Thursday, December 31, 2009


I promised someone I would write a blog on the last day of the year and I have about an hour, so here I go.

I must say, I won't miss 2009. It's been a pretty strange year. We've been lucky. We're at an age where the economic crisis didn't affect us as much as many of our neighbors. We went through our rough times when we were in our 20's and 30's so I guess we all have to go through some rough patches to learn how to deal with adversity. No one told us life wasn't fair, we all just assumed it was, and when bad things happened we blamed whomever was closest at hand...

2009 was a year of doctors, dentists, pharmacies, and therapies of all sorts. I won't miss the ass end of the year, and I look forward to 2010 being better than the last year. But honestly, whatever it brings, it will be my decision how to accept it.

A long time ago I learned that I have choices in my life. In the morning I can wake up and say, "Oh my God, what a crappy day" or I can say, "OK this is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm going to make it a good day". It's my own choice. I know it sounds all phony and fake, but it's really the truth.

The happiest people I know are those that are not millionaires. They're the folks that love life, all of life. They don't wait for good things to happen to them, they go out and make the good things happen. They don't have all the newest and greatest of things and material wealth, they have love and cheer in their lives.

Most of us in this country have more than we need. Some need more to make their lives easier, but if anyone in this country wants to get ahead, there are ways to achieve it. You have to be willing to accept less and do more. It's not hard to understand that, but it is hard to accept it as your lot.

I am in the middle of a "semi-crisis" within my extended family. None of the crisis will affect me in any way at all, but I have been asked to look at some affidavits and records and give a synopsis of the problem as I see it. It's not unusual for me to take on this role as confidant, but this is a bit more than I need to know.

I bring this up because the reason for the problem that exists with this family member is all about greed, and the need to have more than they were entitled to have.

For some reason, we in this country, (and look in the mirror, because I don't know many American citizens that don't fit this description) seem to think if we want something, we should have it. Some of us realize we can't have everything right away, but by damn, if we want it we'll get it. I'm not talking about some gazillion dollar doo-dad, I'm talking about something that may be a bit of a stretch for us in this paycheck, but we'll figure out a way to get whatever it is at our earliest opportunity.

The extended family member wanted it all, and now. They did something that was not legal to embezzle millions (think ENRON) and they got caught, not as quick as they should have, but finally were caught. Now, it's "hang your head down and beg for mercy time"...I don't think's not going to happen. It's big time jail time and rightly so. They had the same choices that you and I had and chose to take from someone else, so they could buy the cars, houses, businesses, more houses, more cars, go on extended trips and say it was all because of a large inheritance...yeah..right...

They will pay dearly for the fun in the sun they once had, but will never have again. I hope they liked all the great road trips they took in the hotsy-totsy cars they had, it will be a cold day in Hell before that happens again. Life will go on for them, but not the life they had, nor the life they could have had if they had made better choices when they woke up that first day they decided to take what wasn't theirs to take.

It's about choices in life, and I think we all need to remember that we are our own destiny and the choices we make today will most definitely affect us tomorrow. Everything we do has some affect on us at some point in our lives. I could say it's Karma, but it's really Physics....If you push one way, something has to fall away from the push some other way. What goes around, comes around...Watch those choices....they could well put you away for many years.......That's the truth...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good Bye 2009

Do you think the whole month of December will be about Tiger Woods and his paramours? Do you really care? Who the Hell cares? I think it's nuts.

When I heard the first murmurs about the "car accident" I was concerned about the guy. Then I heard a bit more... I said to husband Larry, "You know what I think? He took off out of the house for his life...yep...he did something that the big Viking heard about and she's pissed". Larry thought I was nuts and said, "No, not Tiger". I looked at him and said, "What? He's a man, he's got tons of money, with money comes power. Those are the things that women look for when they're on the prowl. You can't honestly think that any guy who thinks he can get away with it would say, 'Please leave me alone...I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I'm married and I can't betray my wife'. All this as she's grabbing him and probably hanging over him with her bodacious tatas hanging out.

"What? Are you nuts? He's been doing the deed and not with his wife. She found out and slapped him silly. He ran out for his life". Larry wasn't convinced, he thought I was a vindictive nasty thinking woman...he's right on that of course.

So for a day Larry thought I was nuts...then the story starts to unravel. Lo, and behold, it seems that Mr. Woods has indeed had some indiscretions in the past. Not nice, Mr. Woods, now you know what it's like when big blond Vikings get pissed. If this marriage lasts, I'll bet he's going to be a good boy for a looong time.

2009 has been a year I want to forget. Honest. There's been so many dumb things that have happened, I'm glad it's almost over, I've had it.

Ever notice we all go through these cycles. It might be a series of illnesses, or maybe everything you touch falls apart in your hands, or it could be that every appliance in your home decides to die at once. It happens to everyone...but not at the time it's happening to you. No, you're going through some kinds of craziness and everyone else is eating bon-bons.

I thought when I got to this age I'd be cool, no problem, I can handle everything and still keep on going strong. Not.... I'm tired and not physically. I'm tired of watching the same three news stories every night...some kind of frenzied news reporter telling me with sensationalism that the world is coming to an end...and soon. If I change the station, another 10 year old looking news person (got to be P.C. you know) will be telling me the same story, only this time with a different and probably more sensational spin on the story.

I thought this year was one of the worst for news reporting. I think if you pitted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ against the death of Michael Jackson, Jackson would be the clear winner in the news reporting category. One day, all the channels on my TV has something about the Jackson death at the same time, even the weather channel (I didn't check the golf channel...but then that was before the Tiger story so who knows what they were reporting on).

Between deaths, illnesses, lousy TV reporting, and an assortment of other weird and strange things, this year will be a pleasure to see go.

I do have some things to be thankful for however, I wrote the NaNoWriMo book (74523 words) and I have a new grand baby coming any minute I guess the end of the year was pretty good...I don't know if it made up for the rest of the year though....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where is everybody?

It's the day after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday". My neighborhood is quiet, deathly quiet. I can't believe what I'm thinking, but there's really no other explanation for it...They've gone to all the sales. Imagine that?

The last time I woke up early to go to a store was over 20 years ago, and the only reason I did that was because I had to open the store. It was a frantic, ridiculous thing. I arrived at the place at 4:00 a.m. The place had to be opened at 5:00.

When I got there, there was a line of people waiting to get into the store. They had blankets, chairs, and snacks. I still think about it and wonder why they thought it was so important to be there to get the sale on the piece of junk that would end up in a dump not long after this all important waiting game.

When my kids were younger I would try to get to the sales, but I didn't go nuts. It wasn't that important to me to get things for $10 or $20 dollars less than the regular price. I didn't, and still don't understand the mind set that seems to permeate through this society.

Why do we think everyone has to have the newest, biggest, greatest and best new piece of junk? I think back to the days of the Cabbage Patch Doll frenzy, and wonder where those dolls are today. I'm betting they're in a dump somewhere, at least the majority of them.

