Six Word Saturday– or Kathy & Ed’s Excellent Retirement Adventures…

Enjoying week two of Ed’s retirement!

It’s kind of hard to believe, but Ed and I have made it through his second week of retirement, already.  Time is passing quickly.  Ed has also discovered that time is irrelevant when you’re retired.  Most days are pretty much the same, and only the growling of our stomachs keep us in touch with what time it is.  No more clock watching for Ed!

Although we attempted to plow through some of our forms and paperwork, this week, we didn’t get very far.  We need a final date of Ed’s benefits from the hospital, and, apparently, these days, nobody there seems to know what’s going on or when that day will be!  When ten percent of a hospital staff is suddenly terminated, it leaves things in a bit of disarray, to put it mildly.  (This thought really makes me hope I don’t get sick!) Did I mention we’re also waiting for Ed’s paycheck to arrive in the mail?  I do hope someone there has mind enough to mail the paychecks of those who were terminated!  In the meantime, we’re living off of our ’emergency fund’.

Ed was able to sign up for his Social Security payments on-line, this week, but, for some reason, they needed a copy of our marriage license.  We decided to take this document to our nearby Social Security office instead of mailing it. The Social Security Administration office is where our latest ‘excellent retirement adventure’ began.

Since neither of us had ever been to this Social Security office, we had no idea where it was located.  The nearest SS office is located in a town 30 miles away from us.  Thanks to ‘Google’, we were able to get directions and drove to the office with little difficulty.  Did I mention that the office happened to be located near one of my favorite stores, known as ‘Hobby Lobby’?  (Yay for making side trips on our ‘excellent adventures!)

Upon walking in the entryway of the SS building, we proceeded to try to open the double glass doors, but were quickly stopped by a female security officer!  She quickly pointed out that we needed to ‘register’ the reason for our visit, on a huge computer screen, located in the left of the entryway.  So Ed registered (with the security officer trying to help, for some reason),  Ed took the slip of paper, containing the number the machine spit out at him, and, only then, were we allowed to come inside and take a seat!  The registration process took almost as long as our wait to be served, so we were in and out of the SS office quickly.  I’m still trying to figure out why they have a security officer at the SS office!  Perhaps the old folks get rowdy, at times?!

After a quick stop by Hobby Lobby, our adventure continued when we visited the new ‘Wal-mart Neighborhood Market’ for the first time.  Apparently,  Wal-mart is starting to build these huge grocery store/pharmacy combinations, for those who want to take advantage of Wal-mart’s low prices, but want to skip the hustle-bustle of a regular Wal-mart.  Believe me, Ed and I are all for skipping the hustle-bustle of Wal-mart, anytime we can!

Ed and I happened to be traveling in his mama’s 1997 Lincoln Towncar because Ed enjoys driving it.  So we pulled up to the Wal-mart Neighborhood Market, in what I commonly refer to as our ‘old folks’ car.  As we were getting out of the car, I noticed two young men gathering up shopping carts in the parking lot.  One of them was about to ride a parked shopping scooter back into the store, when he quickly turned to us and asked, “Do y’all need this?” ( Oh, my!)  I quickly replied, “No, not yet!”  I remember thinking, it must have been the ‘old folks car’…or, perhaps, Ed’s snow-white hair that made him ask such a thing!  Surely, it isn’t me!  Although, come to think of it, I’ve been off of my arthritis meds for over a week, and I am moving kind of slow and stiff…and I’m letting my hair color grow out, which now means random spots of gray for me, as well!  

And while I’m on this subject of being treated like ‘old folks’, let me mention  how we’re now being called ‘sweetie’ and ‘honey’ at certain places–like the restaurant where we go for ‘senior citizen’s’ buffet on Monday nights!  This is a totally new experience for me, and I can’t decide if I like it or not!

Anyway, Ed and I managed to pick up the items we needed, without the use of a shopping scooter, I might add!  We also managed to make it home with a few dollars left in our pockets, something that will continue to be a challenge, no doubt!

For the rest of the weekend, we’re planning to stay home, relax, and attend our daughter’s Super Bowl festivities. Who knows what adventures we’ll find to do on Monday?!  We might even make another trip to the ‘senior citizen’s buffet’…  I might even decide I like being called ‘sweetie’!

*** It’s been quite a while since I’ve done this meme, but today I’ve joined Kate and many others @ Show My Face for Six Word Saturday.  To find out more about this fun meme, click Kate’s button at the top of this post.

