Chaffin’s Barn Theater-A Fun Neighbor Just Down the Road

Just down the road on Hwy 100 Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater offers a special deal to seniors called “Senior Matinee”. There are two choices of deals, one choice is admission only, the second choice is admission and a Box Lunch. Bonney and I attended a Senior Matinee showing of the musical “Annie” on Thursday, August 25.

I was able to make reservations within one week of the show date. Tickets cost $19 each. I don’t know whether a mystery or a comedy would cost as much since they have much smaller casts.  We ordered box lunches for $8.50 each with unlimited beverages, coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Doors open at 11:00 am and the show started at 12:00 noon. It’s a steep uphill climb from the parking lot but we got there early enough (10:55 am) to pull into one of the  handicapped spots at the front entrance.

A trio of piano, guitar, and drummer provided the music accompaniment to a cast of 20 including 8 children. The music talent in Nashville is incredible.  The trio filled the hall with their playing and the singing was the outstanding quality I have grown to expect in Nashville. As I read through the program I couldn’t help notice that a number of the cast got their early experience at Opryland. I will never forgive Gaylord for closing that park and replacing it with a mall.

150 of us in the audience included 3 large groups that arrived by bus. One of the groups came all the way from Little Rock, AR. The first time Bonney and I attended a show at Chaffin’s Barn Theater was 30 years ago when we lived in Bowling Green, KY. At that time the drive from the edge of Nashville to the theater was a major trek to the boonies! We now live about 5 miles away and it is a short trip. The remaining shows for this season include Writer’s Block, a Mystery; Southern Fried Funeral,  A Country Christmas Carol, and Boeing Boeing, all comedies. They are on the web at


Cutting Utility Bills at The Cloister

We have taken the next step toward reducing our utility bills. We had previously made an appointment for a free TVA Energy Advisor inspection.

The TVA Energy Advisor knocked on our door at 7:45 am Wednesday Morning, August 24.  He was 15 minutes early for our appointment. He wore his TVA ID badge and said he was there to explain the NEW/NES/TVA Energy Saving program, inspect our home, and give us his recommendations along with estimated savings for each suggestion.

He asked if we had previously received a package relating to this program. We told him we had received four energy saving light bulbs, a showerhead, a faucet swivel aerator, and a bathroom faucet aerator. To our absolute amazement he offered to replace the bulbs in our ceiling fixtures, and install the new showerhead,  and faucet aerators during his visit at no cost to us! When he finished that work he did a complete energy evaluation of our home. He spent over a hour inspecting the outside, attic, and inside areas of our home.

He then reviewed the results of his inspection and gave us a detailed suggested action plan, an estimate of energy cost savings for each action, and a list of TVA approved and guaranteed contractors. There are enough items to qualify us for the rebates since the total savings for four of the five actions in the list below meet the required 15% energy cost reduction.

After the work we decide to do is done, this TVA Enertgy Advisor will inspect all the work and, if necessary, have the contractor return and correct anything not done according to TVA standards. Upon a successful inspection he will arrange for our rebates from the sponsors of this program.

If any Cloister residents decide to take advantage of this program and meet the program requirements we can form a group consisting of as many as 6 homes at the Cloister which will also entitle each of us to receive a $50/month rebate for a six month period. See “Save on Energy Costs” in the Useful Links for Cloister Residents .

Suggested Action Plan

Gasoline Discounts in the Cloister Neighborhood

Bonney and I usually buy our gasoline at either Kroger or Costco. Either one has fairly competitive prices at the pump. But there are things that we do that gives us considerable extra savings.

 Kroger offers a 10 cent per gallon discount with every hundred points earned by purchases at a Kroger Food store or at a Kroger pharmacy. The discount program is good at both Kroger and Shell stations but I have never bought at a Shell Station. As many as 1,000 points can be redeemed for up to $1 off per gallon at Kroger Fuel Centers. We could never spend $1000 in one month at Kroger to earn $1.00 per gallon discount but we have accumulated as many as 300 points combined food and prescriptions.

100 points = 10 cents off per gallon of fuel for 1 fillup.

200 points = 20 cents off per gallon of fuel for 1 fillup.

1,000 points = $1 off per gallon of fuel for 1 fillup.

 All points are used up at one visit to the pump and it starts all over again. The points expire at the end of the month.  Using a Kroger Mastercard earns an additional 10 cents per gallon.

