I go to Pieces …

Hello again friends of “The over 50 Corner”!

First of all, let me salute all my fellow veterans of our armed forces on this day dedicated to you!  It was a great pleasure serving this country we hold so dear!  Thank you for your dedicated service!

Well, if you are in my age group, you surely remember that song by Peter and Gordon, “I go to Pieces” which is the theme of the week!  No, it’s not about heartbreak!  So, read on…

A few years ago, I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. It came as no surprise as being right handed, I had given that part of my body a real workout during my younger years! (Counting last year, of course!)  Playing baseball, then softball, bowling twice a week and concluding with being a high school basketball official, as having to raise my arm for every dumb foul committed during the game, really took its toll!

As M. (my wife, for the new readers) constantly says,”it’s hell getting old”.

It seems that the current thing to do when one of our joints gets to a certain point of discomfort, the solution seems to be…to get a replacement!  It must be like going to an auto parts store and picking one that fits your year and model!

I currently know of 4 friends that have undergone either a knee or hip replacement!  I even know of a person that has had BOTH hips and BOTH knees replaced!  What the heck?!!!

Is our “Over 50” generation really “going to pieces” physically?

I do not criticize any of them for going under the knife (scary thought), as living with the pain and not being able to walk or sit comfortably has to be terribly difficult.  Yet, I feel that there are tremendous advances in bone and gene therapy that might be able to help  avoid such a drastic decision. It’s worth researching if you find yourself in this predicament.  Just the road of getting back on your feet and walking  “semi-normally” is painful enough!

As mentioned above, two of these friends are currently going to physical therapy and have to put up with the swelling and discomfort resulting from the session.

Actually, one of them even had to undergo a second surgery due to a ruptured tendon in the surgically replaced knee.

So, I repeat, if you are contemplating getting some part of your body replaced, please do some research before making a decision, as there might be a different solution to your problem.

Funny, but my left shoulder is giving me problems now! Well, really, not-so-funny!

That’s it!  Take care of yourself and hope to see you next time at “The Over 50 Corner”!

Be Safe out there!

Fred

 

 

 

 

Come Fly with me…or not!

Hello again friends and welcome back to “The Over 50 Corner”!

M. and I recently took a trip to Florida, as you may recall, and flew on Southwest Airlines to our destination.  If you have not flown Southwest, it has a different method of boarding its passengers. You can go with the general boarding, which assigns you, not only a group letter but, also a boarding number within that group.  You can, if you pay extra, get assigned the “A” group; and if you pay even more, you can get into the first 15 within that group. NO seat assignments so, it actually is a “controlled  free-for-all.”  Fly solo and you will have a seat…fly with your family, might be a problem to sit together if you don’t pay for Group A, especially if you have carry-on baggage.  (That overhead space goes pretty fast!)

We are now on board with our carry-on baggage in the overhead right above us yet, there are those getting on,  just throwing their bags in the first open space they see and continue to the rear of the plane!  Now, the person who sits in that row has no space for their bag! Unbelievable!

Oh, oh, family of 6 with 3 toddlers and a baby in tow just got on!  The baby has already made up it’s mind that an airplane ride is not for him and is letting everyone know about it!  (Please keep walking…)   To have a child constantly crying, for any reason, or have one kicking your seat from behind for 2-3 hours is a good reason to jump out at 35,000 feet!

The seat by the window is still open so, I take a glance at each person as they come through the door.  Will they fit any of the following “Please don’t sit next to me!” categories?

The Talker:  I know that at one time or another we have sat next to a person that are on their cell phone after the “doors are closed, please turn off your phone” announcement comes from flight attendant.  If you acknowledge them in a conversation, you’re doomed for the rest of the flight!  You wish they took a Benadryl tablet before getting on board.

The Armrest grabber:  Especially if you’re flying solo, there are those that have the middle seat that appropriate “your” armrest along with theirs!  What gives? Did you pay more than I did to deserve it?

