Today's thoughts

Retirement is not without Hassles: Gotta Get Out of this Place #2071

After Stormy Sunday comes Blue Sky Monday, at least for now. We’re all caught up on movies, with the exception of Jurassic Park that neither of us wants to see, so the theatre is not an option this week. There are also no grandfather duties this week with the kids all in Fort Wayne, and maybe even driving to Niagara Falls. My wife and I now exactly one month away from our long summer drive, as the year is now nearly half over with lots of adventures to come. 

Travel would be so easy with a portal like in the TV series Night Sky. Just push a button and you’re immediately transported into space or any other desired destination. Challenges like seeing all 50 states would be a cinch. We just heard from another friend that caught Covid on a recent cruise and was forced to spend the trip in their room, with the exception of two hours a day on an isolated deck. After all this money spent on the trip, they were treated like prisoners with the plague. It’s a nightmarish thought that this could happen to us somewhere in Alaska. 

Our friends down the street have tested positive with symptoms no worse than the flu. It’s been years since I’ve been sick and there’s simply no way to avoid exposure. Many people have just decided to stay home, but that is not in my nature – take it from The Animals. Regardless of the risks, from time to time, “we’ve gotta get out of this place!”

“In this dirty old part of the city
Where the sun refused to shine
People tell me there ain’t no use in tryin’

Now my girl, you’re so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true
You’ll be dead before your time is due, I know
Watch my daddy in bed a-dyin’

Watched his hair been turnin’ grey
He’s been workin’ and slavin’ his life away, oh yes I know it

And I’ve been workin’ too, baby (yeah!)
Every night and day (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)

We gotta get out of this place
If it’s the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
‘Cause girl, there’s a better life for me and you

Now my girl you’re so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true, yeah
You’ll be dead before your time is due, I know it

Watch my daddy in bed a-dyin’
Watched his hair been turnin’ grey, yeah
He’s been workin’ and slavin’ his life away
I know he’s been workin’ so hard

Every day baby (yeah!)
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!)
We gotta get out of this place
If it’s the last thing we ever do

We gotta get out of this place
Girl, there’s a better life for me and you
Somewhere baby
Somehow I know it, baby

We gotta get out of this place
If it’s the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
Girl, there’s a better life for me and you

Believe me baby
I know it baby
You know it too”

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil
We Gotta Get out of This Place lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

Retirement is not without Hassles: Another Stormy Sunday #2070

Another sweaty, grimy morning with eventual relief in the swimming pool. I haven’t worked this hard in the yard for years especially since condos and apartments were our living choice. We even drove to Lowe’s yesterday afternoon for a trellis and some mulch that I used to finish up our tree project this morning. I was already drained from my run, but once sweaty why not stay that way. I used my new blood pressure monitor again this morning with a 120 over 76 reading. After sitting all day it seems to escalate, with yesterday afternoon registering 165 over 91. I’m supposed to keep a log for my next appointment with the cardiologist. 

Our “Meet the Neighbors” event last night went well, despite some thunder showers. About 30 people attended – about half the normal crowd. It was actually a better environment for conversation with so many neighbors away for the summer. Due to heat and travel schedules, we won’t schedule another one until September. I’m sure the rest of 2022 is now going to fly by. Storms are headed our way this afternoon. 

The week ahead is looking quite sedate, leading into the Fourth of July. We’ll probably head to the beach for fireworks like we did last year. This Thursday we’ll drive my son’s car down to Punta Gorda for some service work and have dinner before we pick him up at the airport. Sadly, there’s little else to write about on  this – Another Stormy Sunday (See Post #1922)!

Retirement is not without Hassles: How Cool Is That! #2069

Another hot and steamy morning of running and landscaping. Our new crepe myrtle tree should arrive sometime today, so I made final preparations. The bush that I took out a few days ago has been replanted. To do it I had to use our recycling bin like a wheelbarrow to move it to the side of the house. It was far too heavy for me to drag on my own, but with a little improvisation it’s “in the hole.” That poor bush has been the victim of a massive bee hive and harsh chemicals to kill them. It’s also been severely cut back and sat in the hot sun with bare roots for a few days during the transplanting process. Nothing would kill it so I had no choice but to give it a second chance. 

