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May 27, 2015

9 Ways to Deal With (annoying?) Cell Phone Calls or Why Don't They Answer?

English: Phone box A rare sight these days, an...
English: Phone box A rare sight these days, an old fashioned red phone box outside the Old Stores in Yarpole village. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have three email addresses, an iPhone with text messaging and Whatsapp. I have an iPad too. Skype is loaded and ready to go. I seldom use any of them because everyone I know is very busy. It is very difficult to get a response from anyone. Does anyone else have this problem?

It hasn't been that many years ago that we wrote a letter on a piece of paper and put it in the mail. We were willing to wait for an answer and, if the answer did not come, the other person could always claim that it had never arrive..."darned postal service messed up again," they would say. No one's feelings were hurt.

But now...now we need a whole new list of excuses for not responding. My phone battery is dead, I didn't hear the beep and so on when the truth is the person on the other end of the phone probably did not feel like answering you. Remember, with caller ID on phones, everyone knows who is calling if the number is in their contacts list. No excuse can change that.

I think you would agree that there is probably a need for some clarification for intended use by the cell phone owner. Everyone needs to be very up front about how they are going to use that device and honest with themselves about what they are doing. Do you...
  1. Never answer the phone but leave instruction on voice mail telling people that you do not answer your phone but will respond to messages then erase the ones that annoy you?
  2. Block all those people you never intend to respond to ever no matter who they are?
  3. Make excuses that are not true when people ask you about a call or text?
  4. Give out your cell number and then blow everyone off? 
  5. TELL EVERYONE WITHIN EARSHOT THAT YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO BOTHER YOU? 
If you are doing those things, ask yourself "why" and make an effort to let your contacts know about your attitude. (I would be curious to hear how you did that in a nice way.) Or rethink your actions.

If you are the one struggling with cell phone using friends or family you might consider these suggestions:
  1. Take the hint and quit calling!
  2. If you want to communicate with them, write a letter and mail it.
  3. Always fill in the subject line when you send a text or email. Abbreviate the information so they will at least know why your are trying to contact them. If you don't hear back, so be it!
  4. Do not call family at work unless you are bleeding or in the ambulance.
I heard a man talking on his phone recently. He was telling his daughter to never call him on his cell phone. He told her he was the only one that could use the phone. Wow! This technology really has us confused it seems. 

Does anyone have any ideas? Please share.

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It is just a thought!




May 25, 2015

Do High Fences Make Good Neighbors?

My husband is redoing our back fence...a "good neighbor" fence of sorts is being created. We are the neighbors and the fence is good for us.

See, our backdoor neighbor is a naturalist...or something like that. He mows his yard once a year whether it needs it or not. He has the remnants of an above ground pool in the middle of his yard topped with dead branches and covered with a tarp. His son is a teen and the toys from his childhood sit strewn about the yard and his maple tree seeds itself down willy nilly. A hose that I have never seen used lays by a broken barbeque and his deck cover is going to collapse any day now.

I have to admit that he was living there when we bought this house. I just didn't see that it would bother me because there was a nice fence and I thought I could cover the lattice board we could see through at the top with planters. But, as it turned out, it was not possible to buy enough planters to conceal what was going on over there. And the neighbor does not want us to fix the fence when it falls apart!

I tried everything to overcome the look of the place. I called is our very own wetland. I tried to feel grateful because he never came in the back yard, did not have a barking dog or a screaming wife. After almost 4 years, the fence came apart for the second time. The first time it disassembled itself my husband cut down the saplings under the fence and reassembled the section that was broken. The neighbor put up a "no trespassing" sign and turned the spotlight on the back of his house so it shone in our bedroom window. It turned out he noticed when my husband cut down the sapplings under the fence. Now we have resigned ourselves to a solid wood, very high fence.

We did not approach him about helping to pay for the new fence because, well, it seemed useless. I began calling him "What a guy!" because he propped up one board to fill the new hole.

Our back deck. We spend endless hours outside in
the summer
The fence that is being restored. The lattice let us see too much
and the bottom part is coming apart.
Now my husband is fixing the fence. Oh my goodness...it is as though we have been let out of prison. Our yard is looking so much better and we can go on with our life.

We learned that if you fix the fence, you cannot go on the neighbor's property. We do that sort of thing because we only want to help. You cannot choose your neighbors. We also have learned that privacy is more important that we ever realized.

Do high fences make good neighbors? I do not know. We will let you know.

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May 22, 2015

Yes, I Do Buy Green Bananas!

I know people that do not want to pay taxes anymore because their children are not in school and they don't go to the park anymore or maybe don't even drive. They have ceased to care about the future and all those generations that follow them. I find myself avoiding those people because they just make me depressed. I like to think about the future and, yes, I still buy green bananas.

My Future has a very young face! Three
of my 12 grandchildren with my husband and
I in Florence, Italy.
On the other hand I know so many people that do care about what their grandchildren or great-grandchildren will become and are willing to contribute time and even money toward what they will never see. And I suppose they realize that taxes are an investment in the future too. I certainly hope so.

