The Crotchety Old Man

Mar 18, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A Sad Anniversary

A Sad Anniversary

Hard to believe a year has passed since we lost Andy. My ex, the best friend I ever had, and the love of my life died a year ago today. Adjusting to a world without him has been quite a challenge. To know Andy was to love him. He was kind, generous, thoughtful, and always considerate of others. The students, faculty, and staff he worked with in our college adored him. Being the partner of such a nice guy boosted my image around the college. He was the center of my universe for seventeen years (18 now). Since his death, I’ve thought and thought about our time together — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Could I have done …

Mar 11, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Countdown to Retirement

Last week I celebrated my 61st birthday. Had to call 9-1-1 after my house filled up with smoke. Birthday candles were not involved. Somehow, I accidnetally closed thechimney flue when adding another log to the fire. Fortunately, the only damage was the lingering smell of smoke. Next year, retirement becomes an option. Barely. I’ll be 62 — old enough to collect Social Security. The longer I work, of course, the bigger that check will be. Social Security won’t be my only source of income. I’ll also get a small pension from a former employer. Most of my retirement income, however, will come from tax-deferred accounts. As long as I keep working, me and my employer will continue to contribute to …

Mar 04, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Spam-tastic?

Cooking for one without dying of boredom is a challenge. I get tired of fixing the same old stuff — a universal problem for anyone who cooks much. I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Last week, I picked up a can of Spam. Not just any Spam, mind you. This was pepper Spam. Fancy. A dim memory of fried Spam on white bread slathered with mayo sparked my decision to drop Pepper Spam into my cart. I mentioned the purchase to mother, who retched a bit and then declared she’d hated Span since childhood. No way she ever fixed it for us. I must be thinking of the fried bologna sandwiches she fixed from time to …

Feb 19, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Winter Garden Update

Mild weather has been the norm in Athens this winter. My garden experiment has turned out better than expected. We’ve had a few cold spells with below-freezing temperatures, but the polar vortex stayed well north of here. The coldest weather is behind us. Lows two or three degrees below freezing won’t hurt anything I planted. Locating the garden between a heat-retaining dry-streambed and the shelter of an eight-foot privacy fence offered aditional protection. I was prepared for colder temps, but never had to cover things up. A winter harvest was unlikely. Cool season crops need to be in the ground in August or September when it’s too hot here for the plants to survive. Planting before late October is a …

Feb 18, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Accidental Orchids

About this time last year, I decided to reclaim my kitchen table, home to the orchid collection I’ve nurtured since 2012. None of my orchids showed any sign of blooming. Some haven’t bloomed for years. Several didn’t look very healthy, and a couple appeared to have crossed to the other side. I wanted to throw the entire collection in the trash. They’d lived longer and bloomed more than I ever expected. Time to move on. I couldn’t do it. Except for a couple too far gone to rescue, I put them outside under a magnolia tree and more or less forgot about them. Thanks to the wettest summer on record here in Athens and contrary to my expectations, they survived. …

Feb 12, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Teaching: Take Two

Teaching the consumer class again is a different exprience. A much better understanding of the purpose of the course and the shortcomings of the textbook led me to make quite a few changes. Students this semester are getting a new and improved version of the course. The class is smaller this semester. Instead of 48 students, I only have 26. Fewer students makes a huge difference. With four assignments, four exams, and a final, grading takes about 90 minutes per student over the course of the semester. Last semester, I devoted a full lecture to every chapter in the text and covered every term and concept. Focusing on the most important stuff this year has cut so much content in …

Feb 04, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Worth Watching?

I’ve been recording my favorite television shows to watch on my schedule for a long time. The ability to fastforward through commercials and boring parts of reality shows made DVR a much better option than OnDemand. Then I got Netflix. No commercials or waiting a week to find out what happens next. I still DVR a few favorites (mostly reality shows), but increasingly, my favorites are on Netflix. Because of all the options, finding things to watch on Netflix can be a challenge. I watch whatever catches my eye on the “home” screen and shows I’ve heard about elsehwere. I’m especially keen on documentaries, biographies, and historical fiction. Here’s a sampling of my favorites. Grace and Frankie. Lifelong frenemies and …

Jan 21, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Forced Procrastination

Forced Procrastination

Procrastination has never been my thing. Waiting until the last minute freaks me out. Being on time or early is a lot less stressful. I’ve been behind since a three-week bout with the flu last January. Losing Andy in March put me furher behind. Doing things at the last minute is my new normal. Most evenings and the biggest part of my weekends for the past year have been devoted to work. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get caught up. Every time I get close, something else falls on my plate. A three-week break over the holidays was my time to catch up and work ahead. That didn’t happen. For three glorious weeks, “I’ll work on it …

