Halloween’s a Howl

Halloween2

I don’t know exactly why, but every year I spend a day putting up Halloween decorations.  It’s not a big holiday to me like it is to some others. In fact, I hate having to go to a Halloween party and having to wear a costume.  Fortunately, it has not happened more than one or two times in my life.

Now, as a kid, it was different. I liked candy as much as any other kid and Halloween in my neighborhood was the…well, it was the mother load of Halloween.  I lived in a row-home neighborhood.  There were 44 houses on each block, counting both sides of the street. There were about 8 blocks within my normal “territory” and that represented just ONE street.  Streets?  They went on forever on both sides of mine.  So, if you were fast enough and didn’t get too bogged down with conversation at any of the houses you visited, you could cover a gazillion homes in the time usually allotted for the annual heist.

I’d end up with at least two supermarket bags full of all kinds of stuff from wrapped candy to homemade cupcakes, candied apples, cookies etc.  Back then, there weren’t any weirdoes among your neighbors so you trusted the homemade stuff.  And, oh, the bags I mentioned, they weren’t today’s typical plastic bag.  Uh-ah.  These were thick brown bags a good 25” tall…or so they seemed.

My parents probably hated the annual sugar hype they had to live with as I devoured the sweets of my labor. My brother and I would pour it all into whatever large bowls we could reach from the kitchen cabinets.  He’s have his and I’d have mine…and it was a race to the finish over the next week or so.

So here I am, tons of Halloween’s later and for some unexplained compulsion I decorate the house. On Halloween night Rosemarie and I hand out the goodies…and we have a reputation to uphold.  We hand out full-sizedcandy bars—none of the mini-bite-sized stuff. You want a Hershey bar with almonds or not, we have both.  Want a Reeses twin pack, we have it.  How about a Twix?  Whatever. It’s full-size!  It’s always fun to watch the reaction of some of the children when we present the bowl and tell them to take one of whatever they want.

There aren’t many people in my neighborhood who decorate.  There is one guy down the street who’s more anal than I am.  He has a fog machine, video projections on the wall, even a hologram projected in his trees.  Each year he gets more stuff.  Each year I stay the same.  I mean, I’m already overboard so enough is enough.  I figure the only thing that might motivate me to become more active—maybe even wear a mask and go knock’n on doors—is if folks started giving away ice cream sted of candy!

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GOODBYE SEARS!

 

BUNTLOGO

Goodbye Sears.  Thanks for all the good things you sold me. It’s almost un-American to even think you may not be around much longer after some 130 years.  I know, it’s been a slow death.  Sears has been trying to pull itself out of its tailspin for years, but the inevitable is just that.

It’s worse than when I said goodbye to Toys R Us and Woolworths and Plymouth and Eastern Airlines and a bunch of others.  Such is business in America, especially since the Internet has arrived.  But I suppose my generation is the last to realize the historical impact of America saying so long Sears.

Sears has filed for Chapter 11 and will attempt to reorganize and stay alive in some shape or form…but the mighty retailer that once ruled the flow of goods from manufacturers to customers across the entire nation and beyond is long gone.  The company will be closing over 140 stores in addition to the 100-plus it has already padlocked this year.  Sears is probably the mightiest store to fall in American retail history.  It was the amazon.com of its day.  To swipe another company’s slogan, there was a time when America ran on Sears.

searslogI am old enough to remember getting the Sears Catalog every year. No, not the little catalogs they produced in their dying catalogs days that featured only specific product groups. I’m talking the original Sears Catalog, the one that was bigger than the phone book.  Wait, there are tons of folks who don’t even know that phone books were once very big–like 3 to 5 inches thick.  The Sears Catalog was just as big.

By the early 1900s rural and small-town America depended on the Sears Catalog.  There were no large box stores…hell, there weren’t many small bag stores either.  But Sears had it all, from clothes to appliances to hundreds of household goods to an entire house you could order, build and then fill up with Sears stuff.

At Christmas there was a supplemental toy catalog, the Wish Book!  Kids then spent as much time going through that one and making their list for Santa as today’s kids spend time on their cellphones.

