-->

Sunday, November 19, 2017

MY PREMIER FRIEND


From my first memory as a baby in a playpen, she was there, just like a sister. "Sharla" was a neighbor and 4 years my senior.  Her parents were an older couple, both over 55 years of age. They felt like extended family and lived just down the highway.

Sharla had been adopted from an Eastern European country as an infant. Her mom Jayne in particular cherished her. She overindulged Sharla, spoiling her rotten. Even Sharla's uncle called her a brat and swore he'd never take her in if anything should happen to his sister.

There was no denying that Sharla was spoiled and entitled, also she was mouthy and disrespectful to everyone, including adults. My father considered her a bad influence and my mother tolerated her because she was constantly asking favors from her mother, Jayne. I adored Sharla for those same reasons my parent's disliked her. I found her daring and way cool!

Sharla knew I idolized her and often used it to her own amusement. She wasn't kind. I was always made to feel she was doing me a favor with her company and was merely enduring me. There were lots of "You're just a dumb kid, you don't know anything" put-downs. Also it was automatically assumed that she had first choice of everything and I was supposed to be content with sloppy seconds. Also if we went someplace where there were kids her age or older, I suddenly became disposable or a non-entity.

Whenever she visited, we didn't stick around the property. We went exploring! This was back in the days before Florida was consumed by concrete. Miles and miles of scenic wilderness waited to be discovered. It made me feel as if I'd traveled back in time and it was exciting!

Sharla was a tomboy but then so was I, plus I could go her a few better. Sharla was terrified of leeches and spiders, I am not. (Bring on their slimy and hairy little butts, I'll kick them!) Those things never rattled me the way they do most girls.

Also because she was older, Sharla was more interesting to be around. I was exposed to a wider expanse of knowledge. The kids my age only knew things I knew and I found them boring.

And she was a physically beautiful child! Her eyes had an upward slant that gave her an exotic look, probably a recessive gene from the Mongol warriors who invaded her birth country centuries ago. Her frame was slender and sinewy; and she was born tan. Long dark hair hung down her shoulders like melted chocolate.

Everything about her was awesome!

My grandfather was a chain smoker. I thought smoking looked like fun and declared that I was going to be a smoker when I grew up. Well, Sharla gave me quite a lecture! "It's a dirty, unhealthy habit," she declared. This dissuaded me!

My family stayed in close touch with hers when we moved down the coast to Hobe Sound. But we were there only briefly.

After we moved back to Stuart, we rented a 100 acre property with a big lake in front and several small ponds in the back. Friends and I swam in the lake and had great fun on the rowboat as well. My father also bought me a horse. Sharla visited more frequently than ever!

She was an experienced horsewoman while still in Elementary school due to professional riding lessons. (Hey, I said she was awesome!) But I was the kid who owned a horse!

But the horse was a stallion that proved temperamental and unpredictable, so my parents forbade me to ride unsupervised. However Sharla knew how to handle a horse! When she visited, Sharla took the reins and I held onto her. Among my happiest memories are the 2 of us riding double and cantering across the field in front of the lake.

During the autumn of 1959 everything changed! I entered Third Grade and Sharla Junior High. By 1960 we had left the sprawling house on the lake and the horse was sold. My parents purchased what was to be our permanent home, a house on the St. Lucie River atop a steep hill in the back that showcased an amazing view. But my memories of that place are mostly terrible.

Sharla almost completely disappeared from my life. Her mother Jayne dropped by from time-to-time, but usually alone.

My father noticed I was sad. He explained that unfortunately we were at an age where 4 years made a tremendous difference. "Later, when you're both adults, you'll be friends again," he assured me.

The following year Jayne visited and Sharla came too! I almost didn't recognize her! She had undergone a growth spurt and was now almost 6 feet tall! -- I was still 4 feet whatever and in the Fourth Grade. Sharla's long straight hair which I had so admired was now short and curly. I felt as if the friend I'd known was dead and replaced by this adult stranger. However, this encounter made it easier for me to move on.

