Hello friends, this is going to be my last blog post of 2014.
I was not going to write today, but, as I sit here drinking my Chai, I cannot help but be reflective. I’m also inspired by other bloggers on WordPress that I follow for their unique perspective. Thanks to the bloggers for inspiring me to continue on this journey into the blogging sphere..
It seemed like only yesterday that it was the start of 2014 which can best be categorized as the “never ending winter‘. For us in Central New Jersey, the winter did not end till mid April when we finally saw our lawns after the brutal cold and multiple snow storms. I got the best view of this from my back window where I saw the horses in my neighbor’s yard.. That image was surreal. Two horses playing in the snow. For me that was a zen-like moment during a year of turmoil.
Even though the year flew by in blink of an eye, for me, it could not have ended any sooner. My life took a left turn as opposed to the normal right turns I usually take (which I call my status quo). I’m almost certain that 2015 will be a more promising year for me.
Over the past two years, as Dad’s Taxi, I’ve dealt with many changes in my life. I’ve dealt with dysfunction (much of which I manage to create), and the twists and turns of the road as a maneuver my taxi of life. Most of the events in 2014 have tested my resolve and my ability to maintain some sort of equilibrium on my thoughts. At times, I’ve succeeded, other times, I could have done better.
I lost my father to in January 2013. He was in assisted living after Super Storm Sandy. He had Dementia. May his soul continue to rest in peace.
I had multiple residences in 2014 because of personal issues at home.. You can figure that one out for yourself.. No need for me to go into it here. “It is what it is” became my mantra and it helped me to transition to “next issue, move on“.
I finally have found a new beginning and I face 2015 with enthusiasm for “new beginnings”.
As I sit here looking out of my window and await the new year, I am truly ready to welcome in to my life 2015 which is about 24 hours from now.
In 2015, I will work on myself more and become who I want to be. As I transition from being Dad’s Taxi, to “My Taxi”, I can consider myself to be a “work in progress“, and what the end-game is “to be determined“.
The end of 2014 has presented me with opportunities for change which I have grabbed with gusto, at the same time, maintaining my unique perspective on life. I’ll continue to post with a stream of consciousness.. No matter how annoying that can get. That’s what make me unique I guess.
For 2015, I have created a personal bucket list of goals (Topping the list is to got Wimbledon).
In the blogs coming, everyone will eventually find out what additional goals I’ve set for myself. For now, my journey to the future is rife with hope and self development. So keep checking back to see it all unfold in my own unique way of expression. Trust me, it’ll always be amusing and at times entertaining.
Let me close this final post of 2014, by saying I wish all my friends, family and followers: A safe, happy, healthy, positive, optimistic and great year ahead, and may it be everything you wish for it to be. You just need to work hard at it and never give up.
One of my goals for 2015 is to get more views on Dad’s Taxi and engage you my reader/follower. I haven’t really been successful with that, but hey let’s see how 2015 goes.. . Of course for the spammers that love to leave their comments, you will continue to be banned.
I am excited for another year filled with blogging as Dad’s Taxi.
Who knows how 2015 will play out, but I plan on having some fun! What are your plans for 2015?
Wish each one of you the best for 2015.. Now I need some more Chai
Over the past 6 weeks after Super Storm Sandy, it would be an understatement to say that my life has spiraled into a life of daily chaos and additional stress. With my elderly father’s ongoing battle with his health and his mental faculties being so impaired, let’s just say.. “the hits keep coming”.
I’ve decided selfishlessley that this blog will be my outlet for all the frustrations I’m currently facing. As many of my readers know that I usually laugh at most of the things that happen around me.. Now I’m laughing (or crying) at the things that happen TO ME directly.
It’s like the heavens have opened up and blessed me with multiple challenges and decisions that I need to make on the fly.. I hate making decisions on the fly.. I’m into organization and planned decisions. If you look up the definition of what the personal traits of a Saggitarian you would see my traits. We don’t like surprises and are quite inflexible when it comes to surprises. I’m one of those classic Saggitatians. We want the world to be perfect (as we are) and get bent out of shape when the the world does not live up to our expectations.That’s me in a nutshell. I’m sure my family and friends would agree on this statementYet I also know that that’s all in a perfect world, and I live in the most imperfect of worlds.
After Superstorm Sandy, I realized that my elderly father was in need of medical help and as the “good son” and only son in NJ, I’d have to take the burden of caring for my father. Let me start of by saying that my relationship with my father has never been (to put it mildly) a relationship based on mutual love and respect. Yet the one gift that my father did give me over the past 10 years is the gift of raising my family without his distractions and worrying about his welfare. Pretty selfish statement, but in reality, he gifted this to both me and my sibling who happens to live in Texas.. Yes I’ve written about my visits to Texas!
