Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Your will: Dealing with your cottage or summer home?

So you have a cottage or summer home. Awesome! Warm evenings by a campfire. The birds in the morning and the grand kids snuggling in under those colorful quilts you so lovingly made. Maybe it's an RV you parked in a seasonal campground years ago, like my mother in law did? Maybe you were lucky enough to have inherited a vintage cottage that you yourself spent summers at when you were nothing but a sprout.

You are getting long in the tooth. The doctor has warned you the old blood pressure is over the top or you just feel time is marching on and in spite of all your best efforts, you are going to have another birthday and the number involved just blows what's left of your mind?

Oh my god! This is the place of your dreams. You have lived most of your life running to this safe haven, away from the ills of the world and the strife in our busy, 'at home' lives. In every corner is a memory of this child and that visitor. Where you and your spouse made love. Where you roasted the marshmallows and grilled the process cheese sandwiches. Sitting in that rickety wooden chair, reading a mooshie love story or titillating spy thriller on a rainy day.
This will be my subject for the next couple of days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Couple Of Imports!

I have invited two writers to join my blog; my sister and my closest friend. We are all going through this stage of life together and the more opinions and advice to help us, the better.

We go north again this weekend to drag the other trailer out of it's spot in the park. Saturday will likely be our last ever in that campground and as far as I'm concerned, the time can't come fast enough! I have enough memories to deal with and I would rather dwell on the good ones instead of these we will create this weekend.

If you have a trailer or a summer home. How will you deal with it when it's time for it to go down the road? ...More next week.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back to my jar

Ugh! It looks nasty, doesn't it? We shall see if this creates usable dye!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Mother In Law's Pride and Joy

This weekend we spent up in northern Ontario cleaning up my mother in law's trailer site of 23 years. It wasn't planned, but because of circumstances beyond our control, she has been forced out of the trailer park and we had 30 days to clear out her trailer and my sister in law's trailer too. Of course we're likely not going to tell my mother in law... she would forget anyway and there's little gained in upsetting her, is there?

So what do you do with a 1960's camping trailer? Sure, in it's day it was the be all and end all, but remember... that was over 40 years ago!
It took 4 good strong men to get the tip out tipped back in because over the years as it sprang leaks, various helpful souls caulked it and gasketed it until it was stuck right in place!
My sister in law had spent two days emptying the cupboards and cleaning it. ( She gave the 'stuff' to charity.) She gave away the wooden deck that my ex- brother in law and friend took days and days to build. (Many beers later...) The outdoor furniture; I don't know who got that. The pots and pans rode down the road still in their storage spots. The new owners will enjoy those.
We unhooked the water hose and electrical extension cord. We cut off the underside pipe from the toilet. (Thank heavens she had drained the thing!) We pulled all the decorations away from around the outside; A collection of rocks, bric a brac and plants the old woman had collected over the years. It was all bundled up and given away or burnt. Some went to the trash bins up at the 'top' of the park.
The guys cranked on the leg of the hitch and got her up high enough to take the cement blocks out from under it. (The tires held enough air after all these years!) I backed up to the old girl with our one ton truck and the men finally freed up the hitch enough to connect it to the ball. They cranked her down and Dick pulled her out of the spot she had sat for 23 years. Just like that.
We used a portable compressor and put a shot of new air in each of the old cracked tires and they all held. Then after a final walk around, in Dick and I got our faithful truck and pulled her out of the park and down the road. My sister in law had made arrangements for the local mini storage to park it there and we could put a for sale sign on it.

It was three miles from the camp and the old Mallard pulled like she'd been born to run!

Wheel in. Crank her leg down. Flop out the tip out. Shut the doors and back to the park. We raked and cleaned the site.

