Archive for the ‘WORK’ Tag


There was recently a discussion on facebook about teenagers working part-time before or after school as a way for kids to learn how to deal with the ‘real world’, how to handle money and responsibilities but mainly to stay out of trouble. I don’t know if a job would do all those things plus I believe kids have more homework than their parents or grandparents had plus though I worked I still had time to get in trouble!

My first job was at 12 or 13 when I worked at a summer refreshment stand in Lake Hiawatha where my family had a summer home. I started work at 14 as an usher at the Lyric theatre on 42nd street–saved money (YES! I SAVED MONEY! LOL) and at 16 left home–got a room, paid rent and bills, continued and graduated from high school, went to 1 year of college and then to the Marines.

When I got out of the Marines I worked as a waiter–a job I worked at most of my life and really enjoyed doing. For 10 years I worked for and with Weight Watchers after losing 100+ pounds–another job I loved–and then opened my own business Our Weigh. After that back to being a waiter.

I worked until I was 62 and then retired. The whole time from the age of 14 until 2008 I wrote and sold books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, etc. and though I made some money I needed a second job.

It was interesting what jobs some of the people had as teenagers–what about you? Did you work as a kid? And like me did you still have time to get in trouble?

Do you believe teenagers should work or should they enjoy their brief time as youth?

Posted March 25, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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I forget who wrote it but there was a post recently about eating pizza and it took me back to 1956!

I had just hitchhiked from Hollywood, California, to Miami Beach, Florida–it was a different world then! My aunt managed an apartment building on Washington Avenue just below 5th street and she also worked as a waitress at an Italian restaurant across the street. She got me set up in an apartment, let me enjoy a week as a tourist going to the beach, movies, bars, etc., and then walked into my apartment to tell me my vacation was over that it was time to get to work.

She took me shopping to get  black trousers, socks and shoes and a white shirt. At first she put me to work as a waiter teaching me how to carry 5-6 plates at a time and have fun while I was working. After a week the boss came up to me and asked me if I would like to learn how to make pizza and I jumped at the chance.

The pizza making room had a large oven to bake the pies in, a counter to make the pizza and a tray of all the toppings–life was simple then as you didn’t have all the ‘fancy’ toppings you have now. The room faced the street and had a big window in front that would allow people to see you making the pizza. I thought I would hop in and start flipping, twirling and tossing the pizza crust to rousing applause. It didn’t happen that way!

The first week I had to learn how to make the dough from scratch in a huge mixer using a large scoop for the ingredients. Then I had to practice stretching the dough into a circle making sure the outside was higher and thicker than the inside and how to repair a hole in the center if I made one–and I did that first week!  I learned about scooping the sauce–also home made–spreading it around with the back of the scoop and then measuring the cheese with my eye and spreading a certain amount evenly over the sauce. After that is was putting the toppings on, again just using a certain amount though with things like pepperoni it could be weighed on a small scale. After a week of flipping the soon to be pizza crust in the air, learning how to almost reach the ceiling and then have it land right on my fingertips and all in all, as the boss said, putting on a show, I was ready for the front window. (By the way back then we didn’t wear gloves putting the mushrooms, onions, salami, etc., on the pies and, as far as we know, no one got sick!)

I loved that job, the attention I got, the applause after I finished getting the pie ready and then putting it in the oven with a big flat ‘shovel’ not moving the pie but removing the shovel without tearing the crust or messing up the toppings.

At that time in South Florida most of Miami Beach closed down from Memorial Day to the week before Thanksgiving because of the heat, humidity and lack of tourists so I found myself out of a job but did work as a bellhop at the Sea Isle until November when I got a job as a waiter at Piccolo’s, one of the best restaurant jobs I ever had, but that’s another story!
Because of the training at the other restaurant I was able to help the cook here make the garlic rolls and once in awhile toss up a pizza–but it was back in te kitchen not where the public could see you.

To this day I can toss a mean pizza!

