Thursday, August 17, 2017

Six-Packs



Who doesn't want a six-pack?  Not talking about beer here folks, I'm talking about a sculpted bod.

A progression to a six pack. I would settle for the middle status. The far right is actually a little bit much.



My good friend and Travel Buddy is a yoga enthusiast.  Recently he began taking pilates twice a week, in addition to his yoga classes. He sent me this photo this morning after his "boot camp" Pilates session. Pat, the results are there!  I'm jealous.

Pat this morning after his Pilates class - looking good Pat!

Way back when I used to have a sculpted body like this. That was when I used to walk a couple of miles to work every day (when I lived in Center City Philadelphia).  I put in a couple more miles walking around performing my job as a Trust Operations Manager at the bank where I worked.

Me on the beach in Provincetown, Mass 1976 - more hair, less fat

Also, these days my six-pack has been replaced with a permanent belly.  No, I'm not going to show you a photo of it.  I'm too ashamed.  In fact, I'm nervous about donning a swim suit when Pat and I next visit Palm Springs, California this coming February. At least our pool is private and I'll only have two display my little pot belly to Pat.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

VHS Tape Transfers


My old VHS tapes to be transferred to a digital format - finally

Today I finally addressed a lurking concern that I've had for many years. 

As regular followers of my blog here know, I am an inveterate photo taker.  I've also taken many videos. I started taking videos in the late 80's. 

I had one of those huge VHS cameras.  You know the type, the ones that you put on your shoulder. The ones that often intimated the subject of my videos just because of the size of my camera.

Me in my videotaping days - location my father's roots Pigeon Roost, North Carolina - 1994

Since the onset of the ability to take videos with smaller cameras and now an iPhone, I long abandoned taking videos with that huge video camera.

Me preparing to go to the top of Green Mountain Cemetery to video tape my great grandfather Isaac Lewis's grave in Pigeon Roost North Carolina 1994 - this was before my distant relatives knew I was gay and banned from ever returning to this sight because I "practiced the gay lifestye". Good old homophobia alive and well in those beautiful mountains of North Carolina.

There were many drawbacks to taking videos in the old VHS format. Not only was the camera bulky and intimidating, the cost of the VHS tapes and storage was a problem. Also the length, since the tapes were two hours long. One tended to take videos that were too long and boring.  Hence, I tended not to look at the videos once I took them because they were to much trouble to pull out and then look for the part of the tape that I wanted to see.

Then came the digitized videos from a much smaller camera (Cannon) and now my iPhone.  I take much shorter videos, averaging 30 seconds to two minutes. A three minute video is unusual. 

Thus the last several years I've been very happy accumulating many short term videos, which I store on my computer, thus eating up a lot of hard drive space, a new drawback. But one that isn't as onerous as all those old VHS tapes that are just getting old and slowly deteriorating. 

A few years ago I checked into the feasibility of transferring my old VHS tapes to CD's.  I purchased one of those machines that do that.  Only problem there is that the procedure is complicate and very time consuming.  For instance, a two hour tape takes two hours to copy to a CD.  And, there is also the possibility that I can accidentally erase my original VHS tapes, which I did a few times.  Thus, I've been putting off transferring my many old VHS tapes until I "had time."  Like the wintertime.  But wintertime comes and goes and I still haven't done it. 

I checked for services to transfer my old VHS tapes. There is a facility in Rehoboth Beach that will take my old tapes and transfer them, at $25 each.  That's too much money. I have at least forty-old of the old VHS tapes.  Also, I don't know where they send the VHS tapes.  I suspect they send them to India.  That's where they send old negatives to be processed.  And you don't get the negatives back. Don't believe me?  Try telling the Walmart photo center you want your negatives back.  They don't send them back.  Those negatives go to India and God knows what they do with them.  I ruled out that option.  Thus my old VHS tapes sat, patiently waiting to be transferred to a digital format all the while slowly deteriorating. 



Last Monday, during a slow period at work I searched the Internet again for a solution. Through Amazon.com I found a service that was receiving excellent reviews. And they were only charging $10 a tape!  Even better, they will transfer my VHS tapes to my flash drive.  Super!

