Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Lawn Disaster, I Was Right! Herbacide Burn.

My lawn before the grass was burned.


Today a representative of another lawn service company came by (at my request) to evaluate my lawn. First thing he said upon getting out of his vehicle "What happened here?"  YES!

This was the reaction I was expecting from the owner of my lawn service company yesterday but didn't get it. 

This new representative, who by the way was very good-looking (always helps) and professional. After I told him what application my previous lawn service company applied (wire grass and fungicide) he said it obviously was "herbicide burn."  Viola!  I knew something went terrible wrong.

He said the fungicide application wouldn't have killed the grass and I probably didn't need that application anyway but the application for wire grass was a lot different.  He said the wire grass applicate is a mixture of three ingredients that should be exactly measured and applied during a cool day, not in the heat. The day my previous lawn service company applied the application was very hot (90 plus degrees).  He also told me that my wire grass wasn't that bad and probably didn't even need an application.

That tells me a lot about the new owner of my lawn service company.  He didn't know what he was talking about yesterday, that was obvious. He chose to ignore my questions about all the dead grass.

"Travis", the representative of the my new lawn care company told me that new grass "would never come back."  So much for "it will grow back."  He said what had to be done is aerate the lawn and then reseed it.  He said the combination of heat and wrong application of wire grass poison KILLED the grass too.

I called my previous lawn service company and told them I would no longer be using them.  I felt bad because the woman I told ("Laurie") was the mother of the previous owner and the person who always called me to advise me of schedule lawn service.  Her husband, the previous owner's father, used to service my lawn. I knew something changed about a year ago because different men were coming by to applying application to my lawn. That was when the ownership changed, which I didn't know about.

Apparently the new owner doesn't know anything about lawns. He just brought the business because he was "bored" and wanted to do something in his retirement. That's what he told me yesterday. He obviously knows nothing about customer service because I have yet to hear from him since I informed "Laurie" that I would no longer be using their service.  A good businessman would call me back immediately and either offer to fix the mistake.  Back up a little bit here, yesterday he could have got out of his car and said "What happened here? I have to fix this at no cost to you. I apologize to you for this mistake."  But oh no, this guy DIDN'T know what happened and he is no way going to offer to fix it.  He could at least call to apologize but I don't expect him to call me or apologize.

What will I do? Move on.  I'm not going to sue him or report him to the Better Business Bureau.  This was a mistake. When a mistake happens or poor service, you don't use that business anymore. 

I was very upset about this whole mess until today because in the back of my mind I thought may I was wrong. But I feel justified now in believing what I saw with my own eyes, dead grass and dead plants around my border.  All those flowers dead and my beautiful pink autumn chrysanthemums damaged.  I'm not as upset now, now that I know I was right and taking action to correct this horrendous mistake. 

My lawn is one of the few pleasures I get out of my life.  One of the commenters of my blog yesterday basically told me to "get over it, life is too short."  Uh, no, I won't get over it.  I took care of the problem and fixed it.  

That attitude reminds me of what my neighbor Jane told me about her neighbor's comment to her because she wanted her lawn cut in a pattern.  Her neighbor said "You're too picky, it doesn't matter. Get over it."  Of course Jane took offense because seeing her lawn cut in a pattern is what gives her pleasure. Why can't she get it done like that?  Who is her neighbor to pass judgement on her about what she wants.  It like my neighbor  complaining about the colorful rainbow spinners that I placed in my oval planter to deter the rabbits from eating my impatiens flowers.  She said "Looks like a carnival over there!" Actually Bill and I both like the spinning colorful pinwheels. That was an unexpected side benefit of placing those pinwheels there. Pinwheels will be there every year as long as we live here. 

My annual trip to Canada is coming up in a few days. I have to calm myself down to enjoy a week of adventure with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. There is a possibility we may be visiting Montreal.  Viola!  




Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Lawn Service Failure

The new owner of my lawn care company taking pictures of my damaged lawn, this lawn here in front used to look like a green carpet. It's almost all mud and dead grass now.

The owner of the lawn service company I have been using for thirteen years stopped by this morning to check my lawn as per my request.

As I expected I didn't get any satisfaction. I wasn't expecting my $225 fee back for the lawn application for wire grass removal and an anti fungi application. What I was expecting was a satisfactory explantation why half or more of my grass is now dead.  With my neighbors' lawn on either side of my property glowing a healthy green, the lawn care owner explained matter of factly to me that this was a fungicide application and that the "grass will come back."  He didn't seem concerned at all. I told him "My neighbors' lawn don't have this fungicide, why does mine have it?"  I'm thinking I didn't even need this application. He told me a story of how the fungus could spread if the grass is mowed when the lawn is wet.  Fact, we do not mow our lawn when it is wet.  I told him I used to have one of the best lawns in this development, which he agreed and now I have one of the worst if not the worst.  He agreed that I did have one of the best lawns.  He said he would take some pictures and show them to "Rich" who I thought was the owner. Then that's when I found out this guy is the new owner.  So I think that is the answer, I knew something was different. The last year or so I detected a difference in my interaction with this lawn care company. I thought I was imagining things or being overly sensitive.  Turns out this guy bought the company from "Rich" who used to be the owner.  Know what I think?  This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  

I'm getting a new lawn care company.  I've already called and made an appointment for an evaluation of what has to be done to correct this disaster.  

Just another day in the life folks. 

I am so looking forward to my week in Canada next week.  I need to get away.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Grass is Greener . . . . . . . .

My destroyed lawn after two chemical applications
The grass certainly isn't greener around here since I had a wire grass removal treatment almost two weeks ago. At the same time my lawn service company, which I've been using for thirteen years, applied a fungicide treatment. After this dual treatment on a very hot 90 degree August day, at least half my lawn is dead. You know when they say "throwing the baby out with the wash water"? That's what happened to my lawn.  I am very upset. Extremely upset. And to add insult in injury, this treatment cost me $225.

I called the owner of the company a few days after the treatment to inform him that something seemed terribly wrong. He assured me all would be well.  That the grass was a "little stressed out" but it would "all come back."  Another thing that really upset me was this Agent Orange treatment killed or maimed almost all of my border plants. My lawn has never had this kind of reaction to a treatment before. 