Once the new tree is in place I will need more mulch, but haven’t seen any bags sitting around the neighborhood. My wife wants to go to Lowe’s today for a trellis to support her Bougainvillea vines, so I might have to actually buy a few bags, if the right color is available. We also have my son’s car to haul bulky items like this. However, we’re already over budget for the week, month, and year – as seems to be the norm these days. 

We went to “Matinee Monday” on Friday, finally finding the time this week to see the movie “Elvis.” It was good, but there was better news when the phone rang as we were leaving the theater. My good friend who lost his wife last year has found true love again. He rekindled a relationship from 38-years ago with a visit to an old friend in Mexico. I haven’t heard him so happy for some time now after their week together. I met her all those years ago, but circumstances led them going in separate directions, and suddenly “they’re an item,” going to his 50th high school reunion in a few weeks. How cool is that!

Retirement is not without Hassles: See You Soon #2068

It feels good to sit down after a sauna-like run, swim, and some landscaping work. I look over at Tally sprawled out in my office chair and feel like doing the same. They still continue to work on her dog park, so she’s sadly stuck at home without companionship and resists going outside in the mid-day heat. It will be a long lonely day for her. On the other hand, my wife and I have some time to catch a movie this afternoon. From what I understand, even the Presley family was impressed with the new Elvis film. 

We finished the Hacks series last night and started on the first episode of Sissy Spacek’s Night Sky. I also restarted Stranger Things, so I have something in common with my grandkids. I had started watching years ago after we attended an Outstanding in the Field dining event in Vancouver, B.C., our first international experience with this culinary group. The people sitting nearest us were all associated with the production of this show, The Man in the High Castle, and Teletubbies. I then watched them all out of curiosity only to find out that my grandchildren all want to portray Stranger Things characters for Halloween this year and want me to dress up as  Papa. At least they seem to have grown beyond their Harry Potter fascination that has dominated their costume planning for the past three or four years. 

I just sent out a few invitations for our get together when we pass through Indianapolis on August 2nd. We’re hoping to see all our friends at the Mousetrap starting at 3 p.m. It was the only way to see everyone in the day or two that we will be in town. It should turn out to be a great reunion of all our media friends throughout the years and one of the highlights of our long summer drive. Panama City, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Nashville, Indianapolis, Ludington, Petoskey, Mackinac, Cleveland, Canton, Ashville, and Hilton Head are all scheduled stops so far on this 3,000 mile tour. We’ll then fly to Portland a few weeks later for the second part of the journey. See You All Soon. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: Beer for Brains #2067

I just dropped my son and his  family off at at the Punta Gorda airport as they head to Fort Wayne. My wife is in Sarasota for the day, so I have a rare afternoon alone. I also have my son’s 2021 Traverse that we will drive up North in another month and will take it for service when I pick him up next Thursday. It will create a “Tourist Thursday” event where we’ll once again check out the Punta Gorda area for the day. We haven’t been on one of those together since Singer Island two months ago. Life must have gotten in the way of this planned retirement activity as movies, doctor appointments, and neighbor lunches took priority. In fact, “Matinee Monday” moved twice to Thursday, showing that we do have some flexibility in our routine. 

I shortened my run to a mile again this morning, but should be back on track tomorrow. We might even get to the Elvis movie tomorrow afternoon since my wife’s luncheon has been cancelled due to illness. The dog park continues to be closed and under construction, so Tally’s routine is also out of whack. She’s not content with just a long walk. My landscaping project is on hold awaiting delivery of our crepe myrtle. I’ll do some more digging tomorrow morning now that I’ve located all the underground pipes and wiring. 

I enjoyed flipping back and forth between the Stanley Cup Finals and the College World Series last night. After their overtime loss, the Tampa Bay Lightening now have to win three straight to earn their “Three-Peat,” an unlikely scenario, while the obnoxious Omahogs stayed alive in their quest for a first ever national title. They have a huge fan base, easily accessible to Omaha, and perform annoying “Pig Sooey” cheers while holding beer cans on top of their heads for luck. I’m hoping they don’t make the finals again this year, but it was admittedly satisfying to see them misjudge a foul ball four years ago that allowed Oregon State to take the title. More CWS action today! Razorback fans clearly have beer for brains!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Travel Countdown #2066

I shortened this morning’s run to the minimum mile after wrestling with that bush that I removed yesterday. I was just a little stiff and sore when I woke up and saw it as an excuse for a bit of a break in my routine. I’ll do the same tomorrow because I have an early trip to the airport to drop off my family for their trip to Fort Wayne. The kids are going on to Niagara Falls with my first wife. While they’re gone, my son’s car needs some service work before I take it on the 3,000 mile drive up to the Grand Hotel in Northern Michigan. 

