November 16-30, 2010

Here’s the rest of November 2010…

T11-16 worked 4:43-16:19, ran 5.15 miles

W11-17 up at 5:20, ran 6.41 miles. Ran it with Rick about 7:15 am. Great run. I ran each mile under 10 min. I was able to beat Rick by about 3 or 4 min. It was good to have a run like that. I have to run about 4.4 miles tomorrow, then two 4 mile runs next week. I’m running the Space Coast Half-Marathon one week from Sunday. Leisure day the rest of the day.

T11-18 up at 6:44, ran 4.62 miles, went and picked up computer… long story…it appears I’ve lost about 1800 songs from my iTunes library but I don’t know what ones they are right now. I’m gonna try to research it and figure it out. I lost all my playlists, all my ratings, all my play counts… VERY frustrating.

F11-19 worked 4:46-15:15
S11-20 worked 3:48-16:59, church
S11-21 worked 5:41-13:10, ran 4.05 miles
M11-22 worked 4:50-17:53
T11-23 worked 4:25-17:36
W11-24 worked 4:13-17:32

T11-25 up at 6:50, ran 4.14 miles, everybody over for Thanksgiving dinner. Visited parents in the evening with Sheila.

F11-26 up at 7:45, went to Running Zone and got race packet for half-marathon on Sunday.
Worked a few hours on my iTunes library. I’ve now got a list of songs that I’m missing. It’s more than 1100 songs that I have on CD. I just have to put them back in my computer. I also docked my iPod. It had 709 songs on it that I had purchased but that were not in my library. It put them back in my library. Once I get the other 1100 songs in the library I’ll be back to right around 10,300 songs in my library. That’s almost exactly what I had before this whole hard drive crash happened.

S11-27 worked 3:53-13:10, church

S11-28 up at 4:30, ran The 39th Annual Space Coast Half-Marathon. 2:03:45…last year was 2:01:34…. Oh well.

M11-29 worked 4:50-14:36
T11-30 worked 4:46-15:09

Perspective from the present…

As of today, 11-20-21… I’ve run 43 half marathons… 2009, 2010 ended up being my two fastest. It’s been all downhill since then…

No Time for Rhymes

A few years ago, my local newspaper had an article about haiku poetry. It stirred a memory in me and I researched exactly what the rules were. They invited readers to send in some haikus and they might get published. I wrote 3 of them. The article mentioned something about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and that spurred me to write one about Thanksgiving. The other two are about subjects I consider myself well versed on… Publix SuperMarkets (spent 35 yrs employed there) and hiking (I’ve hiked the first 350 miles of the Appalachian Trail). A month or so after the original article, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving they had an article that if I recall correctly had all three of mine published. I believe they published over a hundred or so. Pretty much all that had been sent in. I didn’t even know mine were in the paper. A friend of my wife’s told her on Facebook. Here’s the rules that apply to writing haiku:

  1. There are no more than 17 syllables.
  2. Haiku is composed of only 3 lines.
  3. Typically, every first line of Haiku has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third has 5 syllables. Here’s my haikus… 🙂

Thanksgiving
Love Thursday’s turkey
It always taste delicious
But better next day

Hiking
Climb a big mountain
Then another two or three
There’s more up ahead

Publix
Spent a lifetime there
Thankful for all it gave me
Happy to be done

Dad

“It was the 3rd of September

That day I’ll always remember, yes I will

Cause that was the day that my daddy died…”

The opening lines of a a Grammy-award winning song ring true in my life… in 2014, on September 3rd my father passed away.

I always loved the song, starting with an incredible groove that leads into an all too common story for some families. The three opening lines are the only part of the song that applies to my Dad though.

I started writing the following on 12-1-18. It took me about 5 months to complete it. It’s lengthy… he’s worthy of every word

This has been a long time coming. My father has been gone 2 days shy of 4 yrs and 3 months. That’s 1,551 days. Why all that info matters I don’t know. I’m a numbers guy I guess.

I think sometimes that he actually died exactly 48 weeks prior. That was the day my sister sat on the edge of my parents bed, my brother and I standing next to her, and softly rubbed his arm. He lay there, eyes closed, I’m not sure if he was sleeping though.

My sister’s voice cracked, “She’s gone Dad”. Tears poured down my cheeks. Dad opened his eyes then clinched them tightly closed. “I lost my buddy” he said. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him refer to Mom that way before. It was one month before their 58th wedding anniversary. Dad didn’t open his eyes. He just lay there. We asked him if he wanted to stay in bed awhile. He nodded that he did.

That was a Wednesday morning. Mom had passed at 4:45 am. 48 weeks later, on a Wednesday morning as well, Dad passed away at 5 am. He was alone in Wuesthoff Hospital. That’s always bothered me. When Mom passed, all three of her children were right by her side. I’ve tried to figure out if any of that means anything... if it symbolizes anything. If it does, I haven’t figured it out yet.

So that was how my father died. I need to write this to tell you how he lived... who he was... who he was to my Mom, who he was to our family and who he was to me. In a word... everything. That’s the easy way out of course. I’ll have to do a better job than that. Let me begin.

He was born March 13, 1937 in Morganton, NC. He was the 16th child born to Wade and Sarah Walker!!! That’s right... the 16th!!! Five of the other children had died as infants. All 15 prior to him had obviously been named and for some reason, they chose their 7th boy to be born to carry on his father’s name... so it was, my father was named Wade Hampton Walker Jr.

He was called “Junior” by his parents and siblings. Sometimes it was shortened to “June”. His middle name of “Hampton” was also used for my Uncle... Wallace Hampton Walker. He was born 17 years prior to my father.

The name “Hampton” was first used for my grandfather by his father (my great grandfather) Jospeh Walker. He used the name due to the fact that he had served in the Civil War with a Lt. General named Wade Hampton III. He admired the man enough to use his name in naming one of his sons.

Interestingly for me, my grandfather was the youngest of 14, my father the youngest of 16 and myself the youngest of 3.

My grandmother having already gone through 14 pregnancies (one was a set of twins, who died as infants) was perhaps an expert on this experience. However, her body had been depleted of calcium and it was discovered at a young age that my father may experience difficulties due to this. They were told that his bones would most likely be brittle and subject to issues. In addition, his teeth would be problematic.

