Have you ever contemplated what you would change or relive if given the opportunity to time travel? I remember this hilarious movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine” that gave some middle aged men that exact opportunity. They were allowed to reinvent themselves and take advantage of missed opportunities that took place during their youth. The movie was as far from reality as you could possibly imagine, but still made me contemplate my life and the decisions I made along the way.
If I had a Hot Tub Time Machine, would I be sitting here typing this blog or would I be flying in a helicopter somewhere. I remember being fascinated with helicopters as a child and wanted to fly a Huey like the ones used during the Vietnam era. Of course I was an underachiever during high school and chose a different path in life before I even realized the consequences of my actions. That dream went out the window like so many others to follow.
Life is funny; I hated school as a young adult and was more worried about girls and popularity. If I used a Hot Tub Time Machine and went back in time today, I would choose to be a be a book worm. I realize that no one and nothing really matters other than my education while in high school. I should have listened to my mother who told me that all good things will come in time and stop worrying about the unimportant things like fashion, cars, and etc. But, I went down the road like many others and I wish I could redo my entire high school and college career which came later in life.
Cryptocurrency has been a hobby/obsession of mine for a few years now and I always tell my wife, “Some guy is driving a Lambo in Miami right now because of Bitcoin.” I actually heard of Bitcoin when its price evaluation was about $300 a coin. I actually played around with attempting to build a mining rig one day and quickly lost interest after spending about 3 hours on a misguided project.
I did successfully build a mining rig, but this was after Bitcoin had reached all-time highs of $19,000. What if I was given a Hot Tube Time Machine, would I go back to 2013 and reinvent my future? I would be a millionaire right now and my life would be completely different. As I hope you already realize, money does not bring happiness, but it does make things a hell of a lot easier.
But at what cost would changes come. If I used my own little imaginary Hot Tub Time Machine, how many of my children would have been born. Would I have even met much less married my wife. And yes, I still enjoy her company usually, but have to be happily married and honest to understand that joke. There would be even more severe ramification to changing your past that you probably haven’t even thought of yet.
What about all the people I have come into contact with over the years? I am sure that changing the past would have changed the future for countless thousands of people, since everyone in the world is removed from each other by only 6 people. This is called Six Degrees of Separation and is worth a quick read. It is a quite interesting theory and makes a lot of since when you think about all the people you have come into contact with during your life.
There are many decisions that I made in the past that I wish I could change, but those changes would remove some results of those decisions that I quite enjoy. I feel it is essential that one must become a peace with the choices they have made throughout their life and focus on the future only. You cannot recreate the past for good reason, but the future is a completely different story.
Even right now as I am typing I have done something that will affect my future or others. You and I must realize that the clock is ticking and we must take advantage of the time given to us on this earth. We do not need a Hot Tub Time Machine to make us happy, we just need to make wise decisions today and we will be able to enjoy the results tomorrow.
The one thing that the Coronavirus has done is turn my family life upside down and all around. Every traditional routine that we have established is out of the window and will need to be reconstructed from scratch. My children have become bored with not going to school and extraocular activities, which has resorted in a lot of sibling rivalry throughout the house. Even bedtimes aren’t truly established anymore because every day is the weekend with the school year being over. You heard me right, Pennsylvania public schools closed indefinitely and they will hopefully return next September.
Our school district has fortunately resorted to home schooling utilizing Zoom which I am appreciative of to say the least . They are not concerned with grades, but they are focused on every assignment being completed properly. Good old education plain and simple without any federal government interference with pre-existing programs that are failures. Seems like this year every child is left behind and it is up to the parents to make sure their child is receiving a good education.
I have been blessed with children that have excelled in school and are in the top percentile of their age group, but I wonder about the kids who need additional assistance. How much will these current events affect their future? I sure do hope the school district has taken this into consideration, but it’s just hard to say what their concerns are these days. It feels like the entire educational system was forced to close this year.
I do feel bad for the young adults that were in their senior year of high school and college. Some memories cannot be replaced and Covid-19 stole those memories forever. And what about those star athletes that were hoping to be scouted during their senior year for college or professional leagues. Without a doubt, once in a lifetime opportunities have been lost.
