Befriending Napolean Hill

What would it feel like to be really wealthy?

A query not about the money exclusively but the lifestyle. The comforts, the security, the liberation from worry, stress, never having enough, the constant struggle to stay afloat, nee survive.

A query much on my mind for various reasons, tops among them my stepmother. She’s rich and in no way ostentatious. In fact, given her life tending to her farm and animals, you’d unlikely suspect her riches.

She’s just off to Europe — for 4 months!! Be assured that she’s not hoofin’ & backpackin’ it. Not at 69-ish!

I’m thrilled for her. And share her love of travel. Therein lies my envy. That she can pick up and go and (a) have a home to return to and (b) plentiful money still in the bank — my dream life!

At 61, I’m really contemplating how to make this last leg of life — well, to be blunt — fucking way better than legs preceding.

Enter Napolean Hill. Author of “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937. Fascinating story and man. Tome’s considered not merely groundbreaking but THE Go-To book on creating wealth and abundant living.

I’m so ready to learn what Hill has to teach!

Downloaded the ebook (for free!), read the intro late last night. Today I’ll begin Chapter 1. My goal’s to read slowly, mindfully, shift my consciousness to wealth and abundance (and away from what I was given (and not) growing up).

I’m a Napolean Hill initiate.

Ready, eager and willing to transcend impoverishment for better. Even if I can’t yet visualize what a wealthy, comfortable and secure life would look like to me, I’m game to start that journey.

Speaking of which, safe and amazing travels to my stepmothers over the next 4 months!

As she begins her particular journey, so do I.

 

 

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Craigslist: A mirror of humanity

One of the toughest, smarmy-ist gigs on the planet is craigslist.

Craigshitlist as I sometimes call it but that’s neither here nor there today.

I’m selling some items before a move. Quality items, well cared for like everything I own, and worth some bucks. A few have sold for pennies on their values; others have gotten no nibbles despite practically giving ’em away. So discouraging.

Anyhow, to the story.

I had this router. A Belkin. Mint condition. Original box even! A few years old but still perfectly useable.

I posted it for $5.

No nibbles.

So I posted it in the Free section.

Then I got a bite. Only then did I get a bite. Guy named Mark.

Then I had second thoughts. That in efforts to clear out, I’d been hasty in marking it from $5 to free. And I had.

I reposted at $5.

I so informed Mark.

Then he revealed himself. Wasn’t what he wrote or the way he wrote it. Was perfectly concise.

It was his message between the lines.

He wouldn’t pay (even) 5 bucks for it but would happily take it when it’s free.

That turned me off completely. Ticked me off.

I pictured him taking it then turning around and selling it for some bucks on ebay or wherever. No verifiable evidence but a hunch.

Turns out it didn’t sell for even 5 bucks.

Rather than give it to that guy, I donated it to Best Buy’s recycling, mint condition, cables ‘n’ all!

As for Mark, I simply let him know the router was gone. End of story.

Though not really. The experience reminded that some, many, people want something for free.

They’re unwilling to contribute even a penny. Or appreciate a fantastic bargain when presented.

I hate those people. Probably ’cause I’ve had to work so damn hard and earn everything, beginning with my breath in infancy. Whether I have is debatable.

I’ve NO concept whatsoever of entitlement, deservingness or receiving anything for free. Quite the contrary. Material for therapy.

Sooooo, story short, Best Buy got my router and Mark the Taker got zip. Despite logic, and a perfectly fine email exchange. My gut said otherwise and I went with it.

No second thoughts no regrets — save for a world of Takers.

“There are two types of people,” commented my dad when I was like 12. “Givers and Takers.”

Whooooooooo-hoooo was — is — he right! Proven right by life. That’s all today.

 

 

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.

I hang out in a very cool cafe. It’s eclectic without being pretentious. Cool without trying to be cool. It’s Berkeley circa 1973 meets Arizona Real.

Plus best Americanos in town hand’s down!