And then there’s Kenmore.  My hunch would be just about every household in the 50s-60-s had at least one Kenmore appliance.  Nor were there many fathers who didn’t have a Craftsman tool or a car rolling around on Sears tires and a DieHard battery under the hood.

Some of these brands may survive, but the Sears dynasty itself, as previous generations have known it, is all but gone. It’s true, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  For consumers my age, this one’s an earthquake.

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A FRIDAY NIGHTmk4567CLUSTER F***

sign at the hospital points towards the emergency room entrance.

Back back back in the late 1950s there was an early television sitcom known as the Phil Silvers Show.  It gets a lengthy report on Wikipedia, including mention of a memorable episode that my memory refocused on Friday night when I was involved in one of the craziest Cluster F*** I’ve ever walked into.  I have to use that term because there is none better to describe what happened to me. BTW, Merriam Webster actually offers a definition for it: “a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation.”philsilvers

Well, getting back to Phil Silvers…on the show, he played Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko who headed of a group of haphazard soldiers in charge of an army base motor pool.  I don’t ever remember seeing an actual automobile or jeep in any of the shows in the four years it ran.  Instead, Bilko and his troop spent most of their time scheming up money-making scams, many of which were based on gambling.  If you remember McHale’s Navy, this show was the army’s version, only years earlier.

The noteworthy episode took on the story in which Bilko and his men were assigned to overseeing army physicals for a bunch of recruits.  One of Bilko’s men had a pet chimpanzee (nothing unusual there) and somehow the chimp wound up in line with the recruits.  You guessed it…the chimp begins going through the army physical with all the human recruits and since all of Bilko’s men have their noses buried in their clipboards, no one ever looks up and spots the chimpanzee.

Early on in the assembly line procedure, each recruit has to give his name.  When the chimp is asked his name, of course he does not answer. The examiner says to him, “Hurry, Speak Up.”  The examiner’s assistant says “Got it” and proceeds to write down “Harry Speakup” and the chimp now has a name.  And so the process continues–one hilarious moment after the other–until the chimp makes it all the way through and passes the physical and is issued a uniform.  It is a classic example of a Cluster Fu**!  This past Friday evening I became the chimpanzee and the only difference is that, eventually, I realized what was happening.  Here’ my story…

I had to get a medical test as an outpatient at a nearby hospital.  It was a simple test just to rule out a possible blood clot in my leg…very similar to a sonogram given to pregnant ladies whereby they rub a probe over the outside of the body and it gurgles out sound waves that show up as images of what’s happening inside.

For my test, they had only one appointment left before the weekend.  I took it.  It was scheduled for Friday evening at 5:30.  The lady on the phone told me the usual out-patient admissions office closes at 5pm so I would have to register at the reception desk in the Emergency Room and then I’d be taken to wherever it was that I would be given my test.  So that’s what I did and that’s when things began to take a wrong turn.  I’ve been to this hospital’s emergency room several times for me or for others so I am familiar with its routine.

When I first arrived and was told to have a seat while they checked out my I.D. and insurance credentials, a blood pressure cuff was wrapped around my arm, my temp was taken and they pinched my finger with one of those finger-pinching thingies.  Then I was pointed to a chair, told to sit down and wait for the nurse who would come fetch me.  I should have had my alert system fired up by now.  None of these things, except for the I.D. and insurance checks, happens when you register through the normal out-patent admissions desk.

chimp1So a nurse comes and ushers me back to one of those curtained rooms in the ER.  I explain to her I am an out-patient who had to check in via the ER since the normal admissions office was closed and by the way, why do I have an extra wristband on.  It’s red and says “allergy alert.” I don’t have any allergies.  She doesn’t know either as she glanced at my admissions papers.  Now she pulls out a hospital gown and tells me I just need to remove my pants since the test I am having begins in my groin and works it way down the leg. Okay, that makes sense.  She leaves, I make the transfer from pants to gown and sat on the bed.  And there I sat…and sat…and sat for an hour and a half. That’s normal for being in the ER….that’s not normal for being an out-patient in  the other part of the building.  It’s now that I realize something is amiss.

