HCAYMAN

Seriously Irreverent Musings

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The New Normal?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the status of toilet paper has soared. An item that no one but the environmentally obsessed thought about, has become a bellwether, making the news almost daily.

It is the canary in the coal mine for me. The sudden surge in demand for toilet paper due to hoarding was just the tip of the iceberg affecting the availability of and the demand for toilet paper in the future.

The reality is that there is a toilet paper shortage and there is a toilet paper surplus at the same time. Demand surged due to hoarding, but overall demand did not change. Instead, ongoing consumption has shifted to homes from commercial and industrial buildings. The result is that the well established supply chain for toilet paper is in disarray. Sales to the commercial channels have plummeted, while sales to consumers have sky rocketed, creating both a shortage and a surplus.

The supply chain will adapt, but it will take time. Consumers will need to identify additional sources of supply. Bulk purchases, at the case level, may become the norm. Direct sales from the manufacturer or a large wholesaler to the consumer will most likely increase. The last big change in the toilet paper supply chain was when Costco entered the market and sold private label toilet paper in bulk packaging. Now even Costco is having (t)issues keeping up.

Other supply chains are equally disrupted. The food chain is in utter disrepair. A large percentage of the sales of food are direct to hotels, restaurants, etc. Demand for goods in that segment of the market has fallen to the floor. Toilet paper has issues, but at least it does not have a short shelf life. Fresh food, on the other hand, is very perishable. Farmers have no buyers for their products at a time when grocery stores are clamoring for supply. Though, already we are seeing farm to table mean farm to dining room table, as farmers are reaching out directly to consumers.

Thankfully, we exist in a capitalistic system, one that rewards those who have the courage or the intelligence to change with the times. Capital will be reallocated. Supply chains will change. Jobs will be created. Efficiency will be sought.

We will change faster than the rest of the world. Hopefully, it will be fast enough to get the right goods to the right place at the right price. If we watch toilet paper carefully, we might have a good idea as to how we are progressing.

Joy Ride

I spent some time this afternoon joyriding. Thanks to Covid-19 I didn’t even have to head out to the twisties on the backroads to have fun. Instead, I just cruised out Olympic to the 405 North.

It has been weeks since I had my 89 911 G-Body Targa on the road. I have been letting it idle for about 10 – 15 minutes each week just to keep it breathing. But today I just had to get out and drive. Nothing fancy. Nothing serious. Nothing far. Just took it out to drive.

With gas cheap, even in CA it is in the low $3 per gallon range, this was a great way to stay socially distant. Just me, the wind, and the howl of my naturally aspirated, air-cooled flat six. Even though I did not go far, once the oil warmed up, I made sure I revved the hell out of it, coming close to redlining it a couple of times.

I love the feel of driving that car. Manual steering. Manual brakes. Manual transmission. Complete driver engagement, requiring more than enough focus to forget about Covid-19 for awhile.

With few cars on the road, it doesn’t get a whole lot better. I have a feeling I will be doing this again real soon.

Maybe It’s Time To Fix A Road

Despite the current uptick in my consumption of tequila and bourbon, this has been a ridiculously sobering week.

I have been on a work treadmill for the past six or seven months, working between 50 and 60 hours per week on a variety of projects. Thru last weekend, nothing had changed except for a slight feeling of reduced deadline stress. That was then.

Monday was still business as usual, sort of.

Tuesday the bottom began to fall out. It became clear that many of my existing projects were being put on hold and that there was not much coming in the door behind them. I had several conversations with clients, assisting them with tough decisions to ensure the survival of their entities. None of the conversations had a great outcome. During the day, the government finally began addressing the economic cost of Covid-19, thankfully.

Wednesday reality hit. We have a pipeline of projects, some of which will continue, some of which will not. For the foreseeable future nothing new will be started. I will be out of a job in a hurry if nothing changes.

Small and big businesses across America and the world are fighting for survival, shedding payroll dollars as fast as they can. For every Amazon that is hiring, 100s of entities are shutting down. The government will need to print money like never before to prevent social discord.

No one is immune. Or at least very few. Those are the ones that are lucky to be employed in industries that produce essential goods and services. For the rest of us jobs will disappear by the droves. Unemployment will spike over the next several weeks, of that there is no doubt.

What is in doubt is how we as a country will redeploy all the human resources we have voluntarily put on the sidelines. Many industries will pick back up from where they left off. Many won’t. In my opinion the relief funds in the short term will bridge some of the financial gaps,but we need a longer term solution. A much larger handout.

