Hummers at Sunset

We’re very lucky here in Sun City because we get hummingbirds all year round.  We have a feeder hanging outside the breakfast nook window in the front of the house and another hanging from the backyard patio cover.

It’s extremely rare, at least in our yard, to see more than one hummingbird sharing a feeder.  They’re very territorial and claim the feeder as their own exclusive property, perching nearby to guard it and chasing away any other hummers that dare try to take a sip.

These two, however, like Bill and I, were actually sharing a sunset drink on the patio before it was time to find a safe and comfy place to snuggle in for the night.

It must be love.

Hummers at sunset


Brain Fog

“Brain fog and senior itch,” Bill announced coming into the bathroom while I was taking my morning shower.

“What?” I called out as hot water rained down on my hair, rinsing the last of the shampoo away.

“It’s what we have,” he yelled back.

“What we have?  What are you talking about?” I asked, sliding the door open and sticking my dripping head out.  “What do we have?”

“Brain fog,” he replied.  “You have brain fog and I have senior itch.”

“And how do you know this?”

“They just said so on the radio,” he said, squirting toothpaste onto his toothbrush.

I turned off the shower and grabbed my towel.  “So, the radio said Patt has brain fog and Bill has senior itch?  Was this some kind of personalized news flash?  I don’t recall being interviewed.”

“Simsomes,” he mumbled around the buzzing of our Sonic toothbrush.  “We’b hab simsomes.”

Great, I thought as I dried off, waiting for the two-minute brushing cycle to end.  More freaking old people diseases to get crazed over.

Once the electric toothbrush stopped, I looked over at him and asked, “So what are these symptoms that you think I have.”

“Not me, the radio guy.  Let’s see,” he said.  “Fatigue.  Can’t concentrate.  Forgetting stuff.  You know, things like that.”

“Well that’s pretty vague.”

“Yeah, but you get tired and forget stuff,” he commented.

“Well sure, but so do you.  And I only get tired in the afternoon after I’ve been reading.  I’m the one that stays up ‘til midnight and you’re the one that falls asleep on the couch after dinner.  Maybe you have brain fog.”

“No, I have senior itch,” he responded as he reached inside the shower and turned on the water.  “I itch all the time.”

“Your head itches, not your whole body.  Maybe you just have dry scalp.”

“Nope, senior itch,” he said, stepping into the shower stall.  “I need to get senior itch cream,” he concluded as he slid the shower door shut.

“Okay,” I shouted.  “And what exactly is senior itch cream?”

“Don’t know.  I’ll Amazon it.”

“You know,” I yelled, “I’ve got a good moisturizing cream right here in the bottom drawer.”

“Probably not strong enough,” he called out.  “I’ll still check online.”

“Alrighty then.  And what about brain fog?  Is there a brain fog cream?”

“I don’t think so.  Maybe a pill.  I’ll check that too.”

“Wonderful,” I muttered as I walked out of the bathroom and into our bedroom to put on my clothes.  Once I was dressed, I glance into the big dresser mirror mounted on the wall.  “Brain fog?” I whispered, shaking my head.  “The only thing foggy in this house is the bathroom mirrors.”

“Who are you talking to?” Bill asked loudly as he turned off the water. brain fog

“No one,” I yelled back.  “I’m just talking to myself.  Must be the brain fog.”

“See,” he replied, a happy note in his voice.  “Don’t worry, hon, we’ll get you unfogged before you know it.”

“Thanks,” I muttered.  “I can’t wait.”


Bubble Girl

One of the go-to places to take our two granddaughters when we have them overnight is Uptown Jungle.  This place is kid heaven.  They have trampolines, climbing walls, robe mazes, giant slides, tunnels, nerf guns and more.  Plus, after running wild in here for an hour and a half, they go to bed happily, no arguments, and sleep like logs.

Bubble GirlDuring the girls last sleep-over visit, after spending almost an hour jumping, climbing, sliding and running, Olivia made her way into the Big Bubble to take a break and rest inside it.  This involved doing a few half-handstands, making faces, rolling around and generally putting on a show for us.  At one point, Bill looked at me and asked, “Think we could find a used one of these things somewhere?”

