Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Lovely Way to Spend the Day

Today on TCM:

1) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

2) The Maltese Falcon

3) Casa Blanca

If  “The Caine Mutiny” were to be shown, I could have frittered away almost the whole day.

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TCM had a very nice tribute to those in the movies industry, from big name stars to those behind the cameras, who died this year. Very nicely done.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Situational Ethics

When Mr. Fixit was hospitalized back in October, he was transferred from one hospital to the other. We have received the bill from the second one he was in, and I have paid the bill in full  for our share of the costs.

The first hospital still hasn’t send us a bill, but I received a statement from our insurance carrier indicating that we owe a hefty amount for the amounts not covered. I have been holding my breath every day waiting for the mail. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My ethical problem is this: I know I should call and ask about the bill, but I haven’t done it yet. Why? Because Christmas is almost here, and I needed the money that I know is due the hospital. I also have to pay the taxes on the house before Jan. 15 so that I won’t  incur penalties and interest on that amount.

So by a “sin of omission” I have not acted ethically, and my conscience  is hurting a little. The fact that I hope they don’t send a bill until January makes it seem even worse.

I guess my ethics are only important when my bank balance isn’t involved. That’s not a pleasant realization for me.

______________________________________________

My conscience is now clear.

Today about an hour after I wrote the above post the mailperson delivered THE BILL. Yeah, I should have known better than to tempt Fate. Tempt Fate and get kicked in the butt. To add insult to injury, there was a snippy little note telling me the amount was past due, and it would soon be declared delinquent.

I'm going to write a pissy little note when I remit payment suggesting that if they want their money in a timely fashion, they should bill in a timely manner.

The town where the hospital is located is 15 miles away from our home. The statement was dated Dec. 19; I received it today, the 23rd. That four days from their accounts receivable office to my home. I wonder how long it lay on someone's desk or in their mailroom.

Bah, Humbug! My seasonal depression is alive and well and giving rise to my righteous indignation. It's part of my own particular Christmas tradition.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Snotty R Us

Overheard while I was shopping at the well-known toy store.

Customer to Snotty R Us employee: “I’m looking for a small remote control car. . .” (She gave a complete description of the toy.) “Do you know the name of it?”

Snotty R Us employee: “I can’t remember all the names of the toys in this store.”

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Open Letter to Sears, Penny’s, Walmart, etc. WISE UP!

One in eight people in the US are over the age of 65. According to the Census Bureau, it’s the largest age group of the population. One in eight means there are more than 40 million of us, and the segment is growing by leaps and bounds.

Let’s assume that half of that population is female. Since women statistically live longer than men, there are probably more women than men in our age group.

Twenty million consumers—that seems to be a  market that could be tapped to produce significant profit for the American retailer. I realize that not all of us elder women have the same criteria as I when shopping. Still, I'm sure that there is a large portion of us who don't want to dress like teen-agers.

The other day I was shopping for jeans. I’ve lost a few pounds and all my jeans are baggy in the seat and legs. Being  full-figured (that’s a euphemism for that ugly three-letter “F” word), I wanted jeans that rose to my natural waist. I wanted an elastic waist. At this stage of my life, comfort is important. I don’t wear stilettos any longer, and I want to have a little wiggle room in my pants when bending over. I also refuse to pay more than $35.00 for one pair of jeans.

I usually buy my jeans at J. C. Penny’s or Sears. Both stores carried the jeans I wanted. It seems they no longer provide comfortable jeans for those of us who won’t, or can’t, wear hip-huggers. (Are they still called “hip huggers?) I am so pissed! No more granny jeans?! What in the world are we grannies supposed to wear?

Another thing—could someone (Sears, Penny’s and Walmart) please offer blouses with one more button on the upper portion of the front. I’m tired of having to hunt for safety pins because most blouses (shirts) show way too much skin. I am by nature a modest person. I don’t care to have people looking down the front of my shirts when emptying my grocery cart. I don’t suppose anyone really wants to look either. At 66 years of age, my cleavage ain’t what it used to be. It’s sort of like a traffic accident—you just have to look.

So Sears, J.C. Penny’s, Walmart, Target, take a look at the demographics. It’s time to consider the elder consumers and give us practical, reasonably priced clothing. You could be missing out on outrageous monetary gain. If you won’t offer products we need out of the goodness of your hearts, then fall back on your greed and avarice. We seniors have to spend money, too, you know.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Losing It

One of the most annoying things about aging is “losing” things. I suppose it’s caused because I have developed this irksome memory loss. It seems I spend hours a day looking for things.

In the last few weeks, I have lost a cardigan, a pair of black pants, the recharging cable for my mp3 player, other assorted cables, a blue hat, my car keys (a number of times), and numerous other items.

This morning it was a large container of fabric softener. The other day I knocked something off the shelf next to the washing machine.It fell behind the washer; I couldn't reach it. I thought it was the softener. This morning I needed it, so I asked Mr. Fixit if he could use my handy-dandy picker-upper thingy to retrieve the item. When he pulled it out, it wasn’t the container I was looking for.

Because I hate ironing so much, I bought a bottle of “wrinkle releaser.” It appears to be diluted fabric softener. It works well on some fabrics, but it’s just too expensive to use often. Then, being the cheap thrifty person I am, I decided to make my own. I bought an inexpensive store brand fabric softener and mixed it with a little water. It works great at a fraction of the price. This large container was the one I was looking for. I searched and searched and searched. It took me about a half hour to find it.

At least I did find it. My sweater and my black pants have yet to be found. I wonder if they went the way of socks in the dryer—lost never to be seen again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You’re a Good Man, Mr. Fixit!

As I grow older, I become a little quirkier. I suppose I have always been a little different from most people. I have mentioned my attitude about my shoes and handbags matching. The bread on my sandwiches must “match,” and the filling of the sandwich must reach the edges. My fear of heights is getting worse. I stand backward in the shower; that is, I face away from the spray. I noticed people on tv and in the movies always face the spray. I was/am convinced that my way is best.

Now another quirk has reared it’s head. Sunshine in my face makes me very cranky. In the morning when the sun is low on the horizon and we are driving on a highway with trees close by, the strobe-like effect of the quickly changing light and shadow makes me  even more uncomfortable and crankier. I feel like the scientist in “The Andromeda Strain” who goes into a catatonic state when she sees a flashing light. I don’t get catatonic even though Mr. Fixit probably wishes I would; I get testy. I have a hat in car to shade my eyes, and it helps a little.

The other day I was complaining  about the sun in my  face. He pulled over on the shoulder and let me drive. The sun was on the passenger side. Isn’t he a sweetie for putting up with me and my quirks? I think so.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chutzpah

When Mr. Fixit and I walked into the donut shop, I didn’t pay particular attention to the woman in front of us who was ordering. I noticed that she was in her late 50’s or maybe her early 60’s and that she didn’t  have a pleasant look on her face as she walked over to a table.

Mr. Fixit ordered his coffee and I ordered a cup of tea and took a table not far from the woman. I was aware that she was there, but not much more.  She sat there a while with her coffee; I assumed that she was waiting for someone.

A few minutes later she returned to the counter and said she wanted to return the coffee. “I didn’t touch it. I bought it for someone who is not able to meet me,” she said. I was amazed. I had never seen anyone return a coffee.

The counter person didn’t know how to ring up the return. I guess she had never had a coffee returned.

A man standing in line waiting to order offered to take the coffee and pay her for it. The price of the coffee was $1.49. She agreed. The staff was still trying to decide how to process the return. The man gave her $2.00 and she turned around and walked out without giving him any change.

Not only did she return a $1.49 coffee, but she made money on the deal.  I wonder if she thanked the guy.

The young lady who served her the coffee sat beside us when she went on break. I asked her if anyone had ever returned coffee before. She said no and added that the woman had given her a hard time when she purchased the coffee. She saw three pots of coffee and didn’t want the one that was partially filled. She wanted to be served from the full pots. I might add that there were a number of people in and out buying coffee, so I know that the pot couldn’t have been sitting there that long.

