Tag: life

Investing for the future

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My slave and I had a small conversation this afternoon, that sort of started when I arrived home from running errands with my wife.  It was a continuation of a conversation (after a fashion) she and I had been having over the last few days.  

She’s been having trouble getting used to using Spotify without the fancy doodads that are included with a paid membership.  I’ve been paying for her membership for the most part over the last year.  It ran out sometime in the last week or so, and the lack of the ability to fast forward as well as other expectations were getting to be a little much for her.  There was a veiled mention of the fact this week is National Nurse’s Aide Week, and generally, on those sorts of weeks, the professional or worker in question gets a gift.  Usually from their employer or a spouse, in recognition of the work that the person does and doesn’t necessarily get noticed or rewarded. 

I looked it up and yes it certainly is that particular week, and since none of her family were likely to be moved to give her anything, much less her employer (the CEO sent out a blanket statement to the workforce, thanking them for their hard work, their dedication and so on, basic boilerplate in lieu of anything more substantial, like money for instance) I was intending to extend her Spotify membership anyway, as a reward for all of her hard work and dedication and because sometimes its the right thing to do.  

Of course, I hadn’t done it right away, so there was a text message this afternoon for all intents and purposes pleading with me to re-up ASAP since she was really having a hard time without it.  My response in this instance was typically me “Oy”.   I also made reference to a saying that I have whenever someone says something is driving them crazy.  I would have thought after 3-4 years of knowing me, she would have known about it, and I even suggested she could earn brownie points for it, but no, she didn’t.  I had to clue her in about it.  Again.

Person #1:  I can’t stand it anymore, it’s driving me crazy!

Person #2: Y’know, it’s not so much a long drive, as a short putt.

Yes, I think it’s funny.  Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t.  If you do, woo woo and a ^5.

At this point, I made an off-hand comment about needing to make an Amazon shopping list, since there were several other things I knew she was out of, and with money being tight, unlikely she was going to be getting them anytime soon.  Naturally, once I put one thing in the cart (sunscreen) others started popping to mind that she was going to need in the near future.    At some point, I asked a question I hadn’t inquired about for many months.  Whether or not she had a decent pair of shoes for work.  As expected, the answer was no, she was still wearing ones she got from the dollar store, of all places.  So back to Amazon to seek out a sturdy pair of nurse’s shoes, that will last longer than however long dollar store shoes last.  Five minutes would be my off-handed guess on that one.  

Naturally, I found several possibles, but the designs on them were fairly hideous.  Does no one make shoes in plain white, or black anymore?  After more time than I thought I would spend on this mission, I finally came across a pair of Skechers that would do well.  Made certain of the sizing, and put them in the cart.  

Lastly, I asked about her medications.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?  After some banter, and back and forth, she admitted that she was out of two important ones that are OTC, and could be ordered from Amazon.  Popped them into the cart, along with some generic Aleve and I was pretty much done.  I added in the Spotify gift card and called it complete.  During the final part of the conversation, we covered the one thing we always do, when she tells me “You don’t have to do this.”   Believe me, slave, I know I don’t have to.  But I also know no one else is going to help out.  You may not be blood, but in a very important manner, you’re my responsibility.   So I do what I can when I can.  If positions were reversed, you’d be doing this as well.  We’ve had that particular conversation more times than I can count.

I closed out the cart and put the shipping information in, my CC info and pressed the ‘Place the Order’ button.  It’s on its way to her and should arrive by Saturday.  I know she’s grateful, I know she’s also a bit melancholy that I had to bail her out again.  Should be a trifecta when she reads this and sees I posted about it.  

In for a penny, in for a pound.  I’m investing in our future.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Still slow but coming back

Reading Time: 2 minutes

First off, my apologies for not posting more this month.  Been a bit of a slog with the web host that I use having a brain fart.  Every time that I want to check the blog, it takes more than 30-45 seconds to load (if not longer) and no one wants to wait as if they’re connected via dial-up for something to load.  They’ll lose interest and go somewhere else.

Earlier this week I took one of my domains and moved it to a different adult-friendly server with the hopes of moving this blog over to there.  Of course, nothing like that is easy either.  Between gaps, I was able to back up the blog here and try to move it, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t going. It would transfer, but wouldn’t load on the new server.  Even yesterday when this blog finally came back up, I attempted to use the ‘IMPORT/EXPORT’ feature on WP, but the new version of WP wouldn’t accept it, so I finally gave up.

This morning, there’s possibly good news.  Traffic on my various websites is up again (it had been down below 1 GB for over a week now) which means that people are able to get to them, and when I attempted to come here, it loaded after about 10 seconds.  Still, an eternity when you’re on a 100mbs hi-speed connection, but at least it’s way better than it has been. 

