Is “Coffee” Keeping You From Your Dreams?

Good afternoon! I hope your day is going well.

My day already started better than yesterday. Picture yourself at 5 AM, standing in front of the coffee maker, patiently waiting for that first cup, and just as the pot starts to make the familiar sound of water heating to the perfect temperature, the power goes out. What??? Are you kidding me??? Now??? It’s pretty much the way I felt when I had my heart attack, except I wasn’t going through caffeine withdrawal at the time.

Few things can mess up my day faster than missing my morning coffee. And it wasn’t a complete power outage that would resolve itself as soon as the power was restored. This was inside my RV, limited to the outlets along one wall – the wall where the coffee pot is plugged in. I swear I heard God chuckling. “Wanna see something funny? Watch this!”

Worse still, that was also the wall where the appliances plug in. So, not only did I miss my morning coffee, I wasn’t able to make breakfast, either. Yes, I have cereal. I didn’t want cereal. I wanted eggs, and that requires plugging in an electric skillet. You know, in the wall with no power.

Check the circuit breakers, you say? I did. Four times, just in case one was playing possum. I checked the ground-fault plug in the bathroom. I checked the shore power outside. I even fired up the generator, hoping a double-dose of electricity would somehow set things right. Yes, I know better. But desperate times call for irrational measures.

The problem was a breaker on the power inverter. It was nice of the manufacturer to put that in the “owner’s manual.” Okay, it would have been nice if they’d actually written one. They didn’t. And whose idea was it to hide the inverter behind a nondescript panel in an outside compartment where nobody would think to look for it? It was like an Easter egg hunt with NO COFFEE.

I have this image of myself as a carefree spirit who adapts on the fly to whatever is happening at the moment. I guess that’s part of the attraction to RV living. New faces, new places, and new adventures around every bend. As long as those adventures don’t get in the way of my morning routine. There’s plenty of time for that after I’ve had some caffeine.

We all have routines. Some are good, some not so good, and some just are. Regardless, they’re all a part of our day and as much as we’d like to be spontaneous, those routines have a sort of sacred importance. Don’t believe me? Invite my brother to dinner when there’s a ball game on TV. Tell my grandkids we’re out of vitamins. Or ask me to start the day without … well, you know.

Routines are good, to the extent that we know what to expect at a given point in the day. But when we allow those routines to get in the way of other things we want more, they become a liability. Bowling is fun, but is it leading you closer to your dreams or standing in the way? I guess that depends how much you love throwing a 16-pound ball at a rack of wooden pins.

But there are only so many hours in a day, and the question we all have to answer for ourselves is whether we’re spending that time or investing it. And there is no “right” answer, other than how that time fits into our long-term goals. Success doesn’t mean you can never have fun. It just means deciding for yourself what’s more important over the long haul.

If your dream is to become an awesome bowler, there’s your answer. But if there’s something bigger you want out of life, something that will take some time and effort, then you might need to reassess your approach. Besides, if your dream involves extra time and money, you can bowl all you want later.

It’s amazing how many times people have shared a dream, but when you suggest a possible means of achieving that dream, their first response is, “I don’t have time.” Well, we all get the same 168 hours in a week. The majority of that time is consumed with things we have to do. Nothing we can do about that. But it’s how we use those remaining hours that makes the difference.

I doubt your dreams will fall apart if you set aside time for coffee. And I doubt those dreams will fall apart if the coffee maker is broken. But beyond that daily routine, are there things we do just as automatically that really do impact our goals? Spend time or invest it. That’s a choice we all make whether we intend to or not. How important are your dreams? There’s only one way to find out.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Close, But No Cigar!

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, last Thursday my wife and I finally got our first Covid vaccine. Yes, we’re a little late, given our age, but we’re traveling and that adds a bit of complexity. Still, we got it done, without any bad effects, and now I can reassure others that I’ve been vaccinated. Okay, half-vaccinated. We still have another shot to go. But that’s just a formality, right?