I live in a development where there are fifty-seven home with lawns.  Some lawns are immaculate.  Some so-so and some are just weeds.  Our acre of lawn (you may have seen previous posts where I posted videos of our back yard) was one of the best in our development. Not now.  Now it looks like a Vietnamese village after a dose of defoliant.  

I called the owner again last week and asked him to come out and take a look.  He acted rather annoyed and said he "could make it out here Tuesday or Wednesday of next week."  That would be tomorrow or the next day. 

One of the big reasons I am so upset is my lawn is the one thing I could always count on to keep me calm in these stressful times. And of course the pride I took in having one of the best lawns in our development. Now even that small island of calm has been taken away from me. 

I don't expect to get my money back tomorrow. The service was performed. I "ate the steak" so I have to pay for it. But I want an explanation of what happened and perhaps a free reseeding application to help restore my lawn. However, what I expect is a song and dance explanation. If I get that, I change lawn service and just chalk this experience up to another bad service experience. 

I don't like confrontations and I hope I don't have one tomorrow but if I get any of that attitude that I detected on the phone when I called the owner last week, things might get a little uncomfortable. I'm at that point in my life folks that I don't put up with "it" anymore. 

Here's hoping the matter will be resolved amicably. 


Monday, August 12, 2019

Blog Update - Where Have I Been?



Folks, I'm falling behind in my blog posts as perhaps regular followers of my blog have noticed.

The reasons for my tardiness are many and myriad but the fact remains, that I'm having trouble keeping up with regular blog posts. 

I have so much going on in my life now that takes precedence over my blog posts. 

One of the main reasons is that this is summertime and I have a lot of outside responsibilities. Most of this summer have been very hot and humid. Dragging myself through this summer has been exhausting with all the different problems that needed to be resolved. 

And last but not least, I am Bill's caregiver which is taking my more and more of my time. I do not complain about being Bill's caregiver but it is time consuming at times. Thank goodness he is still mobile and able to take care of himself most of the time. Could be a lot worse and for which I am thankful it is not.

Another responsibility that has been consuming my time has been my job at the hotel. Even though I work part-time two days a week, I've been called on to work more than two days a week for the past six months filling in for my co-workers for their emergencies, of which there have been plenty this year including the resignation of a longtime full-time worker which required filling in for her and training her replacement.  Thank goodness that situation has calmed down, for now anyway.

In two weeks time I leave for my annual visit to my good friend Pat in Canada. I'm looking forward to taking a break from the summertime routine here. Of course I have to check in with Bill every day but I do have a chance to breath. 

I am looking forward to summer ending and the autumn weather rolling in, providing some relief from all the gardening problems I've had this year. 

In summation, if you don't see a regular blog posting from me, do not despair. I'll be back, eventually. 






Saturday, August 03, 2019

My New Favorite Movie Idol




When I was very young, ages ago, in the Fifties I used to go to the movies every Saturday matinee.  

Like any young gay boy of the Fifties (of which I was the only one of course) I had my movie idols. Those gorgeous men who made my heart throb and engender those "stirrings" in me that often resulted in wet dreams.  Yes, I said it.

One of my first movie idols was Farley Granger. 


Farley Granger - 50's movie idol (not a nice person, I found out later)
I remember watching a series of films he was in with Shelley Winters. Every time Farley's gorgeous face came on the screen in one of those giant closeups, my heart would skip a beat. "If only" I thought this handsome man could whisk me away from my dull, hum drum life on Washington Avenue and transport me off to what I imagined paradise to me.  Many years later when I saw an older Farley on a TV soap opera (he still looked pretty good by the way) I thought "What was I thinking?"  This guy is obviously gay and just a pretty boy and still in the closet at that. Something that has always turned me off about some gay guys.

Another heart throb of mine was Guy Madison. 


Guy Madison -"Wild Bill" - be still my heart!
Oh how I used to watch those early TV episodes of "Will Bill Hitchcok".  Guy with that nice slim bod of his in that fringed buckskin outfit he wore. More skipping of my heartbeat when I watch "Will Bill" sling it out in a gun fight kneeling down hiding behind those giant rocks with bullets ricocheting all over the place. Take me away Will Bill!  Later on in life I saw Wild Bill, aged but still looking pretty darn good.  However, I had lost my interest in him by then.  Even when I saw nude pictures of him, nothing there.  

Since that time I can't remember one movie actor that has caused my long dormant feelings longing for the unattainable to rekindle. That ended a few weeks ago when I began watching this Australian TV series called "A Place to Call Home."  

The series is about a woman returning to her home in Australia in the early Fifties after twenty years in Europe, including World War II and the Spanish Civil War.  On the ship home she meets a man accompanying his mother to their home in Australia.  He is in his fifties and his name is George Bligh.  They meet in the hallway of the ship they're traveling on after "Sarah", the main character attended his mother who has a heart condition.  Sarah is a nurse.  "George" lays his eyes on Sarah and is immediately taken with her. I lay my eyes on George and am immediately taken with him.  

Those eyes; sparkling, inquisitive and providing a window into his good soul. 

As George makes eye contact with Sarah, he smiles. A crooked smile. I am a sucker for crooked smiles.

George approaches Sarah to introduce himself and I notice he has the same posture as I do, rounded shoulders and neck protruding forward.  All my life I wanted a ramrod straight back but could never have one because I have curvature of the spine. I always thought it was my fault I didn't have a straight back posture because I was lazy or defective in someway.  I found out much later in life I have the very common condition of curvature of the spine.  I was not alone. However, I never saw an actor who had the same condition I did. Now I did. And he was handsome and charming.  Who was this man?  I checked and I found his name is Brett Climo.  Never heard of him!

All my adult life, I always felt left out because I never fell for the charms of the movie and TV actors, Brad Pitt does nothing for me. In fact I don't even like him as a person. I've seen some of his interviews and he comes across as a pompous, self absorbed ass. Not likable at all.

