Tag Archives: Life

Things that go ‘beep’ at lunch

I saw on Facebook today that one of my good friends finally broke down and got hearing aids. I have used hearing aids myself since roughly 1990. I am on my fourth pair at this point. It is ironic that Len joined the hearing aid club, because he was with me and witnessed one of the more amusing incidents in my hearing aid experience.Hearing aids

Sometime in the early 2000s, I upgraded to the third of my eventual four sets of hearing aids. Unlike my previous two sets, this pair had a warning tone that would go off when the battery was almost dead. My hearing aid specialist had warned me of this. I noted it and then didn’t think about it again…for about a week. I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant having lunch with Len when my first set of hearing aid batteries started to die. The warning sounded exactly like the beep a commercial truck sounds when it goes into reverse. Of course, the wearer can hear it, but no one else can.

When the “beep” went off, I immediately started looking around for the garbage truck that was about to run me down. No surprise – no truck in the restaurant. I didn’t say anything, but Len was looking at me like I had just had a stroke. We went back to eating, when the “beep” sounded again. I asked Len if he had heard it. Of course, he hadn’t and was beginning to think I really had lost my mind. A moment later, one of my hearing aids shut down as the battery died. I finally put two and two together and realized the source of the beeping that apparently only I could hear.

Len was relieved. As an attorney, he was already thinking of what legal steps he could take to protect me from myself. (Think – guys in white jackets.)

So now it’s Len’s turn to learn the ins and outs of hearing aids. Just watch out for those garbage trucks, Len!

Mid-summer holiday party

I’m totally time-warped this week. The internal clock was thrown off Monday night, when Mrs. Poolman and I spent the night at our church as “hosts” to a couple of homeless families. This is a regular ministry of our parish, and Mrs. P and I usually volunteer to handle the overnight shift. Not a big deal, but it certainly throws the internal clock off.

Yesterday was the 4th of July, and now I’m back at work for a single day, which feels like a Monday, except it’s actually a Friday. Huh?

Mrs. P and I hosted a holiday pool and barbecue party yesterday. We had several more people than we anticipated, and four more dogs. Individually, the dogs were not a problem. But when you add four new dogs to our pack of two, the result is a lot doggies running around.

Water and beer on the Fourth of July. A bit of a cliche?

Water and beer on the Fourth of July. A bit of a cliche?

July 4 2w

Even the dogs got into the action. This was this particular lab’s first time swimming.

I grilled burgers and brats; Son-in-Law provided spare ribs and another friend cooked up some wings. Everyone else brought some side dish or another.  It must have been a good party. We started at 2 pm and had to chase people out at 10:30 pm. It was a work-night after all.

Both our children typically invite some of their friends to our parties, which we encourage.  One couple of the younger generation, Ronnie and Kate, came yesterday with their now-six and a half month old Tommy. We have spent some time with Tommy in the past, and actually were the first non-family members to baby-sit him. Yesterday, he was his usual cute, good-natured self and was totally entertaining.

Mr. Personlity

Mr. Personality

I don’t know what we are going to be up to this weekend, but I think we are partied-out, at least for parties at our house anyway.

The vacation’s over

It’s a Sunday afternoon and a pretty good end to a vacation week. I’m sitting on our patio, under the oak tree by our pool, just enjoying a quiet summer Sunday afternoon.

The last three days of our vacation were uneventful. The weather was not ideal, generally cloudy and windy, with a few sprinkles.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

This was a typical scene from our deck.

Mrs. Poolman and I had a very nice anniversary (37th, thank you very much) dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Sundae Café. I had their Cajun shrimp and grits, and Mrs. P enjoyed lobster mac & cheese with broiled sea scallops. We enjoyed it so much, we went back for lunch the next day. Decadent, but hey, we’re on vacation.

The weather cleared up some on Friday and we got back out to the beach. But even on the cloudy days, we were totally happy just sitting on our deck with books in our laps. Enforced idleness is not bad.

