Discussions of life's problems, laughs and other assorted musings

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rainbow in Paradise

Jimmy Buffett sang the praises of a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" but I was recently treated to something not only less fattening but much more satisfying. Twice in three days my husband and I were delighted by the sight of a gorgeous rainbow following a late afternoon thunderstorm. Although not visible in this picture, there was a second rainbow trying to form just above this one.
Gazing at something as perfectly formed as this rainbow tends to bring back a remnant of the wonder children feel when something special appears in front of their eyes. Even as an adult you have wonder how the colors appear, not to mention the perfectly shaped arc. And there's the age -old question of what lies at the end of the rainbow. There may or may not be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow but there is joy in Mother Nature's paintings .

Monday, July 30, 2007

Out of Hibernation

It has always amazed me how quickly time can pass without you being aware of it even though you're right there all the time. Granted you're asleep a third of the time (well, that depends on the person I guess) and you can't possibly be held responsible for what happens during your beauty rest. So that leaves the other two thirds you have to account for. Since it's been over a year since I posted anything I must offer the only explanation I can think of to excuse the prolonged lapse......Well, um,......darned if I know where all the time went! I swear, one minute it was June 2006 and when I woke up it was almost August 2007!! Sounds like Rip Van Winkle syndrome to me ( gotta Google that...I'm sure there's a study to back me up).
Looking back though I do have some relatively clear memories of time snapshots that I'm pretty sure I wasn't dreaming. Take our retirement for instance. I'm sure I was wide awake at my office retirement party receiving gifts like coupon holders and Find A Word books. Otherwise there's no plausible explanation for having these items in my possession, short of an elf with a warped sense of humor. And I have pictures of my husband and I with our cake at our official retirement party and my eyes were wide open. Digital enhancement aside, it pretty powerful evidence I was there. And the most vivid proof is we're now living quite contentedly in our Florida home amidst palm trees and sunshine. Well, there ya go, that's the explanation of my lost time. Apparently my brain retired when I did and I've just been too busy to notice!!
Hopefully when all the cobwebs have cleared, my creative juices will flow once again and the lapses will become less frequent, although I've been told that I'm becoming a prime candidate for the dreaded senior moments.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Shoemaker's Children Revisited

Back in the beginning of my blogging days, I told the story of the shoemaker's children having no shoes as it related to my being married to a plumber and (big surprise) having unresolved plumbing issues. Last Sunday afternoon my husband and I spent a pleasant afternoon aboard the boat of another plumber and his wife and lo and behold, she made the shoemaker analogy within the first half hour!!
Apparently Carol had decided to water the new plants she had had put in and needed to attach the Miracle Grow dispenser to her hose to water and nourish the young plants. Well, her husband, the plumber, had years before put in what we call a commercial hose bib which basically means it has no knob to turn and requires a special key to turn on and off. So Carol attempts to squeeze the hose together long enough to remove the existing nozzle and attach the new dispenser. Needless to say, she wound up soaked head to toe and called her husband who was already aboard the boat to share in her misery. After he walked her through how to turn the water off, he offered to come home and help but was told quite firmly not to bother.
When Doug & I arrived at the boat, Ed couldn't wait to fill us in on his wife's mishap, laughing all the while, yet admitting he was in for it when she arrived. And right he was....it took all of five minutes for Carol to bring up this damned hose bib and the trouble it caused. It seems she had been after Ed for years to change it to the regular kind anyone can turn off and on.........this is where the shoemaker came in. I was immediately sympathetic as I have had a non-functioning toilet for three weeks now. Despite threats and promises, I sit here still with a toilet that only flushes when you reach into the tank (YUCK) and manually lift the flushing mechanism. Granted the water in the tank is clean, but still.....nasty!!
As Carol and I lamented the lack of attention to our plumbing needs, we finally came to the conclusion that the only solution was for us to call the other's husband's company for service and give the guys the bill!! Now where did I put the shoemaker's...I mean Ed's number??

Monday, April 03, 2006

What a Year!!

