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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» Sunday, June 02, 2024
The Origins of Elsbeth and Other Tales
Was feeling so bad on Sunday that I forgot to put on the National Memorial Day Concert. I figured I could watch it Monday on PBS. Surprise! Not there. However, it was on YouTube. Streaming television is so weird.

We were both out of sorts on Memorial Day. I made ribs, but I wasn't really satisfied with them.

I am trying a new experiment on laundry day. Usually by the time we get up these days, I don't start the laundry until after noon. This week I loaded the first load before bed, put in the detergent, and put the washer on delay. Tuesday morning when I came out for breakfast, the first load was already finished and I could toss it in the dryer and start the second load. I may keep doing this!

My main worry at the beginning of the week was that James might be spoiling for a UTI; however, when we saw Dr. Kongara on Thursday he seemed to think there was no problem. This appointment was supposed to be a video appointment, but Bruce, who's Dr. Kongara's PA, had to give him a Procrit shot anyway, so he changed the video appointment to a real one and we talked to the doctor while Bruce got the shot ready. Bruce is in his fifties, but he is always moving. He makes me tired just listening to him talk, and he practically bounces off walls.

This week to do something different in entertainment, we decided to explore the origins of a character. We have been watching Elsbeth on CBS; Elsbeth Tascioni is an attorney, seemingly scatterbrained who is actually brilliant, who has been sent to New York City as an independent observer in a precinct where corruption has been suspected, specifically with the captain of the precinct. She accompanies a young uniformed officer named Kaya Blanke on cases and of course gets mixed up in the mystery. She also comes to like the captain she's investigating.

However, Elsbeth is not an original character: she was originally an occasional character on the series The Good Wife, and appeared on a few episodes of the sequel series The Good Fight. So I found out what episodes she was on, and we went on Paramount+ to check out those episodes. To my amusement, Paramount+ already has the Elsbeth episodes of both series linked for immediate viewing.

We enjoyed them, although with both series' serial-type format, we missed big chunks of plot points. If I were to watch the series, I would probably watch The Good Wife, which had a politician's wife taking up her legal career again while her husband was investigated for wrongdoing. I didn't like The Good Fight as much, even though Christine Baranski was excellent as usual. Both series, because of the characters and the clients, relied a lot on political plots, and I hate political maneuvering more than I hate child molesters, and Good Fight got a lot more into politics and infighting. However, we did enjoy the Elsbeth episodes a lot! The one with the potentially banned athlete and Elspeth in jail was quite funny.

I want to say one thing, though: if this is truly how supersized law firms work, I wouldn't hire one. They seemed to be more obsessed with stabbing each other in the back and competing against each other than in their law practice. I would be concerned they weren't giving my case enough attention! LOL!

Saturday James went to his club meeting and I spent the afternoon fixing the beater bar on the vacuum cleaner. What fun. But on Sunday I got a good book (American Ramble) at Barnes & Noble. So sometimes things balance out.

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» Sunday, May 26, 2024
Lenses, Slips, and the Coconut Cure
I finally picked up my new glasses on Tuesday! They were actually ready on the 14th, but no one called. As I said, this is a totally new prescription; usually my eyes change very little in two years, but in one year I've changed from a 4.25 to a 3.50, so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see. But I can, quite well, which explains why I was having trouble seeing with the old ones; they were now overcompensating.

Tried the computer glasses out when I got home, and they were also a treat. Maybe I can now work on my web pages again.

Thursday was also a good day for James: stitches are out of his toe and he doesn't have to wear that plastic bag on his right leg any longer! This is great because he slipped on the damn thing a couple of days ago and now has a rainbow of bruises on his back because he did kind of a controlled slide to the bathroom floor. Unfortunately we had to call the firemen to get him back up.

We were able to go to Books-a-Million on Sunday (last time I got a bunch of them there, this time none), ate at Uncle Maddio's, and went to BJs for maple syrup and fruit cups.

