Monthly Archives: February 2016

Lesson #29 – HELP! I’m Drowning #2 !!

Hi all! I am republishing this blog since my husband just swam again in this particular meet in Myrtle Beach (South Carolina Masters State Championship). Wow, where did that year go? He came in first (I say proudly) in his age group for the 200 IM and the 400 IM. swimmer copyWoo Hoo! And he came home with a beautiful award for his team (out of State) coming in second. I was the counter again for the 500 free and the 1650 free (66 laps!!) I didn’t mess him up. Yay me! I am getting the swing of it. A ‘newbie’ was to my left counting for someone.  He was all flustered and I helped him.  I really didn’t have a choice.  He threw the counter at me and said, “HELP!  How do I get to 11?”  Later he again threw me the board and said, “HELP!  Where is the Orange one?”  He was so appreciative.  I laughed inside….”he is ME!” I said to myself.  I’m helping him!  What a hoot that is!! The orange blocks tell the swimmer they have two more laps and then FINISHED!  Next year maybe I won’t be so nervous being the counter! I still don’t swim. I still fight my weight. Maybe by next year things will change! Nah….probably not. Oh and P.S. the oldest woman there at this meet was in the 85 to 90 age group. Swimming IS the best exercise for those of us in our Golden Years!  She is proof.

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Lesson #11 – HELP!  I’m Drowning!  March, 2015

Swimming. Recently, I accompanied my husband to a South Carolina State swim meet in North Myrtle Beach, SC. He asked me to be his counter for his 500 yard swim. Twenty lengths…..of freestyle…..in a standard 25 yard pool. I say this because if you are anything like me, I don’t remember what a lap is or, rather, how far a lap is in a ‘normal’ racing pool. There is a lot about this sport that I don’t understand.

So, to be a counter you put the counter board down under the water so the swimmer may see how many laps he or she has completed. I suppose when you swim/race twenty laps you might forget how many laps you have swam (or swum?)…..Yeah…..I guess so! So with each couple of laps completed the counter has to flip the board showing two more laps completed. Then, again, push the board back under the water to be read. You get the idea.

I didn’t mind doing this for my husband … no, not at all. However, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stand up afterwards because the pain in the knee hasn’t gotten any better. One, because as much as I try, arthritis just doesn’t disappear when I want it to and two, I haven’t lost that knee hurting extra weight I carry around. Geez. I am working on it….slowly. No need to rush.

Counting was successful and I didn’t screw up! I put the correct number of laps on the board and pushed it under the water for him to see. Success! I have to say I was the ONLY counter NOT in a bathing suit. I was fully clothed with sneakers on. Boy, I felt sooo out of it. A word in my defense. It was very cold out. The northeast was being snowed upon again and people were shoveling out of two feet of snow. Myrtle Beach was cold but minus the snow. I was dressed appropriately for the weather. These swimmers were not. The problem was when I was finished counting I was also soaked from my waist down. Cute.

Impressed was I of all those swimmers. Remember the days when we were very embarrassed to be in a swimsuit in front of our friends or help…. boys?!! Watching these swimmers walk around in racing suits, no shoes, and dripping wet, I found I was admiring them all. In attendance were all shapes and sizes and all ages of people. The Masters swimming program includes anyone 18 and over and these meets include everyone. When you sign up for a meet the swimmer writes his best time for a certain event and that swimmer is put into the appropriate ‘heat’ swimming against others in various age groups with approximately the same race time for that event. There were many retired folks at this meet and it was for those people who I gained a newfound respect. Men with one or two too many beers, women who had passed their prime figure years and many who obviously had one or two hip replacements, knee replacements, hernia scars…..etc. In this particular meet there were swimmers close to 80 years old. Amazing to me that there was no embarrassment or hiding of stomachs or legs with cellulite! Amen! Some older bodies were in great shape but I will guess that those people would have great bodies regardless. ‘They’ say swimming is the best exercise when we reach, ahhem, retirement age. Come to realize that retirement doesn’t mean having to be embarrassed about aging and having an older body. Thank goodness. How wonderful is this?

There are approximately 60,000 members of the US Masters Swimming program give or take. There are meets throughout the country and in almost every State of the Union. Members don’t have to race others in a meet but might just be happy being a member of the Masters in their local towns…. joining a club with those having the same interest.

