Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Losing It

One of the most annoying things about aging is “losing” things. I suppose it’s caused because I have developed this irksome memory loss. It seems I spend hours a day looking for things.

In the last few weeks, I have lost a cardigan, a pair of black pants, the recharging cable for my mp3 player, other assorted cables, a blue hat, my car keys (a number of times), and numerous other items.

This morning it was a large container of fabric softener. The other day I knocked something off the shelf next to the washing machine.It fell behind the washer; I couldn't reach it. I thought it was the softener. This morning I needed it, so I asked Mr. Fixit if he could use my handy-dandy picker-upper thingy to retrieve the item. When he pulled it out, it wasn’t the container I was looking for.

Because I hate ironing so much, I bought a bottle of “wrinkle releaser.” It appears to be diluted fabric softener. It works well on some fabrics, but it’s just too expensive to use often. Then, being the cheap thrifty person I am, I decided to make my own. I bought an inexpensive store brand fabric softener and mixed it with a little water. It works great at a fraction of the price. This large container was the one I was looking for. I searched and searched and searched. It took me about a half hour to find it.

At least I did find it. My sweater and my black pants have yet to be found. I wonder if they went the way of socks in the dryer—lost never to be seen again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You’re a Good Man, Mr. Fixit!

As I grow older, I become a little quirkier. I suppose I have always been a little different from most people. I have mentioned my attitude about my shoes and handbags matching. The bread on my sandwiches must “match,” and the filling of the sandwich must reach the edges. My fear of heights is getting worse. I stand backward in the shower; that is, I face away from the spray. I noticed people on tv and in the movies always face the spray. I was/am convinced that my way is best.

Now another quirk has reared it’s head. Sunshine in my face makes me very cranky. In the morning when the sun is low on the horizon and we are driving on a highway with trees close by, the strobe-like effect of the quickly changing light and shadow makes me  even more uncomfortable and crankier. I feel like the scientist in “The Andromeda Strain” who goes into a catatonic state when she sees a flashing light. I don’t get catatonic even though Mr. Fixit probably wishes I would; I get testy. I have a hat in car to shade my eyes, and it helps a little.

The other day I was complaining  about the sun in my  face. He pulled over on the shoulder and let me drive. The sun was on the passenger side. Isn’t he a sweetie for putting up with me and my quirks? I think so.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When Mr. Fixit and I walked into the donut shop, I didn’t pay particular attention to the woman in front of us who was ordering. I noticed that she was in her late 50’s or maybe her early 60’s and that she didn’t  have a pleasant look on her face as she walked over to a table.

Mr. Fixit ordered his coffee and I ordered a cup of tea and took a table not far from the woman. I was aware that she was there, but not much more.  She sat there a while with her coffee; I assumed that she was waiting for someone.

A few minutes later she returned to the counter and said she wanted to return the coffee. “I didn’t touch it. I bought it for someone who is not able to meet me,” she said. I was amazed. I had never seen anyone return a coffee.

The counter person didn’t know how to ring up the return. I guess she had never had a coffee returned.

A man standing in line waiting to order offered to take the coffee and pay her for it. The price of the coffee was $1.49. She agreed. The staff was still trying to decide how to process the return. The man gave her $2.00 and she turned around and walked out without giving him any change.

Not only did she return a $1.49 coffee, but she made money on the deal.  I wonder if she thanked the guy.

The young lady who served her the coffee sat beside us when she went on break. I asked her if anyone had ever returned coffee before. She said no and added that the woman had given her a hard time when she purchased the coffee. She saw three pots of coffee and didn’t want the one that was partially filled. She wanted to be served from the full pots. I might add that there were a number of people in and out buying coffee, so I know that the pot couldn’t have been sitting there that long.

Some people have a lot of nerve, but there are still some nice people in the world like the man who paid $2.00 for a $1.49 coffee with only a bemused look on his face and a small shake of his head.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Off Season

Tonight may be the last game of any kind until January (unless basketball begins earlier than normal). At one time, our four grandsons were all playing baseball at the same time, and Bella was playing volleyball. With the exception of Cole’s games, all of them played on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most of the time they played at approximately same times at different venues. Scheduling alone was confusing, to say the least. We usually made two games out of four each night.

Bella found a sport she likes—volleyball. She said she wanted to try it because they play in an air- conditioned gym, and she likes the outfit. I don’t blame her one bit; I don’t like to sweat either.

The girls started out being too polite to really go after the ball and too lady-like to hit the ball hard enough to get it across the net. In the last few games, Bella’s self-confidence blossomed, she scored in every game.