My dad was admitted to the hospital about 6 weeks ago in a state of anemia, pneumonia and a state of dementia. Of course all conditions developed over time (especially the dementia), but because my dad was living alone, he was able to hide these symptoms from me for a few years.
Over the past 6 weeks, it’s been trips to the hospital (daily) and rehab (where he currently is) and planning on HIS future after rehab. At the same time, of course my daily chaos with my home life is (as Barney says on “Big Bang Theory” —> LEGENDARY). ongoing.
How I’ve managed to maintain my sanity, I really don’t know, I guess being numb during chaos and just reacting is a great way to maintain your sanity. The future looks bleak for my father as he will need 24×7 care after he leaves rehab and our great medical system “draws down all his finances, so Medicaid can take over”. He will never regain his independence and will never be able to constantly remind me that my inheritance (now none) is what he will leave for me.
As luck would have it, my employer has been totally understanding of the choas in my life and has been unconditionally supportive and allowed me take time off to address my dad’s illness. I do not know what I would have done, if this was not the case
My brother came to NJ from Texas for a week and we researched and educated ourselves on the assisted living and nursing homes. We quickly realized that the our current situation with our father was payment for being allowed to raise our families in peace over the past 10 years without having major home issues because of the possible influence of our father in our life.
I walk around in a state of total exhaustion both mentally and physically as I now realize that every day puts forward a new challenge on my ability to reason with the events that are going around me. Sound pretty pathetic, but when I say the “hits keep coming”, that is the truth.
Super Storm Sandy and loss of Power
Elder care and illness of parent daily issues
Work related stress
Tennis injuries (don’t get me started with this one)
Car Repairs (I guess you really do need brakes to stop a car)
Holiday cheer (I’d call it more holiday depression)
Differences, benefits of Medicare and Medicaid
Self forgiveness and letting go of the guilt.
Putting things in perspective.
Yet the whole experience over the past 2 months has been humbling. To see a man who all his life was a miser and self-centered, become totally dependent on others for his daily care. He’s actually mellowed out in his “state of confusion” to where we get along better now then we have ever gotten along when he was NOT in his delusional state. Each day, I spend time with him and realize that his ongoing battles with sanity have enable me to forgive him as well as myself for our inability to have a good relationship.
I see myself through his eyes and in his wheelchair in another 20 or 30 years I see myself struggling to maintain cohesiveness and losing my freedom and become dependent on others to take care of me. If these thoughts are not humbling, I really don’t know what is.
I’ve now learned to take each day “one day at a time” and instead of feeling sorry for myself, just accept the situation and deal with it in my unique way.. Using sarcasm, humor and plain self understanding is the way to come out of this unscathed.
I’ve become educated about:
Elder care and its financial impacts on families.
What it takes to take full health and financial responsibility for another human being who cannot take care of himself. Specifically the legalities of the healthcare system in our country
What the words “draw down the assets mean”.
Showing empathy when in reality, you are struggling with your internal strife and emotions.
Being able to adjust to change, when inherently your nature precludes change.
Finding outlets for the stress that are both healthy and self-contained.
How to become organized and make decisions that are outside your comfort zone.
How expensive elder care is in this country for those with assets.
How important it is to have a healthcare directive and a Power of Attorney (POA)!
what’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
I could go on and on.. but you can see that the past 2 months have been so difficult that my senses have become numb that the only way to I can adjust to my “New reality of my life” is to write about it..
For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been watching the Mega Millions Jackpot go up to almost 320Million in the NY/NJ area! I normally don’t play ANY lottery or instant lottery games, but I figured what the heck, maybe lightning would strike and I’d win the mega lottery which balloons up to the hundreds of millions every month!
As you can guess, I didn’t win last nights $320 million drawing. So I’m still not a millionaire and still have the same chance of winning the $12M lottery on Tuesday that I played with my winnings (all of $10)..
Yet for the past few weeks, I was having these dreams and I was walking around thinking that by some strange fate or luck lightning would strike and I’d win the big jackpot. I even started planning my course of action of going invisible when I did win!
I was talking about this with my daughter while we went to see if I had won anything. We even layed out a detail project plan in our minds:
I’d change all my phone numbers
Disable all my email ID’s as well as my wife’s.
I’d get a high priced lawyer and accountant and sign a confidentiality clause with them.
Not come forward for a few weeks, while I walked around being a “quiet mega millionaire”.
After a few weeks, take a personal day and go to the Lottery center and to claim the prize an NOT have my name revealed.
Claim the lump sum payout (taxes taken out).
