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Life Lessons in a Box

Posted on November 6, 2015 By In Encouragement With no comments

I don’t pretend to be a do-it-yourselfer or handyman but sometimes there are undesirable projects that just beg for my unprofessional help, all in the name of saving a buck.

cardboard-box-161578_1280Been married nearly 45 years and my wife still hasn’t gotten the message that she didn’t marry Tim the Toolman Taylor or Bob Villa.  She still expects me to fix stuff.

Now, I try. I really do. Installed a new ceiling light and dimmer switch in a bedroom a couple of weeks ago. Now the power is out in the adjoining bathroom. Nothing has burned down yet so I suppose I can call that a near success.

My worst debacle came a few years back at a former residence where I decided, after watching some home improvement shows, that I could replace the stairs that ran from the entry level to the main level of the home. Oh, I did it alright. Still trying to save money. Didn’t work. Had to hire a pro who charged me so much to redo my fiasco that he could have afforded a nice cruise to an exotic foreign land.

In a moment of weakness a few days ago, I agreed to purchase a little bookcase. Keyword “little.” Oh, but there was a warning right there on the box. “Some assembly required.” Maybe if the manufacturer had labeled the box with a skull and crossbones I wouldn’t have been so foolish as to buy the stupid thing. “But Dear, it’s on sale.”

So we brought the thing home and I did my part. Sat it in a room and kind of hoped that it would somehow assemble itself. And then I heard the sound that I hate to hear when I procrastinate. My wife was opening the box.

I knew, ballgame or no ballgame, I had best get in there to protect the name of well-intentioned men everywhere. Just in time, I intercepted the box before it and its contents were thrown out the window. Mama wasn’t happy but then again who would be because of what it said on the box, “Some assembly required.”

She left the room and I picked up the “so easy a child can do it” instructions. The manufacturer must have decided that people who purchased their product would be too stupid to read because there was nothing more than some diagrams with numbers.

An hour later, with quite a few of the assembly parts left over, I proudly announced that the project was complete and as long as the bookshelves weren’t moved, they should be just fine. My wife was impressed. As long as they look good, right?

There’s a life lesson to be learned here. Sometimes we’re ill-equipped for what life throws at us but we have to take it on anyway because others are counting on us. Such times don’t require us to be perfect or professional…just willing. That’s the way we do it…IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

UPDATE (one week later)

The bathroom electrical is now working. It took installing a dimmer switch in the dining room. Funny stuff going on in the electrical box which didn’t make it to the YouTube instruction videos. Same problem. This time the lights went out on the patio.  Most important…when I figured out the dining room issue, there was my answer to the bathroom issue. All this leads me to the theory that somewhere there is an wannabe comedian turned electrician who just knew  I was going to move into this house.

So, what can be learned from this experience? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again? That’s the best I can come up with for now. Of course, blind luck is a possibility. Who said, “I love it when a plan comes together?” Have a great day.

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The Winter of My Life

Posted on October 26, 2015 By In Encouragement With no comments

Sometimes we like to divide life into seasons. You know, Spring is birth through childhood, Summer is the young adult phase, Fall is the middle adult era, and then finally the winter years, when, well, you know.

By the government standard, the winter years begin at 65. So, I suppose it’s winter for me. I am officially OLD.

My high school reunion comes up this year. SHS class of ’66. Fifty years since graduation from the hallowed halls of Strasburg High School (Strasburg, VA). Do I really want to hang around with all those old people?

Thankfully, I am blessed to be in good health. Don’t feel a day over 40. The mirror tells a different story.

My wife is still hot, looks at least 15 years younger than her actual age (I tell her 30), although she is grumpier now than when we met 45 years ago. Should have heard her yesterday when I was driving 20 miles slower than the speed limit with the left blinker on. What’s wrong with that?

Palisades Park

Palisades Park

Our destination yesterday was Palisades Park in Blount County, Alabama. It was “epic.” Sorry for using such a youthful (although worn-out) term. Epic is right up there with “no worries.” There’s a wonderful Thesaurus online. Please use it occasionally.

Speaking of things I am tired of hearing. Here’s one: “How may I provide you with excellent service today?” One more. “It was my pleasure to serve you.” You people are lying. Please stop.

So, atop that gloriously lovely mountain Janet and I posed for our very first selfie. Didn’t like it. Immediately hit the delete button. Then, a couple standing nearby, also posed for a selfie, aided by a selfie stick. Somewhere in Facebook land their friends have likely been treated to 40 nearly identical pics. Selfie sticks? Really? Proof positive that evolution is a myth.

It’s Winter here in the Weirich household. We are doing what we vowed a long time ago, to “grow old together.”

Growing old together is not a bad thing.  Just like the other seasons it just requires adjusting to change. Keep dreaming, planning, hoping, caring, laughing, and believing that “the best is yet to come.” Whatever the season of your life keep your eyes on the road and look forward to what’s ahead. Even if you are traveling a little slower than you used to…keep moving. There’s something beautiful ahead IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

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An Image Overhaul for Monday

Posted on October 12, 2015 By In Encouragement With no comments

What’s so bad about Monday?  How many times have you heard this (or said it)?

“Having a good day?”

“Well, you know, it’s Monday?”

MondayPoor Monday gets blamed for just about anything that goes wrong.  Problem at work? Blame it on Monday. Lousy traffic.  Monday is at fault.  And so it goes.

I recall getting yelled at for whistling on Monday morning. My annoyed co-worker told me that he couldn’t stand happy people in the morning, particularly on Monday.

Nobody gets worked up over Tuesday. Wednesday gets a little love when we refer to it as Hump Day. Thursday is now recognized as the day to reminisce about the good old days.  You know, Throwback Thursday. I still find it hard to believe that anybody, other than me, wants to see old pictures of me (a la Facebook) when I was younger and thinner with darker hair.

And then there is Friday or as some people say it, “FRIDAY!  Ready for your weekend?”

Aha! There’s the problem. Monday is getting blamed for the annoying interruption to our weekend break.  The countdown to the weekend begins on Hump Day. WORK is the culprit.

Once upon a time in a faraway land I had a job that I loved.  Come Friday, I observed the people with whom I worked rushing to the parking lot. They were giddy over quittin’ time on Friday and I just couldn’t understand the reason for their euphoria.

Then, life happened, and I ended up with a lousy job.  Soon after, I was right there with them, racing out the door on Friday.

Even Sunday took on a new meaning.  I called it the Day of Dread.  Sometimes it happened in the afternoon but most often on Sunday night when I got this horrible sinking feeling, as I agonized over the return to the employment that made me so miserable.

What’s the remedy? Some are quick to suggest a new job. Well, maybe.  But new and better gigs are hard to come by.

For what it’s worth, here is how I handled it. After all, it’s an attitude thing. I reminded myself that I was blessed to have a job and then I reminded myself of all the good things in my life. For most of us, the good will always outweigh the bad.  Think on those things.

Try this.  Approach Monday as a brand new beginning, like the way you see yourself on the first day of a new year. All the negative experiences and nagging problems of the previous week are behind you.  Consider the exciting possibilities of a fresh new start.

Here’s to your Monday.  It’s going to be an awesome day IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

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