Friday, July 12, 2019

Carpet Installed!

Finally, we got our new wall to wall carpet installed in our media room. 

This has been a long, drawn out problem.  

To recap, last year I noticed a musty smell in our storage packed media room. Yes, I had boxes and many other items stashed in our media room. I thought a mouse had found its way into our overstuffed media room and starved to death.  

However, about four months ago I discovered the source of the musty smell. Ground water had leaked from the cellar wall outside the drywall of the media room.  

We took everything out of our media room (finally forced to clean out) and discovered much of the carpet around the wall was ruined by mold from the sitting water that had leaked under the drywall. 

We tore up the carpet. I called my insurance company and was told my homeowner's insurance would not cover the damage.  My insurance company told me that my policy doesn't cover ground water.  Oh, okay. So my lifetime record of never using my homeowner's insurance stands firm.  

We tore up the carpet and thus began an odyssey of identifying the carpet and replacing it.  

I have previously posted (I think) of trying to identify the brand and ordering a replacement carpet.  Briefly, I found it was a Shaw carpet.  This after I had already ordered carpet from Lowe's, which wasn't Shaw and didn't match. This I discovered after the Memory Foam padding was already installed.  

I tried to order Shaw carpet from Lowe's.  They couldn't order it for me because Shaw wasn't one of their suppliers. 

I wrote to Shaw and thus began another odyssey of identifying the color and style. "Pam", the Shaw Carpet company concierge was very helpful.  She sent me several samples, none of which matched the rest of our finished basement wall to wall carpet.  I finally found one that was close.  Good enough. She gave me a list of Shaw retailers and as luck would have it there was one just two mile down the road from us.  

I went to that store "Carpets and More".  Yes, they had Shaw carpet but the price, $1,520!  Lowe's was going to provide the padding and carpet for a little over $900.  Carpets and More was going to install the carpet over my padding for twice the price!  I expressed concern.  The owner said he "could do something about the $20. 

I went to Home Depot.  I saw the carpet that was close and ordered it but I didn't want to pay the $264 for padding since I already had new padding installed.  They couldn't do it.  Said if they did it the warranty would be void. I said "void the warranty, I can't see tearing up the brand new padding."  I couldn't get anywhere with the sales person about not paying for their padding so I ordered the whole thing, which only came to $764, including padding and installation, a great price.

Today the carpet installers came to install the carpet.  Guess what?  I like this carpet better than our original carpet.  Great!  Now, to see if I can get credit for the carpet padding they charged me for.  I'll try but I don't have much hope.  At least we got the carpet installed.

Problem solved. Next!

Monday, July 08, 2019

How About A Day When Nothing Goes Wrong?

Lately we've been having a string of mishaps, failures, and mini disasters here at Casa Tipton-Kelly.

Just yesterday, after Bill's iPad failed him (the battery is dying), I complained to Bill "I would like to have a week or two when nothing goes wrong."  Alas, it is not to be.

This morning, after I got Bill's new iPad working (adding his e-mail, deleting mine - I don't use an iPad anymore) and other settings changed, I was having my breakfast whilst watching TV.  


There goes the electricity. It blipped off for a second but just enough time to throw my DirecTV signal on the blink.  I get the message "Can't find the server, try again".  Here we go.  

I'm getting to be the regular tech guru around here.  Bill can handle the old fashion problems like the toiled keeps running or one of the fuses goes out in the switch box (which we've had happen in the past month).  Dealing with the digital problems, his brain is just too full to figure out solutions to those 21st century problems.  Thus it is me.  I'm reasonably smart (sort of) but by no means does all this come to me naturally.  I have to really give my brain a work out.  Through diligence and perseverance I was able to figure out Bill's new (my old) iPad setup.  Got him going on that, he was panicking because he spends most of his day on his iPad, mostly checking the weather (radar screen).  

Another problem I discovered yesterday was another mouse (or mice) have taken up residence in our garage, aiming to get into our kitchen and our pantry food supply.  If you'll remember, I discovered a mouse this past winter (through the little mice turds which look like big peppercorns but they ain't peppercorns, believe me) accumulating on the floor to the pantry,  then the telltale chewing into food containers.  Yuck!  Had to throw out all that food. Perhaps a good excuse to clean out our pantry with old food that should have been cleaned out but still, a big waste and the yuck factor knowing that a mouse was in there.  I set the trap and almost immediately caught one.  Squash! Then I caught another one in the Have-a-heart trap!  Ah ha!  Mr. and Mrs. Mouse getting ready to start a family.  I took her down to the end of Oyster Rocks Road and set her free. This was past winter.  

Now I'm surprised that evidence of a mouse in the house is back.  I set the mouse trap with peanut butter and within the hour I caught the intruder last Friday. But I still see evidence of new "peppercorns" in the garage.  I set out the Have-a-Heart trap last night with two crackers in it. This morning I check the trap and the crackers were gone but no mouse.  Okay.  I put the old fashion Victor mouse traps out this morning, the ones that break their neck or squash their head, bugging their eyes out, this morning. Let's see if that take care of the mouse invasion.  Hate to be so brutal but I'm not sharing out domestic bliss with mice leaving turds all over the place and chewing into our food.  I'm not sharing.

And yet another problem, our local resident rabbit is eating our impatiens flowers. Not the whole plant but just the flower.  Nice! Where is a fox when you need one?

Another problem I have is I can't get in touch with the guy (Fernando) who trims my twenty-one holly trees.  His son Alfredo (who speaks English, Alfredo doesn't) phone number doesn't work anymore. It's been disconnected.  I have other guys (Raul and Juan) who have offered to trim my holly trees but Fernando (who is tall for a Mexican) does the best job.  Juan's guys have trimmed some of my neighbors' bushes but not as good a Fernando.  Now I have to not only worry about getting my holly trees properly trimmed but I feel bad for Fernando and his family during this reign of terror that The Predator (Trump) is inflicting on our country by threatening to deport all undocumented immigrants.  Give me a break. Whose going to do the yard work and work in the chicken processing plants we have down here in southern Delaware?  President Pussy Grabber has to shore up his base so he's terrorizing people who only want to have a better life like our ancestors did when they moved here however many years ago.  Someday this nightmare will end, I hope I live long enough to see it.  

