Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kids Shopping Carts

Every Friday I care for one of my grandsons. We have great time doing all sorts of things that he thinks are adventures. He's two and everything is an adventure to him. Our special day is filled with all kinds of activities. Last week I needed to go to the super market. He likes going to the market because he knows he's going to get all kinds of "freebies" from the market.

Our local market has the little old women at different stations hanging out samples of all kinds of things which I'm sure are very profitable for the store to sell. It's usually something on a piece of cracker or bread, or if you're really lucky it'll be some juice and ice cream. You know what it's like, just enough to whet your appetite so you'll buy the stuff.

Since this market shopping spree has become a weekly ritual I decided I better include this at lunch time for the boy. I now refer to the market excursions as "lunch on the run". We get some meats at the Deli, a cookie at the bakery, some cut up fruits in produce and occasionally some kind of tiny pieces of a frozen entree. This boy is thrilled and he's had lunch by the time we are finished with our marketing adventure.

This past week there was a slight exception to the normal adventure. I decided to look for a shopping cart that had a steering wheel and some other accessories the boy could play with as we meandered down the aisles of excess and absurdities. My rationalization was, if I could keep the boy entertained with this shopping cart and all its bells and whistles I would have more time to get the things on my shopping list. Normally I arrive home with shopping list in hand realizing the boy needed more attention than the list and I've forgotten more than half of the list. This time, I thought, I'd be much more alert and would clearly be in command of the list and the boy.

Man, was I wrong...

First of all, if you're not familiar with the type of cart I'm referring to let me tell you about it. It's a huge plastic thing. The basket on the front of the cart is bigger than most of the carts. The area for the kids (there are two seats-complete with seat belts for the kids) is pretty big as well. The kids sit and rest their feet on an added "floor" in back of the basket (perfect area to drop things into, then the parent/grandparent has to become a pretzel to retrieve the item so Johnny/Jane stops yelling that they've dropped the item-you know this will become a game to them...don't you?). The cart is wider as well. So you have a huge cart, longer (because of the seat for the kids) and wider going down aisles filled with displays and other hurdles, not to mention other folks with their carts. It's not a pretty visual.

Being the wonderful grandparent I am, I figured I would have no problem with this cart. I was very experienced with shopping carts, how bad could it be?

The first aisle I was cool, no problem. The aisle was free of hurdles, the boy was thrilled. He was able to "steer" with the wheel, honk the horn every 2 seconds. Life was good. Then all Hell let loose...

In the next aisles, there were no fewer than 10 displays, the flimsy cardboard kind some vendor must put together to garner as much attention to the display as possible (obviously another highly profitable item). Well, the first couple were safe from me and new "weapon of mass destruction" however, the next bunch were more than I could maneuver around. Two of them I caught before they spilled all over the aisles, but the other three? Well, let's just say that the poor floor cleaners in the store are probably still cleaning up the messes...Yes, there were multiple messes.

The worst thing was when I turned the "Weapon of mass destruction" so quickly that I knocked over an old lady into one of the displays. Luckily she was caught before hitting the floor by a one guy who watched the whole incident.

The boy was thrilled by all the excitement. I was mortified, the old lady was furious until she saw the boy laughing and having a great time, the man, the hero, was laughing as he told me the reason the "weapon of mass destruction " was available was because people with kids knew that particular cart was "evil" and left it alone.

I've learned my lesson. I too will leave the "Weapon of Mass destruction" alone and choose a simple cart. I will bring things with me to keep the boy occupied and I will wear a disguise the next time I go to the super market with the boy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Modern! New! Better than Ever!

I haven't been blogging for a time due to my work schedule. I had the time to blog, not the energy. Today I decided to write rather than take a shotgun to an appliance. Although, this might be temporary sanity and the shot gun is not too far from my hands so who knows what will happen in the next hour or so.

