Sunday Setting

  1. The kale started growing again. We’d grown and harvested it. Well, my wife, really. I helped buy supplies. Provided extra hands as needed. The kale took off initially, then wilted under a combined attack – heat, insects, sun. Wife battled on, then clipped it back. Per her orders, I moved its planter off the patio. I put them in the bush’s shade. Matter of convenience. Surprise: the kale is back. Hasn’t been watered since harvest two plus weeks ago, so she began watering it. It seems to like that shady spot.
  2. Tomatoes are doing well. Great to go out and pluck tomatoes as required. Ditto, the squash. Romaine is all gone, though. Sad face.
  3. Did some wardrobe culling. My wife’s simplify switch suddenly turned on. Ergo, I am expected to participate. Out went five bags of clothing between her and me. Two bags of books. Book sellers aren’t buying. Those like Powell’s who buy wouldn’t accept these books. The books are too worn. A bag of shoes. Old blender.
  4. Culling is a serious matter. Embarrassing, too. How much do I need? Well, I’m sixty-five. Things have been acquired for different eras and their needs. Much of it is from my suit and marketing days. Yes, wore suits. Did trade shows. Visited customer sites. Also required for when I returned to company headquarters. That was my U.S. Surgical Days. I worked in California. Headquarters was in Connecticut. Tyco acquired us. Talk about a crazy time. Yeah, time to get rid of those shirts. The ties were already gone. I left Tyco in 1999. Still did marketing work after that for a period for another startup involved with coping with peripheral and coronary chronic total occlusions. It was going under so I went on to Network ICE in 2000, where suits were no longer required.
  5. Also departing my wardrobe were my jockstraps, sweat bands, and racquetball gloves. Haven’t played in two decades. There it all was, buried at the drawer’s bottom, waiting for daylight.
  6. Purged underwear, too. I had enough underwear, I found, to go without washing them for fifty days. Why so many? Well, a large number was undies which no longer fit. Good-bye, I told them. Blew them a kiss. Now I have enough for twenty days. Don’t judge me. I judge myself enough for all of us.
  7. Ten belts were surrendered. All leather. Browns, tans, blacks, burgundy. Tested first. I could see where I wore them. What holes were utilized. Usually the third or fourth. The test today was that the belt must reach at least the second hole. The results amazed me. I generally couldn’t get the tip to the buckle. I had no idea that leather would shrink so much. Only four belts now remain. Black, brown, fancy, and plain.
  8. Catching up on the wildfire news in the U.S. west. Bootleg Fire still burns. Sixty percent contained. 420,000 acres. Drought is spreading. Deepening. Lightning strikes are causing more fires. I turn to other world news. Move beyond the Olympics. Past the spiking — again — COVID-19 numbers. Past the tales of regretful vaccine hesitant folks who are woke after suffering themselves or losing someone close. On to Europe, where Italy, Greece, and Turkey are evacuating tourists due to wildfires. It’s a hot, hot, hot world, and it’s getting hotter.
  9. Absorbing how much floofitude is on exhibit by a cat’s encounter with a spider or cob web. We have loads of them. Webs, that is, not cats. Just have three cats. Probably have so many webs because we have a strict no-kill spider policy. It’s an unending chore cleaning webs out of corners and from ceilings, walls, patio, porch, and garage. Spiders love throwing up webs. I opened the living room patio door this morning. Stepped out. Breathed in. Considered the browning landscape. Then turned to return inside. Walked straight into a web. Some spider must have seen the door open and hurried a dragline across there.
  10. The cats have different reactions to webs. Papi, aka Youngblood, the Ginger Blade, and Meep, is the youngest and most graceful. When he encounters a web, he immediately backs away and goes around it. Boo, our large-size bedroom panther with the small velvet paws, hurries through the web while shaking his head. Tucker, the big black and white alpha cat, stops, shakes his head, washes, and then shoulders on. I’ve witnessed this several times over the months — seriously, the number of webs and how quickly they emerge staggers me — spiders are productive little critters — and I’m certain about my assessment on the cats’ behavior.
  11. Writing has been entertaining. Yes, that’s the term I’ll employ. Absorbing will work as well. I’ve gone surprising places with the story. Then pause as I think, oh, WTF, and ponder the direction. I keep telling myself, just get out of your own way, fool. Don’t overthink anything. Just write. That works. Just need to hurdle myself. An interesting noir style has emerged. So I have a science fiction mystery thriller noir going.
  12. Got my coffee. The day’s second cup. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. Then I’ll go clean off spider webs. Cheers

Updated

Well, no avoiding it. Get it done. That had become her new motto. She had gotten it done for her husband. Children. Work. Now it was time for her to get it done for herself.