I’m next headed to the Chiropractor, Cardiologist, and Great Clips for personal maintenance. I’ve got a few miles on my body that needs some attention. My wife has a tap class this afternoon and is headed to the Ringling Museum with friends tomorrow while I make the airport run. She also has a lunch on Friday so “Matinee Monday” is still on hold, as we’re anxious to see the new Elvis release. Saturday night is our “Meet the Neighbors” get together, as I get back to the standard 3.1 mile running distance and surpass 4,925 consecutive days. 

We continue to watch Hack’s on HBOMax in the evenings, without much going on in our lives right now. There’s one more neighborhood gathering next week as more snowbirds head back to their northern homes, but otherwise we’re resting up for travel. Santana with Earth Wind & Fire are still part of my late August, 71st birthday plans and there’s only 80 days until our month-long Viking adventure to Alaska and Japan. We’re already starting to make plans for next year, mapping out our drive up to Maine, my last state to visit once Alaska has been crossed off the list. In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy our resort surroundings and continue the travel countdown. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Trees #2065

Throughout my lifetime, several trees have been planted to honor occasions. I watched a birch tree grow tall just outside my childhood bedroom window and I grew with it. My wife and I decided many years ago to buy a live Christmas Tree and then plant it in the yard. What was to be an annual tradition only turned into a year before we moved, while I remember naming it “Fat Albert.” My sister and I planted trees for our parents in an Elkhart park back in 2006. The Gingko is still apparently growing, with a time capsule buried underneath. Yesterday, we ordered a red crepe myrtle for our front yard for my wife’s birthday, and this morning I spent several hours removing the bush where it will be planted.

Fortunately, my neighbor had made a big deal out of removing a similar bush in his yard. It was a major ordeal involving careful digging around water and irrigation lines, removing a metal cage that protected its roots, and ultimately pulling it out with chains hooked to a pick up truck. I was expecting the worst, thanks to him, but instead it came out rather easily. I had to relocate a few plants, disconnect an outdoor flood light, and navigate around a water pipe in addition to my sprinkler system lines. I will probably need some help lifting it out of the hole once the new tree arrives, but it was not nearly the hassle I was expecting – at least so far!

I do anticipate some sore muscles tomorrow and my chiropractor appointment will probably require more adjustments than usual. However, this major project seems to be well under control despite worries about disrupting driveway pavers and alerting the HOA with a cracked water line. I probably should have gotten their permission in the first place, but it’s sometimes more fun to be a neighborhood rebel.
My wife is pleased with having palm trees in our yard for the first time in our lives. We thought about adding another but ultimately decided on the red crepe myrtle to add some more color and coordinate with our red fountain and urns. It helps our home to stand out a little bit in a neighborhood of similar construction styles.

We have not done holiday tree decorating for many years now, as we were never able to compete with my wife’s sister who always insisted on celebrating the holidays at her house. We grew content with visiting Rockefeller Center every year to get our holiday fix or going to local celebrations where we lived like the Grotto in Portland. Last year, we went to Disney World on Christmas Day, and enjoyed the colorfully lighted palms that line our downtown Venice streets every December. This year we’ll put a spotlight on the red crepe myrtle, along with the palm trees, and not just for the holidays. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Birthday Afterglow #2064

My wife’s 66th birthday is over, however the afterglow will last for a while. No one savors a birthday like she does, and there’s a lot of pressure trying to make the day special. It was easier in the working days when price was no object, but on a fixed retirement budget it’s challenging. There were, however, several birthdays celebrated between jobs and with multiple homes that made glitzy gifts and elaborate vacations impossible. This was good practice for our retirement years when birthdays will likely be less elaborate as time goes on. 

