Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walking at the Bottom of the Pool

On hot, humid days like today I feel like I’m walking on the bottom of a pool. We’re going through a period of hot and oppressively humid days punctuated by ferocious thunderstorms in the evening.

My boss called me yesterday afternoon to ask me for a “big favor” (his words.) He wanted to know if I could come into work the second shift (3 pm to 11 pm) yesterday. I checked my calendar and I had those hours open (no surprise) so I told him I could come in. Even though I was cut back to one day a week last month, I’ve been called on frequently to fill in for my co-workers, who are either on vacation, sick or on personal business. Tomorrow and Saturday I’m filling in on the 7 am to 3 pm shift. My regular schedule is Mondays 3 pm to 11 pm. When I got into work yesterday my manager asked me if I could also work Tuesday 7 am to 3 pm. I’m glad I have the opportunity to earn the extra money but I’m starting to feel like my friend, The Cajun who works almost seven days a week at his two jobs. If I’m not careful, with all my traveling back and forth to work, I’m going to get rear-ended by one of these crazy drivers who have descended on our beautiful seaside resort. He’s been rear-ended twice in the past month traveling on Rt. 1 to work. I only have to travel on Rt. 1 for a short distance before I make a left turn on New Road. However, just last week a crazy driver who was impaired and speeding at 90 mph rear ended a van which resulted in the death of a 64 year old passenger. That accident happened near Cave Neck Road and Rt. 1, a short distance from where I live and before I turn off on New Road. This is proof that danger lurks everywhere, not just in the heavily congested stretch of Rt. 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. The more I'm out on the road the more I increase my chances of being involved in an accident. I would like to keep those chances at a minimum.

When I left for work the sun was out but I’ve learned I can’t count on the sun staying out. A short time after I got into work yesterday afternoon, the skies opened and a heavy thunderstorm dumped about five inches in half an hour. I had to call Bill and ask him to bring in my rain parka. One of my jobs last night was to clean up the Waterview Room after a meeting of a business group that has been in the hotel for the past several days. It’s no fun carrying a bin of dirty glass and meeting paraphernalia back to the main building and getting soaked in the process. My Eddie Bauer rain parka with a hood helps to keep me dry so I don’t look like a drowned rat after several trips back and forth between the Waterview Room and the main building. I have to look my best behind the front desk. First impressions you know. Thunderstorms are forecast for the next ten days. That’s good for the farmers but not so good for the hotel business. My parka will go into work with me every day now.

Business has finally picked up at the hotel. Last night we were almost full. This weekend we are sold out as we were last Saturday night. That is good. I can feel that the economy is starting to take a turn because more potential guests are calling the hotel to inquire about availability of rooms. But now there is a change because almost all of the callers are shopping around for the best rate. I don’t blame them, I would probably be dong the same thing if I needed a room. However, even at a discounted rate, I couldn't afford a hotel room.

Another sign that the economy may be improving, albeit slowly, is that more For Sale signs are going up for houses in my development. I wish them the best of luck. I’m still not over the nightmare of selling my house way back in 2006. Someday I will write a blog posting of that worst time of my life when I was carrying two mortgages at $3,998 a month from April to November of 2006. I was standing on my financial precipice. It was close but I survived by getting a mortgage for the difference in the purchase price of my new house and the sale price of my old house. This was my first mortgage since 1976 which I will pay off when I’m 95 years old. I would prefer not to have a mortgage but I am thankful I found a way out of avoiding foreclosure on my new house. It was real scary there for awhile. I hope I never go through an experience like that again in my life. I'm still recovering from PTSD from that nightmare.

This morning I ventured out to do some weeding of the flower bed in the front of my house. It wasn’t too long before I was sweating. Working outside on a day like today is like walking in the bottom of a swimming pool. I hear heat and humidity like this is normal summertime weather for Florida. That’s why I would never live in Florida or any other southern state like Georgia, Tennessee or South Carolina that has energy draining heat and humidity like we’re having now in good old coastal Delaware.

A friend in Pennsylvania sent me an e-mail a short time ago telling me he is on his way down to Rehoboth Beach for the weekend. He is staying with a friend in Rehoboth but is stopping by here first. We’ll take lunch today at my new favorite restaurant, The Flying Crab. That will be a nice interlude before I jump back into the (work) pool.

(Note: pictured is a Swallowtail butterfly pupu. This is the last one in my garden. They love parsley plants. I planted extra parsley plants for them this year and about a month ago I had a number of Swallowtail pupu on those parsley plants. But alas, I think my backyard population of birds (Purple Martins, swallows and bluebirds) found the pupa and they are no longer. Bill and I are carefully monitoring the safety of this lone pupa. I hope he/she survives.)


  1. Ron,

    Yes, work. I am back to almost being full time again. More hours than I prefer. On top of that, this past Monday I was sent into New Jersey to help with "truck day"; that is, preparation of a brand new store for its opening tomorrow. I was there for 9 hours plus two hours in travel time.

    Since then I have heard nothing but compliments about it and then the idea that I should be included in more of these things. I am not trying to build a career here.

    You talk about your fears on Rt. 1. I couldn't figure out the best way to get where I had to go and jersey has more traffic than we do. I settled on going up I-95 to the Walt Whitman Bridge and then down Rt. 42. I use to travel that route home every week day night back in the 1970s when I lived at Ski Mountain and working in South Philly and it could be a bear then with traffic. It has increased greatly in the thirty-plus years since.

    Of course, it is magnified when you have to go somewhere in heavy and speedy traffic and you don't really know the route. I do dislike trying to look for unfamiliar turnoffs and all in expressway traffic.

    I was also concerned about the return trip. i decided on returning the same way I came and was a bit fearful knowing I was going to hit that Philadelphia traffic at rush hour.

    It wasn't too bad until I hit where the Blue route and I-95 converge. Then it was bumper-to-bumper stop-and-start going for awhile until I reached Widener. Gaper delay. Big accident on the otherside of I-95. Once past that we sped up again, but the other side was at a stand still all the way from Chester to where I got off near Wilmington.

    Then you look and figure half of the extra money you got for the extra hours in jersey went for tolls and gas to get there and back. Bridge tolls are $4 now.I also had to be on the Atlantic City expressway for awhile and that was a toll both ways.


  2. Lar,
    I am so glad your job is working out well for you. Isn't it interesting that we old guys are doing so well in our "retirement" jobs (at a much lower pay)? As you know Bill B.' talent has also been recognized in his new job after his lost his longtime job at Motorola. I worked today and I will tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday. Just today my manager told me he had more hours scheduled for me. I don't mind working more hours I just don't want to work fulltime. And I DON'T want to have any management duties. The Hampton Inn (my previous job) was trying to slide me into a management position until I put my hand up and said "STOP!"

    Stay healthy my friend even if you aren't getting wealthy working at your new job. You're one of the good guys and you deserve everything good that comes your way.


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