The M.A.S.H. Candidate:  Will someone please tell me, why do folks that, obviously, have some sort of cold and are sneezing, coughing or sniffling are always within range of my seat!  (I hope they’re not contagious!)

Then there’s the, “I’ve got to get off first!” person who releases their seat belt as soon as the plane lands and jumps up when the aircraft comes to a stop, grabbing their overhead bag, putting everyone around them in harms way!   (I can understand it if the passenger has a connecting flight to catch but…that’s never the case!)

Or, The Salmon:  That’s the person who found a space in an overhead bin 10 rows behind their row and pushes their way against the stream of people standing in the aisle in order to reach their bag!

Oh, before I forget, The Hammock Passenger – the one that reclines the seat so far back that they are in your lap!  Try getting up with that!  Or, The Snorer! No explanation needed!

With all of that, we had a decent flight so, maybe we lucked out this time but, will we next time?

So, sit back, relax a bit and enjoy your flight!  PS:  Alcohol is served on board!

See you again soon at “The Over 50 Corner”!

Take care and Be Safe!

Fred

 

 

 

 

 

Is it Budget time ?

Hello again friends and welcome back to “The Over 50 Corner”!

Before I start on this week’s blog, just wanted to let you know that, coincidentally, like last week’s blog, the TV news programs have been putting an emphasis on vaccinations!  Not just the Flu but, now a “booster” for the mumps!  Yes, the mumps!  The targeted age group is now high school and college kids!  They are even talking about a stronger Shingles vaccine for our age group. So, check with your doctor’s office and get his opinion on all of this!  Thanx!

Ok, now to the subject of “Is it Budget time?”

Have you ever had a budget?  Well, to be truthful, I haven’t!  Made a good salary and it was meant to be saved and spent!  My 401K came first and then, the spending part came right behind!

Circumstances sure have changed the way the cash comes in and the cash goes out! They have changed in such a manner that a “budget” seems to be in order.  Although, there are the recurring bills to pay, the “limited” funds coming in every month make you think about the spending part a bit longer.

So, now what?  We have to eat, right?  Time to go to the supermarket and try to save some cash while eating a (semi) healthy diet. (Because I never had a healthy diet!)  One thing I have read is…all of the healthy foods are on along the walls of the supermarket!  Funny, I had never noticed!  (I would put beer along one of the walls. All natural ingredients so, why not?)  With that in mind, here are some tips I have found to save some money at the check out!   1. Never shop on an empty stomach. Why? I guess you’ll skip the chips and snacks if you’re not hungry.  2. Make a list of what you need and stick to it! (Easier said than done.) 3. Don’t hang around and walk around aimlessly. (Things will fall into your cart without you knowing it.) and 4. Higher priced items are located at eye level. Look at the higher and lower shelves for savings.

Got it?  Ok, here are a couple of more hints.

We usually shop for groceries at Walmart and have found that their “store brand” items tend to be cheaper than the “named” brands.  If canned corn, tomato sauce or anything else for that matter, tastes the same to you, try their brand and save a few cents.  If you can get a product 4 for $2.00 but, only need 1, just get that 1 and save $1.50!  Also, (Note: this is not a critique on Walmart but,) please note the prices of the items going into your cart as computer systems sometimes are not updated and pick up a higher price to charge you!  And lastly, use coupons if you can!  They always come in handy and now can be found on line or in Sunday’s newspapers!

Your local Dollar Store, Family Dollar, 99 cent store or any other discount store may carry bargain priced cleaning products, shampoos, greeting cards, paper, kitchen supplies, batteries and even your brand of potato chips. (Note:  Stay away from toothpaste or vitamins! )  Aldi supermarkets are gaining popularity and are showing up in neighborhoods all over the country.  (Too bad they are privately held as they would be a good stock to own!) They carry various off-brands which cover the spectrum of products found in named supermarkets but, at lower prices!