Actually, no. It’s not just a formality. It’s an important part of the treatment that more than doubles our immunity to the virus. That doesn’t mean we’ll never get sick. It just means we’re that much less likely to contract the virus and, if we do, it should be somewhat less intense. That’s comforting.

My wife would be the first to say I’m good at getting started, but I tend to fall down before I reach the finish line. Apparently, we don’t entirely agree on the notion of “close enough.” My backyard shed is a perfect example. My grandson and I built it from scratch and it’s beautiful. Well, it will be once I finish installing the trim. C’mon, it’s only been four years!

There’s just that part of my brain that says when something is usable, the pressure is off. I ripped up all the carpet in our house and replaced it with laminate flooring. It looks great! Well, it will once I finish installing the trim. I had to remove the baseboards to get the job done, and half are still missing. C’mon, it’s only been twelve years! Wow, did I say that out loud?

Yesterday we talked about those baby steps, and that any progress toward a goal is something to be celebrated. But we also acknowledged that time is not a completely unlimited resource, and if we hope to accomplish our goal by a certain time, we may need to speed things up a bit. At my age, I need a jet pack.

There are times when “close enough” is truly close enough. The game of horseshoes relies heavily on this concept. Steering a mammoth container ship through the Suez Canal – not so much. That one has to be exact. And they pretty much expect you to finish what you started. You can’t stop halfway through and say, “Yeah, but look how far we got!”

We’d never think of using that on the job. When the boss gives us an assignment, they pretty much expect us to finish it. Trim isn’t optional. And, while they may appreciate the progress we’ve made and how hard we worked to get there, the job still isn’t done. And that’s what they’ll remember when it comes time for our annual review.

So, here’s the question – if you were paying somebody else to accomplish your own personal goals, how long would they be employed if they worked at those goals as hard as you do? That’s a tough one to bite off, because for most of us, the answer is “not long.” But hey, you gave it an honest effort and that’s worth something, right?

Well, it depends. If my goal is to save a million dollars and I only save half that much, that’s pretty respectable. I don’t know of too many people who would hang their head in shame. On the other hand, if I needed the entire million to build my dream house, it’s not going to happen. I can either get back to work or ditch my plans and start over.

Yet, when it comes to our dreams, we allow ourselves a certain amount of leeway for coming up short. “I tried. And in the beginning, I was getting a lot done! But I just wasn’t able to make it happen.” You weren’t able, or you just didn’t follow through? There’s a difference.

Driving through the mountains is rarely up one side and down the other. You reach the top of first hill, only to see six more ahead of you. And there may be a dozen more behind them. Now, if your only goal was to climb one hill, you’re there. Mission accomplished. But if you wanted to reach the other side, you’ve still got some work to do.

That first step is critical, but it’s no more important than every other step along the way. There’s a starting line and a finish line, and you have to cross both before you can take a bow. Sure, goals sometimes change, and that’s okay if your dream has changed. But don’t short-change your dreams because there’s another hill to climb.

Somewhere along that mountain drive, you crest one final hill and see clear sailing ahead. At that point, all those hills behind you are a distant memory. But if you stop too soon, you may never know how close you came. Your dream deserves that extra mile. And you know what? So do you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Thought May Not Always Count, But Baby Steps Do

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

My wife bought some freshly baked muffins a few days ago. According to the label, they were supposed to taste like Raisin Bran. I think they used a little poetic license there, because halfway through I hadn’t found the first raisin. I was just about to complain when I found it. One. It was hiding near the bottom, hoping I’d give up before I got that far.

It reminds me of when my grandson and I tore down my old shed. It was in really bad shape, and a decent puff of wind would have brought it to the ground. Okay, maybe not, because I actually prayed for that to happen. It would have saved a lot of work and, as it turned out, a nasty infection from stepping on a rusty nail.

But as I connected a nylon strap to the inside of the shed with the other end attached to my truck, my neighbor came out and asked what we were doing. “We’re building a new shed!” It felt good saying it. Then I handed my grandson the key and told him to have fun. Ten seconds later, the shed was on the ground. It was a year before the new one took its place.

