Friday, November 30, 2007

The Tradition Continues

Good News
Jason came to help Mr. Fixit uninstall (I’ve been at this computer too long.) the starter on my car. They took it to the local auto parts store to have it checked on their starter checking machine (a technical term).

Bad News
The person in the store didn’t know how to use the machine and declared that the starter was bad. Price of new starter--$179.

Good News
Took the starter to another auto parts store to have it checked again. Starter declared to be in working order.

Bad News
On the way home the truck had a blowout. Truck tires weigh a ton.

Good News
Mr. Fixit finally found the jack and changed the tire on a busy two-lane road. He didn’t have a heart attack as I feared.

Bad News
The spare was almost flat.

Good News
We made it to a repair shop where the very kind gentleman brought out his air compressor and filled the spare with air at no charge. We made it home.

Good News
Mr. Fixit re-installed starter with my excellent help. Can you picture my chubby body lying under the truck holding the light? I’m a great light holder.

Bad News
When the car was started to take it for a test drive, an ominous sound issued from the starter. Car remained parked in driveway.

Good News
Went to buy new tires for the truck.

Bad News
Tires for a big ole Dodge Ram are EXPENSIVE.

Good News:
Mr. Fixit put the new tires on the truck.

Bad News
We still need a spare without a slow leak.

Good News:
Mr. Fixit found the source of the ominous sound issuing from my car and fixed it.

Bad News:
When I took it for a test drive, the car barely made it up the hill.

Good News
Mr. Fixit found a bad spark plug wire and fixed it.

Wonderful News
I am now mobile again!

Bad News
There is still enough time before Christmas for a major plumbing problem or for the water heater to expire or for the heating system to malfunction.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On My Soap Box Again

I am not a big fan of tattooing even though Mr. Fixit has a rather tasteful parachute tattoo as a remembrance of being a member of the 101st Airborne Division, and my younger son and his wife have a little body art. Hers is on her shoulder blade; his is on his upper arm. The ones I really hate are the “homemade” ones and the ones on ladies my age who are not aging gracefully. The other day I saw an older woman with a dream catcher tattooed just above her wrist with the dangly feathers reaching to the back of her hand. It must have hurt like heck. She had to be my age at least. While I wouldn’t have a tattoo myself, I would defend anyone’s right to have one even if I think it’s tacky.

A news story in The Greenville News described the new restrictions in the City of Easley regarding tattoo parlors. The City Council voted to adopt regulations that require tattoo parlors to be restricted to areas zoned as industrial (not commercial) districts. The businesses can’t be within 1,000 feet of churches or religious institutions, schools, playgrounds or recreational facilities, medical facilities, other tattoo parlors, or residentially zone lots or apartments. According to the ordinance, no back-lighted awnings, exposed neon, building graphics, outdoor seating, fluorescent and metallic paints, window displays or signs other than open/closed signs and business hours signs will be allowed.

The State Legislature recently enacted laws that made tattooing legal here in South Carolina.

It appears to me that the Council is trying to “zone” these businesses right out of business because of their personal tastes. This is America. We have the right to have bad taste and tattoos if we want. It seems to me that tattoo parlors cause much less harm than establishments that sell alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. I’ve never heard of anyone who blamed his/her tattoo for the causing an automobile accident. I’ve never heard the man who beats his wife or child saying, “This tattoo made me do it.” I’ve never heard that tattooing causes cancer. (I’m aware of the danger of AIDS and hepatitis, but if proper procedures are followed, the risk is greatly lowered.) How long has it been since I’ve read of a shooting or a stabbing in the parking lot of a tattoo parlor? Hmm, let’s see. The last one I heard about was. . . No, I’m wrong. The incident I’m thinking about was in the parking lot of a beer joint with a load of neon flashing less than 1,000 feet from a doctor’s office and a big ole hand painted sign saying “Bubba’s Place.”

Are they trying to legislate good taste? What’s next--an ordinance banning gangsta rap, low-riding jeans, country music, and little old ladies in visors, fanny packs, clam diggers, ankle bracelets, and metallic ballet slippers? Just because I think these things are tacky doesn’t mean that I should be able to dictate to others who do like these things.