My husband has tried to encourage me to join the Masters and swim in a meet. He tells me I could do the backstroke and win a lst place ribbon. Really? Backstroke? The last time I swam backstroke I hit my head against the pool and I saw stars. I wasn’t paying attention. More importantly, the last time I swam a race is when I was probably 15 years old. It was in the ocean off of Long Beach Island, New Jersey. There were about 15 of us. God only knows why there was a race in the ocean. I don’t remember anything except hearing someone say ‘Go’ (could have been a pistol maybe I suppose or a foghorn) and I started swimming out to sea. Don’t remember how far I swam but I do recall when I stopped I was far from the beach. I kept thinking that I should be finished this race so I just kept swimming and swimming. The other participants were finished and were on the beach. No one looked concerned about me being way out in the ocean. I obviously overshot the race end and I felt like a jerk the way a young person can only feel when they did something foolish in front of their peers. I swam in and to my utmost surprise I had brought home the silver! I still have that medal. What I also still have is that feeling of being a jerk while trying my best to be cool. Thank goodness I don’t have to show my ‘coolness’ anymore. Definite benefits being part of the golden age.

I was once a serious runner and now I am very serious about walking. Not swimming. In another life I will swim but I will begin at an earlier age. Not 65. Of course NOW is the time to begin new adventures and start something new. Did I say that? I don’t know but swimming against others who probably swam in school and understand that the pool is a 25 yard length. Missed opportunities?….maybe there is hope.

Maybe I will change my mind. Maybe. But first I have to lose some weight to look better in a bathing suit. A girl has to have some self respect.

Leigh

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Lesson #28 – The Trump Train

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OK, I have had it.  Big time!  Reporters are telling me that Trump is the ‘new face of the Republican Party’!!!  Really?  Does Trump look like you Republicans out there?  Does Trump look like me (even though I am really an Independent)?  I don’t  t h i n k  soooooo! Don’t tell me that he is the new face of a party.  Just DON’T.

This man comes to the political scene without any experience.  He is an enigma.  No one can understand his rise in fame.   I, too, am really surprised.  Shocked really. No one admits to voting for him but here he is….the ‘winner’ of the SC primary even though he won with only 32.5 percent of the vote.

But, you have to figure that we the people are just fed up!  Fed up over many many things in this country.  I figure this is the way “We The People” are fighting back.  But it is a joke on us.  Can we just start over?  Throw them all out and let’s start over again.    We should just ask for a ‘do over’.  I call it!  Do Over!!

It has been very interesting being in South Carolina this month.  Lots of buzz and lots of political signs all over the place and the ads …… whoa!

We attended a Kasich town hall meeting at a local restaurant last week. We waited for him for over an hour or so.  He, apparently, was coming from another part of the State.  He did thank us all (500 of us) for patience.  Who says I was patient?  Not really.  I wanted breakfast at this restaurant and I noticed many had, indeed, eaten breakfast and many had a cup of hot java in front of them!  What the heck?  Couldn’t they have served us coffee also?  Standing room only but that’s ok.  I can take it.

Kasich seems to be a very decent human being.  Apparently he has done a very good job in Ohio and Ohioans(?) in line seemed to say they liked him.  I know my husband has been on his band wagon since Day 1.  We both know he will never be the candidate.  He needs to give it up!  Say goodnight friends!  Adios! Thanks all!  Take the hint!  H E L L O??????

Ok, I do agree with him on some things like the flat tax but he says to get things straightened out in this country we have to give up some things.  WAIT!  Give up some things?  Like what exactly?  I want things to change in this country for the better but don’t you or anyone else mess around with increasing taxes and definitely no messing around with my little Social Security check!  Just don’t!  Period.  I’m retired, after all, and we are on a budget.

Oh wait, this is supposed to be about Trump.  What can I say really?  We just had to go to the Trump rally on Friday.  I had to feel it and be one with it.  OMG!  The line going into the Sports Center!  Thousands of people in line patiently chit chatting about almost anyone but Trump!  Odd.  I knew going in though I had to be quiet.  I didn’t want to get mobbed by the Trump supporters.

Many bought a hat or a pin or scarf being sold by hawkers with the Trump name on it and as we got closer and closer to the entrance, everything got less expensive.  I really wanted to buy something (shopper that I am) but I resisted.  I mean, what do you do with a Trump hat after the election?  Hide it?  I am quite proud of myself resisting the urge to buy.