In the interim I’ve been reading others’ blogs and commenting on them, getting the occasional follow-back and spending time doing other things around the house, around the grounds and yep still buying toys.  Made a few missteps in that regard in the last week, which I’ll be detailing in the next couple of days.  There’s something to be said about ‘measure twice, order once’.  Fortunately, I didn’t outlay a few hundred dollars for that mistake.  Whew. 

Anyway, just thought I’d post an update here.  Have to work, to pay for the ability to do all this stuff, so I’m outta here for now.  Be good everyone.  Well, not too good. 

When you’re not -quite- family

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I received a message from my birth mother this morning, informing me of the rather unexpected death of my Aunt Lorraine.  Except that I was unaware of Aunt Lorraine.  And I’m not entirely sure that she, or her family was aware of me.

I may have mentioned this before, but if I didn’t here it is now.  I was an adopted child.  As a baby.  3 days old as a matter of fact.  Born on a Saturday morning, shipped off to NYS (USA) on a Tuesday.  My birth mother was finally able to relate to me the story of how I came to be with another family in the same geographical area where she grew up.  Even if she was unaware of it at the time.  Since it was a private adoption, neither she nor her family was allowed to know where I ended up.  They could have made some guesses, due to the lawyer that worked the adoption at one end (he was local), but other than that, it was private, closed, and she wasn’t permitted to know more details than basic ones. (Loving family, had one child already)

Anyway, after ‘Mom’ told me about Aunt Lorraine’s passing (via text message, I was asleep when she sent it) I did a little digging and came across Lorraine’s obituary.  Then her FB page.  I didn’t do much digging after that, because what I found out was nice, but a little disconcerting as well.  But not wholly unexpected when you think about it.

Lorraine lived a long life, was much-loved by her family, and had several children of her own (my cousins).  She was very active, even into her 80s (84 when she died last week).  Lots of activities, some travel, interactions and she was religious, or so it seemed from the posts from her church and in reference to church related activities.  I do have to mention here that Lorraine was not my direct relation.  She wasn’t my mother’s sister, she was the sister of the man who my mother married in the 1970s.  NOT my birth father, so Lorraine wasn’t a direct relation.  Sort of an Aunt once removed.  But the thing that irked me a little was how the obituary was printed and shared in the newspaper.  To be blunt, I wasn’t listed.  My half-brother and half-sister are there, but no mention of me or my wife.

Now, I can understand how it came to be, even though its been 2 years since my mother and I were reunited, I’m still much of an afterthought when it probably comes to familial interactions on her side of the state.  To be honest, it took my Mom all of about 20 months before she listed me as her son on her FB profile.  She said she hadn’t really thought about it, and I can understand and appreciate that, but now it’s corrected and out there for anyone to see if they care to look.  My conception, birth and adoption in the 1960s was one of her family’s things they didn’t discuss, considering the fact that when she was found to be pregnant in 1964, she was shipped off to live with an aunt in Indiana.  So that the neighbors in their little town wouldn’t know that an unwed mother was living in their midst.  While nowadays that can be considered normal, 50 years ago it just wasn’t.  Too, this was 8 years pre Roe v. Wade, so an abortion wasn’t legal.  Not that they weren’t done, but getting one required extraneous or extraordinary circumstance.  No Planned Parenthood, nothing of that nature.  It was considered (and was) illegal, period.

So, Aunt Lorraine has passed on.  Obviously, we’re not going to the funeral.  I offered my condolences to Mom and her husband Ron, and wished them safe travels (they’re flying up from Florida for the services, staying a couple of days then flying back to resume their winter layover that they do every year) seeing as it’s snowing here in NY currently.  I expect my half-brother and his family will be at the funeral as they live locally.  Fairly certain my half-sister won’t be driving up from VA, since they have 2 small children and travel might be a little problematic, too they’re both teachers and would more than likely have a little difficulty getting the time off from work to travel.

Having this to think about the last day has me wondering what’s going to happen when Mom does eventually die.  Is it going to be late in the planning stages when someone finally remembers that I need to be notified?  My half-siblings and I don’t have the most engaging of relationships.  When I visited the area 2 years ago, my half-brother couldn’t be bothered to introduce me to his wife.  I had to meet his children when they visited their grandmother, and then only for a few minutes before they wanted to go off and do things on the computer (they’re in their teens, I can understand the mind-set).  Sort of a “hi, here’s your Instant-Uncle, be nice to him!”  I haven’t had any interaction with either of them since.  And really, don’t expect to.  Too, I’ve only interacted with my half-sister and her family through a couple of video chats, her 3-year-old has no clue who I am, whenever he sees me on the video screen, his response is “where’s Grampa?”.  Thanks, kid, makes me feel really welcome.  [Yes, I know he’s 3.  That was sarcasm, fyi.]

