Keeping Projects Manageable During Retirement

Last weekend I reviewed my resolution to smile more and my budget to spend less. Accomplishing those would make me smile.

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These volumes of Carl Sandburg’s Lincoln ultimately suggested more projects for me.

Smiles have been hard to generate trapped in the pressure of too many projects during my retirement.

My new computer and smart phone have created pressure. A smart phone message said my smd card, whatever that is, is damaged. Karen hadn’t seen that message. At the phone store the salesman said, “I’ve never seen that message.” As he searched online for advice I searched for the message on my phone, but couldn’t find it. He said, “I found two references where customers saved data when their smd card was damaged.” Am I in Rod Serlilng’s twilight zone? People don’t smile there.

Then Karen ramped up the pressure with a birthday promise to accompany me while I purchase a new laptop for traveling. I smiled and said thank you, thinking how can I possibly find time? I’m already overloaded.

Visiting my sister ramped up the pressure. She sent me home with a box of memorabilia from my Aunt, adding to four of my Aunt’s boxes in our garage that Karen has quietly accepted. Since I’m retired I checked the new family leftovers box to find half-a-dozen albums and two locked five-year diaries. Should I have a witness if I unlock my Aunt’s diaries?

I ramped up pressure on myself. I asked our family what to do and our daughter replied she wanted to look at albums this weekend.  We pleasantly reviewed them until she said, “These are too fragile for me to take. Can you keep them someplace so I can look at them when I visit?”

Karen ramped up pressure on me. “Sure,” she said. “Get rid of the books in your bookshelves you never use.”

Easy to say. Those treasures include six volumes in two sets of Carl Sandburg’s work on Abraham Lincoln published from 1926 to 1939. Sunday I looked into selling those sets and found a checklist for value. Complete? Yes. In good condition? Yes. First editions? The two volumes of Prairie Years are not. The first edition of The War Years is not, but the next three are. Signed? No, but it turns out Sandburg signed the first volumes of his series. Why is the first volume different, missing?

The substitute volume ramped up the pressure. With a first edition of the missing volume, I might have something valuable. Prices for the one volume ranged from $1-4 with unacceptable descriptions of condition and edition. Searching on the four volume first edition set led to an online offer to estimate the value. The screen said, “An appraiser is ready to answer your question for $30.” I wasn’t smiling. I want advice for free.

I refined my search.  A first edtion set could sell for over $200.

Then I discovered Sandburg’s work is a controversial Pulitzer Prize winning literary classic. A 1999 scholarly review said it’s the most quoted source on Lincoln despite disagreement whether the work meets the standards of historical,  biographical, epical, heroic, mythological, realistic, encyclopedic writing, or ultimately a renowned poet’s masterpiece on the the Civil War against the backdrop of the impending World War. Maybe I should read the sets first while searching for another first volume of The War Years.  I’m retired and the writing could make me smile.

Almost too late for my weekend self-imposed deadline I checked my budget status. We’re reasonably close and should make our plan.

I’m smiling today. It’s Monday morning, my Aunt’s box is secure on the floor beneath my bookshelf with Sandburg’s volumes silently serenading me to read them while I ponder signing up on rare book sites to find volume one, or maybe keep them for a profitable hobby collecting rare books.

A new laptop might reduce the pressure by keeping track of offers and locate bookstores when we travel. Maybe I should take Karen up on that promise to help me buy a new laptop.  She always manages to make me smile.

About Russellsclearskies

Writing to poke fun at a retired klutz like me who's curiously exploring the absurdities and complexities of the good life. .
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