Saturday, July 23, 2011


Our 25th Anniversary photo, taken in the back yard.
  We moved from Brewer to Carmel in January, now we're close to the home we sold in Newburgh, just on the other side of the Interstate.  The Brewer place as too small, meaning to size of the rooms.  The Carmel apartment is a townhouse type with an upstairs, and a basement and storage room.  The yard would be a huge attraction, but we didn't know it at the time.  Can't see through snow.  Near the end of January there was a big snow storm that probably left us twenty four inches or a little more, just when you think you're used to it, you get some more; so you don't forget I guess.
  This is my first year without working, I thought I'd miss the daily grind of thing that must be done, but I don't.  I really don't miss it one little bit, I'll just enjoy being a geezer.
  The walking won't be too good here, there are hills on each side of the driveway, the only level spot for quite a distance.  I walk in town, mostly because of the pavement and in a place that's fairly level.  Back in the day I made sure to include a couple of hills in every walk - those days are gone.
  Hollie continued being herself, what else would I expect, she is driven by stuff!  We went on our two vacation days, one trip south, and on trip to "The County" as Aroostook is known here in Maine, it's a beautiful place.
  In November we celebrated our 25th Anniversary, as usual by not doing much, we've had a pretty good life together; up to this point anyway.
Some of that January snow!
Kenduskeag Stream with spring runoff, Bangor Maine

Hollie at Bug Light, South Portland, on our "south" trip

Friday, July 22, 2011

2006 more stuff

Linda and I with Jon and Darlene
  A lot more happened in 2006, Linda had back surgery, a knee replacement too.  Her mother, Yvonne, died in March; and there was a family reunion on her side of the family.  Add to that we sold the house in May and moved for a short while to Brewer and I was still working full time until October 4th, I left the day the ad went in the paper for Bell Ringers (yes it was planned).  In November the Brewer City Clerk called an asked me to work at the polls for early voters, so I did that for a week too.
  Now, let's back up to March, Lindas' mother died after her third bout, or fourth, with cancer.  She was a twenty-two year survivor of breast cancer and had come through two bouts of intestinal cancer, matter of fact, she was just worn out.  Yvonne was a wonderful, hardworking and caring person;  a person of French Canadian decent who still had a bit of that accent who loved to travel.  Distance traveling didn't matter; she went on long trips, to Alaska, and short rides and loved every minute of both.
  The Hoffman/Martineau Family get-together was in the early summer, on a hot sunny day.  Rhonda was leaving from Portland that evening but drove Linda's car down, Linda, Hollie and I drove down in my car and Hollie didn't want to go, she wanted to laminate some projects.  I dropped Linda off and said "he" to some of the family, took Hollie and left for a nearby shopping area where the magical Staples had a store.  Hollie calmed down a bit, and we were headed back north and home, about 120 miles north to be exact.  Traffic was heavy, summer in Maine around a huge State Park on Sebago Lake is like that.  We were in stop and go, stop and go kind of stuff, at least all the was to Gray (20 miles), in Gray the Dodge quit, not running, nothing.  The "mechanic" at a service station call a tow truck, the car went to a garage further back down the road.  It was Saturday and they opened on Monday, Hollie and I were stuck.  We went to McDonald's for a lunch, to a store for some drinks to carry, and made a phone call to Hollies home and explained where we were.  We then proceeded down to the Maine Turnpike entrance from Gray to the north.  Our hope was to catch Linda, or her brother Thom, before they got on the highway; I stationed Hollie in the shade of a big sign and stood out by the road, we were about 40 yards from the entrance.  We stood and sat for 7 hours! In the hot, hot sun!  Finally we were hungry, walked back to a sandwich shop, I was ordering Linda drove by.  When she got home, we weren't there so she call Hollies' house and they relayed my story, I had called again to let them know and to tell her we would be a McDonald's (it's easier to find).  She started back, the whole 120 miles, and was stopped for going 94 miles and hour!  She didn't get a ticket....beginners luck.  She arrived well after McDonald's was closed, we were sitting at an outdoor table and happy to be rescued.  Hollie was on the best behavior I've ever seen her on, thankfully.
  Well that sums up 2006, at least what my sun baked brain can remember.
Jon plays with Stuart at Sebago Lake.
A 1994 photo of Yvonne Martineau Hoffman
Linda with her brothers and sisters.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


On the market - 2006 click to enlarge
This year, far from quiet, was a year of change.  After my decision to retire later in the year, and a knee replacement for Linda, it was time to sell.  The house was put on the market before her surgery, and was still showing while she was recuperating.  The house did sell reasonably quickly, for a good price and that would enable us to pay down our debt, or eliminate it.  Over the past couple of years Hollie had some cavities, and taking her to a dentist was a whole 'nother thing.  No one is allowed to touch her (according to her), so dental exams became acceptable after a while.  Those exams exposed some work that needed to be done, a dentist was found, 60 miles away, on Mount Desert Island.  She would need General Anesthesia, that's where the money was spent, anyway, two trips to the dentist equaled about $7,000.00 in debt, for four cavities. Ouch!!
  Then early in the year, January even, Linda found out that she needed a new knee.  Lot's of thought and talking went into these decisions too.  We decided to sell the house and pay off the debt and rent thereafter to ease the "house maintenance" load.  I must admit I was ready too.
  And then the year got busier.  The surgery, the sale, the moving and, the really big, retirement - the real kind, the kind where you don't work just because you retired from some other place.  Retirement.  We'll talk about that tomorrow.
Lindas' brother Thom with Louise and Max, at their home in Minot Maine

