Today is Memorial Day – the day we honor those fallen warriors from all our wars.

I find that I’m having a difficult time with this holiday.  I have a difficult time with all patriotic holidays that honor our nation’s service men and women.

It’s not that I’m anti-military – to the contrary – Big Al was in the Air Force for 20 years

and worked as a DAF Civilian

for another 13 years.  I appreciate and admire anyone who puts their life on the line for their country.  I even appreciate those who didn’t die in the service.  My father served in World War II

(in fact WWII is the reason for my existence, because he never would have met my mother if he hadn’t been in the army).  And obviously, Big Al didn’t die in Vietnam or Thailand during his time of service.

My problem comes from the time of Vietnam.  Al went and served in Vietnam and Thailand.  I stayed home and raised a son by myself.  The Air Force messed up his pay, and, but for my parents, my kid and I would have starved or been on the streets.  And I lost that year out of my life.  To this day, I have to consciously think about how old I am, or how old my son is (subtract year of birth from current year, etc.) because I blocked that year out of my memory.  I never heard the phone ring, or footsteps on the porch without steeling myself for the chaplain’s visit.  And after Al came home there were months of readjustment – to each other – to our family roles – to “normality”.  Unless you have lived through a time of separation when your spouse or sweetheart is in harm’s way for a significant portion of that time, you can’t imagine what it does to you.

My problem now with patriotic holidays is a holdover from that time.  Because when he came back there were no parades.  There were no partiots meeting him at the airport.  There were no prayers for his safe return in church.  There was no thanks from a grateful public.  He was required to travel in uniform, but as soon as he could he changed his clothes.  He didn’t wear his uniform to church.  He didn’t wear it in public at all, if possible.  Because he didn’t want to be spit on, or booed, or otherwise reviled.

So now, when the country has at last come to its senses and is once again appreciating the sacrifices of men and women in uniform, I have a hard time getting into the spirit.  Because I remember how it was when we were the ones doing the hard thing and serving our country, and we weren’t appreciated and loved and cheered.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me!

I jumped out of the bed this morning, and straightened up the family room – disappeared all the glasses and coasters and napkins – put away the TV trays.  Then I went out front and deadheaded the geraniums in the bed in front of the house.

I took my shower, and chased Big Al out of the bed, got the clean sheets and towels out of the wash, put on clean pillow cases, made the bed (complete with throw pillows).

Then I ran to Calloways and got some new plants to replace the petunias

and geraniums that have burned up in the heat.

I dropped a pretty penny (upwards of $80 for two shade arrangements and two hanging baskets), but, I thought, “What the hey!  If it will make the lookers happy, and make them think this is a wonderful house and garden, it’s worth it!”

We got everything looking great and were just getting ready to grab a bite for lunch when the phone rang.

“Cancelled by Agent”.  Gloom, dispair, and agony on me!

When we finally got this listing, hope sprang eternal.  I had visions of this being the perfect potential buyer.  I had hopes of being out of Dallas before the end of June.

And now they aren’t even coming to look. 

Just shoot me now…

Hot and Dry, Mostly Sunny

It’s a quarter after 2 in the afternoon and it’s only up to 95 deg. headed for 98 deg. in Dallas.  Back in the crib for the duration, it seems. 

The petunias have definitely seen their last, and the geraniums are not far behind.  The ferns gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago.  I guess I’ll make a quick run to the nursery tomorrow morning early (before it gets out of the 80s) and get some new baskets of “seasonal color”.  Gotta keep up appearances for potential buyers!  You never know what will appeal to them.  The roses inside are doing great, though.

I got up and went to 9:30 church.  Big Al was struck with a severe case of “morticus sabatacus” (that’s that vile disease that strikes about 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, and keeps you from going to church.  Then it miraculously disappears about 11:30 a.m. so you can go out to dinner with the family.)

Glad he got a chance to go to lunch with me, though.  We went to Tokyo One – a sushi buffet – that has lots of all-you-can-eat sushi as well as soups, salads, grilled chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, steamed clams, vegatable stir-fries, made-to-order hibachi grills and stir-fries, tempura shrimp, chicken, and vegatables, crab legs, and sabu-sabu pots, and lots of desserts like fresh fruit, gelatins, tortes, flan, and creme brulee.

I’ll definitely miss Tokyo One when we move to Tacoma, but I’ll bet they have really good sushi of their own.

We polished off another 5 episodes (4 hours) of West Wing last night.  I’ve got to run the first disc to the post office, so we can get disc #4 before we’ve forgotten where we are.  I can almost repeat the dialogue with the actors, I’ve seen it so often, but I still love watching it.  And it’s better than any of the drek that’s on broadcast right now.

