Duh…he TOLD us!

Donald Trump thinks he is a mafia boss, a don. Like in the Godfather. Why would he think that? Well, there is the obvious – he works, acts, lives like a Mafia boss…crooked and everything. Who knows what crimes he has committed? The guy is a very stable, stupid Corleone wannabe.

But, to be fair, he grew up in a mafia-dominated industry (Construction)and a mafia infused community. He’knew’ gangsters who were, in his own words, some really nice people. You know, like the white supremacists in Charlotteville?

The mafia had a big influence in NYC. I know. I was there.

Long story made short: In the late 80’s I was invited to do a proforma for the Rouse Group, a large real estate developer in New York. That invitation included a trip to NYC, a lot of fancy restaurants and a presentation to the board. I could easily do the revenue side of the proforma and I THOUGHT I could do a reasonable approximation of the capital expenditure side but I was not so sure about the operating proforma…you know…local cost of living, taxes and such…

When I presented the revenue projections, they were suitably impressed and I scored ‘points’…but when I ‘guestimated’ the capital costs, they were more than skeptical and the operating proforma was immediately rejected.

“Mr. Cox. Your construction estimates seem low and your running costs ARE DEFINITELY low!”

“Well, I used Canadian figures which I understood to be on the high side. What did I miss?”

No answer.

And the meeting wrapped up quickly.

One of the guys walked out with me. “Dave, you did not include 20% for miscellaneous. The board doesn’t like that.”

“I was taught that the miscellaneous category was the space for fools who did NOT do their homework. I did my homework. I know the cost of janitorial services, pizza delivery and what people are tipped. I do not NEED a miscellaneous category.”

“Sorry. You don’t get it. Miscellaneous is what we call the ‘mafia tax’. Doing business in New York cost an extra 20%….mostly…but DEFINITELY in operating expenses. They ‘lean on ya’ doing construction but they lean a lot heavier once you are up and running. Call it the protection racket, corruption, whatever…doing business in New York has a miscellaneous expense and most savvy developers budget 20%. You did not.”

That was the 80’s. Trump was still learning the ‘game’ back then. He then played in that ‘game. And then….? Then he started to refer to himself as ‘the Donald’. At the time I was somewhat confused. Why would anyone nickname themselves ‘the Donald’? Seemed like a weird thing to do. I always wanted be nicknamed ‘the Flash’ or maybe “the Phantom” or even “Mad-dog”….but, despite writing ‘The Flash’ on my slippers in felt pen, nothing ever really stuck. People called me ‘Dave’.

I never wanted to be called ‘the Dave’.

But Trump went for ‘the Donald.’ And now I know why. ‘The Donald’ is his version of ‘the Don’. He thinks he is a mafia boss.

Why would he even THINK that way…?

Update

Sal and I are good.  A bit tired, tho.  It’s been a busy summer.  Really busy.  Things were added to the empire. Other things got repaired.  Maintenance and chores.  We got a lot done.  Tons of guests, of course.  Dinners.  Happy hours.  Social events.  Community stuff.  And, of course, a lot of quilting got quilted.  All good. 

But tiring.  The sad part is that the fatigue (for me) is more than just physical.  I am a bit tired mentally.  Creative juices are down.  Desire to travel extinct.  Motivation lacking.  ‘Dave is no fun!’  General optimism remains on the plus side but that’s due to our location and lifestyle (and living with Sal, the source of all sunshine) which is very uplifting and therapeutic.  But psychologically and emotionally, we (mostly me) are running on empty. 

The largest part of it is me.  I am racking up the years.  I caught up with my aging process this year and it was a shock to experience.  When I was 70, I did not feel much different than when I was 60, maybe felt even younger.  But, when I hit 71, I felt all of those years.  It was aging accelerated.  In one year I got old.  You know the feelings….more aches, less energy, more naps…….

….but it is not just the age thing.  Getting old is definitely part of the ‘feeling’ but it’s more than that.  It’s also a slight feeling of creeping/looming despair.  Like mould.  Please do not read that last statement as black-dogs depression or real, solid, bleak despair.  It’s not that.  It’s more like a hint of despair, with a helpless sense of a larger destiny looming, a lot of confusion and a growing lack of control or influence to change the course of what seems like inevitable and horrific events.  It feels a smidge like doom.  DOOM!

“Really, Dave?  You are THAT bummed out?” 

No!  As I said, “Please do not read that last statement as black-dog depression or real, solid, bleak despair.”   It may eventually BECOME big-doom but it still just feels a little like small doom.   Tiny doom.  A small apocalypse, maybe.  I am having a hard time seeing our way out of the what-seems-like global madness showing up in so many ways in so many places so much of the time.  And I have absolutely no faith in or respect for any of ‘our leaders’.  