As far as his bones, he never had any issues. He did however have a broken leg at approx. 6 yrs old. He said he had been playing football and got hit on opposite sides of his body... “one hit me high and one hit me low” he said and his femur broke. He said he spent 40 days and nights in the hospital due to care needed to slowly heal the leg.

The prognosis of his teeth perhaps being a problem was spot on. As a youth, his baby teeth came in “black as coal” and often fell out on their own. As the adult teeth came in, they were in the same condition and had the same results. Dad said that from his earliest memories, he would cover his mouth anytime he laughed, was terrified to smile and was constantly aware of his appearance.

He went through all of his childhood, through high school and even through getting married with these teeth issues. His wedding pictures show him tightly clenching his lips so as not to show his teeth.

It was before his wedding, if I have the story correct that he went to Indiana to have all of his teeth removed and dentures made. This was 1955 I believe and he was 18 years old. I believe the procedure was done at Indiana University or it was somehow related to that college. He said they filmed the entire procedure and used it to teach dental students.

His childhood was one of a full house of family, love and activity. His parents were older and his father was a Baptist minister. A position I have acquired in my retirement years. His love for both his parents was deep. As he grew up, there were less and less kids/family at home and the 3 of them became closer and closer. Sadly my grandfather passed when my father was just 20 years old. It affected him deeply and he carried that with him the rest of his life. All of us kids, remember hearing a lot about our grandfather. A man none of us had met, but a man we got to know quite well. After my parents were married, they ended up living with my father’s parents. They both took care of his father until his death. My grandfather suffered from ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. My father being a caregiver for his father was something he never forgot about. We talked about it often in his later years.

Let me get back to one little part of his story... he got married. This was undoubtedly the most important event in his life. I say that of course to bring to light to how important my Mom was to him and to all of our family. I like to think that this union was ordained by God. Maybe it was just a stroke of luck on his part and our families part. Either way, it’s what I consider one of my life’s greatest blessings. I know my Dad felt the same about my Mom. She was “heaven sent” in his eyes.

They got married in 1955... almost exactly 3 years after their wedding, my mom gave birth to a son. My father eagerly named him Wade Hampton Walker III. They called him “Sonny” I believe simply because he was their “son”. I know it was a HUGE highlight of my father’s life. Shortly after Sonny was born, my parents moved to Florida, where they would spend the rest of their life.

Almost exactly 3 years after my brother was born, my sister was born. The story has been told that they had discussed the name “Denise Lorraine”... but my father decided on Robin Lynne. So there they were, both my parents 24 years old, a son just turning 3 and a newborn baby girl. They said they were so happy and thought their family was complete.

Another 3 years later, and I kind of messed that up. They were both 27 by now and have honestly admitted that I wasn’t planned and they struggled with the fact that they were going to have another child. They have also admitted what a blessing it was... they were older, more experienced and have said that obviously their third child (myself) was loved as much as the other two. That is true without a doubt. In another baby name story... Mom had said she wanted to name me “Douglas Brian” but somehow Dad won out with the choice of Rodney Blane. I’m not sure what I think of all that... but Rodney I am... :-)

So before I go any further about Dad, I need to explain that being a husband and father was his most important accomplishment. It brought him more satisfaction, happiness and feelings of accomplishment that anything else I believe. It wasn’t his only role in life though.

He was a hard, diligent worker from a young age and certainly when he became an adult. In his early 20’s he had held a few jobs, but finally was hired by a nationwide company called “Pan American Services”. He was hired at their clinic they had at Kennedy Space Center. No doubt his experience working at Broughton Psychological Hospital in Morganton for a few years had helped him land this job.

His brother Bill had moved to Florida before my dad did. Bill had become a police officer with the city of Cocoa Beach. My dad became interested in law enforcement as well.

In his late 20’s I believe, in the mid 60’s, he was hired by the Cape Canaveral Police Department. He was recruited from there to the Brevard County Sheriff’s office.

In the early 70’s he became a Homicide Agent. I have some of his business cards that actually title his profession as “Intelligience Agent”. I’ve always liked that. After several years in Homicide; having enough of the politics and wanting a change, Dad went back into uniform. He was quickly promoted to Corporal, then Lieutenant and a week later from Lieutenant to Captain. After reaching Captain, he was assigned as the commanding officer of the Cape Canaveral precinct. A city he had patrolled approximately 10 years prior.

It was during this stint as a Captain at the sheriffs office, that Dad dealt with perhaps his greatest life challenge ever.

It’s a long story, but the short version is that due to a car accident that Dad and I were in; we both were sent to the hospital and Dad had a chest X-ray. This revealed a large spot on his lung. Softball size I believe. There was no way to treat it. Removing the lung was the only option. This was a horrific idea to our family, but they made it clear that the only other option was death.

Dad had been living life “100 miles an hour” and was so worn down that they kept him in the hospital for three weeks before the surgery. They were trying to build him up with food, exercise, medication. Surviving the surgery would not be easy. I remember well that they told us he had a 40% chance to make it through the surgery and a 60% chance to survive the first 30 days. Insane odds, but there was no plan b.

I remember my Aunt Bobbie Sue and Uncle George coming down to be with the family during the surgery. I was 15. I slept on the couch the night before the surgery. Uncle George slept in my bed. I cried that night and prayed that Dad would be okay.

It doesn’t seem right to keep this part of his life to just a few paragraphs. This event certainly affected the rest of his life. He lived 35 1/2 years with one lung. Amazing. After this, he worked another 17 years. Demanding work... with one lung.

The lung removal was in March 1979. In December of that year he left the Sheriffs office and became an investigator for the Medical Examiners office. Within a few years he became the Chief Investigator and ran the entire operation. Overseeing all activities including the coroners who performed all of the autopsies. This job not only caused physical stress due to long hours, being called out at all hours of the day and night; it also took a toll emotionally. More about that later.

My father had dealt with alcoholism for nearly a decade. From the early 70’s to 1983. He was what is termed as a “highly functioning alcoholic”. He kept it in check, as much as that is possible. However, he knew it was a problem and battled it for years, mainly through AA. He became sober in March of 1983. That was an accomplishment that changed his life for the better, forever.

