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.

Caregiver Update

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