I really can’t complain because my wife and I have chosen to sacrifice materialistic things in life so that she could be a stay at home mom. The decision to close schools has only been an inconvenience for us, while others have been forced to take drastic measures to find childcare. I can only imagine what it would have been like if both of us needed employment just to make ends meet.
As I stated in a previous blog post, things will never be the same. I truly think people will reevaluate how they choose to live their lives and will not take everything for granted moving into the future. In a weird way, I suspect the United States will be stronger mentally after this pandemic. Financially is another subject and only time will tell.
The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic has changed all our lives for the worst with no immediate resolution in sight. I have been bombarded with news updates, social media drama, and just typical hysteria surrounding the recent viral outbreak. The government has instructed the public to quarantine themselves, which has been disregarded by the masses until it affects their personal little space bubble.
People have forgotten about past pandemics and what toll they had taken on society psychically and economically. The Spanish Flu pandemic gave us a set road map to follow and we as a people continue to make the same exact mistakes that were made 100 years ago. The government knows what needs to be done, but they cannot force the citizens to comply without martial law. Unfortunately, martial law is the exact opposite of our great democracy so the government will only use this measure as a last resort which will resort in more lives being lost to the Coronavirus/Covid-19.
The economic ramifications have just begun with millions of people unable to work because businesses have been forced to shutter their doors to curve the pandemic around the world. With medical and food shortages potentially looming on the horizon is there anything positive about these events?
I believe that the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic will require every single person in this world to reassess their lives and behaviors moving forward. Humanity has become too dependent upon technology and mass production to solve the woes of our lives. The Coronavirus has proven that our mentality of immediate gratification does not always come into fruition due to the simple limitations of science and man. Our expectation of the government being able to step in and fix any occurrence immediately does not exist and our comfortable little lives can change overnight.
The reliance on super grocery store chains and mass produced items has weakened our society almost to the breaking point. We now realize that dependence on foreign manufacturers is to our detriment and the behavior must be curtailed. People will support manufacturers from their country and the governments will be more determined to keep businesses from venturing abroad for cheaper labor.
With schools being closed with no idea of when they will be given the all clear to reopen their doors, families have been forced to hunker down in their home. Most traditional families in the United States of America require two incomes to keep up with the American Dream lifestyle. This has turned into a nightmare and a blessing for many parents. With young children at home all day, they have been forced to spend an abundance of quality time with their children. This is also a curse because once the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic loses its grip on our society; a monumental recession will set in and bills still need to be paid.
So, where does this leave us as a society today? It leaves us with the realization of what if. What if there is no more toilet paper? What if I can’t get meat at a grocery store? What if there is no milk to be found? What if there is a gas shortage? What if the hospitals become overwhelmed? What if there is martial law? And the list goes on endlessly within our imaginations.
A lot of these what if questions can be answered by yourself along with the necessary preparation for the particular scenario. The word pantry was a thing of the past, but I strongly suspect that it will make a major comeback. We as a society have been reminded that we cannot always expect there to be abundance and we should be prepared. Fortunately, the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic has opened our eyes before it’s too late.
Here are some reliable links concerning the current Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic:
They say buy on bad news and sell on good news. The outbreak of the coronavirus that originated in China earlier this year is restructuring the medical and financial systems that we have all become reliant upon. We can only hope that the decisions made concerning the virus are wise and will help deescalate the growing public fears.
The WHO which stands for World Health Organization recently upgraded the outbreak to a pandemic, which was a wise decision with the continuous spread of the virus. But every action has a reaction and we are witnessing that today with the steep financial market declines.
The recent events that just transpired with Donald Trump creating a travel ban from Europe and the stock market sharp decline will put the best investor to the test. I agree that a travel ban should have been put in place, but this will also expose the severity of the situation and will force the general public to stop and take note.
This drastic measure was somewhat ignored when it was done to China because everyone knows that they are a trading partner, but that’s about it. China is closer to becoming a full blown enemy of the United States if political and imperial behaviors of both nations do not change in the near future. Creating a travel ban with a close ally like the European Union has made everyone stop and think.
