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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Thanks I Get!


A friend once told me:

“Lend to people only the amount you can afford to do without”

In other words, if the request is for an amount that you know you will need back soon or it will hurt you financially…. DON’T LEND IT!!!!

I say this because I realise that the simple rules of finance or budgeting seem to escape the most people in this world. People can take one look at someone and hit them up for money without batting an eyelid. Some people would rather go through a debilitating stroke than ask for help from someone ( Me) while other people seem to not know when to stop being a leech on their friends.

This blog is not because of any recent experience with anyone but it jumped into my head when someone contacted me out of the blue just to chat. The chat was cool but in the back of my mind I kept thinking that they would ask for money. They didn’t. They were actually just calling to let me know how my advice had actually made sense when they stopped being stubborn. Strangely enough it didn’t bring a smile to my face to hear this.

While I pride myself on being a forgiving person, alas I can’t seem to forget and as a result I believe that the people who did me harm in the past will strike again if I let my guard down. A sad state I’m in…

Anyway, this blog is really about the hazards of lending money. It would never be about the good points because those memories will never scar you. What scars you is the correspondence that follows when it is time to collect what is due to you.

I would normally tell people not to lend at all. Give a gift to the person. While it may not be the amount the person needs, it will be the amount you can comfortably part with and not worry about getting it back. You won’t forget that you lent this person money but somehow, it seems to slip their minds. So avoid all that drama. If they want $1000 and all you can spare is $200, then give it. If they don’t want it (yeah right), then no love lost and a friendship is not ruined.

Please don’t get wrong, but there are circumstances when it actually works out when you help people out. That circumstance is as rare as good acting in a Twilight Movie. No one is immune to it. Ignore the old line that your reward is in heaven stuff. When I need to pay bills, I can’t walk into Flow and tell them, Jesus will pay it all after the rapture. That doesn’t work within their corporate plans.

Then there are those who…..well let me tell you some stories:

GET IN YUH SECTION
Chastity needed money to pay down on a front-line costume in a Harts but at the time her car was acting up so she needed a quick bailout as she didn’t want to lose the costume. She asked for me to loan her $2,000 to cover the expense and I would be paid a month before carnival. It didn’t sit right with me to lend this sum but I had no reason to doubt her intentions as I have always known her to be a very responsible person. My first hint at trouble should have been when I called her to tell her I had the money and she told me to meet her at Morevino , where she was liming with friends.

Umm why can’t you come for it?
Oh gosh Stef, be a darling nah!

I was a darling and dropped it off. Two carnivals came and went and all I received during that time was $800 in total. Please do not assume that this money came all at one time. $500 came one day after much prodding and when she handed it to me she said without batting an eyelash:

“Umm I can’t give you the same amount next month as I have some friends coming into the country and I want to lime with them.”

I smiled and said nothing. I felt my blood boiling but it served me right.

I don’t beleive in striking anyone no matter what the reason, but I understand!

CAPITAL FLIGHT
Charles apparently had gotten into an accident with his car two weeks before his annual car insurance payment was due to be paid. Both expenses could not be handled and so a request was made to borrow $4,000.00 from the First National Bank of Stefan.

Unfortunately, Charles never got approval for the loan from the Bank because that amount way exceeds funds available from the Bank and Chastity had already caused the bank’s lending limit to be reduced considerably. Charles gave Stefan the silent treatment as a result. He did however get the money from two other sources that were told they would get it back within two months.

By the end of the first month Charles had moved to Canada and it was revealed that the “alleged” car accident never happened as the car was sold to pay off his loan months before.

Charles is now back in Trinidad. (I assume unknown to these people as I met one the other day and he was still cussing about the incident that happened 3 years ago)

MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY
Mary is a very lazy girl. She has hardly ever worked in her life and has relied on the funds from her numerous (all rich) boyfriends to fund whatever she needs. Strangely enough, her parents never question when she brings home new items such as laptops, clothing etc even though they know that she hasn’t held a job in over 5 years.