I could go down a whole list of actors that many others find movie idol worthy:

Leonardo DiCaprio
Johnny Depp
Matthew McConaughey (ugh!)
Tom Hanks
Roberty Downey
Christian Bale (are you kidding?)
Matt Damon (nice guy, sexless to me)
Bradley Cooper (I do like Bradley)
Timothy Chalamet (I DO not understand)

Just a short list, I could go on. Many other fine actors but no one I would want to have dinner (or more) with. No one that lights up the screen for me. But this Brett Climo, I LOVE this guy!

Who knew I still had those fires raging within me?  

Maybe someday I'll get to met Brett in person. But that's about all, he's straight and married. Shame.

By the way, I like the older Brett much better than the younger Brett. I'm into older guys. Always have been, always will.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Back to the Heat



Has it been a week already since I last posted? Wow, just where does the time go? 

At this time of my life I forget most of what I've done the previous week.  Heck, I forget what I id this morning.

What I do remember is that last week I asked my lawn control company, which I've been using for years, to give our lawn a treatment for wire grass.  Well, I don't know what they put on our lawn, but it's not looking too pure.  Talk about throwing the baby out with the wastewater, I guess their application will kill the wire grass this year (the wire grass will return next year, wire grass is the "Jason" of weeds, it keeps coming back), but their application also killed large swatches of perfectly healthy grass and my tender impatients plants that were gracing the side of our house and were giving us many hours of pleasure looking upon their gentle beauty.  Not now, our lawn and the accompanying flowers and plants bordering our lawn look like the aftermath an Agent Orange attack in a Vietnamese village.  I called my lawn care company this morning and asked them what in the hell they put on our lawn.  She said the manager would call be back.  Of course he didn't. 
I'm not asking for my money back but I am curious as to what he put our lawn.

Another interesting development here is the ants have returned.  They invaded our kitchen back in April, en masse. I purchased liquid ant traps to fool the worker ants to take the deadly poison back to the queen ant. That took care of that invasion. Now they're back, from a different location.  More ant traps purchased and placed and they too are slowly disappearing.  I've been told this house is over an ant trail that is hundreds if not thousands of years old and I'm The Intruder.  So I guess all I can do is a holding action but for now, I can sit at my counter and have my lunch of hummus and homemade tomato soup without brushing off the ants from the ridge of my bowl and running up my hairy arms.

Bill and I are going through a spate of doctor's appointments. Yesterday we visited Bill's doctor at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Georgetown. Bill passed his labs!  Healthy heart beat, all vital signs healthy.  Bill's only problems are his hearing (getting worse), eyesight (macular degenerations) and swelling in his lower extremities.  But other than those age related ailments, Bill is one healthy man. I keep telling him he will out live us all.

Tomorrow I have my annual visit with my cardiologist. I have an extra heartbeat. Nothing too serious but I do fatigue easily. Just a defective lower ventricle valve not closing properly. As my doctor told me when he first discovered my heart was wearing out was "That valve has been working non-stop since 1941, think of that."  I know I'm working on Bonus Time now folks. 

By the way, the HEAT is back.  Remember when 80 degrees was considered hot?  Now days 90 degrees is considered "normal."  I am already rethinking my plantings for next year that can take this relentless hot, humid weather which I fully expect to continue as global warming continues. 

I had the plumber in today to check out the swampy smell beneath our kitchen sink. They deduced the problem came from our automatic dishwasher which I NEVER use.  Bill and I never use an automatic dishwasher.  So I got some dusty cooking pans together and ran the dishwasher. Hopefully that will dispel the swampy stink.  I also had the plumber check my toiled which I have to often have to jiggle the handle to get the flap inside the tank to land properly so the toilet doesn't keep running and I have a huge water bill which I had last quarter.  More expense.  Every day, more and more expenses. Have to keep working at my part-time job at the hotel to support our not maintenance free home.

That's what is going on here folks, what I can remember anyway.



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Relief!



Today we finally got relief from the sweltering week long heat wave.  Now I can breath. Now I can work outside.  Not today though, a gentle rain fell all day.  

Early this morning we drove down to the Delaware DMV to get our Subaru inspected and renew my registration.  

Delaware must have the most efficient inspection and registration procedure in the country.  I'm saying this because for so many years I endured the torture and costly inspection procedure of Pennsylvania.  Thanks to Pennsylvania legislatures being bought and sold by lobbyists at one time we had to get our cars inspected every six months. And we had to go to either an auto dealer or authorized garage to get our vehicles inspected. No one EVER got out of those inspections without some charge. The auto dealers were the worst, hundreds of dollars was not an unusual bill to get one's car inspected. The Pennsylvania law was eventually changed to once a year car inspections. Here in Delaware we can opt for inspections every two years. Which is what I did this morning. Eighty bucks, a cheap price to pay for registration and inspection. 

A good day.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Still Sweltering!



The forecast for tomorrow is one hundred degrees. And that's not the heat index temperature, that IS the temperature. 

The humidity now is 53 percent.  Feels like 90 percent. 

I'm housebound. I venture out several times a day to replenish the water in our bird baths which the birds appreciate. They'e hot too.  

This is the first weekend that I don't have to work, that's a relief.  Maybe I can get back on my regular rhythm of working two days a week (Mondays and Thursdays) now after months of filling in for co-workers for various reasons. 

This morning I forced myself to buy some paint.  I have to paint the baseboards in our basement media room. I should have done that BEFORE the run was laid. What can I say?  I wasn't thinking.  

I hate to paint. There is a lot of touch up painting that has to be done around here. I'm trying to talk myself into painting our main entrance door, which isn't our front door. Who uses their front door to go into their house anyway?  Not us. In fact we don't use our living room and dining room. We don't even use our little dinette area off the kitchen.  I eat at the counter and Bill eats in his Archie Bunker Chair.  

The "Beat the Peak" is from 4 PM to 7 PM today. It's 7 PM now. Time to bake that Chicken Parmesan I've been looking forward to all day.

Stay cool and have a great Saturday evening!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sweltering!



How's the weather where you are?

We're sweltering here.  Right now, at 4:45 PM the temperature outside if 98 degrees.  The humidity I don't know but it feels like 100%.  I can only stay outside a few minutes before my body starts to overheat.  Then I dash back inside for relief. I can't take this kind of weather folks.  