At the moment, the person with the little rolling computer cart stopped by to check my credentials—again.  She had me sign the usual forms that nobody ever reads despite giving permission to some judge to put me in jail ten years to life if things go haywire with my insurance coverage.

Next, a doctor came in and asked me questions about my problem and said he had blood work ordered.  I told him that would not be necessary, I was there just for the one test and I was having my blood work done elsewhere on Tuesday.  He said it should be done now and I said it could wait until Tuesday and cost me a lot less since it wasn’t being done in the ER.  He leaves a little testy that I was testy.  I wonder for a moment why a doctor has stopped by to see me.  That doesn’t happen when I’m waiting for a test as out-patient.

The ThinkerI wait some more and then it begins to hit me. Now I know what is happening. Everyone thinks I am there as an ER patient and I have some kind of emergency for which I have come to the hospital’s ER.   I am being treated accordingly, including being visited by a doctor and other multiple people asking questions to being made to wait for long periods of time—all normal procedures in the ER.  I’m the chimpanzee who came in the wrong door and got processed like everyone else who comes through that particular door.

I check the rear of my gown for modesty’s sake and wander outside.  There are patients sitting in wheelchairs and on gurneys lining the corridor.  Just a few feet away is the “hub” of the ER where mission control resides.  It is staffed by a large number of people, all in scrubs.  Some are busy doing paperwork or looking into computer monitors.  Others are holding clipboards while others are on the phone. It is a beehive with things and people buzzing all about.  I stand at the counter for a few minutes attempting to determine which bee I should approach.  But from behind comes a “Can I help you?”  I turn around.  It’s a young male nurse and he has come to rescue me…or so I think.

I explain to him that I think I have been mistaken as an ER patient and I have been waiting almost two hours for a simple out-patience test. I further explained that I was told to enter the hospital via the ER and simply explain why I was there, but no one listened to what I said; they assumed I was just another ER patient. The young nurse said,  “hmmmm” and instructed me to wait in my room and he would investigate.  I get the distinct feeling that he thinks I am an elderly, disoriented patient who really doesn’t know who the President is or what year is.  As I pessimistically return to my assigned sanctuary, a lady walks in (dressed in civilian clothes) and tells me she’s ready to give me the test I came for. We leave the ER and she takes me into the “other” part of the hospital where she administers the test.  I explain my predicament.  She agrees, I have been mishandled.  The test lasts about five minutes, tops.

As she returns me to my ER cell, in comes the doctor telling me he called my doctor and confirmed I should have my blood work done. I told him not a chance.  I explained that I have an appointment to have my blood work done on Tuesday at the lab where I always go and that there was no need to call my doctor on a Friday night and make him wonder why the hell I am in the ER for a routine out-patient test he ordered.  The intentionally-good doctor still doesn’t get it. He asks me if I am indeed refusing the blood tests.  I tell him yes, it will cost more if it is done in the hospital, not to mention I know it take another two hours, at least. I tell him I had the test I came for as an out-patient, not an ER patient, and now I was leaving. He says to wait because I have to sign a paper refusing the blood tests.  I told him I’d wait just a few more minutes to do that.  He looks at me as if I don’t know who the President is or what year it is.  Ten minutes later I’m still sitting on the edge of the bed and staring at the exit door which, ironically, is about twenty feet from where I sit.  I’ve been staring at to for hours.  I transition back into my shorts and I decide time’s up.  I leave.

I am sure this is only Part One of my story.  I figure since I just spent several hours being treated as an ER patient, the hospital and the doctor will both be billing me…as an ER patient.  I shall call the billing office and alert them to the situation and that both my insurance company and I should not be charged for an ER visit.  I am sure it will run in the thousands.  Somehow, I doubt my message will actually get through.  This is gonna go on for months….just you wait and see. Part Two will probably be an even bigger…Cluster F***!

chimp

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SAILING…I WISH

BoatShow

I have written about Annapolis before.  It is my favorite place to be, though perhaps not so much in the winter.  I don’t like being anyplace in the winter except here in South Florida.  But for the rest of the year, Annapolis wins.