Cut to break-up with rich boyfriend number 231, Mary is going through a slump as her reputation has preceded her and it is getting harder to trap a new one. Months pass and no new boyfriend and it seems like Mary may have to start paying for school or just drop out of it like she normally does.

Then her world starts to unravel. She starts getting calls about outstanding bills that she thought her ex covered. Turns out he never paid her bills as she asked and so letters are appearing at her door and she has no solution.

Get a job you say? Well despite not having much in the way of qualifications, Mary is not going to work in any fast food establishment, clothing store, book store or anyplace where her “so-called” friends can see her and laugh.

So much pride for someone with not a leg to stand on.

Anyway, when Bailiff number 3 came calling about some overdue credit card balance, Mary began to panic as the collectors were starting to appear where she lives and God forbid Mummy and Daddy find out that she is in debt. (Umm if they are used to seeing new stuff in the apartment and they know you are not working, I don’t think this would surprise them.)

So I get a secret call on my work phone (so that the number can’t be traced) asking for help in the region of $500 as she is desperate and I am sworn to secrecy. She says once she gets a job, I will be the first person she pays back.

First National Bank of Stefan approved the loan with a 6 month repayment period. Seems fair right? Mary defaulted on the loan and the debt remains outstanding two years later.

Mary has a job at a calling center now. She is forced to sleep with recycled “low-lifes” who have no money but can offer her a “top up” and “snack box”. My request for repayment is met with my name being brandied about for doing all sorts of nasty stuff , including telling people I tried to force her to have sex (as if I would ever touch a petri dish with that much bacteria in it).

Saw her in the gym the other day. Hmmm I guess she could afford the gym but not to pay back my black ass!!!

The old Stefan would say leave them to Karma , but karma has a way of not allowing me to see or hear of their demise. Where’s the fun in that?

————————

There are more stories that one can tell but some involve scenarios like family members running up telephones bills calling all over Trinidad when they are NOT employed and they strangely have no remorse about what they do. Or one in which a family member wanted to throw a barbecue to raise funds to buy a car but wanted me to buy the chicken and ingredients while he printed the tickets. Can you believe that?

Those stories are not interesting at all but just goes to show that people have no respect for the value or use of money and just think of themselves and not the people that are affected by their actions.

No one wonders or care, if after lending them money that my new diet might be channa and water for a week or two or if I might have to siphon gas out of a lawn mower to get to work. Nor do they care. They assume because I am plump that I am eating well but they forget that most fat people come from depressed areas and it is their diet that has them fat. It’s what they could afford.

Oh well, as I continue along my road of being thrifty or “cheap” as some people might call it, I pray that some lessons in finance will rub off on some people.

Please remember:

• A Car is like a child. It is expensive to maintain no matter how proud you are to have it.
• Credit Cards are the devil. Stay away from them.
• You don’t need to drink every time you get paid. It relaxes no one and it is not treating yourself
• If you take a loan to go on vacation, you don’t deserve the vacation!
.

 

I held your hand, is this the thanks I get ?
I took you in, is this the thanks I get ?
Half a chance, the thanks I get ?
A twist of plans, is this the thanks I get?……Erik Hassle – The Thanks I Get

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Emotions, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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Apologize?


I was expecting my father to pass by my office to see me today and so when I saw the extension for Ground Floor Security buzzing me I knew he was there.

On arriving downstairs, my father informs me that the Security Guard said he knows everyone in this building and that I must be new. (I’ve been working in the KMA building since it opened).

I looked at the Security Guard, whom I have spoken with on more than one occasion, and then turned to my father and said:

“That ‘s ok. He’s nobody anyway!”

Now I get a call from HR saying that I need to apologize to him.

Steups…..

Guess what my answer was?

They will wait on that one!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Emotions, RANT

 

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I’m a WHORE – DUH!!


