It is a cloudy “Matinee Monday,” a good afternoon for indoor entertainment. Tomorrow, we head to Vanderbilt Beach, about an hour-and-a-half south of us for a reunion with Indianapolis friends. We got together last year about this time of year, as they take a two-week break from the cold before heading back to WORK. I can barely remember the meaning of that four-letter word. Obviously, they are a bit younger than we are. We’ll spend the night, with Tally staying with a new sitter, a neighbor from the dog park. The folks from “Schnauzerville” where she likes to go are on a cruise, but it’s good to have multiple options for pet care as much as we’d like to travel. On Wednesday morning we’ll drive into nearby Bonita Springs and meet some hometown friends for lunch. She was the wife of a good high school friend who died several years ago and has been in a new relationship for awhile. I’ve yet to meet him, but soon will, since they too are getting away from the chilly Indiana weather.
Florida is a great place to renew acquaintances with the Midwest snowbirds. I guess at one time I could have been considered such an animal, but I’m now a full time resident. I was pretty far removed from my Hoosier friends, living both in Austin and Portland for the last dozen years. Only rarely did we have visitors, but I had the good fortune of knowing several Oregon Hoosiers, dating back to high school. I miss hanging out with them, especially “Leadership Meetings” at Buffalo Wild Wings. They’re coming down here for Spring Training, plus I’ll visit them in Portland come September.
We got some of the fliers out yesterday for the Neighborhood Meet-up in a few weeks and will see a lot of them tonight at the events center for a movie one of them produced. It could be two movies in one day for my wife and I! As a result, I will miss some of the IU basketball game tonight, but have a feeling that this may be a good thing – we have little to gain and a lot to lose. The team has not won a BIG road game in nearly a year, plus Nebraska is last in the conference. If we lose this one – all hope is gone. It will be better to simply monitor the score and keep my comments to myself. Getting together with these new neighbor friends will be a welcome distraction.
As has been customary in recent posts, I’ve included a historical tidbit as part of my daily thoughts. Back in the year 1919, “the USA needed security. Instead, cities experienced “Red Scare” bombings, race riots, workers striking, vets competing for jobs, May Day demonstrations, armed resistance movements and the deportations of 149 people, including political activist Emma Goldman, to Russia. Historians rate 1919 ‘America’s worst year.'” This all according to Wikipedia that is always an easy resource. A Penny for their thoughts!
With my lifelong fascination of finding abandoned coins on the ground I have posted about “Pennies from Heaven” in my ramblings. (See Post #183). In my daily runs, I’ve only found a couple of quarters and a nickel on these new neighborhood streets. Running in downtown Portland was an entirely different experience. Much more traffic and parked cars as opposed to construction equipment here. I haven’t found a single penny since we moved here 10-months ago.
I ran across this poem on Facebook the other day from an anonymous source:
“Found a penny today,
Just laying on the ground.
But it’s not just a penny,
This little coin I’ve found.
Found pennies come from heaven
That’s what my grandpa told me.
He said, “Dog-Angels toss them down.”
Oh, how I loved that story.
He said, “When a Dog-Angel misses you,
He tosses a penny down.
Sometimes just to cheer you up,
To make a smile out of your frown.”
So don’t pass by that penny,
When you’re feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven,
That your dog has tossed to you.”
I’ve written about this phenomenon, but always attributed it to a wink from my parents or other angels watching over me (See Post #1594), especially when there was a quarter involved. I just never gave the dogs due credit – shame on me – until I read this poetic tribute. I promise to give a future nod to my former pups like Tinker, Roxie, Belle, Gizmo, Smiley and Brittney. I suppose I should also include the cats, but three coins over ten months makes credit hard to divide. Where’s the Change, Florida?
It’s another “Tourist Thursday” with a trip to the Sarasota Orchid Show. We try to do something each week to learn more about our new Florida surroundings. It also helps us plan what our guests might enjoy when they visit us. This week, in fact, several once-a-year events are going on including art shows in Venice and on nearby St. Armand’s Island. We’ve also made plans for the upcoming Venice Wine Feast and will also make some stops in Tampa when we go to pick up our next guest at the airport next week. It’s all an attempt to keep my energetic wife happy and busy.
