-Evil Scheme-

A witch is holding her hands out to someone.

♥ A while back, my wife and I hatched an evil scheme, but first a little background: In our retirement community, part of our monthly fees includes a set amount of money for the meals they provide us. We can use those bucks for any food items we want. We can use them in the Dining Room or in the Café, but we return any money not used within three months (quarter). Hence the hatching of the evil plot. 

Unaware of this when we moved in, management gladly took back some money from us at the end of our first quarter here. We vowed that would never happen again, so I made some reminders on my PC and waited patiently for the end of the next quarter. As we approached the middle of the last month (August), we put our scheming plan into action and started ordering wine and beer along with our meals, even buying it for anyone dining with us.

As the month progressed, we could see that the plan wasn’t chewing up enough of the money, so we ordered 24 large cookies from the Café to give to a family of five boys (ages 3–12), that lived beside us in our last home.

 Satisfied this plan would work, my wife made the call to the café and was told they would be available the next morning. She arrived at the prescribed time and when she asked them to deduct it from our meal tab; she was told they couldn’t. Dismayed that our plan had backfired, she paid, and headed over to deliver 24 delicious looking cookies to five boys that were delighted to get them. To add insult to injury, she wouldn’t give me one, saying I had to go to the Cafe and get my own and she knows I will do just that. 😊. 

Well, we just had a couple of days left and still have a lot of money left to spend or else lose it. That’s when we opted to pay the tab for the couple that dines with us for the two days left in the quarter. We wound up overspending by a few dollars, but I would much rather that happen than let them have money back.

To prevent it from happening again, my wife’s oldest son, and his wife, created an Excel spreadsheet that allows me to track our dining tab in real time and tells me whether we’re overspending, or underspending. This is a game I will not lose! 😆.

Morihei Ueshiba said it well, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.† 

♥ Living in our retirement community for the past four months has been enjoyable (except for the food tab fiasco). We have made many friends, are fed well, and life is good, with one exception: I have been gaining weight like a bear that stumbled upon a honeypot. I’ve noticed that my clothes are fitting a little tighter, but I’m thinking that since I’ve been working out at the gym, turning fat into muscle, it stands to reason the scale will show me gaining some weight. My self-deception was eventually exposed, and I am forced to accept that I was overeating.

So, my wife and I sat down and devised a plan to help me get rid of the unwanted pounds. The first thing we discussed, to my dismay, was giving up desserts, which I love. The only caveat is that I can have it one day each week (Sunday). That consoles me somewhat 😢. I also plan on eating more salads, and perhaps, eliminate the soup before my meal at dinner. I shall also forego the 2% milk and drink only the Fat Free. I have been watching the calorie count of my entrées, keeping them below 600, but that hasn’t been enough to get the job done. The odd thing is that I look and feel more fit, so the workouts and the thrice weekly three-mile walks are paying dividends. It just isn’t making my waistline smaller. It was foolish of me to ignore the obvious signs for so long and now I must pay the price for that self-deception. Of course, we all deceive ourselves about one thing or the other, and eventually it catches up with us and we have to pay the piper for our sins. The quote below probably sums up my situation:

“Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little.†Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington. Yup, Countess, that’s what I gotta do! 

♥ A couple of weeks ago, we sold our home of many years. We received our asking price without needing to put it on the market and saved a lot of money that would otherwise be paid to a realtor. Now, I have a good friend (Janet) that’s a realtor and lives pretty far away, but I’m confident she thinks that’s not a wonderful thing. I also believe that if she could see the big smile on my face, she would wave her forefinger back and forth and chastise me for being so glib. Certainly, I can understand where she’s coming from, but come on, everyone loves saving money, right? I hope to see her soon, and if she says anything, I’m gonna ask her if she hired a realtor when she bought her home. Her reply will most likely be that she didn’t need one since she is one. And my retort is, “Well, I didn’t need one eitherâ€. Naw, I wouldn’t say that to her, she’s too sweet and kind 😊.

♥ I called an old high school buddy (Wayne) the other day and wished him a happy 80th birthday. When he answered the phone, I didn’t identify myself, but he immediately recognized my voice, telling me it was easy to do. Sometimes I’ll call my daughter and leave a message on her machine, and I always identify myself, as if she doesn’t know the voice of the person she has known and loved all her life. I have friends that will call and leave a message and they always do the same thing.

I think that most of us feel like the person we called would not recognize who left the message if we didn’t end it with our name. Almost everyone has “Caller ID†on their phones, so it’s easy to identify who’s calling when you answer, but if the old machine kicks in, we’re not so sure.

I think that I’m gonna try this when someone doesn’t answer and I have to leave a message, “Sorry you weren’t available to take my call, but when you get a chance, call me back. I have something I’d like to discuss with you.†You noticed I didn’t leave them a name or number to use? The vast majority of the people I talk to on the phone have my number and they don’t really need for me to include it in my message. Heck, I have a close family member that says in his recorded message, “Thanks for calling, but don’t leave a message, just try again later.†That’s a little too bold for me 😊. I see nothing wrong with him doing it because that is exactly how he feels. With that said, when I call his number, I feel a little sad when the machine kicks on and he says that I shouldn’t leave a message. Most of the time, I just don’t call him back.

 Of course, our recorded message is kinda silly, but the intent is to bring a smile to the caller’s face. It goes something like this: “Sorry we missed your call, we’re either feeding the chickens, gathering eggs, or feeding the hogs. Leave us a message and we’ll call you back!†We’ve gotten several comments, all good, but I suspect that some of our callers aren’t amused.

A lot of us use a standard message. Some are curt, and some attempt to be funny. Robert Baden-Powell said, “The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.â€

Sometimes, making others smile brings a tad-bit of happiness😊.