The week also had its annoyances. I have been fruitlessly looking for a vet for Oliver, because he just doesn't act right. He's used to being here now and he should be more lively, but he isn't. Also, his droppings are very loose and wet, and it looks as if there's a lump behind his legs. I called every "avian vet" I could find on Google. One Google said was in the "Atlanta area" was over an hour's drive. Our own vet said to take him to Athens to the University vet clinic! The place I liked close by, near Douglasville, isn't taking new customers, and they sounded so nice. Riverview, down the road from us, has an avian vet again, but she was gone until the 31st.

I finally called the breeder back and they said they usually take their birds to For Pet's Sake, all the way in Decatur, but, if I wanted, I could take Oliver to see them, to see what they thought. So on Friday we drove out to Norcross to Fancy Feathers. One of the owners, Irene, looked at Oliver...and believes he might be an Olivia, and the lump is an unlaid egg. She gave us some coconut oil to give him, and told me to make sure to keep his bottom clean.

Giving him the coconut has almost restored the droppings. and the wet spots aren't as bad, but now he...or getting fussy about his seed. Sigh.

I need to call Riverside eventually...

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» Sunday, May 19, 2024
A Good Lift
Well, at least the chair lift on the truck is working properly. We had it checked out at Mobility Works on Tuesday—I followed James over there in Butch just in case they needed to keep it—and they gave it a thorough vetting and also some lubrication (you should hear it squeal in the wintertime when it's wet). We stopped by Sam's Club on the way home and gassed up both cars and got some great-looking sirloin steaks.

We had kind of a quirk over at Kaiser on Wednesday; they took James' usual biweekly blood test and came up with the wrong results! Nevertheless, they allowed him to get his Procrit shot on Thursday, and we had an appointment with the podiatrist as well. James' toe looks great, even to me, and I'm hoping the stitches will come out next week because he's going lame in those surgical sandals.

Also annoyed to discover that the Smyrna Publix has ceased to carry my favorite flavor of yogurt.

My largest accomplishment this week was cleaning out in the spare bedroom and finally posting the final chapter in my latest fanfic. The story eventually ran to 43,000 words! I thought when I started it that it would top out at about half that amount, but things just happened...LOL.

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» Sunday, May 12, 2024
Seven Plagues of Marietta
Sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes it's like the seven plagues of Egypt.

James had a good post-op checkup, at least, but it could be until the 29th until he has the stitches out, depending how quickly it heals. The toe looks very nice considering it was operated on only five days ago, no swelling or general ickiness.

Next morning James dropped his medical alert bracelet down his sink in the bathroom. After two fruitless hours of trying to lift it out with my collection of super-strong magnets (if I'd had one inch diameter ones it might have worked), I had to get to my eye appointment. So James called up Superior Plumbing, and they charged us $200 to get the bracelet out of the trap. ::sigh:: The plumber was nice enough, because James wasn't able to bend over, to take all the stuff from under the sink, and then put it back. James gave him a very good rating.

While the plumber was here, I had my eye exam. Man, they whizzed through it, and, surprisingly, my nearsightedness has improved, according to them, and my prescription has changed. I suppose this is why I haven't been seeing quite as well as I used to, so perhaps it's providential that the glasses broke. I was going to go directly to Costco, to order the glasses, but the dilation of my eyes really hurt and my eyes were watering copiously even with sunglasses out in the sun, so I went home to lie down.

Thursday I was perturbed already because Oliver has been pooping very loose out of nowhere, and it makes a wet, sticky mess at the bottom of his cage. Maybe he's getting a draft? I will have to half cover him at night when the A/C kicks in. Then we went to Costco to order my new glasses. I found a frame I had already picked out last week, plus ordered new computer glasses as well, finding a very lightweight frame like my sunglasses have. I thought about ordering sunglasses, too, but even using my own frame they would be almost $200! (I didn't think until afterward to ask how much single vision rather than progressive sunglasses would cost. I just use sunglasses for driving and really don't need progressives to drive.