Donald trump is a businessman with international ventures all over the world. If anyone realizes the significance of such a decision it’s him. This preemptive strike against the coronavirus also known as COVID-19 will ripple across the world and will cause mass shortages in everyday supply lines. All financial markets responded today with extreme losses and are still going down as I am typing. But with such a response, could this be potential for an opportunity if done properly? The answer is yes, but patience, fortitude, and instinct will be required.
The saying buy on bad news and sell on good news is easier said than done. When you are watching your portfolio lose 25% to 40% percent of its value in a single day does not trigger a buy attitude in the typical investor. The average investor starts to panic sell, which increases their loss in the long run.
I have learned over the years that the financial market can be very turbulent at times, but this is the natural progress of the financial system. Nothing and I mean nothing goes straight up forever, and when it does, it’s a clear sign that you are in a bubble. Guess what folks, the bubble just popped, but I never thought it would be a virus that would cause this climatic state.
When I looked at the state of the cryptocurrency and stock market today, I saw nothing but opportunities presenting themselves. Here is the catch though. When has the market bottomed and how to tell that things have stabilized? Do I actually have money to invest right now or do I need to remain liquid?
This is where instinct comes into play and a bit of fortitude and common sense. Instead of chasing the market down, I have learned that it is better to start buying once the market has started to reverse its course. This system is very easy to follow, because as long as I see red across the board, it is a clear indicator that the market has not fully corrected itself yet.
But once I see green consistently appearing, this tells me that the market has stabilized and it’s time to follow the old trusted quote” buy on bad news, sell on good news.” There is literally a buffet of stocks and cryptocurrencies that are undervalued right now and will reap profits for those who are willing to have foresight into future.
But for now, patience is very important because there are still a lot of decisions being made that will affect the markets. For example, Disney World just announced that they will be closing all theme parks until at least April. It’s difficult for me to imagine the amount money at play with Disney World due to their sheer size and operating cost. This will have an immediate ripple effect across the state of Florida and travel industry.
The cryptocurrency market has also been very volatile with Bitcoin experiencing a record loss yesterday that rippled across the new fledgling financial industry. I still believe that blockchain technology will change the world, but for now I will be on the side lines waiting for the perfect opportunity. I see so many crypto projects that are 25% -40% down that I want to scoop up, but I still see red. Until there is majority green on a regular basis, I will stay on the sidelines.
In conclusion, please note that I am not a financial advisor and just some guy on the internet voicing his personal opinion. The financial world is unpredictable these days, but with like all other bubbles and recessions, the markets will correct themselves over time. Just remember to have patience, fortitude, and instinct while following the old trustworthy quote, “Buy On Bad News, Sell On Good News”.
I suffered the loss of a cousin last year due to a long struggle with Sickle Cell Anemia. This disease is extremely painful and usually fatal for those unfortunate enough to inherit its traits from their parents. My cousin spent all of her life struggling with this disease and she finally succumbed to its cruel ravages in her mid-twenties. She left behind a beautiful three year old little girl named Valerie that this story is centered around and the Grandparent Rights Law that made sure justice was served.
As you can imagine, the funeral was extremely sad and very crowded due to my cousins passing away at such a young age. Everyone’s primary concern was the fate of Valerie and who would take on the task of raising her. My aunt and uncle played an intrinsic part in raising Valerie due to her mother’s health problems and constant hospital stays. Since they were a main stay in raising Valerie, an agreement was made with them and the father that they would have bi weekly visitation rights. He presented himself as a confident educated young man with a good head on his shoulders. Since they only lived two blocks apart, you would think this would be an ideal situation for everyone involved. This agreement lasted for one month.
I remember visiting my aunt and Valerie on a beautiful spring day just 30 days after the funeral. My aunt explained to us that this was the first time that she has had Valerie since the funeral which confused the hell out of me. She then explained that the sperm donor / father of Valerie was not cooperating with her concerning visitation and she feared that she may need to contact a lawyer concerning Grandparents Rights. I remember seeing the stress and sadness in my aunt’s face and I felt powerless in helping her.
