Friday, December 19, 2014

Mom and Dealing With Scammers

Stumpy is again on my lap as I try to type. He gets so relaxed he will drool resulting in my sweats getting wet!
The 17th was the 20th anniversary of my mom’s death. We had such a strong bond. There is so much research now on how the early maternal bonding and body contact can shape personality. In hindsight 60+ years later it all falls into place.
In the 1950’s most babies were fed a milk formula. It was pretty much a given. The particular formula I was on changed its manufacturing process which resulted in a severe vitamin b deficiency for me. Old time neighbors told me growing up how they remembered my mother holding me in the old rocking chair trying to get me take the formula that was making me sick, crying and fussing for hours on end. Things were eventually worked out health wise and an unbreakable bond was formed between mother and son.
Looking back to the night mom died it is ironic how the tables were turned. Mom had bone cancer. There was no hope for remission. She wanted no heroic or life saving measures taken to prolong her life. In the afternoon she drifted out of the morphine sleep in great pain well before it was time for her next dose. Her doctor gave the nurse on duty the order for the final dose of morphine.
A few hours later mom’s breathing grew ragged as her lungs filled with fluid. I held her hand as the life passed from her body and the pain left her face. I’m so grateful I was able to repay the debt to the woman who brought me into the world, by easing her into death peacefully with dignity and grace.
I miss mom, but I don’t mourn her death. She lived life on her terms and she was prepared for her death. It is a journey each of us will make. I’ll never forget Joe telling me how one of mom’s physicians told him my mother was one of the bravest people he had ever met in how she faced her eminent dying.
Mom and me:
I don’t want to get morbid and sad. Mom would not want that!
I’m laughing at myself from the last entry in how I blasted conspicuous consumption and then finished off the entry bragging over my new $40.00 computer sound system!! LOL!! I guess it was a Freudian slip!
I was writing out the last of my Christmas cards in the early evening. Stumpy decided to come in and join me. I was at the dining room table with Pandora playing in the background on the laptop. Stumpy was on my lap for a while and then went to the table top. He curled up in the shipping box I use to store my cards and went to sleep.
Stumpy at Peace:
It turned into one of those “magic nights” when that peaceful feeling of pure joy occurs. It is not something you can plan. It just happens. I was writing to long time friends, the house was toasty and warm as the sun set. Stumpy was contented, and garlic shrimp & pasta was on the menu for supper.
I took the laptop to the kitchen for a break from having to listen to the radio news. I like to have some background noise going when I cook. I was thrilled to find a new You tube on messing with scammers. The guys who post these are brilliant. I use their material all the time.
As a matter of fact, I just began typing this entry out and got a scam call from the “medic alert” people. They read on and on from these scripts for minutes on end. I just say “Uh-hu” every now and then when I can tell there is a silence from the phone I’ve laid on the desk.
When it sounds like they are going in for the kill I’ll pick up the phone and say:
Jamie: O.K just mail me my free electronic equipment.
Scammer: I can’t send it out until you authorize starting up the monitoring service at $29.95 a month.
Jamie: I don’t want any of that monitoring stuff; I just want that free equipment you promised. I’m into electronics and I can use those components in my projects. 
Scammer: That equipment is not free, it is of no charge to you.
Jamie: If it is no charge to me, then it is free right? Just send me my stuff.
This reasoning drives these people crazy!! At this point I can really stretch it out going around in circles, or they will hang up on me. I love it when I can hear the exasperation in their voices and audible gasps. Just typing this out has me laughing!!
Playing on the telemarketers is my way of making lemonade out of lemons I guess.
A bonus!! I was uploading pictures for the entry to my Photobucket account when the phone rang again. It was the home security people.
HSP:  Are you interested in upgrading your home security system?
Jamie: No, you were so nice to call me. Nobody ever calls me. I’m so lonely….
HSP:  silence…..
Jamie: It’s Christmas and I’m so lonely… will you call me again tomorrow????
Click….Dial tone……

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Letter from the Past

It sounds like ancient history now to speak of AOL Chat rooms. I have not been on AOL since losing the cheap $3.00 a month dial up connection which was a company benefit. That was about 10 years ago.
Morning Kawfee was a favourite AOL room of mine to visit. It was not a pick up sex room as most of those old AOL rooms were. Instead, it was older guys dishing and communicating in the pre-facebook/twitter era. The chats that transpired back in the day.
It was in the late 1990’s; Jon from the room sent me this hysterical XMAS vanity letter. I’ve sent this to more friends over the years. I had to change a date or two, but it really is timeless.

