The Road Is Easier To Travel When You Learn How To Drive

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

Well, the weekend is over. I’d ask if you got out and did anything fun, but we all know the answer to that question. Hopefully you still enjoyed some down time. You know, cleaning the house, watching TV, breaking up fights between the kids … I have a feeling when this is all over, nobody will have a problem going back to work. “Overtime? Sure! I’ll do it for free!”

Hopefully you’re able to work anyway, but for most of us that means working in a house full of other people. Conference calls are routinely interrupted by small children, barking dogs, and people walking through the room in varying stages of undress. Let’s just say video conferencing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when the camera is pointed in the wrong direction.


So far, I’ve gotten dressed every single day. Not once have I reported to work in my pajamas. That’s not so much dedication as the fact that our basement gets really cold. The air conditioner is on upstairs, and I’ve got a space heater going downstairs. And I wear shoes because … well, that floor! I’m afraid my socks would stick to it. Maybe it’s time for me to do some cleaning.


I got a little help in that department last week. You know all those images on social media of huge wads of paper towels being pulled from municipal sewers? Well, apparently my neighbors never saw that, because the city had to clean the lines out and guess where it backed up? All around my floor drain, it looked like Main Street after the parade. Try not to visualize.

You know what’s worse than cleaning up you-know-what from the basement floor, ten feet from where you work all day? Not knowing whose it is. And my lower back is so messed up I can’t bend over to pet the dog. I guess I could just sit down on … nope! Not happening! And since nobody else will do it for me, I did the best I could. That’s why God made Clorox.


Okay, enough on that. We’re all trying to deal with some inconveniences right now and figure out a new way of getting through the days. I read an article yesterday that predicted when this is over, we’ll all have to get used to a new “normal.” I don’t think there’s any denying that. The question is, what will that be? And what can we do to be better prepared the next time?

Okay, stockpiling toilet paper still seems to top that list. I can’t imagine what people are doing with it, because after all this time, the stores are still sold out. Well, they’re sold out of the good stuff. It’s easy to see where our priorities lie, because yesterday in Sam’s Club, they had six pallets loaded with their own store brand, and not a single roll of anything else.

But we have preferences. Once our tushie gets used to a certain brand and softness, we don’t want to try anything new. Especially in a 72-roll jumbo pack. What if the good stuff comes in next week? What will you do with all that store-brand paper? Well, I have a feeling teens will have no problem with that one. In a single night, it’ll be all over the police chief’s yard.


I guess what I’m saying is preparation never goes completely to waste. It may not be the answer you’d hoped for, but in a pinch you do what you have to do. In the past two weeks, 10 million people have filed for unemployment. Not because they wanted to, but because they work in an industry where working from home simply isn’t an option. That could be any one of us.


And you know, the next crisis may hit an entirely different segment of the population. Instead of a pandemic, it could be a crash of the nation’s power grid or information network, and those of us who feel pretty secure right now would be scrambling for work. If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that it can happen. And merely surviving isn’t enough. There are still bills to pay.


I was lucky. I had a second source of income – two, in fact – and I have a job that works well with telecommuting. Even still, I know I have to develop those secondary sources of income to the point I could rely on them in a pinch. We all do. And if you don’t have a secondary source of income, what are you waiting for? Another crisis?


Some of us take vitamins every day. We may never know whether they’re making a difference, but we do it anyway. We pay for insurance, hoping we’ll never need it. And, apparently, we stash a lot of toilet paper. But if the money runs out, none of that matters. Extra income is nice to have – until you really need it. Then it’s worth whatever it took to get there.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Find Your Spare Tire Before You Need It

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

Yesterday morning was a jolt to the system. After 12 weeks of being able to start my day at my own pace, I found myself in unfamiliar territory – two rug rats who were a lot more awake than I was, and a tight schedule to get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave for work. Okay, “leaving” means climbing down a flight of stairs to the basement, but it counts.

Abrupt change is a shock to the system, even if it’s something you want. I have to be honest. I wasn’t heartbroken at the prospect of spending a few weeks at home in January. It was a taste of what retirement might be like. The verdict is in – I’ll survive that just fine when the time comes. I never resorted to leather sandals and black knee socks, but the rest felt pretty good.

Still, in the back of my mind, I knew it was temporary. Any time that fact slipped my mind, I had my wife to remind me. Women worry about these things a lot more than men. I knew we’d be okay. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy most of the time. Any time it starts looking empty, I just pour it into a smaller glass. And a shot glass is still technically a glass. I’m just saying.

Thankfully we had some things going on the side before my job went away. Not enough to live on, but every little bit helps. It’s important to have something to fall back on while you still have the ability to stand. Because sooner or later, something will come along and kick your feet out from under you. And trust me, that ground gets a lot harder with age.

When that happens, our first reaction is usually some level of panic. Then we start to think a little more rationally. Finally, creativity slips in and we start looking at things we’d never considered. The only problem is most of those creative ideas require a little time to start generating an income. If only you’d started six months ago. Sound familiar?

