Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Consider this, in the last two weeks I've experienced an earthquake, a hurricane and the results of my second blood test came back and yes, my PSA score is still over the top.

The Next Step is in order now.  I've called and made an appointment with a urologist.  The earliest he can see me is October 21st.  I hear that prostate cancer (if in fact I do have it) is a slow cancer (if you're going to get a cancer I guess that's the kind to get) so I guess I have TIME.

I offer no excuses nor apologies for writing about my newest medical challenge.  One benefit that has come of me not being the Strong Silent Type (Gary Cooper I'm not) is that I'm finding out that several of my friends and relatives have gone through the same experience. They have all survived.  The only relatives who haven't survived a cancer of which they should have gotten a test was my cousin Jeffrey and uncle Sam.  They both died of colon cancer because they refused to get an colonoscopy.  I've had four colonoscopies thank you.  The most recent a few months ago and yes, I came out clean as a whistle (so to speak).

So life goes on.  I'm concentrating on updating all my genealogy and cemetery information on the Internet lest I have a limited time left on this earth.  Well, actually if you think about it we all have a limited time on this earth.

I may be jumping ahead of myself here but what I'm thinking about now is what kind of treatment do I want to get if I do have prostate cancer.  The radioactive seeds and female hormone injections or fifteen weeks of radiation, five days a week (like my friend will be undergoing shortly).  Of course I could have the whole prostate removed but you know WHAT THAT MEANS.  Don't ask me to explain.  Look it up.

One thing the earthquake and Hurricane Irene did was to take my mind off of my new Medical Adventure.

Oh yes, and now I am having trouble chewing on the right side of my mouth.  I have a dental appointment next week that was already scheduled (teeth cleaning).  I wouldn't be surprised if I needed root canal.

I feel like I'm falling apart.  Watching a new season of "DWTS" will take my mind off of these negative thoughts swirling around in my head.

Dancing With The Stars Season #13

The cast of the new season of "Dancing With the Stars" season 13 was announced last night!

"DWTS", the BEST show on TV!  I love it. This is my absolute favorite TV show, in spite of the annoying habit of some of the professional dance partners of the celebrities (think Mark Ballas) to ham it up and steal the spotlight for themselves.

This seasons cast is varied and interesting but still seems to follow a familiar formula.  There are the athletic and naturally agile sports stars (this time Ron Atest and Hope Solo).  My money is on Ron Atest to win the Revolving Disco Ball.

Then there are the klutzes who don't stand a chance because the ballet dancing hippos in "Fantasia" (think Nancy Grace, Chaz Bono and Ron Kardashian).  The producers put these sad souls on the show much like the Roman Emperors threw the Christians to the lions in the coliseum.  There are always those in the audience who like to see slaughter, no matter how predictable.

Then we have the beautiful damsels you just love to see move across the dance floor in barely there costumes being flung around by their professional partners that you excuse for not dancing well because just because they look so good (think Elisabetta Canalis and Kristin Cavalari).

Then there are the semi and has been celebrities that you don't think can dance but will surprise you by their smooth moves as a result of their hard work and dedication to do well (think Rikki Lake, J. R. Martinez and Chynna Phillips).

And of course there is the mandatory Celebrity Clown (notice, there is one per show) who have screwed up their careers and who won't dance well and don't care but we will still watch them because so many of us are addicted to schadenfruede (a German word meaning enjoying the misfortune of another).  Of course the celebrity who steps up to the plate to fill that role is none other than David Arquette, Mr. Courteny Cox.  Get ready for a LOT of David Giggles (he still thinks he's a cute little boy).

And that leaves one, Carson Kressley, he of the late "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."  You all remember Carson don't you?  He was the one with the over the top, stereotypical gay mannerisms and actions that give all gays like me a bad name.  I don't know what to make of Carson being on the show.  I notice that he's not in the group cast picture of the Season 13 contestants.  I wonder why?  Perhaps his head was too big.  Carson strikes me as one of those quasi celebrities who think they are the Second Coming once they get a little exposure.  I doubt if he will last long on the show or that anyone will even care.

So there you are, Ron's first critique of "DWTS - Season 13".  I take no prisoners.

Sometimes You Stumble

Find a Grave Memorial for George A. Gift
Notice the irony that Mr. Gift was born on Christmas Eve and died near Christmas

This morning I was busily updated my Find a Grave account with the information I gathered on hundreds of graves last week in New London, Pennsylvania.  Why I like being a Find a Grave contributor is that I am doing something that will last long after I'm gone; I am putting the photos and information on the final resting place of individuals on the Internet.  Many times friends and family can't visit the graves of their loved ones and sometimes don't even know where the grave is.  With the new Digital Age and the thousands of Find a Grave volunteers, we are able to put all this information on the Internet at no cost to anyone who wants to see it.

So much on the Internet these days has a cost attached to it, even information about obituaries and graves.  I am a firm believer that information like this should be available at no cost.  We already have enough Internet millionaires who appear on "Millionaire Matchmaker", we don't need a more.

So here I was this morning working away at posting all this information and then I come across a memorial like this.  Of course someone always misses the departed.  But sometimes there is an inscription on the final resting place that causes me to stop and choke up.  This was one of those memorials.

Who's Been Eating My Porridge?

The culprit on my dill plants

One of my favorite summertime treats is freshly made zucchini soup with dill.  I grow my own dill plants in my backyard.  I grow LOT of dill in my backyard.  Thus I was somewhat perplexed yesterday when I ventured out into my private backyard Eden and found no dill.

What happened?  It didn't take me too long to discover that I am now sharing my backyard dill plants with the pupa of the black swallowtail butterfly.

I've already given up on harvesting much of my parsley plants because the swallowtail pupa also feast on that herb. This summer however they had a tough time because the pupa apparently are a favorite food source of the Purple Martins that take up residence in my backyard every summer.  I think the Purple Martins won that battle because I haven't seen too many adult black swallowtail butterflies in our backyard this summer.

The Purple Martins left about three weeks ago for South America.  The swallows have also gone points south.  Except for an occasional sparrow, our  backyard is bird free.  Thus all of my dill plants (and I have plenty) are covered in the green and black swallowtail pupa.

So I took the zucchini dill soup off of the menu and have instead substituted fresh garden tomato herb soup.  I made a batch yesterday, delicious!

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Dancing With the Stars" Season 13

I just saw a notice of the possible participants in "Dancing With the Stars" Season 13.  Check out this list man!  Be still my heart!  Wow!  Hey, I am JUST DYING to see Chaz Bono tango.

Possible participants on DWTS - Season 13

Back to Normal

Butterfly activity was very busy in my backyard today.  Where did they hide during the hurricane?

