Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ron Mowing Grass - Thought on a Summer Sunday in the Time of the Covid Pandemic

Yes folks, I'm mowing our grass now. Our lot is almost an acre (.97). For the past thirteen years Bill has mowed our lawn. However, now Bill can no longer operate our John Deere zero degree riding mower because he has trouble figuring out how to turn it in. Just another incremental step in Bill's cognitive decline. No problem, I'll mow our grass now. Actually, I enjoy mowing the grass. Bill also enjoying mowing the grass but it's just too much for him now. In fact, I may mow our grass after I complete this blog posting. 

I usually mow our grass every Tuesday but we had a heavy rainstorm pass through here the day before yesterday. Followed hot, sunny greenhouse temperatures.  The grass needs mowing again.

It looks like I'm updating my blog about once a week here.  Remember the days when I used to post daily? Sometimes twice a day? Those days are long gone. Why? I just have a lot more activity on my plate these days.

I usually talk to Pat on FaceTime at his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada several times a day. I also call my longtime friend Larry (seventy years, since third grade 1950) who is now in a rehab facility. Larry, if you'll remember, was diagnosed with ALS three years ago. The first three years his physical decline was slow but these past few months his decline has accelerated.  I almost always talk to Larry on FaceTime but over a week ago I couldn't make contact with him. A few days ago he left a message for me on my phone.  He had suffered a small stroke and was in a rehab facility.  He's been there ten days now, getting bored and anxious to get back to his home with his family (wife and daughter) and their cats. He's undergoing therapy now to help him maintain his balance when walking but he won't be doing much walking in the future because of the fear of falling. He's already fallen several times, taking quite a beating. He's been resisting using his wheel chair but I think he won't have much choice now since he can't maintain his balance when walking. When I see and hear of someone in Larry's condition, I am again reminded of how fortunate I am to get around on my now, for the time being at least. I fear falling too and have taken my share the worst being three years ago when I feel on the ice after leaving work and tearing my left let quadricep muscle. God, I don't want anything like that happening again or else I'll be spending time in a rehab facility.

I'm still going to work two days a week at the hotel. Actually we're quite busy at the hotel, people anxious to get out and leaving a normal life, or as "normal" as one can in this age of the COVID pandemic. I feel sorry for them, coming in with masks covering their faces meeting me with a mask covering my fabulous smile. That smile, I knew I was missing something in my job. I have to tell you folks, my job isn't that enjoyable as it has been in the past. But again, I know I am very fortunate that I have a job which I will continue to work until I get laid off again which will probably happen in the fall when the government's stimulus money runs out.

Bill and I are still free of the corona virus. I don't know anyone who has it, thank goodness.  I do everything possible to protect Bill. When I go shopping Bill stays in the car. He likes the ride. My only contact with others outside shopping is occasional with my neighbor Bob M. which is only about once a week (and who knows who he was in contact with), and when I shop.  I always wash my hands and when at work I keep my distance from the guests even though I'm behind plexiglass. 

I'm rambling now folks. Time to end this blog post and get on with my yard work, which is never done. I love yard work but not so much in this oppressive humidity. I can only do a little bit at a time. 

Have a great day everyone and stay safe!

Friday, July 03, 2020

Happy 56th Anniversary

Bill and me this morning on our back deck

Today is our 56th anniversary of the date Bill and I met at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

July 3rd, 1964 on a rainy night I was flying solo at the Westbury Bar located at 15th and Spruce Streets in center city Philadelphia. Usually my weekend visits to the bar was with my friends Ed Cage and Ron Hampton, both gone now. This particular Saturday night both Ed and Ron had other "engagements" (dates). I was on my own. 

I was undecided even if I wanted to go out this Saturday night because of the light rain and center city being basically deserted because of the holiday weekend. Most gays of that era either went to Fire Island New York, Provincetown, Massachusetts or the Jersey Shore (Atlantic City/Wildwood, Ocean City, et al).  I didn't have enough money to spread my gay wings to explore those cruising grounds thus I retreated to my favorite gay bar, the Westbury Bar, which now is a discount drug store. Oh if those walls could talk.

While lounging at the far corner of the bar, perusing the room for new faces I was interrupted by the bartender, Jerry Hawes (also gone now).  He handed me a drink (my usual, gin and tonic) and nodded to the older (35) gentleman on the other side of the bar. "Oh no" I thought, "It's him."  The prior three months or so that "gentleman" had been sending me drinks with the obvious goal of picking me up.  

The first time Jerry the bartender tapped me on the shoulder while I was engaged in a gossipy conversation with my friends Ed and Ron, to give me that complimentary gin and tonic from that gentleman. I said "Who?" to Jerry and he pointed across to the other side of the bar near the Skeet Ball machine to a black haired, smiling "older" man. I thought "Oh no, not him."  "Him" was Bill Kelly, my now partner/husband of fifty-six years.  

Bill had been trying to pick me up for months with the complimentary gin and tonics but I wasn't that type of guy.  For one thing, even though Bill was (and still is) a very attractive man, he wasn't my "type."  I generally prefer smaller, bookish, nerdy guys, not what I perceived what Bill was, a Mr. Personality who could get whoever he wanted. 

I had seen Bill with his friends playing Skeet Ball, whooping it up, having a good time. When I realized that this guy sent me that drink I thought "Oh no, I'm not going to be the next notch in your gun."  No way, no how.  I may be easy but I'm no slut.  I was looking for love, not a one night stand. I had my aura of mystery to maintain after all.

Those drinks continued every time I was in the bar and Bill was there. I always acknowledged the drink but I never went over and talked to him. However, on this Saturday night, with the rain falling gently outside, and seeing Bill sitting by himself at one of those little round tables that the Westbury Bar had at that time, smiling at me when I looked over at him after Jerry handing me the latest gin and tonic.  I thought to myself "At least I can go over and thank him in person", being the nice guy that I am.  I fully expected him to exhibit an attitude that he made a "down payment" on spending the night with me by all those drinks he bought for me. I had my exit plan.  

