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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» Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Just Like That...
Today I did my very last purchase order, got it signed, distributed it, and had it electronically awarded.

è finito
está terminado
c'est fini
es ist fertig
suus 'Consummatum



» Monday, January 29, 2018
Now that the time is close, the enormity of the whole situation has struck me. Does everyone, I wonder, feel like this even when they retire voluntarily? Wanting to do it, but realizing what a change it will be in your life? I've been working full time since 1977, except for spotty employment from being laid off in 1981 through 1984. And I've been making lists for this day for a while: things I will no longer have to buy (Those Damn Bananas, Kroger sandwich buns, granola bars, Reeboks...), things I can now reuse for different purposes (the hooks behind the bathroom door, the shelf in the kitchen, the table in the bedroom...), things I want to do (declutter! declutter! declutter!, learn more about photography, get back to my writing, make things easier on James at dinnertime...), and things I don't want to ever do again (get up before six, drive in the dark surrounded by a bunch of speed-mad demons, wangle with project officers...) Still...

Today I worked on my very last purchase order and tried to make sense out of all the things I need to do on Wednesday to sign out. One form is very long and very bizarre, asking me about all sorts of things like other income—apparently they have mistaken me for someone who has money. 😀

I tried to take a nap in the car, but I am out of practice because I haven't done it for months. I find I no longer can; my knees hurt too much.

And then was the little reception I wanted: not a big party, but just co-workers down in the old computer room, and a table spread with homey things, grapes and strawberries and cheese, a home-made cake along with a sheet cake, and two kinds of cookies, and friends who came along: Caran Wilbanks and John and Betty Bouler and Juanita Gibson and her daughter Jessica and my old boss Ed Schultz and last but not at all least Tamera Murphy, my co-worker for so long (I cried when I saw her), and her little granddaughter Trinity, who is adorable. I received a funny portrait—the building as seen from the rear-view mirror of a car—with signatures all around and some gifts, and came home with my car full of gold star-shaped balloons. (I left them in the foyer so they wouldn't scare the daylights out of Snowy.)

Two more more trip...

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» Sunday, January 28, 2018

So it was Sunday and the rest of the shopping had to be done. So we ended up at Kroger, only to have to go back to Publix because we needed mandarins and they are still cheaper at Publix. Later, we stopped at CVS to use a coupon, and briefly visited Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Nice quiet day. Washed towels, and we had half of the chicken legs we bought at Kroger for dinner as cacciatore.

And more Victoria!

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» Saturday, January 27, 2018
Sick Saturday

At 4:30 a.m. I was talking to a nice advice nurse named Alan at Kaiser for what to do about my problem, which had rudely awakened me a half-hour earlier after plaguing me all evening. He said to watch for dehydration and definitely call back if I had a high fever, but that both vomiting and diarrhea are basically intended to cleanse your body of some poison or irritant that has invaded it. It was best to let nature take its course, but if I wasn't any better by noon I should take Immodium as directed on the box.

I slept in until eight and sent James off to Hair Day by himself. I was still not feeling well when he left, but as the morning wore on I improved bit by bit, so I washed our new sheets to get the sizing off them, and washed the bedclothes. Also neatened up, put up a few Valentine's Day decorations in the dining room (I'm so late putting up the rest of the winter decorations that I figured why bother, and I haven't put any Valentine things up in a few years because once I have the winter things up I don't want to take them down just for Valentine stuff), swept the stairs and shook out the rug in the foyer, put away the rest of the groceries I bought yesterday, and also managed to watch Bing Crosby: Revisited, an "American Masters" segment. Later I started listening to the John Denver CD collection I bought so long ago and have hardly played.

When James came home, he helped me put the bed back together and we also installed the new toilet seat.

I was kind to my abused tummy and had rice with soup; James had his own soup, and we watched a doubleheader: Galaxy Quest and Spaceballs.

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» Friday, January 26, 2018
Stop the Month, I Want to Get Off
January has continued to toss curve balls at us. Of course we were back to work on Tuesday. I spent lunch hour taking the boxes out of my car and stacking them up in the library. There were only five and the bag with the feather tree in it, but it seemed to take forever. I basically cleaned them out during odd off times the rest of the week. Threw any instructional things away and just away tucked special stuff: my twenty, twenty-five, and thirty year certificates and pins, my leave and earnings statements because they said we had to keep them for five years, and my big folder of my government employment history. Plus the photos I had on my wall, the photo of James, and a little cross stitch of a Bible verse. I threw out all the seasonal calendar pictures that I have put up in my cubicle over the years to brighten it up, including two scenes of Boston. Nowhere to put them.

