That Was the Cat, That Ate the Rat, That Lived In the…

“Did I have a living will?” Asked the desk nurse. “Yes,” I answered.

I was living when I walked in to the facility. And, I expected to be living, when I departed.

“Your blood pressure’s a little high,” The nurse commented.  Could it have something to do with waiting so long?    After waiting over an hour, the doctor came in for a ten-minute consultation.

What a circuitous path it had been so far. It started with being chided by my spouse for snoring, and possibly having sleep apnea.

My insurance plan gatekeepers deemed an overnight at the local sleep clinic unnecessary. A home study kit, from a health equipment vendor, for two or three nights, was an acceptable substitute.

It had been around six weeks since the process began. The first health equipment provider, repeatedly, failed to call to arrange delivery. The local sleep clinic advised, that particular company had gone out of business, without regard to their clients.

“What a way to run a railroad?” I thought. A second health equipment company summoned, and they called this past week. Delivery promised in three to five business days. I just wanted to do the study and see it through to the end.

That would be the end of this tale, if it were not for the gastroenterological issues. The barium swallow test at the hospital, went well–or so, I thought at that time.

Another referral, to a gastroenterology clinic, resulted in a future hospital visit, for an endoscopy. For those unfamiliar, it was similar to a colonoscopy, except from the other end.

One Step Forward…

Cast iron cookware, once considered too heavy and awkward. Perfectly good skillets and Dutch oven discarded in favor of lighter aluminum cookware, with non-stick coatings.

When properly seasoned, cast iron was also non-stick–without the chemical coating compounds. In our household, cast iron is back in favor. Last night’s cast iron skillet-baked pork chops with roasted vegetables were to die for.

On another front, I’m taking back what was taken away last summer, by warring media giants, Direct TV and Nexstar Media. Local CBS and NBC channels were removed from the lineup. NBC is still not back.

I’m installing an outside antenna for local channels. A small gimmicky inside antenna, failed to perform to my expectations last week, and was returned.  I missed NBC’s first shows of the new season.

The new antenna, looks like those on houses before the advent of satellite and pay TV.  Hopefully, local channels will be in reach, once again.  I’ll have the option to pull the plug from TV subscription services.

I’m waiting for the weather to cool next week before installation.  Everything comes back in fashion in due time.

After the Dust Settled

After some detective work in the neighborhood, I discovered how lowdown and dirty my neighbor’s little charade was.

She claimed, her plumber told her, the evidence was clear. I’d broken water pipes in her yard when I turned the front corner with my riding lawnmower.

When my scheming neighbor talks, in what is for her, normal conversation, you can’t get a word in edgewise. I tried to explain, “If you feel I’ve violated the law, why not call the police?”

Faster than a politician, she sidestepped the issue.  The plumber’s account of the incident was quite different.  She unwisely bragged about getting someone else–my wife and I–to pay for repairs and excessive water usage.

The plumber was livid.  He’d not implicated me in the slightest. Fat chance of him ever working for my scheming neighbor in the future.  The leak was due to previous shoddy workmanship by another plumber, when a sprinkler system was installed. He further stated, there was another neighbor, with the same problem, from the same inept plumber.

You can’t win an argument when someone is hellbent on deviancy.  I’m sure that if I’d called the Sheriff initially, Ms. X from next door, would have placed all blame on the second plumber.  “Well, I don’t know.  It’s not my fault.  That was what my plumber told me.”

I penned a letter to Ms. X, sent it through regular mail.  I expressed disappointment with her behavior–which had slanderous implications.

My wife read the letter and advised me to tone down the rhetoric in some areas.  “Lambast her, but  don’t besmirch her character,”  “What character?”  I answered.

The gist of the letter, we didn’t bother others in the neighborhood, and, in turn, didn’t expect to be bothered.  We paid our own way and expected others to do likewise.

There’d been other issues with Ms. X in the past.  None of them this blatant.  Of course she reiterated all past episodes, chapter and verse.  Even though those issues were thought to have been laid to rest.

Will there ever be an apology–as requested?  I wish I could say I was optimistic, but, I can’t.  My wife and I just want to be left alone.

