Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Back to Normal

My peaceful backyard

Today was my first day getting back to my normal routine. The last six weeks has been a series of doctors' appointments, procedures and filling in for sick and vacationing co-workers. The doctors' appointments continue (of course) but my ever changing work schedule is now back to two nights a week, Mondays and Thursdays. I was asked yesterday by one of my co-workers to take her shift tomorrow (Wednesday) but I declined. Now I can get back to my regular rhythm. 

I need to get back to my regular rhythm so as to plan my week. It's not much a life when you're on constant call to rush into work to fill in for the latest crises of one of my co-workers. As I have said many times before and made my boss aware, I don't mind coming in occasionally to fill in but I do not want to be a substitute worker. I am a part-time employee. 

Now I can prepare my meals (dinner) ahead of time.  I can spend time with Bill, who as he ages is needing me more.  And, I can plan my life. After all, I am retired working part-time. I don't like to say "No" but sometimes it is necessary. 

This is nice.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

More Work Marathon Redux

Yep, I'm on a work marathon again. My co-worker (the one who got married last weekend on the beach and I worked her shift) was off this weekend to attend her niece's graduation. Thus I worked yesterday day shift and will work today night shift and then my regular shift tomorrow evening. 

I like working but I don't like working full-time at this time of my life. 

I like working part-time but I don't like working as a substitute work, like the fireman sleeping by the pole ready to slide down and hit the fire engine to fill in for a co-workers' latest family crises or migraine headache. But that is life . . . . I guess.

When I began this job at the hotel ten years ago I said I would be willing to fill in OCCASIONALLY as needed.  But what I find, as I found at my previous job at the Hampton Inn in Pennsylvania, I am the go to worker to fill in for others.  Now granted my co-workers are filling in for me when I go away four times a year with my Travel Buddy Pat.  

So I have to be fair and reasonable but sometimes I think I'm being taking advantage of my goodwill.  In fact I am. That was brought to my attention when I worked at the Hampton Inn when the manager forbade the assistant manager from calling me as often to fill in for my other co-workers during their issues ranging from family emergencies to just simple oversleeping (I worked with a lot of young workers) and not feeling like coming to work. More than once I was called while I was cooking to come in "right away" there was forty-five hotel guests in line waiting to check in. I left Bill with instructions on how to finish stirring my beef stew on the stove while I rushed to get into my work drag and beat a hasty path to the hotel.  

Hopefully I can get back to my regular schedule next week for the rest of the summer as an elder gentleman who works part-time at the hotel. Do you think?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Making Amends

Waiting for the Delaware Eye Institute to open this morning

This morning Bill and I returned to the Delaware Eye Institute for Bill's followup appointment to his cataract surgery yesterday. 

Remember my blog posting of yesterday where I screwed up and left Bill waiting for over two hours before I returned to pick him up after his surgery. Bill was very distraught, worrying that something happened to me and also being caught in a situation that he didn't have any control over.

I took the advice of one of an Anonymous comment on yesterday's blog to send a thank you card and some cookies. 

We left earlier this morning so I could stop at the Acme supermarket.  I brought a very nice thank you card and a box of raspberry linzer cookies to give the staff at the surgery center. 

Raspberry-linzer cookies

I walked into the surgery center and approached the lady at the front desk.  I said "I'm probably the last person you want to see today but I'm here to apologize for the situation I caused yesterday and to apologize."  A smile crossed her face (thank goodness) as I handed her the card and package of cookies.  I didn't push my luck by lingering and left immediately.  Hopefully I can put this behind me and (hopefully) they can forget my faux pas. 

I like to consider myself very careful in keeping appointments on time, respecting employees and not causing problems. Yesterday was just One of Those Days.  I learned something, clear that phone out.  And next time Bill has a medical appointment, stay around. I can always go shopping but I never again want to see Bill that upset.  He depends too much on me.  For all that Bill has done for me the past fifty-three years, this is the least I can do for him. 

Bill waiting for his eye doctor this morning, his left eye was bothering him. The doctor gave him something to alleviate the problem. We go back again next week for another followup. Not long now until Bill can get his driver's license again!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Screwed Up Big Time Today

Bill waiting for his eye surgery appointment this morning

Today was one of THOSE days in which I screwed up, BIG TIME.

This morning Bill had an appointment for his second cataract surgery. 

