Saturday, February 21, 2009

Missing Joe's Clothes

I, like you, want the economy to get back on track.
I, perhaps unlike you dear reader, have a disparate basis to wish some reasonable good fortunes in these troubled times:
I want my stores back!

I say this after just returning from my supermarket.
No, grocery store is probably a far better term, as there never has been anything "super" about my "No Frills" store.
Basic stuff. Not a huge choice or variety. You pay a nickel a bag if you really need one, or, like me, you bring your own. You fork out a quarter to borrow a cart.

There is no Kobe or Wagyu beef. There is not a sight or smell of sashimi or sushi. You won't find any fresh croissants. There also is no olive bar, fresh pasta bar, or Gelato bar to spend your hard earned bucks on.
It's no frills silly.
Basic stuff, good prices.
I figure on a big shop, my cart of goods cost $30 less than the national fancy chains that offer up steamed cups of lattes while you shuk and suck back their PEI Malpeque oysters that were just flown in for the weekly flyer.

No sir, this is no frills! But today it was NO carts, NO parking, No bananas left at $.59/lb. The line ups to cash out snaked all the way to the skids of no name coffee.

Here is my beef: I used to have a free run at the aisles. Pre- sub prime crash, I had at most, 2 people in line ups ahead of me.
Boom! It hit, and the good people got nervous.
They all started to come to my store!

Now I'm no financial guru. Nor did I have a crystal ball to foresee the times we are in. In fact I have been a frugal shopper for many years.
It just happens to be in vogue now!

I certainly don't mind sharing my neighborhood store, in fact I used to talk ad nauseam about it to fellow workers.
"Dave" they'd say
"They sell cheap food"
"It's not cheap" I would reply
"It's inexpensive"

I like nice clothes, nice labels and quality. I cringe at the prices, but believe in paying for quality.
Years ago I discovered an upscale mens second hand store. Nothing but top notch, high end stuff. But worn, at one time by someone with a much bigger line of credit than me, and taken to store to be sold at a fraction of the cost.
Boss, Prada, Gucci, Canali. All the wonderful labels that are lovely to look, lovely to hold........but never made it home because paying $600 for a sports jacket is just silly.

I discovered the store by chance, and fell in love with the $1,000 wardrobe I could own, for a couple of hundred bucks. I was even more delighted when I discovered that the local sports anchor at a big Toronto affiliate, was the same size as me.

It was an arrangement made in heaven.
One that would put me in Canali, Boss, Prada and the likes for next to nothing, for the next fifteen years!
Top quality 100% cotton men's dress shirts, some even monogrammed with cool initials not even close to mine, for $18 a pop! Designer jeans that boy toys played in whilst yauching I suspect, could be snagged for under $25.

You see, being on television nightly in the biggest market in Canada, Joe and the likes of his ilk were given top labels in exchange for promotional consideration.
"Joe_______'s wardrobe provided by Harry_____. clothier to gentlemen".
It should of continued with...
"and eventually given a good home and worn by David P"

Joe got new duds every month.
Joe was smart.
Joe did not make a million bucks.
Sure, Joe was the 11 o'clock sports guy on a big station.
Still, it's not New York. Toronto affiliates do not pay much.

Joe would take his nice stuff in to "my second hand store" at the end of each month. The owner of the store knew that Joe and I were both a size 42. So Steve, the owner would phone me.
I would race down to pick up my new $750 jacket and pants for about $170.
Joe, the sports guy, got 50% of the consignment deal, and nicely augmented his income.
It made all three parties happy!

Anyway, so I go deaf and go on long term disability. I spend the next five hundred days dressed in old Nike and New Balance pants, that I would nicely coordinate with shirts given away at the Half marathons I ran in.
The economy tanks while I was napping and the world discovered my secret store.
And Joes clothes.

I go back to work four weeks ago, but prior to my revival in the work place, I figure my clothes need a restoration that might go by the name of Canali or Prada.
I drive in to the tiny plaza that houses the clothing replay store.
Steve, the owner who I have been seeing for over fifteen teen years, looks a little shocked to see me.

"Dave, great to see you, but I don't have anything in your size" Steve exclaims.
"What about Joe's clothes?" I inquire with a little pissiness in my voice.
"Got a waiting list a mile long" he informs.

My second hand furniture store has line ups now.
My clothing guy can't get me in Joe's old/new clothes any more.
No Frills has gone viral, and I can't even park.
The cheese guy who sold wonderful cheeses out of a warehouse in an industrial park now has a waiting list.
The baker that sold hot lovely bread from a stall in a parking garage, has more business than bread.

So you see my dilemma. The economy tanks and the world discovers my world of inexpensive luxury, and good value that I have been a patron of for twenty years in many cases.

I want things to get better so I can get back to being cheap again.

I want Joe's clothes again!



Friday, February 20, 2009

Easy To Do.

In this new chapter of my life, post September 2007, and living deaf for all intents and purposes, I do many things now, that I had little patience for pre-medical implosion.
Activities that I always wanted to do, had the noblest of intentions, but never followed through.

