Friday, September 13, 2019

Howard's List

Friends Tommy, Howard and me a few years back at a reunion after thirty years

Time for a new list folks! This one from my friend Howard of Laurel Delaware.  


1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? 
Homemade rum cake

2. Do you sleep naked ?

3. Worst physical pain you ever experienced? 
Kidney stones, many times. Lost count. Wanted to die.

4. Favorite place you have been? 
Palm Springs, California - also Provincetown, Mass

Me, Palm Springs California 2017
Me, Proncincetown, Mass 1980

5. How late did you stay up last night? 
About one o'clock 

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would you move to? 
Palm Springs, California
7. Which of your Facebook friends lives closest to you? 
Neighbor Barbara, right next door

8. When was the last time you cried? 
When my Pomeranian Horace died - 1998 - I don't cry but I did then

9. Who took your profile pic? 
Barbara, my next door neighbor

10. Two of your top movies. 
Fracture, The Letter.

11. What's your favorite season? 

Autumn at our former Pennsylvania home
13. If you could talk to ANYONE right now, who would it be? 
Bret Climo

14. Are you a good influence? 
Without a doubt 

15. Does pineapple belong on pizza? 
Uh, NO!.

16. You have the remote, what show would you have it on? 
Rachel Maddow

17. Three people who you think will play? 
Don't understand the question

18. First concert you attended? 
Brasil 66 first and last - only attended one concert in my life

19. Favorite food. 
NOT seafood, hummus
20. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Women's fashion designer

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Another One Bits the Dust

John Hannum Tipton, U.S. Army Paratropper 1942

One of the most significant things about being as old as I am is that I get to experience the loss (deaths) of so many folks I know. Oh sure, all during my long life I have experienced death.

The first death I experienced was my Uncle John Tipton who died in 1961.  He accidentally burned himself to death at thirty nine years of age. His death was significant to me in several ways.  Of my father's ten brothers he was my favorite.  He didn't treat me like a child. He always had a friendly wink for me and smile when he saw me. Not only was he my favorite uncle but he was the favorite of all of my thirty-six first cousins. His death was ironic because he had survived World War II as a prisoner of war. He had escaped twice from a German POW camp only to be recaptured twice.  His mother (my grandmother) died two months before the end of the war thinking he had died in combat (he was a paratrooper).  After the war was over he was released from the Austrian castle where he and other POW's were held by the Germans. 

My Uncle John was a painter, a sign painter. He was working at Gindy Trailer's with my father and several of his brothers when a discarded cigarette caught his turpentine soaked overalls on fire. His co-workers tried to put out the fire by rolling my uncle on the ground but it was too late. My uncle didn't die right away but he had third degree burns over most of his body. I was in the Army at the time and on the firing range when I got to call to go home and see my uncle before he died. I remember visiting him at the Crozer Burn Center in Chester, Pennsylvania along with several of my cousins.  He was wrapped up like a mummy with only slit openings for his eyes, mouth and nose. I think he recognized us but he was so doped up with painkillers all he could do was moan. He died several days later. My two brothers and I, all of us in the Army at the time, were he pallbearers. 

I remember looking at his body in his open casket. First thing I noticed was his hair was combed wrong. It was parted on the side. Uncle John never parted his hair on the side. The other thing I noticed was even though there was this waxen body in a casket, it wasn't my Uncle John. "He" wasn't there anymore. There might as well been his overcoat in the casket because the warm, smiling Uncle John I knew he always gave me a friendly wink was gone. 

Since that September date in 1961 I have been to several more funerals. Some open casket (both my parents) and closed casket. I go to honor the deceased living survivors. The deceased is no longer there. Whatever spirit inhabited that shell of a body has long gone.  Who knows where?  Maybe we'll find out someday.

Lately, these past few years I have been experiencing quite a few deaths. The latest being the kind neighbor who lives several houses down from me who used to take me to the airport and Philadelphia.  His wife texted me Sunday night that he had passed away.  I knew he was deathly ill, because he had stopped taking me to Philly a couple of years ago because he was too ill from his chemotherapy treatments for his melanoma. I remember the first time he drove me to the Philly airport and he told me he was undergoing treatment for melanoma.  I  didn't know what to say.  He said "You don't have so say anything, it's just something I have to deal with."  In subsequent rides he would tell me of his treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was hopeful. Then last year he told me his cancer had spread to his brain. 

We didn't always talk about his cancer. It was just part of many things we talked about during our two plus hour drive to Philly, either the airport or Center City Philly.  "Bill" (his name, I will leave his last name out of respect for privacy for his family) was a retired music teacher, boys hockey coach and airplane enthusiast, although he couldn't fly anymore because of his cancer diagnosis.