We lived in Washington, D.C. throughout the 1970s.  In 1976 I single-handedly persuaded our young family to get into sailing.  When I was a child, I had the good fortune to attend a camp on the Corsica River, a tributary off the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  There, at the age of 10 I learned to swim, paddle a canoe straight…and sail.  I loved sailing immediately.  So did Christopher Cross who included the hit song Sailing on an album he released in 1979.

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be

Just a dream and the wind to carry me

And soon I will be free

After I took the family on the 1-hour road trip from D.C. to Annapolis, I didn’t have to do much persuading after that…we should be sailing!  Nobody disagreed.  Our children, then both still under ten years old, didn’t have much say in the decision, although they didn’t seem to object.

The next step in the process was to go the annual United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis harbor. This mind-boggling and budget-breaking event of the luxurious life of yachting is enough to have any boating enthusiast giddy and drooling.  They say the last place you should buy a boat is at a boat show.  So that’s what we did.  It was more exciting than buying a new car.

Fantasy, it gets the best of me
When I’m sailing
All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
Won’t you believe me?

Now, of course, we started small.  We bought what is called a “day sailer” which is a small sailboat (16 feet in this case) that is meant for short voyages (in and out for a few hours).  Given the never-really-realized dangers of boating, as most boaters are prone to do, this new endeavor was kind of risky since our kids were very young and not experienced swimmers beyond a pool.  But as soon as the weather permitted, we were in our little boat just about every weekend.   Given the looks on her face, I think Rosemarie was more timid than our kids most of the time.  She, of course, realized we could all drown…and exactly how much did I know about sailing that I allegedly learned over 20 years ago?

Fast-forward one year and the family has, in its own mind, become seasoned sailors. So what to do now? Why that’s easy. All boaters know what to do next…you buy a bigger boat!  So now we’re up to 27 feet.  With this sailboat we can go places and not have to worry about being back the same day.  On this one we can all sleep, eat and go potty. This is sailing!   There is certain euphoria sailors know about…it’s when you motor out of the busy, boat-jammed port and into open water.  Now you can shut the motor off and raise the sail….as the boat begins to pick up headway, slicing silently through the water, this is the moment your sensations tingle.

It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again

Our storybook lifestyle was short-lived.  I had job changes and subsequently we left D.C. and moved back home to Philadelphia. We sold the boat, reluctantly, but were happy we had at least a couple good years sailing the great Chesapeake Bay.  We often wonder if we had never left the area, how big would our boat be now?!

Back then, each year, Rosemarie and I would take a vacation day on the Thursday that the Annapolis Sailboat Show opened.  We’d drive to Annapolis, park at the Naval Academy stadium and take a shuttle bus to the harbor where the spectacular display of a  boardable sailboats awaited.  That’s what started this posting today…the Annapolis Boat Shows.  There are actually two shows.  They occur on back-to-back weekends every October.  The sailboat show is first, the powerboat (stink-potters) follow the weekend after.  They are not the largest of boat shows, but the setting—Annapolis in the fall—is what makes them special.  And every year when I get copies the the boat show guides included with my monthly issue of Chesapeake Bay Magazine, I take a moment of nostalgia, drop a tear or two, and wish that Rosemarie and I could hop in the car take along an imaginary checkbook and wander the docks once more.

Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me
 [song excerpts from “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, “Christopher Cross” album, 1979]

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TIME FOR A TIME OUT

upsidedown

Well here I go, against my own will, tiptoeing into the political arena once more.  I promised myself that I would not do this again because it only gets people agitated and hostile.  But mine is a neutral stand, more or less, that cries for the good old USA to take a time out.  I mean, how can you not say things just are not going swimmingly for our country after watching the Senate hearings yesterday?

My position is one of sorrow.  It doesn’t take sides.  It just weeps for our country as a whole because of the present partisan party environment that has evolved among Democrats and Republicans.   It is almost laughable if it weren’t so sad watching grown adults say things that make kindergarteners appear as sage advisors to the most intricate and intimate of controversies.  It leaves one wondering if, indeed, maybe, just maybe, the miracle government our forefathers established is simply not working as they intended.

