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Rambling

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015...  How are our checkbook, MacDonald's, and the birds at Soundside Park connected?  Well, let's start with our checkbook.  I have taken care of our checkbook since we retired.  About 90% of our transactions are done either via the internet or electronically.  Six months ago, I asked Helga if she would like to learn how to work the system and take over that chore.  She was reluctant, but she accepted the challenge and did quite well except for one thing.  Let's just say three trips to New Jersey and Christmas took its toll on the balance we had in the checkbook.  She always complained that we kept too much in the checking account that pays next to nothing in interest.  She was correct.  I guess we were too busy (lazy) to stop at our favorite bank - Marine Federal Credit Union, which is on our way to Jacksonville - and make a deposit.  When we came back to Topsail after the holidays, I decided to give her a break and catch up on the bills and bring everything up to date.  Well, to my surprise, our excess of funds in our checking account was no longer there.  I said to Helga that we were going to have to replenish our checkbook with a withdrawal from savings.  Helga, being quite frugal, was against that move.  She wanted to take some austere measures to return our checkbook back to normal.  I agreed to it and said the first thing we should do is stop going out for lunch so often.  That statement brought tears to my wife's lovely eyes.  Oops, how do I recover from this?  The MacDonald's sign flashed through my mind.  I said we could go there instead and save money.  Helga started smiling.  She always told me that she did not care where we lunched as long as we went out.  Remember - Helga is semi-retired when it comes to cooking.  So we sat down and planned a meal from MacDonald's.  Here it is - two dollar menu cheeseburgers and one diet coke.  If we were really hungry, we could get three cheeseburgers and split the third one.  The total for the original order would come to $3.38.  Oh, yes, take-out only because if we went inside, we might be tempted to order fries.  Next step would be to take our healthy meal to Soundside Park and enjoy our repast with the wonderful sights on the Intracoastal.  Now, the birds enter the picture.  Did you know that they will fly to your car when they hear the power windows going down or up?  I know my youngest is not going to believe it, but it is true.  Oh, yeah, one bad aspect of this phenomenon - if you don't feed the birds when the windows go down, they will poop all over the car.  Yes, we found a new location to enjoy our well-balanced dinner at the beach.  I will return on February the 3rd.    

