Friday, December 23, 2016

Good News, Bad News (Again)

Mr. Fixit had an appointment with the oncologist Tuesday. The good news is that the nodules in his lungs showed no change and one even decreased in size. The bad news is that the new scan found two "somethings" in his liver. The scan made for the prior visit showed the two "somethings" in the liver and one in his remaining kidney. The doctor was not concerned. This latest scan show the two liver somethings has increased in size. He didn't mention the kidney. I'm not even sure the scan included the kidney. The result is that he is scheduled for an MRI in early January. They will be able to see exactly what the somethings are. If need be, they will be biopsied. If they are malignant, they will be burned out with microwaves.

Mr. Fixit's new family physician also referred him to a nephrologist because his kidney function numbers were a little high. New tests were run and the numbers were down. He has an appointment for tests later in January to be sure nothing is going on. Maybe it will show what the "something" in his kidney is.

Mr. Fixit, of course, is quite depressed. It doesn't help that he has a bad cold and feel terrible. Me? I'm scared spitless.

I had a feeling that this doctor's visit was not going to go well. It's the season. We have been married for over 50 years, and it seems that something always happens during the holidays to cause problems. When we were young, it was usually car trouble or major household problems. One year we went to see the Boston Pops orchestra perform in Hartford, Ct.
It was wonderful! After the concert, our new car wouldn't start, and it had to be towed home. The last few years it has been problems with Mr. Fixit's health. I lived through all those minor problems. This one? My heart is breaking.

Monday, September 26, 2016


For the last several years, I have been going to a national chain to have my hair cut. While I don't get the best haircuts in the world, there has only been one that brought a few tears to my eyes and caused me to stay at home or resort to a wearing a hat when I absolutely had to go out. I really like not having to make appointments. I just walk in and wait my turn.

Recently they have posted signs touting their online check-in. I have been hesitant to use it because I didn't want to get dirty looks from the other patrons if I were called in before another person who had been waiting. They ask everyone who comes in, "Did you check in online?" I even mentioned to one of the young ladies that I didn't want people to think I was jumping the line. She said that I shouldn't worry about it.

This morning I couldn't put off the haircut any longer, and I had a list of errands that needed to be done. I wanted to get it all done before the temperature went above 90 degrees as it has been doing for the last two and a half months. (This weekend it was 94 during the afternoons. I can barely wait for winter!) I decided to check in online. It was simple. When I went in I was asked for my phone number. The young woman said, " You checked in online!" I said, "Yes." Then she said, "Do you have a computer?" I felt like saying, "Yes. As a matter of fact we have four desktops, two laptops, four tablets, a couple of e-readers and cell phones. I also know how to use a digital camera, and I have a gadget that counts my steps daily. I'm old, not stupid!" Perhaps this is where I should admit that I still can't program the DVD recorder, but I can cast from the computer to the tv.

Instead of acting a like a mean old lady, I smiled sweetly and said, "Yes, I have a computer and it looks as if the check-in was done right."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Just One Day without DRAMA!

Please, that's all I ask--one day without everything turning into major problems. I haven't had a day like that in a long, long time. This past month I've had major problems with Mr. Fixit's insurance company, his cardiologist's office, our internet service provider (a Major and long-standing communications company), my new computer with Windows 10 (which stinks), a local computer repair company, and most of all just the standard aggravations of everyday life. It's also so freaking hot I can't take it!!! I am woman, hear me whine.

After being notified that Mr. Fixit was due for his yearly cardiology appointment, I used the patient portal online to make the appointment. The next day Mr. Fixit received an email saying that there was a message on the portal. The message wasn't there. I waited one day before I called the office to get the details of the appointment. The phone is answered by the computer offering several options, such as requests for meds, appointments, etc. When I pushed the appt. button, I was told by the computer that it would be more efficient to make the appt. through the patient portal. Irony? It just made me angry. Finally I talked to a real person who gave the details of his appt. and was told that a stress test had to be done before seeing the doctor. She said she would send a letter with the details. I gave Mr. Fixit a detailed note so that he could put the information on his online calendar. (For some reason, his calendar no long syncs with mine.) I then let the appt. date and time to slip away. I often do that with info that is recorded. I don't memorize phone numbers. They are there on my phone. I don't try to remember the details of appts. because I usually get email or telephonic reminders days before. About a week later, I asked Mr. Fixit about the date scheduled to see the doctor. He said it was "a week from tomorrow." I got in a tizzy because no one had called or sent a letter about the test. I called the office again to see if it had been scheduled. I left a message. No one called back. I waited one more day, checking the patient portal, email, text messages, and our snail mail. Nothing. As I walked by Mr. Fixit's real calendar in the kitchen I noticed that his appt. was near the end of this month. You might say that I was a little put out--all that worry for nothing.