Maybe Greta Thunberg……

….and I am disproportionately buoyed up by the electric car/bike/boat revolution.  So, add Elon Musk to that short list.

Anyway…that is why I have not been writing.  I try to write when I have something to say, but when you are confused and going primarily on ‘gut feelings’, you have little to say except, ‘Watch out for the doom!’

On a more prosaic note: we got all our wood in plus some.  The second bathroom is up and operating.  The wrongly installed doors were re-installed properly, the access bridges were rebuilt (in what turned out to be ‘just before’ they fell down!).  New composter.  Another renovated shed.  A couple of engines re-done.  Fabulous sea-food!  Great friends!  Whales.  Life OTG has been a bit intense this year but we feel we progressed and we enjoyed it……that is a good feeling.

And I am pretty sure there will be a next year.  Maybe NOT a next century but I am looking forward to each year as it comes.  It would be nice to see fewer Trumps, Fords, Trudeaus and the usual assortment of slime trying to ‘take over the world’ and/or line their pockets while threatening nuclear war and ignoring the climate but let’s not get mired in that right now.  I have a gut-feeling about all that……it will be a small apocalyptic ‘episode’…probably just showing up as a number of mass shootings at a theatre, shopping mall or MacDonalds near you……

…oh yeah…happy Thanksgiving :))

 

Unh…..hello…..?

Been awhile.  Kinda miss ya…. but, well, not much to say, really….not much news.

I am busy….busy as hell, actually, but not really working hard…..chopping wood, entertaining….making crude benches and tables….plumbing….pretty ordinary stuff….the stuff of living OTG to be sure but, on the other hand, OTG is not like it USED to be….nowadays, OTG is pretty cushy.  Let’s be honest: any doofus can do this.  I am living proof.

But, if my presence here is not sufficient to prove it can be done, get this: I bought an air conditioner AND a microwave!

I know, I know…“Dave!  That is not breaking news.  In fact, it might be FAKE NEWS!”

And, you’d be right.  Appliances newly acquired are not news.  Not in the ordinary sense, anyway.  But, but, but….on the heels of that non-news is the accompanying equally as-non-news that I have not run my gensets since May (yes, I start them all the time but that’s because the nature of carburetors is constipation and they need cleaning out or ‘using’ to keep them functional).  I have NOT used the gensets because the sun has kept us going and that includes the air-con, the microwave and all the other mod-cons we spoiled doofuses now employ while trying to pretend we are wild and crazy OTG’ers.  AND we have an electric freezer coming (the old propane gave up the ghost).

Bottom line: Sal’s going soft on me.

Still, there is some news.

We do NOT have a grocery store.  Not yet.  Maybe never.  But that’s OK because we now have an organized ‘tele-shop’ where the store is given a list of maybe 6 different OTG customers requirements.  They fill the list and deliver the ‘shop’ to the water taxi.  The water taxi delivers them to the community dock and we divvy it all up at that time.  Having $100.00 worth of food delivered to the dock costs me say, $115.00 (give or take a dollar).  To go to town and do it myself would cost me out-of-pocket easily $35.00 and the REAL math is that it would cost me $100.00 (gas, ferry, wear and tear, insurance and then add something for 4 hours at least of line-ups).

If I go to town at all, I stock up and the grocery shop would be at least $300-400 dollars (more if you count wine) so we can’t do a direct cost analysis but what I have done says the tele-shop is cheaper and way, way easier on me.  This way, I can ‘shop’ once every two weeks from the comfort of the living room and pay $15.00 twice ($30.00) and save all the aggravation.  Plus some produce and dairy remain fresher.

Bonus: Everything Wine flies in a few cases every once in awhile and the delivery is free.

And the doctor comes to the island once every two weeks.

Costco flies in prescriptions free.

The barge delivers lumber, gasoline and propane (NOT free but cheaper than me going to get it myself).

We now have a ‘home-care- person on the island who ‘lends a hand’ to the elderly and infirm.

Seriously…..this ain’t hard.

……that’s probably why I have no news.  I am living the life of Riley.

Woofer #1

Swiss Chris is 30-ish, strong, capable and full of energy.  And he is pleasant.  Likes to work.  Wants to ‘get things done!’