I believe it when warnings go out during hot weather like this about it being dangerous for seniors.  It is folks!  I'm here to tell you.  Hard to believe when I was young, I sailed through summertime without air conditioners and even fans.  Not now, I literally fear for my life if I stay out too long.  I think I can take Palm Springs heat, which is low humidity but not this heavy, oppressive humidity. A familiar refrain eh?  "The heat not so bad but I can't take the humidity."

By the way, got some good news this morning. Home Depot gave me a credit ($248) on my rug pad that I didn't need. I love Home Depot (even though one of its founders funds Trump's campaign).  Good customer service Home Depot.

An update on my brother who I mentioned was seriously ill.  I haven't heard anything for several weeks now which isn't good. My Mother often said "When it's quiet that not good."  John isn't one to complain about misfortune, unlike me.  I tend to shout my misfortune from the rooftops.  I texted him asking him how he was doing.  I'll let you know if I hear anything.  

Hopefully I'm back to my regular schedule (two nights a week) at the hotel.  It seems for months now I've been working three nights or more a week at the hotel to fill in for my co-workers for various emergencies, sicknesses, resignations, and vacations.  Last Monday on my workday I woke up and was dizzy, very dizzy.  I had to stay in bed all morning until I got a semblance of my balance back.  I think I have an inner ear infection.  I had this problem a few months back.  It's scary when I have that condition because I can't get my balance. It's like I'm drunk.  I am totally immobilized. I don't know what we would do here if this was a permanent condition with me.  I couldn't drive and Bill doesn't drive.  I don't want to even think about it.  

I only have one more thing to do this summer, getting my car inspected and registered then I'm looking forward to coasting out the rest of the summer. That is until the next unexpected emergency crops up. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Carpet Installed!




Finally, we got our new wall to wall carpet installed in our media room. 

This has been a long, drawn out problem.  

To recap, last year I noticed a musty smell in our storage packed media room. Yes, I had boxes and many other items stashed in our media room. I thought a mouse had found its way into our overstuffed media room and starved to death.  

However, about four months ago I discovered the source of the musty smell. Ground water had leaked from the cellar wall outside the drywall of the media room.  

We took everything out of our media room (finally forced to clean out) and discovered much of the carpet around the wall was ruined by mold from the sitting water that had leaked under the drywall. 

We tore up the carpet. I called my insurance company and was told my homeowner's insurance would not cover the damage.  My insurance company told me that my policy doesn't cover ground water.  Oh, okay. So my lifetime record of never using my homeowner's insurance stands firm.  

We tore up the carpet and thus began an odyssey of identifying the carpet and replacing it.  

I have previously posted (I think) of trying to identify the brand and ordering a replacement carpet.  Briefly, I found it was a Shaw carpet.  This after I had already ordered carpet from Lowe's, which wasn't Shaw and didn't match. This I discovered after the Memory Foam padding was already installed.  

I tried to order Shaw carpet from Lowe's.  They couldn't order it for me because Shaw wasn't one of their suppliers. 

I wrote to Shaw and thus began another odyssey of identifying the color and style. "Pam", the Shaw Carpet company concierge was very helpful.  She sent me several samples, none of which matched the rest of our finished basement wall to wall carpet.  I finally found one that was close.  Good enough. She gave me a list of Shaw retailers and as luck would have it there was one just two mile down the road from us.  

I went to that store "Carpets and More".  Yes, they had Shaw carpet but the price, $1,520!  Lowe's was going to provide the padding and carpet for a little over $900.  Carpets and More was going to install the carpet over my padding for twice the price!  I expressed concern.  The owner said he "could do something about the $20. 
GIVE.ME.A.BREAK.

I went to Home Depot.  I saw the carpet that was close and ordered it but I didn't want to pay the $264 for padding since I already had new padding installed.  They couldn't do it.  Said if they did it the warranty would be void. I said "void the warranty, I can't see tearing up the brand new padding."  I couldn't get anywhere with the sales person about not paying for their padding so I ordered the whole thing, which only came to $764, including padding and installation, a great price.

Today the carpet installers came to install the carpet.  Guess what?  I like this carpet better than our original carpet.  Great!  Now, to see if I can get credit for the carpet padding they charged me for.  I'll try but I don't have much hope.  At least we got the carpet installed.





Problem solved. Next!

Monday, July 08, 2019

How About A Day When Nothing Goes Wrong?



Lately we've been having a string of mishaps, failures, and mini disasters here at Casa Tipton-Kelly.

Just yesterday, after Bill's iPad failed him (the battery is dying), I complained to Bill "I would like to have a week or two when nothing goes wrong."  Alas, it is not to be.

This morning, after I got Bill's new iPad working (adding his e-mail, deleting mine - I don't use an iPad anymore) and other settings changed, I was having my breakfast whilst watching TV.  

BLIP!  

There goes the electricity. It blipped off for a second but just enough time to throw my DirecTV signal on the blink.  I get the message "Can't find the server, try again".  Here we go.  

I'm getting to be the regular tech guru around here.  Bill can handle the old fashion problems like the toiled keeps running or one of the fuses goes out in the switch box (which we've had happen in the past month).  Dealing with the digital problems, his brain is just too full to figure out solutions to those 21st century problems.  Thus it is me.  I'm reasonably smart (sort of) but by no means does all this come to me naturally.  I have to really give my brain a work out.  Through diligence and perseverance I was able to figure out Bill's new (my old) iPad setup.  Got him going on that, he was panicking because he spends most of his day on his iPad, mostly checking the weather (radar screen).  

Another problem I discovered yesterday was another mouse (or mice) have taken up residence in our garage, aiming to get into our kitchen and our pantry food supply.  If you'll remember, I discovered a mouse this past winter (through the little mice turds which look like big peppercorns but they ain't peppercorns, believe me) accumulating on the floor to the pantry,  then the telltale chewing into food containers.  Yuck!  Had to throw out all that food. Perhaps a good excuse to clean out our pantry with old food that should have been cleaned out but still, a big waste and the yuck factor knowing that a mouse was in there.  I set the trap and almost immediately caught one.  Squash! Then I caught another one in the Have-a-heart trap!  Ah ha!  Mr. and Mrs. Mouse getting ready to start a family.  I took her down to the end of Oyster Rocks Road and set her free. This was past winter.  

