Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Monday, January 22, 2018
The Great Clean-Out
Well, the specter of a shutdown was discouraging for most Federal employees. For me it was a calamity. I didn't know this morning that they would approve another continuing resolution this evening, so, in anticipation of it being a long haul, this meant instead of just printing out the orders I had finished while I was teleworking, transferring files to the closeout team, and then waiting for my four hours to be up so I could come home, I also had to strip my cubicle. Thinking about this left me with only four hours sleep.

On the way to work I was tailgated twice on the freeway. I will not miss these mental morons who fasten themselves to the ass of my car when I'm over the speed limit already!

Due to weather, injury, and other factors, I still hadn't taken my Christmas decorations down in my cubicle. I was pulling them down as I struggled to log on to the computer. I just have little boxes and plastic figures and things, so it was all in the box by the time I got logged in. Then the frustrating problems started. When I came back from Christmas leave the printer was giving me fits. Well, it's still asking me to manually feed each document I send to it, rather than just auto-printing, and it won't duplex print even though it is set to duplex print and has always duplex printed before. Someone suggested that I use another printer, but the only other available one told me the printer drivers were not loaded, so it hasn't worked for me since autumn and still won't work. Finally, after over an hour, I managed to print out documents for two purchase orders, then the printer quit responding at all.

The solution for these thing is usually to reboot, and it works most of the time. Except the computer wouldn't recognize my smart card after I rebooted, and it took me four reboots before I got a response from the thing. And only then could I print, having to press the button each time to manually feed the sheets, the third order, and the modification. I put the orders in Puli's office for the remainder of the signatures and filed the modification.

On the positive side while I was pissed off at the printer I got the majority of boxes packed up and in my car, borrowing the cart from in the hoteling room (they said it wasn't theirs, but lent it to me anyway). I was royally ticked off when I arrived this morning to discover someone had swiped two of the Xerox paper boxes I had stored up on top of my cubicle cabinets after the last time we moved; after all, who knew when they were going to go crazy and make us move again? Luckily they had just ordered copier paper and I was able to empty a box near the printer.

I then printed out my latest pay statement, my W2, and my furlough papers. Last time they had to be signed and e-mailed, this time we could just acknowledge online and put a signed copy on our supervisor's desk. Then I got to work pulling files from my cabinet and transferring them in ICE to the appropriate closeout person. Turns out these two folks were in the hoteling room I'd borrowed the cart from.

Finally was done finding documents at my desk that had my name on them and packed the last box: the papers, the Hot Shot, my computer speakers (speakers are mine because the original computer they gave me had no speakers, so I've dragged these around with me from workstation to workstation), my desk lamp, the fan, etc.. I brought all that down to the car and sweltered through the last twenty minutes without the fan. Last of all I printed out duplicate copies of the two orders I hadn't finished yet and left them on Puli's desk so that if the furlough didn't end by the 31st, she could reassign them but work would not have to be repeated.

Then I took my things and the tray table I usually put my bag and lunchbag on and left. The only stop I made on the way home was at Vickery Hardware to get more Scotch clear mounting tape. I found a small wooden shelf in my craft closet which I matte varnished yesterday, and when I got home I used the tape to mount it on the wall next to the fireplace. Now it will hold the telephone and answering machine instead of it being on the bottom of the little table under the window.

All I did for the rest of the afternoon was make up for the sleep I lost during the night!

James made chicken stir fry for supper which we had with rice. Later on I went downstairs and got some cardio exercise putting all the Christmas boxes back in the closet. Sadly, this doesn't clear the library because for now I have to put the boxes I brought home from work there. But those need cleaning out; a lot of it will be thrown away.

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» Sunday, January 21, 2018
An Ordinary Day

Nothing is going on. Which was what I wanted in the first place.

We got up, had breakfast, went shopping at Publix, and put it all away.

While James cooked up burritos for work, I sorted pills for the week, made the bed, vacuumed, worked on a craft project, cleaned off my work table, got the Christmas village box downstairs as well as the blue glider rocker (it looks nice down in the library), and hefted my telework monitor into the car.

James made some pork roast in the InstantPot, and we had it teriyaki flavored with ramen noodles, with a slice of marble cake for dessert. And then we watched Alaska: the Last Frontier until it was time for Victoria.

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» Saturday, January 20, 2018
I Am Flippin' Tired of 2018 Already

So, I didn't sleep well last night, then woke up this morning to discover I was furloughed, thanks to the 535 useless members of the United States Congress, who are overpaid, take more vacations than most billionaires, and sit around making more noise than my budgie, who has more sense. Thanks for nothing.