During the darkest hours during Hurricane Irene's onslaught of our Delaware coast home, one of my Facebook friends sent me a message "Don't worry Ron, the sun will be out tomorrow."  

With thoughts of the roof of our house being ripped off by a random tornado or just the simple inconvenience of losing power for hours or days, that message was such a comfort.

Well, I am very happy to say that we made it through Irene with little more damage than some beaten down impatiens plants and a torn tree limb or two.  I don't mean to minimize the real damage that was done here, only a few miles away where a house was completely destroyed and fifteen damaged by that random tornado. Aren't those random tornadoes the worst?  I say if you're going to have a tornado let's have one that is planned.  I mean, REALLY.  But I digress.

That simple statement "Don't worry Ron, the sun will be out tomorrow", put the dire situation of the moment into perspective.  My way of going into any situation that I know I have no control is with the mindset of "Let me just GET THROUGH THIS" and hope for the best".  Yes, prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

We got the best out of this situation.  I pay no attention to those who are now criticizing the TV coverage and government officials for over hyping the threat of Hurricane Irene.  I think the local, state and Federal officials were exactly right in their warnings and the steps they took too prepare the populace for the worst. Sure, most of the TV mob are drama queens.  So what?  That's the business they're in.  The best quote I heard yesterday was from New Jersey Chris Christie.  He had just heard that there were still people on the beach on the Jersey Shore sunning and surfing.  I quote Governor Christie:

I may have to turn in my Bleeding Heart Ultra Liberal card but I like this man!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Sun is Out!

Glory be, the sun is out!  Just as I had hoped for, after the long, dark, windy, voice, fear filled night that was Hurricane Irene passing though here; the day after is a whole new day.  I know, a long sentence but you get the idea of what I'm trying to say.

What a wonderful feeling to feel the warmth of the sun's rays after last night.  I can hear the vehicles steaming again down Route 1 to Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, and Ocean City, Maryland.  Now that is a sound I am glad to hear again, life getting back to normal here on the Delmarva peninsula.

In fact, I am so enthused I'm going to go outside right now and do some yard work!

A Drive Through Our Neighborhood After Irene

This is a video of Bill and I driving through our neighborhood the morning after Hurricane Irene slammed into us last night.  There wasn't too much damage.

We took a drive to the town of Milton (which I may have already posted about) to check our friend's house.  It was still standing intact.

We saw some big trees down at one house but the owner was outside walking around with a coffee cup assessing the damage and I didn't have the guts heart to take a picture of his new involuntary landscaping project.

More video to come (now that I know how to upload videos directly to my You Tube account).

Hungry Hummingbirds

All is well here now.  Thank goodness!  Bill and I took a ride around our development as well as the development next to us.  Some major tree damage but otherwise we basically dodged a big one.  I didn't even have any roof shingles blow off like I did this past spring during a heavy windstorm.

The windy remnants of Irene are still here, breaking up my too big knock-out rose bushes outside my sunroom windows.  They needed trimmed back anyway.

Bill and I ventured out of our development (no, we didn't seek the permission of the AUTHORITIES - hear that Wayne?) and took a drive to the town of Milton to inspect our friend Bob C.'s house to make sure there was no damage (there wasn't).  We saw his neighbor M.J.  She smiled and waved at us.  Life is getting back to normal.

The video posted is of our hungry hummingbirds.  Irene totally messed up their food source which is plentiful around the house.  I make sure I plant a lot of flowers that are humming bird friendly and they know it.  They come back here every summer to lay their eggs and raise their little ones, all the while feeding off of our salvia and impatience plants.  Irene's tropical downpour has temporarily cut off that food source for our diminutive avian friends.  That's all right, we have plenty of humming bird nectar to supplement their natural food source.

The sun is out but the winds are still blowing, with gusts up to thirty mph.  Life is slowly getting back to normal.

Does it feel like a Sunday to you?  It doesn't to me either.

The Neighborhood After Irene

Just got back from a quick walking tour of my end of the neighborhood. Wayne, call the authorities!  I stepped out of my house!  Wayne (aka "The Cajun") is my friend who lives in Rehoboth who got his panties all twisted into a knot because I took a ride into Rehoboth Beach early yesterday morning BEFORE THE STORM and took some videos.

The winds have died down considerably but are still here and there is a light rain falling.

There wasn't too much damage in the neighborhood.  My neighbor Barbara's cherry tree looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa now after Irene's visit.  My neighbors the Hughes' flowering plum tree has a big branch sheared off the bottom.  It probably need to be trimmed anyway, Mother Nature took care of it for them.

At the end of the development, the large sand bed which I cross over into the neighboring Oyster Rocks development for my daily walk, is now covered with water.  It is quite the lovely pond now.  My neighbor Alan and his wife Reggie, who just sold their house because they wanted a "water view" down on Rehoboth Bay, now have there "water view" right here in our development.  If you look closely at the video you can see wood ducks paddling at the far right end of the "pond."

I'm going to take it easy today.  Update my Find a Grave account, Ancestry.com and check my Facebook and e-mails to see what is going on outside of my little universe here.

I am so thankful we didn't lose power.  At least we haven't lost power...yet.

Hungry Hummingbirds

The worst is over (I hope).  I awoke this morning at 4:23 a.m. exhausted.  Yes, exhausted.  Not because I was outside in the sturm und drang of Hurricane Irene but because I was worried about a tornado hitting our house.  As I reported in my previous blog posting, a tornado did hit in nearby Lewes, totally destroying one house and damaging fifteen others.

I haven't got out and assessed the damage in our neighborhood here but I do see my neighbor Barbara's beloved cherry tree listing at a 45 degree angle.  Of course my beloved impatience are gone which I fully expected to happen with the deluge of water that was dumped on us yesterday by her highness Hurricane Irene.  However, I usually lose those impatience anyway during a heavy thunderstorm which happens almost every summer so no big loss there.  I will miss the that riot of color in the front of our house.

We didn't lose power!  Of that I am so thankful for.  Wow.  I did lose my satellite TV for several hours because of the heavy cloud cover and rains but that was also to be expected.  My satellite TV reception is back now and the news is all about New York and its environs which are about to be smacked in the face my Irene in a few hours.

We still have winds around here but nothing like those sustained winds we had yesterday for about twelve hours.  Man did that ever get old after the first ten hours or so.  The winds began about two in the afternoon and kept up until I went to bed at about 11:30.  I woke up at about 2 am. I think that is when the roaring winds finally stopped.  Oh how sweet that silence was.

I'm still keeping the bathtubs full of water just in case Tidewater (our water supply company) decides to turn off the main water supply.  We got a TON of water yesterday from Irene.  The retention pond at the end of our development, which has been a dry desert bed all summer, is now a beautiful pond. My neighbors at the end of our development now have their much desired "water view."

