Coffee Share 220902 :: The Work Begins

Shared on Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.

The dust is still settling with our 3 weeks of being on the road to relocate one adult child to an apartment near her medical school in Michigan and then to visit her older brother and our DIL so my wife could see their new-to-them in NW Montana. I figure that between the back and forth of these two trips but just over 7,000 miles on my car, but it felt longer on our human rear-ends. But it was progressing the lives of two of our three kiddos, so there was nowhere we’d prefer to be. Now I want to pack up and head to southern California to see our third and youngest – but the good folks at my company have an opinion about what I should be doing to earn the money they keep dropping into my checking account.

Oh well – they do have a point.

As I get older, I’ve noticed how I’m ever more tempted to procrastinate whatever I don’t want to do – hoping perhaps that it will somehow go away or become unneeded, or perhaps someone else will pick it up and do it. I’ve been pounding away at work stuff pretty regularly since I was in high school, so, let me think, that was in the early 1970s and now we’re clawing our way through the 2020s so that means I’ve been at this for 50+ years.

What I do for “work” has become part of what defines me. As I return to it, I’m beginning to think that I should get my act together and plan out my retirement. This would make a lot of expectations go away and theoretically give me more time to write, walk, explore or whatever I want and can afford.

Our peer blogger, Marsha of her ‘Always Write’ blog this week encourages us to match one of our creative projects to the theme of work and pair it with a quote. Okay, I should be able to find a quote that speaks to me, so I looked about and found one I do like.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”  ~~ Mark Twain

Well that both hurts and rates high on the “Amen” scale, so I’m going with it.

I do have one success to report on. We have redwood trees scattered about our property. They were planted by the developer who build the neighborhood, who was compelled by the city to do so. Two of our trees are very – very badly placed and, while beautiful to look at, and stand beneath during hot days, they are slowly destroying anything around them that looks like concrete – like our driveway which is all of 4 feet away from them.

So, I snapped a photo of the “work” I’m having done on our driveway. There were three ‘squares’ and parts of two curbs that had to be torn up and replaced.

wp-1662127015657.jpg The real painful part of this effort is how the price of this kind of work has sky rocketed thanks to the policies of our current national leadership (but enough said on that).

It took me months to even get a contractor to call me back about bidding the work. That was the second most annoying part of getting this done.

If you look closely, you can see one of the two trees responsible for this carnage. The second is right behind it and yes, I managed to accidentally line them up so one is covering the other. Then there are the lovely geometric craters which used to hold cracked concrete slabs. We’d put up with the cracks and holes until we risked damaging our cars by driving over one hasty hole and uplifted giant shard. As I type this, our nice new, uncracked slabs are drying.  They’re hard enough already that we can walk on them but cars – no yet so our parking area is still off limits to them.

In the mean time, I had one escalation at work this week and it kept me up until 1am in the morning after a full day of work so I was pretty useless the next day.

I recall being able to do this stuff for days with limited sleep. Man, I miss those days – I think.


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On the writing front, my routine is getting back to normal slowly as I’m still trying to catch up on thing left undone by being on the road all that time.

I produced a new 995 word story for Marsha’s Story Chat, but that won’t be published until this coming Tuesday.  I’ll send out an invitation when it goes live.


CR99 - Red Convertable

I also created a new 99-word story for the Carrot Ranch weekly challenge.  It was an odd prompt this week. The challenge was to write a story that included the simple phrase, ‘Red Convertible’. I knocked it around for a few days but was seeing nothing, until an idea popped to prepping-for-retirement mind and this 30-second read fell into my lap in just a few minutes. It should leave you smiling or smirking.

Click here to read: Into My Sunset


Tree Tag v2You may recall that I have an ongoing project of refreshing my older memoir stories and this week I cleaned up one more you should enjoy.  It’s a grammar school boy story and this time, we took to the trees, well, just one special tree, to combine a normal game of tag, but played out in the branches high above our school parking lot.


This was fun raised to the level of madness, I know, but now that we know everyone survived, it’s funny and dramatic and a tad scary because most small boy stories are a tad scary by definition. This story should take you almost 3 minutes to enjoy. It might feel dangerous but you’re actually fully safe from the position of a reader despite feeling like you’re up there clinging to the branches when you’re not climbing madly to avoid being tagged.


