Thursday, December 21, 2017

Feeling my age. Almost got a new ferret. Found some comments in the spam filter.




This has been a tough few months on "the old crowd."  The people I went to college with, the people in my reserve unit then especially, and the people I was in the service with.  A lot of them have passed on recently. In my own extended family, there have been some health issues, and now I find out my brother in law up in Baltimore, whom I have always liked, has a brain tumor and he's done for. He's a year older than I am.  I make it a practice not to wring my hands about things like health issues , or other "age related" things. It's a part of life you just have to accept.  But I tell you, it does drag a fellow down when your peers start crossing the rainbow bridge all around you.


When you get to the age that most of the people in the obituary column are your contemporaries , it does change your attitude about some things.  Should you stop getting new animals, in case you croak and they don't have anyone to care for them?  Should you stop buying things like books, because it just means more work for the kids when they have to get rid of your things.

Twenty years or more ago, there was a woman who wrote a column for the Atlanta Journal. She was an old lady, one of the old school Southern upper class ladies you don't see much anymore. Her little column was just about thoughtful things.  One of them was written about going to an estate sale after her best friend died.  All the things that meant so much to her friend, were just laid out on tables and people were rummaging  through them.  Even back then, when I was still relatively young, the thought of that horrified me.

Like the old viking, when you get past your mid sixties you probably should give some planning to wrapping things up. I'm not talking about estate planning, just how your lifestyle should be modified. I still have as much work to do up here as ever, but it takes me longer and leaves me worn down to the nub. I don't mind it, but it's certainly a constant reminder that I'm getting on.

I'm not about to go, as far as I know, and I'm going to keep doing the things I enjoy as long as I can. Life is pretty good for us up here, and we might as well live it the way we want to as long as we are able.


Wire Note: I found three comments in the spam filter, dating back to the first week of December. Posted them Tonight. I don't see any reason for them to have been routed to spam. Sorry it took me so long to find them.



I thought I might have a new ferret here soon.  My wife saw an add in the paper , where someone needed to sell their ferret.  I called them, because that's a recipe for disaster. People buy ferrets without a clue to the expense and effort it  takes to care for them.  When I called the lady, she was really nice, and said she was sorry, but she had already sold her ferret. But, she said the people were nice, middle aged people who already had a ferret, and wanted a companion for him.  So I was relieved that turned out well.



(the ferret paintings are by Stef. She's linked on the side board.)

I have just about gotten the place back up to speed. Since the hurricane remnants and then these storms coming through, there was a lot to do.  Today I finished up the most important items still on the list, and the others are not so onerous.  I'm glad to be getting back to normal.

I got an email from a salesperson at SOG today, saying she didn't know why the phones there didn't forward me on to a sales person, or why my emails were returned. I sent them one this morning, and she responded right away.  Glad to know they are not going under, there aren't many outfits like that left. I missed the sale on the Mosin Nagant pistol ammo, though.








Some cartoons:








Thought for the Day:





33 comments:

  1. Harry, I'm certainly not at the stage you are at in life. But in a few months I'll turn 50. It really has made me think about a lot of things. Mostly, what have I accomplished in life? And, where did those 30 years go since I was in college? Seems like yesterday. And it went by so fast. But it really does make you reflect doesn't it? I really hope i'm not a burden on my children some day.

    I think that mid-life crisis thing might be a real thing, so any advice you could give would be great! :)

    Cheers Harry and Merry Christmas to you and the Mrs. --Troy

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    1. Troy, it's only really been in the last couple of years I've really given much thought to the fact that I'm getting older. Things like seeing Colonel Gerlach in a wheelchair, at that Beirut memorial program, rattle me some. Generally I just try not to let things associated with getting old prey on my mind, but sometimes the jolts come fast and furious, and then it can get to a fellow. Just part of it I guess.

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  2. I would kill to be in my mid 60's again, Harry. I am past my mid 70's, pushing hard at 80 and refuse to have your negative attitude. Hell, you are still a young'un. Who cares what happens to your stuff after you die? You won't know. Enjoy what you have and your life. You are only as old as you think. Attitude is everything.