Some people have a lot of nerve, but there are still some nice people in the world like the man who paid $2.00 for a $1.49 coffee with only a bemused look on his face and a small shake of his head.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Off Season

Tonight may be the last game of any kind until January (unless basketball begins earlier than normal). At one time, our four grandsons were all playing baseball at the same time, and Bella was playing volleyball. With the exception of Cole’s games, all of them played on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most of the time they played at approximately same times at different venues. Scheduling alone was confusing, to say the least. We usually made two games out of four each night.

Bella found a sport she likes—volleyball. She said she wanted to try it because they play in an air- conditioned gym, and she likes the outfit. I don’t blame her one bit; I don’t like to sweat either.

The girls started out being too polite to really go after the ball and too lady-like to hit the ball hard enough to get it across the net. In the last few games, Bella’s self-confidence blossomed, she scored in every game.

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I don’t much like watching Noah and Owen play basketball. The parents are super critical of everything about the game, and some of them have no problem yelling at their children. The children range in age from 12 (Noah’s group) to 9 (Owen’s group) yet the parents seem to think that the little guys should have the co-ordination and instincts of pro players. They are nuts!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dressing the Part

From observations made during our little jaunts, it seems that there are many men who are recently retired, or nearing retirement age, who ride Harley motorcycles. I can see the attraction. It looks as if cruising down the highway  with the wind in your hair would be great fun. I admit to being a little envious until I think about the splat of bugs  on one’s person or helmet.

There is one thing I don’t quite understand about the Harley experience. It seems that there is a rule about acceptable dress for Harley riders.

Saturday when Mr. Fixit and I were cruising in our little red compact car we stopped to eat. While we were enjoying the wonderful weather, the foliage, and our meal, several Harley’s drove into the parking lot. The group was made up of mostly couples, but there were a few single men. Most of them fell into the nearing-retirement or newly-retired age range.

The women wore slacks, jackets, sensible shoes, and helmets. The men wore jackets, sensible footwear, jeans, and helmets. Some of them wore chaps. One had on leather chaps-type protection that only reached the knee.

The unusual thing I noticed was all the jackets, shirts, and headgear the men were wearing were all Harley items; that is, on all the items the words “Harley Davidson” was prominent.

Is there a rule, or perhaps it motorcycle etiquette, that participants in the pastime are required to wear only clothing with the H-D Logo? Or is it simply a way to let the world know they have H-D’s? Are phone calls flying back and forth on Friday evening to decide what to wear on the weekend ride? What happens if someone shows up in an unbranded leather jacket or a plain shirt? Are they discouraged from riding without the proper gear? Hmm. . . I wonder.

Even so, riding in our little red car in regular clothes seems a little boring when I see the Harley’s pass by. It gives me the same feeling when I see birds soaring high above in lazy circles—that feeling can best be described as restless envy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Credit Where Credit Is Due

A couple of weeks ago we were notified by our water department that we probably had a major leak. I assume they have some way to monitor the amount of water being used aside from reading the meter. We were notified a day before they read the meter. That was on a Thursday. We turned off the water at the meter and only turned it on when absolutely necessary. Our sons came over Saturday morning to dig a hole and repair the leak. Thank heavens for sons who don’t mind lending a hand.

I waited with fear in my heart for the new bill. It finally arrived on the 1st. My worst fears were realized.

Usually we use 3,300 to 3,500 gallons a month. The reading showed over 27,000  gallons flowed through the meter. The amount charged for water, sewage, bond, and garbage pick-up was $320.00. Needless to say, if I paid that amount, serious damage would have been done to our financial situation.

Yesterday I went to City Hall and ask if they could make an adjustment to the sewage fee because the water ran into the yard instead of the sewer. (The grass is such a nice shade of green in the leak area.) The young lady said that, of course, we would have to pay for the 27,000 gallons of water, but she would give us credit for not using the sewer. Yea!

The bill started out with a credit balance of $140.00. I pay some of my bills ahead so that in cases of dire need I can skip a few payments when necessary. She then did a few calculations which involved the past three months and said that $4.50 would bring the account back to zero. I don’t know how she came up with that number but I am glad she did.

I gave her a check for $50 so that I can start rebuilding my credit balance, but I’m so happy I didn’t have to come up with $320. “Blood from a stone” and all that, you know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why Is Everything So Difficult?

Years ago we purchased our satellite system in a retail store when they were very, very expensive. It cost us over $600 for two receivers and dishes. We had to buy a special thing for the dish called a dual LNB so that we would only need one dish. I don’t remember exactly what year we bought it, but for the past several years we have been receiving  a gift from Directv because we have been customers for more than 10 years.

Over the years, we have had very few problems. The remotes had to be replaced and the old receivers were replaced. I simply called Directv and arranged for the new receivers, and I ordered the new remotes on line from their web site.

Now we are having a new problem. Through a process of elimination, we think we need a new LNB on the dish itself. The problem? No one sells satellite system and replacements in retail stores. Not Radio Shack, not Best Buy. I have scoured the Directv web site and I can’t find how to order the part or even a new dish.

In the meantime, we are down to one television. Mr. Fixit found a single LNB in the original dish box and it’s working for one TV.

I see Directv trucks running around all over the place, but I think they are installers with no place of business. I think they work out of their homes. Does that mean that I have to pay for a service call to simply buy a part? I am so p.o.ed.

I found a part on line, but we’re not sure if it’s compatible with our system.

I wish there are a number on the Directv web sight for me to call tech support. Who  you goin’ to call? Not Directv! I can’t find the number! (Maybe it’s there; I just can’t find it.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nook Color Thumb

I have a new syndrome (ailment) to report—Nook Color Thumb.

Nook in its cover:

003

Nook with cover open and folded back:

006

My hand holding said Nook:007

I hold it like this so that I don’t accidently cause the pages to flip when I don’t want them to flip.

My hand with fingers in normal position:

008

My hand after holding Reader for a length of time:009

Note the position of the thumb. It is drawn up against the forefinger and won’t move. After massaging it a bit, the cramp-like sensation disappears allowing the thumb to move again. If I again hold the Reader, the thumb and parts of the hand cramp again.

I wonder if this will be recognized by the powers that be as a legitimate syndrome. I would like it to be known as Lucy’s Nook Thumb Syndrome. I’ll be famous!

Hmmm. . .My 7” tablet doesn’t cause me this problem. Of course, the tablet is less weighty.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall in the Southeast

Last week Mr. Fixit and I drove out to Lake Hartwell. It was a blustery day, chilly and overcast. The water was rough.
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The maple in the front yard looked like this just a few days ago—very little color
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Yesterday morning it looked like this.
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Yesterday we drove to Johnson City, Tennessee, to see the foliage. We were almost too late. The color wasn’t as vivid as it is some autumns. There was very few reds. Even the sumac was dull. These pictures were made at an overlook on I26 between Asheville, NC and Johnson City, TN just over the Tennessee line.
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(Click on Photo for Detail)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Calling Dr. Doofus!

Mr. Fixit saw the cardiologist Friday. His blood pressure has been very high for a few days. The doctor put him on a new medication to control it.

It was during the visit that he asked us why we were upset during the stay at the hospital. I finally got to have my say to this guy.

When Mr. Fixit was sent to the large hospital the physician that we normally see was off for the weekend.  He saw Mr. Fixit in the emergency room Friday night. We didn’t see him again until the office visit Friday. His partner arranged for the transfer and said the heart cath would be either Monday or Tuesday. We assumed it would be Tuesday. We didn’t expect to be put ahead of others. However, the nursing staff at the hospital began paging him Sunday evening after we arrived to get orders from him. He never answered his page. Monday we didn’t see a doctor at all. All day long the nurses were trying to get in touch with him. They told us that this group had a reputation for ignoring their pages.

Tuesday morning came and still no orders had been received. The nurses were upset and finally paged a third partner in the practice. We had never heard of this guy. By this time Mr. Fixit was getting ready to leave.

