Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Beeping Week

The temperature is only supposed to be in the mid-90’s today. Woo hoo! The dogs have had their walk; I’ve had my coffee and read my paper. Life is good. About darn time! And yes, I am kidding. It’s strange though, how it’s the small things in life that can make our life good or bad.

Last week ago my life was bad. Beeping bad. My security alarm battery went low on a Tuesday evening at 10:30. I knew this because my system to start to be beep incessantly and because my security company was kind enough to call me with a recorded message telling me this – just in case I didn’t hear the beep-beep-beep that echoed through the house. Naturally wanting the blessed beeping to stop, I called the security company back. I listened to my options, although they were hard to hear through the beep-beep-beep. Option 1 – did I want to buy a security system? Nope, got one and not necessarily happy having it right now. Option 2 – was my alarm system going off? No, but I couldn’t help wondering if it were, why wouldn’t that be considered more important than me buying a system? The beeping beeped out options 3 & 4 but I held on and finally got a real person who asked what I wanted. Yea!

“I want to stop the beeping.”

“It’s beeping because your batter is low.”

“I realize that and I will get one but it’s 10:30 at night and I need the beeping to stop so the dogs and I can go to sleep.”

“Certainly, ma’am. Enter your code into the system and the beeping will stop for a few hours.”

Need I say that this was not what I wanted to hear at this beeping point in time? Or that our conversation went around in circles with her saying I need a new battery installed and then the beeping would stop.

“Great – then send the serviceman, please.” Note that I was still minding my manners.

“Certainly. I have an opening for next Monday.”

This was a Tuesday night. Next Monday was, hum, six beeping days later? No beeping way I could wait that long!

I decided the next morning after a night of getting up every two hours that it was time to get firm with the security company. After all, they work for me, right? I’m paying them. Makes sense to me. I called Wednesday morning and requested that a service man be sent that day. If not, then I would discontinue my service. The lady on the other end of the phone knew I was serious because after she said they couldn’t any one out until Friday, she transferred me to customer service to have my service disconnected. Thoroughly angered now, I thought fine. I don’t need their darn old security system anyway. However, my sense of empowerment waned when I heard “We will discontinue your service for you, ma’am but you will still need to get a new battery or the beeping will continue.”

Guess you can see where it is going. Yes, they won the battle. Yes, I finally got my original scheduled service man to come on the following Monday. Yes, I kept the service because I can’t afford to install a new system.

But I won the battle too though. I stopped the beeping, not them. Any guy reading this won’t get it but you gals will. Unplugging the battery was simple but the big metal box that housed it was intimidating with all of its locks, screws and maze of wires. Years ago I rewired a lamp. When I plugged it in, sparks flew out the outlet, I got a new hairdo, and the entire apartment complex went dark. Needless to say, I am afraid of electricity. The beeping forced me to face my fear and empowered me to unplug that battery. Who’s the real winner in this story? Yep. Me.

P.S. However, if I ever win the lottery, you betcha I’ll fire their … and with pleasure.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Electrifying

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon. I've cleaned house (in my style which is tackle one room until you drop and the heck with the others), have the washing machine doing its thing, and I'm relaxing with my pups. Well, my body is relaxed but the mind is busy thinking of having to get ready for work tomorrow while reviewing the past week at work. I tend to multi-think as well as multi-task which should explain why things tend to come out of my mouth not quite in their proper order.

I'm trying to do this thing called aging with grace and style. I'm reading everything I can about how to do it the right way. Right now I'm reading The Last Gift of Time - Life Beyond Sixty which is a great book. In it the author, Carolyn G. Heilbrun talks of knowing when it's the right time to retire. I've probably hung in the work world a tad bit too long (is that another meaning of getting long in the tooth? lol)but when I recall last Friday afternoon with two of my BFCW's (best friend co-workers) I realize that maybe I can hang in there a little longer and maybe I'm finding my own style of aging -- without that much grace but a whole lot of fun.

At least I did this past Friday afternoon. Let me set the scene for you. The bosses are all gone. My office is at the end of the hall with a glass door. J has come into my office to help me watch the clock turn 4:30. Then D drops in. Her Friday has been much more stressful than ours and she's losing control, she says. I have no idea how the subject came up but within minutes of "what was that song" and a click to YouTube, we three were singing and moving to "You Are the One I Want" from the movie, Grease. It was electrifying! We didn't lose total control until D came in right on time and the beat with, "o, o, oo." The singing stopped and the giggles took over.