Lastly, check out the sales flyers that usually are distributed on Wednesdays!  That cut of meat that you want might just be on sale somewhere!

Well, even if you do not have a budget, if you follow some of these tips, you might be able to save a few bucks to splurge somewhere else! (A movie with popcorn?)

Before I go, M. now is using Walmart’s shopping on line and free pick-up at the store. Another way to avoid any temptation and as she HATES going to the supermarket, it saves her from going inside!  She’s all smiles when she gets home!

That’s it ! Till next time my friends, waiting to see you again, as I lean against the lamp post at “The Over 50 Corner”.

As always, let me hear from you and get your opinion on the subjects appearing on the blog. Every little bit helps to make it better!  Again, share it with your friends and family as everyone needs to save some cash.

Thanks and be safe out there!

Fred

 

I got shot !!

Hello and welcome back to “The Over 50 Corner”!

Well, as the title says, I got shot the other day!

No!  Not a gun shot but, my Flu shot and I have the red Walgreen’s Band-Aid to prove it!

This is an annual inoculation for M. and me as we are determined not to fall to the perils of the Flu.  Feeling like doo-doo for up to two weeks with fever and a body that feels like you’ve been run over by J. J. Watt and the rest of the Houston Texans defensive line, is not what I want! Even if I do get a whiff of the Flu, it will be milder and less aggravating. To this date, neither M. or I have succumbed and hope this year will be the same.

As most of my readers are residents of “The Over 50 Corner”, it is really important that all of us get the Flu shot.  Yeah, I know, there are those that always say, ” I haven’t gotten the shot and haven’t gotten the Flu!”  Well, my friend, I am sure you know someone who didn’t show up for work for a few days, laid up in bed, who did!  Ask them how they felt during that time and maybe, just maybe, you may re-consider.

Some people believe that the Flu is just a bad cold…well, think again!

Did you know that over 200,000 are hospitalized with Flu complications every year?  Not only that but, quite a few of those actually kick-the-bucket! (and they die, too!)  Folks in our age group, pregnant ladies and children are at a greater risk than most.  So, consider your grandkids and any relative that may be pregnant.

Being allergic to eggs is one of the biggest factors people do not get the vaccine. (Being afraid of needles, I would think is the biggest.)  In this case, get the shot in a doctor’s office or hospital, where they can take care of any reaction to the vaccine.  Kids with egg allergies are the most susceptible to complications from the flu so, make sure they get their shot. Remember, if they don’t go to school, someone has to stay home with them! It just might be you!

I know that maybe you got your shot last year but, the viruses that cause the flu might have changed since then. In which case, so did the formula of the vaccine.  So, if you have any questions, ask your doctor for his/her opinion.

If you have elderly parents or relatives, please make sure that they get the flu shot!  It just may be a case of life and death!  We took my mom to get hers while she was here in Katy, TX.

Well, that is my lecture for today.  Go and get your flu shot and stay protected!

Take care and make sure you spread the word!  Stay safe and stay healthy!  Would appreciate any comments, suggestions or just a line to say hi!  Again, don’t keep this blog a secret from your friends and enemies…let them in on it!

See you next time at “The Over 50 Corner”!

Fred

Yay! Fall is here! (Or is it?)

Hello friends and welcome back to “The Over 50 Corner”!

Well, the calendar on the wall says it’s October so, it must be Fall!

A great time of year for those of us who are retired. Depending on where we live, the leaves on the trees are changing color making the “hidden” photographer in us come to the surface.  The only setback of this is, that the leaves eventually fall to the ground,  creating some extra yard work for us.  As a kid, I remember stacking the leaves up in a big pile then, with a running start, I would dive into the middle of it, scattering the leaves all over the place. So, with the help of neighborhood friends, we would start the process all over again! (Now if I dive into the pile, I would need help getting out of it!)

Baseball season is over and the playoffs are in full swing!  Our Houston Astros are battling the Yankees for a spot in the World Series.  Go ‘Stros!