We got in without fail and we felt victorious.  The music was blaring over the loud speaker!  I really enjoyed all the music.  I felt like dancing and I thought “Wow, what a party we could have in here with this great sound system!”  I decided to ‘bop’ …. you know the movement.  Somewhere between actually dancing and not standing still….with that head movement side to side and up and down.  You know!  We were enjoying it all.  “Hey,” I thought, “Maybe one of those news people will take my picture with my head bopping!”  One could only hope.

The crowd was diverse.  Mostly my age I think but surprisingly some younger folks.  I don’t know if they were dragged in by parental units (as my daughter likes to say) or maybe grandparents but there were lots.  Also a lot of Vets.  I could understand that since they have been treated badly.  Always have.

The good head bopping music died and something like coronation music came over the loud speaker.  People seemed to know this was the ‘Trump is coming’ music!  Sorry, didn’t recognize it.

Trump was due at Noon.  At 12:04 Trump came onto the platform with no introduction by anyone.  Nor did he share the stage with anyone.  Fitting I suppose when you think about it or maybe he couldn’t get anyone to endorse him in Myrtle Beach.  No matter.

The thing about Trump.  He never is specific about his intentions but it is just one big complaining session. What he says hits a chord among people and their annoyance at  our government at large.  He didn’t go off script.  I have heard and heard again what he says about the Chinese, the Koreans, the Mexicans and the building of the wall……he rants and rants and people cheer.  I get it.  I do.

I realized something that day also.  He is salivating over NEGOTIATING contracts.  He LOVES the thought of being given the opportunity to negotiate the hell out of other countries for the benefit of these United States of America!  A ha!  I had this epiphany while listening to him say the same stuff.  But, I thought, what will he do as President while he isn’t negotiating?

Will he got bored if he isn’t?  Negotiating, that is.  When he has to travel to other countries will he tell Putin, for instance, to “shhhhhh” while he is in the middle of his negotiations?

Other observations.  He looks very healthy.  Supposedly he doesn’t drink and smoke.  You can tell by looking at him.  His hair on this day was not that God awful Orange.  It  was ‘normal’.  He looked great.  Always a nice tie (wonder why?)  Are his ties made in China?

He didn’t make those silly facial expressions and I, for one, was thankful.  Can’t tolerate those.  The crowd was respectful but for one or two hecklers.  Trump told whomever was in charge of removing the hecklers to “get them oughta here” and “don’t hurt them, just get them out!”  I thought that was kind of Trump asking the fellas to not hurt them.  Very nice.

We didn’t last long.  After the music and after the hecklers were moved out I sort of lost interest.  My lower back was hurting and I had to stretch or sit down but preferably the latter.  Sorry Trump!  Gotta go!  I wasn’t feeling one with any of it anymore and I was definitely out of the moment.

The Trump Train.  Still am shocked about it all but I do get it.  Anger, frustration, amusement, celebrity……Is this where we all find ourselves?  How did we get here? I’m a bit sad over it all but more important I really want to know  how the heck does Trump keep that combover in place?  Two sided tape?

I’ll never know and I don’t know what our country would look like with the likes of a Trump as President.  You can’t say it is a ho hum political year that’s for sure!

Leigh

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Lesson #27 – Goooooooo (who’s playing again??)

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OK, I know, I know… if you know me at all you know that I am so not into football.  But, here I sit watching this Super Bowl.  Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers.  Woo Hoo (??)

Now, let me understand this.  We are supposed to watch every single commercial to see how good they are?  Do we vote on this or do we just talk at the water cooler?  And that’s if we have a water cooler to talk around.  We are the retirement crowd yes?

It came to me that I had to sit down and write this while watching the Super Bowl.  I don’t have to keep my eyes on the game at all times.  I do quite well multi tasking.

Thoughts are coming to me.  First of all, I quite like the Panthers’ uniforms.  Pretty blue and the blue stands out.  Very nice.  The Bronco’s blue and red?  Hmmmmm.  Not so much.  Patriotic, yes, but my vote goes to the Panthers.  1 to 0 Panthers.

Pregame!  Now, I can get into this.  LOVE LOVE LOVE Lady Gaga and she did an absolute wonderful job singing.  Also, surprisingly, I loved the pantsuit and thought the nail color blue was a nice touch.  My question is…..is that all her real hair or was she wearing a weave??  No matter.  She sang great as she always does.  Marriage to that hunky actor from Chicago Fire becomes her.

Also, loved the introducing of the 50 MVPs.  I don’t like football much but I liked that.  In fact, I got teary eyed.  Go figure!  I cry at those Hallmark Christmas commercials too.