Posted February 23, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

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AN USHER IN TIMES SQUARE 1951 PART 1   1 comment

I was 15 and on summer vacation up in our summer home in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, and I wanted/needed to get away from my family so I went looking for a job in Manhattan. I don’t know whether it was through an ad or I was just passing by and decided to stop in but I got a job as an usher at the Lyric Theatre on 42nd street better known as Times Square and many years before it was :Disneyfied”,

The Lyric Theatre at one time was a first rate theatre that presented such stars as Sarah Bernhardt and was considered a gem among theatres in New York. By the time I had become a teenager it was a second rate movie theatre in what was becoming a seedy Times Square. While The Victoria Theatre next door started to show ‘racy’ films The Lyric showed second run movies from major companies. I remember seeing Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvert in “On The Riveria” at least 22 times–in fact I can still quote many of the lines!

It was an hour bus drive from/to Lake Hiawatha so I had to get up at six in the morning to catch the bus into the city and get the 6 PM bus back to the Lake. (An aside: one morning my brother came rushing into my bedroom yelling. “Hurry up! You are going to be late! You will miss the bus. It is after 7.” I jumped up, washed my fast quickly got dressed and was just about to run out of the house when I saw my brother laughing hysterically. It being my day off–I worked 6 days–I had taken an afternoon nap and it was 6 PM in the evening, not morning, when my brother woke me up!)

Working on Times Square at that age was quite an eye opener in many ways. Many well dressed men either looking for jobs or being salesmen would come in to waste a few hours, some even to take a nap. There was a balcony split into 2 sections where practically every kind of sex you could think of took place. My manager told me to ignore it unless they were noisy, rowdy or disrupting those who came to see the movie and sat in the balcony because it was where you could smoke. It was quite an education for a 15 year old kid seeing men with women, men with men, women with women and some you couldn’t tell which was which.

It was also an education in entrapment and blackmail and shakedowns.

To be continued…

Posted September 13, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Thought for the day: “A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” Louis Nizer

Bare with me as I list the jobs I have had over the years–in many ways it was an advantage as I met many people I wouldn’t have met otherwise LOL!!

In my early and mid teens I worked at a beach snack shop in Lake Hiawatha in New Jersey and as an usher at the Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street in NYC (that’s a whole blog in itself!!!) and had a job in charge of sending movie rentals to theatres for Loew’s and finished my teenage work years ‘working’ for the Marine Corps. At 2 different times I worked for my father, a children’s clothing manufacturer, called Millbrook ‘learning the business’.

In 1956 I became a waiter in Miami Beach working at Picciolo’s (2 different times over the years), a bellhop at a hotel, a pizza maker for a small Italian restaurant, a bartender at The Pixie–back in NYC I worked at the following restaurants: Miller’s on Wall Street, AdLib, Ham & Eggs on 52nd Street, Brass Rail, The Gas Pavillion at the World’s Fair, Brassiere, (and 2 I have forgotten!!)–then I became a lecturer for Weight Watcher’s International–after that I became Director Of Operations of Weight Watcher’s of Greater Memphis, Eastern Tennessee, West Arkansas and Chattanooga–that was followed by my opening my own weight reduction organization called Our Weigh–after 11 years I returned to restaurants working in Ft. Lauderdale at: Dan Dowd’s, Sizzler’s (THE worst job ever!), Wag’s (3 different times), Denny’s, The Crabhouse, Incredible Edibles, Holiday Inn on State Road 84, The Holiday Inn on State Road 7, Picciolo’s ( a different one than in Miami Beach) ending mywaiter’scareer at Big Louie’s (one of the best jobs ever!) when I retired.

I am sure I have missed a few places but all in all I worked about 36 different jobs over a period of 51 years–some jobs lasted a few days, here and there a year or two with the longest jobs being at Weight Watcher’s ( 8 years) and Our Weigh 5 years–I quit some, was fired from a few while others there is a question of whether I was fired or quit! LOL

Was it I couldn’t keep a job? Got bored quickly with a job? Was always looking for something new? Or just circumstances? Whatever the case one of the disadvantages of so many years as a waiter I didn’t know from IRAs, building up my social security account, let alone acquiring stock, having sick days, paid vacations, etc. (The one exception was working for Wag’s where there were all kinds of benefits.)