Take another day off from work and sit down with my lawyer and accountant and plan my next move
Would I quit my job? I really don’t think I would.. I’d be much more pleasant at work, but I don’t think I’d quit..
Pay off my all my debts and own my home outright.
Buy some investment properties.
Donate a substantial sum to my temple. After all God is the one that blessed me with these winnings!
Maybe buy a new car (Lexus or Beemer of course!). Good bye Oddessy!
Go back to work and just keep my mouth shut (of course, knowing my nature, this would be the hardest thing for me to do)
Even with all the planning above, I knew full well that me winning the lottery was almost microscopic.. but hey I’m allowed to dream..
So I diligently played about $40 over the past few weeks and I actually won at total of $10!
With these winnings, I don’t have to do any planning and still can remain on the path to endless debt and normal life…
In my house, we now have 3 drivers and 2 cars. Of course Dad’s Taxi (my 2003 Highlander) has been hijacked by my teenage daughter who won’t drive a mommy mobile (Our other car our 199 Honda Oddessy with almost 200K in miles ) to/from college. She has to have “Cool car” to take to college.
I remember when I was growing up in the ancient days (that’s what I call the early 80’s) i would have settled for any car to get me from college to/from home. I can still hear my Dad’s voice echoing in my ears –> “NO, you cannot use my Dodge Dart to go to school, it’s to valuable to be driven by a reckless driver like you”. Of course my Dad’s car just stayed on the strets of NYC while I bought my awesome Plymouth Duster which cost $1K so I could get from/to College. Boy did I feel like I was lucky to have such a cool car! BTW, the image I got above is exactly the car I drove!
Today’s kids, need to have not just functional transportation but “cool” transportation to/from college. I guess it’s my own fault for allowing the hijacking to take place, but sometimes Dad’s just end up getting the short end of the stick. Fortunately, Dad’s offie is only a few miles away from home so now he has to rely on his own taxi service to drop him off and pick him up from work. Yes, Dad’s taxi is now commuting to/from work in his own Taxi! How much fun is that..
Since my wife will be starting a new job next week, we are now scrambling trying to buy a new car and that is a whole different ordeal. How much to spend, buy or lease, new or certified used, blah, blah..
Personally, if I’m desperate for a new car, I’d go for the functional model (Toyota, Honda), but in my house, the rules for car buying stray towards the luxary instead of the functional. From what I saw today in the exhaustive search for a car, the luxary models will win every time! Even my younger daughter, gravitates to the convertibles, as soon as she walks into the dealerships and says, we should buy one!.
So today, we went from one end of the functional spectrum (Toyota Hybrid – Prius) to the luxary models (Audi and BMW). You can guess where we will end up when we eventually pull the trigger on the buy.
Here’s a couple of things I learned today:
Use a car buying guide or If you have AAA, use their car buying service to get the best deal. This will reduce the haggling and help you to avoid the bait and switch tactics most dealers use when you go to buy a car
Have budget in mind and don’t stray from it. Yes you should be flexible, but if you budget $20K, don’t even look at cars that are $30K and above!
Decide on the specific brand and model you want and whether you are looking for convenience or just luxary.. You know my opinion on this. If I were well off, I’m sure I’d be getting luxary without any hesitation.
Use the Internet to do your research on the car you want. Never walk into the dealer cold and without any research in your hands.
Just say no, when you know that what you want and what you can afford clash.. This is where my wife and I clash constantly. You can guess who gets their way on this topic.
If you don’t want the glamour of the dealership and the bells and whistles of new car guarantees, use the internet buy off the rack by using services like carsense.
Before you shell out any cash for a car, make sure you get the Car Fax. The Car Fax will tell you the history of the car!
I don’t know what we will end up doing to get out of the logjam of 3 drivers and 2 cars, but I do know that for the forseeable future (or until I strike gold), you will find Dad’s taxi driving around Middletown, NJ in a 1999 Honda Oddessy with almost 200K!
As many of my friends know, I have a tendency to go from topic to topic when we are having a conversations. I attribute that to my “stream of consciousness” (SOC) way of thinking. I’m actually trying to get better, but this SOC thinking gets me in trouble, as I can easily forget where I came from and where I am going with my SOC thought process.
Today as I sat at my computer, I was thinking that first I’ll write about the Smoking Gun site, but by the time I got there and read some of the absolutely funny articles that are posted there. Of course some of these articles are meant for the PG-13 and above audience. I’m sure you are wondering how did I get here? I was on my Yahoo front page and saw a link to an amusing article and before I knew it I was drifting through many funny videos on the Smoking Gun Site.
