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Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Problem With Dicks


My Problem With Dicks


Dick's the sporting goods store that is; I figure the title will get this blog some new visitors.

Last year I purchased a golf GPS gadget.  This gadget tells you how far you are from any hole on any golf course in the country.  It also allows you to measure the distance of any shot.  This information is very helpful when playing a round of golf.

I used it twice, and then somehow, I lost it.  I turned the house upside down but I could not find it.  I reluctantly bought a new one at Dick’s last August.  I bought one in a weird ugly green instead of black so it would be harder to lose. 

It worked fine the few times I played at the end of last year.  In the winter, I found the old GPS gadget.  It was outside, apparently it fell off my golf bag, under a bush.  It had been rained on, snowed on, and endured periods of heat and extreme cold.  It still worked.

Now I have two GPS gadgets, which is fine as sometimes the battery runs down when I need it, so a backup is nice, or I can loan it to another golf buddy.

I used the new GPS gadget last week, it worked fine.  Yesterday it was not working.  It searched for a GPS signal, but would never find it.  Everything else on the gadget worked, but without a GPS signal it was worthless.  I mean it gives me the time and date, but I get that on multiple other sources.

I took the gadget back to Dick’s to see if they would replace it as it was less than a year old and clearly defective.  I’m pretty sure they could send it back to the manufacturer and get their money back.  It is defective, and there is no way for the manufacturer to know when it was sold.  I doubt the manufacturer would argue with Dick’s, one of their biggest retailors.

Dick’s told me that they could not help me unless I had only bought the GPS gadget within six months.  What crap.  I bought it in August, but the only months to play golf in this area (except for some fanatics) would be August, September, October (maybe) April and then May.  I have not had six months use of the gadget. 

It is not that Dick’s could not help me, it is Dick’s won’t help me.  They suggested I contact the manufacturer.  Somehow I think I might have less clout then Dick’s Sporting Store.

Anyway, I still have one toy, I don’t really need a backup.  I’m going to run the battery down on the defective one, maybe it will reset and work again.

I’m not happy, but I’m sure I will get over it and go back to Dick’s again.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Home Sweet Home


Home Sweet Home

Do you like your home?  What is it about homes that your house is never enough?  Your friend’s house is bigger when you are a kid.  Your neighbor’s house is nicer when you are starting out on your own.  When you can afford a bigger house, you always know someone who has a pool, or a second house in the summer. 

Currently we live in a small town-house.  We have no property that is our own.  There are two neighbors attached to our unit and we hear doors closing and music paying often.  It is a nice place, just nothing special.  We do have a pool in the summer, an association community pool, but a pool nonetheless.  We don’t have to cut lawns or trim trees, that is done for us.

You know what? I like this place.  I have lived in much larger houses.  Houses in fancy neighborhoods with big lawns, or a house in the middle of a cute little town, a block from the train and a block from all the stores and restaurants.  I like this house better.  All the units in the development are pretty much the same.  All the yards are the same.  There is no competition to have the largest house or the nicest yard.  The exteriors are all the same.  When every home in your neighborhood is exactly the same, it is easier to be satisfied with your home.

Maybe it is just getting older that makes the difference.  I see a really big house and I think that is very nice, nice place to visit, but too big to live in.  We don’t throw big parties, we have a guest room and an extra bath and a half.  The kitchen is big enough to move around in and we have plenty of room to sit and eat.  Our bedroom is as large as we need and I have a basement cave to escape to.

We could use more space for storage of crap Mrs. C will never use, but cannot toss.  I can keep my Jeep in a garage so I can keep the top down in the summer, but I can’t move it out without having Mrs. C move her car because all the driveways are one lane only.  Otherwise, this place has everything I need.

Home Sweet Home is not spectacular, and at my age I am glad it is not.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Better Stuff?


Better Stuff?

The world today has many fabulous new conveniences and inventions.  We have stuff that we could not even have imagined not that many years ago.  Cell phones, computers, the internet, automatic…Hell, there are just too many things to mention. 

What I will mention, because I am an old dude, is old stuff that has been replaced with new stuff that is not as good as the old stuff…What?

For instance:

Electric mixers.  They are a pain in the ass!  They take up room, are difficult to clean and are heavy and clunky to operate.  I found an old tool that works much better….a whisk!  Imagine; light, mobile, easy to clean and will beat up eggs and mix flour and milk about twice as fast as an electric mixer.