A post-worthy as the cafe is, it’s not today’s subject — but rather a moment in that cafe.

As I settle at my little round table, this captures my attention.

cafe1

Notice the guy in the white hat.

He’s reading a book. Intensely, focused.

Not a computer screen. A book!

As a lifelong reader of books — books of actual papers, inks and spines, not cyberspace — I’m both joyful and saddened by societal shifts in literacy when I see someone reading a book.

I could’ve left the moment — worthy unto itself — there.

But extraordinarily curious minds need to know, explore, learn learn learn for life!

I certainly did not want to interrupt or interfere with this fine moment.

I know how I get when I’m reading and writing. I’ve always said that bombs could be going off around me and I’d continue reading and writing. I’m that focused. That AT ONE with words.

What IS that older gentleman, 50-ish, in the hat reading? He hasn’t moved or even looked up in a good 30 minutes.

A kindred spirit. I am in love!!!

True, he’s reading not from the big thick book, rather a second thin paperback, and scribbling notes. Perhaps he’s taking a class.

To satisfy insatiable curiosity, I employ my phone camera’s zoom.

cafe2

Ah ha!

Heavy stuff, Goethe. Prolific prolific & creative thinking human being …

A jump onto Amazon for a better look:

Goethebook

Excerpt: “Rüdiger Safranski’s Goethe: Life as a Work of Art is the first definitive biography in a generation to tell the larger-than-life story of the writer considered to be the Shakespeare of German literature.”

Reckon there ain’t a single American under age 30, perhaps 40, with rare exceptions of students and individuals of arts, writing and culture, who’s even heard of Goethe, never mind read him.

As we speak, the guy in the white hat is reading from that book. Thick too! — about 3-4 inches. He appears to be on … about page 15. Work’s cut out for him!

Praise and glory to all who read books.

A beautiful moment at the cool cafe indeed.

Only fitting that the headline bears his words …

 

I can see clearly now.

Or can’t.

Forced by necessity and years, I finally got new glasses.

My prescription is strong and I wear progressives. Particularly with progressives, which can be tricky, a correct prescription is imperative.

As I’ve done for years, I went to Costco. Starting with the optometrist, an independent contractor.

It started quite badly with his associate, whose very unprofessional behaviors I reported to the main man — who to help rectify the matter conducted another exam.

The new specs and (prescription) sunglasses arrived. I was so excited! I very rarely get new glasses, partly due to cost. I pay entirely out of pocket.

 

The fittings — ever tricky since I feel EVERYTHING down to the minute detail — went extraordinarily well. Certain individuals just have the right touch in adjusting frames. Getting that person makes all the difference!

Left the vision department to stroll through Costco. Within 2 minutes, I knew the brand-new specs weren’t right. By the blur cast upon everything to the right.

As the day wore on, I put both my daily-wear glasses and sunglasses to the test. Each, in their own ways, worsened my vision!

Example: License plates I could read with my old pair were illegible, blurry. With the old ones, I could make out a place maybe 20 feet back. The fresh pair, I need to be feet away from the car’s tail.

Ditto with road signs and streets that I could read with my old pair are now blurred, illegible. I need to be right under ’em before they clarify.

The pervasive blur makes me feel very unsafe on the road. And if you knew me, you’d know that I feel and practice an ENORMOUS and passionate sense of responsibility on the road. For the lives and vehicles of ALL as well my my own.

(To all you texters and phone users, fuck you. Go have your distracted-driving accidents with your own kind and leave us good drivers alone and alive.)

Back to the new specs. It’s like looking through the worldly window wetted with rain.

Is the problem the prescription? The lab’s crafting? Or some of each?

When my 3.5-year-old glasses markedly better correct my vision than new specs, something is wrong. CLEARLY. (ha)

Whatever the source, I’ve now got a big problem.

I hate having to put Costco (and/or the optometrist) into the position of potentially redoing not one but TWO pairs of expensive progressives.

But is it fair that I bear the cost of specs that worsen rather than help my eyesight? Specs that I won’t wear because the old ones offer better correction?