Well, when we went outside I was perturbed because the chair lift on the truck didn't seem to be working well. I could stick my fingers under the far end of the bar and I don't remember being able to do that before. Scared me so much that I drove home (James still can't drive) with flashers on and very slowly.

Friday Butch got towed to the mechanic and thank goodness, it was only the battery; the AAA guy seemed to think something was wrong with the electrical system. I didn't realize Butch still had the same battery from when I bought him (2018); the battery was actually from 2017! So seven years was a good term for a battery. Wow, batteries are expensive now!

James did drive me over to pick up the car; he said he's not having any trouble driving with the surgical sandals he has to wear until his toe heals, but they are really a bear to walk in because of no arch supports. His left arch has been paining him fiercely since the surgery.

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» Sunday, May 05, 2024
Elevator Week
It began with a win: we had to get Disney+/Hulu with the ESPN package because there was no Disney+/Hulu duo at the time. Neither of us likes sports, not the type that ESPN covers, anyway. Now they have the "Disney Duo," so I contacted Disney+ and asked how to change. A very nice person named Ariadna helped me cancel the Trio and then I signed up for the Duo. It was quick and easy.

Wednesday it took James an hour to get a blood test because the suits at Kaiser Town Park decided to have a staff meeting and leave only one person in the lab. Not cool.

And on Thursday James had the tip of his right pinky toe removed. This is the toe that turned up in January with a sore on it. However, the sore had not healed, despite all sorts of different treatments that never worked. He had an X-ray, then an MRI, then he had another X-ray just lately. The last X-ray showed that, although the bone was not yet infected, it was showing signs of becoming infected. So Dr. Conway took the tip of his toe off. It was outpatient and only took a total of ninety minutes. James was even able to go to get his Procrit shot later in the day.

In the meantime, back in March I lost one of the nosepad stalks on my only-year-old eyeglasses. This was my own fault; I should know better to buy glasses with long thin nosepad stalks; the last pair of glasses I had with long stalks one of them broke, too. Well, I had this weird workaround with a Kleenex and superglue to keep the other one from breaking, and I was tired of it. So Friday I jumped in the car to go to Costco to get a new pair of glasses.

The car wouldn't start and the dashboard lights flashed on and off. So I went in the truck, only to find my prescription only lasted a year and I couldn't get a new pair without a prescription. Luckily I called up and I got in next Wednesday.

The stupid car will need to wait so long as we have the truck for transportation; there are other things that need taking care of first.

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» Sunday, April 28, 2024
Just an Ordinary Week (But...Dogs!)
It was a red-letter week: I finally delivered an overdue Hanukkah gift. It's been a comedy of errors for the last four months trying to get Mel and Phyllis their gift. Either they were where we were and the gift wasn't, or it was the other way around. ::sigh:: It's not even valid as a Passover gift now.

The bad news is that James' toe is still not well; we had it checked out at podiatry this week. The doctor said if we were still patient about this we could "stay the course." So we are, but she sent him down for an x-ray to make sure.

The good news of the week was Saturday in (1) going to Hair Day (where the Hanukkah gift finally was reunited with its owners) and talking to everyone, except for Charles, who is in Greece! and (2) going to the Jonquil Festival. We got there just in time for the Ready Go Dog Show. All the dogs are rescues, some from shelters, some from specific breed rescue. Five dogs performed: an Australian shepherd, a Pomeranian, and a chihuahua named Tito all chased frisbees. Then Phobia, a smooth Border Collie, jumped from a box over a hurdle six feet high. The final performer was a Belgian Malinois named "Beano," also a frisbee freak. The handler said the hardest thing to teach Beano was "stay"!

James got himself two sugar-free desserts (I tasted the lemon cake; it reminded me of the lemon squares from Solitro's Bakery!) and also picked up some jambalaya and red-beans-and-rice for lunches. They had a bumper crop of vendors, but didn't see much that we wanted. The honey guy was there, but he had no small bottles of blackberry honey.

On the way out we stopped at the library because they didn't have an outside book sale this year. Their "perpetual book sale" has shrunk from three large bookcases to two smaller ones. I still found three books: Reviving Ophelia, which I've wanted to read; Sisters in Crime, a collection of short mystery stories about women; and Strongheart, an award-winning children's book about the famous dog star. (We did go to Barnes & Noble, and I didn't buy anything. The library books only cost $2.75.)

In other news, dropped more stuff off at Goodwill, posted the first part of a seven-part fanfic and redesigned the graphic for the series, tried out a new grammar-checker called Quillbot, and listened to more Colonial Williamsburg podcasts.

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» Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Doctors Multiply (and We Don't Mean Who)
Yay! The grass is cut for the next two weeks and the pine pollen seems to be gone, so it's time for me—something I didn't do last year—to get the hose and rinse down the front porch, which is no longer brick colored, but yellowish. Alas, every single gasket on the hose and nozzle is shot, which means I got as wet as the porch in front (my capris were still damp around the waistband two days later).

We started out the week with one doctor's appointment and ended up with three: Wednesday it was James' physiotherapy followed by the rheumatologist. Dr. Salazar upped James' steroids to 7 1/2 milligrams since he's still in a lot of pain. Later we had supper from Tin Drum, which, to my sorrow, was less than sterling for me.

For years now Tin Drum's teriyaki bowl (under different names) has been my go-to treat. I would go there once a month, especially after I retired, and treat myself to lunch and racked up so many points I had lots of free meals. Over those years they made tiny tweaks to the dish (like adding a lime), but it was always okay.

This time it was disappointing. Instead of just adding a meat now, you have several choices. I got the thin-sliced beef. It was greasy, and at the same time there wasn't enough sauce to cover the rice, and they seemed to have put a little bit of pepper in the sauce (either that or it was grilled after something spicy without the grill having been wiped). It was blah instead of rah. Sigh.

Thursday was James' Procrit shot. Bruce, the nurse who practically bounces off walls, was telling us they are remodeling the Cumberland office, and they want to send nephrology, rheumatology, and a few other things, to Glenlake (and move cardiology and optometry to Cumberland), which means we would have to drive to Glenlake every two weeks for Procrit shots! Bruce is going to see if he can get permission for James to give himself the shots; we would just need to stop by Cumberland to pick up the dosage every two weeks (since the dosage is variable depending on his blood test that week). You give the shot the same way you give yourself an insulin shot, so it's something James can do.

Finally Friday James had a urology checkup. We talked with the PA instead of Dr. Jefferson, which was nice.

Saturday I exposed myself to temptation. James wanted to look for an SSD for his laptop. I have been suffering with envy watching people creating art on iPads because their stylus and art programs are so good. MicroCenter had some discount iPads, and I was very tempted. I'm also looking at new phones because I know the batteries give out after a couple of years.

But...we'll see.

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» Sunday, April 14, 2024
Partial Sun and Full Runs
After we saw the total eclipse in 2017, both our minds turned toward this year's event. Since Evansville, Indiana, would be in the path of totality, and was just a short drive over the Ohio River from Owensboro, Kentucky, where we stayed in 2008 to see the Remember WENN play (and met Jen Payne!), we had toyed with the idea of staying in Owensboro—and hopefully being able to eat at that terrific barbecue buffet again if it was still in business!—then driving over the border early in the morning to see totality.

Unfortunately, the last seven years have been...well, a fat bitch. A TURP, four hospital stays in 2022, UTIs and falls...James was in poor shape physically and mentally I wasn't a barrel of laughs. So we made no plans. And watching ABC's "Eclipse Across America" segment later in the week was depressing as well as thrilling. But, can't be helped. Instead on Monday we watched what Atlanta had of a partial eclipse (about 85 percent) from our driveway. It never got dark, or dusky, but the light, to me, had this silvery cast, and the temperature did noticeably drop and the wind picked up.

My favorite part of the eclipse was past peak: about ten minutes after what we got of totality, the mail lady came by. She said "Can I see? Can I see?" and I said yes and she stopped the mail truck in the middle of the street, jumped out, and I let her use my glasses!