Several years passed, I was now 14. A 7-Eleven was only a brisk 15 minute walk from my house. Upon my way there, 3 older teenage girls suddenly emerged in front of me from a side street.  The middle one was Sharla! They were boisterous and all were smoking cigarettes.

Sharla must have felt my eyes penetrating the back of her head. She turned, and then did a double take. On her second look, her eyes narrowed. I got the message! I was being issued a warning! I must keep my distance and not embarrass her in front of her older much cooler friends.

The next block they turned. I watched them walk off, all puffing away on their cigarettes. It's a peculiar feeling to see someone who was a significant part of your history, someone with whom you made memories and now that person may as well be a stranger.

I saw her briefly for the last time when I was 19. My father and I entered the drive-thru at a bank. I was on the passenger side in sunglasses. Sharla was the lone teller! Her hair was cut in a pixie style and bleached platinum; this look complemented her dark complexion and eyes. She was strikingly attractive!

When she saw our name on the slip, she looked up and curiously stared at me. I didn't acknowledge her.

As we pulled away, my father asked, "Wasn't that what's-her-name with the slanty eyes who was your friend?"

"Yeah, that was her," I replied.

"So why didn't you speak to her?" he wanted to know.

"That friendship ended years ago," I told him. The water in my reservoir was fresh and I wanted to keep it that way.

It seems incredible to me that If Sharla is alive today; she's now 70 years old!

A current friend suggested I look her up online and contact her. However I have no interest. Sharla was the one who left and has never made any attempt to contact me during all those years. We were friends only because we we're thrown together by our parents. Given a choice, she would never have chosen me. And in retrospect, she wasn't that wonderful a friend.

Sharla's only a part of my history now, as are my deceased parents.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

COFFEE IS OK, BUT TEA'S FOR ME


A family friend was horrified because my parents allowed me to drink coffee as a pre-schooler. Actually I started as a toddler. After meals, the members of my family often left a couple gulps behind in their cups. I would toddle around the table and drink them.  

At age 4, I was served my own cup at each meal. My parents didn't think it was any big deal. I thought all little kids drank coffee until I had a sleepover at a friend's house. Needless to say, I wasn't served coffee there.

On a family vacation in the mountains I ordered a cup for breakfast in a restaurant. I was 7 years old. The waitress was hesitant to serve me one until my parents insisted. As she placed the cup down in front of me she scolded. "Don't you know coffee turns little girl's feet black!"

I knew she was full of something else. Otherwise, I would have been coal black up to my private regions.

And it did cause concern with other people. When I was 14 a Dentist told my mother that I had smoking stains on my teeth! But my mother knew better. "She drinks a lot of coffee," Mom told him.

However for special occasions or afternoon company, coffee was never served, it was always tea! This felt like a treat! In comparison coffee seemed ordinary.

By the time I reached my 20's I was sick of coffee and would only drink tea. I'd fallen in love with all the flavored teas new to the market. I even studied tasseology and learned to read tea leaves.

In my 40's I made a convert, of sorts. My father announced he also was sick of coffee and henceforth wanted to be served tea, but none of that flavored junk that I like.

Right around this time, coffee houses were springing up as fancy flavored java became popular. Suddenly coffee was looking a lot more interesting. But I sure didn't like the price! However I soon discovered that I could create a superior concoction at home with instant coffee, flavorings, & toppings. It isn't rocket science. But eventually I tired of those, too.
 
An occasional cup still hits the spot. My favorite now is hazelnut mixed with cinnamon; and sometimes I enjoy a heaping spoonful of chocolate in my coffee. But mostly, I drink tea. I find it to be more refreshing.

Coffee is still the work horse no matter how you fancy it up. Tea is the show pony and deserves nothing less than to be served in a lovely cup & saucer from an elegant teapot. Tea will always be the more special.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

UGH, STILL IN THE DARK


All of my hurricane preparations remain in place! The season is not over. I've been informed it now ends December 1 and not November 1. Once-upon-a-time it was October 1, but that was before Global Warming which fools still continue to deny. -- Ugh! Before long, hurricane season will be year round!