We need to rebuild our infrastructure with a vengeance. We have paid lip service to it for years. It is time for the government to open the spigots for real and rebuild America. We need to do it as an American First program using American owned companies, supplying American made parts using American labor. Period. It is not time for political correctness. It is not time to save the world. We can get to that later. We owe this commitment to our people.

Hopefully, we have learned a very important lesson over the past couple of months. We cannot continue to abdicate this much of the production of the goods in our supply chain to any other country. We have to rebuild our own. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. It will cost more, but I believe it is worth it. Covid-19 may just have given us the reason to do it.

I welcome your comments.

HomeWork

There is no doubt that I have been a social distancer in training for the past several years. In my current job, I generally am on an airplane to a client or, thankfully much more often, I am working at home with my dog by my side. His name is Jake, and he earns the Employee of the Month award every month. He is that important to my effectiveness while working from home, as his needs help provide structure to my day.

Let me be clear. Working from home is not as easy as it sounds. It is not for everyone, but it can be. I have learned what it takes to work from home in an efficient, productive manner. So instead of my usual, relatively useless, general wiseguy musings, I thought I would rip off Mark Harmon, AKA Jethro Gibbs, on NCIS, and enumerate my work from home rules, hopefully adding value to you in these turbulent times.

  1. Pretend you are really going to the office.
    • By that I mean do everything you would normally do to get ready for work. For the pre-corona me, that meant getting up at zero dark thirty and dragging my butt to the gym when it opens at 5 AM. This is what I used to do when I worked at an office, so that is what I still do now that I don’t. I am skipping this step in the short term, as the gym is the biggest petri dish I swim in on a recurring basis.
    • Follow the same grooming routines you would normally do to get ready for work. For me that means showering and shaving, at least every other day for the shave.
    • Get dressed as if you were going to work. Clearly, I do not wear business casual attire in my home office, but I do get out of what ever I am sleeping in and put on a set of “work” clothes, usually sweats or shorts. I even put on a pair of “work”shoes, which in my case are my Minnetonka Moccasin slippers, complete with fluffy pile lining.
    • Eat and drink what you normally would before you leave for the office. For me, that means I eat breakfast and make a large pot of coffee, as I am thoroughly addicted to caffeine.
    • Finish your grooming as if you were going out to your car or other transportation. For me, that means flossing and brushing.
    • Tell yourself, and anyone in earshot, that you are leaving to go to work. For me that usually means, walking to my den and avoiding the sigalert created by Jake as I have to go around him to get to desk.
  2. Pretend you are really in the office.
    • For me that means doing the same things I would do in the office when my day begins.
    • Instead of face to face meetings, I use phone calls, video if I must, and zoom meetings to collaborate with peers or clients. These tools make communication very effective, even if body language is not part of the communication.
    • I stay at my desk for consistent periods of time. This is where Jake really shines. Dogs are essentially four pawed metronomes. They have an uncanny sense of relative time. Jake knows when his needs need to be met, and he is good at reminding me. In Jake’s world, a tennis ball retrieval session begins at 10 AM (or as near to that as possible). I plan for that session as I would plan for a staff meeting. Jake’s midday walk generally starts right around noon. He will contentedly sleep at the base of my chair from after our tennis ball retrieval session until noon. Then he lifts up his head and gives me the “I need to have my walk” look. To an outsider, his face would look the same, but to me it speaks volumes. He is clearly communicating what he wants. Sort of like when Ben Stiller, AKA Derek Zoolander, finally got Blue Steel just right. You just know what it means.
    • In the afternoon, Jake comes to the rescue again, reminding me at around 3 PM that it is time for his mid-afternoon ball retrieval session.
    • At around 6 PM, Jake is back, reminding me that it is time for his dinner, and my time to begin shutting down and beginning my “commute” home, or at least my walk into the kitchen to get Jake fed.
  3. Treat yourself to some treats.
    • For me that means eating a mid-morning snack, usually right after Jake’s tennis ball retrieval session. I admit to eating at my desk, not really a carryover from the office, but because I confess that I allow myself a few minutes to play a game or two of Free Cell, another one of my serious addictions.
    • I eat lunch at my desk right after Jake’s mid-day walk is over. Sometimes I work while eating, sometimes I play more Free Cell. I rarely go out to eat with my friends, which is perfect for the corona socially distancing requirement now. The reason for this is that it helps me maintain the fiction that I am really at the office instead of hanging out at home. Initially, this did not go over well with my friends, but they get it now. Several times per week, Pam will eat lunch at home, and I will sit with her in the kitchen for a bit while she eats.
    • My focus is on my work, but that doesn’t mean I am devoid of other inputs. I love listening to music when I work. I find it enables me to increase my productivity. As a result, Spotify is on all day, every day. During the corona period, I have used the TV as background noise, letting it play news programs while I work, giving Spotify a bit of a break. Thankfully, the TV is behind me, so I do not look at it. I just listen.
    • I do not graze all day, but I do allow myself a mid-afternoon snack, proving yet again how important Jake is to my day, as I time it after he is done fetching balls.
  4. Set appropriate boundaries.
    • For me that means staying in my den office or the kitchen. The living room and bedroom are off-limits.
    • I do not allow myself to nap, as I would have been too embarrassed if I was caught napping at my desk at work.
    • I limit the errands I run during the day to the ones I would have left the office to complete, nothing more. It is too easy to become everyone’s schlepper while “working” from home.
    • If I am sick, I call in sick. As stupid as this sounds, it helps maintain my home “office” fiction.
    • I try to maintain “normal” work hours, even though I feel the tug to sit at my desk every time I walk thru the den.

