Fighting Back!

Rock on my rug against stairway.
Rock on my rug against stairway.

In my previous post,, I informed about the invasion of my security and peace of mind. A rock was thrown through my living room window shattering the window, storm window, screen and blinds. It put a dent in the far wall before landing on the floor.

As far as I’m concerned, this is an act of terrorism against elderly residents by youths from the housing project. We are not going to stand for this type of bullying!

I have worked too hard all my life, many times holding three jobs. My taxes went to building and maintaining the low income housing units of this city. I will not be bullied out of my home or cower in fear.

From my bedroom window, I have watched the elderly lady and her sister in the house across the street at the other corner having to deal with these punks throwing rocks at her house at all hours of the day and night. The more she calls the police, the more she gets targeted. Her windows are broken. The punks enter her yard through the back gate. They jump up from the sidewalk to look in her windows. They set off fireworks in her yard. The poor woman is at least in her eighties. She cares for her ailing sister. At one time her husband was to testify as a witness to a murder. He died of a heart attach before the trial. The house has been targeted since the trial.

What is the message? That they can intimidate the elderly? That they can terrorise the single women? Does this prove them as men?

Hey, Mr. Trump! How about you round up all these disrespectful terrorists, give them an assault rifle and ammo and drop them in IS territory. They can use their skills to take them out or join them.

In the meantime, I’m installing cameras with record and audio capability.





Don’t Deserve This Act of Terrorism!

The realtor said this is a good neighborhood. The neighbors said no one will bother us without cause.

This is Fourth of July weekend. We are celebrating our Independence. When did destroying another’s property figure into this celebration?

With the heat, fans and air conditioners mask most of the noises of the night. I never heard the commotion downstairs while I slept. If my dog barked, I didn’t hear it.

I got up this morning and went down to make coffee and let the dog out. There was a rock in the middle of my path to the kitchen. Where did it come from? Did the dog bring it in with him?

Rock on my rug against stairway.
Rock on my rug against stairway.

I let the dog out and made my cup of coffee. Then I went to check on my raised garden beds as I do every morning. I picked some ripe strawberries.

The rising sun was causing something to glint on the top of the mulch on the path in front of me. Pieces of glass? Next I noticed bigger pieces on top of the cucumber and green bean plants in the veggie bed.

Broken window
Broken window

I looked up to see my window. Storm window broken. Indoor window broken. Screen with a big hole. Even the blinds inside broken.

I rushed inside to survey the damage. That rock? Clear across the house. Put a divet in the wall. Broken glass on the landing of the stairs where the dog will lay.

Glass on stairs landing.
Glass on stairs landing.

Several months ago I moved the TV upstairs. Thank goodness. It would have been demolished if left on coffee table.

This is my home. I do nothing to intimidate others to bother me. This is an act of terrorism against me. I will not tolerate having my safety in my own home compromised.

Let freedom ring!

A Degree Doesn’t Make You Smarter Than Me

A post on my Backyard Growers Forum reminded me of another life lesson.

Book learning does not make you smarter than street learning.

Our baby boomer generation was the transitional generation. All of a sudden a college education was the magic wand that would make you rise above the crowd. That degree would open doors to the highest paying less physical careers. One would drive the best car, live in the best home, have the better life.

Women found those doors were their new frontier. They, too, could get the degree and claw their way up the corporate ladder.

Now the logic of book learning for a degree leaves much real life experience in the lurches. Therein created a division between working classes. The common low paid workers were being ruled by degree holders. The workers actually have a better knowledge of the business and have people skills. They work hands on. The degree-holding managers and supervisors know how business is supposed to work according to those that wrote the textbooks and taught the courses.

A degree does not make you smart. It does not give you the right to snub anyone without a degree. A degree does not give you common sense.

Every person on this good earth can learn something from another. The sooner that statement sinks in, the smarter you will become. Find your lesson in another person no matter what his economical state, social status. That lesson gives you knowledge of life and living you can’t learn from any book.

Even the Bible is just a collection of stories. Until the hidden lessons are used in real life does the true wealth of knowledge they hold begin to enrich living. Humans are equal. We also need each other. Each of us is adept at different things. Together we overcome obstacles.

Building Up My Plant Business Stock

For the past several weeks I have been busy studying online courses learning how to run my own nursery including selling out of state. Taking A Slightly Different Route to supplement my retirement.

While I’m studying, I am also stocking up on plants to sell. Here in Massachusetts, you are allowed to sell from your property what you grow on your property without registering a taxable business. That part of a plant business I’ve been doing for years. That is how my gardening has paid for itself and provided a few extra dollars to make ends meet.

My new house has a couple of flower beds that are overgrown with hostas and common day lilies. I have been dividing and potting these up. I won’t need a license to sell these locally. When I’m done, there will be more than three hundred pots of plants to sell. The resulting money will offset the cost of the courses and supplies.

Right now I’ve spent on pots and potting soil. I need plant tags and an irrigation setup. My very limited space dictates that I will concentrate on propagating plants and shrubs through root cuttings. There is a good market for rooted cuttings.

Starting in June that’s what I’ll be doing, sticking cuttings in beds to root. Hundreds of them at a time. By fall there should be hundreds of them rooted.

Since a grower’s license expires every June 30th, I will wait until then to apply for it and get inspected. That doesn’t mean I can’t stock up plants and prepare what I have. There is a bit of research involved to find nonpatented non trademarked named plants that are in high demand which can be freely propagated.

There are interesting methods of propagating that are done on different plants at different times of the year. That is what I’ve been studying. As much as I’d love to go into detail, I’m forbidden to do so as the courses are copyrighted.

I believe I can regulate my income from this business so as not to jeopardize my Social Security which begins this week. Dave would have loved to be involved in this retirement business.

Filed Income Tax Returns Today

Since I bought a house, the realtor had suggested that the first time I should have a tax professional do my tax returns for me. Now that they are done, I’m wondering why.

There are deductions for owning a home. Hopefully next year these deductions will make themselves worthwhile. This year, they did not. Itemizing deductions increased my refund by a bit more than two hundred dollars. However, the bill for having the taxes done was almost four hundred dollars! By taking the standard deduction, the fee for the tax preparer was less than half. Go figure.

It took me half a day to locate the paperwork I needed for filing my state and federal taxes. Then I needed to find a place to do them. Don’t know why I waited until the last minute.

All those papers the realtor said I needed, I didn’t. The tax preparer said the deductions next year will make a difference. We’ll see. I think I’ll try to do them myself. Online I do them for free.

The only information I didn’t think to bring was my bank account numbers for automatic deposit. Mind you I brought my Kindle with me because that is where I have last year’s returns stored. Do you think I could find them to get the bank numbers? Heck no.

Live and learn. It is going to delay getting my refunds. Instead of within a week, it will take six to eight weeks to get the paper checks. Sigh. Lucky I don’t need the money that quickly.

I should have gone with my gut instinct and attempted to do the tax forms myself. I think it would have increased my refunds by at least four hundred dollars. On top of everything, there is actually an insurance for an additional forty dollars that will cover any additional taxes owed due to errors picked up by an audit. People actually buy this?

Dave’s Mother Was Laid To Rest Today

Dave’s mother, Betty, passed last Thursday. She was 85. Her granddaughter, Jen, had been caring for her this past year as dementia claimed her mind and body.

Daughter Nancy did a wonderful job with the funeral arrangements and service. The flowers were gorgeous. My small bouquet seemed out of place.

Then again, every week when Betty would come down from Taunton to visit with Dave, we would send her home with a bouquet from our garden. My mother always said to give her flowers while she was alive so she could enjoy them. I always did. This tradition was carried on to Dave’s mother. If they were in bloom, I would have put together a nosegay of violets. She loved them.

The past several years Betty would visit Dave once a week. It was heartwarming watching the two of them become adult friends. Even though Dave would get the occasional ribbing for being a momma’s boy, their bond was solid. Betty enjoyed seeing her son in his life. I remember her attending a fundraising dinner that I sponsored at a local pub. Betty and Dave came together as a couple and took advantage of the dining and dancing. Both of them loved to dance.

