Monday, June 27, 2011

My Retirement - Some Peace and Quiet

Beautiful day here and I am doing OK

The Sounds of Silence - Not

bird photo-1I read Molly Golver's blog last night (Some Other Mountain) where she showed a video of her gardens in the early morning as she walked around soaking in the beauty of her surroundings.  It was just lovely and it inspired me to do the same.  Although I am awake around 5:30 AM most days, I tend to lay in bed and look out the window as the sun comes up, the birds chirp and the day begins.  I look over the plantings in my backyard from the privacy of my bedroom window and get that panoramic view.  This is a plus as I don't see the weeds that grow faster than any other vegetation, don't feel the need to cut back the bushes that I trimmed three weeks ago and have regrown, and don't get bitten by the bugs that seem to be in abundance this year.   So this morning, influenced by Molly, I jumped out of bed at around 6:30 am, went downstairs to my kitchen to brew my tea and prepared to get a headstart on the day.  Then, with cup in hand, I went  to my outside room to take in all the ambiance of the early sunlight.  On my short walk, I got bitten by a gnat or some other culprit, but was not discouraged.  As I sat there, enjoying my tea, listening to the chirping of birds,  I wrapped my mind around the serenity of the moment.  All of a sudden, this noise of a riding lawnmower invaded my space.  From around the side of my house came a Dale Earnhardt wannabe going as fast as his tractor would take him, making this horrifically loud sound as he spread fertilizer all over the lawn.  The birds took off for the woods, the peaceful feeling disappeared and  I ran into the house (I was in my pj's) dropping the tea all over myself.

So my moment of Zen was gone.  Back to my bedroom I went, closed the windows to the outside world, and muttered some vile words to myself .  Then I started to call hubby to ask why he would make an appointment with the fertilizer company to come early in the morning and why wasn't I told.  However, then I realized that he was still trudging to work everyday and I wasn't.   I had another day to try my bid at tranquility, so how can I complain.   Tomorrow I will venture out again, maybe.

The sun'll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!

When I'm stuck a day
That's gray,
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!

God, I hate that song!  Makes me want to gag.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Retirement - Car Talk

Very buggy, muggy outside, but doing OK

Vroom, Vroom, Vroom.
I got my driver's license somewhat later in life; I was all of 27. I spent my first 16 years in New York where a car is not needed.  When we moved to Pennsylvania, we lived in a house that was within walking distance of most places, so learning how to drive was not on my radar. When my son was three we wanted to enroll him in nursery school for a few mornings a week,  so I finally had to bite the bullet and get behind the wheel.  Not-so-patient hubby became my teacher. He  instructed me in his beloved stick-shift gold Pontiac with my children screaming in the backseat and the car bouncing/hopping around as I attempted to change gears. All of his veins popped outside his body and his eyes looked like those of the Wolfman.  We can laugh about it now, but it was a difficult period in our lives.  I finally paid for some driving lessons from a professional and took my test with my mom's automatic car. I passed on my first try.  Hubby's comment to me after I called to tell him the good news was "just because you have a license, doesn't mean you can drive".  I have been trying to prove him wrong in the past forty years, but he is not convinced yet.

The first car I bought was from a neighbor and it cost me $50.  It was only four or five years old and for some reason all the paint had faded and was coming off.  It was sprayed with some kind of flat coating and it was not pretty.  However, the engine was good, it had a radio and air-conditioning and it was extremely cheap.  At that time, I was a part-time nursery school teacher at a local church. Before we bought this car,  hubby would catch a ride to work with someone else and let me have our only car, although somewhat begrudgingly. With my new acquisition,  I no longer had to beg and was more self-sufficient. It also had an automatic transmission and I no longer had to live in fear of hillitise (car rolling back at top of a hill).  One aspect about about the car though was that the lady who previously owned it had quite a reputation around town (if you know what I mean) and this vehicle was well known in some circles.  For the first year I had people beeping at me when they passed by, thinking I was the famous Bridgette.  I'd wave back, as I am a friendly person, but did not know why all of a sudden I was so popular. I did not find out till later.  I kept that car for about 4 years and never minded the way it looked; I was just so happy to have my independence.

View Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX 5DR detailsNow that I am old(er), I am driving a car that still gets me beeps and waves.  I have a Subaru WRX, which is an all-wheel drive sports car.  It was one of my purchases that has become another  "what was I thinking" moment.  I bought it six years ago when I realized that we needed one car in the family that  would drive well in the snow. My previous vehicle had been a small red sports car and I loved the feeling of driving it.  I did not want to go from that to some ugly SUV.  All Subarus are AWD and I was very impressed with the look of the WRX model.  Hubby was thrilled, that should have been my clue.  This car has a turbo engine, is high performance, and goes vroom, vroom vroom when you power it up.  Unfortunately I am not in the vroom, vroom, vroom part of my life and seldom drive on roads that the speed limit is over 35/45 miles an hour. Those that drive this kind of car are men of the average age of 30 with no kids. I also found out that owners of this car feel they are in a club and when they see you coming their way, they will honk their horn and wave.  When they see me behind the wheel they almost get whiplash.  I am sure the question on their mind is "Why is she driving her grandson's car". 

Besides these whippersnapper waving at me, there are others on the road that also want to greet me with hand signals.  I have lost that adventurous feeling I used to have when I drove with one arm hanging out the window while singing and moving  along with my music and not necessarily watching the  speedometer.   Nowadays, my hands are tightly gripped to the wheel, my mind fully concentrated on not getting lost and doing the speed limit (or maybe less).  There are people who take objection to my "cautiousness" and want to let me know they disapprove.  Sometimes my feelings get hurt when they speed past me and yell out something I cannot decipher,(but their fingers give me a clue), however, other times, I might answer with my own remark, but by then, they are dust in my windshield. I am thinking of getting a big bumper sticker that says "bite me", just to let them know beforehand how I feel about their vileness.   Their time will come, as it did for me.

There will probably be a para-transit van in my future, but not yet.  I went vroom, vroom, vroom yesterday while driving , so this old girl still has something going on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Retirement - The Caveman

No jury duty and doing OK

Thinking process for a Weiner.

Caricature of a Caveman - Royalty Free Clipart Picture

I have a theory that if it weren't for women, men would happily walk around naked and still chew on bones.  All we have to do is look to our elected politicians to see that.  

I have never been a prude and am quite liberal in my thinking, however, I do have a certain prejudice against stupidity.  Is there a rehab that they can go to for being a nincompoop? Maybe a drug company can market a pill and advertise it for NCPP syndrom or WAJ (what a jerk).

 Nuff said!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Retirement, A Call to Duty

Finished planting and doing OK

Law and Order

About a month ago I got that letter in the mail - Summons to Appear for Jury Duty.  This was not for County Court, but rather Federal Court, which is another whole can of worms.  County Court often involves money cases and local criminal trials and many are pleaded or settled out of court.  Federal could involve terrorism, the mob, and high profile people/events.

Who is your JudgeAbout 10 years ago I was called as a potential jurist for Federal Grand Jury which was looking into the Pennsylvania mafia and especially it's main man (who will be nameless for this blog). They brought in about 40 people and from them they choose about 15 or 16 people.  This was an 18 month commitment for one day a week.  The only excuses they would accept were:  You were dying, someone you are taking care of is dying or you are moving out of state.  When I heard what this Grand Jury was investigating, my first thought was "move" but not to New Jersey  (Soprano territory). Most people had some trepidation about the mob, but the judge assured us that the Mafia respects the court system and there should be no worries about finding a horse's head in our beds. We didn't necessarily take his word on this.  After that, we were seated and a computer randomly picked the lucky people by there seat number. Fortune was on my side and I was not called. A woman who was chosen and who I later met outside told me that she watched me from the jury box and saw a look on my face that screamed "heart attack".  To say I was relieved when they said they had enough jurors and everyone else could go home would not be an exaggeration.