We arrived half an hour early. 

The fine folks at the Delaware Eye Institute cataract surgery center took Bill in right away.  I left, asking them to call me when Bill was ready to leave.  

That was 8:00 am this morning. His appointment was at 8:40 am.

I took advantage of my time down the hectic Route One and did some chores. First was Walmart.

Then I stopped at Food Lion and Ace Hardware.  Then I went home, awaiting a call.  

9:30 am. No call. 

10:00 am. No call.

10:30 am. No call.

11:00 am. No call.

Now I was getting worried. I thought maybe there were complications with his eye surgery.  I left home at 11:20 am to take my place on the backed up traffic on Route One to the Delaware Eye surgery center.

After a couple of close calls (yes, two close calls, this is Route One in the summertime after all), I pulled in the parking lot of the Delaware Eye Institute.

I walk to the front desk.  I tell them I'm here to pick up Bill Kelly. 

The woman behind the front desk says to someone in the back "He's here."  She doesn't look happy.  In fact she wasn't happy at all.  

I soon found out the reason why.  They had been trying to reach me for TWO HOURS!

Bill was in the back, distraught.  He was crying.  I don't want to go too deep into Bill's psyche but he cannot handle any kind of stress.  That's why I advised him to quit his job thirty-three years ago and took over the sole position of bread winner for our household.  

One of the nurses had her arms around Bill, trying to comfort him. I was trying to figure out why I wasn't getting their calls.  I tried to call them but all I get is a voice mail.  

I figured out why I wasn't getting their calls. Apparently my iPhone has to be cleared out of "Recent Calls" or else my mailbox fills up and calls don't go through.  And no, I didn't have the Do Not Disturb Sign on.

Now I know why I wasn't getting calls from the surgery center prior to Bill's surgery.  In fact, when I checked Bill in this morning at the surgery center I asked them to check the phone number they had on record for calling me.  They had the right phone number. What I should have done is ask them to call my number and then I would have realized my mailbox was full.

Well, now I had a group of nurses who didn't like me.  A position I'm not used to being in.

I'm a firm believer in always showing up for appointments on time and doing the right thing.  I believe in always being cooperative and patient, especially when dealing with the medical establishment.

This morning I screwed that part of my reputation up big time.  One of the nurses told me "You caused us a big problem this morning."  I know why, because they operate on more than one person and by having Bill sitting there in a wheel chair, distraught and crying, my stupidity disrupted that assembly line process.  

Bill after his eye surgery this morning

I apologized but they weren't interested and I don't blame them.  Especially seeing how upset Bill was.  

This morning I felt as bad as I've felt in many a year.  How to fix this?  For one thing clear out all the "Recent Call" on my frigging iPhone.

And good thing because as soon as we got home I received a call from Bill's gastroenterologist scheduling an appointment next month for an endoscopy. 

I guess you could sum up this morning with that famous quote from "Cool Hand Luke"

"What we have here is a failure of communication."  

And folks, yours truly failed big time today.  

The only thing I can do is make sure it never happens again.  But I don't think I'll ever get those nurses to like me. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Smooth Moves

I can't dance. 

I love to dance but I can't dance. 

Not that I don't want to dance but I just don't have the "moves." 

I'm one of those quintessential white guys who has ZERO rhythm. 

Three years ago, when we (Pat and I) first visited Los Angeles, we went to disco night at Oil Can Harry's.

Oil Can Harry's West Hollywood, California

There, under the glittering lights of a disco ball, I fell flat on my back while trying one of my signature moves. There was a collective "GASP!" from the other dancers on the floor as they parted (like the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments") as I lay flat on my back on the floor. My dance partner, a cute Hispanic mustachioed man wearing a wife beater T-shirt, looked down at me, this old man who has totally humiliated himself by falling while doing his moonwalk (who was I kidding?)  Unfortunately, Pat, who was videotaping the dance floor (he was enthralled by one guy who DID have the moves) and missed my fall completely. If he had recorded my fall I'm sure that video would have went viral on You Tube.

But here is someone who can dance. Very cool Pat. Oh how I wish I had natural rhythm like my talented friend Mr. Pat of Toronto, Canada.  Oh well, some do and some don't.