I spent some time yesterday afternoon reading all the poems that I’ve written for her birthdays. Last night’s tribute was number 23 in the series dating back to 1999 when she was just 43. It brought back a lot of great memories and some laughs before we went to dinner. After dinner, we went to the beach and saw the most beautiful sunset, capping off the evening with pralines & cream ice cream at Kilwin’s

I think we would both agree that her best birthday (60th) was spent in Bora Bora. On the other hand, I ruined her 50th birthday celebration on Coronado Island with a kidney stone. The very first we spent together turned out special because of some unexpected fireworks during dinner. The second was in New Orleans while I was on business, while others were spent in Chicago, Indianapolis, Decatur, Austin, Portland, New York, San Francisco, and now Venice, Florida. Covid pretty much spoiled  2020 back in Oregon with take-out dinner and in-home quarantine. 2022 was her first birthday celebrated solely in Florida and with a beach drumline into a colorful sunset – the birthday afterglow!

Retirement is not without Hassles: All Together #2063

Rumblin’, Stumblin’, Bumblin,’ Fumblin’, and Mumblin’ describes my run this morning. I could actually hear myself shufflin’ along the asphalt surfaces since I couldn’t get my ear pods to work and had to forgo the musical distraction. I was appreciative to those who actually recognized it as “running” since my pace nearly reached 17-minutes a mile near the end of the course. It was hot and muggy after the heavy rains yesterday, adding to the misery. As always, it didn’t really get any worse or better as I trotted along looking for a distraction while sending “Happy Father’s Day” greetings to those I passed along the way. A couple of birds, a sand crane, and a rabbit crossed my path. I clapped to get Tally’s attention as I went by the dog park. 

Today is Tally’s “Gotcha Day,” joining our family 12-years ago in Austin. She then moved to Portland and now Florida with us, losing her sister Tinker and several cats along the way. Juneteenth is also my wife’s birthday along with two good friends, plus my half brother that I’ve never met. It’s also Father’s Day and Garfield’s Birthday, so there are many things to celebrate. Last night at Blue Tequila, the wait staff surprised (and embarrassed) my wife with a silly sombrero, ice cream,  and song. It was probably one of the last occasions when my entire family will be together. My parents have been gone for many years as have my wife’s. Her daughters are on the West Coast. We took my grandkids to dinner after a dance recital and their mother came along. She and my son are currently separated, with divorce seemingly inevitable. Sadly their kids may soon be growing-up in different states. My oldest granddaughter has just turned thirteen and becoming a beautiful young senorita, while my youngest is four, and the only grandson is now fifteen. It was a good Father’s Day to see them all together for once.


Retirement is not without Hassles: Butterfly #2062

I spent the year of my 66th birthday in photos behind Route 66 signs and landmarks. We’ll pass by a few more this year in honor of my wife’s 66th, now nearly 5 years later. When we were deciding on a celebratory Limoges box, she suggested a colorful caterpillar. I put this poem inside it’s hinged box, calling the birthday her Florida metamorphosis. I wish I could do more for this year’s occasion, but a service call on our AC system resulted in a totally unexpected $850 charge to install a UV bulb to thwart the growth of algae that was plugging up our cooling system. After last night’s restless sleep in a muggy bedroom, it’s well worth the investment. Plus, it extends our maintenance plan another two years. Oh, the joys of home ownership!

We are headed to Cassariano Italian Eatery, one of our local Venice favorites, tomorrow night for a Birthday dinner. The restaurant was founded by Luca Cassani & Antonio Pariano, and named as a combination of their two surnames.  The planting of the red crepe myrtle tree is on hold until we can find one after recently striking out at a couple area nurseries. The Birthday Bulb will have to do, for now! It sparkles and glows more than most diamonds….right?

Birthday Butterfly 

A caterpillar, you decided,
Would be the right one.
A butterfly to be,
Once a cocoon is spun.

4000 muscles,
Sixteen legs.
Twelve tiny eyes,
Hatched from an egg.

Red beanie on its head,
And a smiling face.
Blue stars painted,
On its hinged base.

A birthday candle,
Sits on its back.
Shoes on its feet,
Prepared to run track.

A match inside,
To light the wicks.
On Route 66,
You’ll get your “kick.”

Sixty-Six years,
We celebrate.
With this Limoges,
And a dinner date.

Even Superwoman,
Has nothing on you.
Curvy shape,
And silver doo.

You’ve made your Florida,
And now enjoying,
Retirement Bliss.

We’ll also plant,
A red crepe tree.
And watch the sunset,
From the Key

Birthday Rainbows,
To you, my love.
Wishes granted,
From the stars above.

Eat some cake,
Sip Sancerre.
And commemorate,
With Birthday Bear!

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