Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
There was a problem, though.
The "sign language" the man performed on that stage, only feet from our President, and other world leaders, was a fake. He was an impostor. Not a sign language bone in any of those acrobatic fingers, yet he was not removed. He was allowed to stand there for the entire memorial service, and continue to pretend to know what he was doing. No one stood up, and removed him.
He fooled everyone that should have known better. Those that were watching knew he was a fraud.
The man blames schizophrenia for placing him in the position of an interpreter for the deaf, and fear for keeping him on stage, and maintaining the charade.
Some folks that have not been diagnosed with a mental illness can also take on a whole different persona when placed in the public eye. They can become the life of the party, or just the opposite. All it takes is the right response of an audience, and that will lead to what, and how things are said. Things can go either way, and take on a life of their own. It can go well, or horribly wrong, and like the man in South Africa, fear may prevent them from stepping down from their stage no matter how it goes.
Amazing how it went on for so long, and nobody ushered him off the stage even though they knew he was not what he was purported to be.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
2007 was our first full year in this old house, and of keeping annual records. We spent $3484.32 on heating oil, that year, for a total of 1273.7 gallons. Those gallons were delivered over ten visits from Pioneer Oil. The average cost of oil that year was only $2.48.
On December 14, 2007, we replaced 19 old windows in this old home with new insulated windows. One year later , in December 2008, our gallons of oil used was 1009.3 and we managed to save 264 gallons, and our deliveries went down to eight.
In December 2009 our gallons of oil used that year had decreased even more to 875.1 gallons. Our deliveries had dropped to 6.
In December 2010 I was surprised to see that our oil use had increased by 100 gallons to 972.3, although our deliveries had stayed the same at 6. I had not changed anything in my plan, and we were both still diligent in saving oil, yet keeping warm, and comfortable.
I did not understand the bump up in usage, but was more vigilant the following year, and managed to eak out a savings for the year of 29 gallons by December 2011, yet our deliveries went up to 7. Strange. Still, our oil use wasn't where it had been.
I was perplexed. Yes, we needed insulation, that was a given, but not having adequate insulation would not account for that peculiar bump in usage.
In December of 2012 we were back on track. Only 709.6 gallons were used that year. This was far lower than the 875 in 2009, and 234 gallons less than the previous year, and were down to 5 deliveries that year! 2012 was also the year we took our domestic hot water off of our oil fired boiler for heating and installed a whole house on demand electric hot water system.
Now, it's December, 2013, and here are the numbers.
Gallons used in 2013: 635 gallons, down 74 from 2012, at a savings of $235 from 2012. Our oil deliveries for the past year remained at 5.
What else did we do that was new? Well, the boiler was replaced in May of 2013 after the winter heating season, and in October we installed a Nest learning thermostat. Both of these new improvements are helping, but I'll need to wait till the end of heating season in the spring to see just how much they have helped, but I can tell you now, it is going to be very good.
Yes, we did stop heating our hot water with our oil fired boiler, and went to a whole house on demand electric hot water system so our electric bill must be out of sight, right?
No, actually, its rather good, and we will make it even better as I replace those finicky CFL curly-q light bulbs with LED bulbs as I have been, and through 2014.
Our electricity use was 7,382 kWh for the year of 2011. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that the average electrical use per household is 11,280 kWh / year. In 2012 our usage rose to 7,623 kwh despite changing all our light bulbs out to CFL's, but the increase of 241 kWh averaged out to .66 kWh per day. The new hot water system would have accounted for that slight bump.
As of November of 2013, our kwh for the year, thus far, is 7,908 kWh which is an increase of 285 kWh. Since 2013 was our first full year with the new hot water system an average increase of 1.44kwh / day is totally acceptable. That comes out to only $41.47 / year at the $0.08 /kwh that we currently pay to our electricity supplier through National Grid.
Three bucks a month is fine. With our oil heat savings the slight bump in electrical is expected, and not nearly as much as when the hot water was being heated by oil.
For a 150 year old house with nary a lick of insulation, we are saving well below the government average annual oil use per household of 730 gallons.
So, what is this delivery I said I had for you today?
If we can save money, and energy, in this old house, you certainly can, too.