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on January 31, 2015 at 11:01 am  Comments (10)  
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A Chilly Wednesday Hodgepodge…

I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy, now that winter seems to have hit most of the country!  Winter for us is lows in the 30’s and high’s in the 50’s, but, for us, that seems rather chilly!  One great way to spend a warm and cozy Wednesday, is by curling up with the computer and participating in The Hodgepodge, so let’s do that!  Thanks to our hostess, Joyce, we have a very appropriate set of questions today.

1. When did someone last suggest you ‘chill out’? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to ‘chill out’? Or, when did you last tell yourself to ‘chill out’?

I don’t know if we’ve actually spoken the words “chill out” to each other, but I’m sure both Ed and I have been thinking them for the past ten days or so, every since he became unemployed.  Every now and then,  little doubts about the future creep in, and, when they do, I try to ‘chill out’ and have faith that everything is gonna’ be just fine.

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt?

My heart recently melted when I read a very sweet, heart-felt, letter that Ed received, last week.  It was written by one of the young men who had worked under Ed’s supervision, for the past seven years.  The letter said a lot of very nice things to Ed, but one line that stuck in my mind was “If I could, or had to chose another father figure, I’d choose you.”

3.  “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” G.K. Chesterton  

Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?

I’m going to say “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  Inconveniences are always annoying, to me, but when all is said and done, there’s usually an adventurous tale to tell about the whole situation, when things don’t go smoothly.

Ed and I are currently in the midst of a huge inconvenience, since he recently lost his job.  However, I think, once we finish with all of the frustrating paperwork and transitioning involved, we’ll happily settle into our new adventure known as “retirement”.  I’m looking forward to the day when we can look back and laugh about this whole “inconvenience”!

The truth is, we’ve already started laughing about the whole ridiculous situation, just a little bit.  How ironic is it that, after putting off clothes shopping for well over a year (due to the uncertainty of the hospital’s future), I finally bought some new work clothes for Ed, at Christmas?!  He didn’t even get a chance to wear all of them!  How ironic is it that Ed went through an extremely difficult ordeal, just to get his hair freshly cut before the new “bosses” took over, just so he would make a good impression?!  Last of all, how ironic is it that when Ed first met with the new bosses, they went out of their way to tell him  ” we’ve heard wonderful things about you, from your former employer and co-workers”…then they proceeded to fire him just two weeks later?!  Gotta’ laugh at that!

4.  A Wendy’s Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake…of these three, which one is your favorite ‘frosty’ treat?

I’m going to say ‘ a frosted chocolate cupcake’ ( along with a glass of cold milk), but a ‘Wendy’s Frosty’ is a pretty close second favorite, especially on a hot summer’s day.

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.

If you’ve read what I’ve written here, down to this point, you already know the answer to this question.  The month of January has been like a three-ring circus!

6. Since it’s a ‘snow day’ here, what’s your favorite song containing the word ‘white‘?

White Christmas, of course, something we never have, here in the south.

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?

That’s an easy one to answer!  I’d find it nearly impossible to leave our children and grandchildren behind, especially since most of them are our close neighbors!

Random:

  We’re enjoying farm fresh eggs again!

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Our newest chickens are just 4 1/2 months old, but some have begun laying eggs!  Their eggs are small, but at least the chickens have begun to earn their keep!  In one week’s time, the egg count is already up to ten!  It’s been quite an adventure raising this flock, because… well, because I think they’re crazy, especially the white one, known as “Dixie Chick”!  More details coming soon…

Published in: on January 28, 2015 at 7:27 am  Comments (12)  
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And That Was The Week That Was…

Last week came and went quickly, just like all of the previous weeks before it.  The only difference was, Ed didn’t have to get up and go to work, and I wasn’t home alone all day.  Both of us are still getting used to this new ‘retirement routine’, but, so far, we like it!  Today, I thought I’d give a brief recap of how our first week went, instead of doing my usual ‘Monday Memories’ post.

Last Monday morning, our phone started ringing about 9 a.m.!  By then, Ed was already up on the ladder working on the leaking gutters of our house.  The first phone call was a former co-worker, from over sixteen years ago, calling to offer her condolences, and to ask if Ed was looking for a job!  Ed spent a good portion of the day either standing on the ladder, or working on top of our house, activities that came close to giving our daughter, who lives next-door, a heart attack!

A couple of days later, our daughter’s stress level went up another notch, or two, when she saw Ed climbing the ladder with a chain saw in hand!  We spent Wednesday trimming the trees around our yard.  My own stress level went up three notches when Ed tripped, with running chain saw in hand, after just cutting down a stump!!!  (Ed had on his Crocs shoes, and his feet got tangled in some vines and briers, and down he went.)  Fortunately, Ed’s always had great reflexes, and still had the fore-thought to quickly throw the chain saw away from his body as he was falling! Meanwhile, I watched, in horror, as the whole incident seemed to play out in slow motion.  Afterward, we both joked that it would have been awful if he’d cut his leg off during his first week of retirement!

