a successful resolution come about. Which is more than he can say lately.

Source: Memegenerator.net1

The second area in which I’ve found some good fortune is with my part-time job. In January along with my W-2 for taxes, my boss extended her sincere thanks to me for coming aboard last year. She said she was pleased about how it all had worked out, and she hoped I was enjoying the job. She also said she looked forward to working with me over the next year.

<GULP>

Immediately I felt a pang of guilt. Missing from her message was any mention of the fact that I would be leaving by late spring or early summer because of our move north to St. Augustine later this year. I only see her occasionally because she manages several libraries, and I am but one of many staff members in her employment. I didn’t necessarily expect her to remember, but this seemed like such a lousy time to remind her.

A “hey, right back at ya, and oh by the way, don’t forget I’m leaving you!” response seemed a little course. I instead wrote a thoughtful reply saying how much I appreciated her hiring me, and that I hope I can use her as a reference when I begin looking for another part-time job sometime after we move.

Later that evening I received a very short response: “I now have some accounts in Jacksonville for which I’ll later need someone to service. Just one or two days a week. Care to talk about this?

I did indeed. The total sum of time I had thought about finding a job for after we move came to zero. Getting our ducks in a row with finding a real estate agent, obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage, and arranging for our down payment to be safely sequestered seemed like more of a priority these past few months than anything else.

But after several phone conversations and emails with my boss, it appears I also now had a ready job waiting for me on that other end. I will be servicing law firms and helping to maintain their lawbook collections. It’s a little bit of the cart before the horse, but who am I to question it? All I know is that I absolutely wasn’t looking for it.

Last week I traveled up there to get oriented with the accounts. My boss will be going away for five weeks, and I will be covering while she is away. The timing couldn’t be better because April was always the time in which we were planning to start looking at new homes anyway. Gorgeous will amuse herself in downtown Jacksonville while I work each time, and then at day’s end we’ll drive to St. Augustine for an overnight before spending the following day with our real estate agent. With a little luck, we might even find a place before the boss returns from her trip.

Things never quite work out this easy for me, so I am waiting for the proverbial Other Shoe to drop. At the same time, though, I’m also trying not to think about the following things:

  1. A Mega Millions winning lotto ticket.
  2. Airline tickets and hotel accommodations to see Phil Collins in London this coming summer.
  3. News that my ex-wife has re-married (re: end of alimony).

Not necessarily in that order, of course. I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time…

 

¹ This wonderful meme graphic from Memegenerator was uploaded by a Russian user. After a bit of consideration (preceded by the firing up of my malware software), I’ve decided not to provide the link for your own computer or phone/tablet’s safety. As Mr. Stills once sang, “paranoia strikes deep…

A Part-Time Affair

Source: Clipartkid

Source: Clipartkid

As I signal my way into the left lane of U.S. 1, I immediately realize my mistake. Not five seconds after doing so, a pick-up truck also changes lanes and is now intimate and somewhat disrespectful of my car’s personal space. Tailgating is one thing, but this is more like bumper cars at the fair. When you can clearly make out the driver’s Circle-K coffee cup in his hand, perhaps things are just a little too cozy at 60 miles per hour

Ah, yes, the morning rush hour commute. I had forgotten its charms.

I am running late for work. How the hell did this happen?

It had always been a pre-retirement plan of mine to return to work in some kind of part-time capacity. After making a few rookie mistakes within a month or two of our settling in Florida (i.e. applying for so-called “jobs” on Craigslist or sites such as Monster¹), I quickly focused on a more comfortable pursuit: being a full-time blogger and establishing street cred as a self-appointed bon vivant. I was in no hurry to return to anything that resembled my former life.

My undoing was subscribing to an email list of actual library jobs in the state of Florida. Along with my morning cup of coffee, I would skim through the daily listing of vacancies while whispering faux indignancies of “never, “are you kidding me?,” “oh, please, or “when pigs fly, maybe.” The mere act of subscribing to this service provided me with a self-fulfilling prophecy to abstain from any formal working environment. Apparently no job in my former line of work could ever be good enough for me anymore.

