Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've Been Tagged







I've been tagged with a meme by Mike of Mike's Musings, an unusual blogger in that he doesn't hide his identity. Meme is a new term to me but I think I understand it.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I will follow all the rules except rule number 3 because there are only three I want to know more about at this time.


1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was working two jobs, one as a trust administrative assistant at a small town bank and as a front desk clerk at night and weekends and holidays at the Hampton Inn in Exton, Pennsylvania.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?

1. Get a haircut
2. Buy replacement ink cartridges at Staples
3. Recycle and deliver old USA Today and Cape Gazette newspapers to a friend
4. Trim grass against fence in backyard lawn
5. Prepare and bake 5 pounds of oven roasted potatoes for next week's meals

3) Snacks I enjoy:

I don't do snacks during the day. Just three meals a day, nothing in between. However, right before bedtime I'll have a dessert. Something sweet, usually a brownie with walnuts or a light fluffy Cool Whip concoction.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire (in this order):

1. Set up 10 million dollar irrevocable trust funds for my Mother, two brothers and their families, and my partner so they would never have to worry about money again.

2. Take trips to England, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, China, South America, Iceland, Russia, and every state in America.

3. Buy a summer home in Provincetown, Massachusetts

4. Set up a trust fund for a million dollars for the Sussex County no kill animal shelter

5. Once a year give a million dollars anonymously to a stranger thus replicating the old TV show "The Millionaire" John Beresford Tipton (Tipton is my last name)

6. Set up a 5 million dollar trust fund for the Tipton-Haynes Historical Association in Johnson City, Tennessee.

7. Buy a home in the hills of western North Carolina.

8. Buy a plane for my partner, a former Air Force serviceman.

9. Buy one of those vacant homes on Rehoboth Bay on Marshall Road.

10. Buy one of those new homes in The Woods (behind my current development) for my partner, who misses living in the woods.

11. Buy back my old home in East Brandywine township, Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

5.) Three of my bad habits:

1. Boring my friends with tales of my family genealogical research.
2. Accumulating and hording things I don't need.
3. The inability not to get rid of things I have accumulated over my lifetime.

6) 5 places I have lived (in order):

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Pennsauken, New Jersey
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. Downingtown, Pennsylvania
5. Milton, Delaware

7) 5 jobs I have had (in order):

1. Hotel night auditor
2. Scrap steel yard office accounts payable clerk
3. Bank trust department operations clerk, supervisor, and manager
4. Bank trust department operations consultant
5. Hotel front desk clerk

8) 3 bloggers I want to know more about

1. Carolina Cajun - laid off baseball dad
2. Diane, who is Happy In Nevada
3. Mike's Musings, Lewes to Dover commuter

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rain In Delaware



The rains fell last night during my shift at the bed and breakfast hotel where I work part-time. The view outside the front door of the Inn is of Gilligan's Restaurant. In the twilight light, the pink dogwood in front of Gilligan's proclaimed that spring has arrived in Delaware. Thus begins a new summer season for the resort communities of coastal Delaware. Summer tourists will arrive from the nearby states of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Most are seeking to get away from the everyday stresses of their lives. Some are in town on business (working refitting planes at the Sussex County airport in Georgetown). The visitors will stroll down Second Street in Lewes, exploring the unique local stores and dining at the many fine restaurants within walking distance. Many new residents are like me, recent retirees who moved from nearby states. We moved to escape the high taxes of our states and the congested lifestyles. There is some concern now by long time residents of Delaware that the new immigrants like me will affect or destroy the way of life that Slower Lower Delawareans have enjoyed for so long. I would be among the first to be concerned. However, I do believe there is a balance to be attained. Growth can be controlled. While I don't believe in the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) theory, I do think certain controls can be in place. A comment on one of my previous blogs mentioned that taxes will go up in Delaware. That might very well be true. Taxes always go up. However, Delaware's tax base is more equitable than Pennsylvania's. I was literally taxed out of my home in Pennsylvania. East Brandywine Township, Pennsylvania, the township where I lived was a magnet for families with school age kids because of its excellent school system. The simple fact was I could no longer afford to live there. Where to go? Asheville, North Carolina? That was an option. Florida? Not an option. Too humid. I decided to go where my friends lived. I decided to move where the taxes were more in line with one's income. I decided to go where the weather was milder. Are there downsides to living in Delaware? Sure. The main one being that I'm so far from anything. My dentist is in Dover. My medical care is the VAMC in Wilmington. In Pennsylvania, I was 10 minutes away from the VAMC in Coatesville, and five minutes away from my dentist. I'm putting a lot of miles on my 10 year old Subaru Forester, traveling to and fro here in Delaware. That said, it is worth it because now I can have tulip bulbs that are safe from squirrels (I have no trees on my property.) There are no deer to eat my shrubbery. I don't have to get my car inpsected every year at an auto dealer which always cost me big bucks. I don't miss the Pennsylvania sales and personal income tax. Delaware does not tax me. I don't miss the smoke in the restaurants. The only thing I really miss is Wegmans.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Night At The Purple Parrot