Bill was great company plus he was an anti Trumper just like me. Oh God how I hate taking these drives with Trumpers, which I did once and almost asked him to let me out of his SUV when he started to rant on Hillary.

I didn't know Bill that well but I knew him enough to know that he was a kind and generous gentleman especially that time my flight was two hours late because of rain.  Poor Bill, riding around Philly airport having to pee so bad he drove to Newark Delaware just to relieve himself. I gave him an extra $25 and treated him to his favorite milk shake at McDonalds.

Bill, my ride to Philly

The last time I saw Bill he had lost a lot of weight due to his chemotherapy treatments. I kidded him that that was a heck of a way to lose weight. He said "I'm at my weight when I was a teenager."  

The next time I called him he was too sick to take me to Philly.  I occasionally texted him to see how he was doing but I suspected he was failing. I'm not good at knowing what to say at times like this but I did want him to know I was thinking of him which he said he appreciated. 

Still, when I received the text from his wife that he had passed a stab of sadness hit me right in the heart.  Bill was only sixty years old. Too young.

Tomorrow I call my youngest brother has been seriously ill for the past year.  I have to let him know that I am thinking of him. 

Since I moved to Delaware my best friend and the reason I knew about Delaware and moved to Delaware has died. His name was Bob. My lifelong good friend Ed died. Wayne "The Cajun" died. Other friends like Al, Jay and Bart have died. 

I miss them all. One day I will die and I will no longer miss anyone.  As my brother John said when he informed me of his health problems "We all get our turn Ronnie".  And indeed we do.

In the meantime I intend to make every day count. Next trip, Philly a week before Christmas with who else but Pat. Then in February we spend two weeks in Palm Springs. 

I'm older and stiffer and tend to fall a lot but as long as I can put one foot in front of the other and keep moving I intend to keep on living dancing.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Humpty Dumpty Falls Again

None of my quarterly adventures with Pat is complete without a fall.  

During my recent stay in Canada with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat, I had a couple close calls but didn't actually fall until we visited a bar with a live band.

Pat took me to Port Dover, Ontario to visit his friends Paul and Deb and their new house (which was lovely).  After having dinner at Paul and Deb's we topped off the night by visiting a local bar with a live band.  The place was the Norfolk Tavern and the band was the Jack Sith band.  

The band was great! 

I had a ringside seat to listen and videotape the band and the dancing. I even danced later (a video of which I will post in a future blog post).  

While videotaping Pat and Deb dancing, I attempted to stand up to get a better view of Pat and Deb which was being obscured by a blonde dancing in front of them. As I stood up I lost my balance and fell backwards into the crowd behind me.  You can see my tall chair hit the floor. I almost hit the floor but was saved from injury by a shaved head burly man who placed his hands under my shoulder blades and lifted me back up.  You can hear me yelp.  SO EMBARRASSING!  

Thank goodness he caught me just before I hit the floor. Of course my iPhone was running the whole time and captured the sounds of my humiliation if not the video.  It's a shame someone didn't video me falling, that would have been a You Tube "moment" for sure.

I continued to video tape Pat and Deb dancing and stayed in my seat, still so embarrassed.  

Thank goodness I didn't injure myself and thank goodness that man's quick thinking. I was lucky this time. 

I have to admit that it is funny listening to this video though even though at the time it wasn't so funny. 

More adventures coming.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Back Home From Canada!

Pat and I at the Relay coffee shop in downtown Hamilton, one of Pat's daily hangouts. They make a great mocha coffee!

I'm back home from my annual weekly end of summer trip to Canada! 

Obviously I was having such a good time I didn't have time to keep all of you, my faithful blog followers all these years of my daily activities. Heck, I hardly had time to update my daily journal.

So how was my week in Canada?  In one word GREAT!  

Pat is the perfect host. As some of you may know Pat's condo is in a converted downtown historic hotel. Pat lives in an ultra modern and minimalistic 568 square feet one bedroom unit. Small but still spacious with lots of light. Actually a whole wall of windows from his 14th floor condo overlooking downtown Hamilton.

During my stay we at out every day save one. Hamilton has many new restaurants which we sample. All the restaurants are good but I was disappointed with the Indian Nepalese restaurant which was a bit too spicy for me this time.  I like Indian food but not real spicy. Pat liked it though so we boxed up that spicy cauliflower for Pat to eat later.

We met up with Harold, the Hamilton Dancing Guy who was in the hospital recovering from surgery. What a gentleman, a pleasure to meet him in person. 

Pat and Harold at St. Joseph's Hospital - Harold was being discharged this day
Harold told us he'll be back dancing as soon as he convalesces

I finally got to meet some of Pat's friends. We traveled out to their new home in Port Dover. Traveling the Canadian countryside reminded me of the days when I was a young child and my father would take our family out for Sunday rides in the country. There is no "country" in the Pennsylvania countryside today.  That hour ride to Pat's friend's new house (they just moved in) through the rural Canadian countryside was such a pleasure. 