Ice crushers. The ice crusher in my fridge is great, except it sometimes takes too long, and then it spits out crushed ice faster than I want, sometimes making a mess.  I prefer to just wack individual cubes with the back end of a heavy spoon.  Quick, neat, and easy.

TV Remote.  This is a handy item, but it gets lost, the batteries run down and it is hard to read at night.  It is just not as good as having a little brother to stand by the TV to change the channels and adjust the volume with verbal commands.  (Wait, I was the little brother)

Electric carving knife.  These are hard to sharpen and, oh hell they are just stupid; it is easier to use your own carving motion with a good old sharp carving knife.

Electric can opener.  Most containers no longer need a can opener, but if one is needed, the hand operated ones are more convenient and work pretty dang well.

CD recording vs. vinyl records.  I just threw this in because lately purists are claiming a better sound from the old vinyl records.  Personally, I think they are nuts.

Car Headlight Dimmers.   Am I the only one who preferred that dimer button you hit with your foot instead of the lever on the column?

Low flush toilets.  How much water do these things really save, especially when you consider the need to double or even triple flush to properly clear the bowl?

Forced hot air heat.  I guess this heating method is cheaper to install and maintain, but hot water baseboard or even the old radiators provide a much more comfortable heat, unless you prefer a dry nasal passage and sore throat all winter.

Dictionary vs. spell check.  Bad example, the dictionary is a pain in the ass.

That’s it, everything else is terrific!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Stupid Headlines 061917

Stupid Headlines 061917
It’s time again for
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY on Monday
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
______________________
Jerry Seinfeld explains Kesha snub: 'I'm 63, I don't know every pop star' – I’m 71, I still don’t know who she is, but I sure as hell would have given her a hug, she’s hot!
Bear surprises runners during Colorado race – A new record was set that won’t be broken for a long time.
Hazmat crew called to Disneyland after geese poop on guests – Was the goose poop brown? Sno…white.
Wyoming woman caught shoplifting claims she's studying kleptomania – She’s figured out the stealing part, but she gets an “F” in Getting-away-with-it.
Kansas man who robbed bank to escape wife gets home-confinement sentence – Doesn’t this amount to ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment?
New York City eases severity of laws against public urination, drunkenness – First of all it should only be one crime because 99.9% of public urination is done by drunks.
Skittles Issues All-White Candy for Pride Month and Is Immediately Blasted for Racism – Ah…it is a candy, right? Where are the complaints about Black Jack Gum?
Arizona newborn discovered in Jonas Brothers backpack – Nick is pointing to Joe, Joe is pointing to Kevin, and Kevin claims it is Nick’s.
Florida Woman Steals Nearly $100,000 From City to Help Finance Butt Lift – $100,000…how high can you lift a butt?
China's Great Wall repaired with simple tools – As seen on TV…FLEXSEAL!
Man traded meth for stolen Chrysler – Is that legal?
And the feel-good story of the week:
Former President Jimmy Carter stops to shake every passenger's hand aboard a flight – I don’t care what you may think of him as a President, He is a very nice man, and this is cool!
__________________________
COME BACK NEXT WEEK FOR MORE
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY

Sunday, June 18, 2017

FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL part II

FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL part II


Wonderful as he was, Dad had his human side; and now for the rest of the story. 



While he built a wonderful fiberglass boat in our basement, he was caught at the conclusion with a boat that was too big to get up the stairs and out of the house.  We struggled all one morning trying, and then, when Mom announced she was going to the store, a crazed look came into his eye. As soon as she left the house he was at her beautiful oak floors with a rip saw opening a huge hole to the basement.  He fearlessly cut through not only the oak floor, but the supporting beams, and, before the floor collapsed, shored up the beams and framed the cut out section of oak floor to make a trap door.  The boat was then extracted and the trap door fit into place and covered with a rug, all before Mom got back from the store.



But there is more.  After extracting the boat it was towed to Manhasset Bay for its inaugural cruise.  Unfortunately, upon being launched the boat immediately rolled over.  It was top heavy and, while it wouldn’t sink, it wouldn’t stay right side up either.  After a whole year of hard work and the caesarian removal of the boat from the basement you can imagine how distressed Dad was; but not for long.  After a short period of mourning he redesigned the boat, threw out the old molds, built new ones and delivered a new boat by the next racing season.