If this is Sunday it must be the Purple Parrot. Last summer a friend of mine and I decided to meet for dinner at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The Purple Parrot is a Key West styled restaurant in the heart of Rehoboth Beach. The clientele is a mixture of local gay residents and adventuresome tourists looking to soak up a little local flavor. My friend and I decided to meet because I like to eat out at informal restaurants and he was overcoming a recent breakup of a long term relationship. My partner doesn’t like to go out to restaurants and my friend didn’t like to eat alone. It was a perfect match up. Since then we have developed something of a tradition of meeting every Sunday night with a couple of other friends. We met through tourist jammed Rehoboth Avenue in the summer, and the cold rainy days of winter when the only patrons of the restaurant were we locals. Now we’re approaching another summer season and the onslaught of a new wave of summer tourists. We will continue to meet, indulge in the Sunday night prime rib special, have a drink or two and enjoy each other’s camaraderie. Life is good.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I Retired To Delaware



The picture to the right is one of the reasons I retired to Delaware, to be near the water. All my life I’ve wanted to work and/or live near the water. As I approached my retirement age, I realized this was one goal I had not achieved. For many years I visited Provincetown, Massachusetts. I fell in love with Cape Cod. However, as much as the Cape was a perfect fit for me, I had to face reality. In Massachusetts the winters are long and cold and the taxes are too high. Delaware’s taxes are low and the winters are milder, with virtually no snow accumulation. Another good reason for moving to Delaware is that it is only 2 ½ hour drive to my Mother’s home in Pennsylvania. The trip to her home from Massachusetts would be a nightmarish sequence of plane trips, taking at least a whole day. The choice was easy. Delaware was my retirement destination. For over 30 years I had been visiting a friend in Sussex County, Delaware. I was well aware of the lay of the land. Another major factor for me was that the Rehoboth Beach area and many of its surrounding communities were gay friendly. Many older gay men and women found a community in Delaware that they could not find in their own hometowns. While the state of Delaware still does not offer domestic partner benefits, many gay retirees have found Sussex County, Delaware (also known as “Slower Lower”) a place where they felt comfortable leading normal lives shopping at Super Fresh or Loews. Same sex couples could go to restaurants and not invite quizzical and sometimes disapproving stares from other diners. In Sussex County Delaware, same sex couples can live in neighborhoods just like any other family. No longer are we restricted to inner big city neighborhoods. Gone are the days when a same sex couple would invoke suspicion and, sometimes, outright hostility by living in a family neighborhood. When I lived in Pennsylvania, for many years I had a neighbor who expressed their homophobic hostility to me and my partner almost daily. They made our lives tense and unhappy. That is all in the past now. I live in a development just two miles from Henlopen Bay. While I don’t live on the water, I do work on the water. To sum up the reasons I retired to Delaware, I work and live near the water, pay low taxes, and live in a friendly neighborhood. I have a great job. I work with wonderful people and love doing what I’m doing, working the front desk at a small bed and breakfast inn on the canal in Lewes, Delaware. That is just about as much as one could ask for. Oh, I wouldn’t mind winning the Powerball lottery this weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coming Up Roses


Dare I say it, but life is finally taking a turn for the better for this Delaware retiree. The bill for my emergency room visit of January 3rd is finally settled. I have my new partial denture after enduring a tooth extraction and a couple of months of no teeth on the right side of my mouth. The unexpected bills have finally stopped popping up. And, best of all, I do believe the cold weather is behind us. Bill and I were out this weekend building new raised flower beds while the swallows performed their aerial acrobatics over our lawn insect hunting. After years of procrastination I finally have my genealogy website and blogs up and running. Through the kind and generous help of a fellow blogger, I’ve added music to both. After the long winter hibernation, I’m ready for the long, warm, sun dappled days of summer in coastal Delaware. And who knows, maybe DELDOT will finally finish Route 1. Then I can truly say…………………..life is good in Slower Lower Delaware.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunny Days Again