That was the last time my aunt saw Valerie. Their calls and text messages were ignored and the father severed all ties with them. The child that her and my uncle co-raised with my cousin was taken from them by a man who only spent bare minimum time with Valerie and had little to no concern of her well-being up until the funeral. This threw my aunt and uncle into a sprawling depressed state and set the stage for the battle of their lives. They knew the only way they would ever see Valerie again was to get a lawyer and attempt to invoke grandparent’s rights.
After retaining a lawyer and going through all the necessary legal steps, they were scheduled for a court appearance in December which was rescheduled due to the father being a no show. The hearing was then scheduled for late January which meant that my aunt had not seen Valerie since last April. Not only was she grieving the loss of her daughter, but the unnecessary loss of her grandchild.
My aunt informed me of the court date and I offered to attend the hearing if she liked for emotional support. She busted out in tears and thanked me in a way that made my heart drop to the floor. She requested that we bring any family pictures of Valerie that we could because they needed as much proof and family support as possible. I remembered that we had some pictures from the spring that were the most recent so I made sure this task was accomplished.
So here we were, the big day. I arrived at the courthouse dressed in jeans and a sweater because I only planned to be there for support. Once I went through all the annoying safety scanning procedures which I do believe is necessary these days, I gained access to the court house. I quickly found my aunt with quite a few family members, friends, pastor and lawyer. It was about twelve us in all who had taken off work to attend the hearing. At this point, we all stood around waiting for about an hour to enter the courtroom.
While waiting, I saw my nephew talking to a deputy in a civilized but very direct manor. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I asked as soon as he walked back over. He stated that the deputy sitting behind the counter was Valerie’s father’s brother. I remember thinking are you bleeping kidding me and couldn’t believe the situation. In all the court rooms and all the cities, what’s the chance? In addition, he explained that the father has a warrant out for his arrest in an adjacent county and wanted to know why he wasn’t being arrested since he was standing right there in front of him. Since we were in a large city with a pretty serious crime problem, they basically gave a bunch of excuses and never took him into custody.
After about an hour, they called us into the court room and we all sat in our assigned area. To be honest, I was expecting a mediation setting, but this was the real deal with a judge and armed bailiffs. I knew then that if things worked out, the father would be forced to cooperate because he would be going against the word of a judge. I immediately noticed that the father only had his mother with him and no lawyer. He was dressed like he was about to go to a party or club, but not appropriately to be standing front of a judge with the fate of the child at risk. The judge noticed also and was just shy of irate when he heard the defendant’s explanation.
The father explained that he thought this going to be the usual custody mediation meeting that he has been through before for his other child and he didn’t need a lawyer. The judge then questioned if he read the documentation he received in the mail and how he could arrive to court without even checking into what exactly was to occur. He told the father he would allow the proceedings to continue and he realizes that he isn’t a lawyer, but he was not happy at all with the father appearing clearly unprepared with a thin little folder. My aunt on the other hand had boxes of evidence, a lawyer, and an obvious support structure.
The hearing proceeded with opening statements from the lawyer and father. The father did a poor job with the opening statement which was quite insulting. He stated that Valerie’s mother did not die from Sick Cell Anemia, but from pill popping. It is true that she accidentally overdosed on pain killers, but it is also common knowledge that this disease is extremely painful and debilitating. If I could have, I truly would have punched him dead in the face.
The first witness took the stand and the lawyer’s questions were typical. How long have you known them? What kind of grandparents where they? Could they provide, and so on. Then it was the fathers turn which was quite comical at best. He sat quietly thinking of a question. Eventually, the judge asked him did or didn’t he have a question. His question was, ”So do you think my parents aren’t qualified to care for Valerie.” The judge objected and I thought this guy is a real idiot. I figured he wouldn’t examine anyone else if he was smart, but guess what, four more failed attempts that just made him look worst.
