Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mechanical Failure

I feel like all the mechanical things in my place are staging a revolt, against me. What have I done, other than maybe run them 24/7?

First it was the dehumidifier. It was running, I could hear the continual drone of the fan, but then I realized I hadn't emptied the bucket for days. So the fan works, but no dehumididfying. I got out the booklet, tried what was suggested, but no go. Yesterday I called the company, and they are only open Monday to Friday.

With this hot weather and no air conditioning, I've had the fans going all day and all night. Well, it was one fan, until my brother gave me one he'd had in the garage. He has air conditioning.

My original fan, one with blades and on a stand, quit. I don't know why, unless it's gone on strike, up in arms against the overtime hours.

I got my file box out to find the dehumidifier booklet and decided to do my shredding. I have a cross cut shredder, and the directions say to oil the blades frequently. I only used it one time, filled a blue bag, and never oiled it once, so I figured I better oil it before I used it again.

My son gave me a small container of oil, and I read the booklet to see how it was done, and it said vegetable oil. What? Like canola oil?

I called the company and they said the company makes a special oil, vegetable based, because the other oils are petroleum products, and with a cross cut shredder, the metal on metal friction, there is a risk, of a spark, I guess. So, one trip to Staples later, I'm ready to shred.

That's three, and according to the laws of nature, everything comes in threes. I guess I'm safe for the moment, until the next thing quits, and then I'll beware, 'cause I'll know there's two more to come.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

My one fan has bit the dust, and I'm not surprised as it has run continuously for months now.

It's one of those round ones, on a stand, so I can move it anywhere. For now, I keep moving it out of my way, until my personal handyman, my son, can have a look at it.

I moved it once because it blocked my view of the television, but then it was in the way of the door. Last night it was in a place that meant I couldn't see the score of the ball game. As I was crocheting at the same time, I need to glance at those stats to see where we are in the count.

Every time I move the fan, the cord is trailing along with it, and every time I think to myself, I should wind that around the stand because someone (me) might step on it.

'Might' happened this morning. I was checking the thermometer and didn't see the end of the cord and stepped on the plug. F**K. I didn't say it out loud, just repeated it in my head, as I did a fancy two step to prevent falling.

Ouch, but that hurts.

Best I wind that cord up now, or, with my luck, I'll step on it again. And if that happened, my words would not be silent.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Be Gone Blue Coat

It may seem strange, after complaining of the heat, but I bought a winter coat last week.

I happened upon a rack of coats, maybe more fall than winter, but still. I liked the style, a full zipper plus snaps, four front pockets and a slit in the back for ease when sitting. I bought one in navy blue, so as to go with the jeans I am forever wearing.

For the last ten years, at least, I've worn a pale blue parka in winter. I loved it because it was bright, could be worn with various scarves, and had a front inside pocket so I could forgo carrying my purse.

A number of years ago the front zipper broke, but I wore it anyway, just made sure I had a sweatshirt or fleece top on underneath. And, it wasn't that big of a problem, even as cold as our winters have been, as I don't venture out much in winter.

The old blue coat, soiled with a permanent brown on the cuffs, zipper broken. is gone...almost. At least it's out of the closet, off the hangar. The new coat hung and ready for cooler weather.

My dilemma is what to do with the old coat. Do I throw it away, as useless and worn, or do I drop it in one of those bins, and hope that perhaps it might still prove to be of benefit to someone else?Maybe some homeless woman would appreciate it, and not mind so much if the zipper's broken, but will layer it with something warmer, as I did.

I guess I just answered my own question. I'll toss it in the bin. If the bin managers decide it's of no use, they can toss it, but I figure they have a better chance of getting it to the needy than I do.

Goodbye, old coat, you've served me well.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Solitaire or a Jigsaw Puzzle

My daughter's in-laws recently moved from a house to a condo. A difficult time when the house held so many memories...and memorabilia.

I remembered my daughter talking about the boxes and boxes of hockey cards they'd found. The thing with all those cards, do you keep them all, save just your favorites, and what about value? There could be some valuable cards in those boxes.

It's been hot, and I needed some mindless chore to keep me occupied, so I  volunteered to go through a box and make some order out of it.

When she said boxes, I pictured shoe boxes, but when she gave me the first was a banker box, filled to the brim with a mess of hockey cards, all jumbled with no sense of order.

But, I love a challenge.

It took me two days, but I sorted those cards, first into brands:Score, O Pee Chee, Pro Set, and Upper Deck. I found some baseball and basketball cards mixed in as well. Second, I sorted each brand into individual years, as there's a new design each year. I still don't know what the years were, unless it was in large print on the card, the copyright was so small, my bifocals weren't enough.