Click here to read: The Tree Tag Adventure


That’s it for me this week. I’ll be around as time allows to check out your coffee venue later today. Last week was a full bust, but I’m back home now and for the foreseeable future so will do much better at getting back to enjoy your posts.

Blessings all.

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31 thoughts on “Coffee Share 220902 :: The Work Begins

  1. I hear you about the procrastination. The older I get, the more protective I am of my time (probably because I have so much less of it left) and the less willing I am to spend that scarce resource doing things I don’t enjoy. And of course I don’t have as much energy as I used to, so I can do fewer things. I used to get so much done on weekends, but now I prioritize relaxing over chores.

    I don’t blame you for starting to think about retirement. I’ve known too many people who waited too long and didn’t get much of that sweet, unstructured time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I talk about (plan??) retirement at least once a week, haha. As for the concrete, I know about that price inflation. We poured a pad for the RV and a new shed to sit on this summer. That is all I will say about that.

    Thanks for the virtual coffee, Gary. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Gary, I so understand the working life that morphs into far too many years when our body is saying “done”….You have been on quite the road trip for all the reasons of family love which is understandable. Lots to take in with your “trees” troubles there. Someone, somewhere did not think ahead to the maturity level of trees when they can “look good”. May the procrastination ease but may the regeneration of doing what you like improve. Denyse #weekendcoffeeshare


    1. Hi Denyse,
      Exactly. I used to think it ‘interesting’ that I rarely stayed in one job for more than 3 years until one day I realized that I’d been with one for just over 8 years. Then I realized they were the first 8 years of our starting our family. In my case, I wanted stability for our kids and staying put in a good job did that.
      But then about those tree roots – this week, the barricades come down and we get to resume parking on our own driveway again with it’s brand new concrete. We can’t wait for our era of driveway craters to become distant history.


  4. I still don’t understand why my work can’t pay me to travel. Seems like a good use of resources to me…. lol. I do think about retirement a lot and have plans, but no specific date yet. I was supposed to retire at about the same time as a close coworker, but he left a month ago and I am here for at least a year, if not three.
    The hardest part of the journey usually is that first step, though the last few are often almost as hard (too much temptation to say “good enough”). I can be a hard core procrastinator, but there are so many things that I did start and am so glad I did that looking back I always wonder why, with such great rewards, it is so difficult to start.
    Hope your driveway is, well, drive-able soon. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah – being paid to travel. That would be a whole different thing. Before kids, I had a basic rule of business travel. I’d fly into wherever – do my thing but then take a day or two driving to somewhere else but within a reasonable driving distance so I could see more of the area, then fly home from a different airport that I might otherwise never see. That was pretty cool, while it lasted.


      1. I never did much business travel, but one time there was a big meeting in Denver in February… Yes, I took four days off afterwards and spent them skiing with my brother and some friends. And I do take advantage of the museums every time I have to be in DC, which, thankfully, isn’t often.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoyed reading Into My Sunset! I think my husband can relate! After two years, I am finally getting used to being retired and loving how full my life has become. The luxury of choosing how busy I want to be is glorious! Hope you get your driveway back soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi SS&B,
      I’m so glad you gave this little story a read and enjoyed it. I have to admit, I’m a bit gun-shy of taking this step so am torn. I’ve been that hard thinker for a long time now and wonder who or what I’ll be without that daily expectation. Thanks for your comment and engaging the story with me. Please – stop by any time.


  6. Prices for building are skyrocketing everywhere I’d say, whether it’s for materials or the actual work… here they have a big projects retrofitting old houses with insulation and more to make them sustainable and people are getting grants for it, but it’s extremely difficult to find available builders, and prices are really high… we’ll wait another winter and will try to do as much as possible ourselves. I hope all goes well with your driveway, and I hope you’ll have a good week ahead.