I wonder if there is a lawsuit in the future. There should be.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And the Hits Keep on Comin'!

To add a little more stress to the season--Mr. Fixit's big television went out this morning. Just freakin' perfect.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Peculiar Christmas Tradition

There is one Christmas tradition at our house that I could do without. Every year one of our vehicles breaks down. This began only a couple of years after we married. One year a brand new car broke down after we attended the Boston Pops Christmas concert. The car must have only been a couple of months old, if that.

This year it’s my car. The “check engine” light came on. I suggested that Mr. Fixit check the gas cap (I learned something watching all those DIY programs when I was sick). Sure enough, the cap was completely off, rattling around the little fueling port. Alas, the light wouldn’t go off even though the cap had been replaced. Mr. Fixit disconnected the battery hoping to reset the computer. No, that didn’t work either. Then while we were trying to figure out how the cap came off in the first place, he started the car and the starter made a horrible grinding noise.

It looks like we will have to take it to the dealer for repairs that will probably be more than I had planned to spend on Christmas gifts. Mr. Fixit could replace the starter with no problem except that in new cars it is extremely difficult to get to the parts that need to be replaced. Just changing the spark plugs is a major undertaking on my car.

If I were a paranoid person, I might wonder if perhaps the gas cap had something in common with our huge water bill from a year or so ago. I have been complaining to Mr. Fixit for two months now that my gas mileage has been terrible. Time to get a locking gas cap I think. Is my paranoia showing?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for:

My great family

Last night’s sprinkle of rain

Cheesecake mix, chocolate cream pie mix, and coconut cream pie mix

My DIL and Jason for hosting today’s dinner (They deserves a medal. There will be 20 or 21 people there.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Owen and Grasshoppers

Jason and Owen were looking at a photo of hungry baby birds in their nest. Owen said,
“They are screaming.”

Jason explained, “They’re hungry and waiting for Mother Bird to feed them. Do you know how mother birds feed their babies?”


“The mother bird eats grasshoppers and bugs; then she throws up in the baby birds’ mouths,” Jason explained. “ Isn’t that gross? How would you like it if Mommy fed you like that?”

Owen said, “I wouldn’t like that. I don’t like grasshoppers.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weather Report

There has been no significant rainfall—just a few sprinkles. The temperature has dropped; it’s beginning to feel a little more seasonal.

This picture was taken from our front steps. I suppose this is a Carolina blue sky. It’s been this way for weeks—not a cloud in sight. It’s pretty, but right now I would love to see a few rain clouds. Two days before this photo, the limbs on the right were covered in leaves. The next day was blustery and all the leaves dropped within a couple of hours.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. Fixit, Genius at Work

Having male cats in our home (and a cat door which allows them unfettered entry into the house) made it necessary to create a barrier that would keep the little darlings from all areas of the house except the dining room and kitchen. Everything in those two rooms is washable unlike the couch and loveseat and the carpeting throughout the house. Even though they have been neutered, they, unfortunately, spray.

Mr. Fixit decided drastic steps should be taken. At first the barrier consisted of a piece of plywood, the screen insert for the front storm door, a barstool, and a large container of bottled water. A very ungainly and unsightly solution. After several accidents with the screen insert hitting Mr. Fixit in the head when he was trying to get to the kitchen, he decided to improve the barrier. Some of my temper tantrums may have contributed to his decision. Also the white cat discovered a way of sliding the plywood aside to gain entrance to the living room and the rest of the house. We thought a door would do the trick, but discovered that the door, when opened, would hit the china cabinet. Then he thought of installing a pocket door that slides into the wall. That wouldn’t work either.

This is his solution. With the handle and the little casters on the bottom of the barrier, we can easily slide the door aside for ingress and egress. It’s so heavy that the smart cat can’t move it. I wonder if the design people at DIY could suggest something that would make it more esthetically pleasing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who's to Blame?

My problem began when my new doctor doubled the dosage of one of my meds. It caused an unpleasant side effect. After living with the side effect for three months, I asked him at my next scheduled appointment if he could suggest anything to alleviate the problem. He gave me a new prescription that seemed to solve the problem. The next month when I called to have it refilled, the computer said that the prescription wasn’t refillable. I checked the label on the container and, sure enough, there it was in black and white, “No Refills.”