Why is it when ever you decide to "improve" something in your house, along with the improvements comes a bunch of new problems associated with that improvement you didn't know would happen? Is it just this household? I think not.

We've lived in this very modest house for 43 years. We moved here when we were newly married, no kids, and the youngest on the block. Now we're the oldest on the block, grandparents of three (so far) and our house has been modified over the years to be what we needed.

The cellar went from being a vast wasteland of storage and laundry, to a playroom with toys and kid junk all over. Then the cellar transformed into a bar and TV room. When our son became a teenager he took over the downstairs as a "cellar dweller". He put a mattress on the Brunswick 3 slate bed pool table, added a small refrigerator, stereo (this was before the advent of i-pods), radio,clock, and all the assorted "clickers" for all the electronic gadgets he had down there. He could reign his little kingdom from atop the pool table. The only thing lacking down there was a bathroom, that we were going to put in from the first month we moved into the house. We have great plans always, but instituting them takes years of planning, whining, and moaning before they're completed.

Time went on, the"cellar dweller" went to college, then out of the house, and the cellar came back to us....Life was good. The house sighed a breath of relief. The old folks were in control again.

Forward to 16 years later, the cellar has now morphed into a "man-cave". All the decorations in the bar reflect times of a bygone age. Photos of a young Navy kid visiting different ports of call line the walls around the bar. Poster and flags are hanging from the ceiling. It's a different and nostalgic area of the cellar. The large screen TV sits near the fireplace. In winter the "man" escapes into his cave and hibernates every night. He watches shows of men talking or animals boffing, while I enjoy my shows upstairs. It works for us. But there's a problem...No bathroom facility in the cellar. We had a plan for a bathroom, it was written up 38 years before, with the technology available at that time. However, it's now the 21 century and I'm pretty sure there have been some technological advances since then, at least there should be.

It's time to finally put the bathroom in. Yay! The contractor we love comes. He says, "no problem, a bunch of thousands of dollars can give you what you want." We say, "Yay! Do it!". He does, we have a hallway, an official laundry room, and A BATHROOM, with a sink, and all the little amenities that most bathrooms have to hold all the essential bathroom gear.

We are happy. The "man-cave" is a complete little hideaway. The man doesn't have to come upstairs or pee in a bottle because he can't make it upstairs fast enough. We are both happy.

Life is good...until...

When you enclose areas in a cellar things happen, especially if you live in an area that has lots of humidity. We notice a "funny smell" when we enter the cellar in the summer. I look in the laundry room and realize the top of my formerly pristine dryer is mottled with little pit marks that show signs of rusting. The storage area where the luggage is kept is "funky looking".

There's concern about this stuff but we're thinking it will be fine...You know, just ignore it, it'll go away...Honestly, talk about ostrich behaviour!

A couple of days ago I realize I'm smelling mold, mildew and everything seems damp. The smell is now permeating upstairs. I know it's now time to do something about this. I get on the computer and start asking questions to everyone I know. The end result, we need a dehumidifier.

It seems pretty obvious to most people that a dehumidifier is needed to eliminate dampness in areas that get damp, but not to us. We used to open the windows in the cellar to "dry" out the area and run fans. It worked because the space was wide open... Not anymore...We have little rooms down there now and it's humid like a son of a gun this summer. Hence, the dreaded mold spores have decided to infiltrate the house.

I research for the best dehumidifier I can find to eliminate this problem. We find the one we need and buy it. It's straight forward, no biggie, plug it in, hook up the hose to drain the water and there you go...done! Oh, if only life was that simple all the time...Why don't I learn?

The dehumidfier is installed in the most logical place. It's supposed to continuous drain into the little drain pump thingy. The next day I check, the bucket is full, the drain thingy is dry. Hmm...a problem has arisen...

After more research I find there is a flaw (why am I not surprised?)in the design of the continuous drain feature of this top of the line humidifier. In order to get it to work properly you have to tilt the front up so the thing can angle enough to make the little drain work. I do that and lo, and behold it starts to work, sort of.

