23 March 2017

(%#!+&$* !

My cell phone just rang.
I don't recognize the number displayed, but decide to answer anyway-
"This is Greybeard".
Pause.
Pause.
Female voice- "Hello?"
I don't respond. (I've been here before... all too often lately.)

"Oh! (Giggles.) I'm sorry! I was having trouble with my headset."
At this point I begin to attempt conversation, but the person(?) on the other end of the line just continues rapidly with her sales speil. (Spell check says "speil" is misspelled.)

I hang up, irritated, and once again wish I could just flush the cell phone down the commode.

Too often these days I envy Thoreau.

22 March 2017

The Surprises at 70:

Are skin tags like mushrooms?
Where do these age spots come from?
I still have a full head of hair. What happened to my "hairy" legs?
My hearing is failing.
I can no longer read road signs from half a mile away.
Two, (sometimes three) trips to the bathroom are necessary after going to bed.
When I get up for a bathroom break during the wee hours, I toddle like a Weeble, (but I don't fall down).
It is MUCH easier to determine who makes your life better, and who simply complicates things. (I'd rather have four quarters than 10 dimes.)

In today's political climate I'll paraphrase a quote from my Mother...
"I'm glad I'm 70."





20 March 2017

The Lottery

In the old joke, Abe cries out-
"Lord! Why is it you never let me win the lottery?"
A week transpires and Abe doesn't win, so again he cries out-
"Lord, I'm a good Jew! Why do you not let me win?"
Another week goes by and Abe doesn't get a notification of winnings.
Once again he cries to the Lord-
"Father, I'm a good Jew. I always keep Kosher. If you let me win I promise to do wonderful things with the money!"
At this point Abe hears a tremendous voice from above-
"Abe... go buy a ticket!"


Up 'til recently I've only been interested in the lottery when the possible winnings started making the news... $443 million in one case as I recall.
But this Winter here in Destin the Convenience Store that sells Sunday newspapers and lottery tickets is EXACTLY one mile from us... a perfect round-trip walk for two folks needing an excuse to exercise, (and desperately needing that exercise)!



So, twice a week on our walk, we donate a buck to Florida's education fund and take home a lottery ticket. We buy just ONE ticket.
Our son ridiculed us...
"You realize you have NO chance of winning don't you?"
Of course.
And that's the reason we buy only ONE ticket...
We know that buying two tickets would not double our chances of winning million$.

But, twice a week we take our single ticket in hand and go to Flalottery.com and anxiously check to see if we are big winners. The entertainment value of checking our numbers against the numbers listed there is WELL worth the two bucks a week!

Last week our ticket matched three numbers, good for $5 in cash.
I used that five bucks to buy a ticket for Wednesday night's drawing, and pocketed $4 to buy future (sure winning) tickets.

"Lord, if you let us win we promise to use that money to do great things in your name!" :>)

13 March 2017

Funk

I don't feel like writing.
I can't explain it... maybe I'm in "Don Quixote" mode... feeling it's a total waste of time?
I have stuff that "wants to come out", but the motivation just ain't there.

I'm fine though...
Putting miles on the Piaggio MP3.

14 January 2017

Motorcycle?

If you are a "motorcycle" guy, you may look down your nose at the above machine.
It definitely ain't "macho". But now, from experience, I can tell you that most who will look askance at this machine have never owned one... likely have never ridden one. To me, anyone riding any machine with less than four wheels is part of the fraternity of bikers. When I'm on my Valkyrie, Scooter riders are frequently surprised when I give them the two finger acknowledgement because I'm one of the few folks riding a big bike to do that.
But I also have a scooter, and know how neat they are.

Our Scooter's engine displaces 250cc's. It will approach 85 mph, so we feel no danger of being run over by traffic, even on the Interstate highway.
Last summer we rode it around Smokey Mountain National Park and subjected it, "two-up", to some serious elevation changes. It is fuel injected. It performed perfectly.

I used to think CVT transmissions were for sissies.
No more. On more than a few occasions I have found myself in a position where, on a steep hill with a standard transmission, if I had selected the wrong gear and had to pull in the clutch  and make a quick gear change, I might have found myself looking like Arte Johnson on his trike on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in".
The CVT transmission is ALWAYS in the gear that will produce power at the peak torque curve.

The storage space on our little machine is more than adequate for jaunts to the grocery. Yeah, if we need a 24-pack of water, we have to take the cage. But that only happens once every couple weeks.
Otherwise, the car stays parked and waiting.

On a quick trip to the U.S. Post Office today I ran into a couple riding the machine pictured above.
It's Piaggio's 70th Anniversary homage to the first Vespas they produced.
Storage on that machine is limited to what you can put in that bag at the rear of the machine.
But to a guy my age, who grew up watching the original Vespas zipping around our neighborhood, it is BEAUTIFUL.
They admired my three-wheel machine. I admired their beautiful, "somewhat practical" work of art.
We chatted for about 15 minutes, then all mounted and rode away with smiles on our faces.

Fraternity...
Preserve "The Wave"!

02 December 2016

Lady Of Spain

My Mother was... interesting.
She was a "surprise" baby... youngest of seven kids.
Born in 1925, she used to relate one of her earliest memories from early depression days:
"Mother, I'm hungry."
"I'm sorry sweetheart, I have nothing to feed you."
Mother's life could be a book.

But she was gifted and strong in odd ways.
She could sing like an angel. She came from a family of musically talented people.
At Church, people would actually sit near her to hear her sing.
She knew that and took pride in it.
I knew it too and was proud of her.

By ear, she played piano and accordion.
One of my fondest memories is listening to Mom on the piano, after my sister and I had gone to bed, struggling to make her way through one of my Dad's favorites... "Clair De Lune", without making a mistake. (I don't think she ever did.)

But she was a decent accordion player.
At almost any gathering, given the chance, she'd uncase her accordion and entertain those gathered.

I thought she'd appreciate a joke I heard, so I repeated it to her-
On a trip across the country a man stops to get a bite to eat.
He orders his meal, then remembers his accordion is in his car and he has forgotten to lock his doors.
Keys in hand, he races out to secure the automobile only to find out he is TOO LATE...
Someone has left ANOTHER accordion in his car.

Mother didn't think it was funny.

28 November 2016

Good Health Is the Slowest Way To Die

I'll be 70 in a couple months.
I'm VERY healthy, thank God.
I frequently hear, "Well, you don't look it."
Good genes. Refusal to allow stress to bug me.
Good planning?

Friends, acquaintances, and relatives all around me are dealing with life's curveballs.
Some of them are counting days, not years.

When you get to be Seventy, you begin to look at assets and plan...
How do I work my life so that when the retirement account dollars reach ZERO, I pass quietly in my sleep?
I'm now working on that.

I've never been to London.

26 November 2016

My "Cool" Hypothetical-

Let's say you're on the Board of Directors of a large heating and air conditioning concern with its major physical plant located somewhere in the Midwest.
Just for grins, let's call this company "Harrier Heating and Air Conditioning".
After much study you find you can increase profits by reducing your labor costs if you move your manufacturing facility to Mexico. You announce your decision to make this move.

Your discussions about improving your "bottom line" take place commensurate with a presidential election. One of the major promises of one of the major candidates is to "bring jobs back to, or keep jobs in the U.S.".
You watch with interest and concern as that candidate wins the nomination of his party, then the election.
You announce that the election results will have no impact on moving your physical plant to Mexico.

What if-
That president-elect is an expert in the use of TV, Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram?
What if... that president-elect starts constantly reminding the electorate about companies "outsourcing" their jobs, and suggesting alternative products still "Made In USA"?

Do you think that might influence you and your board in their decision to move your manufacturing plant?
This will be interesting to watch.

06 November 2016

All The Time In The World !

We left Destin in the Spring; 31March.
We hated to pack the truck because the weather was wonderful.
Making the trip more palatable was the thought of going home to see trees and flowers come to life. So North we drove.

I am a homebody.
It is hard to describe how much of a "homebody" I am.
The thought of traveling... "thought of it", is wonderful until the day comes I have to lift the suitcases into the car to start a trip anywhere. At that point, travel becomes a serious pain in the pasta fagioli to me!
I hated to leave Destin, but was glad to arrive home to familiar house, bed, neighbors, and town.

Of course there was work to do-
Fix the stuff that was worn out or broken. Clean up 2.5 acres of fallen branches from nearly innumerable trees, carry them to the burn pit by the pond and make them go away.
Mow lawn/mulch remaining leaves.
That "home" work... makes me smile.

May at home is wonderful.
Warm days. Sometimes crisp nights.
But we got an itch and made reservations at a place we love-
The Riverboat Inn in Madison, Indiana.
Pack the suitcases and load them into the car.
Four wonderful days there watching from the balcony while the Ohio river and the barges it embraces make their way downstream to Louisville, Evansville, Paducah, then eventually join the Mississippi and continue lazily to the Gulf.

June.
Sara Jean held her nose and went home to Socialist land.
I mounted the GoldWing and headed over to visit a friend in (near Utopian) Indiana.
She had a good time.
I had a GREAT time... good conversation, fire in the fire pit, waterfront property... beer and SMOOTH Irish whiskey.

September-
Round trip Amtrak tickets carried us to my OCS reunion in San Antonio.
We rode the train to L.A. many years ago. We had mixed emotions about that trip. With our disgust about air travel these days we wanted to give Amtrak another chance.
Amtrak disappointed us.
(It's not altogether their fault... they don't own the TERRIBLE track and therefore cannot repair it. The train sometimes rocks like a ship on stormy seas.)
The reunion was wonderful. San Antonio was (again) wonderful. Getting face-to-face with some old friends I hadn't seen since October of '67 was FANTASTIC.

Late September/October-
We flew (uck) to Phoenix to spend a couple days with Big Bubba, then made our way to L.A. to board the "Coral Princess" for our journey through the Panama Canal.
We set sail and spent the next 15 days watching the world go by from our balcony seats with stops at Puerto Vallarta, Hualtulco, San Juan Del Sur, and Puntarenas before the canal passage, then Cartagena, Colombia and Aruba before disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale.
(Yeah, travel sux. But WOW... was this trip worth the effort!)

October-
Back home.
Branches. Leaves.
Pack. Load the truck.

Back in Destin for Winter.
Our heads are spinning.
Yeah, life is pretty wonderful, but...
Where is the time to do what we want?