A cranky aside – Several Years later my brother Jim and I (90% Jim) rebuilt the original boat from dad's design without the extra heavy inner hull.  In our haste the mold was imperfect and we did not have time for a do-over in order to enter the last sailing event of the season.  We fitted out the MOLD with its rough exterior (causing slowing inefficient water flow) and Jim still finished 2nd in a fleet of 45 boats.  That boat was then retired, never to sail again.
 



 It was that boat, his second effort, which my brother Jim sailed to third in the Internationals and to first in the South Jersey championships and which captured the hearts of all who were longing for fast, safe fiberglass boats and the end of more sanding and varnishing than sailing.



I also remember Dad’s human side as a wonderful, loving father.  He knew that some Friday nights when I was out late while in high school that I had been into some beverages that weren’t appropriate.  But he never said anything----just came into the room early Saturday morning and insisted that I get up and come to the basement to work on those blasted boats.  He would then run the rip saw all day and otherwise make as much noise as possible.  Believe me; you didn’t want a hangover at our house, and a couple Saturday mornings like that were all that were needed to get me to behave a little better on Friday nights.



A Cranky aside – I remember the night outs as being on Saturday and it was on those Sundays that Dad got religion and we went to Church…early.  Either way, the lesson was delivered so well that Mr. Cranky did not have his first hangover until I was in college and far from home.



What I remember most, however, was the night I totaled his new 1959 Ford Galaxy.  It was about 2 months old, and I was in my senior year of high school.  He let me use his new car one night and, while tuning the radio, I looked down and drifted through a stop light into a major thoroughfare and was broadsided.  The car was demolished.  While it was being cleared out of the street a policeman took me to a drug store where, shaking with fear and expecting the wrath of God, I called home.  Dad answered, I told him I had been in an accident and was afraid his new car had been totaled.  He asked was I all right, and when I said yes he said: “Fine, that is all that matters.  I will come pick you up.” 



That is the last thing he said about that accident.



A Cranky aside – The story I remember is that Chris pulled out as soon as the light turned green and got hit by a car running the red light.  Now the truth is out.  I’m guessing Dad had Chris' back and went along with the cover up story.



I hope this gives you some things to remember about Dad as you reminisce about the family later this month.  I miss him, and all the Hagy’s, and wish I could be with you.



Love,

Chris



Happy Father’s Day to all you great Dads!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL part I

FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL part I

A father's Day re-run from June 2012

My brother, Chris, recently found a letter he sent to my Aunt Nancy years ago to be read at a reunion he was unable to attend.  It gives wonderful insight to my dad and I thought it a perfect post for Father’s Day.  As it is somewhat longer then my usual posts I have divided into two parts.

Part I “The Ultra-Intelligent Dad” and
Part II “The Human Dad.”





Dear Aunt Nancy:

I am so sorry that we will not be able to join you and the others at the Hagy reunion later this month.  Carolyn asked that I drop you a line with a few stories about Dad that you might rehash or read to the group as a reminder of whom he was, and who we are.


Dad was an exceedingly bright individual with an insatiable, intellectual curiosity matched only by his confidence that he could do anything.  But he didn’t just read about it or think about doing it, he did it.


When we lived in Tulsa after WWII he read about hydroponics, a then developing field fueled by the belief that plants could be enhanced and prolific if they were fed directly the nutrients they needed rather than having to extract them from the soil.  A chemical engineer, this inspired him to believe that he could grow the world’s biggest vegetables if he grew them in a greenhouse in gravel and fed them chemicals by injection at their base. But he just didn’t think it, he did it.  While raising 3 boys and working full time at Sun Oil, in his spare time he built a large (30' x 100') greenhouse and installed an injector system throughout the rows of hip high boxes that he installed in his greenhouse.  He then developed a chemical container system, determined what nutrients, and how much, each type of plant would require, filled the boxes with gravel, planted lettuce, tomatoes, corn and other vegetables, fed them injected chemical nutrients and, in fact, grew the biggest vegetables imaginable. 



