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!