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    1. Tewshooz, you never think about death? I think about the impact on the lives of my immediate family members, and I also feel aggravated and angry about not being able to enjoy the forest, thunderstorms, things like that. I know that's nonsensical but I can't help it.

      You know some of the aspects of getting older that really make it tough to ignore. Your recent experience with the medical profession is one of my biggest conflicts with the"aging process."

      Then there's the fact that I'm just not as strong physically, and I get tired so easily. Overall I'm in good shape, I can still get everything done. But I'm beginning to wonder when the day will come....

      It bothers me, to think about my things being"gotten rid of like some inconvenient brick a brack. Can't help it, it just does.

      I'm just disconcerted tonight I guess. My brother in law's situation is pretty unpleasant, especially right at Christmas

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    2. Think about death? Sure...but don't dwell on it. My dad used to say "when your number is up, your number is up". You have no control as to when so why worry about it. If that really bothers you about the impact on your family, why not sit down and talk to them about it? Tell them what you are feeling....bet it helps to get it off your chest. We have to adjust as we get older. Yeah, slower and not as strong, but still upright, right? Don't borrow trouble by worrying, Harry... I am sorry to hear about your brother. Hard to know what to say. Will you be able to see him? Nah, getting older is not for sissies, Harry. Stay healthy and enjoy your life.

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    3. I usually don't spend a lot of time thinking about the end game, but when people you knew when you were younger start dying off, or several of them do within a short time span, it does kind of intrude itself into my thinking.

      Then too, what to do with this place is all up in the air and we haven't been able to resolve that. My wife says if I go first (which, statistically, is probably what will happen) she is going to go live near our kids. But this place needs a lot of maintenance, and it has to be done constantly. If the kids aren't coming here, then I guess we need to sell it. But to do that will be difficult. My land is hard to reach, and very isolated. You can't always get in or out. The house is big, and there are outbuildings. So, it's really neither fish nor fowl. Also, to sell it, I'll need to have some things done , like replacing the shake roofs with metal roofing, and that will mean people I don't know swarming all over the place. I hate the thought of that.

      Mark, the fellow with the brain tumor, is my wife's brother. He's my favorite brother in law, just a great guy who never did anyone any harm. Coming right on the heels of the heart attack thing with her sister, and right at Christmas, it just negatively impacts my morale, that's all. No , we won't be going up there to Baltimore. If I was him, I wouldn't want a swarm of relatives coming around and goggling at me, and I wouldn't want to have to make small talk. If there's anything we can do to help him we will, but he has a nice wife and they have enough in the way of finances, so I don't know what it would be.

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  3. I've gone through a lot of my stuff and given some of it to the few people to whom it would mean something. I've also sold a lot of it. After much, MUCH thought, there are even a few things that I've thrown away. I have little family left and they aren't interested in the same things that I am, so I'm trying to do my stepson a favor by thinning my "hoard." As for losing our peers, I think within a year of my high school graduation, three guys were already gone. It's been a steady trickle ever since.

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    1. I've done some of that too. Mostly things like tools, furniture, etc that my son or daughter could use. But this place is crammed to the gunnels with self sufficiency oriented supplies and equipment. Much of it is very heavy, and very expensive. And until the day I check out, I would like to have access to it. Also, I hope my son or daughter or both will come back here to live someday. So it's complicated.

      Just in the last couple of years, my alumni magazine from UNM has had a lot of people I know in the "memorium" column. Not really good for morale, even if it's the natural progression of events.

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  4. In the last couple of years I have had three friends off them selves either by accident or design. With my dad passing in November this whole dying business has come way closer than I am comfortable with. Going through dad's things I realize there is so much of it I don't have any use for. Got a dozen boxes of stuff to take to Goodwill tomorrow before the storm. Saved a couple of pairs of shoes and some shirts that fit me but most of it will be sold for a dollar or two. Seems kind of sad really.