I called "Kirk", the guy who runs that business out of his office in Washington state today. He spoke English without an accent. He was nice and very helpful, even suggesting that I send my tapes by UPS, media rate, because it would be cheaper.  

So folks, that was my big project today. Sorting out my forty-one VHS tapes today. Rewinding the tapes, which seems like it takes forever. Brings back bad memories of why I don't like VHS tapes. 

I have the tapes sorted out. I number them  and I'll take them down to the UPS store in Rehoboth Beach tomorrow.

This is going to be great folks! Not only can I easily access all my old videos, I can upload them to my You Tube account so future generations can enjoy them long after I'm gone from this earth. Also, I can freeze frame those videos and take individual pictures and bore you, my faithful blog readers with those images during one of my "Down Memory Lane" blog posts.





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Small World




Last Thursday night when I was working at the hotel checking in two guests, I realized what a small world we do indeed live in. 

The guests were a mother and her adult son. She came in on a walker.  I often ask what brings them to Lewes, Delaware. Her adult son told me his mother was in town for a hip operation at the local hospital. Looking at him I knew I had seen him before.  But I did not know where.

Was he a famous person?  He said "No."  I told him "I know I've seen you before.  You look very familiar."  

I continued to go through my routine of checking in the guests, telling them of the amenities of the hotel.  Again, I told the man "I'm sure I've seen you before.  Have we met?"  He said "No, I don't think so."  He mentioned a French restaurant in Rehoboth Beach that he frequented.  I told him "I don't think so.  I don't go to French restaurants." (too expensive my God).  

Their room was one of our outside rooms (courtyard) so I had to show them the way.  And again, I couldn't let it go that I had seen this gentleman before.  He was very unusual looking and to be quite frank, I found him attractive. He was very thin, had a prominent nose and a dark beard and a confident manner about him.  Not arrogant for self involved but just comfortable in his own skin, even though he wasn't your classic All-American handsome type guy.  Bill has often kidded me about my taste in men.  Yes, I'll admit it, I am attracted to some dorky and nerdy men.  Not all but some do strike my fancy.

Then I think his mother mentioned that he was a flight attendant. That was it!  Now I remembered where I saw him.  He was a flight attendant on our (me and Pat) trip to Los Angeles this past February.  

I notice him right away on the plane after I was seated.  He went through the usual flight attendant procedure including showing how to use the life vest in case the plane landed in water.  Then we prepared to takeoff.  Much to my pleasant surprise he took a seat opposite where I was seated.  I paid extra for the seat with extra leg room. Opposite me was a jump seat which he put down and buckled himself in. Thus, I had the pleasure of sitting across from him during takeoff.  Of course he didn't notice me at all but that was all right. I always enjoy being around attractive, nice men. Women too but more so you understand, a nice looking guy.  


"Patrick" - American Airline attended - yes, I snuck a surreptitious photo of him with my iPhone


The six hour flight to Los Angeles was uneventful except that I had the pleasure of him sitting across from me again, during the landing in LA.

Fast forward to this Thursday evening when I told him that was where I saw him.  He told me "I don't think so, I take the flights to Paris."  Well, excuse me.  I told him again, I was quite sure that he was on this fight to LA.  He finally admitted "That might have happened. I do remember vaguely that I filled in on that flight."  Clearly, he didn't remember me.  Oh well, usually I have more of an impact but I am that Old Gay Guy now.  Faded into the background of a mass of faces.  More likely, he sees literally thousands of passengers and why would he remember me? Fact of life Ron. Get over yourself.

I could tell he was more concerned with his mother's impending surgery the next day so I decided I had bothered him enough. However, I did ask to take a picture which he graciously acquiesced too.  See, I told you he was a nice guy.


"Patrick" - hotel guest this past Thursday

Now, here is the really mind blowing coincidence. I asked him what was his name.  Guess what it was?  


PATRICK

Yes, the same name as my Canadian Travel Buddy, Pat.  
That's Pat, in the red hat and pillow around his neck and Day-Glo jacket on his arm

Although I'm sure this gentlemen goes by the monicker "Patrick."  