Was it a pretty sight? Ya betcha. Three grown women feeling 16 again! And looking it! Amazing how wrinkles and stress can be erased with good memories, singing, dancing and laughing. Maybe I'm on to the fountain of youth! If not, it's a good start and a great way to end a stressful work week. Hum, wonder what song we can do next Friday?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Betty White

Last Monday night our fitness instructor couldn’t make it to class so we (the class) were supposed to go upstairs and walk the indoor track instead. Being the exercise buff I’m not, I opted to go back home instead. I’m glad I did. I had forgotten to tape Betty White’s 90th birthday TV bash. I missed the first twenty minutes of it but managed to get the gist of the show. Actually I would say the “gists” of the show but apparently that is not a legit word. Ah, the joys of writing “creative” nonfiction. So the gists of the show were: Betty White was awesome and still is, (most of us named Betty are, you know) and the TV stars that I grew up with and loved are REALLY old! OMG – Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner, Ed Asner, and the one that shook my reality the most – Chevy Chase. I couldn’t believe how much older HE looked and he is only three years older than me. OMG! My mirror has been fibbing to me for how long now?

TV reruns and old movies warp our perception of aging. Laura, Dick Van Dyke’s TV wife, never aged while Mary Tyler Moore did. So did Betty White. I just didn’t notice. Maybe because Betty White and I have been growing older together. She never hid her age but played on it, used it to her advantage, with “Golden Girls”, TV commercials, “Saturday Night Live”, “Hot in Cleveland” and her newest show, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”. I felt old watching her birthday party, I felt sad for those who were missing, and at very end, I felt so very lucky for all of us to have the ultimate senior role model, Betty White. As she stood on stage, swaying to the beat of the music and clapping, she looked radiant and vibrant. Just the way I want to look when I turn 90.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

These Days

Only 15 days into the new year and I’ve come close to breaking two of my New Year Resolutions, blogging and writing, but I have a good excuse. My life is comfortably lacking drama these days so that leaves little to blog about. I am also content these days. Talent plus pain and angst are the bones of good writing. I have a wonderful niece by marriage who proves that because when love goes awry in her life, she writes beautiful poetry. I loved too much when young and endured the pain of loss. I wrote then too though not as beautifully as she does. I am at that stage of my life now when I no longer crave a romantic relationship.

These days my main squeeze is Petie Pie, a one-eyed dog that stole my heart over a year ago. He doesn’t care if I have no makeup on, or if my clothes match or if I have thinning fly-away hair. He loves me as I am.

I was asked yesterday by a newbie to the 60’s if I was enjoying them, the 60’s. I said no. After writing this, I realize I was wrong. I am enjoying my 60’s. I have a full life with my son, my friends, my job and my beloved pups. My health is good. I pretty much do exactly what I want when I want. I have all that I need and most of what I want. I miss not writing these days though and want that back into my life – minus the pain and angst of youth. So maybe I substitute wisdom or humor instead? Build up new writing bones with exercise? I just hope it won’t be as painful as the pushups and crunches that I do at my exercise classes I go to to build up my real bones these days.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Six New Year Resolutions for 2012

I could write that I am going to try blogging on a weekly basis again. Perhaps if I realized that my blog entries don’t always have to be so long or profound or even very good, they will be easier to do. Okay, I’ve convinced myself. Weekly blog added to the list.

I could write that I want to start writing seriously again but my writing forte seems to be writing humorously instead. Hum, maybe I could sum this resolution up with a wonderfully wise cliché “Go with the Flow.” Add both to the list.

I could write that I’m going to get rid of all the clutter and dust bunnies in my house but whom I am kidding? Not anyone who knows me and you know what, they still like me anyway so this will not be on my list. Aw, on second thought, it is going on the list. Maybe if I have less clutter and dust bunnies, my creative thoughts needed for writing won’t have so many places to hide.

Okay, so I have now added 4 items to my 2012 New Year Resolutions. Top of the list is the one resolution I vow not to break because it seems to be working for me. Keep on doing what I’ve been doing! I’ve been going to my exercise class twice a week (except for the holiday weeks), I have been spending more time with dear friends, and I have been making new ones. The only way I could possibly improve that would be to exercise even more, and spend more time with both old and new friends. Another New Year Resolution and cliché to add to the list – forget moderation, go for the gusto.