Kept busy this week: Tuesday I shelved books in the library, returned all the fannish things I dragged out of the closet looking for the eclipse glasses to the closet and concatenated all our vacation souvenirs in one drawer in the spare room (where I found the eclipse glasses).

Wednesday James had a stellar workout at PT, and then we went to Barnes & Noble, which I suppose was a bad idea because I bought two books (but...they were history books and one was half off...) and the SVU magazine.

A victory on Thursdays: no more followup trips to the dermatologist! James' nose is now well enough to take the daily Band-Aid off. We also had an appointment with the sleep doctor—he's gonna see if he can get James a new C-PAP unit, but James will probably still need the sleep study first—which I had to leave early because I had my checkup scheduled for late this afternoon. As usual Dr. Mobley was over an hour late; thank goodness I had someone to chat with (thanks, Vanessa!) since James was stuck out in the waiting room.

Friday we went out to the Costco David (therapist) recommended to us, out where Macland Road intersects with Charles Hardy Parkway (which turns out to be the other end of Dallas Highway; it changes name when you hit the Paulding County line). In fact, we went through Dallas Highway and stopped at their Walmart first—nicely kept, but their sugar-free candy assortment isn't much; we did find more mushroom-flavored rice sides (but, horrors, they're on clearance! mushroom rice goes with everything). The Costco was not quite so empty as David described, but we walked around and picked up a couple of things.

Even though I do not "redd up" the house in summer, I did get some lawn decorations this week. There's nothing like neighbors having cookie-cutter bland front yards to inspire you to put up more decorations. I got a butterfly, bird, and blue flower, a rainbow pinwheel, and a tiny bunny to go between two mushrooms (do those garden decorators actually know what those fly agaric mushrooms are? LOL). I put them up on Sunday and trimmed the nandina, which was starting to look like it stuck a root in an electrical socket.

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» Sunday, April 07, 2024
After the Fall
The week did not open auspiciously, but instead with pain (James') and tears (mine).

I took Tucker out Monday morning and did our "regular" walk (across the street, down to the stop sign, reverse direction to the day care, and back across the street again). When I got home I called up to James, but he didn't answer. So I figured he was in the bathroom, which I hadn't begun to clean yet, and let the dog upstairs. Then I headed for the hall bathroom to "walk" me.

I looked down in the doorway to see James' shoes. They were attached to James, stretched out on the floor, his right arm bleeding in several places including on the hand, and some cuts on his right leg. He had somehow caught his right foot—we think, he says he doesn't know how he fell—on the doorframe and fallen face down. He did not hit his head, nor hurt his face; he was conscious, annoyed at himself, and uncomfortable.

So first I mopped up the blood and then came the problem of getting him off the floor. He can't roll over onto his knees. So I got him into a sitting position, and he basically crab walked—or actually pulled himself forward on a kitchen chair while I moved it forward incrementally and then held down—to the stairway, where he could stand up. Next I patched up all the bleeding parts and checked him for bruises.

We ended up not going to Urgent Care. He said he was bruised and did hurt, but that he didn't think he'd broken anything, like a friend did last week and who had to go to the emergency room. Instead James took Tylenol and I gave him an extra steroid. Needless to say he was very sore for most of the week, and David had to ease up on him when he finally got to go to PT this week (we hadn't gone the past two weeks due to the allergies making us feel horrible).

Lawn care, alas, is back in season. Alex is going to come on Tuesday this year, he says, so I had to stagger awake on Tuesday and go through a flurry of writing checks.

James was up to Walmart on Wednesday (sugar free candy and other stuff we can only get at WallyWorld) and then grocery shopping on Thursday. On Friday we took it as easy as possible, but did go to Canton for our monthly trip. Came out of Books-a-Million with many books, then we had pizza at Uncle Maddio's, and finally we stopped at BJs for fruit cups, maple syrup, and a few other items.