Thanks Mandy for the best blog title I’ve seen in ages!!!

Ok now that I have your attention..

Yes the statement above is true (as if I needed to tell you all that).

This has been a problem that I have suffered with for years but after watching a few episodes of a television show, I decided that it is time to acknowledge who I am. I needto let the world know it and embrace me. No longer shall I hide behind anything. This is who I am and while I am no so proud of it, I know this will make me start the healing process.

Sigh…. My name is Stefan Simmons and (gulp)..well….

I AM A HOARDER!

I have been in denial about it for years but on Sunday while alone in my apartment, I suddenly realized that I have way too much stuff scattered all over the place and most of it I do not use on a regular basis.

My apartment sees some emasure of reprive when my housekeeper comes over but even she is slightly dumbfounded as to how my apartment can get like this and more importantly, where the hell does she put stuff?

I am proud to say that she manages very well and for at least a weekafter she has cleaned, my apartment looks as if a decent person lives there.

Here is the root of my problem: I am a collector. I am scared to throw away stuff for various reasons:

  1. I think I will need it again
  2. I want to hold onto memories attached to it
  3. What if I am audited or have to return something?

I seem to collect the following things:

Books & Magazines:

I bought the Ipad so that I will help the environment and not use paper (well that was the plan), but I can’t help it when I see a new magazine I want or a book on sale, I just must have it!!! Not every book I see has an ebook version and even so i still haven’t gotten over my need/desire to hold a book in my hand and flip through the pages. Yes Yes i know I need to get over myself but it is what it is. I am weaning off this habit as we speak (although last week i bought 3 new books and one of them i actually had the ebook version of it but still want the hardcover for my collection.

 

Receipts & Bills:

A long time ago, I lost a receipt for an item I had purchased that didn’t work at all from day one. The company wouldn’t take it back and me hurdling it onto the floor of this establishment and speaking about the maternal anatomy of the company didn’t endear them to want to help me further ( nor have I ever been back there since).

But that was in 2001 and I have grown up since then (hopefully).  So now I throw away NOTHING.  All bills and receipts are kept in a drawer, on the table, on the floor, in my bedroom, in the ktichen…all over (but always near to the item that was purchased). Not even PriceSmart, Hi-Lo and Tru Value receipts are left out.

I felt proud of myself last year when Pricesmart told me that I hadn’t renewed my membership and I was able to go home and pick up the receipt and bring it for them to see (they had credited someone else’s account in error). Of course finding the receipt wasn’t as easy as I made it out to be but at least I had a general idea where it was (I think in my bedroom was a general enough area).

I recently found the bag of bills/receipts from my European trip in 2008 and every visit toNew York, there is a bag with all the related bills (just in case my credit card statement doesn’t match up).

Alas there seem to be no expiry date or “destroy by” date for any of this. This is something I have to work on.

Clothing

I always get buyer’s remorse whenever it comes to purchasing clothing and unless I’m in a foreign country, returning the item never seems like an option. I always say to myself:

“Why return it? I’ll make it someone’s Birthday or Christmas Present!”

Unfortunately I either never remember the item or I never have someone (in that size) to give it to and so it ends up in the “I’ll wear you when I get smaller” pile or “Why De hell did I buy this” pile. The latter pile is larger than the former because I always see someone in a certain style, buy it and when I try to venture beyond my mirror in it, it never happens. Someone (whose name I will NEVER mention) bought me a pair of skinny jeans and while it seemed like a cool idea, the minute I tried it on, I knew that THIS style would never see the light of day on me.

The only clothing item that i buy alot of and don’t mind hoarding is underwear. Somehow whenever I travel, I MUST buy new udnerwear. So much so that I have over 60 pairs of it and at least 20 pairs that are still to be worn. However one trip toNew YorkorMiamiand all of a sudden there is an overwhelming need to buy new ones. I’m running out of space ot put them and i don’t think that underwear is something you can give to charity.

