A Day Aside

Rocking Chairs

Do you ever have a day where you don’t do much, just be kind of lazy and enjoy the time off. Today was like that. Well, I should say the afternoon was like that. My husband was golfing so it was just me and the dogs. I messed on the computer a bit but not much going on there, read awhile but it was all I could do to stay awake, let alone make sense of what I was reading (and re-reading). The TV was off so it was quiet and peaceful.

It was beautiful outside (it’s Florida, don’t forget) so I actually felt a bit guilty about not being out there enjoying it. I took the dogs out a couple of times so I enjoyed it then. I also saw a weather storm watch for Indianapolis for a possible six inches of snow tonight! Our older daughter lives there. She doesn’t work since she had their first baby last March so she and the baby can stay home and be cozy. Her husband has to drive about 20 miles to work though so maybe he’ll have a day off. His job is such that he can work from home via his laptop if necessary so maybe that’s what he’ll do.

When we lived up there and worked we HAD to go (or so we thought) even if the snow was rear-end deep on an 11-foot tall Indian (what??) so mostly we did. With all the Internet today many people, like our son-in-law, can stay at home and work. I think that’s a good thing!


Musings on Next Christmas

Well, here it is January 25th already, only 11 more shopping months till Christmas! What will the economy be like by then, do you suppose? Will it be better than last Christmas which was just a month ago, or worse? I hope it’s not worse, but all the financial things I read don’t sound too promising.

Will the weather be better next Christmas? We went to Indiana for Christmas 2008, and I don’t think the weather could’ve been much worse, unless we’d had more snow. It would have covered up all the ice and we would really have fallen down then.

Will I still end up wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve? Probably. Actually I don’t really wait THAT long, it just seems like it. It was only the 23rd after all.

Will my husband’s brothers and their families be willing to go to the Golden Corral again for our Christmas gathering or insist that we have it at someone’s home? We went to the Golden Corral this year and there were good things as well as bad things about doing it that way. Good Stuff: No one had to clean house, do a lot of decorating and cooking, and clean up afterwards. No one had to spend a lot more money than the rest for food for everyone. We had a room all to ourselves and they didn’t charge extra for it. Everyone had something they liked to eat and plenty of it at a reasonable price. Bad Stuff: One brother and his wife especially didn’t like the idea but didn’t have room at their house so there wasn’t much they could do. It rained ice while we were at the restaurant but that could’ve happened while we were at someone’s home too.

The other brother and his wife liked the idea (probably because they were the ones who were going to have to host if we didn’t go to the buffet). They actually got stuck in an ice storm on their way home and had to spend the night in a motel!

Since we live in Florida and they’re all in Indiana, we offered to have it here but they don’t want to seem to drive that far just for some food. So I guess they’re probably stuck with the Golden Corral!


Buy Me Now or Buy Me Later

HEAT!

Did you ever buy a fairly big ticket item and then have everyone and their dog tell you that you shouldn’t have bought it, you especially shouldn’t have bought it from that company, your old one would have probably lasted another 5 or 7 years?

We did. We live in Florida so we don’t have a traditional “northern” furnace. We had a heat pump that heated and also had an air conditioning unit in it as well. We had been having a lot of really cold nights (well, cold for here), down into the 20’s for several hours at a time. Unbeknownst to us, this makes the Florida-style furnace freeze up and stop producing warm air, the empty nest gets cold, the people in the empty nest get cold but they don’t know why, other than the fact that the furnace must be broken and it needs fixed.

So we got out the paperwork for our furnace (we didn’t own the house when it was installed in 2000), found out who had installed it, got the OK from one neighbor that they were good to deal with and called them. Well, for $90 the guy came out, asked us a few questions, took the front off the furnace (which is outdoors), hooked some gauges up to it and proceeded to tell us that it was just frozen up but it’s an “old unit” (8-9 years, seems young to me), lots of rust, the new ones next year will be a lot more expensive because the government has raised the standards that they have to be built by, and his company just happens to have a couple of 2008’s left in stock that they desperately want to get rid of and will give us a great deal on. And on top of that they’ll even give us a $1,000 trade-in on our “old unit” since the compressor still runs. What more could we want, I ask you??? Oh, yes, we won’t have to pay the $90 service call!

So we bit the bullet and bought the thing. They installed it the same day (didn’t want us to change our minds??) and I have to say we are comfy and warm. Of course, as I mentioned, all our friends think we’re really dumb for buying a new one when the old one still worked. But, by next year the price would be higher, if we waited till it totally died we wouldn’t get the $1,000 trade-in, we’d have to pay the $90 service call, and this one is (almost) guaranteed, well, not guaranteed exactly, but voted most likely to lower our electric bill.