I have a headache and am still exhausted by all the drama of the past twenty four hours but I am so thankful that we survived intact from this latest calling card from Mother Nature.

Note:  the video on this blog was taken this morning of the many humming birds that are now feeding at our humming bird feeder.  Their main source of food was cut off during Irene's onslaught.  You should have seen them fighting for position at the feeder yesterday during the height of the storm yesterday, the poor things.  I'm glad we have something out there for them to sustain them during this period of need for them.  Not only people and pets need help during the storm, the humming birds need a little helping hand.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tornado Hits Lewes

Just got the news that a tornado touched ground and totally destroyed a house in Lewes and damaged fifteen others!  The house was located off of New Road, two miles from where I live and my route to work.  Too close for comfort!

It's been raining here hard with the winds since two this afternoon.  It's still raining hard with a few brief lulls and it is 10:15 PM now.  I'm afraid to go to sleep for fear of a tornado tearing the roof off of my house.

I was just talking to my friend Larry in Claymont (upstate Delaware) on FaceTime and he started to hear transformers pop.  Sure enough, after about the third pop I lost him.

I've been checking the hurricane storm tracker on Weather.com but it seems that it's stuck right over where we live for the last four hours!

The winds are really picking up now and the lights are flickering.  I better post this before I lose power.

Preparing for Irene

Just got a call from my neighbor Barb.  She said that Ocean City, MD turned off their water treatment plant.  You know what that means, fill up the bathtubs!  I don't want to be stuck not being able to flush the toilet.

The rain has been coming down for about five hours now.  I just got up from my afternoon nap (a very nice nap by the way with the rain falling outside).  We're expecting the full brunt of Irene in about eight hour or 2 a.m. this morning.  I wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight as well as I did this afternoon.

We have a lot of water outside but I've seen worse during several nor'easters that have blown through here since we moved here in November of 2006.  The wind is buffeting the side of the house now.  If I told you I wasn't afraid I would be lying.  This is NO FUN, believe me.  Thank God I haven't heard anything more about a tornado for our area.

Rehoboth Avenue Closed

It is now official, Rehoboth Avenue is closed.  If you manage to go in, they won't let you out.  It's a good thing Bill and I went early this morning for me to take my videos.

Just think, a Saturday afternoon in August on the main drag in Rehoboth and you can't get out.  Hey, that's what it was like the last time I was in on a weekend day, I couldn't get out.

Irene's Rains Arrive

Hurricane Irene isn't expected to hit us here on the east coast of the Delmarva peninsula but as you can see by the video, her rains have already arrived.  As I expected, the heavy rains are beating down my impatiens flowers.  Oh well, it happens every summer.  At least we enjoyed them for about a week after the summer long heat wave subsided about a week ago.

Look at the water that accumulates on the road out in front of our driveway, that's my worry.  During just a regular rainstorm we have a small pond out there.  I can't imagine what six hours or more of heavy rain will do to our little "pond" at the entrance to our driveway.

A friend just called from Pennsylvania.  He told me he heard on the news there was a tornado warning for the Milton area of Sussex County.  Oh wonderful, that's what we need now in addition to the oncoming tornado, possible floods and almost certain loss of power.

It's about time for my afternoon nap.  I'm hoping when I wake up all this has passed our little niche on the east coast of southern Delaware.

Entering Rehoboth Beach the Morning of Irene

Bill and I take a ride to Rehoboth Beach, which is six miles down the road from where we live north of Rehoboth.  I want to take some videos of the once in a lifetime event of a deserted Rehoboth Beach on an August Saturday morning.  I wasn't disappointed as the following videos will show.  To listen to me talking on the videos, turn off the music on this blog by pushing the Pause button.

We continue our ride into Rehoboth this morning as the darkness recedes.

Now we are about to enter Rehoboth Beach.

We drive down a deserted Rehoboth Avenue, the main drag in Rehoboth Beach. Normally on a late August Saturday morning like this morning, this road would be clogged with vehicles and people and bikes.

I get out of our Jeep and walk to the Atlantic Ocean in Rehoboth.  Already the waves ares starting to swell up and a light rain falls.

Walking down a deserted Rehoboth Avenue this rain and wind sweated August Saturday morning in Rehoboth Beach Delaware.

Bill and I "get out of Dodge" and head back home before the rains really start to come down.

We continue on north on Rt. 1 to our home.

The rain is picking up now as we head home to safety.

We take a ride down Oyster Rocks Road to the Broadkill River, which is the closest body of water to us.
There isn't any development at the end of Oyster Rocks Road because it is a marshland.  However, across the marshland you can see the million dollar house waiting for Irene this evening.  I wonder if they will be standing tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Night Before

The sunset this evening during my walk

Here we sit awaiting Irene.  If I didn't tell you that I hope that all the weather forecasters were wrong, I would be lying.  I have butterflies in my stomach right now because I don't know what to expect.  Well actually I sort of know what to expect, a nor'easter of the likes of which I never experienced before.

I just came back from my early evening walk in the Oyster Rocks development behind the development where I live.  The sun was just setting.  I took several pictures with my iPhone some of which are on this posting.

There was an eerie calm in the development.  Usually on a late, summer August evening such as this some of the folks back there would be cooking out on their barbecue.  The happy sounds of relatives and/or friends visiting to take advantage of the last days of summer.  No such late summer evening activity this evening among my neighbors in Oyster Rocks.  All was quiet except for a long doggie yapping at me from someone's back deck.  A sadness created over me.  I almost feel like we're waiting to be punished for something.

I could hear the cars on Route 1 streaming north.  So unusual because on other summer Friday nights there is almost an unbroken line of traffic streaming south to Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethaney Beach and points south like Ocean City Maryland.  However, since Delaware governor Markel declared a mandatory evacuation of all shore points within 3/4 a mile of inland bays, canals and the Atlantic Ocean; the only activity is the steady stream of cars, vans, and travel trailers.  One interesting omission in the travel vehicles is the absence of motor cycles.  Usually we hear many motorcycles roaring down Rt. 1 to points south during these late summer days.  No rude motorcycle racket this summer evening.

Bill helped our neighbors get their generator started.  Ours is working and ready to go if when the power goes out.  We're ready to hunker down and ride this baby out.

Sunny days are forecast for all next week.  We will get there.  We just have to go through this drama first.

Just before the sun set the sky was ablaze with this arrow pointed at my neighbor's house. 

Waiting for Irene

We await Irene.  The weather today is deceptively calm. I guess you could really say this is "the calm before the storm."