In 1984, my brother Wade blessed my parents with their first grandchild. I always loved hearing my dad tell the story of baby Adam’s birth. It was an extremely busy day for him. My mom was at the hospital with my brother and his wife. She called my dad to tell him of the birth. He said he would do his best to come and visit but he couldn’t be sure he’d make it.

He arrived exhausted from a long day. Walking up to the room he remembered telling himself to “brighten up and show some joy over such a beautiful event”. He didn’t know if he could pull it off.

The second he looked at baby Adam, at my brother, at my Mom... all the love, excitement and joy just bursted from him naturally.

He LOVED being a grandfather. He ended up having 4 grandsons and one granddaughter. The granddaughter was named Normalyn, after my mother Norma. My parents loved that.

His career ended in 1996, Dad was 58. It didn’t quite end as he had planned, but he was at peace. My parents worried if they were set well enough financially and if their insurance coverage would be sufficient. As it turns out, God blessed them tremendously in both areas. Certainly in a financial way. They were generous with others and were disciplined in giving to the church their entire lives.

Dad’s biggest challenge with ending his career and beginning his retirement was his mental health. He spent a decade or so dealing with this while he was still working. He dealt with the effects of it for the rest of his life.

The last year of his career was hard on Dad and he began to suffer from a deeper depression and intense anxiety. He had been to psychiatrists off and on for 10-15 years. His problems were minor at that time though. In 1995 and 1996 they strengthened and became a big issue for him.

He was diagnosed as “clinically depressed” and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was told that most people get this from one horrible event in their life or over time from being exposed to extremely stressful situations/environments. Dad was told that he had basically seen “one dead body too many”. His job for the final 16 years of his career had him seeing perhaps 50-100 “crime scenes” per year. This usually included either homicide, suicide or traffic fatality scenes. In addition, almost daily he would enter the morgue and view the deceased they had taken in for whatever purpose. Usually for an upcoming autopsy or even just being stored there until being transferred to a funeral home.

He also witnessed or even assisted with autopsies, sometimes 2-3 times a week. He often knew, even if distantly, a lot of the people he dealt with. The psychiatrists told him this was taking an emotional toll him.

He spent perhaps the first decade of retirement going through an array of meds to find the one that would keep his mind and emotions in a stable setting. After years of trial, they pretty much settled on a surprising result. Ritalin seemed to do the job better than anything else. He and our whole family were thankful for the doctors who never gave up. We were also proud of Dad for the battle he fought and the openness with which he discussed it.

Over time, as a retiree, Dad become more and more of a recluse. They traveled some, not much, early in their retirement. Spent time at “the home place”, his childhood home; but more and more, Dad just wanted to be at home. At times this caused concern, but Dad insisted he was fine. He just had no desire to go anywhere or do anything. Those in his life had to work around that. He had every right to live his final years on his own terms. He was loved by all his family and was able to show his love with phone calls, etc. If you wanted to spend time with him, it was simple... “Come on over”... cuz he wasn’t going anywhere!!! :-)

The last 5-10 years of his life drinking coffee, watching TV, visiting with family who stopped by and “doing just fine”. I spent thousands of hours with him doing just that. Hanging out, just visiting, drinking coffee, talking about anything, everything and nothing. He was easy to be with.

In his last 10 years, Dad invested quite a large amount of money in Publix stock. He loved seeing his money grow. Not for his own benefit, he said he knew he would never spend any of it, and he never did. Mom and he were able to leave such a financial blessing to their three children due to these investments.

Publix was where I had spent 35 years of my life. It brought me joy to have my parents/family experience some of the financial blessings that we did.

So, Mom passed in October 2014 and there we all were. Just Dad and all three of his kids. It was different for all of us for sure. He was grieving, but always put up a strong front. He certainly comforted all of us as much if not more than we did him. It was only eleven months and then he was gone.

I spent that time just as I had always done. Visiting, drinking coffee... hanging out. We started doing something that final year that we had never done before. We would watch a movie almost every time I visited.

I’ve kept journals off and on my entire life and since I got my first smartphone, September 2007, I’ve kept a daily journal in my iPhone. I’ve got all the files saved on my desktop, the cloud, etc. Almost 12 years!!! EVERYDAY!!!! I’ve written down what I did, often just short and sweet entries.

However, I’ve written down other things as well. I started logging what movies we watched. I’ve got a journal of 57 movies/shows that we watched. Some entries include what we may have talked about, etc. Very few of the movies were anything special, but the time together was priceless of course.

We had kind of become just two old guys, getting through life. Myself in my late 40’s- in a career I was growing weary of; and Dad in his mid 70’s/ in a life without Mom that he was growing weary of. We were at different stages in life, but for decades, we had just been good close friends. I’m thankful for that year.

I could have spent this entire time writing about Dad’s feelings on love, truth, work ethic, God, world affairs, being a husband, father, grandfather... so many other things. Forgive me for injecting myself at times in his story.

There are SO many stories I could have written of, I didn’t have an agenda when I started this. I’ve spent almost exactly 5 months writing this. A little at a time, when I felt inspired. Whatever came to mind. I tried to follow along chronologically of course.

Another story that should have been included, was the night I accepted Christ as my Savior. Simply explained, he was there, encouraging me as always.

Summing up his life... who he was in the world... who he was to me and our family.... is not possible. I can only tell you of some of the facts and of my experience. He was everything I could ever ask for. With all his life’s experiences, he was ALWAYS THERE. Always with a kind word, sometimes along with some advice. Completely loving, always so proud of your accomplishments. always encouraging... and how was he doing? He’d always say, “I’m doing just fine son, how are you” :-)

Lastly, allow me to include myself one more time. In retrospect, I think Dad was quite complex. I think that more now than I did when he was alive. I see it in myself. So many of my behaviors, anxieties, appetite (eating) issues, coffee addiction, being a recluse... moods, etc. At times, I don’t recognize myself. I don’t understand why I am the way I am.

It’s then, that I think of Dad. I realize he dealt with all these same things that I now deal with. He’s my example... do what you can do, love and encourage others, be a listening ear... just keep doing what you can... you’ll probably be “doing just fine.”

November 1-15, 2010

This will be the first journal that I’ll be sharing. I plan to share perhaps two a month. I’ve got almost 12 yrs worth in digital files that I can access on my phone. It’s fairly easy to copy and paste them into a blog.

