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Saying goodbye... again

This isn't the first time I've said goodbye to my car.  I did it 30-some years ago and I lived.  I'll get through it again.  And I'll always have the memories.

Tearing down the gas stations

One of the gas stations near here is being torn down. I guess they've realized that you don't need a gas station every block and a half anymore.

Here's some video of my buddy Tony at the neighborhood garage sale.  If anybody's going to do all right during this crisis, it'll be Tony.   He's a good guy to have in the community--helps everybody and always has the good ideas people are looking for. 


Decisions, decisions

Well, I've mentioned it before.  Work is a mess.  The union is fighting with the company.  The company is fighting with the union.  Before, they were both playing nice.  That's over now, I guess, and I'm sitting here in the middle.  I'm a union rep, so I'm supposed to represent my guys.  I want to do what's best for all of them.

The problem is...I'm also the guy in the safest position right now.  I've got seniority.  My job will be there until the company closes its doors.   The company still has some time before that's going to happen.  So these guys I'm supposed to be representing are still depending on their jobs.

Here's where I have to make a decision.  I heard that next week they're going to have to lay off a couple of guys if things don't change.  The newest guys will be the ones to go.  They've got kids... wives... people are depending on them.  I've got less than a year before I can retire with full benefits.  I can retire today and get less--a good amount less--but we could probably make it if we tightened our belt even more.  If I stick around though... somebody else is going to lose their job.  Soon.   I've got to make the decision.  Soon.

My daughter's home

Well, I picked up my daughter in Milwaukee.  When she called me on the phone, I could barely understand what she was saying she was crying so hard.  She tried to be strong and never let on that she was struggling.  She didn't want to worry us.  Every time I talked to her she said, "I'm doing fine Dad."  I sent her money a few times even though she never asked.  I knew that she wouldn't ask for it.   She's alot like me.  I guess everything finally got to be too much for her and she just wanted to come home. 

She doesn't have a car and couldn't bring all of her things on the train, so I told her I'd pick her up.  Lucky thing I had a full tank of gas.  It takes almost exactly one half of my tank to get to her place.  That meant we were driving on fumes when I pulled into the driveway here.  She's worth it though.  I'll be able to get more gas.  I'm lucky that I know every gas station owner in the area.  I've been delivering to those places for years.  Hell, not that it matters.  I'd still give up my last drop of gas to get her home safe.

I will admit though - it sure was nice to just get in the car and drive.

I was surprised how many people were heading north.  I wonder if they know something I don't?  Or maybe they're just hoping they do. 
Our neighborhood get-togethers have proved to be pretty darn successful.  That first one was a BBQ and I think it was a good new beginning for this community.  We get together now at least once every week or two--even if it's just to talk about what's going on. 

Yesterday, we had a neighborhood garage sale.  We didn't plan it thinking that any of us were going to get rich selling old paintings from the attic.  We thought it would be a good social event where some of us could barter or sell some of the stuff we didn't need anymore.   The local men's club set up a makeshift hot dog and hamburger stand on the street (don't ask me how they found all that meat).  The kids played in the sandbox.  Everybody got to relax a bit.  It almost felt... normal.

One guy even brought out his accordion so people would have something to dance to.  He had alot to say about the gas prices and batteries too.

I was pretty surprised when people from the neighboring communities started rolling in on their bikes.  I guess word spread pretty far and fast.  Some of them even brought some of their own stuff to barter with.  Some of them brought their (sometimes strange) opinions too.

The night ended with a call from my daughter--the one up in Wisconsin.  I guess things have been worse than she's let on.  She's gotten herself in a little too deep thinking she could make it up there by herself until she graduated.  If I would've known I would have helped her more, but she's like me, I guess.  Doesn't want to ask for help when she doesn't think she needs it.  I'm leaving now to go get her.  I'll finish uploading the video jootbooner and I got at the garage sale when I get back.

Shell's misplaced energy

Is this sort of thing we should be focusing our energy on?  Rather than using the top minds in the world to find more ways to get oil, shouldn't we use them to find other energy sources?  I appreciate the fact that they're trying to find ways to get their oil without destroying the local environment, but does it really matter if that oil is burned and harms the environment as a whole?


Damage from the storm

New fence panels: $300
New food to replace what spoiled: $200
New siding to cover hole in the side of the house: who knows?

From not so bad to worse

I'm sorry for the silence. The power has been out for days now. It took me a whole day just to figure out how to post here using my phone. All the food in the fridge has gone bad. We have no hot water. Thank god the weather has been decent since we have no heat.

All it took was a little rain and wind for all hell to break loose here. People around here have been on edge for weeks. Months. We've been holding it together though. No riots in the streets. No gangs of anti-Hummer terrorists. We have food shortages and a struggling economy just like everyone else, but I thought this community had somehow managed to hold it together. We've been on edge, but we've remained pretty calm considering. Maybe I'm getting naive in my old age? Maybe I should have seen it coming? Everybody has their breaking point, right?

Mother's Day Without Oil

While my mother is no longer with us, I did celebrate with my wife and daughters.  They each made my wife a lovely gift. 
Jennifer brought along a big bouquet of flowers she picked herself.  Leslie drew a picture of my wife and I.  Rachel baked a beautiful cake with flowers and "Mom" on top. 

By the way, yeebee29 found a nice oil-free gift for her mom on Mother's Day and check out Bodi's photos and poem.  What did you do for you mother?  Did you accept the mission?