The Kindness of Strangers

“Rule 39” Leroy Jethro Gibbs

As I write this, I’m sitting at Gate C9 at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport waiting to board a flight home. It’s just a little after 7am on a Sunday morning, and the sun just rose on what promises to be a well-deserved beautiful day for the people in ATL. It’s been a pretty rainy summer here!!

I’ve never been a big fan of flying, especially now in the post-9/11 world, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what needs to be done. My mom is having some rather serious surgery tomorrow morning and I have to be there to support her & my dad.

Last night was not the best night for sleeping and I’ll admit to being a bit on the cranky side this morning. I couldn’t use the “no coffee yet” thing as an excuse since I’d already had breakfast AND coffee-I was just crabby from lack of sleep. I decided to try the self-tag kiosk to tag my bag (flying Southwest—bags fly free!!) but the scanner was not cooperating. I could not get it to scan the boarding pass from my phone screen to save my life. I started to walk away from the kiosk mumbling, “screw technology” under my breath but apparently I said it louder than I thought. A lady standing in line offered to help me and while I felt I didn’t deserve for someone to be nice to me with my bad attitude, I accepted her help. Her name is Andra, and she was WONDERFUL!! She keyed in my confirmation number, printed out my luggage tag, attached it to my bag, and printed out my boarding pass, “in case your phone dies,” all in a very calm voice with a beautiful smile on her face. She told me she flies almost every day for her job as a crisis manager. It appears to me she’s VERY good at her job!! She did all this for a cranky old lady she’d never met before because, in her words, “it’s just better to be nice to people.” She’s right-it is. I learned a valuable lesson this morning from a stranger whom I’ll probably never see again, but I won’t soon forget the kindness of this person who decided I was worth a few minutes of her busy time. Thank you, Andra. You’re a gem of a lady!!

I also noticed kindness is contagious-a gentleman who observed our interaction allowed us to go in front of him and check our bags. I didn’t get his name but I feel pretty certain he was affected by Andra’s kindness, too. I walked away from the airline counter wondering what I had done to warrant all these strangers being so nice to me. My plan is to pay it forward to someone I encounter who is having a bad day. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

So now I’m sitting at the gate waiting to board. One of my favorite Daffy Duck cartoons is on the gate monitor. They’re showing Boomerang (a division of Cartoon Network) instead of the usual CNN, which is a refreshing change…

[UPDATE] It’s one day later and, as I write this, I’m sitting with my dad waiting for my mom to be moved to her hospital room. According to her doctor, her procedure had the “Best Possible Outcome” and she could be home as early as tomorrow. Prayers answered! 🙂

[UPDATE #2] It’s day 2 post-op and Mom is home and doing well. I’m flying home to my guys today and will be sure to help anyone I see who is struggling with the travel technology. Life is GOOD!

So, have you encountered the kindness of a stranger? Have YOU been the stranger showing kindness to your fellow man with no expectation of anything except feeling good in return? Please share in the comments.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Late Bloomers – Over 50 and Thriving Guest Post

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

I was excited, surprised, and very flattered to have been asked by Sue of Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond to write a guest post for her Over 50 and Thriving series. Without further ado, here’s the link to my guest post on her blog. Please come back when you’ve finished reading as I have an announcement to make…

https://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au/thriving-as-a-late-bloomer-its-never-too-late/

One of the recurring themes I’m planning for this blog is to pay tribute the concept of the Late Bloomer. Accomplishments should be celebrated no matter when they are achieved, and I’ll be featuring historical figures, people I’ve encountered throughout my own life, and people suggested by you. If you know of someone who has reached a goal later in life, please let me know about them so we can celebrate them! Send me an email at olderwisermoneymiser@gmail.com with #LBHOF as the subject line, and tell me about the Late Bloomer in your life. Thanks!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

A few updates to past posts…

“If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.” Doug Larson

This weekend marks 3 months since my blogging adventure started. It’s gone by in a blur! This Monday also marks the Labor Day holiday here in the US. Sonny is working but Hubs and I have a long weekend. We’ll take Sonny to work and then head somewhere for breakfast. Tradition…anyhow, I thought I’d take this opportunity to update you on some of my past posts…