Okay, so I put out another few campfires today, let's see what the new day will bring. I would LOVE to have a week or two without ANY problems.  Just smooth sailing. But like my pal Pat says, all these problems are "first world problems."  Just think of all the people who have REAL problems. In a different life I could be one of those immigrants just trying to have a better life.  My life now is pretty good, even though it seems I am confronted almost daily with these annoying problems.  Having an iPad battery fail is nothing like being holed up in a "detention" (concentration camp) center on our southern border.  Sometimes I think American has lost its heart and soul. This is not us folks. At least it's not me and many people I know. The Deplorables have always been with us and always will be, hopefully someday their champion of cruelty will be out of power (and his enablers) and America can regain its conscience.

Friday, July 05, 2019

How Was Your Fourth?

Another Fourth of July celebration has come and gone. How was yours?

I worked at the hotel.  Lewes, where I work, was packed with Fourth of July revelers. Luckily I found a parking spot at the hotel.  I hate to go in Lewes on holidays because of the traffic, crowds and lack of parking space. I got lucky yesterday because someone in housekeeping had probably just left thus leaving a vacant parking space.

Of course the hotel was full which is good for business and job security. I got lucky again, there were no difficult guests, all the air conditioners worked and no stopped up toilets. I did have one call for a smoke alarm that went off.  The lady in the room overdid it with hair spray which will set off a smoke alarm.  I always have a problem removing smoke alarms but I managed. 

This year Lewes had their very own fireworks on the Lewes beach.  Of course I didn't go.  I've never been impressed with fireworks. I remember the first time I saw fireworks when I was about twelve years old.  It was at Crystal Beach in Maryland. My neighbors on Washington Avenue in Downingtown invited me along with their family (I think they were trying to fix me up with their daughter, who was actually my first date).  I heard a lot about fireworks so I was expecting a big deal. After watching them I thought like the old Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?"  To me fireworks are loud and boring. But hey, that's me, I get excited about gardening. 

The weather yesterday was great for the visitors to Lewes for the Fourth. Sunny, hot and muggy; what summertime is all about in Slower Lower. 

The only problem I had was when I left work at 11:20 pm.  I had trouble getting out on Route One, there was a steady stream of traffic exiting Rehoboth Beach, which is three miles south of Lewes. Man oh man, those headlights just kept coming.  Why all that traffic?  Rehoboth also had its own fireworks display. 

One thing I was very thankful yesterday was no one and I mean NO ONE in my neighborhood set off those noisy string firecrackers.  It seems that most of my life there has always been someone wherever I lived who thought that was fun to set off those noisy firecrackers.  As I said before, I never "got" the whole firecrackers thing, even when I was a kid.  Ah, peace and quiet. 

The last time we had those firecrackers go off in our neighborhood here they so scared a little Benji type dog who was visiting with his owners. He ran out on Route One and got run over.  There haven't been any firecrackers in our neighborhood since, thank God. Not only do those firecrackers annoy people, they scare little dogs to death.  I saw a photo of some people who volunteered at an animal shelter to help sooth the dogs during the firecracker nonsense.

Good people, gives me renewed faith in our country at this time of great divisiveness.  

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Happy Fifty-five Anniversary!

Today is our 55th anniversary. Little did I know that rainy Saturday night at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia fifty-five years ago that I would still be living with the love of my life, Bill Kelly.  And here we are today, still going strong albeit a little slower.

Six years ago we made it legal by being officially married on July 3rd, 2013, the 49th anniversary of our meeting. Wow, that was a fast six years.

I have to say, it's been quite an interesting ride. Hopefully we have many more years together!

Me and Bill at our rooftop deck in center city Philadelphia 1976 when we were young and vital

Monday, July 01, 2019

Around the House June 2019

Life is good here folks at our lovely home here in southern Delaware.  Of course as long as our air conditioner works. 

From FaceTiming with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat, to blooming flowers, to a false fire alarm at one of my neighbor's vacant houses, to pictures of some of my neighbors Shannon and her daughter and dog and my other neighbor Dave and his wife and new son, my new herb garden, and Bill mowing our acre back yard, new memory foam carpet padding for our basement media room and new baby bluebirds. All summertime activity, living the good life here in vacation land.

The video says it all. Enjoy!

Air Conditioner Fixed!

Our HVAC system is fixed! And just in time because of the heat and humidity that has been laying heavy on our peninsula. 

The serviceman was here Friday for over four hours installed the new valve on our HVAC system.  I had to leave him with Bill while I went to work.  Bill doesn't like to be left alone with service people roaming through our house.  But we got it done.  When I came home from work Friday evening, our house was so nice and cool.  

Now what's next?  Oh yes, installing the new wall to wall carpet in our media room. I finally ended up ordering carpet from Home Depot. They said the new carpet should be in about two weeks. I already have the padding (memory foam) installed (by Lowe's months ago).  Home Depot said they would only install the carpet with their own padding. I can't see the sense in removing the brand new padding I have in now. They said they would take it out.  Oh no, that's not going to happen. Showdown will happen when they install the carpet. I may end up paying for two paddings. 

Always something but this is only a First World problem. This past week I received news that two more of my classmates died and also the wife of another classmate who always attended our class reunions with her husband. Puts things in perspective. 

Stay cool folks. We're cool here!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Air Conditioner Update

Air conditioner repairman today

After a sweltering morning, the air conditioner service man came by after lunch. He checked out why our air conditioning system wasn't cooling off the house. First he found the circuit breaker switch was off. I should have checked that but missed it because of the circuit breaker problem we had with the washing machine. 

