Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall Back to Spring Ahead

Apparently, Fall has come to much of the country- when the air turns crisp, the leaves change color and fall to the ground, and sports kicks into high gear. Did you see that final World Series Game?  Exciting to say the least!  Unfortunately, that's just not out here on the left coast, where my Padres barely made it to September, much less October, the Chargers are mired in last place, and as far as the weather turning? We're having one hell of an Indian Summer and it's November!  I haven't been able to turn off my A/C off for more than a day since May. Even if the temperature does drop into the low 70's- sort of my comfort zone sweet spot- the humidity this year has been consistently high for us West-Coast wimps, and it doesn't seem to want to let up.  So, the higher-than-normal power bills will remain for a while longer, at least according to the Weather  Readers  here  in  San  Diego.  Thankfully I have solar, and a large screen UHD TV.

Uh oh, I'm talking about the weather.  Does that mean I have nothing to write about this week?  Oh no, I'm far too opinionated to let that happen.  My inspiration for today's post came from both the seasonal clock shift, which I completely forgot, and from something I heard in Church this weekend about being grateful.


I haven't forgotten to shift my clocks back in years, but it really wouldn't have mattered.  I'm not much of a sleeper so I woke up at the same time as I usually do, and my clock didn't seem to care that I neglected it overnight.  I get up at around 0600 for work, and I'm rarely able to sleep longer than that, even on the weekend- either my bladder or my internal clock won't let me.  If nature calls and I have to get up, my brain starts thinking about my day and there's no going back to sleep.  So while I feel like I robbed myself of an extra hour of sleep, I can actually blame it on my brain for kicking into gear and starting the day without me.
Fall-Back works well as an analogy for what my Priest discussed during Mass.  He told a story of how when he was a kid, that while they weren't necessarily well off, feeding and clothing 8 kids would probably be a challenge for any family at times, he never knew otherwise. His parents always had food on the table and plenty of clothes to wear.  He said that sometimes dinner was Chili and Rice, which was filling and tasty, but a relatively inexpensive meal to put on the table, and they never went hungry.  It wasn't until he was 10 when they moved to San Diego and a neighbor kid asked to look in their closet.  He thought it was strange, but wanting to make friends, he said ok.  The kid looked at the labels and smugly stated that they didn't have any London Fog clothing.  He told his mother what had happened, asking why his labels didn't say London Fog.  She fixed the situation by promptly marching upstairs with a pair of scissors, cutting out the labels from all their clothes.  She forever left him with the realization that what they had was a closet full of clothes, and the labels on them didn't matter at all.

He said he would often remember that point when it came to wanting things in life.  As long as he was fed, clothed, housed, he had what he needed.  Anything else was nice, but it was extra, and not necessarily something one had to have.  It wasn't like he and his siblings never got anything they wanted, but he understood the value of what was important and he admired his folks for teaching him an important lesson at an early age.   Falling back on that memory helped him move ahead in life, focusing on what was important and not worrying about what others thought or said.

I took that lesson home and wondered if I my own kids had that lesson learned.  While they want for nothing, they have to pay for most things they want, earning money to get it.  Clothing is never an issue since my son could care less what he wears, and my daughter would prefer to pick through the rack at the Salvation Army for eclectic pieces that she can pair with other items, or cut up to make her own. Dinner is always served, and if they don't like it, they are welcome to go hungry, not allowed to eat until breakfast if they choose not to eat the meal provided.  That's pretty rare and hasn't happened in years though.  We don't go nuts at Christmas because we try to focus on keeping Christ in that Holiday, but they also don't get stiffed either.  I think my wife and I have tried to instill the fact that having what you need is one thing, but you have to work to get what you want.

When I retired from the Navy and hadn't yet taken my current job, I was worried about paying our bills once the paycheck stopped.  My wife help me realize however that we could always fall back on the basics- food and shelter- (and our savings) the rest was extra.  If needed, we could dump cable, eating out, smart-phones, entertainment, karate lessons, and the rest of what we think we need, but are really just superfluous extras.  It turns out none of those were required, but I figured out that I could go over a year without a job if it was really necessary- falling back on the basics.

The Spring Ahead point comes from my sister.  After her divorce, she was a single mom of two young boys, living in some government assisted housing.  While she needed to live there for a time, she hated her neighbors, who just wanted to live off the government assistance, even having more children out of wedlock, just to get more money.  She worked hard to get out of there, away from them, and while she was grateful for the help, and she never wanted to need help again, setting a good example for her boys.

