Son. Brother. Student. Laborer. Husband. Father. Armed service. DD-214 hon. Cable grunt. Cable demi-god. Husband again. Manager. Vagabond. Manager again. Done with that. Student again. Caregiver. Retired. Still a caregiver. Laborer again too. On call. Right here.
Boomer. Curmudgeon. Blessed. Grateful. Happy.
As you may have gleaned from your perusal of the site, in addition to "aspiring word wrangler", I am currently the lone Maintenance Curmudgeon at the Little Flower Ranch, Waystation & Vortex. I have trained my entire life for this job and, now that I have it, it hurts more than I thought it would. I'm not bragging or complaining. I love it here. Second best job I've ever had.
Like most everyone on this side of the grass, it's been a winding trail through a life jam-packed with choice and consequence. My experiences have been generally positive, with less than fatal outcomes to numerous misadventures, and a wealth, nay, a fortune of good-hearted souls with whom to share this journey. I don't know why I've been favored so, and I don't believe it's a puzzle I have to solve.
I have no enemies. That I know of. Might be a couple blokes I fired during either of those Management phases still hanging on to something. Doubtless, I have been a vexation to so very many individuals over the years. Some more and closer than others. I have nothing against any of them.
The Maintenance Curmudgeon
My job here is adequately challenging. Park Beautification never really sleeps, but I do and there always seems to be more beautification opportunities waiting to greet me when I awake. "Job security", someone said to me in an effort to be vaguely encouraging. Piffle. There is no such thing. If you didn't know that, now you do. But I digress.
I'm also in charge of Perimeter Patrol. I'm training the puppy, Grace, to take over that role and she seems enthusiastic. Her grasp of the boundaries is good and she maintains them with diligence against any perceived threat of intrusion. Our neighbors, visitors, random passers-by, and all birds and rodents are on alert.
Contrary to loose talk around the feed store, Little Flower is not an uncompromising taskmaster, rather it is the simple fact of owning—if anyone truly owns anything—real estate in "the country" that demands a degree of managerial focus difficult for some to appreciate. I have worked with a variety of managers and she is among the toughest I have known. That toughness has allowed us to land in this geographic / energetic sweet-spot and stay long enough for it to enfold us in its unique serenity.
In order to maintain my position and status here, however, I have adopted guidelines to help me through a typical day with minimal disruption to Little Flower's progress through it. Or mine. These New Rules have proven to be practical in almost every application in which I find myself, and I suspect my life would be much more peaceful (as would be the lives of those precious ones around me) if I could just remember to employ them all of the time.
Wouldn't that be nice?
Regardless, here they are:
The New Rules
1 Just agree. No matter what.
2 Answer directly, speak up when necessary, and then shut up.
3 Do not extemporize, claim to know anything, discuss your resume, or offer your opinion. If anyone cares, they'll ask. If not, refer to rule #2.
4 You're not funny. Stop it.
5 All questions are irritating to some degree to some people. Don't be an irritant.
6 Do not ask for help. That's annoying too. Figure it out or move along. Quietly.
7 Speak only in sweet, mild tones regardless what you see, hear, think, or feel.
A couple-three presidents ago, I self-published a first novel, "White Fist & Two Dogs: Breaking Hevn Book One". It was properly awful and I remain alternately embarrassed and astonished by what came out of that experience. Out of me.
The scope and arc of the story was vivid and complex. It still is, and it continues to challenge me to tell what I know. All of that was counter-balanced by the crushing weight of unnecessary set direction, dense descriptions rife with character development notes to self, and an avalanche of busy, super-helpful adjectives and fuckily f#(%!ng adverbs. Pardonay ma mon Français.
That first exercise is no longer available for purchase. If I have done my due diligence, no copies remain in circulation. No need to thank me. I was glad to do it.
The episodic restoration of that first story arc, here on this site, remains true to my original vision with as many novice blunders filtered out as I can realistically hope to recognize. I trust you will find it provocative.