Pat and me at our favorite eatery in West Hollywood, the Veggie Grill on Sunset Boulevard

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Marathon Work Schedule

Well, here I am working full-time again folks. Me, the part-time hotel front desk clerk working full-time.  I guess I shouldn't complain because I can certainly use the extra money to fund my quarterly trips with my Canadian Travel Buddy, Pat. 

This week I worked Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, last night and again today. I was scheduled to work Sunday but former co-worker took pity on my and offered to work my shift Sunday that I was filling in for another co-worker is took off this weekend to get married . . . . on the beach.  

Next weekend I'm working during the days.  All this work during the height of the summer season.  

Last night the hotel was PACKED.

A group had taken over the hotel (many with their children) for their annual get together for one of our senators.  The hotel where I work has twenty-one rooms and three VIP suites. The hotel where I used to work in Pennsylvania had ninety-two rooms.  I frequently had to check in 45 rooms all by myself.  At the hotel where I work now I rarely have to check in more than five rooms.  Not last night, all twenty-one rooms and three suites I had to check in.  All the while the phones were ringing for reservations and folks stopping in to by tickets to the local garden tour which is taking place today as I type this blog.  Talk about multi-tasking.  At the Hampton Inn I was used to juggling all those balls at once. 

At the hotel where I work now I've become acclimated to a more relaxed work experience.  Not last night though.  While one of the owners was standing behind me watching me and my octopus arms attempting to keep the flow going, I wondered "How much longer can I do this?"  Then to top everything else off I had to deal with a Chatty Cathy housekeeper who came in for turndown.  It's all a challenge folks. The sacrifices I make for those four times a year carefree trips to Philly, Los Angeles and Toronto.  It's worth it folks!

Pat and me in Palm Springs, California this past February. The ONLY place to spend February!

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A History of Violence

Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake at yesterday's shooting at an Alexandra Virginia baseball field

Last night I killed two flies. I was at work (at the hotel) and these flies were annoying me. I have no compunction about killing flies. Or any other insects (like mosquitos, yellow jackets, wasps) who threaten me. 

As soon as I spotted those flies buzzing around me I got the trusty fly swatter and waited. Soon enough there was the fly on the edge of the counter.  SWAT!  One dead fly.  

Yesterday there was another mass shooting.  This time in Alexandra, Virginia during a softball practice of Republican congressional members. Thank goodness no one was killed.  But again we as a nation are confronted with a reality of our lives, that there are people out there who view other people who "annoy" them and they think must be killed.

This thinking is something I have never understood. I can't kill an animal. And I certainly can't kill a human being no matter how much I dislike them and believe me, there are some human beings I totally despise. Probably the only time I could kill another human being is if they were threatening my life.  Then it's me or them.  And I have been in that situation in my past life, several times when a potential mugger would do me harm. One time I saw one of these potential muggers coming towards me after I had a late night at the bar and was walking home. As I saw him approaching me, with a look on his face that said all too clearly "I'm going to get a payday from this drunk fag".  Oh how he miscalculated. Muggers were well known to lurk in the darkened Philadelphia streets after bar closing time of 2 am, looking for an easy mark.  "Not this time buddy", I thought, "not this time."  I had just enough booze in me to be fearless and confront this would be mugger. As I crossed the street again, he also crossed the street. When I saw how determined he was, I looked around for a weapon. I saw a broken bottle in the gutter and I picked it up.  Then I continued walking with the broken bottle in my right hand. This guy may try to mug me and I may go down but I was determined there was going to be damage if he did. I was going to grind the end of that jagged bottle right in his face. Of course when he saw I mean business, he then crossed to the other side of the street, on the lookout for an easier mark. 

The point I'm trying to make here is I don't understand why, when someone is frustrated with their life and angry they feel the need to strike out at innocent people. I can see killing in self defense. I can see killing insects that are either disease carrying or will sting you.  But killing other living forms? Not even mice can I kill. I have a Have a Heart trap, that what a wuss I am about killing any living thing.

My father was a hunter. I never had that passion. 

I've been angry at people.  I've had arguments with people. I've had some really LOUD arguments with Bill.  But never, NEVER did I have a compulsion to hit nor did he.  I wasn't brought up that way. I was one of the fortunate children in that I never ever heard my parents argue.  Sure, they had disagreements but when that happened my Mother gave me father the Silent Treatment.  I never remember once my father being mad at my Mother.  Of course my father was always wrong, but that's a subject for another whole blog.  Maybe you don't want to go down that rabbit hole.  It's depressing.

