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Showing posts from March, 2009

Census Training - Day Two

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Now I have a headache. Talk about overload. Plus, I realized that the old biddy who chose to sit next to me on Monday is putting the moves on me. While I’m trying to listen to the instructor, this one is talking to me. Then she asks me a question about something the instructor said. So I’m getting stereo sound. The instructor is talking in one ear and Miss On The Make is talking in the other ear. She wasn’t taking any hints so I finally had to get rude and ignore her. I think she got the message. She turned our seat so the back was to me then she left early. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to put up with this kind of nonsense. I probably got lulled into a sense of compliancy living in Gayberry (AKA Rehoboth Beach area.) Many of the women down here are either gay themselves or know that I am gay. Miss Marple today obviously doesn’t know I’m gay. This reminds me of all the years I commuted on the train back and forth to Philadelphia from Downingtown (eleven years) and would freq

Day One at Census Training

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Today was my first day as a U.S. Census Bureau worker. The location of the training was at the Lighthouse Church in Laurel, Delaware. I got up early and left early to make the 23 mile trip down Route 1, through Georgetown, Delaware. I didn’t want to be late. I wasn’t. I was an hour early. In fact, the church doors were still locked. It wasn’t too long before the Census officials arrived with cartons of material for the trainees. I helped the women unload the boxes. One of them thought I was one of the trainers. I told her that I was one of the trainees who arrived early. I got a knife from the church kitchen and sliced open the tape that had secured the cartons of training material. After I was done, I selected a seat next to a window and waiting the arrival of the rest of the trainees. Nine o’clock arrived soon enough along with about sixty more trainees. We were to be a consolidated training group. I was told this was the reason for the location in Laurel, it was the halfway poi

Embarking on a New Adventure

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Tomorrow I embark on a new adventure. I begin classes for training as a census enumerator for the 2010 census. Classes are at the Light House Church in Laurel, Delaware, 23 miles from where I live. Classes will be for one week, 9 to 5. The first three days are classroom training. The remaining two days will be in the field. When I first was told that classes would be held so far away, I told the Census Bureau representative I wasn’t interested. Part of the reason was my fear that I would be assigned to conduct census training to far away from my home. Late on Friday a higher up in the bureau called and assured me that they would make every reasonable effort see that my area of responsibility would be in the Milton-Lewes area. I was persuaded. I’m easily persuaded. So, we will see. I’ve held many different jobs in my lifetime. But I’ve never been a census taker. Somehow this is fitting because for years I’ve worked with old census records in doing my Tipton family genealogy research

Census Training

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This morning I called the Census Bureau to find out the location of my classes which are to begin Monday, March 30th. Two weeks ago they called me and offered me the job. At that time they told me when the classes were to begin but they didn’t tell me the location. I patiently waited two weeks for a call from the Census Bureau and heard nothing. This wasn’t a good sign. So, this morning I called. I was informed that the classes would be in at the Lighthouse Church in Laurel, Delaware. Laurel is 21 miles from where I live. At least the training session wasn’t in Philadelphia or Dover. My greater concern was once I finished the classes, where would I be assigned? I told the Census Bureau representative it was too far me to travel and to count me out. Later today I received a call from the local supervisor of the Census Bureau. She informed me that the classes were being held in Laurel as a combination of two areas to save time for training. She assured me that every effort would be ma

Another Full Plate Day

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So whatever happened to retirement and all this free time I was supposed to have? I often talk with some of my other retired friends about how we are busier than ever in our “retirement.” The common refrain is “How did we have time to do all that we do now when we were working fulltime?” To think that at one time I was commuting to my job in Philadelphia spending at least two hours a day on the train doing nothing except reading, listening to my Walkman (yes, it was that long ago) and napping. Today’s schedule looks like this: 9:40 Appointment at the Georgetown VA 11:00 Go to work at the Inn to fill in for Mike who is going to a food fair for Sysco (Slower Lower couldn’t survive without Sysco) 3:00 Return home and update my address list for my 50th high school class reunion Yesterday Bill took me to my dental appointment in Dover. It was for a fitting of a new partial plate in the upper left side of my mouth. That set me back another thou. While we were up in Dover we stimulated

Diet Time

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After dinner yesterday at the Rehoboth Diner, I was stuffed to the gills with Eggplant Parmesan. In addition to the main course, I also had a side order of French fries. Usually I can get away with this diet and not put on weight. But something interesting has been happening the past few weeks since my hours were cut back at the Inn. I started to put on weight. I can tell; my pants start shrinking. Same thing happened when I was in between jobs back in 2001 when I left the Hampton Inn. In that three month interval until I started my new job at the First Financial Bank, all my clothes seemed to shrink. However, after starting working my weight dropped. I think what the problem is that I’m finding solace in food. I was bored and food is my friend. I been through this routine before. My weight is now 170 lbs. My height is 6’3”. I used to be 6’4” but I’ve shrunk over the years. I’m most comfortable with a weight of 155 to 160. When I hit 170 I’m uncomfortable. When I graduated from hig