I heard a story once about a woman who went to her high school reunion and, as others were bragging about their accomplishments, she said, “I’m working on my PhD!” A friend who knew better quietly reminded her that she dropped out of college. She responded, “I’ve thought about going back. It’s called fake it till you make it.”

So, what do these stories have in common? Well, just because the label mentions Raisin Bran, that doesn’t mean they used two scoops. Demolition is the first step in construction, so swinging a sledgehammer still counts. And finally, if you have a vision of something you’re thinking about doing, then technically it’s a work in progress. Right?

Well, let’s throw the first one out, because when I eat Raisin Bran, I expect at least one raisin in every bite. Anything that falls short of that standard is just false advertising. Besides, we bought some lemon-blueberry muffins yesterday and they were the real deal. Strong lemony flavor with fresh blueberries throughout. So, it can be done.

Is tearing something down the same as building something new? Well, that depends where the something new is going to be built. If it’s on the same piece of earth, then yes – you’ve begun the process, and it’s likely you can envision the end result. I know I did. For a whole year. I’m not so sure my neighbors were quite as thrilled.

Is telling people you’re doing something you’re not really doing a lie? Well, maybe. But again, let’s examine intent. Are you thinking seriously about it? Do you have a plan? Have you taken any steps in that direction? If so, it’s not completely untrue. I’m working on becoming a millionaire. I have been for 48 years. These things take time.

But every dollar I save is a dollar closer to my goal. Granted, I may need a few extra years to get there. More like a few extra decades, but you get the idea. If the goal is there and you’re taking steps to achieve that goal – even if it’s just getting up and going to work every day – you’re on a path to success.

Now, how long will it take you to get there? That’s another matter entirely. It’s easy to say I’m on a path to becoming a millionaire, but it’s also likely I won’t live to be 150. So, if I hope to achieve that goal in this lifetime, something has to change. I don’t need to share all those details with everybody, but I do have to acknowledge them myself.

When a lumberjack cuts down a tree, is he clearing the forest or building fine furniture? It all depends on your point of view. But if the tree has to come down first, and then be shipped to a lumber mill, and then to a lumber wholesaler, and then to a lumber store, and then to Joe’s wood shop, it’s all part of the process.

Be proud of the things you’re working to accomplish. Focus on the big picture. Celebrate every step along the way. You may not be there yet, but you’re a step closer and that’s something. Even those obstacles you were destined to face sooner or later are a form of progress, because now they’re behind you.

And if you’re still in the “thinking about it” stage, all it takes is one step to put that dream into motion. Granted, you may have to pick up the pace at some point, but as long as the goal is clear and you’re taking steps in that direction, you’re on the road to success. Throw in a few more raisins, and you’re there!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Working – But Are You Getting Anything Done?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Did you ever hear the story about the magic soup stone? An old woman goes to the door to find a tired traveler offering to share his stone that magically makes soup. All you have to do is put it in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. He’d show her if she’d share the soup with him. It seemed so incredible, she just had to give it a try.

Once the pot began to warm up, he said, “We should add a little salt. Soup needs salt.” So, she did. And pepper. Next, he suggested a few vegetables. You know, just for flavor. She complied and, to her amazement, it began to smell like real soup. Finally, he asked if she had any meat. A soup this good can only be better with a little meat. And he was right. It was awesome.

Of course, the moral of the story is don’t believe everything somebody tells you, and only half of what you see. Yes, the soup started out with a rock and some warm water. But if you put a rock in some warm water and add meat, vegetables, and a few spices, it takes on the flavor and aroma of soup. Then you take the rock out and eat. Voila! Just like magic.

It’s like those diet pills that promise to “melt away the pounds.” Okay, first things first – fat doesn’t melt. Not body fat. It turns into concrete and you have to take it out with a sledgehammer. And after six bottles of those pills, you notice the asterisk next to the weight loss claim … “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!!! I can do that with M&Ms!