I lifted my free gin and tonic and left my safe place at the corner or the bar and sauntered over to Bill sitting at that little round table. He smiled at me. I said "I want tohank you for all those drinks you've been sending to me" and prepared to exit quickly.  However, Bill's response wasn't what I expected. He smiled and said "you're welcome."  I don't remember exactly what he said next but what I do remember was that he didn't put the hard press on me like so many others had. I think he asked me where my friends (Ron and Ed) were.  I told him.  I was standing while he was sitting. My impression of him was that he was a nice guy. Not the overly aggressive bore that I assumed he was.  It wasn't long before I was sitting at that little round table with him and we were engaged in a conversation at that sparsely occupied bar.  

After a couple of house of conversation he asked me how I was going to get home. I said that Ron and Ed were supposed to stop by and pick me up but I hadn't heard from them.  This was before the age of cell phones, except perhaps for Maxwell Smart with that shoebox size "portable phone." When I missed my ride with Ed and Ron I would spend the night at the YMCA a few blocks from the Westbury Bar ($10 a night, that location is now a foo-foo hotel - French - that charges a LOT more than $10 a night for a young gay guy who didn't have a ride home).  Bill invited me to spend the night at his apartment in Pennsauken New Jersey. He said he would drive me to my home in Coatesville, Pennsylvania the next day.  After talking to Bill I felt comfortable enough with him that he wasn't the boring ogre that I thought he was and I wouldn't be just another notch in his gun.  And you know what folks? Fifty-six years later, even though we've been through many hills and valleys in our relationship, we're still together. 

And that my friends is how I met my husband. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Groundhog Day

Almost every day I wake up at ten minutes to seven AM. Seems no matter what time at night I go to bed, I awake at ten to seven. Thus begins my day.

Bill usually gets up much earlier than I do. His circadian rhythm is almost the exact opposite of my sleep pattern.

I usually don't go to bed until 12:30 or 1:00 AM.  Yes, I'm a night owl.  I can stay up that late because I almost always have a long afternoon nap of two hours or more. Today I laid my old head down on my memory foam pillow at around 2 PM.  I didn't wake up until 5:05 PM.  Yes, a whole three hours of an-time for Ron.  And to think I used to tease my Mother about all her daily naps. Now I'm there.

Bill used to get up about 4:30 AM for his breakfast. These days I try to get to bed before he gets up at 12:30 AM for his "breakfast".  Yes, he does get up that early now. 

These days we're managing our declining mental and physical conditions. 

As I have mentioned  before in this blog, Bill eyesight is failing. He has macular degeneration. He also is very heard of hearing.  Lately he's been in a very noticeable cognitive decline. Sometimes it's funny like him trying to put on his outside shoes before taking off his indoor moccasins, which he's done more than once. Sometimes it is more serious like he forgets whole conversations I've had with him, the latest being about me purchasing a new tree for our backyard. We went through this whole process this last Sunday when he went with me to a local garden center where I purchased an Autumn Red tree to shade our deck.  For years I've been trying to convince him that we needed a tree in that location to at least partially block that brutal late afternoon summer sun that heats up the back of our house during the summer. He didn't want a tree in that location because he would have to mow around it. However, now that I'm mowing the lawn (Bill can no longer mow the lawn because he doesn't know how to start our riding mower), "mowing around the tree" is no longer a reason not to plant a tree in that location. 

Thus it was with some consternation today when I told him the tree was going to be delivered today he said "What tree?"  I said to him "The tree that we went shopping for last Sunday. The tree that we've been discussing for the past month."  Now today we were back at Square One.

This is not only frustrating for me but I'm sure it is for Bill. This is life now days folks. 

Every morning when I round the corner from my bedroom to our kitchen, Bill is waiting for me, sitting in his favorite chair in our sunroom. Thus begins our day again. 

These days I  try to keep our days as stress free as possible. Bill doesn't like change or any disruption to his routine. He is most comfortable with a regular routine. Tomorrow the tree is scheduled to be delivered. I'll have to explain it to him all over again. 

Ground hog day.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Self Isolating At Our Home In Delaware June 2020

Good morning folks! I'm still here, self isolating in Delaware.  

Bill and I are doing fine. No virus detected here....yet.  I still take Bill out for his daily ride but he stays in our car while I go into the store or garden center for my regular outings to stimulate the economy.

I'm back on my regular work schedule at the hotel, Mondays and Thursdays, second shift. Hotel occupancy is picking up but nowhere near that it was last year during this peak summer tourist season.  I wear a mask at work and am behind plexiglass. Not comfortable with the mask (hard to breath) but wearing a mask is necessary.  Also necessary is wiping down all surfaces when I begin my shift, but I've been doing that for years now anyway, probably why I've avoided getting a bad cold or flu the past several years.  

I've already missed my spring trip to Philadelphia with Pat and visiting our friend Don. Normally at the end of summer I visit Pat at his home in Hamilton, Ontario. I've already cancelled that flight.  Hopefully we can meet up in Philadelphia in November, right after my birthday and when Trump is defeated.  Oh how I remember that awful birthday I had four years ago when Trump was elected to the presidency with Russia's help. Ain't going to happen this time folks. Going to be interesting how they remove Trump from the White House when his fat ass is beaten in November, because you know he's going to claim the election was "rigged" and will not leave on his own accord.  Interesting times folks. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

On Hiatus

Hello folks. Not to worry, I'm still here. I'm just taking a bit of a hiatus. All is well here. Just caught up in daily living and yard work and playing on line Scrabble. Need to relax in this time of the horrific last months of the Trump debacle and pandemic.

Also trying to figure out the new Blogger "update" site. I'm getting too old for these updates. Now to figure out how to post this post.