I took this video a few hours ago to show what my lovely impatiens look like.  This flowers will be no more after Irene arrives.

I just heard on the news that Mayor Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of all lower areas of New York City.  Delaware governor Markel has ordered mandatory evacuation of all areas of coastal Delaware. Guess what folks?  That's where we live.  We're staying here.  Bill says if it gets too bad we can always get in our car for protection.

Bill and I dragged the generator from our shed, down through our grass to the garage.  Bill revved it up.  It's working. We'll have enough backup power to keep our refrigerators and freezers going.  That's all we need. It would be nice if we don't lose power but I fully expect to lose power.

I'll keep blogging until we lose power.

Getting Out of Dodge

And here I thought I was going to have a nice quiet weekend.  The laugh is on me and about fifty million other residents of the Eastern seaboard who are in the path of Hurricane Irene.

The video I have posted I took a few hours ago of the steady stream of traffic going north on Route 1.  Normally on a summer Friday morning such as this, the steady stream of traffic would be traveling SOUTH on Route 1.  However, since governor Markel has declared a state of emergency and mandatory evacuation of Ocean City, Maryland; Rehoboth Beach, Bethaney Beach, Dewey Beach and Lewes, Delaware many are headed north.....to what?  Dry land?  I don't think so.

Hurricane Irene storm path up the east coast

Bill and I are going to tough it out here in Casa Tipton-Kelly, 2 miles east of the water.  Yes, we are east of Route 1 which is a bad sign but we're not "on the water."  Those who are "on the water" will probably be "under the water" come this Sunday.  I feel bad for my neighbor Alan who is moved to a house right on Rehoboth Bay.  Oh man, I stayed there once about five years ago and during a nor'easter the house I was housesitting in was SURROUNDED BY WATER!  I called the gals who I was housesitting for (they were luxuriating in the mild climes of Florida that January) and expressed my concern that me and their cat would be up on the roof of the house if the water came up much further.  They told me not to worry, "it always does that."  They were right, the house wasn't flooded. By the way I was housesitting because the previous year their house was flooded but by a faulty washing machine hose.  One thing good came out of that experience, I learned that while living "on the water" gives you nice views, there are downsides.

Delaware braces for unprecedented storm

So this morning Bill and I made a run to our friend's house in Milton and closed his attic windows.  Six to twelve inches of rain are forecast.  We stopped at Ace Hardware to get some batteries for our flashlights for when the power goes out and it WILL GO OUT.  I have no doubt of that fact.

As you would guess I wasn't the only one with the idea to get fresh batteries.  I got some but the selection was slim to none.  There wasn't much comfort in the fact that I wasn't the only long faced customer in the store looking in vain to replace my weak and dead batteries.

Delaware Governor orders residents and tourists to evacuate - we're staying here

Once we got home Bill had me help him drag the generator out of the shed.  We did have wheels on it but who knows where they are now.  So here is the picture of two OLD MEN dragging a generator over about an acre of lawn to our garage.  After a lot of huffing and puffing we got it there.  I was worried about scaring the lawn. I shouldn't have worried, all the dragging did was pull up some more wire grass.

The next item on the Emergency Agenda was to gather all my important papers in case we have to Get Out Of Dodge ourselves.  We don't plan to go anywhere.  Where would we go?  A shelter?  I don't think so.  Now I know why other folks are reluctant to leave their homes when disaster approaches.  I'm telling you, this is scary man.  Seriously, it is scary.

Looking ugly

Then I gathered up my old photo albums that I have in our FINISHED BASEMENT.  Oh yes, it's all finished.  Wall to wall Berber carpeting.  With six to twelve inches of rain forecast to fall in a short period of time some of that wet stuff may find it's way into our basement even though we have a drainage system outside the door.

I'm getting depressed talking about all this.  I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep blogging about this impending disaster. I'll keep at it until the power goes out.

I was so hoping for a nice, quiet week to sitting at my computer and posting those six hundred or so pictures I took of graves to my Find a Grave account.  I took those pictures this past Wednesday during our Pennsylvania Excursion.  Originally we were going to go up to Pennsylvania this Sunday.  Can you imagine?  I don't like to drive in rain as it is, I've never driven in a hurricane and I don't intend to.

I hear this is a Once in a Hundred Years Hurricane that is about to hit the Delmarva peninsula (that's where we live folks).  I was sort of hoping I would be long gone when the Big One hit.  Looks like that's not going to happen.

Stay tuned.  News as it happens

We're ready 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Awaiting Irene

Evacuation Route

Yes folks, I'm right in the path of the biggest hurricane to hit the Delmarva peninsula in decades.  Oh joy.  This is supposed to be the biggiest hurricane to hit the east coast since Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954, 57 years ago.  I remember Hurricane Hazel.  I was just a young lad of 11 years old but it scared the bejuses out of me.  I was sort of hoping I wouldn't go through something like that again in my lifetime.

So here I sit at work, for once wishing I lived in Phoenix, Arizona.  Most of the hotel guests have cancelled their reservations for the weekend or left early today.  We have a few guests left in the hotel but as the one guest told me when I informed him of the dire situation approaching us this weekend, "Where am I going to go?  We live in New York." 

Ocean City, which is about 25 miles down the road, has a mandatory evacuation order.  We, here on the east cost of Sussex County have a voluntary evacuation order.  Bill and I are sticking it out in our house, which is on the east side of Route 1, two miles from the beach.  We have a basement. 

My last big Hurricane Experience was Hurricane Floyd in September of 1998.  I was working at a hotel then too.  Because of my extraordinary effort in getting to the hotel (The Hampton Inn in Lionville, PA) and keeping it running and the guests calmed (yes, I'm bragging) during that natural disaster the Hilton Hotel corporation awarded me a "Best Guest Service Representative" award which was a trip for two to Disneyworld for four days.

I hope this one passes us by, I've already been to Disneyworld.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Me at the great oak tree at Northwood Cemetery, Downingtown, PA
Where were you when the Great Earthquake hit yesterday?  Bill and I were in Pennsylvania.  Bill wanted to visit our old property (again) and I wanted to visit three cemeteries to take more pictures.  I also wanted to visit our cemetery plots at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Where Bill and I will be "planted"
So where were we when the earth shook on the east coast at 1:51.04 pm?  We had just left my brother Isaac's home on Hopewell Road outside of Downingtown and were headed towards Wegmans (my absolute favorite SUPER market in the whole world) for lunch before we head to the Northwood Cemetery on a hill overlooking Downingtown.  We didn't feel a thing.