She’s at the dog park with our schnauzer Tally right now before it rains. Tally is not as active as many of the younger pups but she likes to sit up on a bench and at least watch them romp. As I run by every morning, she barely makes an attempt to acknowledge me. Sometimes I’ll clap my hands and she’ll run away, hoping that the “big dog” gate is open so she can chase me. At least, that’s what my wife claims so I don’t feel bad about the lack of attention. She’s clearly Tally’s favorite, while I’m just an occasional outing and treat source. I take her out first thing every morning, just before dinner, and before we all retire for the night. Otherwise, she could care less about my presence.
We never know where Tally is going to sleep every night. She has two beds and two favorite chairs or will plop down on our silk couch pillows when they happen to be out for the benefit of guests. She will not get in the bed as long as I am around, but anymore it’s too much of a jump for her aging legs to make the leap anyways. Tally will be 13 in two months, the same age as my oldest granddaughter, but many times still acts like a puppy. We know that she probably only has a few more years with us, so the desire for a companion dog is growing in my wife’s mind. As much as we plan to travel, I feel that we don’t need additional dog sitting charges, let alone the responsibility.
After going to the dog park twice yesterday, including an evening visit for “Yappy Hour,” Tally seemed more than content in her living room bed. It’s the fancy Ginger Bed she uses when there’s a need to guard the patio sliding doors from intruders. She can also be near us when we’re watching TV in the evening. Many times we’re not sure if she’s tired or just bored, however the double play day surely made it more difficult to get up for her final outing with me. I clapped my hands several times to get her attention with little reaction. Even “Ham Time” didn’t work. Finally, I asked for “Tally to Rally.” She slowly climbed out of her nest, shook her dog tags, and stretched before I had her full attention. It’s my newest call to action…”Time to Rally Tally!”
Tally’s day started with an expected treat from a guy in a golf cart. I was about 15 minutes behind schedule, so apparently he drives by almost every day after his gym workout. He stopped and asked if Tally was friendly then offered a treat. I thought it was a fun surprise from her new friend Paul. It goes to prove that just a few minutes change in the routine can make a complete difference in the day. After Tally had her second treat after being a good girl outside, she cuddled up next to her new stuffed elephant and started the long wait until “Mom” takes her to the dog park. In the meantime, I do my daily run as dozens of now familiar dogs pass by on their way to the park.
It’s the same familiar faces at the dog park every morning and a few of them wave as I run past. My wife and I are on different routes but she will join them all soon, so her car will be missing when I arrive home in a sweat. As I walked in the door, I could tell that Tally was excited that “Mom” was finally up because she had drug the elephant down the hallway to the garage door. I could almost see her shaking the poor creature in her teeth in anticipation of getting in the car. It must seem like hours to her between that first morning outing and the drive to the park, but the elephant keeps her company.
Tally spent five days away from this routine last week but went to Schnauzerville or Schnauzerland for care while we were out of town. She apparently has a boyfriend named Jax that also comes for grooming and she enjoyed being around the six, new-born schnauzer puppies. At Camp Schnauzerville there are at times 18 of the same breed playing in the back yard and dog beds laid out all over the house. It’s total chaos at first glance, but Bob & Carol have done this for years, breeding, grooming and boarding schnauzers just like Tally in their home. We were lucky to find them. I doubt she misses us much in this special puppy environment and is often tired and/or depressed when we get back. Then, she’s stuck alone with the elephant and other stuffed toys until the next trip to the dog park when she’s reunited with her friends. There’s always now the dog treat golf cart to look forward to seeing in the mornings, like the ice cream truck when we were kids.