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    1. It IS sad. I can look at a chess set, and remember buying it on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, or in Osan, Korea, or where ever. It has meaning for me. But to someone else, it's just a chess set, nothing more. I was looking at the insurance photographs of our little villa in Italy , from back in the early 80's, and most of the things in the pictures are still here in the house. The thought of a bunch of strangers plundering through the house and buying my stuff drives me wild. Yet I know , if my two kids don't live here, they won't have any recourse but to go the estate sale route, which is almost obligatory here in the mountains. The old people die, the relatives come to dispose of the property, they take a few things and have the mega yard sale that an estate sale really is.

      I remember the ordeal you went through with your father. I'm sure it drained the life out of you for awhile.

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  5. Your post reminds me of this article about "Swedish Death Cleaning". basically, these people, as they approach the end of their life, start a process of decluttering and downsizing of belongings so as to make things easier for the people who follow after them and have to wrap up the estate.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/swedish-death-cleaning-2017-10

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    1. That's sensible, but the big drawback is you have to look in the mirror, and say to yourself, "well, the jigs about up." When you are in your forties or fifties, it doesn't hit home so hard. But I have a hard time doing it. I find myself looking at a tree here on the place, and thinking it was old when I got here, and it'll still be standing when I'm long gone. I don't find that very comforting. I must not have any Indian blood in me.

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  6. I feel your pain for your BIL. There is nothing you can do for him, and it makes you feel so helpless. We actually are not promised much on this mortal world. I am a strong believer in the Lord God, and whether or not you are, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that all any of us are ever able to do is get up every day, thank whoever for the chance to experience it, and then ask ourselves what are we going to do with it. I learned this from a man who lived to be 90. My wife of 25 years now is going through breast cancer treatments, she found out just after we celebrated our anniversary. And yet, I still do the same thing each morning. Each day is a blessing. And a chance to experience something new, and perhaps exciting. I hope that it is the same for you as well. I wish you a joyful Christmas and a peace filled New Year.

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    1. pigpen51, I usually follow that philosophy, I think it's a good one. Living day by day tends to be easier on a person. When I do get forced into long term planning, I try to be dispassionate about it. Don't always succeed though.

      I'm sorry to hear about your wife, but I'm glad they found it and she is getting treatment. I hope she gets well soon.

      Christmas will be fine this year, our two kids are unexpectedly coming home and we are looking forward to it very much. I hope you and your family have a good Christmas too.

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  7. Tewshooz is right. If we are lucky, we get old. If we are unlucky, we die young. But in the grand scheme of things, we aren't going to know or care what happens to our stuff once we are gone. Enjoy the time you have left. These years of retirement are some of the best years of my life, even with the physical problems, because I have the time and freedom from punching a time clock to do the things I love to do.

    Don't worry so much about things you can not control, Harry. You will miss out on the simple pleasures and that would be sad.

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    1. I think the Pharoah's had it right, Vicki. I might have to have a pyramid built for myself, so I can take everything with me. ;-)

      I'm enjoying retirement. I just wish everybody would quit dying on me. Or at least, I wish I wasn't hearing about it.

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  8. It's not so much the aging but the injuries that worry me. They set me back a lot more than I'd like. However, I've been injured much worse so I've felt older than I am now way back when I was 35. It gives me some perspective I guess.

    You think about your stuff going to an estate sale. The harsh truth is that most people's stuff goes into the dumpster. Heck, I've even heard of the family bible going out in the trash.

    When my dad passed from cancer I was there for him. It was an honor. He passed at home as he wanted. That being said, I told my kids not to put themselves through that. Put me in hospice or let me die in a hospital.

    My cousin, another retired firefighter, and I were talking about our relatives that passed. Our family members tend to leave this world by inches, a painful struggle the whole way. We are not expecting an easy exit.

    I had the good fortune to almost lose all my worldly possessions. Mentally, I had let them go. In the end I did not, but it was a useful life lesson. I am much less attached to things and more grateful for experiences and relationships. There might be something to the Buddhist idea of letting go of one's attachments.

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    1. I'm not going out the slow, painful way, Six Bears. I don't see any point to it, I'm not encumbered with any religious scruples. I've seen the same phenomenon in my family and I'm not subjecting my kids to that. It won't come up in my case, I dont expect. The men in my family live up into the 70's for the most part, and then they just die.

