Tuesday, May 27, 2014

home sweet home


Like most people who are approaching the downhill side of their lives, or who have already gone over that edge, we are faced with some hard decisions
about how to live and where to live the remainder of our lives. We have lived in our house for over forty years so contemplating moving away from here is painful enough. Actually making such a move would be grossly traumatic. We have , over the years completely remodeled, redecorated (several times), and nursed this edifice through a number of potentially catastrophic ordeals. We have poured our hearts and souls into making this house our home. I should say, OUR HOME.
So it has been an unsettling experience we've inflicted on ourselves over the past couple weeks. We somehow came to the realization that as we get older the house and yard that we worked so hard on keeps getting bigger and harder to handle. So we did what thousands of others in our position have done. We seriously started looking for a new place to live that would be easier to live in (no stairs to climb to get to the bedroom), easier to clean (read "smaller") with a yard that would be easier to maintain (grass cutting, hedge trimming, shrub pruning, leaf raking and blowing, snow shoveling the walkways and snowblowing the long and wide driveway.) In other words we have been looking at our conviction that condominiums as a viable substitute for our beloved house.
The more we look, the more condos we see, the stronger our conviction that condos are overpriced apartments for which the gods of housing exact a monthly tribute on top of the bank's usurious mortgage rates. No condo we have seen has anywhere near the feeling of being HOME. They offer less than we now have for twice the money we are able to afford or are willing to pay. We have come to the conclusion that we are better off staying here and hiring the help we will eventually need to maintain our home. Rather than throwing money away on a place we could never call home, we have decided to stay put where we are happy and content.

No more losing sleep agonizing over the decision to sell and move or to stay where we belong. I have been breathing easier since we came to our senses and abandoned the ludicrous condo idea. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Who said technology is supposed to make our lives better? It does, I guess, when it works. Getting it to work is the wrench in the cogs of the machine. Most new devices in the parade of new products that never ends, do have a positive effect on our lives when they act as advertised.  But anytime you hear that all you have to do is plug it in and you're ready to go, it's a lie meant to get you hooked. 

This isn't meant to be a diatribe against all the electronic devices that we've come to depend on. I,m as guilty as anyone when it comes to lusting after the next big thing. I'm writing this on my new iPad while listening to Dylan on my new smart TV that's streaming music from Pandora. But how I got to this point is an example of the "plug it in and go" bogus claim that prevails in the electronic marketplace. 

We recently bought a new TV that the salesman said would practically jump up and hang itself on the wall, plug itself in, start the movie playing, and add extra butter to the popcorn.  We were naive enough to believe him.  Of course the installation process was far more complicated than that because we didn't have all the latest software in our surround sound system or in our cable connection.  See, they don't tell you at the store that you will need to update the software on everything electronic within the four county metro area in order to use your new TV. So what should have been relatively simple took nearly 6 hours of trial and error with cables and wires and connecters until we stumbled on to the right combination of cables and wires and connecters.  


From now on when I have to replace some electronic device, I will know not to believe all the outrageous claims of simplicity that spew from the lying con men who prey on the innocent consumers who only want to buy something that won't take a degree in electrical engineering to hook up, that won't require a platoon of geeks tripping over each other's pocket protectors to find the correct slot that fits the cable that was supposed to be in the bag of cables but is missing for some unknown reason, and eventually works as advertised.  

Saturday, May 03, 2014

a losing battle

I was reminded today of how much I've lost to a formidable foe.  After ten years of battle with Parkinsons Disease, it is readily apparent that I certainly haven't won many of the skirmishes in our war.  If you count just maintaining position as a mark in the "win" column, then I'm not too far behind.  But it seems that the position I'm maintaining is getting weaker and weaker.

Today my son called on me for help with tearing down an old wood playset in his backyard in preparation for a new one due to be installed in a week or two. I spent the better part of twenty years designing and building decks, so being a carpenter outside working with my tools building something is as natural to me as is a mechanic working inside his garage using his tools to rebuild carburator.  I was in my element, happily sawing and hammering.  My son was there alongside me working. What more could I want?

How about some stamina?  Some energy? Some more muscle control?  Those are the things that over the past ten years I've lost and continue to lose more of everyday.  These days, if I can realize three to four hours of productive time a day in my workshop, I consider that a winning day in the PD war.  Unfortunately those days are getting more and more difficult to find. I keep falling farther and farther behind.  Maybe I'll get more of the motivation that kept me working today. Helping my son and working along side of him is a strong push in the right direction.