Not for nothing, but it all reminds me of when my estranged brother got married for the first time 30 years ago.  He wanted the wedding announcement to be put in the New York Times, (at the time he wanted to be known as an ‘up and comer’) and whoever took down the copy at the Times got the names mixed up.  If anyone bothers to look in the Times history, my adopted father is listed as the groom.  Nice going, NYT.  And one wonders why copy editors are so highly prized.

RIP Aunt Lorraine.

Doldrums

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Doldrums (n.) – a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.

January is a generally a month where one regroups after the hectic ‘go-go-go’ of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.  It’s a New Year, but it’s also a time where things slow down considerably, before ramping up towards the holidays of Valentine’s Day, and then Easter.  I’ve always equated it to the term above, remembering about when I learned of the other definition of the word.  IE: an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.

It’s more of the ‘light unpredictable winds’ I’m referring to than anything else.  How to keep yourself motivated, when everything around you is stagnant.  It’s a difficult time of year to create change, like many people attempt to do, with their resolutions of this, that and the other thing.  Generally, I’ve given up on making New Year resolutions, because it ends up being a wasted effort, since the desire to ‘change’ doesn’t tend to stay in the forefront of my brain for more than a couple of weeks, at best.

Change is difficult under any circumstances, to be sure. But forcing the issue on yourself doesn’t make it any easier.  Things like weight loss, like quitting drinking, or smoking, or some other habit has to be done when you desire to do it, not on some schedule, either self-imposed, or due to peer pressure.  The argument ‘Well, everyone else is doing it‘ doesn’t work any better as you get older, than it did when you were younger.  The old argument ‘if everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you as well?‘ definitely applies.

Here we are, 2019.  Hopefully it will be a good year.  There’s always that possibility.  Time will tell, of course.  Should be interesting if nothing else.

Cheers.

Breathing a sigh of relief (so far…)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Americans by and large have too much stuff.  That’s probably why 30 years ago the whole storage bin craze started.  Paying someone a monthly fee to store whatever you couldn’t have in your house, which was probably also bursting at the seams with stuff.  When I moved to this area in 1993, the running joke was that the town I now live in had too many dollar stores and hardware stores.  Today, while there is still a plethora of both, far and away they’re outnumbered by storage companies.  Within the town limits there are at least five and I’m probably overlooking a couple.

When I sold my parent’s house, the majority of the things in the house were either stored or sold through an auctioneer.  My parents were pack rats.  Of the worst ilk.  I’ve written before about the lengths we went through to empty out the mass of stuff they had accumulated over 30 plus years.  But in the intervening time, I’ve been storing the remaining contents of that house, adding in items from the other houses that my wife and I have lived in over the last 25 years.  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve moved the storage items several times as well.  3 different times to 3 different storage companies.  The last one has been a little of a headache, since they’re not easily contactable in case of a problem.  They even one time accidentally cut off the lock to my storage bin, replaced it with one of their own and I didn’t find out about it, until I went to get something, and couldn’t get in.  Once I contacted them (finally) I was informed that they’d made a mistake months ago and didn’t bother to let me know!  I was paying them storage fees and wasn’t even aware that my lock was gone.  I guess I should be grateful they didn’t just leave it open to anyone.

Getting back to the reason for this post.  I was going through my checkbook a couple of weeks ago and realized I hadn’t paid the storage fee for my space since August.  Oops.  Uh oh.  The funny thing (well not really ha ha funny) is that they’ve never contacted me to let me know I was late with my payments.  Definitely something that you don’t want to be too late on, because in the contract, they can sell your stuff and clean out the space, and leave you with bupkus.  And that’s NOT A GOOD THING!  Ahem.  So, I wrote out 2 checks, and sent then on their way, along with an apologetic note for forgetting to keep my account current.  I also asked for an accounting of my balance to be certain I’m in the black, not still in the red.

The checks cleared my bank today.  But I haven’t heard from the management person about the other.  So I guess I’m going to have to start calling again, trying to get ahold of a real person.  This might take a while.  Too, I should go down to my storage space and make sure my things are still there.  Because if I’m paying money and my things are NOT there….then there’s going to be a problem.  A BIG ONE.

So, I have something to do in the next few days.  Like I don’t have anything else to do…like get ready for the Christmas season.