My mother in law maybe didn't have the most fun of anybody in her life. She maybe didn't travel a lot. She wasn't the most worldly woman. But she used to have this trailer to run to. Every Friday night she would drive herself up there until we wouldn't let her drive anymore. The my sister in law would take her after that. She would spent the entire summer there, by herself, with family coming on weekends. She bought it herself. She picked out the park herself. It was her. Simple as that.
She loved the soft pink tones and all the plates and cutlery matched, bought specifically for this trailer. She would weed the flowers, (she had none at home.) Every day she would walk down to the lake the park abuts and watch the children. She loved to sit on her chaise and read Danielle Steel novels and keep her eye on everybody. She would run into the small town for groceries and to church on Sundays of course.

It's over now. How can that be? In two days we closed that door, never to be reopened.

Think on that please, because right tonight, I cannot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My shoe dye

Well! Tonight I have to heat up my jar of home made shoe dye. I promised a pic and here's one of the jar. So far, it really doesn't look like dye yet, does it?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Getting Old

I have to ask myself this question tonight: Are we getting old like the black shoe dye? Have we lost our usefulness ie; we no longer have a use so we no longer have a place in this society? Have those close to us taken us off the shelf? Soon, will no one be able to find you here in the world anymore?

We have to live each day with purpose and strength. If you don't matter in someone's life every single day, then honey, you're not living at all!

Sometimes, it is difficult to have a mission every day if there's no 'boss' to direct us, so you have to keep in mind that now you're your own boss. Make a list of 'things' to do each day that will still keep your spot marked. Open a door. Give to the food bank. Call someone just to say hi. Hug someone.

Keep living. That's all. Just because you don't get up and go to work every morning doesn't mean you don't need purpose. Keep creating a purpose and you'll stay in stock and on the shelf and your life will remain full.

Yak soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I like what I like

Have you noticed that as we age, our likes and dislikes are pretty much narrowed down and it gets easier to pick out things? You either like them or not and the gray zone gets thinner and narrower.
I like those shoes that look like cowboy boots and I like them in black. I find them comfortable, with adequate support for my high arches and they're lightweight so I don't get fatigued walking like I do in full boots. I wear a half size and so they're kind of hard to find.
I needed a new pair. The last ones, I threw out a year ago, because they mildewed here at the lake and it has taken me about three months to find somebody who sold them at a price that was less than my right arm.
The kicker is the half size only came in brown and that didn't stop me from buying them because the last pair I purchased were also brown and I simply bought a bottle of Kiwi black shoe dye for about eight bucks and dyed them. Simple?

Hah! They don't sell it anywhere around here anymore! I couldn't even find it on Ebay!

After much driving and searching, I finally looked up on the internet in the how to's and now have a little jar of the concoction below fermenting on the counter. The recipe follows here.
Dick is adamant that I don't use my homemade version and he has his cohorts at work searching for me in their prospective cities.

I will keep reporting on the saga of the brown cowboy shoes and as soon as I get my newer laptop back from the computer store tomorrow, I will take pics and keep you informed 'cause I know you won't sleep at night until you know how this works out for me.

Loosely fill a jar with steel wool, leaving about a 1/2-inch clearance from the top of the jar. Pour apple cider vinegar in until the steel wool is submerged. Apparently the iron oxide dye produced from vinegar and steel wool is the easiest dye to make.
Place the jar in a small saucepan on the ring of the lid, so the glass doesn’t touch the metal of the pot. Fill the saucepan with water until the jar is surrounded by water halfway up the height of the jar. Heat over medium-high heat until steam comes off of the vinegar, but do not let it boil.
Let the jar cool until it is safe to handle. Put the lid on the jar and let it set for 1 week.
Take the lid off the jar and reheat using the saucepan method. Let the jar cool, Put the lid back on and let set for an additional week.
Line a funnel with cheesecloth or coffee filters and pour the vinegar through the funnel into a clean jar. The cheesecloth will catch loose strands of the steel wool.
Let the dye set for two more days before using.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two more excuses we forgot.

Two more excuses: 'We don't have children or anybody to give it to' and also 'we are afraid.'

If you don't have children, still, do you want the government to have it?
Isn't there a favorite charity that you could be a benefactor to? What about a public property in your area; a park or library or hospital that you could help support or improve for future generations? There must be something somewhere that has touched your heart, that you feel a connection to.

