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Showing posts from 2009

The Last Day

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Today is the last day of the year and the decade. And what a decade it has been. I started out the decade with a well paying job and satisfying job that utilized all my skills and experience I had gained working for thirty five years in bank trust operations. I was living in my dream home on seven acres of pristine woodland property in Chester County, Pennsylvania. My 401K and IRA accounts were worth over a quarter million dollars. Family and friends I have known all my life were alive and well. I ended the decade having many of my friends and family either to death or dementia. Most of my savings were wiped out in the Tech Bubble. I sold my wooded paradise home in Pennsylvania at $195,000 less than my asking price. I retired to Delaware to escape the high taxes of Pennsylvania. My new home in Delaware now has a mortgage (my first since 1979) that won’t be paid off until I’m 95 years old. Several of my good friends have died. Others have had life threatening illn

Up in the Air

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I haven’t flown since 9/11. The reason I haven’t flown isn’t the one that might come to you mind at first. No, it isn’t that I am afraid to fly. The reason I haven’t flown is that I refuse to be subjected to the ridiculous security measures that are now the norm for the average airline passenger. Flying before 9/11 was an ordeal. At 6’3” I was usually stuffed in a middle seat. Even though my weight is only about 160 pounds, I was always physically uncomfortable flying. It was just an ordeal I had to get through to get from point A to point B. Most of my flights were between Philadelphia and Boston’s Logan Airport where I would switch over to catch the local commuter flights to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Again, the whole procedure was an ordeal. From making sure my luggage was transferred (make sure you tip the airport skycaps in Philly or else that luggage doesn’t even get on the plane) to getting a seat that wasn’t right behind someone smoking. I’ve only made three other fl

The Day After the Day After

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Not much going on today except frustration. First I thought I would be a nice guy and visit my friend who is slipping into the fog of dementia. I suggested taking him for a ride to the beach and sit on the boardwalk on this sunny day. Just as I was about to out the door I got a call from a friend of mine in Florida. I take the call which results in me getting out the door late. I call my friend and tell him I'm going to be late. He says "Okay." So I call my friend and tell him I'm going to be late. When I get to my friend's house he opens his locked door and says "Didn't you get the call?" I said "What call?" He said he called my house and told Bill that he and Jim "weren't feeling well." Uh, not "feeling well." This came on all of a sudden? Bill may have called me but I had my new TracFone cell phone off. So I didn't get the call. It didn't matter anyway because I hadn’t set up my Voicemail. And

The Day After

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Another Christmas is past. While I like Christmas (but no the craziness of Christmas shopping), I'm never sad to see it go. Now life can go back to normal, or at least what passes for normal around here in Slower Lower. This morning Bill and I ventured out for our weekly breakfast at Zorba's in Rehoboth Beach. Actually, Zorba's isn't right on the beach (which it sounds like) but along Route 1, just past the Wal-Mart. Actually, aren't quite a few stores "just past Wal-Mart?" But that a subject for a future blog. Who says they run out of subjects for blog postings? Not I. Anyway, we venture out in the wind and rain, barreling down Rt. 1 to Zorba's. We're the first customers there. No big surprise. The economy is bad everywhere, especially in the restaurant industry. I fear that some of the restaurants down here in this resort area will close permanently if business doesn't pick up soon. Even though this is a resort area and most of the

Christmas Day 2009

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The sky outside is gray, the snow is melting under 48 degree temperatures and I have just returned home from working two shifts at the hotel in the last 24 hours. This was the kind of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration that I prefer. No more rushing around ladened with presents visiting friends and relatives. Some years ago I decided to opt out of the Christmas Rush and I haven't regretted it one minute. Because I choose not to participate in this annual madness does not mean that I disparage those who do. In all things (except breaking the law of the land) I say "If that is what works for you; then go for it. This is what works for me." Most folks have their personal traditions that they follow every Christmas season. I think that is a wonderful thing. Many years ago in my Previous Life, I used to take my bank profit sharing distribution and blow it on presents for my Mother and Father, nieces and nephew (I only have one), sisters-in-law (my brothe