Then, remember the Beanie Baby frenzy? I do. I bought a couple because they were cute and put them on my desk to humor kids who came in. I swear those things started to breed. A few days after I brought in the couple I bought, there were more added to them. After a short time I had to buy a storage shelf for them. Customers and clients kept bringing them to me. They spilled over the filing cabinets and onto another desk. I gave them away to kids who came in, but that just seemed to make them breed faster.

One morning I arrived at the office to find a policeman waiting for me. We had been robbed in the night. The officer asked me to look around and see if anything was missing. I went into the office and noticed the only thing missing I could see was the Beanie Babies. Can you believe that someone broke into the office and stole Beanie Babies? They did. They took some other stuff as well, but the majority of the theft was those bean filled animals.

In a way I was kind of glad. They were getting out of hand. I had too many in the office and I couldn't stand them all. I still have some of them in my house today, but I keep them separated so they won't breed.

I hope my neighbors are getting good deals today. Gosh, I wouldn't want them to be losing out on any little doodads that someone else will get. Something like that would be so sad...

I think people are nuts, and at this time of year they really show their nutsiness most.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So, the title is O.F.T.. Want to know what that stands for? Old Farts Travel...

You can sit there and laugh and your younger self can think, "What the Hell is she talking about?" Guaranteed though, some of the "more mature" of the readers will understand and take pity.

Let me enlighten you to the "fun" of old farts travel. You decide you're going somewhere, anywhere, it doesn't make much difference if it's far away or a day trip, the drill is pretty much the same.

You go to bed the night before trying to remember all the stuff you must take for the upcoming trip. If it's a day trip it's not as bad, but gees, if it's a trip that you'll need a suitcase, God help you...

Recently Larry and I went on a Fossil Bus tour (read below if you don't know what that is). We were really in trouble the very first moment of the day we were going on the %^&$ bus. Our bus left the meeting site at 5:30 am. The last time we left that early for something we didn't go to bed the night before knowing full well if we did it wouldn't be a pretty sight for anyone who saw us that early in the morning. We should have remembered that.

Larry has a routine in the morning that CAN NOT BE MODIFIED or else life as we know it will cease to exist. I hear him get up and I pull the covers over my head. I know better than to rise at the same time as he. It's either get up earlier than him, or wait until the coast is clear to get up after him. There is no exception...usually.

His day starts as follows: You hear him swing his legs off the bed with a resounding "THUD!!". Then the expletives start..."Holy #$%^, jesum-h-christo, life sucks, omigod, %^&$#, whatthehell....oh gees, freakin'foot^&%$%, (now mind you this is all before he stands up). Then you hear the movement to the bathroom (it's not's kind of a shuffle with a bunch of expletives thrown in for good measure). The bathroom must have some kind of hidden agenda because the room gets a slap as he walks through the door. I'm still under cover at this point so I'm not sure what's going on, and I'll be damned sure I'm not getting out of my blanket fort to check it out....I know when I'm safe.

After a couple of minutes, I hear the toilet flush (a good sign... there is life and the toilet hasn't been demolished in the morning "hate") then the "clomp, clomp. clomp" sound of heavy footfall down the hallway. Our hallway is short, but honest to God you'd think it was the length of the corridors on the way to "old Sparky" to be electrocuted.

When he gets into the kitchen, he hits the button on the coffee pot...(thank all that's holy for that invention). He ambles into the living room where he drops into his chair...The TV goes on and he waits with half opened eyes until the coffee pot extends its welcomed hand toward him in the form of coffee scent...

OK you have the idea. Now, put all that in your mind and imagine what it's like when you have to be somewhere early in the morning. Do you think the sight is pretty? Do you think it's easy to get out the door in time?

I usually have everything I need in a pile on the table. I take time a day or so before to assemble the necessary items I'll need. No sweat. Larry however, has a different approach. He waits until the last minute to decide he wants something to wear that was stored in the cellar last fall... You get the idea. He has gotten better as he's aged, but there's still something that won't be where he wants it, when he wants it and it will be the worst thing that's ever happened to anyone ever, ever, ever. I don't buy into that, by the way. I go on my merry way getting myself ready.

In the past we could grab stuff, put it into a back pack and be on our way. We had sports cars so we couldn't take much stuff anyway, but we didn't need much. However, times have changed. When we go any place these days we're looking at plastic bags filled with patent meds, lots of patent meds. In the bag (which we have one always at the ready now-you know "grab-n- go") we have: aspirin, ibuprofen, salon pas (stick on liniment pads), tums, q-tips, Maalox, moleskin patches, nail file, tiny scissors, a pillbox (filled with enough meds we can sell on the street for big bucks if we find we need money???why???), eye drops, tucks pads (if you don't know what they're for you're too young to be reading this) and an assortment of other "necessities".

With the bag and at least one change of clothes we're ready, almost, to go. Then there's the I need a jacket? do I need a sweatshirt? What if I spill something on myself, I may need a different shirt, oh gee, if I bring a different shirt, I'll need other pants, should I bring another pair of undies? The list goes on...

When you think everything is correct, you're ready to leave, after you go to the bathroom again... and that dear friends is a shortened version of Old Farts Travel...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm walking on Egg Shells

Have you ever had days when you knew you should have stayed in bed, but were too stupid to listen to yourself? I don't know why I'm asking that, because I know you have had days like the ones I've had lately.

Through no fault of my own, and that's not the usual case, I seem to be in some weird dimension that revels in making my life a living Hell. Since the past weekend I have had some of the strangest things happen to me and all I'm doing is breathing. Honest, all I've done is breathe. I haven't tried to alienate folks, but I have. I haven't tried to hurt myself, physically, but I have. I haven't tried to make people uncomfortable in my presence, but apparently my being alive is enough to put some ill at ease.

Now, maybe some folks would think this weird ability I seem to have attained is a positive asset. Maybe some would think I have control over others just because I'm breathing, but I have to tell you, I'm not crazy about this feeling as though I'm walking on egg shells. For the next few days I'm planning on staying either in my house, or when I do go out, I'm going to keep my mouth shut. Keeping my mouth shut is going to be rough, but I must do it, either that or find a nunnery somewhere I can stay for a while.

I have to go to a funeral tomorrow. A friend passed away unexpectedly, and I sort of wonder if this may be the reason for the strange events of the past few days. I'm not really into the "woo-woo" stuff but I'm beginning to wonder about some of it.

Oh well, one day at a time, I guess.......

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fossil Buses

If you Goggle "Fossil Bus" I think you get some buses doing archaeological research and some video tape of kids on a school bus, although I don't get that one...

The Fossil Buses I'm talking about are neither of those. No, I'm talking about the buses filled with Senior Citizens going on "adventures" to places they don't want to drive to, or can't go on their own, or don't want to go on their own. There's a definite place for these buses, but I have to tell you, it's a mind blower the first time you go on one.

We went down to NY city on one....I saw the trip advertised in the paper. It was inexpensive, going to a place we wanted to go to, and I knew some of the folks on the bus.