How often do we try to accomplish something the easy way, only to find it doesn’t work unless you fall back on the tried & true methods you were trying to avoid in the first place? Or the task itself seems so monumental you never really get started, but realize later you’ve been going through the motions all this time and could have accomplished something worthwhile?

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book for years. Okay, decades. But let’s be honest, that’s a pretty big effort. The thought of putting 50,000 coherent words together on the same topic is daunting, to say the least. First you need a topic. Then you need to figure out an approach and apply your own unique slant. Then you have to actually write it. I need a magic book stone.

But with all these morning posts over the past three years, I’ve written the equivalent of 9 books. Somehow, I found the time to do all that writing and a never-ending supply of things to write about. Okay, if you’ve been reading these posts for three years, you may have a differing opinion.  Still, you get the point. Sometimes it’s not the work as much as the focus.

How many times have you found yourself spinning your wheels, working all day just to stay caught up, when the same amount of effort would have accomplished one of your goals? Or you’ve tried every new gimmick that came along, only to find that none of them work and the same amount of effort would have done the job the old-fashioned way?

My business is a lot like that. It’s simple. Really simple. That’s not to say it’s easy, but it’s nothing that requires any special education or skills. All it takes is to follow instructions – duplicate what others have done. Yet every new person coming in has a “better” way of getting the job done faster. And in all these years, I’ve never seen a one succeed.

We all like to be creative and come up with our own twist on what everybody else is doing. And that’s a good thing, in moderation. Let’s face it, when Thomas Edison got tired of carrying around an oil lamp, our world changed. But in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve seen several attempts at improving on the light bulb. So far, only one has really worked.

It seems like we’ve covered a lot of territory in this post, but is there a point? I think there are a couple. First, nothing is ever quite as easy as it seems. There is no magic soup stone, and success still has to be earned. Also, if we apply a little focus to the work we’re already doing, we can achieve our dreams instead of just working.

Will I get that book finished? Yes. I have no doubt. Will it sell? That’s another story. But anything is possible if we consistently do what needs to be done. There may be easier ways, and some may actually work. But start with what you know works and then experiment from there. You may be surprised what you can accomplish.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Always Get Better With Time

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

When people visit places they’ve never been, there’s usually some unique attraction, something in particular they really want to see or experience. In San Antonio, I wanted to see the Alamo. In New Orleans, it was the river. Okay, and Bourbon Street. You have to do that once, and once was enough. Now that we’re in Arizona, my wife’s greatest ambition is to see a roadrunner.

Yes, we could have done that in just about any zoo, not to mention Saturday morning cartoons. But there’s something about seeing one trotting alongside the road without a care in the world, not even the coyote. Yes, I watched way too much TV as a kid.

I’ve seen roadrunners on previous visits. They’re not like the cartoon. If that’s your only exposure, you’d expect something as big as ostrich and faster than Superman. They’re more like an anorexic chicken with abnormally long legs. Still, fun to watch as a dust devil approaches across the desert. I’ve seen them, too. Just not Taz.

I remember on the drive out here, as we were heading through barren mountains and desert, my wife commented that she didn’t know any place like that really existed. She’s seen mountains before, but they were covered with trees. She’s seen sand, but it was on a beach. And I’m not sure she’s ever seen a real cactus before. Not unless somebody planted it.

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that mean the most. I remember driving through Yellowstone National Park, and an RV passed in the opposite direction. In the windshield, there were three kids sitting on the dash (yes, no seatbelts), their eyes alight with amazement. Right then, I decided I want to do that with my own grandkids someday.

Dreams begin at the most unexpected times. We see or hear something, and it sparks a flame. The more we focus on that experience, the stronger the flame grows. Do it enough, and it becomes a roaring fire. But like a fire, it has to be fed. We can’t just dream of something once and expect it to thrive. We have to keep adding fuel to the fire.