Pooped Out

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So how am I managing working only one night a week at the hotel? Not surprisingly, my activities have easily filled in that time. Sure, I would prefer working my previous two nights a week schedule (Mondays and Thursdays 3 to 11 PM.) It was a schedule which I constructed my week around. The money I earned from this part time job paid my monthly mortgage payments with enough left over to treat myself to a couple of dine out nights with friends. Now I will have to watch my expenses much more closely. However, the upside is that I now have more time to myself and with friends. Also, the many activities I used to miss on Thursday nights are now available to me. Last night I attended a local production of a revue of Cole Porter music. Prior to my hours being reduced at the hotel, I wasn’t able to do things like this. Last week Bill and I attended a dinner at a friend’s house. With my old schedule, we weren't able to accept dinner invitations on Thursday nights. The past few days ha

AIG

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About an hour from now Edward Liddy, the CEO of AIG is going to testify before Congress. He will be answering questions about the $165 million in bonuses to AIG employees. Like most of the country, I am mad as hell about this whole mess. What is it that AIG and Wall Street doesn’t get about giving out bonuses when their companies have failed? WHAT DON’T THEY GET? While everyone I know who has jobs has taken a hit in this economy, the Wall Street greed monsters continue on as if nothing has happened to our economy. I also fault the new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner. He and his ilk are all a part of the Wall Street greed monsters. They are totally out of touch with the real America. Their excuses are “We have to keep good people.” Another excuse is “They have contracts which we can’t break.” Hey, they had no problem changing the contracts of the UAW auto workers. That didn’t seem to be a problem did it? For the past ten years I have come to the conclusion that our country ha

Class Reunion

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This week I met with my some of my classmates from the Downingtown High School Class of 1959 for a 50th class reunion committee meeting. I am still amazed that we have arrived at our 50th class reunion so fast. It just seems like a few years ago that we graduated from good old DHS. Our class had the unique distinction of being the last class of the Fifties. We were also the last class to graduate from the old Downingtown High School building on Manor Avenue in Downingtown. The class after ours would graduate from a new high school building. I remember at the time that I regretted that we were not able to spend a year in the new building. However, looking back from this vantage point, I am now glad we were the last to graduate in that grand old building on Route 322. Our class is fortunate in that we have almost always had someone in our class to organize a class reunion. The first class reunion I attended was the 20th which was held at St. Joseph’s in Downingtown, the site of our gra

Back From PA

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Around 12:30 today I arrived back home from PA. I had a good two days in PA. Tuesday night was the first meeting of our 50th high school class reunion committee meeting at Carole’s house in Honeybrook. It was good to see the old classmates again. Our reunion date is set at October 17th, 2009 at the Whitford Country Club in Downingtown, PA. Pat W. and I are the “artistic” members of the reunion committee. We’re responsible for the reunion booklet. I’m also responsible for maintaining the address list and printing the reunion booklet. Last night Carole and I met at the Brickside Grill for Trivia Night. Carole’s friend Sheila arrived later along with Ben B. I haven’t seen Sheila for a couple of years, since I sold my house in PA and moved to Delaware. We only had four members last night. We decided to call our team “What Happened to My 401K?” Even with a reduced team (we had six members last month), we still managed to come in third. Still, we (at least I did) had a great time. I enjoy

In PA

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Here I am in PA. I arrived yesterday about 12:30 at my Mom's house. I didn't tell her that I was coming up because she worries if I don't arrive at the specified time. So, my arrivals are always unannounced. Entering her small ranch house, her old calico cat Mollly was performing sentry duty sitting on the windowsill by the back door. She gave me a perfunctory glance, indicating she knew how I was and I could pass safely into the house. Shhe then returned to her vigil for a stray mouse. Upon entering the house, all was quiet. Both my Mom and my brother were taking naps in the living room. My Mom on her platform bed that I gave to her years ago that she had put in the living room because it was good for her back. My brother Isaac was sleeping on the couch. I normally also take an afternoon nap, but I had a full schedule ahead of me. I turned on her computer to check my e-mails and my Facebook account. I had to update my status on FB, priorities you know. No new e-mails

