Frogs in Boiling Water-A Cloister Living Lesson

Put a frog in cold water, turn the cooktop burner on, watch the frog swimming around.  The frog doesn’t notice the water getting hotter until he cooks.

LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

A similar thing was happening to me. Over time our garage door started to shimmer and shake as it rose or lowered. Sometimes the indoor wall switch did not operate very well. The door and opener had been replaced 11 years ago. Like other mechanical items it was beginning to wear.  I didn’t know that a sagging chain indicated a possible problem. I called around town and found someone who would inspect, adjust and lubricate our garage door for $49. He offered to replace the indoor wall switch for an additional charge.

Replacement Part

We have a LiftMaster Door opener and fortunately the serviceman is also a LiftMaster sales representative and is very famiiar with these door operators. He took one glimpse to advise me he suspected a problem he has often seen. It is common for a specific part to wear out. It is indicated by a sagging chain. He removed the cover to the opener assembly and  even I could tell that a part was worn and needed replacement.

Within a half hour he replaced the parts and lubricated the door. It now works as smooth as silk.

The lesson? Bonney and I need to take some time periodically and look around the house. Over time the things we own have become worn, in need of repair, and sometime should be replaced. It’s possible for the frog to jump out of the cookpot before he cooks. So it is with us!.


Three Important Things I Have Finally Learned

It has taken a long time but I have learned three important Rules for Life Decisions….

  1. Don’t take a decision without doing some fact finding.
  2. If a decision is important, sleep on it before taking any action.
  3. If there may be major consequences to a decision, obtain advice from someone who has seen hundreds of people in similar situations.

These rules have worked very well for Bonney and me. There are certain events in life that may be stressful, seriously change our lives and sometimes require critical decisions that have major consequences. They include:

Life event Life change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Change in residence 20
Change in social activities 18

Sometimes we are faced by more than one event simultaneously and each one can add to stress and major life changes. Bonney and I have experienced a number of these events.

For several years I have been receiving e-mail Newsletters from Tim Takacs called Elder Law FAX. Tim has decided that he will discontinue his monthly e-mail newsletter and use a Blog Website similar to my Cloister Living Blog you are now reading. His notice invited a visit to his website and blog located at  and

After visiting his website Bonney and I have decided to meet with Tim Takacs to determine if his firm can make some useful suggestions on getting the maximun benefit from various resources that may be available to us. He uses the diagram below to explain how they might help with our planning and possible actions.

We shall see…….

About My New IPod Touch That is Not a Smart Phone


My children, and almost everyone I know seems to be carrying a Smart Cell Phone…….except Bonney and me. We each have the old fashioned Clamshell Cell phone. I don’t bother to carry mine around. I keep mine in the Honda Glove compartment to use in case of an emergency if my car breaks down. Bonney usually keeps hers in her purse. Some people have Bonney’s cell number. No one has mine.

iPod Touch

Bonney’s Christmas gift to me, the iPod Touch, is absolutely fantastic. It is a smart-phone cell phone without the phone capability. I can use it a home because I have a Router that allows Bonney and I to have separate computers in separate rooms without wiring or extra Comcast charges. My iPod and laptop computer connect wireless at home or anyplace that has Wi-fi service allowing connection to the Internet.

It seems that today everything is eBooks and AudioBooks. Even my weekly news magazine “The Economist” is available to me as a subscriber in printed format, as an Internet Magazine I can read on the computer screen or on my iPod Touch, and in audio format that I listen to on either my computer, MP3 music player, or iPod Touch.

Apple commercials and “Smart Phone” users talk about Apps (short for Applications). Each square image on the iPod screen is access to a different application, just touch the image. I have heard claims are that there are a half million Apps available. I have always felt that Apps were simply another way tech companies can make more money. But many, many Apps are free! Apps that come with my iPod include front and back cameras,  music and Audiobook player, web browser, my MS Outlook Contact list, Outlook Calendar and even an E-mail reader plus more.

Sample screen iPod App

An iPhone costs about $400 plus tax while an iPod Touch costs $188 plus tax. The iPhone price drops to $99 if the purchaser buys a two year contract costing from $25 to $45 per month for two years. But…additional fees increase the monthly rate to the $45 to $75 range.  Other that the initial cost my iPod costs nothing to use. All I need is Wi-fi wireless access which is available at home, at Starbucks and even Burger King.

Bonney and I have decided to stick with our old fashioned cell phone and Vonage land line . We stay with the landline because it allows us to place phones in all three bedrooms and the Great room, all with the same phone number. We can answer the phone from any room. If they ever allow multiple cell phones with the same number and no additional charge except for the cost of a phone we might cancel our land line.

A Podiatrist Volunteers to Help Cloister Residents

Every two months Podiatrist Dr Gary Cockrell comes to the Clubhouse to make foot inspections, maintain toe nails and help with foot problems. Before moving to The Cloister I had little idea what a Podiatrist treated. My initial thought was that I paid more for a pedicure than  Dr Cockrell charged to trim my toenails and inspect my feet for those problems experienced by people of a certain age like me. So I gave him a try and I now see him every two months.

I have since discovered that he has been volunteering these services exclusively to Cloister residents for many years. He sets up an area in the small room alongside the Clubhouse Chapel which makes it very convenient for residents and easy to use by those with limited mobility. He sees people by appointment only every second month according to a sign up sheet on the Clubhouse bulletin board. His fee is $30 for a session. 

What do Podiatrists Treat?

Corns, Calluses, Warts, Ingrown toe nails, Bunions, Claw toes, Hammer toes, Heel pain/ Heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, Flat feet, Arch pain,  Aching feet and legs, Abnormal walking patterns e.g. Intoeing, Shin pain / shin splints, Ankle pain, Knee pain, Hip pain, Certain Lower back pain e.g. Sciatica.

He provides a convenient service.  See the monthly Cloister News for visit date and when the sign-up/appointment sheet is posted.