Monday, June 08, 2020


Well, I just figured out how to post a new blog. Yes, Blogger had a new update that for the life of me, I can't see how it improves my use of Blogger.  Before when I wanted to post a new blog, I went to the message that said "New Post".  Now I have to look for a big red plus at the bottom of my screen. Wow.  

I don't know about you but with almost all of the updates whether it be my IOS system on my Apple toys (iMac, Macbook, iPad and iPone), I don't see how my experience has improved. 

My latest frustration with this the Scrabble game on Facebook. For five years now I've been playing online Scrabble with Pat. He have eight games going at a time, usually updating them three or four times a day.  Then Facebook informed all who were playing the Scrabble game they were starting a new Scrabble game. "New and improved."  Ha! I resisted but finally gave in and began playing this new video game version of Scrabble. I think of all the old ladies in assisted living facilities who play have been playing online Scrabble for years and are now faced with the "new and improved" Scrabble games. I complained as did many others online to Facebook. You know how much those complains effective. Nada. They're going to do what they're going to do. I'm playing the new bells and whistles Scrabble. I'm getting "rewards" I know not for what. I suspect somewhere down the line they're going to ask me for money for the privilege of playing Scrabble online. I was paying for playing the classic Scrabble but I'm not paying for this new version. But I am playing, under protest.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Ron and Mom On Overnight Train June 4 2001

Nineteen years ago my Mother and I fulfilled a lifetime dream, that was to take a private room overnight train. We had both seen these glamorous train trips in old movies and when the opportunity came up to actually take one of these train trips, we took advantage of the opportunity.

My youngest brother John had invited us down to his home in Greenville, South Carolina to visit with him and his wife Barbara and daughter Nancy.  We could have taken a flight down, which my Mother had done previously by herself but this time we thought we would be more adventurous. Interestingly, the plane trip would have cost less.

The entire trip took about twelve hours. We boarded at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia about 5 o'clock after taking a train from Downingtown to Philadelphia. We arrived in Greenville about 7:30 AM the following morning, where my brother John was at the train station to meet us with his car to take us to his home for our stay.

The trip was a delight as you can tell from this one minute video compilation.  We also ate in the dining car which was very nice, just like in the movies. White linen table cloth and all.  

Looking at this video tape I am reminded of the easy camaraderie that I had with my Mother. I was her first born and her favorite (according to my brothers, I never noticed).  

This video was taken June 4th, 2001. Several years later as my Mother's health declined, we (my two brothers, the other of which she was living with in our old family home in Downingtown) moved her permanently to live with John at his home in Greenville, South Carolina. She didn't want to move there permanently but we promised her that we wouldn't put her in a nursing home and John had a mother-in-law apartment at his home which was perfectly suited for her. 

The last time I saw her was in 2010, several months before her death. She was mad at me because my brother Isaac and I had tricked her into going to John's place permanently. She was all packed and ready to go back to Pennsylvania with me and Bill. But we couldn't, she needed more care than Isaac could provide for her or that Bill and I could provide for her. My brother John was/is a care pastor and his mother-in-law lived with them for twenty-nine years. Yes, John is a saint. 

John is very ill now and his daughter is taking care of him at his home. I am sending him this video to remind him of happier times when both Mom and I could laugh. 

Mom is in a better place now.  Thank God she didn't have to go through this pandemic and Trump, although she would have been one of those Trumpers. She was addicted to Fox News.

Looking at this video brings me comfort and happiness at this stressful time in my life.

Bill is failing. I'm failing. Our country is failing.

I'll look at this video many times before I pass on. 

And for those of you who disdain photos and videos, this is why I take them folks. Sure, I believe in living in the moment but I also believe in reliving the moment and for that belief, I will never apologize.  

Every one makes choices in life. I'm glad I made this choice. My Mother gave me my first camera (a Kodak brownie) for Christmas when I was eleven years old. I've been taking pictures and now videos ever since. Thank you Mom. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

America is Burning

Police car ion fire at Philadelphia City Hall last night

Last night was the third night of destructive riots in several major cities in the United States.

The riots were triggered by the video taped torture and public execution of George Floyd by a white policeman (Derrick Chauvin), a 43 year old black man arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill in Minneapolis.  

As I watched the live coverage of the destructive riots last night on TV, my heart was sick. Not only for another needless death of a black man by a white policeman. THIS HAS TO STOP!

I'm trying to search for words to express my feelings of disgust and helplessness about the continued systematic racism and coverup of police brutality. 

Defaced statue of former Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor, Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia's most famous racist

Some of the scenes I watched last night were from Philadelphia, a city where I used to live for over twenty-five years and visit twice a year now.  I watched the rioters loot and deface City Hall, and stores on Chestnut and Walnut Streets on center city Philadelphia. 

I also watched Los Angeles demonstrators break into and loot Nordstrom's department store at The Grove in West Hollywood, only a few blocks from where Pat and I have often stayed when we visited Los Angeles. I knew they would hit Nordstrom's, all those $1,200 Jimmy Choo shoes.

Police have to be held accountable for killing black people.  


Friday, May 29, 2020

Leaky Sink Faucet

My leaky Moen faucet

With all that is going on in the county today (the pandemic and police still killing unarmed black people) I'm going to post a mundane blog post today.

Last night when I returned home from work, I had a late dinner. We don't use our automatic dishwasher but instead wash our dirty dishes by hand. After washing my dinner dishes, I reached under the sink for some old previously used paper towels to wipe the bottom of our dishpan. The paper towels were wet! The previous two days when I reached for those previously used paper towels there were also wet.  Still wet? I examined further and found a leak from in the back of the sink.

I cleared out all the things (too many) that I have under the sink, including the now soaked Cascade soap automatic dishwasher box that we never use. I got my light and examined the underside of the sink.  Where was this leak coming from?

