LISTS, LISTS, LISTS!

I have always been a big fan of lists. To-do lists, Honey-do lists, check lists, laundry lists, packing lists, grocery lists, travel lists, and so forth. It is as though there is a list for everything.

Many of us write and use them. Some go to the extreme while others just write lists that will get them through the day.

With that thought in mind I decided today I would do something different. Today I am going to write my list but instead of it being one of the afore-mentioned lists – it will be a list of things I am NOT going to do today.

I am NOT going to start my own fan club on Facebook.

I am NOT going to go sky diving without a parachute.

I am NOT going to dance in public as though I am hearing music.

I am NOT going to ask directions to the place I am already at.

I am NOT going to recognize someone I truly do not even know.

I am NOT going to sing in public.

I am NOT  going to pay my grocery bill in pennies.

I am NOT going to ask a complete stranger for directions to a certain place and then walk away in the opposite direction.

 I am NOT going to sit at the airport reading my book upside down.

I am NOT going to show up at our next Homeowners meeting wearing a wide-brimmed sombrero and when asked: “Why?” look them in the eye and say, “What do you mean?”

I am NOT going to our local supermarket – grab a handful of bananas and go to the checkout counter and ask the clerk: “Can I get a better price on these bananas?”

I am NOT going to go to McDonald’s and ask for a WHOPPER!

Whew, re-reading the above list was quite exhausting. Good news though, is that every item on this list is something that –

I AM NOT GOING TO DO!

Until next time!

Weekends

It is time for my weekly contribution to Word Press and I decided to share with you an article I wrote for our community newsletter. Hope you enjoy it!

What is it About Weekends?

Why is it that about seven o’clock every Friday night our world – as we know it – falls apart.

Think about that statement for a moment. Usually around seven or eight p.m. there is one tooth in our mouth that decides to send a message by causing thumping pains in your jaw saying: “I told you to see your dentist about me – but noooo – you thought it would be OK and now here it is eight p.m. and the dentist’s office is closed. Guess what? I am going to bother you all weekend now!” Oh, and come Monday morning the pain goes away and your mouth feels perfectly healthy once again.

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Later in the evening (still Friday) you sit down to watch your favorite television show and yup – you seen this one coming – didn’t you – the TV cable goes out. Now you must spend more of your valuable weekend time on the telephone and chances are you will either listen to a recording or you will be unable to understand the person at the other end of the phone because they are in some foreign country and not even your seven-year old could understand what it is they are trying to tell you.  Or ………there is one last option – you know – the other great response they provide you with – the response telling you to call back Monday during their weekday office hours.

Another Friday night scene is that someone in the house will come down with some mysterious malady – remember the movie “Saturday Night Fever” – well seeing that it is the beginning of the weekend – let’s nickname it “Friday Night Fever.” You know what I am talking about. It is when your temperature is not high enough for the emergency room but not normal enough for you to ignore. The number is just enough to make you think if you don’t act, you will suffer this way for the balance of your life which you are thinking could be a matter of hours.

We all know that while it is true, there are quite a few weekend services available to people – services that may cost you an arm and a leg – or if we were much younger – your first-born child, it is amazing how some things sense when you can be brought to your knees – times that we are most vulnerable.

Take bill paying for instance – some people like to pay with cash while others use checks to pay their bills. Being a check-writing person, when would I run out of checks – Friday night! Here is another thought – when we didn’t travel as we do today, we used to own a dog. Speaking from experience though, while our dog didn’t get lost often, when it did get lost – you got it – it was between Friday evening and Sunday – you know – the time when the word “Help” falls on deaf ears. If the refrigerator/freezer breaks down – when will it be – you got it, Friday evening just before you are ready to go to bed. And I might add it will probably be immediately after you filled it up with food for that upcoming party you were planning.