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015....  Wow, where did the last month go?  I don't know where IT went, but I went to New Jersey.......of course, my wonderful wife was with me.  WE had a great time!  We were even able to have four or five dinners with ALL the kids without work or sports interfering.  No, no.......not to worry about Helga, she did not have to cook that much.  When it comes to cooking, she is semi-retired.  She did make her well renowned stuffing and coleslaw (or as they say down here - slaw) for our Christmas dinner.  Okay, enough about food....  The weather was great which means we had warmer temperatures and NO SNOW.  I made a resolution a few years ago that I would never shovel snow again, and I have not broken it.  The kids did take us out to dinner at the 3 B's in Lakehurst.  It was A++ in every respect.  Everyone was happy with their Christmas presents as far as I know.  Four of us made it to Atlantic City before Christmas.  Three of us came home with money, and the winners even took me to another new restaurant for dinner.  It is called Element Restaurant and Bar, and it is in Manahawkin.  It, too, gets an A++ rating.  Two or three of us were going to make a return trip to AC, but guess who became ill.  Yup, you got it - ME!!!  It started on the 22nd - three days before Christmas.  Damn, what could be worse?  Not to worry, it was only a sore throat and cough.  Again, Helga to the rescue.  She started with the pills and the syrups and who knows what else.  Oh, she even tried giving me a pill not for people with glaucoma.  Thank God, whatever it was didn't hit me hard.  It did linger for quite a while, but it did not put me down for the count.  I guess those flu shots do help.  Did someone say - HOW'S HELGA?  Helga started feeling the sore throat on our way home on Sunday, December 28th.  She is still not a hundred percent and has been unable to cook all week!  Hmmm, I wonder if that was her plan.  Well, stay tuned...see you back here on January 20th.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014....  I can't believe that there are only 15 more shopping days until Christmas.  I am sure I will get my shopping done.  I have faith in my daughters.  I have faith in my son, too, but he doesn't do any of my shopping for me.  I wonder if he will accept a dangerous and difficult task - like taking me out for target practice.  This will be our third trip to the Garden State in three months.  I guess we really miss all of our kids.  I am almost ready to go.  I had my yearly physical last Thursday.  I also stopped at the dentist because they have to order some medicine for my old bones that are trying to hold on to my teeth.  They have the medicine there, but it is 'less expensive' for me to order through Express Scripts.  I picked up my new sunglasses for the trip because my 'white out' condition is acting up again.  I was a little concerned about that condition until I read that Bono of U2 fame has the same condition which is caused by OUR glaucoma.  I am sure everyone knows Bono .......my favorite U2 song is "The Hands that Built America."  Well, back to getting ready - as I said ALMOST.  My only problem is our house sitter.  Tina is booked to sit someone else's home.  I guess I didn't get to her soon enough.  Now, all is not bad.  She said she is house sitting Mary's house which is right next to ours.  Mary is heading for Ireland for Christmas.  Hmmm, I wonder if she will see Bono while she is there.  Okay, back to Tina, which is not her real name.  I don't want to advertise for her if she doesn't housesit for us.  Tina said that since our homes are so close she can do both.  Great idea....  One night in mine and one night in Mary's and the cost will ..............what?  She wants to charge us both full price.  Where is the Christmas spirit?  I guess it is the season for spending.  Merry Christmas to all.  May the New Year be prosperous and peaceful for all the nations of the World!  I'll be back on the island for the New Year and back rambling on January 6th, 2015.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014...  WOW, I can see again.  No, I didn't have any kind of operation or spiritual event.  It only took me ten months to believe Dr. Florio was correct when he told me that I needed a new prescription.  I don't know if I didn't listen to him because I thought I could see fine or if I was being frugal.  I go to my eye doctor every three months - not because he is my favorite; however, the staff rates up there among my preferred folks.  Did I hear a why do you go every three months?  I have glaucoma so I must get my eye pressure measured.  It is always in the safe range because it is controlled by a nightly drop of lumigan in each eye.  I only need glasses for distance.  I can use the computer, the iPad, the Fire, and the iPhone without glasses.  The TV was becoming a little blurred.  Since Helga would not let me move my recliner any closer, it was time to spend those big bucks for new glasses.  I picked them up yesterday.  Helga took a ride with me because the bug guy was coming, and she didn't feel like getting dressed.  She didn't look too bad with that house dress and baseball hat and sunglasses.  I don't think our kids would have recognized her in that disguise.  After kibitzing with the staff in the doctor's office, I walked out into the world with a new outlook.  We started our drive home, and I mentioned to Helga that the trees still have leaves and there are words on those road signs.  She looked at me as if I were an alien - maybe it was the new glasses.  When we arrived home, the bug guy was there so Helga told me to take a ride south on the island.  Naturally, I did because her hair looked like..............never mind.  We only rode a few blocks when I saw a new sign.  It read The Peninsula at Topsail.  Helga yelled for me to turn right.  So we did and we discovered a new extension of land where they were building homes.  I wanted to ride to the end because I figured we could see our home, and I was correct.  Well, the roof counts, right?  On our way back to the main road, a man motioned for us to stop.  It was the developer, Bryan Hamby, who thought we might be looking to build a new home.  Damn, I should have taken a picture.  ("See" you back here on December 9th!)  

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014...  If our economy is in the doldrums, how can so many people afford smart phones?  I looked at a chart broken down according to age groups, and I was shocked to find that 95% of adults have cell phones compared to only 80% for teenagers.  I would have bet my, my......well, I would have made a substantial wager and LOST.  I don't know anyone without a cell phone.  Do you?  I know they are all not smart phones.  In today's market, all cell phones support texting and the taking of pictures.  I am proud to say that everyone in my family has entered the smart phone era....even my youngest finally purchased one after much encouragement from friends who would laugh at her flip phone.  Okay, now that I am passed the preliminaries, I want to talk about all my senior friends that have made the transition from no cell phone to smart phones.  It is tough to teach old folks new stuff, but I guess everyone - even seniors - want to keep up with the youth of today.  Most of the senior citizens that I know have the peculiar habit of turning off their cell phones unless they are using them.  I am not in that category.  Mine is on 24/7.  A few of my senior friends are having trouble with the abbreviations used in texting.  Some they have down pat; others they forget.  A few of my senior friends have made up their own, and this makes it impossible to understand what they are trying to communicate.  My friend in Tennessee once sent me FWIW.  I could not figure it out.  So I had to ask for an explanation - FORGOT WHERE I WAS.  Naturally, his wife doesn't allow him to drive anymore.  He once used DWI, which to him meant DRIVING WHILE INCONTINENT.  That too is a good reason for him not to drive since they only have one car.  A relative in Florida uses WTF to mean WHAT'S TODAY'S FISH.  I don't want to bore you, but I have one more that a friend in Pennsylvania uses.  His favorite one is LWO, which translates to LAWENCE WELK IS ON.  One more from my friend in Tennessee - see if you can decipher it.  WIWYA!  Good luck. 
(Next Rambling will be posted on November 25th)

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