Those are my rules. They work for me. I understand that most of you will need to adapt and define your own rules. I am confident that you will do just fine. I am somewhat leery as to my continued productivity, though.

I will still be consistent, but now that Pam and Kim will be working from home as well, Jake’s job just got a whole lot bigger. His effectiveness may be muted, as he will be assisting them in their daily routine. I hope he can still earn his monthly award.

Eve of Destruction(?)

I have been sitting on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Family Reserve for several months, wondering just when to open it. I finally opened it last night, a direct reaction to the Coronavirus.

In the bourbon world, Pappy Van Winkle is an anomaly. In a market where $100 bottles are reasonably rare, a bottle of Pappy 20 Year can command an after market price of over $2,000, an insane amount of money for any form of alcohol.

I got my bottle the old fashioned way. I lucked into it. No way would I buy it.

It all started with a random conversation at the gym with a guy I have talked to but have never done anything else with. We were discussing hotels and where I should stay while on a business trip. My friend suggested I stay at a much nicer hotel than I was planning on. His point was that I have earned it, that given my proclivity towards nice cars and nice travel, I should not compromise on a hotel room.

My point was that I was content to stay in a hotel while traveling on business as long as it provided a clean, comfortable room in a hotel with decent food and a decent gym. I perceived any features above those to be a waste of money.

I have made this point to some of my other friends and they thought I was foolish. My gym friend felt the same way.

If our conversation had ended there, I would not have my bottle of Pappy. Instead, I continued to drone on about utility curves and how more is not always better if sufficient utility is achieved with a given level of expenditure.

This led to a discussion about wine, and when the price of it exceeds its intrinsic value. As neither of us are oenophiles, we were in fundamental agreement that wine hits its peak utility at about $30 bucks per bottle, and that there is not much need to spend more. Just for fun, I broached the topic of Pappy and the severe market dislocation that exists in its price.

Obviously, we both readily agreed that no bourbon or any other form of alcohol was worth what it would cost to buy a bottle of Pappy. If our conversation had ended there, I still would not have my bottle of Pappy.

After a couple of moments of silence, while he was either contemplating his next statement or catching his breath while he pumped away on the elliptical trainer, he said to me, “I can get you a bottle of 20 Year Pappy if you want one. The price point will be retail.” I almost fell off my trainer.

The MSRP for Pappy 20 Year is about $130, most likely what it is worth, though I do have to admit that I would not pay that much either, especially when I am perfectly content with my sub $30 bottles of Woodford Reserve. I say this because I have had a shot of 20 Year Pappy before. I paid $40 for the shot, not an unreasonable price for something worth that much on the open market. I had it on a boys ski trip to Aspen, the only place I have ever seen it on a menu. I liked it when I had it, but …..

Having said that, this was an opportunity I could not pass up. The conversation value alone would be worth many times the cost of the bottle. So I said, “Absolutely. Get me one.” He did. Unbelievably.

After I received it, he asked me when I planned to drink it. I had no answer for that. I mean, how does one decide when to open a $2,000 bottle of booze? I have never had to make that call before. Opportunities came and went, but I could not bring myself to open the bottle.

