Thursday Thoughts

I’m Mo Bettah
Guess what? For a change, I remembered that today is Thursday, and Thursdays are the days I have some thoughts. Disregard Monday’s Thoughts. They weren’t that thoughtful.

Before and After
I promised that I would give an update on our new windows, and I can finally do that. The process started back in August, and while they got most of the windows completed in a few days, they “measured incorrectly” and it required them to reorder some of the windows. How do you “measure incorrectly” when your entire job is to measure windows? Anyhoo, they finally — FINALLY — came back Tuesday and finished up the last window. And so, here is the great unveiling, before and after…..

Doesn’t the big picture window in the living room look beautiful? We’re very pleased. Now for window coverings.

Oops
In the course of everything that has been happening this past month or so, Bill remembered last weekend (after driving his car to Fort Collins to celebrate Jen’s birthday) that he forgot to send in the necessary paperwork and payment to renew his car registration. He’s been an outlaw all of these weeks. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? I’m happy to say that a quick visit to DMV and a $25 late fee later, and he’s back in business.

65 and I’m Alive
By the way, I did, in fact, accomplish what I hoped to accomplish the other day, and am now fully signed up for Medicare. A proud senior citizen helping drain the system of money. Hold the applause.

Bon Apetit
The morning of Allen and Emma’s reception, Bill and I stopped over at Dave and Jll’s house for breakfast. It was prepared by Master Chef Extraordinaire Alastair McLain. Despite the fact that he is only 13 years old, don’t envision our breakfast consisting of Apple Jacks and Pop Tarts. Nope. It was Eggs Benedict all the way…..

How many teenaged boys could prepare such a breakfast, with even the parsley and paprika flourishes? It was delicious. I should have known way back when that he would turn into an accomplished chef…..

Ciao!

The Only “Chili” Thing in the Air Was My Dinner

It’s about this time every year that I start yearning for fall. Those are difficult words for me to write because autumn invariably leads to winter, and winter invariably leads to cold and snow, and cold and snow invariably leads to me being cranky. Well, crankiER.

Nevertheless, sometime about the middle of September, despite the cloying presence of All Things Pumpkin, I start wishing that the leaves would begin to change and the nights would be chilly enough to require use of my beloved comforter. This year, Mother Nature is not cooperating in the least. In fact, last Sunday’s home Bronco game was the hottest game day in the history of the franchise — a sweltering 92 degrees at kickoff.

In fact, the official first day of autumn is September 22, at which time there are exactly 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime. According to timeanddate.com, however, the scientists are really kind of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire. It has something to do with the fact that sunrise is considered the time that the sun just peeks above the horizon in the morning and sunset is when that last little bit of sun sinks behind the horizen at night. Apparently, this period of time takes longer than 12 hours. I wonder how mountains impact those definitions, but I don’t wonder enough to look it up.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a bit of a cold spell. The highs were only in the 60s, and the nights were plenty chilly. I kind of got my hopes up. Though I wasn’t foolish enough to drag my comforter out of the linen closet, I did put an afghan on my bed. I used it for a few nights, and it felt pretty good. In order for it to be bearable — even on those chillier nights — I did need to leave our bedroom windows open. Even so, it felt like fall was in the air.

I haven’t put that afghan back into the linen closet as of yet. I’m optimistic that the nights are going to cool down once again. It’s true that by time I crawl into my bed to read at about 9:30, the temperature is generally in the neighborhood of 79 degrees. Still, it doesn’t take long before the afghan is kicked on to the floor, even if it’s only been folded at our feet. And yet, it remains at the foot of my bed.

I checked the long-term forecast, and it appears that cooler days are not expected until sometime around September 25, just after the Fall Equinox. Hopefully by that time everyone’s pumpkin toothpaste is dried up and their pumpkin Cheerios boxes are empty.

As for me, I made chili last night. I got tired of waiting until the weather turned nippy. What’s more, my brother has given me blanket permission to make beef stew and chili and pot roast no matter the weather. “I never understand why people think they can only eat certain things in cold weather,” he told me. “Eat what you want when you want.”

And so I did…..

 

 

Will I Survive to 65?

On my birthday in December, I will turn 65. That means I will be eligible for Medicare. How this happened, I don’t know. It was only a few years ago that I was 15 years old and Dad was encouraging me to come out from behind the refrigerator to face the young man who was taking me to the Freshman/Sophomore Hop. I remember what I was wearing: a black velvet miniskirt with a white high-necked lacy blouse and white lace tights with black patent leather (of course) shoes. I don’t, however, remember his name. He shouldn’t feel bad about that; I barely remember my grandkids’ names. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember mine either. Our relationship only lasted five hours.

There aren’t a ton of good things about turning 65 (beyond the fact that it is definitely better than the alternative). Medicare seems to be one of the few benefits. So is finally being eligible for the senior rate on light rail. The cost of a day pass will be $2.60 instead of $5.20. We seniors take whatever breaks we can get as we dine on our cat food.