As twilight descends upon this wonderful sunny spring day, I can report that life for this retired gentleman has returned to sunny days. Yesterday I traveled the 37 mile one way trip to my dentist in Dover to have my new partial denture refitted. I could not use it the way it was. Wearing it was giving me a constant toothache, and I couldn’t chew food on that side of my mouth. Something had to be done or else I was going to go without, thus becoming a true toothless Sussex County native. Good news! Dr. Jolly (yes, that is my dentist’s name) performed her magic on my denture and I am now among the fully- toothed citizens of the eastern shore of Sussex County. If it wasn’t fixed I would have to seriously considering moving to the other side of Route 1 to Millsboro or thereabouts thus joining the many Sussex County toothless natives who live west of Route 1. More good news, my partner has come out of his depression. We are doing things together again. This morning we had our weekly Saturday morning breakfast at Zorba's Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. Zorba's, formerly the Ocean Point Grille, is a family owned Greek restaurant. It has a comfortable, if not elegant, ambiance and serves home cooked food in a friendly all inclusive atmosphere. This is a restaurant that makes single diners feel comfortable. Food is good, prices are reasonable, service is great, and (a big plus) no screaming kids. What more could two elderly gentlemen want in the way of dining out experience? After breakfast we stopped at Lowes and purchased eight 4 by 4s to build garden boxes at the edge of our back yard. Yesterday, the Birdman of Milton put in two birdhouses for us. One is a purple martin birdhouse and the other is a bluebird house. He told us the purple martins will be arriving the first of May. The bluebird house is positioned directly outside our sunroom window where Bill can watch the activity all spring and summer. Who needs the Disney channel when we have so much of nature right outside our window? Today the temperature reached 78 degrees with no wind and some humidity. It was a tantalizing preview of the long, hazy summer days to come. Perhaps the only downside of the warm weather is that it takes me away from my PC and updating my blogs and website. It isn’t easy sitting in front of my computer with the outside beckoning me through my window. It is easier during the cold blustery days of winter to make the choice to bury myself into my computer and all its addictive charms. For now I will have to balance the lure of outside with the passion of keeping current my blogs and web site current. Life is good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers



Sometimes, when you least expect it, a stranger comes into your life and offers a helping hand. In this world today, when we are so skeptical of any unsolicited offer of help, it is refreshing to discover that there are still nice people in this world. One such person is a lady that I know as “Happy In Nevada.” I only know her first name. It is Diane. A friend told me that someone had left a comment on my blog. I’ve had comments before on previous blogs. They were usually critical of either my subject matter or writing style. Never a comment that was constructive or helpful. Thus, I proceeded with trepidation to read the comment on my “Computer Frustrations” blog. I had written about my difficulty in adding music to my web site. It was a very complicated and laborious process. I did not know I had the option of adding music to my blog. Happy in Nevada gave me instructions on how to add music. The first thing I thought was, “What’s the catch?” We have become inured these days to someone doing anything nice for us without expecting payment in some form or another. Even worse, Happy in Nevada could be a very clever ruse to put a monster virus in my computer. Tentatively I began to follow her instructions for first selecting music then adding that music to my blog. After a few false starts, my blog had music! My computer didn’t get that dreaded Blue Screen of Death when I added the music. Could it be that Happy in Nevada was just a nice lady who lives in Nevada extending a helping hand to this frustrated computer geek? Yes, she was for real! Like Dr. Frankenstein said when the lightening bolt brought to life his monster “It’s alive! It’s alive!” I’m saying “I have music! I have music!” I’m so enthused now I might start a new blog. I’ll call it “Happy in Delaware.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slowly Recovering