I go out to the store, when I return I can hear a strange strangled sound coming from the cellar. There I find the dehumidifier laying on its back, definitely not in the position it was when I left. There is water all over the place. You know, the water that's supposed to be pulled from the air to flow into the little drain thingy.

I pick up the thing, place it back on the cement blocks it was on to keep the correct angle so it would do its designated job. I stand back and look at the thing in wonder. I wonder if it will stay put. I wonder if it will take out the air. I wonder if I'm going to shoot it with a shot gun.

The research I did on this thing before and after I bought it indicated this was a good buy. How can manufacturers continually sell products that don't work as the Chino-English directions say it should work? And then I wonder if we were better off before we "enhanced and improved" the cellar???

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Employees of Today

Granted, I'm old, this is true...but honestly I've been noticing a difference in the way folks are working these days. The attitudes are far different from what I've been accustomed to in the past. I try to understand why and I've come up with few reasons. Part of the problem is their unability to interact in person. They're so intune with the electronic gadgets sticking out of their ears, stuck to the side of their heads or cradles between their hands in furious finger poking they don't know how to respond to a face to face person.

I work in several offices and see first hand what goes on. It's not that they're trying to be rude or isolate themselves, they seem to be very animated in their texting, phone calling and using the electronic gadgets, but when faced with a live person in front of them they seem to freeze into a two dimensional status. Part of their being is missing.

It sounds strange but I've seen it happen so many times in the last couple of years, and increasing each year, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's experiencing this phenomena.

I work in a sevice industry. The interaction with folks is required, not only by phone, but in person. As I train and watch the younger employees I realize that something is lacking in their ability to work with the public. They lack some social skills. I thnk it's because they're so insulated by their use of electronic gadgets they feel vulnerable if they don't have electronics between them and the person. The gadgets are shielding them somehow in thier mind. However, when the person is sitting in front of them they are on edge and hesitant. On the gadgets they are strong, forceful and sure of themselves. Definitely the gadgets give them power...maybe it's the "electricity"?

I don't know, it's a true mystery.....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Dementia Folk

These past few days have been incredible for me. I should have realized what I was in for, but being the "Pollyanna" I am, I thought things would be a bit different. I should explain.

Last fall cousin # 1 and I decided to visit cousin # 2, her sister, in Canada. Cousin #2 was in a position of transition. She lived by herself but it was clearly evident the time was coming for her to live in some sort of home for the elderly. She was experiencing some dementia and once on that slippery slope it doesn't take long to start the fast decline. Cousin #1 wanted to see where her sister was going to be living and see how the progression of the illness was going.

The problem is, cousin #1 is in the beginning stages of the slippery slope herself, but she is in denial. Oh, she knows she's forgetful, but I don't think she's accepting of the fact that she is on the road to la-la land on a speeding train. I too am forgetful at times but there's a difference.

My first indication that I was in for trouble was when cousin #1 lost he way to my house. She was to be here at 7:00am and at 7:20 the phone rang, she was lost. I told her how to find my house. About ten minutes later she called again.She had turned incorrectly at an intersection and found herself back at the same spot. I decided to go after her in my car and bring her to my house.

It didn't take long to find her and see that she was near panic. That's the problem with dementia's, it takes away some of your cognitive abilities and you find you're in a situation which you don't know where to turn or how to get yourself out of the predicament you're in...

We arrived back at my house where I asked for her keys. We had decided beforehand, since her car was newer than my car, hers would be the one we'd take on the trip. However, it was decided that I would do the driving... I brought my GPS and some maps because I knew better than to depend on Cousin #1's memory on how to get to the place in Canada. (good thinking....had I depended on cousin #1 we would still be driving in Canada right now).