Back in the day I lost a few different files due to apps crashing, etc. I used to have entire months in one digital file. Years ago I started doing them from the 1st to the 15th of the month and then a new file from the 16th to the end of month.

I’ve used Evernote for about 10 yrs now. Previously I used SimpleNote and even the standard Apple Notes app. I’ve found Evernote to be the best. Here goes…

M11-1 worked 4:46-15:40
T11-2 worked 4:46-13:59, voted, visited parents
W11-3 worked 4:46-11:57, home, went to run with Rick. He was gonna do 6.3, I was gonna do 12. Unfortunately I had a horrible run. Ran the whole way, except for a 20 sec walk break to drink water. I ended up stopping at the 6.3 mile mark (which is how far the loop is that we run). I had planned to keep going once he stopped at his house. Anyway, he beat me by approx. 1-2 minutes and he probably walked about a mile of it. Grrrrr.
On top of that, I’ve had a sore throat all day and don’t feel to good. I hope I’m not getting sick. 😦

T11-4 up at 8:30, feel pretty lousy. Definitely seem to be at least somewhat sick. Sore throat, little bit of a stuffy nose, just barely have some body aches…. I’d planned to try to run 12 miles today. Probably not gonna do that. We’ll see……
Well, I’ve never been a very smart guy… I sat around an hour or so, drank 3 cups of coffee, took some DayQuil, then headed out for a run.
I didn’t have any definite plans as to how far I was gonna run, but I did an “out and back” run… and… well… I ended up going out……6.3 miles!!!!! So, I came back 6.3!!!!!! A 12.6 mile run!!!!!!!!!! That’s either a GREAT achievement, OR a stupid decision to run that far when I’m getting sick.
I’m writing this Friday morning, so it’s been almost 24 hours and I’m leaning toward the choice that it was an okay decision. I’m definitely still sick… Much more congested than yesterday, but no sore throat, and overall I don’t feel too much worse than yesterday.
The good thing about doing this run is that it helped my confidence level for my half marathon training program. I was supposed to do a 12 mile run this week, and a 7 miler and a 6 miler. Like I said, today is Friday when I’m writing this, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing a 6 or 7 miler today, but I’m happy that I did get a 12 miler in.
Lastly, last week I ran 20.0 miles which is exactly what I was supposed to run. This week, I’m supposed to run 25 miles. I won’t hit that goal, but I’ll make sure today’s run is far enough to beat last week’s mileage total. Even if it’s only a total of 20.01 miles. 🙂 Well that was a WHOLE lot of jabbering about running wasn’t it. I need to get a life.
Had final class for seminary class. We just met for dinner. Sheila came to the dinner. Had a great time.
F11-5 up at 7:50, leisure day, ran 3.06 miles
S11-6 worked 3:53-17:01, church
S11-7 worked 4:49-18:24
M11-8 worked 4:48-1:34, visited parents.

T11-9 worked 4:45-1:02. Came home then went out and ran 14 miles!!!!! Like normal, it was horribly slow, and I ran it in my new shoes, but I ran the entire way. I walked one time for .17 miles while I drank some water. I’m happy I was able to do it. I’m not sure my new shoes are gonna give me enough support, but we’ll see.
W11-10 up at 6:55, first time in a very long time, I had an entire day that was pretty much a total leisure day.
T11-11 up at 6:15, Layne and Cale came over for a little over an hour, then Sheila took them the after care program at school. Today is Veterans Day so there’s no school, but the school offers care for the kids if their parents have to work. It’s 7:22 am now, I think I’m gonna get moving and go for an 8+ mile run. Grrrrr. Don’t really wanna do it, but I’ll feel better after I do.
Ran 8.46 miles. Started to have a pretty good day after my run, but then my computer went on the fritz. Ended up taking it to this place in Titusville. Sheila has been there twice to have her laptop fixed. It has since shut down but the guy who owns the print shop next door still takes in work for him. He took my tower and said that the guy would fix it and call me. I’m not feelin too good bout it, but we’ll see.
F11-12 worked 4:47-16:08
S11-13 worked 3:52-17:05, church
S11-14 worked 4:54-18:05
M11-15 worked 4:44-15:12, went to parents, took Mom to Dr. appt

Perspective from the present (I’m stealing this phrase from Jim Bartlett https://thjkoc.net/about/)…

At this time in my life I was running ALOT and staying busy in many other ways too. As per usual… LONG, LONG days at Publix. Sometimes just reading these old journals completely wears me out. 🙂

50 (40?) Days of Publix Part 2

Here’s the rest of that novel about Publix… written 6 yrs ago in my final two months of a 35 yr career. Apparently by day 25, I decided to quit moaning and groaning.

Anytime I see these old journals and see the time I punched in and the time I punched out… I notice that “dash” in the middle and think of the “Dash Poem”… https://thedashpoem.com/.

The “dash” is really the whole story… read at your own risk. I’m thankful for what Publix gave me… thankful as well to be on to other things.

S10-31 Day 11- worked 4:37a-4:38p 🙂 Aggravating, understaffed day. I survived it… But am frustrated by it… Even though I know I only have 39 days to go. I shouldn’t let it get to me like I do. I just wish we could use some common sense in our decision making as a company. The company standards are extremely poorly thought out. It’s a one way road on the communication front… They don’t want to listen to the common man… Alas… I need to let it go… 39 days…

S11-1 Day 12- worked 6:36-5:05. Not a good day. Challenging, confrontational…. Just plain awful… Too many days are like that at Publix…. At least these past 5-10 years… I’m old… Tired of doing this… Ready for a change… Need to get out… 38 more days… Help me Jesus…

M11-2 Day 13- worked 4:36-16:51

T11-3 Day 14- worked 4:38-11:51

W11-4 Day 15- worked 4:32-3:59

F11-6 Day 16- worked 4:37-2:09. Worked 63 hours this week.

S11-7 Day 17- worked 4:38-16:49. Horribly understaffed again. It made for a stressful day.

S11-8 Day 18- worked 6:37-18:58. Smooth day for the most part. Extremely busy, but bearable.