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I don’t much like watching Noah and Owen play basketball. The parents are super critical of everything about the game, and some of them have no problem yelling at their children. The children range in age from 12 (Noah’s group) to 9 (Owen’s group) yet the parents seem to think that the little guys should have the co-ordination and instincts of pro players. They are nuts!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dressing the Part

From observations made during our little jaunts, it seems that there are many men who are recently retired, or nearing retirement age, who ride Harley motorcycles. I can see the attraction. It looks as if cruising down the highway  with the wind in your hair would be great fun. I admit to being a little envious until I think about the splat of bugs  on one’s person or helmet.

There is one thing I don’t quite understand about the Harley experience. It seems that there is a rule about acceptable dress for Harley riders.

Saturday when Mr. Fixit and I were cruising in our little red compact car we stopped to eat. While we were enjoying the wonderful weather, the foliage, and our meal, several Harley’s drove into the parking lot. The group was made up of mostly couples, but there were a few single men. Most of them fell into the nearing-retirement or newly-retired age range.

The women wore slacks, jackets, sensible shoes, and helmets. The men wore jackets, sensible footwear, jeans, and helmets. Some of them wore chaps. One had on leather chaps-type protection that only reached the knee.

The unusual thing I noticed was all the jackets, shirts, and headgear the men were wearing were all Harley items; that is, on all the items the words “Harley Davidson” was prominent.

Is there a rule, or perhaps it motorcycle etiquette, that participants in the pastime are required to wear only clothing with the H-D Logo? Or is it simply a way to let the world know they have H-D’s? Are phone calls flying back and forth on Friday evening to decide what to wear on the weekend ride? What happens if someone shows up in an unbranded leather jacket or a plain shirt? Are they discouraged from riding without the proper gear? Hmm. . . I wonder.

Even so, riding in our little red car in regular clothes seems a little boring when I see the Harley’s pass by. It gives me the same feeling when I see birds soaring high above in lazy circles—that feeling can best be described as restless envy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Credit Where Credit Is Due

A couple of weeks ago we were notified by our water department that we probably had a major leak. I assume they have some way to monitor the amount of water being used aside from reading the meter. We were notified a day before they read the meter. That was on a Thursday. We turned off the water at the meter and only turned it on when absolutely necessary. Our sons came over Saturday morning to dig a hole and repair the leak. Thank heavens for sons who don’t mind lending a hand.

I waited with fear in my heart for the new bill. It finally arrived on the 1st. My worst fears were realized.

Usually we use 3,300 to 3,500 gallons a month. The reading showed over 27,000  gallons flowed through the meter. The amount charged for water, sewage, bond, and garbage pick-up was $320.00. Needless to say, if I paid that amount, serious damage would have been done to our financial situation.

Yesterday I went to City Hall and ask if they could make an adjustment to the sewage fee because the water ran into the yard instead of the sewer. (The grass is such a nice shade of green in the leak area.) The young lady said that, of course, we would have to pay for the 27,000 gallons of water, but she would give us credit for not using the sewer. Yea!

The bill started out with a credit balance of $140.00. I pay some of my bills ahead so that in cases of dire need I can skip a few payments when necessary. She then did a few calculations which involved the past three months and said that $4.50 would bring the account back to zero. I don’t know how she came up with that number but I am glad she did.

I gave her a check for $50 so that I can start rebuilding my credit balance, but I’m so happy I didn’t have to come up with $320. “Blood from a stone” and all that, you know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why Is Everything So Difficult?

Years ago we purchased our satellite system in a retail store when they were very, very expensive. It cost us over $600 for two receivers and dishes. We had to buy a special thing for the dish called a dual LNB so that we would only need one dish. I don’t remember exactly what year we bought it, but for the past several years we have been receiving  a gift from Directv because we have been customers for more than 10 years.

Over the years, we have had very few problems. The remotes had to be replaced and the old receivers were replaced. I simply called Directv and arranged for the new receivers, and I ordered the new remotes on line from their web site.

Now we are having a new problem. Through a process of elimination, we think we need a new LNB on the dish itself. The problem? No one sells satellite system and replacements in retail stores. Not Radio Shack, not Best Buy. I have scoured the Directv web site and I can’t find how to order the part or even a new dish.

In the meantime, we are down to one television. Mr. Fixit found a single LNB in the original dish box and it’s working for one TV.

I see Directv trucks running around all over the place, but I think they are installers with no place of business. I think they work out of their homes. Does that mean that I have to pay for a service call to simply buy a part? I am so p.o.ed.

I found a part on line, but we’re not sure if it’s compatible with our system.

I wish there are a number on the Directv web sight for me to call tech support. Who  you goin’ to call? Not Directv! I can’t find the number! (Maybe it’s there; I just can’t find it.)