Christmas Eve 2009

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Christmas Eve 2009 and I'm finally starting to "feel it." This is what I always like about Christmas, this quiet time. I've never been one of those last minute shoppers or one of those people who rush around at Christmas visiting friends and relatives. That was something I did many years ago when I was young and went along with the usual Christmas activities. About thirty years ago I found myself alone on Christmas Eve and I noticed how peaceful and serene I felt just by the quietness of it all. Ever since that time I have made it a point to spend Christmas Eve alone. Many years I was alone at home during Christmas Eve. Other years it meant that I was working the Christmas Eve shift at a hotel. This year I am working at a hotel. Even working at the hotel I still find the peace and serenity of the solitude of Christmas Eve. I can't quite explain why, but it works for me. It is my tradition. I understand others have different traditions at Christmast

Not Feeling It

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Here we are, two days before Christmas and I’m still not feeling it. Yes, it did snow and it looks like we’re going to have a white Christmas. That should have put me in the mood. It’s still not happening. This morning Bill and I took an early run to the Super Wal-Mart in Milford for a little last minute Christmas shopping. He wanted to buy our neighbor a clamp on light. I saw some pink and blue ones at that Wal-Mart. Bill took one look at them and deemed them not masculine enough for the work he and Bob (our neighbor) will be doing in finishing his basement. Bill said he wanted something more manly. He said they didn’t have enough wattage and besides, he didn’t like the color. Whatever. I got on my computer this morning but there isn’t much activity out there. I think all my Facebook friends and my old fogey friends who don’t use FB are busy with Christmastime activities. I’m not in the mood anyway. I tried to work up some interest in starting my Class of 1959 blog (my

Day Two of the Thaw Out

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Today is Day Two of the thaw out of the hit we took from the Major Winter Snowstorm of 2009. Here in the little development where I live ice still covers the roads. So much for our homeowner’s fees going to clearing the roads. We only got two to three inches of snow on this the eastern side of Route 1, two miles from the ocean breeze. Further inland most areas got a foot or more of snow. To have snow still on the ground two days after the snowstorm is unusual for this area. Usually the snow is gone by the end of the next day. That is just one more reason I like living in this area of southern Delaware, the snow doesn’t hang around too long. Yesterday I didn’t go out of the house once, which is very unusual for me. I will make up for that today. A trip to Wal-Mart is planned. I want to get prints of some of the pictures I took of the Christmas party I attended with my co-workers on Sunday night. I have to get out of the house at least once during the da

The Day After

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Here we are the day after the big winter snow storm of the season and it isn't even winter yet. Winter officially starts tomorrow, December 21st. Most of the rest of the east coast received a foot or more of snow; we received about two inches down here in Lower Slower, aka Sussex County, Delaware. No complaints here that is more than enough for us to enjoy the beauty of a white Christmas. One of the complaints Bill has had since we moved to Delaware is that he misses the snow. Well, he got a dose this time and he was out in our driveway early, shoveling a path. I'll go on record and say I don't miss the snow. Maybe when I was a kid and we got a few days off from school but now that I'm an Old Grumpy Man, I don't miss it at all. Not at all. It's pretty to look at but I don't want to be driving in it. I don't even want to build a snow man. Grumpy, grumpy. That be me. I called the Inn a little while ago to see if the Christmas party was still on

Let it Snow!

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All day yesterday we were warned that a Major Snow Storm will hit the east coast today. Well, they were right. This was the scene from our back deck as the first light of morning dawned. I love the snow, just as long as it is somewhere else. The lack of snow is another one of the reasons I moved to southern Delaware. When we do get snow, which we didn’t get any last year, it rarely lasts more than a day. When we moved down here November 17, 2006, Bill insisted in bring his snow blower. It only took him one season to realize that the only thing that snow blower was doing was taking up precious space in our garage. He gave it to our neighbor who gave it to a friend of his who lived in Pennsylvania, where it snows. We remember, because that is where we used to live. Our snow blower got plenty of business in PA, not so much here. Fortunately I don’t have to go to work today. But, our Christmas party is tomorrow night. I do look forward to going to the Christmas part. The own