M11-9 Day 19- worked 4:38-17:59. Long, long day. Hectic for sure, a WHOLE lot going on. I survived though.

W11-11 Day 20- worked 4:39- 4:18

F11-13 Day 21- worked 4:36-1:23

S11-14 Day 22- worked 4:36-16:57. 58° on drive to work. It was great, had the top down and enjoyed the drive. 🙂

S11-15 Day 23- worked 6:40- 6:11. Another beautiful drive to work. It was 71° and felt wonderful.

M11-16 Day 24- worked 4:37-18:01. 2 minutes longer than last Monday… A 12 hr and 24m day… Monday’s are getting worse and worse. I stayed late to type in all my orders for Thanksgiving… It’s good to have that done.

W11-18 Day 25- worked 4:37-4:28. Another stressful confrontational day. Got into a yelling match with our grocery manager over sharing back room space. I felt horrible when I calmed down, he’s really a great guy. We were able to smooth things out and both of us apologized. It’s just the tight tight tight spaces that we are forced to work in that causes these short fuses.

F11-20 Day 26- worked 4:39-1:39

S11-21 Day 27- worked 4:35-3:42

S11-22 Day 28- worked 6:14-1:22

M11-23 Day 29- worked 4:34-17:52

T11-24 Day 30- worked 4:35-17:15

W11-25 Day 31- worked 4:36-18:24

F11-27 Day 32- worked 4:35-12:31

S11-28 Day 33- worked 4:37-3:14

M11-30 Day 34- worked 4:36-17:04

T12-1 Day 35- worked 4:36-2:11

W12-2 Day 36- worked 4:34-1:43

F12-4 Day 37- worked 4:36-2:41

S12-5 Day 38- worked 4:37-4:24

S12-6 Day 39- worked 6:32-2:15

M12-7 Day 40- worked 4:35-4:17

W12-9 Day 41- worked 4:37-8:55… Well this evening was kind of a big deal for me… I took all of my associates out to dinner at Beef O’Brady’s. I have 16 employees that work for me. This is the most I’ve ever had. They’re a great group of people and I just wanted to thank them somehow and that’s all I could come up with. We had a total of 17 of us there. Two of my crew couldn’t make it but three of them brought a guest with them. It was enjoyable just socializing and hanging out away from Publix.

F12-11 Day 42- worked 4:37-12:22. Went by store #1421 to see Joe Cowan. Joe basically hired me. He was only a “third man” then, but because his wife knew my sister, he made the decision to hire me. Back then, the store management structure only consisted of a Store Manager, an Assistant Store Manager and a “third man”.

S12-12 Day 43- worked 4:38-3:58. Anthony’s grandmother said the kids in my department like me because I “enter their world”. Great phrase. 🙂

S12-13 Day 44- worked 6:36-5:08. Packed up everything I’m taking from my office. It was only 3 Manila envelopes of paperwork. 35 years comes down to that… Pretty cool… 🙂

M12-14 Day 45- worked 4:37-4:30. Attended my last department managers meeting.

W12-16 Day 46- worked 4:32-2:31

F12-18 Day 47- worked 4:35-1:19

S12-19 Day 48- worked 4:37-2:56

S12-20 Day 49- worked 6:32-5:09

M12-21 Day 50- worked 4:26-16:53

T12-22 Day 51- worked 4:35-17:37

W12-23 Day 52- worked 6:12-18:28

50 (40?) Days of Publix

I got my first iPhone on Thursday September 6, 2007. Having a smartphone was life changing in many ways as I assume it was for most people. Of all the amazing things it allowed me to do, keeping a daily journal ranks near the top. Writing in general is therapeutic for me. My journals over the years have been many things… sometimes just the facts, sometimes whining and moaning and maybe occasionally… worth reading.
I’m not sure where the following ranks… but here it is. I wrote this 6 yrs ago and in it’s entirety it covers about 2 months of my life. Aside from this, I also kept my regular daily journal. I may post that some other time. It paints a bit of a different picture. What you read today (if you decide to) is the first of a 2 parter. The first being WAY longer than the second. Most likely, this isn’t worth your time, but I’m posting it. I’ll be posting part 2 in the next few days perhaps.
One clarification- Publix SuperMarkets, Inc. is an AMAZING company… it is a retail grocery store though. Working retail is simply a chore at times… 35 yrs is a long time. I had great success at Publix and am extremely thankful for all my career provided for me. After reading this, you may find what I just wrote a bit hard to believe. In more ways than one, I was just done!!!

     Well this is gonna be another weird thing I do. I’m starting this 10-17-15. One day before my 35th anniversary with Publix, and on the day that could be my 50 day mark at Publix. Depending on what I find out when I call the retirement department in the first week of November, I believe I have a maximum of 50 days left and a minimum of 40 days… Thus the title of this list. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks. For now I’ll err on the side of the maximum. I plan to log what my days are like… Just general, high level stuff. Not sure exactly what I’ll be writing, but we’ll find out won’t we. 🙂 
     The title of this… The 40 Days of Publix is a play on words of the book written by Rick Warren called The Purpose Driven Life aka The 40 Days of Purpose. The latter title is also the name of a DVD series that churches/people go through to help determine their Godly purpose in life. I’ve read the book and have done the DVD series. Trust me, The 40 Days of Purpose are much more interesting, life changing, etc. than anything I’ll be writing in this 40 days of Publix. 🙂 
 
S10-17 Day 1- sciatic nerve is hurting. 1pm- it’s been somewhat stress free, but I feel I’m understaffed… but that’s the case everyday. Worked 12h 37m.
     Aggravating fiasco with warehouse sending a pallet that wasn’t mine. They can’t seem to figure out on their end what happened yet seem to know that I got product that I wasn’t supposed to. After explaining what product I got… They said they would email me information on what they figured out. They admitted that they were confused on their end, yet wouldn’t listen to a clear simple explanation on my part. This is often status quo when dealing with the warehouse. 

