Crossing One of the Last Thresholds….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, Health Information, News & Current Events Posted on 01-01-2018

Well nothing perhaps outstanding or striking about the building shown above, well at least on the surface anyway, but just a few days ago I opened the door to this exact building shown above and perhaps crossed the threshold into my new future and a potential major change in lifestyle. How’s that you may ask? Well that is one of our local assisted-living facilities named Elmcroft Assisted Living and I was there checking the facility out with my little sister and considering whether it would soon be my new home.

Yep, there is that all too familiar word “home” we often hear spoken of when relating to usolder folk. Seems to take on a little different context when we think of it in light of an assisted-living facility or nursing home. We can all relate I’m sure to the all to familiar comment uttered under the context of humor, “Yea, we had to put poor old grandpa in the home last week.”

It may be simply the “home” to the  discerned onlookers but for those of us who are about to make our beds and take our meals there, it becomes important to us both for our mental well-being and our overall health that we do try to make it our home, a home little different from the one we may have been living in the many years.

The living quarters are quite small but for folks like me with COPD small places with short distances to get from one area to another are a blessing. The building halls, day-rooms and dining areas are quite large so now I have to consider adding a wheel chair into my life and daily existence. You sit in the darkness and ponder all these things and secretly morn these aging turns of events and yet in the light of day you cope. It’s just what you do.

When you live alone you have much to consider and you have family to consider. You have to try and make decisions that don’t make your life a burden on their lives. Love works both ways. So now I sit with my family and we discuss tomorrow and all the changes that will come in the next few weeks.

And regarding the living alone, when you move in to one of these places you are about to inherit a gaggle of roommates. So I assume you best get ready for a kink or two or three in all that quiet time you were so used too.

Mama said there’d be days like this….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, News & Current Events, Products & Merchandise Posted on 29-12-2017

Well, after giving my little dissertation regarding housekeepers, something mama has warned each and everyone of us about has apparently occurred. Something has all of a sudden turned up missing. And of course it had to be something of meaningful value to my family, not to mention me.

A treasured was stolen from my house which was a wide gold band identical to the one top-left in the adjacent picture with a diamond inlaid belt buckle similar to the one on the lighter gold band to the lower right. The ring was one which I had purchased back in the seventies and had worn as a ‘pinky’ ring for many, many years.

At the time the ring was taken it was in the top-right corner of the top-left drawer of my chest of drawers unfortunately in plain site. I had recently put the ring there with the intention of giving it to my little sister next time she came over. That is, if I remembered to do so.

It was the one thing she had wanted to have and keep as a remembrance of me when I had finally boarded the train for Cemeteryville. I don’t guess much else can really be said about the ring disappearance.

No way to know who took the ring for sure… just speculation. Since March I have had numerous caregivers here in the house along with the housekeepers mentioned in a previous post. And although I don’t think the ring was taken until recently, that’s just the way it goes when you start letting strangers into your house, no matter under what guise they may be. And I bear almost as much fault for leaving such a treasure out in basically plain sight… 🙁

The Housekeeper Experience….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, Health Information, News & Current Events Posted on 23-12-2017

Well it’s been quite a year in so many ways. Had my first experience with having a housekeeper. I refuse to live in a messy or untidy home so what little I do mess up, I normally immediately clean up. But around the first of this year my limited mobility pretty much alerted me that I should perhaps start thinking about hiring a housekeeper.

So the first thing I did was hire Molly Maids and they came to the house in early March, four of them came, and did a great job of cleaning but boy was it a bit expensive – $340. And then to return every two weeks they wanted $135. Plus… if they were there over two hours they wanted an additional $85 an hour. Well, at those prices it was obvious I was going to have to come up with another plan.

In late March I was seriously considering moving into an assisted living center but finally settled on hiring a caregiver to come in a few hours a day, take care of fixing a couple of meals and taking care of the housekeeping duties. Most of the local caregiver companies charge $20 an hour for their services. So I had part-time caregivers coming in until just a couple of months ago. They didn’t work out so well for me either but that conversation is for another day.

Then a few weeks ago I hired what I guess you would call a freelance housekeeper. She wanted $60 for two hours if she worked every two weeks. She was here twice before I let her go. She only spent about an hour cleaning the house and then wanted her $60. I figured my keeping a clean house had some effect on the speed at which she cleaned but I wasn’t going to pay anyone $60 an hour to clean my house.