As I watched the Coronavirus segment on the news last night, I was struck by the utter futility of the meaningless acts we are contemplating to halt its spread. I perceived the whole Coronavirsus discourse to be insane. No matter what we try to do at this point there is no way to contain this virus. We cannot stop living because we are afraid to die.

For some reason, refrains from Eve of Destruction, one of the quintessential 60s protest songs, came to mind. Its lyrics, penned so long ago in a very turbulent time, just felt so right.

“The Eastern world, it’s explodin’…..”

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say? And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’, I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’, I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation, Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,

‘This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’, And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

As I sat there reflecting on the song, I could not deny the parallels. I was 10 when it was released, too young to understand it or act on it. Sadly, I am not too young any more. I am old enough to act.

So I decided to open my Pappy. It was worth it.

Lufting Great

Apparently the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend is a great day for a car show. Who knew. Patrick Long. That’s who.

Luftgekühlt 6, the sixth installment of the uber successful air-cooled Porsche show franchise, was held on the back lot at Universal Studios on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. It was not only great. It was a smash. Frankly, I thought Luft 5, which was held at Ganahl Lumber in Torrance, was an amazing event. I thought it would be tough to beat. I was wrong. Not a little wrong, but totally and completely wrong. Luft 6 was simply spectacular.

Leading up to the event, I was a little iffy about the whole thing. I just wasn’t feeling it. I have been to Lufts 1,4, and 5, and I have loved them all. But for some reason I was a little nonplussed about Luft 6. Maybe it was because I have been working too hard and traveling too much. Maybe it was because I have seen so many of the cars so many times. Maybe it was because I was not sure my 89 G-Body Carrera would be parked in the back lot. Whatever the reason, by the time we entered Gate 4 to get into the back lot, that old Luft feeling was back. Back in a big way.

A couple of weeks before the event, I got in touch with Marc, my high school friend and fellow Porsche enthusiast, who lives in Las Vegas, and asked him if he was going to Luft. He said, “Yes.” I asked him if I could tag along. He once again said, “Yes.” Marc is pretty well connected in the motor sports world, so I knew we would have full access to to all aspects of the event. That pumped me up a tad, but I still was not really feeling it.

Friday night Marc and I went to the pre-Luft event at the Petersen Automotive Museum and hung out with all the car folks. We were treated to a vault tour, which was led by Pete Stout of 000 fame. Pete is a self-proclaimed “Porsche Nerd.” He knows a lot about the history of the marque, ranging from street to track. We had a great time, but I was still not feeling it the way I had in the past.

On Saturday, I drove my Guards Red 1989 Carrera Targa to pick Marc up at the hotel, and then we drove to Gate 4, which is all the way around to the back side of the studio.

On the way, a couple of other air-cooled Porsches caught up with us. The waving started and the smiles were contagious. We took Barham down the hill and pulled into the left turn lane for Gate 4. While there, we were treated to the view of a line of air-cooled Porsches heading north on Barham that were lined up waiting to turn right into the lot. We made the left and got in line for entry. At that point, I was back. I was ready to have a great time.

We went thru the gate, were staged to be led to our designated spaces, and proceeded to drive thru the lot. As we passed each stop sign, my excitement grew. At the last stop sign, we were greeted by Pat Long, completely at ease, directing traffic, playing his role of host and master of ceremonies.

We parked, and just started taking it all in. From the outset, we new this Luft was going to be special. The area was huge, with enough different nooks and crannies that were visually disconnected to make it feel like many smaller shows instead of one large one. It also helped disperse the crowd, which was huge, as the event was sold out.

The cars were amazing. It did not matter that I had seen many of them before. I had never seen them is this environment. It made them feel fresh.

The cars showed off the air-cooled culture, ranging from 356s to race cars, from stock to outlaw, from road to off-road. There was something new around every corner.

Some were out on the main streets. Others were lurking on the side streets. All were pretty amazing.

We spent all day at the show, hanging out with some of the crew for lunch and then friends throughout the day. By the time we left, it had rained a bit, and most people had left, which gave me a chance to take a shot of my Carrera sitting all by itself on the backstreets of New York. How kült was that?

Portia Kind of Guy

She’s here. Pam has been waiting for her for quite some time. I do not think Pam truly believed she would ever arrive. Nor do I think Pam thought she would be named Portia, especially as I adore that name. Of course, I may never spell it correctly. I mean, Porsche is close enough, right?