Since our "Gifts'n'Games" event had been postponed tonight, we really had no plans for today, except for one thing. On Tuesday, James noticed he had some tightness in his chest when he breathed in all the way. Not when he breathed out, but when he breathed in, and only breathing deeply. He had no other signs of heart problems, and he had similar symptoms last year when he was sick, so we just watched and waited. Wednesday, same story, so Thursday morning, even though the pain had completely vanished, he called Kaiser to get checked out. We still have to watch out for edema, after all, and James got pneumonia last year even after having a pneumonia shot. They asked all the questions about other heart attack symptoms, and since they were negative, gave him an appointment on Friday afternoon, since they were backed up with flu patients.

Friday afternoon we saw Dr. Kaplan. He took an EKG, listened to James' lungs, send him downstairs for bloodwork and a chest x-ray. He said everything looked and sounded okay, but he still wanted James to have a D-diter test in case of a pulmonary embolism, so that was one of the things they took blood for.

This morning we got up to find a message on our phone: they hadn't drawn enough blood for the D-diter test and they wanted us to go up to Towne Park, which is open on weekends as urgent care, to get more blood drawn. Okay. Neither of us slept well, because I had my own troubles and James' knees were tormenting him. The steroid shots he received in his knees had worn off weeks ago and since he had to walk everywhere lately (like on car lots), they are causing him real pain. He was in pain enough last night to consider dropping his sleeping pills and taking a hydrocodone instead. This is a big decision because opioid drugs scare the daylights out of both of us, but he was hurting so much he was afraid he would never get to sleep.

But I couldn't find the hydrocodone the orthopedist had prescribed for severe pain. I knew I'd seen it in the drawer in the bathroom, but I either put it up "safe" because James said he was so afraid of becoming addicted to it, or it accidentally got tossed during the "old drug" purge. So instead, desperate, he took the gout pills that the doctor told him to only take as a last resort because they are bad for his kidneys.

So this morning we grabbed a burger each, stopped at Gordy Tire to see if they could fix the speaker on the truck (not today), and then went to Towne Park. James got blood drawn, and then he limped over to urgent care just in case they could provide the steroid shots in his knees. They couldn't; they don't do osteo services there. So we left and went to Barnes & Noble, only to get called back by Kaiser. His D-diter test was slightly high, and they wanted to know why he had left when he had checked in at Urgent Care! No one at the lab said they would be processing the results immediately and that we should stick around, and the visit to Urgent Care had nothing to do with the blood test.

So we went back to Towne Park about one and spent the rest of the day there. First, apparently it was so urgent that we come back that they called us, but then they left us cooling our heels in the waiting room for an hour, surrounded by at least twenty coughing, sneezing, miserable people with the flu! (The place was full of flu victims. They had them waiting on gurneys in the hall.) The nurse kept asking him when he had been "short of breath." He was never short of breath; he had a tightness in his chest when he took a deep breath in, and only when he took a deep breath, and the pain had now been gone for three days. At that point we were both a little testy, and we apologized to the attending about it. Really, if the D-diter test was high, we did want them to make sure he was okay. So he had more blood taken, another EKG, and a blood pressure and vital sign monitor, and cooled our heels watching some of the most terrible television ever. (They also said he'd have another chest x-ray, but that was never done.) When we got there the TV in the room was playing some Lifetime "woman in jeopardy" flick. There were only twelve channels, no solace of HGTV and Food Network or History Channel and Animal Planet, and once we watched CNN yammering about the furlough for a while, we were done with that. We ended up watching ski trials for the Olympics, which was better than basketball and the news and some Lifetime lady having a reaction to the drugs she was given.

Plus the gurney was too short for him; he was lying down like a frog with his knees all akimbo and bent, and he finally just sat at the side of it in disgust rather than lying down.

Finally the attending came back in. Another heart test they did came out okay. His EKG was okay. The only thing they did find wrong was that his creatitine level was back up, high! We were aghast until James remembered the gout pills he took last night, and we explained to her about his knee pain. She said the drug he took certainly could have shot the creatitine level back up again, and to not take it any longer. (We will certainly get rid of it!) So they said he needed to have another blood test in a week and they would send the result to the nephrologist, but they would add a note that he had taken the gout medication. She also gave him a prescription for more hydrocodone in case he needed pain relief.

We left there at six, hungrier than wolves (the nurse had come in about five, saying his blood sugar was really low—well, yeah, since the last thing we ate was at noon, except for the crackers I got out of the snack machine about three—and they gave us graham crackers, peanut butter, and saltines—all too salty and too sugary!). We stopped at Kentucky Fried and got two-piece grilled chicken boxes (one side and a cookie for dessert) and finally got home and were able to eat.

Exhausted, upset, but cheered up a bit by Britcoms.

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» Thursday, January 18, 2018
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, JANUARY 18, 2018

Outside my window...
...it's dark and cold. We've had a real cold snap here, with nightly temperatures in the teens. These temps for this long are unheard of in Georgia. Several of the newscasters who have been here for years say this is the longest cold spell they can recall. The temperature itself has been colder; that's why we had a pipe freeze in the old house, because it went down to 8℉, but it's never remained cold this long.