The advanages were many: meeting people from all over the world, making a wide range of friends, seeing and experiencing things I never would have otherwise.

I do know (from experience when I was young working for my dad) I would never have lasted at a 9-5, Monday-Friday job for 51 years–of course my retirement years may have been financially better (but I doubt that with the way I ALWAYS spent money before I made it) but then I did so many things, for instance traveling all over the world, that most people wait until they retire to do and never do because they are too old or too sick or too broke.

Over the years I have written, and had published, 8 books and 1 play–the latter a diseaster–had many magazine articles published plus worked, edited, wrote company news papers including the Gateway Gazette but never in my wildest dreams would I ever call any of that work!

I really loved being a waiter and would probably do it all over again the way I did it!!! Would/will you say the same???


“A man who goes into a restaurant and blatantly disrespects the servers shows a strong discontent with his own being. Deep down he knows that restaurant service is the closest thing he will ever experience to being served like a king.”
Criss Jami
Jarod Kintz

“I want to be an actor. I’ve already started taking steps. Yesterday I applied to be a waiter.”
Jarod Kintz

Ann Aguirre

“His face held a certain impassivity; you see it in all waiters and valets. They might want to jam a knife through your left eye socket, but you’d never know it from their expression. ”
Ann Aguirre , Blue Diablo

Posted September 2, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Of all the years in my life 1999 was one of the roughest roller coaster rides ever. I was up financially and then looking at my car as a bed. I had a job and then I didn’t and then I got one of the best jobs I ever had. I lost one of my best friends and my apartment was robbed a third time not to forget that once again SS had overpaid me and I owed them money plus problems with the car and overusing credit cards. I had to buy 2 new car tires and an old man came out of a one way street the wrong way crashing into me.

One of the first things that happened was I got a call from St. Joseph’s subsidized housing to come in for an interview but I knew going in–a gated community –right behind a hospital–that I really didn’t want that and I could refuse the first 2 offers I got.

Laurie, what is ‘C-Sat’? I have notes about a week at the Crabhouse and that after seeing Kathleen Turner in “Tallulah” “I went to Crabhouse for C Sat–got there at 8 PM–they were busy. I “weed wacked“—I know what that is LOL–for awhile–they are getting me a carton of cigarettes!” What is all that about??

I filed (called in) my income tax and will get back $165 and I have been working  a lot on the computer. I did get my refund on, of all days, Valentine’s Day so Bob, Jim, Gino and I went to Catfish Dewey’s (still open) for all the ribs you can eat and eat I did. I have started making cards on my computer and started my monthly newsletter which saves me a lot of time. One Friday after work Laurie, Sharon and I went to IHOP for a bite and I gave $10 for Thu’s birthday. Later on during the week Gino and I went for dinner at the Quarterdeck (open) while Bob and I went to eat at the “It’s New York” restaurant (closed). I have a note about mailing shirts to Chuck—Chuck do you remember what that was about?? I have a note about going to dinner with the Crabhouse gang for Thu’s birthday but doesn’t say where which is surprising. Also have a note about picking up the car but nothing about paying a bill.

 I mentioned this in the last blog but I had a run in with some customers. I was very seldom, if ever, rude to customers when it came to tipping because I know if one party under tips me another party will over tip me. This was a party of 4 kids–late teens, early 20s–who drove me crazy with the all you can eat crabs making it hard for me to take care of my other customers. Over the years I have waited on idiots but, as a rule, most customers were okay. When I saw the tip they left on the charge I told them off and, of course, they went running to the manager. I expected repercussions and they came–and I got fired though Cindy fought hard for me to stay. I have another note about getting car out of shop with new headlights and new rear view mirror. Gino and I went for dinner at Piasano’s (closed) and the end of the month Bob, Jim, Gino and I went to the Caldwell Playhouse (closed) and dinner at the Foto (Closed) and I finallygotJunoandwenton line–that was the start of my downfall–it’s all Chuck’s fault! LOL

My first note for March, 1999, is “Spent most of the time on the computer on line!” At least I took a break for ‘Preacher’ Joe to take me to “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger” (closed on Las Olas. It seems I spent that evening doing e-mail and on the Internet–I wrote that a lot during the month of March and for the next 14 years!