So what changed?

Most of my activities and disciplines that are part of my routine, are, for the most part, easy to do. Yet as I realized many years ago, what's easy to do, is even easier not to do.

Yoga, I do daily. I will skip one day a week to change it up for something new to try, but yoga is something that gets at least 6 out of 7 days in my mornings. Previous to my slow recovery, I always wanted to do yoga. I bought mats, DVD's, cool pants, and music to go with the theme.

As most things at the time, it got shelved, I always got busy, and then it got forgotten. I can remember quite clearly about five years ago, watching a Yoga work out video on television. I said to myself "That looks easy to do, I want to start that"
Easy to do I thought, but I found out quickly that it was easier not to do.

I started simple yoga when I got out of the hospital after a 90 day stay, back in December 2007. My body ached from lying in a coma at first, then recovering in a bed for months. The simple stretches took forever to come together, but man they felt good.

My diet was crazy in the "old hearing world". Busy, on the run, and living in airport lounges, airplane seats, hotels, and cars five or six days a week, dictated a grab and woof eating lifestyle. Oh sure, I always had the good intentions. "Starting Monday I will pack an apple and some tuna on a crackers for my lunch." I announced faithfully, with full intentions, every Friday night.

Easy to do, right?
Easier not to do.

Today I eat on average 4 to 6 fruit servings a day. Most of it through a morning smoothie. Vegetables get the same treatment. If I can't get fresh veggies from my crisper, I do a "Greens" drink mid morning or afternoon.

Exercise I was always pretty good on. Having run in a couple of half marathons in my past, and countless five and ten kilometer events, running kept me in good shape. Daily running, for the most part, was part of my life.
When I lost all balance due to Labyrinthis in 2007, I was afraid running would exit stage left.

Imagine my lovely surprise when I discovered that it was easier to run then walk, when one has no balance.
Picture a ten month old baby, who can only crawl. One day they stand up and pitch forward as they attempt movement. We, and they, anticipate the crash, but they just "give er" and run on a forty five degree angle, defying gravity it seems.
That is my running technique at present.
I am slower, but funny as hell to watch.

I found discipline that I never had before. Possibly out of necessity to survive, I structured activities, gave them time frames and goals. I became obsessed with getting as close as I could to "normal".
Being deaf, and having no balance were and are two things that I cannot change. So I pushed myself to a healthier body to compensate if you will. I have enough challenges with those two beauties, so having a stroke or heart attack, or other ailments that can be prevented, became my healthy preoccupation.

Being deaf, and out of work, I had time to read, work the mind, and learn more. Television quickly lost it's appeal with closed captioning, so I read.

I read topics that in past I always wanted to read.
In fact I had bought the books years ago.
I can even remember saying repeatedly years ago; "Next week I want to get a book and study 'Buddhism, zen, traditional Chinese Medicine, eastern philosophy, Mac computers, routers, chess, international finance, orchids, vegetarian recipes.......insert your pet curiosity here________"

Easy to do.
Easier not to do.

But time and change of attitude gave me cause to read these books. Re discover old novels, favorite authors and great literature.
Time and discipline allowed me to follow stories in the newspaper, and magazines that in past, would of been clipped and put into my "To be read" file.
We all have one of those right?
I had the thickest one I bet.

I read everything I could get my hands on, and developed new tastes as a result.
I bought books on ASL (American sign language) and DVD's to learn a new way to communicate. I worked tirelessly with speech therapists on speech reading (lip reading but more involved), and learning voice volume control, in my new world of not hearing one self speak. (Man at first I was soooooooo loud I was told!)

After my cochlear implant, I worked like a dog to hear again. This new world of sound was now "sound 2.1"!
A digital version of my old analog life, that required me to buy Dr. Seuss books with CD accompaniment, to learn the new digital way of words. That was, and is my toughest battle, and I have a whole new appreciation for "Hop On Pop"!

Today, my routine might scare away many. My discipline scares me, and I am first to call me "anal" about scheduling my reading times, my eating times, my menu, my exercise, and yes, my even more important family time.

Old David always said, "Dan, when Dad has time, you and I will play that Chess rematch"

Easy to do, I suspect.
Easier not to do. At least in my old world.

Easier to get so busy and lost in this world of "stuff" that it got put off. Living the "Cat's Cradle" song was something I never thought would happen.
Now, my little amazing Guitar boy is so busy, that I hear all my old excuses from him.
"Dad, I promise we will have that rematch on the weekend".
Then his buddies come over.
I pick up my chess book and study famous opening moves.

Perhaps I have a little more motivation then old David, and maybe even a little more motivation than most denizens some days.

Matters not.

My mindset now is to keep doing what I have been doing for the past fifteen months. Never to falll back into the "easier not to do" routine!

Today I my "day off" as I do a gradual return to the work world.

Today I kept the same routine as every day.

And you know what?
It is getting easy to do!