I am thinking...
...it is less than two weeks until I retire! I've been looking forward to this for years, but the thought is still overwhelming. And I have so much to do! I still have to return my monitor and have a photo taken and clean out my cubicle...

I am thankful...
...I am finally done taking down the Christmas decorations (well, okay, there are a few thing up in the hall bath; they just have to be stuffed in a bag)! This would have been mostly taken care of last weekend, but we were getting the new truck together instead. We were even working on truck problems on Monday and Tuesday. It does have a jack again, but we would have to go back to the place where they fixed the door hinge to get the left speaker re-connected. The car dealership suspects that it got disconnected when they repaired the hinge. Then on Tuesday we had to take the truck up to the hitch place to get a trailer hitch put on, and they had it finished so late that we just made it to Mobility Works in time to get the lift ordered. So all I have been doing in spare minutes in the past two days is remove decorations. I got the tree downstairs and covered up today. One box is still upstairs; it has the Christmas village, is big, and I need help with it.

In the kitchen...
...we had Trader Joe's chicken apple sausages and air fried potatoes for supper. The air fryer works pretty well in the oven. I love that stove!

I am wearing...
...a purple sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, and blue-and-brown speckled oatmeal-colored socks.

I am creating...
...order out of chaos, I hope. While the Christmas items are all down, the boxes are not put away. And only a few of the winter things are out. But hopefully time will take care of that.

I am going...
...to look at my winter things carefully to see if I can cull any. The things that are on the porch are about shot, and the silver snowflake garland is tarnishing.

I am wondering...
...about major things and minor things. I don't want to discuss the major things, so I'll list some of the minor: I wonder when Master Chef Junior will begin airing again.

I am reading...
...World War II Rhode Island. It's a bit dry, but I'm learning a lot of things I never knew before.

I am hoping...
...the chair lift comes in for the power chair soon and we can have it installed. James' boss has been very patient in allowing him to work at home. They are not supposed to telework so often. On the other hand, he gets a lot more work done here!

I am looking forward to...
...well, I was looking forward to games night on Saturday, but one of our hosts has had to cancel on account of the flu. I hope she is okay soon! The flu sucks. And James says we will make our trip to Chattanooga.

Around the house...
...watching Miss Marple until the news comes on. I'm not really a Miss Marple fan, but it's better than these irritating survival shows. I have put all the autumn-themed items back up in the living room (except the ginger jar with the Chinese lanterns and cattails in it because there are still gifts on the hearth). At Christmas I have to shift the clock to the bookcase, so now I have to get used to looking back on the mantelpiece for the time.

I am pondering...
...how stupid you have to be to take a dare to eat a Tide pod. Just writing about it is disgusting. And just how late our mail carrier is coming. We go out there about six o'clock and there's still no mail, but it's out there at nine when I walk the dog. It's really quite irritating. Plus I keep forgetting to check the mailbox when I walk the dog.

A favorite quote for today...
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

One of my favorite things...
I love my Christmas decorations, but it is always good when the standard fall things are back on the mantelpiece. I love the little fall trees and cabins and figures bookending the Lord and Lady mug and the autumn harvest ladies, with Mother's old Remington clock in the middle and the tangle of autumn flowers and leaves behind it. It's very comforting.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I need to take James to the doctor to get checked tomorrow. Since we don't have to be anywhere Saturday night, perhaps we can take the truck to get the speakers checked on Saturday morning.

A peek into my day...
Oh, heavens, no. Everything is still a mess: Christmas village still in a box in the middle of the living room floor, and gifts on the hearth bricks, nothing vacuumed...


If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

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» Sunday, January 14, 2018
Yet Another Busy Day

James was wandering the house early again, but I slept in a little to "gird my loins" for the the day. After breakfasts and dog walking—it was another cold morning, with a sharp wind—we went out to finish "putting together" the truck. We gave it "a feed" and then, alas, required a trip to Walmart. Thankfully we found a power cart right off, and it wasn't all that crowded on a Sunday morning. I wanted sweatpants that weren't open at the bottom and another legal file folder, and James needed a few things as well, including a couple of sweatshirts.

Well, you could certainly tell it's been cold! The men's sweatshirt department was practically empty, but we did find two sweatshirts for James. To get sweatpants with a closed leg I had to get a pair of men's sweatpants. Apparently it's now the fashion for women to have open-legged sweatpants whether we like it or not. Picked up new bungee cords for the power chair once we have a lift to put it on again, and new sheets for the bed as well.

When we got home I put new documents (the papers for this house, and the loan on the new truck, and various other things) into the new legal file folder and could finally put both file folders back where they belonged. Did find Twilight's title, but not the old truck's. Where did it get off to? Irritating.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon putting the GPS and the radar detector back into the truck, and setting up the Hum device we have from Verizon. We had to call them to transfer it to a newer model vehicle, and then drive for fifteen minutes to "set" it.

