Monday, April 30, 2007

April's end

Here it is the last day of April 2007, and the year 2007 is one third over. Imagine that! It's not like it has been super busy, but the days seem to slide by faster and faster.

My daily ritual is becoming more and more set. Wake up, wash up (yeah I know, don't say anything), trot downstairs, test my blood (higher than it should be,) test my blood pressure (also higher than it should be.)

A small glass of orange juice helps me take my pills, diabetes (1), high blood pressure(3), high cholesterol(2), Multivitamin (1), and a couple to keep my electrolytes in balance (2). And finally to round out the ritual, put the drops in my eyes for my Glaucoma.

For the rest of the day I walk around feeling like a rattle with all those pills bouncing around in me.

Pills down it is time for breakfast, 2 eggs, two pieces of multi grain toast with some margarine, coffee with skim milk.

Then it is down to my office to read my email from the night before, then check to see if my son has posted anything on his blog (no, not in a very long time) and then check my daughter Hillary's blogs. She usually posts something new every day and it is always worth reading. Actually she has two blogs, one is her normal blog Knitting4Shirley and the second is for the tournament she and her friend Felicia are running, something they call Sockmadness after the NCAA March Madness. Both are very entertaining.

After that it is whatever Real Estate work I have to catch up on, which is very little, so I spend the remainder of the day, puttering around the house, doing chores and watching TV

Boring, I guess, but that is my routine.

So when my son called last evening and asked what's new, I had very little to tell him. I am sure that there was much more new in his life than in mine, he being newly married, a new home owner, and having what seems to be a very challenging job. But does he write about any of that - not a word.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another week

All things being equal, which of course we all know never happens, this has been one of those weeks. I can't say it hasn't been interesting, but I can say it has been remarkably unproductive.

The week started off looking like we had just stepped into summer, bright skies, very warm temperatures, and birds singing.. Then yesterday it turned nasty again and it is damp, windy, rainy, and definitely uncomfortable.

This isn't unusual, but it looked so much like spring turning into summer that I put away all my winter clothing. Now I have to go find some it again. Bah, Humbug!!

Yesterday we had a class at the Weichert office. We have them periodically my broker is big on education. The topic yesterday was net sheets. A net sheet is a form where we list/calculate all the fees and charges that a buyer or a seller can expect to have to pay.

For the seller it includes all the mortgage, lien and tax payoffs, and for the buyer it includes the mortgage, points, prorated taxes, fees, etc.

Normally this is a set of straightforward calculations and addition. The kicker this time was the added wrinkle that the seller was four payments in arrears on the mortgage, We of course had to calculate the payoff balance with the added late fees, for both the first and second mortgages, It was surprisingly difficult to calculate compound penalties, Lots of variables in interpreting when and how to apply the penalties.

Somehow we (the twenty agents that were taking the class), all seemed to come up with similar results, note I didn't say the same results,, just similar Fortunately we weren't being graded on our results, just our technique.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring has sprung

Today is Sunday and the weather is glorious. Warm, sun shining brightly, just a light breeze, and the trees just beginning to bloom. Outside my window are several trees with large pink flowers. The aroma is like perfume.

Today s the day that my brother and cousins and I were supposed to leave for our repositioning cruise from Miami to Athens. I wish those who went a wonderful trip, and requested that they take lots of picture.

My daughter Jessica is coming down for a two or three day visit at the end of May. As it turns out my son and his wife Misun (picture) are coming down as well. I don't know what the sleeping arrangements are going to be, but I have a spare room, and my daughter Hillary has a spare basement. Between us we can all the expected guests. This will be the first time in years that all three families will be together with me. They get together regularly but since most of the occasions are for events for my ex-wife's family I am never invited. The kids also get together in pairs for vacations but again not with me.

My daughter Hillary's knitting tournament is down to the final eight contestants and all involved seem to be having a great time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pound puppies

One of my neighbors was out on his lawn - the postage stamp size plat of grass in from of his home playing with what looked like a pound puppy. It seemed sort of strange since he is in his mid-twenties. Then I looked closer and it moved. Turns out he acquired a basset hound puppy. The thing is the same size shape and coloring as a pound puppy. It is really cute.

For some reason I have been on a cleaning binge. I don't do it very often, but with only me living here and mostly hardwood floors there isn't much dust or dirt. I did go through my drawers and threw out a bunch of stuff. I am sure you know what I am talking about. When you buy something that needs assembly it usually comes with a small packet of spare parts, extra screws, bolts, dowels, etc. Most times that stuff isn't needed, but then again maybe something will come up so away it goes in "the" drawer. That's the one with packets of screws, dowels, small tubes of glue, extra this and spare that.