I was thinking of spinning of a new sub-site on this flag of one-liners that I’ve used in the past on my kids or at work, but there are so many that I’ll have to focus and concentrate on documenting all of them but hopefully, I’ll be able to focus long enough to get that done.
Here are a few of my favorite liners:
“See that tree stump in the back yard? That’s the money tree where I get all my money”. This line is I think my favorite to use on my kids when they ask me to buy anything
“Next Issue, Move On” – This is something that came from work to home when I used to be a lead for my team at work. My kids loved this one so much they went out and made me golf shirt (my favorite) with that as a logo
“Are you speaking to make a point or are you just trying to waste my time?”. I haven’t used this one in a while.
“I was just there, how come I didn’t see you there”. This classic was said to my daughter and her BFF a few years ago and to this day, they use this line on me whenever they see me.
So it’s the end of the year and I have to think about what I want to get accomplished the upcoming year. I’m thinking if I start with last year’s list of things I didn’t do, and add to that, I’m sure to come up with a list that I surely cannot complete!
So my dear readers (and I know there are some regulars) who visit here, I’d like for you to share some of your classic one liners that you have used/stolen/made up and I’ll post them on my new and upcoming sub site labeled.. here it comes.. “One Liners”.
If you read this random rambling..please open up you SOC thought and share some One Liners with me..
So another year has passed by and it seems that each birthday comes faster and faster. Seems like only yesterday I was turning 18, 21 and now wow much much older. I would reveal my age, but that would just make me feel old, so I won’t.
I guess this year can best be characterized as the year of travel and illness. I had a great trip to India and of course I came home with eColi. Let me tell you something eColi is something that can easily drain your physical and emotional energy. Luckily I survived this one and came out somewhat unscathed. Except of course for the medical bills!
What I’m really grateful for this year is my family. Through everything my familial links and bonds have kept me sane and upbeat. Of course when I say family, I’m talking about my kids and my better half. I also have to credit my humor for keeping me focused and upbeat.
Financially, the year was a disaster, but hey which single income family doesn’t struggle and live paycheck to paycheck?
I think the best thing that happened to me this year is this blog and my new venture with my buddy AK. We continue to plod along as we develop a South Asian Community based global portal. Even this, we have not really made much headway, but we keep pushing forward! We know that we won’t be the next Facebook or even Rediff, but this venture allows me to utilize the excess creative energy that I seem to be always searching for.
I guess the best I can say about the past year, I really matured as a person. I finally realized that holding on to old bitterness only does harm and does nobody any good. I finally realized that growing older does not mean you have to feel sorry for yourself, but to really appreciate what you have achieved and to enjoy your family. I’m also starting to realize that as I get older, I’m becoming more self reliant and care less what others say or think of me! Is that my arrogance speaking or is that my self-confidence showing its true self?
Overall, I think I finally grew up this year, or at lease some sense of maturity has finally crept into my existance. Let’s see what next year holds for me financially and emotionally.
Once in a while you get customer service that is worth writing about. This morning, I was going to blast this company, but after this evening, I’m reconsidering. Here’s my tale of PC woe with a TKO in Round 4.
A few months ago, my daughter’s desktop would not boot up.. This is an HP Pavilion that I had purchased only a 2 years ago. I went on line to HP to and of course since my computer had just come off warranty a few months ago, I was offered their standard $200 service offer. Well I figured, might as well try it out. After being convinced by the customer service rep who called me (yes this still happens), I reluctantly parted with my $200 and sent in my machine for repair in the pre-paid box that HP sent to me. This is where the fun begins.
I get my desktop back in about 7 days and after I power it up, I notice I’m getting video errors (machine goes to sleep and monitor loses connectivity with the video card).
So I get back on-line and go through the process and I’m told to return the PC and they would fix it at no charge. I go through the same gyrations of packing my machine and sending it in for repair and getting the machine back in a week. I even get a call from an HP technician that there is no problem with my machine after their “extensive tests”. They indicated there might be a problem with my flat screen monitor! I said ok.. just send me back my machine and I’ll take see what to do. I get the machine back, I reconnect all the cable and after a day or so.. same problem!
I must be a glutton for punishment, so I go on-line and talk to the nice outsourced representative of HP service in India. The nice representative assures me that they will fix the machine this time and I should send it back for repair. So I send the machin back for repair.
I get the machine back and still have the same problems so I go back through the same gyration and send the machine back to HP. Do you see a trend here? Now, I’m getting peeved.
I get the machine back and they have pretty much gutted the machine, replacing the motherboard, video card, etc.
Machine works fine for a week and suddenly now on a “cold boot“, the machine no longer recognizes that it has a video card so I’m in the default low resolutoin of 640 x 480. Now I’ve had enough.. I’m mad as hell and am not going to take it anymore!