We started moving stuff back to our house on Friday because I needed to be out the door early on Saturday morning. I didn’t want to leave Mrs. P with more of a load to move out than her own clothes and some of the leftover food.

On Saturday, I needed to assist my boss and his wife to take two couples on a visit to Wassaw Island one of our boat-access-only barrier islands. One of the couples had “won” the trip in a silent auction  that was part of a major fund-raiser gala for the University System of Georgia Foundation. We met up with them at 9 am and drove them to the south end of our island to meet our skiff and driver. The weather was cloudy with a few drizzles, but it wasn’t too bad. At least it wasn’t broiling hot with a ton of bugs. Our guests seemed to enjoy it. We saw nest with some juvenile osprey, a good size pod of dolphins feeding and more bits of nature on the island.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the hat, explains some of the island ecosystem.

Our guide, Dorothy, in the weird hat and blue shirt, explains some of the island ecosystem.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

We did have the whole beach to ourselves.

I was home by 4 pm and fairly tired.

Today I got the back yard and pool cleaned up and checked on my garden. I’m really happy with the way it is growing. After two previous unsuccessful efforts at growing tomatoes over the past several years, this little 4’x4’ plot seems to be doing well. Right now, we have more than 30 tomatoes in some form or another. None have turned red yet, but we are cautiously optimistic.

Grow, plants, grow!

Grow, plants, grow!

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

Hopefully these little fellas will turn red.

We also have two pepper plants that seem to be doing well. I’m really excited about tasting the first batch.

Back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

‘Will research for beer’

I work with scientists every day. To be honest, there are times I wonder what motivates them on a particular project. Now I know.

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A work weekend at Casa Poolman

This was a work weekend around Casa Poolman. It seems like every weekend for the past several weeks, Mrs. Poolman and I have determined that we would get a few things done around the house. And every weekend, we allow ourselves to be distracted for all or part of our planned work-time. (Funny how that happens.)   This weekend, I took Friday off so there would be no question we would be working. Here was the “to-do” list, and how successful we were.

  • Mow lawn – I’ll do it later in the week
  • Change oil and air filter on lawn mower – done
  • Rake patio area and spread mulch (big job) – done
  • Fertilize vegetables and install tomato cages – done
  • Wash outside of windows and window sills – not done
  • Dust house especially venetian blinds – not done
  • Trim low branches of oak tree over patio – done
  • Clean patio pavement – done
  • Place umbrellas in stands at tables – done
  • Clean rat “poop” in attic  (another big and very unpleasant job) – done (See earlier posts about our rodent issues.)
  • Brush and wash dogs – done
  • Cut down dead bushes in courtyard – not done

We didn’t get it all done, but I’m feeling pretty good. (By the way, I love making lists. The only thing I like more is to cross things off.)

This is what the patio area of the back yard looks like to start the summer season.

The back yard at Casa Poolman

The back yard at Casa Poolman

In addition, I removed the pool cover (86 degrees as of this morning) and vacuumed, backwashed, and adjusted chemicals. I also updated the check book and paid couple of bills.

And let’s not forget out multiple trips to Ace Hardware for more mulch.

First trip – 6 bags (We grossly underestimated.)

Second trip – 8 bags (“What? You’re back again?”)

Third trip – 4 bags (“You guys really can’t count, can you?”)

In the past, I have described my less-than-successful efforts to grow tomatoes and other veggies. Since we clearly do not learn from past experience, we are trying again this year. We bought a pre-fab raised bed kit at Home Depot to create our little 4 ft x 4 ft effort at agriculture. It contains several bags of potting and planting soil, three tomato plants and two pepper plants, and a little cinaltro. (Total outlay to date — approximately $1.5 million.)

The Poolman garden

The Poolman garden

I have it placed where it gets a lot of sun, but is shaded in the very late afternoon. I really hope we get some produce out of it this year. I’ll keep you informed.

Catchin’ up

We have been busy for the past couple of weeks.