Everyone handles this game differently.  There is the fan that has to jump up and clap with every great move made.  They do a dance!  Others calmly sit with their arms crossed on their chests and just shake their head and frown when their team doesn’t cut mustard.  At the Super Bowl parties, guests stand around talking football, munching on football snacks, gulping that nice ice cold football beer.  We do know about Super Bowl parties, mind you, we did go to them back in the day!  Some fans sit at the Catholic Club sipping a cold one calmly and once in a while may put in a call to a brother living in the South to say how their team just stinks!  It could be the Catholic Club or, perhaps, a sports bar with like minded people eyes glued on several screens so as not to miss a thing.  Ho Hum.

My husband’s team is the Vikings.  Football fans can well understand his disappointment that they are not playing today.  Poor Vikings!  Poor husband!  He does, however, seem to be thoroughly enjoying this game anyway.  He gets into this football mode.  He changes.  Completely.  Popcorn….check.  Beer…….check.  Everything else (?)….check.  The face changes.  It is almost boylike.  A combination of happiness, joy, anticipation.  Glad he is enjoying this.  Ho Hum (again).

Another thought.  Actually, the commercials are quite good and there are so many of them!  Obviously they are in competition along with these young men on the field.

Ooooh, Denver is winning in spite of their uniforms.  I thought the Panthers were going to walk all over Denver.  Ha!  I have decided I am rooting for Denver.  I don’t know why but I have just decided.  Rah Rah.

Now, this just in (to me via my husband) half time entertainment (now we are really talking) will be Coldplay, Beyonce and my personal fav, Bruno Mars.  I am so excited about this.  Bruno and Lady Gaga all in one night.  Fun.

OK.  I have this covered.  Denver is going to win by 10.  Is this even possible to win by 10?  Half time will be great.  There will be no rain, no snow and the weather will remain good and just perfect for the rest of the game.  What else?  Anything else I need to think about?  What about Manning?  Who?

One final note.  What a nice time when the whole world watches a football game and everyone laughs and has fun with not one thought to anything else!

Now, please excuse me.  I have a game to watch.

Goooooooooo Denver!

Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson #26 – Buyers….and Sellers…BEWARE!

for saleHonestly, I can say I have never met a realtor I have really liked.  I probably should say I have never worked with a realtor I have really liked.   Realtors are a breed unto themselves.  They just are.  I may get strong feedback from this blog.

We have dealt with quite a few realtors over the years.  My husband and I have moved a lot. Once within Florida, then to North Carolina, to Phoenix, to Georgia, to jolly old England, back to Georgia, to North Carolina and we are presently planning a move back to Georgia!  Whew!  Oops….let’s not forget our South Carolina digs.  We have been represented by realtors for each of our moves on both sides of the aisle….buying and selling.

Some realtors are better than others of course but in different ways. Generally speaking now, I just don’t get along with realtors.  I’m sure they haven’t liked me either because I expect a lot from realtors.  I expect them to actually do what they promise they will do in that ‘getting to know me’ talk they like to have to sell their services and to tell the prospective client how they excel above all other realtors.  After that interview, realtors change drastically. What’s up with that?

They sell you and everything always sounds peachy but when you get down and dirty, they  have always fallen short for us.

Case in point. Take, for instance, the selling of our Marietta home. Our realtor went on vacation to the beach with her family. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Well, as luck would have it, we received an offer while our realtor was soaking up the sun! (Hasn’t anyone told her you can get skin cancer later in life if you soak up the sun??) Anyway, we called her substitute who didn’t seem up to snuff with our details and we asked to speak to our ‘real’ realtor! Nope! Can’t! E x c u s e me????? You say, ‘we can’t’??? We were in the middle of negotiations and she, apparently, was in the middle of preparing her skin for cancer. She had left word that she was not to be disturbed. No phone calls PERIOD. Needless to say we were not happy with our realtor. That’s not really accurate. We were going to !#^*<“:/ her.

Realtors tend to leave out important information. We always sign them up to have our very own realtor. We feel so secure having our own buyer’s agent. A cozy feeling. Like having a boyfriend when you are 16. Nice. Silly us. For example, a bit of information for all those home buyers out there contemplating moving to Arizona….you should not buy a home with a flat roof. Not a good idea! Hot, sun, sun, hot! What did we buy? A home with a flat roof! No wonder we got a terrific buy on that house. Our realtor neglected to let us in on that little secret.