When the third partner came in, he said, “We didn’t know you were here. If I had known I could have done your procedure yesterday.” I was so angry. We didn’t know this guy from Adam, and he assumed that he would just walk in without the benefit of knowing Mr. Fixit’s history and do the heart cath. When he walked out of the room for a moment, I asked the nurse, “Who is this guy? How do we know if he is competent?” The nurse explained that he was a new partner in the practice and he was competent to do the procedure. She also told us we didn’t have to let him do the procedure. She suggested that we talk to the patient advocate at the hospital. But we decided to go ahead and let him do the procedure so Mr. Fixit wouldn’t have to spend an extra day there.

After the procedure, I did speak to the advocate, and I asked her not to do anything until I called her. We wanted to wait until after the first check-up. We wanted to speak with this doctor face to face and let him know that his handling of Mr. Fixit’s case was not acceptable.

The next morning the third partner came in with the discharge papers, and he knew we were upset. Apparently, the advocate,or perhaps the nursing staff, had told him that we were very angry. He said that he would take over the case if we wanted. I had a feeling that there could have been a power issue within the practice. We made an appointment with him for the follow-up.

I received a call from the first doctor the next day        asking us to change the appointment and see him. I agreed. When he put his office manager on the phone to make the appointment, she asked me what the problem was. I told her that I would discuss it with the doctor when we came in Friday. She said she wanted to know because the doctor wanted to document the situation. That made me even madder. I declined to discuss it her again.

During the office visit, I explained to him that we had very little confidence in a doctor who “forgets” that his patient was awaiting a procedure. I also explained that I was angry that his office manager said he wanted to document the situation without talking to me himself. He apologized several times and denied that he received the any page from the nursing staff.  He tried to blame the whole thing on the second partner. He also said that the new partner could not have performed the procedure on Monday because he (our doctor) had booked the cath lab for most of the morning. He had one excuse after the other. I told him I didn’t care to hear his excuses because forgetting his patient was completely unacceptable under any circumstances. I was completely civil to him. I didn’t raise my voice one time.

When Mr. Fixit had his stent put in several years ago, we had a problem  with him, too. We were told the procedure would take about 45 minutes. Two and one half hours later, we still hadn’t heard that he was in recovery. We were in the waiting room. Finally, my son called someone and found that his doofus had neglected to let us know that Mr. Fixit had been returned to his room. I was a nervous wreck by that time. I was sure that there had been complications.

When the doctor came into to speak with us later, I told him then that he or one of his team should have let us know what was going on. He apologized that time, too, but he said he had an emergency come in and he had to save a man’s life. I told him I was glad he saved a life but that he had a responsibility to us to let me know that my husband wasn’t dead. I told him that time, too, that his actions, or lack of action, was unacceptable. Fat lot of good that did. He also decided to do the heart cath at one hospital and to put in the stent in another hospital almost doubling our bill.

As soon as Mr. Fixit’s blood pressure problem is resolved, we will attempt to find another cardiologist who associated with our insurance network. Dr. Doofus thinks that the problem has been resolved;  he might be a little surprised when he sees a request to transfer Mr. Fixit’s files to another physician. No,    maybe not. I have a feeling that as long as he has patients needing his services who are in our  position  he won’t give two hoots unless we  decide to make a complaint to the hospital.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Smack Upside the Head?

Today a water department guy came to our door and said that we should check for a leak because our water consumption doubled for last month.

This afternoon we found the leak. It’s between the meter and the house; therefore, it is our responsibility to repair it. Mr. Fixit is making plans to dig up the area to fix it tomorrow.

I reminded him rather forcefully that it was only two weeks ago tonight that he had a heart attack. He says he fine and he’s going to start it tomorrow after his checkup with the doctor.

What do you do with a person like this?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hospital Stay

There were some problems with Mr. Fixit’s recent hospitalization. They were disturbing to say the least.

Sunday night after moving to the large hospital, Mr. Fixit woke about 3:00 am. The heart monitor that was in his pocket slipped out. I helped him find it in the bed linens and put it back into the pocket of his gown. Apparently, there was no interruption of the data being sent to the people monitoring him because no one came to see if there was a problem.

After waking, he said that he was experiencing that indigestion feeling he had Thursday night. (That’s when we suspect he had the actual heart attack.) He pushed the button to call the nurse. They answered quickly and ask his about his problem. He explained and they said they would send a nurse to his room.

After about 10 minutes, the discomfort had lessened, but the nurse hadn’t come to check on him. In 20 minutes the discomfort had completely disappeared. I stayed awake from 3 am to 7 am and not one nurse so much as stuck her head in the door. I have a feeling that she thought I was asleep because I didn’t turn on the overhead light. I was reading using my reader.

We didn’t know whether to mention it or not. When you are in a vulnerable position as we were, you think twice before making waves.

During the course of the morning when the day shift started making rounds, a nurse asked if he had any problems during the night. I then explained that he had some discomfort but that it disappeared. I then told her that we had asked for a nurse, but no one checked on him.

I went to sleep about midnight and slept until he woke me at 3:00 so I suppose someone could have checked on him between those hours, but no one came to check on him after he reported his discomfort.

The next night we had a different nurse, and they seemed to be very solicitous. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know if the nurse ignored him or if the person who answered his call neglected to notify the nurse.

The next day there were problems with the cardiologist who was to do the heart cath. More to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Home Again

Mr. Fixit is home now. The heart cath went well and showed no blockage either in the old stent or in any of the other arteries.

Several unsettling things happened while he was in the hospital, but those stories will have to wait. We are both very tired today. Let’s just say that hospitals and doctors aren’t like they used to be (to their detriment).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

Here we sit at a large hospital in a neighboring city. We still haven’t been told when Mr. Fixit will have the heart cath done. We are waiting for the cardiology team to let him know. It could be this afternoon or sometime tomorrow. It seems that things are a bit unorganized in this institution.

He is feeling okay. He’s just tired. When we were in the smaller hospital, they woke him at least every two hours to check on him. After you wake, it’s a little difficult to get back to sleep. The staff at the small hospital was terrific and very helpful.

Not knowing the immediate future causes a bit of a hardship on me. I need to have time to go home to shower and to get a decent meal instead of eating out of the vending machines. I don’t have some of my meds with me either. My glucose levels are either sky high or low enough that my mind is a little muddled. But maybe that’s because I’ve had very little sleep since Thursday night.

The cats haven’t been fed today either. They may revert to their feral nature and start hunting leaving the remains as gifts for me. Yuk!

I rode in the ambulance yesterday when they transferred him. That was exciting; I’ve never been in one under any circumstances. I suggested that I would drive if the need arose. I think that might rank up there with driving a lap around a speedway in a stock car. They didn’t take me up on my offer. I didn’t ask to turn on the siren and lights, but I was sorely tempted.

And so we wait.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Follow-up

Mr. Fixit is doing quite well. He has been stabilized and will soon be moved to a regular room from Critical Care. I can hardly wait. Once you are in this unit, you can’t just leave and return. You have to be admitted each time. I try not to leave so I don’t have to bother anyone at the nurses’ station. .

He will be moved to a large hospital tomorrow for a heart cath and possibly a stent. If the blockage that caused the event is in the old stent, he will have by-pass surgery. If a completely different artery is blocked, they will put in a new stent.

He didn’t sleep at all last night because he was tethered to monitors and there is still an IV being used. He was so uncomfortable. I slept a couple of hours in a recliner, but I’m very tired also. To say that he was not a happy camper is a gross understatement.

I’m glad there was only minor damage (as far as we know at this time). 

Broken Heart

Today didn’t go exactly as planned. In fact, not one thing went as planned. We were going to Barnes and Noble to ask a question about my Nook. I also planned to go to the hairdresser and to take some books back to the library. We didn’t accomplish anything on the “to-do” list.

It all began last night. We had three baseball games scheduled. We skipped Levi’s game because it was Owen’s turn for us to watch him play. Noah’s game was scheduled immediately after Owen’s.

During Noah’s game, Mr. Fixit bought a snack and ate some it. It seemed to cause him to have heartburn or indigestion. We arrive home about 10:00 pm. His discomfort continued after he went to bed.

