Thursday, December 30, 2010

My 2011 Contract

Following is the 2011 Contract sent to my by a friend. I've emailed it to a few of you but this morning woke up thinking, "I think everyone needs this."

After serious & cautious consideration... your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2011

It was a very hard decision to make... So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2011

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy

May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words ..............

May 2011 be the best year of your life!!!

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Wind Matches My Disposition

It's 18 degrees here with a northwest wind that gusts from 12-28 mph. The skies are gray and thus far there is no snow falling. Fine with me.

I ventured outside twice yesterday. Once to burn paper garbage - which will be illegal in this state come April 1, 2011 - and once for the mail.

This is my third day without a pain pill due to the multiple reactions I had to it. That in itself, does not bode well for my disposition. I took a Tylenol PM last night hoping it would knock me out for awhile. No luck. At 3 a.m. I took a super hot shower and drank some decaf tea thinking that would help. No luck again.

Sweetie's been up since 8:30 which is late for him. He left me one cup of coffee so I made another pot. I'm ignoring the cheesecake in the fridge. Devouring more sweets isn't advisable given my blood sugar level. And come to think of it, that is likely affecting my mood too.

So what to do?

How about I take my own advice and blow these thoughts out of my mind. When I get stuck on thinking about the past it robs me of the present. Can't change one bit of yesterday and certainly don't want to mess with tomorrow as it's not here yet.

So today I'll practice looking around me at all I DO have. And immediately I know that it is ENOUGH.

So to hell with ungrateful, spiteful, alienating, self-absorbed, mis-informed, gossiping, jealous and vengeful people. Karma will visit them sooner or later.

There, I feel better already.

And thank you to Bellen for your comment. What you describe is so familiar and sad. And thank you to you know who, who always finds a ray of sunshine or a good laugh in everything I mention.

And now, it's time to savor this quiet, comfy household and my dear Sweetie and our precious Lady and Kitty Kitty. They are enough.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Consoling Myself

Made cherry cheesecake tonight. Decided what the heck may as well indulge. Seeing as I indulged and sent each of my five grand kids a Christmas card with money. Have not received a thing from any of them - though I forgive the five year old cause of his age. There is no excuse for the two 11-year-old or the 18 and 19 year old.

The last time I shall be so foolish.

No wonder we don't bother with decorating and "celebrating" Christmas as most people do.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Plans

We don't celebrate Christmas with the typical fanfare. In fact, we don't decorate. We don't put up a tree; We don't exchange gifts.

We usually make a nice meal and spend time reflecting on the year and telling one another what we're thankful for.

This year we're skipping the big meal because we just had ham a week ago. We'll fix a big dinner on New Year's Day.

We did, however, stimulate the local economy today. Bought more new windows, new kitchen sink and faucets, above the counter microwave with vent, new toilet and filled the gas tank.

Good think our holiday baking is done because Sweetie came home and tore the kitchen apart.

I thought I'd come home and spend a day curled up reading & sipping tea. NOT. I've hauled old stuff outside; burned paper garbage and done a load of laundry after unloading everything on the counters and fixing lunch.

Strange, I thought this was a holiday.

Oh well, we thankful. Even if we're working on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Have a safe and blessed Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One Strange Day!

I woke up to pounding this morning. Took me a bit to realize it was someone at the front door - which we don't use. Grabbed my robe, tripped over the cat, and opened the door. No one there. No tracks. No car.

Okay, I told myself I must've been dreaming.

Got back in bed, adjusted my pillows and heard the pounding again.

To heck with the robe. This time I warned the cat to get out of my way and flung the door open again. NOTHING THERE!

I didn't need a morning like this. Had a restless night.

By this time I can't go back to bed and must have been bitching to boot 'cause now Sweetie is standing in the bedroom doorway asking, "What's all the racket?"

I tell him some one's been pounding on the door so he opens the door. "How you figure that when there aren't any tracks in the snow?" he asks.

"I know what I heard," I said as I turned my head while pouring water into the coffee pot. When my feet got wet I realized what I'd done.

A few expletives later I had the mess picked up and the coffee brewing. Sweetie says, "I sure hope you're not gonna be a grouch all day."

Well, say certain things to me at certain times and you'll get a response. Sometimes it's a silent response - like I ain't cooking a thing today. I ain't cleaning either. I'm gonna sit and read all day. so there.

Four chapters into the first book he says, "Aren't you gonna fix yourself some breakfast?" I brought the cookie container to my chair side table.

Then he asks if I'm gonna get dressed cause he's going to town; meaning he wants me to come with him. "No, I'm staying home today."

So he leaves for an hour and comes home with more plumbing supplies. "I'll go outside and turn the water back on; you tell me if there's any leaks," he says half an hour later. At least that's what he said he told me. All I heard was "I'll go outside."

He comes storming in the house and says, "Can't you hear me?" as he walks toward our bathroom. A few curses later he returns and drops a wet bath rug on my lap.

Good thing I had turned the book face down when he started swearing or it would have been a mess.

And that was just the beginning of our day.

Some days get better. Some get worse. Some get so strange that all you can do is laugh.

Our feral cat, Slick, who comes inside nearly every day for a drink and some head scratching, got in a fight with Kitty Kitty. I picked him up and planted his sassy butt on the deck and closed the door. Reached down to get the dog's dish and Slick was drinking from it.

I thought Slick had scooted back in without me seeing him. So, out the door he goes again and I shut the door again while looking down, just to be sure he's out and I'm in.

I turn around, take three steps toward my chair and Slick is jumping onto my ottoman. I kid you not.

"What the H**?"

About this time, Sweetie comes out of the bathroom and says, "Guess you're right about cats being beneath the garden tub." He had the tub access door open and Slick was using it as his RE-entry point.

Once the plumbing job was complete, Slick was placed outside again and hasn't been seen since.

Then, about supper time I'm cleaning the cat litter box and hear a car motor. Looked up to see who had arrived and noticed our car tail lights were on & exhaust was steaming out the tailpipe.

"What the H**" again.

We hand our car keys in the laundry room. There were all there. I stepped into the kitchen to see if Sweetie had gone out the front door or had another remote starter in his hand. He was asleep in his recliner.

So I go outside and check the car. It was obvious there was no one in it but by then I was ready to believe in ghosts. I go back in to wake Sweetie up.

"You're not gonna believe this but the car started itself," I say.

"So turn it off," he says.

"But it started itself without a remote," I tell him. No he's pissed that I woke him up. To add fuel to the fire I say, "Either get up and figure out what's going on or I'll go for a ride and we'll see when I come home."

So he goes to the car, puts his foot on the brake, comes inside and says, "I think you should have been doing something around here today. You're really weird when you sit all day!"


And then he asks what's for dinner. I showed him the cookie container.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nearly $300 Later

Appointment was for noon. Saw the nurse at 1 p.m. and the doctor 55 minutes later. We agreed on the need for CBC, CA125, liver enzyme test and urine sample.

Discovered I have a severe bladder infection. Three medications were prescribed: two for the bladder, one for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. An ultrasound is ordered for next Thursday. Lab results should be back by then. She also felt I had suspicious swelling in one area and urged me to apply for Medicaid because I may be in for lots more tests.

My family history is full of cancer so she is concerned I'm following in my mother's footsteps. Hope not but what can one do other than get up the next day and deal with whatever the news is.

Liked the doctor and her staff. The clinic has a lab and a portable ultrasound outfit comes every Thursday so that's convenient.

Came home, took a nap, addressed Christmas cards and fixed hamburgers for supper. I have a writing assignment to complete as well as making spinach quiche for the writer's Christmas party.

Guess I should get busy. Have a great evening all, Treesong

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dr.'s Noon Tomorrow

So I discovered one needs an appointment at the "walk in clinic."
So I called back to the clinic at the end of our road. They had not returned my call last week, after saying the doctor would decide that day whether to take me on as a new patient. Twenty minutes ago her receptionist called back.

"Dr. has decided she'll accept you as a new patient. However, she wanted me to let you know the office call will be anywhere from $143 - $200."

I calmly asked if this was because as a new patient the office call included a complete history. "No, it all depends on how much time she spends with you."

You can bet my greenbacks I'm gonna make my request short and sweet. "I'd like a CBC and CA125 blood tests and a colonoscopy ordered."

Truth be told, I'm only going in because I fear cancer or a ruptured bowel based on my history.

Is it any wonder emergency rooms are full of patients who have no real emergency?
Is it any wonder people put off going to the doctor?

This news is certainly not calming my gut down!

Now That My Hair's Clean...

it appears to have inspired me to do or contemplate other strange things!

Once my hair dried I went in search of a jar of taco seasoning and Sweetie's "70 below boots" - in the garage! And why not? I have scoured this house top to bottom, opened every box, and looked behind, beneath and above everything. And still the taco seasoning eludes me. One whole pound of it!!!! I even had the crazy thought that I'd find it inside his boots!

After climbing over buckets and boxes and stacked of lumber and rakes and motors and crates to no avail I was ready to pitch it all, of course. So I went to town. What better way to cool my rising blood pressure than looking through other people's cast offs. Miracle of miracles I didn't find a thing. I know, hard to believe I didn't drag more stuff home. All I can figure is I had looked at so much of ours (his really) that everything I saw looked like it belonged in the same landfill as what I'd just climbed through.

So, I stopped to visit my elderly friend. She'd spent time listening to the local police scanner reporting more of her granddaughter's dysfunctional behavior. In the midst of this her daughter called twice bitching about the situation and blaming her for the whole mess. Isn't it always the previous generation's fault when people make stupid decisions?