This, if anything, proved that she could not wait. COVID-19 had interrupted. Age was interrupting. Nature. No doubt. “Get it done.”

Coffee was first sipped. Comfort drink. And for fortitude. Then she pulled up Excel. Opened BucketList.exl. Found ZZ Top. She’d always wanted to see them. Her husband had seen them three times before dying. So when they’d been scheduled for the Britt Festival this year, she’d jumped all over it. Get it done.

Now the bassist was dead. Dusty Hill. Original. Sure ZZ Top would go on. But. Like Cream. She’d hoped to see them but Cream only had Clapton left. At least she’d seen the Beatles. Stones. Pink Floyd. Jethro Tull. Heart. Journey. Foreigner. All thanks to her husband. Get it done. Because time didn’t wait. She’d missed on The Who. Had put it off. Then. Moon was dead.

She would still go to the ZZ Top concert. Wouldn’t be the same. Just like with the Temptations. They’d done all the music but not with the members she’d known growing up.

It had not been the same.

Travails

Well, haven’t been writing. Not on paper. Or computer. Have been writing in my head.

My wife wanted (needed, she claims) a vacation. COVID-19, you know. Sheltering with me, you know. And the cats. She thought she was going a little crazy.

Her sister called. Hey, she and her boyfriend were coming west. His children (and his children’s children) live on the west coast. He hadn’t seen them for almost two years except on Zoom. So. Would we like to meet up in Seattle? The boyfriend’s son lives in Kent and the boyfriend lived in Seattle for years before retiring from Boeing. He can show us around.

Difficult for me. And yes, selfishly, I was thinking of me. I’m already a frustrated writer. Now I was being asked to travel and surrender more time. More energy. I’m quite jealous of my writing time, by choice. See, I wanted to pursue writing for a looonng time. But I was in the military. Traveling, writing on the side. My wife wanted me to stay in, get my pension. Smart financially. Good security. So I sucked it up and stayed in.

I was 39 when I retired from the military. The plan was that we would now move to somewhere where we could survive on my pension and write. But, she then got a job in advertising that she liked. Could we please stay there, in the SF Bay Area?

I was employed by startups, then was acquired by corporations. Made very good money along the way doing jobs that weren’t too hard. It all meant deferring my writing dream. I ended up staying with IBM for fifteen years after they acquired one of the companies I was at. Yes, good money but soul-sucking employment. No fun for me, for the most part. Some challenges but mostly tedium.

So, this is my state of mind. I am now sixty-five. I’ve been writing and reading, improving my writing and story-telling skills (or hope so, you know?), trying to get to know my muses and discover my voice. It’s a challenge. I love that challenge. COVID-19 was a serious interruption. Just as I felt that I was finally making substantial strides forward.

Writing the current novel-in-progress took me through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021. I then discovered that I was trying to tell the story in the wrong way. So, recalibrated. Took all that previously written stuff as background work. And kept going, now on the right path.

It’s exciting. Then, vacation. Preparation for vacation. I’m not social. The vacation meant committing to being social. Delaying my writing efforts for another week. But what’s another week, right? Sure. Rationally, I reply, it’s just seven days or so. With writer’s angst, I tell you, it’s a painful and frustrating interruption. An unwanted interruption. The conversation with the muses was going well. I was having a good time. Who likes to stop a good time?

But I try to be a good husband and some kind of contributing member of society. So, the time was taken. The vacation done. Good for me? Sure. Aren’t I nice? You betcha.

Back in the writing seat today. Picking up those story strings that emerged as I was on a ship in Seattle, walking a street, driving the Interstate, observing a person, sipping coffee, gazing at a street scene, etc. You never know when they’ll come.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Again.

Her Life

Her life. She had such a life. All centered on her children. Now. Had been different. Career. Charity work. Volunteering at the Guild and the Food Bank, delivering meals to shut-ins, meeting with the garden club and the book club.

