Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Muggies are Upon Us

Me and my neighbor Marty yesterday morning - she was out for an early morning walk and I was out enjoying the fresh early morning air.  You can tell I just got up from bed. My father used to look the same way right after he got up in the morning.  Egads, I have turned into my father!

Yesterday was a much needed day of rest for me.  After having come off of seven straight days of work at the hotel, I was exhausted.  Wipe out.  Knocked out.  As much as I like my job, seven days in a row is a bit much, especially on a holiday weekend.

The hotel was full, lots of happy guests, no problems.  Still, I was glad to get out of town (Lewes) on Saturday.  I had to wait longer than usual to exit the parking lot because of the crush of people and heavy traffic on Pilottown Road.  It is on days like this that I thank God I don't work in Rehoboth Beach.  When I go home I have to turn on Rt. 1 north.  I'm going the opposite direction than the horde of tourists coming down to Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City and points south for the holiday weekend.

When I get home I usually relax by working out in the backyard.  With the heat and humidity that isn't quite the pleasant experience that it has been last month.  The Muggies are here!  The mosquitos are here too. Summertime is here!

This morning I'm starving myself (no breakfast) because I have an 11 am appointment at the Georgetown VA for my labs.  That's where they draw my blood and run various tests to determine that my body isn't failing.  I know they're going to question me about my weight loss.  Since our trip south at the beginning of this month and my almost non-stop work schedule I've lost ten pounds.  I'm down to 157 pounds now which is actually a little too much.  I wanted to lose about five pounds but more than that I tend to look gaunt and Ichobod Crane like.  Once I get back on my regular work schedule and eating a decent meal at night I will add the missing pounds.

This is probably my favorite time of the year.  Warm weather and long days.  I really don't mind the muggies and the hot weather.  It's the light I'm after.  I thrive on a lot of light.  The short and dark days of winter depress me.  That's one reason I have a ton of windows in this house, I want to let in as much light as possible.  I thrive on light.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spo Shirt

My garish Spo Shirt on the man himself, Dr. Spo

Yesterday, shortly after I arrived at work I heard my harp ringtone on my iPhone.  I pull my iPhone out of my pocket and who do I see that is requesting FaceTime?  One of my very favorite blogging buddies, Dr. Spo.  Luckily I didn't have any guests at the front desk nor was my boss/owner around so I answered Dr. Spo's request for FaceTime.

As Dr. Spo's warm and friendly visage (and very attractive I might add) flooded the face of my iPhone I saw he was holding a riotously colorful shirt.  I recognized that material.  It was the material I sent to Dr. Spo a few months ago to have my very own custom made Dr. Spo "Jolly Good Time" Shirt.

Dr. Spo wanted me to see the shirt, which includes the sun on the pocket (no easy task to place it there I was told) which was completed all but for the buttons.  Take a look, doesn't it look fabulous?

I suspect that the material I sent Dr. Spo wasn't one he would have chosen (just a hunch) but I do appreciate him working with my garish taste to produce this one of a kind shirt.  Actually I am  quite thrilled that I was one of the Select Few chosen to have my very own Spo Shirt.

I have a tendency to be very cynical about life and people but it is kind folks like Dr. Spo that restore my faith and hope in the goodness of people and life.

I just hope he remembers that I wanted rhinestone buttons on my Spo Shirt.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Four Questions Meme

Me on vacation at the Carriage House restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee a few weeks ago

Still busy with the job folks.  But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I just hope that's not a train coming towards me.  In the meantime, to let my faithful blog readers know I'm still alive, here are my "Four Questions Meme."  
Lots of thought went into this folks. Another week and I may be able to get back to my regular blog posting routine. 

Things I need to spend more time on in my life
  1. Researching my family genealogy
  2. Catching up on my e-mails
  3. Getting rid of material things I don't need at this time of my life
  4. Gardening
Things I need to spend less time on in my life

  1. Working full-time 
  2. Trying to please everybody
  3. Arguing religion with my conservative friends
  4. Arguing politics with my conservative friends
Things I wish I could spend more time on in my life

  1. Cleaning house
  2. Organizing my photos and videos
  3. Downsizing
  4. Staying in touch with faraway friends and relatives
Things I love about myself

  1. My sense of humor
  2. My love of animals
  3. My work ethic
  4. My honesty
Things I hate about myself

  1. My reluctance to say no
  2. My (sometimes) low-self confidence 
  3. My fear of driving at night and on crowded highways
  4. My naiveté 
Things I used to hate but love now

  1. Liberals (Progressives or Democrats)
  2. Meeting new people
  3. Yardwork
  4. Salads
Things I used to love but hate now

  1. Barbra Striesand
  2. Conservatives (Republicans)
  3. Cooking a big meal for company
  4. Working and living in a big city
Things towards which I look forward

  1. Dining at restaurants with friends
  2. Walking the boardwalk in the summer
  3. Working in my backyard and watching my garden grow
  4. Writing my blog postings
Things I dread

  1. Tax preparation
  2. Colonoscopy preparation
  3. Driving at night 
  4. Calling Help lines
Things I used to believe in but no longer do