Life continued with movies, shows, eating out but now there were hours being spent on the computer and being on dial up consumed a lot of time but it was something new and I was enjoying it. The car was in and out of the shop with minor problems. Gino and I went for dinner at Wings ‘n Things (open) and over to Home Depot to buy a door to make a computer table for me which I still have  and use. I was going to the Hard Rock with Robert from The Crabhouise as he liked to gamble so got a lot of free tickets for concerts. Without money coming, though since I wasn’t working my SS was a little higher, I went with Jim, Bob and Gino to see “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” at the Broward Center and having dinner at Sonny’s BBQ (closed) and the next day “A Conversation with Gregory Peck” and then the Big Pink (closed) to eat. The following Sunday I took (charged) Nancy and Gino for brunch at the Marriott (closed but not before my17th Leap Year  birthday party) and I have a note I downloaded Juno e-mail so maybe I had AOL first.

March and April ended with no job–a little money and just about making rent and bills and started to use my credit cards again and I was told by my dentist it would cost $3,000 to fix my teeth!!! Ending on a positive note–I went to see a touring show of “Footloose” with Daren Kelly which was a good show but seemed to have disappeared. 13 years later I would see a touring company of “Flashdance”– can never escape the past! I was looking for another place to live as my lease would be up soon and I needed a cheaper place plus after being robbed 3 times it was a message to get out!

Oh yes, poor Chuck–I see notes about my ‘losing’Microsoft Word 6 and Free Cell and bugging him! I wrote that I messed up installing NetZero. It was also the month that Bob went in to get a knee replaced so Jim and I had to make his Fuller Brush deliveries. It was also the month I tried to connect with Mark but I couldn’t find him on the Internet and when I sent letters to his address they came back. I was never to hear from him again.

It was the way life went.

Posted April 23, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES 1997-JUNE 1999 PART 23 D   Leave a comment

April 1998 was just like any other month with going to theatre to see Jim Baily as Judy Garland who was much better in Las Vegas years before, went to see sculptor Hanson’s work at the MOMA, had to get a new alternator for the car (charged the $85), Bob, Jim, Gino and I had dinner at Catfish Dewey’s (open) to celebrate Bob and Jim’s 40th anniversary, had a run in with David who stole my car keys,  Bob, Jim and I went to the Coconut Grove Playhouse to see “An Evening With Jerry Herman” and dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (open) and work, plus my Social Security check, made life a little easier but I was still charging too much and spending more than I was taking in. I did get a call from the Powerline subsidized housing but I didn’t like it and was holding out for Gateway. May was a good month where I finally ended up in the black for a change.

In June Ronnie came down from Waterville, Maine, his home where he moved back to from New York and was currently living. His cousin David lived in West Palm Beach and though I knew him he never got in touch with me when he moved there so I was going to see him and Ronnie the following day. We went for finner at Franco’s (closed). We got together at Chardee’s (closed) for brunch the following Sunday and Ronnie told me he was having heart problems which is why he moved back to Waterville plus his mother had died and left him their house. He had a part time job working for the church catering meals. Bill Doolan, sort of an ex of Bill’s, and I met for lunch at Denny’s (open) and he told me he had Parkinson’s. The day after that Ted and I went for dinner at J. Alexander’s (open) for which I had a “2 Free Dinners” card though I don’t know why or how! On Sunday, the 17th, I took off from work and took Ronnie and David for brunch at the Marriott Marina on17th Street (closed) where in 2004 I had my 17th Leap Year celebration which was one of the best! The 3 of us spent the day walking around the marinas and that evening we went to see/hear The Gay Men’s Chorus of Fort Lauderdale at the Amaturo Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. Little did I know it would be the last time I would see Ronnie. A week later Bill Doolan, Bob, Jim and I went up to Boca where we ate at Tom’s BBQ (closed) and then went to see “The Heidi Chronicles” at the Caldwell Playhouse (closed). By now I had cut back to just working Saturday and Sunday.