Then is did a regular maintenance routine and found the problem, "evap, TXV bad", has to "hot order" a new part. Translated that means our brand new HVAC system which I had (and paid over $10,000 for) installed in 2015 has a bad part.  What?  First it was our original HVAC system, which was builder grade, totally cheap, failed us. The whole twenty-five years we lived in Pennsylvania we never had ONE problem with our HVAC system.  

The good news is the part is covered by my warranty. The bad news is my warranty doesn't cover labor or Freon. That will cost me $1,150.05.  And just when I thought I was getting ahead. 

But you know folks, I'm glad we have a reserve fund that we can afford this repair. I can't imagine going through the summer without air conditioning. And to think I went through my whole childhood with air conditioning. 

Air Conditioner On The Blink

Yesterday I wrote about my "vacation paradise" right here in southern coastal Delaware. This morning I'm writing about my sweltering "vacation paradise" right here in southern coastal Delaware.  That's right folks, our air conditioning is on the blink.

It all began yesterday when I went to take a shower before I went to work at the hotel.  Since my hot water heater is located at the farthest end of the house from my master bedroom shower, I usually put a load of wash in the clothes washer so I won't have to waste running cold water to get my hot water for my shower.  

I loaded up my sheets. Turned the washing machine on. Nothing.  Yes, nada, zip, nothing.  Upon further examination I determined that there was no electrical power going to the washing machine. Oh sure, the lights were on in the laundry room but no power to the washer.  Time to call Bill.  

Bill rigged up an extension cord to the hallway outlet so I could wash my bed sheets.  Then I took a shower.

When I came home from my 3 pm to 11 pm shift at the hotel I noticed our house was a bit muggy.  Actually stifling.  I checked the thermostat and saw where the room temperature was 80 degrees. The thermostat was set at 74 but nothing was cooling off.  Just blowing air. Not hot air, room temperature air. Definitely not air conditioning. 

Time to call Service Today, my service provider for HVAC and plumbing. 

I couldn't call them last night so I turned on my overhead bedroom fan and managed to get some sleep in spite of the stifling air.  I didn't need my comforter last night.

At eight this morning I called Service Today. The serviceman called and said he would be here "between 10 and 12".  He will be here after 1 o'clock if not later.  I've seen this movie before.

I'm also awaiting the Rug Guy from Home Depot. Yes, I'm still messing around with replacing our water damaged rug in our basement media room.  I've already been through Lowe's and a local carpet deal (who name I will not mentioned) who is the epitome of Lower Slower Delaware. He still hasn't called me back.  

I would love to work outside this morning but it is Florida Swamp Everglades humid outside. I move around a little bit and I'm soaked in my own sweat. 

After our string of doctors' appointments last month I was looking forward to a little coasting time. Apparently that is not to be. 

Thank goodness it's not 98 degrees outside. It's 81 degrees but that fatiguing closeness of high humidity that just brings me to a stop.  

But you know folks, my problems are all First World.  I know that. Still, a very uncomfortable night and morning for your favorite blogger.

Monday, June 24, 2019

My Vacation Paradise Right Here At Home

The summer season is upon us here in southern coastal Delaware. Is it ever!

Already it's hard to get out of my development onto Route One (Coastal Highway), looking for a break in the traffic either headed south to Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Ocean City Maryland and points beyond. Each year it gets worse.  This year so far it has been especially difficult getting out on Route One (the main thorough fare) to grocery shop, doctors' appointments and visits to Lowe's and Home Depot. Yes, we're right in the middle of the tourist season jam. 

This onslaught of vehicles will continue unabated until Labor Day and beyond. We won't be taking a walk on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach anytime soon. I may try to sneak in a trip during the weekday. I like to walk on the boardwalk at least once during the summer season. I like to get that "beach" feel even though I don't lay on the beach and like I did in my younger days.

But you know what folks? I'm living here this summer and year round right in the middle of this vacation destination of so many. And I don't have to drive for hours in congested traffic to get here.

Every morning I lookout out my bedroom window and take in our wonderful back yard. Yep, I'm right here where I want to be. My very own vacation paradise. 

Peace and quiet. The Route One traffic is just beyond the tree line but we have our very own oasis right here in our own back yard.  I love it folks!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fifteen Questions About Myself

Folks, I'm going to take a break (temporary) from my blog posts about my week in Philly and class reunion. One of my favorite bloggers recently posted a blog of fifteen questions about himself. I read his post and I like these questions so here goes, I'm going to share a window into my personality for those of you who are interested.

1. Name three things you love about yourself

When I was younger I didn't like too much about myself if anything but as I've grown older and gained a better perspective on life I have discovered I'm not as bad as I was brought up to believe. Thus the following are three things that I like about myself:

1.  My honesty. I am totally honest sometimes to my detriment.  I can be no other way. Of course my honesty has often been used against me but I will continue to be honest because if I have nothing else, I have my own self respect.
2.  My body. Yes, I like the body that life has given me. At one time in my life (when I was younger again) I thought I was too tall, skinny, awkward, gangly, lopsided eared, big nose, not athletic and many other imperfections that my father was all too willing to point out to me. However, as I've grown more mature I realize that this is exactly the body I wanted.
3. My homosexuality. Seriously folks, if there is a God (which I don't believe) I believe it is a blessing that I was born gay.  I have seen life from a different perspective, met challenges (and overcome them) and understand how other persecuted minorities cope. Plus, I cannot imagine a greater feeling of love that I have had during my seventy-seven years on the earth. I'm one of those gay people who has never felt ashamed of who I am nor the need to apologize for the way I was born. 