So far, 2006 has not been a banner year for my family and friends. My long hiatus from this blog has been due to an unfortunate and sad series of events. The first week of January was fresh with the promise of a good year but took a bad turn on January 9th when our good friend Jack went into respiratory arrest while on a plane to Ft. Lauderdale. He and his close friend Jan were on their way to a cruise ship for a well-deserved week long vacation only to find themselves in a situation fit for a horror movie.
Imagine being trapped thousands of miles in the air, unable to breathe, nowhere close to medical intervention! Both Jack and Jan knew Jack had been fighting what he thought was a cold and despite Jan's willingness to postpone the trip, Jack insisted they go as planned. As Jan explained to me later, Jack didn't seem to be completely with it from the moment he woke up. Always early for everything, he was running late to pick Jan up and despite several phone calls, he couldn't quite get it in gear. When he finally arrived at Jan's he realized he had forgotten to put his teeth in and had to rush back home to retrieve them while Jan took her own car to BWI to get them checked in and upgraded to first class. Jack was a very large man in height and weight and we often referred to him as our gentle giant or our teddybear. Minutes before the flight was due to leave, Jack arrived huffing and puffing and assuring Jan he was just fine, he settled into his seat.
Two hours into the flight, the nightmare began. Jack began gasping for breath and turning gray as Jan, panic-stricken summoned the flight attendant who immediately got on the intercom to ask for any medical help that might be available. Luckily there were two doctors and an EMT onboard and they sprang into action with oxygen and sugar and anything else that might help. Since Jack was diabetic, the initial thought was the problem could be related to his medication or lack of food that morning. As this team worked to get air into Jack's lungs, the flight was diverted to Orlando where an ambulance would be waiting to take him to the nearest hospital.
As it happened, I was at our house in Palm Harbor taking a little time off when I got a call from my husband telling me about Jack. I couldn't imagine why Jack and Jan were in Orlando much less how Jack had wound up in ICU!! After several hurried calls, I made contact with Jan who needless to say was beside herself with fear and worry. Jack had been rushed into ICU and put on a ventilator as the doctors began running tests and determined that Jack had pneumonia and would require at least a weeklong stay at the hospital. Feeling that Jan could use the support, I drove to Orlando the next morning and we checked into a nearby Best Western thinking it would only be a week until Jack could go home. Boy were we all wrong!!
Our darling Jack was laying there in ICU looking much like Gulliver as the Lilliputians tied him down. My heart sank at the sight of this gentle giant lying helpless, tied to machines and tubes, struggling to breathe. The constant symphony of beeps and bells monitoring his every bodily function did nothing to alleviate the feeling that washed over me..... a certainty that Jack would not recover. Hoping beyond hope that this premonition was wrong, Jan and I embarked on a long voyage of ups and downs, tears and laughter, hope and dismay.
Spending hours every day in ICU, we got to know some of the most wonderful and caring people I've ever met. Those nurses were not only dedicated and professional, they cared about their patients and the families too. We became part of the ICU family and they embraced us, giving us hugs and words of encouragement all the while tending to Jack as if he were a close friend of theirs. Nurses would stop in to check on Jack even if they weren't taking care of him that day. He would respond to them with quirky smiles and cocked eyebrows, flirting as best he could and enjoying the parade of cute nurses at his bedside. Even in sickness, Jack was the jolly man we had always known.
As the days dragged into weeks, tests revealed the worst. Jack had lung cancer and the outlook was grim at best. His only hope was to clear up the pneumonia and get off the respirator so cancer treatment could begin before the cancer spread. Jan and I talked long into the night trying to decide what Jack would want us to do. He was adamant about not being kept alive by machines but we knew he would want to be home near his friends if it was truly his time. Jack had lost all of his family over the years but all of us that loved him made him a member of our own families. And so we promised Jack that we would find a way to get him home as soon as possible. Despite the great medical care Jack was getting, it became increasingly clear that he would not be able to breathe without the ventilator. Jack gave it a gallant try but his lungs just couldn't keep up.
With heavy hearts we put our efforts into taking Jack home. Word spread to the wonderful Annapolis High School Class of 1962 of which Jack, Jan and my husband Doug were members. I had become an honorary member over the years while helping with reunions and fielding emails about various members of the class. Knowing our only option of transporting Jack was an air ambulance that would cost $8600. and was not covered by insurance, Doug set up a fund and donations from all of Jack's friends poured in along with cards, emails and phone calls. Jack always said he didn't have many friends...he couldn't have been more wrong!! After a month in Orlando's ICU, Jack was flown home accompanied by Jan and taken to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where just two weeks later, he died surrounded by his closest "family of friends".
In keeping with Jack's wishes, there was no viewing or public ceremony or wake. But since Jack had always loved parties we knew he wouldn't mind if we celebrated his life. We arranged a Celebration at our house attended by somewhere between 50 and 60 people (I lost count) along with his Vice Principal who attended every event the Class of 62 ever had. As we watched videos, looked at pictures and told stories, we toasted this loving man and I'm pretty sure I heard his booming laughter join in.
We'll miss you Teddybear.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

As I sat here this morning listening to Christmas carols and wrapping the last of the presents, it occured to me that I had been neglecting my blog and the special people who read it. It is a great feeling to know that there are some out there who look forward to my musings and unique take on everyday events whether my words bring laughter or tears. Although my postings have slipped the last few months, I hope to soon recover from my bout of "muchtoobusyitis" and once again regale you all with my tales and goofy insights.
This has been an eventful year for our family, some happy, some sad and some a combination of both. In the midst of our hectic schedules, we tend to lose track of how quickly the days are passing and how precious time and our loved ones are. We often forget to express our feelings towards our family and friends except on special occasions thinking they surely know how we feel about them.....besides we have plenty of time to tell them later. Knowing I am definitely guilty of this fault, there is only one thing to do..........
And in the coming year I wish for all of us Happiness, Peace and a Circle of Loving Family and Friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"The worms crawl in..."