After telling me her woes I told her of my extended shampoo. A little levity brought a smile to her face and left the craziness behind.

Later in the day I searched online recipes for "cabbage casseroles," "writing prompts," and "french country antiques." For good measure my last search was "why do I wonder."

Let's just say these searches led my down various other paths and before I knew it Sweetie had kissed me goodnight, their was one light on in the house and I was hungry again. No wonder. It was now 2:13 a.m.

Instead of sleeping in as one would expect, I was awake at 6:15 a.m. After making a pot of coffee and enjoying a blueberry yogurt I decided I'll do what I hate most. Go to the doctor. For two months I've tried to ignore something; changed my diet; taken home remedies and entered various symptoms in medical sights. About all it's done is made me anxious while the symptoms seem to increase. So, today's the day. Yuck.

Meanwhile, have a great day folks. Treesong

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Wet Head Full of Shampoo

Thanks to a certain man I cohabitate with, I'll be sitting here in my wing chair, with a wet head full of shampoo. Why? Because he did NOT plug the heat tape in on the water pipes.

I am severely pissed.

To further piss me off, I discovered he has used most of our stored gallons of water for the outside cats and cleaning his hands in the garage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So off to the store he goes for gallons and gallons of water and then his hind end best be beneath this place figuring out how to unthaw the pipes.

NOT a good day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shopping Again

We're still living on our preps for food and personal care products but a move always entails a need to repair/replace/renovate so a shopping we have gone.

Today it was slippers for Sweetie. Cold feet with little circulation make him a cranky fella. After three stops - the first being Goodwill - I found a size 12 fake fur lined, soled boot type slipper. The price was $20 which I knew he'd have a fit about. Which is why I suggested he stay in the car while I went in and looked. As the cashier scanned them she asked if I had any coupons or bottle return slips. Nope. Next thing I know she says, "Well, lucky you, I do. These are $4 off." Music to my ears.

Got out to our car, tapped on Sweetie's window and waved the slippers at him. Mr. Grumpy with the freezing feet, rolled the window down. I said, "open up and try these on. If you don't like them I'll return them now." First thing he says is, "How much?"

I gave him one of my looks and he dutifully removed a shoe. "Hmmm, these are kinda nice," he says. "How much?" I said $16 he said to return them. No surprise there!

I said, "Come on, we're going home" and got in the car. Sometimes a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

While at Goodwill I scored big time. Reversible twin size quilt that still had that new stiffness to it. $10.

Huge plastic bowl that had several plastic food storage containers in it. No prices. How'd that happen? I had no interest in the bowl but the containers, with their shiny, flawless surfaces, were begging to go home with me. At the checkout the gal said, "49 cents each." Fine with me as I know what they cost new.

I also bought a few long sleeved tees and a pair of flannel pj pants for me. Grand total was $3.29 because some careless soul spilled their drink on them and then walked away. Never to be put off by anything other than a dead body, I slid hangers across the rack as though nothing had happened and found what I wanted. Took all four pieces to the checkout and said, "These items shouldn't be out here, they're damaged." The gal thanked me and made like she would pitch them in the garbage. I said, "If you're going to throw them away, I'll take them." She said it wasn't really store policy but I extended my hands and said I'd hate to dumpster dive behind the store. For a second she looked shocked then said, "A woman after my own heart." I'd like to further acquaint myself with her!

Next stop was the hardware store for a part for the garden tub that Sweetie will soon immerse himself in. After a 10 minute ride home we unloaded and ate leftovers for lunch. God bless leftovers. Most things taste better the second or third time around.

While waiting to fill prescriptions at Walmart I had browsed the clothing aisles. Think sticker shock. I never pay their full price, nor their sale I so I'd have a heart attack if I ever visited Macys or some women's boutique. On the other hand, I have a weakness for certain antiques so the lottery would come in handy!

Anyway, back on track here. Being frugal is in my blood. Must have had a transfusion while asleep because I wasn't always this way. But, God am I grateful I am now!!!! And the best part is, I feel rich, wealthy and completely satisfied.

Well, time to finish my assignment for tomorrow's writing group. Have a great evening everyone. Treesong

Monday, December 6, 2010

You've Got to Be Kidding!!

A few things I've encountered this past week:

"You don't use your dryer? How do you get your clothes dry?"

"I've only got $6.50 until payday. Wanna go have breakfast?" Payday was one week away.

A woman in line at the local grocery store: "I can get more at the food pantry but I don't like what they offer." She plunked down a case of beer, five pot pies and two TV dinners and asked the cashier if she knew of a good backyard mechanic. "Gotta get my car looked at and thought maybe he'd accept a few beers until I get paid." In this world, she probably could barter beer for mechanic work.

A friend's daughter began work Wednesday after five years of unemployment. Yes, five years. By Saturday morning she talked of quitting. "If they think I'm gonna put up with other people not doing their fare share when we've all got a quota to meet, they're crazy." Welcome to the real world. There's always someone who doesn't do their fair share. Get over it.

We bought 3 cases of canned cat food and the largest bag of dry cat food we could find. As I placed the dry food in a covered trash can the neighbor asked why I was "throwing it away." When I said I was storing it, he said, "why buy so much at one time? You're a mile from a store." Because I can buy 12 times as much and have plenty on hand instead of making multiple trips.

We paid off ONE of our mortgages yesterday. Great feeling. Friend asked what we did to celebrate, "Bought three new windows and a carpet remnant for this place," I said. "But what did you do to celebrate?" she asked again. "THAT is what I did." She shook her head and said, "Well I would have gone shopping and out to dinner and maybe a movie." Probably. Which explains why we paid a mortgage off and she and her hubby are usually broke.

But the best thing I heard all week was this: "I am so glad you know how to squeeze a quarter our of a nickel." (from Sweetie)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Little More Progress

Today we rearranged the shed - which we use as the main entrance as it has one step at the entry and one step up into the main living area. Nothing like organizing a room to clear out clutter, find missing items and give yourself more space.

Sweetie hung a 12' metal rod across one end of the room - in front of the metal shelves I'd previously used for food storage - where it does double duty for indoor clothes drying and coat rack. Instead of stringing a clothesline anywhere I hang clothes, etc. on hangers. Our food storage is stashed in a pantry and closet and buckets fill the end of a hall that leads to the spare bedroom. This room has two entries so I just closed the door and made use of the space.

Yesterday we also tore out the broom closet and the cabinets above the fridge. The Hoosier cabinet and fridge swapped places with the kitchen table and chairs which gave us a smaller kitchen work triangle. In the spring we'll install windows above the kitchen table and re-insulate the exterior wall for about 20 feet. In older mobile homes the insulation tends to slide down the wall defeating its original purpose.

Tomorrow I pick up my elderly friend for her first look at our home's interior. She's asked me to take her to her husband's grave and the grocery too; something I feel honored to do.

I also re-buried my cat, Mita, who died last November 2nd. Guess I must have unconsciously been thinking ahead when I wrapped her in a towel, then placed her in a box and wrapped it in plastic. When I dug her up it was a simple matter of placing that box in another box and wrapping it in plastic. A few people think it's strange that I'd move my cat but she was my most faithful companion for 13 years so I couldn't leave her behind. Call me crazy. I don't care.

Up north, where we used to live, they got 15 inches of snow yesterday. Don't miss it but I know it will soon be here too. Oh well, we'll be warm inside with plenty to eat and the company of Lady and Kitty Kitty and great friends who call nearly every day.

Well, time for bed. My eyes are blurring I've read so long this evening. Take care, Treesong

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Being Thankful

On this day, my favorite of all holidays, I find myself being thankful for simple things: an extra quilt on the bed on a cold night; a long, leisurely shower and an over sized towel to wrap myself in; a morning call from my elderly friend to say, "I'm thankful you're close by now"; our new home, of course; for waking up this morning able to walk without falling; and remembering to turn the oven on and off at the appropriate times.

After today, who will remember, in the midst of their distractions and committments, to be thankful? Will they be thankful for a roof over their heads and heat and lights and food to eat? Will they be thankful for friends and family and a store close by? Will they be thankful for an income and a few bucks in their wallets? Will they be thankful for the medication they need or their doctor or pharmacy? Will they be thankful they are even alive?

Each year it seems we "celebrate" Thanksgiving and then leave it's message by the wayside. The day is barely half over and someone complainss the stuffing had too much sage, the pies were runny and the kids were rambunctious. Another comments on her sister-in-law's outfit and the weight she had gained.

We're such vain, judgmental, opinionated people. And all to keep up the empty, incessant chatter. Silence is a killer your know.

Try to steer the conversation toward humor, a new recipe, the volunteering you did earlier or God forbid, God himself, and you're treated like a leper.

Or, better yet, mention mention Sarah Palin and you've got everyone's attention. Like the young woman on Facebook who wished Palin would visit Grand Rapids. When asked why, she said, "Because she's going to be the best looking presidential candidate we've ever had and want to see her."

Talk about comments!

I had to remind myself that on Facebook, everyone seems to talk about anything to anyone. It's as though NOT saying something means you're alone or ignored, God forbid.

I for one, am thankful I've learned it's often best not to comment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A while back I mentioned we would be living off our preps for the foreseeable future. It's been an interesting, telling time. A great opportunity to get creative, discover what "food fatigue" really means and discover the holes in your preps.