2.What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

I stood up at a town hall meeting of my Congressman and objected to the reference of gay friends of mine who were attending a march for equality in Washington D.C. as "garbage."  I knew I was in the minority if not the only person at this town hall meeting who would express this view but I did not know that I was would physically attacked by a self described "good Christian man" who later claimed that he wasn't told "gay people would be at the town hall meeting."  The "good Christian man" attempted to strangle me before he was pulled off of me by my Congressman and several policemen. After this incident I stayed for the duration of the meeting and afterwards fully expected to be attacked outside the borough hall where the meeting was held.  I wasn't but that was the most nervous time of my life as I walked out of that meeting with my knees literally buckling but I couldn't sit there and let my friends be described as "garbage" and my Congressman say nothing.

3. Talk about the craziest night of your life.

Oh my, there have been several "craziest nights" but perhaps the craziest was when I had a one night stand with an airline pilot who said he had some "Hawaiian weed - best in the world".  I had tried pot several times and was unimpressed but that night, his weed, it was wild.  He was right.  I don't remember much of the details of that night but I do remember that I was totally uninhibited and had a wonderful time. Then there was that threesome I had in Provincetown on the last night of my stay with the houseboy and Brad but no weed was involved, just fabulous bodies.  

4. Name three things you want in life

1. Someone of love and be loved by
2. Own my own home
3. Enough income to live comfortably

Of course good health, that goes without saying.

Secured all there thank you!

5. Who is your biggest celebrity crush?

I used to have many of them when I was younger. Guy Madison, Farley Granger (before I found out he was very gay), and many other movie stars all dark haired, no blondes interestingly.  These days I don't have any celebrity crushes, my crushes are every day Americans (and Canadians).

6. What's your most common mistake?

My naivete. I always assume the best in people and I am always surprised when some people let me down by their selfishness and meanness
 and abusing my friendship. Once they do that, I'm gone.

7. What three things would you save if there was a fire?

1. My photographs 
2. My journals
3. The contents of my safe (birth certificate, passport, rings.

8. What is your favorite sport?

Easy answer, I have no favorite sport. Period.  Used to like baseball but not now.

9. Talk about something good that recently happened to you.

My trip to Philadelphia with my friend Pat. Also my trip to my 60th class reunion with Pat. Quarterly Pat and I meet for a trip. Best time of my life. Always something to look forward to.

10. Which fictional world would you live in if your could?

One in which there were no venal politicians. No Donald Trump. No hypocrite Christians. No cruelty to children and animals. Of course no such fictional world exists.

11 What's the one thing you can never say "no" too?

Hummus and chips

Homemade soup comes in a close second

12. Talk about a childhood memory?

I grew up living in a second floor apartment. During the summer, I occasionally was invited to spend a "couple of weeks" in the country.  One was with my Mother's step sister Mary. The other was with the sister of my Aunt Peggy to keep her son "Ducky" company. Oh how I loved those "couple of weeks" in the summer where I could play on real ground and not run down the stairs of my apartment building in the white trash section of Downingtown and play near the railroad tracks I can still smell the coal tar of those railroad tracks. I would much rather smell the grass and greenery of the country where I was so fortunate to stay.  I remember one summer I missed a chance to "go in the country."  My father, cruel as he was, was happy that I screwed up and missed my chance. He actually tricked me into giving the wrong answer. Maybe I liked going in the country to get away from him. My father didn't like me. A simple statement but a fact, his treatment of me during those formative years of mine has affected my whole life.

13. Name five things you find attractive in others.


1. A nice, generous person who respects me and who I can respect
2. A person who actually listens to me when I talk
3. In men, an older guy who is physically fit
4. A person who doesn't take life too seriously and can laugh at themselves
5. A person with a natural talent whether it be in writing, music or art.

14. Are you good at making decisions or do you easily change your mind?

I am good at making decisions. Not always the right decision but I weigh all the facts and usually make my decision quickly.

15. Name three guilty pleasures

1. My quarterly visits with Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy - Philadelhia twice a year, Canada and California
2. Reading celebrity biographers, preferably of the 
Golden Age of Hollywood
3. Reading
And honorable mention taking photos and videos with my iPhone

There you go folks, another window into my personality. Make of it what you will. I enjoyed making the list.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Entering My 60th Class Reunion

More videos and photos of my 60th high school class reunion which was held in Downingtown, Pennsylvania on June 8th, 2019 at St. Anthony's Lodge.

Pat (my Canadian Travel Buddy) took this video thus the portrait mode of the camera (I wish he would use the landscape mode but he's more comfortable using the portrait mode).  I am glad he took it upon himself to take the video though.  For once I have video of goofy me instead of me always taking the videos and photos. 

I'm always surprised at how weird I look in videos. It was appropriate that I was wearing my custom made Spo shirt of giraffes because, with my arthritic neck and back, I looked like a giraffe entering the room.  However, to be fair I think most of us aren't pleased with how we look in videos or photos, especially as we age.

I let my beard go au natural and I have to say I didn't like it.  My beard turned white during my 35th class reunion, I've been coloring it with Just For Men ever since, of and on.  Prior to this reunion I decided that I would stop coloring it.  Big mistake.  I look so OLD.  Well folks, I actually am OLD but I don't have to encourage it.  I'm back to coloring my beard.  

I really enjoyed attending my reunion.

I've attended many of my class reunions over the years.  However, I fear this will probably be the last formal class reunion because so many of us are dying off.  We had one hundred and fourteen members of our high school class.  I think the most who ever attended our reunions was maybe fifty, not counting spouses. 

I took portrait photos of each individual classmate but I forgot to take one of myself!  I'll see what I can manage by freeze framing one of the videos where my mug is prominently displayed. I'm not sure though what with my white beard and tired eyes. I guess there is no hiding the fact that I am approaching my eightieth decade.  