I get back on line and I demand that HP escalate this issue to a “case manager” so I can really give someone a dress down.. The nice young man on my screen tells me “I will personally make sure your machine is fixed”. Note this is the same canned script I heard during rounds 1 and 2 respectively.
So now, I know I can’t power down my machine, because it will take me at least 6 to 7 attempts before the video card is recognized. I’m smart that way, and don’t power down the machine!
Round 4 (TKO):
Tonight I get a call from a “Case Manager” and guess what? She tells me that they are going to send me a new desktop as they can’t seem to fix my machine! She asks me for an order number for my original order from HP.. Yeah like I have that.. So she says.. “No worries sir, we will find the order from sales and will send you a suitable replacement”. Now this scares me.. Will I get another lemon or will I get a machine that works?
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how this saga ends. Yet the point is that I never thought that HP would even consider replacing my desktop.. That is a rarity in this day of bad customer service. Customer service that is actually thinking of the customer. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, but let’s see what happens…
The case manager promised to call me tomorrow to “resolve the issue”.. let’s see. Anyone that knows me will tell you I’m more than skeptical.. we shall see..
I was going to write today about the Apple introduction of the iPad, but of course that’s already been beaten to death by almost all the techies on Web 2.0. I even got into a flame “situation” on my Facebook .. but that is a story for another day..
So I was thinking (yes I do that on occassion), and just skimming My Yahoo Page for steals and deals and I came across a heading that reall got me thinking…
Today I saw this article from Popular Mechanics on how to survive a free fall from 35, 000 feet. Well I know that I won’t go to sleep tonight without thinking about this kind of event.. Gives me the warm fuzzies. Since I’ll be doing some traveling across the world in a few months, just knowing that someone cares enough to tell me how to survive, in case I wake up on the plane and I’m free falling at 35K.
Needless to say, this article is informational with a capital I.. Personally, I know that if I’m conscious as I free fall, I will reach for my iPhone (if it’s still on my person) and try to get a signal so I can surf over to the Popular Mechanics site and try to survive this horrific situation.
So what’s the trick to surviving?
You will be on the ground within 3 minutes.. whether you want to or not. Always remember, it’s the trip that matters, not the planning.
Become a Zen master… accept your situation and use the next few minutes of life to plan your descent and “landing”. Basically become one with yourself (because within minutes there will be multiple pieces of you scattered) AND be prepared for impact… Of course if you know you are going into water.. You might want to be a “Pencil” and go straight down.. I love this: if a feet-first entry is inevitable, the most important piece of advice, for reasons both unmentionable and easily understood, is to clench your butt. According to the article, the probability of survival increases as you will come back up after hitting the water and not drowning..
Try to make sure you don’t land on your head (for obvious reasons). I surely don’t want to make a mess with brain matter splatter… what a visual!
Know what terminal velocity means..as you approach the surface you will go faster…
If you are heavier, you will go faster as weight determines how fast you are going to fall. This means, my attempt at weight loss will be beneficial in case I’m in this situation. Heavier people hurtle to earth faster…
If you are strapped into your seat, you might have a better chance of survival..the article talks about a miracle survivor of a plane crash into the Amazon and how she survived… If you are not, you are pretty much on your own.
Of course, by the time I finished reading this article, I was pumped and ready to try out this scenario. Not!
I’m sitting here thinking… If I’m free falling from 35K, what would I do and what would I be thinking of.. I surely would not be thinking of techniqus for landing….
Now I know how the passengers on my favority TV show (which is returning next week for it’s final season) —> Lost, survived their 30K fall from Oceanic flight 815 onto the beach of The Islan! They fell with the plane and survived the impact..
Hope you enjoyed this humorous interlude of dad’s taxi. I think the probability of falling out of a plane and surviving is about the same as my chances of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot tonite which is $144 Million!
I’ve spoken about mashable multiple times on this site, but this one really caught my eye for all those twitterholics ( I think I just invented that word here).
I was looking at Twitter and saw a posting for mashable and wanted to share it with you folks. Check out the Mega Lists page.
From comedians, artists, foodies, environmentalists, musicians, authors that you can follow via twitter to much much more information, that I won’t bother repeating here, the mega lists site is an absolute must for your bookmark list.
The Twitter user lists is just the tip of the iceberg. There were multiple pages of lists that I know I will have to take a look at when I can. Lists for web development, You tube help, Wiki Resources, and on and on and on…
Of course if you want to follow someone that is not at all famous , you can follow my infrequent and self serving tweets (dataguru61)…. I typically will tweet a post when I make one to this blog..