Honestly, did you think I was going to forget?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I had an eye appointment today, my first since 2016. I used to go every year, but then my insurance changed at my workplace and they only covered a new pair of glasses every 2 years. I’ve been going to the same place for my glasses for the last 10 years, so they have all my prior prescriptions on file. Even so, now that many things are being automated and upgraded for web-based filing and reminders, what was once a simple system of reminders has now become overly complex. Or so it seems.

It used to be when you made an appointment, you were given a card so that you could go home, copy the appointment on your own calendar at home. The day would come for the appointment, you’d go, that’d be the end of it. Maybe 10 years ago, people seemed to need further coddling and reminders, so doctors’ offices would call you a few days before your appointment to remind you of it, OR they would contract with an automated system that would do the same thing. You’d have the option of confirming the time of the appointment that you’d make (months ago) over the phone, then on the day you’d go, and that would be the end of it.

Nowadays, it seems that people require even more coddling. For my appointment with the eye doctor, I received no less than FIFTEEN reminders stretched over the last 3 days. Email reminders, text reminders, three phone calls from their automated system to both my home phone AND my cellphone. Each day since Wednesday I’ve received both text reminders and emails letting me know that I have an upcoming appointment. Really? Really? No one needs this much of a reminder of an appointment. And I can’t believe this is isolated. I’m sure thousands of people are getting bombarded the same way I am. We’re not imbeciles, please stop treating us as if we are.

Btw, my eyes haven’t changed all that much according to the ophthalmologist. I’m getting new glasses just the same, though I did ask if I could just get the lenses, since the frames tend to be the big outlay. They recommended against it (naturally) since the frames I have now are a discontinued model (again, naturally) and wouldn’t be fixable if they were to break. Unlike my wife, when it comes to new frames, it’s always a several weeks’ breaking in period, because I have to get used to how the frames feel behind my ears. And that unfortunately takes a while. So again, I’m up for several weeks of adjustments and refits, which (luckily) they don’t charge for.

Which is neither here nor there in the above rant. Just updating those that care. Those that don’t…the suggestion box is over yonder.

Snow!

Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Snowmageddon!  Ok, not really.

We’ve all heard about global warming, and how weather patterns are going to be changing from now on.  Well, they have been changing for many years, though sometimes it’s hard to see when you’re in the midst of it.  Now, I’m not advocating because it snowed yesterday and this morning (as well as 11 inches last week) to say that we’re in the midst of some ‘snowpacalypse’, but….you have to admit, there have been a lot of odd weather patterns we’ve been seeing around the world for the last few years.

Of course, the current US Administration is in deep climate denial, even going so far as to insist that the recent rash of forest fires in California have -nothing- to do with climate change.  The current US President seems to think that what’s happening around the globe is ‘normal’, and can’t possibly be anything other than what has always happened, and will happen in the future with the climate.  Except that there’s never been a time in the history of the planet where the dominant species has effected the global climate the way humans have.  Certainly dinosaurs were never so evolved that they were burning fossil fuels at such a rate as to effect global weather patterns.  Or at least I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Honestly though, the snow is kind of screwing up my fall clean-up.  I was supposed to have the leaves raked and on the curb by now.  Little hard to do so when they’re buried under 5-6 inches of hard packed snow.  Not even sure that the village I live in is going to be collecting leaves when the snow melts.  Generally they stop around Thanksgiving, and that’s in 3 days.  The weather report is saying that the cold weather is going to stick around at least for another week.  So that’s going to put a crimp in that leaf plan.  I do have a back-up plan in case the village stops collecting leaves.  Though it’s going to cost me some cash.  But it can’t be helped.

Getting back to the topic.  We’ve been undergoing a bit of a cold snap to go along with the unexpected snow.  At least we’ve made some changes to the house in the summertime, so now it’s a little more efficient.  So hopefully over the course of the heating season we’re not going to be using quite as much NG as last year.  It will be interesting to see what the difference is if the temperatures are similar.

Finally my repaired snowblower worked like a champ in the heavy snow.  11 inches of the white stuff was chopped up and blown into the next yard like the machine wasn’t really 28 years old.   Of course, I had completely forgotten I had drained the gas tank, and spent about 3 minutes yanking on the starter cord without any luck.  Once I remembered and filled the tank with fresh fuel, I was in business.  I even managed to assist the new tenant across the street unbury his vehicle.  HE doesn’t have a garage…I do!  Which I’m VERY thankful of.  Constantly unburying the car is something that I don’t miss at all.  Just let the snow, ice, freezing rain, whatever happen and drive the dry car out of the garage.  That’s how you do it!

Anyway, I said my piece.  It’s nice when it snows.  Just have to wonder if we’re going to end up with more of it over the coming years, because of something happening that we’re affecting.  Food for thought.