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BS: Boring in Guam

18 Sep 20 - 06:07 AM (#4072341)
Subject: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

New Thread on my life on a tropical island.

Boring in Guam

I appreciate everyone wanting to know what’s going on. It’s funny but when you move to a new and exciting part of the world every day is an adventure. New sights, sounds, and smells abound. Then, well, it becomes just part of daily life. You wake up, drink coffee, converse with your spouse, go to work, come home pay bills eat supper, and go to bed. Same old, same old. I have eliminated some of that. I’m retired. No alarm wakes me up, no hurried breakfast before rushing out the door, and my bills are paid automatically from my tiny bank account. My life is humdrum. There isn’t much to report. Wakana and I are fine. COVID is tearing up the island but we generally stay home and hide. She is teaching high school Japanese online and I, well that’s another story.

My last entry on the Mudcat was August 17, 2017. I had had a stroke on July 6 and I was still in recovery. I still am. My legs are very weak. My right one possibly due to the stroke but arthritic knees also are taking their toll.

When I was recovering from my stroke I didn’t pay attention to my mail. I didn’t need to. My retirement went into my bank account and the bills were paid from there. One piece of mail I missed was the one telling me my life insurance was going to expire in 60 days. I found that letter 3 or 4 months later so I no longer have life insurance.

Ugh! That’s enough bad news. More later when I get to news of COVID-19 on Guam.

In 2018 we siblings decided to sell The Farm. The Farm was 300 acres of land with a farmhouse and some outbuildings. There were about 100 acres of fields, Hannigan Pond, and the old stage road to Oakfield. That road was little more than an old tote road that ran for miles past County Road Lake and on to the swamps north of Meduxnekeag Lake.

It was a difficult decision. The Farm was one of the last complete homestead sections in Maine. We didn’t want to see it broken up to make subdivisions. Plus it was our children’s happy place. But with Mom and Dad gone it stood empty. We had rented it but that didn’t turn out well. So we sold it in 2019. Our shares were just under $40,000! I sent $1,000 to each of my kids and $500 to my granddaughter. I told Wakana we should repair the house. The roof leaks were terrible and our kitchen and bathrooms needed upgrading. You won’t believe her choice.

You see, our house has a rectangular floorplan. At one end are the bedrooms. At the other end is the carport. Wakana’s request was to enclose the carport! I knew immediately that would use up most of the money but I couldn’t argue. We needed the extra space. It would allow us to have a great sunny and airy living room and to create a wonderful office in the old living room. I had a few requirements of my own. Fixing the roof was paramount as was paying off my car loan.

To make a long story short we hired a contractor and got the job done. The contractor was Russian as was his crew so we couldn’t understand a word when they spoke among themselves. On the first day one of the crew wanted something. He pulled out a cell phone and spoke into it and the phone asked for moving stairs. He wanted a ladder.

Working with Artur was a whole new experience. I don’t like it when people make fun of people for whom English is a second, third, or fourth language but… Plus Wakana had trouble dealing with Artur. He wouldn’t listen to her and he wanted me to confirm everything she said. On the day we signed the contract I told him the job had been her idea and she was going to be in charge. As it turned out he was culturally unable to hear her. He was Muslim. It all came to a head when she sat him down, stood over him, and shook her finger in his face speaking clearly and firmly (she won’t let me say she yelled at him) explaining what he was going to do. I had a tough time keeping a straight face. Artur’s face turned redder than any face I’ve ever seen.

Anyway we now have a roof that doesn’t leak, a very nice living rooms with large windows and two small air conditioners, and ceiling fans. I built a set of low bookcases to set under the windows. I also built an entertainment center to hold our big TV, two large speakers, the cable box, a DVD player, my old JVC AM/FM tuner and amplifier, an old laptop computer, and a turntable. The computer and the laptop are on drawer slides. There is even room for six feet of LPs on the bottom. AND I put the whole thing on wheels so I can easily move it out to work on the wiring.