S10-18 Day 2- worked 4:37-17:24 Frustrating start to the day… Sheila got me up at 3:45 and I got dressed and came to work. It was only after I got to work that I realized what the time was. I had not planned to come in until 6:45. Which is the normal time I come to work on Sunday.  So I missed two extra hours of sleep. Grrrr….. You would think that I would have noticed, but I feel I’m just trained to get up and go sometimes without actually thinking or noticing certain things. It’s called being institutionalized I believe. 🙂  Hard to believe, but I’ve never done that (not even one time) in my career. 
     Today is my 35th anniversary with Publix. I always say to Sheila on this day…. It’s either a sign of a great accomplishment or a sign of a wasted life and I’m not quite sure which one it is. 🙂
     It’s 9:06 and I feel annoyed at every part of this job. I could type 20 paragraphs detailing each frustration. Don’t have time to, but some of items on the list are, not nearly enough staff, WAY too much product that the warehouse keeps sending, backroom is entirely too small, and back room and cooler are way overstocked and unorganized due to not having enough people to keep it the way it should be.  
     I could stay a few hours late today and do my best to get it organized, but it would be in the same shape within a day or two. That’s because in the next day or two you will again be understaffed and people won’t have the time to properly organize, account for, properly track the inventory on hand of all the items. You almost NEVER have time to do it the right way. You just do whatever you have time for and deal with things not being done properly. 
     It’s 9:32, and ANOTHER snafu. My assistant made out this weeks schedule and severely undercut me on the hours of help I was supposed to have today. We have fewer hours of help today than any other day this week. EVERY OTHER DAY there are more hours of help than today and today, Sunday, is always the biggest truck and the busiest day of the week. Had to call in an associate for a 5 hour shift and I’m still WAY under scheduled for the day. 
     It’s 12:28 and the last 3 hours or so have been VERY hectic. Hectic to the nth degree!!!!!! A visit from the DM (district manager), two computer issues with employees not being able to sign on properly.  Not to mention the regular business of trying to get the truck worked, plus dealing with A LOT of customers. I did have two enjoyable interactions with two of my regular customers and I thoroughly enjoyed that. I am thankful and appreciative of those moments and I truly know I’ll miss those times. I may even miss some of the busy, angry, hectic, aggravating, frustrating times. We’ll see. 🙂
     It’s 2:53, the past 2 1/2 hrs have been extremely productive. I’m thankful for that.
     The rest of the day was fairly okay. It was a 12h 47m day. 10 minutes longer than yesterday. My first two days back from vacation have equaled 25 1/2 hours. Yikes. Sadly, that’s totally normal for my weekend shifts. 

M10-19 Day 3- worked 9:49-22:27 Beautiful drive to work.  Sunny, a little windy, it was 77° but felt cooler… Top down. Great way to drive to work. 
     Once I got to work…. Busy busy busy first 4 hours. Working on next weeks schedule was frustrating as always. I have to do the schedule every Monday and we have a computer generated scheduling program that started in September of 2014. It’s very challenging to say the least. This is the first time ever that we’ve had a computer tell us how many hours to schedule and how to schedule each day. The parameters that they used to determine this is very vague and completely uninformed. It is what it is though. 
     Meeting from 1:30-3:15. Went back to department and it was in shambles. My assistant had not managed the help very well and we were in horrible shape. I called him up (he had gone home for the day) and expressed my displeasure. He had 11 extra hours of help today than I had yesterday. There was no excuse to be in that bad of shape. I spent from 3:15-8:30 running myself ragged getting the place back in acceptable condition. 
     These type of situations happen time and time again. I’ve been a manager for 21+ years now and my current assistant is the 21st assistant that I’ve had. Only 5 or 6 have been good decent assistants. The rest are average at best and it’s hard to hold them accountable and hard to motivate them. The way the daily operations are set up, there’s never proper time to manage…. It’s learn as you go, do enough to not get fired and God help us all…. Ah yes, the Publix life. 🙂 47 days to go… Maybe only 37… 🙂 12hr 38m day. My first three days back from vacation total 38hr 2m. Just one of the myriad of reasons I can’t wait to retire. 
     On a good note, and I’m really trying to list all the good stuff as well about my daily routines…. I had a great conversation with a regular customer and we both were able to talk about our faith and our love for Jesus. It was comforting to have that conversation. I’ve known him for 5 1/2 years and we’ve talked about numerous subjects but have never shared our faith. It was great learning that we had that in common. 

W10-20 Day 4- worked 4:35-2:20. Fairly smooth day. As always, I’m overly thankful for that. I did have to get involved in a customer slip and fall. This was the 3rd time this customer has fallen in a 5 month period. She has already received $2,500 in settlements from Publix. I was standing right next to her when she fell and it appeared staged for sure. She almost looked as if she was going to sit down but then fell backwards. The type of stuff you deal with when you work retail is quite interesting. 
     I’m writing this part of the entry on Thursday, my day off. I’m at the chiropractor waiting for a treatment. This journal of my final 50 days at Publix has seemed to have turned into a moan and groan type journal. I hadn’t planned for it to be that way. I absolutely experience all the emotions that I’ve talked about the first couple of entries. These feelings have really escalated in the past several years. I wonder sometimes if I’m experiencing anxiety or panic attacks or whatever. I seem to have NO patience in so many situations. I get upset at my own behavior quite often yet struggle to control my actions. 
     It may be that I’m being too critical of myself. Perhaps if I were to poll the 20 or 30 coworkers that I have have the most interaction with, they may say they think I do a great job. I have had people say that I do amazingly well for being someone who’s done what I’ve done for 35 years. I just don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, I’m trying to do the best I can and hopefully that’s appreciated and effective. 
     Anyway, I’m gonna try to not be as whiny and maybe find some better words to describe my daily emotions at work. Aggravated, angry, annoyed, frustrated, overwhelmed, understaffed… All these emotions are totally what I’m feeling and I seem to have no control over them. I wonder if I’m just becoming the angry old man at my job. I hope not. 

F10-23 Day 5- worked 4:37-2:04. Smooth day, got quite a bit accomplished. Wednesday’s and Friday’s are usually smooth days… usually. I’m thankful they both were this week.
     One cool thing, two different people (a vendor and a fellow employee) both made the same types of comment to me today. They did it at different times and neither one knew of the others comments. Essentially, both just said how I always seem to be in a happy mood and how enjoyable I was to deal with. After what I wrote just yesterday, it made me feel good that I was viewed that way. I think overall I am viewed as a nice, positive, easy going guy. It’s just inside at times, and because I’m so critical of myself that I get upset at …. Being upset…. That’s it I guess, I get mad at myself for being mad about how things are…. I think that I think (and write) about things too much. 🙂 Oh well, that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

S10-24 Day 6- worked 4:36-3:31. Yet again, a smooth day. 3 in a row. I’m thankful. I worked hard, I don’t mind doing that, but it was still smooth most of the day. Saturday’s are usually smoother when I work Fridays. Last Saturday was rough due to being my first day back from vacation and not working Friday. 