As with past reunions, I felt I didn't have enough time to talk to everyone as much as I wanted to. We did have some free time to mingle but much of the time was taken up by a talk from former Eagle's coach Dick Vermeil who is a friend of one of my former classmates.  He talked about growing up in the Forties and Fifties as most of us at the reunion could identify with.  His funniest line was talking about his father and how strict his father was.  He said he didn't know until he was nine years old that he name wasn't "dumb bastard."  Ah, this were the days.  I remember one Thanksgiving dinner when my father paused between stuffing slabs of turkey in his mouth to look around the table at me and my two younger brothers and proclaim "I have the dumbest bunch of kids."  Gee, thanks Pop!  Yep, those were the days which Dick Vermeil reminded us of.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pat and Sue

Pat and Sue at my high school class reunion June 8, 2019

Two of my favorite people met for the second time at my 60th high school class reunion last Saturday. 

All of us, during our lives, meet people who we like and become friends with. I've often wished that I could introduce them to each other but because of the different paths we choose in life, that is often impossible. Especially impossible when many of our friends are no longer with us.

During the six years I've known Pat, I have introduced him to some of my friends from different phases of my life.  The picture above is of Pat and my former high school classmate and friend Sue M.  During my school days I didn't know Sue that well (she was known as "Su Su"

Sue S. (high school yearbook picture)

then but since dropped that nickname) but I always admired her.  She was always nice to me and everyone I knew and she knew.  Sue is one of those rare people who everyone likes. Pat is the same.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same of myself, I am liked by some and some don't like me.  For whatever reason, which sometimes puzzle me because I think I am a nice guy.  But I am opinionated and I often express those opinions. That's how one makes enemies.

Sue and I have a secret, we're one of the few Democrats in our class.  Everyone else that we know of is a Trump (Republican) supporter.  In order to maintain peace we do not discuss politics at our reunions. Although I am often tempted to discuss politics, especially where Trump and his Deplorables are concerned. 

I love introducing Pat to my friends, especially friends from my former life.  I plan to introduce him to more of my friends. My only regret is that I cannot introduce him to my friends who have since passed on. Maybe we'll all meet in the Great Reunion in the Sky.  Just like the ending scene in "Longtime Companion."

Sue and her late husband Denny from our 40th Class reunion (20 years ago!)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Return From Philadelphia and Downingtown

Yes, I'm still alive, almost.

What a week I had in Philadelphia and my 60th high school class reunion in Downingtown, PA.

Now to answer the obvious question why has it taken me so long to post, I've just recovered.

Folks, I don't have the energy I used to have. For most of my life, I've had an almost inexhaustible supply of energy.  After last week, even though I had a fabulous time, I think I reached the bottom of my formerly inexhaustible supply.  

I'll post more about my stay in Philadelphia in future posts but in this post I'll tell about my exhaustion. That exhaustion was exacerbated by me spraining my back when I was loading my suitcase in the trunk of the car of my ride.  I pinched a nerve near my left shoulder blade that caused me a great deal of pain.  That pain is just alleviating now, thank goodness.

Our week in Philadelphia and my class reunion last Saturday was blessed with perfect weather; sunny, breezy and mild.  Couldn't have been better.  The past few years our (me and Pat) visits to Philadelphia were either rainy or hot and humid. We were indeed very fortunate with the wonderful weather this time.

Pat and I took the Airport shuttle train out to meet my former classmate and friend Stuart at the Philadelphia International airport Saturday morning. Unfortunately our friend Lar decided not to come out to the airport, he wanted picked up but Stuart didn't have time to pick him up at his home. We gave him other options (family drive him to the airport, Uber, Lyft) but he didn't even bother to respond to our suggestions other than to say he still expected to be picked up. Stuart flew in Friday night and was flying back to his home Sunday morning and didn't want to spend most of his time driving.  He was driving us to Downingtown for the reunion and after the reunion to his family cemetery in Upper Darby.  Thus a missed opportunity at that reunion which will probably never again be replicated in our lifetime.  Choices made.

Arriving in Downingtown early Saturday morning, we stopped at the famous Downingtown Diner of the "Blob" movie fame.

Fond memories of that time over sixty years ago for Downingtown's fifteen-seconds of fame.

Stuart and me at the Downingtown Diner

Then we were on to St. Anthony's Lodge for our class reunion.  First thing I thought  was "Where did all these old people come from?" then I realized I was ONE OF THOSE OLD PEOPLE.  Friends, this is probably the last class reunion I'll ever attend.  Not only because so many of us are dying off but because it's just not the same without the massive gathering of former friends and classmates.  Perhaps we'll have small intimate get togethers in the future but those massive class reunions? They're history.  Still we had a wonderful time and I did take a lot of pictures and Pat took many videos.  Only thing about the videos is goofy me going around visiting my classmates.  It's weird looking at myself when in my mind I have a different picture of myself. By the way, how do you like that wonderful Spo shirt I'm wearing?  I wore that in Philadelphia too and got a lot of positive comments and looks. When Pat and I were at the Apple store in Philadelphia, a tall, handsome black man said to me about my shirt "If I had a shirt like that I would wear it every day."  I offered to give it to him but he said he had to turn me down because as an Apple employee he couldn't accept gifts from customers.  That was a shame because that Spo shirt would look so good on him and get a lot of exposure, more exposure than I give it.  But I'm glad I was able to keep it and I did feel a little guilty giving away a Spo shirt that Dr. Spo worked so hard and lovingly to give to me.  

Time to go to work today. I will resume my blog posting on a regular basis now, rest assured. I'm still here.

Stuart and Pat at the airport train station

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Philadelphia Holiday

Tomorrow at 1 pm, Clarence, my neighbor will be by to pick me up and transport me to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is my annual spring visit (I also visit in the fall around my birthday) to my former home and workplace. 

Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy, will arrive in Philly Monday after an overnight bus ride (seventeen hours or more!) from his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  This year Pat will not be able to visit me and Bill here at our home in southern (Sussex County) Delaware.  Pat has a bit much on his plate this spring. Sunday he's attending his brother's 50th wedding recommitment ceremony. Thus why he's a day later reconnecting with me in Philly.  