All is still not well in paradise. My partner is still silent. This is a pattern he has displayed for most of the forty-three years we have cohabited together. However, I sense that he is coming out of his depression. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of him passing by. That is a positive sign that this period of silence is coming to an end. Even though I say I will get through it each time it happens, it doesn’t get any easier. This past weekend the weather warmed up enough that I could get outside and do some yard work around the house. It only takes a few warm days for the winter pansies to awaken from their chilled slumber. The splashy purple and gold colors of the violas have given Old Man Winter notice that it is time to leave. Yesterday I traveled up north on Route 1 to my HMO dental offices located in Dover, Delaware. My appointment was at 8:30 AM. I arrived in Dover at 7 AM. I missed the morning rush only to sit in the dental office parking lot listening to the robins, starling and sparrows sort things out for the day. Later, I was fitted for my partial denture. It doesn’t fit. Dr. Jolly (ironic name for a dentist), did some grinding down but the denture still didn’t fit. She said to try it for awhile. She told me there was no need for me to make an appointment if I wanted to return for another fitting. I wore it last night at work, still doesn’t fit. As much as I tried to rationalize it to myself, it just doesn’t fit. The bite isn’t right. I thought maybe a good night’s sleep would do the trick. Maybe it was a combination of me being depressed over my partner’s silence and the long day. First thing this morning I placed the denture in my mouth. Still doesn’t fit. I called the dental offices. Dr. Jolly will be in Friday. I now know what I’m doing Friday, I’m returning this denture. As Bette Davis said “Getting old ain’t for sissies!” Perhaps by Friday the silent treatment will be at an end. I do know that the flowers will still be putting on their colorful springtime show. And all will be well with the world again. Even though I will probably never get that denture to fit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chickens in Delaware



Shortly after I retired to Delaware, I noticed one thing that was to become ubiquitous on my travels around the roads of Sussex County, the chicken trucks. What are the chicken trucks? These are open bed trucks loaded with cage upon cage of 8 week old boiler chickens headed for slaughter. Sussex County Delaware is the most southern county of Delaware’s three counties. Sussex County land is open and flat, perfect for the long rows of chicken houses. Delaware is ranked 7th in the country for poultry production. I live east of Route 1, which is the ocean side of the peninsula. The demographics of “East of 1” are almost all new Delaware residents. Like me, most of these new Delaware citizens are retirees who moved to Delaware to escape the high taxes of their home states. Others have second homes to take advantage of the resorts of Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach and other shore attractions. On the “other” side of Rt. 1, are the natives of Sussex County. These natives consist of the descendants of the original Dutch settlers, Nanticoke Indians (true natives) and the recent immigration of Hispanics, mostly Guatemalans. On occasion I have to travel on the other side of “One” to visit a friend or to shop at the local Walmarts (Georgetown and Milford). Almost invariably I will find my Subaru Forester behind one of these chicken trucks. My first reaction is profound sadness. These chickens do not know where there are going. I think of Nazi Germany sending trainloads of Jews to the death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka. I want to holler “Run for your lives!” Some chickens do escape from their cages, only to be run down on the highway. Shortly after this picture included in this blog was taken, I saw the mangled form of one such chicken along the side of the highway. For all of these chickens, this first and last trip is the first time they have seen daylight in their short lives. They are raised in long, low slung chicken houses under artificial light. Their feet never touch the earth that have been warmed by sunlight. On this last day of their life they are roughly gathered by forearm scarred “chicken catchers” and shoved into wooden cages. These cages are stacked one atop another on the back of a tractor trailer flatbed truck. Thus they begin their Final Journey. They do not know that they will soon meet their end at one of the local chicken processing plants. They will be pulled out of their wooden cages. They will be hung upside down by their legs in a conveyor belt type contraption. The lucky ones will have the electric shock stun them to death before they are eviscerated. When I pass one of these chicken trucks I think of this. Quite frequently I’m on my way to lunch at the Ocean Point Grille II on Long Neck Road. They have a great Chicken Caesar Wrap. I wonder if I’m eating one of those chickens that only a week or so earlier were giving me a quizzical look from their Truck of Death.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Friends

Cloudy Sunday




I slept late this morning. Normally I get up around 6 AM. This morning I didn’t roll out of bed until around 9 o’clock. Perhaps it was because of the comforting sounds of the wind whipping around outside my bedroom windows that caused my slumber. Maybe it was because of relief from the stress of conflict with my partner yesterday over the placement of curtains in the sun room. Or maybe it was just because I took advantage of another benefit of retirement, to get up when I felt like it. There is nothing like the pure freedom of getting up when you want to get up. That precious freedom does not have a price tag. Each day like this is a little miracle. So many years are sacrificed just to get to this point, to get up when you want. If you want to turn over and sleep another hour, go ahead. Absolutely wonderful! Another benefit of the freedom of retirement is to decide today what I want to do today. My only “obligation” is to meet friends at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach tonight for our weekly get together. Of course I don’t have to go, but we do enjoy each other’s company. It is a time of gentle teasing between friends. To have a few laughs at each other’s expense. We will have a glass of wine, some of us will order the prime rib special. We will all enjoy that special camaraderie that only old friends can bring together. Such times are indeed good for the soul. On the home front, Bill is slowly overcoming his disappointment and anger about not being able cover up the sun room windows with smothering curtains. Life will go back to normal. We have been to this movie before. From my front door I can see that is a cloudy Sunday in our community. All is well. The sun will shine again.
video