Some years there were maybe 500 cards in the series, others more like 700. I broke each year down and put cards in numerical order, looking for complete sets. Some were fairly intact, others missing large numbers of cards. I put everything back in the banker box, all neat and organized.

What I want to know, Tom, is why there were 3 or 4 copies of each card, was this so everyone had their own? It made my task more difficult, for sure.

It was still hot and humid, so I got another box, this time a big corrugated cardboard box with what looked like the cast offs of the collection. There were some really old card from when there were only ten teams (now 30, I think). They had been in a scrapbook, attached with a fold of masking tape, which ruined the back side of the card,

I found a whack of cards that were missing from the cards I'd sorted from the first box. I also found more baseball cards, and golf cards saved in plastic binder sheets. The collection is now organized and fills the banker box and a smaller box I had handy.

It kept me sane over the last week when it was too hot to move, almost too hot to breathe. But I can't sit still with nothing to do, and it seemed to hot to do anything. This was a mindless task, and I, at times, felt like I was playing cards with myself.

I don't want to spend another summer like this, with my place so hot that fans just don't make a difference. But, just watch, I'll get an air conditioner for next summer and it'll be the end of this series of over the top hot summers.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Could I Speak to the Manager Please?

I am normally a very patient person. In store lines I let people with a small number of items go ahead, at street corners I wave drivers to go first, see, polite and considerate.

Today was not that day.

 I had been to the store,and the cushion I wanted, to match the one I bought last week was no longer available.

I went to Metro, picked up a few items as I figured that would be the fastest way to get my garbage stickers, as I got no service at the (haha) service desk. Then, by the time I got to the cashier with my items, I forgot the stickers and had to go back in the store and stand in line. I paid for my stickers, and get this, had to go to the cashier at the service desk to get them. That's some system.

I met a friend for lunch and we tried out a different place, big mistake, sort of. Limited menu with lots of eggs, and no bacon, but lots of what I assume was sausage, in sauces that I can't pronounce let alone know what they are. We ended up ordering burgers, very expensive burgers that came all alone on the plate, not even a pickle or slice of tomato. The beef was good, the cheese tasty, but the unknown sauce made the bun soggy.

I went to the fabric store, looking for buttons, a no go. Tried Walmart, another no go. Now I'm hot and tired and thirsty.

So I decide to try the drive thru at McDonald's for their dollar drink. "Pull into the shortest lane" which is exactly what I did. Service seemed slow in my aisle, but there was only one car ahead. I pull up at my turn and am totally ignored. I counted 4 cars that gave their order and moved on while I was sitting there. And once you're there, with cars behind, you're stuck.

Finally a voice asked if I had placed my order, and I said no. Silence. Another car moved ahead from the other lane. I was fed up at this point, hot, and the car is overheating, so I pull out into the line.

When I get to the window I asked the girl if she was new, or in training as I'm empathetic to trainees, but she said no. So I said, "Could I speak to your manager, please?"

I never do this, but I really wanted my drink, and they had a serious system flaw.

I explained the situation to the manager, who informed me that the camera on that order station was broken, and it's hard for the cashier to tell where the car is, or if a new car has driven in. Maybe so, but on a hot day like today, with one car after another, did they really think everyone had taken the one lane and left the other empty?

She offered to comp my order, and I declined. Said if they had a technical problem they should fix it or find a better way to work around it. It's too hot to sit in line with the car running.

I went next door and had a Frosty at Wendy's. The service was excellent.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Play Ball

Somehow, I have become a fan of baseball, but as fans go, I'm a dismal failure, in that I'm a fan of one team only....the Toronto Blue Jays. I may be familiar enough to name the players on the Jays team, but I would be hard pressed to give the name of any player on another team.

I like sports for a background when I'm doing other things, like writing, reading or crocheting. I find it easier to watch sports than to try and follow the plot of a crime show, my usual TV choice.

I was a hockey fan last winter, and that was to stay in tune with my son-in-law and hockey crazy grandson. At least with hockey, I knew the teams and plenty of player names.

I'm learning some of the game rules, or lingo, at least.

Last bat, belongs to the home team. I didn't realize that at first, then realized when the Jays had three home games, they always had last bat. I like it better that way, last chance opportunity, and all.

I would get confused when the commentator would comment a batter was...say...0 for 3. I would be looking at balls and strikes and couldn't figure out where I'd lost count. Finally, I figured out they were talking about times up to bat. O for 3 meant no hits in three times up to bat.

Now I watch the little box on the bottom of the screen for the number of balls, strikes, how many out and the inning

I've learned a better appreciation for the skill needed to play this game. I've watched players leap to catch a ball, turn in the air and throw it for an out. Amazing, really.