Look around you. Unplug your phone chargers from the wall for one thing. They use energy, and cost money, just staying plugged in even if they aren't charging a thing. Look further. Spray foam holes and crevices, weather strip doors and windows, but the biggest thing you can do is to install a set back, programmable thermostat. It doesn't have to be the Nest, but find a current, modern thermostat that requires minimal input from you, and is not as complicated as an old VCR to set up. There are several out there. Both Honeywell, and Smarthome make them, as well as Nest.
Once it is installed program it to set back when you are asleep. No brainer there, and don't be afraid to tweak the temperature when you are home. Keep it 63-68 f when the family is home, and 58 f at night when you are asleep. If it gets a bit chilly then turn it up for a bit, and return it to the lower setting after the house has warmed up. This one act alone will save you a boatload of money when compared to setting your thermostat to one temperature and leaving it there forever.
So there's your delivery. A boatload of inspiration, from me to you, to save a lot of energy, and a lot of money.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The appointment of the Police Chief as temporary Fire Chief while a replacement was sought should be filed under "This Was Really Stupid". Police Chiefs are Police Chiefs, not even close to being a Fire Chief. Similarities? Yes, they both are managers, but so is the manager of my 403b account, and the guy that manages Walmart at Hobbs Brook. Both are managers, but one doesn't have a clue about the others job, nor should they.
A new policy for scheduling Town Meetings should be kept readily available on the desktop. Another vote for Saturday meetings should be top of the list in 2014. In this way, the maximum number of voters could attend, and vote at the meetings.
Society, and our culture, has changed much since the 1950's, and weekday town meetings in the evening no longer work. To purposefully continue to schedule meetings at a time when the lowest number of voters can attend is self serving to those with special interests. In other words, the meetings by virtue of their long history of few voters in attendance, and leaving during them, are an excellent venue to manipulate in order to garner a favorable vote for items not favored by the majority. Manipulation is rigging. Change the time, and day of the town meetings to Saturday during the day, and watch the numbers of voters in attendance increase. Then watch just how the voting goes. Yes, a vote for a schedule change has been defeated in the past, but at what venue? The midweek, evening town hall meeting.
This is entirely up to those that want change. To remove the residents from under the thumb of those that have self serving agendas, then we must first put an article on the 2014 Town Meeting Warrant, and then we must step out of our snuggies, and march our asses to the meeting for a vote. Otherwise, accept the inevitable.
There are many items to file away as 2013 closes out, it is just more end of the year housekeeping. One item will remain open is violations in the open meeting law at the Board of Selectmen meetings, and the violation of the privacy insured to present, and past, town employees by the now resigned Chairman of that board.
The town is going to be reliving those events for a while, and it is it going to cost the town.
One of the last items to be reviewed before finishing out the year is to consider just where we have been as a town during the resigned Chairman's of the Boards tenure. Was our town government friendly, efficient, and for the people, or was it as most have said during this time, a Bullydom?
The answer is obvious.
When a bully takes over the playground a couple of things happen: people get bullied, and beat up, and others save their hides by standing with the bully. As long as the bully is there, they will be left alone. Their allegiance is seen as self serving, and it is remembered by those that have felt the bullies wrath.
When those that have been bludgeoned repeatedly, or have witnessed the bullies actions way too often, finally organize to a point that the bullies days are numbered, then it obvious what the attacker will do next.
Run away. And, that the bully did. He grabbed his coat, and hat, and headed for the door in one hell of hurry all the while the words for his reason for leaving were still floating in the room. His reason was to get closer to his god, and that there were too many people "suffering" in this town as a result of the actions that the town has taken.
No one can ever question a persons relationship with their god, but what one can do is compare the actions a person takes to the actions that their god would have approved of, or set as an example to follow. If the two don't match, then it is be safe to conclude that it must have been an epiphany that occurred only moments before there was that the run for the door.
We can not judge, and I certainly won't.
This was just one more of those "mysterious ways". It is also better to resign than have it go on record as being removed.
Note to ourselves for 2014: Learn. Learn from all the items being filed away at the end of this year. Do everything that can be done to avoid them from being repeated.