Perhaps I’ll go back to the old prescription, tweaking though it needs. It’s a costly problem, terribly unfortunate.

And while I struggle to absorb the burden rather than place it upon Costco and/or the optometrist, I can’t overlook one fundamental fact: It is my eyesight. It needs correction on and off the road, at all times every day except when sleeping.

I can see clearly now … a consult with Costco is in my future.

 

 

 

Real estaters: Driven by dollars not decency

Real estate agents are a special breed. They don’t give a flying fuck about renters in homes for sale.

They view occupants as interferences … obstacles … blockades to be shoved aside in pursuit of a sale and money.

I know. I’ve been a renter in a home for sale for 10 months

Ohhh the stories that’ve accumulated. The light that’s been shone unto that special breed  called real estate agents!

Selling a home that’s occupied by a tenant, rather than homeowner, is complicated — by legalities, for starters. Advance notice to the tenant, for starters. It’s 24 hours in some states, 48 hours in others.

In mine, it’s 48 hours. That legality was the first to go.

Once I got as much as 10 minutes’ notice by text, today’s norm of advance notice.

I was sick in bed. The owner, a good guy, didn’t know that. Had he, wouldn’t have changed a thing. I still would’ve been expected to get up and out. Agents and potential buyers trump all else.

I obliged. Peeled myself off the mattress, vacated the house. Doubt I even got outta my PJ’s, then when they’d gone it was back to bed.

Then the timeS when agents and their clients came early. That’s as rude as not showing up at all.

Once they arrrived 15-20 minutes early. I’d JUST stepped outta the shower. A few minutes earlier and I’d-a been buck naked when they let themselves in.

So. Not. Right.

Then there’s the no-shows — about 60%.

Because of a very steep driveway. One look from the car and they’d keep on driving. I was sickened but not surprised about how many people won’t even look at a house — a gorgeous one in this case — based on a driveway. Lazy American asses.

Most memorable no-show is the real estate agent who arranged a viewing for a client who is handicapped.

NO FUCKING WAY could this potential buyer negotiate that steep driveway! It was offputting to even normally-functioning people!

Yet the agent scheduled a viewing anyways.

So I set my alarm early, rearranged my morning accordingly.

Buyer takes one look at the driveway from the car window, say no way — JUSTLY SO. Then off they continue.

What the HELL was that agent thinking?

That’s the point — and what I observed time after time after time these past 10 months. Real estaters giving NO thought to the situation or tenant. No reasoning. No intelligence. No common sense whatsoever.

It’s about the buck.

My stories fill page after page. The stack of business cards left by agents stands yey high {1″}.

The number of people who have and haven’t traipsed through the house (due to the driveway) boggles the mind.

The streaming disruptions, intrusions and impositions through the space in which I reside have taken a toll.

As true and tiring that be, the kicker, the illuminating gut punch, is bad behaviors, unthinking behaviors, downright stupid behaviors,  the bulldozing behaviors by agents.

I’ve never encountered a constant stream of people not give a shit about a tenant. Run roughshod, ignore, disregard and disrespect not merely legal tenant rights but their basic existence.

I should apologize to agents for living, for breathing. Clearly that I exist has been their problem obstacle interference inconvenience.

Real estaters are a special breed for sure. They’re driven by dollar signs not decency.

I’m glad, I guess, to have been on this side of selling a home (that’s not mine, I rent). It’s been illuminating and educational. Would never wanna go through this again. Still, ultimately any learning experience, no matter its pain, stressors and challenges, has value.

I am ready to move on. Literally. ‘Til that day fast approaching, now that the house MAY finally sold, toodles for now.

There’s an alarm clock. Then there’s sheer alarm.

Some days are best begun with a coffee — and a cocktail.

Like today.

An unknown man barged into my room about 8:30 this morning. I was dead asleep — finally! — after insomnia.

Room’s pitch-black.