What I feared was that I had a leak like my neighbor had last year.  I discovered that leak when I was watching their house while they were in Florida for a month. I happened to be in the basement and saw drops of water coming from their ceiling and landing on their basement wall to wall carpet.  I went upstairs and discovered the leak was coming from their automatic dishwasher, which they often used. 

I called my neighbors in Florida and informed them of what I had found. My neighbor asked me to turn the main water valve off which I did.  

The end result was that they had to have their whole first floor wood replaced and the wall to wall carpet in the basement, at a total cost of over $18,000.  Insurance covered most of their expense but man oh man, I didn't want to go there. 

I checked my leak and it wasn't a constant leak like their leak. But when I turned the water on, they I noticed water running down the cord from the sprayer of the spigot.  Ah ha!  

I called my plumbing company and arranged for them to come out today.  The plumber came out and confirmed that the leak was coming from a leaky cable of the spigot, where the sprayer is located.  He told me to call Moen who would replace it for free.  After a missed return phone call (long wait, had to leave my number) I made contact with "Beverly" of Moen. I gave her my information on the faucet.  She told me my replacement would be sent in seven to ten days, longer because they were out of stock of that particular faucet hose. 

Just another day in the life folks. Oh, by the way, I return to my regular work schedule at the hotel this Monday. Yes, we're open for business again. Should be interesting!

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Dirty Lowdown Band Tonga Hut Palm Springs CA February 16, 2020

This week Pat and I were scheduled to be in Philadelphia visiting our friend Don McK. 

Every spring and fall we visit Philly and Don.  This is the first year since 2013 we'll miss springtime in Philly. Hopefully we can visit Philly in November.  I'm not holding out much hope though. I think this pandemic will be with us for the foreseeable future, maybe years. 

I fear those days are gone that Pat and I so enjoyed this past February in Palm Springs when we were there immersed in Modernism Week. During one lazy Sunday afternoon, we by chance happened to stop in the Tonga Hut Tiki Bar. On this Sunday The Dirty Lowdown Band out of Los Angeles,

was playing at the Tonga Hut Tiki Bar. Pat had recently discovered the Tonga Hut during one of his solo forays while I was back at our rented condo taking a nap. Yes, I still take an occasional afternoon nap even on our trips.  I need my beauty rest. Plus, I wind down like an old clock if I don't have my afternoon nap.

Well, what a treat this band was. Pat has given me a new appreciation of live music at bars. Up until I met Pat the only live music I experienced was those too loud piano players at gay bars and gay restaurants singing Broadway tunes. I HATE Broadway tunes, especially sung by wannabe gay   Broadway players stuck in the boondocks shout singing to a captive gay audience trying to enjoy their too expensive restaurant meal. I must have been sick that day they handed out the gay gene that says all gays MUST love Broadway tunes. But I digress. 

Pat and I visited the Tonga Hut several times after that lucky strike Sunday afternoon visit. Our waitress remembered us and always brought me my favorite concoction, a drink called the ChaTai and my favorite snack, chicken egg rolls. Pat had the veggie egg rolls.

During our visits to the Tonga Hut we made friends with several very nice people. Here is Pat with "Jennifer"

who lives in one of our favorite places in Palm Springs, Sol Concepts. If Pat and I won the lottery we would immediately buy one of those million dollar units.  They are so ultra modern and glamorous.  

We also made friends with this couple from Iowa who are tiki fanatics. In fact, they had a whole tiki themed living unit at their home in Iowa which they invited us to stay.  

Unfortunately Pat and I probably won't be able to make that trip, we're flyover folks. We just do the coasts.  I'm saying that jokingly but actually that's all I've done my life, is the coasts. What would we do in Iowa? 

Oh how I hope we can replicate our wonderful visit this February 2021. If not, at least I will always have our wonderful memories of our trip to Palm Springs last year.  That's why I take the videos and photos folks, I can relieve those wonderful times. I just hope this isn't the last time we can all live freely like we have in the past. 

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Thoughts On Going Back To Work

Delaware is beginning to reopen but hotels are not included.....yet.  I have returned to work last week.  While I like being back in the rhythm of my regular routine of working part-time, two days a week (Mondays and Thursdays).  

Delaware governor John Carney has issued the tenth iteration of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning June 1st. All hotels, including the small hotel where I work, are not included.

I was collecting unemployment benefits, which included an extra payment to stimulate the economy. I was making more weekly on unemployment that I make a month working. When I returned to work that payment stopped. I knew that situation was too good to be true. It was.

I am glad to return to work though. Working gives my life balance. I understand others may prefer full retirement and no job or volunteer work, but for me working part-time is the best of both worlds. I earn extra money plus I know I am still making my contribution as a good citizen of this country. Ever since my Mother got me a job as a paper boy when I was ten years old, I've been working. Works for me.

When I wasn't working the past six weeks, I felt at loose ends. While I enjoyed receiving the extra stimulus payment, I actually prefer working. But my concern now is that I'll eventually get laid off again because I don't see this pandemic going away this summer. 

Interesting times folks. But I know I am extremely lucky that I have other sources of income and we can survive. We'll always have enough food on the table, even though we don't eat off a table or even eat that much. We done' have to worry about rent because we own our house. Just the other house expense like heat, air conditioning, electric, taxes, lawn maintenance, Internet connection and TV. We'll survive. I think I can even continue those quarterly trips with Pat that I so look forward too.

Interesting times folks.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ron Returns To Work at the Hotel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Yes, I have returned to work at the hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

I will now work behind a pexiglass partition to protect both our guests and me from infecting one another with the virus.

We're not accepting guests just yet. However, our governor has opened the boardwalk this weekend. He was forced to because both neighboring states of New Jersey and Maryland have opened their beaches.  

Today is a beautiful, sunny, spring day with a slight breeze. Route One (aka "Coastal Highway") is viewable from our sunroom. For the first time in weeks I both hear and see vehicles streaming down Route One towards their destination of Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City, Maryland. There are restrictions still in place like social distancing, wearing masks and no lying in the sand working on their tans.

