Tuesday, March 20, 2018


     Yes, old Red, the last of the great do it yourselfers, has filled out income tax forms for the last time! Now before some misread this as I don't have to file income tax! No such luck.

    I have filled out income tax forms since 1959. It was a bit of a surprise for a 19 year old to discover he had to file an income tax form. So for for 59 years I have faithfully and honestly filled out my tax forms. 

    Why am I quitting? I'll blame it on the Micro Manager. Much of our reporting has to go together and the Micro manager is not willing to go through the hassle anymore.

    I find that the forms get more convoluted every year. The government tries to satisfy many groups that lobby for breaks. So there are breaks for music  lessons, bus travel, gym fees...you got it . Everybody gets a break...even seniors.

   And that brings me to my point. Here's a challenge. Here senior couples, where only one gets a pension, can split some pension income so that they both can take advantage of a break and claim the maximum for non refundable tax credits. Okay, I won't complain about a benefit as it saves us $150.00.

    Now here's the problem and I get a headache trying to write about this. The guy withe the pension transfers $2000.00 to the spouse without the pension. Pension guy's income is $2000.00 less. Pensionless guy must add $2000.00 to their income. After that, pension guy must subtract the tax he would have been paying on the $2000.00 he's giving away and pensionless guy must add the tax to their return. It's a simple switch. 

    Now you can guess the tax people could spoil this by inventing a form that is impossibly  complicated. You have to read it a 100 times and each time the Micro Manager and I disagree because it is written in a very awkward way.

   I know , accountants have to do their job and make a form that will do the job.

   So with such convoluted forms , I'm not that unhappy to give up my job filling in my tax return.

    Now I just have to look for an accountant that I like.

    ...and I'll bet there's no prize(break) for filling out tax forms for 59 years.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


    John from John's Island asked an innocent question the other day. He wanted to know when my snow goes away. Well that's a very complicated answer.

     Weather and climate are extremely variable here. We sometimes have early spring and sometimes late spring. In other words there are years that the snow disappears early in March and sometimes it's not until early April when snow disappears.  Now complicating that is the snow storms we can get after the  winter snow has melted. we usually get most of our snow in March. In the last two days we've had 10-12 cm (5 in )m of snow. Our winter snow has not started to melt. So I would predict a late spring this year.

     We can get snow storms in May and even June. However in may and June our crops and plants are well established. We grow plants that are hardy and suited for this climate zone.

    Now for statistics for this date:

     Record low  -27.5 C (-30 F)    2002
     Record high  14 C (58 F)       1988
     Ave. high 4 C (40 F)
     Ave low -9 C 95F)
     Record snow 25.7 cm (11 in.)     2006
     sunrise 7:42 AM
     Sunset 7:44 PM

    So you see that with these conditions our spring can be quite variable.

      My daughter on June 8 1986. She was 15 and this was her sense of humor. My apologies for the poor photo quality . 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


       Well, I really didn't know there was such a word as inelegant, but I was the perfect example last night.   I was awfully inelegant.

       I was out at a meeting and came home shortly after nine.  Of course, at that time it was very dark.  I have a security light on the front of my house so parking  was fine. I walked to the back and found that the kitchen light that's usually on was off. It was pitch black. First of all you know that old guys like me don't see too well...especially in the dark. Secondly our balance isn't the greatest anymore.

       I got up the walk and the three steps to the back door and then my problem started. I was in the top step and balance became an issue .I didn't have much room to maneuver. So the way to get my balance was to step backward. That meant I was gong down stairs backwards. I'm not too good at going down stairs backwards at the best of times. 

     I made it down the three steps but when I hit the sidewalk my speed had picked up. Now I don't walk backwards very well so I tripped going backwards. I lurched against the brick wall of the house and sort of bounced. I hit the sidewalk on my butt and did a bit of a roll. fortunately I didn't hit my head. It was all in slow motion. I wonder why I couldn't have recovered at some point. My cap went flying. My meeting papers went on their own little flight. My pen disappeared. I did hang onto my keys. I had to unlock the door.

     I remember saying one very bad word and then I did what I always do when I fall...get up quickly before anybody sees me.

     Needless to say , the whole thing was very awkward and yes inelegant...totally lacking in grace. 

    I got in the house and turned on the lights and went back out to retrieve my belongings.

    I ripped my jacket sleeve and have a bruise on my left big butt. Other than being a little stiff I survived.

    It really makes one think seriously about falls when you're a senior.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


     Those readers who are less than 75 will probably not be familiar with the reel to reel tape recorder. I have a reel to reel tape recorder and I recently posted on it regarding trying to rerecord our wedding.

     Now for a reel to reel tape recorder you have to manually thread the tape through the tape head. You have to manually put the tape in a groove on the reel to anchor it on the reel. Everything was manual. If you didn't catch the tape at the end it spun around wildly.

     Reel to reel machines were developed in the 1930's with not great quality. Cassettes appeared in the late 50's and early 6o's. Cassettes could be prerecorded so you bought music. 