The bus trip was organized by a Senior Citizen group and it was...a bit different. I am a Senior Citizen. I know I'm old. I know I don't do things the way I did them in the past, but I don't think I'm quite old enough for Fossil Buses, yet.

I enjoyed the trip. We had a good time but, and you knew there had to be a but, I have a difficult time going on a bus with few folks I know, listening to horror medical stories about colons, gall bladders, lower intestines, stomach, pancreas, prostate, breasts and vaginal discharges. All spoken about with laughter and jokes...

OK, admittedly, these topics were common ground, but honest to God I thought I'd gone through to another dimension and came out in "Hospital-land". You'd think conversations about poop would be discussed quietly, if at all, but not this bunch. There was a discussion on one side of the bus about the best anti-diarrhea meds. On the other side the discussion was about constipation and how eating prunes wasn't the best method to alleviate the problem these days. At the same time I heard all about someones colonoscopy and the polyps that showed up. The answering comment included a dissertation about colostomy bags and where you could get the supplies almost wholesale (I'm shelving that for future reference).

When it wasn't about poop, and all it's facets, the topic morphed into the surgeries they have had, their spouses have had, they were going to have or someone else's surgery. Then it went to the Doctors they had. Who the Docs were. What their specialty was and how many divorces the Docs racked up...

I learned more on that bus trip about my neighbors colons and breasts than I really needed to know. The Docs, well I would've liked to hear more about the divorces and the rest of the gossip I couldn't hear. Next time I'm going to bring one of those ear phone things that make the conversations around you easier to hear... I think I missed some really good tidbits of info...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why write?

Look, I will admit I like to gamble. I like the adrenaline rush of a winning hand or the sight of the numbers rolling the way I want and I'll admit it, I like the sound of the one armed bandits as they spin. I don't go into a casino with much money, only the amount I'm willing to lose that day.

The problem is, a casino of sorts opened less than 2 miles from my house. Knowing how I like the adrenaline and the sounds, I stayed away at first. Slowly I learned more about the place, so I decided to check it out.

It's one of those normal looking casino places, all glittery, noisy, people bustling around, officials and floor personnel walking the gauntlet of aisles searching for people either in distress or people getting ready to take a sledge hammer to the machines. It wasn't different from any other gambling establishment I've been to.

I've been going on and off since the place opened. I don't go everyday, but I go at least a couple times a month. The most I've ever brought in with me is $50.00, that's big spending to me. I play certain games that make me laugh or I try to figure out how they work. After that I leave.

Every month I get a flyer from the casino. It's as if there's some subliminal message on the page trying to entice me to go more often. Usually the flyer gives me some incentive to go into the place to get free "something". I don't pay for food there since they give me free points if I bring the coupons in that are on the flyer.

I've written before about the people I see in the Casino. The majority are o-l-d. I'll bet the average age in the "neighborhood" casino is 75. Sure, there are others who are younger, but honest most are old, in wheel chairs, those blasted scooters, walkers, with oxygen, canes, braces, you name it.

I have no problem with older folks, Hell, I'm one of them myself, but some of them shouldn't be in there with all those people.... Their sneezing, coughing, choking, grunting as they sit with the glazed over look in their eyes, hitting buttons on a damned machine.

My friends are concerned that I have a "gambling problem". Maybe I do, but I think, like the older folks I see, it's a "boredom" problem. Most of the folks I see in the casino are passing time. That's all. I know all of them want to win that "Big Jackpot in the Sky", but the reality is, if they won it, they'd be back in the casino as soon as they could to hit the buttons on the machine again.

It's time to think about this boredom thing. I need to analyze it...but I'll wait until I get back from the casino........

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is it just me?

Can someone please tell me what the Hell is happening to us in this country? I'm not talking about politics, this is a general question. I'm really stumped. I'm wondering if I'm the only one who is noticing this stuff and I'm so old I'm out of touch with reality or something.

Today I was in a Dollar Store. I hate the Dollar Stores, but sometimes they have something I want and certainly the price is right, so I cave...

While I was looking for the "must have" thing I wanted, I noticed a woman sitting on the edge of an end cap display. She was crying and I started to walk up to her to ask if I could help. I realized she was on the phone to someone. Now, honestly, I thought she had gotten bad news about a death or something, so I found myself wondering how I could approach her to give her some comfort. I truly felt empathy for her obvious distress.

In my mind there were all kinds of scenarios going through my head. Her Mother, Father, brother, sister, husband had died, was maimed, fell out of an airplane, fell off a roof, was in an accident all kinds of things. While I was going through all the tragedies in my head which would cause this distress, I heard her say, "I've had it with you! I spend my life trying to make sure you have all that you need. I put things off that I need, so you have the resources to do what you want. I'm through". Clearly this conversation was not about the death of a parent or any other family member. I was sure no one had fallen out of an airplane or off a roof. I felt better about that, but then I started to wonder, why anyone would have a conversation like the one I witnessed in the Dollar Store?

What is there about cell phones that make people feel they can bare their souls in public, then look at the people around them with disdain because they're listening to their conversation? For God's sake don't sit on the end cap of a counter having a private conversation in the damned Dollar Store. If you're in a restaurant and you get a call where you have to start to talk about some personal hygeine issues, or health issues, take it away from me...Actually, don't talk on the damned cell phone while you're in the reataurant at all. I you don't have the cell phone on you at all times, is the world going to end>? Are you so important you need to be available 24/7? I think not. Am I wrong?

Cell phones are a great little invention, if they're used correctly. Don't take the damned thing into the restaurants, theatre, or the library. Honestly, I don't want to hear your conversation. If you're having a fight with your significant other, go outside, sit in your car and talk to the jerk, I don't need to hear it. I sure don't want to hear about your sex life. I don't care about it.

When did the cell phone take priority over sitting and speaking face to face with someone. I can't stand it when I'm in a conversation with someone at a restaurant, deep into the conversation and their cell phone rings. What I hate more is when they hold up their hand to me as if to say, "hold on", then they answer the &*^%% cell phone. At that point I have all I can do to sit and "hold on" to my temper. I am obviously not as important to them as the nameless (to me) entity on the *&^%% cell phone.

I'm making a deal with myself as of this moment. When that happens again, I don't care who it is, I'm getting up and leaving the table. I have had it with rudeness, and that's what it is...rude.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We all have our own opinions

Aldi’s Adventure

I have a bumper sticker on my car that states: Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Seems to be a reasonable statement to me, but I've had several folks stop and challenge me about it. I actually had a problem at a grocery store.

As I left the store I noticed that another car was parked so close to mine I was unable to open the driver's door. I stood and waited until the person came out of the store. As I was standing there I noticed the car was filled with all manner of literature depicting right to life info. Some of the stuff was really offensive and nasty. The back seat was piled high with bibles and some pamphlets that resembled some extreme conservative types of literature.

