I am now in my forties…

2 minute read

June 4, 2021, 3:42 PM

This past Sunday, I turned 40.  I remember the first time that I heard about someone turning 40.  In that case, it was Uncle Johnny, i.e. Mom’s brother, back when I was still in my single digits.  That age sounded so old for someone who was in elementary school.  It was more than four times the age that I was at the time, and seemed so far off.  And now I’m there.  Uncle Johnny, meanwhile, is now in his seventies, and he and Aunt Beth are retired and living their best life.

My actual birthday, meanwhile, was pretty quiet, by my choice.  At work, it’s in our union contract that we are guaranteed to have our birthday off as a “floating holiday”, but I opted to work on my birthday and take the holiday the next day in order to have a three-day weekend.  This was also a bit of a weird birthday, because I definitely had a mental hang-up about turning 40.  I watched all of my classmates from high school post about turning 40 on Facebook, and I couldn’t help but think that it felt wrong for all of these young people that I went to school with to be turning 40.  I didn’t really want to turn 40, because 40 felt old.  You weren’t “young” anymore, but instead were “middle aged”.  Funny thing, though, is that I have one friend who acted like his life was practically over when he turned 40 a few years ago, and I had to reassure him that it wasn’t the case, and here I was having a hang-up myself over “40 is old”.  The morning of my birthday, I woke up, thought to myself, I’m 40!, mentally groaned for a moment, and then rolled over and went back to sleep for another hour.

But then after I got to work, I got to thinking (operating the train gives you lots of time to think), and I realized that I was 40, but I didn’t feel any different than I did the day before, when I was still 39.  I soon came to realize that it was going to be okay. I didn’t feel old.  I felt just as good as ever.  Sure, I have a few lines where there were no lines before, and a lot of things sag now (mainly from the weight loss), and I have to hold things a little bit further away from my face in order to read them than I used to, but all in all, I’m doing pretty well.  But don’t get me wrong – I still hate birthday greetings.

So now that I’m in my forties, here’s to another decade of adventures, I suppose.

Categories: Birthdays, Myself

How should one behave when responding to an unwanted surprise party?

10 minute read

June 26, 2020, 1:50 AM

I recently ran across an older Reddit post on /r/AmItheAsshole where someone asked the userbase to judge their reaction to an unwanted surprise party.  This is what the user wrote:

Hi.  So I turned 22 yesterday, and I’ve made it clear to my entire family that I didn’t want a party.  In fact, I’ve never had a party, not for my 16th, or 18th, or 21st.  I hate attention being on me.

So on Saturday, my dad told me he wanted to take me to my favorite bar and I thought that would be a decent compromise to wanting to be alone.  However, when we walked into the door, there was my entire family and friends all standing there and they already had me a drink poured.  Because I’d spent the last six months telling my familiy I did not want a party, I just turned around and walked right out the front door and straight back to my apartment (about a 15 minute walk), and I ordered Chinese takeout and went to sleep.  I woke up to over 50 texts from various family members telling me how ungrateful I was and how I made my parents cry, and I even got a text from one of my family members who had visited from overseas who I wasn’t aware was at the party.  I apologized to him for having a wasted journey, and told him we could hang out one day after work if he wanted, and I resolved that issue.  However, the rest of my family now will not talk to me, and my mom is demanding an apology.

​So, AITA?

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Categories: Birthdays, Reddit

When you just hate recognition that much…

4 minute read

May 15, 2018, 11:05 PM

People are always amazed when I tell them that I hate receiving recognition.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t find it enjoyable.  In fact, I find it incredibly awkward all around.  I don’t know what it is, but it just isn’t a fun thing.  This came to mind recently because of two discussions that I had with colleagues in the last few weeks.  One was about an operator competition that my employer was having, and another was about an employee of the month program that my specific division has.

In the case of the former, where train operators go out and demonstrate their skills for judges, I couldn’t see any way to get a satisfactory result for myself as a participant.  If I don’t place, I’m kicking myself for not doing better.  If I place, then I have to deal with a whole bunch of unwanted recognition.  Not participating at all seems to take care of both concerns, and I have no problem attending as a non-competitor and watching others compete.  I’ve done that before at a similar event for the bus, where I was there but didn’t compete, and I had a blast.  Besides, I have the most fun just being myself while operating the service.