One of the reasons people who plan to have children say they have them is so that they make a mark on this world and have something of themselves survive on.

I know fear and trust me, I've lived with a ton of fear at times of my life. You are afraid that by acknowledging your own end, you will cause it? Are you an Ostrich, with your head in the sand? Are you still smoking because cancer is something that happens to someone else? Do you not get the brakes fixed on your car because you can 'drive beyond' bad brakes? All I can say to this is: How many times have you heard someone say: 'There's only two things in life that are certain; Death and taxes!'
... And if you've paid taxes all your life, then the other is......? (You fill in the blanks!)

Yak soon and have a great week!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You'd better have a will!

Ok, so it's Saturday again and I have some time to write. We're back to getting old here and getting ready to retire and stuff and something we all need to do seriously, is have a will done up!

A few of our friends don't have wills. They claim several 'reasons': We don't have the extra money to pay for the lawyer. We don't know who to give what to. And my favorite excuse: We don't need one yet because we have lots of time.

So.... let me ask you.... when do you figger you'll die? Can you plan that? 'Cause if you know how to do that, I want in!

Ok, nobody knows when they're going to die. Let's get real here! If we actually knew, we'd all live this life really differently, wouldn't we? So therefore, since we don't know the time and minute we're going to kick the proverbial bucket, we don't have a minute to lose to sort out our financial affairs, do we?

Now, we work all our lives collecting all this stuff, not to mention money and investments and you don't know who you want to get it when you're done with it? I don't think so!
Let me ask you, do you want it all auctioned off and sold to strangers? My uncle sold off my grandmother's stuff and man! I was helpless watching all those people I didn't know touching her stuff and going through the family photo albums. Nuts! Do you want that to happen with your stuff? After all, you worked overtime to get it all. You ate hamburger instead of steak to save the money to get that stuff. You patched the pants and hid the holes in your socks to get that stuff. Is it all worth such a small amount to you that you'd just have strangers load it all up in a dumpster and cart it off?

You don't have the money to pay the lawyer? Well, do your kids have enough money to pay lawyers for several years to come as they wade through the red tape that the government considers necessary to settle your estate? What, it's not worth the price of a week's groceries to make sure your kids are taken care of and don't have a mess to sort out?
Dick's ex wife passed in 2006 and her estate is still not settled because she didn't have a will. According to her surviving neice, they've spent tens of thousands so far and the woman only had nominal assets! (Mostly just a piece of real estate.) Her house sat all sad and empty for a long time. Nobody could love it or use it and it was just a millstone around the survivor's necks.

Is that what you want to leave behind?

Furthermore, a co-worker of Dick's revealed that he and his wife of many years, did not have a will! Dick gave him a serious talking to and subsequently, they have an appointment this week for just that. They have a pet that is their baby, just like we all have a pet we spoil and love. Just think about the poor thing's fate if they don't have that pre planned and set in stone?

I don't want to be the heavy here, but this post is serious stuff. If you don't have a will, your house is not in order and you should be ashamed of yourself! Get out there the first of the week and make the appointment with a lawyer. Talk to your spouse and get it all figured out in your mind. Before you go, make lists of who gets what and please don't think the kids will be able to divvy it up between them. We've all seen it happen when mom or dad finally leaves this world and somebody's mad because sister got the Christmas turkey platter and mom always promised it to her.
If you've got lots of bank accounts and different investments, make a list. How is anybody supposed to know what you have after your dead and gone? Do you think the bank manager reads the obits every day and calls the families to say: 'Hey! My sympathies. Did you know your dad had a bank account here?'
Somebody I knew once had labels on everything with the recipients name on it. That would be swell, wouldn't it?

Whatever you do, please do everything you can to make sure you don't leave a mess when you're gone.

.... And if somebody says to you: 'When you're done with that, can I have it?' My advice is: Don't leave them anything! People who love you just want you around, not your stuff!

Well, thanks for listening to me rant on this one. We'll do something fun next time, I promise. Yak soon....