  1. Religion 
  2. Authority figures
  3. That evil does not succeed
  4. That good is recognized and rewarded
Things I love to do despite being bad at it

  1. Dancing
  2. Paint pictures
  3. Teach (I have very little patience)
  4. Cook
Things I hate to do but I do anyway (and quite well)

  1. Run a household
  2. Call a Help line
  3. Clean out drawers and closets
  4. Work full-time at my job
Things I did of which I am ashamed

  1. Did not return a call of a longtime friend shortly before she committed suicide
  2. Stood up a date to her Senior Prom (I couldn't get my dad's car)
  3. Stood up a former boss for lunch (what was I thinking?)
  4. Lost my temper with a former boss (he subsequently had me fired)
Things I did for which I am proud

  1. Stood up and challenged a homophobe at my local congressman's town hall meeting - I was physically attacked for identifying myself as being gay
  2. Voluntarily joined the Army for three years right out of high school.  I was scared to death but I knew I had to fulfill this obligation
  3. Gave jobs and provided leads for jobs for several of my unemployed friends
  4. Coming out when I was 21 years old (in 1963 when it was not fashionable and definitely dangerous to one's health and job prospects)
Things I didn't do which I regret

  1. Have children 
  2. Learn how to play the piano
  3. Learn a foreign language
  4. Floss my teeth regularly when I was younger
Things I want to do before I die

  1. Get a cat (or cats)
  2. Get a Pomeranian dog (or dogs)
  3. Write my autobiography
  4. Sell all my valuable collectibles on eBay

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Breather

Still working full blast at the hotel.  I have a little window of opportunity here on this warm, sunny Friday morning to update my blog.  Of the four front desk clerks at the hotel - one quite which was why I was working full-time.  Another (full-time) had a family emergency which caused her to be missing in action from work all this week.  The third front desk clerk, who is part-time like me, also had a family emergency (her dog was dying).  So you know where that left me.....working EVERY DAY.  Both the manager (who is doing day duty this morning) and I have been filling the void.

I was so exhausted two days ago after completing my shift, I could even see straight.  I had just finished shoveling dirt for over two hours (I thought I had the day off that why I made that major physical expenditure) to complete the dirt island for our three new river birch trees.  By the time I was done my shift, every muscle in my body ached.  Even my bones ached.  My body hasn't felt like this since I went out for the track team in high school and my then young body was subjected to hours of intense physical workout.  It was different then because I was so young (16).  Hey, when you're 69 years old the ole body reacts in a whole different way to extreme physical workouts.  One benefit, I finally lost that ten pounds I've been trying to shake for a couple months.  I'm down to 158 (from 168), lean and mean pounds.  Hardly a trace of the spare tire ("love handles") are left.  Big whoop!

Pictured is my first asiatic lily bloom of the season.  I actually had a chance to tour the backyard this morning and I caught this beauty in the early morning sunlight.

I'm off to work again today, the eve of Memorial Day weekend.  The kiddies are already in the hotel (I checked them in last night).  I've already had one of the guest who are coming in tomorrow ask if there is a barbecue grill in the suite.  EXCUSE ME?  It never ceases to amaze me what some hotel guests expect.  The answer I gave is NO.  I suggested that they go to Gilligan's Restaurant which is about twenty steps away from their suite and order their grilled hamburgers (or whatever) THERE.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

With Eyes Wide Shut

Friends dining at the Bay Leaf Restaurant in Milton, DE May 24, 2011

As all of my friends know, when I dine out with them I usually ask the waitress (or waiter) to take a picture of me and my dining companions before the meal.  I know that my habit sometimes annoys my friends.   I try to restrain myself but to little avail. Occasionally, like last Friday's Dine Out, I didn't pull out my iPhone camera.  I actually got through the whole meal sans pictures, probably much to the pleasure of some of my dining companions.

However, tonight I wanted to take a picture of me and my friends because we were dining at a new restaurant in Milton called The Bay Leaf.  I was with a group of my VBDF (Very Best Dining Friends) who I hadn't been with for too long because of vacation and my recently crazy full-time working schedule. We call our club "The Old Geezer's Dining Club". Yep, we're all retired and way over the hill.  We're at the age where we just enjoy each other's company.

So tonight right after we placed our orders I asked the waitress to take our picture with my iPhone.  She happily obliged.  She took the picture.  She handed me back my iPhone and I glanced at the picture and saw smiles around.  I was pleased.  I sent the picture to my dining friends by the way of my iPhone.

We had our dinner, which was delightful.  We lingered after dinner over dessert and coffee, catching up on everything since the last time I was out to dinner with my friends.

I come home.  I pull up the picture taken of us dining and what do I find?  I HAVE MY EYES CLOSED!

Can you believe it?  One would think that after all these years of having my picture taken dining out with my friends that I could at least keep my eyes open!

You know why?  After all these years I'm just not a poser.  I never would make a good model.  I cannot smile on command.  Spontaneous pictures of me are the best.  When I pose, and there is even the slightest delay, this is what you get from me.  A doofus with his eyes WIDE SHUT.

