Bits

I realised today that the loft boards I bought for my old flat’s attic have been left inadvertently for the new tenant. I’m not bothered.  The thirty odd pounds I spent to floor a small part of my attic was money well spent in my opinion. The investment cost of the boards more than paid for itself, just in letting me store my possessions that little bit closer to where I was living. Hopefully the new tenant can make good use of them.
I’ve moved around a lot in my life. I have always rented my abode, except for one short time period where my second wife and I bought our first home. We were very proud of that house, that although it was small, was ours.  As our daughter grew, she was a baby when we bought the house, it suddenly became even smaller. That combined with a school catchment glitch necessitated selling our home and re-entering the “rental chain.”
When we left that house all our possessions came with us. Probably the only time in my rental life that I haven’t left some of my “bits” behind. Looking back at my life of renting, I realise that I’ve left literally thousands of pounds worth of bits behind. Whether it’s been odd tools that I didn’t need any longer or just loft boards, I always felt fine with leaving them for future tenants to use or discard as they wished.  Many places I rented had little things left behind by previous tenants. Some of the abandoned things were quite macabre.
My first wife and I were desperate for a bigger place in Southern California. The manager of the apartment complex next to us came knocking on our door late one night. He knew we were looking for a bigger place. He told us a vacancy had just come up. When I enquired about the timing -the middle of the night- he explained that the previous tenant had committed suicide. After the police had finished their investigations and the next-of-kin had collected his belongings, the place was ours if we wanted it. We moved in soon after and I found a brand new razor in the bathroom. I called his family and they said do what ever I wanted to with it.  I kept it and used it for years, money was incredibly tight in those days. My “dead man’s razor” my first wife called it.
I know it probably seems like I’ve wandered from the subject a bit. Worry not, I am right on track. You’ll see.
The bits we leave behind us, whether on purpose or inadvertently, are parts of us. I don’t just mean the odd hammer or bits of lumber we voluntarily leave behind. I talking about the bits of us left behind that leave an impression.  Somewhat like the over-used “carbon footprint” adverts, we leave footprints when we leave a place. It’s much nicer to leave a footprint that says, “You know he was a really nice chap.” or “I didn’t realise  how helpful that fella was.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for folks to remember me well after I’ve gone or even to remember me at all. But given a choice, I would prefer that the bits I leave behind are good ones. Bits that leave a good taste in the recipients mouth, versus a bad one.

Paying Up

Wipe our Debt
Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

I’m supposed to be paying bills at this particular moment. But as is obvious by this post, I’m not. I will do, I promise. I still have a few days left before they are due. So there’s no real rush.

Instead I am taking a break from the hustle and bustle of settling in. I’ve found homes for just about everything that was laying around on the floor. I’ve separated my post from the landlords post. I’ve pre-cooked tea and washed up the dishes. I’ve done a load of laundry and set it up to dry.  I’ve even made a list (in my head and God know how long that will stay there) of things I need to pick up from the store down the road. I even took Meg (my daughter) the other side of town to meet her mother.  No wonder I need a break, I’ve been busy!

But despite my busy day, the bills I’ve got to pay have never left my thoughts.  I am always afraid I will miss a payment and get a bad credit  rating. I know this comes from my up-bringing. My Dad used to always say, “You can have all the fun you want. But you have to remember that the important thing is paying up. You always have to pay the piper.”

The things my Dad told me are just as true today as they were when I was a youngster.  In this day and age of easy credit and banks gone mad, I think a lot of folks don’t believe that. But it is true, we all have to pay up.

Of course I’m not just talking about money here, I’m talking about life and our actions in it. Call it Karma, or just call it “owing the house,” it all means the same thing.  We build up a debt by our actions and reactions to people, things and events. Stop and think about it. Have you ever refused to give up your seat on the bus for some poor old soul who needed it more? Stolen a parking place from another driver who was clearly waiting for it? I could go on and on about the seemingly trivial things that we do to one another  that helps build up that debt.

Now let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not talking about religion. I’m talking about evening the scales, balancing how we deal with one another. Because believe it not, ugly actions build up a debt just as much as charging on your credit card. And one way or another we all have to go through the process of paying up that debt. Refusing to do so will result in bankrupting whatever it is inside of us that makes us human.

I  think that if we were afraid of getting a bad rating in life instead of just from the credit companies, everyone would get along a lot better. Remember the piper and what he did when the villagers refused to pay up. I’m going to try to keep paying up my “debts” because I don’t want the “piper” mad at me!

And you shouldn’t want that either.

I got the little van??

Okay so I tried to rent a big van, but, they didn’t have any. I was a little annoyed. I figured that the big van would allow me to move everything from storage in one go. Little van equals many trips.

Bummer.

