Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Mr. Fixit has pneumonia. He started antibiotics yesterday. The doctor told him not to work the rest of the week.

Bella had pneumonia a couple of weeks ago. She started feeling better as soon as she started on the medication. Maybe Mr. Fixit will start feeling better quickly, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week in Review

The sun is shining for the first time in days. The rain is welcome, but after rain for 5 or 6 days in a row, it gets a little depressing.

We took the car to the garage Saturday morning. Friday we brought it home--$1100 poorer--to sit in the driveway as a lawn ornament for the next few months. They fixed the leak, but discovered that the transmission is on its last legs. I really don’t want to face car payments for a new car or to deplete our savings to buy one so Mr. Fixit said he is going to tear it down and fix it himself. I’m not enthused with that idea either. I’d rather take a few months or even a year to save the money to have it fixed professionally. Mr. Fixit can’t wait to get started even though he is sick (I don’t know if he has a cold or something more serious). He has a head and is more than willing to butt with it so there is no changing his mind. In the meantime, I am going to practice getting in and out of the truck gracefully. That is probably another losing battle.

Last night I went downstairs to let the cats in. When I pulled back the door between the living room and dining room, there was the white cat sitting there waiting for me with a dead thing in his mouth. I couldn’t tell what it was. In fact, I didn’t want to know what it was. I started screaming at him and he retreated under the dining room table. I was yelling and moving the chairs; he finally figured out that I was not pleased with his “gift” and darted out the cat door.

Seeing him with his “gifts” changes my attitude toward him. I no longer see him as a cute, lovable pet, but has a blood-thirsty predator. I know he’s only doing what comes naturally, but I still don’t like it. He certainly is never hungry, but, like man, he hunts for sport. Since it was raining I did let him back in the house about midnight, but I had no warm, fuzzy feelings for him.

We have one more meeting scheduled with the financial planner this week. Oh yeah, I'm really looking forward to that one. Mr. Fixit settled on a new plan to supplement his Medicare, so we don't have to think about that one for a few months. We have to review the decision in November.

And--I've already admitted that I have no understanding of "Face Book." Now I wish someone would explain the difference between instant messaging and "Twitter." The only difference I can see is instant messaging is basically private while "Twitter" is there for the whole world to see what you are doing. My main question is, "Who cares?"

I'm still in a bad mood. Can you tell?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Norman Rockwell Sort of Day

The sky was bright blue with just a few wispy clouds. The temperatures were brisk, but as the day worn on, the sun kept us all comfortable. The sounds of children yelling and laughing served as background for the metallic plunk of bats hitting balls and the thwap of balls meeting gloves. Neighbors greeted neighbors. Parents and grandparents cheered for their teams, and some of us even cheer when the opposing team members perform well. The smells of hot dogs, grilled hamburgers, roasted peanuts, and cotton candy filled the air whetting the appetites of those gathered to watch and to participate in the first little guy baseball games of spring. It was a grand All-American day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Highs and Lows

It’s been one of those weeks that I wish I could have skipped completely. This time change is still affecting me and the cats. We sleep and eat on standard time and the rest of the day is spent on daylight saving time. That may have something to do with my volatile emotional state.

My car is broken and we think it may be a major problem—several thousand dollars to repair. There is a leak of coolant, and the motor and all the stuff under the hood (stuff--that’s a technical term) is so compact that we can’t see where the leak originates. Mr. Fixit has spent a few hours every day trying to find the source but can’t. We made an appointment with a mechanic for tomorrow morning to check it out. If it’s a minor problem, we will have it fixed; if it’s a major problem, Mr. Fixit said he was going to tear the motor down himself in his spare time. I can do without a car, but it sure will be inconvenient for us. Every now and then I have to pick up the grandchildren after school or pick them up in the mornings if they are sick. There is no way we can buy a new car. Well, we could but it would be a strain on our budget.

Our AIG annuity is maturing next month. We met with our investment guy and told him we want to get our money out of AIG because they are all a bunch of greedy crooks. We have to transfer it to another annuity so that we won’t have to pay a boat-load of taxes next year. I think he found a solution for us so we have another meeting scheduled for Monday.

We also had a meeting with an insurance guy about Mr. Fixit’s Medicare supplement. The plan he has now has almost tripled its premiums this year. He (the insurance person) had some suggestions to lower our costs.

I hate these financial meetings. Too much information just goes right over my head to make good, informed decisions.

Now for the good news—Today when I was paying bills, I called the hospital to see if they had received all the payments due from the insurance companies for Mr. Fixit’s heart catheterization and stent. The small hospital where he was treated in the ER and had the catheterization said we owe a little over $500.00 on an approximate $20,000 bill. Then I called the hospital where the stent was done. That bill was huge! It was in excess of $35,000.00, but we have never received any sort of statement from them. We knew the amount of the bill from the incomprehensible insurance summaries. When I asked the lady if she could give me a ballpark figure of what we owe, she said, “Mrs. Fixit, we show a zero balance on that account.” I said, “Are you sure?” She said she was sure. To my great embarrassment I started to cry—tears of joy, of course. I had expected to be told that we owed at least $5,000. What a relief! I had been so worried about those bills. She must have thought I am completely nuts; she may be right.