And what happens? The crisis ends, and we go right back to what we were doing before. Only this time, it’ll be different. Because we said so, that’s why. And if the same thing happens again, we’ll be a lot better prepared. Only next time, it won’t be the same thing. It’ll be something you’d never anticipated. Like now. Who would’ve ever dreamed of something like this?

Well, you know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s delusional, at best. My street has two ends. They never change. I can drive from one end to the other, and I’ll always end up in the same place. It doesn’t matter how I drive, or what kind of car I use. The destination is always the same. Unless the brakes fail. Then things change real fast.

That doesn’t mean what you were doing before is all wrong. But if what you were doing left you high and dry with nothing but a savings account to fall back on, you may want to consider a different approach moving forward. And the time to get started is now – before the need arises.

Cars have a spare tire you hope you never need, but potholes happen. And when they do, they can literally knock the wind out of your tires. That’s pretty much true with most things in life. Things will never be the same as they were, and they won’t always go the way we’d planned. The question is, do you have a spare?

Dad always used to remind me to check the air in my spare tire. You see, it’s not enough to have something on the back burner, forgotten until the need arises. A spare tire needs an occasional shot of air, fire extinguishers need to be recharged, and fallback sources of income need to be running above idle. At the very least, keep some gas in the tank. Good stuff.

Change affects us all in different ways, and preparation helps to minimize the impact. Hopefully you were ready for this crisis. But could you do it again next year? It could happen. You can save yourself a lot of sleepless nights by finding that spare tire today. Hopefully you’ll never need it. In that case, it’s just money in the bank. And who couldn’t use a little of that?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Not Driving, You’re Just Along For The Ride

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

If you’re among the majority of the nation, your day didn’t start out like last Tuesday. Kids are home from school, parents are working from home (if they’re able to work at all), and all around us the world is slowly grinding to a halt. Hopefully you’ve got enough of the essentials to carry you through for a few days, because your neighbors cleaned the shelves at the store.

There was a story in the news about a guy in Tennessee who rented a truck and bought up every bottle of hand sanitizer he could find. Once the stores were empty, he put the items on Amazon and eBay for as much as 80 times what he paid for them. Both outlets shut him down, and he’s stuck with 17,700 bottles he can’t sell. Now he can’t afford toilet paper. Instant karma.

I normally try to mix in a little humor in my posts, but there’s not a lot to laugh about in this crisis. I read yesterday that up to 80 million jobs will be impacted, and in the coming week as many as 10 million people could be out of work. Never mind the kids whose school year was interrupted, or the high school seniors who may be denied the spectacle of public graduation.

Life, as we know it, has changed. And while we will eventually weather the storm and come out safe on the other end, things we’ve taken for granted have changed forever. At the top of that list is our feeling of security. It’s a reminder that life can come along when we least expect it and change everything in a moment.

The last recession is still a vivid memory. Most of us were impacted by it, and it’s taken the better part of 12 years to recover. Yet, in a matter of days, most of those gains have been wiped out. Hopefully this crisis won’t last so long, but recovery will take time and the landscape will look very different when it’s all over. Where we fit in that landscape may yet be unknown.

When you rely completely on one source of income, your exposure to risk increases exponentially. That’s why I’ve always tried to have a few things I could fall back on. A little here and a little there adds up. When you’re working, it’s extra income. It’s a chance to enjoy some of life’s finer experiences. And if the job ends, it becomes your immediate means of survival.

You never know what may happen to change your situation. Two years ago, I had brain surgery. That could have put me out of commission for good. You could be on your way to work tomorrow and somebody decides to take your lane. It happened to my wife. All manner of things can happen to change life as you know it. The question is, what will you do then?

To the extent that you can rely on yourself for income, and not somebody else, you have a better chance of controlling the outcome of things over which you have little control. I’ve never once fired myself from a job. Have you? If your company closed its doors tomorrow, could you continue making an income on your own? Every little bit helps.

Dig the well before you get thirsty. You’ve read those words before. There are things we can all be doing now that may not make a major difference in the next week or so, and maybe not even for a few months. But they could make all the difference in the world as we move forward and find our new place in life. If you’re out of work already, why not put that time to use?

It’s funny how we scramble to find a quick solution when we need money, yet we’re quick to scoff at anything outside of the traditional 8-5 job. But at a time when so many companies are sending people home, doesn’t a business of your own make that much more sense? The problem isn’t a lack of opportunities. It’s an overabundance of misplaced pride.

If you’re over the age of 30, odds are somebody at some time has offered you the chance to build a home-based business. And, if you’re among more than 99% of the adult population, you turned it down. Granted, owning a business is no guarantee of success. You have to work at it, and you may still struggle. But right now, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to work at?

This crisis will end. And then something else will happen. That’s the reality of life. Handling those ups and downs will depend heavily on the choices you make now – before the need arises. To the extent that you control the variables, you control the results. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and you’ll never have to wonder where you’re headed.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved