Penultimate Day 2016

Today is December 30, 2016, the penultimate day of the year, a day I review and contemplate the events of the year and, hopefully, set goals and intentions for the coming year.

This was the year I went into retirement. Early in the year I got a temporary position through someone I had worked with at AME. He was with a small company in Dayton that was switching over to a new domain and needed to have all of their laptops along with a few PCs reimaged and configured for the new network. I expected it to be about a six-week job but it stretched into about three months. When I finished that project, I still had about a month before my first Social Security check came in so things got a little tight.

Somehow I managed to get by without additional employment although I did resort to pulling money out of my IRA and nearly wiping out the savings account. I will probably have to find some part-time work to supplement my retirement income. Who knows what’s going to happen when the new administration takes over. What will I do? I don’t know. Computer maintenance is what I do but the prospect continuing with that is rather depressing.

Over the spring and summer months, Tina and I began taking walks together. When the weather was nice, we’d walk in one of two city parks. Sometimes, we’d go to the mall and walk a few laps around each level. The exercise was good and it was nice to spend time together.

Tina made a two-month journey to the Philippines in September. She saved money to pay for it although I ended up contributing some from the IRA money I’d pulled for household projects.

Almost none of the money I extracted from my IRA for home improvement was actually used for that purpose. That’s what usually happens. Car repairs, a new roof, a new water heater, and her trip all cut into it.

I started the process of getting the roof replaced in July after neglecting it for nearly a decade. Working with the contractor and the insurance company, I got it replaced with out of pocket costs coming to less than a grand. The work got done at the end of September. It looks good, it doesn’t leak, and it’s properly ventilated. I’d still like to replace the gutters or at least repait them and finish the gutter guards.

While she was gone, my dad and my sister Laura came down to get a battery I’d borrowed and to see the Air Force Museum. On the way down he had a mild stroke though we didn’t see any definite signs until we’d seen most of the museum. We got him to the ER near my house and they rushed him down to Kettering Medical Center.

His stroke was attributed to atrial fibrillation (Afib). Apparently, he has a slightly irregular heartbeat that causes a heart valve to flutter which thickens the blood, causing a clot. He had another stroke just after they started him on Eliquist but before it had a chance to take effect.

After a few days, they moved him down to inpatient rehab where he made fantastic progress. How many 82-year-old men would be doing a polka with their therapist a week after a stroke? Laura and Erin took him home a couple of days later and he’s been doing well since then. Early this month, Joan moved back up from Florida to help take care of him. He probably does need more supervision now.

I have nothing but praise for the doctors, nurses, therapists, and everyone else to played a role while in his care at Kettering.

My major project while she was away was to have the bathroom done before she got back. I did what I could to smooth out and reduce the concrete in that corner. While ceramic or porcelain tile would have been nice, it would have involved a lot more work than I was really willing to put into it. It would have been more expensive and I really didn’t have the funds to pursue it. I installed 12-inch squares of vinyl tile and it looks good. As expected, I had some trouble around the toilet but, although not perfect, it looks good. I put in an exhaust fan, new baseboards, a new toilet, and towel racks and hooks. There are still a few cosmetic things that still need to be done but I have a fully functional bathroom and she’s happy.

During that time, the water heater went out and I spent about $1800 getting that replaced. Of course, there were complications. Nobody makes water heaters the same size as the one that died so I had to get one with a larger diameter which was more difficult to fit in the confined space of my utility closet. I also had to have
the gas line to the heater rerouted. The old gas line had been routed behind the heater and circled around the front. With one of these homes, nothing is ever as simple and straightforward as it should be.

Early in the year we switched from an electric range to a gas range. I was tired of continually replacing burners. Getting the gas line modified with a shut off valve significantly added to the cost but it was the project was worthwhile. She’s been doing a lot of cooking for Filipino friends and cooking with gas has been a lot more efficient and has cut down on my electric bill without a proportional increase in my gas bill though that could change this winter.

I added a second garden box and built one for the kids. Our garden really didn’t produce as much as we’d hoped. In the spring I plan to remove the dirt and move the boxes to an area of the backyard that will get more sunlight. I think we may have tried to grow too much. I’m going to research something called the square-foot method and give that a try. We may even grow some plants in large pots or something.