In the case of the latter, a coworker brought up the idea of it, and how I would possibly be a good candidate for the employee of the month award.  I was honest about it: if I ever were to get the award, I believe that my response would be, “Thank you very much, but please give it to someone else.”  In other words, I would probably decline it.  I just want to do my job and call it a day, and a whole bunch of unnecessary attention just gets in the way of my being awesome.

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Categories: Birthdays, JMU, LPCM, Myself, Walmart, Work

I definitely didn’t expect to go to New York City on Wednesday…

7 minute read

August 25, 2017, 12:30 PM

Wednesday, August 23 had been planned as a road trip day for quite some time.  Elyse turned 21 two days prior, and this was my birthday present to her, going on a trip up to Asbury Park, New Jersey to visit the Silverball Museum, a pinball arcade on the boardwalk.  We previously visited this facility in May.  Then the plan was to go up to Menlo Park Mall in Edison to go to Rainforest Cafe, where we were having dinner, and I was buying Elyse a drink.  The day that we ended up having was a lot of fun, but definitely more expansive than I had originally planned.

We left the house around 11:00, with Asbury Park as our destination.  We made a quick stop at Maryland House, and then a White Castle in Howell Township:

White Castle in Howell Township

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Nobody knows how to tweak you like your mother…

2 minute read

May 31, 2016, 9:32 PM

So yesterday was my 35th birthday.  And sometimes people really get one on you.  Case in point with my mother this year.  We were talking on the phone on my way home from work on Saturday (a nice long ride, as I’m working out of a facility in Alexandria this week), and amongst discussions of Hefty bags (don’t ask, but I was laughing so hard that I was in tears), my mother asked if I’d seen the birthday card from her yet.  I hadn’t.  My mother insisted that I check the mailbox to fish the card out while we were on the phone.  I was thinking, it can’t be that exciting, now, and then I saw it:

"Age is just a number but to me your #1"

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Categories: Birthdays, Family, Language

“No, really, folks: enough with the ‘happy birthday’ messages. Just stop.”

6 minute read

May 30, 2015, 11:50 PM

Well, there you go: my 34th birthday officially sucked.  I think a few things led to it being a pretty crummy day.  I knew a few weeks ago that I would have the day off on my birthday and wanted to do something for it.  I didn’t tell anyone about the day off because I just wanted to do something for myself, by myself, and didn’t want anyone trying to make any requests for my time.  I was tossing around the idea of going to either Ocean City or Rehoboth Beach today, but really wasn’t all that excited about either one.  Then I woke up today, and went online to do a little more research and some more figuring out of what I wanted to do, and I had a different idea that sounded a lot more appealing than going to the beach: New York City.

That was something that I was excited about.  I have never really been to New York City.  I’ve only passed through New York City on the way to and from other places.  I went through by car in 2010 when I went to Boston, and I went through by train in 2011 when I went to New Hampshire.  But since I never exited a vehicle on those occasions, those don’t count as visiting New York.  The way I figured, it would take about four hours to drive up.  I would park at a PATH station (probably Journal Square), take PATH to World Trade Center, and then explore for a few hours before heading back home.  I actually left to go on this trip, and then by the time I got to the end of the street, I realized that it was probably a bad idea.  After all, this was a single day off.  I had to go to work the next day, and didn’t want to be all groggy from a big trip, or worse, oversleep and be late for work.  I quickly came to the realization that I couldn’t go anywhere today, and that just shot my day.  I ended up going to the shopping center up the road from me, bought a new pair of shoes for work, and then went back home.  Total distance traveled: 1.5 miles.

Sometimes I hate being an adult with adult responsibilities.  I wanted to go out and have fun.

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Categories: Birthdays

“I feel important, just like a king…”

4 minute read

May 30, 2015, 12:49 PM

So today is my birthday.  I am officially 34 years old.  I rang my birthday in doing one of the things that I always enjoy doing, i.e. driving the bus, and watching out for Virginia drivers (yes, Virginia drivers are, by far, the worst drivers in this area as far as I’m concerned).  Then I took my birthday as a floating holiday, so I don’t have to work my birthday (yaaaaaay!).