I spent a little of the late afternoon taking down the dining room decorations, but they are not packed away yet. It's just going to take time as I have other things to do. This afternoon I also had to finish washing the towels and putting up the items we had bought. Perhaps more tomorrow.

It had taken us quite a long time to get the things in the truck, so supper ran late. We had tortellini and James watched Guy's Grocery Games and before we knew it it was time for Victoria.

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» Saturday, January 13, 2018
Running Makes My Fitbit Scores Rise

Another day on the run: up for breakfast, moving quickly for dog-walking because it's cold and windy, and then we went off to the bank. It took a while, but finally all the loan papers were signed. We also converted James' change into a deposit for his checking account while we waited.

Once we had the bank check we went to pick up the truck. That didn't take long. We brought it right home and loaded it up with the necessities: water, James' umbrella, the emergency box (which doesn't fit under the seat like it did in the old truck), the pocket organizer with the map book, etc. We could not put up some things because they had polished the dash so much that we couldn't stick anything to it. James thinks if we scrub it down with Windex it might get the coating off enough to put up some hooks for the GPS wires, etc.

One of the things we did do before putting it back in the truck bed was clean out the big black trunk that holds the driving pillow and the shopping bags. We found an old Borders container (!!!!) in there, ragged receipts, plastic bags, multiple paper Trader Joe's bags, many squished Publix reusable bags, plus some shoe inserts for James' orthopedic shoes and two rolls of wrapping paper I bought God knows when. Both are still good. We corralled the bags in other bags and brought order to chaos. Also, we had saved the old adjustable tie-downs from the old truck and had a dickens of a time figuring out how to put them on properly, but they finally went on the rails on the back.

By then it was way afternoon, so we went to Hibachi Grill for lunch, then went to Lowe's for duplicate car keys and a new toilet seat. Once that was finished, we were going to stop at the Publix across from Sprouts, but the parking lot was SRO. Instead we made a short stop at Office Max, then just went back to the Smyrna Publix to do the rest of the grocery shopping.

Sadly, we discovered one, or rather two, things we forgot to check on the truck. One, it doesn't have a jack. That's usually behind the seat in the cab. Well, we do have AAA in case we get a flat. But we also didn't test the radio. It does work, but the left speaker does not. We did test out the aux in jack and it works fine, so no more radio transmitter needed for us to listen to podcasts on long drives. No sure if getting the speaker fixed is costly or not.

When we got home James got on the phone with Nationwide and added the new truck to our insurance policy. It didn't take twenty minutes.

We had pot lucks for supper and spent the evening watching The Incredible Dr. Pol. Tucker enjoyed tonight's walk, but I nearly froze my fingers off. It's not all that cold (20s) but the wind has the banner out front out flat most of the time, so the wind chill is adding the knife edge.

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» Friday, January 12, 2018
Searching is What You Do When You Have Other Plans

I didn't do a stitch today to take down Christmas decorations. It's been so busy!

After breakfasting and dog-walking, I had to run to Kaiser to refill prescriptions and pick up James'. It was warm (61℉) and wet; I wore a jacket just to keep from getting sopped. Then I stopped briefly at Barnes & Noble, looking for a new "Breathe" (no luck) or if there were any interesting new books out (semi). I found a calligraphy pad on the half-price table and did get that.

My old "Tot" stapler that used tiny staples died, so I stopped briefly at Office Max. Apparently Swingline still makes the "Tot," but it uses regular-sized staples now, though it's still tiny. They had a different brand on clearance, so I got that instead. Also bought a new compass in a "math set" that came with a protractor, small ruler, eraser, and pencil sharpener.

Then I picked up lunch for James and I at Tin Drum, and on the way home I stopped at Nam Dae Mun for ginger tea for James and cucumbers for dinner.

I'd intended to do some Christmas removal this afternoon, but ended up hauling all the house papers (mortgage documents, tax returns, etc.) upstairs out of the pantry closet and refiling them in the new file folders I bought at Walmart a few months ago. Why? Well, since the insurance company is going to total the truck, we need to find the title for the truck to give to them. One time long ago, one of the car titles used to be in the secretary near the bird cage. Apparently we put it in such a safe place we can't find it. Nor is Twilight's title around anywhere, and I know we had that. I looked through every paper we had—including tax returns going back to 1995, James' papers from when he was in the Navy in the 1970s, my nurse visits after my surgery in 2004, the appraisal of Mom's house from 2006, and the paperwork from when Shadow caught on fire in 1990—and neither car title could be found. I searched the secretary again, looked in the safe (only the birth certificates and social security cards we needed to get our new drivers' licenses), and tried to figure out where else we might have put an important paper—but normally they all go down into the files.