After breakfast this morning, he was feeling okay except for the heartburn. He decided to check his blood pressure. It was okay; it was lower than usual. The BP monitor also shows your pulse rate. This wasn’t okay. It was up to 155 and indicated an irregular beat. I suggested that he take it again; it remained in the 150’s. His indigestion went away and he felt fine and his color was normal.

While I was in the shower, he decided to go for his walk. While he was gone, I called his cardiologist, and the nurse suggested that I take him to the emergency room ASAP. I picked him up in the car and passed on the information from the nurse. He was having none of it. He said he felt fine. Finally, after “discussing” the problem for several hours, he decided maybe the best course of action would be a visit to the hospital. We arrived about 2:00 pm.

It is now just past 11:30 pm, and we are in the Critical Care Unit. The medication has finally kicked in. His heart rate is down to 60 as it should be.

When we first arrived, an EKG was done. I asked the attending ER physician if it looked as if he had had a heart attack. He said that it didn’t appear so. He said it showed only a very irregular heartbeat. We were told that if he didn’t respond to the medication to reduce and stabilize his heart rate, a pacemaker could have been in his future. I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.

When he was brought to Critical Care, the nurse told us that the blood work indicated that he did, indeed, have a mild heart attack. He had no symptoms except for the “indigestion.”

Tomorrow morning there are some tests scheduled to determine how much damage was done to the heart and to check to see if another heart catherization and stent is in his future.

Today when I was trying to get him to the hospital, I was thinking about his 74th birthday that is in a few days. I was thinking that he was very lucky not to have had a major heart problem by this age. Lots of men have. I still feel very lucky that even though there was damage to his heart; it seems to be minor. I hope the tests tomorrow prove it so.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picky, Picky, Picky

During the ‘70’s when mini-series were very popular television programming, I chose not to watch. I missed “Roots,” “The Thornbirds,” “Shogun,” and all the rest except for one; I watched “Chiefs.” It was based on a novel by Stuart Woods. I liked the mini-series very much so I read the book which I also enjoyed. I may have read one or two other stand-alone novels by Mr. Woods.

Mr. Woods has written several series books including one series featuring a character named Stone Barrington, a lawyer. To be perfectly honest, the character left me cold. I read one book in that series and left them behind.

Mr. Woods then began several other series, one of which featured a retired female MP who becomes chief of police in a small Florida. I liked this character more.

He has another series which I can read featuring another lawyer. While he is not one of favorite characters, I can find positive things to say about the writing, plots, and characters.

I checked a couple of his books out a week or so ago, and I discovered something that put me off a bit. At the end of the books, there is an “Author’s Note.” In this note, he has instructions for his readers as to the contents of any e-mail they may send. While I understand some of his comments, his tone is arrogant. Among other things, he wants no attachments; he doesn’t want to be added to mailing lists for “funny stories, prayers, political causes, charitable fund-raising, petitions, or sentimental claptrap.”

He wants no ideas for a book. “If you have a good idea for a book, write it yourself, but I will not be able to advise you on how to get it published.”

He wants to hear nothing about typographical errors or editorial errors. “If you feel an irrestistible urge to tell someone, please wire. . . Do not e-mail your discoveries to me, as I will already have learned about them from others.”

He doesn’t even want to hear from anyone who may want to acquire the film, dramatic or television rights to his books, but he does include an address for his agent. I wonder how many people who read his books are begging to acquire such rights.

While I do understand why he doesn’t want book ideas (I suppose he could be sued if one of his books contained one iota of anything similar from a fan), and I don’t like getting forwarded mail either. However, it seems to me that as a writer he should have been able to make his requests a little less arrogant and a little more civil.

I get the feeling he will be glad to receive emails with glowing reviews of his talent, but little else. I will have a little problem spending my hard-to-come-by dollars to purchase any more of his books.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Results Are In. . .Almost

When I woke up yesterday, my foot was very swollen, and it hurt more than it had the day before. I decided to go the doctor just in case.

The X-ray showed no broken bones, but the diagnostician hasn’t looked at the film yet. I’m willing to take the word of the nurse-practitioner and my doctor, both of whom said they saw no broken bones. They will call if anything is found.

The blood work showed no elevated white cell counts so that means there is no infection even though the nurse said she felt more warmth around my ankle than normal.

She gave me a tentative diagnosis that I really don’t like. It’s not that bad, but there can be recurrence of the symptoms. There is some additional lab work to be done to prove the tentative diagnosis.

Frankly, I think it is a sprain, or a mild ligament or tendon problem. If that’s what it is, I don’t have to worry about it happening again unless I fall off my shoes or step in a hole.

A cortisone medication and a mild pain reliever were prescribed. Whether the cause is the condition that can recur or whether the problem is a strained something-or-other, the cortisone should help.

I told Mr. Fixit that I think the medical people are wrong with their opinion of a “condition.” He asked me when I got my medical degree. I’m going to change his name to Mr. Smart Guy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It Could Only Happen to Me

Night before last I woke as usual about 2:00 am. I read for three hours and turned off the light to resume sleep. There was no apparent problem.

From 5:00 am to 7:00 am, I woke several times with pain in my foot around the heel. Even the sheet touching it caused pain. It felt like a sprain, and there was swelling around the ankle and heel. Only I could sprain an ankle in sleeping in bed. By the time I got up at 7 am, I could barely walk. I hobbled around most of the day.

Today, the soreness has lessened, but the swelling is still pretty bad. I think the swelling is worse today than it was yesterday.

Now I’m in a quandary: Should I go to the doctor or should I wait since the pain isn’t so bad? I think I’ll just wait it out a few days and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Add Netflix to My List

In the last few months, Verizon, Microsoft, our car dealer,  and Google (Blogger) have incurred my wrath. Now it’s Netflix.

Yesterday morning I, along with millions of other people, received an e-mail from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, informing us of the separation of his DVD rental business and his video streaming business.

When streaming first began, it was an free adjunct to the DVD rentals. I thought it was a great idea. I streamed movies quite often to my computer. It worked quite well. At the time, we had DSL Lite which is a slow version of regular DSL. I never had any problem with buffering or any delay in the movies. The only problem was the contrast on my monitor made the pictures too dark, and I couldn’t get it adjusted properly. Then they changed the player and shot my streaming to hell. The videos would be interrupted numerous times, and each time it took longer to resume. I stopped streaming.

Recently we upgraded to a faster DSL, and I could again stream movies to my computer.

Last Christmas, Mr. Fixit and I bought a streaming device to attach to the television. Mr. Fixit watched old B/W westerns for days on end. The only problem with this was my internet speed was greatly reduced. It would take a lot longer for pages to load. After the “new” wore off, Mr. Fixit only streams videos occasionally. I seldom stream because the videos I prefer are not available for streaming.

Now Netflix has decided that they will start charging a fee for streaming and another fee for DVD rental. Okay, that’s their privilege, but I don’t intend to pay an extra fee for fewer videos offered for streaming. The selection is just too small compared to the selection of DVD’s available.

My complaint is that they didn’t give me a choice before billing me this month. I checked my bill and they decided that I would partake of both services. In order to discontinue this streaming, I had to opt out.

It seems to me that I should have given me the choice to opt in before billing me for a service I don’t want. I will pay the extra $8.00 this month, but I have already opted out for streaming.

Mr. Hastings may have made a major business error with this whole deal. I think that he should have procured a larger library for streaming than he has now before he started charging for the service. A million people have cancelled the service since the separation was announced. I think many, many more people will choose to forego any service from this company until he has more product to offer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Bright Spot in My Life

Our local public library is now offering e-books, and I love it (so far). It’s convenient and easy to use, and, of course, it’s FREE! I spend too much money at Amazon. While there are more titles available than I expected, I hope the list will grow and include older works by contemporary authors.