And then finally about three weeks ago I ran across a small house cleaning service and was fairly impressed with their business pitch. So they gave me an estimate of $87 for two hours of house cleaning for every two week commitment. I gave them a try and they did an excellent job, It was just one girl but she was a worker. Today was the 2nd week and she was here just a little over an hour instead of the two I expected. She kept on commenting as to how clean my house was, I guess so as to justify her time of one hour (vs) two hours.

As it turns out, my sister and I re-visited the assisted living center we had visited in March again yesterday and I, at this point, am 99% sure I will be relocating there within the next two weeks. And as for this newest housekeeper, well no more two hour’s pay for one hour’s work at my house…. and that goes for any housekeeper! 🙁

Perhaps my last hurrah with a favorite… Dumplings!

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, Family & Friends, Food & Cooking Posted on 29-11-2017

As lack of mobility and the associated incapacity of old age increase in our daily lives, we become more and more acutely aware of that which we may can do today, but surely may not be able to do tomorrow.

I have for the most part over the years enjoyed cooking but for part of this past year have had to hire caretakers to come in and relieve me of most of my cooking duties. Of course as you may well guess, they don’t do it the way you do it so things don’t normally go so well. Especially if you are as picky about food as I am. Currently I have relieved all those supposedly cooking caregivers and have taken my cooking duties back over as best I could.

Yesterday evening was one of those times when I made up my mind I was going to cook myself a pot of dumplings. Now nobody made dumplings like “mama” but over the years I think I came pretty close to developing her style and technique. Given the standing up involved and the time involved it is now these days a fairly difficult meal for me to attempt to cook. But not knowing if it would be my last time or not, I had to have one more pot of “mamas” dumplings.

As it were, they turned out really well as hopefully reflected by the photo below. I’ve lost a little weight so that pot of dumplings may go a long way in resolving that little weight issue.

Anyway, if that indeed turns out to be my last fling in the kitchen with my favorite dumpling dish, well so be it. At least it was a good experience for the most part and satisfied that old anguished saying, “If only I could have done or had this or that just one more time…”

Wheelchair Driving for Dummies – 101

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, Complaints & Grievances, Health Information, Humor & Satire Posted on 07-08-2017

Although I have not been actively blogging over the past few months, I have been actively pursuing what must surely be just routine for most elders and that is doing my best to make it from one day to the next. Over the last couple of months due to some issues with my legs and of course the always present COPD I was determined that I just needed to get me one of those motorized wheel chairs to help assist my mobility around the house and my life would be back to some measure of order.

My doctor assured me that as long as I could take a step every five minutes or so and maintain an upright position I would have to fight Medicare tooth and nail to get one through them so I just avoided that headache completely and went out and bought one myself. Got what I thought was a really nice one at not too bad of a price and I was ready too rock and roll. But mostly as it turns out it was more like “bump and bang” than “rock and roll”. She’s a beauty though….

The poor doors and door facings, not to mention the molding, have basically met their demise due to my expertise and controlling a motorized wheel chair… at least in my house. Below are a few photos of the subject demise (click on photo to enlarge)….

Those photos were taken several weeks ago so quite honestly they only reflect a minimal amount of the damage done at present. But I am fortunate enough to have save a can of the original paint and now have the wood-filler, spatula, and sandpaper required to return them to so measure of their original condition. Oh yes, and I also have some of the felt color sticks for the paneling. 🙂

And just by chance if you’re wondering whether the wheelchair is too wide to fit through certain doorways in my house… well the unfortunate response is no, it will fit through them all just fine depending of course on the skill of the driver. 🙁

My blog’s circle of life….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, Journal & Blog Information Posted on 25-02-2017

Well I have been blogging almost six hours a day now for several days but it hasn’t been because I was writing new posts. I’ve actually been reinstating my old posts from a data base I had archived that goes back all the way to when I started officially maintaining a blog in 2006.

And a blogger might ask why in the world would I take the time to go back and reinstate all those old posts? Any experienced blogger knows almost no one ever intentionally goes into a bloggers archive listing and reads any of those old posts. Well at best, let’s just say it’s a rare occurrence when it does happen.

I suppose as bloggers go I have been a fairly shameful one, having started and stopped my blogging numerous times over the past eleven years, not to mention several blog name changes along the way to boot.

Sadly, I lost a lot of regular commenters along the way also. Can’t blame them a bit and I have to say many of them I truly miss. But as they say, that’s all water under the bridge at this point.

In essence it would seem I have come full circle if such things could be calculated or construed in such ways. From my very first blog post to this one, which by the way, is not to be presumed as my last, it would seem the journey consisted mostly as a biographical reflection of a life gone by.

And although there may still be a few other reflections of the past peppered in the mix, I think you’ll find the majority to come will be with the challenges and changes with living out ones final days….