Pat's friends Paul and Deb welcomed us to their new house.  Took us on the mandatory tour. After a wonderful dinner (we inaugurated their new dining room table) we topped off the night by a visit to a nearby bar with a live band. I danced!  Or more accurately I did my "Elaine Dance".  Video will follow in a subsequent blog.

On subsequent days we visited our mutual friend Tom, who also recently left the hospital. We're all old folks, hospital stays are part of our lives now.

Pat and I also witnessed a bridge opening of a huge tanker passing through a drawbridge lifting to the Hamilton steel yards. Quite impressive.  Video will also follow.

We also did the movie scene, "Hobbs and Shaw".  Not my usual taste in movie but nonetheless entertaining. The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) is always good. But I'll never get those two hours of my life back. 

What Pat and I do on our quarterly get togethers may not sound exciting but we always have a good time. We enjoy each other's company and whatever we do is enjoyable. Even if it is just watching an old film noir movie on his TV.

My trip back home wasn't as stressful as it was going to Buffalo. I sailed through the TSA pre-check this time. The only delay this time was we arrived early in Philadelphia and had to sit in the plane on the tarmac for about twenty minutes before we could disembark the plane. 

Next trip, Philadelphia! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Arrived In Canada!

Waiting for the flight that seemed like it was never going to take off
Here I am in Canada! 

Today I begin my third day of my weeklong stay at my Canadian Travel Buddy's luxurious 14th floor condo in downtown Hamilton.

What a time I had getting here!

My ride (Jimmy Carter) from Lewes picked me up early Sunday morning to take me to the Philadelphia International Airport for my 11:45 AM one hour flight to Buffalo, New York. I fly to Buffalo where Pat picks me up and takes me over the boarder to Canada. A lot less complicated than flying directly into Pierson International Airport in Toronto. Did that once and will never do it again. Three levels of security and actually more mileage to travel.

It was good that Jim Carter picked up up early, we beat the Sunday tourist traffic returning to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Getting to the airport was the easy part. Now for the hard part.

I have TSA pre check. That's my "free" pass to bypass the security line where you have to take your shoes off, belt, get scanned, felt up and other indignities. In the past this has worked fine. Not this time. Oh no, not this time.

First thing I had to find the TSA pre check line. After asking several airport help I was directed to another terminal.  Yes, ANOTHER terminal.  WTF?  

So I take the long walk to the other terminal. There is a line. Not too bad but a line none the less. People are catching on to this pre check convenience.  Well, today it wasn't so convenient.

I approach the line.  Place my small carryon suitcase and shoulder bag on the conveyor belt. I also place my iPhone in the bowl and surrender them all to the conveyor belt to undergo the security scan.  I am directed to walk through "the arches."  "BEEP!  BEEP!"  Oh no, something is setting off the alarm.  I'm asked if I completely emptied my pockets. Well, no actually.  I have a pen (purple) and a semi-used tissue in my shirt pocket.  "Put it in the bowl!"  I hold my wad of cash in my hand. No way am I putting hundreds of dollars in the bowl. Too tempting and, of course untraceable, to some of the less honest going through or working the TSA security line that day. I am again directed to go through the arches.  I do so and, yes "BEEP! BEEP!"  "Step aside sir."  Off goes the belt.  "Do you have any metal joint replacements?"  Uh no but I do have seed implants for my prostate treatment of years ago. They should be dormant.  Again I am directed to the arches.  "BEEP! BEEP!"  "Step aside sir.  We'll have to pat you down."  Can you believe this?  First of all I'm over seventy-five years old.  I should be waved through security like I have many times in the past. But not today. Today I'm getting the full "treatment."  Before the pat down though I have to go in the full body scan, the one where they see everything you own (and don't tell me they don't).  I didn't pass that one either. I think they need to get new equipment. 

The body pat down was next. Wasn't too bad, they guy patting me down did manage to not jostle the family jewels, thank goodness.  Finally I passed.  Phew!  I can't remember the last time I went through such a rigmarole in security. And remember I have the TSA pre check "convenience."  

Now the fun was really going to start.  My flight as I said before was scheduled to leave at 11:45 AM.  I arrived at my gate at 8:30, almost three hours early.  Well, at least I was on time.  

I settle down to kill time. I was lucky in that I had went to the bathroom before I got to the airport. That's always a worry of mine when I go on these trips, that a bowel urgency will strike in between points of departure.  At my age I can't hold it in.  When I have to go, I have to go. Fellow blog readers who are in my age group understand completely what I am talking about.  I always fear having an "accident" on the way to the airport. And I have no desire to use the airport bathrooms for any sit down "activity" or encountering a Republican Senator in his gay closet with a wide stance in the next booth but because those bathroom stink.  They literally smell like shit.