Off to Pennsylvania

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I'm leaving today for Pennsylvania for a 50th class reunion committee meeting of my Downingtown High School Class of 1959. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am THAT old. Maybe in my body but not in my mind. We're meeting tonight at my former classmate Carole's home in Honeybrook, PA. Tomorrow night we will indulge in Trivia Night again at the Brickside Grill. A few weeks ago we attended our first trivia night since I moved in November of 2006. We almost won! We only missed by one point. I should never have changed the answer to "What pet did John Quincy Adams keep in the White House?" Judy, another former classmate, had the correct answer: crocodile. At the last moment I changed that answer to "snake." Just goes to show that I don't know ALL the answers. Lesson learned. I'll be staying with another former classmate's home and my best friend during my high school years, Bill B. I'm still pleasantly surprised that I have kept up my relatio

Books

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Yesterday I made three trips to the new thrift shop open by Clear Space Productions . All three trips were made with boxes of books. One box I offered to help a friend and pick up and deliver his box of no longer wanted books. He doesn’t have the space to store them anymore. That encouraged me to finally start going through my books and make the hard decision as to what I no longer want to keep. I’ve been collecting books ever since I started to read books. I always wanted a library with walls of books. The first books I read I checked out of the Downingtown Library. I remember how comforting it was to browse through the library, looking for books I wanted to read. Back in those days (The Fifties), one had a library card. The books were checked out for two week intervals. If it took you longer to read the book (which it didn’t with me) you could extend your borrowing period. It didn’t take me long to fill up my library card. I felt so proud when I filled up one library card and the

The Recession Hits Home

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It was just a matter of time until this recession became personal. That happened last night when my manager at the hotel where I work informed me that my hours will be cut in half. Instead of work Mondays and Thursdays on the 3 to 11 PM shift, I will now only work the Monday night shift. This change in hours will continue until business picks up at the hotel. My co-worker, the other retired “elderly gentleman who works part-time” also had his hours cut in half. I know the owner of the hotel was reluctant to make these changes but he had little choice. My co-worker and I can manage because we have other sources of income (retirement pensions and Social Security.) The full-time employees don’t, their only source of income is their job. Of course I will have to do a little belt tightening. Maybe I won’t go out to dinner as often or buy a new passel of books from Amazon.com. I’ll survive. Actually, yesterday was a “Bad news, good news” kind of day. I also received a phone call from the

Pictures

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to take pictures. I was always fascinated by photographs, that magic way to capture a moment in time. Unfortunately, growing up poor in the Fifties didn’t offer the financial resources for such a hobby. Growing up in the Fifties in Downingtown, Pennsylvania my family was like many other families, poor. We lived in a two bedroom rented second floor apartment at 120 Washington Avenue in the white trash section of town (it still is by the way.) My Mother knew how much I was interested in photography so one Christmas Santa gave me a Kodak Brownie camera. Oh what a treasure that was. Not only because it was one of the few Christmases that Santa gave to me only, but because it was a present that I wanted and I got. “Santa” had a bad habit of giving Christmas presents to me and my two brothers with the proviso it was for “all of us.” I can remember one painful Christmas that me and the bros got a much wanted Lionel train set. Mom told us “

The Day After

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Well, this is different. This is the day after the Big Winter Snow Storm. It brought back all the old bad memories of living in Pennsylvania. Living through those winters got to be an ordeal the older I got. That was one thing I didn’t miss when I moved to lower Delaware. The snowstorms that hit Pennsylvania almost always missed us down here in Sussex County. If we got anything at all, it was a quick dusting that disappeared the next day. Not this time. We got socked. I heard we got five inches of the white stuff. One thing is for sure, we got a lot more than we usually get. This morning Bill took me to work at the hotel. My normal shift was last night but Blare called yesterday and asked me to work her shift today while she pulled a 16 hours shift yesterday. This way it would save her a treacherous trip over the snow and ice covered roads of this unprepared county. She slept at the hotel last night. When I worked at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, PA I frequently stayed overnight in

Whiteout

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Well, it finally happened. We got hit with a major winter snowstorm last night. Or, at least what passes for a major winter storm here in lower Delaware. Last night when I went to bed, the sky outside was swirling with millions of perfect white snowflakes. Thank goodness I decided not to meet my friends in Rehoboth Beach for our usual Sunday night outing. I would have been caught in that mess. Upon awaking this morning, my bedroom was bathed in the bright white light reflecting from the snow covered landscape outside. Looking out my windows, I was reminded of my time in Pennsylvania when many such days greeted me in the wintertime. Not so living in southern Delaware, we rarely get snow and when we do it barely covers the ground. If there is snow, it is usually gone the next day. I have to admit I got perverse delight in calling my Mother and brother in Pennsylvania and brag about missing the snow that they were experiencing. This time we’re both experiencing the joys of snow covere