Last year we had a terrifyingly close call with hurricane Matthew in October when everyone was starting to feel safe. Recently, it was Irma. Fortunately, we were spared the worst here on the Atlantic Coast, although we did not go unscathed. Irma was a gigantic monster!

After Matthew, my house remained boarded into November. But it felt like forever!

Our 1st cool spell has arrived and I am unable to open my windows to fully enjoy it!

Again and for a longer span this time I am remaining boarded. It's gloomy and depressing inside, however I have so much difficulty finding someone to board and unboard me, I figure it saves me stress! And money! Rarely, have I found someone willing to do it for free or even at a reasonable price. There are lots of gougers out there! And as a woman alone I'm a special target.

When the tropics are tranquil, I look forward to autumn. I love the early evening darkness it brings. I find it calming and it heralds the best part of the year, the holidays. However this boarded up darkness feels unnatural and confining.

I recall the 2004 hurricanes with horror. Florida was slammed by four! Here on the east coast we were hit by two, just three weeks apart to the day. My friend Margaret who lived in the center of the state suffered the fury of all four!

Until I moved to Vero Beach, I experienced only two hurricanes in 48 years on the Treasure Coast. I've been in Vero for 18 years now and have been hit by four! Actually five since Irma struck here as a category 1!

Now, every year starting in late summer I freak out!  One day we will get a direct hit from a category 5! Stronger storms are forming than what we've experienced in the past. Even a category 4 is catastrophic! Heck, even a 3 or less can be!

Unlike last year, all the signs were apparent that we were in for a hurricane! Spring and summer were unusually dry. When this happens nature over compensates by sending one. Plus the sea turtles were building their nests high in the dunes rather than along the shore; another ominous sign!

I was telling everyone way back in July that we were in for a hurricane this season! Last year I saw Matthew coming in my tea leaves. Some people now accuse me of being some kind of witch!

A deadly hurricane gave the Treasure Coast its name. A gold and jewel laden Spanish fleet sailed directly into one in 1716. Its treasures still turn up in our waters. This entire area is part of the old Spanish Main. But to me, it's become hurricane alley!

I am hoping, praying, and wishing no more hurricanes will be making landfall in the future! Let them all blow out to sea and dissipate! Like everyone else, I need to get on with my life.

Glad I didn't delay my cataract surgery or I'd have been in the dark in a worse way, it would have been permanent!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

FARSIGHTED AGAIN!!!


My cataract surgeries were performed a week apart. These lenses  are supposed to last a lifetime. This is wonderful news!!!

The first surgery was by far the smoothest. I don't remember anything after they gave me the sedative. It was as if I slept thru the procedure, which I probably did. It was the easiest surgery I'll ever have.

Afterward, I was offered snacks. (I'd not been allowed anything to eat or drink since 3:00 AM that morning. (But the day before I enjoyed a big holiday style meal.) After surgery, I should have been starving, but I wasn't. And I didn't miss coffee or tea one bit, but I was dying for a glass of water! Ugh, their snacks sucked and almost made me throw up!

That day was the beginning of a tropical front moving thru bringing almost non-stop rain for a week. Fortunately, I had my umbrella and I use my garage door as my main entry. This prevented me from getting soaked when the shuttle brought me home.

I remained woozy for awhile afterward, but when the fog lifted my vision was amazingly sharper. The eye was sore; I saw streamers of light and weird flashing in my peripheral vision, along with a strange rash under that eye. But it was more discomfort than pain. I didn't require even an aspirin.

When I sat down to watch television that night suddenly I had High Def TV! -- I don't subscribe to it, but that's how everything looks now! I didn't realize my vision had declined to that extend.