I did my first yard work in nearly two years this morning, trimming around a tree in front of our house. The HOA is supposed to take care of this but their work is many times spotty. We’ve had a pile of dead branches sitting out by the roadside awaiting pick-up for several weeks now. With all the work we’ve had done on the driveway expansion, the lawn is looking very shoddy with lots of brown, especially around the edges where the sod hasn’t yet settled. I see many of my neighbors working outside, so now they know that I, too, care about the look of our yard even though I’ve yet to own a shovel. In fact, I did my edging with a pair of scissors.
Tally continues to disrupt our morning routine. Yesterday, it was an upset stomach, the contents of which ended up on my office carpeting. This morning at the dog park she found the odor of a dead snake appealing and rolled in the grass around it, collecting bugs and stink in her fur. My wife dragged her home and gave her a bath in our utility sink. She’s now trying to get up on my chair but I shooed her outside to dry off. Fortunately, we had moved her grooming appointment from yesterday to next week.
It’s “Football Sunday” with our fantasy team once again in action. I plan to join Tally on the lanai to watch the games this afternoon before my evening Pickle Ball match. It’s the first time I’ll be taking advantage of an HOA activity, having reserved a court near the clubhouse. I have been inside for meetings but haven’t used the fitness facility, joined any clubs, or gone to any game watches since we moved in five months ago. I have at least gone swimming in the pool with my grandkids. Friends are in town for the month, so they intend to teach us the game of Pickle Ball, enjoy a swim in our pool, and join us for dinner. We’re starting to get “into the swing of things” here in our retirement resort community.
Tally got very sick last night. I’m not sure which end it came out – maybe both? It was obviously the brisket that we brought home for her from Darrell’s BBQ. Maybe too rich for a puppy but certainly delicious from our perspective. I had the pulled pork and we topped it off with banana pudding. All those things didn’t settle very well this morning when I blindly stepped in a cold pile of Tally’s retching that squished between my toes. It was not a pleasant wake-up call and threw me off my exercise schedule. When I should have been running, I was using Spot Shot and paper towels on the office carpeting. As a result, I shortened day #4654 to slightly over a mile.
I continue to experience some pain and stiffness in my right hip. It seems to be more muscular than skeletal, but picking up a couple of cases of water at Costco yesterday certainly didn’t help. I needed a day “off” after 8-straight 5k mornings of discomfort. I’ve struggled this month with only 68.5 miles in 25 hot, humid days. When is it ever going to cool off? My wife is headed to her Aqua Fit class while I plan an afternoon of college football. IU does not play until later this evening, so I’ll have trouble staying awake to watch it after a dinner at The Sand Trip with some neighbors. Tomorrow is my very first Pickle Ball match.
We continue to fight the hassles of claim forms. We’re still trying to get resolution on furniture damage from the move, travel insurance on our cancelled Tahoe trip, a deductible refund on an auto accident, and warranty issues on our house. This coupled with cell phone transfer problems, health insurance paperwork, a bank loan, and an upcoming trip to Pittsburg have kept me busy on the computer and phone. As I continue to deal with life’s day-to-day ups and downs, I’m reminded that retirement is not without hassles!
Our activities schedule is heating up with only a week to go before we head to Pittsburgh. It will be good to go anywhere, despite the Spirit Flight and Fairfield accommodations. Only dogs and grandchildren keep us from the luxury hotels and high-end restaurants, while Pittsburgh is hardly a dream destination. I’ve only driven through so I’ll hold my opinions until after the experience. The kids will certainly enjoy the railroad inclines, museums, river walks, and parks. Before we go, we have at least two more dinners with friends and perhaps a first-time Pickle Ball encounter.
I continue to watch Josh Gates’ Expedition Unknown while waiting on further episodes of Ali, Nine Perfect Strangers, and Only Murders in the Building. The White Sox lost again yesterday afternoon, but Hoosier Soccer was victorious over Northwestern. The Cubs were also losers again but I’ve lost interest. They were initially the whole reason for the Pittsburg trip and we’ll see them against the Pirates as their miserable season finally comes to an end. It will at least be another ballpark to cross off my bucket list. Tally will get to spend a few nights with her schnauzer buddies while we’re gone. Our last night will be in Tampa, so maybe I can treat my wife to a nice dinner and hotel without the rest of my family.
