Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is a matter of principle. The airwaves belong to the people. Air, sunshine is a given in our environment. I understand that our government shall regulate the use of the airwaves. If not, there would be interference where ever you go on the air wave spectrum. We need designated spaces for TV, emergency broadcast, Police, Fire. That is a given. Still, the airwaves belong to the people. The government can't sell it ALL to commercial interests. That is why We have over the air TV. The law protects that little piece of spectrum for us. It is free.

I remember when cable TV first came on board. A neighbor was first to have cable. She said, "After all, it is only four dollars a month." That was in the 1960s. It is now between twenty and forty and up. I think of all the money I did not spend by sticking to my rabbit ear antennae.

Then friends would say, "Look at all the good programs you are missing." That is true. Also look at all the books I haven't read, the fairs I haven't attended. There is more to do than I have time for.

When I am in a motel room, or visiting my daughter, I look at cable TV. I like home and garden shows because I am renovating my house and I like my garden. After a few of these shows, I get the message. There is a lot of repeats. I don't need to see any more.

All stations are now switching over from analog to digital TV. Either you get a station with good picture and sound, or you get nothing. Is this the time to sign up for cable? Satellite TV? AT&T? I investigate and learn that I still can have TV with an antennae. I purchase converter boxes for each of my TVs. Then, I learn I must purchase a better Antennae. Rabbit ears simply are not sensitive enough to pick up a signal. One new antennae purchased and installed.

This is the day I try out the new system. My grandsons help me set it up. I can get several infomercial channels, one Spanish language station, and public television. Public television is the only channel that interests me. I can't get the major networks: ABC, NBC, CBS. I need the local channels from New Haven and Bridgeport to keep up with local news, emergencies, weather, etc.

This house has a roof antenna in the attic. I never hooked it up. I shall call a technician to see if He can attach my TV to the roof antenna and adjust it to get good reception. I am not giving up. After all, the airwaves belong to the people.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is the ending of a chapter in my life. The chapter should be titled, "interactions with Ted".

A girlfriend talked me into going to a singles group. That was that part of my life when I did such things....before I found out it was a waste of time. We went to Stamford and watched all the ladies stick to one side of the room and all the men stick to the other side of the room. When We got unstuck from the wall, one man...an older man I guessed, by his salt and pepper hair....this man came over to talk to us. As We were walking along, I noticed that he glanced back behind me. I was being checked out. He liked my butt. Ted is a butt man.

Dating someone I don't know calls for caution. We met at public places. I took down his license plate number in case I had to call the Police. It turned out that this was not necessary. It also turned out that Ted doesn't eat in fast food places. He is a health food person. That was the first impact Ted had on me. Over time, Ted changed my eating habits. Junk food went out of my diet. I did cheat a little with soda, though. We studied macrobiotics and I am convinced that this is the most healthy way to eat. It is also the most spiritual way to eat. On Fridays, We went to Macrobiotic dinners. I learned about seaweed, Kombu, daikon, nori....all sorts of good things to eat that are now part of my diet. On Mondays, We would meet at Ted's condo to cook something out of our macrobiotic cookbook. Some of the receipies started with,"soak barley for 6 hours." It was a wonderful experience sharing and learning together. We both became good cooks. Ted was also meticuous about cleaning up the kitchen. His condo was always clean and in order...traits I admire but cannot quite accomplish in my house.

Ted told me about his flying experiences in world war two. (He's 15 years older than I am.) Don't think that He was a hero, although in a way, he was. Ted did his best to stay out of harm's way. He came from a rich family. They had maids and butlers, chauffers, a laundress....the complete set of help to run the household. He went to a private school . Ted says he was sent there because his father found out that Ted was chasing the upstairs maid. He was made to stay on the straight and narrow by attending Choate. He hated it. Once , He walked and hitchhiked all the way home. Ted does not like discipline imposed upon him.

He is an iconoclast who thinks for himself. Sometimes, His conclusions cause consternation for others around him. Who can understand why He would drive down the center of the road? Why He would start the car moving with the doors open? He had reasoned that with the doors opened when moving, all the hot summer air is exhausted and the car cools off quicker. (He learned this when learning to fly.) He drove in the middle of the road because there were less potholes there...or junk to cut the tires. Until He explains, one thinks Ted is crazy or just plain stubburn.

When in the Army Air Corps, his mother sent him cases of fine liquor. He once arranged for his motorcycle to be shipped where He was stationed. In that way, He had a way to get off base. Ted is an iconoclast, first class. He thinks for himself. He learned that if He was in a training class, He wasn't on the front line. Ted stayed in training for most of the war, although he did see action in the Pacific. He guarded Japanese prisoners on some island...forgot the name.

Once bitten with the flying bug, always a flying bug. During his career years, Ted and his partners owned planes. That is, their advertising business owned the planes. There were photographs of his planes in his condo. Ted took me flying. The first time I went up, I was so scared , that when We landed, I just about kissed the ground. It was so good to be on the ground. One trip was to see fall foliage over New England. I took my camera and shot photos out the window. Something must have gone wrong with the camera, as it wasn't "clicking" when I pressed the shutter. It took fine photos, I learned when the pictures were developed. It is that the plane was so noisy, I could not hear my camera. Now, I love flying in little planes...wish I had more of that experience, but this chapter is ended.