There is one drawback. My tablet informs me that my operating system (Android 2.something) will not support Adobe which is a must for the program the library uses. It’s a little difficult trying to read in bed using the laptop. I’ve started checking into e-readers that are compatible with the library system. I can use my tablet for Kindle books. It looks like Nook is my best bet. I need to do a lot more research and start saving a little money.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Bright Spot

sept 2011 003

Levi began his T-ball career Monday afternoon. He is such a good little player. I have some video that I want to post, but I need some help with editing.

He had good time. He didn’t want to wait until today for the next game. He said, “I wish we could play tomorrow. Playing games is awesome!” It’s a kick watching the little guys play. Some of them look like 3-year-olds.

Cole is playing his fall season, Noah begins tonight, and Owen starts next week. We will be busy for a couple of months.

(Click on photo for more detail.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cue—The Twilight Zone Music

Things haven’t been going well lately.

1. We had to have one of our cats put down.

2. Verizon caused major problems with my phone.

3.  Microsoft put a program on my computer that I don’t want, and no one seems to know how to remove the program.

4. There is a warning light on the instrument panel in the car that stays on all the time. We have taken it back to the dealer 5 or 6 times. They haven’t fixed it and they won’t admit that they do NOT know how to fix it.

5. Blogger wants me to install Google Chrome and I don’t want to.

6. My desk chair (the only one in the house where I can sit comfortably) is broken.

Now—Cue the The Twilight Zone music.

Yesterday after taking Little Boy to the vet (see yesterday’s post), we ran some errands and came home. I turned on the computer to check on the news and complete  the rest of my morning computer ritual. The chair was just fine. It’s getting old and I was getting ready to cover the worn spots with duct tape, but it was comfortable, and, okay, ugly.

We went out again. When we returned, the chair was raised to its highest position (When I left, it was at its lowest position.) and it was facing 180 degrees from the position it had been in when I left. In order to raise the chair you have to push a handle on the side  of the chair without being in the chair. It also had a  tilt to one side—a large tilt. Had a plump Goldilocks done a B & E and sat in Mama Bear’s chair until it broke?

We checked to see if any valuables (few as they may be) were missing in case Goldilocks had a bit of larceny in her heart. The laptops are here, the PC is here, and my rolls of quarters are on the chest as usual. All the other electronics and Mr. Fixit’s tools are accounted for. No valuables appear to be missing. There was still porridge in the fridge left over from breakfast which, I maintain, clears Goldie from any suspicion whatsoever.

The only living being in the house at the time was Little Girl. Could it be that while we’re away she plays games on the PC? Does she check out the  “LOL Cats” site?  Perhaps she decided to change the position of the chair. I can’t figure out how she did it since she doesn’t have opposable thumbs. Hm-m-m.

Have we a poltergeist? Uh-oh! Did I make the wrong decision regarding L-i-t-t-l-e B-0-y and now he has decided to haunt pester us a bit? You have to admit the timing is suspicious.

Mr. Fixit bought me a new chair today, and at the moment, he is taking the old chair apart to solve the mystery of the tilted chair. There is no major discovery yet.

If he does find an explanation and can fix it, I told him I would like to have the old chair back and he can have the new one. The old one fits my bucket like a fine bucket seat. And I have a roll of duct tape to repair the upholstery.

I hope he finds a reasonable explanation so I won’t worry about you-know-who being angry with me, and I can forego the exorcism. I also have to check to see if Little Girl has been hiding her opposable thumbs from me.

UPDATE

This is why he is known as Mr. Fixit. While he didn’t discover the origin of the problem, he Mickey Moused it to remove the tilt. My bucket is now ensconced in my old chair, and he was rewarded with the new chair. I explained to him that there is one little caveat that goes with the new chair. If his Mickey Mousing should fail and my old chair tilts and goes up and down all by itself, I get the new chair back.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Little Boy 2003-2011

We had to have our black and white cat put down this morning. He had some sort of mouth problem that left him with few teeth and periodic flare-ups of pain and the inability to eat.

Since three of our cats are feral, they are hard to catch. They come in to eat morning and evening, but they spend most of their time outdoors. This morning he knew something was not as usual. He wouldn't go into the dining room to eat, and he was so affectionate. He wanted to be petted. That was so unusual. It broke my heart to have to make this terrible decision. I feel as if I betrayed him in the worst possible way.

We will miss him.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I’ve Got a Mad On--Part 1: Verizon

The last few weeks have been frustrating and upsetting to me. I’m angry at Verizon, Microsoft, Maybelline, and myself.

I recently wrote that the decision to have our landline discontinued seemed to be working out. It’s now become a problem.  It was another bad decision I made. Depending on Verizon exclusively is a mistake.

I discovered a few things about Verizon. First of all, did you know that not all Verizon stores are Verizon stores? I need a new phone so I compared prices. I went to the small Verizon store in our town. It looks like a Verizon store. It has the Verizon logo and the d├ęcor is similar to other Verizon stores. It handles only Verizon products so I assumed that it was a Verizon store. It is actually a sort of a franchise deal. That means they can sell phones for whatever price suits them. They don’t have to abide by Corporate Verizon store advertisements.

The phone I want is just a phone. It doesn’t have internet access, it doesn’t have a camera, or even Blue Tooth capability. It’s just a flip phone with big numbers, and a  large, readable display. It is marketed primarily to persons in my age group (that means old). I don’t want to renew my contract for 2 years because I’m not sure I want to continue our long association with Verizon. I think it might be best just to pay full price for the phone since it costs so much to cancel the contract early. It costs more to cancel the contract early than the price of a new phone.

I checked  Verizon on line. The price was $169.00. The price at the “franchise” store was $250.00. It was $200.00 in Walmart. I found one on Ebay for $145.00.  One on Amazon is $129.00. The associate at the corporate store wouldn’t discuss the full price of the phone with me. He wants to sell $700.00 phones.  While I have the wherewithal to purchase a phone, I don’t want to make a mistake and waste my money. And there are other considerations that are contributing to my inability to make a decision.

If I commit to a 2 year contract, I can get the phone for as little as a penny using a franchise establishment or the corporate Verizon store offers it for $39.00 if I renew the contract.

I think I creeped out one of the sales associates at one store. My Fixit and I have a family plan, or shared minutes as it was called years ago. I asked the young man (All associates in these stores look to be about 16 years old to me.) if I died before the two-year contract was fulfilled could Mr. Fixit cancel the family plan. He stuttered for a second and he said that in the event of death the contract could be negated. Mr. Fixit saw that he was a bit flustered by my question and told him that I am not expected to die any time soon. But being the practical person I am, I added, “But you never know, do you?”

I am currently using an old phone that my daughter-in-law is letting me use. It doesn’t hold a charge. If I talk more than five or ten minutes, it goes from a full charge down (4 bars) to almost no charge (1 bar).

One other thing I discovered through this phone ordeal is that Verizon folks lie. It may be a lie by omission, telling complete untruths, and by PR people who put their own spin on things. I’ve come to the conclusion that most businesses will do any underhanded thing to get your money. There is very little integrity left in the retail world.

I have asked advice from a few people, but I still can’t make a decision. My pride is holding me back (as well as not wanting to waste our resources). I hate hearing, “I told you so.” So here a I sit dithering about. My decision-making track record lately hasn’t been the best.

We’ll take up Microsoft and Maybelline at a later date. There are some surprising and intrusive things going on with Microsoft, too. And what is this message I get that my browser is no longer compatible with Blogger? It is suggested that I change my browser to Google Chrome. That really burns me, too. I don’t want Google putting its nose into my business anymore than I want Microsoft putting intrusive programs on my computer without asking me first or at least telling me that it has been done. As for Maybelline, that was just a little inconvenience, but with all the other crap going, it brought me to tears yesterday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Good News--Maybe



bean-plataspid-male
Bean Plataspid
According to new reports, there is a bug that eats kudzu. Some reports maintain that kudzu has been reduced by one-third in one southern state.
Kudzu vines grow as much as a foot a day covering trees, power poles and lines, and buildings. Farmers are in a seemingly unending fight to control the encroachment of this plant. I think that it’s actually pretty, but then when winter comes and the plant dies you see the trees and shrubs that have been affected by this plant and you realize how destructive it is.