    1. Exactly Susanne.
      I’ve been so frustrated just making calls to request a bid and not even getting a call back. The few I do get tell me that they have no bandwidth for my job. Makes me want to pull out what hair I have left. This week the barricades come down and we resume parking on our repaired driveway and it’s new concrete. So I have some progress to lean on.


  7. I hope your concrete turns out to your liking.. We have some very old trees but luckily none have buckled the concrete, we just have to snake our drains annually from all the roots. Hope your daughter is liking Michigan, the fall colors are just around the corner. Lots of nice drives.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, you are so very busy, I totally understand that you could use some downtime to do what you please. Especially since you live in such a nice area with so much to enjoy everywhere, and fun interests such as writing and reading 🙂 I hope your new week is a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I miss tjose productive crazy days. I use to write reports essays and prep for a day of teaching well past the late show, juggle kids husband and household with a full time job on 4 to 5 hrs of sleep, no problem. No more. The sun hoes down and I’m with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Enjoyed your update Gary. I am very behind in my commenting. I read your short story and am saving the Tree Tag story to read later after I get home from work. Sometimes when people plant trees in neighborhoods I don’t think they take time to research things like, how high or wide it will grow, what it’s roots do, etc. They often look beautiful at first, but then eventually many just look overgrown and wild. I had wanted to plant a particular tree at one time but was told its roots tended to wrap around pipes, etc underground and could cause problems later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kirstin,
      You’re a working gal who like me, has to find time to read and write because our employer doesn’t pay us to do those things.
      Know that any time you make for reading my stories is valued by me and I’m honored that you spend any of your day looking at my stories. I’ll try to make them worth your time.
      Oh, but look at the clock. We both need to get moving. . .
      TTY soon hopefully


  11. I’m glad you saved your trees. I’m a dedicated “tree hugger”, especially of Redwoods. When I moved to Greensboro, NC, before knowing its history, I believed it was named for all the amazing green trees in the area (I first saw the place from the air when flying out during a 1977 drought in CA and was astonished at how GREEN everything was in June). Now I’m distressed at all the trees they cut and push over to develop housing, commercial, and mega sites for business. It’s devastating. (BTW – the city is named after Gen. Greene who led troops during the War for Independence. A major battle was fought here that impacted the outcome of the war.) I hope your driveway lays flat for years to come. We had the same issue with our brick walkway and solved it with a wooden ramp to our front porch deck which removed steps for entry into our house and bridged roots from the trees I planted in the yard for shade 32 years ago. We now live mostly in a forest and I’m a happy person.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hate the months of June through October. The saving grace had been being able to spend weeks in Petaluma at my cousin’s during the summer until the virus struck and CA banned me. Her dear husband told me, “Once a fog baby, always a fog baby,” and he was so right. I miss CA so much and despise what has happened to my beautiful state, especially the Northern areas of the Bay and Redwoods. Not a discussion to have here.

        I do appreciate the little area God has graced us with and know He had a plan for me when He guided me here in 1978. But I desperately miss the SF area in my deepest soul and need to return to nourish it, to breathe the salt air and eucalyptus, and the tarweed, see and hear the ocean, eat sourdough french bread, hear the fog horn, see the Golden Gate, drive the hills and see familiar architecture, it’s all so deep inside my being, it’s home.

        Treasure it.


      2. Hi Zuzu,
        I too treasure the time I had growing up here, but it is too expensive now and too hard to watch as what we have here is destroyed.
        We can no longer trust our schools or our elections and often our courts.
        Our leaders prefer to introduce chaos to our culture rather than safety and lives are being lost or wasted to their social experiments.
        Nope – my vote no longer has any meaning here and we want out while we still can.
        It’s so sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is sad, even watching it from a distance. NC isn’t the place to come, at least while Newsome’s little brother is the governor. I know everything that will happen here right after Newsome makes edicts for CA. Hard decisions are being made by many. I’ll keep following to see where you land.


      4. Wow – I did not realize that NC had picked up Newsome’s brother. I think they both then are Pelosi’s nephews. Her stink just will not wash away it seems. . .
        Too bad for NC. I loved my time there thanks to the people I worked, did business or went to church with.
        Wonderful people and when offered a job, almost took it and moved my family there in 2006.


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