Our grandchild, Portia “Porsche” James Powell was born a couple of days ago. Pam has been in heaven ever since. To be honest, so have I. Maturity, mainly mine, has a way of making the little things in life so much more important and enjoyable.

Henceforth, Pam will be Grammy Pammy. Grammy has special significance in our family. Pam’s mom, Sandy, arguably one of the greatest grandparents of all time, was referred to as Grammy. That was her wish. She lived up to it in every sense of the word. Sadly, Sandy passed away much too early, leaving the Grammy legacy that Pam is ready and able to embrace. Pam will be as good a grammy as Sandy.

When the family asked me what I wanted to be called as I entered grandparentdom, I replied, “Gramps!” Then I thought about it some more, and realized that “Grumps,” was most likely more fitting, as on a really good day my glass reaches half empty. Normally it has a slight crack and the liquid just oozes out, making it tough to stay half empty. So I am Grumps, or probably, Grumpy, depending on the day. I do not care. I think it is great.

I spent most of the day working today. Pam left to go to Shelby’s some time ago. I needed to take a break and get away from work this afternoon. So I decided to drive over to Shelby’s, too. Fittingly, I opened the garage and backed my 89 Guards Red 911 Targa G-Body out and drove to Shelby’s, thinking how funny it was to be driving my Porsche to see Portia. It put a big smile on my otherwise grumpy face.

PJ Redux

As parents, we all remember the myriad of transitional objects to which our children bonded. Generally, the objects were used by our children to fill the void left by the natural lessening of the child’s dependence on the mother.

Our kids were no exception. Our older daughter, Shelby, had PJ, a stuffed rabbit given to her by my mother. PJ was named by its manufacturer, and the name stuck. Shelby kept PJ far longer than most transitional objects, as PJ actually attended Berkeley with her. PJ has resided with us, still a fixture in Shelby’s room, since she graduated from college 13 years ago.

Shelby is a thirty something woman now. She is over eight months pregnant with her first child, our first grandchild. We, especially Pam, are really happy to have a grandchild on the way. Pam’s nesting instinct seems to have resurfaced for the first time in thirty odd years, and she has been buying all the items we need for the nursery in our house. Items that seem to inevitably require assembly. Today we built the changing table. Next week it is the crib. Pam built our last crib. She did a great job, even though she was inside its four sides when she got it all together.

Though PJ has resided with us for the past 13 years, his memory still lives inside of Shelby, and his impact on her life continues to be felt. So much so that when she and Bryan were choosing names for their child, Shelby had two criteria. First, she wanted an alliterative first and last name. As her last name is Powell, she needed a first name that began with the letter P. Several family members talked to her about the potential abuse her child might endure going through life with the initials PP, but the warnings fell on deaf ears. Second, she wanted her child’s middle name to start with the letter J, as she wanted to call her child PJ.

Imagine that.

Disconnected. Sort Of.

I am sitting in front of a fire. Not a gas fire. Not an artificial fire. Not a wildfire. But a fire in our cabin at the Alisal Guest Ranch.

We are sitting in our room on a cold, blustery day in this little, yet well-known, guest ranch, helping our friends celebrate their daughter’s wedding. It is a magnificent place, nestled in the coastal hills of California about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara.

It is Saturday afternoon. It is freezing outside. We are killing time before we have to get ready for the wedding to begin. The Alisal is a rustic, yet real world, place. Our room does not have a TV nor does it have a phone. Having said that, it does have wireless.

Pam and I are TV freaks, or at least Pam is. I go to sleep every night with the TV and light on, as Pam watches whatever show du jour has captured her attention until she falls asleep. I like to use the TV as background noise while I read or work.

We got here yesterday, and last night after enjoying ourselves at a great rehearsal dinner, we went to sleep without the TV flickering behind our eyelids. I found it refreshing. Pam played about an hour of solitaire on her iPad.

This morning, we had a nice breakfast and chatted with friends. We went back to our cabin, and made a fire. We know very little about making fires. We sort of understand the concept of kindling and draft, but the reality is that without gas, we were somewhat uncertain as how to start,

My, how the times have changed. A generation ago, everyone knew how to make a roaring fire. Most homes had wood burning fireplaces that could be used on a daily basis. Today, burning wood in a fireplace is deemed worse than burning gas in an automobile. The country is replete with Spare The Air regulations, which limit when wood can be burned and prohibit wood burning fireplaces in new construction. It will not be long before the gasoline powered motors are prohibited in new automobiles.