Gonna take a break. Will post more later.

18 Sep 20 - 06:10 AM (#4072342)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

I've forgotten how to make a link to connect to Where's Naemanson? Could someone please make the link for me while I try to remember how to do it?

18 Sep 20 - 07:29 AM (#4072353)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Jack Campin

Where's Naemanson?

18 Sep 20 - 09:31 AM (#4072363)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney

good to know what you are doing.

18 Sep 20 - 10:13 AM (#4072369)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Charmion

Hey, Brett: I'm glad to know you and Wakana are still on this side of the sod and enjoying life.

Edmund (CET) and I moved from Ottawa (large, sub-boreal city in eastern Ontario) to Stratford (much smaller, more temperate county town in southwestern Ontario) three years ago. I don't quite remember when the new-ness wore off and we settled down to one day after another, but, in March, when COVID-19 hit Canada, we had definitely got there.

I feel enormously grateful to be safely retired and able to hunker down at home, venturing out only when necessary. Yes, it's boring, but in a good way.

18 Sep 20 - 12:18 PM (#4072381)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Does anyone besides me think that "Boring in Guam" sounds like the sign-off in a letter to either Ann Landers or Dear Abby?

18 Sep 20 - 12:28 PM (#4072383)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Mrrzy

Andrew I totally did!

Welcome back Naemanson!

18 Sep 20 - 05:37 PM (#4072421)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Ebbie

Good show, Naemanson! May the fount never dry!

19 Sep 20 - 04:46 AM (#4072452)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Roger the Skiffler

Thanks for getting back in touch, Brett. I've always enjoyed your Guam stories, best wishes for continued recovery. I was lucky when I had my TIA that I had no lasting effects. Looking forward to reading more.

19 Sep 20 - 09:10 PM (#4072520)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

Boring in Guam 2

A while after my stroke my brother-in-law in Japan had a very similar stroke. It was more severe than mine but it affected most of the same areas as mine. His included control of his facial muscles whereas my face was mostly untouched. The difference is in how the Japanese health system supported him.

I woke in the wee hours and went to the kitchen for some water. As I got there my right leg quit working and I fell. I dragged myself to my feet and went back to the bedroom holding on to the walls all the way. Wakana drove me to the hospital. I was in the hospital for 6 days then released. I was in a wheelchair for a whole. Wakana, bless her, moved our queen sized mattress/box spring into the living room just a few steps from the guest bathroom and in front of the TV. I had weekly doctor appointments for which Wakana had to lift my oversized wheelchair into and out of the car. I had biweekly physical therapy appointments. I finally graduated to a walker which was easier for Wakana to get into and out of the car. The insurance only covered so many PT appointments but the therapist arranged for the treatments to continue at a special price.

My brother-in-law, on the other hand is covered by the Japanese universal healthcare system. He had his stroke while working with a high school student (he is a professional tutor). The ambulance had him in the hospital within half an hour. He had a MONTH in the hospital with DAILY physical therapy sessions. They moved him to a specialized PT hospital where he had two sessions a day for another month. When we visited him in the PT hospital he was in a tiny but very comfortable apartment. He was playing his guitar. His wife and daughter could visit any time. There were electronic boards outside the elevator telling guests who was at a PT session and when they would be done.

And that treatment cost his family $800. I have never seen a bill from the hospital for my 6 days there. I had to pay a copay for each subsequent doctor visit and I had to pay a reduced rate for PT. I live in fear of the eventual bill from the hospital. It’s been three years and I’m still waiting. I refuse to call them. I figure it’s up to them to bill me. If they don’t want the money I won’t give it to them.

Anyway, that’s the difference between universal healthcare and our oh-so-wonderful capitalized system. My brother-in-law is free and clear while I have this cloud hanging over my head. His PT left him able to play music (guitar and piano) while I can no longer play at all. Think about that next time someone tells you universal health care doesn’t work.

At least I have Wakana.