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Hello. So I've added some extras to my Blog and I hope you all enjoy them and also be able to find some cool stuff via my gadgets and add ons. If there's anything you'd like me to add a short cut to, let me know.

Dick is out mowing the lawn, ( a never ending chore) and I'm just going to russell up some supper.

Yak soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Retire at the Lake

Oh my beautiful Lake Erie! We are truly lucky to have this to look at every day. How many folks swear: 'When we retire, we'll buy a house at the Lake and live there full time.' 

  And we're already here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Even the squirrels are retired!

One day not too long ago, I looked out our back door and discovered this squirrel taking a nap in the sunshine on our back yard fence.  
He was there for the longest time! 

How long has it been since you just propped up somewhere and let the sun's rays caress your skin?
 Turn toward the healing sun every day.  The vitamin D is so necessary to our positive outlook on life and  heck... It just feels good!  (Well, in small doses!)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labour Day Weekend

Well, here it is Monday night of Labour Day weekend. (Or if you're American: Labor Day Weekend.) We've spent the whole day driving the lake looking at property. Always thinking there's something better out there than what we've got!

And here's what we always come back to: What we've got here is always better than somewhere else. It is so hard at our age to stop improving, excelling and more is at this stage not better.  

How do you stop that? Do you all still want to improve your circumstances or are you content with where you are? Do you look longingly down a road asking; 'what's down there?' ...We do. 

Back to work tomorrow. Still having to go to work for some one else. Oh well! We can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Hope you all had as great a weekend as we did and yak soon.  ...Lucy

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do what you can every day.

        Whew! Did we have fun last night! Nothing like sitting outside on a summer night, the smell of unburnt fuel and exhaust and the scream of engines as the driver's throw their hand built cars around the racetrack !  If you've never been to the stock car races, you'll never be able to fully understand the passion, but if you have..... there's nothing better! We sat just on turn one, near the top of the grandstands where we could see the other side of the track. We had our little blue stadium seats and for padding, a black and white blanket we brought back from Mexico. We stopped on our way at a grocery store in Blenheim and we had a bag full of goodies and sandwiches. We cuddled and exchanged comments and 'Oh Looks' and I think the experts would call that quality time. We were both pooped when we got home, but happy.

The lession today is do everything you can every day.

People always save their entire lives for their retirement and then the day comes along and they go home and sit down and die. Period.

Someone once said to me: Picture when you're old, sitting on the front porch of the old folks home in your rocking chair. Back and forth... back and forth.... And the old gal beside you is somebody who had a man around like you did and both of those men worked their whole lives and then retired and came home, sat down in the living room and then a couple of months went by and they died.  And every day you and your old gal buddy sit on that porch... back and forth... back and forth... and the conversation goes; 'I wish I had...' and; 'I should have....'

Dick's dad was one of those men. Worked his whole life 'cause he had to. Never had a hobby or passion he let anybody know about and when he retired, he had nothing to do. Nothing to look forward to. Came home and sat down and didn't die quick, but got so sick he had to be put in long term care. A big time became being first in line for supper. 

My dad worked his whole life 'cause he had to. Worked and worked instead of doing the things he loved. He had an antique tractor and after he lovingly restored it, it sat in the barn because he was always working. He died when he was 64. 

So this left two women sitting by themselves having to figure out what the heck they were going to do with themselves.  My mom's dead now too and Dick's mom is still alive although her mind has mostly left her.

So! Do what you can every day. If you can't yet afford your hobby then read about it. Plan what hobbies you want to persue when you get the time finally. You maybe can't build a streetrod, but you can go to the local cruise night and look at them.  Maybe you won't win a blue ribbon at the fair, but you can quilt a patch this week and then another next week and so on.  Maybe you can't take a month and go the Florida like we are this winter, but you can go to a motel overnight and hang out at the pool. 

Find something, somewhere that you both enjoy doing. This is a big world. Don't tell me there's nothing out there that you both can't enjoy. Negotiate, compromise and get out and enjoy life.  Go somewhere and buy a coffee. Meet some new folks that enjoy the same thing that you do. Have a chuckle over a private joke. 