Suddenly my door swings open. I jolt awake. Through sleepy hazy head and eyes make out a figure lit from behind by daylight. Male, strapping, tall, a beard.

“I didn’t know anyone was home,” he says.

“I am.” {alone in the house}

“I’m the termite inspector,” he says.

“Oh,” I mumble, relieved. Fumble for my phone. 8:40 a.m.

“I was told you were coming between 10 and noon.”

“I came early.”

“I can see that” — I say to myself.

“Do you need to get in here?” I ask.

“No. I’ve already done the inspections outside.”

Great. He shuts my door and leaves.

In short, I was given wrong information due to a communication breakdown between realtor and various inspectors and landlord.

Realtors treat renters in homes for sale like we’re an obstacle. A problem. A person to be disregarded, shoved aside, a nuisance, rendered invisible in the pursuit of a sale and payout.

Oh have I got stories from 9 months of a house for sale.

Point is: NO WOMAN LIKES BEING AWAKENED BY A STRANGE MAN STANDING AT THE THRESHOLD OF THE BEDROOM DOOR.

Instinct prevails. Senses of safety, threat, danger, survival.

Females are vulnerable in ways that males aren’t. All these raw biologically-wired neurons fire in a split second upon perceived or impending threat.

They skyrocket when moving from state of deep sleep into abrupt awake.

Leslie the realtor, as source of failed communication, bears full responsibility for this scenario. A female no less! You’d think she’d know better. But then, her eye’s on dollar signs.

So I had my morning coffee.

Followed by a rye whiskey with (diet) soda.

Because a big strange man suddenly opening my bedroom door  while I’m sleeping is instinctually and deeply unsettling.

There’s an alarm clock. Then there’s sheer alarm.

This one is on you, Leslie.

The cocktail is on me.

 

.

 

 

 

Where there’s smoke, there’s me?!

To my sensibilities, ain’t nuthin’ better than an icy drink and a smoke outdoors on a warm evening.

One thing that people are consistently surprised by through the decades is hearing I smoke. Except I don’t. Well, sort of.

I’m a natural smoker.

Meaning: there’s no addiction whatsoever. Most of the year, I don’t think about tobacco. Don’t have any. Don’t want or need any. Don’t miss it. Especially in winter. My body’s immunity says “eh-eh. No.”

Come summer, health turns robust. Thoughts turn to hanging outdoors during warm evenings … frosty beer or cocktail. Were I in the South, I’d be swinging in that proverbial porch swing with a mint julep in one hand, a smoke in the other.

Here’s the deal. I love to roll my own with the 100% tobacco. The prepackaged stuff is shit. Full of chemicals that’ll kill ya.

And I’ve bought those bags of 100% natural tobacco and rolling papers.

Problem is,  I live in Arizona. Dry dry dry! That bagged loose tobacco gets REAL dry and REAL unrollable REAL fast!

And since when I smoke, I generally want only one or two, the bagged tobacco gets bone-dry bad so fast that it gets tossed. 😦

Forcing a compromise.

I buy Smokin’ Joes. They’re cheap — at least lots cheaper than the known brands, including American Spirit — and a pack’ll survive the heat and last through my slow smoking pace.

Bought a new pack today. Been out on the porch a coupla hours. Two-and-a-half smokes in and I’m satisfied.

That speaks to this lovely evening. About 75 degrees at 9 at night. Second White Claw (low-carb) beer to my left. Bowl-turned-ashtray to my right. Butt seated on front-porch wooden planks. Sprinkler dousing a small lawn thirsting for water in the drought. Crickets chirping. Alone.

It gets no better than this! In fact, this scene makes my Top 5 List of Ways I’d Like to Die. I won’t reveal what my Top Choice is.

But a satisfying smoke or two and chilled drink and cricket song on a front porch on a warm peaceful night … I ain’t got nuthin’ to bitch about.

Can’t predict the next hankering for that smoke. Only that it’ll be at the right time, in the right place and satisfying as all get out. Keepin’ it pleasurable. Keepin’ it real.