Mom and Dad kept busy harvesting his crop year round and sold to grocery stores. When we moved to New York the property (a 4 acre “farm”) was sold more for the greenhouse than the house, and my recollection is that the purchaser became a full time grower and made a nice living off of Dad’s greenhouse. 



(As an aside, we hated to leave that farm because we had a pony, black haired and sassy, and appropriately named “Nancy”.  You will recall that you took her and kept her on your farm and renamed her “GG”.  She was so much fun that I think she was more aptly named after you, and to me she will always be Nancy.) 



A Cranky aside – Aunt Nancy’s real name was Eleanor, but that is a different story.



When we left Oklahoma Dad got out of gardening and into boats, and he struggled long and hard sanding and painting first a sailboat on Long Island and then a “stinkpot” in Southern California.  He spent more time working on them then using them, and I think that is why he became infatuated with the possibilities of building boats of fiberglass. 



Unfortunately, unlike wood, fiberglass boats sank like a stone if capsized and that stunted the initial appetite for them.  But Dad conceived of the idea of building a hull inside the hull of a fiberglass boat and filling the core with foam.  Tests demonstrated to Dad that this construction would not only  give the boat a firmness not present in initial fiberglass boats, which felt like you were sitting or standing on eggshells, but, more importantly, it could make  fiberglass boats even more buoyant than wooden ones.  He then set about making a fiberglass boat. 



He designed a racing sailboat that fit the allowable dimensions of the moth, a type of 1-2 man 11 foot racing sailboat then popular at the Ocean City Yacht Club, and set about building it in our basement on Long Island. 



He did this from scratch.  It required building a wood frame, upside down, then covering it with chicken wire and ultimately plaster.  A separating compound was then spread on the plaster and fiberglass on top of that.  When it set, the fiberglass was popped off the plaster mold and it became a mold for the actual fiberglass boat that was built inside of it so that, on its removal from the mold, it would have a smooth exterior.  He then built a second, smaller hull, installed it within the larger outer hull, filled the gap between the hulls with Styrofoam, and eureka, he had created one of the first (if not the first) fiberglass boats that would not sink. 



This is now essentially the method used in constructing all fiberglass boats even to today.  Not only would the boat not sink, his design was so good that the boat dominated the moth class for some time. My brother Jim sailed it to third place against far more seasoned competition in the first regatta the new boat was entered in, the International Championships, which had more than 100 entrants.  Because it was fast, and would not sink, there was a demand for the boats and we made and sold 10-15 over the next few years as a hobby for Dad and summer job for Jim and me.



And then came the computer and digital age.  Dad was just a little early for it.  Too bad, he would have reveled in all that has come in the past 20 years.  But he was fascinated by what he did see of the new developments and the potentially powerful new tools that could be developed. 



I remember how he applied his intellectual curiosity and “can do” attitude when Aunt Phil came to live with him and Mom as she battled cancer.  She was bedridden and helpless at times.  That distressed Dad, but he was intrigued with the then developing use of electric garage door openers and remote TV channel changers.  He wondered how that might help Phil, and he developed a remote for her that she could use to turn on and off lights in the room, summon them and, I think, control the radio.  All pretty standard stuff now, but he developed it from scratch.



To be continued:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Dentist and Health Insurance


Dentist and Health Insurance


Many years ago, a cranky young man had three younger children and a job which allowed his family to live pay check to pay check.  Health insurance was mostly subsidized through work, that was good.  Health insurance that was subsidized through work paid for 50% of normal health problems, and 80% of serious stuff like operations and hospitalization…after a $1500 deductible (or well over one month’s take home pay), that was not so good. 

There was no dental insurance, and having a baby was considered optional and was not covered at all.  On the plus side, doctors and even the hospitals accepted monthly payments without charging interest.  As long as you sent something every month you were good.  

I used to send the dentist $10 every month.  There was always a new charge before the original bill was covered.  I paid about $20 a month for the cost of child birth.  I paid for about ten years.  When the medical costs of my children’s births were paid off, my insurance decided they would cover most of child birth expenses.  Too late, and I did not take advantage of this new benefit…three children was plenty…well one more came much later and that cost was covered.

Recently my dental insurance would not pay me to use my dentist of over 35 years.  He was not covered under their plan.  I used the insurance for some specialist procedures, and paid out of pocket to my regular dentist for normal dental needs.  I did not like the specialists that were in my plan, they worked in dental factories and patients were treated like a piece of meat.