As angry as I get with Republicans, and believe me I am plenty angry with them NEVER did I or could I have a compulsion to cause physical harm.  What does that solve? Nothing but evil.  

My heart goes out to the family of Representative Steve Scalise, who was critically injured yesterday while playing the innocent game of softball.  Believe me I dislike Representativ Steve Scalilse and his cohorts (especially Representative Paul Ryan) who are working overtime to take health benefits away from millions of Americans while giving massive tax breaks to the point one percent of the richest Americans. I believe they are cruel and heartless and selfish but what happened yesterday, there is absolutely no excuse for.  

We live in a country were violence is taken for granted. All of us face a constant threat of violence just going about our every day activity. Who hasn't thought these days, when you're in a massive crowd, that a suicide bomber would decide to set himself off with a homemade bomb containing shrapnel of nails, nuts and bolts? I know I think of it every time I'm in a crowd.

I used to work in Center City Philadelphia, right across from City Hall. This was back in the 70's and 80's. Many times during one of those motorcades of a political figure or even the Pope (Pope John Paul came through while I was there) or even a sports victory parade (I was there when both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia Phillies won), that some gunman with an automatic rifle would began spraying the crowd from a some lofty perch?  A long sentence there but you understand what I'm saying.

We can agree to disagree folks but unfortunately, I think our current times are more dangerous than ever. 

Be careful out there folks. And make sure to make every day count because you just never know when evil will poke up its head again.  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thoughts During a Heat Wave

Hi folks! Yes, I'm apologizing again for not posting more frequently. I'm trying, I really am. 

Today, with the continuing heat wave, I'm forced to stay inside lest I pass out from heat exhaustion. Yesterday I tried to do a little yard work but I was soon drenched in my own sweat and had to come inside our wonderfully air conditioned manse to recover.  Yesterday was a three shower day. Once when I got up. The second time after my abbreviated yard work.  Then before I went to work at the hotel last night. 

You know it's true what they say about senior citizens being in more danger during these heat waves. When I was a youngster (oh how LONG ago was that?), I didn't give the heat much thought.  We just went about our play during the lazy, hazy summer days. But these days, I only have to be outside a few minutes and I get woozy.  Well, I am seventy-five years old and no longer the carefree ten year old whose summers went by too fast.

The "thoughts" going through my aged mind these days is my impending Final Exit. I've been thinking a lot about friends, former co-workers and relatives who have passed on. Every now and then a pang of sadness hits me when I realize I can't call them and complain about my latest perceived slight. Thank goodness I have Pat and Bill who I can bend their ears with my petty complaints. However, Bill is very hard of hearing so I suspect he's just humoring me while I rattle on. 

Why these thoughts of my impending Final Exit is that these days I am unsteady on my feet as my longtime friend Larry pointed out to me recently after viewing a video of me refreshing my bird baths. Yes, I am unsteady on my feet. I worry constantly a lot about falling and breaking something. Although I don't see how I can do much worse than tearing my quadriceps muscles like I did a few years ago 

Another sign of my deterioration is how tired I get. I absolutely need an afternoon nap or else I wind down like an old clock. I have to ration my wake time to be productive.  

When I'm tired I have double vision. I brought this situation up with my eye doctor a few weeks ago and he affirmed that it was happening because my eye muscle was "tired."  Another sign of my aging body.

And then there is my arthritis. My whole body, especially my lower back, is so stiff when I wake up in the morning. You should see me hobbling my way to the bathroom. On second though, maybe you don't want to see that sad sight. 

And now for the past few days I've been getting shooting pains up the left side of my head. Like mini lightening bolts.  Is this a precursor of a stroke. God I hope not.  

I did a some Internet research last night during a slow period at the hotel and found that those pains were probably the result of stress and anxiety. That makes sense because the few weeks I have been under a lot of stress and anxiety.  Bill and I had a spat a few days ago over him turning off the automatic sprinkler system and forgetting to turn it back on thus drying out all my plants. 

And that's another thing, my short term memory. I'm forgetting more and more.  Is this the beginning of my dementia? Would I know if I can't remember? I've often wondered what goes through the heads of people with dementia? 

Well, I've gabbled on enough today. 

