A New Life! Retirement at its Best 67

I am an Octogenarian!

It was an exciting day, right from the start. Nothing went the way It was supposed to. We were planning to go with the whole family on a carriage ride in Raleigh, to see the lights. Then  afterwards we’d have dinner in one of the specialty places downtown, where we normally never get to. On Sunday the 23rd, Dennis came to tell us that their plans had changed. They were going skiing in Utah. The plan was to go on standby with Stephanie’s brother and his family. Her brother is a pilot with Delta, so he had some clout and buddy passes as well for all of them. They left on my birthday and came back on the 31st, and had the trip of their lifetime, as Dennis put it.

So that was all wonderful, but in the meantime we had reserved a carriage for 7 people and so I decided to ask some others to join us. The plan was then to go to Raleigh and back with Uber and have drinks and pizza at our house. However, in a retirement place like ours, it proved to be impossible to find a couple who could make it. Varying from mental problems to back problems to going out of town, we found no takers and went by ourselves. And oh, were we happy that it worked out that way. Not only was it romantic, but the steps up to get into and out of the carriage would have been too  high and narrow for other people and it was cold to sit in the open carriage for an hour from 5 – 6 p.m. I was prepared with extra warm clothing and the driver had a blanket for both of us to snuggle under.

The day started with a panic right after breakfast. I was on the phone talking to Jeff, inviting him for our carriage ride, when the doorbell rang. The dog was loose in the house and when Mike opened the door Lani shot out like an arrow out of a bow towards the street. Consternation! Mike could not understand what the young woman at the door was saying – she had a Mexican accent and came with a large shopping bag, which she put on the floor. After pushing the phone in Mike’s hand I ran out to get Lani back. She does not know all commands yet, but came back to me! I put her in her kennel, then asked the woman what she wanted. She needed to see my ID because in the bag was a gift which contained alcohol. I ran inside and got the black banner that I had gotten for my birthday, which said 80 has not looked this good, put it on and said, “I’m 80 today, see?” But she insisted she needed to see my ID. I got my driver License, showed it to her, and then she also needed my signature on her machine before I could take possession of the bag. In the mean time Jeff was still on the phone, so I ended my conversation with him and opened the bag in the kitchen. No note, no name, but a bottle of pink champagne and a fruit tart appeared. Ah! The pink champagne is the trademark of one of our daughters, who even took a bottle to the hospital when she was going to deliver her baby!


We had never before used Uber before and so two days before Christmas Dennis put the Uber app on my cell phone and showed me what to do to get a ride. On Christmas Day I decided to try it and reported to Mike “Hey, it’s working. Jennifer is 11 minutes away.” Satisfied, I closed the phone. A few minutes later I picked it up again and saw that Jennifer was now 8 minutes away. Goodness! I had pushed one button to many and someone was actually on her way! Now what? I texted the driver I’m sorry! Cancel this trip! I don’t need it today. I need a ride tomorrow not today. I made a mistake. Please cancel this trip. But of course Uber does not work that way – you can’t make a reservation, they come when you call.

Jennifer has arrived my phone said. Then she texted You have to cancel. If I cancel it will look bad on my reputation.

How do I cancel?

At the bottom of your App it says Cancel.

I went there but dear Jennifer had mercifully already cancelled for me. Then my phone said, you cancelled your driver. Larry is on his way. He should be there in 8 minutes. Heavens! I quickly pushed the Cancel button. Then the phone asked if I was willing to pay $10,33 for JennIfer’s lost time and all I could answer was Yes. Uber had my credit card number so I was powerless. Then it was quiet. Phew! Everything ended well, however, when I looked at my credit card later and saw a charge for the trip to Raleigh and then a credit for the same amount. It was a scary learning experience!

The Uber ride to Raleigh went well and our carriage was waiting. We had a knowledgeable driver and a strong horse in front of us (I actually liked the smell, and she looked decent: her behind was covered by a black rubber cover hanging from underneath her tail down to her thighs) we drove around in the beautiful old neighborhood of Oakwood while it got dark slowly admiring the decorations outside the homes while brightly shining Christmas trees inside the homes radiated light through uncovered windows.

We were the last ride of the day and I pulled up Uber on my cell phone to arrange a ride home. But Uber seemed stuck and did not move after asking for my cell phone number. To make a long story short, the driver waited with us until I had called my two children who were skiing in Utah and left messages and our daughter in California. After five minutes the California daughter called back and saved us by calling Uber on her phone and arranging a ride home for us. I let the dog out and then we warmed up again at our favorite Mexican restaurant just 2 miles away with spicy food and a strong margarita. Reading my birthday mail back home ended my special day on a very happy note.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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