The judge looked over at the lawyer and asked for the next witness, and the lawyer called my name. I looked up in shock because I was completely unprepared. I walked up to the podium and I was sworn in. The lawyer asked the typical questions and I explained how I came down to visit in April and that was the last time anyone was able to see Valerie. When it was the fathers turn to cross examine me, he sat there quietly again until it felt awkward. Then he said,” So you think it is okay to take a daughter from his father?” I looked over at him dead in his eyes and said,” No, I don’t think it is okay. But I also don’t think what has been done is okay either. Both parties should have worked things out and we should not be in this court room setting. “ I looked over and I saw his mother nodding her head in agreement with me.
The hearing proceeded with witness after witness and then the judge looking quite frustrated decided to break for lunch. When we returned it was my aunts turn. She did an excellent job testifying that was heart wrenching. She was crying and trying to explain she didn’t know what she did that could have upset him so much. She did ask Valerie questions, but they were all typical questions that a concerned grandparent would ask. Then she started flipping through one of three identical photo albums showing pictures of Valerie and family at various functions. Her tears were flowing and others around the room were soon to follow her tearful state. I noticed that the judge was intently following along with his album and the father just plucked it a way. A truly arrogant person he was and not too bright at all. He chose not to cross examine my aunt which was a good choice for once.
When my uncle took the stand, the father was quite eager to cross examine him. Apparently, he had asked for Valerie’s mother hand in marriage and my uncle told him no. This statement caused an argument between my cousin and my uncle and the police were called. My uncle did not deny this occurrence and stated,” Yes, I said no. You did not impress me then and you definitely have not impressed me now. “ It was all very clear to me then. He wanted to hurt my aunt and uncle for their disapproval of his life style and he used the only weapon that he had.
Eventually the judge asked the lawyer how many more witnesses out of frustration and he told him several. The judge adjourned the hearing because he had to see two more cases. While waiting outside the courtroom, I asked my aunt and the lawyer if there was any need in me staying and they both agreed that there was no need. I decided to head home which was over an hour away and waited till later that evening to call my aunt for the results. When I called, she said the judge saw a few more witnesses and decided to continue the trial later that week. I reassured her that everything was going to be okay and told her that I loved her.
I called my Aunt Thursday night when I got off work and heard the most beautiful thing ever. Not only did they get visitation rights, they got full custody of Valerie. The judge told the father that this is one of the cruelest grandparent rights cases that he ever presided over and he felt the father was not fit to raise Valerie. He explained that his lack of preparation, immaturity, previous and current criminal background, inability to pay child support, inability to retain employment, and his blatant cruelty towards my aunt and uncle led him to this decision.
My aunt and uncle were reunited with Valerie that same day and it was recorded. It was such a beautiful sight watching her run out of the classroom into their arms. Justice was served and I truly believe the judge made the right decision. I never paid much attention to grandparent rights in the past, but moving forward I have a whole new appreciation for the law. All that can be said is Thank God for Grandparent Rights.
Have you ever had a reoccurring dream that caused you to ponder the cause with no answers? I have had this experience and I would like to share this reoccurring dream with you today. The ghost in the attic dream has caused me fear and confusion and I still don’t understand why the ghostly figure haunts me. Maybe it’s something I experienced as a child or is it possibly a repressed memory or emotion. Nonetheless, let me welcome you into this terrifying dream that has caused me to wake up in a cold sweat on many different occasions.
The ghost in the attic dream starts off no different than any other dream. The setting is usually based in a warped reality that is familiar, but somewhat different. The people in the dream vary between present and past relationships. My wife is always in the dreams and is probably the only consistent person other than the unknown ghost. The setting is usually where I currently live, but that’s the only part of the dream that is the same. The house is never the same, but it is always an old derelict house in need of work and has three to four levels.
The dream usually starts with my wife and I being excited about our newly purchased home and our accomplishment. The odd thing is that when we start to explore the property; I start to realize the state of the property and start to feel overwhelmed with stress and worry. As I previously mentioned, the house was derelict and that would be an understatement. The walls have holes in them, windows are broken, holes in the floor, peeling wall paper, and the list goes on. The house looks more like something you would expect from an old western movie or an abandoned farm house leftover from the depression era.