      I'm one of those people who likes having a lot of "stuff." I know that's not a good trait, but there it is. I think that's one reason I wish one of my kids would just take this place over as a going concern.

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  9. Harry, I am a bit younger than you... but I have no intention of stopping living before I die. I have plans yet, and some of my plans have plans. I want to teach myself blacksmithing, and some machine work.Not likely I will have a second career in either, but I want to know how...
    If you are worrying about what your wife and kids will go through, first, they will miss you most of all. So don't check out early.You can make a will that covers the things that are important to you, that you want to go to specific people. As you do get older, you can downsize some, give it away or sell it. I miss my dad. I inherited his gun collection (split with my brother), his books, and tools. All 5 siblings took what they wanted ....I would trade it all away for more time with him.
    Look around at the people you love, and the people that love you. That is truly what makes one wealthy...The stuff you can make arrangements for.

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  10. Good point about considering life as we get older. That's always been part of our "work smarter not harder" plan. A simpler routine without all the major building projects is our goal, but the older I get the slower I go so it may take longer to get there than we hoped!

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    1. Leigh, at least you have a plan. I built this place all in one fell swoop, based on not a lot of experience and mostly on what I had read. Overall, I've been very satisfied though there are some things I would change if I could.

      The older we get, the harder it is to get physical things done. I was up on the roof yesterday of one of the outbuildings, and it was hard on the joints and muscles. Makes doing things so much more difficult. But, that's how it is. Just have to work around it.

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  11. i'm almost 70 and health is not great. husband will be 73 in january and is fighting cancer.
    [note to men--when then prostate gets hard get rid of it innstantly. if the doc wants to 'watch' it tell him to watch it at close quarters on his next surgery day.]
    my only advice is to think out where to put a bedroom on the main floor if you don't have one. in our case it is what used to be the dining room, which we never used anyway.
    also put lever door handles and lever taps for ease if arthritis or injury make door knobs difficult.
    i can't put them on the outside door because we have a smart dog and a couple of sly cats. the cats watch how the door is opened and then i see them try it themselves. with levers they would have the doors opened in a trice.
    make sure the bathroom doorway is wide enough to accommodate a wheel chair if one has broken a leg and must wheel through the door. this is good advice for anyone who is remodelling.
    also, with the three mile driveway, a method like snowmobile or golf cart for you and m to have it easier is a must.
    since you are staying in place transport on that driveway is important.
    you might have the trees lining the drive topped. if they fall in a storm it will be easier to get them off the drive but may prevent them falling entirely.
    those are things in the here and now that are worth considering. my dream is to have a place on the flat with the laundry room near the bedrooms, not in the basement. saves wear on the joints
    . now i put the laundry in a bag and toss it down he basement steps--don't want to fall. carrying it up is less dangerous but is a pain.

    worrying about hat happens when you are gone is purposeless. just sit with the kids and lay out your thoughts, and hear theirs. then any planning will be well aimed.
    also have a living will. and burial instructions. saves lots of confusion.
    love to you both, deb j. h.

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    1. A lot of the things that start being a pain in the rear are cliches like stairs, and multilevel homes. We've considered turning the large walk in pantry on the main floor into a laundry room.

      Worrying and planning are synonymous in my case. That's what motivates me to go ahead and think about unpleasant things. After they happen, it's too late.

      It'll all work itself out. I think a trip down to Tybee Island is in order after the holidays.

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  12. Harry, among the farms and ranches out west and in the Midwest, there's the phenomenon (tradition?) of eventually "the old folks have to move to town". The property gets too much to care for or the kids take over and "the old folks move to town". In some places this is where the grandkids are sent to be able to attend school after the crops are in so they still serve a family function. You'll see a little berg in western Nebraska or northern Colorado or Wyoming or Montana and it's composed of mostly old folks. Their kids are working the ranch/farm and they keep the grandkids for school in the winter. This is something to consider.

