This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Many years ago, my first real non bartending job after college was working for Inwood Business Machines in Dallas.  I was an outside rep, hired to sell computers, but spent nearly all my time selling IBM Selectric Typewriters and HP engineering calculators.  But one week, we had the most exciting event, the National Office and Business Convention in Downtown Dallas!  So I showed up at it and lasted nearly a whole 30 minutes before I knew I had to get out of there.  So I asked the gal who was our head of training, Monica,  if she was having a good time, she rolled her eyes, and I pointed out the new Dallas Art Museum was a block or two away so off we went for the afternoon.

The museum sucked, okay.  I have spent a day in the Chicago Art Museum and not seen everything.  But what Dallas had that day was Rodin's Gates of Hell on display.

I probably spent two hours just studying that casting, it was huge and so detailed.  I don't think Monica was that into it, but it was better than a trade show, so she humored me.    The picture doesn't do it justice, the details of people falling into hell has stuck with me for decades.

Okay, how many went to college, undergrad or grad, and have heard the adage that it takes 5 times as much money to get a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer?  Anyone?  Everyone?  I've heard it my whole life.

So why is it that you never see it in action in the business world?  Why do phone, cable, health insurance and other companies bend over backwards to get you to sign up for their service, then jack up rates year after year afterwards?

I use to change my health insurance company every two years, my cell service every two years, because they'd offer new customers steep discounts and hope you are too lazy to bother changing.  Guessed wrong with me.

Met with the apartment complex people the other day.  Same company owns the complex, but they have two new people in position over there who never knew my dad, never knew much about anything.

I asked the guy if they would be interesting in renewing my lease at the same rate, more on that later, and he said he didn't know that prices were going up.  I pointed out that there were two new large apartment complexes in FC, one is just about finished and renting, the other is going to be finished in late summer, plus another two have recently expanded, so there should be more availability and costs should be going down and he replied, no, the way it works is they are raising their monthly rates to match the new places.

I just looked at him and thought, 'you either just admitted to wide spread price fixing in the apartment rental industry or you think I am really stupid'.  If you are going to match a new place with all new appliances, fixtures, and amenities, why the heck would I want to pay the same for a 30 year old building with inefficient heating, drafty windows, etc?  I mean, basically, the guy could have signed me up for another year right then and there.

And I guess it pisses me off because I've written positive internet reviews of this place at least a half dozen times but the new manager doesn't know that.  Some people write bad reviews, very few take time to write a good review, but never piss off the person who writes a good review, it's a guaranteed internet attack just waiting to happen!

Eva Cassidy is playing in the background.  What a singer, what a tragedy, her dying so young.  How she could sing out these songs, knowing what was coming, and not break down is beyond me.  Eva never was famous outside the DC bar circuit until she died, in death, her CD's sold like hot cakes as word of mouth spread.  Girl could sing the blues.

So here is the point.  Let's say my rent is 980 and they are going to raise it to 1010, a 30 buck a month increase.  That's an additional 360 bucks a year in revenue, well, except when I move out, the apartment will sit vacant for awhile.  I've seen some rent new in two or three weeks, I've seen some sit for 3 months in the two years I've been here.  So let's say it sits 1 month.  That is a loss of 980, meaning they will have to rent the apartment for nearly 3 years at 1010 before they recoup the loss.  Even if it sits two weeks, it's a loss the first year.  Add in new painting, carpeting, and cleaning which they legally have to do before a new person moves in and, well, duh.


And if I want to switch to a one bedroom?  It will cost 940 a month, plus a new deposit, a new dog deposit, but they wave the application fee.  Mighty white of you, as Cary Grant once said in Bringing Up Baby.  Because if a person has to go thru all of that, why not just look at what all the competition is offering?  They are designed to drive away customers with this thinking.

Here is my thinking process, I'm open to suggestions.  If I stay here, I have zero moving expenses and pay 980 but can begin bankruptcy proceedings immediately and only probably make 1 or two more months of debt payment.  If I move, I have to wait until July 1st to move, make at least 6 months of debt payment, have all the expenses of moving to a new place while getting feet planted in new job.  So while I might find a one bedroom apartment for 825 - 875 in FC that will take a dog, and that translates into a savings of say 150 a month for easy math, that 1800 will get eaten up by the six months of debt payments, the new deposits, application fees, changing services, truck rental, college students to help me move, etc.

What I can't figure out in all this is where I'm getting the 1400 bucks to hire the attorney, have to figure that one out still.

The point in all of this is not to bitch about my situation some more, but to point out that in todays market, you find lights.  I bought dog food last weekend at Poudre Pet Supplies and wasn't paying close attention apparently and bought the lamb with no grain.  So most of Monday, I lost count on Monday night, all day Tuesday, and twice during the night on Tuesday, the ol' Bosco needed to be walked to have the hershies.  On Wednesday I called the pet food place and asked them if the brand had changed recipes and the girl looked up my history and said, "no, you bought the wrong bag".  Seems dogs that get grains get the poopies if you switch to meat only.  But they took the bag back and gave me the kind I need.  That just bought them a customer for life.  Doesn't cost them squat because the employees get the opened return food for their dogs.  Employees happy, customer delighted.  And it sure is nice to have a dog that wakes you up or lets you know when he is about to blow out back; better than cleaning the carpeting.

Bosco, the semi good dog, though I will never forgive him for chewing two holes in the first quilt my mom made me.  But he was great for my dad after we moved out here and I think he has been great for me too.

Take me back, to the rivers of belief.
Take me back, to the rivers of belief,
My friend.
I look inside my heart.
I look inside my soul.
I promise you,
I will return.

And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal,
Silence covered the sky.

Take me back, to the rivers of belief.
Take me back, to the rivers of belief,
My friend.
I look inside my heart.
I look inside my soul.
I'm reaching out for you,
Let's hope one day.
We'll rest in peace.
On my rivers of belief.