At least I've resorted them and put them in the new folders. I'd intended to do this in February, but it's done (or almost done, since one file folder is so full it won't close; I'll have to get another at Walmart).. Watched an episode of Elena of Avalor as I sorted; it's not bad if they would get rid of the songs! Also watched a cute Sofia the First which was a sideways take on William Dean Howell's short story "Christmas Every Day."

Now we will have to take a form by the DMV and buy a replacement title; we have to go by there at some point and register the new truck anyway. It's supposed to be ready tomorrow: we go to James' credit union to pick up the check and take it to the dealership and pick up the truck. We can't go register it, though, until Tuesday because of the holiday.

When I was cleaning out the files I found the seven silver dollars my dad had saved, three of them from 1883. They're not really valuable, but have sentimental value. I have always meant to put them in our safe deposit box. So when we headed out to supper tonight, we stopped by the bank. There was some kerfluffle about the keys; apparently there are two sets of boxes with the same numbers (one is prefixed by a two-digit number) and the bank guy thought I should be opening the other box. It turned out the records were wrong, and the box the key fit was the correct one. I added the coins and then we had supper at Panera.

In the meantime, the rain had disappeared and the cold has returned with a vengeance. It was, as I said, 61 and raining when I got up, 53 this afternoon and cloudy, 47 when we left for supper, and by the time we got out of Panera it was down to 38, and the wind had a knife edge to it. So we decided not to go to Publix and came home instead. I had to take Tucker out and I definitely put him in his little winter sweater that I bought for him after Christmas. As we were walking around the upper cul-de-sac the wind blew so hard that it shoved him about three feet up the sidewalk, his legs dancing to keep his balance, and when it stopped he looked indignantly back to see who the heck pushed him!

Discovered tonight that something James and I wanted to order online was only available via check payments! How nineteenth century! Well, I usually pay Alex-the-lawn-guy with checks, and you never know when you will need them, so I tried to order them from the bank—who wanted $36 bloody dollars for them! Are you out of your minds? And you had to order duplicate checks, which I despise. So I went to Checks.com and ordered them for a third of the price.

Well, this still gives me a lot to do in February! I want to change the location where I have the safe deposit box so it's closer to the house (the SunTrust near the Smyrna Kroger). I'll also need to go to the tax office to submit my form to get the exemption from the school tax you can get once you turn 62.

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» Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The First Ten Days
It's been a frustrating ten days.

New Year's was pleasant. We watched the Rose Parade (grand marshal Gary Sinese) and its colorful floats and equally colorful bands (a Japanese band had bright purple uniforms) and horses. Later we went to Alice and Ken's house to watch the Rose Bowl because the University of Georgia "Bulldogs" were one of the teams. I don't like football, but I have to admit it was a really good game; lots of suspense into two overtimes. The "Dawgs" won, which meant they went to the SEC championships. Alas, they lost that game in overtime to the University of Alabama this past Monday. Apparently the "Tide" was too high to resist.

The cold continued apace. It was cold even for me. LOL.

No one came to pick up the poor truck until Friday. We had left it out all afternoon on Thursday as they said they were coming by. Apparently there were so many wrecks over New Years' weekend they couldn't keep up. We have not heard what they are offering us yet, but today we found out the repair would be over $9,000. The truck was only worth a third that much. No word how much they will offer for the lift.

When I arrived back at work on the 2nd, I still had thirteen hours of use-or-lose remaining, so I took Thursday afternoon off and Friday. Thursday I took James to his nurse visit (thankfully his blood pressure was down) and then we looked at two local used car lots for cars. We also broached the idea of getting a small SUV. However, another Tacoma would be the best value, and we did find a promising one just down the street, near the house.

We also went vehicle hunting on Sunday, including cross town to a Toyota dealership. That was a bust, because all they had was a double cab, which won't fit in the garage with the lift. We came back, went by the Toyota used lot on Cobb Parkway where we saw an access cab that looked promising, but which was as old as the old truck. It was freezing—we were in our "Rhode Island winter coats" and bundled up like Randy in A Christmas Story—but the salesman was very helpful. Finally we headed up to the Toyota lot at Town Center. They had a very nice 2011 in "pyrite," so we decided to keep an eye on that one.

However, James finally decided on a 2014 white Tacoma from the lot near our house. We took it on a test drive, kept it overnight, and then brought it to our mechanic, who found it needed brakes and the tires were suffering from dry rot and it had a broken door hinge, but otherwise was good mechanically. The dealership agreed to fix those three things and we should have it by the end of the week. We have an appointment to put a new trailer hitch on it next week and Mobility Works is ordering a new lift. (The old lift cannot be fixed. Once it is even slightly damaged they cannot guarantee its structural integrity anymore.)

We also tried out Wade's Diner and didn't think much of it.