When I got to my gate I settled in for a long wait.  I'm good at killing time so that wasn't a problem.  The problem began though as the time of departure approached there began a series of delays of which I was notified on my iPhone.

I lost count after five notification beeps. The departure time kept being changed.  Then the departure gate was changed.  Man oh man. This was torture.  Seemed like every five minutes I was receiving a notification on my iPhone. But at least we weren't sitting in a plane on the tarmac for hours or circling above for hours all of which I have experienced in the past during my limited flying experience. Has anyone ever had a flight both out and back on time?  I haven't. 

Finally at about 1:30 PM boarding began, almost two hours later. This was going to be a full day of travel. 

This plane was a puddle jumper. Meaning the cabin was toothpaste tube size.  Alright, so I exaggerate but that airplane tube was narrow. Thank goodness I elected a single seat on the left side of the tube.  Me and the rest of the passengers squeezed into our seats. 

We taxied on the runway and were off. The little over an hour flight was the easiest part of the trip. Sunny skies, pleasant trip.

I arrived at the Buffalo airport a little over an hour later and there was Pat, waiting for me.  Always good to see Pat in person after so many hours, days, weeks and months of communicating with him by FaceTime.  

As is our usual tradition we stopped at Wegmans in Buffalo for lunch.

Me and Pat at Wegmans on Dick Street (can you believe it?) in Buffalo. The Wegmans in Downingtown, we we often ate is located next to Dick's Sporting Goods store. What are the odds? 

We had a nice lunch (as we always do at Wegmans), oh how I wish there was a Wegmans in Lower Slower Delaware but I'll never see that in my lifetime or my next lifetime, and we progressed towards the border to Canada. Traffic was heavy. We don't know what that was all about or "aboot".  

When we arrived at Pat's hometown we immediately went to an open house one of his neighbors was having.  Pat lives in a historic hotel in downtown Hamilton that has converted into luxurious condos. His friends were having a house warming in this million dollar penthouse a few floors above Pat's condo. 

As we walked down the hallway to their penthouse we could hear the loud chatter and laughter.  Oh no, I was so tired and now I was going to have to pull the Charming Ron rabbit out of my magician's hat.  

Pat and Veena, the Lady of the Hour

We stayed for about an hour at their condo warming. Veena and Sharon had their affair catered. Free flowing drinks and scrumptious looking hors d'oeurvres were displayed prominently and begging to be consumed. I partook of a vodka and ginger ale but passed on the hors d'oeuvres.  I had only a bowl of cereal in the morning and wanted a proper meal. 

Pat and I ate at a new delightful restaurant that Pat discovered in downtown Hamilton called the "Bread Basket".  We met a delightful American couple from Connecticut traveling through Canada to visit their son in Michigan.  The lady photo bombed my obligatory restaurant picture that I always have taken when Pat and I eat at a new restaurant.  In fact when I eat with anybody at a new restaurant I have a picture taken to memorialize the event.  I know, I know. I am one of THOSE boring people. 

When Pat and I finally got back to his condo I was EXHAUSTED.  The time was nearing 6:30 PM, almost twelve hours after Jim Carter picked me up in that morning for my ride to Philly International airport.

Pat and watched a movie but I was just too tired. I went to bed, thus ending the first day of my annual journey to visit my good friend and travel buddy to our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada.

Today I am relaxed and ready for more adventure. I always enjoy visiting Canada and seeing Pat in person Although Pat and I talk several times a day on FaceTime, in person is always better. And he's in person now folks. 

We'll visit more friends today. Photos and videos will follow!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Lawn Disaster, I Was Right! Herbacide Burn.

My lawn before the grass was burned.

Today a representative of another lawn service company came by (at my request) to evaluate my lawn. First thing he said upon getting out of his vehicle "What happened here?"  YES!

This was the reaction I was expecting from the owner of my lawn service company yesterday but didn't get it. 

This new representative, who by the way was very good-looking (always helps) and professional. After I told him what application my previous lawn service company applied (wire grass and fungicide) he said it obviously was "herbicide burn."  Viola!  I knew something went terrible wrong.

He said the fungicide application wouldn't have killed the grass and I probably didn't need that application anyway but the application for wire grass was a lot different.  He said the wire grass applicate is a mixture of three ingredients that should be exactly measured and applied during a cool day, not in the heat. The day my previous lawn service company applied the application was very hot (90 plus degrees).  He also told me that my wire grass wasn't that bad and probably didn't even need an application.

That tells me a lot about the new owner of my lawn service company.  He didn't know what he was talking about yesterday, that was obvious. He chose to ignore my questions about all the dead grass.