It’s a nightmare.  We can’t keep up!  In order to keep Chris adequately engaged, we have had to enlist our nearest friends to add some workload.  They, too, can easily outwork us but everyone needs a little help around wood gathering time so they were chuffed to get a ‘woofer’ loan.   They let Chris loose on their pile of ‘wood-needing-to-be-chopped’.  A few hours later…“So, what else you got needs doing ’round here?”  They then had to go to town for more building supplies (may as well re-insulate under the house since Chris is here!).  He had outworked their schedule!

Last night, as Sal and I crawled into bed after a Chris-paced work day hauling logs up the hill, Chris went back at it!  He bounced up after dinner and went out in a small boat to wrangle any errant, good logs that needed wrangling over to our home base for more chopping!  Tides are high at night and more logs are freely afloat.  So…off he goes….

We’ve had good woofers before but we have also had mediocre and a couple of poor ones so, since you never know what you are going to get, we don’t usually plan on getting that much done.  A winter’s load of wood in is a good job.  That was the plan this year!  OMG!  If I had the materials, I could have let Chris loose and, in a week, he would have a small (maybe large) cabin built!  As it is, we’ll get almost two winter’s worth of wood in and I will have to find other chores (not hard) to keep him busy.  This guy is the equivalent of three average woofers.   Or, to put that into more relatable terms, six of us.

Just thinking about it is making me sleepy……

The Woofing situation is almost always good.  Young people.  Healthy.  Usually from some foreign country.  They LOVE it out here and our greatest reward is that they do appreciate the beauty, they enjoy themselves, see our part of the world and maybe learn a bit of OTG’ing and a have a lot of fun and good food.  If we have a woofer for a week, it is usually enough.  This year, we’ll have Chris and then, a month later, Ming and her boyfriend (USA) for another week.  Plus another girl for a few days.  But I also suspect that Chris will be back.  Translation: we will have wood!  We may actually get some things done, too….

“S’up, Dave?”

Not a helluva lot.  Same ol’, same ol’.  Chores.  But, to be fair, we are getting slower at what we do so the chores seem like there are more of them.  Chris is quite an anomaly in the otherwise glacial chore schedule we usually plug away at around here.  We usually get ‘to work’ for a few hours and then ‘putz’ a bit more at something we have an interest in or is broken and needs fixing……our day is a four hour work-day, two hour-putz-day and then some goofing around til wine and dinner time.  It’s a nice pace.  I have even been known to nap now and again.  I intend to make that a habit, actually.  Everyone needs a hobby.

My real ‘hobby’, it seems, is maintenance.  I rearranged the gen-set-shed with shelves, made a bathroom, and rebuilt a few pumps and engines.  I now have to re-build the compost bin.  Wouldn’t you know..?  I built it so well, it is rotting and composting right before my very eyes!  I may just point at the wood pile and mutter, ‘build, Chris, and compost will happen’….

It has been a strange year-to-date, actually.  Hot weather early.  Rainy weather recently.  Lots of boat and kayak travel, fewer whales although we’ve seen some.  Community is active ‘getting things done’ but, of course, summer is full-on time for their own chores and such and so a busy community is really extra-busy since they have to get their own homestead in shape, too.  But we have done some community cleanup, organized a few projects and gatherings.  Wednesday-lunches-at-the-dock are hugely popular. The place has a good vibe to it.  Feels alive and thriving.  That’s good. 

Me?  I am a little torn these days.  Loose ends.  I kinda wanna write another book but books #2 and #3 did NOT do well.  That has to tell you something – tells me to stop writing.  I kinda NEVER want to EVER travel again but that’s a bit silly, too…so I may keep it to NEVER FLYING again.  Or NEVER going to an airport, anyway.  I’d fly if I could launch from home….jus’ sayin’.

I still get ‘fired up’ about politics as a rule but, strangely, Trump and Trudeau have kinda depleted my political energy reserves.  They are exhausting.  Like political succubi…..?  It’s like watching the Three Stooges – they were never funny, but they were kinda eye-catching until you realized it was the same ol’ nonsense every time.  Same for Trudeau/Trump.  Need a third stooge?  Ford, perhaps?

Basically, we are fine.  Getting older and noticing it.  Exploiting youth whenever we can.  Doing what needs doing…slowly….and wondering….

 

 

 

Apologies to Calgary

I have never liked Calgary.  And I may still not (in the long run).  But last week I saw a side to it that I have never seen before and it was beautiful.  Very appealing.

Aside: whenever I am insulting an urban environment, I tend to towards dissing Toronto first.  It’s just so awful that vitriol virtually gushes from my mouth.  Too easily.  I hate Toronto and, to be fair, most of Ontario.  It’s NOT the people (altho....), it’s the humidity, the extreme temps, the traffic/commute, the Ford family and, not least on my list of worst critiques, it is the dog that wags the tail of the rest of Canada.  And I hate that.