Now I'm surprised that evidence of a mouse in the house is back.  I set the mouse trap with peanut butter and within the hour I caught the intruder last Friday. But I still see evidence of new "peppercorns" in the garage.  I set out the Have-a-Heart trap last night with two crackers in it. This morning I check the trap and the crackers were gone but no mouse.  Okay.  I put the old fashion Victor mouse traps out this morning, the ones that break their neck or squash their head, bugging their eyes out, this morning. Let's see if that take care of the mouse invasion.  Hate to be so brutal but I'm not sharing out domestic bliss with mice leaving turds all over the place and chewing into our food.  I'm not sharing.

And yet another problem, our local resident rabbit is eating our impatiens flowers. Not the whole plant but just the flower.  Nice! Where is a fox when you need one?

Another problem I have is I can't get in touch with the guy (Fernando) who trims my twenty-one holly trees.  His son Alfredo (who speaks English, Alfredo doesn't) phone number doesn't work anymore. It's been disconnected.  I have other guys (Raul and Juan) who have offered to trim my holly trees but Fernando (who is tall for a Mexican) does the best job.  Juan's guys have trimmed some of my neighbors' bushes but not as good a Fernando.  Now I have to not only worry about getting my holly trees properly trimmed but I feel bad for Fernando and his family during this reign of terror that The Predator (Trump) is inflicting on our country by threatening to deport all undocumented immigrants.  Give me a break. Whose going to do the yard work and work in the chicken processing plants we have down here in southern Delaware?  President Pussy Grabber has to shore up his base so he's terrorizing people who only want to have a better life like our ancestors did when they moved here however many years ago.  Someday this nightmare will end, I hope I live long enough to see it.  

Okay, so I put out another few campfires today, let's see what the new day will bring. I would LOVE to have a week or two without ANY problems.  Just smooth sailing. But like my pal Pat says, all these problems are "first world problems."  Just think of all the people who have REAL problems. In a different life I could be one of those immigrants just trying to have a better life.  My life now is pretty good, even though it seems I am confronted almost daily with these annoying problems.  Having an iPad battery fail is nothing like being holed up in a "detention" (concentration camp) center on our southern border.  Sometimes I think American has lost its heart and soul. This is not us folks. At least it's not me and many people I know. The Deplorables have always been with us and always will be, hopefully someday their champion of cruelty will be out of power (and his enablers) and America can regain its conscience.






Friday, July 05, 2019

How Was Your Fourth?



Another Fourth of July celebration has come and gone. How was yours?

I worked at the hotel.  Lewes, where I work, was packed with Fourth of July revelers. Luckily I found a parking spot at the hotel.  I hate to go in Lewes on holidays because of the traffic, crowds and lack of parking space. I got lucky yesterday because someone in housekeeping had probably just left thus leaving a vacant parking space.

Of course the hotel was full which is good for business and job security. I got lucky again, there were no difficult guests, all the air conditioners worked and no stopped up toilets. I did have one call for a smoke alarm that went off.  The lady in the room overdid it with hair spray which will set off a smoke alarm.  I always have a problem removing smoke alarms but I managed. 

This year Lewes had their very own fireworks on the Lewes beach.  Of course I didn't go.  I've never been impressed with fireworks. I remember the first time I saw fireworks when I was about twelve years old.  It was at Crystal Beach in Maryland. My neighbors on Washington Avenue in Downingtown invited me along with their family (I think they were trying to fix me up with their daughter, who was actually my first date).  I heard a lot about fireworks so I was expecting a big deal. After watching them I thought like the old Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?"  To me fireworks are loud and boring. But hey, that's me, I get excited about gardening. 

The weather yesterday was great for the visitors to Lewes for the Fourth. Sunny, hot and muggy; what summertime is all about in Slower Lower. 

The only problem I had was when I left work at 11:20 pm.  I had trouble getting out on Route One, there was a steady stream of traffic exiting Rehoboth Beach, which is three miles south of Lewes. Man oh man, those headlights just kept coming.  Why all that traffic?  Rehoboth also had its own fireworks display. 

One thing I was very thankful yesterday was no one and I mean NO ONE in my neighborhood set off those noisy string firecrackers.  It seems that most of my life there has always been someone wherever I lived who thought that was fun to set off those noisy firecrackers.  As I said before, I never "got" the whole firecrackers thing, even when I was a kid.  Ah, peace and quiet. 

The last time we had those firecrackers go off in our neighborhood here they so scared a little Benji type dog who was visiting with his owners. He ran out on Route One and got run over.  There haven't been any firecrackers in our neighborhood since, thank God. Not only do those firecrackers annoy people, they scare little dogs to death.  I saw a photo of some people who volunteered at an animal shelter to help sooth the dogs during the firecracker nonsense.

Good people, gives me renewed faith in our country at this time of great divisiveness.  





Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Happy Fifty-five Anniversary!




Today is our 55th anniversary. Little did I know that rainy Saturday night at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia fifty-five years ago that I would still be living with the love of my life, Bill Kelly.  And here we are today, still going strong albeit a little slower.

Six years ago we made it legal by being officially married on July 3rd, 2013, the 49th anniversary of our meeting. Wow, that was a fast six years.

I have to say, it's been quite an interesting ride. Hopefully we have many more years together!


Me and Bill at our rooftop deck in center city Philadelphia 1976 when we were young and vital




Monday, July 01, 2019

Around the House June 2019




Life is good here folks at our lovely home here in southern Delaware.  Of course as long as our air conditioner works. 

From FaceTiming with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat, to blooming flowers, to a false fire alarm at one of my neighbor's vacant houses, to pictures of some of my neighbors Shannon and her daughter and dog and my other neighbor Dave and his wife and new son, my new herb garden, and Bill mowing our acre back yard, new memory foam carpet padding for our basement media room and new baby bluebirds. All summertime activity, living the good life here in vacation land.