Next Saturday Pat and I will travel to the Marriott hotel at Philadelphia International Airport to connect with my former high school classmate and friend Stuart M. Stuart is flying in from his home in Boca Raton, Florida.  We will all be attending my 60th (can you believe it?) high school class reunion in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately our former classmate Larry (he left Downingtown in ninth grade) won't be attending with us as previously planned. We'll miss him.  

I love my quarterly get togethers with Pat but I also realize that I have a regular vacation paradise right here in southern Delaware. Bill and I live in a fifty-seven home development right off of the Coastal Highway (Route One), four miles from Lewes, Delaware and ten miles from Rehoboth Beach.  During the summer I do not visit Rehoboth Beach, I give it up to the tourists which keep our economy alive here.  In fact the tourists is the reason I can afford my quarterly trips with Pat.  I work part-time at a hotel in Lewes, catering to tourists. What I earn at the hotel just about covers the costs of my annual trips to California (Los Angeles and Palm Springs), Philadelphia (twice a year) and Pat's home in Hamilton, Canada. Isn't it ironic that I go away to vacation whereas so many people drive quite a distance yo come here in southern Delaware for their vacation. Hey, I don't take our wonderful home here for granted at all, I realize that I'm living in a vacation paradise year round.  Now if I can just do something about the mosquitos. At least when I visit Philadelphia next week I won't have to contend with the mosquitoes, just the honking horns which Philadelphia motorists are so fond of using. 

When I'm in Philly next week I'll update all of you, my faithful blog followers, of the goings on. Always good to see my longtime friend Don McK. again.  We stay at the guest suite at his co-op in downtown Philly.  

Always nice to go away and always nice to come home. Best time of my life right now.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Gathering Of Old Friends

Next Saturday there will be a mighty gathering of old friends and I mean OLD.  

My former high school friend (and still friend although long distance) Stuart is flying up from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida into Philadelphia to attend our 60th high school class reunion  (Downingtown High School, Class of 1959) next Friday night.  Pat and I will be in Philly.  I'm arriving this Sunday and Pat is coming down Monday.  We will meet Stuart at the Philly airport Friday night. The reunion is Saturday, noon, in Downingtown. We're going to pick up our other former high school classmate Larry at his home in Claymont, Delaware, only about thirteen miles from the airport. 

I was thinking today what an interesting group of friends. Or an eclectic group of friends. Stuart is Jewish, Larry is an evangelical (not the annoying kind who is always trying to "save" you), Pat is Catholic and I'm an atheist (used to claim I was agnostic but that was mainly to avoid offending anybody who asked and would feel it their obligate to "save" me from my blasphemy).  Now I just say I believe nothing happens when you die (sorry folks, those of you who Believe).  

We also have differing political views. Stuart and I see our president for the con man he is.  Larry? He always says he "won't talk politics" which to me means, well you know what that means. Pat thinks Trump is getting a raw deal but I think he sees Trump for the con he is. Pat likes the entertainment value Trump.  I have to admit Trump is entertaining, like a grotesque scene that you can't take your eyes off of. 

Larry, Stuart and me back in he day - October 1957 - 62 years ago

Two of us are gay. Two are straight. But you know act folks? We all get along great together. 

This will be the first time Stuart and Pat meet face to face.  A couple of years ago I introduced Pat to Stuart when Stuart called me on my iPhone as Pat and I were waiting in line to cross the border from Canada to the United States. I am sure they will get along together when they finally meet.

You know what folks? I know the BEST people and have the BEST friends. So looking forward to getting together next week. Photos an videos will be taken.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Philly, Here We Come!

Ben Franklin and friend awaits us across from Philadelphia City Hall in the rain

This time next week I'll be in Philadelphia for my annual spring rendezvous with Pat and my longtime friend Don McK. Pat and I stay in the guest suite at Don's co-op at 21st and Chestnut Street in center city Philly.  

Pat and I stay there twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall around my birthday in November.  

This year Pat will be arriving a day late, Monday June 3rd.  I'll be arriving Sunday, June 2nd.  Our stay is only a week.  On June 8th I will be attending my 60th high school class reunion with Pat in attendance. I hope I can get him to take some pictures with my camera. I take most of the pictures at these reunions but I can't take a picture of myself. I have to ask someone else to take the picture like I did at my 50th class reunion.

My old high school friend Stuart M. will be flying in from his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We'll meet him at the airport and drive out to Downingtown with him. That will be fun.

We're having the reunion at St. Anthony's Lodge in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the same location where I attended my graduation party sixty years ago.  I have pictures from that occasion but they are black and white and from a distance. I was shy about taking pictures back then. Still shy but more bold now. I often get "You should ask someone if they want their picture taken before you take their picture" now.  One extreme to another I say.  I wish I was bolder and had taken more closeups back then.  

This will probably be my last class reunion. We're all dying off at a faster rate now. That Memory Table is getting crowded.

What will Pat and I do in Philly? Go to our favorite restaurants and check out new ones.  Pat likes to visit old city and the modern furniture stores. We have a favorite cafe in old city we like to visit. And of course I'll be taking a lot of pictures and videos.

The forecast is rain so I'll be packing rain jackets for me and Pat.  For several years running now our visits have been rained on but we still have a good time. And it's always enjoyable to visit out friend Don McK. We always end our day at his place have a glass (or two) of wine and reminiscing about old times (war stories) and our current health woes.  Don is good company as is Pat. 

Good friends make good times. Doesn't get much better than that does it?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Things Around Our House

We have a lot of "things" around our house. My friend Pat, who is a minimalist, has advised me to get rid of them.  He says "you don't need them."  I understand his reasoning but some things I just can't "get rid of."  I do "need them" because they give me comfort.

One such item was the Pierrot clown vase pictured in this blog.  

A couple of weeks ago I came home and found my Pierrot clown vase with the leg broken off.  Apparently Bill accidentally broke the vase when he was closing the curtains in my bedroom. Bill's pretty rough with things.  He attempted to glue the leg back on but it was in the wrong place.  I was heart broken.  I didn't realize how much I loved that clown vase until I realized I might have to throw it away because his leg was broken.

I brought that Pierrot clown vase in 1980 with the little bit of money I had left over from the sale of our house in Philadelphia.  In fact I brought a whole series of Pierrot figurines. Bookends, tissue holder, and picture frame holder. I have all of them in my bedroom which is my sanctuary.  I also have other clown images in my bedroom.  A few years back Someone, Dr. Spo's better half visited my bedroom and was creeped out with all my clown stuff. He's one of those who hates clowns. Other than John Wayne Gacy and Emmett Kelly, I love my clown images whether they be paintings or ceramics.  They give me a great sense of comfort.  

So what to do with my damaged Pierrot clown vase?  I couldn't sleep that night. I called Pat to express my loss.  Didn't get much sympathy from that quarter.  Then I had a brainstorm. Maybe someone was selling the very same Pierrot clown vase on EBay.  I checked and they were!  Viola!

I put my bid on it and here it is, featured on this blog.  

I'm not posting the picture of my damaged Pierrot clown vase.  Bill glued the leg back on the vase but it's not the same. I put that vase back in it's original location, where it has been for the past thirteen years.  Even thought I got a replacement Pierrot, I still have a soft spot in my heart for my original Pierrot clown.  

Even though the clown vases look the same, upon closer inspection they are different.  The clown's face is hand painted.  Look closely and you'll see the subtle difference. Oh, I will have to show you the original Pierrot clown vase. Here it is, before his leg was broken.

My original Pierrot clown vase - look at his face, it looks older and more mature than my replacement Pierrot clown vase

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Beautiful Spring Days

Two days in a row of beautiful, low humidity spring days.  Wonderful!

I'm finally getting to enjoy this spring. Only one more doctor's appointment (urologist next Friday) and then we're (me and Bill) are free of doctor's appointments until the fall.  Wonderful!  We're both sick of all the doctor's appointments. 

Monday I had my dental appointment, Teeth cleaning (always painful) and X-rays.  No cavities!  Guess so, I don't have that many of my real teeth left.

A little under two weeks left until I make my annual trek to my former home and workplace, Philadelphia PA.  I'll meet Pat there on Monday, June 3rd.  I will be arriving at my friend and former co-worker's co-op guest suite rental the previous day, Sunday, June 2nd.  We'll only be in Philly for a week.  The following Saturday I'll be attending my high school 60th class reunion.  This reunion will probably be our last formal reunion.  Too many of us dying off.  I doubt if I'll be around for the 65th and definitely not for the 70th.  Long gone by then folks. 

This past week my neighbor Harvey stopped by and cleaned out the broken branches of my favorite river birch. Now I have a big gaping hole in that tree.  It will take about three years for that to fill in. Hope I'll still be around when that happens. Detect a theme here?

I haven't been updating my blog as often as I used to.  The reason is that I'm just too tired. I think my old age is finally catching up with me. I wind down right about now, 10 pm.  That's with an afternoon nap.  I haven't even made my daily journal entry for the day.  I'm slipping folks.  Fading out.  Hope not. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Back To My Regular Routine

Ready to enjoy this beautiful spring day!

Now that I have my colonoscopy procedure out of the way, I can get back to my regular routine. I cannot stress how relieved I am. Ever since my colonoscopy three years ago when my doctor found three large precancerous polyps, I've had this dark cloud hanging over my head. Now I only have one dark cloud hanging over my head, President Donald J. Trump.

This morning I engaged in one of my favorite activities, raking dead grass. I find the activity very relaxing as well as good exercise. I love being outside, breathing the fresh air and listening to the birds happily chirping seeking their new mates.

In two weeks time I'll be in Philadelphia to meet Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy. As regular followers of this blog know, Pat and I get together four times (quarterly) a year.  Spring time and Fall time we meet in Philadelphia.  We stay at  the guest suite at my longtime friend Don McK.'s co-op in center city Philly. That week we're also going to my 60th high school class reunion. This will probably be my last high school class reunion. Members of my class are dying off with increasing frequency. I wonder who will left for our 70th class reunion. Of course I'll take pictures and videos of my class reunion.

I am so relieved that I can get back to my regular routine. Now I'm going to go out and rake some more grass.  

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Colonoscopy Complete!

Yesterday morning I awoke at 3:02 am ready for my last dose of prep solution for my 8:15 am colonoscopy.  This was the second bottle followed by three eight ounces of water within an hour.  God how I hate this procedure but it has to be done, considering the alternative.

I drunk then waited for the solution and water to work its way through my body for the final clean out.  It worked. God did it ever work.

We left early for my 8:15 am appointment at the colonoscopy pavilion.  What's with the "pavilion" anyway?  I wasn't in the mood to ask.

We arrived at the office and again I had to show my ID, insurance cards and fill out yet another set of medical forms including all my prescriptions.  Didn't I just fill that out at the pre colonoscopy appointment I asked?  She said "We need it on this form."  She wasn't happy with my question.  I didn't care.  

I filled out what I could including my prescriptions, which is a list that is growing and growing. Then I took my seat an awaited "the call."

And "the call" came in not too long.  Several other people were called before me, some in for an endoscopy and some for a colonoscopy, all performed by the same doctor. The thought raced though my mind "I hope he doesn't get me mixed up with someone who is getting an endoscopy and gives them a colonoscopy."  But I quickly divorced my brain of that possibility. They have so many checks before the procedure that it's hard to  get the two mixed up.  

I was escorted into an area sectioned off with curtains and told by the doctor's assistant to "remove all your clothes and put this gown on."  And we all know what "gown" that is don't we?  The one that is open in the back. "All the better to see you with" said the Big Bad Wolf to Little Red Riding Hood.