After a couple of minutes, I noticed a woman coming towards the car and she was Hell bent on getting in my face from the get-go. She angrily stated, "I wanted to make sure YOU couldn't get into your car before I let you know that I DON'T appreciate your bumper sticker…" I thought she was talking about the one that says, "Christianity has Pagan DNA", or maybe it was the one that says, "I haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister",but that wasn't the one she took offense to. No, it was the abortion sticker. She went on a tirade and I just looked at her and said, "Isn't it great, we live in a country where we can all have our own opinions and we don't have to worry about someone trying to shut us down?" She went completely nuts. Unbeknownst to me there was a man on the other side of my car who was listening to the tirade and he stepped in to defend my right to my opinion, and to defend me, while this woman decided to defame my character, my car, my bumper stickers, my name it she was on a roll. I just stood there. How the Hell I was able to keep myself from blowing up is beyond me, but I thought at the time that I was witnessing, first hand, a sociology/psychology experiment. I slipped around to the other side of the car, crawled into the driver's side, over the console between my seats and started my car.

The two of them were still going at it tooth and nail. I eased the car out of the parking spot and drove away. I looked into the rear view mirror at the sight of them poking each other with pointed fingers. I just smiled and thought..."oh well..." I choose the battles I fight, and if I see that battle is going to be with someone who's fanatical, I will always retreat to fight another day. Some may find that cowardly, I say its self preservation.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I just can't find it!

I'm writing this as a public service for those of you that haven't gotten to this point in life. I'm not blaming it on the age thing, because there's more to this than just aging.

This happened to me this morning, so it's fresh in my mind. I'm in the middle, actually the end, of a kitchen remodel. The old kitchen has looked the same for the last 20 or so years. After careful deliberation I decided the whole thing had to be gutted and reconfigured into something for the 21st century and not some vintage 1960's Beaver Cleaver Mom's kitchen. I've been writing about the kitchen remodel and the education I've gotten regarding new kitchen stuff, enlightening, to say the least (also "lightning" my pocketbook at killer speed as well).

Today, while hubby slept, I decided it was time to clean up the appliances. I started with the glass topped stove. I put the polish goop on it and did the best I could. I realized I needed to get one of the scrapers I use to get the little stuck-on stuff off. The problem with that was I couldn't remember where I put the widget thing I use for this purpose.

My search took me into the depths of the garage where all the contractor's tools and equipment is being temporarily stored. I had put all the contents of the old drawers and cabinets in the garage in the interim. As the new cabinets were installed I emptied the boxes holding all the essential contents of the old cabinets into the new ones. Let me tell you this, not everything went into the new cabinets, I had some pretty used up crap I was still holding on to (why? I don't know. You'd think I was raised during the depression...that's the one in the 30's not the one we're currently in... Why we all keep junk is beyond me...). The crap went into the garage sale box (like someone is going to buy this junk?).

I pulled apart every box in the garage. I stood on ladders looking for the stupid thing on the top shelves. Then I decided that &*^% hubby must have seen the thing, moved it to some other spot. I had some very choice words for the man of my former dreams, who at that point was dreaming in his #$%^^&%% bed, as I was looking for the #%$%^&& widget thing to clean my stove.

I went into his work room in the basement. I tore through all the cartons, tool boxes, and shelving. As I did that I began to straighten out the mess down there, finding all kinds of goodies I could use in the new kitchen. I figured if the #$%^& creepy hubby could move or take MY widget, I could appropriate some of his little organizer things. I classified this as the Right of Imminent Domain. I, being the "imminent", "domain" being the new kitchen rehab.

Still not finding the widget, I went into my studio and searched all the nooks and crannies in that hovel. No luck finding the widget thing, (you know what I'm talking about, it's a razor blade in a plastic holder). By this time I was sure when I found the damned thing I'd use it to slit my wrist, or better yet, hubby's, since I KNEW he moved the &^%*@ thing.

Upstairs I trudged, carrying all the new found goodies from the basement work room. My new cabinets are the kind that go to the ceiling. They are really tall, I'm not. I have a convertible chair/ladder that works great for me to climb so I can reach the top cabinet. I almost get a nose bleed on the top stair, but that's OK. The cabinets look cool, so I'll deal with that...

Up on the ladder, I decided to check every cabinet for the offending widget. Peering into the cabinets, I decided they needed to be better organized. When you get something like new cabinets it takes months to finally settle on where things are best suited. There's lots of movement of stuff as the stuff gets settled in it's new home. Nothing is permanent for quite a while.

By now, three hours have passed, trying to find the %$#%&* widget. I could have used: a knife, a razor, a spatula or probably some other utensil, but no, I had to have the &^*^%$$ widget.

I've used every dirty word in my vocabulary. I've called the Father of my children, the love of my life, my best friend, every rotten expletive I know, all over a $2.00 little plastic razor thing. All because I won't use any other thing but that ^%$%$* widget for this job. What's that all about?

I lose things on a regular basis, oh there in the house, they're not lost forever, but when I need them, they're lost. This was different though, I knew HE moved it. I almost gave up looking, grabbed a pot of ice cold water to throw at him in the bed.

As I gave up the quest for the widget to get the pot I was going to fill, a sudden glimmer of remembrance came fleeting through my thought processes...hmmm...I remembered putting the widget thing into a plastic bag, then dropping it into a drawer. I stopped in my pot grab stance, and looked down at the drawers. I opened the bottom drawer, and there in all it's glory was the baggie with the widget. I think I'll go give hubby a little peck on the cheek.......

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New age marriage

I was reading the paper the other morning, there was a story about a young couple getting married in a couple of months. The story was explaining all the ins and outs of the prenuptial aggrement they were writing prior to the upcoming nuptials. This couple weren't celebrities or from families of great wealth, they were regular folks. In fact, they live very close to my home. Is this a trend?

I can understand a pre-nup if you have tons of assetts and you want to protect them, but I think it says something about the younger generation. They go into marriage pretty much thinking it won't last, so they need to protect their stuff from the future partners stuff.

Wow, when I got married I was glad to have a suitcase full of clothing and a toothbrush. I didn't have much of anything else. I don't remember any of my friends worrying about a pre-nup agreement with their future spouses.

I have to laugh at the seriousness of the young folks, maybe I'm naive, but to me they take everything way to serious in their lives. I don't get it. When I was their age the most serious thing I thought about was where I was going to go on the weekend.

I'll have think about this more.....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The kitchen remodel chronicles....

OK here we are at another episode of the kitchen remodel....

Well so far we have the cabinets in, a microwave that was in but was sent back, and another new one waiting to take it's place (the first one had missing parts- I know that because the contractors called it some very colorful words as they were trying to get the thing into it's new home and in mid install found the factory that made the microwave must have had some "Quality Control" issues the day they sent it out because the damned thing had no hardware attached to it for installation on the cabinets.....The contractors taught me some new words I'm thinking I shouldn't use at my grand kids day care center.....), the granite folks will be here next week to measure the granite and get that here. The house is covered in sawdust and sheet rock dust. We have no counter except a piece plywood over one part. The sink is leaking because a pipe has to be changed but we can't do that until something else comes in (I'm not sure about that....)I have an old Tupperware container catching the drops (a lot like the way I lived in an apartment in the 60's when we had no money to fix anything...Thank God for Tupperware containers. But other than that..the job is coming along nicely...

