Saturday, June 8, 2019

Goodbye, Junk. Hello, Joy!

Yesterday, June 7, my husband and I had two people, a man and a woman, do several hours of garden clean-up for us, mainly dealing with the big, longstanding mess behind the two giant evergreens that are at the far end of our back yard. They raked up two truckloads of pine needles and pine cones and carried away lots of junk: old boards, an old hose, some broken concrete, scrap metal, and more. The man got only $9 for the scrap metal, but at least it will be recycled, not junked.

This is a mess that has plagued us for years, and it's stuff that we really can't deal with, meaning that the work would be too much for us physically. So we are thrilled to have the help. They each charge $25 per hour -- not bad at all for such hard work. And we would have had no idea how to get rid of the pine needles. I don’t know what the man did with them, but they are gone, as is the other stuff. 

There are still three piles of pine needles and branches to be carted off, as well as the broken-up concrete. Once that job is totally done, plus some major bush-trimming elsewhere in the yard, the woman of the pair will also do some weeding and flower-planting for us. So we expect our whole yard to look way, way better in another week or two. Looking at the impressive results so far and pondering what is to come, I feel a wonderful combination of relief and joy.

Last night, I wrote notes about all this to various family members and friends. One person commented, “Decluttering has such lovely mental benefits.” Indeed it does. Whenever I manage to collect even a single paper bag of things to give away to a nearby thrift shop, I feel relief and satisfaction when the truck driver comes and picks up the stuff. Thereafter, both the house and I feel lighter, happier.

I hope that our lovely big trees feel lighter and happier, too. I hope that having all that junk and all those pine needles gone will let them breathe more easily and let more of our too-scarce rain get to their roots. I imagine that if they could say “Thank you,” they would. I can hardly say it enough to these two energetic helpers.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

“David Liberation Day” #10–May 19, 2019

It's hard to believe that 10 whole years have passed since the fateful morning of May 19, 2009. I was in the college library where I tutored languages when my husband called to say that he and almost all the others in his largish group of tech writers had been laid off with no warning. What a shock!

It was not the first time David had been laid off, but he was 65 years old at the time, and it was the height of the Great Recession, so he had little hope of finding another full-time job. Nor was he able to do so. Thus, before too long, he gave up looking for another job and simply started taking Social Security. He had hoped to work until age 70, but the economy had other ideas.

At the time, we had no idea that 10 years later, we would have such a thriving business: DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, with over 70 books by other authors put out so far, and with half a dozen or so new ones in the pipeline right now. Our website is here: 

Just to clarify for everyone: While our total present income does not equal what David earned by himself back then as a Senior Tech Writer for a large company, we are doing pretty well here in our mid-70s. We have the editing business, Social Security for both of us, and my modest but steady income from teaching weight training classes (which I’ve done since 1976) and from teaching several languages (which I’ve done since 1988). Every bit of all that work is done here at home.

We have two paid-off cars and a paid-off house, which we bought in 1971. We have no debts and no dependents. We both enjoy pretty good health. So we are much better off than many in our age group, and we're very happy with our present lifestyle.

We've been married for 51 years, since April 9, 1968. We LOVE being together almost all the time and working here at home. I especially like sharing the editing business with David, given that our working lives were so entirely separate before 2009. Yes, as David noted in his humorous Facebook post today, various joints hurt, and we do have a few other health problems, but overall, we are way better off than many others in their 70s.

The bottom line is: Never assume that your working life is over or that you will remain mired in  misery and worry because you got laid off.  You can never know just what the future will hold. And hurray for self-employment. No one can lay you off from that!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

In Praise of Good Men

On 3/8/19 at Costco, the nice 40-ish man at the door when we were exiting wished me Happy International Women's Day. I smiled, pointed to David, and said that every day is a good day married to him, and that we have been married for almost 51 years (as of April 9). He said, "Wow, that's longer than I've been alive!" He and another, somewhat older man who overheard me seemed delighted with what I’d said.

But I take every chance I can to boost good men. Men get put down by women way too much and way too often these days, and so I wish to defend them as much as I can. The vast majority of men I have known have been good, kind, responsible, hardworking people, and all my current female students have been married for decades to good, loving men as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Three-fold Progress in the House

(This is from a letter I sent to friends on January 8, 2019.)

Clutter-clearing progress:  Today we gave away three more boxes of old VCR tapes, a bag of clothes plus a couple of books, and an old bathroom scale that we no longer use. I hope they’ll find good new homes. Two of the items of clothing are very pretty, velour, long-sleeved tops, barely worn. One is bright red and one is black. They simply didn’t fit me quite right. Some lucky woman should be delighted with them if they fit her better. 

For the extra bedroom, we recently purchased two white bedside tables, the kind with a drawer and a lower shelf. David got them set up the other day. They look great, and were a real bargain for about $35 each. It’s nice to have a matched set, and they harmonize well with the chest of drawers, the two bookcases, the blinds, and the two lampshades, which are all white. Now to attack the mess in the closet! Step by step…

I read an interesting tip. It said to use the last 15 minutes of every working day – which would be from 9:45 to 10:00 p.m. in my case – for tidying up. I’ve been trying to do that, and am currently using the time to deal with the paper chaos on my large, office-style desk. At this point, still, only a few square inches of the surface are visible, but it’s improving. The stacks of paper are losing height. I anticipate at least another two hours of work on just this task. Wish me luck!