After removing all may clothes but leaving my socks on (which I was given permission), the anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself. She said she remembered me from my procedure three years ago.  She asked if I had any questions. I said "I don't want twilight, I want to go completely under."  She said "We'll give you a good nap."  Then she inserted the IV in my right hand. I hate IV's.  They hurt and stay hurting the whole time they're in.  Man up Ron.  Then they wheeled me in on the gurney into The Room where the procedure is performed. I always like those rides down the hallway on a gurney. Makes me feel important.  Like I'm somebody. God knows I've ridden enough gurneys the past five years what with my prostate cancer, kidney stone, and leg operations. I've lost count.

My doctor was waiting. I saw the TV monitor screen where my intestines will be displayed once The Instrument is inserted in my anal area (ass). 

I also saw my anesthesiologist.  She smiled at me. As I greeted her I felt a "funny" feeling go up the back of my neck.  Oh I know what THAT is.  I had the same experience during one of my kidney stone attacks when I was in the emergency room begging for relief from the intense pain.  The nurse at that time said I would "feel" the solution go up the vein in the back of my neck to my brain and viola! No pain.  This time I knew I was going out so I said "Uh oh, goodbye!"  Of course I don't remember actually going under nor do I remember coming too; just that I was there and then I was told "It's all over."  Oh how I LOVE that anesthetic.  When I die and we will all surely die, that's the way I want to go.  Unfortunately we don't have much of a say in how we go but if he did, that's the way I want to go.  Just a little tingle up my neck then void. Nothingness. Sorry folks, no Heaven.  And to you fire and brimstone evangelicals, no Hell either.  Just a BIG NOTHING.  

My doctor came by and told me "Everything looks fine. We found three small polyps but that isn't unusual for someone who has had polyps like you have had."  He told me to call back in a week for the results of the biopsy.  He seemed confident that I was fine and folks I was vastly relieved that he didn't find cancer.  VASTLY.  So relieved in fact that I felt I had a new lease on life albeit a short one since I am so old.  

Bill had to drive me home since I was still woozy from the anesthesia.  A nice high I might add.  Bill was a little nervous making the three mile drive home on Route One. Traffic wasn't heavy but Bill doesn't have the confidence like he used to driving.  Next time I'll have to get someone else to drive me.  I would hate to have an auto accident after having dodged cancer.  

By the way, Bill's eyes are better.  More on that in a future blog post.

I'm here at work now, feeling free and renewed and ready to tackle the next challenges in our little corner of the world. 

Now I'm ready to go to my 60th class reunion on June 8th.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Colonoscopy Today!

Today is the day folks!

I got up at 3:15 am this morning to take my second bottle of colonoscopy preparation liquid.  That to be followed with three eight ounces of water within the next hour.  I've done that and let me tell you it was no picnic. It annoys me when I hear others tell me "It's no big deal."  Well folks, I'm here to tell you to me IT.IS.A.BIG.DEAL.  

I can hardly get through it. Gagging and nauseous. Bloated. Feeling like I'm going to pass out. Hey, more power to those of you "It's no big deal" folks. You're lucky!  

I was talking to a guest at the hotel Thursday night. She said she had the same problem with the prep liquid.  She only weighed about one hundred pounds.  She brought up a good point, she said she was taking as much liquid as a two hundred and twenty pound man.  She also got sick from ingesting all that liquid. 

Well, today at 8:15 am I undergo the tube up my behind to check to see if any of those pre cancerous polyps have returned. The one good thing about today, this is probably my last colonoscopy in my lifetime.  Yes folks, I have arrived at that point in my life where there are a lot of "last times."  

Now when I get back later today I'll attack that double billing I got for my last EBay purchase. They charged my Pay Pal account and my Discover card account.  What's that all about?  Always something.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Colonoscopy Prep

Colonoscopy prep solution

Today I begin my colonoscopy prep.  Oh joy.

I think this is my fifth colonoscopy. My doctor said this will probably be my last colonoscopy because of my age.  Yes, I am THAT old.  

I've been dreading this day.  The colonoscopy procedure itself is nothing. I'm knocked out by a very effective anesthesia, it's the prep the day before.  

In addition to not eating all day I have to drink the awful prep solution.  This time I was told the solution tastes like cranberry juice.  Yeah, I'm sure it does.  Just like the last time I was told the prep solution would taste like lime flavored juice.  To me it tasted like lime flavored toiled bowl cleaner. Not that I would know what toilet bowl cleaner taste like but I have a vivid imagination. 

I have two bottles of this prep solution. I gulp down the first bottle (no sipping!) at two o'clock this afternoon. Followed by drinking eight ounces of water once an hour for the following five hours. God, I hate drinking all that water. I feel like I'm going to float away.

Tomorrow morning, the day of my procedure, I have to get up at 3:15 am to drink the second bottle of solution. Fun times. That's followed by three glasses of 8 ounces of water for three hours. 

I have to be at the Seaside Endoscopy Pavillon at 8:15 am tomorrow morning, all clean out. Clean as a whistle. Lean and mean and ready for my colonoscopy scan.  Thank God this is the last one.

By the way, the Seaside Endoscopy Pavillon is just up the road from the funeral home. Eventually that will probably be my last "stop" one of these days. A day I hope is far in the future. But one never knows. 

5:38 PM 5/14/2019

UGH!  I'm almost through the first phase of cleaning out my bowels.  I drank the "cranberry" flavored solution.  Guess what folks?  It is just as horrible as all the previous solutions I drank.  I'm literally gagging now.  

After drinking that solution I had to follow it with a glass of eight ounces of water every hour for five hours.  I have one more glass to go.  I hope I can make it.  And yes, it is "cleaning" me out.  God.

Early tomorrow at 3:15 AM I get up to take the second bottle of solution followed by three glasses of eight ounces of water.  At least I'm not taking five glasses.  

I hope I can make it folks.  I've heard others says "the prep isn't so bad."  Not here folks, it is AWFUL.  

After this last glass of water, I'm going to have my "dinner" of clear chicken broth.  Yum!