Fast forward to 2008 and again  I receive another letter from Uncle Sam but this time is was just for one trial.  I combed the paper to see what may be coming up and again, another high-profile event was happening.  A housewife, given the name Jihad Jane by the press for recruiting terrorists on the Internet, was to be tried around the time my court date.  I sweated that out for a few weeks and then per instructions, I called the court phone number the night before having to appear and was told that the jury was filled and I need not come to court.  I could finally breathe out again.  

Now I am to appear on Tuesday and there is that chance that again my number will not come up.  However, for trials the numbers are sequential and mine is low so I do expect that my luck has run out.  I have not looked in the paper to see if any big Federal  cases are due this week as I don't want to get my anxiety clock going again.  So I will do my duty and perhaps have a fascinating week where I will meet new people, use my sensibilities and be a good citizen.


Monday, June 6, 2011

My Retirement - Reasons to Move Every 10 Years

So much on my plate, but doing OK

Pack your bags when:

1. You wake up in a foul mood, look around, and see work you are not up to doing.  You want to run out the door and hold up in a motel until, by magic, it is all done by somebody else.

2. Home and Garden TV tells you that everything you have in your house is out of date, even though they told you it was the "in thing" last year.

3. The little bush you planted 10 years ago has grown and now blocks the view of the nuclear power plant towers.

4. Your basement is packed with your former life when you went wild in Marshalls or Home Goods.  The "had to haves" are now "what was I thinking."

5. Those cute little kids who used to ride past your house on a tricycle have grown and now are into Harleys.

6. You hate the colors of your bathroom, bedrooms, and so on and so on and the thought of painting everything or even picking out  new colors sends you  running to bed where you can pull the covers over your head.

My thought is that 10 years is long enough to live in a house. At about that time, things are breaking, decor needs updating, clutter is accumulating and everything is starting to become a burden. Instead of you owning the house, the house owns you. You start dreaming of that small apartment, one with maid service, an indoor pool and maybe having dinner served to you. Oh my gosh, I am describing a nursing home. Never mind, I'll stay here.

We lived in our first home for 28 years and that is where I raised my children. There were times that I would have liked to move, but the kids opposed the idea, so we stayed. They had everything you could want there, many friends, close to school and a good neighborhood.  So when the last one finished college and they all moved out, I started looking for that 200 year old home which had been my dream for years.  Instead we bought a one year old house that did not need any work, except for what we wanted to do, not what we had to do. However, here I am with a lot of work again and an older body, but I love this house, just wish we had a yard man, a handyman and a housecleaner.  A very tan, well-built young man would be nice as a poolman also, but alas, the only pool I have, you blow up.

My home is now 10 years old and we have lived here for nine.  We bought it because it was almost new and it was professionally landscaped. My idea of a 200 year old house was impractical and too much of commitment for us. We had very little to do in the new home except move in and hang up our hat and coat . The gardens were perfect but over the years we have removed much of what had been done because they became crowded and overgrown.  We also put in a few gardens of our own.  Now we are older and those great ideas that I once had give me shivers when I contemplate what has to be done.  Right now I am looking at a very large pile of mulch on my driveway that was delivered yesterday.  It looks like a mountain that I don't have the energy to climb, but I am going to give it my best.

So when the mulch is all put down, the basement cleaned out, some walls painted, I will be happy again. Today though every bone in my body is hurting and I am grouchy. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Retirement - Sweating

Drained, but doing OK


Photo: Loop on the sunWinter of snow, spring of rain, now at the end of spring, we have the tropics.

Old jokes about heat: 
It is so hot that your tongue gets sunburned everytime you talk.
It is so hot that people are taking turns sitting in each other's shadow.
You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.
Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.

and from the late, great Johnny Carson -it was so hot I saw a Brinks truck with a screen door on it.

The weather always gives you something to complain about.