Hey guys?  Let's do this again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grand Aunt Daisy

My Grand Aunt Daisy talking to my cousin Anne Tipton on the iPhone -first time Aunt Daisy has used the iPhone - picture is indeed worth a thousand words

This is a correction to my previous posting about my 'cousin Daisy." My friend and fellow blogger sent me a comment that in Vietnam my relationship with my 'cousin", who is the daughter of my great-grandfather would be my great aunt. I check my relationship calculator in my Ancestry.com account and he is right, Daisy is my great aunt. Now none of this is of probably any interest regular readers of my blog who are used to me either complaining about working too much, getting old, or reminiscing about my glory days. But it is of great interest to me and my GREAT AUNT Daisy. I will call her as soon as I can and inform her that she is my aunt.

Now, just to make this a 'regular' blog posting, I received a call today from my manager at the hotel. He asked if I could come into work tomorrow to fill in for another co-worker who has a family emergency. Of course I said "yes" and there goes my two days off. It was nice while it lasted. Well, at least I got something done today. I canceled the 10 ton delivery of top soil and instead ordered a six cubic yard delivery to make the raised island to surround my three new and expensive river birch trees. Again, nothing of great interest to the average reader of my blog but this is what is going on in my life now.

I am looking forward with great anticipation to getting back into my regular schedule. There is just too much going on in this retiree's life right now. There I go complaining again.

Thank you Tai for notifying me of my error.

Visit With Cousin Daisy

This is a short video of my visit with my cousin Daisy Lewis Buckles, who lives in Johnson City, Tennessee.  I didn't realize that Bill was taking this video (with his iPhone) while I was talking to my cousin Daisy.  

Daisy has an interesting history.  Her father, Isaac Lewis, was my great-grandfather.  He was born in 1856.  His first wife was my great-grandmother.  After she died, Isaac married Daisy's mother, who was forty years younger than he was.  

I met Daisy for the first time in 1994 when I first began researching my paternal family history.  Up until that time I knew nothing about my father's grandparents.  Daisy's brother, Aster Lewis (now deceased) showed me around and introduced me to cousins that I never knew about.  

My father was born nearby Johnson City, Tennessee, right over the border in the hills of North Carolina.  Yes, he was a hillbilly.  My grandparents moved him (when he was ten years old) and his eight brothers (two more brothers were born after they moved North) to Pennsylvania to live and work on my grandmother's brother-in-law's farm.  They were all starving during the Depression, that's why the family moved north, to survive.  If they hadn't moved North, I would be here today and just imagine how the would be the less for that fact.  Kidding!  

Daisy is 86 now and in not in good health. I was glad that I had an opportunity to visit her.  I'm glad Bill took this video so I can always remember the kind and gracious southern lady that is my Cousin Daisy.

Home Sweet Home

Lamb's Ear surrounded by sage, holly and wild rose

Today is my day off.  Mondays and Tuesdays are my 'weekends off".  The only thing I have planned for today is a dump load delivery of top soil for our three river birch trees that we had delivered last Monday.  We didn't have the dirt delivered last week because of the rain.  So what is it doing today?  Yep, it's raining.  Maybe they will deliver the dirt anyway.  Bill and I would like to build that mound of dirt up around the newly planted birch trees before the hot weather descends upon our coastal home here on the eastern shore of Delaware.  Now I see the sun streaming through my window.  It's going to be one of those days.....rain, clouds, then sun then back to rain.  One thing about this kind of weather, it makes for a lush, green landscape.

The plants in the picture are two of my favorite plants....sage and Lamb's ear.  I brought the Lamb's Ear with me from our home in Pennsylvania.  I like to keep the connection going between the two homes.  By the way, yesterday an open house was conducted at our former home in Pennsylvania.  A few months ago our former home was sold at a sheriff's auction.  The former owner couldn't keep up the monthly payments so he walked away from the once beautiful property.  Our former home, which we used to call "Whispering Pines" is now a Grey Gardens.  So sad.  If I wasn't working yesterday, Bill and I would have attended to the open house.  I look at the pictures posted on the Internet of the interior of our former home and am reminded of all the history that took place in those rooms during our twenty-five years of residence.  Now it is empty, ready to be rescued and brought back to life.  If I had the money I would buy it back.

Someday in the future, after we're long gone here this home will be for sale.  The new owners will have no idea of all the history that is being made right now at this home.  I figure we have at least ten good years here.  At least I do.  Bill is 82 so he would be 92 years old.  I would never have believed that I would be living with an 82 year old man back in my arrogant youth but here I am.  Ten years from now I'll be 79 years old.  Wow.  Now that is Serious Old.  But I plan to be around, still pumping out my blogs and experimenting with new plants in my back yard.  Now that we've passed yet another End of the World deadline, I can plan.  By the way, any word from Harold Camping?  He's being very quiet.  Maybe God's talking to him, explaining why he postponed His plans for the end of the world.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Rapture is Delayed

Well folks, here we are on May 22, 2011, the day AFTER the much ballyhooed END OF TIMES by Harold Camping, the 89 year old evangelical radio preacher.  Nothing has been heard of Harold since his predicted 'end of times" didn't happen  yesterday at 6 pm precisely.  Perhaps Mr. Camping is coming up with yet another reason why God has decided not to destroy humankind as we know it and suck up into Heaven the Faithful while letting the rest of us who question religious teachings by charlatans like Mr. Camping to fend for ourselves on earth shaken by earthquakes, floods and volcanic fire and brimstone so confidently predicted by Mr. Camping and his brain dead evangelical followers.  Or perhaps Mr. Camping is holding a video conference with God as I type this blog entry.  Wherever Mr. Camping is holding up now, one would hope that he would provide a logical explanation why we are all still waiting around for the Rapture.  Mr. Camping?  Are you out there?

