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, May 30, 2021
Pho, Phooey on the VA, and Phriends
If you wonder why these even weekly updates come so late, it's because, unless you choose some frantic activity to replace work when you retire, there's not a lot to write about. There's only a lot to write if there's an emergency—and those are certainly unwanted. My prayer to God is "I want to be bored." But then there's always that danger of boredom, too, which makes you depressed. So I do wish for something nice to do, but those options are truncated now that it's gotten hot. Neither James and I can bear heat any longer—it exhausts him and makes my heart do trippy things when we're exposed to heat too long. This is why we figure this year's DragonCon—which was just announced to be in-person this year—will probably be our last. Maybe we'll day trip or something further on. Wish more small conventions would come to the fore. We miss WHOlanta and Anachrocon. Will try to attend Spycon and the Harry Potter con in the fall. We have tickets for Libertycon, but they postponed it, which was a good thing, because the hotel prices made my jaw drop.
This week, for instance: good stuff, but nothing earthshaking. Alice and Ken hosted a Memorial Day picnic. Alas, it was on Sunday, so James had to stay plugging at the computer, but I brought him home a burger and some sides. Met two of Alice and Ken's church friends, Emma and LJ, who were also fannish. Spent the rest of the evening watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS and crying through most of it. This year they did tributes to people who have otherwise been missed: battlefield nurses in Vietnam and the firefighters and police who walked into the World Trade Center on September 11 and never came home (along with those who died in the buildings). I find that twenty years later 9/11 still makes me sob uncontrollably and feel afraid.
Monday I finally took all the scrapbooking stuff to Goodwill. During the week I put up the last of the Command caddies so it looks less frantic under the sinks. On Wednesday the visiting nurse, Jewel, came. We love Jewel and will miss her, but are crossing fingers that James' leg stays okay and we do not have to have a nurse any longer.

Thursday we went to Sam's Club for Kraft cheese slices and mandarin orange cups, then did the rest of the shopping. On Friday we completed the new set of towels by stopping at the Bed, Bath & Beyond Akers Mill store and getting a set of bath sheets and hand towels in indigo, then swung by Hobby Lobby. Incredibly, they already have an aisle of Christmas "picks" (the stuff you make into bouquets) going up! I grabbed a few things for the yard since all the summer stuff was half off: metal birds on stakes, a duck plaque to go on one fence post, and a metal owl to go on the other.

Saturday we frustrated ourselves for nearly three hours apply for a Veteran's ID card for James. You can get an annual park pass to National Parks for free if you are a vet and have proper ID. It took ages because they told you could use certain scanning formats for the documents you had to submit to confirm your ID, but you couldn't then use the same format (I scanned them as PDFs) to actually apply for the card (I had to rescan everything as a JPG). Then when we went to submit the rescanned stuff only then did they tell us you could only have a certain file size. I had to pull all the images into Paint Shop Pro and reduce the size and the colors to fit the specs. Someone who had no computer knowledge would have been flummoxed by the whole process. As it was, we were totally frustrated when we finally got to have lunch at 2:30 p.m., and picked up ice cream at Baskin-Robbins for a reward for putting up with it all.

Oh, for Friday lunch we finally tried Pho24, which closed down last year just on the day we were going to try it. It was quite good.

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» Saturday, May 22, 2021
Booking Along
Finally having some progress on organization this week! Since it was time to scrub out the garden tub (that we never use) anyway, I used the time to remove some hooks and move them to different locations so that cleaning equipment would be out of site. When we first got this house I had the idea to turn the tub area into a tiny spa, so there was a towel hung up, and calming nature paintings on the wall. Now that we have to use the tub to hold a rack with medical supplies, it's stupid. I took down the towel and its hook. Neither of us likes baths anyway.
I also mended a pair of suspenders so we wouldn't have to go to Walmart, ironed two things, and, most importantly, cleaned a box of scrapbooking items out of the spare room closet. I thought I might get into scrapbooking when I retired, but I feel now that it's not for me, so I took big pads of paper, embellishments, and odds and ends, packed them in a box, and will take them to Goodwill. (It wasn't a thorough cull; I still couldn't bear to get rid of the fall and winter papers.) [I got them as far as the trunk of the car, but didn't take them over until May 24.] While I was in the craft room, put together a few cute cat things for a friend who is ill and later in the week mailed a little package to her.
The Command caddies I ordered from Walmart arrived on Friday and I discovered that what I thought of as a small caddy is actually Command's medium caddy. But that was okay. I put up three of them on Saturday, plus two razor holders, and was quite satisfied to get a bunch of clutter, like a small basket of headbands, the charge cords to the water flosser and the motion sensor light, and other annoying bits off the master bathroom counter.