Since we have two cars, Bonney and I drive both cars to the station and she pulls in one side of the pump and I pull in to the other side. One of us fills up and hands the nozzle to the other and we fill the tank of the second car. Sometimes that will total as much as 30 gallons of gasoline. Using the Mastercard we have saved as much as $12 on one visit to the station.

We go to Costco if we don’t have enough Kroger points accumulated. Costco usually has better pump prices than Kroger and I receive an additional 5% discount credit using a USAA American Express debit card. At $3.75 per gallon, that’s a 19 cent per gallon discount. But that requires both the Costco and USAA AMEX cards. The Costco AMEX card gives only a 3% discount credit vs the 5% USAA card.

My Computer Stopped Working and What I Did About it…..

USB Flash Memory

My computer stopped working last Friday and I could not get it to start up. Ten years ago I attended Nashville Institute of Technology and took enough courses to earn an Associates Degree in Microcomputer programming. Nearly all that I learned is now obsolete except for one thing, “BACK UP YOUR FILES!” Fortunately I had bought what is called a “Thumb memory” (technically called a UBS Flash Memory) and saved my important files and information in the memory which connects to one of the sockets in the front of the computer.

I keep the flash drive plugged in all the time and back up important information in this memory on a regular basis.

Socket in computer

But a backup didn’t stop my computer from shutting down and refusing to startup again after I followed some Comcast instructions which resulted in my computer refusing to restart. Everything I had tried failed and it was clear that I had become obsolete.

I talked to some neighbors with hopes that they could refer a computer service that could help me at a reasonable price. Several people mentioned a company called MiCom Systems located on White Bridge Road (615)356-3884. Thomas, their technician, was able to restore my computer. The cost was just over $200. I wasn’t very happy with the cost but Thomas has the experience and tools to do for me what I can’t do for myself…..and I didn’t have to buy a new computer!

I had no idea how much I rely on my use of computers and the internet. I pay my bills, manage my bank accounts, send and receive e-mail, read foreign newspapers and look up almost anything on my favorite sites , Google and Wikipedia. Needless to say, I also write this blog.

I have learned several important lessons with these recent computer problems. I have been penny-wise and pound-foolish. I failed to upgrade my software when I bought a new computer thinking that learning to use new programs was too much trouble and I could save some money. But I was wrong. Taking the time to learn new computer programs and upgrading both computers and software programs on a regular basis is less trouble than making do with obsolete computers and programs and paying for a serviceman when things don’t work right anymore.  


My Magic Words….. “May I have a Senior Discount?”

At one time I was indecisive about asking for a “Senior Discount”. What was the problem? Pride,? Refusal to accept the fact that I was older? Embarrassment?  Whatever the reasons, I no longer hesitate to ask for a senior discount.

When I buy at Mc Donalds I always ask for a “Senior Coffee” or “Senior Coke” and I am charged 50 cents or less for a $1.00 drink. The same works for Burger King.  I ask Wendy’s for a senior discount and they give me a free drink with my purchase. I haven’t the courage to ask for only the free drink at Wendy’s without any other purchase. Shoney’s and Dunkin Donuts give Senior discounts, I simply ask for it. Sonic, Hardee’s and Krystal’s tell me they don’t give senior discounts when I ask.

Bonney shops the Food Markets on the senior discount days. Kroger gives 10 % to card holders on the first Wednesday of the month. Publix gives 5% on Wednesdays, simply ask for the Senior Discount. Harris Teeter gives 5% to VIC card holders on Thursdays. The Harris Teeter behind the old Belle Meade Theater near White Bridge Road periodically sends an offer of $20 off on a purchase totaling $50 or more. That is a whopping 40% discount!I don’t know of any other Harris Teeter store that does that.

There are a few restaurants we visit on a carry-out basis. Captain D’s have a number of Senior Special deals on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s which include a drink. At one time they had a giant banner listing all of the special deals on the approach to the drive-up speakers. They have since taken the banner down.

Periodically we buy one O’Charlies $8.00 special meal for carry-out which Bonney and I share at home and we save more since we furnish our own drinks at home and save the cost of a tip and expensive drinks.

I am told that IHOP and Chili’s both give 10% Senior Discounts.  I have learned that the best thing I can do is ask for a Senior discount everywhere I shop. The worst they can do is to say “No.”