Our Day Trip
⌘ My wife and I haven’t been out of town for almost 15 months and we have been planning a day trip somewhere for quite a while. Of course, I know I can come up with the plan, but she determines when it will happen. 😊 Her schedule is a lot more complicated than mine, so I always to defer to her and that works fine.
Well, to my surprise, she informed me we would take our trip in a few days, so we made plans and waited. It arrived with abundant sunshine and, as I rolled out of bed, there was an illegal smile pasted boldly on my face. I put on my robe and trotted quickly down the hall to start my coffee and turn on Einstein (my PC).
I immediately went to Google Maps and searched for a destination on the DelMarVA peninsula (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia). Our plan was to drive 90 miles, visit several interesting places, then find a place to eat a takeout lunch (Hardee’s/McDonalds) in the truck.
We planned on visiting Smith Beach and Silver Beach, both of them near Exmore, Virginia (my wife likes to walk on the beach and find shark teeth). With my cup full of coffee and a thermos lying in wait with more of it, we climbed aboard our truck and headed off, looking forward to our trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This engineering phenomenon is 15 miles long and takes us out into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and allows us to ride across the water alongside tankers of all sizes headed out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s like taking a boat ride with no boat. During the 15-mile ride we went through two underwater tunnels and encountered very little traffic. I set my speed control to 55 mph and leaned back, with our radio blaring out Hank Williams, Charlie Pride, and other well-known country artists, and just watched the beautiful scenery in front of us. Within a couple of years, I expect we will have an autonomous vehicle (self-driving), and that trip will be even more amazing.
The two beaches (Smith & Silver) turned out to be a disappointment. Neither had a beach you could walk on and cottages on the waterfront blocked visitor entry to any portion of the beach. We had our takeout lunch in our truck at the Hardee’s in Exmore, Virginia, watching the traffic swishing by on Route 13 as we talked about nondescript things.
After finishing what turned out to be a pretty decent lunch, I started up Blue Bullet (my name for our truck) and we headed home. As we traveled across the bay, a feeling of contentment spread across my thoughts. The expected excitement of “getting out of town” delivered the serenity I was hoping for. I looked over at the woman I love to see if she had arrived at that place, but sadly I could not discern if that happened. I believe she enjoyed the trip but being unable to walk the beaches disappointed her and took some fun away.
We have made plans for another trip next month, as we try to enrich our life by visiting places we enjoyed before this dreadful pandemic entered our lives. Our state (Virginia) has moved on to vaccinate everyone in the “1b” classification, which includes us (age 75+). With some luck, I’m hoping we can get it by the end of this month, or early February.
Thomas Jefferson said it well: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” I’m gonna be working the phone to make it happen. 😊
⌘ A few days ago I noticed that both headlight lenses on our 2013 Prius were cloudy, which made driving at night extremely difficult, so I headed off to the auto parts store to buy something to remove it. I read an advertisement online about a special pad you could buy for $40 that, upon rubbing the headlight lens several times, would magically make the cloudiness disappear. I kinda felt uncomfortable with that, so there I was, standing in the auto parts store asking the attendant to tell me what to get to accomplish the task. A very personable young man led me over to the location and selected the one he uses for such a task. There were perhaps seven items that promised to be exemplary in doing what I needed, ranging in price from $5 to $25. The one he recommended (Raintree) was $7.75, so I followed him back to the register, paid for the item, and headed home.
After getting back to the house, I sat in the truck and read the instructions, which were pretty simple:
1. Make sure both lenses are clean.
2. Dampen a cloth, squirt some of the creamy liquid in the bottle onto the cloth and apply in a circular motion.
3. Wash clean.
Boy, was I surprised! 90% of the cloudiness disappeared. I dried them and repeated the process to see if I could get to 100%. After looking closely, I decided it was 95% effective. Now, the plan is to see how long it stays away before returning. I know it will return, but now I know an easier way to remove it. And now so do you, but I want you to keep it a secret. Benjamin Franklin said that “three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” Naw, I don’t believe that,… you and I can keep this secret. 😊
⌘ I recently purchased a Kardia Personal EKG device for $85, which is about as big as your index finger. It is powered by a coin size battery and gives you an EKG reading any time you want it. All you have to do is download the app to your phone, connect it via Bluetooth, and it’s ready to take a reading. Mine sits beside my blood pressure monitor and now, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I take my blood pressure, then place two fingers on each pad of the EKG device and in 30 seconds it has a reading, showing the graph as it progresses. It then quickly analyzes the results and tells you if there is a problem. It also gives you the option of sending it to one of their doctors for a detailed report (for a fee of course 😊). You also can key in your blood pressure to enhance the results.
I’m not sure how reliable this device is, and I certainly wouldn’t use it to replace anything my doctor wanted to do, but I think its primary purpose is to alert you when something isn’t right and needs to be looked at by your family physician or a specialist, and keeping a history of your readings, which could be very helpful.