M10-26 Day 7- worked 4:36-17:31. 13 hour day… Chaotic, hectic, stressful… But I survived…. 43 days to go. Today is day 1 of a 15 day run where I have to work 13 of them. Oh well, this should be the last time in my career that I have to do that. 

T10-27 Day 8- worked 4:37-2:27. Fairly smooth day. 

W10-28 Day 9- worked 4:38-2:44, This was the third morning that I’ve had a beautiful drive to work. Top down, temps in the mid 70’s, and a full moon for the most part. Each day there’s been a thin layer of clouds… Just enough to give the light of the moon something to reflect off… The skies have been gorgeous… I enjoy being out driving at 3 or 4 am. It brings back a lot of good memories. 

T10-29 Day 9.5 🙂 Here’s my journal entry for that day. I was off work, but wanted to share this experience in this journal… 
     T10-29 up at 7:30.  Had a fantastic unplanned experience this morning. I stopped by the PSJ Publix to use the ATM. Found out that a bunch of produce managers were there resetting the department.  I went back to say Hi and had about a 30 minute “shooting the breeze” session with all of them. It was great, we talked about my upcoming retirement. A few people gave me a sincere “Thank you for everything” type of comment. It was just a lot of fun… Hanging out and shooting the breeze with them. It was like an impromptu mini retirement party. The following were the people who were there. Gary Cooper (he was my asst. at one time), Joe Hankins and his wife Flavia (both Produce Managers), Sal and Jordana Orlando (both Produce Managers, brother and sister, and Jordana was my part timer and full timer at one time), Ryan Willis (my PT, FT and Asst. at different points in my career). All of them just real good people.

F10-30 Day 10 worked 4:37-2:41. Smooth enough day. Actually got a lot accomplished.

Explanation

I feel the desire to explain what my plans are as I hesitantly enter the world of blogging. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a post I made in 2011 on blogspot. At that time I had commented on someone’s post and signed up for an account. In the next week or two I wrote a thing called 10 Minutes of Music. I published (posted) that and then never went any further with it.
Two years later I did write a second 10 Minutes… but never posted it. That has been the extent of my blogging. After stumbling on this account I have since checked out WordPress, signed up and published those two articles again in the past week or so.
That brings me to the here and now. I feel led to start posting all kinds of things I’ve written over the years. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be posting and I would guess that nearly no one will be reading them. I have virtually no presence on social media and prefer it that way… yet here I am. I have been on Twitter since October 2010 and have made 1,609 “tweets” (90% probably retweets), 463 “likes” and have posted 44 pics/videos… all of this in 11 yrs. I have 68 followers on Twitter and I’ve never had a Facebook account.
I guess time will tell if I even continue this endeavor… if I do, I assume I’ll be posting all kinds of things I’ve already written. Just copying and pasting them into the WordPress site. I’ve written A LOT of things, just never shared them publicly. The subjects could perhaps include all kinds of life experiences… my daily journals, hiking, running, travel, music, spiritual pursuits, sports, daily habits, grandkids… who knows.
I’ve been “following” different blogs for years and my 3 favorite are as follows…
Jim Bartlett
https://thjkoc.net/about/

Kurt Blumenau
https://neckpickup.wordpress.com/

Wm.
https://musicofmylife.net/

They are certainly better than I at writing/sharing and just being interesting in general. If you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and check out their sites. I’ll close by saying that I’m nervous about sharing these posts. Of my 60 or so followers on Twitter… only 5 or so are people I actually know/talk to on any kind of a regular basis. I can’t imagine there will be any large group of people who read what I write, but any kind of feedback causes me anxiety… yet I believe I’m going to hit “publish” and see what happens.
I also believe I’ll be publishing my first post about my life right after I publish this. I have no idea what the proper word count is for these kinds of things, but I believe some/most of what I read are approx. 500-1,000 words. This is currently at 466 words… seems like a great place to stop. 🙂

10 Minutes of Music #2/11-13-13

10 Minutes of Music – 2/11-13-2013

Today’s 10 minutes of music are three fantastic songs by Bill Withers. Bill is an amazing artist. All three of today’s songs reached the top three on the charts, so they’re probably songs you’re well aware of. I certainly was aware of them, but had not truly realized their greatness until recently. I came across a documentary on TV called “Still Bill”. I highly recommend watching this. It delved into Bill’s career and life and what an interesting man he is. After watching this, I started digging into Bill’s catalog of music. I listened again to these three songs and became a much bigger fan of them than I had been.

Our first song is “Ain’t No Sunshine”, definitely a classic song. It reached number two on the charts in 1971. I’ve always felt it was way too short; I always wanted another 3 or 4 verses. Coming in at 2 minutes and 3 seconds felt like a tease, but was so pure at the same time. Withers has said that he wrote this song after watching “Days of Wine and Roses” with Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon. I’ve never seen the movie but may just have to watch it, now that I know it inspired this song. He said the song just kinda came to him. It starts out very simple, just his voice and light guitar playing. At the 50-second mark, he breaks into a 15 second heartfelt repetition of two simple words repeated 26 times!!!… we all know and sing along when we hear it… “I know, I know, I know, I know…” I’ve always felt this was a great song for a man who’s missing his woman. I think if you really love a woman, and just miss her not being in your home, your life, etc. you can really feel those words…”ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, and this house just ain’t no home…only darkness everyday”… poetry at it’s best…

Incidentally, the “I know, I know…” part was originally not going to be kept in the song…Bill has said that he planned to write something in that part, but was encouraged to keep it just that way. Who advised him to keep it that way? Only such legends as Booker T, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash among others who were all in the studio when this recording was made. Bill has said that he was just a factory worker who was kind of puttering around, and all these guys had such experience and reputations. He said if their advice was to leave it like that, then that’s what he would do. Wise decision.