"Travis", the representative of the my new lawn care company told me that new grass "would never come back."  So much for "it will grow back."  He said what had to be done is aerate the lawn and then reseed it.  He said the combination of heat and wrong application of wire grass poison KILLED the grass too.

I called my previous lawn service company and told them I would no longer be using them.  I felt bad because the woman I told ("Laurie") was the mother of the previous owner and the person who always called me to advise me of schedule lawn service.  Her husband, the previous owner's father, used to service my lawn. I knew something changed about a year ago because different men were coming by to applying application to my lawn. That was when the ownership changed, which I didn't know about.

Apparently the new owner doesn't know anything about lawns. He just brought the business because he was "bored" and wanted to do something in his retirement. That's what he told me yesterday. He obviously knows nothing about customer service because I have yet to hear from him since I informed "Laurie" that I would no longer be using their service.  A good businessman would call me back immediately and either offer to fix the mistake.  Back up a little bit here, yesterday he could have got out of his car and said "What happened here? I have to fix this at no cost to you. I apologize to you for this mistake."  But oh no, this guy DIDN'T know what happened and he is no way going to offer to fix it.  He could at least call to apologize but I don't expect him to call me or apologize.

What will I do? Move on.  I'm not going to sue him or report him to the Better Business Bureau.  This was a mistake. When a mistake happens or poor service, you don't use that business anymore. 

I was very upset about this whole mess until today because in the back of my mind I thought may I was wrong. But I feel justified now in believing what I saw with my own eyes, dead grass and dead plants around my border.  All those flowers dead and my beautiful pink autumn chrysanthemums damaged.  I'm not as upset now, now that I know I was right and taking action to correct this horrendous mistake. 

My lawn is one of the few pleasures I get out of my life.  One of the commenters of my blog yesterday basically told me to "get over it, life is too short."  Uh, no, I won't get over it.  I took care of the problem and fixed it.  

That attitude reminds me of what my neighbor Jane told me about her neighbor's comment to her because she wanted her lawn cut in a pattern.  Her neighbor said "You're too picky, it doesn't matter. Get over it."  Of course Jane took offense because seeing her lawn cut in a pattern is what gives her pleasure. Why can't she get it done like that?  Who is her neighbor to pass judgement on her about what she wants.  It like my neighbor  complaining about the colorful rainbow spinners that I placed in my oval planter to deter the rabbits from eating my impatiens flowers.  She said "Looks like a carnival over there!" Actually Bill and I both like the spinning colorful pinwheels. That was an unexpected side benefit of placing those pinwheels there. Pinwheels will be there every year as long as we live here. 

My annual trip to Canada is coming up in a few days. I have to calm myself down to enjoy a week of adventure with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. There is a possibility we may be visiting Montreal.  Viola!  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Lawn Service Failure

The new owner of my lawn care company taking pictures of my damaged lawn, this lawn here in front used to look like a green carpet. It's almost all mud and dead grass now.

The owner of the lawn service company I have been using for thirteen years stopped by this morning to check my lawn as per my request.

As I expected I didn't get any satisfaction. I wasn't expecting my $225 fee back for the lawn application for wire grass removal and an anti fungi application. What I was expecting was a satisfactory explantation why half or more of my grass is now dead.  With my neighbors' lawn on either side of my property glowing a healthy green, the lawn care owner explained matter of factly to me that this was a fungicide application and that the "grass will come back."  He didn't seem concerned at all. I told him "My neighbors' lawn don't have this fungicide, why does mine have it?"  I'm thinking I didn't even need this application. He told me a story of how the fungus could spread if the grass is mowed when the lawn is wet.  Fact, we do not mow our lawn when it is wet.  I told him I used to have one of the best lawns in this development, which he agreed and now I have one of the worst if not the worst.  He agreed that I did have one of the best lawns.  He said he would take some pictures and show them to "Rich" who I thought was the owner. Then that's when I found out this guy is the new owner.  So I think that is the answer, I knew something was different. The last year or so I detected a difference in my interaction with this lawn care company. I thought I was imagining things or being overly sensitive.  Turns out this guy bought the company from "Rich" who used to be the owner.  Know what I think?  This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  

I'm getting a new lawn care company.  I've already called and made an appointment for an evaluation of what has to be done to correct this disaster.  

Just another day in the life folks. 

I am so looking forward to my week in Canada next week.  I need to get away.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Grass is Greener . . . . . . . .

My destroyed lawn after two chemical applications
The grass certainly isn't greener around here since I had a wire grass removal treatment almost two weeks ago. At the same time my lawn service company, which I've been using for thirteen years, applied a fungicide treatment. After this dual treatment on a very hot 90 degree August day, at least half my lawn is dead. You know when they say "throwing the baby out with the wash water"? That's what happened to my lawn.  I am very upset. Extremely upset. And to add insult in injury, this treatment cost me $225.

