A few things we've done this past couple weeks......and I'm forgetting about them as time marches forward.... **Artist Rep Theater's Superior Donuts! We saw it with cuz Nancy last Sunday.....it's a Tracy Lett's Play, and was well done, entertaining, and a happy note about how humans endure life's ups and downs. A great reminder that others around us can be one of the most beneficial things in helping you bloom....... **On our arrival back from getting the first things done after Rodger's father passed away, we found an open invite to Sarah's NY Eve Party awaiting us. Well, a 2 hour nap, and we needed a change of pace. What MORE CAN these fabulous people do? They run the best coffee place in town, Anna Banana's, and still host get together for the whole family... We really enjoyed seeing some people that, it seems, one sees only on these unusual holidays. **On CHRISTMAS, 2o10. In a real way, Christmas this year, for us, didn't really happen. Even Mac was praying for a miracle...... **Our Xmas party (23rd) was VERY fun, almost surprisingly fun, but missing something.....our hearts weren't there. We'd gotten "the call" that Chet, Rodger's Dad, was probably slipping away just before the party started, and the "death call" just after we headed for bed after the party. **The nightmare of being the one to clean up the affairs of a deceased father alone is a long affair. I can certainly see if a parent dies with enough money to have left enough estate that your "lawyer" can do it all, it would be MUCH s simpler. When one dies under the "No Probate Estate" clauses, you do it alone. Poor Rodger's been slogging thru it in phone calls, and sometimes one paper at a time, often getting resistance from almost every contact, sometimes because they're simply uninformed. It's a very unpleasant time for him, and yet, there's almost NOTHING I can do to help him out.....they are calls, forms, signatures, authorizations, he alone must do. **We learned SOMETHING I didn't EXPECT about Social Security payments here. I started taking Social Security as soon as I was eligible at 62....I filled out all the papers, submitted, got notification about the amount and on WHAT day of the month it would be paid (all S/S payments are sent out over the 4 Thursdays of every month....depending on when you birthday is).....mine was assigned to the 4th thursday. ....... well, okay, I accepted that, so then my "first" check would be about a month late, right? Well, that first 4th thursday came and went....I called for them to tell me, NO, your FIRST check is always ONE MONTH in arrears, i.e., you "earn" your first check, and it's paid in the 2nd month. So, I began earning social security in October, and didn't get my first real Check until December 24th. You get the drift? NOW . . . . GUESS what happens when you die. If you die ANY day of the month, Social Security expects the money back, although they are ALREADY ONE MONTH LATE in paying you. CHET was paid on the 3rd of every month. They direct deposited his check on Jan 3....were called on the 3rd, and had that check reversed faster than you can dial up a bank..... that was the fastest Gov't action I'd ever seen. SO LESSON to REMEMBER: YOU LOSE your last monthly S/S check....count on it. S/S will come AFTER your estate & survivors for it, trust me. And on a little home note about appliance maintenance, we had a nice experience yet AGAIN with the Fisher Paykel company......... Fisher Paykel service came through shining once again! We first bought their lovely oven in 2005 . . . . over two years, that model was replaced by them 4 times total. 3 because of an oven interior finish problem, and once because a faulty heat delimiter (fancy word for a complex "circuit breaker")....that burned out when you ran a self clean. Last one installed in 2007 was given yet ANOTHER 2 year warrant.....which expired in 2009. We LOVE the oven, it's used regularly for lots of things, bread is a good example..... I had NOT run a "self-clean" cycle fearing a repeat of the 2007 problem.......but finally decided, THIS oven seemed sturdy enough to stand the test. I ran the self clean...pushed the button, and 2 hours later, it was burned out. Clean, but no power. Company repairman came up for $70. cost just to determine the problem, and announced it was the heat delimiter again. It would cost $240 to order the replacement "kit" because they won't sell you just the needed part. WHAT? Of course, I had to order the kit, it was that or a new oven once again for $2k. As this great repairman left, he sort of said on the side, "YOU ought to call Fisher Paykel and complain.... with your track record against them, you should NOT have to pay. I DID call......... and in a simple 5 minutes, was told......they'll repair it for free. Wow! I AM impressed with this company once again. Note: DO NOT ever run a self clean on your oven......it runs 3 hours, and builds up too HIGH temperatures in the back of the oven for any breaker to stand. The repair guy told me this happens with MANY brands..... THe NEXT time I clean the oven, it will be on a manual cycle.... Lesson learned, and thanks, Fisher Paykel. ================= Yep, this is certainly a scattered post, perhaps I'll be settling down a bit more in February. Things are calling out for attention in the yard............. (Daffodils are barely sprouted already! leaf buds are forming in the hardy trees........woohoo!) Something tells me to get to work when I look this way: I KNOW NEXT WEEK the annual Fruit Trees Pruning begins, dormant sprays on Apple Trees, and maybe feeding the lawn some iron to kill some MOSS will be in order. The FIRST REAL SUNNY week is forecast since late November. Ah, La Nina!