Another month another problem with the car which cost $400 plus for rental and needless to say it went on a charge card. I was also having problems with my teeth as it had been over 25 years since I had all the work done including the implant. One of the first things I learned about old age is that your body changes including your teeth and gums which gives you problems but we don’t talk about that, do we? In August I registered to take a computer class at Fort Lauderdale High School and I told the teacher if I just learned how to turn on a computer I would be happy. Hey, come on, remember the first time you saw a computer? Did you see an ‘on’ button? Did you know what to do? In any case I did learn how to play Solitaire which was a good way of learning how to handle the mouse and I did learn how to turn on a computer which was good as soon I would have to know!

September was a good month starting with Marcello, the manager I didn’t particularly get along with, being transferred to a Jupiter store and then Hurricane Georges which was suppose to hit us didn’t! I was paying my bills, not charging as much and, for a change, didn’t have a problem with the car. Everything was looking good and then it got better and worse, in October.

Posted April 16, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES 1997-JUNE 1999 PART 23 C   Leave a comment

Getting involved with computers–on the way to going broke again–death–old friends disappearing and new friends taking their place–life constantly changing but in many ways staying the same.

Though I didn’t particularly like the job at The Crabhouse I did make a few new friends like Laurie, Bob, the twins and others plus at least money was coming in though, as always, I was spending money I didn’t make yet plus the car was giving me a lot of headaches. In any case I ended 1997 with the following in my diary: “weigh less than I did a year ago–not a good year with being out of work so long–hope 1998 is better when I go into semi-retirement–well at least I start collecting S.S.”

As I mentioned I talked to an accountant and I put in to collect Social Security starting March 1, 1998, when I would be 62. I ran into problems from the start in that I got a lot less than I expected because when I was a waiter in the late 50s and all of the 60s  I did a stupid thing by not reporting all the income I was getting in tips and salaries at that time were really bad. Also the accountant ‘forgot’ to tell me about the more I made at work the less I would be getting in my SS check. Adding insult to injury a few months later I got a notice that I had been overpaid and owe about $780!!!

In January Perry Lee sent me a long list of subsidized housing in the 3 counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. I knew I wanted to stay in Fort Lauderdale so I looked at a place on Powerline Road which was very depressing with people sitting in wheel chairs in the lobby and everything with a gray look. It was a 6 story building and would eventually be spruced up when an administrator from Gateway transferred there but at that time I knew it wasn’t for me. After that I looked at another building which was on Oakland behind a hospital and was gated and with my ‘parties’ I knew that wouldn’t work.  The third place I looked at was Gateway and I knew that was it! I asked about an application and was told that it might be 2-3 years before I could get in.

It seems, reading from my diary, things were ‘normal’ again–a few quotes–“Car in garage–gas leak”–“Bob, James, Don, Alex, Don and I went to see “Gerry’s Girls’ and then Lester’s”–“I waited on Adam and his friend who sings on cruise ships –Adam was the former lover of Bruce who I worked with at Dan Dowd’s   and threw him and Andy a wedding at the Rooftop–small world”–“Got the car back–paid cash for rental car–Tom didn’t charge me to fix the car”–“Lawyer won’t press suit regarding car crash”–“On February 11 Bob, Jim, Don and I had dinner at the Olive Garden and then went to see ‘Carousel’ and cried like a baby as I always do in the second act” .

It was on Friday, February 20, 1998, that I got a call that Perry Lee had died from cancer. I didn’t even know he had been sick as he didn’t say anything when I called him regarding Gateway. We had been friends for 42 years and made up what was the beginning of Joe and Albyn’s family referring to us as their sons. I have always been close to Perry Lee whether we lived in the same city or 1500 miles apart. We would not see each other for long periods of time and yet when we got together it was as if we had just seen each other the day before. When I think of Perry Lee I think of a whole group of people from my past and even today I silently thank him for being responsible for me having found Gateway and moving into a place that would save me in many ways.

The following week I brought my car into Johnnie and Mack’s to be painted, rust removed and dents removed which would cost about $1,200 which–Surprise Not!–I would charge.