Below are a few things for all of us to think about in the weeks ahead, and into the new year.
- Give ample audience to the people in order to hear their voices. Allow them to speak, and do not interupt. Offer patience to those that are unsure, or unknowing in procedure.
- Give an appropriate venue to the people to have those voices heard, and acted on.
- Treat everyone as one wants to be treated themselves.
- Do not spend the money of the majority of the people based on the approval of a minority. Do everthing one can do to hear all the voices.
- Keep sacred the trust between the people, and those that serve them.
- Consider electing Town Meeting members to attend, and act as representives of the towns residents if a change in meeting day and time is not accomplished.
- Place safety, and the well being, of the residents, and visitors, over appearence in all projects.
- Consider every factor when creating a new project, not only the ones that will be resolved, but those that will be created as well.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I know that by not going to meetings in numbers large enough for the opposition to really be heard, these people will be over-ruled and forgotten. People choose not to attend meetings, or cannot attend meetings for many reasons, not the least of which is because of feeling intimidated.
I have a question for those now in control of this town. My question is this: Isn't it morally wrong for these, mostly appointed people, even to “propose” huge needless projects that will cost many people money they just cannot afford?
Monday, December 9, 2013
In a comment on your last post, Ron Cerney wrote, asking about the plans for the jug handle and new left turn for Stallion Hill/OSV.
Why are they doing this, one might ask. The loudest reason I've heard voiced on that matter is that people can't find Old Sturbridge Village. People found the Village easily for many decades, but they can't find it now? Years ago the sign for the Village was white with black lettering. You couldn't miss it. It seems to me that an easy to read sign with an arrow (not blending it with its surroundings) posted near the jug handle would be of great assistance. Then another, tasteful, also easy to read, white sign with black lettering at the Village entrance would lead the drivers right in. Right? So why all the roadwork?
Attached here is part of what I was given as an observer at the last working meeting before the public meeting - showing the jug handle and left turn lane.
As always, thanks for helping to keep people informed.
Monday, December 2, 2013
I encourage everyone who has concerns and questions regarding the proposed changes to attend this meeting. Residents should know why these changes are being proposed, what benefits will be derived from them, and at what cost.
Submitted by Barbara Search
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
You did see it. You have watched it slowly evolve over the years. Progressively getting worse. There is no reason to do a review of the last four years, but over the past half year things began to peak, and last night it ended. An explanation was given to the sixty, or so, people gathered at the town hall. He then gathered up his belongings, and simply went away.
It was that simple.
The explanation took some by surprise, and the actual going surprised the rest.
Now, a reason, an excuse for not getting this done, or doing too much of another thing is gone, too.
There is no excuse now. There is no reason not to commit, correct, and make better.
Think of all those, "If only..." moments you may have had over the past four years. It's time to call on those moments again.
Your excuse has left the building.
Sturbridge selectman resigns citing town's priorities at odds with his faith
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The reasons behind anyone leaving their place of employment is between their employer, and the employee. No one else. For the employer to address those reasons in a public forum in order for them to give credence to other issues is a violation of the employees privacy, and their trust.
And, it's just wrong.
One can't have it both ways. One either decides to serve others the right way, the best way, and never at others expense, no matter what the issues, or simply don't serve.
It's a simple idea, but so very hard for some to grasp.
Sturbridge selectman reveals reasons for recent police,
fire department resignations
By Craig S. Semon, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
STURBRIDGE — The chairman of the Board of Selectmen, reacting to a recent story in the Telegram & Gazette, gave a strong defense this week of the job the police chief is doing as acting fire chief.
Thomas R. Creamer told his colleagues at their meeting Monday that the Nov. 1 article was misleading when it listed 10 public safety workers who have resigned, or, in one case, taken a demotion, since Police Chief Thomas J. Ford III became acting fire chief on April 25. Chief Ford replaced Chief Leonard E. Senecal, a 35-year veteran of the force, who was placed on paid administrative leave April 22 after a consultant's report critical of his management. Chief Senecal retired May 17.
Over objections from the town administrator and some selectmen that he was violating confidential personnel matters, Mr. Creamer ran through the list of names to show that the resignations were not connected to mismanagement by Chief Ford.