Getting Organized

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After three years I’m finally beginning to attack the roomful of unpacked boxes I have in my basement media room. You’ve heard of writer’s block? Well, for the past three years I’ve had a block about unpacking those boxes. It was such an enormous effort just to get twenty six years of accumulated possessions packed from the old house that we sold in Pennsylvania. By the time we finally got down here in Delaware I was exhausted. I only unpacked the necessities. The rest I put off “until later.” Later never came. Over the past three years Bill has frequently reminded me “When are you going to get rid of that junk?” Well “junk” it is not. Granted, most of the packed items I probably don’t need because I haven’t missed them in the past three years. But I’m one of those people who just can’t part with things. I “may need it” in the future. For instance, empty boxes? I may need them if and when I start selling things on EBay, which will probably never happen in my life time but if

Take it Back

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I like to dine out. I think that’s probably because I never went to a restaurant until I was 22 years old. I had been to a few diners in my teenage years but never to a real restaurant. My first restaurant was Da Vinci’s Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was back in 1964 when Bill (my partner of now 45 years) was courting me. He wanted to impress me and indeed, I was impressed. Prior to this experience I had only dined at the typical Fifties chrome diner. Those chrome palaces were the Exton Diner in Exton, PA and Zynn’s Diner in Thorndale, PA. My high school friend Larry and I also used to frequent Dick Thomas’s Foot Long Hot Dog restaurant also in Exton. But I had never dined in a real, white table cloth, fancy dancy restaurant until Da Vinci’s. My first meal was Veal Parmesan. I also had never eaten veal. My father did not believe in eating baby animals. To this day I still have not eaten lamb chops. Well, I was blown away out how good

Are We Feeling Christmassy Yet?

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Here we are with only two weeks before Christmas. Doesn’t it seem like each year Christmas rolls around even faster? First it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving then it’s Johnny Mathis singing out “Sleigh Ride” at Walmart. This year I wasn’t even going to put up Christmas lights because I just wasn’t in the Christmassy Mood. But, last week after returning home from our weekly breakfast outing at Zorba’s I decided to put forth an extra effort and go up in the attic and drag out the Christmas lights. Well, we all know how that worked out. I ended up putting my left foot through the ceiling above the kitchen sink. Undaunted, I put up the Christmas lights outside the front of the house. And if I do say so, they look mighty fine. Bill is putting up more Christmas lights this morning on our shed in the back yard. We’re going for the Cozy Cottage Look out back. Again this year I’m not putting up a tree in the house. In fact I haven’t put up a tree since we moved here in November of

Who Makes the Best Barber?

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Yesterday I got a long overdue haircut. My barber, Dino, only works Wednesdays and Thursdays. The past month I was unable to coordinate my time with Dino’s time because of either my work schedule or one of the many Nor’easters that passed through this region. Last month I needed a haircut so bad I weakened and let one of the women barbers cut my hair. Big Mistake. I my lifetime I have had my hair cut less than five times by a woman. Each time it was a disaster. In my experience, women cannot cut men’s hair. That includes my Mother. She was the first one to cut my hair when I was a youngster. She literally put a bowl on my head and gave me a Buster Brown haircut. Even then at the tender age of seven I knew this was wrong. Once in the Seventies I succumbed to the current fad and went to a “stylist.” Not that there was anything wrong with the way Nino (my longtime Italian barber at that time) cut my hair. On the contrary, I was always very pleased with his haircuts. But

Tiger: What Are You Made Of?

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Yesterday I received my new copy of Vanity Fair. I opened the magazine and guess whose picture I see on the first page? That right, Tiger Woods. I was immediately repelled by seeing his picture. I’ve been following this whole Tiger Woods drama. I wasn’t going to write anything about it but after seeing this ad I decided not to keep my thoughts to myself anymore. Here is my take on the Tiger Woods scandal. He deserves everything he gets. I have no sympathy for him at all. Tiger Woods has made hundreds of millions of dollars projecting himself as the “Perfect Family Man.” Recent events have revealed he is not the ‘Perfect Family Man.” Tiger Woods is a liar. Tiger Woods is a phony.  He is the perfect metaphor for corporate sponsorship. That Tiger is an adulterer isn’t all that unusual. How many public figures have been exposed as adulterers in the past few years? We are no longer “Shocked! Shocked!”  Big deal.  The adulterer part isn’t what is going to cause Tiger