I called the owner of the company a few days after the treatment to inform him that something seemed terribly wrong. He assured me all would be well.  That the grass was a "little stressed out" but it would "all come back."  Another thing that really upset me was this Agent Orange treatment killed or maimed almost all of my border plants. My lawn has never had this kind of reaction to a treatment before. 

I live in a development where there are fifty-seven home with lawns.  Some lawns are immaculate.  Some so-so and some are just weeds.  Our acre of lawn (you may have seen previous posts where I posted videos of our back yard) was one of the best in our development. Not now.  Now it looks like a Vietnamese village after a dose of defoliant.  

I called the owner again last week and asked him to come out and take a look.  He acted rather annoyed and said he "could make it out here Tuesday or Wednesday of next week."  That would be tomorrow or the next day. 

One of the big reasons I am so upset is my lawn is the one thing I could always count on to keep me calm in these stressful times. And of course the pride I took in having one of the best lawns in our development. Now even that small island of calm has been taken away from me. 

I don't expect to get my money back tomorrow. The service was performed. I "ate the steak" so I have to pay for it. But I want an explanation of what happened and perhaps a free reseeding application to help restore my lawn. However, what I expect is a song and dance explanation. If I get that, I change lawn service and just chalk this experience up to another bad service experience. 

I don't like confrontations and I hope I don't have one tomorrow but if I get any of that attitude that I detected on the phone when I called the owner last week, things might get a little uncomfortable. I'm at that point in my life folks that I don't put up with "it" anymore. 

Here's hoping the matter will be resolved amicably. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Blog Update - Where Have I Been?

Folks, I'm falling behind in my blog posts as perhaps regular followers of my blog have noticed.

The reasons for my tardiness are many and myriad but the fact remains, that I'm having trouble keeping up with regular blog posts. 

I have so much going on in my life now that takes precedence over my blog posts. 

One of the main reasons is that this is summertime and I have a lot of outside responsibilities. Most of this summer have been very hot and humid. Dragging myself through this summer has been exhausting with all the different problems that needed to be resolved. 

And last but not least, I am Bill's caregiver which is taking my more and more of my time. I do not complain about being Bill's caregiver but it is time consuming at times. Thank goodness he is still mobile and able to take care of himself most of the time. Could be a lot worse and for which I am thankful it is not.

Another responsibility that has been consuming my time has been my job at the hotel. Even though I work part-time two days a week, I've been called on to work more than two days a week for the past six months filling in for my co-workers for their emergencies, of which there have been plenty this year including the resignation of a longtime full-time worker which required filling in for her and training her replacement.  Thank goodness that situation has calmed down, for now anyway.

In two weeks time I leave for my annual visit to my good friend Pat in Canada. I'm looking forward to taking a break from the summertime routine here. Of course I have to check in with Bill every day but I do have a chance to breath. 

I am looking forward to summer ending and the autumn weather rolling in, providing some relief from all the gardening problems I've had this year. 

In summation, if you don't see a regular blog posting from me, do not despair. I'll be back, eventually. 

Saturday, August 03, 2019

My New Favorite Movie Idol

When I was very young, ages ago, in the Fifties I used to go to the movies every Saturday matinee.  

Like any young gay boy of the Fifties (of which I was the only one of course) I had my movie idols. Those gorgeous men who made my heart throb and engender those "stirrings" in me that often resulted in wet dreams.  Yes, I said it.

One of my first movie idols was Farley Granger. 

Farley Granger - 50's movie idol (not a nice person, I found out later)
I remember watching a series of films he was in with Shelley Winters. Every time Farley's gorgeous face came on the screen in one of those giant closeups, my heart would skip a beat. "If only" I thought this handsome man could whisk me away from my dull, hum drum life on Washington Avenue and transport me off to what I imagined paradise to me.  Many years later when I saw an older Farley on a TV soap opera (he still looked pretty good by the way) I thought "What was I thinking?"  This guy is obviously gay and just a pretty boy and still in the closet at that. Something that has always turned me off about some gay guys.

Another heart throb of mine was Guy Madison. 

Guy Madison -"Wild Bill" - be still my heart!
Oh how I used to watch those early TV episodes of "Will Bill Hitchcok".  Guy with that nice slim bod of his in that fringed buckskin outfit he wore. More skipping of my heartbeat when I watch "Will Bill" sling it out in a gun fight kneeling down hiding behind those giant rocks with bullets ricocheting all over the place. Take me away Will Bill!  Later on in life I saw Wild Bill, aged but still looking pretty darn good.  However, I had lost my interest in him by then.  Even when I saw nude pictures of him, nothing there.  

Since that time I can't remember one movie actor that has caused my long dormant feelings longing for the unattainable to rekindle. That ended a few weeks ago when I began watching this Australian TV series called "A Place to Call Home."  