During the Vietnam War, another incredible moment in our country’s history, Buffalo Springfield produced a haunting piece of music titled For What It Is Worth. Most of you, I  am sure, remember it’s iconic verse:  It’s time we stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.

I have a very small reputation of breaking out into rhyme when I have been emotionally disrupted.  So, as I was watching the proceedings on Capital Hill yesterday, I actually rewrote the song.  I hope Buffalo Springfield forgives me….you too.

duo

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BUZZBUZZBUZZ!

Internet

I continue to marvel at the Internet.  I think it is the most incredible medium ever created.  I am convinced there isn’t a thing you can think of that you can’t read about or watch a video or listen to a recording somewhere/somehow on the Internet.  Just google it and off you go.

Nothing escapes the Internet.  I’ve learned how to fix just about every appliance in my house. I rarely use a dictionary anymore because some little spelling beast corrects my mistakes.  If I need to brush up on a topic—WHATEVER it may be—there’s always pages of text and pictures just minutes away.  It’s insane. If you want to watch a movie or TV show, or just about any form of entertainment or other kind of performance, it’s there on the Internet.  Innnnn-credible!

coffee-coffee-buzz-detail

Case in point:  The other day I was spending critical time reading about my favorite food…that would be ice cream.  Suddenly, previously unbeknownst to me, I come across a mention of a Ben & Jerry flavor called Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!  Now, I have to tell you, I had to take a dramatic pause.  I had never heard of this flavor and I am familiar with most of the B&J inventory.  This particular flavor happens to be right up my coffee pot…or alley, if you prefer.  But I have never seen it anywhere.  How am I going to get some?  Ah-ha! The Internet, of course!  I bet if I just ask Google, “Where can I buy Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz” it will tell me.  And…and…it gave me half a dozen retailers within ten miles of my house who stock this particular flavor.  One was Target over by Broward Mall.  So guess where I went and guess what I bought? BTW, the picture of the ice cream…yep, that’s from the internet.   Just think of all the products in the marketplace…all the brands….all the individual details about them….and none of it, no matter how minute, is a problem for the Internet. Amazing. Oooh, did you know you can blog on the Internet too?

Don’t you just love the Internet? …and ice cream!

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FOR THE BIRDS

canal

 It seems that I can compose the most intricately researched and profoundly stated essay on my blog and maybe one or two people may respond…maybe.  But, instead, if I simply write a sentence or two and post a few pictures of birds, I get all kinds of response.  So who am I to fight the trend.

Here’s a bunch of pictures of birds.  Most of them hang around my back yard and the canal that runs along the far side (that’s the canal in the picture above).   There are a few more birds that stop by every now and then, but they mainly live farther up the county.  Still others prefer Ft. Lauderale Beach to the east about ten miles.  The only thing all these birds have in common is me–I’m the one who took their pictures.  If you zoom in on them to fill  your screen they’ll stay in focus and won’t fly off.  Oh BTW, I don’t use Twitter very much, so consider these my tweets.

BirGrp1

anhinga2

On the right is an Anhinga, also known as “snake bird” because of its “snakey” neck.  This bird dives for food in the canal and can stay under for quite some time.  When it’s done eating it’ll spread its wings to dry.  I prefer a towel.

 

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Limkin1

 

 

On the left is a Limpkin.  This bird, when  it wants its mate, it WANTS its mate.  It’ll start calling with an incredibly shrill cry that you can easily hear a mile away.  Curiously, Rosemarie has learned to imitate this bird’s call.

More?  You want more? No Problem!

 

BirGrp3

Okay had enough?  Take Flight….thanks for stopping by!

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ANOTHER HERON, THIS ONE BLUE

heroninair

I admit it, I have been neglecting my blog lately.  There was a time when I would update my postings almost daily.  Don’t ask me how I had so much to talk about because the answer is, I did, but a lot of it wasn’t very substantive.   Almost anything I did or had happen to me became the subject of my blog.