Saturday afternoon we had great fun at Ken Spivey's birthday party, which was held at Volcano Steak and Sushi, a new place out in Hiram (they also have a Korean BBQ and Hot Pot). This is one of those hibachi places where the guy cooks in front of you, and it was great fun to see little Kassidy (who's elementary-school aged) watch the chef do his tricks for the first time and be startled when he sets the fire on the grill!

James' club meeting was on a Sunday this month because it was the only day available, so he went off while I did some chores and washed some towels and did some writing and listened to the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts.

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» Sunday, March 31, 2024
Almost Easter
Sort of an interesting Holy Week in making some old progress. Back in 2022, I stopped listening to the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts (I was busy writing, and I can't write and pay attention at the same time). I had caught up on all the Gretchen Rubin podcasts, and need to catch up on "A Way With Words," but wanted to get to the Williamsburg ones, too. This week I started listening to them again and hope to keep up with Rubin and catch up with both the others.

Most of the opening of the week was chores. James did have an MRI on his toe on Wednesday. His right baby toe, the one that showed up with a sore in January, is still not healed. It doesn't look infected, but skin isn't growing on top of it and healing it up, so the doctor wants to make sure the bone isn't infected. (Got the report later in the week; it's not.)

Thursday James' Procrit shot was scheduled early, although we tried to change it. So we went by Lidl on the way home, and I got both chicken drumsticks on sale and some boneless pork ribs, so I made cacciatore for supper and also made gravy for later. And we had a nap, too!

It was a quiet Good Friday: we had to run out to pick up meds, but I did listen to the BBC Lent Talks.

On Saturday while our low-sodium ham was marinating in pineapple, we went to Barnes & Noble and to Hobby Lobby. In the evening I watched the spooky movie Stir of Echoes. Kathryn Erbe is in it, just before she did Criminal Intent. It was pretty creepy, but turned out to be a little of a murder mystery, too.

And Easter was quiet. Unfortunately I had to wash towels since we were out of facecloths. I watched my two Easter favorites, Here Comes Peter Cottontail and The Easter Promise, and we had ham and potatoes for dinner, and then...dark chocolate Lindt bunnies! Yay!

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» Sunday, March 24, 2024
Woohoo! Got up on Tuesday and our water pressure was back to normal. It has been a horrible two weeks dealing with dribbling faucets; hell, if somebody's house caught fire last week, I doubt if there would have been enough water pressure to put it out!

James had his nose checked again; Dr. Warner says it is healing okay. I wish the dang scab would just fall off.

Saturday we had Hair Day. Washed towels because we needed facecloths. Had a nap.

I am reading Braiding Sweetgrass, which is lovely and lyrical.

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» Monday, March 18, 2024
Atomicon 2024
We had a fairly good Atomicon, despite being utterly exhausted from allergies and coughing. We arrived in Helen Thursday afternoon just about four, when several of our friends were checking in, offloaded our junk, and then lay down until I started texting to find out where we were going to dinner. Spice55, the Thai place, was the choice, and we had the usual yummy dinner. I wait for this every year, as they make the best pad thai.

Something sweet happened after dinner: Jessie and some of the others were enchanted by the black-and-white stray cats hanging outside the shopping center where the restaurant was. A lady was also interested in the cats and she and James started talking; she was ex-Navy and also had been a Marine. Now, we had had an appetizer, so I still a lunch-sized portion of leftovers, and it was supposed to rain on Friday. I suggested we stop at the Dollar General, which has frozen foods, to see if we could find him something for lunch there. We did find some taquitos. The same lady also was in the store, and she was quite disturbed by how cluttered the aisles were and that James could not get around in his power chair. She told us she was going to report the store for ADA violations. And on the way out she paid for his taquitos!

Thursday night I was feeling well enough to play some games, and we played Uno No Mercy, which is fiendish. I got kicked out of the first game almost immediately, and ended up winning the last one.

It did indeed rain almost all day Friday. It was probably good because James and I were both stuffy and miserable, and we stayed in with anyone else who didn't want to go out in the rain, talking, farkling around on the computer. I found Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent available and watched that, and last night's Law & Order as well.