First, creativity. Who feels like being creative in the kitchen when their body aches in places they didn't know existed and they haven't the strength to lift a cast iron fry pan or operate a manual can opener? Not me.

Second, "Food Fatigue" is real and happened quicker than expected. We agree it's due to moving between two locations three times in about 4 weeks. This means either stocking cookware, dishes, etc. for two locations or living on sandwiches and canned fruit. We opted for the latter. Yesterday I made a huge pan of lasagna. You'd have thought we hadn't eaten in a month. We ate it three times yesterday. I didn't have the energy nor inclination to fix a vegetable. To heck with a balanced meal, I thought. We have plenty of variety in our preps but don't stock MRE type food. Even if we did the microwave was buried in a box someplace though they could have been made in a saucepan.

As for holes in our preps. Aren't there always holes in preps? Isn't it human nature to want what you don't have? My elderly friend asked me to pick up Bob Evans Chipped Beef & Gravy before coming to visit her. She's without a car, ill and has a daughter who only stops by to drop her garbage off. This was my first visit to a grocery in I don't know when. Seemed like a dream, the bright lights and shelves stocked to the hilt. When I looked at the prices it seemed like a nightmare. So, yes, we've kept our vow not to buy anything for ourselves but I left the store thinking of homemade donuts (this place has a great bakery), Cornish hens, chipped beef on toast, bananas, ice cream (any flavor at this point would be welcome) and how great a romaine salad would be. Sometime next month we'll go shopping. It will be like Christmas; in fact it may be Christmas.

In other news, I had the scare of my life yesterday. Sweetie began choking while sitting in his recliner eating a cheese sandwich. A few seconds later his lips curled outward and his face reddened. Maybe 10 seconds had passed when his eyes rolled back in his head and his entire body jerked. I grabbed the phone next to his chair to call 911 just as our phone rang. I was my elderly friend who said she'd do it and then call friends who live nearby.

I kept repeating Sweetie's name and suddenly he started choking again. The adrenaline rushed through my body as I yanked him up (my back feels like it today) and got behind him with my arms around him. Not an easy task while he was shaking and gagging! Next thing I knew our friends arrived; her husband grabbed Sweetie and the piece of sandwich flew out.

My elderly friend called again and said 911 was on their way. Sweetie - the infamous stubborn Irishman that he is - repeatedly yelled, "Call those suckers off." He was enraged and swearing and grabbed the phone. Our friends were in shock as he continued to yell and told the 911 dispatcher there was no need for help!!!!

After we ALL calmed down I told my friends, "Well, he's back to normal." They left soon afterward, just dumbfounded. Three hours later he said, "Your know, I lost you for awhile."

Truthfully, part of me wanted to hit him but all I could do was cry. His blood pressure remained low all day and he has no intention of seeing a doctor. Near as we figure, his airway was blocked long enough for him to loose consciousness and possibly even skip a few heartbeats until miraculously it started again.

Now you're probably wondering why I mention him choking after the paragraphs about living on our preps? Because I still cry when I think of how close I came to losing him - stubbornness and all.

Running 'Cause I Can't Fly: "A Full Body Scan of American Corruption"

Thanks to Coyote Prime for posting this.

And, as I mentioned in a comment at SixBears' blog, I'd like to see the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, the Clintons and all other law enforcement and government morons subject themselves to a body search/scan. How about cross country flights with several layovers/change overs for say, one month. Wonder how long it would take for them to revolt?

Running 'Cause I Can't Fly: "A Full Body Scan of American Corruption": "'A Full Body Scan of American Corruption'by Gonzalo Lira 'In the United States, if a policeman stops you for a traffic violation, and y..."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Have Lost Track But Not Given Up

One day has blurred into the next this past week. Today we're trying to revive ourselves in time for the next trip.

This would be entirely unnecessary if I weren't living with a hoarder.

His overloaded pickup, pulling an equally overloaded enclosed 12' U-Haul trailer, broke down last night 45 miles west of the Mackinaw Bridge. Sparks flew from his rear passenger side as the truck & trailer swerved from side side to side. A driver of the the lane NEXT to him must have stained his pants before he drove into the ditch then out again just as Sweetie missed him by inches. A line of vehicles braked and slowed in both direction but did not stop after both our vehicles stopped.

About 10 minutes later an elderly man driving a new Dodge pickup offered his assistance. His cell phone got reception; mine did not. He lived nearby and knew who to call for a tow. He even walked the ditches by flashlight with us looking for the tire and wheel. Once the wrecker arrived he offered to hook the U-Haul up to his truck and pull it to the nearby garage. The wheel, tire, brakes and who know what else are gone or ruined. The brakes had just been replaced a few days earlier in preparation for the trip.

An hour later we were headed south in the car towing the fully loaded golf cart trailer.

In case you're confused: Sweetie's 1997 F-150 with 268,000 miles was fully loaded beyond the roof top & pulling the 12' U-Haul - also loaded. I was following in the 1996 Crown Vic towing the golf cart trailer. On it were a 250 gallon fuel oil tank, a cement mixer, and snow blower and cultivator attachments for his John Deere riding mower.

In my humble opinion, the only thing of worth moving were the four painting in my car, the things on the golf cart trailer, the antique twin bed and three tool boxes in the U-Haul.

Believe me, the rest was useless junk. Buckets and buckets of obscure items, many broken or missing parts. Not one bit of it has been touched since being moved to the Upper Peninsula 18 months ago.

This move has now cost us well over $2000 when all we really needed was one trip with the 12' U-Haul and the golf cart trailer.

Tomorrow, if the truck repairs are finished, we return to the UP to pick up the truck and pay who knows what in towing and repairs. And then we begin the journey again, hoping and praying the truck and trailer make it back here in one piece.

And once he's had some rest he STILL has stuff in that pole barn as well as a boat and trailer sitting in the yard. God help us because I'm ready to scream. Not that it will do any good.

If you've ever watched Hoarders on TV you have some idea of what I'm going through.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What We've Been Missing

Since moving here life has done a 180. Yesterday was a perfect example.

I joined the library's writer's group that meets every Thursday for 3 hours. It was amazing to walk into a room of strangers and be welcome. People gathered round to introduce themselves and ask about my writing experience, the books I was currently reading and why I'd chosen to move to this area. I was so stunned I teared up.

It seems my friend Deb has been talking me up. "She's written for newspapers and she's always listened to me talk about my writing. You'll all really like her."

To put this in context, I've known Deb since I first moved to this area 30 years ago and she was recommended as a babysitter. She was married with three kids and didn't work outside the home. I was single, had three kids and worked for GM.

We're about as different from one another as two women could get. She left school in the 9th grade; I have 3.5 years of college. She's been in an abusive marriage for 35 years; I would have killed him. She's the youngest of four; I'm the oldest of four. She has very little self confidence; mine could be tempered at times. But somehow we've been supportive of one another.

Deb joined the writing group because she realized she needed something to do now that her children had all left the nest. "I felt like I didn't have a mind left," she said. "I thought writing would help me think."

She cannot spell or punctuate but she keeps trying. She has so much enthusiasm for writing that she sent a story to a vanity publisher. Of course, it was published. She was so proud of being an author that she sent me a copy. I had to restrain myself from taking a red pen to every page.

Everyone at the writing group has read her book and they've all realized the same thing I have. It's a terrible piece of work. Despite that, it has given her a new sense of purpose, pride and determination that no amount of counseling, crying, praying or demanding has ever done.

During our meeting the group's leader gave us a series of writing exercises which we then read to the group. Members responses were amazing. Laughter, jokes and respectful critiques filled the air.

My email was added to the member list. As of this morning I've heard from all but two of the group.

I am still amazed that we get phone calls from live people other than telemarketers.

When we needed to pick up truck parts Deb gave me a ride. When we needed help unloading the U-Haul, help was here. We've been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner - the first holiday invite we've had in two years, maybe more.

While we're up north for the last load, someone will be here taking care of our cat and watching the house.

When we go grocery shopping or stop at the gas station people stop and talk. The librarian knew who I was when I asked for a library card. She even offered a list of books she thought I'd be interested in based on what Deb had told her.

I could go on and on about how welcome we feel. It's such a contrast to being ignored and left out and judged on our past, our location, our lifestyle, our ages and whatever other determinations had been made about us.

And something else I just remembered. At the writing group someone mentioned a wringer washer in her story. Deb laughed and said I could identify with that because I had one. The most elder of the writers group looked up and said, "Have you ever made your own laundry soap?" When I said, "Yes and I still do," no one laughed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fix and Repair

We're not wealthy and didn't buy a turn key place with the latest bells and whistles. So, we're making repairs dnd discovering more repairs are needed.

It sucks. The more this country sinks into the abysmal economic hole, the more company we'll have in the fix and repair department. Like I told a friend, "Thank God we know how to live on ingenuity, duct tape, rice and beans and recycled parts."

And though I bitch about Sweetie's mess in the pole barn, he has found a spare propane regulator, a sufficient supply of screws, bolts and caulking and brake pads for the truck.

But, the day will come when we'll have to spend money. I dread it.

Meanwhile my good friend and her GM retiree hubby blissfully spend his retirement check. In the past week they've gassed up the 2007 Dodge truck three times; eaten out every day including taking us to lunch yesterday after having breakfast with his mother three hours earlier. Mark my word, later this month we'll hear mumblings about not having money. Within their extended family one will borrow from another until next payday arrives.