Part of that fuel is easy – imagination and pictures. Put those two together and the dream begins to take on a life of its own. Feed the fire, and it begins to feel real. It’s no longer just something you want to do, but something you can actually see yourself doing. Reach that point, and you’re one plan away from making it happen. All that stands in your way is action.

The problem then becomes, when? You know what you want to accomplish. You can see yourself doing it. You have a plan. You know what needs to be done. But when? A goal is a dream with a plan and an expiration date. Okay, a deadline. If you miss a deadline, you can always try again. Expiration dates are a little more permanent. Especially with yogurt.

And here’s the thing. Expiration dates aren’t always what’s printed on the packaging. Sometimes it comes a lot sooner than it was supposed to. Maybe you left it sitting out too long, or maybe the package wasn’t completely sealed. Next thing you know, you’re hugging the commode. Especially with yogurt.

It’s pretty much the same with our dreams. We always think there’s time, and it’s always after some life-changing event. “After I get a good job.” “After I pay off these student loans.” “After we start a family.” “After the kids are in school.” “After the kids are grown.” “After we pay off the house.” “After I retire.” Have I missed any?

Well, if we’re lucky, we get to make those choices. But life sometimes has plans of its own. One day you’re driving to work with that dream in the back of your mind, and next thing you know a dump truck takes your spot in the road. Or the doctor calls with unwelcome news, or your body just says, “That’s it – we’re old. Fake it all you want, I’m done playing.”

Some plans should be put on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them possible now. Besides age or time or whatever life-changing event you’re waiting on, what else needs to be in place to make your dream come true? Odds are money is part of it. And you can get started on that today. They have these things they call banks, and money has no shelf life.

And if there’s no reason for putting your plans on hold other than some sense of honorable self-deprivation, then make it happen. If you’ll enjoy something when you’re 65, you’ll enjoy it that much more now. You already have the dream. All that stands in your way is action. And unlike time or life’s twists and turns, that’s the one thing you really can control.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are New Habits Covering Up the Good Ones?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’m sitting here reading yesterday’s post, wondering how I went from headwinds and dust storms to income taxes and physical fitness. It was early, okay? Real early. I’m three time zones behind the rest of the folks at work, so I have to start my day while the roosters are still snoring. And that first day was a bear.

There was a time in my life when getting up this early was a roll of the dice where you need double 7s to win. If I had to be at the airport early, I stayed up all night to keep from missing my flight. Oh, I had an alarm clock. But when you’ve lived on an aircraft carrier, you’d be surprised what you can sleep through. General quarters? Call me back in an hour.

It’s been 20 years since I’ve used an alarm clock. That changed when I quit smoking. I guess there’s something to be said for the ability to exchange oxygen. Okay, I know … old people wake up a lot during the night. And when I reach that age, I’ll tell you how it works. For now, let’s just say I can wake up any time I want.

Throughout our lives, habits change. Some change because we made a conscious decision to change, and some just change on their own. Over the years, I’ve become a lot more mellow in traffic. My wife may not completely agree with that assessment, but I rarely flip anybody off these days. I save that for the absolute best of the jackasses. Is it my fault they still drive?

I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to change that. It just happened. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and driving slower. Or maybe it’s because I finally realized I wouldn’t stand a chance in a real fistfight, and some people take this stuff way too seriously. I like to think I’m just learning to enjoy life a little more instead of focusing on the idiots.

Habits change when we stop doing something quite as often. That may start as a conscious decision, but sometimes we just let other things take up that space in our brain. I don’t have to focus on keeping my middle finger down if I simply wave at people instead. The new habit replaces the old with no real input on my part.

That’s good when it comes to habits we need to break. But what about the ones we should continue? You know, like kissing your significant other when you walk in the door. That’s an easy one to overlook, especially when you have a dog that greets you at the door wagging its whole body, just waiting for the chance to lick you in the face. Time to step up your game, dear!