Our CCD class came to an end a few weeks ago. Mrs. R, my co-teacher and I bought pizzas for the kids and one of the parents provided the drinks. It is always funny when we do this on the last class. You would think the 5th graders had never seen pizza before. We finished off with a “quiz bowl” on all the material we had covered throughout the year. Good news and bad news. The bad news – some of the kids clearly were mentally AWOL during the year, or maybe the pizza caused their tiny brains to shut down. For example, the major theme of the year was the seven Sacraments. You would think that three students, working together could name all seven. No such luck. The one they missed? Reconciliation, which they received during our CCD class just a couple of weeks earlier. Duh?

On the other hand, one of the girls, who was usually an attention-seeking wild child, was knocking down the answers like a pro. We always knew she was there; we just weren’t certain she was listening.

*   *   *

Mrs. Poolman had two cataract surgeries this month. For obvious reasons, they don’t do both eyes at the same time. Both were fairly non-eventful. Mrs. P has been all excited about it because the doc used some new multi-focus lens. It means that for the first time in her entire life, Mrs. P can see clearly without heavy-duty glasses or contacts. Yea!

*    *    *

I also had a minor procedure this month. My dermatologist diagnosed a lump on my face as a basal cell carcinoma. That’s the kind of skin cancer that is annoying, but not fatal. Thank you. So we scheduled an appointment to have it removed. Dr. Y has an interesting bed-side manner. When I sat on the examining table, I asked him “So, what are we going to be doing here?”

I was thinking, “Are we going to freeze it, burn it, electrocute it, cut it, or whatever?”

His response, “Well if you’ll just lie back, I’m going to WACK IT OFF!”

And that’s what he did.

The whole procedure probably took 5 minutes. No big deal. The only “weird” part came when it cauterized the cut. Since it was right next to my nose, I not only felt the heat, but also smelled the smoke. Very strange.

So I've been wearing a band aid for the past week and a half.

So I’ve been wearing a band aid for the past week and a half.

Busy spring weekend

Wow! It’s been a busy two weeks. Time to catch up.

Mrs. Poolman is half way through a two-step cataract surgery sequence. The first surgery was last week; the second next week. She is having new “multifocus” lenses implanted in each eye.  In addition to replacing the clouded lenses, the multifocus lenses will allow her to see without glasses or contacts for the first time since she was five years old. She is very excited.

We had a busy time last weekend. We were sitting around Friday night when we got a call from Poolboy. It seems he wanted to go out and party with his friend Ronnie. Unfortunately, Ronnie had not cleared his plans with his wife, Kate. Turns out Kate had separate plans also. The problem is the third member of the family is four month old Tommy.

“So do you think you guys could babysit Tommy for a few hours this evening?”

This actually isn’t as much of a stretch as it may sound. The mom, Kate, is one of Writer Princess’s closest friends and Kate has been hanging around our house since she was in middle school. She and Ronnie recently bought a house just a couple of blocks away from ours. ­­­­­­She is well aware that when it comes to taking care of babies, Mrs. P is a legitimate pro (neonatal ICU nurse), and I’m a “gifted amateur.”

Mrs. P, Tommy and two of the furry ones who were fascinated by the little one.

Mrs. P, Tommy and two of the furry ones who were fascinated by the little one.

We had a great time with Tommie. He is a real cutie with a very nice personality. I’m just sorry we didn’t have him a little longer.

On Saturday, we took off to shop second-hand shops for a set of dining chairs for Writer Princess and Son-in-Law. We had a nice lunch out; found the chairs; and even found an office desk for me. We found this desk at Goodwill.

The Goodwill desk

The Goodwill desk

The finish is bad, but it seems structurally sound. WP swears she has a paint that will stick to anything. We’ll see.

Our plan on Sunday was for massive amounts of outside work. We are just coming to the time of year here in Savannah when massive amounts of biomass falls in our back yard, courtesy of this oak tree.

The oak tree is great during the summer, but a pain in the spring.