Football season is underway with many of us getting into our favorite chair and spending Sunday afternoons in front of the TV. (Not to mention, Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights!)  And that’s only the Pros!  If you are a college football fan, you’ll be rooting for your alma mater on Saturday afternoons, as well! (Fall is football widow season, too!)

Let’s not forget my favorite day of the season…Halloween!  Not only because my last day on the job was Oct. 31st but, because, now get this…it’s the only day that adults are allowed to scare the living daylights out of the kids and not get in trouble!  Try doing that any other day of the year and you’ll find yourself in Police bracelets!

I really enjoy the little kids being dressed up by mom, knocking on the door, as some can’t reach the doorbell, and just standing there with their bag open.  (That’s if they are still there after I swiftly open the door yelling, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”) Mom and dad on the sidewalk just laugh, thankfully.  (I can still close the door before dad gets to it, in case he didn’t laugh!)

What I really don’t care for are the older kids stealing mom’s pillow case and just showing up for a candy hand-out!  Dress up and I will oblige!

Now, the big question is…if Fall is here, when are the summer temperatures going to go away?  California is burning up due to dry and hot temperatures!  The rest of the country is still in shorts and tee shirts weather! Houston is still in the 90’s!

Can’t wait to turn the A/C off and sit out on the deck in the morning and have a cup of coffee or in the afternoon with a Happy Hour beverage.  (Until that first “freeze” comes along, we’ll still need that mosquito spray!)

So, my friends, enjoy what the calendar indicates…Fall!  Take that stroll through a park or a drive through the countryside taking photos with your camera (or phone) of the colorful foliage and new flowers.  Don’t forget photos of your grandkids in their Halloween costumes!  Those memories are precious!

That’s it for now!  Hope to see you next time at “The Over 50 Corner”.

Note:  No saving candy for yourselves!

As always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!  Share it with your friends or mention it on your next FB posting!  Don’t keep this a secret!

Take care and Be Safe!

Fred

 

 

 

 

 

Are the storms gone?? Maybe not!

Hello friends!  Welcome back to The Over 50 Corner!

This week it has become a difficult task to concentrate on a subject that isn’t about Harvey, Irma, José or María.  Nice names, I thought, for hurricanes!  (That was before they turned into destructive, life changing and deadly storms!)

My home town of Katy, just outside of Houston, is still wreaking of wet carpet, ruined furniture and drywall (that’s ironic…dry wall) that sits out on the curb of street after street.  This is the result of 27 inches of rain that poured continuously over this area over a short period of time. It’s been over a month and there are still piles of damaged furnishings waiting to be picked up!  Lines form for monetary assistance from the various entities that were awarded grants and families still living in temporary quarters without a place to call their own.

Then came Irma, tearing up the beautiful islands in the Caribbean and the Sunshine State from one end to the other!  Winds and rain that left the islands in a state despair and darkness, only to take a direct hit from Maria within a week!  At this writing, the islands are still waiting for effective assistance!

My island of Puerto Rico, as you all know,  has been in the news since day 1.  Irma grazed the island and Maria destroyed it! If there is any good news, the electrical grid is slowly being repaired but, over 50 percent of the island is still in the dark! Gasoline is now available at more locations making the wanting lines a lot shorter.  The once flowering tropical trees and many palm trees are bare with just the trunks swaying in the warm Caribbean breeze.  I see pictures of all of the small towns in the mountains that are still under water!  Like the saying goes, “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!”

Roofs are gone! Houses are gone!  Everything is gone…except the people!

Last week I went to Florida to visit family in Orlando, renting a car,  then driving down to Miami, taking the Turnpike which is the non-scenic route.

Where Texas dealt with rain, Florida had to deal with the vicious winds of Irma!  The streets are lined with dead palm branches and leaves from all the tropical vegetation that grows so beautifully there!  Trees, believed to be, over 100 years old, toppled over like dominoes. They are still lying on the side of the road waiting for the chain saw crew to show up…and like Houston, waiting for the city to take it all away.