We are trying to keep everything cool and collected. We each have a set of silverware, a glass and a mug. We're using paper plates mostly, and at times we don't even wash the previous food off the bowls, just wipe it out and reuse.....I've taken to eating my veggies either frozen or out of the can. But it's OK...I'm on a diet anyway.

This remodeling stuff is not my favorite thing to do. I thought it would be fun and a challenge to get all the supplies and make the decisions on the products I was going to use. In fact, some of it has been fun, but more of it has been a drag. I now understand why designers get so much money. There's a lot to do when you remodel, even a small kitchen like the one I have. There are many more details than I realized.

I'm a child of the 60's. Give me a sleeping bag, a cup of tea, bread and cheese, and I should be happy...Yeah...right. I've gotten soft (either that or I've gotten smarter). I want all the cushy things available. I'll pay enormous sums of money to make my life easier. I don't want or need to "prove" how "cool" I can be living off the sticks and twigs of nature. I want all the techno gadgetry available, and I want it in my kitchen.

I've sold out...

So big deal...shoot me...but first let me get a cup of cappuccino.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kitchen edition continued...part 3

Who knew there were so many choices of flooring? OK, so I knew there were an huge assortment to chose from, but honest to God, I didn't realize I was stepping into a class I like to refer to as, "Flooring 101" when I walked into the floor store...

The day I bought all the other essentials for this kitchen remodel, I decided I wouldn't go home until I had purchased the flooring. My original plan was to install tile or slate. I didn't want vinyl at all. I have nothing against vinyl, but I figured if I was cutting off one of my arms and legs for this remodel, I may as well go all the way and spring for something a bit more upscale.

I needed something that has some give when you walk on it for the sake of my last leg....I didn't need the pain that's associated with tile and slate. Also, Larry drops lots of things. I swear on all that's holy the statement, "like a bull in a china shop" was written for him (and for that matter his two brothers as well...Do you think it's genetic?). I decided I didn't need to be buying new dishes and glasses every week, and that's what would have happened had I purchased tile or slate.

My success in the faucet store and the tile place gave me the confidence to walk tall and straight into the flooring store. I was ready for whatever was thrown my way...

The colors accosted me when I opened the door. There were all hues of the rainbow screaming at me... Here's where I should tell you something about me and my problem. I have this thing about big box stores and warehouse stores. I get overwhelmed almost to the point of panic in these places of material consumption. I'm pretty simple when it comes to purchasing things. I buy quality stuff so it lasts (forever sometimes...). I like to shop in smaller shops where I don't feel as though I will be absorbed into a pallet of "stuff". I don't like to walk down the aisles of the big warehouse stores and feel like I'm in the Grand Canyon with cliffs all around me waiting to collapse on my head. I hate buying in bulk (although Larry LOVES to buy in bulk. I think I've discussed the "retired guys" transition from working guy to retired guy and their need to buy everything they can in bulk...think 96 rolls of toilet paper, 48 rolls of paper towels and giant bottles of detergents, that I can't lift...). Anyway, the bulk thing gets to me.

This store was all floors: tile, slate, vinyl roll/tile, hardwood, laminate,cork, carpet, bamboo, you name it, they had it. In each category there were subcategories to include everything mankind could think of to make the choice harder. You could choose color, thickness, quality, this was not going to be as easy as the last couple of purchases.

The owner of the shop, seeing my eyes with the "deer in the headlight" look, ambled over to me and gently sat me down at a desk. He asked me what I was looking for in a floor and all the other pertinent questions for making an educated decision on the flooring. The space I have is small so I was limited with some of the stuff in the store, but still there was still a bunch of things to choose from...I was getting that panic feeling...I could feel the heart start to pound, the beads of sweat were beginning to form on my brow, I started to look around for a paper bag in case I started to hyperventilate.

The owner was very helpful and let me collect myself before he proceeded to show me some of the best stuff he had to offer. At this point in the remodel all thoughts of cost have been thrown out the window. I'm at the point of not caring about costs, just get me something to put on the damned floor...To be honest I would love to go away for a month and come back to the job completed and all the stuff put back into the places it belongs. I walk back into the house after my month away and say, "Thank all that's holy, the job is done" and get on with my life. Unfortunately, that's not how you can do a remodel. It's work.

Do I care that some of the flooring comes from the wilds of some country I've never heard of in my life? Actually, I probably know where the country is, but the name has changed so many times I don't know the newest name. Frankly, when I look at a World map I'm still trying to find the Belgium Congo and some of the other African nations who change their names more than I change my socks. It's nice to know where the material comes from, I guess, although I'm not really impressed. My main concern is the floor is something that won't poison me, put me into cardiac arrest, or make me break out into scabs and running sores.

I'm all for "green" and all that, but I'll take something that's not so green...Saying that probably makes me a "bad" person these days, but come on, this is a freaking little 10 x 10 kitchen remodel. If I buy something that's not totally "green" is it going to make that much difference in life in America? I think not.

After careful thought, and understanding what I needed, the owner showed me what I wanted. I bought something that looked like slate, but wasn't. I was 80% "green" (wow) and floated on the floor. I still don't have a clue what that means. When someone says something is floating, all I can think of is a pool with a raft, me on the raft holding a plastic martini glass filled to the brim with vodka and relaxing in the sun. I don't get the concept of a "floating floor". But I bought it.

to be continued....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kitchen edition continued

If you read the last blog, you'll know about my kitchen remodel. I've been educated in the finer points of the remodeling gigs. It's not fun.

Some of my friends are laughing at me. Most of them know me well enough to understand I'm just not into the perfect house, perfect decorating, perfect, perfect thing. I don't see the point. If the house is comfortable, clean (at least mostly clean), doesn't have springs poking out from the couch or chairs, has a place to put my tea cup and an ottoman, I'm happy.

I've said before, I would be more than happy to tell someone what color palette I like (that's another one of the those Home & Garden buzz words) I'd be more than pleased to go away for a month and return to everything completed. I just don't care that least that's what I say. However, truth be told, I am pretty fussy with some of this stuff. I sure know what I hate.

I went out the other morning with a mission. I told myself I would not return to my house until I had certain items needed for the completion of this remodel in my hand our on it's way. I gave myself 6 hours to complete the task.

Can I tell you how many distractions and delays I had? It was incredible. I HAD to get coffee in order to function (I forgot to add that to the equation), so a stop at DD's for coffee. Standing in line I thought I'd better get something to eat, since my plan was to do all this with no other food breaks. I bought something light and yummy. I turned around to find two of my friends excitedly calling me over to their table. I tried (honest to God) to tell them I was on a mission, and couldn't be deterred from it, but it didn't work...I sat down.

One and one half hours later I was on my way again. Oops, I forgot I promised Larry I would stop at the bank before completing my mission. At the bank, I was approached by a long time client of mine asking for some help on one of their missions for that day (I had a fleeting thought that perhaps I could pretend I was my twin (I don't have one, but I could lie) and try to flee. You know I couldn't do that.....