Oh I have two suitcases full of clothing since 2009 to give to charity that I can’t seem to find the time to remove from my apartment.

Miscellaneous items (Boxes, Pictures, Cd Cases etc)

No matter how I try to get rid of stuff, I seem to collect more as soon as I throw something out.  I now have plastic containers that contain compartmentalized stuff that seem to get filled up in no time. I keep bags, paper and other stuff because somewhere in the back of my mind I convince myself that I will use it in the future, but it never happens.

I have gift paper but I am horrible at wrapping presents. Why do I have it?

I have tools but I barely have those skills to make it work. When did I collect all this stuff?

I store Cd cases yet I have moved the CDs into binders. Why do I still have the cases?

Extensions cords, Nokia phone chargers for models that no longer exist, Stereo connectors, batteries, pens, pencils rulers, staplers ( no staples) and tones of old newspapers. Some of these things are neatly stored away while others are on display as I have no idea what to do with them but I fear that the moment I discard them that I will have use for it.

There are boxes from everything I bought since in 2005. I haven’t put them in the trash for fear that my neighbours see the boxes and assume maco my business (well that’s what I tell myself). I don’t think they care if I have a Fat Slim TV from 2006 nor a Magic Bullet but somehow I can’t bring myself to throw away these boxes.

What am I do to in the midst of all this chaos?

Some may describe my situation as some variation of nesting or “marking my territory” but I prefer to see it as laziness. Laziness to the extent that I am refusing to deal with household issues and duties that used to consume my Saturday mornings as a child.

Either my parents warped by senses totally through my upbringing or I just need licks. I prefer to believe the former. Whatever was deemed to be slave work for me as a child, somehow I rebel against doing it as an adult.

To go into why I do these things would mean entering my mind and I am told it is not a nice place to be with all the million and one thoughts floating around vying for supremacy as my main thought.

Oh well….I see my confession to you as therapy for me and so let the healing begin…..

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Books, Emotions, Humor, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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Epiphany


My good friend Clint has this cool theory. He believes that no matter how old we get some of us, when we look in the mirror, only see the 18 or 21 year old version of ourselves.

You know the version, the one where we had little or no fat on our body, we had all our hair, no acne, no belly…we were perfect and happy. Except we didn’t know we were perfect at the time.

He said this in response to one of my never-ending questions to him about why is it some old people still act as if they are irresistible when dribble is running down the side of their mouth.

I had given him a story once of being with my father and him seeing a young girl and challenging me to see who could win her over. I remember looking at my dad, with his bald head, deep voice , grey stubble, and portly stomach and thinking……Oh Lord, he done lost his mind!  We never did approach the young lady but my father still went away with the impression that the wink the girl sent our way was for him. He never knew that I attended University with the girl and therefore knew her well. Being a good son I just let it slide.

Clint laughed at my story and said that some people remember and live in the realm that they are still their 20 year old selves with all the confidence in the world and the killer looks to go with it. Despite the fact that breasts and eyes maybe sagging (both men and women), they are overweight beyond what was once thought impossible for someone who was a fit as they were and they can wear the same clothing as these young people.

Me, I never had that delusion. At the age of 20/21 I was now coming into my looks (so to speak) so the insecurities of my teenage years were still present.

Cut to this evening when I just completed my last set of sit ups on the incline bench, I pull myself up to rest and I looked into the mirror. What I saw then was no 20/21 year old but an old man. An old man with a thinning hairline, huge nose and wobbly cheeks with gray hair in his beard.

Yes folks at that moment, I saw my real age and I was not pleased. I got slightly depressed.

Is this how I look to everyone else in the gym? Is this how the world sees me? I thought I grew into my big nose?

Hmm no wonder no one tries to talk to me (ignore the fact that I am anti-social in the gym).