 

It Seemed Longer

Don’t know what it was about this past week. On Tuesday, while attempting to mow the front lawn, one of my neighbors chewed me out and claimed I’d damaged her water line.

No proof was offered and I had no knowledge of any such infraction. I was as polite as I could possibly be under the circumstances. She demanded I pay for repairs and excessive water usage. Despite my denial, she continued on.

That same afternoon, my phone service went kaput. It was out until today–Friday around noon. No internet for four days. I wondered for a time, if my crabby neighbor had something to do with it?

It couldn’t have been related, but a visit to a popular Italian-themed, casual dining restaurant yesterday, was a disaster. My piadinas were overcooked. Italian doughnuts for dessert were usually fluffy and light. Yesterday, they were heavy, and still doughy in the middle. Two groups of customers in our waiter’s section walked out in disgust.

Being without internet for four days wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a reminder of how dependent we are on computers and on the web.

Tuesday Before the Storm

Catch-up day before the madness begins. Yard mowed and trimmed yesterday. Today, Max the mighty mutt, got shampooed and had his nails trimmed

He’s still pouting, because I took him somewhere he hated to go. He’ll enjoy the trip Thursday. He’ll get to visit with his canine cousins, at our final destination.

Paying higher gasoline prices in Illinois, will be sticker shock.  Part of the new governor’s campaign promises.  Of course, the purpose was to improve roads/highways statewide.  Gas taxes were doubled.

I’ve never put much stock in campaign promises.  Four years is a long time.  Time will tell, whether or not, promises were kept.  One thing for sure, I will fill up the gas tank in Kentucky–just before crossing the state line.

Visiting with friends and family will be enjoyable for the next two weeks.  I don’t plan to waste time discussing politics.

What’s Your Frequency?

Not being able to receive programming from two of the four major US televisions networks, for going on two months, has become quite stale.

It’s no different than other abstentions of goods and services. Declaring a shortage of iceberg lettuce, then jacking up prices. Except, I am paying for services not received.

Meanwhile, Nexstar Communications and Direct TV continue their standoff. Nexstar owns a considerable amount of local TV stations–CBS, NBC, channels 44 and 55 locally. Each player in the stalemate blames the other.

Granted, summer replacement shows/reruns are nothing to brag about. I watch TV first thing in the morning, then for two hours before turning in to bed. I miss my favorite local station personalities.

I’m not a sports fanatic, but will not be given the opportunity to be one, this fall–if this stoppage continues. I’m locked into a contract with Direct TV. There would be a sizable penalty for changing.

Dish Network, the main competitor, is not immune to the same issues–rebroadcast of local stations. Tried an over the air antenna, in the past, and barely received one channel. My internet provider isn’t reliable enough for streaming. It may take some creativity on my part to solve these issues.

While Waiting

A beautiful sunny day at a busy intersection. Businesses at three of the four corners. I was waiting at the auto repair shop on the northeast corner.

The posted sign gave an 8:00 AM opening time.  Opening hours were relative. I walked through the open doors at 7:45. Greeted by office staff, agreed on a fair price for services, went to the waiting area.

Auto repair technicians showed up at approximately 8:00 AM. Customers began to congregate at the front service counters. One was an independent taxi driver. Another, a construction worker, with a flat tire on his work truck.

Traffic at the intersection frequently backed up in all directions. Which was the reason for the city policeman’s visit. He had a good sense of humor, necessary during our gabfest.

“Officer, I want you to arrest these guys. These guys are trying to rob us.”

The policeman got down to business. He was there to see recent security footage, concerning an auto accident investigation.

“We’re taking orders for lunch,” The cab driver offered the policeman.

“I hope to be out of here before then,” Said the construction worker.

The group came to the conclusion, video surveillance made it difficult for spring breakers to get away with mischief. Another member of the informal discussion panel related s story about spring breakers cutting holes in the walls of their room–to access adjacent rooms and wreak more havoc.

“After that, there was no way in heck, they got their security deposits back,”

Nobody liked the idea of $6.00 tolls each way, on the new bay bridge. Once tolls were set, they never went away.

Discussions ended for me. My car was ready. It had been 1 1/2 hours. That wasn’t a bad wait.