Remember that gross kids' song "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out"? Well, what would happen if the Mind Worms crawled in and none crawled out? Your brain will turn to mush!! Let's face it, even the brain has a finite amount of space to store whatever is sent into it before it yells "Enough already!!", bolts the door and takes a vacation!!
I've often kiddingly said a mind is a terrible thing to lose and I firmly believe if mine isn't lost, it's definitely been misplaced temporarily. No, I haven't finally fallen off the edge of what passes for sanity, I've just pushed so much "stuff" into my poor little brain that's it's taken a hike until I do a little bit of housekeeping. So grab a broom guys and let's see what we can toss out!!
First, let's sweep the cobwebs away from the door and check out the file room.... oops, bad idea. Looks like everything has just been dumped into a heap in the middle of the room...guess the file clerk got a bit overwhelmed. This is gonna be a lot tougher than I thought!! So...what happened you might ask...well, it's a long story.
It all started when my husband Doug and I bought our house in Florida. Spending long quiet weekends in a warm, sunny place, sipping cocktails on the lanai, letting our minds drift became our favorite form of entertainment. Being away from the constant jangling of telephones, the squawking of two-way radios and the shrill sounds of customer complaints was pure heaven. Although having your own business has it's rewards, it also has it's drawbacks...plus it follows you everywhere like a child hanging onto your leg when you try to get away for a while. And so the dream began. It sounded so simple....first you sell the business, then you sell the house and then you pack up your most important treasures and head for a life of fun and sun in Florida.....simple right? Sure buddy...keep dreaming!!
Making the decision has been the easiest part of this whole process we call retirement. Months later...and many tears later when we broke the news to our three kids....we're still stuck at step one!! Coming to an agreement with the potential new owners was a bit of a trying experience but we managed to hash out the details and, celebrating the sucess of our negotiations, we proceeded on. Here's where things get more involved than any of us could have thought. Taking our two pages of plain English, the buyers made an appointment with their lawyer who managed to turn this simple transaction into forty-seven pages of ancient Sandskrit! Take it from me, by the time you wade through all the whereases, heinafters, aforementioneds and heretofors, you've forgotten what the heck you were trying to agree to in the first place much less which part of the party you're supposed to be!! And don't think that rereading it a few times will make it any clearer. Just when you think you finally understand what's being said, the words rearrange themselves and you wind up sitting there scratching your head in pure astonishment that any part of this might be considered the English we all grew up with. Maybe I should have taken "Legalease" as a second language instead of French.
So as I lay in bed the other night trying to form some coherent thought to quiet my frenzied mind, I heard my brain yell "Enough already!!" and over the barely audible sound of a bolt locking, the Mind Worms began singing... "Whereas the aformentioned worms (hereinafter referred to as the Party of the first part)crawl in.....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Some Excuse

Some excuse is better than none as the old saying goes and my excuse is simply lack of time and what can only pass as a hopefully temporary writer's block. I've been meaning to sit down and post an article but it seems that the minute I touch the keyboard, my mind either starts going a zillion miles an hour or turns into a vacumn. I'm going to try to make a great effort to put my thoughts into some coherent order and fill up the vacumn with something other than empty air.
Life gets busy and time gets away from all of us sometimes. There are several rather large events taking place these days so I tend to get scattered quite easily. As things fall into place, I'm sure I shall regain what passes as my sanity and resume a somewhat more realiable pattern of creativity.
One of the most important events recently has been the safe return of my "Marine Son-in-Law" from Iraq. It's been a long seven months of worry and breath-holding as we waited for this day. Although a carpenter by trade, J.P. is a Marine in his heart and soul and gives his all to his country whenever asked. We all know how difficult it was for him to leave his wife and kids and travel thousands of miles from home to help the war on terror, yet he knew that his family had the constant support of family and friends to help them through.
It was amazing to me to watch some of the changes J.P. went through during his time away. The biggest surprise was his development in the field of electronics. I'm not saying he was a total novice with computers when he left but watching the videos he sent on special occassions and reading his emails, I gotta say I'm impressed!! Of course we'll all expect the same level of performance now that he's home so he better keep sharpening his skills. Actually, maybe he could give my husband a few pointers, but that's a whole different subject.
Seriously though, I want J.P. to know how proud we all are of him and how much he was missed. It gives great comfort to know we have men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us and help ensure our freedom. We grieve for the ones who have been lost as much as we celebrate the ones fortunate enough to return, and as long as any of our fellow Americans are away at war, we will keep them in our hearts and prayers.
Welcome home J.P. We love you.

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