During the summer Abigail took an interest in a new Filipino dance group, Sayaw FilipinOH. The group split off from the Phil-AM Pamana dancers and in addition to traditional Filipino folk dances, they do some hip-hop dances. She really seems to enjoy it and has made solid friendships with everyone in the group. As a result, Tina and I have also become more involved in the group.

This year was more eventful than I’d anticipated when I began this review. I guess I did manage to be active this year.

Do I have any goals, resolutions, or intentions for the coming year? I have never had much success with setting goals and intentions in the past and I have no reason to believe that will change. Simplify my life and take better care of myself. How’s that? Oh, and post on this blog more often.

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Weekend Road Trip

My weekend trip back to the homeland was a welcome respite from life in Dayton. It was good to experience the peace and quiet, the sound of the crickets and the tree frogs and the distant roar of the drag strip. That roar was there when I was growing up out there and I just associate it with the other sounds in the area.

My visit to the Westfield Cemetery was pretty much a bust. I found the family plot but very few headstones, particularly not the ones I was interested in. There was a large stone in the center of the plot with “Ossman” carved across the front. There was absolutely nothing to mark the graves of my aunt and two cousins. I should have a mailing address for the cemetery somewhere. I guess I can write to the cemetery office and see what information they’ll provide.

After the cemetery I made my way to the parking area above Chautauqua Gorge where I met several members of the Northcoast Naturists for a group freehike through the Gorge to Skinny-Dip Falls. I’ve never gotten into hiking before but the freehike was quite enjoyable and the water at the falls was cold and refreshing. I hear there may be another group hike later in the summer. I’ll attend if at all possible. I’ll certainly be better prepared.

After I got back from New York, Dad and I looked at a couple of covered bridges. I got some nice pictures (see my Flickr in the sidebar). As always, it was good to spend time with Dad. I would have liked to have helped him some with his firewood but I was recovering from a pulled muscle in my back and didn’t want to risk aggravating it further. I’m sure my hike didn’t help it much.

I spent Sunday relaxing before I made the drive home. Dad suggested that I get some sun in the backyard and said I could do it bare-assed if I wanted. The offer was tempting but maybe I’ll do that next time. The only neighbor keeps to himself, there’s nothing but wetlands all around and hardly anyone ever drops by unexpectedly. I was surprised to hear that idea coming from him. He’s full of surprises.

It could be my year

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2010, the final year of the first decade of the 21st century, hasn’t, by some measures, gotten off to a great start. The new year found me unemployed with seemingly slim prospects of finding work in my field in Dayton. But other than that, it isn’t too bad. I’ve got my family, my health and friends. Those are, perhaps, the most important things anyone could have.

Adam, Mandy and the grandchildren have been settled into their new home for a few months now and it’s much more livable than when they took ownership. It still needs work but it’ll get done as time, money and resources allow. Rob is still living on my couch after moving back in almost a year ago. I don’t mind although I am curious about this "empty nest" phenomenon I’ve heard about. The grandchildren are growing up so fast and they truly are a joy. I’m so thankful that I can be a part of their lives and they can be a part of mine.

I saw my really cute doctor earlier this month and got the full blood work done and that other exam men my age are subject to. It had to be the least intrusive exam I’ve ever had. The blood tests showed some improvement in cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL and blood glucose levels over a year ago. I’ve still got a ways to go before my numbers are right and in balance but I’m getting there. My weight has been on the 180-pound plateau for some time and I can’t seem to move off it. I guess I’m going to have to be more mindful of what and how much I eat and try to get more aerobic exercise. Exercise has always been an issue for me.

In the latter part of December I began attending intermediate level yoga classes. At first, they were very challenging but I’m getting there. They’re still challenging and my body seems to find new ways to resist its natural yoga state. I still haven’t had much success in establishing a regular home practice but I attend classes three to five nights a week, including one or two hot yoga classes. People seemed surprised that I’d be into yoga but I’ve been sticking with it for nearly six months now. Yoga is a good fit into my lifestyle and philosophy. In addition to the asanas, I’m doing meditation and investigating the mental and spiritual aspects of it. I think the two things that have drawn me to yoga the most are its holistic approach and that it’s non-competitive. I’ve noticed a subtle toning up and more flexibility.

In the past few weeks I’ve been reconnecting to a lot of old friends through Facebook. There are a lot of things I don’t miss about my military experience but I worked with a lot of great people that I’m glad to have as friends. I don’t think people who have never served can truly appreciate the comradery and the bonds you forge in that service.