While the bean plataspid appears to be a control for kudzu, there is a downside. They also eat soy beans. When the kudzu is gone or becomes scarce, will they attack soy beans? That doesn’t bear thinking about. Soy beans have become invaluable.

Another drawback is they stink. The common name for this little fellow is “stink bug.” And they bite.
It seems the bugs are here already. I guess the choice must be made to either exterminate the bug and find another control for kudzu growth or risk damaging soy bean crops for years to come.

One last thing--these bugs are ugly, too!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cole’s Birthday Gift

Mr. Fixit, Ben, and Cole left this morning for Boston to see the Bosox play the Yankees (at least, I think the Yankees are playing.) They drove to Charlotte (a two hour drive) for their flight.

Ben had really good luck with this bad weather that we’ve been having. He was in Florida for a business meeting before they knew for sure that Irene would not do much damage there. I think his trip home was delayed a day because so many people were leaving. After Irene hit New England, there was no delay in flights or alteration to the game schedule.

They are going to the game tonight and leaving tomorrow morning.  It’s a short trip, but they all love baseball and the Sox. This should be one birthday gift that Cole will remember for a long time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A New “Extreme” Sport - Aging

As I was paying bills, I found one from the anesthesiologist  Mr. Fixit used during his outpatient surgery last month. 

We were charged $839.50 for anesthesia. The next line reads, “ANES-PATIENT EXTREME AGE UNDER.” The charge was an additional $71.00. (The line was typed in all caps just as it appeared on the statement.) The next line is a credit of $71.00 with the notation,” TRACKING ONLY.” I have no doubt that shortly we elders will be charged this fee in the future because we are old.

Mr. Fixit is by no means “extremely” old; he’s 73. That classification was a bit of a shock to him. I was appalled by the extra $71.00 we were charged even though the amounted was credited.

I wonder when “extreme age” begins. I’m 65. Am I extremely old? I can always pretend I’m an “extreme elder” much like those who participate in “extreme sports.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

There Is Some News Out There

Burger King has decided to retire their huge-headed advertising mascot, "The Burger King." This had to be one of the creepiest mascots of all times. That thing was scary!

Monday, August 15, 2011

This and That

It looks as if the unbearably hot weather is over for now. I hope it’s gone until next summer. It still isn’t comfortable for me, but it’s much better than it was.

Mr. Fixit has another little get-away planned. Cole’s 16th birthday was last week. As his gift, his dad booked a flight to Boston and bought tickets for a Red Sox game. He asked Mr. Fixit to go—his treat. Isn’t that nice? I think they are all very excited. As far as I know, they are only staying one night, and I don’t know how many games they will be able to catch.

Bachman won the straw vote in Iowa! What in the world were they thinking?

Monday, August 8, 2011

S & P

That's a pretty big OOPS!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In the News

A local news outlet reported today a shooting incident at a bowling alley. The person being shot at reported to police:

“. . . could not provide investigator's with JR's full name, but said that they were arguing because she was previously pregnant with his child and did not have the baby.”

She does not know the last name of the man who fathered her child? She “did not have the baby?” What exactly does that mean?

Is it just me or does anyone else think this is dreadfully strange?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Granddad

My maternal grandfather was born on this day in 1901. It's hard for me to believe that it was so long ago. I believe he was born in Martin, Tennessee, but I'm not sure. I know that his mother lived there until her death. I remember seeing her when I was very young.

Granddad and Me circa early 1946

Granddaddy was a bit of a character. He worked in construction as a pipe coverer. He covered pipe in asbestos, and both he and my uncle died as a result. He worked away from home most of the time, coming home only on weekends if he was near home. He worked all over the South and in Illinois and Indiana.

He liked his little nip; my grandmother strongly disapproved. My older brother and I would find his bottles all over the house. I guess Nanny did, too, since she was such a good housekeeper. I don't see how she could miss them. She had a cedar chest that looked like a casket to me, and I think she would hide his bottles in there. She didn't mind too much if he smoked in house, but if he decided that he wanted tobacco in another form, she made him sit outside. I've seen him freezing in the winter time sitting in the front yard using his snuff or chewing tobacco.

My brother and I loved to spend the night when he was at home. He let us sleep with him. He would turn on the radio and we listened to “Gunsmoke” or “Gang Busters.” He told great ghost stories,too.

He also told tall tales. He told us about a tornado that picked up straw and blew it into utility poles. He said it looked as if someone had hammered each straw in vertically. Then there was the story of a man he knew who bought a Model T, or maybe it was a Model A. The top needed to be repaired so the man put chicken wire on top. The owner had an accident that ejected him through the chicken wire. He wasn't too badly hurt; the chicken wire simply sliced off his ears.

He loved cowboy music. I think he knew the words to every song ever sung by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. My favorites were “Cool Water” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

He was a spiffy dresser. As a construction worker he made a very good living, so he was able to buy expensive clothes. He thought nothing of paying $300.00 for a suit. That was a lot of money in the late 40's and early 50's. He would go to Finklestein's Men's Clothing twice a year to buy new suits. He also wore fedora hats in the winter and white straw hats in the summer. He would wear his straw hats all summer, then decide in August there was something wrong with the hat. He then returned it in exchange for a new winter hat. I'm sure Mr. Finklestein realized the price of a hat brought him the sale of expensive suits.

He and Nanny were so different. He was fun-loving, and she was dour. I never saw her smile much. He would make her so mad sometimes. Every time she made vegetable soup he would put in a bit of sugar. She would get so aggravated at him. When she was cooking, he would walk through the kitchen and smell the meat before she cooked it. She didn't take that well either. This picture illustrates the difference in them. My dad made this picture in the Smoky Mountains. They posed for the picture; at the last minute he turned his hat around backwards and crossed his eyes. Look at her! She's didn't think it was funny at all.


Granddad and Nan circa 1955
 Granddad died in 1965. I wonder if he ever thought that anyone would be thinking lovingly of him in 2011.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Observation

Cole, our oldest grandson, has been playing baseball since he was five years old. His l6th birthday is this month. I have attended a majority of his games.

I have seen some unusual things during the games. I’ve seen parents sleep during the games, transact business, read, engage in conversation from the first inning to the last, and phone and text for most of the game. I’ve seen good things and not so good things.

This past Sunday I saw something new. One of the mothers gave herself a pedicure and a manicure. I wondered if the polish would dry since it was so hot and humid. It just struck me as funny.

And speaking of hot, a little while ago I was washing salad ingredients. The cold water was so warm that the leaf lettuce came from the water less crisp than when it went in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hot!

This hot, humid weather is killing me. Not only does it make me feel sweaty and dirty 24/7, but it brings on big time depression. How weird is that? I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to see anyone, and I don’t want to hear anyone. All I want to do is sit in a cool room with a book.

Will November ever come?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Day in Our Lives

Mr. Fixit came through his surgery without a problem. The doctor had said that the procedure would take about an hour and a half. He was finished in less than an hour. When Mr. Fixit woke up, his color was good, and he was very alert. When he had a test under general anesthesia recently, he had a hard time waking up and he was ashen. It scared me a little.

After I brought him home I had to go to the pharmacy to get his pain medication. The doctor said to be sure that he took it on schedule. When I gave the prescription to our regular pharmacist, he said they were out of the product. This is not an unusual item.  I couldn’t believe it. The pharmacist said he could order it for me. I took the prescription back and explained that Mr. Fixit just had out-patient surgery and he needed it now, not tomorrow. I had it filled at the grocery store.

He walked down the stairs for breakfast this morning, but he didn’t stay up very long. He was told that a little walking the first couple of days would minimize swelling.