Ed got  more phone calls, throughout the week, and a couple of them were from former employees who were “singing the blues” because of his departure.  Those calls made us feel so bad, for the ones Ed left behind.  For so long, their working conditions have been very difficult, and with Ed’s departure, the conditions just got a lot worse!

On Thursday, Ed had to return to the hospital to turn in his severance papers and pick up a few personal items that he’d left behind.  Upon returning, Ed said you could “feel the stress in the air.”  He said stress was very evident on many of the employees faces, and that just being there made him feel stressed, too.  No matter what the future brings, it’s good to be free of that environment!

Friday was probably the toughest day of our week! It rained all day, on Friday, so Ed and I were stuck inside.  The rest of the week, the weather had been sunny and mild, so we’d been able to get outside each day.  Anyway, while it rained, we busied ourselves by giving our bedrooms a thorough cleaning and polishing!  I must say, it’s nice having extra help with the household chores and cooking!

The weekend came and went.  Ed and I did our usual weekend shopping, a habit we’re going to have to break, now that we can shop anytime!  The rain finally stopped, and the sunny, milder temps returned on Sunday.  Sunday afternoon found us relaxing in the yard.  I even dug out my beach chair!  Just lounging in that chair, made me long for another visit to St. Simon’s Island!  It won’t be long…

On thing I’ve noticed about Ed’s retirement, is that it makes me tired!  The activity level around here has gone up significantly from what I’m used to.  I missed several days of ‘napping’ last week, due to all of the activities, and have been ready to go to bed earlier than usual.  On Friday night, I went to bed at 8:30!  Ha!  I guess I’d better get myself in better shape for week two!

 

 

 

Published in: on January 26, 2015 at 9:03 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Reflecting On The Past Week…

Tomorrow will make one week since Ed lost his job–and what a week it’s been!  As you can imagine, we’ve experienced all kinds of emotions this week–shock, anger, disbelief, fear, sadness, and relief, all rolled into one week!  I’m happy to say, as the week has worn on, relief has become the most prevalent emotion in our household.

Seven years ago, Ed was happily working at another hospital.   One day, EMH contacted him and asked if he might be interested in coming to work for their hospital.  Although Ed was happy with his current job, the hospital where he was working was 55 miles from home, which meant a two-hour commute every day.  EMH was located just 7 miles from us, and offered a higher salary.  It wasn’t an easy decision for Ed to make, but, ultimately, he chose to take the job at EMH.  It didn’t take long to figure out that he might have made a mistake.  While the commute was much shorter, and the pay much better, the working conditions were much more stressful, and, over time, they just got worse.  It was the worst working environment Ed has ever experienced, in his forty-three years of employment!  Some of the problems included poor hospital management, lots of back-biting and back stabbing among the staff, not to mention poor morale among ALL employees.

Due to the government’s involvement in healthcare, times are tough for small rural hospitals, with most of them really struggling, these days.  Not long after Ed took the job at EMH, it became apparent that this hospital was struggling, as well.  Years ago, Ed had worked [for twenty years] at a hospital that ended up having to close its doors, so he knew all of the warning signs.  The same scenario was beginning to play out at EMH.

At the beginning of last year, it became apparent the hospital wasn’t going to survive, unless some drastic changes were made.  By the end of the year, a management firm had been hired to take over running the hospital, on a trial basis, for one year.  We had a pretty good idea of how the next scenario would go. Employees were warned that ” some cuts would be made” when this company took control.

Since Ed was a department director, making a higher salary, he stood a greater chance of being targeted.  Some employees sought other employment, but Ed chose to ride out the storm.  He turned 65, in November, and knew retirement would be in the not-too-distant future, anyway.  We hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.  The worst happened last Friday, when Ed was “let go.”

In hindsight, we’re now beginning to view what we considered “the worst” as a blessing. Living and working in stressful conditions can eventually take a toll on one’s health, and Ed was no exception.  In the wake of this particularly stressful past year, minor health issues had begun to plague Ed.  I feared for his over-all health, and joked with him, at one point, that he was going to stay at that hospital until they carried him out on a stretcher.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen!

As each day passes, Ed looks better and better.  He says he even feels better.  He looks like a man who has had the weight of the world lifted off of his shoulders, and, perhaps, he has.  Perhaps a better analogy would be this:  After years of riding on a sinking ship, Ed finally got tossed a life-preserver.  May he happily find his way to the shore of retirement bliss, and live happily ever after!