How is 2010 going to turn out? Who knows? Whatever life hands me this year, I’m going to make the best of it. It could be my year.

Andy & Bobbi 50th Anniversary

A couple of photos from my parents’ 50th Anniversary celebration.

Mom and Dad 01

50th Ann Dance(4x6)

They were a couple for nearly 60 years — 54½ years of marriage plus the time they dated. It was true love, not the “fairy tale, lived happily ever after true love,” but the “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part true love.” The kind that matters and endures.

1930s Warren Family Photos

Laura Warren-001

Laura A. (Webster) Warren & daughter Patricia Ann

Warren Family-001

The Warren family – Frank, Laura, Patricia, Roberta, Nancy

Warren Family-002

Pat, Bobbi and Laura Warren

Footville & Westfield Visit

I finally made my way up to Footville to visit Dad for a couple of days. I had originally intended to go up the previous weekend but I had some oral surgery late in the week and I didn’t think it would be prudent to make the drive while taking pain killers. When I called Dad last week to let him know I was coming, he told me that he was going to visit Ruth but I was welcome to stay anyway. Since I planned to go up on Friday and return Monday, I’d get to spend some time with him. Since part of the trip was to do some research and just relax, it worked out pretty well. I had considered postponing the trip another week but I’m needed for the big move this weekend.

On the way up I paid a visit to the Genealogy and Local History Room at the Morley Library in Painesville. Armed with my list of obituaries, I began looking them up in the Telegraph and News-Herald archives. I managed to locate all but one of the obituaries on my list. I couldn’t get Mabel (Warren) Pettit’s because there was apparently an error when that edition of the paper was filmed and the obituary page was not filmed. Now I should have nearly all of my grandaunts and granduncles in the Warren and Webster lines. In the next few days, I’ll be working to get them on the web page.

On Saturday, I drove up to Westfield to see if I could find the graves of Aunt Pat and my cousins, Jeff and Vicki Ossman. I located the church but, apparently the cemetery next to the church was not the correct cemetery. It’s the St. James Cemetery and, as far as I know, they were all buried in the Westfield Cemetery, located around the corner on Academy Street. It turned out that the cemetery is much larger than I had anticipated. I began walking up and down rows of graves and stumbled upon an Ossman family plot but it the John and Minnie Ossman family plot. I wander through a few sections and realized that finding the graves would be a stroke of luck and I could easily spend the entire day looking. I had forgotten to write down Uncle Paul’s number before I left the house. I did find a sign which had an address for the Westfield Cemetery Association. I’ll write and see if they can provide me with some information. I’ll try again next summer.

The trip to Westfield has a secondary objective, Skinny-Dip Falls in Chautauqua Gorge. I headed in the general direction based on what I thought I remembered from the directions I’d received. Unfortunately, I did not remember them correctly, nor did I remember to print them and bring them with me from Dayton. It turns out I had passed by the side road which would have led me to it. Another reason to make a trip next summer.

I spent the time alone at the house relaxing, doing some yoga, and reading. During the day, I spent as much time outdoors as I could as it was warmer outside than it was inside the house. The house is very well insulated, to say the least. Whenever I was in the house, I found it necessary to don a sweatshirt.

The book I was reading was Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. It’s a factual account of Plymouth Colony in the 55-years between the voyage of the Mayflower and King Phillip’s War. He tells the real stories behind the myths and the stories the myths either don’t mention or they gloss over them. Fascinating reading and several direct ancestors are pivotal characters. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for the hardships they faced in coming to New England. The book also gave me a greater understanding of the differences between the Puritans and the Pilgrims. Though they had similar religous views, the Pilgrims were generally much more tolerant than the Puritans.

The time with my father was well-spent. I always come away with some new knowledge and practical lessons in farmer-engineering and self-sufficiency.

Facebook

Since I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve been able to reestablish contact with geographically distant relatives and old friends. I have several nieces and nephews in my friend list along with a few cousins, my immediate family here in Dayton, and an aunt. Yesterday was a productive day for reconnecting with friends and cousins. The most surprising was getting a friend request from one of Tina’s cousins who is currently working in Qatar.

Connecting with friends and family is my primary reason for belonging to a social networking site like Facebook. I don’t have any need or desire to accumulate a lengthy list of people with whom I have no relationship or that I’m never even likely to meet. I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

Richard Romig

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