The next morning when I looked around, my first thought was that I need to remove myself from Facebook and start cleaning my house! And mind you my windows are still boarded plus it was dark and stormy outside.

The following day, I felt I could drive to the grocery store, however my street was flooded and the rain showed no sign of ceasing. Water was over my ankles by the mailbox and up to my calves further down the road. I have an older, low-built car. If water splashes up into the fan belt my steering wheel locks, it wasn't worth the risk!

I was forced to dip into my storm pantry. Thanks to hurricane Irma it was well stocked!

My snowbird friend Marie called to tell me she would be returning the Saturday after my next surgery. Her refrigerator had died over the summer, so she needed to use my garage freezer. Thanks to an active hurricane season there was plenty of free space.

The day before my 2nd surgery, I was finally able to go grocery shopping. When I returned, I discovered my garage freezer leaking! I phoned Jetson Appliances and asked for the cheapest 5 ft. freezer they had and how soon they could deliver. In the morning, I was told. I informed them I was having surgery then.

Early the next AM, the shuttle came. This surgery was far more unpleasant.

In the waiting area is a large TV screen set on a Golden Oldies channel. Previously, I listened to Disco tunes I hadn't heard in 30 plus years. Now it was 1960's tunes from my High School days. This dated music did not make me feel young; it had the opposite effect.

Unlike the previous time, I was awake more during this surgery. My left eye was dilated so large that the iris was nearly invisible. An excruciatingly bright light was shined directly into it. It felt like torture!!! I wanted to close my eye but couldn't and my head was taped down so I couldn't turn away.

I'd been given anti-nausea medication this time, so I was starving afterward! And the snacks they offered were still crappy! For what this procedure cost; I should have been given a 4 egg French omelet, cheddar biscuits, pecan pancakes with fresh strawberries & whipped cream, and a large mocha latte to wash everything down!

On a trip to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco back in 1977 I met a lady who was a young bride in Nazi occupied Holland. She said the Dutch wanted to throttle the American pilots for dropping chocolate bars while the people were starving! -- I know this is a silly, invalid comparison; but that's what popped into my head as I was chowing down on the cereal bars I'd brought from home.

Next, I waited around for what seemed forever for a post operation exam before the shuttle driver could bring me home. Again, I'd been given huge dark sunglasses that went over my eye brows and covered the sides of my eyes.

I wasn't home even long enough to change clothes when the new freezer arrived. However, it was damaged and the wrong size!!!  I wanted an upright 5 ft. freezer and this one was 5 cubic ft.! It wouldn't hold all of my stuff, much less Marie's, too! Plus it had a broken handle! I sent it back for a replacement. This was another big expense at the wrong time!!!

My vision didn't return nearly as fast as before. I was literally blind in my left eye most of the next day. The following one, it returned, but was exactly the same bad sight as before the procedure! -- However I was told that each eye responds differently and it would come around eventually.

Now that my vision is fully restored, I'd like to take an exotic trip to make the most of it, however these peepers didn't come cheap, so that's out of the question for the near future.  :(

Hopefully in my next incarnation I'll have bionic eyes; however they must have remote viewing and be able shoot fire or lasers! Now THAT would really be fun!!!

Monday, October 2, 2017

YIKES, WHAT'S THIS NOW


That was my reaction upon learning I had cataract issues.
 
One of my favorite cartoon strips BIZARRO recently featured a man declaring himself "Officially Old" because he wasted 10 minutes chasing an eye floater with a fly swatter! Good grief! For the last 20 years I've been battling a giant hornet in my right eye!

Back in 2012 during my first visit to the Florida Eye Institute I was warned this giant floater would someday come apart, and when it did, the retina in that eye was liable to come unattached. This has been my worry ever since without any thought to cataracts.

Now I must have cataract surgery I can barely afford. (No Insurance & ineligible for Medicare.) The alternative is going blind!!! 

Between this hurricane season, the expense of my upcoming surgery, and this insane Trump presidency; I haven't been able to sleep!