I love the sound of my naturally aspirated, air-cooled flat six engine in my 1989 Carrera and the sound of my naturally aspirated, flat six water cooled engine in my 2015 Cayman. Both cars feature symphonic exhaust notes that tremendously enhance the driving experience, making it much more visceral. The same cannot be said for battery powered cars, despite their surreal acceleration, as their lack of sound detracts dramatically from the experience for me.

I feel the same way about gas fireplaces. Everybody has them now. Our daughter, Shelby, and her husband, Bryan, just installed one in their house. Pam is lobbying to put one into our fireplace, too. I sat in front of Shelby’s and Bryan’s fireplace on Christmas Day. It was pretty. It threw off heat. But something was missing. Sound.

Pam and I are sitting side by side in comfortable chairs in front of the fire in our room. A real fire in a wood burning fireplace. A fire we successfully started without gas. Pam has broken down and is watching Netflix on her iPad, while I peck at the keys on my keyboard. The fire is beautiful. The heat is palpable. The smell is amazing, though we may be wearing it to the wedding. Most important is the sound. The cracking and popping of the wood, the whoosh of the air as it goes up the chimney make the experience real, not sterile.

This is an unbelievable guilty pleasure. The weather has limited our activities, but I am thoroughly relaxed and comfortable. I could have gone to the Library at the Ranch to watch NFL Wildcard Weekend. Yet, I am so much happier here. I keep looking at the clock, wishing time would pass more slowly, enabling me to spend more time this way. This is something I never do. Something I wish I could do more of at home.

I am totally in the moment. Yes, it is not politically correct. Yes, it is indulgent. But it is so satisfying. I have not just parked myself in front of a fire for years. I feel the same sense of relaxation as when I am driving my Porsches over the backroads and twisties. There is no noise from the TV in the background. I am disconnected. Sort of. And, I like it.

When I’m Sixty-Four

I have been thinking about this song for 51 years, ever since the Beatles released it in 1967. It stamped sixty-four into my consciousness at a time when thirty was considered over the hill. Initially, it only lurked in the recesses of my mind and took a back seat to forty-five, which was my age in the year 2000. In my teens, twenties, thirties, and early forties I would focus on how old I would be when the new millennium arrived. Somehow that event held much more significance to me. Not anymore.

The millennium came and went. It was pretty much a big ado, like every other new year, about nothing. Even the computer systems took it in stride. Now it is just a distant, and mostly faded, memory. Not surprisingly, 2019, the year in which I turn sixty-four, took the place of the millennium in my mind.

Not for much longer, though. 2019 is upon us, making me just a couple of months shy of sixty-four. It also makes the song, or at least its chorus, way more important to me. Sixty-four is a pretty insignificant age, as far as ages go. Being sixty-four means I have been able to buy movie tickets at the senior citizen price for four years. It means I have been eligible to join AARP for 14 years. That’s about it.

Thanks to Messrs. Lennon and McCartney, though, sixty-four has always been a very significant age to me, at least psychologically. It is a veritable yardstick in my mind, one I need to measure myself against. It is a symbolic gate, a gate through which only old people pass. It marks the point at which QTR no longer refers to Qualified Tuition Reduction for me or my kids, but instead refers to Quality Time Remaining. It is the age in which I may have to start taking New Year’s resolutions seriously, at least the important ones. It is the age that is forcing me to ask myself if I am still needed and relevant.

Or not.

I am a happy, boring guy. I do not want to make any significant changes in my life, though change has a way of creeping up on all of us. I am content with where I am. With all due respect to Messrs. Wiseman and Nichols, I have no interest in going Rocky Mountain climbing, skydiving, or 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu, though a few track days in my Porsche would not be a bad idea. Most of my body parts still function. My wife, Pam, is a saint, and despite my more curmudgeon like tendencies, continues to keep me current and relevant. I have two great kids, who actually still seek my advice. I have great friends. I enjoy my work. I have hobbies. Heck, I even have a great dog.

So instead of letting the specter of sixty-four weigh on my mind any longer, I am planning to embrace it for what it is – much ado about nothing, hoping it will become as faded and distant a memory as the millennium. In essence, I plan to live like I am still sixty-three.

There is just one problem with that, though. Shelby, my older daughter, is pregnant. She is due in April. Sixty-four will now be marked indelibly in my mind as the age in which I became a grandfather, making it truly significant for me.

Happy New Year!

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