When Even Happy Birthday is Too Much Effort

Years ago I worked for a guy who’s birthday was exactly 1 week before mine. Even a third grader can figure out that 1 week equals 7 days and if your birthday falls on the 4th of the month, then mine falls on the 11th of the month.

The whole 5 years that I worked there we all made a big deal about recognizing my boss on his birthday – we hung streamers and balloons in his office, bought a bakery cake and put the right number of candles on it, and gathered in his office on his birthday to sing happy birthday to him and share the cake.

Then, 1 week later, the same celebration was for me. My employees decorated my office, they each threw in a couple of bucks and bought me a big sheet cake – but they had to guess at the number of candles, because I would not ever reveal my actual age – and we knocked off a half hour early for a little party – to which my boss was invited and attended.

After I left that hell hole for a much better position with a career path and big bump in salary, my old boss copped quite an attitude toward me. He acted like I was a traitor for leaving the company, even though I did everything I could to find a way to stay, I picked my successor and trained him thoroughly, and I made myself available by phone for questions for over a month.

Ever since I left, I have sent a birthday card or Facebook greeting to my old boss, wishing him well. But he has never reciprocated nor even thanked me directly for what I did for him. So, after all these years, I quit. I am not going to continue to try to keep a friendship alive that he cares about so little that he cannot even wish me a happy birthday.

I am sure he thinks in his own mind that he deserves all the attention and hoopla and that his lack of reciprocation is OK because he is an executive at the company. Well, it is not OK.

It only takes 10 seconds to post happy birthday on someone’s Facebook wall and Facebook tells you that it is their birthday and give you a link to their wall. If that is too much effort for him, then it is too much effort for me, as well.

No more Happy Birthdays for you, Michael Peacock. You sucked as a friend all these years and I’m done with being the only one who makes an effort to keep the friendship alive. You don’t deserve me.

A Safe Place for Your Stuff

Back in “The Day” when you had stuff but no immediate need for it, you stored it. Finding a safe place for your stuff was pretty limited. The most likely storage area was an attic in your home, or perhaps the basement. The attic would get extremely hot and had the risk of rodents, bats and spiders/bugs. Basements were cool and damp, with the threat of flooding, mildew and different types of bugs, such as silverfish, crickets and roaches.

If you did not have an attic or a basement, you might use the garage and just forego parking your car in the garage. Sometimes people would rent out their garage for a little extra pocket money to extended family, neighbors or military personnel being deployed.

In the 1980’s, a new business popped up to help with storage needs – the backyard metal shed. With people using their garage for storing their “stuff” there was a growing demand for someplace to put lawn and garden gear, sporting equipment and tools. Metal sheds with one large door were sold at hardware stores for a reasonable price. They needed little preparation, were easy for any handy DIY’er to erect in just a day, and did not need any special building permits or zoning requirements. Some shed became more elaborate, with multiple door styles, some with windows, and metal gave way to wood and vinyl.

About 20 years ago, household storage demands in the U.S. grew enough to warrant the birth of commercial businesses making garage style units available for monthly rental fees. The growing demand for self storage was created by people moving and by various lifestyle transitions, such as

  • marriage,
  • divorce,
  • retirement,
  • a death in the family,
  • college students
  • foreclosures/evictions

Now, one in 10 households in America rented a self storage unit. More than 700,000 self storage units nationwide are rented to military personnel. this is about 4% of all units, but domestic military bases with adjacent large residential areas can see the use of self storage units by military personnel can be from 20%-95% of all rented units. Self storage companies value military personnel as customers and usually offer them special incentives and discounts, such as: “one-dollar move-ins” or “first month free,” 10%-30% discounts off monthly rental rates, months of free rent, gift certificates, use of a moving truck at no charge, and no rent increases while they are deployed overseas.

Tie Dye Brightens Any Day

There is just something special about putting on a tie dye shirt. It changes your whole mood and makes everything just a little more. . . groovy. Sometimes it is good to get out of the funk and change your clothes to brighten your mood. That is what tie dye does for me.

Last time I was up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I came across a little cinder block building painted bright yellow and noticed that they had some tie dye shirts hanging on a clothesline outside. I stopped to take a look and found out that the store is called Milky Wave Tie Dye, run by a sweet lady named Helen and her son, Laz.

They had huge selection of clothes for all shapes and sizes, in about a dozen recognizable patterns with different brilliant colors. i had a hard time making up my mind which ones to get, and ended up spending about $100 to get several shirts for myself and one for my sister.

Next time I am up that way I plan to stop by again and buy a few more tie dye shirts. When I wear them around town I always get noticed and hear a lot of compliments on the patterns and bright colors. And we can always use a little more groovy in our lives.