So why don’t I update as often now?  Well I guess it’s because I have just about done everything I was meant to do and just about everything, no matter how mundane, that was meant to happen to me, has.  So I’ve emptied the tank and I am reluctant to repeat topics, at least not until something new, or a new spin on something old comes along.  It doesn’t take much.  A month or so ago I wrote a brief rhyme about a Night Heron I spotted out in the yard.

Today there was a Blue Heron on the other side of the canal that runs behind my house.  Now, a blue heron is a pretty spectacular bird.  They stand a good foot- and-a-half tall when there necks are extended.  I ran for my camera, but I had to use my telephoto lens and I have trouble with it.  It never seems to focus as sharply as my shorter lenses so I am always disappointed with the results.

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            So there you have it, another day, another little occurrence…another posting for the blog.  It’s like smelling the roses.  Life goes on and you have to stop and appreciate all that happens around you, no matter how inconsequential it may appear.  You can’t take things for granted, especially the older you get. Only then do you become a lot more observant to detail, and especially much more alert to the smallest of things, like listening to make sure there’s a tock following every tick.

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THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2018

LeakyFamily

This morning I had to stop a leak.  No, I did not say “take.” I definitely said, “stop.”   I was just awaking from a sleepy morning listening to the thunder and the rain pouring outside.  I had no place to go or nothing to do but to lie in bed and listen to the end of the world as it provided a nice white noise for a sleepy morning.  All I needed was a teddy bear hugging my neck and it would have been the perfect storm.

My eyes slowly opened. Just narrow little slits large enough to let in a little light, enough light to see the rain pouring down the side of my bedroom window.  BUT WAIT! It’s pouring down the INSIDE of the window.  Oh Noooooo!  I’m up in a flash and there is spattered water everywhere, especially on my little wire tray in which I keep all the electronics—my phone, the remotes for the TV and cable and the thingie that makes the bed go up and down.  Oh Noooooo!

This happened once before when the storm was particularly heavy and the wind was blowing it against the house.  I had to hurry and find towels and narrow containers to line the windowsill.  I told myself then that when the first dry day came I would have to hire someone with a two-story ladder to climb up and caulk the window frame from the outside.  But I never did and now here it was happening all over again.  I was paying for my procrastination and forgetfulness.  Woe is me. Woe is a wet me.

I had no choice.  I reached for the gun as I sang “the gun the gun the gun, oh yes, we both reached for the gun.” (We Both Reached for the Gun, from the Broadway musical, Chicago).  In this case it was the caulking gun that, ironically, was in the master bath, on the floor in the corner, brand new and waiting for the shower stall to dry so I could fix a flapping piece of caulk along the bottom edge of the shower wall.  I yelled at someone to bring me the caulking gun (the gun the gun, etc). I know, you can’t caulk onto a wet surface, especially a flowing wet surface.  But hey, I felt like the little Dutch kid with his finger in the dyke.  I was desperate.

I cut the tip off the caulking canister and put it into the gun. (still singing…the gun the gun, etc). I was locked and loaded.  I reached up and began pulling the trigger.  There was caulk spewing out all over the top inside of the window frame. I was making sure I was getting a lot spread around and covering all the leaks and then adding multiple layers.  Next came the hair dryer (I could have said “hair gun”).  I needed to dry the caulk as fast as possible.  I was manipulating tools like a seasoned surgeon performing the most intricate surgery and all the nurses and other OR staff were standing around observing in amazement my expert dexterity.  Oh the humanity!

Next came the argument.  ARGUMENT!  This is no time for an argument. I had the hair dryer set high on “hot.” My wife said that was wrong; it had to be on “cool.”  I said “hot,” she said “cool.”  We volleyed that back and forth a few times and I gave in (always do…wuss).  I set the dryer on cool and I spent the next ten minutes waving it over and over and over all the caulking.  So far no water was dripping down the inside of the window anymore.  I says to meself, “I wonder where all that water is going? Hmmmm.”  Slowly new little leaks started working their way out of the yet-to-be-dry caulk.