Yesterday I received a call from the doctor's office saying that when trying to get pre-certification for the test, she was told by the insurance company (another major business organization) that Mr. Fixit's patient I.D. number wasn't active. The woman asked me to call the insurance company to straighten out the problem. I called. It took me some time to get a real, live person on the phone. Then after explaining the problem I was shuttled to several of their reps. I was also prodded into agreeing to respond some sort of questionnaire about Mr. Fixit's general health. Then I was prodded to agree to talking to someone else about his meds (a half-hour conversation according to the rep). I begged off when asked to do it that day explaining that I had an immediate problem that needed to be resolved. (I have that little chore now scheduled for Monday at 8 am.) At last I thought I had found someone who knew their business. She agreed that his ID number was active and she couldn't explain why the doctor's office had been given the wrong info. Then she said, "I don't have a record of your having received a new card at the beginning of the year. Tell the doctor to try his number from last year." I said, "He did receive his card; I just read the number to you from that card." She said, "Well, I don't have a record of that card." I said, " I am holding the card in my hand." Again she said, "Call you doctor and tell them to try the last year's number." I gave up. I called the doctor's office and explained what I was told. I still don't know if the insurance company will pay for the test or the time of the appt. for the test. We are not sure that the test is necessary because there was a test done at the end of April when he had the little problem and went to the emergency room. The cardio guy and the hospital where he had the test done are all part of the same huge medical entity. They should be sharing info.

Also yesterday I had to deal with having no internet and waiting for the ISP tech to install our new service. But that's a "whole 'nother' story" but just a frustrating that the foregoing tale of woe. I'll get to that one later. It's a cautionary tale of corporate greed, blackmail, and plain bad manners.

While there is all this crap going on, occasionally something comes along that makes me laugh:

Mr. Fixt and ESL

Mr. Fixit is no longer young, and some of his senses have lessened as they do for most of us. He doesn't hear well, his eyes aren't what they used to be, and his sense of direction has diminished alarmingly. As a result, I get very nervous when he drives by himself. I have become a backseat driver in the worst way. I know it annoys him, but it's better than ending up in Georgia when just going to the local Wal-Mart. Since it does annoy him, I try not to say too much, even though his driving does scare me sometimes.

We stopped at the stop sign to wait for traffic to pass so he could leave our neighborhood and enter a main road. I think he realizes his abilities and reflexes have waned a bit, so he is extra cautious about pulling into traffic. Finally, he turned onto the road quite quickly. The wheels gave a little squeal. I didn't say one word, but I could tell he was waiting for my perhaps "gentle" criticism of his driving. I kept mum. He said, "Babe, did you hear that? Just like "Sparky and Hutch."

I laughed, no, I guffawed, I had tears rolling down my face. He said, "Whut, Whut? What did I say?" I laughed that much harder. Right now, I'm laughing just thinking about it. He's such a good sport. He doesn't get mad when I tease him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mr. Fixit

There was good news and bad news yesterday from the doctor. The bad news is that there has been some growth in some of the cancers. The good news is that a couple of them appear to be smaller than they were on the prior scan. The other good news is that the doctor recommended that he wait for another three months before putting him on another type of medication. We're relieved!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Catching Up

Mr. Fixit had a health problem a few weeks ago. He had to go to the emergency room. He thought he was having a heart problem. The doctors told him, after several tests, that he has the heart of a teenager. We were never given a reason for his symptoms. The emergency room doctor told us his job was to detect heart problems, not to diagnose what caused the problem. Just another case of the medical establishment "Who cares" answers. Mr. Fixit hasn't had the problem again so that's good. He had a scan last week to check on the cancers in his lungs. He hasn't been on the oral chemo for six months. He has an appointment this afternoon for the results. We're nervous.

We have been attending baseball games. Mr. Fixit goes to more games than I do. I just can't go to four games a day in the heat anymore. It takes me days to recuperate. Two games a day, one day per weekend is my limit. Levi, our youngest player, has finished his spring season. Noah and Owen are playing on showcase teams, and they still have a few games before the season ends. Noah has games that require overnight travel so we aren't making those trips. Owen's team plays in the surrounding area; that's a good thing!

