ramblings of a madman

That morning cup of coffee and the thoughts that go with it…

Just coming off a few days of not being at work with the Thanksgiving holiday and such. This year I didn’t overdo the whole family Thanksgiving meal. I cooked a turkey, tried a new stuffing recipe, used lots of heavy whipping cream in the mashed potatoes and had a store bought pumpkin pie…for 6 hours of “practicing chemistry” in exchange for an hour of food and laugh with my kids.

Well the time off is almost over, although I have contemplated the fact that I could make it permanent. In a couple of weeks I will eclipse the milestone associated with the fact that I will have been working for over 32 years at the same place.

I don’t know as of yet how to fill the days in a post retirement world. My friends who have retired, still work part time. Maybe I should just start cutting my work time altogether. But then why retire in the first place. My plan is not complete and so I stick with what I know.

But I digress. Next week it will be December, which in rapid succession will be a few long days at work to wrap up the year, and then it will be Christmas, some more time off, and then a new year.

Not finished with the Christmas shopping as of today, but I am sticking to the lists. Yes, like many, I am cutting back on the whole present thing. With the market declines, I have lost 10% of the value of my retirement account, but almost 50% declines in the college funds for my kids. And what money is spent, ends up costing you more to buy less. Well that is inflation. My daughter, who now drives and has to pay for gas, is beginning to understand the value of a dollar. That fact is bourne out be her world. It costs more to fill the tank, to get a meal at Sonic. Just wait till she has to get a job and become self sufficient. The world is becoming too expensive, especially the necessities in life. What will she do when she has to pay for the horses and their food, let alone her own. My son, on the other hand, doesn’t see it since is Roblux cost the same. And he always wants more.

Excuse me while I get that second cup of coffee…

So every week, I place a clean cup under the coffee maker. Each and every day, after I wake up and get ready for the day, making the morning cup is high on the list of things to start the day. It is a ritual each and every morning. I usually start the morning with two cups. The brand will vary, but with no cream and a scoop of sugar. Each and every day. Talk about inflation. The varying bags of store bought coffee often comes in a 12 oz pack. The costs have a single bag has gone up almost thirty percent since Biden was elected.

Addicted…absolutely. A vice…more like a crutch. An absolute. Never in withdrawal because I can get my fix, multiple times a day. I am in a very different mindset if I deviate from this ritual. On work days, I stop at the coffee kiosk as I walk from my parked car to the office. Each and every day. It is a must. My only vice? I need that magic elixir or else the whole day is just wrong. And my addiction has gotten worse. Sometimes, after a meal, especially on travel, I may endulge in desert with my meal. Desert sometimes…coffee always.

And on the days that I don’t work, I will splurge and visit the Starbucks. Meet friends over coffee. Stop at the Speedway and get a 24 oz brew when I am heading to the stables. Or get a cup at the bakery. And while our local grocery store has a beer and wine bar, I can also visit the in-store Starbucks and get a cup as I stroll tthrough the store shopping for what food I want for the week. One cannot stroll through the store with a mug of beer or glass of wine.

It was the start of the day, the coffee cabel. It is always the start of the day, even though my cowroker has departed and our morning coffee cabel is no more. And now it is the end of the day. Doctors have often suggested that it is why my sleep patterns are not normal. Four hours of sleep, and a tall cup of coffee in between. My body is impacted by that most basic drug. Caffine! How wrong can they be.

Having a coffee adiction makes shoping for gifts for me easier. You can always use one more coffee mug. A few mugs are displayed in the photo above. As for me, I am always interested in trying new roasts that the store, or other places can provide me.

I am really enjoying the Black Rifle Blackbeard’s Delight. The dark roast advertises that I will “find a smoky aroma and a robust flavor with hints of baker’s chocolate”. For me, I am exploring the unknown as I start the day.

The Kicking Horse Kick Ass dark roast is just that. It kicks ass. When I need that extra jolt to kick ass at the start of the day, well there it is. The Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend is my fall back blend of late for starting the day. It describes it self as an “incomparable world blend, rich, complex, and full-bodied”. I find it to be one of the few things of value to come out of Berkeley, California. And if it is not a bag of Starbucks, it will be a bag from Dunkin, or Seattle’s Best.

Now for the purists, they are all store bought ground coffee’s. I have a grinder, but I am lazy, especially in the early morning. I don’t have a fancy coffee brewer. I actually like the old-style perculator’s the best. I currently brew my morning in a Keurig. No french press, no special machine. I don’t use special water. My tap water tasts just great and makes a fine cup of coffee in my opinion. However, it must be hot. Not warm. HOT.

So I start the day with a good coffee. I end the day with a good bourbon. Simple, yes. Predictable, maybe. A bit excentric, always. Until next time.

the week in review

Today is Sunday September 6, 2020.

It has been almost two months since my last post. It is not like I have forgotten, went on vacation, got a new hobby, or fell in love. I wish I could say that it has been awhile because I have been busy, or work has kept me away, or even the dreaded COVID tied me up. It has been none of that. I am especially thankful that I have not had COVID.

I and my family are healthy. We have largely listened to the CDC guidelines. Avoid going out in public. School resumed a few weeks ago on-line. We wear masks and maintain at least 6 feet social distancing. Wash our hands often. That said, staying inside has certainly made me “stir crazy”. I can see where this has taken a toll on my mental health, and I can see the toll on the mental health of my kids. They haven’t been able to go to school, or spend much time with their friends. No more trips to the movies, or out for dinner in a restaurant, horse competitions, or even band practice. I feel the urge to hop in the car and just go somewhere, do something different, to be spontaneous.

I do get out very often and when I find myself in the office, it is only part time. Trips to the grocery store are limited. Haven’t dined out or gone to the beer pub, ice cream with the kids on a hot evening, or even shopping. Camping was off limits as the parks were closed for much of the summer. No swimming, either indoor or outdoor. No art galleries or the annual kite festival. No trips to see concerts, or a return to the beach, or even home to Pennsylvania.

I think the dog is sick of us being home as much as we have been.

I have limited myself to largely working around the house and the stables.

I have become more of a hermit. I venture our for pick up from a variety of restaurants and bring it home. Less phone calls and more text messages. I have even ventured out to Starbucks, which has been on my boycott list for awhile. I prefer Morning Glory Bakery and the other small local establishments that has equally good coffee, and donuts and burrito’s. I don’t drink the exotic fancy coffee. But several of my colleagues prefer to meet up at the Starbucks and sit outside early in the morning to talk about work and other stuff. Talking to other people face-to-face has been good for the soul.

Work has been slow and difficult. No morning coffee cabel’s of late. Work has not been a very productive this year and between turnover in people, the stress caused by bad management, COVID restrictions, and the general direction of things, I find myself wandering more and more about retirement. A number of colleagues of mine have retired over the past year. In a few months, I will eclipse 30 years. If I am looking for change, that would be one way to make a major change in my life.

Many coworkers tell me that I cannot retire because I still have two young children. I need to save for college. You are divorced and that probably sucked lots from your retirement funds. Financially, I am saving and continue to save, both for my retirement and for college for the kids. I don’t know if I have saved enough, or which way the economy will turn over the next few years. That said, I am not optimistic of a favorable economic picture over the next few years, regardless of who wins the election.

I look out and do not see a bright future for our country given how it is being torn up from the inside. Between the riots, the lawlessness, protests, crime, and the economic shambles caused by the pandemic, the future doesn’t look great. The principles that I live by appear to be gone with the times. Rugged individualism appears to have been replaced with the handout. Living within your means has been replaced with shirking your responsibilities. Saving for tomorrow and getting a good education are no longer part of the roadmap for advancing.

I am tired of the fake media. I am tired of being told about white privilege. I am tired of being told that I am stupid because my opinion differs from yours.

For years, we have torn down the infrastructure in this country to be self sufficient, the infrastructure to build things. Now I see we find ourselves tearing down those things that form the building blocks of this country: education, striving to better ones self through hard work, religion, law and order. It is sad that with this destruction comes the inability to accept responsibility for our actions, or our inaction’s. We spend more time tearing down each other as opposed to working together for the common good. When did we become so hateful of our fellow citizens?

So much of it is because we are looking for the easy way out. I see it at work, I see it all around.

Yes today is Sunday September 6. It has been about two months since my last post. I see as I scroll through this post that I continue to ramble. In July 2019, I referred to is as frustration and a funk. I know where I have been but I am not sure where I am going. Maybe it is my loneliness eating at me, I do not know.

Tomorrow is Monday, and it is Labor Day. I will return to the weekday ritual. Jewel and I will get a walk in. I will make coffee, read and spend some time working around the house. Normally Monday is a work day, but I find myself in the odd situation where there is a holiday and I do not have the kids.

Until next time. Hopefully, today’s ramblings find you healthy, wealth and wise.


Frustration and a funk

FRUSTRATION – the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something.

FUNK – a state of depression. The dumps. The doldrums.

It has been about ten days since my last post to The McKeeSpot. Of late, I have found myself in a funk, frustrated with work, frustrated with myself and where I am in my life. Over the years I often find myself looking internally over time. It’s always good to evaluate life, identify opportunities to grow, to change. Decisions made, questioning and reflection.

This frustration and funk has led to a haze where I think of a subject for the blog, start to jot down a few lines, but I simply could not complete the thought. It was not coherent, cohesive, or even interesting. This funk has lasted for awhile over the past few weeks, and to varying degrees. I still like my job, overall. Great people. Everyday is a new challenge. However of late, I find it more and more difficult to go to work everyday. Not great in starting my day as a cremudgeon. Overall my health is good, I am at good point in my life. Am I being accurate? Truthful?

It often overshadows my morning meetings and coffee cabel.

I see elements of this frustration and funk everyday at work. I am taking longer to complete work products, reviews, documents. Earlier this year I developed a presentation to introduce new and young staff on the project I manage. It was well received. However, putting that presentation into an article that can be published has advanced slowly over the past several months. Why is that? Too much work, too little time, too many demands on my time, striving for perfection, details that need to be reviewed, tested and implemented. I see lots of anger in the words that I have drafted for the paper. That anger is the closest that I have come to express my frustration with work.

These details exist across the program, across the multiple work products, across my coworkers. I sense that I am not alone in these issues at work. Management fails to see it, comment on it, assist in reducing it. There may be part of the problem.

Could it be that I have done a poor job evaluating my life, opportunities to grow, to change? Have I ignored the signs that could have led me in another direction? Is it that I never experienced a mid-life crisis? Are past decisions coming back to nag my subconscious? I am keeping it to myself, keeping it internalized isn’t a better situation.