While we all await Mr. Camping's appearance and words let us consider another "End of the World" message from one of my all time favorite singers, Skeeter Davis.  And oh, all of those of you who foolishly believed the latest Christian evangelical fraud and divested yourself of all of your earthly belongs in anticipation of the Rapture, sorry about that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Last Day of Earth

As regular readers of my blog know, I'm not a religious person.  Or more accurately, I'm not a practicing religious person.  I don't believe in what I can "man made religion."  However, I do consider myself a spiritual person.  There are times in my life that I have secretly prayed to 'find the way."  Again, I am not a Bible Thumper and I don't subscribe to the mean spirited version of Christianity (and other religions) that are practiced today.  The religion of fear.  The God that says "Do as I say or I will damn you to the eternal fires of hell."

I don't believe there is a big, muscled, white man with a long white beard and a stern look on his face. wearing a white toga sitting on a golden throne in the sky playing games with those of he supposedly created below on this earth.  Such a game like having me born gay and then threatening me with eternal damnation unless I change my natural born ways.  No, that is not the God or Way that I believe.

This is what I believe.  I believe that you do your best during your stay on this earthy plane, be it only a few years or many years as I have done so far.  While risking another gentle rebuke from one of my favorite bloggers when I refer to my old age I am saying that at this time of my life (69 years and counting) I think a lot about my past years and what few years I have left on this earth (less than I have lived, that's for sure).

I have done some things I haven't been proud of and I have done more things that qualify me as a genuine Christian in my eyes if not the eyes of the organized "man-made" Christian church.  I feel that if there is such a place called heaven, that I will enter through those hallowed gates.  I will again see my friends, family and pets who have predeceased me.  These days I think a lot about this subject.

Today, after a long, hard day of work I opened my e-mails to find this e-mail from a long-time friend of mine.  While I don't agree with the degree to which my long-time friend practices his faith (he believes you have to accept Jesus Christ to enter into Heaven - I do not agree - I think that is the old "man made" interpretation), I do respect his views.

On this day, which an old idiot has claimed to be the Last Day On Earth (and he is an idiot, that is the only way to describe that nut case), I think it was very appropriate that I spent the best part of the day seeing a family (Jewish) prepare for a wedding at the hotel where I work.  All in this family were so happy.  Their joy was overflowing, so much that all my usual cynicism of such a corny family event was washed away.  I left the hotel this afternoon, an hour and a half before the actual ceremony thinking of this young, beautiful couple and the happy life that they have before them.  I thought of all their family and friends who  made the special trip to the hotel where I work to join their ceremony and celebration.

As I write this the couple is now married.  Their family is rejoicing.  All will celebrate through the night and tomorrow, which will be the first day of their new life.

While they're beginning their life, I can see mine coming to and end.  And I have no regrets. Thus it was so appropriate that when I opened my e-mail a few minutes ago and watched this video that reaffirmed the way I feel at this time of my life.

Thank you Bill.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hanging On

Ryan contemplates "How am I going to do this?"
Last night I worked until 11 pm.  Headed home in the rain.  I got up this morning at 5 am to be at work by 6:30 am.  I have to set up the breakfast buffet at the hotel.  I just got off work from a very busy day.  I do the whole thing over again tomorrow.  Usually I work Wednesday and Thursday nights 3 pm to 11 pm.  However, the past week and the next three weeks I'll be working five days a week, Tuesday through Sunday.  This weekend is the Big Wedding, which is always a fun bonanza.  Actually, the wedding guest haven't been too bad.....so far.  We'll see what tomorrow brings, the day of the Big Wedding.

Ryan unties the ropes

What got me today was one lady who called to make a reservation for next week and wanted me to assure her that there would be NO STRAWBERRIES at the breakfast.  Well folks, we DO HAVE STRAWBERRIES.  She said "I can't even have strawberries NEAR any of the food!"  Well, you know what dearie?  Don't stay at any hotels or go out an eat, that's my advice.

Ryan unloads...the first tree

This is just one example of why I like working at a hotel.  I never ceased to be amazed at what hotel guests request, ask or do.  I've been in the hospitality business for over ten years now and there is always something new that I haven't faced before.  Someday I will have to write a book about my experiences.

Ryan delivers...the first tree.  Beautiful....tree.