“What on earth for?” I said.

“I dunno,” he shrugged.  “Looks like a great time-out bubble.  Or maybe an eat all your dinner reward bubble.”

“Or a take a break from your wife bubble?” I quipped with a grin, keeping one eye on Olivia and the other on Morgan as she came down the big slide located below the bubble.

“No, no, no, I’d never want to do that,” he said, trying not to laugh.  “If I wanted to take a break from you, I’d just go play at Home Depot or Lowe’s.  Or maybe go putter in the garage.”

“You puttered around in there yesterday for quite a while,” I replied, crossing my arms and arching an eyebrow.  “Were you taking a break?”

“Nope,” he remarked.  “Just doing guy stuff.”

“Dehydrating herbs is guy stuff?” I asked with a crooked smile.

“Yes, it is,” he retorted.  “Especially ff you’re a guy and you’re drying out parsley and basil and oregano.”


The Devil’s in the Ham

During the last several months, each time we go to the grocery store Bill somehow manages to find himself staring at the tiny cans of Underwood Deviled Ham and Deviled Chicken spread.  And each time, as he stares at them longingly, he always asks, “Did you ever have this stuff when you were a kid?”

I would usually say “Yes,” or “Sure,” or “Chicken was my favorite.”

He’d sigh and continue.  “My mom used to make me deviled ham sandwiches for lunch all the time.”

I always replied, “You ought to get one.”  He’d shrug and say “No, not today,” and then we would move along down the aisle towards the next item on our list.

This same phenomenon occurred when he would spy the jars of chipped beef, which are usually lurking somewhere near the deviled ham.  He absolutely loves chipped beef on toast or SOS (Shit on a Shingle for those of you under 50), which is its whimsical acronym.  When we were both working, and I would have to travel overnight, he’d put aside one evening while I was gone to make his beloved chipped beef on toast for his dinner.

The last time he had it was for lunch during a two-day casino trip to Laughlin, Nevada.  He was so excited to find it on the hotel’s all-you-can-eat buffet that he went back twice for more.  The next morning he was almost crippled from a gout flair-up that settled in his right ankle.  That was four years ago and he hasn’t had SOS since.

We were at the grocery store the other day and he couldn’t contain himself any longer. Underwood Ham He stared at the little Underwood tins, asked me the same questions, and then we moved along down the aisle.  Suddenly, he dashed back up the row and grabbed a can of  Deviled Ham.  He clutched it to his chest as he strolled back to me and placed it carefully in the shopping cart.

“Just couldn’t stand it anymore, right?” I asked with a smile.

“I just have to see if it’s the same as when I was a little kid,” he answered.

The next day, with bated breath and great anticipation, Bill prepared his sandwich.  He cut a large slice of sourdough in half, delicately spread mayonnaise on one side of the bread, lovingly spooned a third of the can of ham mixture on the other side, carefully put a tomato slice on top and gently placed the two halves together.  He grabbed a handful of potato chips and placed them on the plate next to his half sandwich.  When he was done, he joined me in the office where I was munching on a grilled cheese sandwich and a handful of Funyuns and sipping the diet 7-Up we split.

“So,” I asked after he’d taken his first bite.  “How is it?”

“I feel like I’m 8 again,” he replied with a contented sigh and a lopsided grin.  “Want a taste?”

“Nope” I said with a smile.  “I’ll get your cooties.”

“Ha.  Your loss.  More for me,” he laughed, taking another bite.

Who knew a tiny tin of mashed up ham prepared with some mystery seasonings could bring about such happiness?


Never Look Back

You’re walking down the aisle at the grocery store and it suddenly sounds like there’s a duck following you through the snack food section.  You quickly travel to the end of the aisle, hang a right and another right and make your way down the row of soft drinks and flavored water.  The duck is still following you.  Don’t look back, just keep on shopping.