Maybe as soon as I get back from the post office, I’ll go put my feet up and read (and probably examine the insides of my eyelids for a while, too).

The Boredom of Holidays

When you’re retired and have no family living near, holidays can be incredibly boring.  Because of a city-wide furlough day (scheduled to make a four-day weekend for city workers who might not get paid, but at least didn’t have to work), we didn’t get to play bridge on Friday.

I would love to go somewhere and do something, but the heat

dictates doing something indoors, and Big Al’s back means it can’t be anything that involves walking any distance.  So we spend the holiday weekends just like we spend every weekend – only an extra day of it.  We don’t have the funds to go anywhere overnight, and any decent scenery to drive through is more than a day – round trip.  We have to save our sheckles for moving to Tacoma.

And as retirees, weekends don’t feel any different than weekdays, except for church on Sunday.  At least we get to play bridge during the week on Tuesday and Friday mornings at the rec center, and Wednesday afternoons (Big Al plays at the church and I substitute pretty regularly at a ladies’ bridge group).  But after June 4th, we won’t be able to play on Fridays at the rec center, because they won’t have room for us. 

At least when we get moved into Franke Tobey Jones ( in Tacoma, we’ll be able to just walk across the street from our house to find a bridge game, get lunch, attend a class or even use the exercise equipment.  And we won’t have to worry about the heat!

People wonder how we’ll cope with the constant grey skies, and rain in the Pacific northwest.  We lived in England for 6 years, and I didn’t think it rained enough.  You just buy a good raincoat and an umbrella, and maybe some wellies, and you go out and live your lives (without sweating as soon as you walk out the door.)

We enjoyed the beginning of our annual West Wing marathon last night.  We have to be careful, though, because the holiday weekend means a lag in receiving replacement discs from Netflix.  We can’t use up everything we’ve got on hand or we’ll find ourselves without anything to watch on Tuesday night.  I’m eternally grateful that we can watch instant movies with the XBox and Netflix.  It keeps Big Al from watching ahead after I go bed.

Nice little Shower

Credit where credit is due.  We had a nice little shower that dropped the temperature to 80 deg. for about 15 minutes.  It’s already back up to 88 deg., but we take what we can get.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there was enough water, or enough cool to help the poor little petunias.  They are pretty sad.  The one basket that get shade all afternoon will probably last another week or so, but I’m afraid the other two baskets have had it.

We’re looking forward to spending the evening in the beginning of our yearly West Wing marathon.  We got Discs 1, 2, and 3 from Season 1 from Netflix today!

Location, location, location

It’s 89 deg. already and it’s not noon yet.  We’re looking at 95 deg. at least today.  Less than 10% chance of rain.  We had some thunder about supper time last night, but no rain.

I also realized that today makes two full weeks since anyone came and looked at the house.  We were averaging 3 or 4 appointments a week, and suddenly – NOTHING – like somebody pulled the plug, or turned off the tap.  Did we get left out of Multi-List?  Did we make somebody mad and they put the word out to boycott us?  It’s VERY frustrating…

They say that the only rule in real estate is location, Location, LOCATION.  Well, if that’s the case I ought to have folks beating down the door. 

We live a block away from one of the best middle schools, and one of the best high schools in Dallas. 

It’s an older, established neighborhood with big trees and sidewalks, etc. 

We live within walking distance of DART rail station.

We’re close to two hospitals – Presbyterian Dallas and Medical City Dallas.  Perfect location for nurses, staff and other medical personnel.

Northpark Mall is 5 minutes away, Valley View Mall is 10 minutes away, the Galleria is 15 minutes away.

Restaurants and shopping abound.  Tom Thumb, Krogers, and Whole Foods are all “in the neighborhood.”

The house itself is in great shape.  All the infrastructure has been upgraded and kept in good repair.

The house is handicapped friendly (no stairs, accessible with one step-up through the garage, no sunken living room or anything, walk-in shower with seat).

It would be perfect for a single person, or a professional couple.  There’s a formal living room and formal dining room, enormous family room, breakfast area in the kitchen, two offices, and a large master bedroom.  Of course, the offices could be converted back to bedrooms if desired. 

We both have computers, and a home server, and we’ve upgraded the wiring to accomodate that.  We also have Cat 5 wiring into the family room for our Netflix and XBox.  The wireless access point serves the laptops.

I would dearly love to know why no one is even willing to make an offer.  We’re not asking but $6,000 more than a similar house (but smaller) sold for back in November (economy even worse then).  There’s a twin to this one two doors away that they are asking $27,000 more for.  Even if people are looking for upgrades (although I’m not sure what they might be – our kitchen and baths have been redone), you can do a lot of upgrading for $27,000.