I stared at this old guy for about 2 minutes and wondered when did I get here? Was life that hard? Why do I look as if I have no owner? Oh Yeah right, I’m still single…… sigh…

I pulled my legs out of the incline stirrups and slowly crawled away to the gym locker room where I changed my sweaty jersey with my back to the Locker Room mirror. No need to further depress myself…

I sit here writing this and I am still wondering…When did I get so old? When did I become my father? When did my mother’s face age to incorporate mine? Where are all these gray hairs coming from?

Sigh….

Hi Folks….My Name is Stefan Simmons and……(gulp) I’m OLD!!!!

How I Feel

How I Look

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Emotions, RANT, Uncategorized

 

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Have You Met…….


RACHELLE FERRELL???

No she isn’t related to Will Ferrell (He can only wish).

She is just THE most AMAZING singer to be gracing this planet. Strangely enough, I only discovered her in 2000 when an employee at the Virgin Megastore (sigh my Mothership) strongly suggested that I listen to her new album “Individuality, (Can I Be Me?)”.

I took up the album and scrutinized it for no reason and, at the time, only took it because I didn’t want him to think I didn’t trust his tastes. I just believed he didn’t know mine.  So I picked it up, with the intention of playing it as a background filler one day and just putting it in the back of my collection.

I don’t remember what happened the afternoon I bought it but I put it into my discman (at the time) and the next day, I found myself back in Virgin Megastore searching for every album she ever made. The employee was grinning.

This woman slayed me with her vocals, her range is KILLER!! and her feeling with a song is like she is not just making love to it but actually bringing it to a constant climax. She is good. Her voice is like buttah!!

Cut to December 2001, when my music soul mate, Matthew, sends me word that Rachelle Ferrell is going to perform for Barbados Jazz Festival in January 2002. I had only moved back to Trinidad from Barbados less than 2 months earlier and here I was planning a trip in January to see Rachelle Ferrell.

I can’t remember much about that trip except that I found myself on Farley Hill on January 20th 2002, listening to a whole bunch of people I didn’t care for and then….she came on.

Like a big groupie, I rushed to the front of the stage and found other people trying to trample me to get near her. I resented this. She was MY musical secret!! (Well mine and Matthew’s). So who the hell were all these people rushing to the front of the stage? I ended up next to this girl who had like 4 CDs in her hand and one of them I didn’t recognise (The other 3 were Rachelle Ferrell CDs). So I asked politely:

Me: Umm what CD is that? Is that a Rachelle Ferrell CD

Girl: (Looks at me with disdain) No. That’s my CD. I want her to give it to her when I get her to sign the rest!

I was appalled. How dare she peddle her obviously screechy voice to Rachelle THE GREAT?  She had to be stopped! As I was planning a way to tell her to stay away from Rachelle, I heard a voice make a note and I became enveloped in a trance. My body turned away from the wannabe singer toward the stage where she stood in all her glory. a black top, jean with the most beautiful afro i had ever seen. I was in love. I was mesmerized. I needed to pee (but that would have to wait).

She had me at C sharp!

All I can say is that I enjoyed her performance immensely and walked away fulfilled. I felt as if I could listen to her all day. The beauty of her as a performer is that she makes these weird expressions with her mouth and face and instead of it taking away from the performance, it draws you in. It draws you in to every note, every key, every pitch, every sound she utters. This woman understands her instrument (her voice) and boy can she play that damn thing.

In a just world, she would be ten times more famous than Beyonce or Lady Gaga, but alas life isn’t fair.

I therefore recommend RACHELLE FERRELL’s 2000 Album “Individuality (Can I Be Me?)” for your listening pleasure. If you do not like this album, I don’t want to know as it is obvious you wouldn’t know good music if  it got up and slapped you!!

The highlighted songs are the ones I can’t get enough of but the entire album is BRILLIANT!
Here is a clip of her singing “I Forgive You”
 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Emotions, Entertainment, Music

 

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