My wife is completing the last of her “Welcome To Medicare” preventative exams today, but my schedule is relatively free. I was hoping for some sunshine by the pool but instead it’s overcast and spitting rain. At least it’s not raining hard enough to prevent Tally from going to the dog park for her daily romp. In the meantime, we await responses from the furniture repair company and our former apartment landlord on compensation for damages incurred in the move from Portland to Florida. Neither has been very cooperative with timely answers in resolving the final hassles of relocating. I’ll try contacting them again today. It’s been six months – Moving is never easy.
Another day of nothing to do but what I want to do. I can bang on my drum all day if I so desire. I can sit here in my office or on the new patio furniture out back or go back to bed for that matter. I do have an appointment at the chiropractor on my busy schedule, but otherwise the day is clear. It might be a good afternoon to go to the beach with no rain in the forecast until later tonight. We had quite the gully-washer last night, as has been the case most evenings this past week. Poor Tally, our schnauzer, has been a mess from all the lightening and thunder. She has even hidden in the closet where it is quiet and dark. Sometimes we just move her bed in there.
Tally also has a preference for my office chair. With only one window, it’s in another interior room sheltered from outside disturbances. She feels safe, but we’re always fighting for that chair. I use it to watch TV, but anytime I abandon it, even for just for a few minutes, she’s back in it, curled up on the blanket that we use to protect the soft, suede material. It’s a better look than the plastic covering that you find in other old people’s homes.
I’m nearly finished sorting baseball cards, a project perfectly suited for retirement. There’s still some work to do on personal photos, but otherwise my stuff is in order. I sometimes worry about the mess I might leave behind for others if I don’t get everything properly organized. There’s not much value in all of this to anyone but myself, so now is the time to enjoy it – sorting is very therapeutic, just like writing. It will probably all just get thrown away in the end – one man’s treasure is another man’s junk.
Was it a Senior moment to start my 70th year? I must have checked those Santana tickets a thousand times since they hit my mail box back in March -seventeen months ago. The concert was originally scheduled for August 29, 2020 but the tour was pushed back a year due to the dreaded Covid. It seemed like a long time to hold on to my money that was initially spent on 2020 Spring Training tickets back in 2019. I was issued credits for the cancellation, but there were no events to use them for, particularly in the Northwest. With our move to Florida, I saw this concert and used the credits before they expired. Then, I got notice that it was again moved to the 27th. A perfect way to celebrate my 70th birthday, so I thought!
We booked a room in Tampa and made arrangements for Tally to stay at “Schnauzerville.” On the drive up to Tampa yesterday we stopped at the Ringling Art Museum. My wife drove so I could return birthday calls and texts. In the words of Santana, “Everything was Coming our way,” as even McDonald’s extended its breakfast hours to make us Egg McMuffins and Hash Browns. Then, a rainstorm came through, making the remainder of the drive challenging as we crossed the Bay bridges into downtown Tampa. We checked into the Westin (a Marriott property of course) where I got the Happy Birthday song from the front desk and extra treats for the room. I returned more phone calls and tried to answer Facebook outpourings. We soon enjoyed an early dinner of oysters and sushi at Jackson’s overlooking the marina as the skies began to clear. A free slice of chocolate cake with candles finished off the meal with a flourish.
It was a twenty minute drive to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater for the show. I had a parking pass and there was oddly no traffic. When I asked the toothless attendant where to park, he told us there was no show scheduled. I looked at our tickets in shock to find that the date was for 2022! Another year to wait, if the aging band members are still capable – or me, for that matter! I guess I now know what I’m doing for my 71st – a re-do! Had senility finally hit me? On the other hand, I’ve never held a ticket for anything more than a year in advance. These are interesting times we live in. Tickets I paid for nearly two years ago will not be fulfilled for yet another year. We went to the Hard Rock Casino, across the street, instead and lost a couple hundred bucks – so much for Birthday luck. A disappointing but certainly memorable day!