The drive up to the border was not without some trials. First, we discovered that cousin #1 forgot her jacket. Yes, the jacket was left on the back of a chair somewhere back home. No problem though, she had a sweatshirt, and anyway how cold could it get in to a lake? Trust me it gets flipping freezing in Canada in May.

As we were approaching the border, three cars away, Cousin #1 realized her passport was missing. The panic, struggle and profuse sweating, thrashing and throwing stuff hither and yon as we creeped toward the customs officer was in full swing when she remembered she put the passport in a little nook in her car, "for safe keeping". We were the next car to go through customs by that time so I asked her for her passport to give to the "nice man". The passport took wing and flew at me hitting my glasses,bouncing off my nose and onto the floor under my feet. I tried with all dignity to find the " &*(^ "thing on the floor, but alas, I must have hit it with my foot because it had gotten wedged between the seat and the "hump" between the seats...

The customs officer was looking at my passport when I said, " I think my cousins passport is stuck between the seat and the hump. I have to get out to get it". The customs guy got a bit antsy and pressed some button. By the time I got out of the car there were three men standing around my car. I don't know if they thought I was going to pull a weapon, but they were obviously on high alert by this time. I looked at all of them and said, "I'm just going to try to unstick the passport from under the seat....honest". For a time all I could think was, "Oh boy, I wonder how Larry is going to like coming up here to bail us out...." and I thought, "Holy crap, this is like the day after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I hope they don't think we are some kind of Senior Citizen Al-Quida scouts or something equally bizzare". All these thoughts were going through my head as I stretched for the passport.

"Ta-da!!" I said as I pulled the passport from it's wedged in spot. I gave the offending thing to the custom guy and he looked suspiciously at cousin #1 who had put her sunglasses on. "Take your sunglasses off Madam" he said. She looked at him and said, "Why?" I looked at her and said, "Take the sunglasses off so he can see that it's you in the passport." She said, "I'm not in the passport, I'm sitting right here." It was like I was part of a flipping three stooges episode.

After the customs we were on our way to our destination. The drive was filled with comments of disdain for customs, the cars on the road, the miles we had to go and the GPS that was speaking to us with a British accent. I call the GPS "the lady: " and I've learned to listen to the "lady" so I don't get lost. I've been getting lost since the first day I had my license so this is nothing new for me. I take wrong turns all the time and end up in Vermont. It's been a joke in my family all my life. I'm directionally challenged and I admit it. It has nothng to do with being older, I just have no sense of direction. If you come to the end of the road and there's two ways to go ask me which way to go then go in the opposite direction. All my friends and family know this. When GPS's came out I got one for myself because those babies were invented for the likes of me. I know it.

Cousin #1 was a bit miffed at my use of "the lady" instead of listening to cousin's directions. I figured we wanted to arrive at cousin#2's place before 2021 and knowing the type of directions I'd get from cousin#1 we'd end up in Manatoba instead of Ontario.

We drove along quite well and found the city we needed to get to, no problem. We hadn't made reservations at any of the myriad hotels because we knew we'd find something. We needed to find something close by cousin #2's facility.

Finding lodging was quite easy and we settled on a place that was modest, clean and near the facility. Cousin #1 thought it was a dump. It wasn't, but it was older and very clean and the folks at the desk were very accomodating. I think cousin #1 was still a bit peeved at the customs officer who thought she was being flippant. Little did the guy know she was just being "cousin #1 at her finest".

to be continued....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Time warps

Down here in the land of sun and fun, on the West coast of Florida, it's a haven for the older folks. We're them, so we belong. When we got to this part of Florida we realized we were in a time warp.

We're on an island off the west coast. It's really a land of it's own. I doubt the "natives" here listen or care to bother about what's happening off the island. Most of them were law abiding citizens of the Midwest at some point in time, and most held pretty good jobs. However now, they're a bit different. You know that saying, "Birds of a feather stick together"? Well, it's true.

Most of these folks are very nice. They are here from "Up North". That can mean, anything north of Georgia as I see it. Most are from Michigan. Why? I have a theory.