Bill and I just returned from our biweekly visit to BJ's Wholesale Club in Millsboro. Everyone we saw was wearing masks and keeping appropriate social distancing. The shelves were mostly well stocked. We got in and checked out with the usual BJ's efficiency. 

Life is returning to some semblance of normal, albeit with face masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing. Handshakes are gone. Hugs are gone. Get used to it folks. 

I for one am glad I'm back at work. Even though I only work two days a week, those days give me a balance in my retirement that I like. I need the extra money for my quarterly trips with Pat plus I like interacting with hotel guests. Also, I still have that need to be a productive member of our society. And working two days a week makes me appreciate my time off more. When I just have endless weeks of "time off", it doesn't feel the same.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy the spring time weather.

Oh yes, I know I need a haircut. Who doesn't these days?  I have one scheduled next Tuesday. Can't wait.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Going Back to Work This Week

Thursday I will be returning to work at the hotel. 

The doors will be locked and we are not accepting guests at this time. We're going back to get the hotel ready for opening, at twenty-five percent capacity, on June 1st. 

I will be working the 2 PM to 8 PM shift. My responsibility will be to answer the phone. Housekeeping will give the hotel a thorough cleaning for our reopening in June 1st.

There will be a few changes. My temperature will be taken upon entering the premises. I will wear a face mask and work behind a plastic shield. 

I will no longer be handling the guest's credit cards. They will run their own credit card through the machine. And of course I will be maintaining a proper social distance of at least six feet.

The new normal folks, should be interesting.

Yeah, I noticed in the generic image of a hotel front desk clerk checking the temperature of a guess, "Where are the face masks?" 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mothers and Brothers

 Brothers Isaac and John - 1954
Brothers John and Isaac 1979

"My boys", that is how my Mother always used to refer to me and my two younger brothers. 

Yesterday  I posted my annual Mother's Day tribute to our Mother. Both my brothers and I agree what we had the best mom ever. Even though she died ten years ago, she lives on through us.  She raised us to be responsible adults.  Even though she wasn't a "huggy" Mom, probably because she never had a mother to hug her, she loved us all the same without that outward show of affection.  In later life we (my brothers and I) would often hug her jokingly, because she would always stiffen up like a log when we did so.

Me and my brothers (I'm the tallest on the right with Isaac and John) during a visit to my cousins and Aunt Mable and Uncle Ed Tipton - 1947

At the end of her life, we took turns caring for her, fulfilling our promise that we wouldn't put her in a nursing home. It was a close call during the end of her life because she did become difficult, but we were able to keep that promise.

Now my brothers and I are at the end of our lives. Both my younger brothers are seriously ill.  Fortunately for them they both have a loving daughter that is their care giver. Thank goodness for them. I'm not in that situation though, I'm Bill's caregiver. If and when he goes, I'm on my own. And I can tell you right now, there isn't going to be anybody else coming into this house. Except maybe a dog or/and cat to keep my company.

These days during my layoff from work (I return this Thursday) I've been organizing my photos.  I came across these two photos of my brothers taken many years ago.  Growing up I didn't hang around them except that we lived in the same house and slept in the same bed.
Me getting ready for bed 1957). Brother John took this phone, brother Isaac was already in the bed. I hated this bedding arrangement. To this day I sleep alone. Yes, ALONE.

Yep, that's right, the three of us slept in the same bed until I got my own fold away bed after incessant complaining to my Mother. Of course we were still in the same bedroom but I finally got my own bed.

My first bed - still shared the bedroom with my brothers (they had bunk beds) but I had my own corner of  the bedroom. Hallelujah!

 I was fourteen years old when that momentous event happened. Anyway, back to the two photos of my brothers. It seems that brother John was always showing brother Isaac how something worked. The photos of the three of us together always show me a slight distance from both of them. 

Isaac, me and John. Enjoying our Dixie Cup treat after weeding Pop's corn Summer of 1954

Soon the three of us will be a memory. Hopefully some family member will rescue my old photos that are in my basement media room, here on this computer and posted to my blog. That would be nice but I doubt that will happen. No one in my extended family (my brothers' children, grand children and great grandchildren) has shown the slightest interest in our shared family history. That is sad but true. I try not to think about it while I'm here. When I'm gone it won't matter because I will no longer feel bad about it.  

Brother John, me and Isaac with Isaac's daughter Dawn and granddaughter Kandacc - 1987

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day 2020

Me with the Best Mom in the World, a fashion plate she was not. She gave every thing she had to "her boys", me and my two brothers

Yes, I had one of those Best Mother's In The World. My brothers and I were so lucky to have her as our mother. Something we took for granted growing up.  

We didn't realize how lucky we were until we left home and discovered that some of our friends and acquaintances weren't so lucky. I remember the first time someone told me he didn't get along with his mother, I couldn't process it.  I just assumed everyone had a mother like me and my brothers. Now my father, that's a whole different story.

So today I wish my Mother a very happy Mother's Day. Even though she's been gone ten years now (how fast time goes by), there is hardly a week that goes by that I don't think of her, have the impulse to call her and share some bit of news with her or just to complain. 

Mom and me later years

My Mother lost her before just before her second birthday, I always thought that's why she put so much into raising me and my brothers the right way. Now don't get the wrong idea, she didn't spoil us, oh no, not by a long shot. But she did teach us to be responsible, truthful, honest, and respectful. Oh sure, she wasn't perfect. Today she would be a Trumper. At the end of her life she was addicted to Fox News.  How ironic because her whole life she was a registered Democrat and for most of my life I was a registered Republican and yet we had opposite political views. These days you all know how I feel about the Orange Faced Criminal in the White House. 