Until that is when one that is perfect for me in every way ruined my beautifully constructed karma of late morning wake-ups and 9:30pm egg foo young runs. I had such a good thing going for myself too.

Without my knowledge at all, my computer clicked on a link, uploaded my resume, and applied for a job. It’s a scary scenario. One minute he and I are simpatico in spending our afternoons watching old Dean Martin roasts on YouTube (wasn’t Orson Welles freakishly scary when he used his immense girth to fake-laugh through those awful Foster Brooks jokes?), and the next he’s deciding that I need to get out more.

Everyone said, “Get a Mac, it’ll simplify you’re life!” I now live in fear of the damn thing.

Anyway, since August I have been working part-time at a county public law library. I answer reference questions from mostly pro-se litigants (people who represent themselves) and a smattering of local attorneys who use the library. I wouldn’t say I’m back in the saddle again, but it is pretty much like putting on an old fuzzy sweatshirt that’s sat in the bottom drawer for the last two years. It still fits, but it needs a good washing.

Because my knowledge of Florida law was sadly limited to media coverage of the “Stand Your Ground” statute only, I face a bit of a learning curve. But I quickly grasp the “Summary of Administration” rules to probate a will, how to change the terms of a court-ordered probation, and how to assist those who come in wanting to file for divorce or seek child custody. There are forms for each of these things, and I now (hopefully) know which of them to offer someone.

I spent my entire career focused on the sometimes high-minded and esoteric issues of federal law. This job, however, has me interacting with people who have concerns that are more immediate, pressing, and commonplace. It involves a slightly different skill set than the one I previously used. I noticed immediately that I’m rusty.

After three weeks of working alongside each of my new co-workers in informal orientation sessions, I am set loose to work my own solo shift. Poof! I’m an employed librarian again, skill set be damned.

My schedule is generally two days a week, approximately 8-10 hours total, with a mix of either morning or afternoon coverage. One Saturday a month I have to open and close the library from 9-1 pm. Back when I was working full-time I used to fantasize about having hours like these. So what happened the first morning I had to get up by 7:00am? I bitched and moaned, and Gorgeous gave me absolutely no sympathy. Put your big boy pants on, dude, and bring a carton of milk home when you return. She’s strict.

Speaking of pants, I still have no use for my former work wardrobe which continues to sit idle in my closet. I guess they remain for weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs only. This job allows me to come in wearing nice jeans, a casual button-down, and a pair of comfy sneakers. It reminds me of that silly “Casual Friday” phenomenon back in the nineties. I wish I had kept the missive management sent out giving us “permission” to dress down in an appropriate manner. In hindsight, it may have been my Buzzcocks t-shirt that inspired their memo. I certainly thought it was appropriate.

Source: Hottopic.com

Source: Hottopic.com

My start at this library coincides with an annual requirement that staff be retrained in CPR techniques. We all have to come in on a Saturday for a five and a half hour class on it, and are required to read a study book ahead of time. I skimmed the book only. Sadly, my interest in CPR and lifesaving is limited to watching Baywatch reruns and pretending to focus on the beaches and beauty of the California coastline. Somehow I made it through the class, though I clearly didn’t fool the instructor at all.

Next year Gorgeous and I will in all likelihood move to what I hope is our “forever home” in St. Augustine, which is about three hours to the north of where we live now. So I’ll lose this job. Perhaps I can latch onto something else similar up there. In the interim, it’s good to make a few extra shekels and build a tiny network of Florida library contacts. I even created yet another LinkedIn account after I unceremoniously ditched my previous one (“2014-2016: online philosopher, spirit mixer“).

So I do ask for your collective patience if you see me on the road on the morning or evening commute. I’m still a little out of practice with that whole rushing thing. And please: don’t be so intimate with my car.

Until next time…

¹ In hindsight I’m really, REALLY glad I never found a job from either of those sites. Only in some parallel universe can I ever imagine saying the words, “Yeah, I found my job off of Monster. Pretty cool, huh?” Who names a web site for jobs “Monster” anyway?