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Trouble In Paradise

The shore sounds of the seaside town of Lewes, Delaware greeted me as I rode to work early this morning at my front desk job at the Inn. As the sun was rising over the Lewes Canal, the early morning cacophony of birds and the gentle sounds of canal water splashing against the pier beckoned me to stop and take in the scene. I pulled my car off the road and onto the gravel path to the pier jutting out into the canal. There, looking out over the water, I saw the beginning of a new day in the first town of the first state, Lewes, Delaware. I could only stayed for a few minutes. I took a short video and a picture to include in this blog. Of course it was nothing like actually being there but I hope I am able to convey the simple and yet priceless pleasure of luxuriating in such a scene. My day was fine at work. It was when I got home that I encountered the first sour note of the day. My partner had taken upon himself to put in heavy curtains in our sun room. In our previous house he had curtains in every room, thus blocking out the enjoyment of observing nature outside. This house is different. It has an open floor plan with many windows. The whole wall of the western side of the house is covered in windows. That includes the sun room and the great room. I have compromised and accepted curtains in the great room. However, I do not want curtains covering up the windows in the sun room. To me that defeats the whole purpose of the sun room. We have blinds in place to cover the windows during the intense days of sunlight during the late afternoon. Bill (my significant other) asked me how I liked them. He could tell by the look on my face that I didn't like them. I told him they had to come down. The curtains were too heavy. They had the effect of blocking the view of the outside from the windows. He does not understand. He wants to replicate our house in Pennsylvania which had all the windows stuffed with curtains. I told him the curtains had to come down because they were depressing me. This is not what he wanted to hear. He got angry and said he would heretofore have nothing to do with curtains…..anywhere in the house. He said “I can’t do anything around here.” Not true. Most things go his way but when something does not go his way, this is his response. Now he is in a deep funk. We have been together 43 years. We know each other’s moods. We each know how this scene will be played out. It's "Whose Afraid Of Virginia Wolff" all over again. It’s all about laying a guilt trip on me. Eventually, he will see that this time the guilt trip won’t work. The freedom to enjoy the light and see outside unobstructed is one of the main reasons I moved to the Delaware seashore. I moved from a two story Dutch Gambrel roofed colonial house in the middle of 6.875 acres of woodland in Pennsylvania to a simple everything on one floor house on an open flat lot in Delaware. The house in Pennsylvania had many rooms, with many doors, and many windows with many curtains on those windows blocking the light and views. I felt like I was sealed in a tomb with all those doors and curtains. I sacrificed a lot to move to Delaware to an acre of land with only one tree, an non-fruit bearing pear tree on the front lawn. I moved down to Delaware for the Big Sky and sun drenched days. I’m not going to seal myself up again in my house with little rabbit warren rooms and windows covered in curtains. Bill will get over his anger and disappointment. When he does, then we can discuss what, if anything, we can do with our sun room. And tomorrow the sun will come up. The light will shine through those windows again.
video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Twilight Walk

