I’m back in the letter writing swing of things. It is another Monday and another letter to Ellen and Reid will go out the door momentarily. As is the custom around here, you’ll see today’s letter a week from today.
Not to let the cat entirely out of the bag, but today’s note continues with a theme you’ve seen recently; the wind-down of my work at the bank, and the stark reality that if there is no meaningful full time (or even semi-meaningful part time) work in the offing, this could rightly be considered as step one in a retirement plan, although I’m not ready to eat with the real geezers at 4:30 at the Golden Corral or Waffle House. I’m not nuts about the prospects (just plain nuts, you might say) of being away from work but there are worse things. Well, I’d best get along. I laid my AARP application around here and need to locate it.
Here is a note to the kids from roughly a year ago.
December 7, 2009
Ellen/Reid: Finally it’s cold here. Fired up the furnace for the first time last night and to my continuing amazement it always seems to light up and put out heat. First significant frost was yesterday which means the Bermuda grass on the golf courses goes dormant until next March or April. Makes for mucky playing conditions but we’ll just have to live with it. Walked a course in Fort Mill, SC yesterday with a new playing companion from the bank. We waited out a two hour frost delay then we had a good walk in cool but not oppressive conditions. He’s a good guy and a good stick. He trounced me pretty soundly in all facets of the game. The plants on the front porch are goners and the basil and parsley will be missed in my cooking. Both are indispensible around the kitchen and easy to grow. As soon as things warm up in the spring both of those, plus some other herbs, are going in the ground.
The deer are starting to make appearances out in the back. Haven’t seen any bucks but have seen some pretty good sized non-antlered deer in the back. With the leaves gone on the trees you can see them traipse through the wooded area. They come out to graze on the green rye grass which is overseeded in the lawn once the Bermuda turns brown.
Well, in theory the bath should be finished by this weekend (at least the tile work and the plumbing finished, not sure of the electrician can make it just yet). But I’ve heard these oaths before and nothing has been done. Last week was the first time I was truly perturbed by the snail’s pace of things. But when it comes time to get paid, they want it and they want it now. I’m afraid to tally up the final cost, but my educated guess says somewhere in the $9,500 – $10,000 range. That shower damn well better work. I’m mildly worried that the 50 gallon water heater won’t be enough to supply the new showerhead. We’ll see. I’m just tired of the dust and the debris and the commotion. Part of the garage was reclaimed this weekend. Demolished the old bathroom cabinets and stuffed it all into the garbage bin. Was going to donate them to the Habitat for Humanity Restore but without a top, the custom sized cabinets wouldn’t have been much use to anyone. Betsy has claimed the green countertop, so it is still languishing in the garage. Did buy a $300 Kohler ‘comfort height’ toilet to match the pedestal sinks. This weekend will be devoted to putting up all the matching towels bars, mirrors and other accoutrements (glass shelving, toilet paper holder, towel rings). Until that’s done, won’t know for sure precisely where the sconces will be placed. That will cost a few more bucks to position correctly. Still haven’t order the shower glass door. That’s in the works. Cha-ching goes the cash registers. Kind of numb to the costs right now. Have dipped into a few thousand dollars in home equity loan to pay for it all. I’ll install a cheap shower rod and curtain until the glass is ready. The wood trim won’t get done until January.
Your uncle is applying some pressure to head West to the Nebraska-Arizona Holiday Bowl game in San Diego over the New Year. He thinks it would be a good 60th birthday present to ourselves (60 years old, can it be true?). The cost would be about $2,500 and that probably means I’ll stick around these parts to enjoy the new shower. It would be fun to go but I’m in the mode, and mood, to save a few bucks right about now.
I have my tickets lined up for Omaha for Christmas. It’s a mixed bag of feelings. Your grandmother is having a hard time with late-day ‘Sundowner Syndrome’ and that makes things tough on your grandfather. Not sure how we will spend all that time, but I hope to get over to Des Moines to see you guys briefly on Christmas day, weather permitting.