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Luckily I have two modes of transportation: a truck (2000) Ford Ranger and a 2009 Subaru Forester. I have carried everything in the truck; furniture, trees, mulch, a refrigerator, washer and dryer, a big heavy doghouse, heavy bags of cement, lumber and much more. It now has over 162, 000 miles on it and it still performs well. The Subaru is much prettier, sporty and it has lots of handy features. It still has just 26,000 miles on it. It has all kinds of fancy features so I tend to worry about it more. Right now it’s in the shop being fixed.

The truck is not pretty at all, with a lot of dings all around. The bumpers have been hit, squeezed between two moving cars, so the sporty car behind me got real messed up. Years ago the truck needed a new transmission, so my son and a friend took the bad one out and went to a place that sold refurbished transmissions. That was a big job but it got done and the truck ran as good as new. The Ranger has had a productive and so far, safe life. I’ll miss it when I have to give it up, to that great parking lot in the sky. The Subaru is fussier and apparently it likes to go to the dealer for care now and then.

I was thinking about how the vehicles affect my life and I was thinking that cars and trucks, no matter the model or the age are a bit like children. Some people even name their vehicles. Some parents might like one kid more than another. Some kids are high maintenance, so they need more guidance, more attention sometimes. Some kids are always getting hurt, so they hade to be taken to the emergency room to be checked out. Some kids need more handling, more incentives to perform well, even for minor tasks. They’re fussy, unpredictable. When they won’t go, they just won’t go.

The ebb and flow of life take us in different directions for different circumstances. I’m more concerned about my children’s physical health. I spent a lot of time in emergency rooms, or taking the kids to the doctor and dentist for routine care when they were all young. Now I don’t worry as much. Their physical health is up to them now. It’s their job to take care of themselves. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at Kaiser, where I go for my health needs. Kaiser is persistent in getting their clients extra good care. I feel extremely lucky to be getting such attention but it is time consuming.

For his own reasons President Trump decided to tackle the nation’s health care. He wanted to get rid of “Obamacare” and establish his own plan. Lots of people took to the streets to protest the loss of their current health care plans. It was all hurry, hurry to get it done. Ultimately Trump couldn’t get the support he needed so he had to back off. He had promised “We’re going to have a much better health care plan at much less cost.” It seems to me that President Trump is in a big hurry all the time. The pushes his staff to get things in motion and doesn’t seem to get a good sense of what is needed to change programs, how to explain his plans well and how to get the support he needs from his colleagues in Washington and the people in the rest of the USA. He’s not explaining his vision well at all. He comes off as impulsive, with grand plans but no patience with the small details that need to be addressed.

People are reacting to Trump’s ideas. People have been gathering to protest the possible loss of the health plans they already have. There are plenty of things that need fixing in the U.S. such as highways, bridges, dams, hospitals and schools. The issue of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is another hot topic. The wall that the President wants to build is already a contentious topic. Some say we should do it, others are totally against a wall that they say won’t work anyway. It seems that they will be cussing & discussing a lot in Washington to get things in order. Who will prevail? How much input will the average citizen have in all these schemes?

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As usual, life is plus and minus. Macy’s is going to close 68 stores and 10,000 jobs will be lost. Sears is also having a hard time attracting customers so it will be selling its Craftsman brand of tools plus Kenmore and Die Hard. The once very popular stores aren’t bringing in enough customers so they plan to close 150 unprofitable stores. Lots of employees will lose their jobs. I read in the newspaper today that Radio Shack will be closing 552 of its stores, including 75 stores in California. Many Sears and Macy stores serve as anchor stores in many shopping malls. Malls in general are not as popular as they once were. People shop in many different ways; online, from catalogs, smaller local stores and even swap meets and yard sales.

Good news: California has added 22,900 employees in jobs in February. In the last year over 315,000 jobs have been filled. Car sales in the U.S. were outstanding, with more than 17.55 million vehicles sold in 2016. Nissan sold more than 1.5 million, Subaru sold 615,132, and Honda sold 1.6 million vehicles. Ford trucks were very popular with 820, 799 trucks sold. Trucks and SUVs made up 63% of sales in the U.S. One last thing: owners of some cars are slow in getting their air bags repaired. Hondas and Acura owners were told to bring their cars in because the airbags had a 50% chance of erupting in a crash. Hard to believe, but many are still dragging their feet to get that important fix taken care of.

Everyone complains about the wretched condition of our freeways and roads in California. Our Governor Brown wants a new tax hike, an excise tax on gasoline to fix everything out there. The state seems to have money for a lot of things such as a big payroll for the politicians, their staffs, offices, cars, gasoline, travel and anything else they “need” to get their “work” done. There’s a $130-billion backlog of needed repairs. Well, we saw the big dam up North get ready to collapse, houses and buildings floating down the streets. We know that there is a lot that needs to be fixed in the state, but why does all the cost have to be paid by added taxes? Have they ever established an emergency fund for anything? California has become a real hard place to live in, work or plan for the future. What in the world are we leaving for our kids?

Our President seems to be in a big hurry all the time. He seems restless, going to Florida to his home (and hotel) every chance he gets. Maybe he’s bored hanging around the White House despite the fact that his daughter and her husband have close, frequent contact as his advisors His daughter has an office in the White House as well as access to classified material. How did that happen? The President likes to play golf and relax, even eats in the dining room with his very rich guests. Another thing he misses is the roar of the crowd so he is still appearing at rallies for his fans. He likes the attention, the adulation. These outings are not always peaceful, because people get carried away when those who don’t like Trump show up. Is this any way to run a country? Don’t people have better things to do? As Rodney King asked a long time ago, “Can’t we all get along? Apparently not right now.

One last thing: I got a refund check from the IRS for $16.11. I’m excited.

 

Hang in there.

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“You cannot judge a man’s life by the success of a moment, by the victory of an hour, or even by the results of a year. You must view his life as a whole.” (1896)

William Jennings Bryan
Lawyer and politician March 1860-1925

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