In one of my very earliest posts I shared something I see on my way to work most mornings-a gentleman out for his morning walk picking up the trash he finds along side of the road. When a good opportunity presented itself I pulled over to tell him that I had noticed what he was doing and to thank him for his efforts. His name is Mr. Todd, and he told me he has officially adopted this stretch of road to keep it clear of trash. He said that he saw a need and just decided to fill it. We should take a lesson from him and be as conscious of the environment around us. Mr. Todd is doing his part to make his world (and mine!) just a little bit better. In my humble opinion there’s a special place in heaven reserved for people like him. 🙂

Something funny happened recently that made me reflect on my post about grocery shopping. Vacation time came and I got a little bit lax in sticking to my grocery list. Once I came to my senses, I got super serious about it and let the guys know-if you come to the grocery store with me, we ARE sticking to the list that is made before we leave the house! You’d better let me know what you need before I head to the store-if it’s not on the list, I’m not buying it! I had to eat a bit of humble pie when Sonny and I got to the store one day and I started eyeballing something I had forgotten to write down. He looked at me and said, in all seriousness, “is that on the list??” Um, no-it wasn’t. He was right and I let him know that. Then I left the item on the shelf. I didn’t call him, “rude”, either!!

Recently I shared the adventure Hubs, Sonny and I had when we thought we had some kind of wildlife in our attic. I still swear something was up there-Hubs even discovered that the bait he had put in the trap (peanut butter base with a piece of no-melt bird suet stuck to the middle) was gone when he went to check on the trap. It didn’t spring, so whatever ate that food had a nice meal and then went on its merry way, probably to take a nap. To date, we haven’t caught anything.  Update to the update…while I was out of town Hubs discovered what was scurrying around our attic. Not a cute, fluffy squirrel but icky, nasty MICE! He thinks they got in through the garage door in the basement and crawled up the studs into the attic. He’s caught 3 so far-who knows how many are left. He can’t get rid of them soon enough for me!! As for what we thought was the entry point for the now non-existent squirrel, those branches needed to be cut, anyhow. My story… 🙂

That’s all the updates in my world. I hope things in your world are going well.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Practicing Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

I have been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers since 1997. If I could only stick to it, I’d STILL be a non-paying member but, alas, life happened and I’m a few pounds over my weight goal.  I’ve recently recommitted myself to dropping some weight and getting myself healthier so I’ve started attending weekly meetings. One of the things I absolutely LOVE that Weight Watchers has incorporated into their meetings actually has very little to do with food and EVERYTHING to do with attitude. Get your mind right and the rest just falls into place. Each attendee receives a small printed pamphlet each week dedicated to a different life lesson. The one I received this week I felt was worth sharing. It involves practicing gratitude.

It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of a busy life. It’s also VERY easy to focus on the negative in the world and forget how blessed we truly are. According to Forbes Magazine, an attitude of gratitude can improve both physical and psychological health. My own experience shows this to be true-I feel so much better about the world and my place in it when I make a conscious effort to stop and think about the good things in my life.

The suggested exercise for incorporating practicing gratitude into your routine involves listing out 3 good things that happened in your life in the last 24 hours. Write them down in as much detail as you can, and then write down how you felt during and after experiencing these good things. They don’t have to be big things; for example, one of the things I regularly observe in my world occurs when I’m pumping gas in my car. I can regularly fill my tank (even at the sometimes higher-than-I-like prices) without giving a second thought to how I’m going to pay for it. Some people have to trade off putting gas in the car or putting groceries on the table. There once was a day when I may have had to make that choice, but it’s not that way now. For that, I am truly grateful.