Okay, I just took one for the team, because I’ll pay for that last statement. But you get the point. Sometimes, other things slip in and unintentionally obscure the habits we’ve formed. A good TV series comes on and takes the place of your evening walk. A new hobby gets in the way of your business aspirations. An early bedtime keeps you from reading a book (or writing one).

None of these were intentional decisions to eliminate a particular activity. Something else just came along and took its place. That’s when we need to re-examine our priorities and see how these new habits fit our current needs. And bear in mind, needs change. When you’re hungry, work comes easy. But when that stimulus check hits the bank, it’s just as easy to slack off.

It’s not hard to keep focus when we’re on the job. The boss frowns on watching daytime soaps in the middle of a team meeting. But when it comes to those things we do outside of work, the ones that are fueled by our own goals and dreams, there’s always something else competing for our attention. And that’s how good habits die.

So, take time every now and then to examine your habits. How have they changed over the years, or even since last month? Are the new habits getting you any closer to where you want to be? If so, then keep at it. You’re on the right track. But if other things have slipped in and obscured those habits you need to continue, then make the necessary corrections.

Habits can lead you closer to your dreams or keep you from them. Success is about forming and keeping the right habits, and filtering out anything that doesn’t fit. It’s okay to have a little fun along the way. Just don’t let the wrong habits sneak in and steal your dream. Prioritize. Make it count. You’re spending the time anyway, so why not spend it on something good?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If A Mountain Pops Up, Go Around It

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

One of the pleasures of starting a new job is working through all the computer access issues. “Yeah, we must have missed that one.” After the fifth time, you start to wonder if they wouldn’t be better to just start over. I’m on a first-name basis with half the Help Desk staff, and my access is still hosed up. On a bright note, at least I’m being paid for it.

This isn’t really a “new” job … I’m working for the same company, but as a direct-hire instead of as a contractor. To complicate things further, I previously worked for this company until a little over a year ago, when they eliminated my position. So, now I have at least two, and possibly three, profiles in the system. That’s when it threw a fit. “Good God! One Dave is enough!”

Yesterday I was stressed. Today, it’s comical. And the funny thing is, this company thought they were saving money by eliminating my “unnecessary” position. They sent me home for 2-1/2 months, and then brought me back as a contractor. Now they’re hiring me again. By the time all is said and done, they’d have been money ahead to just pay me for a 10-week vacation.

That’s how it seems to go with “brilliant” ideas. Things look great on paper, but lose their luster when the rubber hits the pavement. Like that time I tossed a firecracker out the back door at Burger King and it landed in a puddle. I picked it up and thought, “We use the microwaves to dry wet money.” I seriously wish I was making this up.

On most jobs, creativity is a valued trait. You know, during the interview. But once you get started, they don’t want a lot of innovative thought. “Just do what we taught you to do, the way we taught you to do it. Don’t get creative!” In the Navy, that wasn’t just a mindset – it was in the regulations. Any deviations had to be approved by COMNAVAIRGOD himself.

I guess I should say I never violated those regulations, but when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and facing the potential grounding of two entire aircraft squadrons, you do what needs to be done. In other words, post a watch on the shop door to let you know if the Lieutenant is coming, then drill a few holes, solder some wires, and make the problem go away.

The trick to something like that is you’d better know exactly what you’re doing, because when you’re talking about launching fully armed fighter planes off the pointy end of the ship, the stakes are pretty high. There is no “close enough.” Especially when you’re 2000 miles from dry land and there’s no place to hide when the you-know-what hits the fan.

Other times, there’s a little more room for error. That doesn’t mean you can just throw caution to the wind, but when you’re not dealing with unexploded ordinance, you have a little more freedom to try something new. In my job, I’ve often told junior employees, “It’s okay – we’re not building bombs.”

Yes, that last sentence just put me on a federal watch list. Oh well, they’re gonna be bored.

But the point is that you weigh the risks of failure with the potential gain. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Somebody calls you out for using too many Oxford commas? Been there. Yet, here I am, still gainfully employed. Go figure.