Also, there was the time back when when we bought our home in Greensboro. Our realtor didn’t share with us that the man who owned the house actually committed suicide in the master bedroom. It was apparently quite messy but this house was all repainted, new roof, floors all refinished. Well, no wonder! We found out the day we were moving out that this poor man had decided to end his life in MY bedroom. So sad really but this would have been nice to know. Not sure if it would have changed our mind to buy it but it would have caused us to think about it all. Maybe everyone in the hood was playing a joke on us! By the way, interestingly, the character of Captain Quig played by Bogart (The Caine Mutiny) was actually based on this fellow’s experiences in the Navy! The author of that book, Herman Wouk, apparently served under this man. Sad right? My thoughts when we learned about this sad occurrence included that this house was now a happier one having had my family live in it.

Another thing. Realtors always, always, always want to list our houses lower than I think we should list them. I look at comps and compare homes in a ‘buyer frame of mind’ and I have always come up with a price higher than our realtor’s. By the way, we have always sold our homes very very quickly and close to asking price. I don’t get this. You would think realtors would want a higher asking price and, therefore, would end up with more money in their pocket. Nope. Faster selling and more homes sold is the way ‘my’ realtors have played the game. I guess I see their point but come on! One realtor told us we should lower the price after two weeks if we hadn’t gotten an offer. No, I don’t think so.

We had a realtor that jumped the gun at every turn. If we decided to put the ‘Coming Soon’ sign out front on Day 14….oops….on Day 4 there it was out front planted deep for all to see including my husband who was working on the front lawn planting, mulching, and generally fixing up. A bit awkward to have neighbors and drivers by gawking at a lawn that may not have been up to snuff.
Really? The realtor gave no apology but just mumbled that it was a ‘silly’ mistake and not to worry! GRRRRRRR. Easy for her to say. Our house was ‘coming’ for about a month. Talk about long time coming.

Have you ever had a realtor that just doesn’t seem in tune? Maybe I should ask in a different way. Have you ever had a realtor that isn’t ‘quick’ and you think that maybe, just maybe, they became a realtor to avoid the draft? Wait, wrong career and completely wrong era. The problem with this is that I don’t get angry or annoyed as much as I feel disbelief. I will admit here that we have always worked with the female realtor and once with a male realtor. I feel like shaking the out of tune realtor and yell ‘get a grip’! ‘Get on the ball, get with the program’, or just a ‘H E L L O…..anyone there????’ Is this unkind? I think not when we end up doing what we thought would be done by our realtor. I am feeling a bit sheepish now having written this. Sometimes the truth from my perspective hurts. I don’t want to be unkind but my husband worked in customer service for most of his working life and it just is astounding how little people are concerned about cs nowadays. I don’t think we expect too much from people. We just expect what they sold us on that first day. That’s all. Nothing more.

A realtor helps people buy and sell ‘real’ property vs. ‘fake’ property. We appreciate what they do but hey you realtors out there. You happen to have a bad rap or is it rep? If you don’t like young children in your nice new van, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be selling real estate (yep this happened to us too when my children were youngins and we had the necessary Cheerios to keep everyone happy!) I still remember that realtor telling us that she didn’t ‘allow’ food in her car!

Perhaps, too, realtors should put more thought into purchasing that ‘thank you’ gift they bring you after they get the closing check. Consider if you wish to bring a gift for our children, two small gifts is better than one larger one that they can argue over. Maybe flowers or a gift certificate for a local restaurant or even nothing at all. Do realtors still bring gifts to the new homeowner? Probably not. I may be showing my age. My memory is from eons ago.

We will continue to use realtors and keep signing up our own buyer agents in hopes they will truly give us some morsel of insights and the low down on the sellers or the property. I have to mention here my daughter and SIL just sold their house ‘by owner’ and did quite well not hiring a realtor. They did agree to pay the 3 percent to agents who brought sellers which ended up being the case. But I guess 3 is better than six no doubt. With all the sites that are set up to sell real estate it’s a wonder realtors make any money at all. It’s more important than ever to step up their game. I say this with all due respect.

In spite of all of the above, I have always wanted to work on getting my real estate license. I heard it wasn’t easy. My father got his license in Florida and even he (having been a member of MENSA) failed it the first time out. The problem is if I were to get my real estate license, I would have to work. I just don’t have time to work!! Seriously, no time at all.

Leigh

P.S. A note to my realtor friends and family:   There are exceptions to every rule!

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