When I went down to tell Mr. Fixit, I completely lost it. I was standing in the driveway sobbing like my heart was broken, but it was that the worry had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt like a fool. I hope nobody saw that little emotional exhibition.

I don’t know whether I could stand another week like this one. Thinking about money makes me crazy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship

I love my computer and the convenience it affords me, but I absolutely hate it when something goes wrong with it. It has been undergoing some sort of breakdown for the past few days. I think our son Ben, my own personal IT guy, may have fixed it. Only time will tell I suppose.

For the last couple of years, I have been afraid to turn it off because it won't boot up. As a result, the computer has been running 24 hours a day for years. I have to start in “Safe” mode and then restore to a prior date. That is really a pain in the butt so I only turned it off when I had an update that required a restart after installation.

That was the case earlier in the week. The only problem was after I restored, it was supposed to reboot. It wouldn’t so I had double restores and it could have gone on ad infinitum.

When I had my old computer without so much stuff on it, Ben could offer remote assistance. In other words, he could control my computer at his house and work his magic. With all the security I have on this one, it would have been difficult shutting down my security programs and the numerous firewalls that Mr. Microsoft has installed. Ben found a way to again use remote assistance to help me out.

While all these problems were happening I was afraid that I would have to take it to someone for help. Ben is really busy with his regular job and being a slumlord, and I hesitate to ask him to offer anything more than suggestions for me to try to solve any problems I may have. I was worried about all the personal stuff that I have on the computer. I don’t really want strangers knowing how much our electric bill is or the balance on our credit card. I had email going back to 2005 stored. There were files and files of pictures. I decided it was time to store a lot of this stuff on floppy discs and CD. It seems to be taking forever.

Over the weekend Mr. Fixit and I was browsing in Staples office supply store, and I just happened to wander through the computer department. I found a PINK laptop that was just yummy at a reasonable price. I am such a sucker for pink technology. But being the responsible person I am, I walked on by after drooling over it for a few minutes. I had a little more trouble with Mr. Fixit; he found a 320 gig PC for less than $400. It had all the bells and whistles, and it was a great buy. I pulled him out of the store before he would whip out his debit card.

If the economy were a little better and we had a clue as to how much his bills will be from the heart stent (we are still waiting for the final numbers), I would have walked out of the store with the pink one. Sometimes being responsible is not fun, but I am so glad that this computer is working better than it has in three years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tip of the Day or Another Bonehead Move

NEVER put peel-off self-adhesive CD label paper into your paper shredder or you may spend the rest of the afternoon picking the sticky paper from the blades of the shredder with tweezers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big Brother TomTom

In an effort to slow traffic and curb vehicle accidents, the police departments in several of the surrounding jurisdictions (I think in our area they take turns using the same sign) are using those roadside signs that show the speed of passing cars. Now there is an added feature. After showing your speed for the world to see, the sign either rewards the non-speeders with “Have a Nice Day” or admonishes, “Slow Down,” for those drivers who are driving a bit above the speed limit.

I hate it when a machine tries to regulate my behavior. It’s rather like Mr. Fixit’s TomTom. It’s always telling me where to go when I want to go somewhere else, and the darn thing won’t shut up until you turn it off. When we were out the other day, Mr. Fixit was trying to program the darn thing. By the time he had all the info programmed, I had found the road I wanted. I said, “You don’t need no stinkin’ TomTom, you’ve got me.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

The storm left about 2" of the white, unfluffy stuff on the ground. The snow was those huge gloppy, wet flakes that accumulate quickly. It was pretty for about an hour, then it started to get messy when it turned to rain again, and then back to snow for a little while. The temp dropped into the low 20's last night so all the snow is hard as a rock. The cats can walk across it without leaving indentations.

We had another rare weather phenomenon occur--thunder snow as the weatherperson called it. It's simply thunder occurring during a snow storm.

I-85 traffic came to a complete halt before 11:00 pm, and people were stranded in their vehicles all night. Not only was the road slick, but power lines had fallen across it.

Mr. Fixit usually leaves for work about 3:15 am, but I talked him into staying home. When he called in at 4:00 am to say that he wouldn't be in, no one answered the phone. I guess no one else went to work either.

Right now, the temp is above 40 degrees and the snow is disappearing quickly. The forecast for tonight is for the temperature to drop to 18 degrees. There goes the Bradford pear tree blossoms which were just beginning to turn white. At least my azaleas won't be affected by this freeze; they haven't begun to blossom yet.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Seeing Is Believing

The weather forecast for today and tomorrow is SNOW! Snow is a rarity in our area. We get a dusting and everything stops since there is very little snow removal equipment.

It has been raining (Yea!) since Friday night. It is supposed to turn to snow this afternoon. I don’t really think we will get much since we are on the edge of the weather watch area.

I have to go to Wal-Mart because I’m out of insulin just in case there is some accumulation. I bet there won’t be a container of milk or a loaf of bread left on the shelves. When you’ve lived in New England you learn to also have plenty of batteries and bathroom tissue on hand, too. My pantry is stocked, but I doubt we will need to worry about it, darn it.