For now I'm trying to keep my life in balance and not being too successful.  I have a couple of tons of top soil that is to be delivered next week.  That delivery was delayed because of all the rain and the compost people rightly believed I would be paying for wet dirt.  I need the top soil to build a mound around my new river birch trees.  I had those delivered last week by "Ryan" (a hunk and a half thank you please).

Ron digs a hole (not the first or last he will ever dig)

Sometime next week we have to go to Pennsylvania to my brother's to pick up my Mom's wheelbarrow that is almost brand new and now not used by my brother (he's not a gardener like me).  And to top everything else off one of our sprinkler heads in our irrigation system popped yesterday.  I got home too late to call the irrigation people to come out and fix it.

And cleaning the house?  Forget it.  Now that my whole schedule is disrupted by working full-time, our normally pristine abode will have dust bunnies abounding.

I'm trying to keep up on my blogs.  Stream of consciousness here.  I was talking to my brother about working full-time and he understood completely.  He's also retired.  He said he couldn't do it now.  I'm doing it but I'm struggling.  It's hard to believe that in my previous life I used to commute back and forth to Philly every day and come home and do yard work until dark and on the weekends do all my chores.  Who was THAT PERSON?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Good Day

Carrie the Plant Lady - one of my co-workers

Yes folks, you read that right.  Today was a good day....at work.  I wasn't happy about going to work today because of what I had heard from one of my co-workers a few days ago.  To be very frank, I felt I was getting to the point where I had had enough.  I work very hard and am damn good at what I do but when I feel I am not recognized, or appreciated or even worse; wrongly accused, then it is time for me to seriously reevaluate the worth of keeping my job.

I've been around long enough to know just about all the scenarios at work.  I had feared the present scenario was going down a familiar path that I didn't want to trod.  For the past two days since I've been off I haven't been in a good mood because I knew I was going to address this perceived problem head on.

Why this particular situation was bothering me so much is that I don't want to quit my job.  I like my job, I like the kind of work I do, I like my co-workers, and hey...I even like my boss and the owner.  Thus when I heard a certain statement referring to me (which I won't go into here because of privacy - I don't know who is reading this blog), it just took all the wind out of my sails.  I work long and hard and I do my damnedest to do a good job and I do a good job.  There was a very good reason why  I won the President's Award in 2000 from the Hilton Hotel Corp as Best Guest Service Representative.  Yes, I won a trip to Disney World ($500.00 cash, four days in Disney World all expenses paid and a plaque).  I am good at what I do.  Something I don't have to be modest about.

Me and my Aunt Mabel with Mickey at Disney World April 2001

But because of a shortsighted comment I heard, I began to question whether or not it was worth it to continue going into work.  I now think I have blown this situation out of proportion.  In fact, after today at work I am certain of it.  So it looks like I will continue to be a hotel front desk clerk at least for the foreseeable future.  And that make me very happy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not a Good Day

Today was one of those days in which I questioned should I continue to work at my part-time job at the hotel.  I like working and the extra money makes my life a little easier but there does come a time when the lack of appreciation of the amount and quality of work that I do and the verbal abuse becomes too much.

Without going into details because I suspect some of those I work with read this blog, let's just say I am reevaluating if it is worth it to me to continue to work part-time.  I knew there would  be a problem when I was asked to work full-time (if only temporarily) because I am an easy target.  The irony is that I am not the problem at work.

I'm due back at work on Wednesday.  Let's see how this drama unfolds.  One thing that isn't going to happen is for me to be on the end of unwarranted verbal abuse.  I am a good natured, non-confrontational person but I too can only take so much.  I've just about had enough.

I hesitated posting this blog because it is negative.  Try as I might, I wanted to post something positive today but my heart just wasn't into it.  The past week I've worked so hard and expended myself so much only to be unfairly criticized.  I can understand the criticism but what I will not accept anymore is the manner in which it is delivered.  And what especially galls me is that there is never, NEVER any recognition for all the right things above and beyond that I do every day.  NEVER.

So the best I can do today is post a picture of the pretty flowers that I saw in a local greenhouse yesterday.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Touching Base

White Rose at the Inn where I work

Just touching base here folks to let everyone know that I am still alive and well.  I worked at the hotel last night 3 pm to 11 pm then in this morning from 7 am to 3 pm.  I don't have to tell you workers out there that I'm operating on exhaust fumes at this point.

Thank goodness my manager hired the replacement full-time front desk clerk today.  This time it is an elderly man like me.  That's good news because unlike the front desk clerk who left, who was a single Mom with two female children, I probably won't have to be called in on short notice like I have been in the past.  You know how it is with the single moms, always one of the children is sick or she can't get a baby sitter.  Us single guys, rarely a crises unless we're passing kidney stones (which happened to me a couple of years ago causing me to miss a week's worth of work).

So here I am folks, pushing off of of these blog postings that I hate to do.  Little content and nothing clever to say for you all to remember and gush over.  Just touching base letting you know I will be on this schedule for at least another two weeks.  The new front desk clerk doesn't start until May 27th.  At least his training will be minimal, he is coming from a job as a hotel front desk clerk.  Thank God for small favors.