Yet they're the sweetest people I know. Even without money at the end of the month they'll help someone move, babysit their child or offer a place to stay temporarily.

Meanwhile, we'll work toward getting this place in shape and find amusement in our dog and cat; enjoy TV, internet and library books(our entertainment budget) and have coffee with friends.

As for the challenges here, most revolve around a ton of deferred maintenance. Whenever there was a leaky faucet or window, it was eventually repaired but the damage done by the leak was left as is. Consequently we have three flooring soft spots, paneling to replace beneath four windows and several pieces of moulding to replace.

Every time we turn around something else is missing a part or it's so filthy it's stopped working. As Sweetie said this morning, "I'm surprised this place isn't roach infested." That made my skin crawl.

The ironic thing is shelves were full of cleaners, disposable razors and air fresheners - all coated in dust, spider webs and grease. I shudder to think of their toxicity, but I set off two bug bombs inside and two beneath the place when we were last here.

I spent an entire hour scrubbing ONE ceiling beam in the living room. If I wipe a damp cloth across it I still have yellow/gray residue on it!!!

This is a 1982 Schult the previous owner bought in 1984. I doubt the walls were ever scrubbed. The original carpet is in both bedrooms and hall. Newer carpet is in the living room but is heavily stained. We'll pull it all up in January.

The propane company was just here for an inspection. When they pulled out the range I about upchucked. No need for a mop or broom beneath it. Sweetie is there now with a carpet razor cutting the vinyl flooring away. Not even going to bother trying to clean the mess.

I've taken a slew of pictures but am having trouble with my camera once again. Suffice to say I'm scrubbing more today and making spaghetti sauce.

One day at a time we'll make progress. Later this week we return to the UP to load up and winterize the place. It can't happen soon enough.

So much more to talk about but I have work to do! Have a pleasant day, Treesong

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Journey, the Realizations

We departed the U.P. at 4:20 p.m. only to realize we had a flat tire on the U-Haul passenger side rear OUTSIDE tire. We were still in the driveway!!! After trying to fill the tire with a portable compressor Sweetie drove 16 miles to a station with air. Once he filled the tire he pulled forward so my truck tire could be checked. No sooner had he jumped out of the U-Haul and we heard a loud pop. The U-Haul tire deflated again.

Unbelievably, the tire never went completely flat; only down about two inches. It was Sunday evening and nightfall was approaching, so we continued on to the nearest U-Haul outlet that could possibly help us the next morning - another 32 miles away.

To shorten the story, we contacted U-Haul on my cell which kept disconnecting (poor coverage) and once again Sweetie's English/Irish temper got the best of him. Off he drove while I'm standing outside my truck talking to U-Haul foe the third time. I told the operator never mind, he's taken off and soon followed his disappearing tail lights.

We stopped every 50-100 miles checking the U-Haul tire, which never deflated further. So, the truck made the journey with a slight tilt toward the ditch but everything inside arrived in one piece!!!

My man has determination if nothing else.

WE arrived here exactly 13 hours later (Monday morning) exhausted but grateful. A short time later we had the bed unloaded and blankets piled high upon it. The pilot on the furnace had gone out and we weren't able to relight it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Three hours later I got up, made coffee and toast and Sweetie slept another five hours. I unloaded what I could from both trucks and rounded up our planned help. That in itself got interesting. Within four days of having arranged the help only one person showed up. Two others had the flu and one had got a much needed job. But, still running on sheer determination, we unloaded the truck and worked feverishly to fix a few things before we ran out of steam Wednesday afternoon.

I can't recall when I have ached so much or when three Aleve during a 24-hour period had NOT touched the pain. Sweetie slept most of Thursday and has since paced himself and taken better care of himself. Having satellite TV hooked up made all the difference because he and the remote and his recliner have become one again!

Today I felt clear headed enough to hook up the DSL and answer emails.

I'll post more later. In the meantime we are soooooooooooooooooooo grateful to be here. The realizations of what we've been missing, how fortunate we are and how awesome God is have flooded over us like waves from a refreshing sea.

Thanks to all of you for your comments. Have a restful Sunday. Treesong

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Moving Forward

Yesterday we loaded all the furniture minus our bed in the U-HAUL. The bed will be the last thing loaded & the first thing removed so we have something to crash on.

Sweetie went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke at 1:30 a.m. He puttered in the pole barn awhile then came in & drank coffee. I stayed up until 11:30 p.m. and got up at 6 a.m. The garbage has been hauled to the community dumpster and a few crates have been loaded but we need daylight to do much else.

Our aim is to leave here today. Time will tell as Sweetie just admitted to spitting up blood for the past two days.

I've arranged for more help once we arrive down state. In the meantime we appreciate everyone's comments and prayers. Treesong

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Procastinator's Curse

Sweetie and I have many similarities but also a glaring opposite trait; namely he's a procrastinator who takes his time to "think things through." I, on the other hand, act quickly, decisively and work a project through to its conclusion. If it has to be done, I getter done. Then it's finished!!!

The sheer thought of moving has immobilized him due to his "mess" in the pole barn. This consists of buckets, crates, boxes, tool chests, and piles of more stuff than I care to mention. And hardly any of it's been touched since being unloaded from the U-Haul 18 months ago!!!

So, a 26' truck has sat in the drive since 1 p.m. today - still empty. Our pickup, with sides built up around the bed, has been partially loaded.

Everything in the house is packed except the TV and computer, minimal toiletries and the coffee pot. We're living on soup, sandwiches, and oatmeal cooked in the microwave in heavy paper bowls.

We've had six calls from potential buyers of the Blazer/plow but either they haven't shown up, haven't had the money or low balled the asking price.

As of today, he plans to load the pickup; place it on the car hauler and have me drive the car down state. The Case tractor goes in the U-Haul with garage junk around it and furniture to the back of the U-Haul.

That's the plan. When it will come to fruition is any one's guess. We have until 1 p.m. Tuesday to return it - in Ionia.

WHEN this move is completed all of his stuff will land in yet another pole barn, where fortunately I can't see it from any window of the home.

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement. Thanks for letting me vent.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Living on Preps

I always knew there'd come a time when we lived totally on our preps. That time has arrived.

Based on our balance sheet and the likelihood that our land contract will be foreclosed on, we're belt tightening now.

Canned meats, soups, vegetables and fruits will be supplemented with dried pastas and beans and instant potato flakes. I have sauces, flavorings, gravy mixes and baking mix and pancake mix too and even powdered egg, butter, powdered milk, canned juices and 12 cans of coffee.

There have been times in my life when I ate nothing but pasta and soup for weeks on end. Thankfully, wise prepping will give us better fare.

So, from here on out, no grocery shopping. Our fridge top freezer here has 3# of hamburger, a beef roast, 30# of blueberries, some frozen veggies and a package of chicken breasts. Gonna clean up the freezer meat first instead of packing it in a cooler for the trip south. The blueberries will be transported on ice for use in pies, muffins and bread through the winter. Even if they thaw some, blueberries re-freeze well.

Our cleaning, personal care and medical supplies are in good shape too. The thing I'll miss is my caffeine free diet coke. But, sacrifice we will.

Occassionally I'll give updates as to how our diets are faring.

Well, it's late and I've been yawning long enough. Later, Treesong

Developments Since 10/14/10

The Buyer's deposit was delayed until Monday thanks to electronic snafus.

The people in our family - who've had little to do with us or my father - threw a tizzy over the nerve of us moving and "abandoning" my Dad.

We packed our truck full to the side walls Sweetie had built and hitched the golf cart on its trailer behind it. The motor home starter gave out 50 miles later at a gas station and we developed a fuel line leak to boot.

We had no other mishaps until the golf cart windshield flew off near the Lewiston exit. About 23 miles later a State Police car had stopped a car on the right shoulder so traffic merged to the left lane. Sweetie did likewise, promptly pulling in front of an 18-wheeler traveling at 70 mph while he did 55 mph. Four cars behind the 18 wheeler braked hard headed for the right hand lane where I was. I closed my eyes and said, "Lord, if this is my time, fine."

When I opened my eyes, the four cars where stopped in the left and right lanes; Sweetie was back in the right lane oblivious to it all, and the 18 wheeler was way ahead of the whole mess. I, on the other hand, was about to run into the back of a pick up as I had not braked at all!!!

At the first St. Johns exit, north of Lansing, I drove 25 mph on a side street in front of Sweetie in the motor home. Within 300 feet, the trailer detached from the ball hitch, a chain broke too and the tongue slid beneath the truck. I pulled over, thankful that we weren't traveling 55-65 mph on the highway.

We arrived at the new place just before night fall and couldn't find the key that had been hidden. A few phone calls and half an hour later we were inside. While waiting for entry Sweetie walked around the buildings and yard. His only remark was, "it's too close to the road."

We spent four days working on the place, unpacked and shared three meals with friends. It was wonderful to be in an area where people were looking forward to seeing us. By the second day we knew we'd made the right choice. Sweetie liked the road, the field, the neighbors and the convenience of an 16 mile round trip to Tractor Supply or Menards versus the 240 mile round trip we used to travel.

We arrived here last night and the family dramas have continued since. My sister-in-law had taken my father for a tour of an assisted living facility. He like the place, turned in his application and deposit and picked up a change of address form from the post office.

While my SIL was gone to a neighbor's to pick up some homemade jam, my ex showed up at her home and completely undid the previous arrangements. When she came home she found my ex sitting at her kitchen table with three empty beers. He said he "had taken care of everything" for Dad and he would be moving in with my daughter's boyfriend. The fireworks soon flew and the ex soon left.

