Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hear This!

Our original plan was for the spouse to retire at the end of June, but then he didn't get around to registering for medicare and now he needs to maintain his employer provided health insurance until medicare kicks in. His employer asked only that he let them know a few weeks before he wants to go.   They've been planning for this transition for a while now.  His medicare card showed up in the mail today, so I imagine that he will be retiring in the next few weeks.   In preparation for this major change in our income and lifestyle I decided to take advantage of our double coverage while I still had it and made appointments to get all systems checked.  I've been to the doctor, dentist, and hearing specialist. 

I came home from today's appointment and saw that my copy of the AARP magazine had been delivered.  Today I was fitted for hearing aids.  I guess I can't deny it any longer...I am a stereotype; Nana is a senior citizen! 

I didn't realize I had a hearing loss.  I had noticed that I was asking the spouse to repeat what he said, but he mumbles.  Come to think of it, a lot of people mumble.  I knew that I leaned in hear conversations, but there was background noise.  I sometimes heard words, but didn't understand what was said.  The hearing test showed that there was substantial loss at certain frequencies.  I think that I still didn't really believe that I was hearing impaired.

Today the technician inserted the aids in my ears, and I was stunned at the difference in my hearing. After calibration of the aids, I can best describe my hearing as crisp.  I can hear every syllable and understand every word.  Until the moment that the hearing aid was turned on, I didn't really believe I had a hearing problem.  Now I'm a believer and I'm grateful that the problem can be remediated.

I am embracing my new role as a senior. I'm rocking these hearing aids.  Maybe I'll shop the yard sales this weekend for a cane.  I'm not ready to accessorize this role with a walker, but a cane could be a fashion statement!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day Dad

Gordon Rayner, my dad

In May I flew to San Diego to celebrate my dad's 86th birthday.  We had a great time visiting museums and going out to eat, but the highlight of the trip was sitting down with my dad and going through old family photographs.  My dad has a terrific memory and more often than not, he could identify the mystery people in the old photos.  The photos also dredged up long forgotten memories and wonderful stories. 

My dad has had an interesting life.  Although he left school in England at 13, he is one of the most intelligent and educated people that I know.  Before we immigrated from England to the United States, he worked at Kodak.  When we settled in California, he worked in "the industry."  The industry in the Los Angeles area is the movie industry.  For most of my early childhood he was an assistant cameraman and worked doing special effects.  Later he was a cameraman and then became a member of the Director's Guild.  He filmed a lot of commercials, television and movies.  I don't remember being especially impressed with his job when I was a kid.  However, I did like that when he was filming commercials the leftover product often wound up at our house.  Back in the days of black and white television, they used to film the products with black and white labels so that the contrast was clearly defined and the label easily read.   I remember having cans of spray on deodorant with black and white labels for years.  My dad filmed the Pillsbury commercials with the Pillsbury Doughboy...and we had a refrigerator filled with Pillsbury slice and bake Christmas cookies.  Score!    

I will eventually write about some of the photos and stories my dad told about our family and his  work, but today I'm just going to share some old photos of my dad.

My dad and I, taken in England in 1951

 Not sure when this photo was taken, but he sure looks young and carefree...it must be before he married and had children.

As I mentioned, my dad worked in the movie industry.  He was  a cameraman on a Zenith television commercial and, since he had served in the Royal Air Force, he was asked to show the actors in the casting call how to present arms.  The English apparently do it differently than the Americans.  None of the actors could get it right.  My dad wound up acting in the commercial.  For years we would see him on TV playing a guard in front of Buckingham Palace. 

 Have you noticed how well dressed people are in old photos?  In most of the early photos I have of my dad, he is wearing a tie.  This is one of my favorites of my dad and his brother (my Uncle Colin) taken in the driveway of my childhood home.  Don't they look like they could be from the cast of The Book of Mormon?
On my wedding day my dad put a "tuppence" in my shoe for good luck before we left home for the church.
Happy Father's Day Dad.  I love you!
My brother Leigh, my Dad, me taken last summer in San Diego

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WTF Wednesday: Yard Sales

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

Yard sale season starts in Hermiston about the same time that gardeners decide that the danger of frost has passed.  In late April telephone poles sprouted neon colored yard sale signs and Pampers boxes with directional arrows  began appearing on street corners.  Last weekend there were more than a dozen sales listed in the Nickel Ads and I spent Friday morning searching for items on the list for Nana Camp. 

Nana Camp is the highlight of our summer.  Our granddaughters come from Texas to stay with us and we indulge their every whim.  We camp, we fish, we garden, we cook, we schlep them to swimming lessons...we spoil them rotten.  We love it.

This year they put in a request for scooters.  So Nana has been trooping through the yard sale offerings on the look out for scooters, and for bikes, a play kitchen, art supplies...and anything that looks like it might be fun.  Yes, I could just head to Walmart and pick up everything on the list, but where's the challenge in that option?

Last weekend I finally scored.  I found two razor scooters for $5.00 each, and at a sale down the road I found a vintage red scooter for $2.00 that the spouse suggested Nana could use to scoot up the driveway to get the mail.

There are a few things on the list that I am still searching for, so I will head out exploring once again this weekend.

You never know what you will find.  I didn't know Nana Camp needed a plasma ball until I found one for $2.00.

Then there's the stuff that makes you slap your forehead and say "WTF?"

This is what I found at a yard sale last weekend:

No, I didn't buy it!!!
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