But at the beginning of my workday on Friday, my friend Elyse met me at the location on the street where I pick up my first bus, and gave me a birthday card.  Check it out:


And of course, I immediately made sport of the grammatical error in the handwritten message.  But no worries – I did it with a smile, so it’s all in good fun.  Then down at the bottom is an Edwards Integrity fire alarm horn/strobe, like they have at work.

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Best birthday cake ever…

2 minute read

August 28, 2014, 11:46 AM

My friend Elyse recently celebrated a birthday, and, as a fellow fire alarm enthusiast, she got what I consider to be the greatest cake ever.  She sent me pictures of it.  Take a look:

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Exactly 22 years later, I got another baby elephant…

7 minute read

May 30, 2014, 10:36 PM

So today was my birthday, meaning that I am now 33 years old.  And for my birthday, I got a baby elephant.  Check it out:

The "baby elephant", as it is

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Categories: Bicycle, Birthdays

My birthday, swimming, and losing weight…

2 minute read

May 30, 2011, 9:18 PM

Yes, it’s Video Journal time again, on my birthday as I turn 30. And here it is:

This is a 20-minute video, but trust me, it’s worth every second of it. Here’s the video in a nutshell…

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Categories: Birthdays, Friends, Weight loss

So let’s review: Solicited attention, good. Unsolicited attention, bad.

2 minute read

May 13, 2010, 2:19 PM

With my birthday coming up at the end of this month, the love-hate relationship I’ve had with my birthday has come up, and we’ve again discovered that the emphasis is more on “hate” in that love-hate birthday relationship. Really, I don’t look forward to it anymore, since I get a bunch of well-intended but unwanted attention. To me, it’s like, okay, it’s a number change, big deal, and so okay and let’s move on.

Really, it’s all a matter of attention. If I am seeking it, I will gladly accept it. However, if I don’t want it, even if it is positive, I will try to escape it, or deliberately ruin it. I escaped my college graduation, where, if I didn’t get my way, I would have gotten undesired attention while at the same time not enjoyed myself. And the hell with what family members want when it comes to me celebrating milestones in my life. If I want to celebrate a milestone with everyone, then great. Let’s all be happy together. If I want to celebrate in my own way, or choose not to celebrate at all, that’s my prerogative. Nothing wrong with that. And if celebration in my honor is forced on me against my will, I will make sure to spoil it. I remember in 2005, my mother was all gung-ho about my birthday, and wanted to go all out for it, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. If I recall, I turned the phone off and just left for a while. Then when I got back home, I threw my unwanted birthday cake in the trash right along with the unwanted birthday card. I don’t understand what makes people want to spend money to celebrate something where the person whose thing it is being celebrated doesn’t want it to be celebrated in the first place. I tell people not to buy me a card, and they don’t listen. I tell them not to buy me a cake and they don’t listen…

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Categories: Birthdays

It’s okay to want to celebrate one’s birthday on one’s own terms…

3 minute read

February 25, 2010, 7:24 PM

I had an interesting discussion with Mom today about birthdays. And at this point in the year, it’s more academic than about planning, because the next birthday is my brother-in-law’s in the middle of next month (and for the record, saying “my brother-in-law” still sounds odd). Then Mom’s doesn’t come up until April, and mine in May. When it comes to my birthday, the last one I was really all excited about was my 21st, and that was kind of tempered when I got a speeding ticket on the way up to JMU that morning. Then 22 and 23 came and passed without much fanfare, but then 24 is one where I rebelled against my birthday. That was the one where I really got serious about celebrating my birthday on my terms. That year, I wanted no cake, and no celebrations of any kind. And my mother never really “got it” on that one.

With mothers, birthdays are kind of interesting. After all, it was a special day for Mom, too. I came into the world, and Mom kinda had to, you know, have a baby. Lots of pain, I’m sure, since Mom went through 30 hours of labor with me before the doctor determined that I wasn’t coming out that way, and I ended up being born via C-section. But I like to think I was worth it, and Mom readily admits the same. But I think the whole giving-birth bit is why she’s not able to quite figure out why I want to celebrate birthdays quietly on my own terms. Mom wants to celebrate it because, after all, she became a mother on my birthday. But still…

I’ve said before in this space, as well as in the old quote section, that I kind of don’t like awards ceremonies. Okay, I loathe them. I would rather eat razor blades than attend an awards ceremony. It’s because I don’t like being thrust in the center of attention. And birthdays, if not celebrated properly, fall into the same category. I for one don’t like birthday cards. It’s unwanted recognition. Save the money you would spend on the cheap sentiment and do something else.