Not to end this posting on a down note, which too often seems to happen when I reference the sorry state of affairs of our country now, today was a beautiful, sunny Sunday.  Just the kind of day I would take that two and a half hour ride to her modest home in the suburbs of Philadelphia to wish her a "Happy Mother's Day" in person.  

Me and Mom 1979

Friday, May 08, 2020

COVID-19 Update on 5 8 20 at 6 19 PM

Still sheltering in a home folks. In addition to trying to avoid catching the virus I have to take care of my health issues. Today I visited my dermatologist, Dr. Chang. I have a pimple on the right inside of my nose that isn't going away. In fact it's getting bigger. Cause for concern. 

I was surprised that my dermatologist could keep my appointment in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. He said he was but at 25% capacity.

It was interesting getting examined with my face mask on. Actually, I had to take it off (of course) for Dr. Chang to examine. He said "This might be of concern."  He took a biopsy.  That was fun. He injected a numbing needle in the middle of my pimple to prepare for cutting. Now I have a bandaid on my face.  I tried to take it off tonight when I took a shower but it started to bleed. Oh fun.  Should be interesting when I sleep tonight. I envision a bloody pillow when I wake up in the morning.

Oh, did I mention? I was called back to work next week.  My boss told me that appropriate safety measure will be put in place like a plastic shield between me and the hotel guests. Also, my temperature will be taken when I enter the premises. A mask will be supplied. Also, I won't have to touch the guest's credit cards, they will insert their card themselves. Again, that should be interesting.  

When I was laid off last month I was at loose ends. But I have to say I've soon accommodated to my new routine. I did miss work and I would like work to be like it was before this awful pandemic. But who knows when that world will return?

Stay safe everyone!


Did I scare you with my loud sneeze?  That was unplanned, I assure you.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Musings On My Long Life

Me with my Mom 1942

This morning I was talking to my longtime friend Larry on FaceTime.  Larry and I grew up together in the Fifties.  We've been best friends since we were both ten years old (3rd grade).  That's a long time, almost seventy years.

Larry was diagnosed with ALS over three years ago. The progression of his disease has been slow but steady. Fortunately he can still talk but he is very weak.  He is unsteady on his feet and has fallen often. He now uses a walker to get around his home. He doesn't drive anymore.  He has a health care worker come to his home twice a week to help him bath and other help. He knows his body is failing him.  He is accepting of his eventual fate.  We talked about those days in which he would take long walks five miles or more every morning as recently as last year. Those days are no more. 

I have two younger brothers. My youngest brother has lymphoma.  He's lost over one hundred pounds of weight. The last year has undergone horrendous treatment for his cancer and other ailments. He is home now, bald, no taste (he used to love to eat) and weak. He is refusing to have anymore chemo treatments. "Too much collateral damage" he says. He is accepting of his eventual fate. As he told me last year when I learned of his condition (he lives in South Carolina), "Ronnie, we all get our turn."  And indeed we do.

Just this past week I found out through a Facebook post from his daughter, my other younger brother was in the hospital. He was peeing blood. His Warfarin drug was thinning out his blood too much. He has type one diabetes. I talked to him on the phone while he was in the hospital. We talked about hold times. I had him laughing with old war stories from our shared childhood. 

I'm here with my 91 year old husband. Bill is legally blind now. He walks crooked now. His blood circulation on his lower legs is so poor that his lower extremities are reddish purple. He is hard of hearing. His cognitive abilities are failing, a bit by bit. I've seen this before with my late friend Bob McC and my Mother before she died. But thank goodness Bill has a sweet disposition. No more the fights we used to have when we disagreed on something. That is a blessing. My Mother, toward the end of her life became difficult at times. Bill isn't that way. 

Me?  I have to take a nap every afternoon or else I wind down in the evening like an old wind up clock. Now the time is almost 10 PM and I'm barely hanging on. I have constant phlegm in my throat which I take two medications daily so I don't suffocate. My left leg is numb most of the day as a result of surgery I had five years ago for a torn quadricep. Thank goodness I don't have pain but the numbed up leg is uncomfortable at best. I am a prostate cancer survivor. But my PSA keeps creeping up. Not much but it is going up. I'm not going to get treatment for prostate cancer if it comes back. I've already had the seed implant, that's enough.

Now that I've throughly depressed every one reading this blog posting I give you the good news. I've had a long life. I've had a good life. Even though I didn't have the advantages that some have had like a promised paid college education and parents that encouraged me rather than put me down (as my father did), I have been very fortunate.  Even though there have been those times in my life I was screwed over by some friends that I trusted and I almost lost everything we had during the great housing crises of 2006, I've had a good life. And I continue to have a good life here with Bill and my very long distance Canadian friend Pat.  I also have other good friends like my former co-worker Don McK, and all my former bosses except the one who fired me for being gay.  

The past five years have been a blessing with Pat as we have traveled together four times a year, twice to Philadelphia. Also to California (Palm Springs) and Pat's home in Hamilton, Ontario.  

Because of this world changing pandemic, I don't know when Pat and I will ever get together again for one of our adventurous trips. I don't knew that I will ever see my brothers again in person. Even though one of my blogger friends (Dr. Spo) often reminds me "You'll outlive us all", I doubt that. My main concern now is that I don't die before Bill. I can't leave him alone in the world. He has no one. He has no family, they disowned him when they found out he was gay fifty-six years ago. It's a "Southern thing", Bill is from Georgia.  Homophobia is alive and well in wide swaths of the so called "Christian South."  Yes, even to this day folks. Teachings of The Church.  

I look at this picture of a laughing child with his mother. That laughing child was me. That photo taken in 1942 in Mineral Springs Pennsylvania.  That was my parents first home. No running water or inside plumbing. During the war my father was a long distance truck driver. He often was gone for weeks at a time, leaving my Mother to raise me and my two brothers (born in 1943 and 1944), sometimes running out of food to feed us. Such was our "privileged upbringing."  But you know folks, even though my father didn't like me, I had a pretty good childhood.  I think he didn't like me because I was my Mother's favorite. My father was a very selfish and jealous man but he did feed us, as he often reminded us.  He could've been worse but I got through my formative years without too much damage. Oh for sure, a sense of inferiority which continues to this day in some form but I did survive him. 