My father said nothing at all but left the house while she was in the shower the next morning. He went to my daughter's home, called my middle sister and asked her to come out here with himto check on the cats. While here, they loaded most of his stuff in her truck & delivered it to the boyfriend's.

If you're dizzy from reading all this, imagine how we feel.

We've wisely chosen to remain neutral. In a matter of weeks they'll all realize what they've signed up for and their complaints will begin. In the meantime my father will relish all the attention and have lots of people to play against one another.

His niece and nephews downstate are amazed and shocked by all that has transpired. I've assured them that it's all "normal" in this family. The SIL and we feel fortunate that we'll be some distance away. She was going to remain here this winter but may return to Idaho. We'll be 527 miles south.

Frankly, when all is said and done, that's exactly what our "family" wants. Once again, what at first seems like upheaval and disappointment will be a blessing.

We've also received another past due tax notice on the land contract downstate. Tomorrow begins another round of phone calls, legal maneuvering and appointments. Perhaps by Tuesday we'll return to packing and loading a truck and enclosed trailer.

The adventure continues!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just As I Open My Mouth...

Within two hours of my last post the buyer's lawyer finally called. The Purchase Agreement is signed tomorrow and the deposit is wired to our account.

Meanwhile I talked with my Dad's niece downstate and told her the news. She was excited as my Dad is the only elderly family she and her brothers have in Michigan. Dad's sister (her mom) lives in Florida. She too thought it would be good for all of us to have a change of scenery, etc.

The owner of the place we're buying downstate called awhile ago. Just wanted to be sure we're still interested. She's carrying a lot on her shoulders with her upcoming wedding, cleaning out her old home, her fiance's health (he's awaiting a heart transplant) and starting a new part time job.

I assured her we were more than ready to move & told her what we'd already packed. That in itself encouraged her.

And just imagine, Sweetie hasn't seen the place yet!!! Not in person anyway.

In a few days I'll post pictures of our vehicles and the sparse interior areas here.

Thanks all for your comments, Treesong

In Limbo

We're in that familiar place - Limbo.

I, being the proactive, getter done kind of gal, have packed the motor home to the ceiling, keeping in mind even weight distribution. It is our personal U-Haul and I'm crossing my fingers that it survives the 500+ mile trip.

Sweetie, being the laid back, reflective guy that he is, watches the progress and asks, "Did you remember to...?" And, "What about....?"

So today is role reversal time.

I'll read and sip coffee and wonder when he's going to remove himself from his all mighty recliner.

Occasionally, I'll comment on the weather and ask if he'll need help with anything.

Meanwhile, my father's been told of "the move" as simply and delicately as possible. Too much said leads to confusion and endless questions. We've told him he's free to remain in the area or go with us. To our surprise, we said he'd go with us.

However, and it's a huge however, my brother's in town until Sunday. A last minute trip to get dental, vision, hearing and a physical before jetting off again delights my Dad who meets his only son for breakfast this morning. Sunday brother flies to Iraq for work as a "gun carrier" according to his long suffering wife.

His wife and I have communicated via email (still ignoring her husband's directive) and she passed the word to my brother that we're moving. Brother made a few wisecracks and quickly went next door to my next youngest sister's. We all await the result of that meeting. We expect a pronouncement from them as to what Dad is to do. Brother is his executor and has Power of Attorney but otherwise limited contact with our aging father. Sister has called Dad about five times in 10 months and visited here three times. She's always got a smile on her face while here but goes home, calls my brother and mentions the tiniest concerns. The last was that Dad's car should be parked so that he doesn't have to turn around to leave the drive. And maybe he should eat more fresh fruit instead of canned.

Brother was fired from his last assignment in Jordan but, after two rejections elsewhere, managed to secure a 2-3 month stint in Iraq. His previous three stints there were at higher pay and position but, like his wife says, the AAA is catching up with him - attitude, arrogance and alcohol.

Dad doesn't want to sever the relationship with his cat so either he moves into a an apartment that allows pets; with another relative (can't imagine who) or with us. Right now he feels he and his cat should remain with familiar people. Personally, I think a change of scenery and closer to amenities and his downstate relatives and friends might be the best medicine.

Alas, as I'm always saying, time will tell.

We also await the signed Purchase Agreement and deposit from the buyer here and have issues to address with the land contract people downstate.

For sure, life is not dull!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Response to What's 4 Sale

If any one's interested in the items we have for sale, keep in mind we're located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in northern Houghton County.

For those of you who've asked, the prices are as follows:

Golf Cart, 92 Yamaha w/canopy and split window, ball hitch & 3 sided box ($1500).

570 Case Diesel w/back blade, bucket, 3 pt. hitch, live PTO & new Country Line 5' brush hog ($5000).

1978 Chevy Blazer with Western plow. 350 V8. Missing rear bumper. Has great tires plus a spare. Used only for plowing driveway. ($900)

1981 Dodge Rockwood 2300. Sleeps 4-6. Awning and Onan generator. Propane 4-burner stove & oven. Propane/Electric refrigerator. Full bath w/tub/shower. Upholstery and windows/screens in excellent shape. ($3000).

Contact us via this blog if seriously interested.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's All For Sale

Sweetie has selling fever. He's had me listing things on Craigslist half the day - between three loads of laundry, vacuuming, cooking, bookkeeping, and packing a few boxes while Dad was walking.

I know what's motivating him: the chance to wheel and deal and visit farm implement stores, junkyards, scrap metal shops and auctions. As long as he keeps his wheeling/dealing on a profit making trend we'll both be happy.

So here's a sampling of what he's put up for sale. We've given first dibs to the guy whose buying this place.

Thanks all for your comments. Talk to ya'll later, Treesong

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Week of Changes

As I posted earlier, the winds of change have been blowing and I knew something was in the works.

While visiting downstate, I followed my desire to return to a familiar area by lookin at real estate. I looked in a tiny village, then considered the nearby town of Ionia.

I also toured my elderly friend's home and knew instantly this was NOT the place. I talked to Sweetie that evening and told him of looking at my friend's home. He said, "I need a pole barn and five acres to drive my tractor around."

This was my first clue that he just might be changing his mind. Hmmm.

After four days of looking I decided to wander country roads. I'd told myself I'd turn down any road that had a real estate sign.

The very first road had NO signs but I turned down it anyway. Sixth-tenths of a mile later I came upon a for sale by owner sign. It said: "Mobile home, pole barn and five acres."

I sat there and cried for a couple minutes, gathered my senses and called the owner's number. The woman was bound for Chicago and would return in two days. Once I toured the place I was amazed at how God had heard my prayers. Both bedrooms are larger than what we have now and a bedroom and bath flank each end of the home. The layout is like none I've ever seen and there's more storage that I've ever had. The parcel is a long 5 acres with 168 feet of road frontage bordered by a corn field to the north and forest to the south. A two-track leads up a small incline beyond some woods by the pole barn and to a field where deer gather. Following that road I thought to myself, "this could be my after dinner walk." Twas a nice feeling.

The attached mud room will come in handy when Sweetie comes in from the pole barn where he will be able to drive his tractor inside thanks to the full-height sliding door. A deck off the living room looks out at perennial flowers, lilac bushes, raspberries and blackberries. Aside from removing the kitchen wall paper and rebuilding the deck, there is nothing to do.

We drive downstate next week so Sweetie can see the place. He's drooled over the pictures and spent the last few days "thinking about what to pack in the U-haul."

We emailed the man who wanted to buy the three acres and he's signing a Purchase Agreement and sending us a deposit next week for the whole place. We've also received an offer on the property downstate that we sold on a land contract.

If that sells we'll be out of debt and have a tidy nest egg.

Our only remaining challenge is what to do about Dad. We've decided not to say anything until all the ink has dried and the results of his CAT scan are in.

I pray my father will realize he needs to live in town where he's surrounded by my sisters and my children. He craves attention and action and we're either tired or too sedate at this point. I think we're all in need of a change.

If things have worked out thus far the rest will too.

Sweetie accepts the fact that his health no longer permits working on constant remodeling/repair projects. Living within a mile of a small grocery, gas station, library and medical clinic would be advantageous and best of all we have wonderful neighbors. The road is a mile long and includes three retired couples, one Black Angus farm next door, a 30-ish couple with two kids, and a 48 year old single man who winters in Florida.

So now The View From Treesong's will have a difference perspective!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Winds of Change

They're blowing. I can feel it in my soul.

Of course, life is never static, but I've lived long enough to recognize the signs. I have my private meditation/prayer time every day and "unexpected" things are happening.

My elderly friend near Ionia, MI. called and confessed she thinks her time to leave this world is approaching. She really needs new legs or a wheelchair and like she says, "the first option is too expensive and the second is too depressing." She then said she feels depressed - a startling admission from a woman who's been the backbone of her family.

It so happens my father wants to make another trip to Mt. Pleasant to spend a week with his professor friend. I'm dropping him off in about a week and continuing on to Ionia. I called my friend to confirm my visit and she said, "you'll never believe this but my old place is up for sale."

She's right. I thought her current home was for sale and she'd decided to move in with a family member or go to the nursing home. I hate the thought of either and so does she.

Now she's dreaming of her old place and half-jokingly tried to talk us into buying it. "And if you can't move here right away maybe I could stay there until you get here."