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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Another Wednesday Hodgepodge…

Another week has flown by, and it’s time, once again, for The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  As always, thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for another delightful set of questions!

1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing?

I have watched American Idol, in the past, but I don’t watch it anymore because I got tired of it.  Since I can’t “carry a tune in a bucket”, I have no idea what song I’d sing.  Maybe a hymn or a lullaby, since I’ve had lots of practice singing those.

2. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”So when did you last have to ‘eat a frog’? Or two? How’d that work out?

Let me begin by saying that I’ve never heard this quote before, so I took it literal, at first. Ha!  After some investigating, I figured out Joyce didn’t care if I’d eaten any frogs 🙂

All that being said, if I have a job to do, I don’t really like to put it off.  My procrastinating sons used to drive me crazy putting off school projects and assignments until the last minute!   However, age has mellowed me out in that respect, a little, and, lately, I’ve found myself procrastinating sometimes.  I’m at my best, first thing in the morning, so I try to get my chores done early in the day.  If I have a big job ahead of me, I like to go ahead and get that out of the way first.

3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you’d want to see?

Although I really like lions and tigers, I’d most like to see some giraffes in their natural habitat.  I think they’re beautiful, and very unique.

4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let’s exhaust this topic in honor of the holiday okay?

I do like granola bars, but they’re not my favorite snacks.  I like Nature Valley Sweet-n-Salty granola bars.  I’d say they’re more crunchy than chewy.

5. If only….we could all stay young and healthy forever!  

Speaking of ‘Forever’, has anyone else seen the new show by that name?  I really like it.

6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be? Keep it family friendly please.

I’d add a larger closet because mine is too small.

7. What is one thing you’ve enjoyed about winter thus far? If it’s not winter in your corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you’ve enjoyed about whatever season it happens to be?

The one thing I’ve enjoyed about this winter was Christmas.  Other than that, I can’t really think of much!

Random:

Well, after months of wondering and weeks of anticipation, it finally happened.  Ed got ‘laid off’ from his job, on Friday, January 16.  Although we had tried to prepare ourselves, still, it caught us by surprise.  After working in the field of Radiology for forty-three years, Ed turned in his keys and film badge, and brought all of his work-related belongings home in two cardboard boxes.  Ed was one of eleven people who lost their jobs Friday.  Nine more lost their jobs on Monday.

Ed was given a severance package, along with several weeks of vacation he’d accumulated.  We’ll continue to receive regular paychecks and insurance benefits through mid-April, which will give us time to transition, and get things lined up for Ed’s Social Security to kick in.  It wasn’t Ed’s desire to retire, just yet, but we believe “all things work together for good”, so we’re viewing this situation in a positive light.

I think Ed is adjusting to the situation a lot better than most of his co-workers are!  Since Ed’s departure, our phone has been ringing, daily, with tales of woe about the workplace.  Ed’s former employees are missing him greatly, and, to me, that speaks volumes about the kind of boss he was.

And so a new phase of life begins… Retirement!

Let the fun begin!

Published in: on January 21, 2015 at 8:30 am  Comments (13)  
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Monday Memories ~ Family Life

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

When I saw today’s prompt for ‘Monday Memories’, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to write about.  ‘Family Life’ can be very different, depending on what phase of life you are in!  I ultimately decided to briefly write about my own experience with each phase of my family life, so far.

To be honest, my family life as a child wasn’t all that great for the first eleven years, or so.  Since both of my parents were alcoholics, life was unstable and down right tumultuous, at times.  On two separate occasions, between the ages of seven and nine, I lived with two different sets of relatives for extended periods of time.  Even after being reunited with my parents, we still managed to move five times within three years.  It was several years before I felt like I had any stability in my life.

me as a little tike

me as a little tike

My family life as a teen was much better.  My parents stopped drinking during those years, so life was pretty close to normal during that time.  Once in a while, a family crisis would arise, but, overall, I have good memories of my last six years at home.

I had an after-school job, during my last two years of high school, so I had my own spending money.  I was able to buy pretty much whatever I wanted.

I began dating early, and met my husband-to-be just four weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday. Ed asked me to be his wife just two weeks shy of my sixteenth birthday.  We got married three weeks after I graduated from high school.  I became Ed’s wife, and left home, two months before my eighteenth birthday.

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Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

My newlywed phase of family life was wonderful!  Ed and I were so happy to finally be reunited, after being separated for most of our three year courtship!  Ed got a new job, we bought a mobile home, moved sixty miles away, to the city, and did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

As I’ve written before, Ed and I basically had our courtship after marriage, since our time together before marriage was limited due, to his army enlistment.   We bought a new boat, owned two different motorcycles, and bought our first new car during the newlywed phase of our lives, which lasted approximately six years.