The video says it all. Enjoy!

Air Conditioner Fixed!



Our HVAC system is fixed! And just in time because of the heat and humidity that has been laying heavy on our peninsula. 

The serviceman was here Friday for over four hours installed the new valve on our HVAC system.  I had to leave him with Bill while I went to work.  Bill doesn't like to be left alone with service people roaming through our house.  But we got it done.  When I came home from work Friday evening, our house was so nice and cool.  

Now what's next?  Oh yes, installing the new wall to wall carpet in our media room. I finally ended up ordering carpet from Home Depot. They said the new carpet should be in about two weeks. I already have the padding (memory foam) installed (by Lowe's months ago).  Home Depot said they would only install the carpet with their own padding. I can't see the sense in removing the brand new padding I have in now. They said they would take it out.  Oh no, that's not going to happen. Showdown will happen when they install the carpet. I may end up paying for two paddings. 

Always something but this is only a First World problem. This past week I received news that two more of my classmates died and also the wife of another classmate who always attended our class reunions with her husband. Puts things in perspective. 

Stay cool folks. We're cool here!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Air Conditioner Update

Air conditioner repairman today

After a sweltering morning, the air conditioner service man came by after lunch. He checked out why our air conditioning system wasn't cooling off the house. First he found the circuit breaker switch was off. I should have checked that but missed it because of the circuit breaker problem we had with the washing machine. 

Then is did a regular maintenance routine and found the problem, "evap, TXV bad", has to "hot order" a new part. Translated that means our brand new HVAC system which I had (and paid over $10,000 for) installed in 2015 has a bad part.  What?  First it was our original HVAC system, which was builder grade, totally cheap, failed us. The whole twenty-five years we lived in Pennsylvania we never had ONE problem with our HVAC system.  

The good news is the part is covered by my warranty. The bad news is my warranty doesn't cover labor or Freon. That will cost me $1,150.05.  And just when I thought I was getting ahead. 

But you know folks, I'm glad we have a reserve fund that we can afford this repair. I can't imagine going through the summer without air conditioning. And to think I went through my whole childhood with air conditioning. 


Air Conditioner On The Blink



Yesterday I wrote about my "vacation paradise" right here in southern coastal Delaware. This morning I'm writing about my sweltering "vacation paradise" right here in southern coastal Delaware.  That's right folks, our air conditioning is on the blink.

It all began yesterday when I went to take a shower before I went to work at the hotel.  Since my hot water heater is located at the farthest end of the house from my master bedroom shower, I usually put a load of wash in the clothes washer so I won't have to waste running cold water to get my hot water for my shower.  

I loaded up my sheets. Turned the washing machine on. Nothing.  Yes, nada, zip, nothing.  Upon further examination I determined that there was no electrical power going to the washing machine. Oh sure, the lights were on in the laundry room but no power to the washer.  Time to call Bill.  

Bill rigged up an extension cord to the hallway outlet so I could wash my bed sheets.  Then I took a shower.

When I came home from my 3 pm to 11 pm shift at the hotel I noticed our house was a bit muggy.  Actually stifling.  I checked the thermostat and saw where the room temperature was 80 degrees. The thermostat was set at 74 but nothing was cooling off.  Just blowing air. Not hot air, room temperature air. Definitely not air conditioning. 

Time to call Service Today, my service provider for HVAC and plumbing. 

I couldn't call them last night so I turned on my overhead bedroom fan and managed to get some sleep in spite of the stifling air.  I didn't need my comforter last night.

At eight this morning I called Service Today. The serviceman called and said he would be here "between 10 and 12".  He will be here after 1 o'clock if not later.  I've seen this movie before.

I'm also awaiting the Rug Guy from Home Depot. Yes, I'm still messing around with replacing our water damaged rug in our basement media room.  I've already been through Lowe's and a local carpet deal (who name I will not mentioned) who is the epitome of Lower Slower Delaware. He still hasn't called me back.  

I would love to work outside this morning but it is Florida Swamp Everglades humid outside. I move around a little bit and I'm soaked in my own sweat. 

After our string of doctors' appointments last month I was looking forward to a little coasting time. Apparently that is not to be. 

Thank goodness it's not 98 degrees outside. It's 81 degrees but that fatiguing closeness of high humidity that just brings me to a stop.  

But you know folks, my problems are all First World.  I know that. Still, a very uncomfortable night and morning for your favorite blogger.

Monday, June 24, 2019

My Vacation Paradise Right Here At Home



The summer season is upon us here in southern coastal Delaware. Is it ever!

Already it's hard to get out of my development onto Route One (Coastal Highway), looking for a break in the traffic either headed south to Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Ocean City Maryland and points beyond. Each year it gets worse.  This year so far it has been especially difficult getting out on Route One (the main thorough fare) to grocery shop, doctors' appointments and visits to Lowe's and Home Depot. Yes, we're right in the middle of the tourist season jam. 

This onslaught of vehicles will continue unabated until Labor Day and beyond. We won't be taking a walk on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach anytime soon. I may try to sneak in a trip during the weekday. I like to walk on the boardwalk at least once during the summer season. I like to get that "beach" feel even though I don't lay on the beach and like I did in my younger days.

But you know what folks? I'm living here this summer and year round right in the middle of this vacation destination of so many. And I don't have to drive for hours in congested traffic to get here.

Every morning I lookout out my bedroom window and take in our wonderful back yard. Yep, I'm right here where I want to be. My very own vacation paradise. 

Peace and quiet. The Route One traffic is just beyond the tree line but we have our very own oasis right here in our own back yard.  I love it folks!






Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fifteen Questions About Myself



Folks, I'm going to take a break (temporary) from my blog posts about my week in Philly and class reunion. One of my favorite bloggers recently posted a blog of fifteen questions about himself. I read his post and I like these questions so here goes, I'm going to share a window into my personality for those of you who are interested.