Oh, and here is another biggie that can occur at any age – it is Friday evening around ten p.m. and you go to take your prescription drug – you know the one I mean – the pill that keeps your blood pressure under control. Yup, you got it – you are out of that prescription medicine and upon reading the bottle, you seen that the last time you filled the prescription was the last time it could be done without your doctor’s OK.  Isn’t that always the way? You never needed a doctor’s OK on any other day except Saturday and Sunday. Is that your blood pressure I see rising?

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Let us talk for a moment about those wonderful inventions – the automobile. You know, those marvelous machines built back in the late 1800’s. Some might consider them lifeless hunks of metal that have no brains and are incapable of thinking. Not true… they know that during the week, they get used very little and given the chance – now that it is the weekend – you are going to drive the devil out of them. So, what do they do? They refuse to start just when you are ready to go flea-marketing Saturday morning. 

Another weekend nightmare is the house. Why does our house decide it needs to call it quits on the weekend? You know what I am talking about – first thing is that the toilet overflows – then the dishwasher decides to stop working in the middle of the cycle – you go to get the laundry out of the washer and notice that the water never drained completely out of the machine so you must wring it all out by hand and when you place it in the dryer – yup – you got it – the dryer doesn’t start. But, you are not done being surprised. If all that wasn’t enough, it is late and you say to yourself – a nice relaxing bath might just soothe your aching body and calm your mind. You go to the bathroom – turn on the spigot – what do you get? Just a trickle! No water pressure, nothing, fini, fertig! By now you are saying “Why me?”

bathtub

Remember the good old days when we used to chant “Thank God It’s Friday” well those of us now retired live in fear of those TGIF days every day of the week because when retired, any day can be a Saturday or a Sunday when all the things we depend on decide to break down, quit, or say ‘adios amigo’.

Knowing how much we love to travel and be away from our humble abode, I can truthfully only think of one saying that is befitting of all that I have just described. I refer you to the catchphrase from the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) says to John Connor (Edward Furlong): “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Time to saddle up the horses and mosey on down the road. Tomorrow is another day – baby steps – one day at a time.

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Until next time!

“It Ain’t Over Til the Fat Lady Sings!”

flea-market

Do we ever truly know what it is that will make us happy. It seems as though the older I get, the less I know what I want to do when I grow up. Interesting dilemma, isn’t it? But then, looking at it another way, that is what makes each day I wake – interesting!

What fun is it in life to wake up doing the same thing day in and day out. We used to be told when we were kids, that variety is the spice of life. I guess that is why we have tried our best not to get into a “rut”, if you will, as to how each day will go.

True, there is our line dance practice and we know that is something we do on a regular basis, four days a week. But that is also our way of exercising to stay in good physical shape and so we do not consider that to be part of a rut. Staying physically fit allows us to continue doing things that just pop into our head on the spur of the moment.

I know that many people, when they reach our age, settle in and follow the same routine day in and day out and that is fine if that is what serves their purpose. But we wake up each morning saying to ourselves “What can we do that is interesting today.” It is that attitude that has carried us through seven plus decades and reminds me of an old adage I eluded to in a different post recently which stated:

It ain’t over till (or until) the fat lady sings.”

If one will recall, this saying, according to Wikipedia, is a colloquialism which means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event which is still in progress. More specifically, the phrase is used when a situation is (or appears to be) nearing its conclusion. It cautions against assuming that the current state of an event is irreversible and clearly determines how or when the event will end.

Having said that, today we will seek out new adventures. There is a gigantic “yard” sale going on in the neighborhood we are presently visiting and as such, we are going to see if another old adage is true. The one that says: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” Wish us luck.

Until next time!

 

 

“MADE IT!”

ekg

It is time for me to post once again (I am trying my best to post weekly). Thinking about what to share with you, my followers – (sometimes it is funny – other times it is informational for senior citizens), I decided to share an experience I went through this past Thursday. While I have been through this process in the past, events leading up to the day of the test, in addition to the test itself, got me smiling, if only to counteract the “Stress” that could have built up had I allowed it to.