"You want to sit here and say it's a personnel issue. It is a personnel issue," Mr. Creamer said. "We have a police chief now who is being attacked by individuals in this community and we have a personal responsibility to assure that the chief of police is not inappropriately maligned and yet members of this board and, in some cases, the town administrator has stood silently by while the police chief has been maligned. And I will no longer do that."
After that, there was no stopping Mr. Creamer until he was done with his list of names.
"Ahh, the strawberries..."
Part of the reason John C. Marinelli requested a voluntary reduction in rank from fire captain to lieutenant was that he was under review for potential termination, Mr. Creamer said. Lisa Keay, the Fire Department's administrative assistant, resigned because it had become apparent that "there were irregularities ... with the potential documentations of time and that potential documentations of time was in full knowledge
of the previous fire chief," Mr. Creamer said.
As for the resignation of full-time Firefighter Eric Roppolo, who said in his letter of resignation that "the fire department is being led in a dangerous direction," Mr. Creamer said: "This comes from an individual who during his three years as the union steward allowed deplorable and dangerous conditions to exist ... and never did anything, never raised an issue about it, nor rectified it."
And as for temporary Deputy Fire Chief Edward G. Bourassa, who resigned last week saying the department is "being run by fear and intimidation by a misdirected, unpredictable police chief," Mr. Creamer said he is a "good individual" but he disagrees completely with his assertion.
On-call Firefighter Edward Chamberland resigned but "did not, in any way, express any dissatisfaction" with the Fire Department, and on-call Firefighter Garrett Danna resigned to take a full-time job in Deerfield, Mr. Creamer said.
Police Lt. David A. Diogo resigned to become a patrolman in the Wilbraham Police Department because he did not relish the idea of being in the administrative level anymore, Mr. Creamer said.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
We are "good", but my goal is to be even better. I want to be ranked as "Darn Good". Super Fine would be nice, too.
Each month I look forward to opening the bill, and seeing how we did, and until I find another Autumn hobby this will do. Overall, we are heading in the right direction.
Today, I installed three more LED light bulbs in the living room. Last week I installed six, three in the bathroom, and three more in the kitchen.
Cripes, I'm "puttering" and I'm far from being retired, but to me, this is a contest; a contest between me, and the National Grid.
|Cree brand lightbulbs have had excellent reviews in 2013. |
They are available at Home Depot.
Now, one major aggravation with the curly-Q CFL bulbs has been their shape -shades don't rest on them very well. The manufacturers realized this after a million complaints, and stuck the curly-Q's into a glass shell resembling an incandescent light bulb. That worked great, however, the CFL bulbs continue to have a nasty habit of powering up brightly, and within a few seconds, they dim down. This trait aggravated Mary to no end, and I had little to offer in their defense as I tried to change out all our incandescents in the house. The CFL's are also non-dimmable, with a dimmer switch, as well, and if there is any interference to their circuit, they will flicker. After all, they are fluorescent.
LED light bulbs are the way to go, but until recently, they just cost too much money despite the fact that One LED bulb will last 22-25 years. Today, they cost anywhere from $8.00 for a 60 watt warm white bulb to $13.00 to a 60 watt bright white bulb. That is much better. You would spend $25.00 over 25 years replacing one incandescent bulb, and spend a boat load more on the electricity it consumed.
There are three way LED bulbs available, but the price is exorbitant, and all the LED bulbs can be operated with a dimmer.
I have about a dozen and a half CFL's with years left in them. If you want them, cheap, let me know.
This is the time of year for thinking on energy conservation, and also the time of year I think that they will someday find me frozen to my couch, remote in hand, if I don't continue to make some wise energy decisions today.
When I look at our electricity consumption for the year thus far, and at our oil consumption for the year so far, of only 489 gallons, I can't help but smile. 445 of those gallons were with the old boiler up until this past spring.
In 2012 we switched to an on demand electric hot water system for our domestic use, and left the boiler for just heating water for the steam to heat our house. This past spring we replaced that boiler with a new, more efficient one. I won't know just how much of an improvement it has made until the spring, but I will watch it closely on the way to April.