The oak tree is great during the summer, but a pain in the spring.

We really can’t do much fixing up for summer until the fall of leaves and seed pods stop. So I mowed the lawn, cleaned the pool, cleaned the solar blanket and put it on the pool, and raked, swept and cleaned up about a ton of leaves.

Unfortunately, this was a solo effort. Mrs. P had gone to run a couple of errands, and when standing at the vegetable stand, “fell out” of her flip-flops. She went down like a bag of wet cement (according to her.) The real damage was to her toe, which may or may not be fractured, but is definitely in bad shape.

Ouch!

Ouch!

She spent the rest of the day on the couch with her foot propped on the coffee table.

I don’t know what we will accomplish this weekend, but we’ll give it a shot. We’re trying to get the “heavy lifting” done before the pool and beach season begins, so we can kick back and not worry about major projects during the summer.

This and that

No, honey, that smoke detector is not a kitchen timer.

 Earlier this week, Mrs. Poolman made us tacos for dinner. This is usually a fairly easy, mistake-proof meal. Not this time. Rather than heating the taco shells in the oven, like we normally do, Mrs. P decided heat them in the microwave.

 “What is that smoke I smell?”

I pulled the taco shells, that were “spooned” together, out of the microwave. They were still combusting! I stuck them in the sink and hit them with the dish sprayer. A large cloud of steam later, the “blaze” was extinguished. I’ve heard of hot Tex-mex food, but really!

 We always have soft tortillas around, so we just had soft tacos that night.

 Actually, this just makes us even. A few weeks ago I saute’d some tilapia for dinner. I used a new spice mix, not knowing it was heavily salt-based. The fish filets were virtually inedible. I’m not a great cook, but usually my meals at least can be eaten. Not that night.

 *   *   *

I understand the reason behind Amber alerts. But is it really necessary to send the same alert out to my phone every few minutes all night? The other night, my phone was hopping with an Amber alert from Tampa, more than 300 miles away. I had to turn the phone off just so I could get some sleep. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Duh.

 *   *   *

It’s tough running a small business, but sometimes when I see how some businesses treat their customers, I don’t understand how they can keep their doors open at all. Last December, we contacted a local pest control company about some unwanted pests in our attic. We called this company because they handle other termite inspections and because someone close to us works for them. The pest control guy came out for an inspection a few days later and said he would be back the next week to seal off the attic and set some traps. Two months later, we hadn’t heard back from the guy. When we finally reached him, he confessed he “forgot.”

 So he sent one of his minions out to seal off all entrances to the attic, but he had forgotten to bring the traps.

 “No problem, I’ll be back on Thursday to set the traps.”

 Of course, he never came. Meanwhile, we got a bill for the incomplete service.

 After continuing to hound than, we finally got the rodent boy to come back out last week and set his traps — four months after we initially called. He is supposed to come back this week to collect whatever (hopefully nothing) that has been caught. We’ll see.

 *   *   *

And speaking of unhappy experiences with local merchants, we took Sammie the dog and Sid the Tailless cat to a groomer this weekend to be trimmed a little. Both are long-haired and desperately needed it. We went to a groomer we had not used before. I don’t know what the groomer was thinking. Sammie was cut down fairly close. Sid was practically shaved.

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

He looks like a little piglet with the head of a lion. Poor thing. Fortunately, Sid doesn’t really seem to care how funny he looks. His “sister” Penny, however is another story. She has been hissing at him ever since he got home yesterday afternoon. Quite the critic she is. Fortunately, Sid is an inside cat, so sunburn won’t be a problem. Otherwise…

I don’t think we’ll be using that groomer again. Duh.

Hymns, funerals and extra mourners

I am not much into music, especially religious music. In church I try to sing along, or at least lip sync, when I know the song. However there is no way I can contribute to a song I haven’t heard enough to recognize the melody.