Let me start out my small story by saying that back on the 23rd of March I had a normal scheduled visit with my heart doctor (something I have been doing now since 2004 after going through 4-way by-pass surgery). The visit was good but upon looking at my chart, it was discovered that it had been two years since my last “Stress Test” and so one was scheduled for the 10th of April. Knowing that we had travel plans later in the year, this date was acceptable and so as is the case with our medical system today, a referral and authorization was needed but we were told it was being taken care of.

On the 7th of April I received a telephone call from my heart doctor’s office informing me that they had not yet received authorization for my April 10th visit and unless received within the next day or so, they would have to cancel my appointment and re-schedule. I informed them that I would call my PCP and find out what the delay was as it was of great importance to me that the test be performed before the end of the month.

However, before I could call my PCP, they (my PCP) called me. The purpose of their call was to inform me that they noticed I was scheduled for a “Stress Test” with my heart doctor. Well, duh, they were supposed to be handling the referral and authorization. They went on to say that such a test could be performed in their office and would like to set up an appointment with them. No wonder the heart doctor never received the referral and authorization. Seeing that I did not want to change heart doctors – I informed them I would have to think about it and get back to them.

Problem was though that I did not want to postpone the test as it might be some time before it could be scheduled again and since we had vacation plans set up, didn’t want the re-scheduling to cause us to change upcoming vacation plans.

Fast forward to the 11th of April when my heart doctor called to reschedule my test assuming of course that they could get the necessary authorization. I informed them of the call from my PCP and they (heart doctor) said it was my decision to make. Should I decline to have the test performed at my PCP’s office, call back and reschedule. No problem. Before I go any further here – several things one has to know about me – (1) I hate indecision; (2) I try my best to avoid stressful situations; (3) I despise complication.

Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is running!

Seeing that a decision had to be made, I called my PCP and asked them when could they perform the stress test.  April 27, 2017!    Not good as it interfered with some vacation plans. Okay, how about April 20, 2017? Works for me! And so the saga begins.

Now my PCP has two offices and naturally the office that would be doing the stress test was not the one we normally frequent. But we knew where it was and left the house in enough time to arrive prior to the appointment time. As a matter of fact, we arrived fifteen minutes early – only to be told, we are running behind as it may be awhile – the nuclear material has not arrived yet. By now I bet you are thinking – “nuclear” – what is with that? Apparently once we reach a certain age, supposedly such a test is easier on senior citizens than the actual treadmill test.

And oh, by the way, the whole procedure takes about four hours – hold that thought cause I will come back to it later. Okay, while waiting for the nuclear medicine to arrive, they insert an IV port into my arm so they can proceed without further delay once the material is onsite. Back to the waiting room.

By the way, keep in mind I had to fast for this – nothing after midnight and it is now 9:30 AM. ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

Yay, nuclear material arrives – time for me to go “ballistic, or should I say glowing!” Not really – just thought I would put that in there for effect. The technician injects me and then tells me that I need to go back to the waiting room and oh, by the way, the material will go through your system quicker and allow us to get great pictures if, while in the waiting room, you drink not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 glasses of water. Yippee – and me with an incontinence problem due to prostate surgery back in 2004. But, what the hell, seeing that the operation removed not only my prostate but the cancer as well and I have been cancer free now for the past thirteen years, what’s the problem with running to the bathroom every 15 – 30 minutes! Yay……..lucky me!

Okay, with four glasses of water in me, minus the amount I got rid of via several trips to the bathroom, waiting time is over – time for the picture taking episode of this marvelous adventure. Allow me to give you a picture of the chair I had to sit in. Picture the chair you sit in while at your eye doctor, now picture a wide strap of adhesive around your waist and middle that holds you back in the chair so that you are sitting perfectly upright. Oh one other thing, remember the chair you sit in at a lab when they take blood, well, picture that swinging arm rest you place your arm on for them to draw blood. Got it, well, picture that arm rest in front of you for you to rest both your arms folded one over the other in front of you……… at shoulder height. Can’t have your arms dropping and messing up the picture taking. Finally, but before he starts the camera rolling, he drops the second bomb on me – breathe normally – but ……DO NOT MOVE!  And by the way, this portion of the test will only take twenty minutes.