Dave and his mother, Betty dancing at Dave and Brenda's wedding 1981.
Dave and his mother, Betty dancing at Dave and Brenda’s wedding 1981.

Every year a friend of ours would hold a clamboil at his house. Many in attendance were bikers. Betty attended one year and had a ball. She was genuinely thrilled to be included in Dave’s life and accepted by his friends. She spoke of this often.

During our difficult time of struggling to keep afloat until Dave’s disability was settled, Betty helped with her meager savings. If it wasn’t for her generosity, we would have been homeless. Instead, she was the rock that enabled us to survive and eventually get our own home. She knew how happy that made Dave.

Our neighbors on the island have often commented about Dave and his mother walking arm-in-arm down the street to the north side of the island beach. The two were friends and family as it should be.

Betty will be missed. She and Dave are together in heaven.



Do We Receive Messages From Beyond?

The other morning I made my coffee as usual and let out the dog. As I sipping and planning my day out on the deck, I looked up. The sun had just risen high enough to be visible above the houses. The clouds were breaking up so the sun could shine through.

Present was a phenomenon I don’t usually see until late afternoon as the clouds gather before sunset. There was a sun halo. Dave and I called it a sunbow. The light from the sun shines through ice crystals in the clouds around it creating a huge circular rainbow. When the clouds don’t encircle the sun, there are only pieces of arc.

So, this morning I’m pondering seeing this sunbow. I feel that Dave is behind the rainbows I’m seeing since his departure from this earth. As I’m watching, another brighter rainbow takes shape straight overhead. The arc is in the opposite direction of the halo. I ran upstairs to get my Kindle to try to capture this display.

IMG_20160306_0827181_rewind     IMG_20160306_0826373_rewind.    IMG_20160306_0826581_rewind

These are the three photos I captured. I’ve never seen anything like this before. My mind went to thinking this is some message from Dave that I just am not getting. All day I was wondering.

The next day I went about my usual chores. It’s the only way I can keep from assuming the fetal position and not leave the bed. I miss my Dave so much. No kiss good morning. No what do you want for breakfast? No what would you like to do today?

As I settled into bed for the night, the dog at my feet, the phone rang. I hate phone calls after 8 o’clock. They are never good. This one was no exception. My sister in law called to see if I saw her Facebook post. I hadn’t. It was the obituary for Dave’s mother. She had passed three days ago.

Now the rainbows made sense. Dave was welcoming his mother to heaven and sharing it with me.


Three Weeks Later …

Since there is no manual for me to follow after the passing of my life partner, Dave, I’m trying to cover everything on my own.

Up until yesterday, I believed the city held a life insurance policy on Dave that he paid for over the last almost thirty years. It was bad enough that this policy reduced payout from $20,000 to $5,000 upon retirement.

It took eight years for Dave to fight for getting disability. The city does not make it easy for it’s employees to be taken care of. The union fails the employees also. A good lawyer finally made it work.

Health insurance was still a deduction but somewhere along the line the deduction for the life insurance was dropped. How convenient.

So. I have waited the last three weeks for the return call from the retirement board only to be told there is no life insurance. Low blow. And. I am only entitled to thirty days of the automatic deposit that was made into the checking account for Dave’s January disability payment. I owe them for day. Really?!?

Moral of the story is that no person is there to hold your hand through life guiding you through the intricacies of paperwork. Yet your life depends on these intricacies. When you are trying to fight for a decent life for a man that was broken by the work he gave, would it have been too much to mention that the life insurance payment was not deducted? Clearly the health insurance deductions were a big deal. But then again without the insurance the city would have been responsible for paying for all the medical bills involved with Dave’s work injuries.

Now I am expected to report to the retirement board this afternoon when the director will be in to present Dave’s death certificate and to repay the one day of January that Dave did not live to see.

No, I’m not doing well. Let me grieve in peace.

Who Handles Your Finances?

When something happens to you or your partner is not the time to realize you know nothing about your financial situation.

