Saturday, September 01, 2007

Old Friends

I have been a tad bit despondent lately. It has not been a stellar year for us so far, and the odds of it picking up are not looking good. Judy and I will be the Grand Marshalls in the Poolsville Day Parade next weekend, They are commemorating our nephew Jake for all of his years of service to the City (of 5000 people). When Jake died, one of the people that knew him made up t-shirts for the girl's basketball team he helped coach. The lady in the upper picture is another coach who was close with Jake. The back belongs to the school's Athletic Director, and one of the speaker's at Jake's funeral. He and Jake did everything from being athlete and coach when Jake was in high school, to going to baseball games in Baltimore, and playing golf together when Jake got older and they became friends.

Judy will probably wear this shirt, and I will wear his old football jersey. Strangely enough, I am not looking forward to this. I haven't been out to the cemetery yet. I'm not supposed to go until the ceremony to unveil his headstone. That's coming in October.

Meanwhile, my closest and dearest friend Jim, who used to live in Alexandria, Virginia moved closer to his job. He now lives two hours away. Shouldn't be insurmountable. We even scheduled a day down there, but he called at the last minute and had to cancel. That was in the beginning of July. I know we'll hear from Jim sometime soon, he just moved in June.

Jim is important to me. I met him in 1963 when we were both freshmen at the University of Maryland. I was interested in Chemistry, and he was majoring in Chemical Engineering. Naturally, we met in a Trampoline Class we both took for a Physical Education requirement. I liked him enough that I moved into his dorm in my sophomore year, and we became fast friends, for life, so it seems, so far. We double dated when he was dating what turned out to be his first wife. I was his best man when he got married and moved to Jolliet, Illinois to go to work for Amoco. We paid long distance charges, and talked on the phone. He met Judy in O"Hare Airport, and knew I was going to ask her to marry me before anyone else in the World.

After five years in Illinois, his wife 'made him' move back to Maryland close to her family. Jim thrive, and had children. I should mention that his second son is named for me. I have also been his best man twice now. His second wife had a little girl, but his second wife was one of the meanest, nastiest people I have ever known. She was a lawyer on top of that, a lethal combination. I actually stood at the top of the aisle and offered to drag him away and throw him in my car and race out of the state. He laughed at me and said, "Let's go down the aisle" with a big grin on his face. For his third wife, we all thought that his first two sons should be the best men, he needed a change in luck!

Jim's third wife has three kids, two boys and a little girl. The two boys are autistic. They both know Judy and I, and we spend a lot of time with them. At least we used to spend a lot of time with them all. I am having severe withdrawal symptoms.

Last Thursday, my close friend Robyn called. She has decided to start looking for another job with the intention of moving to Phoenix in April. She has an entire plan. We talked for over an hour, and we have plans to get together to talk more. There's a lot that has to happen for her to make this work. Regardless of her moving or not, she is fed up with the 7 days a week push 'required' of her as a 'professional'. A new Government-wide contract for services will be coming up next year, and she has been involved in meetings, and traveling all over the country gathering specifications. She can already see that come next February, she and a lot of others in her company will start working 16+ hour days seven days a week as routine for several months, and that this will become common practice for the rest of the year, although not a daily event, after three or four months have passed.

This practice has become common among white collar worker in this area. It has always been typical in what has come to be called professional work. With the advent of the Department of Homeland Security, the current administration negotiated that government workers could be required to work more than 8 hour days at Homeland Security. Bush actually changed the Labor-Management equation.

Robyn is actually a former student, the best student I ever had by a long shot, from when I taught at the University of Maryland from 1976 to 1980. I met her in 1977. I got her work as a student, helped get her work when she graduated, we were in her wedding, and we stayed in touch while she worked at one of the Big 8 (at the time) Accounting Firms. She worked there for ten years, making Senior Manager, but they passed her over twice for Partner. It was clear that she was passed over for reasons other than competence. She left, and was given a very high level position in the Clinton Office of Management and Budget, where she excelled. She stayed through the Clinton Administration, then left to go to a Fortune 500 Organization in town. She has been there since. Her hobby is running in triathlons. She generally medals in her age class. She is also quite the knowledgeable wine drinker. Go figure.

I have been a bit unhappy thinking about Robyn and her husband leaving town, even though it's not guaranteed. We live in a very high income/ high tax/ high expense state. Living outside Washington, DC means we are outside one of the two major power centers on the East Coast, lots of pressure and tension to go around. Traffic has become unbearable. Commuting downtown is expensive and difficult. The area is undergoing an enormous change as illegal immigrants flood the area and tax public services. There are times that I wonder if I am the only one that didn't get the memo around here.

I found myself reading Glamourpuss' Friday Post, which was really so perfectly put together and expressive. It seemed she knew exactly how I felt too, and had included a prescription. She's going to work out on her pole. Excellent advice! Nothing like some self-improvement, and Lord knows I could use some. Now, if you really want to savor something excellent, read The Reflecting Pool's comments. It should be obvious why her second blog is called Arguably Better Advice where you get to e mail her a question and she will render you better advice than you would normally get. Personally, I wish she had a couch and a spare 50 minutes a day for me, I need more help that you can achieve through e mail.

So, I will take Puss seriously (I always take Puss seriously) and I am going off to exercise. Her piece of philosophy was the old Chinese saying "This too shall pass" a favorite of mine. For the situation I am looking at, I will leave you with,

"Each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is being born."


Alison said...

I just wanted to say hi.

The CEO said...

Hi Alison! It's so nice seeing you!

WanderingGirl said...

Chin up, CEO. Life is an evolution all its own. Puss is right, this too shall pass, and on its heels will come more fun and excitement, and, well, life. Stay open to the possibilities. Change is good.

cmhl said...

it is hard when it seems like everything is changing around you--- now you have more vacation destinations when you go visit your friends!!!

I"m not making light though, I know it is hard. the challenge will be for you to find something new for YOU, so you are changing as well. look at your 1,5, and 10 year plans.

fall is a hard time for me as well.. I can already feel it sneaking in on me.

The CEO said...

WG, thanks for your thoughts. You're right about what Puss said. It dawned on me that I am more upset about the speed that time passes than anything.

CMHL, I am always buoyed by you. You are the essence of "light a candle, don't curse the darkness".

Glamourpuss said...

Sorry you're feeling glum, too - lots going on. Hope the tai chi helped...


The CEO said...

Puss, the t'ai chi was remarkable, and helped quite a bit. That was good advice, thank you. So was Pool's!

My Reflecting Pool said...

I love when communities come together to support each other. Glam makes me want a pole in my house. I'm afraid if I did get one, it would go the same way the bike, eliptical and workout videos went; in the basement collecting dust.

I am sending a big fat hug to you and Judy with a wish for better, happier tomorrows!

did you get the hug yet?

The CEO said...

Pool, I am feeling secure in my warm, embracing hug. Thank you.