Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Whose Job Is It?

What to do on a rainy day when you don't want to clean house, you've finished your puzzle, you've done your exercise and you're feeling too lazy to do anything else?    I balanced the check books.  In a weird sort of way I actually enjoy doing it.  I handle the small "books" here and Mac does the big ones.  Which means that I pay the bills and keep the check books in a reasonable state.
He handles the investment accounts and deals with the taxes.  I would hate doing that--keeping track of investment expenses and figuring out how to get some of our money back from Uncle Sam--too much math.  But I think he just taps into his inner Uncle Scrooge.
I don't mind the day to day expenses, getting everything paid on time or early, making sure we carry no balances on credit cards, deciding when we can afford some new item (a new computer) and budgeting for it.
He likes scouring through obscure tax laws and finding us the most deductions he can, figuring out which dividends we don't need to declare and which losses we can deduct and how he can keep the government's hands off of as much of our money as he can.
When I took early retirement and was filling out all my paperwork with my employer they suggested I hire a personal finance advisor.  I laughed and pointed to Mac, who had retired a year ahead of me, and told them he was the only advisor I needed, that he was the reason we could take early retirement.
We make a good pair.  We never argue over money, never have.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Rather Mixed Sunday

We had our first Skype call with our daughter today, we started it, then she called us.  It was so extroidinary, I know I'm a  low tech soul (my smart phone will hardly talk to me---I guess because I never play games with it and that hurts its feelings) and that Skype has been around forever or at least since 2003 when it was it was started by 2 Danes and 2 Estonians before it was sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion dollars, but we'd never used it before.   It felt very Star Treky talking visually to someone over 7,000 miles away.  And better yet for free, I love it.
So I was feeling so 21st century, went out to mow the lawn, got a Wisteria vine wrapped around my neck and thought I'd garroted myself.  No real harm done, but it sure made me feel stupid, just when I thought I was so clever.  You never expect your perennials to turn on you in quite so spectacular a manner.
Then it was time for lunch, roasted chicken quarters with roast potatoes and brussel sprouts. We ate lunch while watching the Masters, a beautiful day in Augusta as it was here.
All in all a pretty good day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Long Day

Up WAY too early today, our daughter's flight to Japan was this morning.  It was a tearful good-bye, we're happy for her, but we'll miss her so much.  She has to fly from Savannah, to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Seattle and from Seattle to Tokyo.  Her last Tweet, 2 hours ago, said she was onboard in Seattle and waiting to take off, she'll still have nearly a 10  hour flight ahead of her.
Her kitty is here with us, so far he and Miss Kitty have not come to no blows, just a few hisses and tails fluffed up.  He's staying upstairs, which is what we figured would happen and Miss Kitty goes up to bug him ever so often.  Today she went up and used his cat box, ate his food and all but blew a raspberry at him.  He didn't seem too upset so that's good.
Mac is already scouring the airlines for flights to Japan, we  can't go this year, we already have several trips scheduled and she'll be back at Christmas.  But we'll definitely be going over next year, maybe in the Spring.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tipping

Huey's On the River
Our daughter is here and asked that we do lunch at Huey's on the River down in Savannah while she was here.  It's one of our favorite places so of course we said yes.  It poured here on Sunday, Savannah was absolutely heaving with tourists, but we'd called ahead, they don't do reservations, but if you call 30 minutes before your arrival they'll put you on their list for seating.  This is an absolute must for a weekend during tourist season, which is pretty much all year long down here.
So Mac dropped us off and April and I checked in at the door and within 5 minutes we were led to a table though there were throngs of people waiting and I heard one lady being told it would be an hour wait.
Waiting for Mac we ordered coffees around and a double order of beignets, an absolutely heavenly concoction of fried dough and powdered sugar.  It took nearly 10 minutes to get to us,  arriving just before Mac showed up.  Didn't mind the wait, they were busy, it was understandable.
What I don't understand is why we had to ask 3 different people for coffee refills, our waitress---when she finally reappeared out of the blue--for plates to put the beignets on, why Mac had to go and track down his own silverware, and why we weren't asked it we needed anything else, just had out bill handed to us.
Mac says a tip is like a taxi meter in reverse, the longer you wait the lower it gets.  We're usually good tippers having both worked in the restaurant business as teenagers, but I was not a happy camper.  I don't hold a waiter/waitress responsible for how long it takes for the food to get to us or how it tastes, those are kitchen matters.  But if you don't refill my coffee and my water (my glass was completely empty half way through our meal) I hold you accountable.  If you're busy with other customers I understand, if you disappear from the dining room for lengthy periods of time I don't understand.
We still tipped her, but not nearly as much as we would have had the service been better.
Am I wrong?
Beignets

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Thomas Hobbes

In honor of Thomas Hobbe's birthday I give you Calvin and Hobbes.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Glorious Day

Wisteria on the Garden Fence
It is indeed a glorious day, bright sunshine, gentle breeze and our daughter will be here in a few hours.  Her boxes have been shipped off to Japan, yesterday was her last day of work at her old job and she's driving down from Maryland.
She's staying with us for about a week before making her move to Japan.  We're very proud of her, moving to Japan has been her dream for years and she never gave up on it.  Now she'll be starting the next chapter in her life, that's exciting.
She's bringing her kitty with her, Yohji, he'll be staying with us until she finds an apartment that allows pets.  Her new  job has found her an apartment for now, but it doesn't allow pets.  We've told Miss Kitty that her cousin is coming to visit, but  I'm not sure how thrilled she is, she's use to being an only cat.    He'll live upstairs and she'll live anywhere she wants, after all she owns this place or thinks she does.
Miss Kitty Surveying Her Garden

Monday, March 31, 2014

Grumpy Old Lady Time

It's time for a grumpy old lady rant.  For the last couple of months it has been hit or miss as to whether I could get my B-12 shot that I need each month because of a medical condition I have.  The doctor's office has been unable to get enough vials of it to meed their needs.  So the last 2 months I'd taken another shot that contains some B-12, not as much as I should have, but enough to keep me going.
This weekend I tried to track down why my mail order (this is through the military) pharmacy hadn't sent me my Lipitor that my Doctor had called for back in January.  Turns out it too is out of stock and has been for more than 3 months.
These are not esoteric, seldomly used medications, in fact Lipitor is one of the most prescribed medications in the US.
The online pharmacy told me to go back to my doctor and have him send a prescription to a local pharmacy that might have the medication, so that's what I did, but I'm not happy.
Went online to find out how big a problem out of stock medications have become and this is what I found:

Drug shortages have been commonplace for years, but the problem has grown more serious at hospitals and Emergency Medical Service agencies. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 56 drug shortages were reported in 2006; by 2011, the number had climbed to 251. The FDA's list includes drugs that have "the greatest impact on public health."
I then went to look at the current list of drug shortages and it was staggering and scary.
Lots of reasons why:  fewer manufacturers, quality control, product recalls, increased demand, lack of raw materials.

I also learned that most of the quality control issues are with generic drugs-----haven't they been telling us for years that they're just as good as the name brands?

So lots of reasons for the shortages, but all I know is that the medical services and medications use to work well, expensive perhaps, but worth it.  Now it doesn't work as well and at least for us it's more expensive, I'm not a happy lady.