My challenge to you is this-set aside a few minutes 3 or 4 times per week to practice gratitude. It’s not always easy to see the good in life but it’s so important to your well-being to really make a conscious effort to look around and feel gratitude for the good things in your life. Even in your most challenging times, the good is there. Maybe it’s a little hard to see it, but it’s there. It might not be anything more than seeing a beautiful flower in bloom, a colorful butterfly perched on your window, or a happy child at play. Make it a habit to regularly focus on being grateful and before you know it you’ll start feeling more energized, more optimistic, and more positive. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Hubs vs Squirrel – A Handyman Story

“You only need two tools in life; WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn’t, use Duct Tape.” Unknown

“And a hammer. You can fix anything with a hammer.” Hubs

Sunday mornings are usually a peaceful time in my house. No alarm clocks, unless you count Lucy! She sleeps in a crate in our room and Hubs and I take turns taking care of her when she inevitably starts barking not long after the sun comes up. This particular Sunday it was my turn, so I got up, took her to do her business, fed her, and got ready to settle in with my breakfast and some iPad reading. No TV or music-just quiet time with my coffee. I’m glad it was quiet, otherwise I might not have heard the noise. At first I thought it was Lucy but she was not in the room. Scratching. It was coming from over my head and, since we live in a ranch-style house, it could only be coming from the attic. Ruh-roh! There’s some kind of wildlife in my attic!

I went and got Hubs out of bed so he could come listen to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Nope-there was definitely something up there. Hubs went back to the bedroom and I sat down to finish my coffee and plot our next move. I thought for sure Hubs was getting ready to help me figure out what we were going to do next but when more than a few minutes passed with no shower noise I went to investigate. He’d gone back to bed!! When he looked at me and realized going to sleep was clearly NOT happening, he got up & took his shower. He also asked me to do a search and see where we could find a humane animal trap. “Oh, GOOD!!” I thought. He’s gonna try to catch it himself instead of calling someone out on a Sunday for a ridiculous amount of money. I found where we could find a trap so we hopped in the Jeep and went to our local DIY hardware store.

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Found the trap-easy peasy!

The search I did had the exact location of the trap in the store and it took us no time to find it. We also looked at some pole saws since some branches that were overhanging the roof were the clear point of access for our unknown critter. Hubs thought he could get a better deal on a saw at another store so we went home, baited & set the trap, and went our separate ways-me to my weekly weigh-in meeting and Hubs & Sonny to the other hardware store for a pole saw.

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Handyman extraordinaire and his trusty assistant!

By the time I arrived home the guys were in the backyard hard at work clearing the branches away from the house. It was at this point Hubs realized he may have tried a bit too hard to save some money at the expense of getting the job done, as the saw he bought was too short for the job. He hadn’t gone out to look at how high the branches were in relation to where they originated on the tree, and the 10′ saw he bought was WAY too short, even with a 10′ ladder. So, back to the hardware store we went to get the correct sized saw. The shorter saw is going in the fall yard sale…

I have to digress a bit here. We shopped at Lowe’s for the trap and that’s where we returned for the longer pole saw. I didn’t notice this on the first trip, but when we returned I saw this sign in their parking lot. Service members hold a special place in my heart, especially since I’m married to a retired service member, and this sign melted me. Well done, Lowe’s!

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Thank you, Lowe’s!

So we got the correct size saw and Hubs was back on the ladder in no time clearing the rest of the branches away from the house. The 14′ saw worked like a charm and, while there are still a good number of branches that probably need to be cleared, the Squirrel Express access to the Penthouse suite has been permanently closed.

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Sorry, Mr. Squirrel-the Penthouse suite is closed! 

The craziest part of this whole story is that we never trapped anything! Hubs put the trap in the attic and has been checking it a couple of times a day. It’s been empty every time he’s checked it. I swear I was NOT imagining the sounds I heard, as Hubs heard them, too. I’m glad we didn’t need to spend the money for a pest control guy to come out on a Sunday, as that would’ve been ridiculously expensive and completely unnecessary. Hubs had a handle on this and I’m grateful he’s not afraid to tackle a job he’s certain he can do. Sonny did his part, as well. All’s well that ends well, and if we ever do catch that squirrel, or whatever it was, I’ll be sure to let you know!