1. Name three things you love about yourself

When I was younger I didn't like too much about myself if anything but as I've grown older and gained a better perspective on life I have discovered I'm not as bad as I was brought up to believe. Thus the following are three things that I like about myself:

1.  My honesty. I am totally honest sometimes to my detriment.  I can be no other way. Of course my honesty has often been used against me but I will continue to be honest because if I have nothing else, I have my own self respect.
2.  My body. Yes, I like the body that life has given me. At one time in my life (when I was younger again) I thought I was too tall, skinny, awkward, gangly, lopsided eared, big nose, not athletic and many other imperfections that my father was all too willing to point out to me. However, as I've grown more mature I realize that this is exactly the body I wanted.
3. My homosexuality. Seriously folks, if there is a God (which I don't believe) I believe it is a blessing that I was born gay.  I have seen life from a different perspective, met challenges (and overcome them) and understand how other persecuted minorities cope. Plus, I cannot imagine a greater feeling of love that I have had during my seventy-seven years on the earth. I'm one of those gay people who has never felt ashamed of who I am nor the need to apologize for the way I was born. 

2.What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

I stood up at a town hall meeting of my Congressman and objected to the reference of gay friends of mine who were attending a march for equality in Washington D.C. as "garbage."  I knew I was in the minority if not the only person at this town hall meeting who would express this view but I did not know that I was would physically attacked by a self described "good Christian man" who later claimed that he wasn't told "gay people would be at the town hall meeting."  The "good Christian man" attempted to strangle me before he was pulled off of me by my Congressman and several policemen. After this incident I stayed for the duration of the meeting and afterwards fully expected to be attacked outside the borough hall where the meeting was held.  I wasn't but that was the most nervous time of my life as I walked out of that meeting with my knees literally buckling but I couldn't sit there and let my friends be described as "garbage" and my Congressman say nothing.

3. Talk about the craziest night of your life.

Oh my, there have been several "craziest nights" but perhaps the craziest was when I had a one night stand with an airline pilot who said he had some "Hawaiian weed - best in the world".  I had tried pot several times and was unimpressed but that night, his weed, it was wild.  He was right.  I don't remember much of the details of that night but I do remember that I was totally uninhibited and had a wonderful time. Then there was that threesome I had in Provincetown on the last night of my stay with the houseboy and Brad but no weed was involved, just fabulous bodies.  

4. Name three things you want in life

1. Someone of love and be loved by
2. Own my own home
3. Enough income to live comfortably

Of course good health, that goes without saying.

Secured all there thank you!

5. Who is your biggest celebrity crush?

I used to have many of them when I was younger. Guy Madison, Farley Granger (before I found out he was very gay), and many other movie stars all dark haired, no blondes interestingly.  These days I don't have any celebrity crushes, my crushes are every day Americans (and Canadians).

6. What's your most common mistake?

My naivete. I always assume the best in people and I am always surprised when some people let me down by their selfishness and meanness
 and abusing my friendship. Once they do that, I'm gone.

7. What three things would you save if there was a fire?

1. My photographs 
2. My journals
3. The contents of my safe (birth certificate, passport, rings.

8. What is your favorite sport?

Easy answer, I have no favorite sport. Period.  Used to like baseball but not now.

9. Talk about something good that recently happened to you.

My trip to Philadelphia with my friend Pat. Also my trip to my 60th class reunion with Pat. Quarterly Pat and I meet for a trip. Best time of my life. Always something to look forward to.

10. Which fictional world would you live in if your could?

One in which there were no venal politicians. No Donald Trump. No hypocrite Christians. No cruelty to children and animals. Of course no such fictional world exists.

11 What's the one thing you can never say "no" too?

Hummus and chips

Homemade soup comes in a close second

12. Talk about a childhood memory?

I grew up living in a second floor apartment. During the summer, I occasionally was invited to spend a "couple of weeks" in the country.  One was with my Mother's step sister Mary. The other was with the sister of my Aunt Peggy to keep her son "Ducky" company. Oh how I loved those "couple of weeks" in the summer where I could play on real ground and not run down the stairs of my apartment building in the white trash section of Downingtown and play near the railroad tracks I can still smell the coal tar of those railroad tracks. I would much rather smell the grass and greenery of the country where I was so fortunate to stay.  I remember one summer I missed a chance to "go in the country."  My father, cruel as he was, was happy that I screwed up and missed my chance. He actually tricked me into giving the wrong answer. Maybe I liked going in the country to get away from him. My father didn't like me. A simple statement but a fact, his treatment of me during those formative years of mine has affected my whole life.

13. Name five things you find attractive in others.

Easy

1. A nice, generous person who respects me and who I can respect
2. A person who actually listens to me when I talk
3. In men, an older guy who is physically fit
4. A person who doesn't take life too seriously and can laugh at themselves
5. A person with a natural talent whether it be in writing, music or art.

14. Are you good at making decisions or do you easily change your mind?

I am good at making decisions. Not always the right decision but I weigh all the facts and usually make my decision quickly.

15. Name three guilty pleasures

1. My quarterly visits with Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy - Philadelhia twice a year, Canada and California
2. Reading celebrity biographers, preferably of the 
Golden Age of Hollywood
3. Reading
And honorable mention taking photos and videos with my iPhone

There you go folks, another window into my personality. Make of it what you will. I enjoyed making the list.





Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Entering My 60th Class Reunion




More videos and photos of my 60th high school class reunion which was held in Downingtown, Pennsylvania on June 8th, 2019 at St. Anthony's Lodge.

Pat (my Canadian Travel Buddy) took this video thus the portrait mode of the camera (I wish he would use the landscape mode but he's more comfortable using the portrait mode).  I am glad he took it upon himself to take the video though.  For once I have video of goofy me instead of me always taking the videos and photos. 




I'm always surprised at how weird I look in videos. It was appropriate that I was wearing my custom made Spo shirt of giraffes because, with my arthritic neck and back, I looked like a giraffe entering the room.  However, to be fair I think most of us aren't pleased with how we look in videos or photos, especially as we age.

I let my beard go au natural and I have to say I didn't like it.  My beard turned white during my 35th class reunion, I've been coloring it with Just For Men ever since, of and on.  Prior to this reunion I decided that I would stop coloring it.  Big mistake.  I look so OLD.  Well folks, I actually am OLD but I don't have to encourage it.  I'm back to coloring my beard.  

I really enjoyed attending my reunion.