The hotel is full this weekend.  As I left today at 3 some  of the kiddies were already in, screaming and talking non-stop.  I can forsee a LOT of calls to the front desk for extra pillows and blankets.  Hopefully I don't get THAT call for the clogged up toilet (a not unusual occurrence when the kids are in the rooms - they tend to throw towels down the toilet - probably one of the reasons our major competitor hotel in town doesn't accept children).

I'm in tomorrow afternoon 3 to 11 and the same hours for Sunday.Then I have two WHOLE days off until I do it all over again...for the next two weeks.

Hold all my calls.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Still Trying to Catch Up

My backyard Iris's with homemade bird perches

I knew when we went on our trip south last week I would fall off of my regular blogging routine.  Then I had the curve ball thrown to me of the regular full-time front desk clerk quitting at work.  I had to take her full-time shift until the hotel hires her replacement.  Resumes are received and interviews are being conducted but no clear candidate is in sight.  In the meantime I'm working every day except Mondays and Tuesdays.  Of course this comes at the worst time of the year.  Spring time is when I do most of my major yard work in preparation for the summer and fall season.  Thus, when I'm not working I'm out back, frantically and furiously taking advantage of the mild spring weather before the hot, muggy and mosquito infested days of summer are upon us.

I am a very orderly person.  Also referred got as very anal.  Guilty as charged.  The result of the disruption of my routine is that everything is thrown off.  The only thing I can advise is that if you're a regular reader of my blog, be patient.  I will be back to my routine.....eventually.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back to the Routine

I am so glad to be back home.  While our trip south was great, both of us are very happy to be at our home in Delaware.  I think Bill has a new appreciation for the flatlands of coastal Delaware after all those twisty, winding, "wiggly" roads through the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.  

Our trip has provided me with a lot of new fodder for future blog postings which I am looking forward to writing.  But for now our goal is just to get back to our regular routine.  

Tomorrow I begin a regular work schedule at the hotel.  I'm filling in for the full-time front desk clerk who gave her notice a couple of weeks ago.  She stayed an extra week last week while I was on vacation.  Now I'll fill in for her until the hotel hires a new full-time front desk clerk.  So this means I probably won't have as much time to devote to my blog postings.  That may be good news to some, but I'm just putting it out there.

Also, now that the nice weather has arrived I'll be spending a lot more time outside doing yard work, which I love.  Yard work and blogging are perhaps my two favorite pastimes.  

So for now I must leave to wash my car (exciting stuff) and visit the East Coast Gardens for purchase three river birch trees.  Bill finally gave his approval to plant an island of those trees wright outside my bedroom window to cutdown on the hot, afternoon summer sun.  Also to provide me with a beautiful view outside my bedroom window.

Oh, one more thing, the bluebirds have build their nest and are carefully watching their five baby bluebird blue eggs.  This is such good news because last year the sparrows ran them out.  The two years previously we had two batches of bluebirds raised in that birdhouse.  I am glad they got their routine back on track too.  It's all good.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Back Home In Delaware

Well folks, we arrived home (thank goodness!) yesterday morning safe and sound.  What a week!  We're still recovering.  Now to get settled in and renew our regular routine I am posting this video that I took last Thursday at the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site that we visited in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Bill and I were waiting around to meet my cousin Anne Tipton (who I've never met face to face) at 1 pm.  In the meantime we had time to kill so I wandered into one of the activity rooms and videotaped this adorable telling of the story of "The Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Piggies" to a group of second graders who were out on a class field trip.  This is what I like about taking a Road Trip, you never know what you're going to run into.  That reminds me of Forest Gump and why he liked a box of chocolates "You never know what you're going to get."  

Let me just say this, we had a fabulous and very interesting trip.  Was it tiring?  Absolutely.  Are we exhausted?  For certain.  Hey, it will take us at least a week to unwind and get back in The Rut again.  But, no matter how much this trip pushed us to the limit, it was well worth it.  Now we have a whole new set of memories. And oh boy do we ever!  I will share many of those new memories with you in some of my future blog postings.  

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Front Royal, Virginia

I'm sitting at my desk at my room in the wonderfully clean and comfortable room at the Front Royal Hampton Inn. What a huge difference in hotel accommodations from the cavelike room I had at the Red Roof Inn in Johnson City, Tennessee.

We decided to check out early in Johnson City in order to shorten the miles we would have to travel to get our rental van back to Enterprise on Saturday. There was just no way we could drive 10 hours tomorrow and get back to Delaware in time before Enterprise closed and we would have to wait until Monday and incur an extra day's charge.

We both got up very early (4 am) and were the first customers for breakfast at Burger King, just down the street in Johnson City from the Red Roof Inn where we were staying. Of course the Red Roof Inn doesn't offer breakfast. No surprises there.

After breakfast we had to kill five hours before I met up with my cousin Anne Tipton, who I have talked to on the phone many times but never met face to face. I disappointed her last year by not meeting her when I was in the Johnson City area. I didn't want to disappoint her again. But oh we had all these hours to kill while we were waiting for her to finish her brunch at her nieces graduation at ETU.