We had our Twelfth Night party as usual, this year on Epiphany itself. We had a small but fun crowd, and missed Mel and Phyllis, who were home with a cold. Aubrey found the pickle on the tree as always. Gifts were exchanged and enjoyed.

A few weeks ago we got an offer from Earthlink for their "Hyperlink" service (broadband through the phone line). We were doing okay on DSL but we are still considering "cutting the cord." I made an appointment to get it yesterday because the salesman said it only took about an hour, an hour and a half to install. They assign you a time, and since James had to take the white pickup over to the mechanic to get it checked out anyway, I figured that would work.

Well, this turned out to be a fripping nightmare. The Hyperlink is installed via AT&T. Yesterday's technician showed up, turned off the phone without telling me (I was in the middle of an order), then went through the house testing all the phone jacks to find the one that was loose so he could connect the modem to hardwire to the computers. Once he found that, he installed the modem, but it wouldn't update. He kept going back and forth outside and then finally decided there was something wrong with the outside line and called an AT&T tech to come fix it. This dude was outside for about four hours, and when I noticed he was in the truck (this was after dark by now) I went to ask him what was going on, since when the first tech left we had a dial tone and now we didn't. He thought it was fixed and expressed surprise about the missing dial tone, and had to go to the box on the main street to turn it back on. It was horribly scratchy, and even though the Hyperlink hadn't been installed, we had no DSL at all and couldn't even fall back on it. For some reason my dial-up modem would not work, either.

Plus James had missed a day of work, I'd missed most of a day of work, and I was madder than a wet hen. I called up Earthlink and gave them a piece of my mind, but since the call center isn't even in the U.S. it's not like they really care.

By this time the first tech had gone off duty. They promised me someone would be here at 9 a.m. today to finish the install. I didn't let it wait. Since I couldn't sleep anyway—I had hurt my left leg on the stairs during the day—I was on the phone with Earthlink customer service at eight and finally found the Atlanta number and called them at eight thirty. During the latter call I got someone named Debbie and she called up AT&T and made sure someone was on their way.

He indeed got here at nine, but it took him over three hours to get it going. He had to work on the box on our street, and then the main junction box on the cross street, back and forth, and finally, to get our dial tone back, had to lay a new line just for the phone (someone will be out to bury it next week). He didn't say it aloud, but apparently the dude who worked on the box yesterday didn't know what he was doing. Anyway, finally we had a solid green light, and one by one we could attach the computers. The cell phones and the tablets were the least trouble because all you have to do is show Android a picture of wi-fi and it connects. 😊 Even the ancient Blu-ray player attached to the modem and it hasn't spoken to the wi-fi signal in five years! It took us, however, at least another hour to get the most critical unit attached: James' work laptop. The other two computers were a cinch: find the modem, tell it to connect, type in the cybernetic salad that's the password, and you're in. The work laptop wasn't that simple because we also had to set the connection parameters (what level of security and in which format, which we didn't know until James found the specs on the modem). That didn't get done until 2 p.m. James' supervisor sounded really testy this morning when he called in saying the internet was still down, so he worked an additional hour to make up for not being available in the morning.

There has been entirely too much drama already this month.

And I've only just begun putting Christmas back up! Only the kitchen and the foyer are cleared so far.

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» Sunday, December 31, 2017
No Fireworks Inside
It's been a quiet New Year's Eve day. I had a screaming nightmare last night and then was sick, so I slept in until nine. I really didn't feel like getting up at all. I didn't have the heart for it. James had gotten up a little earlier and had his breakfast. I had mine and just watched Dr. Pol. We had a grilled cheese sandwich and an orange for lunch and I put on The Nine Tailors, because the mystery starts on New Year's Eve. This is my second-favorite Lord Peter Wimsey story, and even if Ian Carmichael was much too old to portray young Peter going to war, I think including him in the wedding party worked better than having an information dump, which is fine for a book.

I took some time today to wash and dry the towels and of course the pills had to be sorted and the bed made. I was still feeling down by suppertime. Since we originally planned to go to Bill and Caran's party, we just ate a cursory bite of what was leftover for our party contribution, peanut pork in phyllo cups, and I put on "A Year for All Seasons" from M*A*S*H and Ellery Queen's "The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne," but didn't even have the heart to put on Rudolph's Shiny New Year. But I was feeling so emotionally weary, and while I would have loved to have seen everyone, the idea of driving 45 minutes across town exhausted me, and the idea of doing it again after midnight exhausted me even further.

So we stayed home and watched Rogue One and soothed a nervous terrier as the booms went off outside, and then switched to Steve Harvey.

Been a bummer of the past two days. I was so determined 2018 would be better. Now I'm not so sure.