Ever since the strains of Auld Lang Sine died down at 12:05 a.m. on January 1, 2018, I have been receiving mail from just about every existing financial institution begging me to get my Medicare Supplemental Insurance from them, them, them. I have tossed them all away, knowing that I would eventually need to make a decision, but that the decision would probably be supplemental care from my pension plan. PERA wasn’t quite as desperate as the others, and my information packet only came a couple of weeks ago. Their laise a faire attitude appealed to me.

For the past couple of weeks, however, I have vowed each morning that I would take a look at what I need to do to get registered for my Medicare Part B and get my supplemental insurance set in place. I know that when I finally tackle it, I will find that it is easy. Still, it involves numbers and decisions, two subjects that are on my THINGS MOST FEARED list.

Here is a list of things that I would prefer to do rather than researching and signing up for Medicare and my supplemental insurance:

Go geocaching…..

Take Cole out to lunch…..

Go for a hike with my sister…..

Go to a concert featuring Keith Urban…..

Make pies with Dagny…..

Celebrate Allen and Emma’s wedding with family…..

The list could go on and on. It’s been a good summer. Alas, the real world must catch up at some point, and today, my friends, is the day. By the end of this very day, I will join the ranks of baby boomers who are draining the system for our kids.

You’re welcome.

Now I need to arrange for my cataract surgery…..

Thoughts: Monday Edition

Four Days Late
Bill has been on the pump now for a week. He’s doing great; I, however, am completely under water. I can’t seem to get organized. I’m such a mess, in fact, that I completely forgot about Thursday Thoughts this past Thursday. So, today you will find my Monday edition of Thursday Thoughts. See, I CAN have thoughts over the weekend.

Friday was my sister Jen’s birthday. We typically cook for one another on our respective birthdays. This year, however, we went out to eat Saturday night at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Fort Collins called RARE. I have no idea why all of the letters are capitalized, but I try to be cooperative, so I capitalize them too. We were joined by Jen’s son B.J., and we all had a wonderful time. We started out with the charcuterie plate…..

….and then had a fun selection of foods that we shared ranging from risotto to a delicious pork chop prepared with crispy polenta. Bill surprised us by secretly ordering a round of limoncello after dinner…..

Jen was the designated driver, and it was a good thing because MARTINI, WINE, and LIMONCELLO!

But There’s More
Oregano’s is an Italian pizza restaurant originating in AZ. In fact, up until recently, the restaurants were only in AZ. It is our favorite pizza in the Valley of the Sun. Recently, they opened up their first non-AZ restaurant in Fort Collins. Up until yesterday, they were only open in the evening. Bill had accepted the fact that he was not going to get a chance to eat there this visit to Ft. Collins. However, on a lark, he checked Sunday morning to see if they were opened for lunch, and we were thrilled to find that they opened at 11 — the first day of offering lunch since they opened. We dutifully went to church, gave thanks for all our blessings, and booked to Oregano’s. We were standing at the door when they opened…..

It’s Better to Be Lucky Than Good
The Broncos pulled a win out of their you-know-what yesterday afternoon against a conference rival — the Oakland Raiders. While the rivalry is not what it was in the good ol’ days of Mike Shanahan, it’s still sweet to come down on the winning side of the game. We led for exactly six second in the entire game. Luckily, they were the final six seconds. And Peeps, how Demaryius Thomas keeps his job is a complete mystery. He drops more balls than a professional bowler!

Scrub-a-Dub
My latest creation — soon to be offered on my Etsy page — are these adorable scrubbies. They’re colorful and 100 percent cotton, making them machine washable as well. I put a dozen or so in a cute basket and gave them to Jen for her birthday…..

Ciao!

 

Saturday Smile: Cookies For a Cause

I mentioned in one of my blog posts this past week that a bake sale was going to be held at Kaiya and Mylee’s school. The bake sale took place Thursday and yesterday, and appeared to be a rip-roaring success. The money will be used to help pay for a camping trip in Estes Park that the 5th graders take each year. You might recall that I donated cookies to the cause…..

Yesterday morning I drove to Willow Creek Elementary to patronize the bake sale. I bought a couple of goodies for Bill and me, and then sat back and waited for Kaiya and Mylee to arrive at school. About 7:50, I spotted Kaiya walking with a friend. She grinned when she saw me. I handed her a five dollar bill, and told her to spend it at the bake sale. She tucked it away for later.

I then wandered to the third grade classroom where the kids were waiting for the bell to ring. I greeted Mylee, and handed her a five dollar bill to be used for the bake sale. Well, money doesn’t burn a hole in Mylee’s pocket. There was no tucking away involved in HER five spot. She ran around to the other side of the school where the bake sale was taking place, and began shopping. Oh, the thought that went into her purchases. She finally decided on some chocolate chip cookies that were shaped like a heart and had initials piped in frosting on them. She looked and looked for an “M” but alas, there were no Ms to be seen. She made do with an “N.”

By the way, I lobbied hard for her to buy a bag of the cookies I made, but it was a no go. Not even slightly interested in a cookie with no chocolate.