Usually, I get up and watch a movie on my DVR.  Often these late night movies are the ones that stand out most in my mind. But not anymore! These nights I can't even concentrate enough to follow a plot, not to mention my TV screen is getting ever more blurry.

A friend told me that cataract surgery is a right of passage as we age. -- Then how come old people in centuries past weren't all blind? Sure their life spans were shorter, yet many who survived into dotage managed to hang on to at least most of their sight. Guess it's all in the genes.

I was required to take a physical exam before any surgery could be performed, one more added expense!!! Personally, I think if I can walk thru the door under my own power I'm fit for the procedure, but they disagreed. Geez, now I had to find a walk-in clinic! With my waning vision I was almost scared to drive. I couldn't see road signs until I was right on top of them!

I had no problems with familiar places, but having to locate an unknown address in busy traffic added to my nightmares! 

Fortunately, after my eyes were measured for surgery the Institute recommended a clinic close to them that was easy to find. And when I showed up to schedule an exam they did it right away! Also the Eye Institute has a shuttle that will pick me up and bring me home. My right eye is the worst and will be first. 

Now I can stop practicing saying and pronouncing, "Hola & donde esta el bano?" since both surgeries will be performed here in Vero Beach. And with the recent earthquakes in Mexico this probably is for the best. Just imagine being in the middle of eye surgery (or any surgery) when an earthquake strikes! Now that is anxiety inducing!!!

This is a simple outpatient procedure. I'm far more stressed and tearing my hair out over the COST, not the surgery!

November 1, the post Halloween horror arrives, my property taxes are due. UGH!!! Mine are close to $2000! I think that amount is crazy for the place I have!

I just hope we don't get hit with anymore hurricanes in the near future. With my high hurricane deductible it would be at least 2020 before I could afford any repairs to my home!

I may come to regret not expatriating to the Third World. However I didn't find it to be the retiree paradise all the international publications claimed. What I have here, even with my limited funds and hurricanes, is more of a paradise!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

THE THREATENING MONSTER


When I unfolded my newspaper Saturday AM 9-9-17 it read:  STATE OF FEAR in all capital letters. I thought that was an understatement!  Irma a category 5 hurricane was headed directly toward us! A CAT 5 is a roof-ripper! Even if it weakened to a 4 it would still be catastrophic! I wondered if I would have a house remaining or even be alive on Monday.

I joked that if I survived I would be poor, homeless, & blind! But the joke was too close to reality to be funny. At least my house was insured although my body is not. And hurricane deductibles are high and I needed that money for my cataract surgery! This couldn't be happening at a worse time!

On the other hand, if I didn't survive it would solve all of my problems. However, there's a long list of people I do not want to be reunited with in the afterlife! So I had to get myself together!  

I tried to determine what I needed to save and what I was willing to sacrifice to the storm. I wasn't actually willing to sacrifice anything but I had no choice. And some of my choices I started to reconsider afterward, such as my bathing suit. Despite a thorough washing it still smelled of the Galapagos Islands from my trip 2 summers ago. I didn't want to part with it or any of my souvenirs from Thailand. None of these were Sophie's choices, but all of my things are precious to me.

Everything I wanted to save needed to be downstairs; even then I could still lose everything due to the category of this storm. By the end of the day every muscle in my body ached from lugging things down those stairs.

I put together a grab & go bag with all of my important papers, cash, and several changes of clothes in the event I had to evacuate to a FEMA trailer, later. However I was determined NOT to spend the storm in a shelter. Others I'd known who rode a hurricane out in one swore they'd never do it again. And these are people who enjoy the company of others. I am not one of those! At least in my home I'd only have to deal with hurricane drama without the added people drama too.

My safe room has always been the windowless downstairs bathroom. However, with a storm of this magnitude I was starting to rethink that. Should my cathedral ceiling be peeled back or the front door go flying away, I doubt the bathroom door would hold  once the storm was inside. And if the garage doors should bend, my car could be blown right thru the bathroom wall killing me inside! -- During hurricane David, a lesser hurricane back in Stuart, my father's car was blown from our carport and down the driveway.