Another day spent at the computer tweaking my new website. By late afternoon I had to tear myself away from my task because my ankles were beginning to swell up from lack of circulation. I think it has a lot to do with how I have my computer housed. It is in a cupboard type contraption rather than an open desk. My long legs would be more comfortable stretching out under an open desk. I suppose I should replace my PC cupboard with a more modern desk. I hate to buy more furniture though. At this point in my life I don’t need any more furniture. Besides, this cupboard holds a lot of my “stuff”. When I’m done for the day, I can close the doors and the room looks neat. Also, working in a semi-cubicle type area gives me that comfortable womb like feel. The hours kept ticking by and too soon it was almost 6 o’clock. I closed shop and went out to the garage to get the watering bucket. The bird baths needed refreshing. Oh it felt so good to feel the late afternoon 68 degree wind caressing my face. Returning to my garage with my watering can, my neighbor Barbara met me. She wanted to know if I was going to join in with two of the other neighbors to get my septic tank cleaned. Sure. It hasn’t been cleaned since I moved here almost two years ago. Two years already? Wow. She asked me if I could ask the neighbor to the other side of me in this development if she would join us in a joint septic tank cleanout. If we got at least three neighbors we can get a discount from the Honey Dew guys. Barb wanted to see my new curtains. I brought her inside and left her with my partner. He could entertain her. I had to take care of my swollen ankles by taking a walk around my development and the development behind me. Off I went. The strong breeze followed me. Chirping birds declaring their territory accompanied my twilight walk. I always take my camera along to be ready for any opportunity for that unique picture. There were no unique photo opportunities tonight. This is flat land, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean. A marshland separates me from the vastness of the bay. I encountered one neighbor who was also taking her evening walk. I walked in the opposite direction to give her privacy. During the rest of my walk I encountered no one. The peacefulness of this area is exactly the comfort I need at this time of my life. Tomorrow I go to work at my front desk job at the inn. Four forty five comes very early.
video

Computer Frustrations



Well folks, it's been about a week since I setup my new Tipton website. There have been a few late nights at the computer fine tuning this blog as well as another "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog posted under another server (to which a link is supplied on this website). One of my problems was that I posted my new website address to Roots.Web with the wrong URL. Actually, it was a simple mistake. The "http://" I typed as "http//:" Note that the two forward slashes come before the colon. A website address that begins that way won't work as some of you found out when you tried to go there. But, thanks to some astute Tipton researchers, they soon realized what the problem was and informed the others who were having trouble getting to this website. Phew! That is resolved. Now let's get to the next issue. I've been trying to add music to the home page of this website. One would think that would be an easy task. But, one would be wrong. First, the company which is hosting this website tells me the website doesn't work with MIDI files. Okay. That's odd but I'll accept their explanation. Then I'm told to try a MP3 or Wave file. Forget finding one of those files for free. So, I went to Amazon.com and shelled out .99 cents to buy a fully orchestrated version of "Happy Trails." Okay. I download "Happy Trails." I carefully put the HTML code in and embed the music. I save the draft and upload. Does it work? Nah! Of course it doesn’t. Why would it? That would be too easy. Now a phone call for support was in order. Thankfully the company that is hosting this website has real people answering the phone in a timely manner. The young lady checks my HTML. You guessed it. I had a TYPO. Again! I know I'm 66 years young but my eyesight really isn't failing me....yet. Maybe it's just because I'm so anxious and excited about this new Tipton website. The young lady fixes my HTML code. She tells me it works. I bring up the Tipton Tales and Trails website. A pop up message appears on my screen. Oh how I love pop ups! NOT! The message says "Click to run an Active X control on this web page." What is that? That is just lovely. So, I “click”. AH HA! The happy, sweet, innocent strains of "Happy Trails" emanates through my computer's twin speakers. Yes, "Happy Trails" is the perfect accompaniment to perusing through the "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog. Of course right now it is only on the first page. In my excitement I called my partner to my computer to show him my "accomplishment." I key in http://www.tiptontalesandtrails.com/ in my browser. The home page appears on my computer monitor. There is no music. NO MUSIC! I get on the horn again to my web host technical support line. "Mike" answers the phone this time. I explain my problem. I can get the sound when I go in through Internet Explorer to the website. But I get no sound if I go in through AOL, which is my preferred access to the Internet. Also, I get no sound if I go through the "Tipton Tales and Trails" link on my other blog. I'm told by "Mike" that I have a MP3 file. He tells me I should probably have a WAV file. Did you ever start out on a little project that seemed so simple but it turned into Frankenstein's monster? Well, this little foray of mine today is turning out that way. I hope those of you who were able to finally get into my new website were able to listen to "Happy Trails." For those of you who didn't, there is always tomorrow. My Computer Guy is coming over around 10 in the morning to have a look see and correct the problem. When "Happy Trails" plays from all angles of getting to my new website, I will be one Happy Camper!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Is Coming!