One hour later, after helping the poor guy with his stuff, I was on my way again. You understand , I had yet to accomplish one thing of my mission for the day.

Finally after a complete morning of ADD, (not my ADD but all the other folks who brought me into THEIR ADD) (attention deficit disorder-in case you don't know what ADD is...although in this day and age of acronyms you must be living under rocks or something), I arrived at my first destination.

The faucet place... I walked in, told the nice man my dilemma about the super expensive faucets I had seen and was not going down that road. The guy was very nice about my ranting, smiling and nodding(I know he's been down this road before with other women. He knew enough to let me rant). Finally, when I needed to take a breath, he took a chance and said, " I know what you're looking for and I'm going to show you...". I stopped him in his tracks and said, "Does the faucet have all the features I've asked about? Is it the finish I want? Does it cost a reasonable amount of money? Do you have it in stock so I can take it with me?" He looked at me and said, " Wow, you're really gun shy, huh?" By that point in the conversation all I needed to do was to nod in agreement. He said, "Affirmative! to all the questions". I said, "I don't need to see it. Wrap it up!". He did, I paid, I left. One thing done.

Next stop, tile store. I walked in, found a sales rep, said, "This is what I want. Do you have it?". Showing him my sample (this sample was another story for another time...believe me...). He looked at me and said, "I have others like you". "Stop! don't say another thing. I can't look at any other tile. I need to know if you have this one", as I held up the tile I wanted. He said, "Yes, we have that but....". "No", I interjected, "you just have to let me know you have this in stock and you have enough to do my job. Honest, that's all I want to know". He said, "Gun shy, huh?" "Yeah, yeah, I am. Now please, do you have the tile or not?" "Yes" Thank God, an affirmative answer. I said, "OK wrap it up". He did, I paid and on to the next place I went...

Floor store was the next place. Have you any idea how many floors you can buy out there in "floorland"? We shouldn't have so many choices in this country, it makes us crazy, at least it makes me crazy.

to be continued

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cooking Disasters 101

Look, I'm a pretty good cook, but I have a tendency to "experiment" at times. Most of the times my experiments are good, well, at least mostly they're edible and you won't die. Sometimes though, the experiment goes bad...A lot like the experiment with Frankenstein... I should explain.

I love farmers markets. I love to buy all the fresh new vegetables and sometimes there are some vegetables I don't know much about so I buy them to try. This doesn't happen often because there are not many I haven't tried and most of them I like...with exception of okra...I can't seem to find a way that tastes palatable to me. It seems slimy and slippery. It's a consistency thing with me. I'm sure there are ways to cook the stuff that would pass muster, but I haven't experienced it yet. I'm just not a fan.

This week was the first week the farmers were outside with their wares. I walked around the vendors looking at what they had to offer. Most of the stuff was green leafy stuff and I bought some of it, but there was one thing I knew about but I hadn't experimented with it before, so I had to buy it.

The stuff is called "Ramps", or spring onion, wild leeks and a number of other names. It can be found in the Northeast and in the mountains of Appalachia. They have Ramp festivals, why? I don't know but they do. It grows in wet lands. Ramps are a cross between onion and garlic. They're definitely more pungent than leeks. In fact some folks think they smell like a combination of garlic, onions and goat sweat... Believe me that's not too far off the mark. Normal people would read that description and shy away from buying it, but I'm the adventurous foodie, not quite as far out as Andrew Zimmer of Bazaar Foods, but I'll try things.

The farmer I bought the ramps from made sure they were meticulously clean. They grow in wet muddy ground so they're usually coated with mud. Cleaning them can be tedious. They looked beautiful. It's great to see the first veggies of Spring. You have to get these things out of the ground quickly because they turn nasty if left in the ground too long...That should also have given me a clue about the little green leafed devils...

I chopped one up and put it into a salad, one mind you, not a bunch, one. The salad was on the counter when Larry came into the kitchen and asked me if I had forgotten to shower that morning. (This was the second clue...). I laughed and said it was probably the onions in the salad he smelled. I wanted to belt him, but I've become kinder in my old age. That, and it hurts to punch someone.

We ate the salad, along with some other food and we lived. I figured I'd find some other recipes online for the green devils for the next night.It sounded like a rational thought.

Ah...potato, ramp soup, sounded pretty good. The base was chicken stock, so how bad could it be? Well, I'll tell you, it looked like normal soup, but the smell was...aromatic? noxious? putrid? I honestly don't know what to call it. It wasn't something that normal people should have to smell.

Larry had been downstairs, he came up and said, "Oh my God, what is that smell, and can we find it to kill it?' I didn't think it was that bad, but then I hadn't left the room for a while so I was used to the smell.

I served the soup along with crusty bread and a small salad. It looked pretty good. As I brought the soup spoon up to my lips, I got a whiff of the smell. Honest to God, it sort of smelled like paint thinner. Stupidly, I ate the soup. I ate half of the soup, to be honest. The first mouthful almost didn't go down. You know how that is, you put something in your mouth and something about the substance isn't right. Your brain is saying to you, "listen, numb nuts, you better not ingest that, cause I'm going to rebel". Did I listen? No, I didn't. (when will I learn?). Larry, good sport that he is, really tried to eat it, then I think God took mercy on him and caused him to drop the bowl and spill it all over himself. He got three spoonfuls into his body before the reprieve.

We both thought better of eating more of it. The toilet ate it. I thought we were going to be OK, until an hour later. All Hell let loose, as well as my bowels. My brain rebelled and told my bowels to expel the offending stuff from my body ASAP. My insides must really be scared of my brain because they listened to the brain and nearly exploded before I got to the bathroom...

Larry is still in hysterics, laughing his head off. The house smells like goats have been working out with weights and treadmills in an over heated gym, and haven't seen hide nor hair of any deodorant or showers for days. I'm hoping it's warmer tomorrow so I can air out the house.

"Ramps" that's what they're called, stay away from them. This has been a public service announcement!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Remodeling, your space? your head?

I think the Home and Garden network is out to get the American public. I have friends who now speak the, "H&G language". You know what I mean; "designing on a dime", "staging" their house, "bang for your buck","curb appeal",generation renovation". You get the picture.

It seems as though every sentence pops with a buzz word from the H & G channel. Most of my friends are far better "designers" than I am, and I'm intrigued by the lingo they use, so I figured, what the heck, I'm getting ready to remodel my kitchen, I'll sit and watch some of these shows to get some ideas.

There's no doubt some of the shows have some great ideas, if you're living in California, have an unlimited budget, or you're under 35. Since I am none of those, I find the programs a bit off putting. I thought the program that touted being able to design something new and different without selling your first born, would be the show for me. Unfortunately, I guess I don't fit the demographic they're trying to lure. I have a hard time trying to convince Larry that sprayed aluminum pie plates are the next artistic wave of the future. The folks who were doing the spraying on TV must have been in an enclosed room too long with the spray paint if they thought their "work" looked good. It didn't. My friends who watched the same program thought it was bit of a stretch as well, so I'm not that far off the mark with my comments.