     Once I'd rescued the wedding from the tape I got thinking about my old reel to reel tape recorder. Way back there were few options for listening to music and quality wasn't that good.

     When I was single and mobile I didn't have the capability to own and transport a larger stereo so I listened to my trusty transistor radio.

     In the 50's there were some cabinet stereos available

     When I got my own place I wanted something better for listening to music. You guessed it. I got a reel to reel tape recorder. Now in those days you could only buy LPs. So I would borrow somebody's LP and record it. This was very low tech. I played the record and used a microphone to pick up the sound. The one I bought had external speakers.

    I had taped some get music: Harry Belefonte, Mr Aker Bilk, Dean Martin, The New Christie Minstrels, Louis Armstrong,

     So after the effort to get the wedding off the old tapes. I looked at the music I had. It was great stuff. I'm listening to it again.

     So how many people remember the reel to reels a way back? 

Friday, March 9, 2018


    Now I'm usually a mild mannered laid back sort of guy. I'm patient and give people the benefit of the doubt.

    This week I had an opportunity to complain vigorously.

     Let me back up a bit. It's income tax time. I do my own income tax. I had gone through all tax slips and decided that I was ready to roll. Well the day's mail brought one more tax slip. Now the slip was a week late but more than that a very important figure was missing on the slip.

     The micro manager phoned the company responsible for the slip. She hung up on the first person she tried to talk to. Well, I told her to hang up and she hung up gracefully like, "Thank you very much but we're not accomplishing anything!"

     The next guy was awesome and told us the company had not put the figure on the slips for the last two years. He also told us to contact the local bank and they could print the statement and it would include the missing number.

     Okay , all we have to do is phone the local branch. So first call we get an answering machine. .Well, try one of the extension numbers. Leave a message, Another extension number and still no answer. Leave a message. My third and last extension number and you guessed it. Leave a message. On top of this their message said they would get back to us within 24 hours. Now for some strange reason the Micro Manager thinks that if you phone back and leave another message there might be a reply. So she went through all the numbers again and left messages again.

     So after this run around we're a little testy.

     The next morning the manager phoned. To put it mildly, she was a jerk. She had no idea how to print out the statement we wanted. Further more she was perturbed that we were telling her what to do. She said she'd have to phone to find out what to do and would do it later and that next week she was on holidays so we wouldn't get an answer for a week. The Micro Manager pressed harder for the statement to be printed that day. The manager actually grew testy. There was no other way to do the process according to her.

    Well the Micro Manager went down to the bank at 2:00 Pm as she had told the manager she'd be there and the statement better be ready.

    As the MM was standing in the bank an employee asked her if she could help. The MM explained what she wanted. The employee said , I'll see what I can do. Five minutes later the statement was printed.

    So what was the problem with the snooty bank manager. The manager could have solved the problem in less than half the time she spent talking to us. She only had to look for five minutes!

    Customer service? First: Answer your damn phone. Second: learn some manners on how to deal with people.

    I was a little bent out of shape after this incident.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


      Last week I was looking for my niece's obituary on line. I found her obituary but I also found a site with a collection of the last year of obituaries. Since it was my old home town, which I left 61 years ago, I was surprised to see that in about 25% of the obituaries I either knew the people or knew who they were.

     I found one obituary rather amusing. Most of the items in the obituary tended to end up at his favorite pass  time which was drinking beer. No matter what he did he tended to end up at the local hotel where he had his favorite beer , Pilsener! Now this obituary sounded like a few of the old boys got together over a few beers and wrote the obituary. It was somewhat humorous and probably quite accurate.

    Now my niece's obituary was very accurate. She was talented artistically and in many ways a very fine person. My niece was a super Mom and wife. She liked fishing and driving farm machinery...the bigger the better. The person who wrote the obituary expressed very well the excellent characteristics of my niece.  I'm sure it was a female who wrote the obituary.

     And then I've read some obituaries and I wonder if they are writing about the same person I know.  Many fine qualities are listed of which I was not aware . The person was a great father. , a wonderful husband, and hard worker! Where did they get these things. Who wrote them?

     Writing an obituary is a challenge. The occasion is stressful. Consideration has to be given as to who the audience will be. What does the family want the obituary to say?

    Now there are many more types of obituaries. Some of them can become very humorous and interesting. Others sincerely and accurately catch the mood of the occasion. And some obituaries are just plane awful. 

    The first obituary was humorous. My niece's obituary was very accurate. 

     So after all this it is my intention to write my own obituary if I ever get my act together in time!

Sunday, March 4, 2018


      We just had a couple of days of snow where we got about 12 cm of snow. That's a lot of snow for us at one time . I know other places get much heavier snow falls.

      It kept me busy shoveling snow a couple of times. However the snow was light , dry and powdery which makes it easy to shovel.

      The snow gives us a very clean fresh look so why not a few photos.

       This photo is for Far Side. She wants people to set up snow sticks so here's my feeble effort at a snow stick. Can you see it? I have 14 in. (35 cm) of snow.