Next year we will insulate this 150 year old house beyond the two inches of cellulose we found in the attic. We are going to put some R-value in the walls! All in all, this old house has actually done quite well keeping warm considering it isn't even wearing a coat. This fall, I had Custom Insulation, of Worcester, come out, and reevaluate our house. They are going to stay with the estimate they gave us in 2007. This is noteworthy; a lot of companies would jack up their estimate after six months, never mind six years.
Come on, winter, hit me with your best shot! I've got energy to conserve, money to save, and a spreadsheet that needs data.
Whoa. I just listened to myself, and, I really do need to find a cold weather hobby.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
|Here's a thought, who else thought this would ever happen? |
Took me totally by surprise.
Article published Oct 29, 2013
Sturbridge fire official quits, rips chief, town leaders
By Craig S. Semon, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
STURBRIDGE — The Sturbridge Fire Department is "being run by fear and intimidation by a misdirected, unpredictable police chief," according to the temporary deputy fire chief, who resigned, effective immediately, on Tuesday.
In his resignation letter, Edward G. Bourassa said he refuses to be part of "further destroying the morale, firefighters' confidence and departmental readiness any more."
Retiring in 2007, Mr. Bourassa had 16 years of command experience in the Sturbridge Fire Department, serving 14 years as captain. In a 3-2 vote on June 3, selectmen appointed the retired fire captain as the town's temporary deputy fire chief. Selectmen Mary Blanchard and Mary B. Dowling both voted against the appointment.
He was to serve through Jan. 17 at a salary of $64,299.
Police Chief Thomas J. Ford III has been serving as acting fire chief since April 25. He replaced Chief Leonard E. Senecal, a 35-year veteran of the force, who was placed on paid administrative leave April 22 after a consultant's report critical of his management. Chief Senecal retired May 17. Town Administrator Shaun A. Suhoski said he estimates that Chief Ford will serve as the acting fire chief through Dec. 1.
Not only did he have unkind words for Chief Ford, Mr. Suhoski and Selectman Thomas R. Creamer, his board's chairman, but Mr. Bourassa said in his resignation letter that he is relieved to be out of the "pressure cooker" that has become the Sturbridge Fire Department.
"I wish I could say that it is with great sadness, but it is not," Mr. Bourassa wrote in his resignation letter. "I am relieved to be out of the pressure cooker the department has become under the supervision of your police chief."
Mr. Bourassa griped that Mr. Suhoski and Mr. Creamer clearly told him that Chief Ford would only handle administrative tasks while Mr. Bourassa would deal with the "day-to-day operations" of the fire department.
Instead, at the Public Safety Complex, Mr. Bourassa alleged, "in-fighting and backstabbing" are "out of control," and everyone in the department lives in fear of being "the next one on the police chief's hit list" amid "constant threats of investigations on just about everything that goes on."
Mr. Bourassa wrote that every group of fire professionals he is aware of has said a police chief should not be allowed to manage a fire department for even a short time, and he added that he could not agree with them more.
Chief Ford "has absolutely no fire, rescue or emergency medical service experience and yet has been allowed to do whatever he wants, behaving like a 'subject matter expert' which he is not," Mr. Bourassa wrote. "The bottom line is that police and fire services are very different and need supervisors who understand and know what they're doing."
Mr. Bourassa also said Chief Ford has locked every cabinet in the Fire Department, and fire personnel need permission to access any fire documents.
"It's ridiculous. This is a travesty, and ultimately where is the big, secret disgrace left by the former chief? Nowhere because there was none," Mr. Bourassa said. "This is a fire department being run by fear and intimidation — by a misdirected, unpredictable police chief."
He claimed he was not allowed to make "one real decision" and was "kept in the dark" on the selection process of all of those hired or promoted during his time as temporary deputy chief.
"Why have someone with more than three decades of fire service experience come in just to have a police officer with no fire experience tell us how it needs to be done?" Mr. Bourassa said. "If this type of strong-armed leadership is so successful, why are police officers leaving or asking for demotion?"