And, alas, had to call Kaiser again about my ambulance bill, which was still ten times the amount it was supposed to be. This time the agent put me on a conference call with someone at the ambulance company, and I kept quiet while they lobbed confusions back and forth. As far as I could tell, the problem was because I'm on the Senior Advantage plan and because I'm an ex-Fed; Ambulance Guy finally said, "Ah, this is Federal Government!" and apparently then he understood. Don't ask me, boss; I only know what's in my contract.
Over the weekend we took a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon and started a "project" of getting new bath towels. Been thinking about replacing our bath towels for a while. They've been feeling a little thin, and the matching hand towels are getting "rusty." Well, I said, let me check what brand the previous towels were. ::blink:: Oh, hell, we got them at Linens'n'Things. Which has been closed longer than Borders has. 😳 So we had  this $20 off $80 or more coupon, and I've been scouting BB&B for some time, but their stock has been so low I couldn't find two matching bath sheets and two matching towels in the colors (shades of blue) I wanted. Saturday, thanks to James' keen eye, we nabbed two nice bath sheets and two matching hand towels in pale blue. We have another $20 off $80 or more coupon for next week; crossing fingers we can find another shade of blue in a complete set of four.
Also stopped at The Container Store on Friday, also with a coupon, and picked up a rack that goes over the back of one of the doors under the kitchen sink. I am storing sponges there, the mineral oil for the dining room table, and other small things that were cluttering up underneath the sink.
Of course, since we were two doors down from Barnes & Noble...yeah, I committed book. Found McCullough's The Pioneers with the remainder books (this tells about the historical period after the Revolutionary War when the Ohio Valley was opened for European settlement, the same time period as one of my favorite Lois Lenski books, A'Going to the Westward); bought an Oliver Sacks book about his childhood (Uncle Tungsten), and The Diary of a Bookseller, a funny journal about a Scottish bookstore owner who keeps a record of his odd customers and the books they look for.
(I also discovered that Jim Butcher's Peace Talks was finally out in paperback. I devoured it in two days!)

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» Saturday, May 15, 2021
Cleaning, Replacing, and All That

Well, it was a nonstressful, but eventful week. 

So, I did have "give the dog a bath" on my "to do" list for this week. Monday it became an absolute "to do," as I walked Tucker past the little white Baptist church, crossed Sandtown Road, stopped to take a photo of holly and honeysuckle twined together, and completely didn't notice that poison ivy was growing under it. So plunk Tucker went into the tub when we got home, then I had to wash his bedding and blankets, and finally I had to clean all the residual hair out of the hall bath. Fun! (Not.)

I didn't sleep well this week for whatever reason, but roused myself sufficiently to go out to the bank on Tuesday morning. I had a CD that matured this week, and needed to talk to someone to see if I could get a better interest rate on it. The last interest rate was .02 percent (not two percent, two hundredths of a percent). At that interest, it's better to be ignored. So I bopped down to the closest bank, where I have my safe deposit box. Closed temporarily? WTH? Okay, I'll go down a mile or two to the branch near Publix.
There all the parking spaces were blocked by cars, and the sign on the door said "Closed for emergency." Okay...WTF? At this point I went into Publix and bought some turkey thighs and BOGO chicken, which I popped into the insulated bag. Then I more bank...and the Austell branch was open. To my relief (due to the poultry in the bag), I was helped quickly. Any new interest rate was .01 percent! Screw it. I had the customer rep put the cash into my checking account and when I got home I paid down the Access3 account instead. (God only knows what percent that is at now.)