And do not ever be that person who says "I should have!" 

Bye for today and let me know what you think. 


Saturday, September 5, 2009

I was always told I had to start at the beginning.

Hello to all my readers and future readers!

        My first statement has to be; remember... we're all in this together! For every one of us that approaches middle life there comes many decisions and dreads as to what on earth are we going to do with ourselves? I might solve some of those questions for some. I might create some questions some have never asked before, but one thing is certain here:

        Dick and I are determined to create a life that WE want. Not somebody else's idea of retirement... but our own.

      Want to share the ride?

       My nickname is Lucy and Dick and I already have some of the hard stuff figured out. We live in a small fishing village on one of the Great Lakes in a big old vintage cottage with a killer view of the Lake and Harbor. We are in our mid 50's, (how did we get this old?) and never had much of a nest. (Now it's empty.) We have a Maine Coon mix cat; Suzie who was a rescue and 2 lazyboy chairs. We drive a fat ass Chevy one ton truck that's never pulled anything and a gray four door Buick called Rosemary that was my mom's. In the garage sits a big old white Harley that was our first joint purchase.  We have a little saved up and good solid jobs. We are healthier than a lot of our friends.  This winter we're going to Florida for a month. We are still in love. 
        We are two very lucky people.

         So what's this blog going to be about you ask?  

         Well, people keep asking us how we do it and to be brutally honest, we seem to have more fun and a fuller life than others. We have lesser jobs and are just folks so I am going to babble on now and again and share some of our stories and give some advice on how I see it. I hope something creative comes of this for other folks and if I touch just one life in a positive way, I'll be happier. 
How To Meet Your Life Partner
       So here I am, going to give you advice already! Dick and I met in our mid forties and by god, neither one of us wanted anything to do with a relationship.  The only thing I have to say about this is that if you are still living alone and run across somebody who catches your eye, do not let the opportunity pass. Say something! Catch their eye and make them say something! Let your chair fall over in front of them or drive in front of them. Ask for directions or to try on these gloves please because their hands look the same size as your brother / sister. Lie if you have to but never, ever let an opportunity pass to meet someone. 
     Always remember that at our age we all have gobs of baggage and for every one of his, you have one of yours to match. Tolerance and negotiation will become your new best friends, but remember; life is more fun with somebody to play with. Decisions come easier with another's support and really... isn't it difficult to brainstorm with yourself? 
      All I can suggest if you still have your original model of partner and you wish you didn't is: Is this a package that you can work with? Is he/ she still better than putting yourself out on a line to get a new partner? Sure, there's ones that drink themselves into a stupor every day or have just poor genetics and I'm all for disposing of the ones that have a tendency to tune up their spouse just for the fun of it. But if your relationship has just gone a little south and you've got lazy with each other then that's stuff you can fix! 
      And to have a good retirement, you'd better get it done before you're stuck in the house together every hour of every day! Get medical help. Get some new clothes. Take care or your personal grooming and pleeaaze.. fix your teeth. If you clean up your own backyard, your partner should start to tag along with you. 
     Go for walks and talk. Yes, about what you dream about and where you want to head. One of the things that I believe has made us so different is that we have a business meeting every six months or so and draw up a business plan for our lives.  We include short term goals, (what we want to get done in six months,) and long term goals. ( Where we want to live in a year or two years. We want a new car in what year?) Not only does it help your finances, but gives you common ground and a connection to each other.  Ask your partner to help you pick out an outfit or just a new pair of those gloves. It all leads up to something, right? 
         My guy is a good one and I'm damned lucky, but we work at it!  

So! It's Saturday afternoon and we're going to the stock car races at South Buxton tonight. (My idea.) I can hardly wait! It's this little dirt D track in Southern Ontario and they really get it on! We'll stop at a grocery store on the way and buy some food to take in 'cause neither one of  us can eat hotdogs or fries anymore.  It'll still be a blast!

So, 'til next time and that won't be far away; It's been great chatting and thanks for coming into my life.