I decided my new safe area would be the back hallway. It didn't have a door to close, but it was next to 2 rooms I could quickly escape into and hope at least one would hold.
 
Before I went to bed that night I planned to pull the mattress off the daybed in my guestroom and push it off the loft railing onto the carpet below rather than try to drag it down the stairs. I wondered if I'd ever feel the comfort of my own bed again.

Food was plentiful in my storm pantry. And besides my 2 huge plastic jugs & lots of empty milk bottles, I filled everything that would hold tap water, including waste baskets & tea kettles. My water was divided into 3 categories: drinking, washing, & flushing.

Earlier in the week, I called number after number in desperation trying to find someone to board my house. Mostly, I got answering machines. The few who picked-up told me they were too busy. One suggested I call a church! I felt they were telling me I didn't have a prayer!

Finally, one man phoned me back! He said he would be here noon Friday to board up my house.

Thursday afternoon, my neighbors across the street astounded me! After letting me twist-in-the -wind during 4 previous hurricanes they offered to board me! By now I had the only house in the neighborhood unprotected. I thanked them, but a man was coming noon the following day.

But then, Friday came and it was getting late in the afternoon and storm winds would be arriving Saturday. The man I hired was running way behind schedule still boarding other people. I was starting to panic! So I called my neighbors. But I could tell they were not happy about it.

They boarded-up my house and I'm grateful! But they made it clear they would NOT be unboarding. One even told me, "If you need anything else, knock on our door and then keep moving." -- Geez, tell me how you really feel!

The man I hired finally showed up around 5:00 PM Saturday. I must have been dead last on his list!!! I paid him to repair a board that came loose and was hanging from my chimney. Apparently, that previous workman I'd hired to replace rotting wood had missed more than a few places!

By Saturday afternoon, Irma had shifted farther west. We were out of the cone but due to the gigantic size of this storm we would still be in for a wild ride on Sunday!

Due to that shift in direction we were spared the worst of Irma, although Sunday became wild and wicked starting in late afternoon. I was praying my electricity would hold long enough to watch the season premiere of Outlander. -- What a difference a day makes!

As I watched the show, I listened to the fierce howling winds outside and the heavy rains besieging the house; I heard the exploding of power going out in the next neighborhood over. I held my breath.

At 11:00 PM when I went to bed, I was so confident of not losing power that I left both my flashlight & hurricane lamp downstairs. It was something I came to regret! The power went out at midnight!

The next morning I would not be enjoying the large celebration breakfast I planned on preparing. My electricity would not be restored until around 5:30 PM. But I was still without TV, Internet, and a phone. The small battery-operated pad I'd purchased for my trips refused to connect. It told me what to do, but offered no direction as to how. I wanted to smash it on the floor!

I remember going thru hurricane Della when I was 14 and David when I was 28. Both times, when the power was restored EVERYTHING came back at once! And our landlines worked even during hurricanes! In fact, my phones still worked during and after hurricanes right up until I subscribed to the bundle in 2010. So there's something to be said for the good old days. Della & David were Stuart hurricanes.

After moving to Vero Beach came Irene, Frances, Jeane, and Wilma! The place my father swore never got hit by hurricanes due to its angle on the map! I knew better, but you couldn't tell him anything.

Tuesday, became my outside clean-up day, starting early and still sore; I picked up branches in my yard and raked leaves. My hands & feet became cut, blistered and bug-bitten. My clothes were soaked in sweat. This is Florida after all and it's still summer. Around mid- afternoon I'd had enough and decided to save the rest for my yard man. But plenty of work was still awaiting me inside.

Thankfully, there was no damage to the house itself.