I tend to dislike things almost in direct proportion to the amount of power they wield.  I even get annoyed at being directed by BC Ferry workers…….you can imagine how hard it is for me to cope with an airport security idiot.  Or Toronto police.  And, because Bay Street has so much power and influence in this country, I tend to hate them, too.

Part of it, of course, is just GOMs.  Grouchiness.  Grouchy is now how people who love me describe me to others……amongst other things….and you can imagine what the others then say… 

There is no question I am now a bona fide nut-bar: wanna see Dave apoplectic?  Put him on a plane that goes to Toronto.  KABLOOOOOOIE!!!!  That is all it takes.  And, to be fair, Calgary has set me off more than once, too.  Calgary airport is tied with countless others as to the second worst airport I have ever experienced.

“Why Calgary?”  Because part of the Calgary airport (YYC) has been ‘ceded’ to the Americans and the Marines patrolling “US soil’ at YYC (and in CANADA) do not hesitate to tell you that they can take you and never give you back.

But, sorry….. that was a bit of a tangent.  This blog is supposed to be ‘nice’.

My daughter and her husband just moved into their newly built new home about 30 minutes or so outside of Calgary.  They are in the country, the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Rivers-run-through-it kinda country.  Moose have a walk-through preserve just outside their back yard.  A bear came and tossed their compost last night.  We saw deer everywhere.  It was bucolic.  And GET THIS! ….the bug count was very reasonable.  And the temperature, the air, the changing weather patterns…all good.  All VERY GOOD.

I have to ‘walk-back’ a few of the terrible things I have said about Calgary.  Apologies.

We traveled there to give them a house-warming gift-of-sorts.  She wanted a deck.  He hadn’t ever built such a thing….. and she wanted 700 square feet.  Up high, too.   So Sal and I were going there for five days to build them a 700 sf deck that resulted in an almost 10 foot-high extension of the main floor.  It’s pretty big.

I am 71.  Sal has a cracked rib.  Husband isn’t familiar with tools.  But daughter is a smart cookie and she had pretty much arranged everything and planned the logistics.  General Contracting 101.  She did good.  He did good. We did good.  And we got it 7/8 built. The decking still has to go on and so do the railings and even a set of stairs.  But the hardest part is done.

Sal’s rib?  Let me put it this way….. she worked like an illegal fruit-picker and kept just as quiet.  Without Sal we wouldn’t have gotten it done but, with everyone doing what they did, each was essential to getting it as far as we did….7/8.  Amateur team, Pro results.

Sal down!

Sal went up the ladder.  Fell.  Landed backwards onto a big tree trunk.  Hit hard.  It was only four feet but four feet can generate big forces and they did.  Whomp!  Smacked Sal upside the back and shoulder blade.  She was hit as if by a linebacker.  And then she just lay there.

I hate it when that happens.

I bent down to offer sympathy and a hand up but was greeted by someone severely shaken, eyes glazed and her breathing was irregular.  I was getting concerned.  Sal ALWAYS bounces right back up.  “Hmmmmm….do I attempt mouth-to-mouth?  Maybe do chest compressions?  Or maybe a simple, fast, hard slap to the face to get her back in the game’? 

And then her eyes rolled back in her head and she stopped breathing.

And here I was without back-up. What about dinner?

Actually, (to be serious for a minute – but only a minute) I was frozen.  Totally.  I couldn’t react.  I was stunned, shocked and immobilized.  I just stood there watching her turn pale and slump awkwardly (Sal is never pale.  Her cheeks are always like Rudolph’s nose, or brake lights or Christmas decorations).  It was a terror filled two or three seconds.  I said, “Sal?  Sal?  You okay?  Talk to me.”

She had fainted.  But by calling her name, she said that she ‘kinda moved toward the sound’ instead of continuing the downward spiral of the faint.  She came around.

She started breathing and so did my heart resume beating.  It was a good moment.

The impact had been hard and she had taken it all on the shoulder blade.  So, Sal was NOT bouncing back anytime soon.  In fact, getting her up only served to convince us both that we had better get her back down before she passed out again.  So, she sat for awhile and then lay down for a longer while.  All in all, Sal was down for over an hour.

That’s like Superman being down for an hour.  Tinkerbell being knocked out.  The Titanic sinking.  Those are all reality-altering and so was this.  It was weird.  There is the well-known dynamic of of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object but Sal is both of those.  This had been a black-hole event.  A singularity.