For supper the weather cleared well enough to go to the Nachoochee Tavern and have some pretty good pizza. I had to share with James, so I had to eat cheese [bleah], but it was still okay.

One of the things James and I have begun doing since Atomicon has been held at the Country Inn and Suites is to have a daily walk downtown after breakfast. It's about a half a mile, and then we stroll around the little downtown area, maybe walk down to Hofer's Bakery, and then return to the crossroads of downtown and head toward the parking lots, strolling a road in the back down to the hotel. Total it's about a mile and a half, maybe more.

I was feeling so short of air from the congestion that on Saturday morning we took the truck instead; we haven't done that in years and I felt like I was regressing. But I did manage to totter around downtown. We visited the glassblower's shop, bought our annual candy from Hansel & Gretel, and visited the history museum that we missed last year due to food poisoning. This is in a building that used to be the City Hall. Helen was a tiny little logging town at one time, outside of what became Unicoi Park, and when the logging left, so did a lot of the population. Helen became basically a gas and food stop, so they turned the town into a "Little Bavaria" to attract tourists. We've been going to Helen with our friends for...well, Jessie and Aubrey both turned thirty last year, so...longer than that!

We also bought more white peach balsamic vinegar (love this stuff) and some blackberry ginger as well from the Alpine Olive Tree. I got James a neat gift: someone gave us a little turntable/light gadget: you plug it in and put a statue or something on it and it lights it up and revolves. They had laser-etched lucite items, and I got James a U.S. Navy one, with an aircraft carrier and destroyer and planes flying overhead. (I was going to get him a smaller one, but he said the planes weren't correct!) It looks really pretty on the turntable.

We then drove down to the Mount Yonah Bookstore—the owner always puts out a "Welcome, Atomicon!" poster and gives us a discount—and I found a brand-new copy of the annotated version of The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorite books in the whole world (seriously, what my life would have been without the Stadium School and Hugh B. Bain libraries I will never know). I also found a book about a woman FBI agent, a book by Robert Ressler (one of the first FBI profilers), and the book that inspired the series Homicide: Life on the Streets, which introduced Richard Beltzer's John Munch character.

And it was back to Spice55 for supper with Alice and Juanita. I had pad cashew this time, which was exquisite.

Sunday I was feeling strong enough to do the walk downtown, if a bit slowly, and we made it to the Christmas store before I started to be nagged by lower GI problems. It was a good walk, anyway. We spent the afternoon reminiscing about old television series, and had supper at Rib Country in Cleveland, GA. The ribs are so good and half the price of any ribs in the Atlanta metro area.

Alas, neither of us slept well, so we staggered up, ate the hotel breakfast, and packed up and left. Stopped at the outlet mall because I so much needed new socks. We also stopped at a knife shop where James went in; I sat and read. And finally, by the vet—$1300 for exams and boarding! Oliver apparently seems to be okay to them; it looks like they don't have an avian vet again. ::sigh:: Yes, they noticed he's shy.

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» Thursday, March 14, 2024
Oh, God, Not Now...
It's been a week, even though Atomicon was at the end of it.

Sunday night I took the dog out as usual, and the pollen attacked. I've had reactions to pollen in the previous years, especially when the pollen counts were 6000-8000 plus. After ten minutes, I couldn't stop coughing. I coughed for two nights and two days, and even when that abated and I could get some sleep, even though I wasn't very stuffy, the post-nasal drip was horrendous and the mucus smelled terrible. Worse, after going out on Wednesday, James started the same routine. So we were exhausted doing our chores in the early week and exhausted packing for our weekend in Helen.

The one tiny interesting spot for three days, in fact, were the air-for-your-tires units at Costco! They are great, much better than the air at QuikTrip. You know it's a bad week when getting air for your tires is the best thing that happened.

Thursday morning I woke up at six a.m. feeling so horrible I had to take one of the at-home Covid tests, because damned if I was going to give 20 people and the hotel staff in Helen a virus. Happily, it came out negative. Unhappily I didn't get much more sleep because we had to run to Kaiser at ten to get James' Procrit shot.