"It doesn't matter whether you feel useful or not when you're moving from one disaster to another. The trick, I guess, is to just keep moving."
. . . . Fr. Mulcahy, M*A*S*H

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» Saturday, December 30, 2017
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory
I had a very profitable day yesterday. I'm determined to get all the junk cleared from the house, and I wanted to fill up a trash bag up (and I did). There were other things hanging about, and the wrapping paper from Christmas, so I had that to begin with, and I cleaned out James' two drawers in the bathroom. There were old Kaiser bags in there from three years ago.

When I telework James pretty much has to dress up in the dark, and I've been thinking of making a little dressing room in there for him. There's already one of my grandmother's old chairs in there, and I added a second one that is in the library downstairs. With all the junk cleaned out (tossed in the trash or put in a box for donation) I made a little space where he can get dressed; he can even use the stepstool to help put his boots on. A couple of hooks behind the door and a small light would make it complete.

There was only one tiny problem: I used the dishwasher this morning and it would not drain. After watching a video on YouTube and calling Bosch, I bailed it out and washed the filter (but I had done that several months ago; it was not the filter that was clogged), and then tested the dishwasher on a rinse and hold. It sounded like it started to drain, but there was still water at the bottom of the cup the filter goes into. But I found the order we put in at Lowes and discovered we did get the extended warranty. So someone will be here on Tuesday to look at it.

After such a productive day we had a terrible time with dinner. We were going to Longhorn but it was completely packed, no handicapped spaces or close spaces available (James had put the power chair up). Everywhere else was crowded as well. So we went past Bed, Bath and Beyond where I was unsuccessful in finding the small light I wanted. We ate at Ken's Grill and did the last of our grocery shopping at Kroger.

We were up early this morning, finally headed on our trip to Chattanooga. We had breakfast first and stowed some oranges in the truck so we wouldn't be tempted to snack. It was going to be chilly later on, so we put on our warmest things and I put our scarves in the cab, although we planned to be back before dark. We were headed out toward Windy Hill to get gas when James realized he forgot his phone. This has been typical of this whole plan to day trip up there. We planned to go weeks ago, but first it snowed, then was James' party, then last weekend it rained. Today it was fine, just cold.

I retrieved the phone, and, since gas was cheaper up north of our location, I asked James if he would rather go through Delk Road to get to the freeway. This meant going through Sandtown Road. We were just driving, talking of nothing in particular--Tylenol, actually, for James' knees, when we crossed through the intersection at Pat Mell Road. The cab of the truck had just cleared the intersection when it happened: someone smashed right into the right rear of the truck. James knows he had the green light, but the other driver said that as well. The police said since there were no witnesses no blame could be assigned, and no one got a ticket.

I don't want to talk about the whole story, but the truck is toast. If it was just the back panel and the rear lights, it might be okay, but either the right rear wheel or the axle is bent. The chair lift is also twisted and bent. The other car hit us so hard the power chair was flung across the street and landed in the ditch on the other side. It had a twist in it when they got it back on the lift, but it straightened itself out when James rode it back into the garage.

Plus this is his second accident in two years. They will total the truck and then cancel his insurance and he'll have to go with a high priced company. We've no money for a new truck, but Twilight can't pull the chair. It's all a big horrible stinking mess.

We limped the truck home (it bounces like a bronco if you drive it over ten miles per hour) and just sat for the rest of the day; only watching the M*A*S*H marathon was some tiny consolation. The joy has gone out of the season. I want to bury my head in my mother's lap and cry and cry. No way to turn the clocks back and take a different direction. I don't even know why  I try to make things better. Once I do something else f**ks up.

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» Thursday, December 28, 2017
A Day That's So Tinsel!
Today James had an appointment to have his power chair looked at after he could not get it going at work a few weeks ago. The rubber cover of the control handle had peeled back one foggy morning and moisture had gotten into the contacts. He had to hobble into the building, but by the time lunchtime rolled up the fog was gone and the contacts dry. It's worked fine ever since.

I had toyed with going with him. He was driving out to the other side of town and if I went with him perhaps we could stop at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market or the Barnes & Noble at the Forum in Norcross. But if he just had to twiddle his thumbs for hours while it was being fixed, it wasn't worth it. So finally he went off to work this morning (he's one of the few there early) and left at ten to go to the appointment.

I was off at ten, too, after breakfast and dog-walking, headed ultimately back to Richard's Variety Store to get more of the magnetic hooks. The ones we have in the kitchen are terrible; we use them on the range hood to hold potholders, and they frequently fall off if you put the "Ove Glove" on them carelessly. But first I wanted to stop at Love Street, the little gift shop, to see what was on sale after Christmas.