One morning it told me I had an-Fib (arterial fibrillation), which was discerning. I looked at the chart and I couldn’t tell anything (because of my lack of medical training), and I didn’t feel any different, so I waited until the next day to take another reading and it was back to normal. But I suspect it is a good thing to have that in the device’s history file.
As I have gotten older, I have included things I believe will help me keep track of my health better than just asking myself how I feel. We all have often heard the phrase “silent killer” used for blood pressure and other maladies. I’m thinking the thrice-weekly BP & EKG thingy will pay dividends. It only takes a few minutes to accomplish those tasks.
An old Spanish Proverb says, “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” My thoughts exactly!
Smells Familiar… by JoAnn
June 2, 2023
Guest Missives 2023, Guest WoW
Today I went through the drive-thru at our local McDonald’s. The last time I was there, my receipt had a survey on it. If I went online, filled out the survey, and wrote down the code on my receipt, I could get a free large drink of my choice. It was only good for 30 days, and today was the last day. I love a good bargain, especially if it’s free, so I decided on McD’s for lunch.
I don’t often eat at the golden arches. It used to be one of my favorite fast-food stops in my younger years. By younger, I mean my 30s. Before that time, I could not afford fast food. It was a real treat to indulge only a few times a year. When my children came along, I knew a home-cooked meal was better for them. So I did as my mama did and made our meals at home. But when we moved to Tennessee, and I gave birth to baby #3 and had extra money, I discovered the drive-thru on a busy day was very convenient. Finally, I knew what all the hubbub was about. No wonder McDonald’s was so wildly successful. My kid’s loved it, I loved it, it tasted great, and this mama got a break a couple of times a week.
Fast forward about 15 years, and all of us were figuring out that fast food wasn’t as great as we thought. I, for one, learned that the caloric value in the food was definitely not good for my waistline, and even my children had tired of it. The food made us all sluggish. We went from fast food twice a week to maybe once a month. After watching and reading a lot of negative opinions concerning the golden arch’s menu, I came to the conclusion that the food was more like plastic than actual food. After seeing the french fries and cheeseburger left untouched for months on end and seeing NO change whatsoever in color and no mold growth, I began referring to McDonald’s as the place with plastic food.
So why on earth did I go there today? Why did I have a receipt from being there a month ago? Because I am human, which means I am weak at times. Yes, I occasionally give in to things that I know are bad for me! Today I wanted that FREE diet Coke and a $2 cheeseburger. I convinced myself I was getting such a bargain that it was okay to indulge just this one time. Did today mean the bun and cheese on that burger were now actual food and would now mold if I left it in my car for months? No, it did not.
After the bad deed was done, and the cheeseburger and Diet Coke were happy in my stomach, I felt many emotions. One, that was good! Yes, both were delicious. It satisfied my craving, hunger, and thirst in a delightful manner. Two, the feeling of stupidity. I know this so-called food is unhealthy and that I shouldn’t have eaten it. Three, I was a victim of being too sentimental.
How is a fast food place sentimental? Well, for me, there are quite a few reasons. I thought about those reasons while waiting in line at the drive-thru. I caught a whiff of how it smelled inside the McDonald’s—the smell of the burgers and french fries cooking, to be exact. No place else in the world smells the same; I guarantee it. They hook people with that smell. Once it’s programmed into your brain, you will want their burger and fries every time you smell it.
That smell also reminds me of spending time with my kids and their dad. When he and I were dating, we only sometimes had the money to eat at a sit-down restaurant. So we would go to the cheapest place in town, which was the golden arches. We always ordered the same things. Two filets of fish, fries, and vanilla shakes. Sometimes he would get a quarter-pounder if he was famished. It became a romantic little thing that was our thing. It makes me happy and filled with love for him when I think of it now. Later, after getting married and having kids, I have many memories of taking my children to McD’s for their famous Happy Meal and letting them play on the playground that every McDonald’s had back then. Somewhere along the way, the playgrounds have been phased out after being christened germ factories for kids. My kids loved going there after school or on a road trip, getting their favorite treats, and going up and down the huge slides. I am glad they got to enjoy that. But I hope they no longer crave the food there.
One whiff of that kitchen, and I was transported to all those memories. Can you believe it? I can. I know that smell has been proven as the number one sense to trigger memories in all of us. It is definitely #1 for me. The right smell can take me back 40+ years in a flash. Still determining if the smell of McD’s is such a great one, though. Geez.
We can’t pick and choose what memory will be triggered by smell. Music we can. But you never know what smell might pass your sniffer at any given moment. I will need to stop breathing whenever I pass the golden arches again and avoid their drive-thru at all costs. And if I need a clean public bathroom, I must wear a mask. Because every good mother knows, McD’s has the cleanest public restrooms.