Jan 07, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Winter Garden Update

Winter Garden Update

Last fall, the weather folks forecast a milder-than-average winter for North Georgia. Compared to Kentucky where I grew up, even tbe worst winters here in Athens are mild. I decided to take my chances on a winter garden. The results, so far, have exceeded my expectations. In previous years, I planted pansies and violas in the fall and nothing else until February or later. Emboldened by the forecast, I set out collards, cauliflower, and broccoli plants. I also sewed seed for turnips and peas. I like turnips, and they are easy to grow. Fresh peas are vastly superior to canned or frozen. Snapdragons are another experiment in my winter garden. Snapdragons, petnuias and diantus and other half-hardy annuals can surive …

Jan 01, 2019
By Michael Rupured
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Down Time

Time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day is standard operating procedure at the day job. I add vacation days to either end to extend the break as long as possible. This year, I took off three full weeks. I brought home a ton of work. January is crazy busy. Class starts the 9th, a billion reports are due the 15th, and I have a big presention on the 20th. Thinking about all I need to do makes me anxious — and there’s no end in sight. I didn’t leave the house the first few days except to walk Toodles, get the mail, or take out the trash. The work stuff could wait. Netflix required my full attention. After several …

Dec 31, 2018
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A New Holiday Tradition

A New Holiday Tradition

I had no plans for Christmas this year. Vision issues and my diabetic puppy make travel difficult. Dinner with Andy has been the extent of my holiday celebrations for more than a decade. This year would be different. I decided to cook rib roast for my Christmas dinner. It’s not the kind of thing one cooks for a solo meal. I called my great friends T & J and invited them to dinner on whatever day best suited them and was pleasanlty suprised when they suggested Christmas Day. The table I never use in my eat-in kitchen theoretically seats six. It’s barely visible beneath potted plants, piles of stuff for class, and visual reminders of things I need to do. …

Dec 10, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My First Class: Reflections

The final exam included three extra credit questions. I asked about behavior changes because of the class, the impact the class will likely have on the future, and the most beneficial topics. As there are no right or wrong answers, the score was based on how  The first class I’ve taught in 30  years is over. The final exam was last week. After several days of grading, the verdict is in. Despite my tough exams, better than half the class got an A or B in the course. Consumers in Society touches on the wide variety of spending decisions made over the course of a lifetime. It’s stuff nobody tells you about being a wise consumer that everyone should know. …

Dec 03, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Favorite Story

Friends often ask which of my novels is the best. I never know what to say. Best what? Technically speaking, my newest release at any given time is the best. Each novel is better than the one before. Every trip through the publication process is a learning experience. Whippersnapper is my favorite story. It is NOT a romance, despite the cover, blurb, and my intentions to write one. It’s a heart-warming story about relationships in Fallisville — a fictional small town in Central Kentucky. Peggy Tucker is a straight, middle-aged widow of the Southern Baptist persuasion who is determined to lose enough weight to land a new, God-fearing, honest, and sober husband. She runs into young Tellumo Magnamater at the gym. …

Nov 26, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Crotchety Goes Shopping

Some people love to shop. I’m not one of them. Other than the grocery store, my shopping excursions are few and far between. They don’t last very long, either. Git ‘er done — that’s my motto. I’m also a bit miserly. My penchant for the cheapest available option comes from Mom’s example, re-enforced by hard times in the decade or so after I moved out on my own. When the price is right, function trumps quality. New bedding has been a need for quite some time. The Bed-in-a-Bag I bought some twenty years ago has served its purpose. I’ve bought sheets lots of times, but he comforter is threadbare in spots and worn around the edges. I started my search …

Nov 19, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Weird Accumulations

I am a selective hoarder. Throughout my house are boxes, drawers, and other containers chocked full of things I’ll never use but can’t bring myself to throw away. To find out if my odd collections are universal or unique, I’m sharing them here. Beverage Containers. No event is complete without keepsake plastic cups, water bottles, mugs, thermal to-go cups, mason jars, and other containers emblazoned with some logo or message. I politely decline when possible, but still end up with more than I could ever use. Writing Utensils. Scattered around my house are mugs, plastic cups, and small boxes overflowing with pens, pencils, highlighters, and markers. Some were gifts (fancy pens mostly) and some I bought (markers for various purposes), but …