Sunday, August 29, 2010

WTF? Hot Spicy Wings, Tropical Cyclones & Social Security


It seems that if you type in a blog title, and then hit return, Blogger thinks you have finished your post and publishes it! Never mind that you never hit the "publish post" button! At least that seems to be the case for me. Now I think I know why so many new postings are showing up on my reading list lately, but when I click on them, there is no content.

Ho......hum! I'm listening to Mahler's Symphony No.1, what do I care?

Hot Spicy Wings.......Yum!

I don't often eat fried chicken, but I went to the grocery store today, and one of the first things I spied was a small container of spicy fried chicken wings. All I had for lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple, and I was getting hungry. Like Pavlov's dogs, when I spied those wings, I began to salivate! I had to have them! Very ingenious of Food Lion to put them in a place, where they are one of the first things you see when you enter the store! They were accompanied by whole roast chickens, being kept warm under a heat lamp. I almost bought one of those, but then I quickly came to my senses when I realized that one whole roast chicken was enough to feed me for an entire week..........but of course I would never make it last a whole week. It would easily be devoured in two days, as its siren song constantly beckoned to me from the refrigerator! Melissa?........Eat me!.........Oh, please Melissa , eat me..........I'm soooo tasty! And you know what? I would!

Time to tremble!

The hurricane season is now well underway, and tropical cyclones are lining up out in the Atlantic, getting ready to make their assault on whatever unfortunate land masses lie in their path. A swirling tempest known as Danielle, is churning the waters east of Bermuda, and has fortunately been downgraded from a monstrous category 4 (131-155 MPH) on the Saffir-Simpson scale, to a category No. 2 (96-110 MPH). With all luck, this beast will have traveled all the way from Cape Verde to somewhere west of Iceland, without ever having touched land! Wouldn't that be lovely? Fortunately, modern day ships have plenty of advanced warning to get out of the way of approaching cyclones.

Quick on the heels of Danielle though, is tropical storm Earl, located about 520 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands. Earl is expected to just clip the northern Leewards, then turn north to threaten the US East coast as a category 3 storm, with winds from 111- 130 MPH. With all luck, a high pressure ridge coming off the east coast will keep it out to sea as well. Fingers crossed! I know that we here in Virginia, as well as our neighbors to the south in the Carolinas, want these storms stay as far away from shore as possible.

So.........with two storms predicted to stay off shore, do you think we can relax? Take a look at a yet another tropical wave coming off the cape Verde Islands, that will most likely also develop into a tropical cyclone. Who knows what that will do. I hate the Cape Verde hurricanes. Some have said they are Africa's revenge, for hundreds of years of African slavery in America, but of course that's nonsense. They were occurring long before Africans were ever taken to the Americas in slave ships, and indeed many Africans slaves died encountering hurricanes during those horrible voyages. What makes Cape Verde cyclones so formidable, is that they have thousand of miles of warm tropical waters to cross, and by the time they get to the Americas, they are some seriously angry storms. September is peak time for Atlantic Hurricanes. Time to batten down the hatches, and seriously consider getting that generator I saw in Lowe's last week!

Social Security

Speaking of September, I will turn 62 on September 21st. When I left my company, I took an early retirement. That meant leaving before I was 62 years old. When you do that, you have to agree to a pension plan known as income leveling, where for the years before you turn 62 the company pays you what Social Security would pay you at 62, in addition to your company pension, but when you reach 62, your pension is reduced by the Social Security equivalent they paid you, for those preceding years. That allows you to retire early, at a slightly reduced pension. Because I am single, and my best three years pay, combined with my 37 years of service provided me with an income equivalent to what I was making when I retired, minus the additional fuel and maintenance expenses of traveling 100 miles a day to work and back, plus breakfast, lunch and other miscellaneous expenses, I decided to take it. Now that my 62nd birthday is approaching, I have to get on the stick, and apply for Social Security. I should have done it two months ago, as I have heard it can take three months to get it, but being the procrastinator that I am, I haven't. About a week ago, I got a reminder from my company that beginning on Oct. 1st, my pension would be reduced by the amount of my Social Security. I'm not worried if my Social Security is delayed, since I have a pretty good cushion in my checking and savings accounts, and SS should give me back pay up to my 62 birthday.

I still remember getting my SS card when I graduated from high school in 1966. I was still just 17 years old. 62 seemed like such a long away off, that I couldn't even imagine what it would be like. Although deep down inside, I knew that genderwise, I was "different" way back then, I was still in serious denial about how deeply different I was, and would remain so for another 10 years. I thought I would retire as a normal husband to a woman, and a father to several children. I had no idea how far from that course, my eventual path would take me. After several disastrous romances, where to my surprise I found out that I was expected to provide stud service, rather than tender affection to the women I loved, I eventually gave up on romance altogether, and have lived the celibate life ever since.

I suppose that I could be considered some, a sort of equivalent to a spinster; an unmarried, childless, prissy, and repressed least according to the dictionary definition. That's a far cry from my own vision of what I would be today, back when I was an innocent 17 year old youth, still trying to figure out who I was, and the very weird hand that was dealt to me.

Melissa XX


Caroline said...

Back then as 17 year old, well more like 11 year old I could see that I was a total misfit for this life and assumed I would just fade away and die young.

It is a real shock to find that I have lived more than twice as long as I ever imagined I would.

I have stumbled through a strange life and I guess I now have to stumble through a strange old age too!

Caroline xxx

Lucy Melford said...

Tomorrow always comes. And you have to keep something in hand for it.

It's daunting to think that - being only 58 now - I may easily live another thirty years. Sounds nice, especially as will be 'Lucy' years, but at 88 (about the age my parents died) my joints will be creaking, and I shall look like a raddled old hag.

I recall an early Isaac Asimov Sci-Fi novel called 'Pebble in the Sky' in which everyone on Earth in the distant future had to submit to 'The Sixty'. That is, to be put to death as you were deemed too old to be economically useful. A world devoid of pension funds, clearly!


Halle said...

Hmm, Mahler’s first; wonderful music.

Have you ever wondered why brother John was so sad in the third movement? Maybe he was contemplating how different life might have been had he not entered the priesthood? Not fun looking back; much nicer to enjoy that pension and the second mug of coffee in the morning, not sitting in the car in traffic! :P

Glad you found the wings, they sound sooooo yummy!

Yes, do get that generator hun, you will thank yourself over and over, if only for the peace of mind knowing it is there ready to go. Like insurance, if you never need it, it still has done it’s job.



Rachel said...

I just got a new CD of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony. I was watching the BBC Drama Eroica which is about its first performance (Ian Hart, very good). I realised I only had a cassette of it so it needed replacing.

The single persons on going battle to try and control portion size and the amount they eat. I know it well. I made two pizzas yesterday. I have to make two as it is difficult to make dough for only one. I ate one fresh and will have the other cold tonight (love cold pizza). I have had to fight myself all day to not go into the fridge and start picking at it.

Rachel XXX

Stace said...

Wow, do you ever get a respite from the weather where you are? Heavy snow in winter, scorching humid summers and cyclones in autumn... Good luck!

Whilst I am a way off of retiring just yet, I fear for whatever pension is going to come my way. In theory I should get +/- my final salary - but somehow I figure that the pension company will find a way to wiggle out of having to pay (seeing as they are already doing that to todays pensioners here...). I just hope that I have enough savings to keep me going by the time I stop working...


(And I know what you mean about procasternation. As the joke goes I would love to procasternate, but never get around to it) Thinking of which maybe I should get around to sending off the claim form to get the towing hitch replaced from the accident in February :)