I run to the garage and headed for all the plastic shoeboxes that have stuff in them.  I look for the one with the label, “String, Tape and Wire.”  Don’t you marvel at how compulsively organized I am.  TAPE!  That’s it. I have Gorilla Tape.  Yes!

Back to the window I go with Gorilla Tape in hand.  I am hoping this stuff is as good as the tape that guy on TV uses to tape his boat back together after he saws it in half.  It seams to work, but I have to keep putting new pieces on as the water works it way around each barrier it confronts until it finds a breach to exploit. Slowly my window turns black with strip after strip of Gorilla Tape.  Meanwhile, thank God, the wind is lessening and the rain is subsiding…enough that it isn’t blowing against the window as hard as it was.  I’m thinkin’ I’m good, at least good enough to fight another day.  It’s the calm after the storm…all is well again.

But if I am smart this time, I will hire a handi-gorilla with a two-story ladder and a caulking gun (last time…the gun the gun, etc.) and up he’ll go up the ladder to fix the leak from the OUTSIDE of the window.  Yeah, that’ll take care of my leaky window once and for all.  And, oh yeah, I should maybe get myself a teddy bear too.

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SEPTEMBER,

SEPTLEAVES

September is always a special month around these parts.  School is back in session and the school zones are active generating revenues for the county as the cops nab speedsters who had a moment’s lapse.  I’ve been lucky, my years of driving have been laspeless when it comes to getting a speeding ticket.  It’s the one thing in life I’ve never been given.  Honest.  It does not mean I do not speed.  It means only that I have never been caught.  There now, I probably jinxed myself.

Another sign of September is pumpkin…the flavor.  Suddenly things pumpkin begin to appear on every aisle at the supermarket.  It is amazing how many food products can be tainted with pumpkin flavoring beginning in September each year.  It’ll last through Thanksgiving and then slowly disappear almost as quickly as it came.  I still have some pumpkin coffee from last year…and I will probably save it again for some special time down the road. Perhaps when I’m entertaining people I don’t care for.

September is also a very special time right here in the Kuhn household.  It’s that time of year when the annual renewal for the homeowner’s insurance policy is due. When it arrives in the mail it always offers a moment of surprise upon opening it and peering timidly down into the envelope to discover exactly how much more this year’s policy will cost. I can always count an increase of at least $100 to $200 dollars.  This is, after all, prime hurricane territory and given that Hurricane Irma blew through town last year at considerable cost in damages to many places, I expected a definite increase in the insurance premium this year.  Maybe even as high as $300.  Well, September was indeed a benchmark month this year.  The homeowner’s policy leaped up to a $600 dollar increase.  Now, isn’t that special?   Of course there was the usual page explaining that hurricane claims carry a separate deductible…that went from $5000 to $6000.  If it’s a good storm, it’s easy to rack up $6 grand in damages.  That kinda blows you away, doesn’t it?

And last but no least—definitely not least—the renewal on my life insurance policy arrives in September. Life insurance is usually one of those more costly items you face throughout your life.  It’s at least tolerable when you are young, but when you get up into your 70s you’d be surprised how much the policy cost.  I have to ration out the payment into two parts, one now and the balance six months down the road.  But not to worry, I won’t have much longer to pay for  it.  That’s because I will either be dead or the insurance company will drop me at whatever the latest annual death rate average is.  After all, they will gamble only so much on how long I’ll be around.

So there’s September, that wonderful month that I look so forward to each year. You’d think at least I could enjoy the change in weather that September usually brings…but not here in South Florida.  First, the leaves don’t change colors down here, nor do they drop from the trees. And too, the temperature can still spike in the 90s if it wants.  But it’s okay, the electric bill covers that continuously running air conditioner.

And hey, it’s football season and it’s always a guess to see how bad the Dolphins are this year.  Who knows, maybe they’ll at least have a winning season. You know what?  I’m going to assume they will improve this year, not like all those other years the past decade.  Yeah, I’m going to be optimistic.  Go Dolphins! I feel better now…think I’ll go have a slice of pumpkin pizza.

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