The only earthquake I ever experienced in my life was a very mild earthquake back in the 70's when we lived in Philadelphia.  That earthquake occurred about 1 o'clock in the morning.  We lived in a three story townhouse in center city Philadelphia.  I remember hearing a ominous rumbling and a slight but dangerous movement of the house where I was sleeping on the third floor bedroom.  I'm usually a heavy sleeper but I woke up right away and I knew exactly what was happening.  I jumped out of bed and onto the floor which was MOVING.  The whole episode only lasted for about six seconds but that six seconds all kinds of thoughts went through my mind.  "Could I make it down the stairs in time?"  No.  "Could I open the window to the bedroom and try and climb down the side of the building and drop to the deck on the second floor?"  No.  Man was I ever focused.  Then as I was still reviewing my options the trembling and rumbling stopped.  It was over.  I went back to bed.

The next morning when I awoke I wasn't sure whether I had dreamed it or not.  However, watching the news on TV that morning confirmed that I had indeed been through an earthquake, however mild.  It was still the scariest thing I had ever experienced in my life.

Ironically, where we were going yesterday after lunch at Wegmans was Northwood Cemetery, where I have two plots (side by side) for me and Bill.  I bought the burial plots after my father died in 2000.  I am now ready to buy my tombstone.

This is where my tombstone will go, right next to the Chinese guy (can you believe it? There goes the neighborhood)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Man Flies!

Bill and I took an impromptu trip to our old home in Pennsylvania today. We just got back about a half hour ago and this is what we saw flying over our back yard...two men in their flying machines.  I you look closely you'll see that both of them are sitting in chair like contraptions with their legs dangling.  Wow.  Talk about being afraid of heights.

When I was up in Pennsylvania I stopped in to visit my brother Isaac.  He was telling me what an adventure it was for him to climb up on his single story ranch house roof to put a scree over the chimney so the stink bugs won't get in the house this year.  He said "this old man can't climb anymore."  I agreed with him.  Heights didn't use to bother me but they bother me now.  Maybe it has something to do with getting older.

Watching these two guys fly around the sky right above us like a couple of noisy mosquitoes was interesting.  The view from up there has to be great.  Imagine the great shots with my new Canon SLR I could take from that angle.  But after thinking it over for about three seconds and seeing those guys dangling their legs from their chair in the sky, I don't think I'll be going up anytime soon.  What I can't figure out is how do they get down?


My friend Lar wanted to know about the header picture on this blog.  He said it wasn't my usual scenic shot.  He thought an explanation might be in order.  So here it is, this picture was taken about four years ago at the Double L Bar in Rehoboth Beach.  That's me getting ready to make the break the balls (no pun intended) and my longtime friend Big Bob watching.  

The Double L bar is a gay leather and western bar.  "Gay and western" means that it is a butch gay bar  and not your regular gay dance bar with drag shows.  That's for the "other" gay guys.  We butch gay guys prefer pool instead of seeing a fat gay guy in drag impersonate Liza for the millionth time.  I'm not making judgments here, just stating a fact. No offense to anyone if the glass slipper shoe fits.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Family Tree

Samuel Pennell Hannum 1836-1911 (Pennsylvania Quaker)
My great-great-grandfather on my Mother's side of the family

This is where I will be the next few weeks, furiously updating my family tree on Ancestry.com.  I've left it go long enough.  My relatives are dying off, I'm losing valuable information.

Ancestry.com and findagrave.com are great resource tools to help me update my family tree.  I want to do this now in case I'm not around.  Someday THAT will happen, be not being "around."

Now I may "go" tomorrow, wiped out by a rude tourist on Route 1 anxious to get to Rehoboth and a parking spot near the beach.   Maybe I do have prostate cancer and my days are numbered (I really don't believe that but I'm prepared).  Then maybe I'll live to be 100 years old but we all know how fast time flies by (when you're having fun and I always have fun).

I started my family genealogy research back in April of 1994.  Since that time I  had periods when I was hot and heavy on the research and then there were those periods where Life interrupted.  Then I had periods when I got buried into the research again.  One thing about researching family genealogy, it does take over your life.

My family tree- click to make picture larger

I was up until 2 am this morning trying to reconcile the dates of my great-great-grandfather Samuel Pennell Hannum.  I love this kind of work, LOVE IT! I can imagine people having jobs like this that they love so much that they don't even make time to eat, go to the bathroom or sleep.  That's the way it is with me when I'm digging into my family history and updating records.

As I said, I love this activity.  I was worried that if I did kick the bucket all my information would be lost.  Now I'm not so worried.  I'm putting all my information on Ancestry.com and Find a Grave.  That information will be there forever for whoever wants to garner it for their own records.  I was really worried that all my research would be lost once I was gone.  I feel so relieved now that I know that isn't going to happen.

Maybe I needed something like that high PSA count to give me a kick start.  Fate has a strange way of working.  I am very happy the way things are working out now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mr. Fixit

Bill examining the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner

This is Bill, trying to figure out why our neighbor's Roomba robot vacuum cleaner is acting erratically.  Barb (our neighbor) says "it just goes around in circles."  She ask Bill to "take a look at it", which in Bill parlance means TAKE IT APART AND SEE WHAT MAKES IT TICK.

Well, back in Bill's previous life, he was an electronics technician.  He retired in 1982 from that job to take care of our house and grounds and ME fulltime (I am high maintenance).  Needless to say a LOT has changed in the electronics since 1982.  We're talking almost 30 years.  But Bill still likes to take things electronic things apart.  He took our friend Bob C.'s computer apart when it crashed on Bob.  Bill found the hard disk.  He proudly showed me the shiny silver disk saying "Hey Ron, this is a hard drive."  Uh...big whoop (I guess).

Bill's "office" is full of disembodied electronic equipment that had the temerity to quit functioning.  When we go on our thrift shop excursions, the first place Bill heads is for the baskets of discarded, nor orphaned electronic equipment that is no longer fashionable, loved or usable.  He usually finds a goodie or two.  They go into his ever increasing collection of "spare parts."

I will give Bill credit though.  Over the years I have been very fortunate to have my very own Mr. Fixit in house.  God knows I am about the least mechanically inclined person that ever existed.  I can cook, I can garden, and I can talk your ear off but can I fix a leaky faucet?  I wouldn't know where to start.  Bill is my live in maintenance man.  He's cheap too.  Give him a can of beans and he's happy.  He is very low maintenance unlike you know who.

So did Bill get the Roomba robot fixed?  Sorry to say but no.  It was those darn teeny weeny computer chip boards again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blood Test

Impatients (out front of my house - they survived the Heat Wave)

Went down to the Georgetown VA Outpatient clinic this morning to get my blood retested.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, my prostate PSA score was significantly higher my last blood test.  The VA wants to test it again.  If the score is still high then the next step is having biopsies taken to see if I do have prostate cancer.  I hope I'm not going down that path but I do have a weird feeling this time.