I went to the pharmacy to check to see if they had made an error since I will be on this medicine, or one like it, until I croak. They suggested that I use the old prescription that was the same dosage, just taken differently. I said okay. Of course, the side effect returned. When I went this month, I asked the pharmacist if she could give the prescription as prescribed in the previous one since it was the same product and the same dosage. She said she would. When I checked the refill, I discovered that she had given me a form of the medicine that is dangerous for me to take. I need the time release, not the quick acting version. She said she couldn’t give me the time release version. I walked out of Wal-Mart with no meds.

I stopped by the doctor’s office and explained the problem. The young lady there said she would ask the doctor to leave a new prescription at the reception desk that I could pick up today. When I called the office this morning, there was no prescription. I talked to her again and she said that the doctor said that the prescription he had given me was correct—the time release version. I said, “But they won‘t give it to me!” I went through the whole sequence of events with her again, and she said that she would call in a new scrip. Would anyone like to make a bet on whether I get my medicine tomorrow with the appropriate number of refills, in the correct dosage, and in the correct version? I wouldn’t bet on it myself.

I should take some of the blame. When the doctor gives me a prescription, I don’t look at it. I simply take it to the pharmacy. When I get the meds, I simply read the instructions without looking at the number of refills. I don't even know the names of the other meds I am taking or the dosages. From now on, I am going to scan each new prescription and save it on the computer and note why I was prescribed the meds, when I begin taking it, etc. I have been too trusting of both my doctor and the pharmacy. If I had kept a copy of the new prescription at least I would know whom to blame for making me CRAZY!

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Other Words

For the last two weeks (or is it three?), I haven’t been feeling well. It’s my annual winter cold that lasts from October to May. My summer cold usually begins in June and ends in September. This one has knocked me for a loop. What does one do when one is not sick enough to go to bed all day but not well enough to do anything productive?

I tried to work on Levi’s big boy Christmas stocking, but it seemed like too much of an effort. I never thought I’d say this but I haven’t felt much like reading either. I had begun a re-read of Jonathan Kellerman’s books, but I only made it through four or five of them. That leaves watching television; not that much effort is required to click the remote.

The problem with daytime television is content. I had my choice of re-runs of bad major network comedies, bad movies on the movies channels, DIY , HGTV, or the cooking channel. Watching the food channel didn’t help my nausea, so I settled for DIY and HGTV. DIY has lots of programs instructing viewers in the art of scrapbooking, knitting, and various other crafty arts. I have no desire to scrapbook; I put all the cards I receive in a box in my closet. I hate to say this but the knitting show projects are just simply ugly. I have no need to make my own handbags, recycle ugly vintage clothing into ugly “chic” attire, and I don’t think Mr. Fixit would appreciate lampshades with buttons, tissue paper, or film strips on them.

I settled for HGTV which broadcasts a remarkable number of house re-do shows. I’m embarrassed to admit that I became addicted to them. They come so fast and furious that I would become engrossed in shows and I just couldn’t change the channel without seeing the finished product.

A number of these shows have “professionals” come in and insult the homeowners and their homes. What has become of civility and good manners? Isn’t there a kinder way of saying “Your house is a mess” without saying “Your house is a mess”? Don’t these “professionals” realize that not everyone is rich and taste is highly individualistic? Who made these people arbiters of good taste?

I feel so bad for the people trying to sell their houses who have these pros come into their homes who don’t seem to realize that most people have to live in those homes while waiting for the sale. Not only the “professionals” are rude; the people who are looking at the houses are even worse. They don’t seem to be able to see past the clutter of family living or the color of the walls. They never comment on anything except the d├ęcor of the houses they are viewing, and the comments are always negative to the max.

It makes me wonder why anyone would allow the shows to film in their homes. Is it that 15 minutes of fame? Is that 15 minutes worth enduring the caustic, mean spirited comments? As I have lamented before, civility is sadly lacking in our society. The really sad part is that some people seem to invite the meanness, and many of us get a real charge out of watching people squirm.