I have gained weight in the last month or so, and my blood glucose levels are higher than they should be. I haven't been able to walk for the last two weeks because of a painful knee. I really miss the walking. I didn't realize how much I need it. I just don't feel as well, and my energy level is down. I don't know why my weight and glucose levels are up. I have been trying to stay away from the carbs. I guess not walking is the problem.

Once I posted about a person who underlined swear words, or "socially unacceptable" language in library books. I haven't noticed it for a long time. Perhaps this person finally realized that if he/she is offended by the language that he/she should not read the books that contain such language. That was my thought anyway. I found something this morning that tops the underlining.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

The book is "The Steel Kiss" by Jeffery Deaver. (I know that book titles should be underlined, but I can never figure out to do it.) Someone affixed a sticky note under the phrase, "He church-keyed them, sat down. . ." The comment reads (in case you can't read it) "Why? They're twist tops. Deaver just want to use another made up verb: 'church-keyed'." Okay, it's the note guy's opinion. Good for him. I might be persnickety sometimes about grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but I don't think I would take the time to put my complaint on a sticky note in a library book. In fact, I could point out that the note writer made a little mistake, too. "Deaver just want to use. . ." and, I'm not sure but I think "made up" should be "made-up" when it used a a modifier. But's that debatable I suppose, but I'm not going to put another sticky note in the library book. So there!!!

And concerning my problem with the book--I have been reading Deaver's work for a long time and have enjoyed his work; however, this may be last one I read. Reading his books has become a chore, not a pleasure. He gets so bogged down in the details of forensic examination and analysis that it is deadly dull to me. I stopped reading Robin Cook medical thrillers and Michael Crichton novels for the same reason. But that just my opinion. Wait! Let me find a sticky note.

Words seem to go in and out of fashion just like hemlines. Of course, we all know about texting, sexting, messaging, booting up, etc. There are words that come into fashion simply by virtue of technology. Even though I don't like to use those words, I find that sometimes they are necessary. A new word (well, it's not really a new word, but the usage seems new to me) has come to the trucking industry. It's seldom you see "Smith & Son's Trucking" on the side of a long haul tractor-trailer. "Trucking" then changed to "Transportation"--"Smith & Son Transporation." Now the fashionable name for trucking companies is "Logistics"--"Smith and Son Logistics." See the nutty things I observe and find interesting?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Losing It

As I have mentioned here several times, I seem to be "losing" words. Almost everyday, I have to stop in the middle of a conversation to say, "Just a sec. I lost the word that I was going to say." I find this loss of words is worse when I am talking to strangers, speaking on the phone, or when I am in a stressful situation. Very often, I say to Mr. Fixit, "I lost the word I want, but I think it starts with. . .(a letter of the alphabet). When the word comes to me later (sometimes it happens quickly; other times it can be several hours), I'm usually right about the beginning letter. It's a bit worrying.

Lately, though, something else weird as been happening regarding words. I love word games. . .scrabble, boggle, other assorted word games on line, and, best of all, crossword puzzles. This afternoon I was playing a boggle-like game with a letter grid. The grid on this one is six by six. I wasn't really paying that much attention; I had some other things on my mind so I was playing on automatic pilot you might say. Then I found myself mousing over the letters to make the word "chukka." That one stopped me in my tracks. Chukka? I thought, "How did I come up with that? I don't have a clue what that means." I looked it up later and found that it is a boot that was/is worn by polo players. I am not a polo fan. I don't think about polo. I don't read about polo. I may see scenes from games on tv, but my only thoughts are wondering how many horses are injured by swinging mallets and hard balls.

I have also been taken aback when I come up with correct answers working crossword puzzles that I have no idea how I know the information. It's a little scary sometimes. I look at the clue and know that I don't know the answer and then the answer just flows from pencil into the little boxes. "Where did that come from?" I ask myself.

After thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion that somehow I have all of this trivia hiding in my brain and I have forgotten that at one time I learned from one source or the other. It's like my "dead zone." Sometimes when I least expect it comes out of hiding when I am on automatic pilot. That "dead zone" must be where my words go when I lose them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Strange Conversations

Mr. Fixit and I have some strange conversations. This is the latest example.