Strange how my night time dreams at least partially come true. Sweetie, who's adverse to moving downstate but will move to Florida, was actually interested in reviewing the realtor's photos online. He asked a few questions and has been quiet ever since - a sign his gray matter is processing a few things.

In the meantime, we continue to work on things here and plan for the trip. Sweetie thus far says he's not joining us - unless he has a funeral to attend or a fat check to pick up from the sale of his mom's home.

So, like everything else in life, time will tell.

Today, I'm cleaning closets, donating to Goodwill and picking up the supplies for International Coastal Cleanup Day. I have a four mile stretch of beach to clean between now and October 2. Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday we celebrated Sweetie's 67th birthday - which I have been celebrating for awhile now as I've been saying for months that he's 67! Ah well, he's taken it in stride.

Dad took us to dinner at our favorite place and two of us enjoyed eating beef! Prime rib for Sweetie, rib eye for me and fish for Dad. Later we stopped at the grocery and picked up a pecan pie and strawberry cheesecake. Sweetie had stayed up til 5 a.m. yesterday so he slept in until 12:30 p.m. as did Dad. I got plenty of things done while they slept and occasionally checked to see if they were still breathing!

This morning I fixed the guys fried ham and eggs, toast, juice and coffee and now Dad has gone back to bed. Sweetie's playing Freecell and thinking, I'm sure. Once again the land contract payment is overdue and once again we're both holding our breath and hoping and praying it will arrive soon. If the buyers can manage to make payments for nine more years then we're free of the place downstate. If not, well, I really don't want to imagine that scenario. Like our banker here says: "Receiving payments from them, even if they're late, is better than them walking away. Look at them as though they're renters..."

Would be a great thing to do if we had several thousand in reserve.

In other news my Dad was the victim of a bank scam. We would never have known about it if I hadn't questioned him for the third time about a "book they're publishing" that he wanted to send a photo in to. Two days ago he said, "the nice man who called me already had my bank account number and wanted to record what he told me and my answers so it was okay to take money out."

This "nice man" called him about two weeks ago while we were either outside or not at home. The strange thing is he reached my Dad by calling OUR phone number. Few people know our number or that Dad's here and our phone seldom ever rings!

Two hours later a friend of his called. "We wondered if your Dad mailed his contribution to our ministry because we haven't received it," he said. By then it was too late to contact the bank but we stopped there yesterday. We surmise someone lifted his donation from our mailbox, or elsewhere in the process, then used the account info to access money. Dad's missing check has NOT been cashed but two ACH debits have gone through: the first for a small amount from one phony company; the second a large amount from another company. According to the bank, this is a common practice. The first is a "test run" and then the real damage is done.

Add to this pressure the fact that Dad gets confused and we have a real challenge on our hands. He also steadfastly refused to add my name to his account as an authorized signature because he claims my dearly beloved brother "handles everything!" My brother is his executor but is nearly always playing mercenary overseas. I emailed his long-suffering wife about the bank scam and she forwarded it to my brother. HE responded by saying I'm the one raiding Dad's account and that set off a round of fighting between the unhappily married couple.

My brother, who cheats on his wife and was fired from his assignment in Jordan, is now holed up with a "friend" over there while he tries to find an assignment in Kabul! Like his wife says, "Maybe a sniper will hit his target."

So, closer monitoring of my Dad's financial affairs is in order.

We also learned that local banks in this little corner of the world are not exempt from fraud. The bank's security person said attempts to steal account information happen daily and much of it ends up being unrecoverable. The scams happen quickly and the jerks change accounts, locations, etc. HOURLY.

Another reason to keep cash at home guarded by a loaded gun.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's Been Awhile

It's been awhile since I've posted because...

I've been way layed by another MS episode. It's passed for now but not before I've accumulated more broken dishes, a gashed elbow and some bruised arms and legs.

When I've had energy I've helped Sweetie get a few projects completed. We're about seven weeks away from our first snowfall. It seldom stays longer than a few days until the season really gets going in mid November. In the meantime we've had low temps, high winds and lots of rain. The gravel road we live on is in sore need of a grader and a week of sunshine.

We've had some luck selling a few things along the roadside in our front yard. Sure has helped the bottom line as we've had plenty of expenses. Before one can sell land it has to be resurveyed ($250), an attorney hired ($300), and two new deeds prepared. Add insurance and plates due on two vehicles because of Sweetie's birthday and the piggy bank is looking sickly.

Dad's taking us out to dinner Tuesday and on the way home we're picking up another load of firewood. Despite any claims of the Farmer's Almanac, people here are prepping for a hard winter. We still need to get the pole barn roof extended over the firewood stacked along its west wall. Though we have most of the materials for this project we need some lumber and clear skies. Three times today we started outside to work and all three times we never got beyond the front steps.

I did a large grocery/prep restocking yesterday. As usual prices had increased: 80 cents more for butter, 98 cents more for a dozen eggs, 18 cent increase for ground check (didn't buy any). Chicken or pork in a zillion different varieties will be on the menu for the next few months. $3.89 for round steak or $4.49 for beef roast just ain't happening in this house.

May have some great pictures to post next week - if the weather clears. Have a great week everyone. Treesong

Saturday, August 28, 2010

And the Saga Continues

Potential buyer of the 3.1 acres arrived Thursday. We spent a few hours talking around the kitchen table and then he walked over the land again. He stopped to introduced himself to Jack A--'s wife who told him they're "real sticklers about property lines" and don't feel our fence is in the right area. When the potential buyer stopped by later to tell us of his visit he also asked if we were aware of how much stuff the jerk had moved back onto our land. Yesterday he fired up the Case with the brush hog attached and headed through the woods. Aside fromt the noise, when he stopped within inches of their encroaching outbuilding, he had their attention. The wife came running outside with her video camera and her hubby dashed out the door buckling his belt and asked "what's up?"

As usual Sweetie extended his handshake, smiled and said, "Just here to let you know this is my land and you need to move your stuff - just like I told you before."

Jack A-- once again claimed he "didn't think it's your land." And once again, like a broken record, Sweetie repeated our standard response: "I have a survey, a deed, title insurance, a mortgage, property insurance and an investment in fence and posts. I don't mess with land that's not mine!"

About this time I walked up and the wife repositioned herself so she could record all of us. I waved and smiled at the camera and then turned my back. She repositioned herself again. I smiled and waved again and turned sideways. Sweetie smiled and later, at home, told me he had waved and smiled at the camera too. "Gosh, we're so much alike!" I said.

But back to the conversation. We talked about him not liking the fence; us not liking the mess on our land; his son and grandson telling us we have no business on the access roads or the beach; and the fact that we're not backing down. At one point Sweetie mentioned the potential buyer's plans which include posting the property and dealing with his encroachment. That brought a shadow to Jack A--'s face but he bit his lip and didn't say anything.

The potential buyer he told us he has deep pockets; has hired a real estate attorney and won't be messing around with B.S. from the Jack A--.

The conversation ended by Jack A-- saying, "Well, do what you want. It's your land but I don't like it."

Translation: I'm ending the conversation but I'll continue to be a nuisance.

Tonight we've invited the potential buyer to dinner. And while sitting here in the early morning quiet another thought occurred to me. I think another visit to the courthouse is in order before we proceed further. Just to be sure of something...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

If you've read this blog for any length of time you know the headaches our neighbors have been.

Now, if all goes well, we will sell 3 acres to our neighbor to the north. He's a like-minded individual who has already bought 24 metal No Trespassing signs and attached them to plywood. When he's here next weekend he intends to post the southern boundary - that area around Jack A-- who's decorated the fence once again with dozens of deer antlers, & Harley and Budweiser banners. As if that's not enough he's attached an old fuel can to the western corner post & uses it for target practice. When we were offered $2,000 an acre for the land we decided why not let the land be someone elses problem?

We still retain nine acres and once the transaction's complete we'll have paid our mortgage down by $6,000 too. We couldn't be happier.

Then, Sweetie, who's waxing nestolgic for Florida said, "I wonder if he'd like to buy the whole place."

Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out & About

Here's some photos of our addition and Midnight, a 6 year-old male we inherited from my youngest granddaughter. Her Dad's bunking at my daughter's while rehabbing his house and his children are only here on weekends so now Midnight has full time attention.

Today we're out and about to pick up used 1x2's from my son's remodeling project, pay auto insurance and pick up a few groceries.

Another cool breezy day here. Thermometer is inching towards 50, it's raining and the winds are a brisk 30mph. Signs of fall are everywhere. Maples turning color and ferns about 50% brown. In a way I'm looking forward to cooler weather and color season. Sure is a lot more pleasant taking my daily walk in 50-60 degree temps and no humidity!

Well, time to scoot. Sweetie's got the truck idling. Have a great day, Treesong

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Aside from the jack ass neighbor, here's a sampling of what we've faced in the past two weeks:

Broken starter on the Case tractor; flat/slashed tires on the golf cart (prolly some one's reminder that "this is not a country club); leaking sprayer at the kitchen sink replaced with a spare that also leaked; new brakes on the truck and rear of the motor home; 48 degrees here this morn so turned the furnace on - no heat, blows cold air; the well pump sounds like a garbage disposal - Sweetie thinks a bearing is going.

And finally, the land contract buyers on the place downstate are delinquent in the property taxes. The finance company sent us a notice to pay up in 30 days or the total loan amount is due ($18,000).

Remarkably, we have not bitched, whined, cried or shot anyone - yet. In fact, yesterday when we waved at the neighbors they turned around and walked the other way.