This past Saturday, I was the reader at 5:30 Mass.  Afterwards, I went over to Julie, the song leader, to compliment her on her contribution. A few weeks ago, after a Mass that had four hymns I had never heard before, I had teased her that she and the organist were apparently trying to sing every song in the hymnal at least once during the year. So when I approached her on Saturday, she asked if I thought they were doing any better with their music selection. This got us talking about “So what are your favorite pieces?” I mentioned a few, but said my all-time favorite was “On Eagle’s Wings.”

Julie responded, “Well you must not go to many funerals, because we always sing it there.”

I told her I had been to many funerals as a child (more on that in a moment), but fortunately, I had not much opportunity to do so lately.

During the course of the conversation, I recalled a television show that had a short run in the 1990s that focused on an urban Catholic parish. I couldn’t remember much about it, but I did remember one episode that concerned the death of a nun and a beautiful rendition of “On Eagle’s Wings” at her funeral.

Mrs. Poolman has accused me of being a bit obsessive on more than one occasion. I do hate to leave mysteries unsolved. When I got home, I got on-line and tried to locate this program. Actually, a quick Google search for “tv, drama, catholic, priest” turned up the answer in nothing flat.  “Nothing Sacred” was an ABC network program that had a short run in 1997-98. Beyond that, it turns out there are a number of episodes on YouTube. Since the show had only a short run, it was pretty easy to narrow down the episodes to find the funeral scene. Here it is. The clip is of the entire last segment of the show. The song starts just past the 9-minute mark.

So, why, you might wonder, did I attend so many funerals as a child? It had nothing to do with dying family members, although there were those too. I went to a Catholic grade school, and my sixth grade teacher, Sister Mary Leonard, was also the musical director for the parish. Fairly frequently, when she was called upon to play music for a week-day funeral. Usually there was no substitute teacher available, so Sister just brought the class along for the funeral. Three to four times a month, a grieving group of family and friends would show up at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church to say farewell to a loved one, and there, sitting in the back rows of the church, were 40-45 sixth graders.  We were all well trained on the proper procedures and etiquette of the Requiem Mass. We knew all the responses and the words to most of the hymns.

One day, we even attended a wedding. I wonder if the father-of-the bride looked over as he was escorting his daughter down the aisle and wondered, “Are they coming to the reception too?”

Looking back on it, I am a little surprised at how well behaved we all were. However, by that time, we were all veterans of a number of years of parochial school, weekly Masses, monthly confessions, etc. We were well aware that any cutting-up during a funeral Mass, might result in a lightning bolt from the choir loft. In any case, it would not be a pleasant experience. We knew what was best in the long run.

In love with “Sammie” (and I’m not talking about my dog)

I think I’m in love, but it’s nothing that should worry Mrs. Poolman. A few weeks ago, after resisting all the hype and advertising for years, I broke down and purchased a Smart Phone, specifically a Samsung Galaxy 3 “Sammie” supported by T-Mobile.

Isn't she pretty?

Isn’t she pretty?

Since then I’ve had a number of epiphany moments where I asked my phone, “Where have you been all my life, and how did I ever live without you?”

Seriously though, I don’t play games and I hardly ever text, but I live on e-mail. Being able to have both my personal and work email accounts synced on my phone is great. I’ve also loaded a number of free apps, mostly news and sports sites like ESPN, CNN, CBS News and such. I haven’t even tried out the built-in camera.

I did have a problem today. Earlier this week, I changed the password on my work-laptop and email program. I didn’t know you had to turn off all the syncing functions on your smart phone before you do that. I didn’t realize there was a problem until my phone started “talking” to me in a series of rings every five minutes or so. It was making me crazy. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I realized it was the email function trying to sync up my work email and failing. The problem ended up spreading to my work laptop and by this morning was locked up and locked out. Fortunately our IT guy was able to get me back in business. Lessons learned. Ugh.

Now comes the hard part, avoiding addiction. You know the addicts I’m talking about — the people who can’t sit still and have a conversation for more than a minute or two without whipping out their phone to check a sports score, the latest Facebook update, or whatever. We’ll see.