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    1. Barney, what tends to happen here is that people stay in the old homestead until they die. I used to get up before dark, and start for work down an old country road. Often I'd come up on an old lady in a nightgown, walking down the road in the dark, looking for her husband. He'd been dead two years when this started. So then I'd have to get her in the car, take her back to the house, call the Sheriff, he would send a deputy who would take her home. Then it would all happen again. Another old man I knew stayed in his shack after his wife died. He got senile. The church ladies were taking him food every day. He cut his leg on something, and hid it under a blanket for fear they'd take him away from his place. He got gangrene. One of the women smelled it, called the preacher, and they took him to the hospital but he died anyway.

      Our problem, our kids moving away and not wanting to come back, is pretty well turning this whole county into an octogenarian club , where the whales come to die. You hardly ever see young families in town anymore, but the roads and stores are crowded with wizened up old ladies, and the "cripple carts" at Walmart are always being used.

      Didn't used to be this way, but it sure is now.

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  13. i read 'pioneerpreppy' in his side bar there is a post about how empty parts f his county seem to have become.

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    1. That's an accelerating trend across the U.S. Rural populations dropping,which is why so many rural hospitals are closing.

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  14. Glad the ferret seems to have found a good home anyhow. I say keep getting animals into old age as long as people can care for them. It fills life with purpose and companionship. And even if something happens to them, who's to say they haven't given that animal a better life in two years or whatever than it would've had otherwise? If things work out, I think we have a new horse coming in the next couple of weeks.

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    1. Lisa, I've always felt like I got a lot more back from my animals than I gave. I do kind of worry what will happen to them if I check out, but I think it will work out.

      I hope you get the new horse. E is moving Seamus from Cincinnati to Nashville, Tenn. Seamus was sick recently but he has recovered and should be able to make the trip now.

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  15. As hubby and I enter our 60's with the hope that our good health lasts well into our 90's we have still started culling things we don't need. One of our weekly treks takes us past our local Salvation Army and we try to have one or two bags of things to give to them. Since I was in charge of cleaning out MIL's home of 50 years when she moved to a retirement center, where she and deceased FIL kept so much stuff (3-12 foot trailer loads from the garage alone headed for the dumpster), well we've learned and are starting now. And you know what? It feels good! That and a "youngish" family friend in her 70's just died suddenly a week after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Hit me hard. Really hard. All the more reason to get your ducks in a row and relax. I've told my kids. I don't care about a couple of things I love and enjoy. Sell them and celebrate. But the family crystal that dates back to their great grandmother they need to keep. Everything else can go. Don't want to burden them like my mother burden me with her stuff...'nuff said. and thanks for giving me a venue to vent. sigh!

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    1. Westside Mom, my daughter is home now and my wife is going over all the jewelry that she got from my mother, and jewelry I brought my wife from different overseas trips I made. That's the "good stuff" and we don't want it to get given away by accident. The kids can pick over what they want, sell what they can, and do whatever they need to with the rest. Assuming they don't come back here to live before my wife and I croak, which I really hope they will.

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  16. One last comment. When I was going through my MIL items she thought, well, that everything was valuable. It was 20 years ago before her generation started dying in droves because they still collected these things. One of the items most precious to her was a "portable" radio with a huge battery. This is a late 1940's version. Her soon to be husband would bring it on their dates so they could listen to music and they had kept it all these years. Looking it up on eBay the cost was tiny compared to what she was sure it was worth not to mention how much it would have cost to ship it.

    So, what I did is posted it on Craigslist with the story of how my FIL would carry this thing on his shoulder or in his car to gathering with friends or on dates with his future wife for entertainment. A collector of old radios happened to see it and even though he didn't need another radio of this vintage decided that the story that went with the radio was too precious to pass up on the purchase. Yes, he was the only one who responded to the ad. I actually found several craigslist buyers of my FIL stuff who brought tears to my eyes with how much they would be lovingly caring for his tools in their futures. Gave me quite a bit of faith in man-kind I will tell you.

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    1. I thing the old saw "one man's trash is another man's treasure" holds true. Things people would discard may be the same things other people would love to have. I take things I don't need anymore to the Humane Society Thrift shop. I always feel like somebody may want the item and I hate to throw away functional things others can use.

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