Went to a metaphysical fair only to say goodbye to a friend who was selling salt lamps there. A woman approached me and said she had a message for me: "You're climbing the valley and the sun is coming over the horizon."

And so life goes. Treesong

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Simple Pleasures

The humidity here makes me want to stay in the water all day or stretch out on the sofa with the AC on high. Either option soon bores me so yesterday I took a walk to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: rock hounding.

The picture above shows the copper specimens I picked up along our gravel road. After the road grader has been by is the best time to find copper. I't looks different than the other pieces of crushed rock; often has a tourquoise patina and is noticeably heavier.

Another favorite pastime is blueberry picking. I picked three pounds yesterday and gave most of it to friends and family. Last year I froze more than 40 pounds; this year I've froze half that. In February, when the wind is howling and the temps are reading 10 degrees there's nothing better than a fresh baked blueberry pie and a strong cup of coffee.

Some maples have begun to color; the ferns are already turning brown and the blueberry bushes are dying off earlier than last year - all signs that we'll have an early winter. High temps and humidity have warmed Lake Superior which translates to heavier snow fall. Personally, I hope for 400 inches or more! A real record breaker would test our preps and perhaps wake up a few sheeple - or send them south. The less population here the better. Trying to re-create a Traverse City, Ludington or Grand Haven here is insane. I'll have none of it. This peninsula isn't on the way to anywhere and has no expressways after the St. Ignace-Sault Ste. Marie corridor.

I sometimes dream of a huge snowstorm that leaves us housebound for at least two weeks. Of course, in the dream we fare well because we've so well stocked. And wouldn't you know as soon as I write that last sentence I think: "Oh, oh, I forgot to buy chocolate bars and cocoa."

Anyway, being a couple homebody retirees means we don't have to commute. And that, my friends, is the best part of living the life we have. Our time is our own.

Have a great week, Treesong

Further Entertainment

Thanks all for your comments. MamaBear please send me a private message with your email.

Last night we drove down the road the jackass behind us claims as his driveway. Sweetie told someone standing nearby that he was glad to hear the guy was staying the winter. "Will be one more person around to keep ALL of this private road open to ALL of the adjacent landowners," says Sweetie! They guy coughed up his coffee and we waved goodbye. The jack ass neighbor didn't hear a word because he had a bandana over his mouth and a paint sprayer going full blast on the plow truck he just bought.

We promised to stop by and introduce ourselves to the millionaire lady who owns the beachfront here so that was our next stop. Our timing couldn't have been better! Her so-called caretaker (who tried to run us off our land & told her we were posting HER land; and swerved toward Dad and I while walking on the road) was just leaving. Poor guy looked like he pooped his pants as we met in her doorway. We smiled, said hello and he scurried away. Across the street two of the loudest troublemakers were coming out the door and they too looked like they needed to change their pants. I looked at Sweetie and said, "I'll bet the neighborhood will be a buzzing tonight!"

The millionaire lady was friendly, gracious and invited us to come by again. None of us mentioned the local jerks. We heard from another source that they've all whined to her about us so we figured enough had been said to demonstrate their character.

I was reminded yesterday of two things: attitude is altitude and "love thine enemies." Well, I can say it helps alleviate stress if we smile and wave to certain people. As for loving them, No. But sometimes acting as though we do produces the same results. Twice today we've both bit our lips. When they can't get a response they push harder. Again, we bite our lips.

Like Sweetie said, "Until they either damage our property, assault us or try to stop us from completing the fence (attaching to both ends of the encroached building) we won't respond." According to him, when we're out there finishing the fence & installing the gate if any thing's said we'll respond with the same thing our lawyer said, "shut up or hire a lawyer."

Saturday, August 7, 2010


The jack ass who removed his crap from behind his 34 foot long outbuilding has now moved some of it back!! He's also stacked next to the woodpile he's been splitting - thus blocking the access road between his lot and our property. We hold a recorded easement to the back section of our land via this road and he knows it. But, as usual, if us "big shot city slickers" are gonna tell him he has to change his ways he's gonna reach into his bag of tricks and try another one. Typical behavior.

Tonight, while parked on the beach much to the chagrin of his son and their drunken friends, we learned that jackass has decided to stay here the winter. He's worried about what us city slickers will do next. I take that to mean we got him scared.

And so, next week we visit the lawyer to discuss our next move.

In the meantime, we've taken to smiling and waving every time we encounter him or his other moron family members. Disturbs the hell out of them.

Naturally, his son complained to one neighbor about this. Wise neighbor asked the son, "what's your problem?"

Not hard to figure out the answer to that. Like I told Sweetie, if we laugh more about their insanity maybe we'll feel less stress and they'll look more like the fools they are as they struggle to comprehend what the hell's going on.

If nothing else, they're cheap entertainment!

Maybe I'll snap some pictures tomorrow for your viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It Pays to Do Your Homework!!!

After listening to certain neighbors tell us we have no right to use the "shared access" waterfront here - and saying we don't own the four lots we do own within the private plat - I decided to do a little homework.

Imagine my surprise when I paid for copies of six deeds and not a one has deeded "shared access"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We all own property in the "unrecorded plat" which states that all lot owners have "shared waterfront access."

ONLY six lots within the plat have DEEDED access. After that point, the original owner who developed this plat decided not to include "deeded shared access."

And wouldn't you know that the people who are NOT a problem in this neighborhood - except for one - have the deeded access????

So, as usual, we have ACCURATE information to respond with the next time one of the morons opens their mouth.

If the jerks hadn't attempted to intimidate my youngest grand kids (ages 5 and 10) while we were at the beach Sunday I probably wouldn't have gone to the courthouse.

That trip also yielded interesting info regarding this plat so I'll eventually copy every deed in the plat.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Play Time

Today we took off in our motor home for a seven hour hiatus from all the work and stress and problems at home.

Did us good.

Second picture is at the Tobacco River where Sweetie tried his luck in the river and Lake Superior. Didn't catch a thing but enjoyed the down time. Our dog Lady basked in the riverbank and followed her master everywhere.

I packed a simple lunch of tuna sandwiches and coleslaw and we breathed in fresh air, got a little sun and talked about some things best discussed away from Dad.

After a couple hours at the Tobacco we drove to Thayer's Lake and took a two track trail to the only shoreline access on the lake. Had the whole place to ourselves. What a treat. Sweetie caught two small perch and snagged a few weeds. One snag was stubborn and he had to wade into the lake to get his line free. AFTER emerging from the lake we realized it would have be wiser to remove his sweatpants as he stepped down into a sink hole. Soooooo...he spent the afternoon in his undershorts while the sweats dried in on a limb. Can you believe Mrs. Preparedness had not brought him a change of clothes? Since doing laundry from our last day trip I had NOT restocked his clothes!!! Oh well.

Enjoy the pictures and have a great day. Treesong

Friday, July 23, 2010

The View From Here

This photo was taken awhile ago on Lake Superior. Reminds me of what we all need to do - Live Free.

It's been awhile since I've felt like posting anything. Between doctor appointments, remodeling the bathroom and picking blueberries the hours have slipped by.

Sweetie's son left here after a 10 day visit - about 8 days beyond his welcome. I'm still airing out the motor home after cleaning the fridge and vacuuming. He ran out of beer two days before he left and was too lazy to drive to town to buy more. Mooching off the neighbors got him one drink and a surly attitude. By day five I resorted to serving grilled cheese or tuna sandwiches and canned soup for supper. Why waste good food on a man who sits at the table while saying nothing and leaves his body odor behind without so much as a thank you?

Despite doctor's orders Sweetie has worked on the bathroom and told the plumber he could "take care of" a few jobs himself. Naturally, they remain undone.

Instead of blowing a gasket I turned my attention to picking blueberries. Today I picked 6# before my back gave out. If I can tolerate bugs, humidity and backaches I should harvest 50# within the next few weeks. Last year blueberries were still blooming here the first week of October. I think this season will be shorter as I've already found leafless plants.

Mayberry has a post about "Starving the Monkey" which coincides with my general attitude of late. To be blunt: piss on the government, the nitwit neighbors and the navel gazers. My focus is on me and my household. Despite the health challenges we'll tough it out and "getter done." This winter when the north winds blow I'll throw another log on the fire, make a pot of chili or stew and gaze at all the provisions we've stockpiled.

What happens with the Gosslins, the Koreans or Iran, the Red Wings, Wall Street, Ford or General Motors, or the crooks at BP won't distract me from living free of insanity.

Basically, there are too many crooks, sheeple and politicians hell bent on ruining the world for me to battle. Better to starve them of my money, time and attention. If enough of us did that they'd cease to exist but I have no illusions of that happening. Insulating myself and disconnecting from the rat race at least gives me peace.

And now I'm going to bed so I can get up early to watch the sunrise over Lake Superior. Take care folks, Treesong

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Prayers Answered

The Plumber arrived today. Took time to figure best way to run lines, then made a list of all supplies needed. Says he'll return in the morning.

We have to remove the jetted tub through an opening in the hall wall & bring the walk in shower in the same way before closing up the bump out.

We had one more day to enjoy a hot shower so that was our dinner table conversation. Sweetie and I both looked at his son and said, "You can go first."

He says: "I don't have any clean clothes." Seems he's "simplified" his life to the point of owning four complete changes of clothes.

When I approach the boiling point my eyes have red circles around them and the tone of my voice changes. I speak very slowly and enunciate exactly.