I was trying to remember some of the players from other teams, and it should have been easy given that the same teams usually play at least three games before moving on. Unlike hockey where the rarely play the same team two nights in a row, unless it's playoffs.

As there is a lot of the season left, I may learn more, especially if my team continues to do well and gets into playoffs.

Go Jays!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Doctor Speak

Why can't doctors call a spade a spade? Why do they call it a digging tool, a shovel, a trowel, when, let's be honest, it's a damn spade.

Why can't doctors say the word cancer, instead of calling it a mass, a tumor, a growth? Say the 'C' word and let the shock settle, let the talk begin as to how to deal with it.

And when someone is approaching the end of their life, give the family some honest answers, it's not as if they want your time frame written in blood, it's an estimate, not something that can be predicted, as no one can predict the strength of the human spirit.

Writing about the day my Mom died, and reading of another's personal experience, reminded me of the day Mom and I went to see the oncologist.

Mom was in Week 2 of radiation treatment, and was seeing an oncologist for the first time. As I was in Florida, and would soon be returning to Canada, I needed to know what Mom's status was. Being a nurse, I was given some professional courtesy, some frank talk.

The doctor said, and I can quote as it's etched in my memory, "without chemo, she has about 2-3 weeks, and she's too weak for chemo".

That doctor was right on the money, within 2 weeks, Mom was in the hospital, and within days, was gone.

Too many times health care professionals talk around situations, and with an uneducated patient (and I mean medically uneducated) there can be many misunderstandings. Add in the hierarchy, of who gives the patient the information, and this time I mean doctor as opposed to nurse, there's all sorts of room for confusion in an already emotional situation.

Too much precious time can be lost because people don't understand that a trowel is just another word for a spade.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

I Remember the Day

I'm not one that usually dwells on dates, especially for the day a loved one died. But with my parents it's a little different.

I always think of my Dad on his birthday, which is within days of Father's Day, and also is the day he died. It's always a bit of the happy, remembering a great father on his special day, and the sad, that he was taken too soon.

With my Mom, I can never think of this holiday weekend without remembering her and the day she died. Funny, how the events of August 2 still stand out so clearly in my mind. Some of that s guilt, because I never made it to Florida to say goodbye in person.

 I carry way too much guilt around, even after all these years, that my dedication to my job, my sense of responsibility to those in my care, sometimes took precedence over family.

My mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June, a secondary cancer, first being the lung. My brother and his wife were in Florida, helped her through the set up and scheduling of her radiation. My kids and I went in early July, and for a couple of weeks, taxied her to her treatments and to the oncologist.When we left, my sister took over for the next week.

She was very weak, and it was like that old cartoon, "I've fallen and I can't get up". She entered hospital on a Thursday. My brother and I, living in Canada, made arrangements to go back down, he on the holiday weekend, and me on the Wednesday after.

This is where the guilt comes in. I was the in-charge/on-call person for three long term care facilities. My supervisor was returning to work after her holidays on Tuesday, August 2, and I was planning to give her my report, go home, pack, and leave the next morning.

While in my office, clearing my desk, the phone rang. It was my mother, calling from the hospital. She didn't make a lot of sense, but the I love you's came across clear and strong. My brother apologized for dropping such an emotional call on me at work, but Mom had insisted she speak with me and he felt it was better to call, to calm her down.

Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck. I went to see my boss, who was also a friend, and she took over, taking care of everything. She took my plane ticket, called the airlines and changed my departure to that afternoon. She even arranged for a rental car to be available in Tampa when I landed.

My daughter, bless her heart, threw all my stuff in my suitcase, picked me up at work and drove me directly to the airport. Next thing I knew I was on a plane, flying first to Atlanta, then on to Tampa.

I held it together until we changed planes in Atlanta. When I was seated, waiting for take off, they played this video of all these lovely nature scenes, with appropriate music. I started to cry and couldn't stop. A woman sitting across from me was very kind, and expressed some concern that I would be driving, late, and in what would be the dark, inland to where my mother lived. I admit it was a worry for me too.

It was not to be a problem. As I was heading to the car rental booth, I heard my name called, and when I turned, there was my brother. I knew as soon as I saw him that I was too late.

We had an interesting conversation as to how he finally learned I was on my way early. As his wife had arranged all our tickets, he knew when I was flying down, and when he called work, couldn't understand why my boss kept saying I was already gone. I think their discussion got a little heated, understandable given the high emotions.

At any rate I didn't have to make the drive alone, and my brother and I were able to talk.

So, on this day, I'm remembering my Mom, love you and miss you always.

I'm remembering my great take charge friend Marg B.

And I remember and always appreciate the brother who has never let me down, and has always been there for me.  Love you too, baby brother.