19 Sep 20 - 09:16 PM (#4072521)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

By the way, where did all the advertising come from? I can understand it but if ever there was a reason for one of us to win the lottery this is it. Imagine funding the Mudcat completely so we could go back to the way it was in the old days. Of course I'd also wish we could have the 'catters who've passed on, Catspaw, Curmudgeon, Barry Finn, and all the others who have joined the heavenly jug band.

19 Sep 20 - 09:38 PM (#4072527)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

I just posted this in the music section. I thought it might be useful here.

Three years ago I had a stroke that affected my right side. A few years ago I had a carpal tunnel release on my left arm. I'd waited too long on the carpal tunnel release and the nerve was damaged beyond hope.

I have two working fingers, index and middle, as well as my thumb on my left hand. My right hand is clumsy and slow. Typing is a pain and I spend as much time correcting typos and typing.

Result: I cannot play my guitars, or my pennywhistle, and my efforts to learn the violin are done.

But I want to play music. I'm thinking of getting a mountain dulcimer. With what manual dexterity I have left do you think I can make that work? Can you suggest another instrument?

20 Sep 20 - 08:37 AM (#4072570)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Mrrzy

Ooh, Naemanson, excellent question. I wish you success.

20 Sep 20 - 08:44 PM (#4072624)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Bill D

The left hand is actually a bit more important on a dulcimer than the right. Strumming can be done 'gently', but fretting requires steady pressure. You'd know pretty soon how hard you can strum... and many things can be used as picks.

21 Sep 20 - 01:26 PM (#4072677)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Bill D

Oh... I got confused by the other thread.

21 Sep 20 - 04:49 PM (#4072692)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Donuel

Auto harp chord changes are very satisfying.

21 Sep 20 - 07:50 PM (#4072709)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

Thanks for the link Jack Campin.

Yeah, Sandy, I’m still here chugging away. I hope you’re OK too.

Charmion, there’s a temperate town in Ontario? Whodathunkit.

Andrew and Mrrzy, the name of the thread was chosen for that reason.

Will do, Roger. I didn’t realize I had such a fan club.

Donuel, chording and autoharp looks like it would be easy to learn (probably not but leave me my illusions). I’m more worried about the way I’ve seen players hands float over the strings. I don’t think my hands would allow that.

21 Sep 20 - 08:27 PM (#4072717)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

We’re really getting clobbered with the COVID-19 club. All year we coasted along with daily positive cases always less than a dozen, many times in the single digits. We had our fifth death in mid April then no more until August 20. In the month since then we’ve had 30 more COVID deaths and positive cases average 36 a day! Ugh. Wakana went through a mask making phase early on and now we are doing well in that arena. She made me a really nice Dr. Who mask with a hand drawn TARDIS on it.

Back in January an obscure law change allowed me, as a disabled veteran, to access the base Exchange (essentially a department store) and the Commissary (for groceries). Prices for groceries are about half of those in the rest of the island. It’s been a big help. I can even afford to drink orange juice now and I can buy fresh fruit. Unfortunately Wakana cannot go with me.

Back in the spring Wakana had to learn how to teach online. She hated it. Wakana really breaks the stereotype for Japanese. She hates computer technology and she really hated learning to use Google Classroom. There were tears and agitated language. I referred to her teaching as that time when she yells at her computer.

Now we’re in our second quarantine and she recently told me she likes online teaching. I think one reason is the headphone/microphone I gave her. But then she has gotten used to the process and is more comfortable with working online.

In our new room we have one door that opens on the driveway. The other door opens on to the backyard. In the morning they both stand open. This morning sitting at the table I heard rain falling. I looked at the back door. The clouds had darkened everything and the rain was pouring. Out the front door the sun was shining and I saw blue skies. Typical Guam weather.

My only outlet has been my writing. I am making progress on my fantasy novel. I’ve done three unusual post apocalypse short stories. I really need someone with whom I can discuss my work. I have no illusions about ever publishing these things but I’d like to get them as good as I possibly can. Any volunteers?