On the job, the risks may be a little higher than when you’re planting flowers at home. “Who puts petunias with hydrangeas???” But the worst that happens there is you suddenly become the topic of discussion at the next neighborhood meeting. So what?

When we’re working on something for ourselves, we tend to follow the same philosophy from the military which says there are two ways to do anything – the Navy way and the wrong way. If anything stands in the way of doing what we thought we needed to do, we just stand there and keep running into the wall like a Roomba with no reverse button.

But if we take a single ounce of that creative energy that allowed us to come up with a dream in the first place, it’s not hard to figure out a way around obstacles. And every time we do, we become that much more convinced nothing will ever completely stand in our way. Even wet firecrackers.

Half of success is believing you can succeed. The other half is facing obstacles as speed bumps instead of roadblocks. If anything you’ve done has brought you to this point, there’s something else you can do to move beyond. Find what that is, and you open a whole new world of opportunity, putting your dreams that much more within reach.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

A Chill Pill a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

When was the last time you went … literally ANYWHERE … and thought, “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!” Unless you’re going to, like, the Social Security office, it’s not one of those things you’ll ever need to conduct any kind of business. It’s like that worn-out voter registration card that nobody ever asks for. You carry it because it looks important.

Okay, so put yourself five states away from home, and you get offered a new job. Awesome! And then they send you a bunch of paperwork to fill out, just because Best Buy has a sale on printers and the HR rep owns stock. You print the forms (after you spend six hours setting up the new printer), and then panic sets in … “Oh, man! I don’t have my Social Security card!”

Thankfully I had a copy buried in a file in my computer. Not where I would think to look for it, like in my “Employment” folder. No, I was much too sharp to fall for that! I stored it with my Key Lime pound cake recipes. Yes, I have more than one. Don’t judge.

Then I had to get it all witnessed by somebody who could look at my ID cards and verify that they’d seen them. Easy enough, right? Oh, and it couldn’t be my wife. I asked her to sign an ex-girlfriend’s name, but she refused. Sorry, it’s not like we have a lot of friends nearby. And the RV park manager refused. “I’m not getting into any of that!” Dude, it’s an employment form – not weed!

I realized later that I’d made an unfair assumption about him. You know … that he could read. Or maybe he’s just a jerk. You never know. But the bottom line is I had to figure out a way to get that form signed in time to start my new job. I sent it to my daughter. She signed it, I sent it in, and we all lived happily ever after. You know, until at least today. It’s still early.

Through that fiasco, I got a little more frustrated than I should have. Okay, I pitched a fit. It didn’t help that the printer wasn’t cooperating, I was having issues with my work computer, we’re out of ice cream, and the grill wouldn’t light. Can we say “Monday?”

I used to tell my daughters that stress is like a glass of water. When it’s empty, you can fill it halfway with room to spare. Even at the halfway point, you’re not in danger of spilling anything unless you walk like I do. But fill that glass all the way to the top, and all it takes is an obstinate park manager to run it over the top. Thankfully I brought my frustration home – to my wife.

Stress is a silent killer. Medical research suggests that as much as 90% of medical problems requiring treatment by a primary care doctor are stress related. Read that again, because it’s important. Ninety percent. And you know what that means, right? When your kid tells you to take a chill pill, it’s out of love and genuine concern for your long-term health. Right.

Stress is like a swarm of mosquitoes. It’s always there, and given half a chance, it’ll mess up the best of days. You can avoid it, but sooner or later it’ll catch up. And that’s not always a bad thing. A little stress keeps us on our toes and helps keep the adrenaline flowing. But, like that glass of water, it builds up fast. And when it does, something has to give.

To make matters worse, doctors treat a lot of medical conditions brought on by misguided efforts to alleviate stress. Alcoholism, drug use, even some sports injuries, are often the result of stress avoidance. Sports injuries? Absolutely! Some people run to escape stress. I’ve found stress runs a lot faster than I do, so I don’t even try. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

But instead of that evening cocktail, maybe we could go outside and take a walk. Not a brisk cardio walk, but a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Do you have a hobby? How long has it been since you’ve devoted any time to that? How about spending a little time focusing on your dreams? There is no stress in dreams, and if there is, we really need to talk.