So we’re in our warm little nest, trying not to bring the subject up in front of our friends so they won’t tell us all the bad things they know about our furnace people. Just wait till their old furnaces die in the dead of winter though. Then we’ll see who gets the last laugh! Ha!


Leaving the Empty Nest for an Evening of Entertainment

Our empty nest is in a retirement community in Florida and last night was the first show in a 5-show package at our clubhouse. They have this series of shows every winter and if you buy tickets to all five, you get the same seat and a bit of a break on the price.

Later this season, we’re going to have Charo here. Remember her? She was Xavier Cougat’s wife and played a flamenco guitar. Actually she was kind of hyped as a “dumb blond” but is actually quite an accomplished musician.

Anyway, Charo isn’t coming till the weather warms up a bit! The show last night was Greg Bonham with an opening act of Julianne somebody. She played several different instruments and sang. The two larger saxophones she played were pretty good, the piano left a lot to be desired and her singing was actually quite atrocious.

Greg Bonham was good, however, and quite entertaining. He played the trumpet and sang but he was good at both and did a lot of entertaining chatter in betweenc songs, while he puffed and panted to get his breath back from the singing and trumpeting.

John Davidson was in the entertainment series a couple of years ago and JoAnn Castle the year before that. Right up there with Charo I guess. They were both very, very good. JoAnn even brought in her own baby grand piano. My husband and I were in the front row so he got a little smooch from her. Bad thing was she mentioned that she had a cold so here she is passing germs all over the place.

John Davidson, who I remembered as a rather stiff and unemotional guy, wound up laying on the middle of the stage kicking his feet and moaning about how he was too old to do this stuff.

Anyway, if you get a chance to see Greg Bonham, go see him. He’s from Australia originally but I think it’s been quite a long time since he lived there. He’s probably in his mid to late-50’s and has a lot of energy and was very entertaining. For your sakes though I hope Julianne isn’t there.


Some Books to Fill the Cold Winter in Your Empty Nest

Library Books

Since winter is here and reading is always a great way to spend a cold winter’s night (there are other ways of course but you can only do that so much), I thought I would mention some books that I’ve read in the past that I’ve found to be very inspirational.

The first is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book tells a sad tale but somehow does it in an uplifting kind of way. If you only look at what the main story is, you’ll probably say why on earth would I want to read such a sad story. And you’re right. But by the time you’re finished, you will feel inspired that in the overall scheme of things, all is well.

So the main story is told by a girl who has just been murdered and is looking down on her griefstricken family from heaven. See what I mean, sad, sad, sad. But muddle through and I think in the end you’ll be glad you did. And the tissue people will love you.

Two other books that kind of go together are The Hiding Place and In My Father’s House–The Years Before the Hiding Place. Both are by that great Christian Corrie ten Boom. They tell of her childhood and the time when she and her family hid Jews from the Nazis. They are chocked full of love for man and God and will put you in awe of what simple people can accomplish.

For some fun, you can always count on Erma Bombeck to come through. You might want to try The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank and then look for others by this funny woman.

If anyone has any other books they love, please let us know. Most Empty Nesters I know love to read and it helps us keep our heads on straight and our brains in good working order.


Flu Shot or Not, I Have the Flu

Me during the flu
(Me during the flu)

In spite of getting a flu shot at the proper time, I still seem to have caught the flu. And believe me, it is the pits! I have felt worse, but not in the last few years.

When I had a ruptured appendix and poison was coursing through my body at the speed of light, I had to be on IV antibiotics for a week and developed sores in my mouth due to the antibiotics killing all the good bacteria in there–I felt worse.

And two months later when I had to have a hysterectomy and wound up with a blood clot in my lung and my incision kept “poofing” (my surgeon’s cutesy term for oozing and bleeding due to the bloodthinners I was on)–I felt worse.

And in between when I supposedly had pneumonia but to this day, they’re not sure it wasn’t another blood clot–I felt worse.

But all in all, I’ll be glad when this flu thing is over and I can get back to feeling like a normal person again and have the urge to do a little bit of something. Right now I’m quite content to lie around the house all day, doze off, watch some TV, doze off, read, doze off…you get the idea.

I’m stiff and sore and it seems to have settled in my lungs like every other thing I get. The results of having asthma I guess. So I’m back to nebulizing every day and coughing a lot but even that’s getting better.

My husband tells everyone that I tried to cram four weeks of talking into two weeks when we were up north for Christmas visiting family. That actually may be right. If it is, then as I see it, this flu is his fault for not wanting to stay the whole four weeks.


Medical Identity Theft

Doctors are fun
Creative Commons License photo credit: kokopinto

Well, it seems there’s another sort of identity theft underway out there and it is medical identity theft. This happens when your name or insurance info is used without your knowledge or consent. An example would be using your stolen ID card to receive emergency room services.