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The child-rearing phase of life lasted quite a few years longer.  Our children, a girl, and two boys, were spaced three years apart. Our first child was born in 1978, with the last one being born in 1985.  These years were some of the most rewarding years of our marriage, but, also, some of the busiest and most challenging!  Often, I think back, and wonder how we did it!  I was a stay-at-home for thirteen years, but when our youngest child started to school, I went back to work.

Easter 1988 on the way to church--in front of our house

Easter 1988 on the way to church–in front of our house

another yearly Easter photo...see how they grow!

another yearly Easter photo…see how they grow!

During most of our child-rearing years, Ed worked two jobs to provide extra income for extra things, like vacations and vehicles. By then, my parents were in poor health, shuffling between hospitals and nursing homes, so we had to see about their needs, in addition to those of our three children.  Between working, seeing about my parents, shuffling children to after-school activities, cooking meals, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry/ housework, there was never a dull moment, at our house.  I remember being tired–a lot, but I was so blessed to have Ed, who always pulled more than his share of the load.

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How can I not laugh around them?

early grand-parenting days – our two oldest grandchildren, several years ago

The busy days of child-rearing eventually made way for the quieter days of an empty nest.  Both of my parents passed away before any of our children left home, and Ed’s daddy died shortly after our oldest child got married.  Ed and I became grandparents, for the first time, right before our last child left home.  That was just over eight years ago.

With the children all grown, I soon felt the urge to quit work and return to the good ole’ days of being a homemaker.  It seemed like I was always tired, and I wanted to be free to enjoy more of life.  I quit my job, and Ed gave up his second job, soon afterward.

The care-free days didn’t last too long.  With his mama getting on in years, Ed soon inherited the responsibility of taking care of her needs, as her health began to decline.  Once again, we entered the phase of life where the child sort of becomes the parent.

Ed’s mama eventually passed away, and now Ed and I are back to concentrating on just the two of us, like in the newlywed days.  We feel like we’ve come full circle, except now we are the patriarch and matriarch of our family, and we know our days are numbered. It’s a strange feeling to realize you’re now the oldest members of the family!

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Although Ed and I have lost all of our parents, we’ve gained another son, and two more daughters, through marriage. God has also blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren, within the last eight years!  Our family of five has grown to a family of twelve!  It’s a chore to get all of us seated around the kitchen table, these days, but it’s wonderful!  It feels sort of like an old episode of The Waltons, and I love it.

our family of twelve

our family of twelve

Ed and I are enjoying our empty nest, but we always look forward to frequent visits from our grown children and their families!  We take great pride in the adults our children have grown up to become, and we enjoy their company very much.

We’re also enjoying watching our children raise their own families, and understand why those children are called “grandchildren”!  All of our kids are wonderful parents, and we love seeing many of our old family traditions being passed down through them.  This phase of family life is almost as much fun as being newlyweds–but not quite!  Can we turn back the clock forty-two years, or so?

Ed and I still  have a couple of phases of family life left to experience–retirement and living alone.  We’re about to embark upon the first of those, but that’s a story for another day.  As for the ‘living alone’ phase, I hope it will be many more years before we get to phase, but we just never know.  I think we should all live each day as if it’s our last.

 

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 10:43 am  Comments (4)  

A Few Friday Fragments…

Half-Past Kissin' Time

It’s been a while since I’ve joined Mrs. Fours for Friday Fragments, but I’m finally attempting to get back into a normal blogging routine.  That means I should be posting and visiting a little bit more in the future–I hope!

Finally! I am free from the Christmas clutter that has been plaguing me, and am getting back to normal life.  As of last Friday, the last of the Christmas decorations were taken down and safely packed away in their storage containers.  What did we ever do before the invention of those neat plastic storage boxes?!

I have decorated the ‘year round’ tree for January, by covering it with snowmen, snowballs, and snowflakes.  I bought several new ornaments for the tree, for half price, or less.  I also bought a box of old-fashioned icicles (for 75% off) and draped them over the limbs.  Putting those icicles on the tree brought back some old memories from my childhood.  Remember when everybody used to put icicles on their Christmas trees?  Remember how the icicles would cling to your clothing when you got close to the tree?  They still do!  Ha!

