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…

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…

A Family that Dives Together…

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Hector Urquhart

I married a dumpster diver. There-I said it. I’ve been telling The Hubs this for years but this is the first time I’ve ever made this proclamation publicly. When he still had his pick-up truck I never knew what he was going to come home with. Once he found an old guitar in someone’s trash. He couldn’t leave it there to be crushed by the trash truck so he picked it out and brought it home. We still have it. It only has 3 strings and no one in the house plays but that doesn’t matter. This guitar just HAD to have a new home so now it lives in mine.

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The true reason I’m making this public now is that, after almost 35 years of marriage, he’s turned ME into a dumpster diver. While I’m not going to dig through anyone’s trash cans I’m not opposed to bringing something useful home that someone else has left at the curb to be disposed of. Case in point: last week I was on an early evening walk. These walks happen more frequently these days as it’s a wee bit cooler here in North GA at 7pm than it is at 5pm, which is when I usually walk right after work. In the interest of getting it done more quickly, I’ll usually walk in a neighboring subdivision rather than get in the car and drive to one of our nearby AWESOME parks, as the drive takes a little bit of time. Anyhow, during last week’s walk I came upon a home with a “For Sale” sign out front. Also out front was a kettle grill that appeared to be in pretty good shape. It also had a hand written sign attached that said, “FREE!” I called The Hubs to tell him about it, but, alas, got voice mail. I was afraid it wouldn’t still be there by the time I got home walking at my somewhat leisurely pace so I stepped it up a bit and high-tailed it home. As it turns out The Hubs was in the basement when my call came and he didn’t hear the phone (note to self-time to put a phone in the basement!). He couldn’t imagine why I would want someone’s old kettle grill since we already have a gas grill AND a Big Green Egg. I don’t want it to USE, I want it to SELL!! We no longer have a truck and it wouldn’t fit in the Jeep, so he wondered how we were going to get it home. “In the back of my car,” I said. Once he got over the shock of me putting something dirty and dusty in my car, he agreed to go with me to see if it was still there. It WAS! We brought a giant trash bag to put any trash in (turns out there was still a good bit of unburned charcoal in it) and a tarp to put it on. We put the seats down in my car, loaded it up, and brought it home. On closer inspection we found that the mechanism that allows for air flow adjustment is rusted stuck but a little penetrating oil should do the trick in getting it working again. Next yard sale this lovely will be front and center to be sold. Cha-CHING!!

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Now, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind, I’m not getting into the habit of going through people’s trash to find things to use or to sell. However, if something looks to be in pretty good shape and someone is just throwing it away, I’m not opposed to bringing it home to either use if I have a use for it, or to sell to make a little bit of pocket money. The Hubs thinks he’s created a monster-he might be right!

So tell me-have you ever taken something someone has left at the curb home with you? Be honest!! Leave a comment and we can celebrate our thriftiness together!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

The Day the Ketchup Ran Out

“If I could snap my fingers and be non autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am.” Dr. Temple Grandin

Since I started blogging I’ve started following other blogs for inspiration. One of the blogs I follow is written by Laurie Stone. Her blog post about the day the chocolate ran out struck a chord with me, admittedly because of a Facebook memory that had popped up recently. A tragedy, at least in my household, had fallen upon us. It was, [cue the dramatic music here]

THE DAY THE KETCHUP RAN OUT.

My son was born in 1983 a normal, healthy 8+ pound boy. By the time he turned 2 he was not speaking so we did what every parent would do-we took him to the doctor to find out why. The Hubs was in the Air Force at the time and we were living in Italy, so the doctor was not just down the street-it was a 3-hour one-way trip on a bus on a Friday. Still, it needed to be done so we made the appointment, got on the bus, and off we went. That appointment lead to another, which lead to another, and yet another. These trips ultimately lead to a diagnosis which, at the time, I had no idea would shape my world for my remaining days.

Autism means different things to different people-they don’t call it a spectrum for nothing! In his younger days, until he started speaking, life with my Sonny was a difficult one. The therapists taught us how to communicate using American Sign Language, which we used in conjunction with spoken language until we finally learned how to communicate with each other. The difference was amazing, and a whole lot less frustrating for all of us. He went through school, graduated, went through a job training program, and he’s working and thriving today. He still lives at home and will for the foreseeable future. I cannot imagine life around here without him, autism and all.

Which brings me to The Day The Ketchup Ran Out. One of our rituals (people with autism LOVE rituals) is a Saturday trip to the grocery store. I make the menu, clip the coupons, make the list, and off we go. I count on Sonny to keep tabs on certain things in the kitchen and one of them is our ketchup supply. He eats practically EVERYTHING with ketchup. Rice, vegetables, mashed potatoes, you name it. Even if something is fixed with a sauce or a gravy, it still gets the ketchup treatment. It’s weird and gross as heck to me, but that’s how he rolls so who am I to judge? Then one day about 3 years ago, this happened…

Ketchup Ran Out

We had just been to the grocery store and he didn’t say anything, so I had no reason to think we were out of ketchup. It was when we were sitting down to dinner that evening that he finally said something to me. The look on his face was nothing short of pitiful. He would have to sit down and eat a meal with NO KETCHUP. In an autistic person’s world, this is a HUGE deal. I don’t remember what I fixed that night, I only know that he had to eat it “dry” or go hungry. He ate it and survived the night. You can be sure by that time 24 hours later the house was fully stocked with ketchup! This was 3 years ago, and it hasn’t happened since. I very much doubt that it will ever happen again!

Life with a guy with special needs living in my house is a huge challenge sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t have my Sonny any other way.  He’s perfect just the way he is.

To learn more about autism, please click here. It’s not always as scary as it sounds.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…