my brother is a fount of bad ideas
Wednesday, March 17 2021
I took my usual recreational Wednesday 150 milligrams of pseudoephedrine, which put me in good form for the weekly call with the Ukranian outsourcing team. My boss Alex has been trying to get them to work faster, but afterwards he asked me if he was being too much of an asshole. I said no, though I did think he was a little hard on them for the performance of their contact parser's not correctly parsing the name of a married having spouses with different last names.
My brother Don sounds increasingly desperate when he calls me these days. Today he floated the idea of me giving our mother (Hoagie) a loan so she could pay her supposedly delinquent real estate taxes. I told him there was no way I would be writing any checks unless I could find out what Hoagie's situation is. Since she is extremely paranoid about my intentions, this will never happen. So I also suggested that Don consider having Joy Tarder (their guardian angel) try to find out what Hoagie's financial situation is. It's even possible the notice of delinquent taxes isn't even valid; it could be some sort of scam. I can't solve a problem unless I understand what exactly it is.
Later Don called again with an idea. I knew right away that it would be a bad idea because of who it was coming from. Don said he could perhaps collect cans along the side of the road and then take them to the dump for a refund. There are a lot of problems with this idea, and I laid these out to Don. For starters, Virginia is not a state where deposits are charged for containers. So any value Don could expect to get from aluminum cans would be the value of the scrap metal in the cans. That's not nothing, but it's not as much as a five cent deposit per container. (It turns out it's about 1.7 cents per can.) Then there is the problem that Don has no available means of transportation, and the Augusta County Landfill is 5.9 miles away. That's a heck of walk when carrying a load worth $42 per 100 pound load. I told Don it would be hard to make $1/hour collecting cans. Literally any other job would be better, even a backbreaking minimum wage job at Walmart. But I understand where Don is coming from; collecting cans is something he has the skills and know-how to do, and nobody needs to approve or has the ability to interfere with such a plan.
This evening, Gretchen made a meal of ravioli with different sauce options, and it was waiting for me when I got out of the bathtub.
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