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January tree (and partial snowman collection)

Everyone’s been busy, plus I’ve had an after-Christmas cold, so Ed and I haven’t seen much of the kids and their families, lately.  Last Friday night, just like old times, the children who live closest to us stopped in for a visit.  Everyone brought their own supper, and we all had a great time catching up with each other.  I jokingly told them I thought they didn’t love us anymore, since we hadn’t seen much of them since Christmas!

Of course, we missed Brad, Jennifer, and Evan’s presence, last Friday night, like we always do when they’re not with us.  It just so happened that Brad called while the others were here, so he did manage to get in on a little of our conversation, too!

Speaking of our grandson, Evan, apparently, he’s learned how to climb since Christmas!  His daddy reported that he’s climbing on EVERYTHING, including the stairs, if given the opportunity!  Evan’s also had his first haircut since we’ve seen him.  Our youngest ‘grand’ is growing up–and we’re missing out on most of it because he’s not here much.

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Evan, our youngest ‘grand’

Unfortunately, Ed’s has had a minor health issue that’s been making him miserable, for a little over a week.  He visited the doctor, on Monday, and has slowly been getting better, since then. It’s been a long week for Ed, and I know, without a doubt, he’s glad it’s Friday!

It’s been rainy and cold here for the entire week!  I haven’t seen the sun in so long, I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Judging from the comments on Facebook, I’m not alone!  Hopefully, the sun will find its way through the clouds soon!  I can live with the cold temperatures, as long as the sun is shining!

I’ve been busy doing odd jobs around the house, such as cleaning out and organizing the pantry, sorting and organizing old pictures and mementos, and, of course, packing away the last of the Christmas decorations.   I still need to do some serious decluttering!

In closing, today, January 16th, is a special day for someone who’s near and dear to my heart.

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 It’s my ‘oldest‘, ‘bestest’, and only brother’s birthday!  S-M-I-L-E!

 David, I hope your day is just as special as you are!  Happy Birthday!  Wishing you many, many more!

Love,

Published in: on January 16, 2015 at 9:34 am  Comments (5)  
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Welcome Back Hodgepodge…

 It’s back…  After a brief hiatus, the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge has returned!  As always, thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for providing the questions.
1. What’s your best piece of advice for a newly married couple? I’m asking for a friend.
Be patient and understanding with each other.  The first year of marriage will be a time of adjustment for both of you.
 2. Before we’re too far into the new year I wanted to post a question Teresa submitted during the December giveaway. Teresa blogs over at Being Refined As Silver, so everyone go say hi.Teresa asks, “What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?”and “Did you or your family make preparations for Y2K?”
Are you kidding me?  I barely remember December 31, 2014!
Seriously, I don’t have a clue what we did, back in 1999, but we most likely stayed home, like we usually do on New Year’s Eve, and, perhaps, watched some television.
I do remember being concerned about Y2K, back then, but I don’t remember doing any specific preparations, other than buying a few extra groceries, and having some cash on hand.
3. According to Global Language Monitor, the most used word of 2014 isn’t a word. It’s the heart emoji. Huh? How can something that’s not a word be the most used word, but I digress. What do you think was your most used word in 2014?
At first, I couldn’t think of an answer, then it hit me like a ton of bricks– the word is “hospital” (due to the long, stressful year Ed had working at a hospital on the brink of closure).
 4. Speaking of words, it’s that time again. Time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words they’d like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2015. You can read more about the decision-making process here, but this year’s top vote getters are-bae (before anyone else), polar vortex, hack, skill set, swag, foodie, curate/curated, friend-raising, enhanced interrogation, cra-cra (as in crazy), takeaway, and -nation (a suffering sports suffix).Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you’d like to add?

One  word, (and I use this term loosely) that I have heard, and particularly dislike, is “cra-cra” (as in crazy).  The first time I heard someone utter this, I immediately thought: they must be “cra-cra” to even say such a thing!  What a ridiculous-sounding thing to say.

5.  January is National Hot Tea month? Are you a fan? Do you like flavored teas? How do you take your tea? Have a favorite cup or teapot? How many cups of tea do you consume in a given day?
No, I’m not a fan of hot tea, or of flavored tea.  I rarely even drink tea, anymore, but when I do, I prefer it cold, in a glass filled with ice.  Luzianne tea is my favorite brand  of tea, in case you’re wondering.  No favorite teapots or cups here, but I do have a favorite tea glass.
6. Whatever happened to wholesome television shows (and commercials), that are suitable for the entire family to watch?
Seriously, we should just call most of today’s television programming ‘trash t.v.’
7. What is one book on your must-read list this winter?
 I won a book giveaway, from Pam @ Empty Nest, a few weeks back, and the book recently arrived in the mail.
 (Thanks again, Pam!)
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Rocks, Paper, Flowers is definitely on my ‘must-read’ list for this winter!