So this means it was exhausting loading the truck—and we have to take so much f*cking stuff with us now because of the cathing and being prepared in case an ulcer pops up on James leg and taking our pillows because the hotel pillows absolutely suck.

I can report that Oliver rode well in the car, despite the fact that (1) he was right next to Tucker, who, ordinarily he's afraid of; every time Tucker is playing at night, he gets upset and calls out in alarm, and (2) I didn't cover him; he didn't seem scared of the landscape flying by. They let me set him up in his cage in one of the exam rooms, and Elliot just took him back like that. (Tucker, unlike Willow, lets Elliot put a leash on him and just accompanies him in the back with a jaunty trot.)

And then, we were off to Helen...

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» Sunday, March 10, 2024
A Matter of Power
I am so pissed!

In our 18 years in this house, we've had normal water pressure, some really good water pressure (like mostly on during the last two years), and some abysmal water pressure, like it was in the fall of 2022. But it's been so nice for the longest time.

On Monday when I was cleaning the bathroom, the water in the toilet turned brown.  I called up the water department and they said the firemen were probably cleaning out the hydrants, and that I should turn on the outside faucets for ten minutes to clean out the line. This seemed to work cleaning out the water.

Then the freaking water pressure dropped. I'm not talking "just a little bit." I'm talking you can't wash your hands after you flush the toilet because the water coming out of the faucet is a stream the diameter of a drinking straw. Even on full stream the shower massage won't work, and you can't run the faucet or flush the toilet if you're in the shower. The water coming out of the kitchen faucet droops down instead of coming out straight.

It makes cleaning out James' catheter a fat pain in the ass, too. And I have to clean it out three times a day, and the catch containers, too.

If you call up the water department, they will tell you this is your fault and you must have a leak.

Miserable, miserable.

At least Will Trent was on again, although it won't be back until April now, due to stupid basketball. The same goes for Elsbeth, which I'm still on the fence about. She's almost too flaky.

In better news, this weekend was the semiannual book sale sponsored by the Cobb County library. It was cold when I got there Friday when they opened; I went back Saturday when James was at his club meeting. Day 1 and then Day 2 hauls.

Once Upon a Crime are crime stories based on fairy tales. America's Jubilee is about the 50th anniversary of American independence (1826). Raising Cubby is partially research for a child character I'm writing. Joy Adamson's Africa is a collection of her art—people who've read her wildlife books forget she was a trained artist—including four absolutely gorgeous portraits of native African people in traditional dress.

We had been noticing since it got cold that the batteries on James' power chair were discharging rather quickly. It seemed to go away during warm weather, so we didn't worry about it much, but in the last couple of weeks it seemed that his usual speed, "3," appeared to be slower than he was used to. Thursday during shopping the batteries were half drained just from a trip through Lidl and Publix.

So James looked up to see if any of the Batteries+ stores had those batteries in stock. Turned out the one on the corner of Roswell and Wieuca did, so we went out there Sunday to get them replaced.

We did not get the names of the two guys that helped us, but, wow, you had to see the work they had to do to get those batteries out! James looked up a video on YouTube and the process seemed very simple: remove the front cowling and footplate by depressing the silver buttons on each side of the latch, unplug the batteries from the chair, then pull them out, take off the leads, attach the leads to the new batteries, slide the batteries back in, reattach wiring to the chair, and replace the front cowling. The videographer did note that putting the front cowling back on was "kinda fiddly."

Well, the front cowling was "fiddly" and it took a good ten minutes before they figured it out, but it wasn't the only thing they had trouble with. Both batteries are rectangular blocks, no curves. The batteries they pulled out were swollen and distended on the top and the sides! (These were the original factory batteries.) The guys had to get on the floor and pull on the strap around the batteries and brace with their feet to get them out! It was a tight fit going back in, too, but not like that! They were a great couple of guys and James has already left excellent reviews for them on the survey and also did a Google review of the specific store.

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