When a woman reaches my time of life, simply buying clothing can be a difficult chore. Take blouses (or shirts). Several things have to taken into consideration. For instance, sleeve length. I live in a warm climate so I can't abide long sleeves in summer. But, by the same token, I don't want them so short that the hangy-downy flab that ripples in the breeze on my upper arms shows. Also I like the length of the shirt to cover all the flaws on my torso, back and front. It must button up high enough that my modesty is preserved. I also don't want clingy knits for obvious reasons. Cotton or cotton blends work just fine for me. Since I am a pastel sort of person, I don't wear bright colors, big patterns, and palm trees and parrots blouses. Shirts with all my requirements are scarce. When I find them, I usually purchase more than one in different colors.

I did find the some shirts in a nationally known chain with all my wants and needs. I bought two.

Today while we were running errands I asked Mr. Fixit if we could go back to the same store to see if they had any more in different colors. Then I changed my mind. "No," I said, "if we go today I'll have to go home and change my shirt first." I was wearing one of the new ones I had purchased.

He gave me that look. "Why do you need to change your shirt?"

I explained my thinking. "If I go in wearing this shirt and buy another one just like it, someone may think I swiped the one I'm wearing." It seemed perfectly logical to me.

He said, (get ready) "I'm sure if someone accuses you of stealing, they surely have video cameras in the store which will prove you were wearing the shirt when you came in. When we prove you didn't steal the shirt, we can sue them for $500,000 for falsely accusing you of stealing."

It's a real toss-up. Who's the nut in this family?

BTW, I didn't go shopping for shirts today. Tomorrow is another day, and I'll be wearing a different shirt.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dusting Off My Soapbox

As I write, the State Senate in my state is debating a "bathroom" bill. Once again, it seems there are a bunch of guys trying to poke their noses into everyone's private business.

I wonder if any of these (mostly) men have ever seen inside a public woman's facility. I know I haven't seen a public man's bathroom, except in movies. I can tell you one thing. Women aren't like men; they don't stand next to each other in the open and let it all hang out, so to speak, to do their business. We (females) have little cubicles that, unless the door is broken, provides enough privacy. I am 70 years old, and I have never, in all those years, seen a woman disrobe in a public restroom. If a man did come into the ladies' room, he would probably be surprised to see nothing more than hand washing, hair combing, and freshening of lipstick. In fact, I seldom see anything other than hands being washed. I can't think that any woman would object to having anyone--men, women, children, gays, transgenders, etc.--seeing this hand washing ritual. Somehow I don't think that a gay man would find the acts of grooming and hygiene titillating. In fact, I don't think a transgender man would be interested either. Of course, a cross-dresser could be interested, but's that a whole other question. Can you imagine a cross-dresser dressed in his favorite alternative outfit walking into a man's restroom? What would the good senators who know what's best for everyone say when the cross-dresser (who is probably not gay) explains that he was prevented from using the women's room by law.

In the local news today, there was an article about a local sheriff addressing a group of conservatives. He said that if a male (of any ilk) went into the bathroom with his wife or granddaughter, he would whip his tail. He also said, "Sin is sin, I don't care what it is. He even admits to having a gay in his family, and he gives him hugs (gasp!) Perhaps he sees the whole bathroom law as southern gentleman chivalry. I think I prefer respect to chivalry in most cases. The sheriff several times referred to females as "chicks."To me, that is not chivalrous or respectful.

The whole "bathroom" legislation is just silly and unnecessary. It is an excuse for some people to force the whole population to conform to their ideas of how we should all live. Those who are of a different religion, race, or sexual orientation have to be legislated out of existence. Now that I think about, maybe it not silly--it's darned scary!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Water, Water Everywhere. . .

but not a drop to drink.

Yesterday about 6:00 pm I head several masculine voices coming from outside. In our neighborhood, you seldom here raised voices except for children and dogs. I looked out and saw a city truck and two men. One had a tool and he was turning off the water at a water thingy in the middle of the street. Then one ran back past our house. I looked out and saw the young man next door and the man across the street standing at the end of the young man's driveway. I should mention, too, that it was a rainy day.The water was pouring out of a hole that had been blown in the street at the end of the young man's driveway. Then I noticed our yard was flooded! The water was running into the yard of the house behind us. That yard was worse than ours. Then several city trucks showed up with several more men and two pieces of heavy equipment (backhoes, I think). By that time it was 6:30 pm. They said a water main had broken. The water kept coming.

They shut off the water to all the houses in our circle. I also heard that that the larger subdivision up the hill from us also had lost their water. Even after shutting off everyone's water at the meters and the at the main, the water kept coming.