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Categories: Birthdays

My birthday was good, with the exception of the morning commute.

2 minute read

May 30, 2007, 6:40 PM

So I had a good birthday. Thanks to all who IMed me, texted me, and left me messages on my Wikipedia talk page. And also thank you to all my coworkers who wished me a happy birthday.

However, the day started off like it was going to suck. My commute to work did not go very well. I think one could say it sucked. First of all, my regular bus never showed up. I usually take the Y5, which usually shows up right around 7:35 to take me to the Metro, give or take a couple of minutes. I get to the bus stop at 7:30, and the bus is there moments later. The Y5 never showed this morning. So 7:35 passes. Then 7:40. Then 7:45. Finally at 7:50, a bus shows up. It’s another Y5, and it’s Flxible 9769, which, interestingly enough, was the bus that took me home from Glenmont yesterday. So I got on, and rode into Glenmont station to catch the Metro. Then on the Metro, it was a slow ride aboard Breda 2066 – a rehab. It went well at first, though. We were going fairly smoothly until about Union Station. Then it was very much stop and go. I’m guessing that the trains got bunched up because of Union Station, Metro Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, and Farragut North – all very busy stations. At Farragut North, the operator for some reason turned off the train while we waited. So the little “RED” on the LED went out. That meant that we weren’t moving until that “RED” came back on. It did, and we took off again. Once we left Farragut North, it was smooth sailing as far as I was concerned. I was getting off at Dupont Circle – the next station. Then I got to work, and that was the end of my commute. Thank goodness.

Now the return commute was a breeze. I planted myself in a seat on Rohr 1100 next to a door partition, and the next thing I knew, we were at Glenmont. I kind of conked out for that ride. A nice late-afternoon nap always does a person good, and it’s a testament to the smoothness of Metro’s ride when I can go to sleep like that. Then I got Ride On’s 25th Anniversary bus on the 51 back to my house.

So, yeah, it was a nice birthday, except for the morning commute. Now I just have to iron clothes, make tomorrow’s lunch, and eat dinner (in that order), and then go to bed.

Categories: Birthdays, Commuting, WMATA

What a wonderful dinner!

2 minute read

May 31, 2006, 11:17 PM

What a wonderful dinner we had at O’Charley’s! Dad met us up there, since it made more sense for him to meet us up there than go back home. So Mom, Sis, and I went up to Harrisonburg in the Sable via Route 11 (the scenic route through several small towns) and then cut through JMU to get to Harrisonburg Crossing.

Everything went well. The only point where things went slightly awry was when all the staff came out to wish some other customer a happy birthday. Sis mentioned how good of an idea it would be to mention it to our server that this was my birthday dinner. Then our server came out, and Sis mentioned it to her. My exact response was, “Don’t even think about it.” It worked out, though. Our server said she’d bring out a cake without the fanfare. And it was a nice cake.

Still, like I need the sugar and calories in a cake.

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My 25th birthday went quite well!

2 minute read

May 31, 2006, 2:09 AM

My 25th birthday, unlike my 24th birthday, did NOT suck.

I was off work, and with Sis in Blacksburg and the parents at their own workplaces, I had the day to myself. I got up, I ate something, and then went to work on the Web site. I got the upcoming Outlet Village photo set very close to completion, with the goal of releasing it on May 31.

I got the photos whittled down to 65, prepped them, and placed them all on a blank Schumin Web template. All I have to do is arrange them like I want, determine a “break point” to split the set into two parts, and I’m done. I chose May 31 for a release date, because that’s the day that the Outlet Village closes for good. Thus after we won’t be able to see the Outlet Village live and in person anymore, at least we’ll still have the memories.

The goal of my day was to finally renew my driver’s license. See this entry and this entry for more information on my license renewal ordeal. This time, though, I was successful, and I got another great license picture. The only difference between my old license and my new license besides the photo is the license number. The old license had my Social Security Number as the license number. I now have one of those “T numbers” on there (e.g. T00-00-0000). So all in all, good deal.

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Categories: Birthdays, Myself