About 7:00 pm I was lying on the bed reading and I fell asleep. When I woke up I thought the clock read 4:45; I usually wake up about that time. I noticed that the sky wasn’t completely black, and I realized the shades were up. My first thought was, “I must had undressed with the shades up.” When I stood up, I saw that I was completely dressed. What was going on? I was completely discombobulated! It took me a few minutes to pull myself together and see the clock read 9:50 pm. Okay, I remembered that I had been reading and the sun was still shining when I dropped off to sleep. I got up and went down to the kitchen to take my medication. I turned on the television and put it on PBS looking for “Poirot” which comes on Saturday nights. It wasn’t on. I started flipping channels and saw “NCIS–LA.” I thought they were moving their programming around again. Then I realized that it wasn’t Saturday—it was Tuesday. What a weird feeling—out of step in time completely.

I’m blaming stress instead of thinking it was one of those senior moments.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baseball in the Heat and Humidity

Yesterday we drove to Charleston, SC to see Cole’s Showcase team play in a tournament. It lasts all week, but Sunday was the only day we could go. (Mr. Fixit has some out-patient surgery tomorrow. I don’t think he will be up to making the 3 /12 to 4 hour trip after the surgery.)

We were lucky; it was hot, but not as hot as I expected. The last time we were there it was horrible. I wasn’t looking forward to the trip at all.  The temp was in the mid to upper 80’s and, of course, the humidity was up there. The breeze made it a little more comfortable. I complain about the heat and humidity but those poor boys don’t get the sit under the canopy in the shade and drink cool drinks.

He has one more tournament for the summer session, and I think it’s closer to home, thank goodness. I’m to old to make these long daytrips, plus sitting through a double header in the heat.

I’ll be glad when Fall Ball starts!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hibiscus Flower

hibiscus 003

This is the first flower on a hibiscus plant that Mr. Fixit ordered from a gift catalog. It measures about 7” across.  He bought three plants for $3.00. The other plants have buds but haven’t bloomed yet. Each one is supposed to be a different color.

This is the best buy he’s made from any of the gift catalogs he just can’t resist.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tip of the Day

This “Tip of the Day” comes from my experience using the downstairs bathroom for showers. I had a few close calls in the upstairs bathroom when the rubber bath mat inside the tub began slipping for no apparent reason (even the new one I purchased slipped).
The shower stall downstairs has a built in seat. I never used the seat to sit on; I use it to put my feet on to  wash them. The other day after lathering my feet and rinsing them, I decided to sit on the little seat to shave my legs (TMI?).
Tip: If you have this convenience (a seat) in your shower, do NOT attempt to sit on it until you have rinsed the soap from it. The minute I sat down I started to slip off. Only my lightning quick reflexes the grace of God saved me from landing flat of my derriere and breaking my tail bone.
NOTE to Shower Manufacturers: Maybe you could put the non-slip surface that you use on the floor of the shower on the seat so that shower-takers won’t break any body parts.

*******************************************
The outdoor temperature is 96 degrees. The heat index is 106 degrees. It's so hot it hurts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crepe Myrtles

The crepe myrtles are gorgeous this year. The colors are vivid, and the branches are covered in blooms (except mine). The ones at our local Wal-mart are outstanding. They are a deep, bright red.

Walmart crepe l 003

(As usual, click on photo for more detail.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baseball

Yesterday was baseball day. We left the house to 11:15 am and returned at 8:30 pm. Cole's showcase team played 2 games, and Noah's All-Star tournament game began at 6:00 pm.

Even though we were under our canopy during Cole's double header, it was unbearably hot. By the time we arrived at park for Noah's game, it was cloudy. We didn't need to set up the canopy again and it was a bit cooler, but it was still very, very uncomfortable.

I think the summer schedules for all the boys are almost finished. Noah has only this tournament to finish (we have a game at 4:00 pm this afternoon) and Cole has a big tournament in Charleston coming up. We probably won't be able to attend that one, Mr. Fixit has surgery scheduled for July 19th.

I'm glad baseball is almost over. Playing and practicing in this heat is hard on the players, and it even harder for their old grandmothers. But I look forward to Fall Ball when the temps drop below 90 sometimes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Water Towers - Sports

Bull Dogs of Hartwell, Ga.


Green Wave, Easley, S. C.
(Cole's Team)

Bobcats, Seneca, S.C.


Clemson University Tigers, Clemson, SC.
(There are tiger paws everywhere.)

Ty Cobb Museum, Royston, Ga.
(Click on  photo for detail.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hmmm - A Little Insight Perhaps?

Today as Mr. Fixit and I were returning from a little daytrip, we passed the scene fuzzily pictured below. It shows a flock of pigeons sitting on an electric wire over a 4 lane highway leading into Clemson. For some reason, there are always birds sitting in that particular spot. There don't sit on any of the other wires in the area, just that one. All kinds of birds sit there, not only pigeons, but they don't seem to use the wires at the same time.


I asked, "Why do you suppose birds sit on that wire across that busy highway? Maybe they're watching the traffic whiz by?"

Mr. Fixit said, "Maybe they are retired and they don't have anything else to do."

I wonder if he finds retirement a little boring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Follow-Up

Phone - After the beginning of this year, we decided to discontinue our telephone landline and depend entirely on our cell phones. This allowed me to upgrade our DSL service.

The only time I miss having the landline is when I must deal with automated answering devices with those infernal menus. Some menus are very long; some don’t repeat your options (my doctor’s office, for example). The menus are easier to deal with if the keypad is not on the receiver. We had two wired phones with the keypads on the bases instead of the receivers. The keypads on the base are also easier to use when refilling prescriptions by phone.

Another problem is changing your number with all the people that had our telephone number. It’s easy to forget to change the number at the pharmacy or the library.

The best result is that we no longer have to deal with telemarketers and charities asking for donations. It’s embarrassing not to be able to give as I used to.

My faster internet connection speed is not that much faster than our DSL Lite was and every week or so it begins to slow perceptively. I have to unplug the router for a few seconds; it seems to correct the problem. It’s just annoying.

Bathroom – I decided to use the bathroom downstairs rather than taking a chance on falling in the upstairs tub/shower combination. The downstairs has only a shower stall.

I bought new accessories and it looks nice, and I feel much safer.

The one problem is litter. One of Little Girl’s litter boxes is in that bathroom. She likes clay litter, but she tracks it out of the box. Stepping on those little clay particles with no shoes is uncomfortable to say the least. However, a little pain from stepping on litter is better than breaking something if I fell while getting out of the bathtub.

Kindle – I love my little tablet with the Kindle program. It’s so nice to be able to download a book in the middle of the night if I finish one book and need another one.

One of the things I don’t like about it is the amount of errors in the text, i.e spelling, spacing, missing pages. I’ve found mistakes in mainstream books as well as the self-published ones. There was one written by one of my favorite authors which was so flawed, I found it difficult to read. The author happens to be a college professor so I know he knows how to correctly paragraph dialog. I’ve never had that problems while reading his printed books. I spent half my time reading his Kindle edition book trying to decided who was talking. It was so aggravating. The one I was reading today skipped a page or two. I’ve noticed that the self-published ones have more spelling errors and typos than the mainstream books.

The other problem is that it’s just too easy to use. If I’m not careful, I could go WAY over budget each month. I buy an Amazon gift card with a set amount to keep myself in bounds.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Television Can Be Educational–Take Note Rep. Weiner

Legislative leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, have called for Rep. Weiner (Dem. – NY) to resign his position because of the “scandalous” pictures he posted on line. Instead he is asking for leave to seek treatment. (It seems like now days if you’re caught being naughty all you have to do to redeem yourself is to enter some sort of rehab program. Is there a program for the terminally stupid?)

I don’t really care if he is posting childish, tasteless pictures on himself unless he was involved with minors. If he did include minors on his mailing list, he should be arrested and charged with any number of sexual offenses.

I think he should resign not because of the photos but because no one this stupid should be making monumental decisions affecting millions of US citizens.

Is the man so out of step with the real world that he didn’t know that whatever is out there on the worldwide web is there FOREVER? Has he never seen one episode of CSI or NCIS? Perhaps he was too busy taking tacky pictures of himself to watch television. He could learn something from Gibbs.

I would be very angry if my representative (even if I didn’t vote for him and don’t agree with his stance on most issues) did something this moronic.

Will elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, ever learn?