Even if one of you always handles the finances, the other has to know what’s going on if the need arises to step in and carry on. Knowing where your bank is to use the ATM is not enough.

Bank Accounts

Are both your names on banking accounts? Whose signature is required for a transaction? Have the proper forms for beneficiary been submitted? Is there a life insurance policy associated with your bank account?

What bank handles your mortgage? Is there an automatic mortgage payoff insurance in case of spousal death? Are you on the deed?

Where are the bank books and account numbers kept? Do you have a safety deposit box key and access?

Each spouse should have a personal account with an available balance to handle everyday expenses in case joint accounts are frozen awaiting settlement.

Insurance Policies

It is imperative that you know where these are, keep the premiums paid up and know how to cash them in when necessary. None of this is automatic.

Last Will & Testament

A Living Will lets your healthcare proxy or advocate know how you want your treatments handled if your health condition keeps you from making those decisions. Talk about it now and put it in writing. Have it notarized by your lawyer or justice of the peace. If you are not married, legalize a patient advocate form. Have copies inserted into patient files.

Any personal assets that you own or share ownership of need to be dealt with upon your death. Discuss your wishes with the person you name responsible for divying up your assets. File a legal will with a lawyer. Know where the wills are kept.

Know where to find insurance policies, bank account information, etc.
Know where to find insurance policies, bank account information, etc.


What do you have for accessible cash if your partner dies today? Healthcare will be sending bills. The funeral home requires a down payment. The mortgage and utilities still need to be paid. Grieving doesn’t stop life.

Know what investments you have and how to go about using them when needed. These include stocks, bonds, annuities, pensions, social security.

Make sure beneficiaries are declared where necessary. Laws are in place for distribution without the legal declarations.

Making Arrangements

Another topic that is not on the school curriculum is how to go about making arrangements. This is another discussion to have while you are alive.

Funerals are expensive. Every step of the process can be handled by a reputable funeral home – for a price.

If death occurs nearby, a funeral home may not even be necessary. Deal directly with a crematorium. Talk to clergy about a religious service. Schedule a memorial at a place of your own choosing; a park, home, rental hall, restaurant.

If the body needs transporting, a funeral home may become necessary. Embalming is also a service of a funeral home.

While you are alive, you can prearrange your funeral. Caskets, cremains jewelry, urns, have a very high markup through a funeral parlor. Shop around. A grieving spouse or family member is easily exploited.

Know how to go about getting death certificates.

Protect Yourself

Joint accounts will need to be dissolved and reopened in your name only. There are those that will try to exploit a deceased identity.



Getting Back To Bingo

It has been more than twenty years since I last visited a local bingo hall. Been thinking about getting back to bingo. I had always enjoyed the comradery of fellow bingo buddies. That was before my life with Dave. Now that Dave has passed, I think I will return to this inexpensive pass time.

Bingo games in Massachusetts are state regulated games of chance offered as fundraisers for non-profit organizations. It is a good night out. One can go alone and feel as safe as going to the grocery store. Although if one hits big, there have been incidents of being robbed on the way home, especially from casinos.

Since I haven’t been in some time, I need to brush up on what I need for supplies. Will definitely get some daubers for those special bingo paper cards. Don’t remember if I need to supply my own beans or chips to cover the numbers called. Wonder how modern tech has affected the game.

I’ve been brushing up my bingo skills by playing a few online free games. Sometimes they’re fun. Sometimes I just plain get annoyed that I need to log in daily for free points to play.

My Mother loved bingo. She was actually a bit lucky at it. I hope that same luck is with me now. When my Mother passed on, she had just returned from Foxwoods with her friend. I had worried about her getting sick or dying alone. She didn’t suffer.

Getting back to bingo. image.
Getting back to bingo. image.

Hopefully playing local bingo games will get me out and about. Lord knows there are enough games in the area to play almost every day of the week. That tells you the area economy is low. Gambling becomes a way to get some extra money.

A night out playing bingo will satisfy any need for human contact. I will be giving back for a good cause. I am not a gambling addict. I can afford it occasionally.

Do you bingo? Can you update me to any new changes? Looking forward to getting back to bingo.