Random:

Oh, what a night!  The Radiology department, at the hospital, was experiencing ‘equipment issues’, last night. Everything is digital, these days, and sometimes the system just ‘goes down’, for no apparent reason.  When things go wrong, they call Ed because he’s the one ‘in charge’, but he’s also known as “Mr. Fix It”.  He either walks the technician through how to fix the system, over the phone, or goes to the hospital to fix it himself.  Ed missed supper, then got two ‘middle of the night’ phone calls, in a span of six hours, last night!  It reminded me of those nights, twenty years ago, when Ed would be constantly ‘on call’ for x-ray.  He’s missed many hot meals, and had lots of sleepless nights, because someone needed an emergency exam.  Needless to say, we’ll both be ready for bed early, tonight!

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Also, Ed and I babysat three of our ‘grands’, last weekend.  There’s a new post on my other blog, Mimi’s Mini Tales, if you’d like to read about our babysitting adventures.  Click the button, below, and it’ll take you to the post.

Published in: on January 14, 2015 at 8:52 am  Comments (10)  
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Memory Monday ~ More Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

 

Once again, it’s Monday, and time to join Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired for more memories.  This week we’re continuing our travels down the road entitled More Vacation Memories

Last week, I wrote about our family vacations with the children, and how we bought a camper, and camped for two weeks, every summer, while the children were young.  Some of my all-time favorite vacation memories are from those eight years of camping, but I have many other good vacation memories, as well.

One vacation habit Ed and I established, fairly early in our marriage, was scheduling our vacation during the week of our wedding anniversary.  This meant, for several years, we celebrated our anniversary while on vacation with three children–in a camper!  It was a ‘cozy’ celebration, but we didn’t mind.  Ed and I also established the tradition of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on every anniversary, because that’s what we ate for our first meal as husband and wife.  So, no matter where we were, or what we were doing, we knew we’d be eating KFC on our anniversary night of the vacation!  Good memories!

June 2012, Alex, Anniversary, cookouts 060

a recent anniversary picnic [alone]on the beach – notice the KFC boxes on the table!

After our children grew up and left the nest, Ed and I went on a couple of vacations by ourselves.  At first, it was strange being by ourselves, after so many years of being surrounded by our children, but it was good to finally have time alone to reconnect with each other.  We quickly adapted:)

The most memorable vacation trip that Ed and I ever went on, by ourselves, was a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005.  I booked a room for us in the historical section of Charleston, and we had a wonderful time exploring all that Charleston has to offer–and it has a lot!  You could say that our Charleston trip was almost like our second honeymoon, but Ed and I never even took a first honeymoon!

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me, at the hotel, before going sight-seeing in Charleston

Two or three years after the Charleston trip, Ed and I decided to go in together with our daughter and her family, and rent a condo at the beach together.  All of us had so much fun on that vacation, we vowed we’d vacation together again!  After that initial trip, a new tradition was born–vacationing with our grown children!

Anytime Ed and I rented a condo on the beach, we’d usually invite our children and families to come and join us. Often, our condo only had a couple of bedrooms and one bathroom, but we always made room for company. Our motto was “the more, the merrier!”

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a family picnic, during one of our trips

One particularly memorable trip was when ten of us slept in a condo that had only one bedroom!!!   Talk about ‘togetherness’, we had it going on!!!  Some were on beds, some were on a futon, and still others were on air mattresses…  Our oldest son swears that my son-in-law and I had a “snoring competition” going on all night!  I guess it’s a good thing were both sleeping in the room away from everybody else! Ha!

 

100_1013enjoying the condo pool…

Another time, Ed and I split the cost of a three bedroom, three bath condo, on Fernandina Beach, with our two oldest children and their families.  The condo was huge and beautiful.  Everybody had their own bedroom and bath, which was especially nice, since we had a baby and a three-year-old vacationing with us.  (It also meant we couldn’t hear each other snoring!)  The condo came with its own grill, and the men really enjoyed that, while the women and children enjoyed the pool!

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just returning from a family vacation… and we all look tired!

The last time all of our family planned a vacation together was in 2010.  It’s our most unforgettable trip of all–but not for any reason you could imagine.

One July, our grown children, and their families, along with Ed and me, decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Helen, Georgia, for three days.  Our youngest, Brad, hadn’t married Jennifer, yet, but they planned on coming on the family trip, as well.  It took forever to find a cabin that all eight of us could agree on, but we finally settled on one–and, best of all, according to some, was the fact that the bedrooms were far apart!

