Sunday, October 31, 2010

Color Commentary

Day 1
Day 2

Day 5

Day 6

 These are photos of the maple tree in our front yard. Day 1 shows a bit of color. Day 2 has a bit more color but the leaves have begun to fall. Day 5 was after two days of rain. The last photo shows where the leaves are at the moment. The pecan tree in the upper left forefront (Pic 1) is still completely green. So is the little maple in front of the big maple and the oak behind it. The oak has lost a few leaves though.

About a month ago Cole had a baseball tournament in Asheville, NC. The trees in the mountains had turned just a bit. We tried to make another leafing expedition the next weekend but a sensor on the car was acting goofy so we had to come home. The foliage wasn’t anything to write home about anyway. This weekend Cole’s last tournament for the fall season was held in Marietta, Georgia (about 140 miles from here). It’s located a bit north and west of Atlanta. The color there was disappointing, too.

There were no vibrant colors--no neon oranges, no flashy reds, and few bright yellows. Even the sumac along the road which is usually bright red is dull red or completely brown. The trees in the local area are the same. We haven’t had a chance to go back to the mountains, and now it’s probably too late. The leaves have probably fallen.

Oh, well. There’s always next year. . .maybe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

He's Not Hip

This morning while Mr. Fixit and I were having breakfast a morning show was on. They had the people from the Jersey shore as guests. Mr. Fixit said, “Who are these people?” I tried to explain about the tans, the narcissism, the bad behavior, and, of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a self-righteous rant about television glorifying bad behavior and viewers who eat it up. My parting shot was, “If you haven’t heard about these people, you’re just not cool.”

Then I saw this cartoon and showed it to him. “This is you,” I said.

He said, “I don’t get it.” (He doesn’t know Lady GaGa either.)

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sweet but Embarrassing

Last night Noah had a baseball game. (They won. Noah was, of course, outstanding. He had two base hits, did a good job playing third base, scored twice, and was sent in the last inning as relief pitcher. I’m a Grammie so I can brag a little.) After the game the players, coaches, and parents gather to have snacks, discuss the game, and hand out the game ball.

Last night there was a little something added. After the business was taken care, one of the coaches (our son Jason) said (I’m paraphrasing), “ Today is someone’s birthday and I would like to ask all of you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my mom.” Everyone including parents and players sang for me. It was totally embarrassing. What does one do while everyone is looking at them and singing? I think I stood there with a goofy smile and misty eyes.  It was incredibly sweet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whew! What a Relief!

My Medicare benefits began October 1. Today was the first occasion to use it. I had to get a refill for my insulin. I usually pay $178.00 a month for that one prescription. When we enrolled in a program for Part D – Prescription Meds, our agent called the carrier to ask how much would be covered under their plan. The representative indicated that I would be paying $39.00 for a month's supply.

I was so nervous when I went to pick up the insulin. I was afraid that there had been a mistake made when the rep gave me the out-of-pocket cost. When the clerk rang up my purchase, it was $39.00. I almost wept with relief and joy. I quickly said a little “Thank You” prayer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Gap?

It’s clear from news reports that unemployment is high, home foreclosures are still high, and the housing market is stagnant. There is a house across the street from us that has been on the market for almost two years. No, it’s not overpriced, and it’s a nice house. In fact, the floor plan is almost a duplicate of ours.
I have noticed very few showings of the house.

Now that Mr. Fixit is no longer working, we must watch every penny. That means fewer restaurant meals. We are thinking our having our landline discontinued and using only the cell phones. We may scale back our Directv plan. We will cut back on our little daytrips. I’m trying to trim our food bills by maybe having a few more meatless meals and foregoing convenience foods and cooking from scratch. We drive a car that gets over 30 miles to the gallon, and I try to shop at discount stores. Unless some idiots decide to do away with Social Security and Medicare, we will get by financially if nothing untoward happens.

I look at people around us, and I am astounded that other people don’t seem to be economizing even though our economy reportedly hasn’t improved. Restaurants seem to be doing a booming business. It is true that in our area some of the high dollar ones have gone under, but the fast food industry and franchises like TGIFriday’s, Olive Garden, and Ruby Tuesday always seem to be busy. Any place that has a buffet is always crowded.

For a while people seemed to be moving from gas guzzlers to smaller, more economical cars, but it seems that trend was short-lived. I see many new SUV’s and huge pickup trucks on the road. In our area, it’s not unusual to see college students driving BMW’s, Land Rovers, and Mercedes. In fact, you see lots of BMW’s and Jaguars on our highways.

I have noticed that most people and their children have those expensive phones that do everything except the laundry. Most of the phones seem to have online capability that requires a monthly payment for that internet access if I understand correctly.

The mall isn’t as crowded, but Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart seem to be busy.

It seems 80 per cent of the women and even pre-teen girls I see in public have professional manicures and pedicures, salon haircuts, and color and/or highlights.

On the other hand, every night on the local news we hear that food banks are depleted, and the agencies and charities that help the needy pay winter heating bills are broke because so many are asking for help.

Does all this mean that there is a huge gap between the Have’s and the Have-Not’s? Is the situation not as bad as the new media indicate? I just don’t understand.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retirement - The Second Time Around

Mr. Fixit is retired for the second time. He retired the first time 7 years ago. He didn’t work for year, but when my Cobra insurance terminated, he had to find a job with benefits so that I would have coverage. We couldn’t afford to buy it individually, and I wasn’t able to work.

My birthday is in a few weeks so my Medicare coverage has begun. He is able to stop working, thank goodness. I can’t tell you how guilty I have felt these past seven years knowing that he was working just for insurance for me. It was even worse because he hated it so badly. I cringed every day when he blew off steam about it to me. I’m so happy that he doesn’t have to endure it anymore. He deserved to quit eight years ago when he was eligible for retirement. During his working life, he worked every overtime hour he could get when he was an hourly employee. When he moved up to management, his hours were even longer. He has earned his retirement.

I was hoping I could establish some sort of routine, but it looks like we will just be playing it by ear. Every time he has an errand to do, he asks me to go with him. I very seldom turn down a chance to go out even if I just wait in the car and people-watch.

Since Monday he has been doing some little odd jobs around the house, and his truck still isn’t operable. The truck is his next big job. Ben, our older son, called a little while ago to ask him to do some painting at their trailer park. I don’t think he will have any trouble staying busy.