Goodbye to my dear dependable good friend….

Posted by Posted in Automobiles, Biographical Scrapbooking, In Remembrance Posted on 11-02-2017

Yesterday was a bit of a sad day around the old homestead but I suppose even more so today. Yesterday I finally sold my trustworthy and very dependable 1997 Geo Metro that I had purchased brand new back on June 6th of 1997. I have owned that car for just a few months shy of 20 years.

I planned on owning it a lot longer but my health and difficulty in really driving it very much or taking care of it as I should has pretty much dictated that if I cared about the car at all, I needed to get it into the hands of someone who needed a car and would put it to could use. That someone as it turns out to be is the young man who is currently taking care of my lawn care needs. He expressed an interest in it a few days ago so he and his dad came by yesterday and purchased it.

I still have the window sticker that was on the car’s window the day I purchased it. That sticker will now find itself as one of my most cherished souvenirs….

But most of all, I’ll probably feel a tinge of sadness each time I walk outside and see that lonely, empty space where before was parked without a doubt the most dependable car I had ever owned.

The Perk of all Perks…..

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, General Information, In Remembrance, Places & Events, Sports & Athletics Posted on 05-02-2017

I can’t think of a more appropriate time than today when the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI to republish a post I published back in November of 2009 discussing perhaps one of the best jobs one could have ever had in one’s lifetime. And even though I was only with the company a very short time, it was quite the experience to remember and some may even say I need some sort of mental examination given the fact I quit the job….

Originally Published November 16, 2009

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium(Click on image to enlarge)

In late October of 1968 I was stationed at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base which is located near Macon, Georgia. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on November 1st of that year I decided I would travel to Atlanta and see if I could get a job there.

I fortunately found a job quite quickly and ended up working briefly for a company named Baker Audio which was located in Atlanta, Georgia proper. The company, although small, was quite well known for its expertise in the realm of audio and among other things, had put in the sound system in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. This fact was soon to become a blessing in disquise as it turns out.

Not but a week or so after starting to work there my boss asked if I would mind working on an upcoming Sunday for a few hours. He noted that since it was Sunday I would be getting paid double-time. Well, I jumped at the opportunity. Especially given the fact I was only making like $90 a week to begin with. But the best news was yet to come

My boss then began to explain the essence of the job I had just accepted. The company, Baker Audio, had the maintenance and operating contract for the sound system with the Atlanta Stadium and anytime there was an event at the stadium requiring the sound system being used, that a Baker Audio sound system person had to be at the stadium to turn on the system and oversee any problems that might occur. My boss went on to say there was almost never a problem and if there was, they had backup available, normally equated to by simply flipping a switch.

He went on to say that the stadium had two heated and/or air-conditioned glassed-in booths. One was for the “rich and famous” and adjacent to it was the other booth which was for the operator of the electronic scoreboards and for the employees of the sound system company who were maintaining and running the sound system. The main sound system consoles were also located in this booth which is obviously why the employees were allowed in that booth.

On two different Sundays I accompanied my boss to the stadium to fulfill those responsibilities and learn how to turn on and run the system. Those two occasions involved football games being played by the Atlanta Falcon’s football team and their opponent for that week.

What this all meant in layman’s terms was that on the upcoming Sunday I was going to get paid double time for flipping a switch and sitting in a heated, glassed-in booth and watching a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams or in case number two, watching them play the Detroit Lions a few weeks later. Does life suck sometimes or what?

That first Sunday I also found out that I was also allowed in the press area along with being able to partake in the food buffet set up for the press core and attending celebrities. I remember my boss and I getting a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon but everything was pretty much a blur to me. I was just completely mesmerized by the whole thing. Talk about a great job.

Below are a couple of gate passes I kept from the two games where I attended and worked so very, very hard. Some jobs have perks, but I have to say this was the perk of all perks! Being paid double time to watch a football game….at the stadium no less!

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 01a(Click on image to enlarge)

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 02a(Click on image to enlarge)

Believe it or not, I made one of those ‘life decisions’ only two months after taking this job to quit the company and return home to Arkansas. I think in the long run that was a good decision but it goes without saying how often I have thought back about that job and the fact that I could have been paid good money just to sit in a booth, flip a switch, and watch either the Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves play their games season after season.

Remembering those Social Security deductions….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking, General Information Posted on 13-01-2017

This morning for some reason right out of the clear blue something I hadn’t thought of in years popped into my mind. I remembered that increase in pay you hopefully use to get at some point each year, dependent of course on your salary, after you had paid in the maximum amount of Social Security established by the Social Security Administration for that particular year.