"Journey" is an overused term but I have to say my life has been quite a journey.  I am very, very lucky. And most of my life I've been happy, that laughing child. I've always eventually managed to see the absurdity in life.

Now during this great pandemic, I am home every day. No part-time job at the hotel to distract me. No four times a year trips with my friends Pat to distract me. Limited trips outside our home. Now I  have time to reflect and ruminate on my long life. My very fortunate and happy and interesting long life. 

Most mornings, after breakfast I get on my iMac in my home office and after updating my online Scrabble games with Pat, I go through my one hundred thousand plus photos and videos of my long life. I'm organizing them into folders for my legacy which I now realize no one will care about when I'm done. Who cares? No one? I have many nieces, one nephew and over twenty grand nieces and grand nephews and even three grand-grand nieces. They don't care, I'm just a distant "Uncle Ronnie". The older brother of their grandfathers. I know now I am organizing these folders for myself, a trip through my past. Sometimes when I come through a certain series of photos, like the ones of my Mother, a great sadness overcomes me. But then I move on, to the next series of photos from one of my former work places or get togethers with friends of my past, most of whom are gone now. 

One thing I'm not looking forward to is being alone. For a brief time, when I got out of the Army and I lived in that furnished one bedroom apartment in Coatesville, Pennsylvania; before I met Bill, I was totally alone. I didn't like it. I thought I was going to go crazy. I haven't been alone since. But now I realize that is a real possibility. Bill could go; my brothers could go; my friends could go and there I would be, alone. My one friend in Hamilton, Ontario Canada and the border is close. Who knows when this pandemic will end. I think it's going to get a lot worse before we can ever go back to a semblance of a normal life. That's when I'm get a cat.

Me with "Cinderella" and "Morris" - 1982
Who needs a therapist? My blog is my therapy. 

Monday, May 04, 2020

COVID-19 Test Results In!

This afternoon my iPhone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out and saw "Beebe Hospital" displayed on my screen. First thought that came to me was "This is the call about the results of the COVID-19 tests that Bill and I took last Saturday."  

My hand trembled slightly as I placed my forefinger on my iPhone to slide to answer the call, I said "Hello."  A woman on the other end of the line said "This is Janet from Beebe Hospital. Is this Ronald Tipton? I have the results of your COVID-19 test. Could you tell me your date of birth?"  I gave her my date of birth. There was a pause and then she said "The results of your COVID-19 test are negative."  A feeling of euphoria coursed through my chest as I said "That's great news! Thank you very much. You made my day!"  

I then asked her if she had Bill's result.  I explained to her that I was Bill's spouse and caregiver. She said she would have to talk to Bill to verify his identity. I went downstairs to the basement where he was working on a project. I explained to him who was on the phone then placed the phone in front of him as she asked him if he was Bill Kelly and his date of birth. Bill gave her that information then informed him that his test also came back negative. Great news!

I have to tell you folks I was nervous about this. At various times, every time I coughed or felt a little off, that perhaps I had that dreaded virus carousing through my body. 

Now what we have to do is to continue to practice safe living. Face masks whenever we go out. Wash out hands thoroughly. Wipe store shopping carts down with sanitized wipes. Keep social distancing. 

Stay safe everyone!

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Bill Gets Swabbed For COVID-19 Testing

Yes, you read that right. Bill and I got tested yesterday for the COVID-19 virus. 

How did that come about?  

I've been saying for quite some time now that the only answer to controlling this runaway train that is the coronavirus pandemic is testing. 


I had given up on getting a COVID-19 testing because heretofore the only way to get a test here in Sussex County Delaware was you had to have severe complications and a doctor's referral.  Neither Bill or I have those near death complications. Nor do we have easy access to a doctor.  Both of us use the VA for our health care. Try getting a doctor through the VA on short notice. Good luck. 

Thus it was with relief that I read in our local newspaper that Delaware governor Carney had secured funds for FREE TESTING FOR ANYONE in Sussex County.  The testing was set for two days (Friday and Saturday) in Georgetown, right off of Rt. 113 with is one of the hot spots in Delaware. There are a lot of chicken processing plants here in Sussex County. Some meat processing plants around the country have been identified as hot spots.

The testing was to begin at 9:00 AM Saturday morning at the Beebe Medical campus. Beebe Hospital was working in conjunction with the VA Outpatient Medical Center (which is where Bill and I go) to administer the tests. 

We arrived at 7:11 AM. There was already a line of cars. We were sixth in line. 

Within the next half hour the line of cars behind us was as far as I could see in my rear view mirror. 

About 7:45 AM an army of PPE clad healthcare workers arrived with their equipment. The Delaware State police continued to direct the steady flow of traffic in the line of vehicles behind us.

Even though the testing wasn't to begin until nine o'clock, they opened the barriers at eight o'clock. We were motioned forward to begin the process.

While in our car, a PPE clad healthcare worker approached my driver's side of the window with her clipboard and took our information. I'm glad they didn't hand us the clipboard to fill out, which heretofore is what they did when you had to have a doctor's note and near death complications to get a test. This time she asked for my name, address, date of birth, and phone number. She also went down a list of my condition like shortness of breath, body aches, coughing, nausea, diarrhea, and some other body conditions. Well, of course, I have always had the shortness of breath, body aches, and coughing. I didn't have any of the other symptoms. We were directed to the line for the swab tests. The other line was for the finger pricking test, which tests for antibodies. Apparently we were considered possible coronavirus carriers. 

