Posts Tagged ‘work’

Gramps’s Watch

December 24, 2013

Sunday December 22nd, 2013 – Harris, MI

For whatever reason, I have always been pretty good at remembering dates. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I am better than the average male in keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries and the like. It’s just something I have always thought about, and why that is I have no clue. I just do.

Today happens to be the date my grandfather died in 1981. I know that 32 years is not a ‘round number’, but it was still cause to bring up memories we had together. He’s been gone a whole lot longer than I had him in my life, and to have had the kind of impact he still has really says a lot.

When my uncle died in January of 2012, my cousin Leah and her husband Rob cleaned out his possessions and came across a watch Gramps received when he retired from his job as dispatcher of garbage trucks and snow plows for the City of Milwaukee in 1972. They weren’t sure what it was, but they knew I was close to him and would probably want it. I recognized it immediately.

There was a retirement party for Gramps, and he received the watch as a gift. He rarely wore it, but I remember it meant a lot to him when he got it. It was also the symbol of his freedom to do what he wanted, which was get into show business. He’d put in his time at work, now it was fun.

For the few years left in his life, Gramps was a wild man when it came to chasing his dream of being an entertainer. He would sign up to be in any kind of show he could – most being put on by the Washington Park Senior Center in Milwaukee. He became a whale in a tiny pond, but he was as happy as I’d ever seen him. Being on stage was what he lived for, and he savored each second.

When Gramps was in hospice care, he told me he wanted me to have that watch. I wanted it as a memory of him, but when he died it got lost in the shuffle. I never knew what had happened to it, and whenever I’d ask I’d never get a straight answer. After a few years I just stopped asking.

I was thrilled when my cousin Brett told me Leah and Rob wanted me to have it, and I brought it to a jeweler to see if it could be gotten into running order again. It’s a Bulova Accutron, and is apparently a collector’s item according to the jeweler. He said the parts were rather expensive to replace, and it could cost up to several hundred dollars to fix should I decide to go that direction.

I told him it had more sentimental value to me than anything, and it wasn’t important to me if it ran at all. I was just curious to find out what it was and how much it might cost to fix. I had put it in a drawer, but recently rediscovered it as I was moving. To my surprise it was actually running.

Having the jeweler look at it must have gotten the parts moving again, but sure enough there it was working again. I set it to the right time, and it’s been running since. It loses a few minutes on a regular basis, but that’s ok. Just having it is a great memory of someone who meant a lot to me.

Tonight I had a show in Harris, MI at the Island Casino. I decided I’d wear the watch on stage as a tribute to Gramps, and it made me feel bullet proof. I knew it was there, and knew that I had a little bit of Gramps on stage with me all these years later. He would have LOVED to be able to do standup comedy, and this is a small symbolic way I can honor his memory. I plan on wearing that watch from now on every time I perform for the rest of my life. Nobody else has to know.

This is the watch my grandfather got when he retired from the City of Milwaukee in 1972.

This is the watch my grandfather got when he retired from the City of Milwaukee in 1972.

The inscription looks like he was in the Mafia, but in fact he was only a dispatcher of garbage trucks and snow plows.

The inscription looks like he was in the Mafia, but in fact he was only a dispatcher of garbage trucks and snow plows.

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A Reboot In The Ass

February 20, 2013

Tuesday February 19th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’ve been hitting the road rather hard of late, and completely welcomed the thought of a day off to rest and recuperate. Too bad today wasn’t it. Who has time to relax? I’ve got laundry piling up yet again, and all the things I’ve been working so hard on seem to need my attention once more.

Who can stay caught up with everything in life? I can’t, and it’s totally frustrating. I’m making an honest effort to stay in the game, but it feels like I’m trying to juggle too many plates and they are all going to come crashing down. Then I’ll have another mess to clean and I don’t want that.

Life just gets away from me sometimes, and this is one of those times. I had my work space all organized and pretty looking just a few short weeks ago but now it looks like the picture of Haiti after their latest natural disaster. Everything is in piles and I have no idea where to start cleaning.

I was starting to be proud of myself for how organized I was with my tax records as well, but I feel myself sliding back into my old habits there and that’s a major red flag. I’ve got my receipts, but they’re not put away in one spot like I need them to be and that has to be taken care of NOW.

I refuse to go back into that habit, and I will spend tomorrow making it right. If nothing else, it will give me something to build on and move forward. I’ve had too much pain in the assets to let myself slide back into those soiled shorts. I need to get myself back on track and not let this slip.

Another thing I’ve been lax on is exercising. I was in a great groove there too, but I’ve had too many other things to attend to of late and that’s gotten off schedule also. It takes conscious effort to stay in that groove, and I’ve let myself get out of it and I feel it. Again, I refuse to accept this.

On the good side, I have no work this week and have time to devote to doing what I need to do to at least get partially caught up. On the bad side, I have no work this week and that means there is no income. I’m already running lean, and all the money I’ve made in my past few weeks out is accounted for and earmarked for paying someone else. I’m a hamster on a wheel and I’m tired.

This is a very crucial time in both this year and my life, and what I choose to do the next week is going to have significant impact on my immediate and long term futures. I intend to get myself back to doing what I should be doing, but then again I never intended to get out. It just happened.

Everybody wanders off track like this at some point, but as I get older I clearly see the extreme importance of having a master plan to return to whenever this happens. For so long I didn’t have any plan at all, and I’m paying for it now. At least I’m smart enough to know I’m doing it wrong and can catch it in time to get back where I need to be. If I don’t, I’ll go right back where I was.

I’ve made some truly remarkable steps forward in the past few years and I’m going to literally force myself to keep those things at the top of my mind in this next little while so I don’t let this effort slip away. It’s not easy to make good decisions over and over – especially when life tosses unexpected grenades. I’m not the only one battling these things, but it’s my job to right my ship.