You’re sitting in the movie theater, holding hands with your honey, munching popcorn and enjoying Mission Impossible 12 while wondering how Tom Cruise can keep hanging off of airplanes and crashing motorcycles when he’s eligible for Medicare.  Suddenly, you realize that the toot you let loose earlier has escaped the chair padding and is wafting toward the people in the row behind you.  Don’t look back, just keep on watching.

You and your sweetie are snarfing down chips and salsa, waiting for your order to arrive at the table of half chicken, half steak fajitas with extra cheese and guacamole on the side when something that sounds like a muted mariachi trumpet erupts from under your seat.  Don’t look back, just keep on snarfing.

You whip into a suddenly vacant slot in an otherwise crowded parking lot and, as you step out of the car and straighten up, a faint honking echoes from somewhere near the back of your jeans.  You close the door confidently with your left hand while inconspicuously fanning your nether regions with your right.  And then you do what?  You don’t look back; you just keep on walking.

These are important lessons that you learn as you age.  A few things can be controlled,Don't Look Back like what you say or how you say it or the color of your hair or how many scoops and toppings you order for your Cold Stone ice cream cone.  But most things absolutely cannot be controlled – like getting older, getting slower and farts.

Just remember, if you must set one free on an unsuspecting public, always keep moving forward and don’t ever, ever look back.


Birthday Wish

Bill asked me what I wanted for my birthday next week.  I patted my tummy and replied, “Liposuction.”

“No, really, what do you want?” he repeated.fat lady 1

“A time-machine?”

“Alright, in lieu of a time-machine, what’s your second choice.”

“Liposuction.”

“Patt!  Come on, you must want something more realistic than that,” he pleaded.

“OK,” I responded, putting on a serious face.  “How about… a puppy?”

“No puppy.”

“Well then, what about a week at a fatty spa?”

“Sorry.”

“A cruise to Hawaii?”

“No can do.”

“Then I guess I’ll settle for an Amazon card.”

“Sold!” he said with a big smile.  “I don’t even have to go to the mall.”

“Yes, but I’d really like to get a $1,000 Amazon card.”

“Are you crazy!  How about a $200 card?”

“Okey dokey,” I agreed with a big grin.  “Oh, by the way, I would have settle for $100.”

“Drat,” he mumbled.  “After all these years, you’d think I’d learn.”

“That’s okay sweetie.  You’re still a work in progress,” I said, giving him a peck on the cheek.


Healthcare Accounting

We switched Advantage Plans from one provider to another.  So far, we’ve been thrilled with the various services they offer, the convenience of the office locations and the ease of making appointments and getting referrals and lab work done.  What we’re not happy about is the billing department.

We opted in for dental care and paid for a full year in advance for both of us with a check, which they cashed.  When our paperwork was mailed in by our insurance rep, Bill’s credit card info was sent along as well.  So, in addition to paying in advance for the dental coverage, they are now double billing us by taking out the monthly premium amounts for me and for Bill from Bill’s credit card.

Bill has spent close to two hours during the course of three phone calls over almost two weeks with Customer Service and they still couldn’t figure it out.  I told Bill that there’s a simple explanation.  They must not use a database or centralized computer system or accountantany kind of 21st century technology, otherwise they could simply look up our account, check out the payment history, and see that they had received too much money.  Instead, they probably employ an old accountant, maybe even a CPA, in a back room writing in a big fat ledger book with an Abacus in one hand and a calculator in the other plus a couple of slide rulers in a drawer somewhere.

It would take him quite some time to check out our account information because he has to locate it first.  And there are, after all, hundreds and hundreds of pages containing thousands and thousands of receivable entries.  A daunting task to be sure.  This is, after all, a major national healthcare company.  And it could take even longer if he’s based in Washington state where they want to go from a 40- to a 32-hour work week.

They finally figured it out and are giving us a refund.  You would think a credit back to Bill’s card would be the most expedient.  Nope.  Keeping with the old school way of handling AR/AP matters, they told the old accountant dude to write us two checks for $13.70 each, one for Bill and one for me, and are sending it via snail mail.

We haven’t seen one of their MDs yet.  I wonder if they still rely on bloodletting and leeches as medical treatments?