A year ago, I needed work done and I wanted my regular dentist of 35+ years to do the work.  I changed dental plans to do this.  My insurance went from $50 a month, to $150 a month.  The $150 a month covered my youngest son who never uses it because his step-father is an oral surgeon.  Mrs. C does not go to a dentist, because, well she just doesn’t, so essentially, I pay $150 a month just for myself and my crappy teeth.

This year I went to my regular dentist, who was covered by my new expensive plan and had the work done that I had been putting off.  The proceedure cost $3500.  At first my insurance only wanted to cover $500 as they questioned the need for some of the work.  Eventually they paid the maximum covered by this plan, $1500.  They cover a maximum of $1500 for each member on the plan.

I did some quick math and realized that I was paying $1800 a year to cover a possible $1500 of dental work for me, and maybe $1500 to my son’s step-dad if my son needed work, and I really don’t give a flying frig if he is paid anything…just saying; and maybe $1500 for Mrs. C if she had a dental emergency. Not a very cost effective plan.

Next year I am simply going to have a $150 portion of my SS automatically deposited in a special account to be used just for dental costs.  I am going to insure myself and take my chances.

The trouble with health insurance is companies want to make a profit so they fight every payment, the insured want their monies worth and will take advantage of the companies if given the chance.  There is fraud on the insured side and also from a small segment of crooked practitioners.  It is a very cold sterile process of rampant distrust and dissatisfaction. 

I kind of miss the old days where Doctors, in effect subsidized those who had difficulty making payments. They accepted low monthly payments or barter and probably charged their wealthier patients a bit extra.  Maybe not so great for the doctors, but I don’t remember doctors driving anything but new cars. 

Of course, medicine was cheaper in those old days, because they didn’t have the machines and medicines to cure you like they do today.  The service was great, the bed side manner was great, the cures not always so much.

One thing for sure when it comes to health care and insurance, it will never be fair, it will never be inexpensive and there is no solution to make everyone happy.  After all, the only people who get their monies worth out of health insurance are those who are real sick.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ring


The Ring

A few weeks ago, I posted about a curio cabinet and its contents that I inherited from my Mom.


It contains an assortment of about a zillion pieces of memorabilia, some that have monetary value; all have some sentimental value.  I know every piece has a story explaining the sentimental value, I just do not know all the stories.

My daughter read the post and asked about a paper swan she had given her Grandmother years ago, wondering if it made it to the curio cabinet.  I did not think so, but the other day I double checked.

Now I definitely do not know everything in this cabinet, but I have had it moved twice and in doing so I have had to take out every item and then put them all back, so I am familiar with most pieces and especially if it was an item with more than sentimental value.

As I looked for the paper swan, which sadly I did not find, I came across these rings.  I have never seen them before.  I have no idea how I could have missed them in two moves and why I suddenly have found them.  They appear to maybe be an engagement and wedding ring.  Perhaps from my Grandmother or a favorite great aunt.  My SIL who knows more of my family history than I, also had never seen the rings and knew nothing of them.


The gold ring with the emerald and small diamonds would look very pretty on Mrs. C’s pinky.  The other ring will stay in the cabinet.  There is some special kind of irony that springs from this ring.

My mother did not have a lot of jewelry.  She was not a jewelry kind of gal.  She had three very nice rings which she inherited.  One was given to each daughter-in-law as an engagement ring or a wedding present.  Years later, when mom’s possessions were distributed among the three sons, my second wife whined that she never got a ring. 

She was jokingly told that her ring was in the UK (with my first wife).  She did not see the humor in this and went into one of her classic rages which shocked those who had never experienced her tantrums.

Long story short, she was given a necklace as consolation, but she always resented the fact that she did not get a ring.  Sometime after, our marriage ended when she decided she was happier connecting with a former fiancé, a doctor who left her 20 years before when he married the nurse that he knocked up.

Now, seven years after being married to Mrs. C, another ring shows up.

This is also just a few days after seeing a clock reading 11:11 at the same time that two unrelated out-of-sync analog clocks pointed to 10:15.


When I wrote that post it did not occur to me that my Mom was born November 10, 1915...11-10-15.

A sign?

My Mom never met Mrs. C, but I believe she approves.