Gotta go. More later.

22 Sep 20 - 07:49 PM (#4072800)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Ebbie

Brett, I too write not for publication. I enjoy it. Mostly I start a story in my head and at a certain point I transfer a more detailed version onto the computer. I don't always finish them- last time I checked I had something like 20 stories on the computer and only three of them were finished. The others are 'in process'.

I am sure there are Mudcatters here who are more professional than I am but I do recognize good writing and I love to read other peoples' efforts. I would be available any time so shoot something over to me if you are interested. I am at

24 Sep 20 - 07:08 AM (#4072969)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

I had to go out today to refill prescriptions. I intended to stop at the electronics store also but I'm no longer comfortable out in the world. I'll need groceries soon so that's a trip to the base. And I need to stop at The Doctor's Clinic to pick up a lab form for my next appointment.

In January 2018 I needed some form of exercise to help in my recovery from my stroke. I tried water aerobics. I joined a group at the Hagatna pool. I did that up to the point that they closed it for the lockdown. It was good exercise, easy on the arthritis. And the group was a lot of fun. We had everyone from the instructor's 91 year old Japanese mother to a Chinese kid who came with her father. She was 11 and being home schooled. Because this is Guam we had real diversity. There were Spanish speakers from Argentina, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Later we acquired some Russians and Ukrainians. There were a few Hawaiians too. The conversation languages circled the world.

We met at 8:00 AM. The sky was always bright blue and the fairy terns flew in their pairs, impossibly white, sometimes swooping sometimes hovering. Occasionally it would rain. Then the jokes about getting wet came out.

Unfortunately maintenance is not a strong suit for GovGuam. By mid 2019 we were bouncing from Hagatna to Dededo to Tumon looking for a pool to use. None were as good as Hagatna and that one was finally closed. We have no idea where we can meet in the future.

26 Sep 20 - 03:45 PM (#4073226)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: keberoxu

Have to say, it doesn't sound boring.

26 Sep 20 - 10:34 PM (#4073272)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

Keberoxu, I'll work on it...

27 Sep 20 - 03:45 PM (#4073372)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: keberoxu

"Where did all the advertising come from?"

Suffice to say, Naemanson, that
entire Mudcat threads have been devoted to that very question.
And the threads do contain information which answers the question.
You're also not the only one who finds the adverts distracting.

28 Sep 20 - 12:52 AM (#4073414)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Ebbie

Am I oblivious? I have not noticed any advertising.

28 Sep 20 - 04:29 AM (#4073427)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Sandra in Sydney

folks with adblockers don't see them

28 Sep 20 - 04:49 PM (#4073519)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Ebbie


30 Sep 20 - 01:57 AM (#4073668)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Naemanson

They say if you gave an infinite number of monkeys and infinite number of typewriters they would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. I guess that means if you gave an average guy or girl enough time they could write a few stories.

This is to say I just published something on Kindle. I had Ebbie read through it (Thank you, Ebbie!), made some changes, fought my way through Kindle'so process, and my work is floating around in cyberspace. The title is Stories of the Postapocalypse. It's available for $0.99.

30 Sep 20 - 05:19 AM (#4073688)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Ebbie

Hey, Mudcat! Brett is a good writer and a wonderful story teller. I'm looking forward to a sequel to at least one of his stories. Maybe even a serial. It grabs you.

All three are interesting. One, a little darker, takes you into a different world. And the other- what can I say? Brett got into the heads of the programmed!

02 Oct 20 - 01:25 PM (#4074075)
Subject: RE: BS: Boring in Guam
From: Charley Noble


Nice to peek into Mudcat and see that you are posting again.

I think you'll love working with an autoharp. I'd suggest one of the 15 bar models. You already know what chords to use for your favorite songs. The initial tuning is a challenge but it gets better. You can also make your own custom chords, after you figure out how the contraption works. I always added an Em and a D chord.