The irony of this is that I am so bad with my hands. I can change a flat tire or perform a basic oil change, but that is about it. Anything to do with carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, or whatever else can go wrong with a house is out of my league. So why would I buy a property in a state of disrepair with plans to renovate it myself when I know I don’t have the ability to do so. This is one of the many unanswered questions from my dreams.
Typically during the ghost in the attic dream all if fine, but I am discontent with the situation and have no readily available solution. We start to evaluate the property and come up with a plan of attack because the problems are numerous and we are about to move in. More often than no we start with the kitchen which is funny because I don’t have a clue what I am doing. My wife and are start patching up holes and fixing pipes with things like duct tape. Weird is an understatement at best.
At some point during the dream we venture upstairs to the second level of the house which is quite the same as the lower level. There are exposed holes in the walls, peeling wall paper, broken windows, and etc. Now this is where the dreams vary, but end up with the same conclusion. Sometimes the house becomes miraculously furnished or sometimes it remains unfurnished. Either the way, we make our way up to the third level. .
The attic is full of dusty boxes and old furniture as you would expect from a house in its condition. Nothing is really different from the rest of the house except for there are no holes in the walls. The attic appears exactly as it should and does not need repair. There is always a small staircase to a fourth level that I choose to walk towards. I go up the stairs and open the door. I see antique dolls and a bunch of old dusty boxes. There are anywhere between 5 -10 dolls just lying about the room as if they were stored away and forgotten about decades ago.
I instantly see dollar bills flash before my eyes because the dolls are antiques and I want to cash in on my newly found fortune. I pick up a doll, and suddenly realize I am not alone. The ghost of a young girl appears and is quite displeased with me for entering her room. She appears before me and is between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. The ghostly figure of a girl is Caucasian with blondish brown hair and dark eyes. She is wearing a white dress that looks more like a nightgown that is very dingy. Her skin texture is dark grey with dark rings under her eyes. Her look is sinister and would make the bravest person skin crawl. Her appearance is fuzzy and almost translucent, but she is clearly standing in front of me staring at me.
During some dreams the ghost in the attic is violent and psychically hurts me by pushing, biting, hitting, or scratching me. Other times she is more content with tormenting me by scaring the hell out of me. She will do thing like suddenly appearing or moving items before my eyes when she is not visible. The one thing that I am sure of is the ghostly girl’s goal is to get me out of her room and for me to leave her belongings alone. Once she appears, I usually exit the room quite quickly as you can imagine.
We never actually leave the property though; we always stay knowing that the young girl’s ghost is upstairs. I usually don’t return to the room, but sometimes I do and end up being tormented around the house. At some point during these reoccurring dreams I usually wake up with a fearful yell and startle my wife sleeping next to me in bed. I then explain to her that it was the ghost dream again and she rubs my back till I fall back to sleep.
But lately, things have changed and I find myself bragging about the ghost upstairs in the attic during my dream to family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. The house is still in disrepair, but I don’t seem to care. I am still afraid of the ghost but it has become a novelty to me. For some reason, I actually want to taunt the ghost in the attic and get a rise out of it. Maybe even actually create some type of communication between me and the little girl’s ghost. I usually wake up confused and a little frightened. This is such a stark change from my original dreams. I sometimes wonder what my dreams will morph into in the future.
I tried doing some research on Google concerning the ghost in the attic dreams. Believe it or not, there are a lot of resources on the internet to assist you with analyzing your dreams. According to the websites that I found online, there are unresolved issues in my past and they are haunting me. I sure do wish I knew what they were because I am not a fan of scary movies much less nightmares. Maybe someday I will make peace with my unresolved issues and my reoccurring dreams will end.
Even while writing this story and welcoming you into my subconscious mind, I wonder if the little ghostly girl will visit me tonight and how I will respond. One thing is for sure, she will continue to haunt my dreams until I discover what is hidden behind the closed doors in my past. At some point the cause of these dreams will be exposed, but until then, the little girl and I will continue to play this frightful little game.