Found a New Dog Groomer in Donelson

While in the vet waiting room last week, I was chatting with another lady who had a beautiful Afghan hound. I have never seen a live Afghan before, but always thought they are really cool dogs. This dog was perfectly groomed and so elegant, I asked the lady if she did the dog’s grooming or used someone special. She laughed and said that there was no way she could groom this dog, but that she used Tidy Dog Pet Supply and Salon in Donelson. Well, that is right down the street from me! It’s just in the other direction from where I normally turn onto Lebanon Pike, so I rarely go down there to have noticed it.

She didn’t have the Tidy Dog phone number handy, but I found it easily enough online. They have a nice, basic web site with their phone number and salon hours on it. I called the number and was able to get a dog grooming appointment the very next day. That was incredibly convenient and they did a really good job on Miss Dottie, my Jack Russell.

Miss Dottie was supposed to be a purebred Jack Russell that I bought from a breeder in Lebanon, but the vet says that she is only maybe half Jack Russell. Her coloring is too much brown and her hair is too long, even for the type of Jack Russell that has a “rough coat.” I love Miss Dottie and don’t mind that she is not pure bred, although I think it was wrong for the breeder to misrepresent that.

When I picked up Miss Dottie she looked wonderful. The dog groomers at Tidy Dog did a great job with her bath and hair cut, and they had cleaned her teeth and ears and even cut her nails. Thank goodness they did not put any nail polish on her – I have seen that done on poodles and think it is ridiculous!

They charge less than $50 for a full spa day for Miss Dottie and it was worth every penny. I am so grateful for the lady at the vet’s office with the Afghan Hound for sharing this info with me!

Nice Lunch With Alexa

Just got back from Logan’s Steakhouse where I had a nice lunch with Alexa. I haven’t seen Alexa in about six months and was feeling really guilty about so much time has gone by since the last time we met for lunch. We used to go out every week, but since she took her new job she works clear across town and its not as convenient anymore.

Not that convenience is a big factor – its more about logistics. If she is an hour away from our office, and we only have an hour for lunch, how do we work out the drive time and where to meet? If we meet in the middle, that’s 30 minutes to the restaurant and 30 minutes back – that shoots the whole hour without having time to even eat. Add an hour for eating and we each have to take a two hour lunch.

So as an alternate, if one of us drives the whole way, that means one person has to drive an hour each way and then we still need time to eat. That becomes a three hour lunch for one of us. That’s what we’ve done the last two times. I took the 3 hour lunch last time and drove to her side of town. We had a great lunch at Macaroni Grill.

This time she bit the bullet and took the 3 hour lunch. That’s the main reason it has been so long since we met for lunch – she has been so busy that a three hour lunch just wouldn’t fit into her work days. She picked Logan’s Steakhouse and we had a great time. I sure hope it’s not that long again before we meet again. I’ll do the driving this next time.

Does Anyone Just Drop In?

The doorbell rang this morning and got the dogs all excited – we thought someone special might have decided to drop in for a visit. We hardly ever have anyone ring the bell here – my friends know they can come in and make themselves at home. My family members all have a key to my front door, and I am hard pressed to remember the last time anyone actually rang the doorbell.

Turns out it was just the UPS guy, dropping off my order from Amazon. That was really fast – I just ordered it online Saturday night and here it is Monday. That new Amazon distribution center must really make a big difference in delivery times for people out here. I had no idea I would get my order in two days – it used to take a week!

There was a lot of uproar when Amazon started poking around here looking for a big warehouse to base their distribution operation for this region. Amazon wanted the State to waive the requirement to collect sales taxes on orders processed here. The Government usually grants a lot of concessions for new businesses bringing jobs to the state, but a lot of people were angry about the idea of waiving the taxes.

They worked it out and to be honest, I don’t remember hearing how they ended up working it out. Maybe I can find something on a back issue of the local newspaper.

Tech Support for a Government Contractor

Looks like Walter‘s son, Alex, is going to get a tech support job with a Government contractor down in Huntsville, Alabama right after graduation this coming May. He was going to go back to California for the summer, but since his parents have put their house up for sale, he thought it would be better to just take the job and get started finding a place to live down in Bama.

The job involves being a network administrator and related technical support for the contractor’s computer systems and running a help desk. With Alex’s technical skills, he is a perfect match for the support side of it. But he gets a little impatient with people, so I’m not sure that the help desk part of it is a good idea. Walter mentioned how much they’ve argued over the years, but it is hard to be a dad of a teenager, and arguing seems to come naturally for teens. I venture a guess that Alex will be OK in the job and that working in a small town like Huntsville will be good for him.

Walter was telling me about a computer program that lets the IT guy or help desk guy actually hook up with the other computer that is having the problem. His son showed him how the IT guy can remote control that computer without having to be physically in the same room. This is perfect for large corporate campuses and any big company with a lot of offices spread out geographically.