In his "exit interview" from 2007, Mr. Bourassa said his attempts to reform the Fire Department had all been "a waste of time," since his suggestions were either "brushed off" or he was told to "go ahead" only to have any follow-up attempt ignored.
"This individual left the department six years ago because of too little management accountability. Now he leaves because there is too much management accountability," Mr. Suhoski said. "I think anyone can understand that it is difficult to transition from a work environment with minimal accountability to one that seeks greater accountability. I remain confident that the next permanent fire chief will work closely with our dedicated employees and continue the substantial progress that has been made over the past six months under acting Chief Ford's leadership."
In Tuesday's resignation letter, Mr. Bourassa, who refers to himself as a "proud retired member of the once-strong Sturbridge Fire Department," offered his "sincerest apology" to those in the fire department who had come to him in hopes that he could change what was happening.
Mr. Bourassa chastised current and previous selectmen for causing the problem that existed with Chief Senecal and now.
"When all of the members of the board ignore the issues and look the other way while only listening to the person causing the problems, there is no way for changes to be effected," Mr. Bourassa wrote. "This is the exact situation that created the original problems under the former chief, a board who only listens to the one person who is creating the problems or trying to cover up his own ineffectiveness."
Mr. Bourassa, Chief Ford and Mr. Creamer did not return calls.
Craig S. Semon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
There is no getting around what lies ahead. Mary has a handful of paint chips, a head full of ideas, and I'm out of reasons, and ways of whining , "But, why?".
The living room, and dining room are now on her short list.
I don't really mind painting, in fact, I enjoy it. It's a chance to concentrate on something so exclusively, that I can block everything else around me really well. When I'm not painting, I've been told that this attribute is called, "not-paying-attention", or daydreaming. I've heard that all my life. I like putting something I obviously do quite well, and regularly, to a productive use.
So, this fall, hopefully "before the Holidays are here", and I am hoping Mary was referring to Memorial, and Flag Day, I will join the ranks of millions of other homeowners performing DIY projects around the house.
With this project, the biggest hurdle we had to overcome was choosing the right color. This is the most frightening step. Husbands have actually gone missing during this phase, yet the rooms still get painted. Zombies on October 31st are bad enough, but they are nothing against a spouse with a color theme banging about between their ears (shudder).
Together, "we" thought, something rather neutral, but not in the browns, tans, and beige's, maybe the greys, but not too green grey, or too blue grey, and, of course, not too, grey grey.
That narrows our choices down, he said with a happy face. (sigh) Like as if it did.
So out came the Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore smart phone apps, and all the millions of colors in their respective pallets. With each new color texted, or shown in person, came the words, "What about this one?", or "This?", or "This is nice.", "Ooo, I like this.", and those were just from me. Mary was more to the point. "No.", "Too green.", "Too blue.", "Are you serious?", "You are kidding, right?"
A trip the paint store in Maine resulted in our relieving them of 30, or so, paint chips. Three, or four hours later, during halftime in Sturbridge, Mary had them taped, and staggered around the living room , and dining room. With a serious, no nonsense look, she asked me, "Can I see you for a minute?"
Cripes. This did not sound good.
|Stonington Grey is third from the top left.|
Hallelujah. Almost done. Right, Mary? Huh? Almost done now? My nachos were getting soggier, and the game was going to start, and... "Stop it", she said as she pointed at the paint chip confetti leaning against the wall, "pick one".
And, I did. I picked the very best ones, huh, Mare? Didn't I?
The finalists were then taken into the living room, and taped to the wall beside a few test blotches from sample cans of grey paint. After we stared at them in the late afternoon light, in the darkest area of the room. Mary paused, stared without blinking, and said, "I found it. I like the Stonington Grey." To which I found myself responding, "So do I.", and I meant it, that color looked great. Weeks, countless conversations, paint chips, text messages later we had finally decided on the very best, like, most excellent color evaahh.
A lot of work, thought, and effort were expended way beyond seeing that first color sample on the phone. A friend of Mary's even had a sample of that first color, and, of course, it had to be applied to the wall just to be sure.