Christmas 1976

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Yesterday, while cleaning out my storage room I came across an album that I had given to my Mother for Christmas in 1976. I had forgotten how much work I had put into preparing this album. In fact, I think I made up three albums; one for my Mother and the other two for my brothers' families. I came into possession of my Mother's album and the rest of her photos several years ago when she suggested that I take possession of them for safekeeping. As it turns out this was a good suggestion because she is now living with my brother and his family in South Carolina. The photos in these albums I selected from the pictures of the family I had taken the previous year (1975.) I enlarged the pictures to 5 X 7 and put one on each page with a description. I had time to do this kind of project when Bill and I lived in center city Philadelphia. We lived in a townhouse with a very small back yard. My activities consisted of going to work, going out to the bars on the weekend and wor

Stupid Move

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Well, I did it. This morning started out well enough with the sun making an appearance. The temperature read 45 degrees but there was little or no wind. Yes, today was a good day to go up in the attic and get those Christmas lights. So I go up in the bonus room closet and open the little trap door that leads to the attic where I have my Christmas decorations stored. I stoop low to get through the door and make a right turn, careful to avoid stepping on the insulation. Below the insulation is the drywall to the ceiling of my kitchen below. One trip gathering Christmas items went well. The second trip didn’t go so well. In fact it was a disaster because I lost my footing and my leg up to the knee went right through the insulation and drywall of the kitchen ceiling. I couldn’t believe it. I looked below and sure enough, there was insulation in my kitchen sink. My kitchen now had a skylight to the attic. There was no way of covering this up. The deed was done. Beside, the cove

The Rain Returns

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This was the day I was going to put up my outside Christmas decorations. That isn’t going to happen today. The rains have returned. Oh my, raining again. How unusual. Undaunted, Bill and I left for our weekly breakfast outing at Zorba’s Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. We were Zorba’s first customers this morning. Our regular waitress Erin came over and confirmed our breakfast order. For Bill, a fried egg sandwich for bill on white bread, double mayo. For me one egg over medium, crispy home fries, pork snout mush (aka scrapple) and buttered Rye toast. Bill’s beverage of choice is caffeinated coffee and mine is decaf. Shortly after we were served with our breakfast, the restaurant began to fill up with customers seeking shelter from the cold rain outside. Earlier in the week I was debating whether of not to buy tickets for the annual Lewes Christmas House tour. I was reluctant because in the spring I had purchased tickets to the annual Lewes Garden Tour only to see the day of th

Movement

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Today I made some movement on some outstanding issues that have contributed to my frustration of the past few weeks. One was finally resolving the problem I had with TracFone to have my old phone number transferred from Verizon to TracFone. Since buying my TracFone on November 17th, I have encountered nothing but a scripted response from the TracFone customer service desk in India every time I called about why my phone number wasn't ported to my new TracFone. Of course it didn't help that every time I called I got an Indian who sounded like he was talking in a well and I could only understand every fifth word. Trying to get these guys off the script in front of them was my challenge this morning. Well I can report now that my phone call this morning actually got a person that I could understand. She took care of the problem and I now have a TracFone from which I can make and receive calls. This will save me about $80 a month. I had a Verizon Wireless Family plan for 700 m

Reevaluation

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The past few weeks have presented new challenges to me.  I will be reevaluating my situation and decide how I want to proceed.  Even though I may not be posting to my blog as often as I have in the past I want my friends to know that I appeciate and value their friendship.  I ask their patience while I look for a way out of this valley I am in at this time.  I have much in my life for which I am thankful. 