Even though there is a chill in the air this morning, I know spring is coming. How do I know? My calendar indicated that spring officially arrived March 19th. But, as all of us who live in the northeastern part of the United States know, even though the calendar says spring is here we actually have many more days which are more like winter. At my previous home in Downingtown, Pennsylvania we didn’t put plants out until May 15th or the first Sunday after Mother’s Day. Downingtown is in a different temperate zone. Delaware is in the next warmest temperate zone. What a difference that makes. For years, prior to moving to Delaware, I used to visit my friend who lived in Sussex County, Delaware, which is the southern most located county in Delaware. In the early spring I usually left snow on the ground in Pennsylvania to be greeted by the yellow cheerful faces of newly bloomed daffodils bobbing in the brisk spring wind of Delaware. Now that I am living in lower Delaware I appreciate all the more the early arrival of spring. However, I am a bit anxious this year because the cold winds seem to be hanging around longer than usual. Sure, all the signs of spring are here. The winter snow geese have headed back north. English sparrows are busily making their nests in my birdhouses that border the open field of land behind my new house. The stunningly fresh yellow daffodils have indeed made their appearance along with winter pansies that have come out of their long hibernation. And yet, when I venture out, the cold wind caressing my neck reminds me that Father Winter hasn’t yet made his final departure. The sun may be out but the cold winds still blow. Come on spring. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Part Time Job




After I retired I laid around the house for about three months, just to unwind and decompress from the nightmare ordeal of selling my house in Pennsylvania. I decided that I wanted to go back to work. However, I didn’t want to work fulltime. I didn’t want to work Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, 50 weeks of the year. As they say, “been there, done that!” I certainly didn’t want to work in a padded cubicle. Really “been there, done that” with all the attendant office politics that go hand in hand with that type of job. At this time of my life, in my waning years I, like many other retirees wanted to do something just for myself. I wanted to work at a job that I truly enjoyed. A job was fun and interesting. Sure, all jobs have their moments but what is life if not a challenge every now and then? I think a little stimulus is what we all need in our everyday life to keep our brains from atrophying. So, I decided to seek a job that I had previously when I was in between my banking jobs – hotel front desk clerk. After applying at several Rehoboth Beach and Lewes hotels, a canal front bed and breakfast inn was astute enough to hire me to work part-time Monday and Thursday evenings and every other weekend – once during the day and the other weekend during the evening. The owner of the Inn hired me after an interview. He is a man of true wisdom. He saw the true value of hiring an “older” employee. Sure, I may have been around the block a few times but I can hold my own with the best and brightest and youngest employee. In my case experience does indeed trump youth and beauty. This was/is an ideal situation for me. Just enough work to keep me active and vital but not so much that it would drain the life out of me. Also, the extra income helps to pay the mortgage that I now have since I had to drop the price of my previous home in Pennsylvania in order to sell it and move to Delaware. That’s another whole story I may, or may not go into in the future. I am a believer in that all things happen for a reason. I truly believe that if I had no trouble selling my previous job I probably would not have found my present job at the upscale, delightful small Inn where I work now. I work with wonderful co-workers, a great boss, and appreciative guests. Best of all, I’m finally working “near the water”. That seems to be just about everybody’s goal in life to either “live near the water” or “work near the water.” I have one out of two which isn’t bad at all.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What Retirement Means To Me





Retirement to me can be summed up in one word, freedom. I have the freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. That is such a simple goal but it is so hard to achieve. If you think about it, most of us work at jobs our whole life to survive. We all yearn towards that one goal, freedom. Thus we sacrifice most of our years working at jobs that we don’t like. Working with people we normally would not associate with. We spend our best years accommodating our personal life to the Job. Then comes that time when we retire. To quote Martin Luther King:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty I’m free at last!”

After years of toil, boil, and trouble, the magic day finally arrives. A tremendous burden is lifted off of your shoulders. FREE! Now what? Spend endless days golfing until you die on the links? Take exotic cruises to foreign ports until you become a sad parody of the Ugly American? Or do you become a couch potato and provide a daily frustrating obstacle to your partner’s housecleaning chores? Or, maybe you get a job that you really enjoy. Perhaps you get a job to supplement your income because your retirement income isn’t enough for you to continue living the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. The job could be part-time or full-time. The type of job you get would depend on your personality and the station in life you wish to maintain. The main thing about the job after retirement is that it isn’t dependent on your financial survival. If you planned right, you now have an income base of Social Security plus any retirement pensions you managed to accumulated during your 40 plus years of servitude in the workplace. If you’re really lucky, you’ve managed to save some money through 401K retirement plans that were invested in the stock market, but not many of us are that fortunate. The main thing is you are now FREE! Now there is a four letter word that is powerful. FREE.

That is what this blog of mine will be all about. I will share with the readers of this blog my new found freedom that retirement has allowed me.