Do you know how stressful it is for a senior citizen who has just been told to drink 4 glasses of water in succession (who also has an incontinence problem) to sit twenty minutes without moving. Here is a thought for you – upon making it through the twenty-minute ordeal such as that involving my particular set of circumstances – once it is over, he should be saying to me: “Congratulations, you passed the Stress Test! But, I bet he don’t!

Twenty minutes later, I am released from my bindings and make a beeline to the bathroom – Has anyone out there seen the play “Menopause” – if you did – you know the scene I am referring to – the one where the one gal runs to the bathroom and yells at the top of her lungs “Made It!” Well, that is how I felt once I made it to the bathroom…..”Made It!” And, by the way, no congratulations were provided.

Pictures taken, it is now back to the waiting room. Fifteen or so minutes later they call me back and now it is time to wire me for sound so that they can perform the “Chemical” stress test portion of this procedure. For those of you not familiar with this procedure, they hook you up like they would for an EKG and then inject more material (not nuclear) into the IV. This material is to cause your heart to experience what is similar to how it would feel were you walking on a treadmill.

By the way, you are also told prior to injecting this particular substance into your veins that the fluid being injected is not something you should worry about unless of course you start getting chest pains, feel like you are going to pass out or anything else unusual.  Then, they will give you the antidote which, by the way, they will also give you after the test whether you had problems or not. “Oh Goody – Something else to look forward to!”

Okay, actual stress test over – no problems – didn’t have any chest pains, feel like I was going to pass out or anything out of the ordinary. They remove all but four of the little “whatchamacallits” that they use to wire you up and send you back to the waiting room. The four whatchamacallits left on your body will be utilized when you are called back in for – you guessed it – more pictures.  Knowing that there were going to be more pictures taken, I once again made several trips to the bathroom before being called back into the room. One thing I can say about the whole procedure is that I did become familiar with where their bathrooms were.

Here he comes again into the waiting room to gather me up so he can take more pictures. Strapped in and wired up – the tech reminds you – don’t forget – breathe normally and most important – DO NOT MOVE – while it was important on the first set of pictures – it is more important during this set of pictures. And oh yes, it will be for not ten, not fifteen, but once again, you will be required to sit here and not move breathing normally for twenty minutes.

Finally, test is over – they unplug me, remove the whatchamacallits, unbind me and inform me that I am free to go. You know what is coming now – don’t you….Yup, I made another mad dash to the restroom, MADE IT!  At this point I could go into another long dissertation about the conversation I had with the staff regarding when and who would get the results but that would take – well – ANOTHER TWENTY MINUTES!

So, I will end the story here and just say that I am glad it is over. If I had any concerns about this entire process though – it would be concern for others not in as good a shape as I am as to how they cope with the entire process. While it may be a “stress test” to see how well our heart is performing, in my humble opinion, there is also a form of mental stress we go through as we make our way through the process.

Good news though – and that is – when I do receive the results – and hopefully they will be favorable results – I may not need to do this again for another two years.

Until next time!

 

“Change of Pace!”

I don’t know how long I’ve been blogging now but no matter what I read about blogging, it seems the theme is always – “Write about what you know.” That comment has always bothered me, mainly because to do that, with insurance being what I made my living at for twenty-five plus years, it would mean writing about insurance and well, other than taking a crack at writing a children’s book about insurance with funny characters and so forth, I just cannot wrap my head around that concept. Besides I would want to inject some humor and well, truthfully speaking – it would be hard to do.

I have had some experience writing short stories (even wrote an E-book for Kindle) and so the thought crossed my mind, why continue reading what others write today and then try to put my take on the subject into my own blog, why not come up with my own thing. So, seeing that I write a monthly column for our Community Newsletter, I decided to put such an article together for February’s newsletter. Haven’t had any feedback from those readers yet but then the printed version just came out two days ago!