In March I put in my application to move to Gateway, had the car painted, went into semi-retirement working only Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nancy was in town and we had lunch at 811 Bourbon (closed) while a few days later Juan came in from Memphis and he, Jim, Bob and I had dinner at The Ark (closed) and the following week my car died and had to be towed–the day before Juan was suppose to return to Memphis we went to Tina’s (closed)–it was now 31 years, a lifetime ago, since I had joined Weight Watchers and I was wondering what the next 31 years will bring and where would I be in 2129–now that was being optimistic!

Posted April 15, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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This retirement gig is just too much for an old guy! I still don’t know how I managed to work, sometimes 24/7 , 26-50 hours a week and still get other important things done. Just to give you an idea of my schedule let me go through what I have done so far.

I had to get up early—10 A.M.– and read my paper as I give it to John when I am finished and sometimes the pressure gets to me so much that I don’t have time to do the Jumble. After that I check my e-mail which is usually 50-55 letters from friends, blogging sites and responding to them. Next I check out:,,,, theatre reviews, silverdaddies, thefloridalottery (to find out how many millions of dollars I won),, etc., followed by going to 6 blogging sites to respond to comments. I had to take the blood pressure in both my right and left arms–3 times each and make note of the average–take my pills and start getting ready for Allen.

Allen arrived about 1 P.M and off we went. The first stop is the bank as my social security came in yesterday and I take it all out except for $5–now who would want to steal my ID for $5 and that’s all I have folks. Then we went to Publix where I bought our winning lotto tickets, 3 cans of no-salt tomato sauce and a bag of 3 pounds of apples for $2.50 and by then we needed a break. I had a $30 coupon that I had gotten for $15 from groupon for Shooters on the Inter-coastal.

On with my errands we went to the Dollar Tree which I love but there are so many items you don’t knwo which to grab first. If I cleaned my blinds I would have gotten the 3 brush blind cleaner but as it was I got 5 bags of fresh frozen vegetables, 5 bags of fresh frozen peaches, 2 packages of sliced cheese, candles, etc. I won’t get into what Allen bought except to mention in one bag there was a box of sweet ‘n low and M&Ms

We were running late–every retired person has to get in a 5 P.M. nap–it is in the retirement rules. The next stop was Winn-Dixie and while Allen went into the car I bought my supplies for the week: 24 ounces of cod, 2 heads of lettuce, a 12 pack of diet, caffeine free cola, a gallon of orange juice and, since it was on sale, a Digorno pizza that I figured I would have for dinner tonight. I have never had one before and one of the roles of retired people is to try new things.

We had to stop at the cleaners so I could pick up my ‘wash-dry-fold’ laundry and shirts. Before you say anything I did the same when I was working! I also stepped next door to the new computer repair store. I had recommended him to Norman who went there yesterday and was very pleased with the service and price.

Allen took me home and they have completely tore up the street in front of Gateway—like the 8th time in 13 years–and we have no idea  why. I got a wagon to bring my things upstairs and before I unloaded it got into comfortable clothes. As I was putting away a few things in the kitchen I looked out the window and saw John. I called him, told him to wait and I would bring down the toothpaste I had bought for him. I ran out taking the wagon with me to bring back to where they are kept and gave him the toothpaste. I went to get my mail and realized I had left my keys in the apartment. After climbing the stairs I found out I never  unlocked the kitchen door which meant I had to climb down the stairs, walk over to building C, walk to the back, take the elevator and use the walkway back to my apartment. I got the keys, walked down the stairs, got my mail and walked back up the stairs–WHEW!!!! The bottom line is I was too late for my nap so Iskipped that and, instead, turned on my computer and answered e-mail.

I had the Digorno and was surprised how good it was for a frozen pizza. I had a salad and diet coke with that, went through my snail mail and started on my daily blog that I commited myself to when I started blogging. I still have a load of notifications to respond to, post blogs on eight sites, do some reading, look at a DVD sent me, shave, clean off the dining room table, take my blood pressure again (see the morning), my night pills, post this.

Folks I am tired, too tired to go to sleep! Keep working–don’t retire!!!


Posted October 4, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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