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traveling on our last family vacation together…

On the evening before our trip, everyone was packed and ready to leave on the six-hour journey, the following morning.  Unfortunately, our telephone rang very early, on the morning of the trip, and it was bad news.  It was our son, Brad, telling us that Jennifer’s mother had passed away, unexpectedly, during the night.  We were all stunned with disbelief!  How could this be?  It was absolutely unbelievable that Jennifer’s mother’s heart had simply stopped beating, while she slept, and now she was gone!

Once the shock of the news sank in, our family had a decision to make. The cabin had already been paid for, and it was too late to get a refund.  Everyone had already taken time off from their jobs.  There wasn’t a thing we could do, if we stayed home and forfeited the money we’d spent.  So, after much discussion, the rest of us decided to refund their part of the cost to Brad and Jennifer, then go ahead and make the trip to Helen without them.  Needless to say, it wasn’t one of our better vacations, but we did the best we could under the circumstances.  We stayed in constant contact with Brad and Jennifer, the entire time we were gone, and came back early so we could attend Jennifer’s mother’s funeral.

Helen Trip 2010 155a father-son game of corn hole, in the mountains of Helen (our cabin’s in the background) 

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relaxing beside the mountain stream

Seeing the picture above reminds me of something I’d nearly forgotten.  Some of us got an unexpected “bonus” from that trip to the mountains.  Our son and I came home with a bad case of ‘red bugs’, apparently, from sitting on those rocks beside that mountain stream!  Not a good souvenir to bring home!

We’ve all talked about planning another family vacation together, but, as of yet,  we haven’t done so. Our oldest son, our daughter, and their families have taken a couple of trips together, but Ed and I have stayed behind, so far. You see, these days, Ed and I are pretty much stuck at home, caring for ten chickens, twelve aging cats (and that’s not even counting ‘Trouble’), one very old, nearly blind and deaf, dog, and 167 goldfish who share the pond in our yard!   I guess, for now, it’s a good thing we have lots of vacation memories to sustain us 🙂

 

 

Published in: on January 12, 2015 at 10:47 am  Comments (8)  
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No, Not Today…

By now, you probably know me.  I’m that fairly predictable creature of habit, who likes little change in her life.  It’s Wednesday, and you’re probably expecting to see my usual Wednesday edition of ‘The Hodgepodge’, but surprise,  there’s no Hodgepodge today!  Our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, is still recuperating from her daughter’s wedding, last weekend.

Who out there remembers their child’s wedding?  I know I sure do, from the first wedding until the last one, several years later!  I still remember all of the planning before the wedding, the preparations on the day of wedding, and the cleaning up after the wedding!  I also remember recuperating the week after the wedding, so I hope Joyce gets some much-needed rest!

As for me, I’m still plodding along, individually wrapping Christmas ornaments, and putting away boxes of decorations.  Santa is slowly being replaced, on the living room shelves, by my collection of Snowmen, which I display during the month of January.  Those cheerful-looking snowmen will help me fight off my usual case of ‘winter doldrums’ during this cold, boring month of January.

My coca-cola tree, in the pool/play room is still decorated for Christmas.  It was the last tree up, so it will be the last to come down.  I really love all of the coca-cola ornaments I’ve collected, and hate to pack them away.  I’m leaving my gingerbread village on display for a while longer, too…  Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?!

In other news, this week, the new company officially took over running the hospital where Ed is employed. Three men, who comprise this company, will be working within the hospital for two weeks, deciding what cuts and changes they want to make, then they will proceed to make those cuts and changes.  If you are a praying person, will you please send up a prayer, or two, for all of the hospital employees, whose livelihood depends on decisions of these men.

Old man winter is ‘officially’ on his way to southeastern Georgia, according to the weatherman.  Our outside pipes are wrapped, and I’m planning to make some chili for supper tomorrow night.  That’s about as prepared as I know how to be.  We don’t get a lot of freezing temperatures here, and they never last very long, thank goodness!

One last thought, before I go.  On Monday, I blogged about my camping vacation memories.  Who would’ve thought I’d get so many negative thoughts concerning camping?!  I guess there just aren’t that many ‘happy campers’ out there in blog land!  Ha!  All jokes aside, camping really is fun, especially in a camper.  I’ve tried ‘tent camping’, too, but that’s just not for me!

In closing, I apologize, again, for not visiting other blogs as much as I normally do.  As soon as I finish packing up the last of the Christmas decorations, I will do a lot more visiting.  In the meantime, there are two boxes of ornaments sitting in the living room floor, just waiting to be individually wrapped!  Hope to see you soon.

Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 9:21 am  Comments (5)  
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