The series is about a woman returning to her home in Australia in the early Fifties after twenty years in Europe, including World War II and the Spanish Civil War.  On the ship home she meets a man accompanying his mother to their home in Australia.  He is in his fifties and his name is George Bligh.  They meet in the hallway of the ship they're traveling on after "Sarah", the main character attended his mother who has a heart condition.  Sarah is a nurse.  "George" lays his eyes on Sarah and is immediately taken with her. I lay my eyes on George and am immediately taken with him.  

Those eyes; sparkling, inquisitive and providing a window into his good soul. 

As George makes eye contact with Sarah, he smiles. A crooked smile. I am a sucker for crooked smiles.

George approaches Sarah to introduce himself and I notice he has the same posture as I do, rounded shoulders and neck protruding forward.  All my life I wanted a ramrod straight back but could never have one because I have curvature of the spine. I always thought it was my fault I didn't have a straight back posture because I was lazy or defective in someway.  I found out much later in life I have the very common condition of curvature of the spine.  I was not alone. However, I never saw an actor who had the same condition I did. Now I did. And he was handsome and charming.  Who was this man?  I checked and I found his name is Brett Climo.  Never heard of him!

All my adult life, I always felt left out because I never fell for the charms of the movie and TV actors, Brad Pitt does nothing for me. In fact I don't even like him as a person. I've seen some of his interviews and he comes across as a pompous, self absorbed ass. Not likable at all.

I could go down a whole list of actors that many others find movie idol worthy:

Leonardo DiCaprio
Johnny Depp
Matthew McConaughey (ugh!)
Tom Hanks
Roberty Downey
Christian Bale (are you kidding?)
Matt Damon (nice guy, sexless to me)
Bradley Cooper (I do like Bradley)
Timothy Chalamet (I DO not understand)

Just a short list, I could go on. Many other fine actors but no one I would want to have dinner (or more) with. No one that lights up the screen for me. But this Brett Climo, I LOVE this guy!

Who knew I still had those fires raging within me?  

Maybe someday I'll get to met Brett in person. But that's about all, he's straight and married. Shame.

By the way, I like the older Brett much better than the younger Brett. I'm into older guys. Always have been, always will.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Back to the Heat

Has it been a week already since I last posted? Wow, just where does the time go? 

At this time of my life I forget most of what I've done the previous week.  Heck, I forget what I id this morning.

What I do remember is that last week I asked my lawn control company, which I've been using for years, to give our lawn a treatment for wire grass.  Well, I don't know what they put on our lawn, but it's not looking too pure.  Talk about throwing the baby out with the wastewater, I guess their application will kill the wire grass this year (the wire grass will return next year, wire grass is the "Jason" of weeds, it keeps coming back), but their application also killed large swatches of perfectly healthy grass and my tender impatients plants that were gracing the side of our house and were giving us many hours of pleasure looking upon their gentle beauty.  Not now, our lawn and the accompanying flowers and plants bordering our lawn look like the aftermath an Agent Orange attack in a Vietnamese village.  I called my lawn care company this morning and asked them what in the hell they put on our lawn.  She said the manager would call be back.  Of course he didn't. 
I'm not asking for my money back but I am curious as to what he put our lawn.

Another interesting development here is the ants have returned.  They invaded our kitchen back in April, en masse. I purchased liquid ant traps to fool the worker ants to take the deadly poison back to the queen ant. That took care of that invasion. Now they're back, from a different location.  More ant traps purchased and placed and they too are slowly disappearing.  I've been told this house is over an ant trail that is hundreds if not thousands of years old and I'm The Intruder.  So I guess all I can do is a holding action but for now, I can sit at my counter and have my lunch of hummus and homemade tomato soup without brushing off the ants from the ridge of my bowl and running up my hairy arms.

Bill and I are going through a spate of doctor's appointments. Yesterday we visited Bill's doctor at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Georgetown. Bill passed his labs!  Healthy heart beat, all vital signs healthy.  Bill's only problems are his hearing (getting worse), eyesight (macular degenerations) and swelling in his lower extremities.  But other than those age related ailments, Bill is one healthy man. I keep telling him he will out live us all.

Tomorrow I have my annual visit with my cardiologist. I have an extra heartbeat. Nothing too serious but I do fatigue easily. Just a defective lower ventricle valve not closing properly. As my doctor told me when he first discovered my heart was wearing out was "That valve has been working non-stop since 1941, think of that."  I know I'm working on Bonus Time now folks. 

By the way, the HEAT is back.  Remember when 80 degrees was considered hot?  Now days 90 degrees is considered "normal."  I am already rethinking my plantings for next year that can take this relentless hot, humid weather which I fully expect to continue as global warming continues. 