Next up, another classic “Lean On Me” went to number one on the charts the week of July 8, 1972. I was only 8 years old then, but I listened to the radio constantly and remember this song quite well. It’s such an uplifting, positive, message-type song, filled with hope, played at funerals, parties, wherever a group of people get together and wanna feel a little better about life. The first notes on the organ and piano are instantly recognizable, and then Bill comes in humming the melody. All this sets the rhythm, and starts the song with a whole lot of soul. When Bill’s vocals come in it captures your interest to hear more of what he’s singing, and thus begins a sermon in a song. No preaching, just teaching us that “we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow… Lean on me…”

Twice in the song, there’s the temptation to join in with the artists and attempt to clap along and sing along. For the rhythmically challenged crowd like myself, this can be easier said than done, but still an awful lot of fun. Like “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill has another repetition in this song… done just as well… the last 50 seconds are just Bill and the backup singers repeating “call me, if you ever need a friend, call me, call me, call me, call me…” Comforting words any of us would like to hear from our friends…. Call me if you ever need a friend… Did I mention poetry yet? ☺ Lastly, this song is one of the chart phenomena where the original and the remake by Club Nouveau both hit number one.

We’ll finish today’s music with another great sing along. The song was number one on the charts in 1979. Withers sang lead on this, but it was credited to Grover Washington Jr., a very respected jazz saxophone player and appeared on his album. Withers did not originally write the song, but he was allowed to change the lyrics some. Wither’s friend Ralph McDonald, a writer and producer, and his friend Bill Salter wrote it. This song has it’s own pure poetry with “good things might come to those who wait, but not to those who wait too late.” The song ends with a soothing saxophone solo by Grover Washington Jr.

Today’s music comes in at 10 minutes and 18 seconds; all three songs won Grammy awards, and would be a great way to brighten ten minutes of your day. To expand your knowledge of Withers music, I strongly suggest listening to “Lovely Day” and “Railroad Man”. Two more great examples of Withers “feeling his songs, and putting some funk and soul altogether to make fantastic music”. Turn it up…sing along…take care.

10 Minutes of Music #1/6-30-11

I’ve had this idea for a while now to write short articles on music that comprises roughly ten minutes of time. I am in no way an authority on music, but I know what I like and I like to write about it. I guess I’m somewhat of a fanatic about music, but I’m not a musician. I can barely sing, and can just fiddle around some on the guitar and piano. (Pun intended.)

I’ve got a lot of songs in my iTunes library. Some might say I’ve got quite a narrow range of tastes, while others may think it fairly diverse. I’ve got 10,903 songs in my library. Of these songs, 3634 are country, 2365 are rock and 1219 are soundtrack (TV themes, movie soundtracks, etc.)

My favorite artists are definitely Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Elvis, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and others. Like most people I’m sure, it depends on the day/mood what I like or want to hear that day. The top three artists as far as how many songs I have of each are Willie – 1,112 songs, Cash – 794 songs and Elvis – 481 songs. Lastly, my tastes are definitely drawn to 70’s music. I read somewhere that whatever decade you turned 10 years old in will be your favorite decade of music. This may not be true for all, but it is for me. As far as each decade goes though, I have the following number of songs for each decade in my library…

00’s – 3,071

70’s – 2,262

90’s – 1,747

60’s – 1,496

80’s – 1,447

Now to get on with today’s ten minutes of music. I’ve picked three Willie songs. Willie has had 20 number one songs in his career, according to my research. Two of these songs are number one hits of his and the last could have been. As I’ve said, I’m a huge Willie fan and have been to about 15 or more of his concerts.

We’ll begin with “Angel Flying to Close to the Ground”. This has just about everything that’s great about Willie’s music. The first 16 seconds are just his voice and his guitar that he’s named Trigger. Some may say that Willie’s voice is an acquired taste; Emmy Lou Harris said, “If America had only one voice, it would be Willie’s”. I would agree. Whatever your opinion is on his voice, his guitar playing is phenomenal as far as I’m concerned. Willie wrote this song and it’s symbolic of a lot of his music. At the 1:48 mark in the song he starts a 1 minute 4 second guitar solo that is a masterpiece. His harmonica player Mickey Raphael can be heard playing throughout the song. His style of playing is just about as unmistakable as Willie’s. All in all this is Willie at his best and is exactly 4 ½ minutes of musical mastery

Fred Rose wrote our second song “Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain”. Fred was one of the three charter members of the Country Music Hall of Fame when it opened in 1961. The other two were the legendary Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. Willie’s version is the standard for this song and although he didn’t write, it’s got Willie’s style all over it. Country music historian Bill Malone wrote that this song was (1) “a fine example of clean, uncluttered country music, (with) a spare arrangement that could have come straight out of the 1940’s”. Furthermore, Rolling Stone noted that the song was delivered with his (2) “jazz-style phrasing” and was “the beating heart of Red Headed Stranger”. FYI, this song comes from Willie’s album “The Red Headed Stranger”. “Blue Eyes…” was Willie’s first number one country song as an artist. His first as a songwriter was “Hello Walls”, made famous by Faron Young. Similar to “Angel…” Willie has a 34 second guitar solo in this song that is superb.
Our last song is “Christmas Blues” written by Willie and Booker T Jones. Jones produced this album and played keyboards on this song. I play this song year round simply because it’s a wonderful piece of music. It’s just Willie and “Trigger” and they are both at their best. If you’re bored sometime, check out the story of Willie’s guitar, it’s quite interesting. “Christmas Blues” comes from Willie’s 1979 album “Pretty Paper”. As the last track on the album it soundly hits on the somewhat melancholy feeling most of us get at Christmastime.

These songs add up to 10 minutes and 2 seconds and they’re a great way to spend 10 minutes of your day. It’s not lost on the author of this article that these songs begin with the letters A, B, C and could be a great way to learn the ABC’s of Willie Nelson’s music. There’s a whole lot more of his stuff that I could recommend… but that’s another article for another day. Turn it up… Sing along… Take care…

References

1. ^ Malone, Bill, “The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music” ((booklet included with The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music 8-volume set). Smithsonian Institution, 1981).

2. ^ “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” from the “The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” Rolling Stone, November 2004.