Mr./Ms. Politician, if you are doing sleazy, sordid acts, please learn to be more discrete. We have huge problems to solve without being sidetracked by your nasty, narcissistic peccadillos.

(And someone should take him to the woodshed for the hurt and embarrassment this must have caused  his wife.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gainful Employment

Mr. Fixit and I have been working for a little over a week. My younger son is the quality control guy at his company, and they had an emergency with one of their customers. A lot of parts have to be inspected. There are  thousands and thousands of hex nuts with tiny numbers that must be checked and culled. It’s boring but the extra money will be nice-- and the work is temporary.

What’s not so nice is the almost 1 hour drive (each way) to reach the company. It’s been 25 years since I have worked outside our home (I’ve done work at home though) and the organizational skills I had when I worked are sadly lacking. I had forgotten how hard it is to work and to take care of a home. We have been eating out every night.

Part of that is because it’s the end of school here, and we were invited to attend Noah’s graduation from fifth grade, and Owen’s Awards day. There also have been a ball game or two thrown in. We can’t miss those things no matter what. (I was so proud of both the boys. They both were on the A honor roll for the whole year.)

Another minor, but irritating problem cropped up. An advisory was issued saying that our water had to be boiled before ingesting. It  lasted more than a day.

My insomnia has caused me a bit of a problem. I’ve been running on about 3 hours sleep a night with no opportunity to nap in the afternoons. It’s makes me grumpy, but I try to keep control of it. Every two or three nights I get 5 or 6 hours which helps a lot.

I’ve learned a few new things, too. First, it seems that all traffic laws are suspended during both the morning and afternoon rush hours. People are simply nuts!

The second thing I’ve learned is that I could never, NEVER!, work with Mr. Fixit for an extended time. By yesterday afternoon, he had changed from Mr. Fixit to Mr. Management. I was ready to call the union rep but, alas, this is South Carolina and there are no union reps. I called him on his attitude and his response was, “I was just a supervisor too long. I think like management.” Fine, manage someone else, but not me! So There!

The third thing I’ve learned is that working when you’re 65 years old is a helluva lot different than when you’re 35.

Next week I won’t be working much because Noah and Owen’s daycare provider doesn’t begin regular hours until the Monday after school is out. They will stay with me for at least three days. This weekend I’m going to do laundry to get our clothes ready (that means actually ironing more than  one thing at the time like I usually do) and I’m going to do a little cooking and freezing a few dinners ahead. Maybe my organization skills will come back.

Surprisingly, it’s been nice change. I don’t mind the work  at all,  and the harrowing morning drive gets my adrenalin pumping.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Around Our Neighborhood

The Sloane Family built a residence known as Tanglewood in 1860 in Pendleton, South Carolina. It was destroyed by fire in 1908 and rebuilt in 1910. The rebuilt home was a classical colonial mansion. The house remained in the Sloane family until 1950 when it was sold. The home again was destroyed by fire in 1970 leaving the three chimneys, the original columns, and the basement.

The three chimneys accommodate three fireplaces each; two for the upper floors and one for the basement level.
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Entrance
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Chimneys & Columns
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Basement Level
The property was sold to the local government for a new library which appears on the left in the first pic.

(Click on photos for detail.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missed Opportunities

The last few weeks have been very busy for us. The grandchildren have been involved in sports. At times, we have had three games scheduled on the same evening. This past Saturday Owen had a game at 10:30 am and Cole had a double header scheduled at 1:00 pm in a different city. They played one nine inning game and one seven inning one. We didn’t get home until 8:00 pm.

Levi’s touch football is over, and Owen’s last game was last night. He may make the All-Star team though. Cole is  just beginning his summer baseball season. They have to wait until all the high varsity teams has finished.

I’ve missed a lot of blog fodder while cheering the grandsons on. I missed the whole Donald Trump president thing. (He was surprised that people had such disdain for him?)  I’m not even going to get into the tea party candidates or others who want to do away with Social Security and Medicare. Just wait until their children have to start to contributing to Grandmother and Grandfather’s living expenses. They may decide that Social Security wasn’t such a bad idea.

Now the religious leader who predicted the Rapture is saying he miscalculated again. (He “miscalculated” once before.) To tell you the truth, I was a bit taken aback when the horrible tornado hit Missouri. Anyway, now he predicts the cataclysm for the fall.

I also missed commenting on the royal wedding. No, I didn’t get up a 4:00 am to watch, but I couldn’t help but see bits and pieces of the spectacular. Her dress was very nice, and the prince looked like a prince. What was the young princess thinking with that hideous thing stuck on her head? I read that The Wiggles were bidding on the hat. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Then there was the story, or maybe I should say “no-story,” of the mother injecting her 8 year old daughter with Botox before pageants. First there were pictures, and then the mother said it was a hoax. Huh?

I’m sure that as the presidential campaign season continues there will be ample opportunity for me to be snotty, snide, catty and sarcastic. I’ll try not to overdo it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Warning! Gross Stuff Follows!

Mr. Fixit and I have always had “unusual” conversations at times due to perhaps language problems, inattentiveness, his hearing loss, and my general weirdness. It seems to be getting worse as we age.

Today he asked me if I wanted to go with him to get his hair cut. I said I would go along for the ride, but I would wait for him in the car and read. “Give me a minute to change clothes.”

“Why do you need to change clothes if you are going to sit in the car?” he asked.

I said, “If we have a car accident, I want to be wearing clean clothes. Didn’t your mother ever tell you about that?” His response was a roll of his eyes. I guess his mother forgot to give him that sage advice.

I changed into a pair of light blue jeans and a matching shirt. As we started out the driveway, I noticed a dark spot on my jeans. “Darn it! There’s a spot on my jeans and I wanted to wear these to the ball game tonight.”

He said, “It looks like a booger.”

I replied in my best offended and self-righteous tone, “I’ll have you know, I never wipe boogers on my pants.”

He said, “Maybe you sneezed and a booger flew out.”

“I never sneeze out boogers—a little snot maybe, but not boogers.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recent Daytrip

Last Saturday Mr. Fixit and I took a drive to Cherokee, NC. It’s about a two and half hours away.

As we passed through Rabun County, GA, we saw a few signs of the recent spate of tornados.apr-may 2011 025

The big tree in front of this house fell over and the roots ripped the front of the house away from the main body of the house.

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We saw a number of trees down, but I was taking pictures from the moving car. This is the best of the lot.

There are a number of gem stores in that area. You can “pan” for gems, buy crystal jewelry, or simply buy chunk crystal. We saw these outside a jewelry shop. Some of the crystals are opaque, most of translucent, and others are transparent. I’m not sure if the opaque ones are actual crystals; I don’t know much about the subject. I do know that they are beautiful. I missed taking a picture of the opaque, what I would call “lipstick red” ones. There were many more colors than shown here.

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(Click on photo for more detail.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

It Happened Again

It happened to me again--confronted with bad manners by and older person who think her time is more valuable than mine or that they are entitled.

When I walked into the pharmacy, there was a gentleman at the drop-off window discussing his medication with the pharmacist. I waited. . .and waited. . .and waited. I was patient because I realize that such discussions can be important. I must have waited for a little less than 10 minutes. After the discussion was finsished, the techs and the pharmacist had to solve a little problem which took another minute or two. Again, I waited.

In the meantime, a lady about my age who seemed to have no phyical impairment walked up behind me and said, "Are you in line?" "Yes," I answered. She said, "I'm dropping off a prescription. Can I go in front of you?" I said, "I'm just dropping one off, too." Just as I said that, I heard "Next" and I stepped up to the window.

Why did she think she should have the right to ask to go to the front of the line? She had a grocery cart that was empty so I'm assuming that she had other shopping to do.

After I took care of my business, I wondered what I would have done if I hadn't been summoned. Would I have knuckled under and let her go in front of me? Would I have politely explained that I had been waiting for a long time and I would only take a few minutes? Or would have I been as uncivil as she was and told her to stick it? I know I that I wouldn't have chosen the last one. I am seldom rude and I try to be accommodating. But people who for some reason are so presumptuous make be very angry.