While my Priest's homily asked us to trust in the Lord and realize the gifts we have in front of us, I couldn't help but think of our completely out-of-whack entitlement-driven society.  When I hear about how a former classmate of my son- a 21 year old man with severe Cerebral Palsy was rejected for Social Security Disability Income I get angry.  The rejection was due to the massively complex application process which is set up to try and eliminate the massive fraud inherent in the system.  After many months, he was able to secure a hearing on his case and within seconds of entering the courtroom, the judge saw him and immediately approved the paperwork.  He said he wanted to chastise someone responsible, but he could only rant at "the system."

I'm all for people getting some help.  Our welfare systems are there to help give people a hand up, but I know some folks who are out of work and a couple of them admitted to me at one point that they would lose money if they went back to work.  The system is set up to help, but if the difference between working and not working isn't far enough apart, the incentive to work for something better is lost.  Did you watch any of the Democratic debate?  It was all "Free college, free healthcare, a national minimum wage of $15/hr, income inequality, evil rich white people, etc. And not a thing about how to fix some of the real problems we have in this country.

Middle Class! Inequality! Greed! Middle Class! Inequality! Greed! I can’t really blame them for shouting socialist catchwords all night. This is what their voters desire. They don’t desire capitalism, because capitalism means opportunity and freedom, and opportunity and freedom mean hard work. Economic freedom is so unpopular among liberals that Bernie Sanders openly disavowed it to the sound of roaring applause. Clinton was hesitant (for now) to fully label herself a socialist, so instead she said she’s a sorta-capitalist who thinks “capitalism has to be saved from itself.” This is another way of calling American people children who need to be rescued by benevolent bureaucrats, but that’s OK because Democrat voters fervently wish to be treated like children. They want their own failures and struggles in life to be the fault of “the rich” and they want a president who will magically make it better.                                                                          Matt Walsh Blog Oct 14th 2015

When our society cares more about what they can get, how unfair it is that others have what they want, and not what they can do to help themselves achieve their wants and goals, I can't help but think we're on a path to failure as a country.  It's not enough to have the basics, they want the extras, but they don't want to work for it.  They, and I admit it's not every person on the left or those receiving benefits, don't see that a little hard work will get them where they want to be.  That they should be grateful for what they have and that the basics are all that might be guaranteed.  Being given more than that just makes one lazy and entitled, and then there's no springing ahead- just more falling back.

Although, falling back is ok, as long as you fall far enough back onto the only basic we really need.


  1. Well said on all counts. Great post Tuna!

    (Given me much to think about you have.)

  2. "Did you watch any of the Democratic debate? It was all "Free college, free healthcare, a national minimum wage of $15/hr, income inequality, evil rich white people, etc. And not a thing about how to fix some of the real problems we have in this country."
    No, I didn't watch.
    But, damn, talk about misdirection.
    They're doing it so well, even the media's bought it.

    1. Oh, and it was rich white people on the stage haranguing rich white people!

  3. Totally in agreement. And it is always good to be reminded that what we often grouse about are luxuries, not necessities. Thank you for this.

  4. Trust in the lord, for extras work hard.
    There needs to be a balance of working to survive and a safety net for those that can't, without letting the scammers into the net. It is so difficult, I think somehow there has to be a change in the culture. The culture of my parents day and earlier would only accept charity or a handout if it was the only choice. I see, and know people today that have government assistance as a goal. I also know people who accept benefits because if they went back to work they would have to accept jobs which would cost them the benefits and bring them less income. Also, somehow luxuries of yesterday are now necessities...TV, cable, two cars, dining out, phones (never mind Smart Phones) college, vacation trips, spas, mani friggin pedi's, etc etc.

    1. Mine too. After retiring from the Navy and moving us to Oregon in 1975, my father's E-7 retirement was all we lived on for a time. We were eligible for all sorts of aid, but my father would have none of it. He had far too much pride to accept a hand out, and we did fine. I never went hungry, unclothed, un-housed.

  5. Good post! I wish more people had your attitude. I always (almost always) face every morning with
    the thought that I may not have everything I want but I have everything I NEED and for that I'm thankful!.

  6. So, rewind 30 years. How did people survive in 1985 when the government wasn't completely in charge of an enormous safety net, jobs were tight, wages were poor, and costs were very high? Then rewind 30 more years, and another thirty on top of that. And how is it possible for people to survive in the third world where there's no safety net at all?


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