I did watch a program with a host who showed how to redecorate a home in California. As I watched the show it had potential, I thought. The couple were not much younger than me, so I assumed they would have similar thoughts on decorating. I didn't think we'd be seeing spray painted pie plates on this show. I was correct.

This couple had moved quite recently from the confines of their apartment in New York City. They needed "space, to spread themselves, to understand who and what they were". (puke) They were moving lock, stock and barrel to the west. California was the place for them. Yep, they traded one coast for the other coast. Far enough, I thought, a need to change their lives. What I didn't know until after the break for commercials, was these folks were over the top wealthy. They didn't seem to think they were, but trust me they had big bucks.

I kept watching the show to see what they were going to do with this perfectly good home to make it, "more theirs". The house was 5000 square feet, of palatial interior, not to mention a gorgeous landscaped yard. Their furnishings gushed wealth. The biggest problem they faced was how to position their grand piano and the enormous vases they purchased in the bazaar in..Zanzibar? Morocco? South Africa? Who knew, who cared? I was trying to figure out where they had those things in their apartment in NYC. Then I realized, their idea of an apartment and my idea were obviously two very different concepts......

After watching the host, and the team she had helping, the furnishings were "staged" ( damn it, the lingo is catching), so the living room (the size of my whole house I might add-actually bigger than my house), was completed. I looked at the before and after shots they were showing and decided there was never going to be a time when I would have anything that looked remotely like these folks' house, so why was I watching this stupid show. I turned the TV off and decided to get real.

I do need to remodel my kitchen. I'm doing that right now. My kitchen is old and worn. It needs a big face lift. I sat down, pen in hand and wrote all the things that needed to be done. The list was pretty daunting, and I knew for sure this project was going to take experts to complete, not Larry and I. I needed help, and needed it before I started to buy things.

My friend is a designer. Her husband works with a contractor. They're honest, sometimes brutally, but that's what I needed. They agreed to help out. I had no idea what I was in for in this "little" project.

People tell you when you want to do something in your home you should go to houses and see what others do. They tell you to look in magazines, watch the H &G network (yeah, right....after I win the Lottery) and ask around. So I did all of that and came up with what I thought was a pretty good idea of what I wanted, how much I planned on spending and how I was going to finance this venture.

I didn't know how much stress and aggravation I was getting myself into. I wasn't totally naive, I knew there were going to be things that would blow my mind, I haven't lived under a rock these last years, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was facing. I thought. I have been educated this last couple of weeks. I knew NOTHING...nothing I tell you, to prepare me for the onslaught of what I was about to learn.

Are you aware you can buy kitchen faucets for $3500.00? and that's not the most expensive. $3500.00, that's what I paid for my first brand new car, for crying out loud. What makes a freaking faucet cost $3500.00? It's a piece of bent pipe, with a spout, a handle with a valve to turn the water on and off (probably made with some other kind of not so showy metal and plastic- you know it's plastic, and you know it's made in China -and they're not getting $3500.00 for making the damned thing!). How can it be worth $3500.00? That was my first eye opener. There were many more to come.

After the shock of the faucets, I went on the the cabinets...The ones the contractor picked out were OK, but they were very similar to the ones that came with my house 40 years ago. I felt I could spring for something a bit more eye catching. My first foray into the world of cabinetry was like Alice going into Wonderland.

The cabinet salesman (and he was a man-a man I have decided was a savior in jeans) led me by the hand to the books of cabinet listings. He then asked me a bunch of questions about what I wanted from the cabinets (this was more like an interview for a job-or marriage). I was having a hard time understanding the cabinets and I had to be a good fit in order to be happy. Where was I, on some far off planet? This certainly wasn't what I expected from Lowe's. He explained all the variations of cabinetry, the whys and wherefores of options (who knew?), what the cabinet could do for me, and what I could expect from the cabinet. I was clearly out of my depth. I needed my designer friend. I was in the glazing over of the eyes stage. I just about jumped up to run screaming from the store. I felt the old anxiety attacks creeping into my body. I bent my head down, taking deep cleansing breaths, as I said I would be back to continue at another time when I could control my emotions.

I stayed in the parking lot a few minutes to collect my thoughts. At one point I thought my kitchen didn't need to be remodeled. It was fine with the torn wallpaper, the cabinets that were shimmed to level, and the sagging base cabinets. Who cared if the door of the corner cabinet fell off if you grabbed it wrong? Yes, I could live another bunch of years without the dreaded remodel.

I drove home, happy with the thought I would live another day, and be happy with my worn, but loved kitchen. I felt I could rest easy in that knowledge, until, I walked into the house and looked at the kitchen. The door askew from the casing, the wallpaper looking torn and scotch taped, the floor with cuts in it as though some neighborhood toughs were using it for a knife contest. I had to pull myself up and look at my reality called, the kitchen.

I awakened the next day filled with anticipation and hope. I knew I could do this, I would do this, I would be the conqueror. I am woman hear me roar!

My designer friend, Mary, sat with me as a repeated everything I learned from the Lowe's savior in jeans... She listened intently as my inadequacies poured from my lips. She patted my hand, held my hand when she thought I needed it, and spoke gently and quietly telling me it was going to be all right. We'd get through this together.

We walked into Lowe's as though puffy white clouds were showing us the path. The sky was blue, the air crisp and clear. We were on a mission and by God we would prevail. The savior in jeans was at our side in an instant with his books, his knowledge and his ever present smile...

With Mary's help, the savior in jeans and my own common sense, we ordered cabinets. Then on to the flooring, the tile back splash and the dreaded faucets.......I thought I was in the clear. I could do this. I was well equipped to conquer this remodel. I WAS woman. Then I found out I had to purchase all the cabinetry hardware. Who knew it was a separate purchase? I thought you had to pick from two or three choices and it came with the cabinets. WRONG!

So...I'm now going through websites and books to see what kind of cabinet pulls and handles are available. You thought faucets were expensive? Ha! I think I'm going to climb into bed and pull over the covers...

to be continued....

Monday, April 27, 2009

If I'm going to work, I'm getting paid!

A couple of years ago my boss decided to retire. It was no surprise, we had talked about it. Although, with his retirement I had to make a decision: 1. Retire completely or 2. Create a new position. I opted to create a new position. The question was, how in the Hell to do it...

I had a degree (along with a zillion other people looking for new and different things to do with their lives). I was older (older than dirt). I knew I needed to keep my mind active and I also knew I had to be out of the house part of the day or else be charged, eventually, with murder or at least the manslaughter of my significant other who is fully retired. I was well aware that living joined at the hip with him was not the best thing for either of us.

I had time to make the decision during the month after my boss retired. That was a month I worked for the "Home Office"... shudder. As I worked for them I observed how other offices performed their tasks. I made notes and came up with a plan of action. As soon as my sentence was over (working with the Home Office group) I put the plan in motion.