Yep, and that first color that sparked the process? That color was Stonington Grey the actual color we had chosen in the end. So what was all that stuff in the middle then? That process is called, "Just To Be Sure". We all do it. Try a recipe one way, then another way just to be sure, buy a shirt with a neck size of 18 inches instead of 17 1/2, just to be sure, take home two gallons of ice cream for the party, instead of one, just to be sure. Adding a 1/16th of an inch to the measurement before picking up the saw. It's a great process, and saves a whole bunch of mistakes, and do-overs.
I think there needs to be wider use of this "Just-To-Be-Sure" thing, and used for everything from selecting a shirt, and paint color, to choosing a partner. Think about it, if more of us had put as much effort into selecting a partner for life as we did in selecting a paint color for the living room, the divorce rate would be reduced greatly, and we would be happy for a lot longer.
Yep. I know that for a fact.
Vacuuming the rug a minute longer, tightening that lug nut one more quarter turn, topping off the gas tank, putting aside a little extra for those rainy days, going on that blind date you have been told about for months just to be sure. They are all worth the effort, and will not only give you peace of mind, but the satisfaction knowing you could not have done any better.
No, I could not have done any better at all.
Take another sip of coffee, and look around you. What do you see that you could do, or have done the best you could do, just to be sure? If you don't see anything, then that is your assignment for the day: find something, and then find something tomorrow, and the following day.
Think of it as "lather, rinse, repeat" mantra for peace of mind, and personal happiness. When you go that extra bit, and are trully happy, completely satisfied, and very much at ease, with your accomplishments, then those around you will be as well. Unless you feel that changing your socks every few days, sitting around in your underwear on your days off, not shaving, seldom taking the trash out, and saying things like, "Whatever color you like, honey" will make those around you happy, then think again, just to be sure.
Friday, October 25, 2013
At Sears we said hello to our little friend, an eight HP, 26 inch wide brute with power steering. I picked it up the day before the snow fell.
Up until then I had no problem shoveling our driveway, but it was getting a bit old, and with the volume of snow predicted, not long after I had packed away my cargo shorts for the season, I was in no mood to play around.
Visiting Sears that day was a very good decision.
What would have made our preparation even better was if we had bought a generator as well. We had no power for six days. That piece of equipment is on the wish list.
Yesterday, after the final mowing for the season, and annual readying of the yard, that snow blower was readied for another season. Tires inflated, gas, and oil added, parked, and covered.
To be properly prepared can be, and is often taught, but for most of us, we learn from not being prepared. I've been in that category more than once.
Being prepared extends beyond my driveway. Our town must be prepared for the expenses, both expected, and unexpected, over the course of a year. This year our residential tax rate is 17.95%. Out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, we rank 45th. That's a whole lot of cash coming in. There was some sincere thought in preparing our expense list, and establishing our tax rate. Yet, as pricey as it is to live here in Sturbridge, we are still expected to clear our own sidewalks of snow in front of our homes along Main Street.
You would think that the expense of clearing the sidewalks would have been included in the budget. For the price we pay to live in Sturbridge, no one should ever have to clear the sidewalk in front of their home. Ever.
Comes down to preparation, and in this case, I hope they have learned from past experience.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Location, a great plan, and local support will close the deal. It's happening.
House prices will increase dramatically. What we lost during the recession will be more than regained.
There will be changes. A lot of changes. More changes than this area has ever seen, and change scares the bejeepers out of many folks. Fear of what they believe will happen cloud their mind. The changes are long overdue, and will be beneficial to all.
Then there are those that are afraid that gambling will leave people destitute.
Gambling has been around as long as man has had something to bet on. There have been some that have gambled enough to loose everything they have. That is gambling. Then, there are many more that have gambled without loosing that control of their lives, and win, or loose, they move on with their lives.
The argument that excessive gambling is a disease, and we must do our part to prevent its spread is like banning cupcakes because a diabetic might eat one. Each case must be identified, and addressed by those that are affected, and like diabetes, treatment begun. This works well, and the cupcakes remain on the shelf at Cumberland Farms.
I don't think that there will be any long term negative affect to the surrounding towns when the casino in Palmer is approved. Roads will be adjusted, traffic flow will be refined, schools will adapt, more stores will be built, and jobs will be available.