Well yesterday was cleaning day and all that stuff, well most of that stuff got trashed. That makes room for new stuff.

A month ago I (belatedly) sent in a request for reimbursement for some 2006 medical bills. My "policy" allows for reimbursement for thee doctors visits, two tests and on flu shot. They don't pay much, but still something is better than nothing. I guess the forms I sent in weren't clear enough so they paid part of the claim and asked for further documentation for the rest. I called my doctor and they were nice enough to send me a copy of my payment history for last year, which I submitted to the insurance company. Hopefully that will be enough.

One of the last remnants of business from my flood claims was a request for reimbursement for repair work done by Brinks Security. They actually made two visits, one right after the flood to check everything out and repair all the broken wires in the walls (before the Sheetrock went back up). They sent me a bill for that visit. Then after the repairs were completed they had to come back to repair a sensor that was busted by either the rockers or the painters, or whoever. In any case the security company will only come out when the homeowner calls, not the restoration company, and thus they billed me. The restoration company knew of the work and allowed for it in their schedule, but since they didn't know the price they left it at zero. So far so good.

When I finally submitted the bill it had to go to the adjuster, then to the insurance company, then to the property management company, and finally to me. Ever play the game telephone? you guessed it. Request for reimbursement and supporting information got horribly garbled along the way.

Recently I received a check for the first Brinks service call, but not the second. After much ranting and raving on my part, it turns out that it was my explanation that caused the problem... sort of. The second part of the claim was due to work done by the repair people, thus the insurance company determined that they should pay the second part of the bill. So now I wait for a check from the restoration company. Any bets as to how long I will have to wait?

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Sometimes I am just full of energy and get up and go, other times my get up and go seems to have gotten up and gone. Lately the gotten up and gone seems to be dominant.

It is Passover, which means very little, since I ceased to be observant many years ago. However my children observe, and since my oldest daughter lives near by she usually invites me to her Seder to serve in the Grandpa role - that of narrator/leader. The usual instructions apply, keep it short and time it to finish when the food is ready to be served.

This year, as in previous years I was also invited to the Seder hosted by her friends who live nearby. The reason for the invitation was so that I could meet Gerry's mother who was currently unattached. They had been trying to get us together for years, almost as long as I have been living in Northern Virginia.

This year I decided that in the interest of curtailing future invitations I would accept. This is sort of like the office voice mail system. Whenever they leav a message, or a voice mail, the system rings all of the cell phones in the notification list. Each agent is required to have one number that can be called. Problem is that if you don't pick up, listen to and reply to or delete the message, they keep ringing back until you do. So the best strategy is to answer it when it rings.

In any case, the friends home is close to my daughters and when we arrived they were already set up for the Seder. Her mother was in the basement getting ready. When she came upstairs I took one look and regretted having agreed to come. She reminded me of a younger version of my ex, combined with various features of my sister, neither of whom reside on my favorite people list. Suffice to say there was no animated conversation between us, although we did converse with everyone else. On the plus side, the Seder was mercifully short, the food was good, and I got to leave early. On the down side they have two small, loud, twin girls under two and an older girl the same age as my granddaughter Daria. I am still partially deaf

My glider rocker chair arrived on Tuesday and I spent Wednesday morning putting it together. It wasn't difficult, and there weren't a lot of pieces, but the six nuts and bolts that were needed to attach the back and arm rests were in the most awkward spots making tightening them very difficult and when I got my fingers caught in the mechanism, very painful. Then there was the problem of snapping the arm rest covers, and the chair back and seat to the frame. Again very awkward. But now that it is all done it is very comfortable.

My grand kids came to day. My daughter and son in law have been taking days off to stay with them, (Passover and (spring break) but today was one of those days when both of them needed to put an appearance in at work, so I was volunteered to baby sit. My son-in-law drove them to Manassas where I picked them up. The kids came back to my house for the day. The oldest, Lindsey immediately camped in my new chair and Daria the youngest took up residence on the glider/rocker ottoman.

They were well-behaved and I have no really large complaints, well maybe one. They brought food with them, a good idea since there is very little in my home for small growing children with picky eating habits. Their mother provided plastic containers , with among other things, coffee cake and brownies.

They ate most of the food, but my granddaughter Daria reminds me in a way of that Peanuts character Pig Pen, who seems to have a perpetual cloud of dust around him. Well in this case I can tell were Daria was because there are trail of cake and brownie crumbs where she walked, and on, and under, the chair she sat in. She also managed to spill a bag of mini M&Ms on the floor. These were really small, about an 1/8 of an inch wide, and I am sure they are all over the floor and under the furniture