Back to Being Tall

For a few hours yesterday I got to dream about what I’d do if I won the Mega Millions jackpot. It was a nice escape from unemployment blues. At the grocery store where I filled in the numbered dots for my $5 in jackpot tickets, several people bought quick picks in $20, $40 and $100 amounts. Everyone had the fever that’s for sure.

So three lucky winners get to split the record jackpot. Each getting over $200 mil before taxes is a bonanza. One winner bought a quick pick. If I had to do it over, I’d pick my own numbers again. I bought tickets where I picked numbers based on months or days of people important to me, such as myself, my wife, my living dogs, my brother, parents, my deceased dogs. Yep I’m a dog person too.

For me, the message in the aftermath of lotto fever is clear. Time to get back to being tall.

I think I’ll get the ladder out and clean the gutters today.



What I’d do with a half billion dollars

The saying “you gotta enter to win” comes to mind.

Lottery fever is in the news again. Today’s jackpot is in excess of $500 million.

I haven’t bought my ticket yet. I have time yet to decide. I’m unemployed and I have an addictive personality, so I have to guard against extraneous purchases that could snow ball into large sums of money going out and useless slips of paper coming in. So I’m inclined to by-pass the opportunity altogether. The chances of me personally winning anything are slim to none and I need to save my money until my employment returns. Then I can afford to donate to the cause in hopes of landing a big payday and early retirement.

Being unemployed is like early retirement. You do with it what you want. I’ve been out of work for 10 months. In that time I’ve held two volunteer jobs and taken classes to learn how to create web sites. Earlier this month I started my own business to create affordable web sites and marketing for small businesses. I already have two clients. Both of which involve trades for services. Still, it’s work and my outputs are examples I can show to prospective employers. Or maybe I’ll continue to get business and grow my own company into an employer. That would be really cool.

So what do I need a half billion $ for? Peace of mind. Opportunity. Freedom. Cover medical expenses. Vacations.

One thing it doesn’t give me is the sense of self-confidence that comes from hard work and a genuine thank you from the person you deliver the results to.

One the other hand, with a half-billion in my pocket, I’d have all the confidence I needed to transition my early retirement into a full-time vacation.

Yeah, that’s the reason to buy a ticket. Now if only I knew where to buy one and what numbers to pick.


Being Tall Has Advantages

I’m 6’4″ tall and for most of my life I’ve been taller than those around me. My wife is 5’10” so while I still have to gaze downward when we talk, I’m not craning like I do with much shorter people.

My height comes in handy when we’re at the airport. I can look above the crowd and spot her easily. Getting her attention is another matter even when she looks right at me. Closing the distance is easy too because I have such a long stride. She has to take two steps to match every one of mine.

I used to drive an SUV. It had comfortable seating and pretty good leg room and I could climb in and out of it with ease. Then as gas prices soared in 2007 I test drove two smaller vehicles. One was a hybrid. Strictly on economic benefits, the hybrid should have won my purchase dollars. Instead, I opted for fun and bought a Mini Cooper S. It’s red with a white top and I nicknamed it Jelly Bean.

They’re cute cars. I love mine. It’s got that great go-Kart feel when I turn corners and race along S-curves. Acceleration power is awesome by itself plus mine has a Go button that makes the car sprint from a stop. Of course, the Go button uses a lot of fuel so I don’t use it much these days.

At least once a week, I’ll park Jelly Bean in a crowded lot and on getting out of it, I’ll hear someone say. “I can’t believe someone as tall as you are just got out of that tiny car.” They usually have that open-mouthed astonished look on their faces too.

Besides the fun factor, the legroom I get in Jelly Bean is one of the reasons I rationalized the purchase.

My Penny Thimble

I used duct-tape in a new way today. I love that stuff. It’s the best invention ever.

My objective was to repair the cloth drop-down panels in my media room. Each panel rolls up and is secured by a strap. Two strips of prickly velcro are sewn into the fabric near the top of the panel and each strap has the fuzzy velcro side sewn on it.

My first remedy was to apply an extra-strength sticky-backed fuzzy strip on top of the worn fuzzy part that was sewn into the end of the strap. It was a dumb idea but I went with it anyway. To my surprise they extra-strength adhesive worked for about 3 weeks.

Today, I attempted sewing the fuzzy velcro piece to the end of the strap. Threading the needle took more time than I remember it taking when I was younger. But I got through that. Next I attempted to stick the needle through the back of the strap and through the double-layer of fuzzy velcro and nearly punctured my thumb from the heavy resistance.

Just before I decided to give up, I thought of my trusty thimble.  So I returned to the closet and retrieved the stein the held my needle and thread and dumped its contents into my hand. There wasn’t much. Certainly no thimble, but there was a penny.

It’s been a long time since I really looked at a penny. The one I held was dirty and it seemed smaller than I remember. Still, it’s a penny and it has monetary value. And much to my delight, the penny also has functional value as well.

Today my dirty old penny became my new trusty thimble. I stuck it on a piece of duct-tape and wrapped the tape around my thumb so that the penny was on the underside. Then I resumed to stitch the new fuzzy velcro onto the worn fuzzy velcro that was already sewn to the strap. Each time the needle met resistance, I pressed it through with my penny covered thumb. Problem-solved.