I've attended many of my class reunions over the years.  However, I fear this will probably be the last formal class reunion because so many of us are dying off.  We had one hundred and fourteen members of our high school class.  I think the most who ever attended our reunions was maybe fifty, not counting spouses. 

I took portrait photos of each individual classmate but I forgot to take one of myself!  I'll see what I can manage by freeze framing one of the videos where my mug is prominently displayed. I'm not sure though what with my white beard and tired eyes. I guess there is no hiding the fact that I am approaching my eightieth decade.  

As with past reunions, I felt I didn't have enough time to talk to everyone as much as I wanted to. We did have some free time to mingle but much of the time was taken up by a talk from former Eagle's coach Dick Vermeil who is a friend of one of my former classmates.  He talked about growing up in the Forties and Fifties as most of us at the reunion could identify with.  His funniest line was talking about his father and how strict his father was.  He said he didn't know until he was nine years old that he name wasn't "dumb bastard."  Ah, this were the days.  I remember one Thanksgiving dinner when my father paused between stuffing slabs of turkey in his mouth to look around the table at me and my two younger brothers and proclaim "I have the dumbest bunch of kids."  Gee, thanks Pop!  Yep, those were the days which Dick Vermeil reminded us of.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pat and Sue


Pat and Sue at my high school class reunion June 8, 2019

Two of my favorite people met for the second time at my 60th high school class reunion last Saturday. 

All of us, during our lives, meet people who we like and become friends with. I've often wished that I could introduce them to each other but because of the different paths we choose in life, that is often impossible. Especially impossible when many of our friends are no longer with us.

During the six years I've known Pat, I have introduced him to some of my friends from different phases of my life.  The picture above is of Pat and my former high school classmate and friend Sue M.  During my school days I didn't know Sue that well (she was known as "Su Su"

Sue S. (high school yearbook picture)


then but since dropped that nickname) but I always admired her.  She was always nice to me and everyone I knew and she knew.  Sue is one of those rare people who everyone likes. Pat is the same.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same of myself, I am liked by some and some don't like me.  For whatever reason, which sometimes puzzle me because I think I am a nice guy.  But I am opinionated and I often express those opinions. That's how one makes enemies.

Sue and I have a secret, we're one of the few Democrats in our class.  Everyone else that we know of is a Trump (Republican) supporter.  In order to maintain peace we do not discuss politics at our reunions. Although I am often tempted to discuss politics, especially where Trump and his Deplorables are concerned. 

I love introducing Pat to my friends, especially friends from my former life.  I plan to introduce him to more of my friends. My only regret is that I cannot introduce him to my friends who have since passed on. Maybe we'll all meet in the Great Reunion in the Sky.  Just like the ending scene in "Longtime Companion."

Sue and her late husband Denny from our 40th Class reunion (20 years ago!)



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Return From Philadelphia and Downingtown





Yes, I'm still alive, almost.

What a week I had in Philadelphia and my 60th high school class reunion in Downingtown, PA.

Now to answer the obvious question why has it taken me so long to post, I've just recovered.

Folks, I don't have the energy I used to have. For most of my life, I've had an almost inexhaustible supply of energy.  After last week, even though I had a fabulous time, I think I reached the bottom of my formerly inexhaustible supply.  

I'll post more about my stay in Philadelphia in future posts but in this post I'll tell about my exhaustion. That exhaustion was exacerbated by me spraining my back when I was loading my suitcase in the trunk of the car of my ride.  I pinched a nerve near my left shoulder blade that caused me a great deal of pain.  That pain is just alleviating now, thank goodness.

Our week in Philadelphia and my class reunion last Saturday was blessed with perfect weather; sunny, breezy and mild.  Couldn't have been better.  The past few years our (me and Pat) visits to Philadelphia were either rainy or hot and humid. We were indeed very fortunate with the wonderful weather this time.

Pat and I took the Airport shuttle train out to meet my former classmate and friend Stuart at the Philadelphia International airport Saturday morning. Unfortunately our friend Lar decided not to come out to the airport, he wanted picked up but Stuart didn't have time to pick him up at his home. We gave him other options (family drive him to the airport, Uber, Lyft) but he didn't even bother to respond to our suggestions other than to say he still expected to be picked up. Stuart flew in Friday night and was flying back to his home Sunday morning and didn't want to spend most of his time driving.  He was driving us to Downingtown for the reunion and after the reunion to his family cemetery in Upper Darby.  Thus a missed opportunity at that reunion which will probably never again be replicated in our lifetime.  Choices made.

Arriving in Downingtown early Saturday morning, we stopped at the famous Downingtown Diner of the "Blob" movie fame.

Fond memories of that time over sixty years ago for Downingtown's fifteen-seconds of fame.


Stuart and me at the Downingtown Diner

Then we were on to St. Anthony's Lodge for our class reunion.  First thing I thought  was "Where did all these old people come from?" then I realized I was ONE OF THOSE OLD PEOPLE.  Friends, this is probably the last class reunion I'll ever attend.  Not only because so many of us are dying off but because it's just not the same without the massive gathering of former friends and classmates.  Perhaps we'll have small intimate get togethers in the future but those massive class reunions? They're history.  Still we had a wonderful time and I did take a lot of pictures and Pat took many videos.  Only thing about the videos is goofy me going around visiting my classmates.  It's weird looking at myself when in my mind I have a different picture of myself. By the way, how do you like that wonderful Spo shirt I'm wearing?  I wore that in Philadelphia too and got a lot of positive comments and looks. When Pat and I were at the Apple store in Philadelphia, a tall, handsome black man said to me about my shirt "If I had a shirt like that I would wear it every day."  I offered to give it to him but he said he had to turn me down because as an Apple employee he couldn't accept gifts from customers.  That was a shame because that Spo shirt would look so good on him and get a lot of exposure, more exposure than I give it.  But I'm glad I was able to keep it and I did feel a little guilty giving away a Spo shirt that Dr. Spo worked so hard and lovingly to give to me.  

Time to go to work today. I will resume my blog posting on a regular basis now, rest assured. I'm still here.


Stuart and Pat at the airport train station