I'm betting someone came down here to do some fishing, went back "Up North" and told his friends and family what a great time he had and how good the fishing was. This snowballed into droves of his friends and family migrating down here for the winter. That's what I think. The ones around us down here are all related either by blood or marriage. I feel like I'm in an episode of the "Waltons". There's a "JimBob" a "LucasBoy" a "Moose" a "SamuelKid"and an assortment of other "Waltonian" names. It's funny.

They love life to the fullest down here. You can't fault them for that. When they decide to have a "party" they go all out. This weekend we decided to go to one of their annual dances, it was a "sock-hop", if you don't know what that was you're too young to be down here anytime soon.

We had been driving by this community center that had a sign out front advertising the "Do-Wop Dance". Larry loves the old Do-Wop music so he wrote the dance info on the calendar we keep to track all the events we may or may not attend while we're down here.

As the time came for the dance, I thought I better find out some info about the thing. I called the advertised number asked a few pertinent questions about the times and the price of the event and decided this seemed like a fun thing to attend.

The day of the dance was the same day were had five other events scheduled. That's what happens down here, there are days with nothing to do and then there are days with too much to do. We decided we would do some of the events that day.

We left the trailer at 9:00am. Hit the Garden Gals on the island. I thought it was going to be a rinky dink affair. Man, was I wrong. This was the "big time", "the event of the year", "the meeting of the garden minds, affair", you name it, it was it. Honest. The plant ladies (you can always tell them right away, they have their noses in planting books, have funny looking hats and their nails have dirt under them) were in orgasmic heaven. They were touching and caressing the plants, giving impromptu lectures about the nasty aphids and the virtues of fertilizers. They were surrounded by other similarly festooned ladies touching and caressing other plants. It was a sight to behold, for sure. They were so serious in their lectures and discussions I was afraid there was going to be a test afterward that I'd need to pass in order to leave the place.

Larry just kept walking around shaking his head. He's become pretty used to having me take him to places where the women all look pretty much alike, mainly because they have similar tastes and likes. He thinks they're "cult like" in appearance. They all seem to have salt and pepper hair, they wear loose fitting clothes, no make-up at all, Birkenstocks or some other equally comfortable but clunky shoes, and they all seem to carry hold-alls filled to the brim with all sorts of paraphernalia for whatever the event they're at requires. He could be right.

We were able to leave without the dreaded testing. The next event we had scheduled was in Punta Gorda. It was the famous "Banjo Bash". We decided to go for the matinee. Little did we know that the place would packed on a Saturday afternoon. We're not too smart sometimes, we should have realized since the matinee performance was cheaper all the senior citizens would flock to get a deal. We were there for that reason too, so I can't condemn anyone for that thinking.

The Banjo Bash was terrific. The stars of the show were kids from a music program in Huston Texas. The average age was 12 and they were all fantastic. Most of the kids played more than four instruments and played them well. We were impressed. Some of the other groups that played in the program were old enough to be these kids great-great grandparents and believe me, they were never as good as these young kids were. As a matter of fact one of the groups playing had the curtain drawn on them before they could finish, and that was a blessing to the auditorium...

It was time to go to the Dance, so back onto the island we went. The dance was held in a community room of one of the mobile home parks. It was pretty nice. The hall was decorated as though it was 1955. It was as though a black hole had sent us back to our youth. Most of the women had on jeans and their "Dad's " white shirts. The guys had the cigarette packs rolled into the sleeve of their Tee shirts. Some other women wore the traditional "Poodle Skirts" with kerchiefs in there pony tailed hair. Saddle shoes were in the house, although, I still don't know if they were "originals" or they bought them from some costumer. It was like walking into my youth. Larry was in his glory because the DJ was playing,"his" music.