After school I got a text message from their mother, who said Cole joined in the shopping spree after school. According to Alyx: Cole was so excited, he was shoveling things into his arms. We had to get a bag to hold everything.

Looks like he thought my cookies looked pretty darn good…..

Have a great weekend.

Friday Book Whimsy: The Glass Forest

There are books in the popular thriller genre that capture the reader right from the get go and don’t let go. Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna, (which I recently reviewed) was such a book. There are others that sneak up on you, sort of like Freddy Krueger hiding in the basement. The Glass Forest, by Cynthia Swanson, started sloooooow, but once it grabbed me, I kept on reading to see what would happen next.

It’s 1960, and 21-year-old Angie Glass is happily married to her husband Paul. They have the perfect life in a small town in Wisconsin, and have recently been blessed by the birth of a baby boy.

One day, Angie answers the telephone. On the other line is Paul’s 17-year-old niece Ruby. She informs Angie that her father — Paul’s brother Henry — is dead, and that her mother Silja is missing. Angie and Paul rush to their home in upstate New York. Ruby has visions of helping a inconsolable teenager. Instead, upon their arrival, they find a mysterious and perfectly calm teenaged girl.

As the story unfolds, we learn that neither Henry nor Paul are exactly who they appear to be. Through flashbacks of Ruby’s mother Silja, it becomes clear that Ruby doesn’t know her husband at all.

The story unfolds slowly, and I found myself both intrigued and disturbed at the same time. But one thing was for certain; I was unable to stop reading in my desire to find out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I found I had to keep reminding myself that the story took place in 1960, which was why Angie was so meek and submissive to her husband. Still, the end of the story surprises the reader with the strength of the three women — Angie, Silja, and Ruby.

The Glass Forest was suitably creepy and readable.

Here is a link to the book.


 

 

Mellow Yellow

Since I got my drivers’ license 49 years ago, I’ve owned a 1969 red Mustang, a 1976 brown Honda Civic hatchback, a 1984 gray Chevy Nova, a 1993 sage green Subaru Legacy station wagon, and my current car, a 2003 yellow Volkswagen Beetle (aka Nana’s yellow bug).

My uncle helped me buy my Mustang. My first husband handled buying the Honda Civic. After I got divorced, one of the first things I did was buy a new car. I researched the fair price of a 1984 Nova through a car-buying service offered by my credit union. I went in to the car dealership, and told the sales guy who drew the short straw that I was only going to pay $5000 for the car since that’s what the car buying service would have paid, and he agreed. That transaction took about an hour! Bill helped me buy the station wagon. When it came time to buy my VW, I took Bill’s friend John to help me seal a good deal.

Of all of my cars, my yellow bug is far and away my favorite. A few years after I bought the car, I was in an accident wherein a young driver blew through a red light while looking at his telephone, and took out my entire front end. I wasn’t hurt, nor was he. I had the front end repaired, but my car has had its share of knocks and rattles since.

I have never kept a car past 100,000 miles. My VW currently has 97,486 miles. The reason I get rid of cars around 100,000 miles is because I don’t trust them after that. It’s an artificial number, I know. But that’s the way it is.

Or was, anyway. Because here’s the thing: my grandkids have forbidden me from getting a new car. Nana’s car is the yellow bug, and that’s that. Now, of course, if I wanted a new car, I wouldn’t let the opinions of nine kids whose ages average 9.6666667 daunt me. But I love that car. It’s noisy and bouncy and too small to carry much of anything. I can only handle two grandkids at a time unless one of them is old enough to sit in the front seat. But the grandkids always spot me when I’m driving through the neighborhood. And when I come out of the grocery store or church or a shopping mall, I can always spot my car no matter where it’s parked.

But, tick tock, tick tock.

A couple of weeks ago, my Check Engine light came on. I tried to ignore it, but every time I started my car, there was Mr. Check Engine giving me the stink eye. Bill attempted to fix what he thought was the problem, and the light went out for a few days. And then came back on. Bill tentatively suggested that it might be time to trade it in. Speaking of stink eyes: I could envision the stink eye Kaiya would give me if I pulled up in a blue four door sedan.

But I finally took the car into a service station. This was a repair shop I had never before used, but it had come highly recommended by a friend. The reason that was important is because let’s be frank. Car repair personnel have you under their thumb. They can tell you whatever they want and you either believe them or you don’t.

Yes, Ma’am. We took a look under the ol’ hoodaroo and it seems your compression rings are chamfered on the outer periphery instead of the inner combustion chamber. That makes your crankcase have too much blowby. We can change the periphery for $3,159 plus tax and labor. 

And really, what’s a guy to do? He showed me some sad looking somethings-or-others with a solemn look on his face, but how am I to know if they actually came out of my car? He might keep a collection of cruddy looking car parts for that very purpose.

But, as Bill said as he drove me home after waving goodbye to my bug, “You’ve gotta trust somebody.”

So, two days later, here was my newly-fixed car, awaiting my arrival with a checkbook. Doesn’t it look cute sitting with the grown-ups?….

We’ll talk again in 2,514 miles.