As for me I still buy small plants and trees so I can watch them grow. I think that schools are the foundation for the future and if we don't pay for them, the community will fail. I like change and all that it brings. I honestly live as though I will see it come to fruition...who knows what the future will bring.

So I will continue to buy green bananas and small trees.  I think our future is very bright...that is a good thing.

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May 20, 2015

Aging: I'm Sorry But You're Not Doing it Right

Aging is a full time job and I can actually say I like it a lot better than I did the jobs I did as a young person. But it seems that I may not be doing it right. It seems younger people, some of them "experts", have an opinion even though they have no real experience at being old. I think the final straw for me this week was the notion put forth on Fox News that we need to have our vocal cords fixed so we sound younger. Of all things in the world it had never occurred to me that my voice did not sound just fine. I like my voice.

Then I was read a post written by Chloe Jeffreys over at Chloe of the Mountain called Another War No Woman Can Win. In the article she talked about the battles that women just cannot win. Aging has been added to the list. But then doing it wrong is nothing new to a woman like me. Here is what Cloe had to say:
Spending my entire female life watching women emotionally and socially beat the hell out of each other over...being a feminist, maintaining your hymen until your wedding night, giving away the cow for free, giving head, showing your godliness by turning your head and thinking of England, homeschooling, putting the kids in daycare, staying with him, getting a divorce–and on and on–I find myself unsurprised that ageing is the next unwinnable female competitive sport.
Well Chloe, I for one am not surprised. I have heard the discussions from women my age
over graying hair, lifts and injections, exercise and yoga. I have even read articles written by women highlighted with pictures of old people with black hairy moles. In every one of those articles I hear a hint of fear. The idea is that, if you do all the "right" things, aging will not come to you. The truth of the matter is, you cannot escape aging anymore than you can escape growing up. It is just a fact of life. Yet even people like Chloe and I are doing our best to look good as we age.

Women fall into several categories. There are those that disdain the effect that the sun, dry air or even too much alcohol or coffee can have on your body. They plow through life letting what is just
be. In fact, the woman that do that are very happy in their skin I think. If I took every mirror
out of my house I could live like that without any problem.

Then there are those that begin angsting about wrinkles and sagging skin very early in their life. Cosmetic manufacturers love them a lot. I have no idea if it makes a difference. The only women I see that still have perfect skin are the ones that never go out in the sun, use tons of face cream to plump up cells and never change their expressions.

Then there are women like me that loved a natural look for most of their lives. I enjoyed the sun and being outdoors. My skin was wonderful and I would often comment that it did not one whit of good to get sick because I always looked just fine...no sympathy for me. I always colored my hair because I wanted a change once in a while. I too disdained the make-up counters and anti-aging creams. Then one day my daughter took me for a makeover for my birthday. The rest is history and now it is almost 20 years later. I still love my make-up, my dressing table and the time I spend each day pampering myself. I make no apologies for that.

However, I do not color my hair anymore. In fact, I embrace my white hair and all that it implies.

So, I am sure that Chloe would agree. Really, no one is doing it wrong. We all need to do what we think helps us feel good about ourselves. What is right for me is just that. You do it your way and we will both be happy. But above all, we need to face the realities about aging and find a way to be content with what we are gifted.

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May 19, 2015

Retirement: On Being Normal

I often wonder if there is any such thing as "normal". Is there actually someone in this world that gets up, does what is average, sleep the average number of hours and spend the average time driving, eating, with their children. Who are those people and where do they live?

I for one watch movies like About Schmidt see myself in so many of the situation pictured I find the characters not only average but boring. Am I like that? Maybe. I could even see myself doing what he did when his car quit working...abandon it and just drive that awful RV everywhere. In fact, it looked so average that I didn't even notice what he was doing until a long way into the movie.

Three weeks ago in Munich...
We traveled during the month of April in Europe and returned to Arizona where we battled jet lag as we packed to return home to Oregon. Average had become a life living out of a suitcase, showering in other people's showers and walking endless miles on a wounded knee. I was out of my shampoo and didn't have any dental floss. The hotel lotions was not good and finding gluten free food was a challenge...my "new" normal was not what it had been. But I was happy and loved every bit of it. At the time it didn't seem out of the ordinary.

Now we are back in Oregon. We are sleeping in a king sized bed, using real drawers and hangers and I have my own shampoo, shower, dental floss and so much more. I would say that it is normal but then there is our family that is remodeling their kitchen and sharing ours, their teen daughter with her new boyfriend in tow and a Marine Corp grandson that is engaged cooking his fiance a birthday carrot cake in our kitchen early Sunday morning. Our neighbor is asleep on his back lounge in his underwear (he is 84 and not well) and another neighbor has a son-in-law staying with her that smokes while sitting on the tailgate of his pickup pretty much all day. Oh and did I mention that my son-in-law barbeques sitting down?

I have so forgotten what normal is...do you have any ideas?
back to my old normal!
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