Mother Nature has been cruel this year.  What has caused such fury?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that all of us should learn from this.

Create a “survival” list in preparation for next year’s hurricane season (if not sooner).  Start filling that list as soon as possible.  Next shopping day, buy an extra can of tuna or whatever is on that list.  A camping stove with liquid fuel may come in handy or a dry battery flashlight. Don’t wait until the “rush in on”!  Have an evacuation plan set, if needed.  In other words, plan ahead!

I sincerely hope that all of you are safe and in your homes today and never have to leave them due to a storm.  Just take care and be safe out there, if you do.

…and then there’s Nate!

See you soon, on a happier note, at The Over 50 Corner!

Fred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Harvey, Hello Mom!

Hello again friends!  It’s great to see you on The Over 50 Corner again!

Well. as you know, hurricane Harvey left flooding and utter destruction in  numerous sections of Texas, including cities like Houston, Richmond, Rosenberg, Victoria, Beumont, Port Arthur, etc, etc., etc…..  Poor and not-so-poor neighborhoods were left in shambles by the high waters.  Many of the folks were left with only the clothes on their backs and no where to go.  To this date, 2 weeks later, there are still people calling the emergency shelters, home.

We are very grateful that our home was not affected by such tragedy and that M. and I are able to offer my mom a “home away from home”.

As previously mentioned, she lives in Rockport, TX (Gateway to Texas for hurricane Harvey) which is now in an attempt to rebuild itself to the quaint fishing and touristic town it was prior to the storm. (For my out-of-Texas readers, Rockport lies about 30 miles north of Corpus Christi.)  No supermarkets, drug stores, Walmart or fast food establishments are currently open. No medical offices or gas stations. Water and electrical service have just been re-connected which is the first great step in rebounding.

Well, back to mom…I would imagine that it is very uncomfortable to live in someone else’s house you do not consider “home”.  A suitcase of clothes and a photo or two that she was able to pack before evacuating, is what she brought with her.  Although, it is not a drastic load on to my life, it does bring a few changes for us all.  We try to take them all in stride and so far, it has been fine.

It really doesn’t take too much to keep her entertained or busy.  She loves jigsaw puzzles but, is really lousy in putting them together. So, M. sits with her and they just talk and pass the time by arranging the pieces by color or any special traits the pieces might have.(A line going through it or parts of a face, you get the idea).  She may sit there for hours!  She also does some knitting or word hunt puzzle books that take part of her day, as well. She offers to cook a meal…go ahead and cook! She wants to sweep the floor…here’s the broom!  Make yourself happy!

Mom is a great cook! (At least for my palate!)  The only thing is, she requires my presence because she doesn’t know or can’t remember where things are. (She’s been coming and cooking here for years!)  “I need a small sauce pan”, “Where is the tomato sauce?” “How do you turn on the stove?” etc…  So, really, I was going to mow the grass but, now I watch though the kitchen window, as it keeps growing!

Today, M. and I took her on a slow ride though the countryside, to a small town about 35 miles from the house.  There, we meandered through some small shops, bought a few things and had some lunch. Upon returning to the house, she said, “It was a lovely ride and a great distraction!”  Mission accomplished!

I really don’t know how long her stay will be but, at 91 yrs old, we’ll do our best to make her happy until she can go back to the comforts of her own abode.

I know that many of my friends are sharing their homes with an elderly parent. Not because of the storm but, because of need.  Some of them are not as healthy as my mom and need a lot of TLC, which at times is patience consuming.  I admire you as I can only imagine what dedication it must take!

So, friends, that’s it for now!

Note:  The day trip must have really drained mom, as she just announced that her eyes are “sleepy” and is going to  “hit the sack” for the afternoon “siesta”!

Take care and hope to meet up with you again at “The Over 50 Corner” next week.

Fred