I wrote to all the other owners of similar businesses and proposed an idea to give them an opportunity to hire me as a "floater" of sorts, to fill in when they needed help, or to train new folks. I had experience in all aspects of the business and could, run their offices for them, for a fair price. I waited for my first call. My significant other thought I was nuts. No one had done what I was proposing exactly before, so I was in virgin territory. I was sure this could be a very good opportunity for both me and the owners. I waited with no calls coming in.

After a month my first call came and I went to the office to help out. I had a blast. I was able to say, I would work when I wanted, for as long as I wanted. If that was OK then I worked, if it wasn't...oh well, too bad, their loss.

The problem I didn't anticipate was the number of calls I received looking for my help. I thought it was a good idea, I didn't realize it was a great idea. I became known as "The Buzzard". I sort of hovered over the businesses waiting to swoop down and work when needed. I kept myself up to date with all the new programs and software so I wasn't overwhelmed when I went to offices after a couple of week away. It's been pretty good so far.

I thought by doing this kind of work I'd have all kinds of extra time to volunteer or at least to learn something new, or join some public service organizations. What I didn't realize was some organizations take up more time than others. I also didn't know how some organizations can almost draw the life blood out of you if you allow it. Sometimes you don't know it's happening until it's too late. I got out in time.

I gave myself a year to see if I could do the work with the volunteer organization. The folks I worked with were very passionate about what they were doing. I was not. I was more concerned about the completion of projects then get on to the next project. They were more interested in tweaking and rewriting the same things over and over again. I felt as though I was trying to run through jello when I was part of groups trying to conquer the unconquerable.

I started to observe the folks in the groups and decided it was me, not them who was in the wrong place. I didn't fit in. I am very direct, blunt and sometimes a bit rude, especially if I think my time is being wasted. I figure I'm real old, I don't have a whole lot of time to waste, so get on with it... This was not the group for me.

I also observed only a core group of folks do all the work. I know that's the way it is in volunteer organizations, but I like to be paid. I was doing work and my payment was not in the form I desire. I want hard cash. I understand when you do volunteer work, the work should be payment enough. But I'm honest, it wasn't enough for me!

Control seems to permeate throughout the volunteer organizations I've observed. Someone always has to be the controller. There is usually a main controlling personality (and there's a need for someone in that position-for a limited time period). Then there are sub-controllers. They're the ones who head committees ( again, you need someone to avert chaos-to a point) Every one of the groups have folks who get drunk with power. It's really pretty funny to watch. I did like my position of observer, for a brief moment I thought I'd stick it out just to stay as, "the observer".

As I watched from my perch, I created names for those in controlling positions. I tried not to be catty, but I didn't win. I became so damned catty I was ashamed of myself. I didn't stop though I just kept it to myself. One I called Captain Hook, involved in everything and sometimes made others ineffective in his quest for the unattainable. Another I called, "Ms. I've been doing this so long, there's nothing new for me here". One of the many I really liked was named (in my head), "Ms. I'll do anything to avoid confrontation". That person was probably the one I will miss the most. Luckily that person will continue to be a valuable asset to the organization and keep it on the up and up.

During my time of observation, I found I was not doing things I like to do, like write. I found I was too tired, too frustrated or just too... to sit down for an hour or two to put words on paper. It took me several days to understand my participation in the volunteer organization was beginning to suck out energy and life from my soul. It sounds drastic and weird, I know, but it was giving me adgida and a big headache.

So, the bottom line...I don't work unless I get paid. I don't have the patience, nor the passion to work in a position that doesn't say "Cha ching!" at the end of the week...At least I'm honest.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God's Waiting Room

I'm not being disrespectful, honest, but the place I'm in right now (the physical place not the emotional/psychological place) is truly God's Waiting Room. It's cold in Northern New York (freakin freezing) so Larry and I head South to Florida to relax in the warmth and sun of Punta Gorda Florida.

Punta Gorda is on the Southwest coast of Florida, between Sarasota and Fort Meyers ( I know, what do you care where in Hell it is. If you're reading this then look outside to see snow and ice you really don't give a damn about where I am at the moment-but somebody might want to know, so I'm telling them).

Punta Gorda was slammed by hurricane Charlie several years ago and you can still see signs of the hurricane all over the place. Where there were buildings, there are holes, like someone who has missing teeth when they smile. Last year we saw many buildings in the state of repair, but most of the other buildings didn't survive the hurricane so they've had to rebuild, a lot. We are witnessing a rebirth of sorts here.

Most of the folks who come down here, and the ones who live here are old. I mean O-L-D. I don't think I've ever seen so many scooters (not the kind you ride for pleasure, the kind that gets you in and out of shops and down the aisles in markets running over those of us on two feet-without even a "sorry") or other wheeled conveyances in my life. The ones in the conveyances are the good ones. They can get around. Most of them have big huge vans with little hydraulic platforms on the back of the van for their little scooters, so they can move about freely. They're the ones with the handicapped hangers on the rear view mirrors...(They can't see when their vision is not obscured but yet they put those hangy things on the mirror to further mess up their vision-nuts).

Honest to God, I think some of these folks are the living dead...This is an observation here, not disrespect. The worst part of all is the driving. You must be a defensive driver here at all times.

The men are really bad. I think they feel driving is one thing they have control over, so watch out world here they come. They take the most ridiculous chances when pulling out of parking spots, or worse yet pulling onto a major 70 mph highway. I'm beginning to think this is a new form of attempted suicide for some....or maybe a game of chicken I'm not old enough to know about...I know one thing, I watch out for these nut cases.

The women are nicer about their lack of driving skill. I watched one lady on the same 70 mph highway, hunched over her steering wheel, head pushed forward, squinting...yes, I said SQUINTING as she kept her old Buick at a consistent 45 mph. She smiled as everyone went by her giving her one finger salutes as they passed.

We've gone to some events here. A Banjo band (all the songs sounded the same, they were all 75+, but they were having a ball....), a Robert Burns night (actually I met some folks who knew my family in Scotland...that was a mind blower), A Celtic Festival, and assortment of other smaller events. Everything here starts early in the morning and finishes early in the afternoon. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Things start early to get away from the heat of the day". Yes, that's what I thought too, but that's only part of the reason. The real reason is everyone takes naps in the afternoon so they can stay up until 8:00PM. Then go to bed for the night, to wake early the next morning to be the first at events.

Garage Sales start at 7:30 am down here....and you better get there at 7:15 to get a good spot or else someone in a scooter will run you over in their zest to get at the nick knacks. By 8:00 the frenzy starts to subside, the true garage sale folks have gone on to other venues and the normal folks start to arrive to look over the leavings.

I have to give the old folks credit ( of which I am official one this year, since this is the year I can start to collect Social Security- and you bet your sweet bippy I'm signing up for it ASAP) for their ability to do anything. As I said before many of them look like the living dead. They are not well but down here their life is easier than where they came from. It's a good thing they can be down here in the sun and take advantage of the weather. I just wish some of them would hire drivers.....