It’s fairly easy for this to go undetected for a period of time and may only be noticed if you receive a bill for a service you know you did not receive.

Our own granddaughter, age 6, seems to be having some problems already and they were initially found when she received some mail concerning things she had never had done. Her mother is putting in quite a bit of time on the phone trying to get it straightened out with providers. Providers agree that something is wrong and are working diligently to get it all figured out.

But in the meantime, they’ve suggested that my daughter go to the children’s school and make sure there is a notice on file that the kids are not to be allowed to go with anyone other than a few designated people: their parents and grandparents. This is pretty scary stuff for rural America where they live.

To protect yourself from medical identity theft, review, review, review. Look carefully at anything you get from your insurance company, doctor, hospital, clinic, etc. Check for visits, services or equipment you did not receive. Look at the benefits that have been paid out on your behalf. Any discrepancies should be reported immediately to your provider, insurance company or both.

Getting a copy of your credit report periodically and checking for collection notices from hospitals, etc. that you haven’t used, is another good way to check up on medical identity theft. Be careful with your insurance card. If you should accidentally lose it, notify your insurer immediately.

Be alert and be aware. Don’t let your medical identity be stolen. For more information you can visit:

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1-800-368-1019, or online at  www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf

World Privacy Forum, 760-436-2489, or online at www.worldprivacyforum.org/medidtheft_consumertips.html


The A to Z on Beauty

Dim the Lights!

I was just reading a little free magazine that’s distributed in our city. There was an article in it with tips to help busy women look their best. I think it would work for busy men too. These publishers shouldn’t really discriminate when telling us we look bad. Equal opportunity and all that. Anyway, the tips were listed in an “A” to “Z” format with each letter of the alphabet giving one tip beginning with that letter. I’m sure you’re all familiar with this type of thing.

The tips were the usual stuff like reducing stress and getting enough sleep and wearing sunscreen. The same old list we see all the time. But then I noticed letter “I”.

And it said, “Install light dimmers.”

OK!  Apparently if someone comes to your home, in order to keep them from realizing you’re kind of old or have bad skin, wrinkles or maybe no hair, just dim the lights and they’ll never know. They’ll think you look like you’re 25! We could really be onto something big here.

But it gets even better. If all you really need to do to fool people into thinking you look great is to dim the lights, then why go to all the trouble to do the things recommended in the other 25 tips, the ones from “A” to “H” and “J” to “Z”? Just dim the lights and you’re good to go. Think of the money you can save on creams and lotions, hair coloring, sunscreen and bad nails. In fact, why even clean the house? Just dim the lights.

A question though. What if we see these people that have visited our home out on the street in broad daylight? Will they be able to still recognize us since we probably now look so dreadful with all this harsh light shining on us? They may call 911 to come and haul us to the ER!

And what if dimming isn’t enough? Some of our nests have been empty for a long time and we may need to make it pitch dark in there. Our visitors could stumble over something, fall and get hurt and we’d get sued! 

This all makes me wonder if these tips are really worthwhile! Especially “I”. Maybe something like “Inherit a million dollars” would be more apt to make others think we look great in our old age.


Hope for a Better Next Year

With all the financial problems that have cropped up over 2008, my wish for 2009 is that it will be a better year financially for all of us. So many younger people are struggling to keep their heads above water that it almost gives me a stomach ache just to think about it.

We were at our children’s homes during the Christmas season and doing some Christmas shopping and such and were seeing how a lot of the people in their area (Indiana) were not shopping for Christmas toys and fun stuff but rather buying clothes and boots and hoping they were able to heat the house the rest of the winter.

Every little jolt to the pocketbook that happens can easily turn into a crisis if your job is at risk due to the financial climate going on out there. Both of our own sons-in-law, one college educated and working at a computer-based job and the other working in a factory atmosphere are seeing the possibility of their jobs going down the drain. Each one has a new baby to worry about and the factory one also has three other little ones to support as well.

Our daughter with only one child is a stay-at-home-mom and hoping she’s going to be able to stay that way but they’re having some second thoughts with the economy the way it is. She’s watching what she buys, they no longer eat out and she’s looking for work on the internet to supplement their income.

The other daughter works full-time but with four kids under the age of 8 they still squeak by. They have a huge deductible on their health insurance so they’re afraid to go to the ER if something happens. They keep the temperature in their home in the low 60’s to save on heat bills.

When these girls were kids, we didn’t splurge on stuff much either, but we did have some savings to fall back on and my husband’s work provided wonderful health insurance coverage at almost no cost to us and he had a retirement account as well.

Sorry for such a downer post on a usually upbeat holiday. Hopefully, things will turn around and the country’s economy will be brighter this time next year.

Here’s to you all, Empty Nesters or not. Happy New Year!!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Merry Christmas, Empty Nesters!!


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