The food tables were lined with munchies and the beer on tap was free, (how much better does it get?). Each table had record album covers on it and the records which once played the music of our youth were now melted into the shapes of bowls filled with snack foods that none of us should eat today, but we lived on as kids....Necco wafers, potato chips (the real kind, not the "baked" ones), pretzels (laden with salt), oreos, gum drops, life savers, baby ruths, and a whole lot more.

A song started and Larry grabbed my arm and said, "Let's Jitterbug!" My life flashed before my eyes as I stood to wiggle my ass in tune to the music. I was sure one of us would end up face down on the floor with paramedics hovering over us.

We danced like we were kids. We drank the free beer (that was not something available when we were kids....we had to bribe someone to buy it for us for a price!) and we ate the things we loved as kids. I played hopscotch, hula hoop, and marbles. Some people won prizes. I didn't. My prize was being able to bend down to grab the stone on the hopscotch grid.

We got there a bit late, but we were the last to leave.....we had a blast!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What is it about men and fishing? Can you tell me?

This winter we're in a fishing village off the coast of Florida. All the folks in this area seem to be from Michigan and they're either related or neighbors of each other up north. They're all retired and living a great life.

The guy next door is the epitome of the "Fisherman". He's got a boat(a very nice Boston Whaler), a bunch of fishing poles, some pretty heavy duty knives, and an assortment of fishing gear,(I still don't know what some of it is, and I was a buyer of fishing accessories in a former life). He has a fishing table in the back yard of his trailer next to the canal. The table is to clean the tons of fish he catches, and the birds love it as well. When he's out there with the fish he's caught, the birds are there with him, cheering him on, because they know when they see a good easy meal coming their way.

This guy fishes nearly every day. He loves to be outside doing whatever the season says he should be doing: fishing, hunting or anything else he can do outside. The guy has a number of very old friends (or relatives) who love to fish as well, so they leave early in the morning with all their "stuff" to do their fishing. The wives (the smart ones) stay home keeping the home fires burning...

Now, here's the rub. Most of the guys around here are old...I mean really old. The neighbor and his most recent fishing buddy have defibrillators inserted under the skin in their chests. The neighbor had his put in last month after his 7Th heart attack. His pal? He's had his for 6 months. They take off in the morning to fish. They're both highly intelligent men, but neither one knows how to use a cell phone.. Oh, they have them, but they don't turn them on, but honestly even if they were on, they don't know how to open them to talk. They both have hearing loss, so whoever was trying to call them hasn't got a prayer of getting them on the cell phones. If, the operative word being "if" here, they had the cell phones on, it's debatable whether or not they could hear them ring. Even if they did hear them ring, it's questionable if they would know how to open them, then they more than likely wouldn't be able to hear who was calling them anyway. It's a riot.

They came home late yesterday and the wives were understandably worried. Both wives knew the guys didn't have the cell phones, since the phones were still in the houses. Finally one and a half hours later than expected they come home with their little boat. In the boat, with them, was a live shark... Yes, I said "live".

The shark had half it's guts out of it's body, but it was still thrashing. The neighborhood came around to see this thing because it was big, over 6'4". It was looking at everyone with it's clouded eyes. Larry, my husband, got down on his haunches to look at the thing "up close and personal". As he was getting into a better position to get a good look at the thing, the shark flopped around to get a better view of Larry. The shark was trying to get a little nip of Larry. Larry jumped straight up in the air, far away from the jaws of, "Jaws". I nearly peed my pants, so did Larry.

The old guys, Larry included, continued to battle with, "the shark that wouldn't die" for about 10 minutes. No one was willing to take a chance with this thing. When the old guys caught the thing it took them more than 1/2 hour to land it. They thought it was dead, dragged it into the boat but apparently it was only resting, because the fight continued in the boat as they were hauling ass to get home. I don't know who they were more afraid of by that time, the shark or their wives because they were late.