We waiting at the Tipton-Haynes Historic site in Johnson City for here. I surprised my friend Penny McLaughin who is the site director. She was busy with a bus load of second graders who were on a field trip. Those kids were so cute as their teacher was telling the "Three Piggies" story. I video taped that on my Flip video camera and will post it on You Tube when I get home tomorrow.

Oh yes, HOME! I am so looking forward to skipping in my own bed and getting back to my regular routine again.

Anne did show up at 1 o'clock and We fi ally met. I am now glad I waited because I liked her immediately. And.....she showed me new Tipton graves which were right down the street from the Historic Site. She showed me her parent's grave and her brother's graves. I took pictures and can now check off those folks whose pictures of graves I have to take for Fi d a Grave.

It's late and I'm making more typos than usual. That's a sure sign I am exhausted. I see a big, comfy king sized bed beckoning to me.

I'm coming, I'm coming!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Johnson City, TN

Here I sit in my $64.95 a night room at the Red Roof Inn in Johnson City, Tennessee. Bill and I arrived at noontime after a long (4 hour) ride from Townsend, Tennessee. We are exhausted.

I think I took too much on this trip. Yesrterday I decided to skip our visit to Knoxville and to visit my cousin Tim Tipton because we just don't have enough time and I want to minimize the amount of driving that Bill has to do in city traffic. Johnson City was bad enough today.

Driving up to Johnson City, Bill was enthralled by the mountains. He so misses geographical topography. He hates living in the flat coastal land of southern Delaware. I thought this would be a treat for him. He does like the scenery but the driving is just too much.

Today we took a drive over to the Pisgah Mountains of North Carolina where my father was born and raised until his family moved to Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old. I tried to climb the mountain to the graveyard where my great-grandfather and great-grandmother are buried but I couldn't find it. Their graveyard is located at the top of the mountain on Upper Pigeon Roost Road. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I climbed that mountain for over an hour. I finally gave up after I kept coming around another curve only to find more to climb. I took pictures and videos of this whole adventure and will post them when I get home. I don't know how to put those pictures on my iPad. I suspect I can't. Another one of those mysteries that I have to learn about my Apple products.

Today we also visited with my cousin Daisy Buckles. She has an interesting history. Her father was born in 1856 and is my great grandfather. It was his grave that I was looking for. My great grandfather Isaac Lewis married Mary Alice Hughes. After his first wife died he married Daisy's mother, Rissie, who was 40 years younger than he was! Thus, that is how Daisy is the half sister of my grandmother Hester Lewis. Daisy is 85 years old now.

We had a very nice visit. Daisy is recovering from a gall bladder operation. I was glad that I had the opportunity to visit her one more time in her lovely, modest home on the edge of Johnson City. She is a lovely lady. Southern gentility. Pictures will be included when I start blogging from home again.

I'm getting used to not having music on my blog. How about all of you? I do miss my picures though. So far I've taken 403 pictures on my iPhone! I've taken some with my Cannon 360 digital but I am gradually moving away from that camera for my picture taking. I've also taken about an hour an a half of video. I may post some of my videos. No slides though!

Well, I'm rambling now so I better quit. I am so looking forward to getting back to my regular routine after my 'field trip.'

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bill Returns Home

Bill - Toccoa Georgia - 1933

Bill returned home today, perhaps for the last time in his life.  Bill was born in Toccoa, Georgia in 1928.  I recently received this picture of Bill as a little boy with his mother, two older sisters and half brother from the half brother's son who happened upon my blog posting of Bill's visit to Toccoa last year.  I had never seen a picture of Bill as a little kid before.  Bill had never seen this picture of himself before either.

Bill's father died when Bill was only one year old in an automobile accident.  Bill was raised by his mother and a step-father.  He did not have a good relationship with his step-father.  That is a long and sad story that I won't go into here but will only say that Bill left Toccoa as soon as he graduated from high school and joined the Air Force.  In that respect Bill's history and mine are very similar.  I didn't get along with my father either and I left home and joined the Army as soon as I graduated from high school.

Today I accompanied Bill while he visited some of his old haunts in Toccoa and surrounding areas.  We visited his grandfather's home where he once spent several weeks after his mother and step-father had a ferociou argument and farmed the kids out.  We also visited the Stephens County Courthouse where I stepped into my first ever courtroom. What a fabulous experience that was!  The court room was almost exactly like the one featured in the movie "The Scopes Monkey Trial" or whatever the name of that movie was.  I even sat in the judge's chair and banged the gavel!  What a thrill that was.  I have video of that which I will post when I get home.  I'm at my brother and sister-in-law's home in Greenville now.  I can't download any of my pictures or videos to her computer.  That will have to wait until I get home. 

It was quite hot in Toccoa this afternoon.  Just like last year when we visited.  We're going back tomorrow to visit Curahee Mountain, Toccoa Falls, and the cemetery where I'm going to meet with one of my fellow Find a Grave volunteers who graciously took picture's of some headstones for Bill a couple of years ago.

When our visit to Toccoa ends tomorrow afternoon we're off to Townsend, Tennessee and Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountians National Park, one my absolute favorite places in the world. 