So, as promised, seeing that I wanted to do something different with this blog, I thought I would share what I wrote  as my newsletter article for those of you following my blog to see what you all think. It allows me to continue the blog, utilize a completely different concept, be creative with my writing, and hopefully write my post in such a way as to entertain those of you following my blog. My guess is that not only will I continue this path for the Newsletter articles, but prepare similar but not the same type articles for you here on Lakeland Musings.

With that introduction, here goes:

As I sit here racking my brain wondering what wonderful words of wisdom I want to share with you this month, my eyes wander from the keyboard to the wallpaper that adorns my office.  After looking at it and losing myself in the titles of the bottles, I got to thinking – hmmm – how drunk would one have to be to drink the contents of any of these bottles if their titles were “for real?”

office-wallpaper

I mean – come on – who wouldn’t want a swig of Old Fashioned Rot Gut? Or and this is for all those red-blooded American Indians out there – How about some “Fire Water?”  I do not even want to venture a guess as to what might be lurking in that bottle of “Curly Wolf.” And then there is good ole “Gunpowder Cocktail – Not for the Faint Hearted.”  So as to not slight the women folk in the room we also have “Shotgun Nancy’s Whiskey.  To me it is a drink Annie Oakley might have been fond of!

But then one might also say – hey – based on some of Irwin’s past ponderings – he probably finishes off one or two of them thar bottles just prior to sitting down to write.  I’m not telling!

Fact is after partaking of some of that “Old Fashioned Rot Gut,” I plumb got soaked and before I could do anything else I meandered down to the hotel and got me a room so that I could lie down for a spell. After all, that is some pretty dad gum good whiskey and while it goes down real smooth, it sure has one heck of a kick later on.

hotel

When I woke, I knew two things – I had to mosy on down to Trader Jake’s to stock up on some vittles, but before I could do that, I needed to get some dinero from the bank.  After all it costs a heap of greenbacks to keep a good stock of this fine whiskey. Bottles such as these aren’t easy to come by.

Now many of you are probably wondering where I might be doin’ my bankin’ these days. Well, let me be the first to say it isn’t in one of those new “high-falootin’” banks like Mid-Florida, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo. Not this old cowpoke – I decided to head out to the bank Wyatt Earp and his brothers probably used – none other than good old “Boot Hill Bank.”

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Of course, once I got there, that *flannel-mouthed banker (an overly smooth or fancy talker) tried to talk me into taking out a loan (always hankering to get more of my money) and so I told him – “No sir ree!” I just wanted to withdraw enough to pick up my whiskey and get some more grub/vittles. Besides I did not have time to dicker with him ‘cuz I knew I was going to have to dicker with the gent there at Trader Jake’s General Store “ifin” I was to get all I needed to hold me over the winter. But you know me – always up for bartering or trading with “Trader Jack!”

trader-joes

Like it wasn’t enough I had to deal with the bank and general store, one such varmint I had hoped to steer clear of was my landlord.  Not only did I need vittles and whiskey – it was time to pay my rent and he was a mean old rip (reprobate). I was hoping to put off paying the rent for another week although I know by doing that all I was doing was beating the devil around the stump (evading responsibility or a difficult task).

Besides, that thar fella is so mean – were I not to pay my rent on time, he’d be afixin to shoot me with that double-barreled shotgun of his and next time you’d see me – would be in: Boot Hill Cemetery.

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And just between me and you – I ain’t afixin to go just yet!  Well, that’s the whole kit and caboodle ~ as far as this month’s “Irwin Ponders” goes. One never knows what I will come up with when I set down at this ‘puter. Hope you enjoyed it! Who knows, I may have created a monster cuz now I have to dream up what I will rant and rave about – oops – pardon me – ponder about next. Til next time pardner!