The whole fiasco in back of our trailer houses took about 3 hours to play out. The guys, Larry too, were all gleeful at the Man vs. shark entertainment. It was pretty entertaining, even for me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Living the life in Old Fogey Land

I come here annually, down to the land of sun, fun and really old people. I'm old too, so I know what I'm talking about, but honest this place is really something.

They call it God's waiting room, for a damned good reason. The newspaper we get has at least 12 people listed in the obituary, daily. We are not in a huge metropolitan area. We're on a barrier island off the west coast of Florida. There aren't that many people to warrant that many dead notices...honest...but each and every day I open the paper to find more.

After the first couple of days I decided to look at the ages of the people and see if I could figure out how they kicked the bucket. Most were old folks, well into their late 80's and 90's. I could accept that, but others were women in their early 60's and it seemed as though the illnesses that took them were pretty much the same thing, cancer.

I went to a garage sale today, which is a big social gathering thing down here. It seems that all the old folks hit the garage sales on Friday morning to check out each others junk, then end up talking about where they originated from, what they did when they weren't old, and what ailments they were fighting at the moment. The men especially.

At one of these social gatherings I met five women, all with no hair. They were all breast cancer patients in different stages of chemotherapy. They were laughing and talking about things that happened to them as a result of the chemo. None of the women wore wigs or those bandanna things. They were bald as babies and they didn't care. It was great to see they were out and about and didn't give a damn what others thought of them or their cue ball heads.

It's like that down here. Many folks seem to love to tell strangers about their last surgeries, exams, colonoscopies, wart removals or the different fungus that's engulfing their bodies like some alien life form. It's amazing. I stand, watch and listen. Honest, I couldn't make this stuff up. This is amazing. There seems to be nothing that's held back. You ask a seemingly benign question and you find out the most personal things about a person. It kind of shocks you the first few times it happens. After a while though, you sort of join in without realizing it.

I think people down here think they may as well say whatever they want to because they're not going to be here for a long time so they don't care. I'm sure when they were younger they didn't spill the beans so to speak, but they sure do now.

I met a guy today who told me that the new pills he's been taking were really helping with his excessive urination. Did I need to know that? I was looking a pair of wine glasses he was selling. Did the wine glasses remind him that he had to pee, or didn't have to now because of the pills? I don't know, but apparently he thought I should know.

How do you respond? You look at the guy and say, that's great, I should find out what those pills are so I don't have to worry about my diaper leaking....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 2011 Dateline:Florida

In the last blog entry I told you about the place we're living in down here in the sun and fun state of Florida. Anything is better, I guess, than dealing with the weather in Northern New York at the moment, but this place has given me a new look at the differences in life as we know it.

The place is situated on a canal, nearly in the canal, I might add, and it's very old. It hasn't been rehabbed as I was lead to believe, and rarely has it seen a mop, bucket or cleaning agents. It is however, a place to learn how to repair things.

So far I've learned to repair slats of vertical blinds (which if you think they're cool, think again...they're awful in humid conditions and they rip apart quickly if there's a slight me, that's experience talking and I've only been here one week) , repaired drain plugs, wiring, oven, mirror, shelving and some other assorted items that broke as I touched them.

The decor leaves much to be desired in 2011. Although, perhaps it was state of the art in 1968. At the moment I'm being seranaded by a myriad of fine feathered things. I can't call them all birds, I think they're more like ancient dinos that didn't realize they were supposed to be extinct.

We decided to check out some other parts of the island today. It's about 15 miles across the island and there is only one road in and out. There are no traffic lights and everyone is pretty good about courtesy on the road. There are many accidents though, usually motorcyles vs. cars. Motorcycle drivers are not required to wear helmets, and as far as I can see, that's just hoping for suicide by old people driving cars.