I’d love to hear about some of your crazy adventures with wildlife in your house. Ever had a bat or a bird fly in? Or worse? Leave a comment and let me know!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Letting Go

“The cold never bothered me anyway…” Idina Menzel-“Let it Go” from the movie Frozen

This blogging adventure has taken me places I never thought I’d go, all without leaving the relative comfort of my desk or my couch. Some of the locations have been physical, while others have been inside my own mind. Today I came across a blog post that caused me to look inside and see how far I’ve come. Fellow blogger Michele shared a blog about conquering criticism and it brought back a rather unpleasant memory, but it also showed me how I’ve finally managed to pack up the unpleasantness and move on to bigger and better things…

I’m in my 3rd grade classroom, circa 1971. The desks are all lined up-4 or 5 rows and probably 5 desks per row. The class was full and the teacher was in front of the class asking questions about whatever subject was at hand-I think it was geography. I thought I knew the answer to one of her questions so I raised my hand. The teacher did not hear my answer clearly so she repeated what she thought I said, out loud, for the whole class to hear. It was NOT what I said, but by that time the damage had been done and the whole class was in stitches. I don’t think the class ever heard my actual answer because the laughter was so loud. You can be sure it was a VERY long time before my 3rd grade self raised my hand in that classroom again.

Third grade was a lifetime ago and it amazes me how vivid this memory still is in my mind’s eye. While I don’t remember the exact subject matter, I can still hear the almost mocking tone of the teacher’s voice when she said what she said, and I’m sure she had no idea at the time what affect her words would have on me. For the longest time I was afraid of revealing too much of myself publicly because I was deathly afraid of ridicule. I can still remember how it felt to hear that laughter knowing without a doubt it was directed squarely at me.

I still hold my cards pretty close to the chest in a lot of instances but it has taken a HUGE leap of faith for me to share my experiences with the world. I do so in the sincere hope that I might just inspire someone to take their own leap, follow their heart, or possibly to keep someone from making the same mistakes I’ve made. I’ll probably never know if I’ve succeeded in any of these things, but in all honesty I don’t need to know. What I do know is that I’ve been true to myself and I’ve “let go” of the fear and dread of the past. Look out world…

Have you had a similar experience? Please share in the comments-I’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

A Funny Thing Happened at Bookstore Checkout

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” George Bernard Shaw

I sometimes joke about getting older. I tell people frequently that getting older is NOT for the timid. I have to say, though, with utmost humility, that I don’t look my age. At least I don’t think I do! Miss Clairol or her salon equivalent has a good bit to do with that, as I am starting to develop what my sister and I not-so-affectionately call Bride of Frankenstein hair, but on most days I neither look nor feel my age. Apparently I’m a bit delusional about this, as was made abundantly clear to me recently at my local bookseller…

As part of my ongoing quest to begin making a living at this blogging thing, the Hubs and I made a MAJOR purchase this week. I’ve crossed over to the dark side, given up the world of PCs, and bought a MacBook Pro. The Hubs found a REALLY great deal on eBay, so we went ahead and got it as our anniversary gift to each other. He fully acknowledges that he probably won’t be using it much, but I also keep track of our household expenses on a spreadsheet so he’ll at least reap the benefit of that. My story… Anyhow, if you’ve bought a computer or anything electronic in the last 5 years or so, you know that user manuals are, for all intents and purposes, extinct. Call me old-fashioned, but nothing beats a good old paper user manual. So after dinner Hubs, Sonny & I piled into the Jeep and made our way to the bookstore to find a user manual. I really love the “[Fill in the blank] for Dummies” series of books since they’re written in plain English without a lot of jargon to bog me down. I found one for the MacBook so I picked it up and took it to the checkout. The clerk was probably in her late teens or early twenties, pleasant enough, until she made a comment that, once I got over the shock of it, made me feel like I was 100 years old. “MacBook for Dummies”, huh? Yeah, people your age probably need books like this. Um…excuse me?? I’m not exactly sure where the heck that came from but you can be sure I didn’t see it coming! I’m not old!! Admittedly she was probably closer in age to my youngest niece (17) than she is even to my Sonny, but that still doesn’t make me old! After my wounded pride got over it a bit the Hubs and I had a very good laugh over the whole thing. It reminds me now of one of the absolute BEST movie lines of all time-Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes…”I’m older and I have more insurance.” HA! Don’t mess with Kathy Bates in the Winn Dixie parking lot! And don’t mess with the Older Wiser Money Miser at the bookstore check out counter! 🙂

So have any of my, shall we say, readers of a certain age ever experienced this? Please leave a comment and share!!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…