The representative also told me the two Smyrna offices were closed because of...COVID-19 cases! So it ain't over yet.
After grocery shopping on Thursday, we replaced the old microwave, because, as I mentioned previously, the compartment lining was chipping off badly. I'd planned to go a couple of places and price different microwaves, but we found the Panasonic that "Consumer Reports" recommended, and just bought the silly thing and brought it home to set up. I also cleaned up under the microwave (it's on a baker's rack which was the first new thing we bought for this house in 2006) and unearthed some superannuated fiber bars and a broken manual food mill. (I'd cleaned up the shelf over the microwave earlier in the week and threw out any grains that were stale—about half, sad to say, like the rolled oats, which smelled really bad.)
Friday we tried out a different restaurant that Alice recommended, the Bay Breeze in Mableton, set up in an old Ryan's steakhouse. My meal was a little more expensive than usual, but I hadn't had jumbo stuffed shrimp in literally years. And this was real crabmeat stuffing, not the breadcrumb stuff they have been using for years because the crabmeat was too expensive. (The shrimp weren't exactly jumbo, but I haven't seen real jumbo shrimp in years.) All the food was good, and James got to take the onion rings home to have in an omelet. The hush puppies were shaped like little doughnuts, which was a novelty.
We also stopped at Ollie's Discount Outlet. It sounds weird, but I got excited because they still had the holiday Renuzit air freshener scents. All the regular Renuzit scents are floral (ugh), apple (I use that in the kitchen), or vanilla (double ugh). These are "Hello, Pumpkin" (which sounds dumb, but it's really a nice cinnamony pumpkin scent) and gingerbread, which is a lot better than the nauseatingly sweet flower scents. Wish they'd still had the evergreen!
Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market for the first time in...ages. We ostensibly went to get Tucker more dog biscuits, but we also bought chocolate scones and another jar of Lillian's Hawai'ian BBQ sauce and some Filipino empanadas for James. For supper James took the wonderful-looking lamb steaks I bought at Lidl the day before and marinated them in what was left in the old jar of Lillian's sauce. Tres magnifique!
And, like that, it was almost Sunday again.

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» Saturday, May 08, 2021
Thursday was an eventful day: we went to James' office to clean out his desk.
His employer have been in a big former warehouse for at least ten years now, and they no longer need the vast space because there are fewer employees. So they are selling the building, and the rest of the employees will be moving over to some other space they have near Perimeter Mall. We were a bit worried about the commute, but James got a message from his supervisor. The new space is very small, and there is no room for his power chair in the workspaces they have designated for his group. Since he is meeting their goals at telework and is getting consistently good ratings, he'll be allowed to remain on it. This is a great relief, as I would be worried about the effects of a long commute and a late dinner hour (perhaps as late as 8:30 p.m.) would have on his health.

My goodness, you should have seen the junk in there! We tossed away two 13 gallon trash bags and a couple of shopping bags with paper, old calendars, and lots of expired snacks. We brought home only his TARDIS cookie jar, Hallmark Christmas decorations, an airplane clock, and some models, plus an extra Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and the cable he had to buy to connect his laptop and his monitor (for some reason work wouldn't provide it). We also went to two different Publixes (Publii? 😀 ) and a Lidl to finish the shopping.

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. On Friday we had lunch at The BBQ Place with Aubrey, Alice, and Ken, and had an enjoyable sojourn to both Barnes & Noble (I didn't buy a book—honest!) and Hobby Lobby, and on Saturday we had Hair Day, if only for a few short hours. We had to get back to the house by noon, as the visiting nurse supervisor was coming to inspect James' leg. We have finally [knock on wood, and so far] finally gotten rid of all the blisters and other damage that was done to his left leg while he was in the hospital in December due to having an infection from the ingrown toenail Kaiser seemingly had no time to treat (at least they kept telling us they had no available appointments), not being able to wear compression socks, being taken off his water pills, and given intravenous fluids in too large amounts. She says if the leg stays stable for another two weeks, the visiting nurse will no longer need to come.
We were also sad this week because we finished the last two available Thunderbirds Are Go episodes on Amazon Prime. There are twenty-seven more, but they're still only available on ITV's site, and we can't watch them due to region blocking.