The video above is Bill getting his swab test. I had already received my swab test, which I'm telling you was weird. It's fast but still weird.  I knew what was coming for Bill, so that's why I videotaped it.  Poor Bill, he didn't know what was coming. Well, we need a little humor in these serious times.

We were given a CARE package and told to self-quarantine for the next three to five days, in which time they will call us with the results of our swab test. 

I have to say I was so impressed with the whole process yesterday. At how well organized it was, how caring the health care workers were, and that it was free!  

Now, to get free tests for the rest of the country.

Stay safe everyone!

Cars lined up for the COVID019 testing yesterday in Georgetown, Delaware

Friday, May 01, 2020

Pandemic Update May 1, 2020

Armed protestors entering Michigan State capital yesterday

Here we are folks with over one million identified cases of the coronavirus and sixty-three thousand deaths in the United States. 

Today several states are starting reopening businesses in spite of not meeting the CDC recommendations not being met. 

These are mostly Republican governors. Trump's focus is getting the economy going again so he can get reelected. 

Trump's MAGA followers storm the Michigan State capital, AR15's slung over their shoulder, to intimidate the Democratic Wisconsin governor to lift the stay at home order. 

Here is the facts folks. Nothing, NOTHING is going to change until there is TESTING for ALL WHO WANT TESTING. 

Testing and tracing, nothing will change other than more deaths until testing and tracing is instituted. 

Bill and I are doing fine, social distancing here at our home in southern Delaware. We're lucky in that we don't live in a nursing home, work in a meat factory, or in prison.  

Yesterday when we went out, we wore our masks. Every one in Ace Hardware had their masks, which is now a requirement for workers and customers in Delaware businesses. 

I am certain that we will continue to live under these restrictions for some time to come. 

I don't expect to go back to work at the hotel this year. Hopefully I can return to work next year, if I survive this pandemic. 

I am also certain that things will get worse before they get better. I hate being a downer here folks, but this is so obvious to me. 

I'm finally getting used to my new routine here at home. Lots of house cleaning and yard work outside. Daily afternoon naps.  I'm finally sorting my thousands of photos on my iMac. Something I wanted to complete before I check out. 

I've ordered a new supply of face masks for me and Bill. I suspect we'll be wearing face masks for sometime. 

Stay safe everyone.

Idiot protestors at Michigan State capital yesterday

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Staying In Touch With Friends During the Pandemic

Two of my best friends are Pat F. who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and Don McK. who lives in Philadelphia. 

In normal times Pat and I visit Don in Philadelphia.  Don has lived in a cooperative in center city Philadelphia that has a guest suite.  Pat and I rent that guest suite in the spring and fall. This year Pat and I will not be visiting Don for our schedule visit at the end of next month (May).  This will be the first spring in five years that we will miss. Hopefully we can still visit Don next November, where I plan to join the celebration of the defeat of the Criminal in the White House.  The operative word here is "hope" to visit.  In the meantime we're staying in touch by FaceTime.

Pat and I have been FaceTiming since we met in 2013.  Just recently we figured out how to do a three-way by FaceTime.  Sometimes it's tricky to make it happen but somehow we stumble into it.  Last night was one of those times. 

Don is quarantined in his tenth floor apartment. He gets out once a day to go to Target for grocery shopping. The rest of his day is spent on lockdown in his condo unit watching TV.  

Pat is ensconced in his luxury fourteenth floor condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He goes out most days for a walk on the mostly deserted streets of Hamilton.  Pat spends most of his day listening to his favorite music on his Sonos channel or vintage records on his vintage records player. Pat also watches action movies on his Netflix account.  No more live hockey games for Mr. Hamilton Canada. 

And me? I blog.  And of course take Bill out for his daily ride.  And I cook, yesterday stuffed shells and lemon sponge pie (yum!)   

Today is a nice and sunny day so I'll be outside doing yard work. I'm lucky that I can get out and enjoy the sun and weather. Both Pat and Don live in the center of major cities that have a lot of restrictions. They can get out for a walk, keeping their distances from others,  but not much chance of getting down on their knees and pulling weeds.  I'm very lucky and I know it!

Stay safe everyone and have a great day!

Staying In Touch With Friends During the Pandemic

Two of my best friends are Pat F. who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and Don McK. who lives in Philadelphia. 

In normal times Pat and I visit Don in Philadelphia.  Don has lived in a cooperative in center city Philadelphia that has a guest suite.  Pat and I rent that guest suite in the spring and fall. This year Pat and I will not be visiting Don for our schedule visit at the end of next month (May).  This will be the first spring in five years that we will miss. Hopefully we can still visit Don next November, where I plan to join the celebration of the defeat of the Criminal in the White House.  The operative word here is "hope" to visit.  In the meantime we're staying in touch by FaceTime.

Pat and I have been FaceTiming since we met in 2013.  Just recently we figured out how to do a three-way by FaceTime.  Sometimes it's tricky to make it happen but somehow we stumble into it.  Last night was one of those times. 

Don is quarantined in his tenth floor apartment. He gets out once a day to go to Target for grocery shopping. The rest of his day is spent on lockdown in his condo unit watching TV.  

Pat is ensconced in his luxury fourteenth floor condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He goes out most days for a walk on the mostly deserted streets of Hamilton.  Pat spends most of his day listening to his favorite music on his Sonos channel or vintage records on his vintage records player. Pat also watches action movies on his Netflix account.  No more live hockey games for Mr. Hamilton Canada. 

And me? I blog.  And of course take Bill out for his daily ride.  And I cook, yesterday stuffed shells and lemon sponge pie (yum!)   

Today is a nice and sunny day so I'll be outside doing yard work. I'm lucky that I can get out and enjoy the sun and weather. Both Pat and Don live in the center of major cities that have a lot of restrictions. They can get out for a walk, keeping their distances from others,  but not much chance of getting down on their knees and pulling weeds.  I'm very lucky and I know it!

Stay safe everyone and have a great day!