The workers started digging while continuing to pump the water that was filling the hole as fast as it was dug. Those guys worked all night. I woke up about 3:30 am. It was thundering and the rain was pouring. The men were still working in a waist deep hole. They turned on the water about 7:00 am. When I left for my walk this morning at 9:30 am., two more city trucks showed up and starting cleaning us the mud and debris from the driveway of the young man's house next door. They also washed the street in from of the house.
I don't think they have finished, but at least the water is flowing into our houses.

It's not easy when the electricity goes off, but doing without water is almost impossible. I hope those city workers know how much we appreciated their efforts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Good News/Bad News

Mr. Fixit received the results of his latest scan after having been off the oral chemo meds last week. There was good news and bad news. The bad new is that the nodules grew; the good news is that they didn't grow that much--only millimeters. The doctor gave him a choice, go back on the meds or wait for another 3 months and another scan. The doctor said that he would recommend waiting for the next scan. Mr. Fixit decided to forego the medication for now because of the side effects. I really wanted him to start the meds again. I told him that the mild (as opposed to the symptoms some patients have) side effects are better than dying. It was his decision, however. I hope he doesn't regret this plan. It's very worrying for me.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Winter Has Went. . .

And Spring has sprung. The weather for the last few days has been nice. It was pretty cold at the first of the school baseball games, but last night I wore a hoody instead of a heavy jacket; it kept me warm enough. Both Noah and Owen are playing this year. Noah is on the JV squad and Owen in on the C team. Owen is in 7th grade. Levi’s rec league will start pretty soon.

The buttercups have bloomed and the forsythia is yellow. The tulips trees are gorgeous, and the redbuds are pink. Pretty soon the trees will begin to leaf, and I will be moaning about the heat.

Mr. Fixit is doing quite well. He has a scan in a week or so to check to see if there has been any changes since he went off the oral chemo medication. He has been working a lot for both sons, so I guess he’s feeling okay.

I have been walking almost every day and watching my carb intake. My weight just won’t drop and more. I’m so frustrated. I decided to go off the extreme low carb diet a few days ago. I haven’t been feeling too well. My energy level is down; just walking wears me out. I’ve been having some horrendous leg cramps at night, not the usual cramp in the calf muscle. These start at my ankle and hurt all the way to my waist. I thought maybe the diet was the problem. I began eating a more normal menu, but with a low caloric count. I gained two pounds in two days, but I felt much better. Back to only a few carbs again.

I haven’t been posting much lately (that low energy level), and I’ve missed the opportunity to “comment” on the political news. The choice of Republican wannabees is scary. Mr. Fixit and I went to vote in the Democratic primary. He had a little problem with the ballot. I ask the “watcher” if I could help him. She said it would be okay. I had to laugh. We voted for different candidates. That’s not so surprising I suppose. Even after 50 years of marriage, we still disagree on most subjects.

Since I haven't been feeling great, I have been reading, reading, and reading some more. I have also make a baby quilt, and knitted more mittens and hats that I'll ever need. I've also done a bit of cross stitching. I've been doing a lot of things that allows me to sit in my chair for hours on end. It's not wonder that I can gain two pounds in one day. According to my Fitbit thingy, I am using more calories that I am taking in. I should be losing weight, darn it!

This is the newest member of the Fixit family. Her name is That's Not my Cat. It's sort of a long story. She showed up at our house with only half a tail, a severe sneezing problem, and she was so skinny. She went to the house of the other cat lady in the neighborhood. WHen the other cat lady remarried and moved away, the cat came back to our house. I think she was abandoned and then hit by a car. I didn't want another pet, but she was so needy, I couldn't turn her away. She won't use a litter box so she has spent the winter in the garage. I won't tell you amount of money we have spent on kerosene. (The garage isn't heated.) She is now fat and sassy, and she's so affectionate. In fact, she thinks she's a dog. She will stay when I tell her to stay so we can drive out of of the driveway. She's very smart.

This picture makes it seem as if she only has three legs, but she does have four. Note the half tail.
This is Mr. Fixit and the cat. They have the same expression on their faces!

(Click on photos for more detail.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

But It Was Only Yesterday!

Fifty years ago Mr. Fixit and I were married. Fifty years is not long enough.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I just made my steps quota of 10,000 (that's ten thousand!) steps a day (or 4.7 miles). Not bad for a 70 year old lady. That's six circuits around the neighborhood and shopping in three different supermarkets. I would have to make about 10 neighborhood circuits without the shopping. I wonder how long it will take me to do it again.