Of course, I was a great nurse and loving companion and even poured my own wine at the end of the day.  “Sal, why not take it easy tonight and just make us a simple meal.  I’m okay with that.”

Okay…..calm down…I was just kidding.  I made the dinner.  Hot water bottles.  Tylenol.  Lots of attention.  She’s coming back.  The truly weird thing is that, in fifty years I have only known Sal to have been ‘downed’ once or twice.  She is the proverbial Iron Woman.  I am NOT her match.  I am fairly resilient.  I heal well.  Plenty of practice.  I have broken many, many more times than Sal ever has.  But, even when fully intact, I am not her equal in energy output.  She makes the Energizer bunny look like the Energizer sloth.  And the E-sloth makes me look like a dead battery.

But this was different.  It was awful.  Scary.  Moving in a grief kind of way.  I had been brought to a frozen, weak-kneed place in a second.  And it lasted a smidge longer.  Sal was impact-shocked and I was somewhat traumatized seeing her like that.

To her credit, she has seen me hurt many more times and just ‘got on with it’.  No trauma.  No shock.  Just ‘does the right thing’.  I stood there like a doofus quietly thanking God that I had not attempted a chest compression or the slap.

 

 

 

I blame Trump

…because I am now so disinclined to write.  About anything.  It’s all his fault.  He ruined it for me.  It sounds silly but let me explain:

I write because I have to.  It’s in me.  I have to get it out.  It’s cathartic, therapeutic and freeing to let the demons out.  To let the anger out.  “If I unburden myself, I will remain sane.  If I bottle it up, I will go insane”.  So the personal logic is clear: ‘SPILL’.

Spill for health!

But, of course, there is an obvious ‘condition’ or caveat to that stress-release mechanism and that ‘catch’ is that the rant or expression has to be true.  At least it has to be MY truth.  Why?  Because all therapies are about getting to the truth about things.  This is my truth and I am telling you like (I think) it is.  Screaming truth is the goal.  Finding the truth is the work.

But Trump has turned all that on it’s head.  He blatantly lies, threatens and commits acts of madness without any kind of normal-level retribution.  NO work involved in finding that truth but there are surprisingly NO CONSEQUENCES for him!  People are basically just TAKING IT!

But this is NOT really about Trump.  It is about me.  And, going back to my truth-seeking, it seems I am weak.  Or at least confused.  I am so gobsmacked by the lunacy, the idiocy, the corruption, the illogical and the blatant violation of all that is good and decent, I am literally struck dumb.  “How can this be?”

You can imagine what the election of Jason Kenney and Doug Ford added to the mental and moral violation I feel of all that is right.  You can imagine what Alabama’s new abortion law does.  Imagine William Barr playing hide and seek with the Mueller report.  There has been quite a sequence of insane, inexplicable events these past few years.

And Trudeau and Norman didn’t help.  Trudeau and Alberta didn’t help.  Trudeau and his mother’s one-act stage play doesn’t help either (shades of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat……).  It’s as if NOWHERE IS SANE!!!

It’s mystifying.  It’s almost as if the majority of people can’t speak up to it either.  It’s as if they are going along with it even tho they KNOW better…. as when the naked Emperor paraded around in invisible clothes and everyone pretended he was clothed.  “Why is this happening?”

Seriously…why isn’t there a gunman on a grassy knoll somewhere?  Several, in fact?

There are a lot of answers, of course.  We’ve all taken a run at trying to figure it out…“Hmmm…why are bigots and deplorables getting so much air time?”  “Why are they so angry at brown skin when the collective violation they feel was so clearly executed by white CEOs..?” “How can they see a hero in such a liar, pig and con-man?”  And on and on and on…..

So…bottom line, I am not writing while I remain confused.  I do NOT have a grasp on truth, mine or any other.  I simply do NOT get it.  Why is this happening? is the question and I do not know is currently my answer.

And, of course, it is NOT just Trump or Ford or Trudeau.  It is T-F-T in the time of Cholera or, better put, in the time of climate change, saber-rattling with China, economic chaos, growing societal degeneration and loss of natural habitat with the added and tragic loss of 80% of the earth’s animals and creatures.  We are dying in front of our own eyes and killing all the innocent bystanders at the same time!  And the band plays on while the naked king plays golf.  This is as close to a Nero fiddling and Caligula cavorting as one can imagine in the 21st Century.

This is nuts!

Ravens and whales are good.  Chores getting done.  First of the visitors looming.  Sal still perfect-in-every-way.

But I’m a bit ticked…..