The first year I reached and exceeded that maximum Social Security deduction was 1970 when the maximum deduction number was $7800 and I made $8600 that year. I remember first seeing that extra amount in my net pay on my pay check and simply thought I must have gotten a raise. What was odd is that I had not been informed of any such raise. Hearing of my curiosity about the pay increase, one of my coworkers clued me in as to what the increase was all about. Up until that point I was really a bit clueless about how all those deductions like Social Security and Medicare worked.

Having said that, shown below is an interesting chart of the yearly Social Security deductions beginning in the year 1937 and going thru the year 2016. For this year as a matter of information, 2017, the maximum is set at $127,000.

And so it was that from that first year that I received that increase forward, through my career as the latter part of the year approached with each pay check I anticipated that perhaps it was this week that I had reached that Social Security payoff threshold. And after looking at your pay check and another week was going to pass you by there was certainly at least a brief moment of disappointment if you did not see that increase.

The last year of my working career that I had met the Social Security deductible maximum was before the end of the year, 1989, when it had reached $48,000. I went into semi-retirement in 1990 so I had a substantial decrease in income from that point on and that Social Security deductible became but a fleeting memory of the past.

In looking at that chart today I am amazed at how high the Social Security deduction has gone. I did check however and according to the Pew Research Center Institute the income spread for a middle class family of three is anywhere from $42,000 to $125,000, dependent of course on many factors, the least not being where you are living and the associated cost of living. In other words, if you live in Vicksburg, MS you are far less likely to come close to that threshold than if you were living in New York City.

Now at age 75 I find myself on the other end of this discourse, benefiting in my old age from all those years of playing that waiting game, more thankful for what I paid in than for those token raises I was enjoying along the way…. 🙂

My final goodbye to the game of golf….

Posted by Posted in Biographical Scrapbooking Posted on 12-01-2017

Remembering back a few years ago, one of the more personal sad days of my life was the day I donated all my music equipment to the local high school. I had pretty much lost my voice and some measure of the tremors had affected my ability to play my keyboards. It was the first major reckoning that I was entering a different phase of life. Not a little hick-up but a life changing moment. I had been a musician and playing one instrument or another since age thirteen. And singing, well that had always been my first love no doubt.

The music was the first to go and then came the outdoor activity which had been over the course of my lifetime the only outdoor game or sport, however you want to define it, I had really participated in with any measure of regularity. And that would be the game of golf.

In a journal entry of mine back in September of last year titled “Bucket List Item…. Clean out the old man’s attic!” I discussed the cleaning out of my attic as a self-proclaimed act of burial preparation. Of course as one soon realizes when taking on of such a project is that you will quickly find that what was a rather neat and organized living area, you are now faced with crap lying around and stacked up in almost every room in the house. I certainly realized this was going to be the aftermath of such a project but if you suffer from Organization Compulsive Disorder your anxiety and stress levels are sure to elevate.

And so now I had a clean attic but the inside of my  home looked like “Hoarder’s Paradise”. So my first idea was to just photograph everything and either offer it for sale or just give it away. After all, with my COPD there was little else I could do anyway. A garage sale would have been an excellent way to dispose of a majority of items but not a chore that I could have easily handled physically. I did over the course of a few weeks manage to give away some old picture frames, framing mat boards and a few of those metal cookie/candy storage tins.

But the elephant in the room was my golf clubs. Selling or even giving them away would mean final closure on yet another of my life’s pleasures and enjoyments. But at this point it had been several years since I had even picked up a golf club so I gathered up my two sets of clubs and my mother’s old set she used when she was alive and prepared them for a donation to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters local donation center along with a ton of my old clothes. As the adjacent photo reflects, there they were ready for the next leg of their life’s journey and my best hope could only be that the clubs would bring as much enjoyment to their new owners as they had me and my mom.

Perhaps it seems that I am wallowing in large measure here in good old self-pity but not really. As I grew older and began to reflect on old age and what it would bring I knew that many of my life’s passions and pleasures would have to be set aside at some point along the way. So now that most are gone I try not to reflect on what I have lost but rather the joy that all had brought to my life. And I have to say given that, that the joy and pleasure I received leaves the loss of those things but a fading mist for the most part.

Over the next few weeks I finally got the house back in shape storing many of the items in spare closet space to include closet floors. One closet is where I stored my CD collection, some 425 of those, so I gave all of those to my little sister which gave me a lot more shelf storage room for some of those smaller attic treasures. I made one more call to Big Brothers/Big Sisters and had them come by and pick up my final load of donations from the big attic clean out.