Dear Friends:

What a wonderful year we have had!  Bob was named Vice President of the bank, so we celebrated by buying a MERCEDES and taking a trip to the ORIENT.  In addition to his Boy Scout work, Bob served as Chairman of the United Fund Drive. He is still on the hospital board and President of Kiwanis.  Just for kicks, he played the lead in the Little Theater production last June, and everyone said he was better than the star that did it on Broadway.  His first love however is still conservation, and he continues to work hard as Chairman of the committee to Fight Dutch Elm Disease.

After completing my term as Junior League President, I swore I would take life easy, but it seems I am more involved than ever.  I accepted the Vice Presidency of the Garden Club and am still very active in the DAR.  Our church organist became ill and they asked me to substitute, so I accepted.  I ran the rummage sale again this year and managed to take a course in flower arranging and cake decorating.

Little Latwanda was elected class president and won letters in volleyball and basketball.  She is on the all-state debate team and placed second in the National Oratory contest last May.  She has already been accepted by Harvard.  She has sure grown the last few years and has turned out to be a gorgeous young lady.  We are very proud of her and her dedication for work with the Homeless Shelter at the same time tutoring young people and attending finishing school.  Of course for Christmas she has asked for a new Corvette but we are hesitant to give her everything she wants so we bought her a 2012.

In early October we lost Bob's mother.  For the last 5 days of her life I set with her never leaving her side and controlling her visitors and working closely getting her affairs in order.  Being appointed her Power of Attorney is sure a Godsend and makes things so much easier.  Well after 5 days she passed away and boy did Bob get a surprise when her will was read.  We got EVERYTHING but I did give my sister in law a real nice cabinet that sits above the toilet and that nice set of Melmac which did include the sugar and creamer.  I thought that was fair enough.  You know me; I like to keep harmony in the family.  I had to laugh, Bob said we should just invest all the money we inherited and just live on the interest.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday and a great 2015.  We leave in January for a 6 week well earned vacation in Europe.


PS  - Crazy me. I forgot to ask how your year went.  Keep in touch but don't call until we return from Europe because I am sure I will have lots of stories to relate to you since you have never traveled abroad.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Postcard From the Past

It will pretty much take a journal entry to explain this picture. This photo was taken at my Lockport house Christmas Eve 1995.
The “postcards” we are all holding have a picture of a man and woman dressed in harlequin outfits.
This picture was taken at the 1995 annual meeting of the Musical Box Society. The meeting favor that year was a musical photo album. Pictures were taken as you entered the banquet. They were quickly developed to be available after the banquet and entertainment.
As fate would have it, my good friend Leroy was seated behind this couple when the entertainment commenced after the banquet. Leroy kindly asked this lady to remove her headpiece so he and the people behind would view the stage. This woman got very irate and told Leroy that she thought it would be best if he moved!
I have never seen Leroy so mad. Billy had to use the restroom. He had a grin as he returned. The pictures had been arranged on a table to be picked up as you exited the banquet room. He took one of the two photos of the offending couple to sneak into Leroy’s photo album, which we were able to do.
I admit that when it was time to get the pictures I slid the other picture of this couple between the table and wall so it was out of sight. When no one was looking, it left with me.
Now a bit of background on Leroy: Leroy’s family ran the most prestigious clothing store and was a respected businessman in his town. Over the years he had been the recipient of many postcards from billy and I when we would be on road trips to phonograph shows.
It is a known fact postcards are widely read in the post offices. My good friend Karen had an aunt who worked in the post office. She would relate with glee how much the sorting staff enjoyed the cards I used to send her!! One year for XMAS Karen’s mother gave me a box of envelopes!
Now I have to Segway to Judy. He was the first of my friends to be on the cutting edge of computers. Judy had one of the first scanners. It is hard to imagine only some 20 years ago something as mundane as a computer scanner could be considered exotic.
Judy scanned this picture so it could be printed on heavy card stock with the picture on the front and Leroy’s store address printed on the back.
I would stamp these cards and pass them out to friends so they could drop Leroy a note!
If you look closely at the picture, you can just barely make out printing…. This is advertising for Leroy’s clothing store!
We had more fun writing notes to Leroy. Poor Leroy would run to intercept the mail before his brother at the store could find these! The mailman told Leroy, “You sure have interesting friends!”
We all sent Leroy postcards that XMAS Eve.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Edicraft Waffle Baker, Facebook, Erging

Wednesday was “Waffle Day”. It has been a while since I’ve indulged in this treat. The batter was made up and left to rest for ½ hour to rise. Then the 1930 Edicraft waffle baker was turned on. This appliance was sheer luxury in the depths of the depression. This sold for some $30.00 back then. I believe this line went out of production in 1933. Because of this, they rarely turn up. This waffle baker was a lucky E-Bay purchase foe me when I lived in Bowling Green. This is so well built and engineered; it will still be in use long after I’m gone. When the silver dot is centered you are ready to pour the batter.
Centered silver dot:

Finished “Art Deco” waffle:

I ate two of these glorious waffles slathered in real butter and drown in real warmed up maple syrup. What a way to start the day!
You have to be able to laugh at yourself. Wednesday I posted a plea to my Facebook friends for a source of a “Charlie Brown XMAS Tree” in Tuscaloosa County. I need such a scraggly tree to allow me to use my candles to light the tree, a practice I’ve done since my first tree in 1976. For the first time in a decade I’m contemplating putting a tree up.
That simple posting went crazy! The comments left were hysterical and still have me laughing!
First my good friend David from Watchmaking school posted:
Fine, just don’t use real candles unless you check your fire extinguisher and make it your best friend. Careful Brew.
To which Ray posted:
Don’t worry… it’s not his first time at the 1890 rodeo
I posted back:
Ray… I’ve been laughing since scanning that old picture. There is a tape loop of Ron’s voice playing in my head, “That damn Jimmy, he has those god damn gas lights going and now he’s lighting the candles on the tree… his house is going to burn down and the insurance will not pay it off and all he does is laugh!!”
My old partner from work, Mel does not hold back. He posted:
Ron was right put those Fucking candles back in the box in the back of your thought less mind. Not for your safety but for Stumpies safety. If there’s a fire smoke alarms go off stumpy will run under the bed. Stumpy gets hurt you know Ron will wait and then you will pay
My great friend Karen came to my assistance with:
He’s been doing his tree light this for over 30 years!!! I think he knows what he is doing, it’s not like he leaves the tree lit unattended or for hours. You go Lash
Mel came back with the classic comment on the thread which has had me giggling since reading it:
Yes but thirty years ago he was younger. Now he collects SS belongs to AARP falls asleep in his chair forgets what he’s making for supper and stands by the bus sign in his yard waiting for the bus to buffalo and can’t understand way the train does not blow its whistle when it goes through his back yard pass the whistle sign.
This is the type interaction I’m so thankful for on the internets. Being able to instantly interact with my friends and family all over the globe is still such a miracle to me.
I sent my sister friend Ray a copy of my last journal entry in which I contemplated transcribing my paper journals from the 80’s and 90’s. He replied with the most beautiful note: As you create this public journal, you will relive the happy times, but also, unfortunately, the most painful. Just like your love of rowing….. It’s an exercise, looking backwards, facing your friends. Painful in the process, but with the rewards of both accomplishment and a stronger heart….. I love you too
It is these friends who helped to get me out of my depression from World AIDS Day.
We have been enjoying a string of warm days which has allowed me to pretty much finish up the outside painting on the eastern side of the house. The inside of the house has been a disaster as I’ve been concentrating my energies to the much needed outside work. Hopefully I’ll have the open projects wrapped up in a few days.
Stumpy has been the biggest help. Don’t report my scaffolding to OSHA!!!!

The Concept 2 Holiday Challenge is on again. Between Thanksgiving and XMAS the meters you erg count for charity and a pin! My poor butt. I’ve erged every day since Friday and have accumulated 60,000+ meters. Once I break the 100,000 mark I earn money for my chosen charity to the tune of .02¢ per kilometer!
I “crew out” with a virtual team which keeps track of my meters. I drive them crazy with the different numbers I end up with. Now I’m up to my 4’s meaning I will erg 11,444 meters today. Tomorrow it will be 5’s, and so on. After I get to 9’s I will do a ½ marathon row which is 21,075 meters. It is madness, but I enjoy it!!!
Once I break the 200,000 mark the amount per kilometer doubles and I qualify for a pin! I’m going for pin #6 this season!
Last night was one of those magic nights. The moon was almost full, way high in the sky. It was warm enough to be comfortable outside in just sweats. I lit the torches in the back yard, brought out the laptop which was playing my favourite Pandora station, and settled in the deck chair with a glass of wine. It did not take long for my Stumpy to join me.
In the past it was Dagney claimed my lap while Stumpy was actively on the prowl for bugs and shadows. Now Stump has discovered the comfort of curling up with me.
The deep sleep of a cat is such magic. Stumpy’s purring faded out as he was transported into his deep sleep. Then the twitches started as he chased birds and mice in his dreams. It has been a long time since I’ve felt such happiness and contentment as last evening on the back patio.
Once I post this I’ll head to the “Y” for my erging so to not break up the afternoon. The other day I read a great comment on line where by a doctor told a rower he only had five minutes to left to live. The rower replied, “Great, I’ll just go on the Concept 2 …. That machine stretches out the minutes into days!”


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.