Something cool happened Tuesday night: we had gotten the title for the ruined truck in the mail on Monday, copied it, and then put it in the pre-paid Fex-Ex envelope we had from the insurance company, but we still had to get it mailed. So we drove the three miles back to the Green in Smyrna only to find the Fex-Ex guy picking up at the box behind Shane's barbecue place. I handed it right to him. We came home through Bank Street because I love the Craftsman houses they have put up there, and there trotting across the street near the park was a fox! It paid no attention to us, but once gaining the other side of the street, sat and scratched itself behind the ear and then trotted away!

Wednesday I had to drag four essential things back to work: three packets of oatmeal, my dish and spoon, my extension cord, and especially my fan. I got a lot of little things done, but nothing closer to getting my last two purchase orders finished, and I began to feel a bit off as the afternoon wore on. By the time I got home I was ice cold (and it wasn't cold out). Teleworking Thursday I kept running to the bathroom and again started to get the chills in the afternoon. I logged off about 2:30 because even with a sweatshirt on and my fuzzy slippers, I could not get warm. About five I took my temperature and it was 99, and it was 99.9 about seven. Then I broken into a copious sweat and was drenched with a normal temperature by bedtime.

Friday was my "day off." We basically spent it racing back and forth to Mobility Works to finally get the chair lift put on the truck, first dropping it off in the morning. I had barely gotten any sleep and came home and collapsed on the futon, not to wake up until 11:30, cursing myself, because I had to get to the business office at Kaiser.

You see, Mobility Works told James if he had a letter from the doctor saying that the lift was being used for transportation of a wheelchair, we wouldn't have to pay the tax. Well, I don't know what got misinterpreted by who, but we got a letter in the mail a few days back from Apria Healthcare (which has nothing to do with James' wheelchair or the power lift; he gets his sleep apnea supplies from them) saying they were denying our claim for a wheelchair lift because it was for personal pleasure. Well, (a) I found that additionally insulting because he needs the stupid thing mainly to get to work, which sure as hell isn't pleasure, and (b) we knew we couldn't claim the lift—we couldn't do it last time. All this on top of sending it to the wrong company. The lady in the business office was very sweet but she was utterly clueless and kept calling it a "referral" or a "approval." We didn't need anything referred or approved. We just needed what the salesman told us later wasn't even a letter; they just wanted something on prescription letterhead saying "Mr. Young requires a wheelchair transport device." She finally gave me a printout of the other referral we did put in, before the accident, to get a larger footplate and a new control cover for the chair, and pointed out that it said "accessories." But the lift isn't considered an accessory for the power chair. Basically they provide the power chair; if we want to transport it somewhere, we have to pay for it ourselves. Mobility Works didn't take it, but has given me a chance to get it, which I can do in my "copious free time" next week.

Anyway, once the lift was ready, we had to go back to Mobility Works, bring the truck home, load the chair on it, and then take it back for final adjustments. The guy came back saying he needed to show James something: the chair needed to be fixed. Now it was somewhat damaged in the accident, which is not surprising since it was thrown across the road. The headpiece is crooked, part of the plastic housing at the bottom is broken, and the arms are all scratched. Plus he told us one of the shocks is bent. But the worst thing, he said, was that the two big drive wheels, the ones under the seat, were not resting in the little gap in the lift made for them. The two front wheels and the two rear wheels were suspending it up about half an inch over the gap. He said the shocks were too tight.

Both James and I told him tartly that had nothing to do with the accident; it's never fit into that gap and has always ridden high. He was surprised that no one had told us it needed to be adjusted. Nope, they didn't, even when James brought it there for a 500-mile-checkup or whatever it was last year or the year before. We were going to have to bring it back up there anyway because the old lift was listing to the right.

Since it was suppertime by the time we got done with all this, we went to Fried Tomato Buffet for dinner. In retrospect, this was a rotten idea. I still wasn't feeling well—I'd had stomach cramps off and on all day—and I ate the shrimp, olives, and cucumber and tomato salad. By the time evening rolled around, let's say things had taken a turn for the liquid.

All this and I have to wrestle with Kaiser again, too. Bah, humbug.

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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


Outside my window...'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... 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... 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... 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.



» 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 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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