The last part is most important. Jobs will be available not only during construction of the casino, and afterwards at the facility, but jobs will be created to build the stores, houses, and day cares. Jobs will be created to staff those businesses as well.
One other thing to think about is that Sturbridge should put out of its head the idea of taking over Route 20. That road will need major improvements in the coming years in order to handle the increased traffic flow, and that is something we don't need to be paying for.
Monday, September 30, 2013
More specific: hi tech, has evolved over the past ten years at a speed I would compare to the wheel becoming a Corvette over a long weekend.
The speed at which technology has developed is not only amazingly fast, but mind numbing.
|60 million o fhe Motorola Razr phones|
were sold between 2004-2006.
Any longer could cramp your frontal lobe.
Think about where cell phones were in ten years ago in 2003. Don't bother thinking of a "bag phone"
from the 1980's. That is like comparing spaghetti to mufflers. Think about the be all, end all Motorola Razr cell phone from 2003. That phone was not only small, it was thin. and folded neatly onto itself, and it fit seamlessly into jeans pockets.
Everyone wanted one.
Then, everyone wanted a Palm Treo, Blackberry, and eventually, an iPhone. Technology developed so quickly that with each amazing advancement, a new product was developed, and it was like you never owned a cell phone before.
Technology knows when you left your home to drive to Albany, where you are along the way, and when you can be expected to arrive, even if you do not have GPS in your vehicle. If there are delays ahead then technology will warn you, and divert you around them. Technology knows how fast you drove en route, and the speed limits all along the way. It also knows if you went over those limits.
Once you have parked the car in the city, and begin walking to your destination technology can find you in the crowd of hundreds using facial recognition by comparing your DMV license photo to all those other faces around you. Video cameras are everywhere, and are recording the last time you coughed, checked your zipper, or smiled at a baby.
Big Brother is not only here, he has been welcomed, given the spare room, and keys to the minivan. We are not the least bit fazed by it.
George Orwell is rolling over in his grave, and I am sure you can view the video of it on Youtube.
If you carry a cell phone with you then your location is known at any given moment. You have been essentially tagged like a bear in the wrong neighborhood. When you drive on I-495, or the MassPike, your speed is tracked by your blue tooth phone. This is how traffic times are calculates, and posted on those digital signboards on the roadside. They say only the blue tooth signal is used, and then then timed from location to location, but it is just as easy to attach your name, and face to that blue tooth signal as well.
So what is the point of all this?
The tech creep has occurred with great fanfare with each development, but the side tech developments have slipped in quietly. Are you comfortable with "being out there" for all to monitor, and observe?
What is the alternative? Going back to 1986, and living "off the grid"? Possible? Not really. Not today. Even if you lost your cell phone, and your GPS enabled vehicle, there are the video cameras at the gas station, and the hot dog stand, your ATM card, and your new home thermostat that knows if you are home, or away. Facial recognition is here despite what service you subscribe to. As long as there has been one photograph taken of you you can be found in a crowd.
The new age has arrived, as predicted, not with a bang, but with a ring tone.
Very shortly, you will be able to confront your high school student with videos of just where they have been when they said they were studying at a friends house, check on a friends whereabouts, and check to see if your girlfriend is really at work.
All this amazing technology has been welcomed either openly, or by our just enjoying it. Could it be used in ways that could harm us?
Of course. Fire is a wonderful tool, but with the wrong intent, it is terrifying and dangerous.
Can we prevent hi tech from being used against us? I don't know, but it all starts with awareness, and un-numbing your head.
In the meantime, smile, you're on someones camera, and they know what you're up to today.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I do not believe the vote last May by our selectmen was a vote against the concept of a SRO, but rather against the funding of one. Nationally, the need for an SRO has been shown to be there, and for schools as large as TRHS, it is almost a requirement.
Like any small village, that hires a constable, or has single police officer, and TRHS's population is like that of a small village, there is a need for an SRO in that community.
Safety vs. funding.
Why is this concept so difficult to overcome?
Monday, September 23, 2013
If I feel your comment is hurtful, hateful, inciteful, or I just don't like you, I won't publish your comment. If you try again under a differnt name, then you just look stupid.
Remember, my blog, my rules.