My cell phone ringing distracted me, and I turned the wrong way, so I ended up stopping at the CVS on Concord Road first, and I was so happy I did. The one thing that has bothered me this year is that I could not seem to find any tinsel [icicles]. To me it's not a Christmas tree without the icicles, and because with these thin, modern icicles you cannot save them the way you used to be able to, I have for the past years always bought enough tinsel to replace what I put on the tree (about 2 1/2 boxes) and usually a couple more. But this year I was not seeing any, either in CVS or in Walgreens. But there in the CVS were about 30 boxes of the stuff, down on a bottom shelf in a corner. I bought a dozen, and a door decoration, all half price. Then I did go over to Love Street and bought another little log reindeer, this with a red nose, to join Woody and Holly on the lawn, and also a bicycle bell for James' power chair. (He has one now, but due to the structure of the arm of the chair it can only be installed upside down and doesn't work that way. This one works differently and does work upside down.)

I headed toward Richard's then, cutting through the little village of Vinings. I usually don't pay attention to what's in Vinings, as the little shops there seem to be all clothing and expensive housewares and restaurants. But last time I cut through, I thought I saw a sign that said "books." There is indeed something there that is a combination book and magazine/coffee shop. I didn't stop to look, but checked out the other shops. There appears to be a vinegar and oil shop here as well! Noticed a Mellow Mushroom before stopping at the Vinings CVS. Nothing else in the decorating aisle, but I did get Tucker a new sweater (half price), as his "Trouble Maker" sweater bought when we first got him is now too small.

James texted me as I was leaving CVS. All they had to do was order a new rubber overlay, and we can install it ourselves. So he got that ordered and was heading home. So instead of going on to Richard's, I went home, stopping by Publix to pick up the twofers. Found some pork chops at a good price and got James some ground beef as well.

James arrived soon after, and once the groceries were put up, we went out for lunch, back to the Mellow Mushroom I'd spotted in Vinings. We both had a hoagie and got a big one. Boy, were they big! We brought half home and had them for supper. The service was great and we enjoyed eating there.

Next we went to Richard's where I did pick up the hooks, and then went to Barnes & Noble. James bought a book with one of his coupons, and got a stack of magazines with the last coupon for magazines. He also found the calendar he wanted.

Finally we headed home, stopping by Publix once more to drop off the recycling.

Spent a relaxing evening watching the box. Watched a wonderful British special I recorded called The First Silent Night, hosted by Simon Callow, about how the song was written. The old story that you have heard—that mice chewed the bellows of the organ and the words and music were written at the last minute for guitar—is not true. Joseph Mohr had actually written the words two years earlier as a poem after seeing a beautiful painting of the Nativity every day at his parish church. The organ was already broken, and had been for a while. He and Franz Gruber were going to perform the song on guitar to show their solidarity with the people who lived there, using their native musical instrument, the guitar. Beautiful, beautiful Austrian scenery throughout, mostly snow-covered woods and valleys. Afterward watched the NOVA episode "Bird Brain," about the intelligence of birds. Clever birds!

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» Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Well Begun is Half Done
So what do you do when Christmas is over?

Start getting ready for next Christmas!

After breakfast and dog walking, I went off to Town Center. Started at Barnes & Noble due to a traffic diversion; bought two years' worth of Christmas cards, both with a wildlife theme. There's a Hallmark store on the other side of the shopping center, so I went there next. Of course people were crowded in there buying ornaments at half price. One woman had one whole shopping cart full of ornaments. I'd be willing to wager she was buying up all the fannish ones (Batman, football players, Avengers, Baby Groot, etc.) and will hold them for a while and then sell them on E-Bay as collector's items. I just picked up the new Marjolein Bastin's Garden ornament which I had not gotten originally: it's a snow-capped wreath with apples on it, with two tiny chickadees coming to feast on the apples. It was half off, and I had rewards points!

Next to JoAnn; you guessed it, more Command hooks. I said I was going to reorganize in the new year and I mean it! Plus two clearance items. Next door to Michael's, where I picked up a 70 percent off garland (I put it on the porch later on) and dessert chocolate. I crossed to 2nd and Charles because they had neat, cheap cards last year. None this year, but I found a lovely roll of holly wrapping paper for a grand total of 37 cents. Stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought bows and tinsel cord. Finally stopped at Publix, didn't find their crusty white baguette again and in very bad temper bought a Chicago roll (which was not a good substitute), and some black-eyed peas for James.

Spent the rest of the afternoon at home listening to Christmas music and reading Christmas magazines.

Had beef bits and Rice-a-Roni for supper and watched bits of Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. Really dreadful. The first few specials were the best, all charm and gentle humor, then they gradually lost their magic. Charlie Brown spends a good part of this one shouting. And what teacher gives a little kid War and Peace to read over Christmas vacation? Better was the first episode/preview of the new season of Better Late Than Never, which William Shatner talked about at DragonCon. The four crazies (Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, Henry Winkler, and George Foreman) and "the sidekick" Jeff are doing Europe this time, and discover beergardens and take a Sound of Music tour.

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» Monday, December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas!!!!


A "Working" Christmas

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» Sunday, December 24, 2017
Christmas Eve at Our House
Books And Christmas Lights in Our Hearts

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