Well, anyway I was one of the first this morning at the outpatient clinic.  My appointment was for 7:45 a.m. but they didn't open their doors until 8:00 am.  What was that all about, making my appointment earlier?  Who knows?  I no longer got in and scanned my VA ID card and sat down and pulled out my iPhone to while away the time than I heard "Ronald Tipton?"   Yep, that's my name, don't wear it out.

I get up and am ushered into the room with the electric arm chairs where the blood is taken.  An older woman patient also goes in.  They take us in twos.  She takes the chair on the left that I usually take.  Already I'm thrown off.  I sit in the chair on the right.  The vampire woman who takes the blood comes out around the corner, needle ready.  She asks "Which arm?"  

I indicate my right arm.  I have big veins so it really doesn't matter which arm she uses but I usually have my left arm stabbed punctured used.  She swabs my arm with a alcohol soaked square white gauze pad.

She says "Make a fist."  I know how to do this but usually under different circumstances of which I won't go into here.  I make a fist and she stabs me.  OUCH!  Damn, that hurt!  Of course I didn't say anything (saving Face and all that you know) but I couldn't help but grimace.  It really did hurt.  It felt like I was stabbed with an ice pick.  Usually when I have my blood taken I don't feel anything.  In fact the last time she took my blood (from my left arm which from now on I will only use for giving blood), I didn't feel anything.  I complimented her on her skills.  Not this time though, this hurt like a bitch.

She draws my blood then puts another gauze pad on the hole in my arm and tapes the pad to my arm,  arm hair and all (always fun when I tear that baby off.)

Then she goes over to the counter and picks up a little plastic bottle with a label on it.  She asks me to state my name and my "last four" (the last four number of my Social Security number).  I state my name and Last Four (something we veterans who use the VA Medical system do automatically like Pavlov's dog salivating when he hears a bell every time we enter their portals).

I passed that test and she hands me the little plastic bottle labeled with my name and my Last Four.  She instructs me to the bathroom at the end of the hall, "the second door on the left."  Time to pee in the container for my urine sample. Never leave without leaving a little something I say.

I walk down to the end of the hall, and turn into the men's room.  I close the door and lock it (I don't want any interruptions, I'm pee shy) and proceed to "give a sample."  After finishing and making sure the lid on the container was securely closed I take out my iPhone again to complete an e-mail that I was in the process of sending before I was so rudely interrupted called to have my blood taken.

Then I noticed a curious thing.  Blood was running down my arm!  WTF?  Then I see some of the blood had dropped on my right sneaker (soon to be always a reminder of my day at the clinic).  A drop or two had even fallen on my iPhone.  I wonder if my iPhone warranty covers this.

As the blood is slowly running down my arm (at least it wasn't gushing, I think it was staunched somewhat by the formerly white gauze pad which was now a brownish red)  I leave the bathroom holding my arm out with a look on my face much like that Bavarian mustached papa villager in the first Frankenstein movie who walks into the village square where the other villagers are dancing celebrating the upcoming wedding of Dr. Frankenstein to his virgin bride carrying his limp dead daughter with her arms a flopping who was drowned by the Frankenstein monster who ran out of plucked daisies to throw into the sunny village lake.

With my arm out in front of me I say to no one in particular "Look." I guess I could of said something more profound but at the time I was concerned with the steady drip, drip of blood running down my arm.

Vampira the woman who stabbed me took my blood said "I TOLD you to keep pressure on that pad.  You had a big vein." Well, whatever.  Then one of the assistants tells me to sit in a chair.  He rips off the gauze pad, arm hairs and all and wipes the blood off of my arm.  I guess they didn't want me with my bloody arm parading through the waiting room.  After all we are down in chicken processing country where this morning we had already passed two huge flatbed trucks loaded with crates of live chickens on their way to Doom by way of hanging upside down and getting their throats cut.

After the dried blood is wiped off of my arm the assistant applies a new gauze pad and a bigger tape, almost all the way around my arm.  They weren't taking any chances of me spouting blood.  Bad for the rep.  After a few minutes of sitting and feeling like I was a Naughty Boy by not "keeping pressure" on my pad, Morticia the woman says to me "You can go now but KEEP THAT PRESSURE ON!"   Yes ma'am!

I leave, cleaned up, a little woozy (I hadn't had breakfast yet...in fact I still haven't eaten breakfast.  I guess I'll just go through until lunch).  I get out to the truck (Bill's Jeep Cherokee) and as I'm getting in I tell him my Tale of Woe.  I felt like I need some sympathy but he wasn't giving me any.  He did ask me if my arm still hurt.  I told him it did.  Then we were off to the Walmart for our Weekly Fix.

So here I sit this morning, typing this blog posting about my little adventure this morning.  Yes, my arm is still sore.  There is a small bruise but not too horrible.  Of course I have no arm hairs where the bandage was applied.  One thing is for sure, I won't proffer my right arm again for a blood letting.

Now I await the results.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Short One

Me with our tour guide outside Cades Cove, Tennessee this past May

Just a short post today.  I have to get ready for work so I don't have a long time to ramble on (which should be a relief to some of my readers!)

I go to work tonight again (third evening in a row).  Last night was crazy at the hotel.  Several guests need that top notch quality service that only Ron can offer (I am a gem and I know it).

I spent all morning "relaxing" by updating my Find a Grave account and Ancestry.com.  I also made a call to the wife of a distant relative after I discovered her husband had died earlier this year.  He had helped me a lot on one branch of the family tree and I was going to give him a call next week.  While I was going through the Johnson City, Tennessee obituaries updating my records there was his obituary!  What a way to find out that my friend James Tipton had died.  We had a long conversation and it got quite emotional at times.  She told me he knew something was wrong with him and he refused to stay in the hospital because he didn't want to die alone in a hospital.  So he pulled all the tubes out of him and went home.  He died at home several weeks later. So sad but that is the way I would want to go.

Do you see what I'm doing again?  I'm talking about death.  I meant for this blog post to be a "short one" which was a picture of me and a local guy from our trip down south last year.  That's the picture at the top of this blog.

Bill were going to visit Cades Cove Tennessee.  The night before we stayed at very primitive (for me anyway) lodgings right outside the park.  The next day before we were to go in we saw a replica of "how they used to live."  So we stopped in for a visit (a $5.00 donation was requested.)  Well, it was well worth it because this gentleman took us on a guided tour of all the replica homes.  I'll post those pictures tomorrow.  But I wanted to post this picture of me with him.  He was such a happy guy that he made me and Bill smile a lot.  We still have good memories of him.  And he's a grandpa!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts at the End of Summer

Knock out roses from our back yard

 Wow, this summer has gone by fast.  Just a couple more weeks an it's Labor Day, the official end of summer.  I think the reason the summer seemed to go by so fast was because of the long heat wave.  We stay inside most of the time, neither one of us can take the heat and humidity.  Two weeks after Labor Day, summer if officially at an end here in Summer Resort Land.