It's late now, I have my journal entries to make yet then it's time to go to bed.  No naps on this vacation.  My right eyelind is dropping.  A sure sign that Ron Is Tired.  I'm feeling good though because that evil incarnation that was Osama bin Laden is now gone from the face of this earth and now whopping it up with his forty virgins. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Day One of the Trip South

Here I sit in a hotel room at the Hampton Inn in Mebane. North Carolina. I'm trying to update my blog with my iPad and my teeny, tin keyboard working in HTML code. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise because this posting won't be too long. One thing I noticed right off the bat, no spell check. Watch out.

Sorry about the double pictures of the tulips. I only meant to post one but I had to put the pictures in draft form and I can't remove them from this post because I'm CONTRAINED! Bear with me.

We left early this morning. I did most of the driving (about six hours) until we got to Durham, North Carolina. That's when I started losing it. I just cannot drive long distances anymore. This will probably be my last road trip where I drive unless I can talk someone into driving (I'll rent the van and pay the hotel rooms plus meals! HINT! HINT!)

For those of you who know me and Bill, yes we started to argue only ten minutes into the ride. He wanted to go back. "TURN AROUND!" I worked it through (my life isn't easy believe me) and we managed another forty or fifty miles before we were screaming at each other. I won't bore you with all the gritty details but suffice it to say we're here now. We both agreed this will be our last road trip together. This is actually Bill's Farwell to his hometown of Toccoa Georgia. He wants to see it one more time before he departs this earth. The last time (last June) we made this trip it was to see my Mother for what I was pretty sure was the last time I would see her alive and it turned out to be true because she died three months after wse visited her. That's a sad story so I'll leave it.

By the way, this is tough typing without the use of a mouse. Hmmmm. I'm managing.

We had lunch at Shoney's. So, so. The iced tea was good and the hamburger was real although it wasn't cooked well done the way I prefer it. This evening we had dinner at Ruby Tuesday. Ruby Tuesday may be a chain restaurant but I find its food as good and usually better than the fare offered at pricier restaurants where I'm from, Beach Resort Town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Bill had Chinese dumplings and I had Chicken Florentine (yes, no SEAFOOD again for moi).

Bill's in his room now and I'm here attempting to update my daily blog despite numerous obstacles which I'm not used to dealing with including this teeney, tiny iPad screed and teeny, tine keyboard (for my big fingers). We decided to get separate rooms this time because we're on different sleeping schedules. Bill goes to bed at 7 or so and I usually go much later. We truly have very little in common. Bill even eats at different times that I do.

Tomorrow after a sumptuous breakfast here at the Hampton Inn we're off to Greenville, South Carolina to spend a couple of days with my brother John and his wife Barbara. I'll be sleeping in the same bedroom (and bed) that my Mother died. That probably should bother me but it doesn't When I stay with my brother Isaac in Pennsylvania I also stay in our Mom's bedroom and her bed. That freaks my brother out. Doesn't bother me, probably because that was my bedroom before it was hers. One of my bedrooms in my house in Delaware I have set aside as a shrine to my Mom. She never slept there but I kept it for her. I've put a basket if ger teddy bears on the her bed and I have her funeral book and sympathy cards on a bench next to her bed. That is the room I feel like she is there. She left those other rooms. It's my turn now.

But I'm getting off the subject. You know me and my blogs. I write just what comes into my mind. You all never know where I'm going. Sometimes I don't even know!

Just a couple of more things off subject before I leave you all tonight. Did anybody see Donald J. Trump get skunked last night at the White House Correspondents Dinner. President Obama, with aplomb, style and class easily handed The Donald his ass on a platter. Then Seth Myers (the comedian master of ceremonies) then proceeded to rip Trump an New One. Trump wasn't laughing. I LOVED IT! I live for this kind of Theater.

There was one other thing I wanted to talk about but I forget what it was now. My brother just called me on my iPhone to check in on me. I'm being 'eyed' out here! Talking on my iPhone while typing on my iPad. Techno Wizard here folks! Who would've thunk?

I had to come down to the business center here at the hotel to complete this blog.  It's great to be back to a regular keyboard even if it is one of those clunkly Dell keyboards (brings back bad memories). 

I removed the double posting of my orange tulip pictures (one regular and one in HD).  I wish I could post some of the pictures I took today but I don't know how to do that.  There is probably a way but it is beyond my skills right at this time.  I'll figure it out in time though.  Just another challenge. 

The worst part of this trip is over with.  The Big Haul down through the Delmarva Pensinula ending with going through Virginia Beach and Norfolk - an absolute nightmare.  And I hate the Chesapeak Tunnel.  I get very nervous going under the bay in that narrow tunnel with oncoming traffic.  SCARY!  I'm pretty sure this is the last time I am making this trip.  We're going back home a different way.  Either we'll take 81 up to Pennsylvania to visit my other brother or we will go directly home to Delaware by way of Washington DC which is what I was trying to avoid all along.  It can't be any worse than Virginia Beach/Norfolk. 

So that folks is my First Day on my Trip South.  More tomorrow!

Caregiver Update

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