Wednesday, unable to reach me, my friend Rose, fearing I was dead or injured drove over. I was still without phone, internet, or TV. We used her cell phone to report the problem to ATT. They told us they were aware of the issue, but didn't seem optimistic about resolving it anytime soon. But at least I had light and air-conditioning which many in Florida were still without.

If not for my daily newspaper I would have no idea what was going on in the outside world! Friday was a joyous day when everything was at last restored! However my boards are remaining up until hurricane season ends in November!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

FLASHING WARNING LIGHTS


Not long ago, I watched a movie on my DVR titled: Would You Rather. The premise: A sadistic billionaire holds a contest and he pays the survivor's bills for the duration of their life. Of course I was rooting for the young and pretty vegetarian with the sickly brother.

The contest consisted of a series of choices all of them unpleasant to say the least. Choices such as would you rather have all your fingernails yanked out by pliers or your head held under in a barrel of urine for two minutes? Next question, do you choose to have a nail hammered thru your tongue or receive a major electric shock to your privates, and on and on.

Just recently, I had an eye exam at Sears. My right eye was by far the worst. I joked that I needed a monocle.  But the Optometrist was concerned about the pin prick flashes of light I kept seeing. He strongly suggested that I schedule an appointment at the Florida Eye Institute.

"If those lights become streaks or resemble lightning seek medical attention immediately," he told me.

Two nights later, I got up to use the bathroom and both times I saw all kinds of streaks and lights in my right eye! Alarmed, I was unable to go back to sleep.

First thing the following AM, I set up an appointment with the Eye Institute. Then I phoned Sears and told them to put my order for the 3 pairs of glasses on hold. If cataract surgery was upcoming my prescription would change.

Suddenly I could relate to the movie dilemmas above. I was faced with the choice of a tremendous hit to my already low savings or going blind! And there is no billionaire in this picture except for that piece of human excrement in the White House, the one who promised affordable health care for everyone. I didn't vote for him because I knew there was no way this pompous buffoon could ever deliver. His current political party fought tooth & nail against it. I'll never forget those hollers of "Let them die!" followed by laughter during a previous election season.

I contacted a Medical Tourism site online. Tijuana was the cheapest, however that's a border town with a reputation and I'd fear for my life! The next was Cancun, this sounded better, like a vacation without fun.

However, my friend Marie, who has been to Mexico, more recently than I have, said even Cancun is not safe anymore. Back in the 1970's, Acapulco was a beautiful (although swelteringly hot) tourist spot. I was there, twice. Now it has become so crime ridden and dangerous the tourists avoid it! Still Cancun might be my only affordable option.

After a thorough exam at the Florida Eye Institute, I was hit with the news that cataract surgery was required on BOTH eyes!!! I don't have Insurance and despite my age I don't qualify for Medicare due to my history. And I don't qualify for Medicaid because I'm just poor, not destitute.

The Florida Eye Institute is lenient with low income people as to prevent them from going blind. They will perform the surgery at their rock bottom price. But even that is sky high to someone like me! Plus I just had lots of expensive major repairs to the outside of my home! But I budgeted for those and cut-back and went without. This is a tremendous out-of-the-blue expense!

And now because it's TWO eyes rather than one, this makes Mexico less of a bargain. Only one eye can be operated on at a time. This means I'd have to hang around Cancun longer. Besides the cost of airfare, there's the hotel fee, meals, taxis, etc...Also I'd be away from my home during peak hurricane season. I need to stay for damage control.

So I will probably have the surgery here. I just hope there are no complications to further run up the price.

I'm only 66, I thought it would be another 10 years at least before I'd be faced with the health issues I'm now experiencing. My legs feel as if they've been shot with Novocain from the knees down due to Peripheral Neuropathy. Fortunately, there is no pain now, just numbness. Unlike my Diverticulitis!  According to Google the frequent burning sensation in my left arm is nerve damage. And then this!

Suddenly I'm feeling elderly.

And now a major hurricane, Irma is poised to strike and turn our beautiful Treasure Coast into a junk yard.  Oh no!!! That's all I need!!!