Well, that’s done. My New Year resolutions for 2012. I think they are going to be doable except the one that was caused by a grammatical error. Did you catch it? No, not that one! This one: “more” and “exercise” do not go together. Not in my world but then anything is possible and who knows what 2012 will bring! So Happy New Year all and may 2012 bring you the very best of health and happiness!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Hope

This morning, the day after Christmas, I opened the newspaper to see the blood red letters spell “Christmas Day Killings” and large black bold print shouting, “Apparent murder-suicide leaves 7 dead in Grapevine” making my heart shutter for a minute or two. No, it wasn’t my family or friends. No, I don’t live in Grapevine but the city that has a main street like the one I grew up had is close to me. Too close for comfort. I’ve always known on an intelligential level that the Christmas season can bring out the best in us and it can bring out the worst in some of us. I’m feeling it now after this morning.

This Christmas I experienced the best. Step-children and grandchildren who made time for me and seemed thrilled that they were able to finally give me a gift that I didn’t have and really wanted– a Color Nook. The best part though was that they still know me so well even though our lives have become disconnected in some ways. I was able to spend the day before Christmas with girlfriends, enjoying a movie, a meal, and laughs together. Christmas Eve was a gift from two very special friends who shared their hearts and their Christmas spirit with me and another friend. Christmas lights at the Gaylord, dinner, wine, great conversation and so much laughter and joy gave me one of the best times I’ve had in years. You can’t wrap a bow around that but I wish you could. Thank you so much, David & Lesly!

Spending Christmas Day with the special man in my life, my son, was another gift you can’t wrap. Christmas cards, phone calls from a dear friend in Mississippi, a texted Merry Christmas from my brother whom I haven’t seen since I was 20, Facebook Merry Christmas greetings from old school friends and family, an e-mail from my best high school guy friend: in person or snail mail or electronically, they all mean so much to me.

I had a most wonderful Christmas. One family and friends in Grapevine didn’t. I can’t help from wondering why such a horrible thing could happen. My heart and prayers goes out to their loved ones. And I also realize just how blessed I am to have had such a wonderful Christmas. I hope that yours was too and we carry all the joy and love we were fortunate enough to experience this Christmas into our New Year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today’s Sunday newspaper is full of ads, articles on e-readers, and Black Friday. I really want an e-reader, and a new camera, and the new dance Wii game. I really want new clothes as the ones I have don’t fit me like I’d like them to. I tell my friends that I’ve grown up but my clothes haven’t. They are still immature. I want new pillows to brighten up my living room. I want, want, want… And yes, I just noticed that I didn’t list any “I need”.

I remember thinking years ago when I was what I considered “young” that once folks reached retirement age, they didn’t need much money. I never remember seeing my grandmother go shopping. Not for fun, that’s for sure. She had everything she needed and was content. My mother was entirely different. She had everything she needed too. A house that was paid for, furniture for every room, a car, a TV, shelves of books and a closet full of clothes. But she loved to go shopping. It was a grand adventure for us. At least once a month and sometimes more, we spend a Saturday going to the “city” to shop. Sometimes we went to Carroll, a mere 30 minute drive. Or to Ft. Dodge, a 45-minute drive. We often went to Sioux City, Iowa, which was an hour and a half drive and occasionally, for a special treat, we’d go to Omaha, a three-hour drive.

Shopping in the cities were always adventures for us. We’d shop a bit,have a leisurely lunch in the dining room in a large department store or a hotel, then shop a while more before heading back home. It didn’t dawn on me until I started thinking about writing this blog that I never remember my mother buying anything for herself. She always bought for me, saying that’s what gave her the most pleasure and that she didn’t need anything else.

So why do I still have the “I wants”? Because I’m not content with myself or my life? Maybe at one time, but not at this stage of my life. So what has changed? I honestly hate shopping now. It’s no longer a pleasurable adventure. The malls are too crowded, the parking lots too crowded, the people too rude and too loud. And God knows, there isn’t anything I need or want bad enough to go shopping on Black Friday—even if they were giving it away. Maybe my “I wants” aren’t really clothes, pillows, e-reader, but the going back to the time when shopping was an opportunity to spend quality time with a loved one and creating memories more than buying stuff. I guess that maybe that means that my “wants” are really “needs” after all. They are just aren’t the tangible ones. Time for a road trip to Canton or Salado I think. Who wants to go with me?