Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm know I am not alone in feeling kind of blah about the economy. After all, I can't make up for the backwards progress in my savings in the past year by working longer or harder. I blew that off two years ago when I retired, and yes, I could go look for a job, but I really really really don't want to be a banker again, especially not now. So count me among those fixed income folks crying the blues.

I began to act more frugally. But every time I drove out of my way to save 10 cents on gas, I lost another 5% of my net worth in the market. Life was just not fair.

One day when I was feeling my most pitiful, I decided that I should go spend my $30 rebate card from Linens and Things, one of the retailers closing down for good because of the economy. When I got to the store and checked my balance, the clerk said the card had no value. Then I realized the card had expired three days earlier.
I had a spontaneous pity party for myself. The DOW was headed down to 7000, and my gift card was no good either.

I bought the item I had come to get anyway, and when I was checking out, it hit me. Those people that I was crying the blues to about my silly rebate card had no jobs. I asked what their plans were. They were looking for jobs. And smiling and helping me in the meantime.


So, no, don't count me among those fixed income folks crying the blues. Count me among the lucky people who can still, with some adjustments in my budget, choose whether or not to go back to work. And please don't let me catch me feeling sorry for myself again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Unintended consequences

All I wanted was a nap, a nap on a nice fall day, with the windows open. But my windows don't open, so why not get a screen door? After all, the post Ike electric crisis clearly justified a screen door for bedroom ventilation. $40 later, we were on our way home from Lowe's, and I was dreaming of soft breezes cross my face as I slumbered. After several hours of trimming and sanding, the door was in. I bought a vinyl door, so I don't even have to paint it.

Whack! It only opened about a foot. Our low and extended eaves were blocking it. I had a screen door, but no way to get out of the house. Carl began removing sections of the eave. He stopped short of removing the face plate, which would have left a gaping hole under the roof line. The door opens almost 90 degrees now, enough to go in and out without turning sideways. Now there was extensive repair needed on the eave so that animals did not crawl in the attic. And paint. I would need paint, and where on earth was there still a Sears store in business to get a matching gallon? Amazingly, the original South Main Sears store is still there, and they still sell paint. $20, plus $40 in other stuff I bought while I was there, and $10 and 10,000 calories for lunch at a Prince's Hamburgers because the Sears Store on South Main reminded me of the Prince's Drive Inn that used to be next door and the Prince's special sauce.

While working on the door, I noticed a rotted door sill plate, and asked Carl to replace it. He did. Then he said "Well, the bottoms of the cedar siding planks are rotted too. We should cut off about 6 inches and put in a hardi-plank at the bottom. $99.

After the rotted boards were cut off, it was clear we also needed to replace the 1 by 4 battens that the siding was nailed on. $58. And we needed another router bit. $26. I was afraid for a minute we would come home with the router bit set, $99. And a box of screws, better get the big box, $26. And having used up the package of sawzall blades, better replace those, $32.

Now that the 1 by 4 was removed, it was clear that I needed to grout from the edge of the quarry tiles on the patio to the house......this is getting old.......And treated 1 x 4's clearly should be retreated. (Clearly? Wait a minute. This is when I began to question my engineer husband about why we needed to treat treated wood?)

And look up on the roof. The pine needles from Ike have never come down from the valleys and surely they are going to corrode the metal flashing. Better get up on the roof and take care of that.

I have not had my nap yet, but when I do, it is going to be very very delicious as the breezes waft through my $500 three week installation screen door. At this point they will probably be spring breezes, because the hardi-plank is not installed yet, and then there's painting, and oh, those 7 tiles have come loose where the joint cracked in the patio, I think I should replace those. And there's still that section of wall past the patio on the garage wall to repair, and that will require that first I cut all the eave high hibiscus down to ground level....etc etc etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's on your plate?

I am a newbie platelet donor. After 4 times this year donating whole blood, I finally read the sign. What the Blood Center really needs from the A+ people like me? Platelets. So I did it.

Why platelets? Cancer patients, those receiving organ or marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive. Because platelets can be stored for only five days, the need for platelet donations is vast and continuous. Probably by now my platelets are already in somebody doing their clotting thing, and I don't even miss them.

I finally found something where being a big person is a good thing; I only have to spend 47 minutes on the machine to collect my platelets. And, here's the best part: no lack of energy while my red blood cells recover. And, the equipment is new and improved, so I only have one needle in my arm. Slick! The only part that is a bit troublesome is a feeling like your mouth is numb during the process. Here's the explanation:
Frequently while donating the lips may begin to tingle; a supply of calcium antacid tablets is usually kept close by because the anticoagulant works by binding to the calcium in the blood. Since calcium is used in the operation of the nervous system, nerve-ending-dense areas (such as the lips) are susceptible to the tingling. Usually chewing a handful of antacid tablets will raise calcium levels and relieve the tingling.

Some people are platelet donation junkies. You can donate about 24 times a year. The man next to me was selecting from the center's new movies since he had memorized all the old ones. Way to go, Mr. Donor Man.