There are lots of old Americans on this island all looking for their youth again. They have all the toys they wanted when they were kids but couldn't afford them, or else their wives, Moms, or kids wouldn't let them have them. They look kind of cool I think, but Larry thinks they look pretty foolish. The ones I like are the ones with the longish hair tied back with a bandanna, jeans, boots and tee shirts that say things like, "road hog", "don't be jealous, you can have me too", and assorted other things unprintable. You KNOW they wouldn't have worn some of this stuff when they were younger but now they figure, "what the Hell".

It's really quite a place. It's not all bad, mind you, but it is different. We wanted different this year and we certainly got it........

Friday, February 4, 2011

How Does this Happen?

We live in upstate New York State. Upstate New York State does not mean, Westchester County, which we refer to as "downstate". We are in the Northern regions where folks have Winter Olympics and speed skating. We are in the Adirondack Mountain range and quite happy about that, usually.

In the winter months we can get as much snow as we like, sometimes more than we like, although not as much as our neighbors to the west, Syracuse, Rochester and the lovely city of Buffalo. They get far more than we do, but sometimes our temperatures are colder than theirs so it's a trade off.

In February, when we know the probability of getting really bad weather is upon us, we bail. We decided several years ago we would take off for parts south and get away from the weather. This year is no exception.

I ( was my decision) decided this year we needed to go somewhere different from past years. I wanted to see a "different" Florida. I didn't want to be in another Condo, townhouse or duplex in some ultra suburb of some large megalopolis down here.

I searched the Internet and found a real estate management company that specialized in "the true Florida experience". I spoke to the folks there, felt a warm fuzzy feeling when conversing with them and decided to give them a try. They sent over photos of some of the rental units. We (now I say we" because I don't want to take all the blame for this now) decided on a manufactured home in St. James City, Pine Island, Florida.

The trailer is on a canal...almost IN the canal. We are very close to our neighbors, nice folks albeit a bit older (but Hell, we're older too). The setting is gorgeous. Out the back door we have a patio over looking the davits, dock and fish cleaning tables (oh, did I tell you this is a mega fishing area?). There are some strange looking cacti (plural for cactuses...) and some dead trees. I think the trees once bore fruit, but God knows what kind....

The trailer is...vintage...old...decripit....generally yucky.....It's gotta be circa 1960, and that is not an exaggeration...We were told it had been rehabbed...perhaps in the latter part of the 20th century but I can guarantee it hasn't had anything done to it in the 21st century.

The whole place is paneled...a walnut sort of wood, kind of. The "accent" colors are harvest gold (yep, appliances and all) and this throw-up orangie color. The bathroom (there are two so I better explain them) that I use is...well...scary is a good term, I guess.

I feel as though I'm in Japan. I'm afraid to sit on the toilet for fear the whole thing will end up on the ground under the trailer...The floor is bit soft and kidding. Consequently, I sort of hover over the top of the bowl and pee astride the bowl. The shower and tub are original and it sort of reminds me of the movie Psycho when I get into it....There are shower doors and they're the same kind we had in our house 25 years ago. As a matter of fact, lots of the stuff in here reminds me of the 60's ans 70's when I was, shall we say "tripping".(I exaggerate a bit but you get my drift).

The kitchen is something out of a bad Brady Bunch episode, double ovens (one doesn't work, the other sets off the smoke detector when I turn it on) , built in stove (one burner makes ungodly noises when turned on...needless to say I don't turn it on), small but adequate refrigerator, tiny sink (no dishwasher) and all this Harvest Gold loveliness is surrounded by a counter island/dining area situated between the living room and the kitchen.

The living room has an addition...Thank God. Although, the tenants that used this place before had a cat perhaps two, (or twelve). The house reeks of cat pee, not all the time, only those times when the humidity hits high...Did I mention we are situated between two canals and the sides of the trailer have perpetual mold??? It's tough to get away from the humidity....

Oh, and by the way, I'm allergic to cats. We're having cleaners come in next week to see what can be done ab out this...not on MY dime I might add.......

Well, I said I wanted to experience Florida in a different way....this is certainly different...I'll say that much...