I had the plumber in today to check out the swampy smell beneath our kitchen sink. They deduced the problem came from our automatic dishwasher which I NEVER use.  Bill and I never use an automatic dishwasher.  So I got some dusty cooking pans together and ran the dishwasher. Hopefully that will dispel the swampy stink.  I also had the plumber check my toiled which I have to often have to jiggle the handle to get the flap inside the tank to land properly so the toilet doesn't keep running and I have a huge water bill which I had last quarter.  More expense.  Every day, more and more expenses. Have to keep working at my part-time job at the hotel to support our not maintenance free home.

That's what is going on here folks, what I can remember anyway.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Today we finally got relief from the sweltering week long heat wave.  Now I can breath. Now I can work outside.  Not today though, a gentle rain fell all day.  

Early this morning we drove down to the Delaware DMV to get our Subaru inspected and renew my registration.  

Delaware must have the most efficient inspection and registration procedure in the country.  I'm saying this because for so many years I endured the torture and costly inspection procedure of Pennsylvania.  Thanks to Pennsylvania legislatures being bought and sold by lobbyists at one time we had to get our cars inspected every six months. And we had to go to either an auto dealer or authorized garage to get our vehicles inspected. No one EVER got out of those inspections without some charge. The auto dealers were the worst, hundreds of dollars was not an unusual bill to get one's car inspected. The Pennsylvania law was eventually changed to once a year car inspections. Here in Delaware we can opt for inspections every two years. Which is what I did this morning. Eighty bucks, a cheap price to pay for registration and inspection. 

A good day.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Still Sweltering!

The forecast for tomorrow is one hundred degrees. And that's not the heat index temperature, that IS the temperature. 

The humidity now is 53 percent.  Feels like 90 percent. 

I'm housebound. I venture out several times a day to replenish the water in our bird baths which the birds appreciate. They'e hot too.  

This is the first weekend that I don't have to work, that's a relief.  Maybe I can get back on my regular rhythm of working two days a week (Mondays and Thursdays) now after months of filling in for co-workers for various reasons. 

This morning I forced myself to buy some paint.  I have to paint the baseboards in our basement media room. I should have done that BEFORE the run was laid. What can I say?  I wasn't thinking.  

I hate to paint. There is a lot of touch up painting that has to be done around here. I'm trying to talk myself into painting our main entrance door, which isn't our front door. Who uses their front door to go into their house anyway?  Not us. In fact we don't use our living room and dining room. We don't even use our little dinette area off the kitchen.  I eat at the counter and Bill eats in his Archie Bunker Chair.  

The "Beat the Peak" is from 4 PM to 7 PM today. It's 7 PM now. Time to bake that Chicken Parmesan I've been looking forward to all day.

Stay cool and have a great Saturday evening!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


How's the weather where you are?

We're sweltering here.  Right now, at 4:45 PM the temperature outside if 98 degrees.  The humidity I don't know but it feels like 100%.  I can only stay outside a few minutes before my body starts to overheat.  Then I dash back inside for relief. I can't take this kind of weather folks.  

I believe it when warnings go out during hot weather like this about it being dangerous for seniors.  It is folks!  I'm here to tell you.  Hard to believe when I was young, I sailed through summertime without air conditioners and even fans.  Not now, I literally fear for my life if I stay out too long.  I think I can take Palm Springs heat, which is low humidity but not this heavy, oppressive humidity. A familiar refrain eh?  "The heat not so bad but I can't take the humidity."

By the way, got some good news this morning. Home Depot gave me a credit ($248) on my rug pad that I didn't need. I love Home Depot (even though one of its founders funds Trump's campaign).  Good customer service Home Depot.

An update on my brother who I mentioned was seriously ill.  I haven't heard anything for several weeks now which isn't good. My Mother often said "When it's quiet that not good."  John isn't one to complain about misfortune, unlike me.  I tend to shout my misfortune from the rooftops.  I texted him asking him how he was doing.  I'll let you know if I hear anything.  

Hopefully I'm back to my regular schedule (two nights a week) at the hotel.  It seems for months now I've been working three nights or more a week at the hotel to fill in for my co-workers for various emergencies, sicknesses, resignations, and vacations.  Last Monday on my workday I woke up and was dizzy, very dizzy.  I had to stay in bed all morning until I got a semblance of my balance back.  I think I have an inner ear infection.  I had this problem a few months back.  It's scary when I have that condition because I can't get my balance. It's like I'm drunk.  I am totally immobilized. I don't know what we would do here if this was a permanent condition with me.  I couldn't drive and Bill doesn't drive.  I don't want to even think about it.  

I only have one more thing to do this summer, getting my car inspected and registered then I'm looking forward to coasting out the rest of the summer. That is until the next unexpected emergency crops up. 

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!