Ted belonged to a New Age church. He was also a teacher. Once a week, a group of people came to his house to learn about Gnossis Christianity. We were in complete agreement that reincarnation is a fact. I sensed that Ted was a proud priest in one of his previous lifetimes. He could be very "priestly"...leading prayer and meditation. We went to the first Harmonic Convergence together. I met wonderful people there, people who also have the same belief system that I have. Ted led me to good books, universal law, meditation.

I enjoyed his family, too. He had a sister and a sister-in-law who hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. I was invited and enjoyed his family.

Ted and Brother Bill were also fishermen. Bill had a boat. Ted and Bill went lobster fishing every summer. I enjoyed the catch...with melted butter. Also enjoyable is just boating: out and away from telephones and responsibilities. The sun makes my skin warm. The boat rocks gently. Both brothers are competent with boats, nativation, and engines. I am perfectly safe. One time, Bill engaged me in conversation....a little longer than seemed natural. it turned out that he was keeping me facing away from Ted....who was peeing over the side of the boat.

We parted amicably. It seemed my life lessons were over. Ted and I remained friends, but our focus was in different directions now. I saw him now and then, but I was dating Bob ...the man I eventually married.

One day I heard that Ted had had a stroke. He gave power of attorney for medical care to Lynn...another friend in the study group. Lynn cared for Ted for ten years. I lost contact with him....did not know where he was. Sometimes Ted required medical care at the VA. Then He would call me and I would visit him. I could see that He was receiving good care, but was failing. He had lost his mobility, He could not control his bladder. His mind was just as magnificent...and as independent as always. Even in his frailness, he was a handsome man.

Today, Lynn called me. Ted is at the VA Hospice wing. He will not make it this time. I go to see my old friend. Ted is sleeping, snoring. I take his picture and leave the hospital. Crying has to wait until I am in the car.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The deck was built when the house was built: 1975. It is a miracle it lasted this long. Beth and I painted it with deck preservative several times. One rotten board got replaced. The deck survives, but the floor of the deck (the decking) needs to be replaced. I am going to do this the legal way. I am going for a building permit.

One starts at the tax office. I have to prove that my taxes are up to date. Peggy gives me paper with a stamp on it. I am up to date. The next stop is Planning and Zoning. Linda is at the desk. She pulls my original plan. The deck on her plan is nothing like the real one. We make updates. She bills me and gives me the plot plan with her stamp on it. I pay the bill and get a receipt. I am cleared by Planning and Zoning.

The next step is Building Inspection. I don't need to replace the entire deck, just the decking. I will use Trex because it is a long lasting, no maintenance product. It is made from recycled material. I like Trex. I draw my plan. Not complete. Have to go home and work on it some more. It is decided to take the back stairs off and reuse the stringers for the front steps, as Trex needs four stringers. I will expand the deck 5 feet by 5 feet....the space where the old back stairs were.

When visiting the Building Inspection Department, be prepared to wait. I sit on chairs in the hall. My companions are contractors and the trades. They need electrical permits, plumbing permits.....all sorts of permits. I am the amateur in the group. There is a lot of grumbling going on about wasted time sitting waiting. It takes several visits, a lot of help from the building inspector, but I finally get my permit. It gets displayed on the window right in front of the deck. This lets my neighbors know that my construction is legal.

Next step is to order the special order materials. Then the fit hits the fan.

I receive the following letter from my credit card company: "Your AB CArd account is funded by an independent trust which owns the balances you owe on your account and provides funding for new transactions. We expect the trust to stop funding activity on our accounts. The trust also restricts our flexibility to fund activity on your account. unfortunately, as a result, effective May 30th all AB credit card accounts, including your account, will be closed.

I have only one credit card. That one. The one that was closed. I have never heard of a credit card going out of business. Perhaps this is related to all the bank closings. Anyways, I now have no credit card.

I am a fan of Clark Howard, a consumer advocate. He was discussing on the radio, about identity theft. If your state permits it, Mr. Howard said, you should put a freeze on your accounts with the three credit reporting bureaus. In this way, no one can take out a mortgage or a credit card in your name. It sounded like a good idea, so I did it. My credit report was frozen. After all, I had no need for a mortgage or another credit card.....I thought. I have closed all department store credit cards and use only my one card. In this way, I have good control over my charges.

There is a way to temporarily lift the freeze. It takes writing to each bureau, paying a fee, and stipulating the time for the lifted freeze. I chose 30 days. This is done, but I won't have a new credit card in time for the planned deck construction.

Don and family are arriving in three weeks. They are taking vacation time to build the deck. I am facing a deadline. It will take at least two weeks for the special order materials to be delivered. There is only one solution I can think of: go to the bank and transfer a whopping amount of cash from savings to checking.

The materials are ordered. They will arrive 2 days before my family arrives. I paid by check.

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