Wine Tasting

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A couple of weeks ago a coworker of mine offered me three complimentary tickets to a wine tasting event sponsored by the Red Cross to be held at the new Irish Eyes restaurant. I've never been to a wine tasting event but I had friends I knew liked wine. I accepted the tickets. I sent an e-mail offering the tickets to my friends. They countered with a suggestion, why don't I join them as the third party? Indeed, why not? So today I'm ready for a wine tasting event. My concern was that I would drink too much and be a little too tipsy to drive my car home. This thought went though my mind "Would they have little sputum cubs to expel the wine? I wonder how many different types of wine they would have." I was just a tad off the mark. My first clue was when I drove into the parking lot of the Irish Eyes restaurant. I could hardly find a parking place. Man, this must be some event. I didn't know wine was that popular. Or.........maybe this is more than a

Depression

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“..a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity...” Depression is indirectly the reason I live in Delaware. A longtime friend of mine suffered from depression when he worked in Philadelphia. He was depressed because he was living a life his mother wanted him to live. He had the white collar corporate job his mother expected of him. He kept his homosexuality in the closet, because he didn’t want to disappoint his mother. He was living his life as his mother expected him to live it. He was desperately unhappy. He was depressed. To alleviate his depression he searched for a property far enough away from home where he could get away from his depression and the oppression of living his life as his mother expected him to live his life. He found a place in Sussex County, Delaware. The property was twenty-two acres of scrub woodland several miles on the outskirts of Georgetown, Delaware. He bought a used single-wide mobile

Sunny Sunday

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After what has seemed like a long, dark and bleak two weeks, the sun finally made an appearance today. I just came back from my walk. I don't remember the last time I took my walk around the development behind where I live, but my legs were telling me it was time for a walk. I am now refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed. I am ready to face the week ahead. Days like this are just one more reason why I liked living in southern Delaware. As I type this blog posting I hear the hum of several lawn mowers making their final run for the season on my neighbor's verdant green lawns. Such a sound one would never hear where I previously lived in Pennsylvania this late in the year. That sound is music to my ears. Soon the cold winds of winter will fall upon the flat coastal plain of this area of Sussex County, Delaware. Today I am enjoying the bonus spring day that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us her in southern Delaware. Happy Sunny Sunday to everyone!

Mom's Thanksgiving Dinner 2009

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Here is my Mom yesterday at her Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's home in Greenville, South Carolina.  I am so thankful that my Mom had a proper Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Bless her heart.  After all those years of doing for others she is now being treated like the queen that she is.  I'm so happy for you Mom!  I love that smile.

Thank You

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Thank you to all my friends who have expressed their support to me during my recent encounter with hostility. I cannot say anything more about the situation out of respect for the privacy of the parties involved but I can say that it warms my heart to receive your support. Thank you again. Hopefully in a couple of days I'll be back on track again with my usual irreverent view of life here as a retiree in southern Delaware of these United State of America. One more thing, I forgot to thank our courageous and selfless service men and women who are serving in the armed forces during this Thanksgiving. Without them we would not have the freedoms we take for granted. Thank you!

Thanksgiving 2009

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Here we are at another Thanksgiving Day holiday. I should be feeling carefree and wonderful but I am not. It's not because I'm going to work today but because of the recent unpleasantness I had. I'm trying to move on but I have to admit I am having difficulty. But I won't go into it any more. I only mention it because the hurt it caused is still affecting my morale. Sometimes I just get tired of the whole world and want to go to sleep and not wake up. I've heard other people say this and thought they were overreacting and not getting a proper perspective on their situation. But, until you're on the receiving end of unsolicited and hateful bigotry you just never realize how harmful it is to one's psyche. Moving on.....my friend Big Bob and his partner annually prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for all their friends and acquaintances who have nowhere else to go for Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone can come. No engraved invitations are needed. Bob has been doing

Rules of Life

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Life is as serious as it is and especially lately for me. My Mom and my best friend are in the early stages of dementia.  Some of my good friends are undergoing grueling cancer treatments.  And I was recently the target of homophobic hate on my Facebook account from the husband of a friend of mine (who is probably no longer my friend, sad to say.)  As long as I live I will never get used to the mindless cruelty of some people just because of who I am and the fact that I don't live my life as they deem I should. But, I will attempt to put that behind me and look forward to the friends that I do have that I care about and they care about me. Yesterday I had a very nice lunch with a new friend.  That helped to bring me out of my recent doldrums.We had a few laughs, enjoyed each other's company then we were on our way.  Yesterday's lunch was a delightful interlude in an otherwise drab and dreay day.  I needed that. Yesterday I also discovered that Facebook is a great n