Then I go to the storage place and they don’t have a hand truck (trolley) for me to borrow….yet. So the big van wouldn’t have been a better choice at all. One trip equals no hand truck. No hand truck means no moving the washing machine. Since the washing machine is the heaviest thing in storage this would have been bad.

Now the important part of the above paragraph was the word yet. It turns out that someone else borrowed the hand truck and will have it back in a couple of hours.  Since I have the little van and have to make several trips, this has worked out perfectly. So my minor annoyance at the lack of a big van to hire was just that, minor.

It never ceases to amaze me how often I will get annoyed by little set-backs and obstacles that cause me to change my “perfect” game plan. When in reality most of these “annoyances” usually make my game plan better. I wonder if I will ever get that point of personal clarity where I will realise that my plans are only perfect if I remember to be flexible enough to “go with the flow”

I know I’m not alone is this reaction to set-backs and obstacles. Most people react the same way. My mother has always said that things happen for a reason. I think that to a huge degree this is true.

Example:

I had an audition for a Japanese training film in 1999. It was going to pay a brilliant wage, good residuals and 1st class accommodation for the duration of the shoot. They were going to be filming in the first week of October that year. What happened? The train I needed to take in order to make the audition in time broke down. I was devastated (it looked like I was a shoe-in for the part), my agent/manager was apoplectic. Fast forward to 14 September 1999 when I was in hospital for major lower back surgery. End result? There was no way at all that I would have been recovered enough to have taken the job. Yet when that train broke down, I was damn near suicidal.

We all need to step back and re-evaluate when we get annoyed about life’s setbacks and obstacles. I’m sure if we think about it long enough we’ll realise it works out more than all right in the end. Just think of the anger you won’t be wasting. Save it for something important, like when you’re doing your taxes.

 

Hidden Treasure

200 px
200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While putting stuff in the attic of our new house I came across a hidden treasure.

Lying on the attic floor, face down, was a cardboard cut-out of Buzz Lightyear! I mean, seriously, how cool is that?

Okay, maybe I’m a little old to get so excited about what is obviously an old video store sales promotion sign. But I have to admit to loving Buzz, Woody and the gang from the Toy Story Trilogy. When I showed Meg the “free-standing” Buzz she was, quite possibly, just slightly more excited than I was.

Buzz is now down in the house with us, taking pride of place in the living room. He is smiling at me right now. Peering past the edge of the dresser where he is temporarily propped up till I can get him standing independently again.

We had belated birthday cake this evening with Buzz in attendance as guest of honour. I was thinking while Meg cut the cake, how odd that Buzz was in our attic. Was it serendipity that two of biggest fans of the Toy Story franchise would find this hidden treasure? Or was it just a lucky fluke? I don’t really know or care for that matter. It is just one of those nice things that can happen every now and then.

Despite being in a huge rush to get things sorted in our new home, I still couldn’t resist looking around the new “empty” attic. If I hadn’t looked twice at the floor coloured shape, I wouldn’t have found Buzz at all.

How often, I wonder, as we rush through our daily lives do we miss hidden treasures? I’ll bet that if we all just took a second to look around, both literally and figuratively, we’d find a lot of hidden treasure. Try it and  see. You just might get lucky and find something really great.

Sheriff Woody
Sheriff Woody (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who knows, you just might find a Buzz or even better a Woody.

Happy Birthday Meg!

On this day 22 years ago, my daughter was brought into this world in a hospital full of foreign extraction. When I looked down at her, I burst into tears and said, “She’s a girl and she’s beautiful.” The nurse who was helping to deliver her looked at me and said, “Wat seg U?”

Meg started talking early and she hasn’t stopped! Unfortunately she gets this from my side of the family. The American side of her family all love to talk and if we are excited or passionate about a subject, well, Katie bar the door!

I’m celebrating this day with a little reflection of her personality traits that make loving her so easy and keeps me cheering her on in her endeavours. She’s super:  imaginative, creative, passionate, funny, pretty and most of all she’s my daughter and my best friend.

She’s my movie buddy – no one else in the world shares my love of cinema like she does. She’s my gaming buddy – although we squabble like children when we game together (usually with her telling me off). She’s my cheerleader, constantly cheering my little pursuits. She also tells me off when I need it – usually when I have my grump ass on.

Meg is slowly carving her path in the world and despite a few set-backs she is still marching resolutely forward in her pursuit of a career. Even though I know that we will keep in constant touch when she leaves home and starts her life path, I will miss her. She has been a constant factor in my life for 22 years and her presence has kept me young at heart.

So this is my Happy Birthday Ode to my daughter. I hope this day is indeed special and that despite having to spend it with grumpy old me, that she continues to be herself.

Oh and one last birthday wish. I hope she doesn’t develop any of my bad habits!

Happy Birthday Meg!!!