The point is, if you give stress half a chance, it’ll wear on your soul and make mountains out of molehills. You can never escape stress, but you can manage it. Even if it’s just a temporary reprieve, that’s usually enough to get you back on track. Like taking a nap. The world and its problems are still there, but a little breather makes them that much easier to face.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Hit That First Bump Fast Enough, and You’ll Sail Right Over the Rest!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

You know how there’s something on your bucket list that you’ve always wanted to do, and when you finally get to do it, it’s almost like waking up on Christmas morning to find out there’s no Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Worse yet, your dream toy is there and it breaks the first time you play it. Oh well, at least you got new socks and underwear.

That pretty much describes my first visit to New Orleans. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for most of my life, and I have to be honest … a little Bourbon Street goes a long way. Thankfully, there’s more to the Big Easy than dive bars and live rodents. We went back a few days ago for a second look. The French Market and Riverwalk was thoroughly enjoyable. And no rats!

One of the things about traveling is that it’s full of surprises, some good and some not so good. Like that first stretch of interstate right after the “Welcome to Texas!” sign. They could have put up a smaller welcome sign and spent a few dollars on one that said, “Speed Limit 65 – Go Ahead – I Dare You!” We left the ground twice. In an RV, no less. Evel Knievel would have been proud.

It would have been really easy to take the next exit and turn around. But then I’d have to go over that same stretch of road again, so that alone made it worth driving the remaining 877 miles to get to the other side. Once we got past the torn-up pavement, the drive was mostly pleasant. In fact, some parts were beautiful. I guess there’s a reason people actually live here.

There are two sides to most things, and if we bail out at the first sign of trouble, we may never see the good parts. Ever met that person who changes jobs every six weeks because they had a bad day at work? “This place sucks! It’s hard work, and these rules are for the birds! I’m not enjoying this one bit!” Um, okay … you think maybe that’s why they call it a “job?”

Every job has its days. Every city has its slums. And every state has highway features that would bring a dirt-bike to its knees. Okay, not every state … so far, just Texas. Still, that’s not all there is to Texas, or New Orleans, or even the world’s worst job. There’s always another side worth exploring. And once you find it, you never really want to leave.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days, or some Texas-sized bumps in the road. That’s all part of it. But when those bumps pop up, you have two choices. Slow down or turn around. Or you can just floor it. If you’re going fast enough, that first bump will launch you over the next two or three. I’m just saying.

It’s the same when we’re chasing a dream. That vision of success is what keeps us moving, but success has to be earned. Entertainers learn this early on – it’s called paying your dues. Granted, success comes a lot easier for some people, and ability is only part of the equation. There’s also hard work, determination, heartache, and a certain amount of luck.

A Roman philosopher once said that luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Opportunity is always there. Preparedness is the part we have to master. Part of that is building the necessary skills. Part is carving out the time to do the work. But the biggest part is the mindset that we won’t let a few bumps in the road turn us around.

When we first got off the highway in New Orleans, it was in a neighborhood the police try to avoid. It would have been really easy to turn around and never go back. We only walked three blocks down Bourbon Street. See one drunk sleeping on the sidewalk, you’ve seen ‘em all. But, after driving all that way to get there, we had to give it one more chance. And I’m glad we did.

As you chase your dreams, life will throw all kinds of obstacles in your way. You may have the perfect plan to get there, but then reality raises its ugly head and reminds you that not everything is fun. There will be parts you absolutely despise. But if the dream is worth having, it’s worth working through those parts. And who knows, you may even come to enjoy them.

Giving up is easy. People do it every day, and very few of them are living their dreams. That’s no mere coincidence. But for those who won’t be denied, who ride over the bumps and keep on going, there’s a reward far greater than any challenge we faced to get there. Keep going. Every obstacle you face brings you one step closer to your dream.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved