Did I ever tell you about Jim Foster?

Jim was one of my many bosses and my friend. He died this past Wednesday morning from cancer. I say cancer generally because by the time it was over, it felt like the cancer had ridden into most of his body. But it was technically the brain cancer that finally won a battle after Jim won in so many other battles with the beast in other parts of his body.

He never seemed to mind it. Because that was Jim. Jim wasn’t stoic about it or anything really. He was just full of life and always willing to find the laughter, no matter how bad the diagnosis or how shitty he felt. And he did feel shitty. He was originally diagnosed with kidney cancer and I believe it was already at stage 4. He just took that news and took the treatments and kept coming to work. Invited his grandkids over to shave his head and made a party out of it.

Because Jim loved a party. He was functioning alcoholic, claimed the fact as a matter of course and never showed the slightest shame over it. He was by all accounts a rollicking drunk. That lack of shame was a revelation to me. In my family alcoholism was shame personified. It was watching him that showed me that a huge part of the destructiveness of the disease in my family was the shame.

I don’t think anyone ever met Jim and didn’t immediately like him. He was the campfire the rest of us were sitting around, enjoying the glow of his energy and joy. He had a story for every occasion, many of them off color but not offensively so. All of them bubbling with laughter.

When he loved you, you knew it. He had a blazing insult battery that he aimed at those men he was fondest of. He worked with his best friend running the day to day operations of the company. You could not walk into the workspace without getting caught in insult crossfire. But he was equally protective of his best friend, sending emails asking why his BF was taking calls and answering group emails… ie doing the work the rest of us were responsible for. And he tempered his insults for the audience. He knew I was mental mess, and so he always adjusted for me. He made active efforts not to startle me – which is so easy to do and many people do it deliberately just for the comic effect. That small act of consideration is why I know the depth of his kindness. So few people think it’s worth noting except as a joke.

My greatest respect for a co-worker is if they do their job well. Jim was very good at his job. He was good at bringing in business, at building relationships with organizations that would bring us strong loyalty from them. He was fair about distributing the work he drummed up to the reservations team, because when he got us work, it was often large, and the time involved in entering reservations was not inconsiderable. He could easily have focused his attention on the 2 or 3 most experienced and reliable reservationist. But he spread it, but still judiciously handed his biggest and most complicated jobs to his most trusted reservationist. In my opinion, that is wise management. Don’t overwhelm your best with all your work, but pick out the “can’t go wrong” work for them.

Jim lived his life as the spark of energy in every interaction. He cared and it showed. No one met him and didn’t like him. Those kinds of people are so rare, it feels like we need to provide extra protection to them. But the universe decided it had gifted us long enough with his loving insults and his hilarious stories and just ripped him away. And didn’t even do it kindly. I hate that he isn’t here any more. I just hate it.

Seriously, Samsung?

I was just watching a slice of joy on tiktok. It was xchucklesx if you want to know. He dances to ANY music. I was introduced to him by his dance to a bit of Bach, or possibly Rachmaninoff, in any case it was not music that I thought could be danced to. But Chuckles did it so successfully I wanted more.

So, I was looking for a distraction from my besetting anxiety about…. Gestures Broadly… and was perusing Chuckles and his family dancing to Love Train. And it was indeed the bit of joy I needed. And then Samsung decided I didn’t have sufficient battery and just blacked out the screen in the middle of my joy. But I did apparently have sufficient battery for them to remind me that I should be angry with Samsung by putting their logo up.

Look. I get it. This is my fault. They warned me at 15% and 5%, but what I need in these cases is a warning 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds….

I got their last warning just as I was getting ready to leave the house. I wanted to be on time for hostess, and finding charging cables wasn’t on my mind. So when I got home I fired up the tiktok, as you do… And then just when I found my slice of joy – boom. No warning because the 5% was apparently my last chance.

If you have let your battery get below 5 percent – you are the sort of person who needs more and urgent warnings closer to the event. Bad design, Samsung. Bad Design.

So, Voting is here.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

I ordered a mail in ballot. Then didn’t mail it in, so now I have to show up. Some days, weeks, months, ok. Some years it’s just hard to survive much less be organized about mailing something.

Actually mailing things has been a life long issue with me. In my 20s my bills were perpetually a bit late merely because I couldn’t seem to stuff an envelope, and put the damn thing in the mail. My credit soared with advent of the internet banking.

Anyway, here in procrastination central, we have finally decided to look at the ballot and do a bit of research. In Ohio, they don’t tell you which party a candidate is with on the ballot. Is that true everywhere? I don’t know. But while I have definitely voted for Republicans locally in the past, I will no longer give any credence to that party. It’s like there’s a giant seeping tumor in the party and they are dancing around pretending it’s not there. So it’s important to know who is who because I’m not spreading the cancer.

Anyway, I went to Ballotpedia to check out the candidates. And some of them don’t even have pictures on Ballotpedia. How half assed do you have to be in order to run for office? I’m suspecting that a quarter ass might be sufficient. They are carrying a camera on their person 24 hours a day, but don’t have a public facing picture to put on Ballotpedia? I might assume Ballotpedia just doesn’t trouble themselves with minor local election candidates, except it’s not all of them. Some have pictures.

It’s just interesting to me. How hyped up we are about the National Election and how completely unimportantly we treat a local commissioner or Engineer. On my ballot there are several offices with only one person running. No clue at all if the people are competent or not. The Coroner and the Engineer are both undisputed. Do they even have the necessary education for the jobs? Do we even have minimum requirements? A quick google check does not provide any enlightenment on the subject. And since no one is challenging them, I guess it’s not going to be questioned if they don’t. They are both incumbents.

I lived in a town a few years ago where the actual city council members went into elections unchallenged. School board was the same.

It’s not an election if there isn’t a choice.

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Do they though?

This post is a form of procrastination

I’m being helped with my procrastination.

I need to log into work and actually do my job. Today is the first of the month, which means I should be sending out bills. Tomorrow, Monday, is the only day I’m officially at work next week. I’m taking vacation and having a lovely staycation. But it means that all the tasks in and around the 1st of the month must be done before I go. Which is why I planned to do some of it today.

But here we are. Today. And here I am writing about working instead of actually working.

My anxiety has been in top form for months. Pandemics and Elections have not been conducive to strong mental health. Being short on money is also not helping. I did not lose my job during this nightmare, but I have about 25 percent fewer hours. This has a corresponding effect on my income. For quite awhile now I have been slicing away at the stimulus money that I saved until it is now very low tide in the savings account. Indeed, I’m feeling like a fish caught in a tidal pool at low tide.

My county has a fund from the CARES bill that will help you pay rent. I’m well inside the income requirements, but it seems to be focused on people who are in arrears on their rent and utilities. I am not and mean not to be. Which is why I was considering applying for assistance until I can get my tax refund and replenish my savings. However, I don’t think I will get it as I am current on all bills except medical ones. Trying to avoid getting behind is not as urgent as being behind.

I need to live smaller. I used to make less and survived. But I lived a bit smaller. I need to find that small life again.

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters from a Stoic