A portrait of my Granddog Frodo, by me. (click to enlarge)

Our, soon to be, backyard. click to enlarge

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


A little snow gives the snow-board men a happy home
  Another reasonably quiet year, as I remember, but planning was going on in my head.  I will have turned 65 by the end of the year, a health insurance I have will require me to pay Medicare B, and I will start drawing a check (why make two trips?), my age for full retirement benefits was 65 years 6 months and I didn't lose anything taking it six month early.  The job was getting more stressful, at Christmas my work load is very heavy, lots of reports every day, an extra, weekly, payroll for the eight weeks bells are rung, for 45 to 60 people, bank deposits and counting, and countless "thank you" letters (mail merge is a wonderful thing).  When the season was over the Majors in charge put an ad in the daily paper thanking everyone, by name, who helped at Christmas, no mention of me.  When my friend asked Mrs. Major why my name wasn't included, her reply was "he doesn't help with Christmas".  I don't know what I was doing, I must have been delusional.  That, 2005, was my last holiday with the Corps.
  Hollie is doing well, she "graduated" in June, aged out at 20, and started a day program that she still participates in.  She had some sadness because she will miss her teachers and classmates, but she was excited by the transition too.
  Linda, on the other hand, wasn't too excited by the prospect of having a knee replaced, but she was dutifully getting ready.  She had had enough of the pain, but not anxious to have the surgery.  She'll do fine (next year).
Rocky (Amaroq) took advantage of a rare snowfall in Oxford, England
Jon, dressed for work (not really!)
Hollie at one of her favorite stores, Lighthouse Depot, in Wells, Maine

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Morning.

No post today, a lot of back and hip stuff going on.  Doctor in five hours.
I'll be back tomorrow.   The Geezer

Monday, July 18, 2011


Snow finally melts, Spring 2004, in our backyard, the water in the marsh is high (beyond the fence)
  Well, hard to believe that we could have two quiet years in a row, make you wonder.  But, there have been some quiet years with the empty house, and some noisy ones too.
  Hollie has adapted well to her home now, she comes to our house for overnight on Christmas Eve, other than that she likes her own bed.  Her class at High School always take a trip to Bar Harbor in late spring, they all stay as guests of a very nice Hotel, The Oaks.  She has been Whale Watching and done some other "island" activities.
  Work went pretty good, we bought a new building for the store, a former hardware store, it's 20,000 square feet.  The Salvation Army people at HQ want more paperwork than you could ever imagine, and I had to submit weekly reports as we replaced the heat/HVAC system an expensive project, also painted the entire place inside and out, new flooring and shelving (lot's of it), a huge investment.  The "Army" needs form that an Architect usually provides, since we didn't have an Architect I had to round up some of those forms, fill one out and send it along with the weekly reports.  The big bosses in the New York office do stuff the "big way"; which was okay after a local firm supplied me with the forms.
  Not too many trips this year with Hollie, just our two I think.  There were some Special Olympics that we went to, and a visit or two to the school.  Linda did a lot more of that and I did since work hours ofter conflict with those activities.  That still happens now that I'm not working. :)
Hollie takes part in the Softball Throw in Special Olympics, and some Track events too.
Big Mama at rest.  She was old when we adopted her and had been abused, she loved the quiet life where it was safe,
she never went outdoors it was scary.
After that snow melted (top), we could enjoy the Lupine Patch, I'm almost in the same place in both photos.
Elizabeth, our Great-granddaughter with her Daddy, Nick.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Lights in the snow, the lit tree is about 60 feet from the house.
What other use is there for an extension cord?
  Well, a year without too much hoopla!  And it was just about time.  It's good to settle down once and a while; and take time to relax (just a little)!
  Most everything is routine now, Hollie is pretty much settled in Winterport and doing well for herself, except of course the continual anxiety.  Hollies' motto is: I am constantly worried and concerned that there's not enough anxiety in me.  Sounds funny - proves true (even as I write this).
  A couple of trips with Hollie, one involving family; the three of us drove to Minot Maine to visit Lindas' brother Thom.  One of her other brothers was there too, so we all had a good time, and enjoyed the visit.  It's not often that Hollie will travel with both parents at the same time, I don't know why, it's just that way.  I took Hollie to southern Maine, we stopped to see my mother (for Hollie that takes about 20 minutes) and looked at some light houses, including her favorite Portland Headlight.  We must have done one other but I don't know where we went, most years it once south and once north (to Aroostook County - my favorite).
  At work things were okay this year, we had an outstanding audit, too much time had passed without one; I was a bit nervous at the start not knowing exactly what to expect.  Majors Paul and Shirley Hardy did the audit, gave me a lot of helpful hints, it the first audit I've gone through that was a pleasure.
Linda and I in front of our burning bush which turned so nice and red in the fall.
Fact: Hollie wouldn't walk down and take a photo, so I took one of Linda, she took one of me,
and cut me out of one and pasted me onto this one, that was the obstacle.
Linda with her brothers Thom and Brad
Hollie at Nubble Light, notice she is always holding something,
those are "her friends".