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» Saturday, May 01, 2021
Outside and Inside
Here’s to a weekend that contained friends and tasks well done!

This week I got my own new Fitbit. I like having a real watch face and have found a nice analog clock in the Fitbit files which also shows my stats and the battery status. I chose the rose-gold (read: copper) Versa 2, which came with an insipid pale pink wristband. Luckily the Sam’s Club version also comes with a navy blue wristband as well, and before I set up the unit you can bet I changed the watchband! Fitbit has a pretty cocoa-brown leather band on sale for Mother’s Day, so I have ordered that.

Alas, I had a frog to kill this afternoon: I finally got the ambulance bill and it’s for about ten times more than I’m supposed to pay. I called Kaiser, who told me they already paid the ambulance company, gave me a payment number, and a phone number for the ambulance company to call if they argued with me. Kaiser thought they wouldn’t. I knew better, because I’ve dealt with this type of folks before. Sure enough, the ambulance company said they were only paid partially, and that they didn't take "arranged payments" or whatever they called it, and that she would have to contact her supervisor. I gave them the payment number and let them deal with. My agreement with Kaiser says I pay a set price. I’m not paying them any further. You guys fight about it.

Thursday we had to have James’ blood pressure retested because it was so high when he saw Dr. Mobley two weeks ago. A day later, when we saw Dr. Friedman, it was 30 points lower after James chilled out a few minutes, but apparently it didn’t count. So, once again, when we got there it was high. The nurse gave us ten minutes, James closed his eyes and just breathed deeply, and it went down over 20 points. Driving just makes his blood pressure go up! Then we did the rest of the grocery shopping, which makes my blood pressure go up (or it feels like it, anyway).

Friday we had a lovely lunch at Okinawa with Alice and Ken—the one on Dallas Highway because the one in Austell still isn’t open for dine-in—and then went on to do a little shopping: went by Hobby Lobby where James found model paint on a great discount; got poop bags for Tucker at Petco to make sure I got them, because we were completely out (they sell them at Bed, Bath & Beyond much cheaper, but I wasn't sure they'd be in stock); walked around Hobbytown just because James’ club meetings aren’t there anymore and he hadn’t been in a while; then finally bought new washcloths at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and did find three times the amount of poop bags for a dollar less than Petco! The obvious place is not always the cheapest.

For dessert we stopped by Dunkin Donuts (I refuse to call them “Dunkin”) and got a couple of doughnuts for dessert.

Today was the day of James’ club meeting, and after he left, I busied myself doing some chores I’d put off. Yesterday at Hobby Lobby I had picked up three garden decoration resin animals on sale: a rabbit, a hedgehog, and a generic bird. I gathered these up and brought them outside along with a garden dragon I had bought last year, put highlights on, and then left in my craft room. I put the dragon and the hedgehog out front underneath the firecracker bushes, and put the bunny and the bird under two of the trees in the back yard. (I’d planned to get a few more rabbits on sale at Hobby Lobby after Easter, but had ended up with the fever from the COVID vaccine and never went.)

Then I packed up the two boxes from the garage (one box of trousers and one of general “stuff”) and shuttled them to Goodwill. There’s a Dollar General in the Goodwill parking lot, so I stopped there as well and found two inexpensive “fairy homes” in the garden aisle. These also each went under a tree when I got home, but first I drove out to Austell to check out the new location of the Book House. This used to be on Veteran’s Memorial Highway near Ollie’s Discount Outlet, but they’ve relocated in an old gas station. Didn’t see anything I wanted. So many romance books! In every used bookstore they seem to outnumber everything else.

After relocating the fairy houses to the backyard, I did the vacuuming upstairs, and just in time, as the meeting broke up early and James was home at the unheard-of hour of 3 p.m. (Nothing wrong; everything just broke up early.) He spent the rest of the afternoon cooking his breakfasts for the week, and we just had leftovers for supper and watched the Britcoms and Father Brown.

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