And, he lives in Philly, small world indeed.

Makes you wonder how many times you run into people like this.  What are the odds? From a flight to LA in February to a hotel checkin in Delaware in August?  Now it would really be weird if I run into him again when Pat and I spend a week in Philly at the end of this coming November.  



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Updating the Wills and Other End of Life Documents

Me at my lawyer's office this morning about an hour ago


Just got back from my lawyer's office in Rehoboth Beach. 

Yesterday I received the documents for new power of attorney, medical directives and wills for both me and Bill through e-mail.

Man, life is complicated especially when one if preparing to leave life.

Since Bill and I are officially married now I felt it was time to update all of our legal documents for end of life.  


Bill and me waiting for our conference room at the law office

I had a number of changes to make to the first draft of the documents.  I had to put my former boss and long time friend Dave S. as executor of both of our wills.  Dave is in the business of settling estates and executorships. In my Previous Life I used to work as operations manager for Dave in the bank trust department.  Yes folks, I had a life before hotel front desk clerk life. Dave is good at what he does but I was concerned that since his practice is in Pennsylvania he would not be able to be the executor of our estates.  Dave said he could but he would have to do it as an individual. Thank you Dave. That takes a load off of my mind.

Me and Dave at lunch a few years ago

I also had to add the two newest babies to my beneficiaries.  My grandnieces are having babies. Wow, what does that make me. Old. 

I was so hesitant to drive down to my lawyer's office in Rehoboth Beach because of the heaving summertime traffic. But I decided appearing in person was the most efficient way to show the changes I wanted to our legal documents.  And yes, the traffic was heavy. Very heavy.  

But we got the changes in and just returned home. Hopefully this is the last draft of our documents and we can sign them and put them away until we depart this earth that seems in so much turmoil today.  



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Happy Thoughts



Spo, Pat, Larry and Doug at Food Lion, Milton, DE 

With the threat of nuclear war in the air, I have decided to write about happy places, people and times. 

Regular followers of my blog have probably noticed that I haven't been ranting about our Fake President, Donald J. Trump.  Just because I haven't written about him in my blog post doesn't mean my feelings of disgust and doom have changed. They haven't. By the way, I have been venting, on my Twitter account. More about me and my Twitter reactivation in a future blog post. Instead I will post about happy places, people and times. 

In my senior years I have been blessed with new friends that I have made through this blog. Of course you all know of my new BFF Pat of Toronto, Canada.  

Guess which one is Pat. (hint, he scratching his chin)


Pat is that friend I've been looking for all my life. A kind, gentle, good-looking, smart, funny guy who likes me in spite of my many faults. Pat and I get together four times a year.  Our next get-together is next month when I visit Pat at his new home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  Pat is moving to a classic old hotel in Hamilton, that is being renovated into luxury condos. I am so looking forward to that trip.


Pat and me somewhere (I forget) that was OPEN - How do you like Pat's "Moose" glasses. Thank goodness he lost them in the snow

Last February Pat, during Pat and I annual trek to California, we reunited with other friends I have made through blogging. Dr. Spo, Someone, Tim and Larry.

Pat, Someone, Tim (back row)
Me, Dr. Spo and Larry (seated) at Mt. Jacinto, Palm Springs, California February 2017


Dr. Spo and Someone had invited us to their wedding in Palm Springs. By the way, have you noticed how happy gay people are when they marry?  Check out the photos below of Spo and Someone and me and Bill.


Someone and Spo at their wedding February 2017
Me and Bill at our wedding July 2013


That folks is genuine happiness. How can anyone deny that happiness?

Today I was think that all during my life there has been a threat of war. The first I can remember is the Korean War. I was ten years old at that time. And here we are again, the threat of war.  

None of us knows how long we will live in peace and happiness. But I know this, I appreciate every day I have in good health and good friends.

Larry, me and Pat at our annual Old Time Photo in Rehoboth Beach, DE 2017
Smiling desperadoes





Sunday, August 06, 2017

Bill Drives




Bill is down at Lowe's this morning as I type this blog posting.

This is Bill's first solo drive since he regained his driver's license last week. 