"So take a shower and go nude."

Dad and Sweetie choked on their chicken and his son got incensed. Ten minutes later he returned with his toothbrush and a razor. This time the shower and towel were both wet a was his head. He has not made an appearance since.

Copper Harbor hosts the 7th Annual End 'O the Road Keweenaw Tour & Car Show. My youngest son has a car in the show and we've packed the motor home for a day long trip to the event. Dad has decided to stay here and watch the animals. We're towing the golf cart so we can ride around town and on a few trails.

It's high time we had some R&R.

Thanks all for your prayers. Supposedly next week I'll be able to post pictures. Have a great weekend, Treesong

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Plumber

No surprise there! Good thing I had a blood draw at the hospital lab and another appointment today. Kept me from being an axe murderer!

FYI: we once thought of getting married. And then we both thought of how bad we are at it. Enough said.

Rain here since 2 p.m. Supposed to last through the night. Started feeling cabin fever so I laid down awhile. When I got up 2 hours later Sweetie said, "You have a nice nap?"

Not with the TV volume on 65 so Dad can here it.

It is now nine days since Sweetie's son has had a bath. I will have to fumigate the motorhome when he leaves.

It's a wonderful life. Treesong

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tomorrow's the DAY - Supposedly

Sweetie had to be nearly at death's door before agreeing to hire a plumber to finish the bathroom! A few doctor visits, new medications and some strong words from me helped!

Tomorrow's the day the plumber shows up.


As with most hired help in these parts it's sit and wait and sit and wait some more. He was supposed to start Monday, then Tuesday. Now it's tomorrow.

Sweetie says we'll move the washer and dryer out to the deck once the guy steps through the door. The plumbing and propane will be off for two days so we've all had our showers. The new water heater and walk in shower are in the truck bed backed up to the deck. The bathroom and two lower kitchen cabinets have been packed up and boxes line the living room. Buckets are filled with water and the grill will see lots of service.

Sweetie's son arrived here Monday for a two week stay so he's bunking in the motor home. There are now three men hear who all either are invalids or act like one. Dad's worrying about all the details and called a nephew downstate today. "I think it would be better if I drove down there tomorrow." After they hung up I received an email from cousin. "He's not serious, is he?"

Of course he is! Tomorrow, if he's in the same frame of mind, he'll be hunting for his car keys 'cause he's in no shape to drive!

I have an early morning blood draw, then an appointment with the township assessor. We're selling three acres at the west end of our land - that which surrounds Harley man whose outbuilding encroaches on our land. Our new neighbor to the north - who already owns 43 acres - wants to ensure that there is no hunting or trashing. Because he's of like mind and we've decided to downsize we've agreed to the sale. The money will help pay down our mortgage and we're still left with almost nine acres.

Sweetie's son brought us a Dell laptop with Windows 7. Tomorrow he transfers files from this computer and I'll post lots of tools, the tractor, brush hog and snow blower on Craigslist. More cash to pay down debt or save for future needs.

My worse nightmare is that Sweetie will die before I collect Social Security (if it's around in 6 years). If he passes on before then I am poop up a creek because I have no steady income. This mortgage must be gone!

So that's part of what's going on around here.

Through all these stressful times I'm grateful we're preppers. It's ONE thing I don't have to worry about. Groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies are crammed in every nook and cranny.

Take care and thanks to all of you for your prayers and so forth. Treesong

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Limbo

About the only significant change here is the weather. Cooler, Thank God. Me and arthritis don't do well in high humidity. Turned the air conditioner on for two days plus three ceiling fans and a floor fan. Two miserable nights with little sleep.

On the positive side, the blueberries are going gangbusters and I pick about a quart a day. Back hurts and horse flies just find me delicious.

Sweetie's return doctor appointment is Friday. Now has prostrate problems, blocked artery in his neck and very low blood pressure. I, on the other hand, have developed high blood pressure. Can't imagine why.

The lovely brother will be home from Jordan for 30 days but spend ONE night in his home town. So Dad will not have the few day visit with him that he expected. He's keeping a stiff upper lip over this news. I, if given the chance, would kick the shit out of my sibling. Arrogant, self-centered, philandering ass.

The man who bought property next to us has expressed interest in buying some of ours that adjoins us. We'll see what develops.

Given our health issues, I doubt that we will be able to "live the dream" as we originally envisioned it.

At days end, we're still grateful we're together. Now the challenge is to make the necessary adjustments to living life differently than we wanted to/.

Thanks all of you who have emailed and left comments. I really appreciate it. TTYL, Tresong

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Still exhausted.

Managed to weed the cabbage and onions, vacuum and fix a couple meals.

Sweetie keeps getting dizzy spells. Return trip to the doctor tomorrow and hope for an answer.

Dad is becoming more needy and of course everyone is "too busy." At times it reminds me of when my kids were little and I couldn't even go to the bathroom alone. I'm not angry with him anymore for his behavior on our trip. That takes too much precious energy. The changes in him are due to a combination of things so I keep reminding myself, "This too shall pass."

We have made some other decisions that we've decided to let simmer awhile. Time has a way of taking care of things and perspectives often change so decisions have to change with the times.

Have six cords of firewood to stack so I'd best get some rest. My oldest son is coming out next week - he promises - with his plumber friend to finish the bathroom. God, I hope so.

In the meantime I'm sure thankful for our preps. Shopping for anything sounds like insanity right now.

Take care, Treesong

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Now But Exhausted

What should have been a nine hour drive last Thursday took 11 hours. Ditto for the return trip - after a side trip to Mt. Pleasant and Ionia!

Add four days at my cousins where my Dad had temper tantrums and took his frustrations out on me - because he was NOT the center of everyone's world - and I am one totally exhausted, angry woman.

Best to get a few days rest before I do anything else. Came home to Sweetie being sick, having dizzy spells and nausea so I have to drag him to the doc's tomorrow. Maybe we ought to both check into the local hospital for some R&R. God, what a crazy thought.

Talk to you all later, Treesong

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flag Raising & Other Projects

Part of the family gathered here on Father's Day and worked together to install my Dad's flagpole. Now he's able to sit in his chair and view the American, Norwegian and U.S. Coast Guard flags fluttering overhead.

We picked up two cords of firewood last night and today we're after two more. If nothing else, we'll be warm this winter.

The blueberry bushes are loaded so it looks like another bumper crop this season. Can barely wait as we're down to four quarts in the freezer.

Tomorrow I drive Dad to Lapeer, MI. to visit with his 92-year-old sister who flew in Sunday from Sarasota. In honor of his visit he shaved his beard (she hates beards!) so for the first time in 20 years he has 5 o'clock shadow every day!

My eldest son has loaned us his ATV so Sweetie can drive it through the swampy area that borders the west edge of our land. He wants to check out the timber and see what if anything has been discarded in that area. Spring or fall would have been a better time to do there would be less underbrush so I expect a bug-bitten, scratched up man to emerge.

The cabbage and onions we planted in our garden are doing well but so are the weeds. Maybe when I return from downstate Sweetie will have run the tiller between the rows. Maybe.

Well, I'm tired and have lots to do before we leave tomorrow. Have a great weekend everyone. Have no idea when we're returning as Dad says this is his last trip downstate. Treesong

Friday, June 18, 2010

BP's Hayward Demoted

"A day after he was grilled by Congress, BP chief executive Tony Hayward is being demoted. According to Britain's Sky News, BP Managing Director Bob Dudley will take over day-to-day oversight of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill while BP's chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg (he of the "small people" comment) will assume major PR duties. (Yes, you read that right — the BP executive who famously expressed his compassion for "the small people" will be tasked with enhancing the company's public image.)"

And now us "small people" are left to wonder why the major moron's still around. Oh yeah, silly me, I forgot that those at the top retain their positions longest despite their idiocy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Maybe because my father's mental state is deteriorating; maybe because my youngest granddaughter is realizing people don't live forever; maybe because another friend has died; or maybe because it just seems there's never an end to the pain and suffering and work and disappointment and stupidity of people - I find my wishing I could stop the clock. Just for a day so we could all look around us and take notice of the things that are truly important.

Enough of this "reality" TV crap and texting and accumulating "friends" on Facebook and My Space and imitating morons paraded across magazine pages and videos.

Is it my age or disability or the fact that I'm no longer a member of the rat race that leaves me wondering what all the clamor's about?

Just what the hell's wrong with walking through the woods admiring the new growth on pine trees and watching squirrels scamper through the underbrush?

And why obsess over seeing your reflection in the kitchen floor because you've bought a mop that squirts cleaner on the floor?

I'd like to wring the necks of people who think "if you're not busy you're boring." They are so "busy" they miss most of their surroundings and have panic attacks if they're without their Ipod, cell phone or antidepressant.

This weekend the summer round of parades and fireworks begins. Thousands of people will crowd the streets, litter the landscape, flaunt their cleavage and hind ends, and obssess about how much beer they have in the cooler so they can gossip while people watching. The marching bands, revevved up engines and booming car audio systems will drown out any quiet while people "have a good time." Big damn deal.

We'll stay here or wander down to a deserted beach with Dad in tow and Sunday - Father's Day - hope his family has sufficiently recovered from their hangovers. As even my non-drinking sister said, "Don't get things going too early. We'll probably be tired." Yeah, and by the time they arrive Dad said he'll be ready for his nap.

Sometimes I think the pine trees can't grow fast enough but then I'm reminded that my memory is fading too. Maybe next year I won't even care.