Please stay cool and hydrated during this heat wave. I don't want to lose any of you. I need you!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Our Exciting Time In Philly

So what do Pat and I do when we're in Philly? Just how exciting are our adventures when we get together four times a year in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto and Delaware?  Well, to the average person what Pat and I do is probably very boring.  But to me and Pat, we always have a good time.

One thing we do is visit our favorite restaurants and try new restaurants. In Philly we often dine at both Marathon Grills.  One Marathon Grill at 16th and Sansom Streets and the other Marathon Grill at 18th and Spruce Streets. Pat, as you know is a vegan, so we usually get vegan meals although I occasionally dive into a meal with dairy products. Occasionally I dive into a hamburger but usually I stay vegetarian to Pat's vegan meal choices.

Pat likes to visit furniture stores. I usually tag along with him.  I'm interested in furniture and enjoy these forays.  What Pat really likes to do though during our Philly stay is walk the streets and take in all the interesting buildings.  He is fascinated by the mix of buildings.  He likes the character of Philly's buildings.  It's interesting but for all the years I used to work and live in Philly I rarely looked up at the buildings, I was so focused on my job and my social life.  However, these days during our visits to Philly I look up and enjoy these historical buildings with Pat.

Pat especially like Old City, which is the historical section of Philadelphia.  Lots of interesting buildings there!

Pat looking towards the new tall buildings in center city Philadelphia from the 30th Street Station

Other than enjoying the restaurants and walking around and soaking in the vibrant, exciting and historical city that Philadelphia is now, we spend the rest of our time in our suite at my friend Don's co-op building. Pat and I both like to watch old movies on TCM, especially film noir.  We couldn't do that during this stay though.  It was Memorial Day weekend and TCM (Turner Classic Movies) was showing all military war movies.  Not to our taste.  

The Marathon Grill at 18th and Spruce Streets

We tried to watch other TV cable show but soon realized that was almost impossible. I didn't realize how many commercials are on cable TV these days.  Five minutes of movie and seven minutes of commercials.  We tried to watch some movies with all those commercials but soon gave up.  Not to worry though, we both enjoy playing Scrabble which is what we did, often.  

Pat and I standing in front of the former Fidelity Bank buildings (now Wells Fargo) where I used to work

So that is our exciting times in Philly. Works for us!

Pat and I getting ready for another walk down a Philly side street

Oh, I almost forgot. I take a LOT of pictures and videos during our quarterly get togethers. And I mean a LOT.  I LOVE taking pictures and videos. Can you tell?

Pat and I standing in front of 30th Street Station with the new buildings behind 30th Street

Saturday, June 03, 2017

I'm Back!

Me, Howard and Pat

Me, Howard and Pat

Me, Howard and Pat

Me, Howard and Pat

Me, Howard and Pat

My apologies to everyone who were wondering what happened to me.  

I've been in Philly (Philadelphia, PA) for a full week.  Yet another fabulous adventure.  

The photos above were taken last Friday, May 26th in my driveway prior to our takeoff to Philly.  I'm pictured with Howard S. and Pat F. Pat drove us to Philly in his rented car. When I ask Bill to take photos, he takes multiple photos.  I post them.

For this trip I invited a friend from the 80's to visit his friend who lives in Philly. All of us used to get together here in Lower Slower (Sussex County, Delaware) during the late 70's and early 80's.  

Howard S., the life of the party

Tommy M., whom I have known longer than Bill. Tommy was the bartender at the Westbury Bar when I met Bill in 1964

Me dancing with Howard at the Boathouse 1979 - the Boathouse is no longer there but we are!

Those were the times. Drunken revelries, dancing into the night then the hangovers the next day.  Since those festive and carefree times, much has changed.  Many of our gang are no longer alive but a few of us have survived.  

Me, Dave, Howard and Tommy at 13th and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia, Pa (Tommy's home) - by the way notice how much bigger my hands are than Trump's little doll hands

Pat (peeking out in the back), Howard, Tommy, me and Dave (kneeling)

These days, for us survivors, our night life is much tamer.  In fact, there is no night life, we're in bed!

We're home now. Me here at Casa Tipton-Kelly. Howard in Laurel, DE and Pat in Toronto, Canada. But we did have a fabulous time in Philly of which I will write more about in future posts. But I did want to keep you all up to date on my latest adventures.  Next up, Hamilton, Canada and Pat's new home.

Life is good folks!

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...