I worked at the hotel last night.  Busy again.  I'm working again tonight and tomorrow night then on Friday I go to the VA Outpatient clinic my new lab testing.  Then I'm off the weekend and don't go to work until next Thursday.  I'm looking forward to having that time off while I await the results of my PSA test.

All kinds of crazy things are going through my mind but one thing I'm not all that concerned about is if I die. Hey, we're all going to die someday.  It's just that some may know when they die.  In a way that is an advantage because you can plan.   I wish I had called my friend Ron B. and talked to him before he died.  Ron had terminal cancer which he knew of.  He and his wife took a trip to Europe after he got his diagnosis.

My friend and former worker Anne Marie sent me an e-mail when she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.  She said she was "overwhelmed" and that was the last I heard from her.  I did hear that she took another trip to Acapulco, Mexico with her family.  I worked with her back in the late 70's when she took her first trip to Acapulco and remember how much she loved Acapulco.

I think I'll have me some Smoky Mountains, thank you

If I got that kind of news the only trip I would make is another trip down south like Bill and I did this past May.  By the way, I know I still have to post about that trip.  I have tons of great pictures.  This was the second year that Bill and I made the Swing Through the South.  We loved it.  We're already planning our trip for next spring.  I like visiting my paternal ancestors' cemeteries and also the beauty of the South.

Me in Cades Cove Tennessee in May soaking up the Smoky Mountains

So everything is still in a holding pattern here until I get a resolution of my high PSA score.  I want to write about something more positive and happy but I'm having a hard time getting into that mood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On Hold

My neighbor's lawn service deserts gets caught in the rain

Finally, the summer long heat wave broke yesterday.  The rains came yesterday afternoon.  The guys from Lawns Unlimited who were mowing my neighbor's lawn got caught in the sudden summer afternoon storm.  I don't know where they went but they left all their equipment as the picture above attests.

This morning the temperature is a realistic 73 degrees.  Wonderful!  Bill even put on his old man sweater this morning as he headed out the door.  I don't know where he went (he doesn't have to report in like I do to him) but he is enjoying this rarity, a nice summer day.

I'm off to work today for the next three days.  This Friday I have an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Georgetown for another blood test to recheck my PSA levels.  Everything is sort of on hold since then.

I've been spending most of my time lately updating my Ancestry.com and Find a Grave.com accounts.  This is my way of relaxing.  I love gardening but I just can't work outside in the heat and humidity of the past month or so.  I used to do counted cross stitch and crewel work projects but that was before I got a computer.  Now that I have a computer, I pretty much spend most of my day on my computer.

The first Sunday that doesn't have the threat of rain or heat, we're off to Pennsylvania.  While Bill visits our former home, I'm visiting cemeteries. I have a feeling my life if going to change, just a feeling.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time for a Chuckle

My last few posts have been a little (I would say) on the downbeat side.  Here's a video to make you smile. Guaranteed!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Rainbow of Hope

Rainbow from my garage door taken late this afternoon

The skies were cloudy all day until this afternoon when the rain ladened dark clouds finally arrived.  After about twenty minutes of a heavy downpour, the pure light of the sun made its appearance again, albeit through the few remaining rain drops.  As I was sitting at my computer, updating my Find a Grave account with photos of tombstones (a fine activity for a Sunday no?), I thought "I bet there is a rainbow out there!"

I leave my iMac, go to the kitchen and get my iPrecious iPhone to see if I can capture The Moment...a rainbow!

Sure enough, I look out the garage door and there is the pure colorful arc of a perfect rainbow.  I take my iPhone out, switch it to the camera mode and start taking pictures.  These are the pictures you see on this blog posting.  If you look closely you'll see the faint outline of a second rainbow.

All this weekend I've been having flashbacks of earlier memories.  Memories that I haven't had for years.  Memories that I have forgotten about.  It's almost like my life flashing before my eyes.  

I do not feel sad relieving these memories.  In fact, they give me a very warm feeling; a very comforting feeling.  Much like the feeling described by some at their end of life when they see the bright shining light at the end of that tunnel.  

Whatever awaits me, I am at peace.

The arc of the rainbow.

Adventures in the Hospitality Business

The Hampton Inn Team 1999 (I am the second from the right in the back)

As regular readers of this blog know, I work part-time at a local boutique hotel.  Since retired from my chosen career in the banking business (manager, trust operations) I have worked in the hospitality business.  You ask "hospitality business, what is that?"  That my friends is that I am that person behind the front desk when you check into a hotel.

Me with Barbara and Bonnie, two New York City Jewish lesbians
See those smiles?  Guests don't get any tougher than these two ladies.
All my other front desk co-workers were scared to death of these two women.
Not me.  I bring out the smiles.  Not for nothing did I get the Best Guest Service Award (not that I'm bragging or anything I actually am because I am DAMN GOOD!)

In 1998 I began work as a part-time night auditor at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, Pennsylvania.  When I got out of the Army in 1963 my first job was a night auditor at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel.  After getting fired from my job at the Downingtown Bank (I was fired because I was an out gay man, a subject worthy of a book), I was collecting unemployment.  Bored with collecting unemployment and unable to find another trust operations banking job, I saw an ad for a weekend night auditor at the local Hampton Inn.  I applied and was hired immediately.  Then the Adventure began.

With my co-worker Angelo Vasquez at the Hampton Inn
We had a lot of fun working together (can you tell?)

I worked at the Hampton Inn for four years.  I eventually left the night auditor job (an awful job by the way) to full time at the front desk.  I was also an associate sales clerk which meant that I took the sales director's place on weekends because she didn't want to work weekend (she was a princess.)

Me, Mickey and my Aunt Mabel at Disney World April 2000

I was successful at my job eventually winning a Best Guest Service Representative Award and a trip to Disney World for two.  Yes, I actually could say "I'm going to Disney World!"

Me with the vice president of Hilton Hotels Corp at the Epcot Center, Disney World accepting my award as Best Guest Service Representative 2000 
During my four year run at the Hampton Inn I thought I encountered every situation there was possible as a front desk clerk. Little did I know.  One of my goals is to write a book (a la Dave Barry) about my experiences at the Hampton Inn.  That task is still on my back burner.