He was hesitant to drive, having not driven since he lost his license last June. 

I offered to drive him down to Lowe's. Down the notorious dangerous Route One, aka Coastal Highway. We're in the height of the summer season down here in Rehoboth Beach Land and the traffic is heavy.  Especially heavy on the weekend, sometimes at a standstill when the vehicles block intersections.


Good old Route One traffic headed to the shore

Of course I'm nervous that Bill is out on his own this morning. But he does like to roam around Lowe's without the hinderance of me tagging behind him.  I'm more of a garden center kind of guy.  That's when Bill tags behind me.

My regular blog followers may have notice that I haven't posted since last Tuesday. Time just gets away from me folks. 

Last week was a good week, except of course for the heavy traffic. It's getting more and more difficult just to get out of our development here.  And it will only get worse as the years go by.

I've been giving some serious thought to eventually moving away from here and this summertime mess.  Of course I would have to sell or get rid of just about everything I have in our home. After fifty-three years together we (or more accurately me) have accumulated much during those years of happiness and bliss. I guess I would get rid of everything except our artwork.  

An artistic collage of yours truly when I was very young by my very talented cousin Danny Hart


The furniture wouldn't go with me. 

But here I am veering onto another subject which is more suited to a separate blog posting. Right now I'm concerned about Bill. I'll be relieved when he returns home from his first solo driving since last June. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bill Gets His Driver's License!

Bill takes his eye test at the Delaware DMV this morning


This morning, Bill got his driver's license back!

Oh what a wonderful day!

Last June, Bill failed his eye test during a routine visit to the Delaware DMV to renew his driver's license.  Thus began a year long odyssey to get his driver's license back.

First we had to get an eye examination. Bill uses the VA  for his medical needs. Anyone who has dealt with the VA knows what an onerous process this was going to be.  I won't take you through all those torturous steps but the first one was to get him in the Veteran's Choice program.  I missed the first step and we had to pay the $180 for the eye examination. Bill was approved for the Choice program but I didn't have the authorization number to give when I scheduled Bill's eye examination and the Choice program doesn't back date. Okay, lesson learned.

I had the Choice authorization number and scheduled Bill for his cataract surgery. Then came the need for Bill to see a heart doctor. Thus another application for a Choice authorization number. More delays.

Bill had his scheduled date for cataract surgery in December. Yes, Virginia, it took THAT long to get the Choice approval but I'm not complaining. It's working now and they have been very accommodating and paying.

Then Bill had his emergency room visit. His ulcers had hemorrhaged.  A stay in the hospital and more interaction with the VA to pay for Bill's medical bills. After several months, we finally settled the bills.  Of course I dread checking the mail even today because you know these medical bills are like zombies, never completely dead. 

Then finally we began Bill's cataract surgery. Drops, visits to the doctor, etc. We were both glad Bill didn't have three eyes.

We got a new prescription for eyeglasses for Bill. We picked them up last week.  

Bill wanted to get used to wearing the glasses before he took his eye test. 

This morning I decided that today was the day we go to the Delaware DMV and take his eye test. 

Bill was nervous. Edgy. Short tempered. He didn't think he would pass.

We arrived at the Delaware DMV early this sunny, warm summer August morning. Thank goodness the DMV wasn't crowded. 

We got our ticket number (12) and were called immediately. "Danielle" was waiting for us.


So thankful Danielle was nice. I explained that Bill had lost his driver's license last year because he failed his eye test and had cataract surgery to improve his vision. She was receptive and sympathetic to my explanation. 

At first Bill wasn't reading the chart right. Bill must be dyslexic, he was reading from right to left!  Several times he put his head in that machine, nervous, and read. Danielle was trying to be helpful, thank goodness she didn't dismiss him right away.  She was patient. Bill tried again. Same result. Didn't get one right.  Then on the third try she said "Read from the LEFT to right."  Bill said "Oh!"  Now I know why I have so much trouble explaining to Bill how to use his iPad.  I've often told him his brain is wired backwards.  Now I know it is!


Bill read the chart again.  He passed!!  

Danielle was issued his driver's license good for the next eight years. 

Thank goodness and thank you Danielle!