Me taking a load off of my feet at the Hampton Inn

I left the Hampton Inn in February 2001 and worked full-time for a local bank (in the trust department again).  For a short time I worked at the Marriott Residence Inn but left after a month because of the reason stated below.

In November of 2006 I sold our house in Pennsylvania and moved to Delaware for my retirement and to save what little money I had left after the Great Stock Market Rip-Off.  Three months after I got settled down I felt like I needed to get out.  So what did I do?  You got it, I looked for a hotel job.

I got my list of hotels and made the rounds and put in my application.  The last hotel (and the one nearest my home) hired me.  That hotel is where I have been working the past 3 1/2 years.

This morning I read a very funny blog posting by a good (and very talented writer) friend of mine about his past week's experience as a restaurant host in downtown Rehoboth.  I almost fell off my chair laughing reading of his encounters with the restaurant customers and the tourists (aka The Horde) who are replenishing our local coffers with their money this summer season. That brought to mind that I have similar experiences in my job as hotel front desk clerk.

I won't identify where I work to protect the innocent (and me) but here are just some of the questions I got in my job working the front desk:

  • The phone rings and the question again is:  "Do you have any rooms this weekend?" 
  • My answer is "No."  Then the next question is "Do you know anyone who has rooms?"
  • Now this is a trick question because if I answer "Yes" they then ask "What are their rooms like?  Are they nice?"   
  • Now, what do you think I'm going to say?  Lewes is a small town.  Do they really think I'm going to say "No, they're awful and I wouldn't send my worst enemy there!
  • If I fall into the trap of saying their rooms are nice then they ask "How much are they? Do they have a pool?"  This last question "Do you have a pool?" drives me crazy.  If I had a quarter every time someone asked me "Do you have a pool?"  You know what that question means don't you?  That means they have kids and want to unload them in the pool, the little darlings. 
  • Now, while I'm on the phone with this person who is too damn lazy to look up the hotel and call then directly, I have guests waiting to check in and the other line is ringing, probably from someone else wanting to know "Do you have rooms this weekend?"
  • So what I do now is make the suggestion to the person on the phone that PERHAPS she (almost always it's a "she") call the hotel DIRECTLY.  Do you think?  
  • The response I get to this suggestion is usually "Oh.......Okay."  Sometimes I get "Can't you tell me?"  I explain to them that I have guests I have to checkin MY hotel and I have another line ringing.  This explanation never is satisfactory to the person on the other end of the line.  After all, it is ALL ABOUT THEM.
Now, this is just one "experience" as a hotel front desk clerk at the height of the summer season at a seaside resort.  And mind you, I work in a small, laid back town.  I don't work in Crazy Town (aka Rehoboth Beach) where there are true horror stories that would dwarf my little frustrations at the front desk.  

Every day I go to work I never know what to expect.  What truly surprises me is the new questions that I've never had to answer before and the response when I don't have the answer.  For instance last week a man (not a guest of the hotel) came into the front desk.  He wanted to know where the office was to the condo complex that is located next to the hotel.  I told him I didn't know (I found out later there is none).  He wasn't satisfied with that answer.  He then asked "How much do those condos cost?"  I told him I didn't know.  With a disgusted smirk on his face  he then said "Why don't you know?  You work right next to 
them?" Now understand I work mightily not to be one of those smart assed guys who work in the customer service business.  But, I admit sometimes it is very hard to remain professional especially when confronted by an arrogant bastard gentleman like this.  I answer "No sir, I don't know."  Of course this isn't the answer he wants to hear so then he asks "Well, do you know WHO DOES KNOW?"  Hey, how about the Lewes Realty Association?  I give him that advice which is none to happy to receive because he wants an answer NOW.    

Believe it nor not that that wasn't the first time I got that question.  So I made it my business to find out if there was an office and how much those condos cost.  I found out.  There is NO OFFICE and the condos cost A MILLION DOLLARS ON AVERAGE!  Also there is NO TURNOVER unless one of the occupants dies.  So the next time I got the question I gave this answer. You should have seen the look on his face.  I LOVED IT!  

So there are just a couple of the fun things that happen at the front desk at the delightful local boutique hotel where I work part-time.  One thing I want to make clear though, most of the guests and the folks I encounter every day are pleasant, polite and respectful folks.  It's that 1% that are rude, disrespectful and ignorant  But you know what? I see them as a challenge which I welcome.  I love my job, there is always something unexpected.  Keeps me on my toes.  Keeps me alive.

Me today, ready for business

Saturday, August 13, 2011

There Is Not a Day That Goes By....

Nancy (my niece), John (my brother) and Betty Tipton (my Mom)

that I don't think of her and miss her.

My Mother died last September 16th, after a long illness.  Towards the end she wasn't herself but she was still my Mom.

In October of 2009 my brother John and his wife came up from their home in South Carolina and to my Mom's home outside of Downingtown Pennsylvania.  My Mom had lived in that home since 1958.  My father died in August of 2000.  My other brother Isaac has lived with our Mom since then taking care of her.  However, last year she needed more care, so against her wishes but to keep her out of a nursing home, we moved her to my brother's home in Greenville, South Carolina.  There she was well taken care of, but very homesick.

In June of 2010 Bill and I took a trip south to visit her in Greenville and to visit Bill's hometown in Toccoa Georgia.  I had suspected that it was probably the last time I would see her and I was right.  She died three months later.

Two days ago I had an indication of my own mortality.  All kinds of thoughts went racing through my head, most of them not comforting.  But I did have one undeniably comforting thought.  If I should depart from this earth, the one thing that gives me a great deal of comfort is that someday I may see my Mom again.  If not, and if death is the Great Sleep, then this pain of missing her everyday will finally go away.

For you see, there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her.  I had her for 68 years but that wasn't enough.  She was part of me and now that she is gone I am not whole.  When thoughts of her threatened to overwhelm me, I think of something else because I just can't deal with the pain of never talking to her ever.  I knew when she died last year that I would never be the same.  And I am not.

But I keep busy with my day to day activities.  I keep thoughts of her far in the distance.  I don't want to deal with it.

But this afternoon, while going through my many backed up e-mail messages I got this one from my great niece Lauren that contained some pictures of my Mother towards the end that I had never seen before.  These weren't the kind of pictures my brother John was sending to me.  The pictures where everyone was posing for the cameras.  Instead these were candid shots that captured The Moment.  The one of my brother with his arm around his mom and my niece Nancy is especially touching.

John had moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina about thirty years ago.  He didn't see as much of his mom as Isaac and I did.  I'm glad he had this time with our Mom.  Maybe someday I will again see her.  If not then I know when I am gone the pain of her loss will finally end.

Mom, John and Lauren Payne (John's granddaughter)

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...