All gone with her macular degeneration. Reducing her life to her children. No, her grandchildren. She and her daughter ‘did not get along’. Saw politics differently. Education. Fashion. Manners. Daughter blamed her for – “Whatever,” she usually explained, too limp to delve deeper into words and emotions, too worn to extricate and untangle the relationship to the satisfaction of anyone outside of it.

The grandchildren, though – twins. He, dyslexic. Energetic. Masculine but wary. She, in the forefront. Quick-minded, always watching, pausing to see. Cowboy boots – red – and sparkling tutus. She, ordering him on what to do, when to do it. How. Correcting him. He, obeying, sometimes with frustration, which the girl child – they were only eight, miniature people, perfect little unblemished slender human replicas – soothed with whispers and touches. She could not see their future. That worried her.

Then him. His life. No life. Writing. Living to write. Brooding, apparently writing in his head. Reading. Walking around, sipping coffee, staring at walls, floors, windows, always there but never there. Her son. She could no longer connect with him at all. He was a house that couldn’t be entered. Curtains on the windows. No doors in nor out.

Phone rang with an old-fashioned tinny sound reminding her of the happy times at her grandmother’s home. Her daughter was calling. She didn’t want to answer. Probably about money. Usually was, when she called. She put a smile into her voice. Shook off her weariness. Must not upset the princess lest she cut off access to the grandchildren. But she would not do that, would she?

Not a chance to be taken. “Hello, honey,” she said, fake happiness in her voice, pressing forward with her life.

Old Computer Dream

I’m at a work station. One those stands with a big tan CRT monitor on top, tower PC, keyboard on sliding tray. Something from the 1990s. Whole thing is just wide enough for the monitor. I’m one of many at such computer work stations. Large room. Wide and tall. I’m in the last row, on the end. Fourth one in line. This gives me space to my right. It’s open there and behind me.

Everyone is doing through thing. It’s a hubbub of clicking, clacking, talking, laughing. I’m doing my thing, reviewing files for a dead friend. The computer files on the screen on red. They fill the screen. When I print things out, the paper and folders are red. I suppose, when I’m wondering about the red while I’m dreaming, that the red is supposed to be symbolic of something. I don’t get it. Urgency? Warning? Don’t know. I’m also wondering why I’m going through folders about a dead guy. He’d been a friend but he died a while ago. My rational side intrudes: it’s your birthday. You’re sixty-five. Dead guy was a year older than you. Never lived to be sixty-five. Collect the dots.

Aha, dots probably collected. My wife is pestering me for specific information. This annoys me. She flits in to demand I look at something, sure that it’s important. I already looked and moved on while she wasn’t there. But she keeps coming back, asking to see specific files that I already read and closed.

Many others are behind me. Two women and a man are among them. The women are attractive. I gather that they’re foreigners. Maybe British and Scottish. They’re friends. I think one is with the guy. He seems American. He comes and goes. I keep catching snatches of the women’s conversation. They’re speaking of going someplace, doing something. I’m familiar with the areas and offer some unrequested advice, which they shun.

“Keep yourself to yourself,” I tell myself, sorting files on the computer. I’m testy with my wife as she comes and asks for information on a specific date and event. Without responding to her verbally, I search for the appropriate document, drilling down through information. She doesn’t realize what I’m doing and hectors me. I snap back with an explanation. She then goes away.

Meanwhile, the British and Scottish women have become friendlier. As if they sensed they rebuffed me and now want my friendship — or something — they step closer. I’m aware that they’re surreptitiously attempting to see what I’m doing. They make a subtle show of patting me on my shoulder, touching my arm.

It all confused and wearied me. I move off the dead man’s files. Why should I be involved with them? I find myself instead working on the files for another who worked for me. Investigating this person makes no more sense than checking the dead man’s files.

I understand it all when I awaken. The sense of dissatisfaction, frustration. The searching in myself for answers about directions and desires.

Under Where?

My Great Underwear change is not progressing with the dreamed-of joy conjured when the great change began.

Setting the scene, I’ve been a boxer wearer for decades, migrating from other styles while I was younger. Recently, while shopping, I spied other underwear on the shelves. Why, the materials were different. And the shapes! Perhaps I will try these newfangled garments.

I bought two styles. One was purchased at Costco. Kirkland. The second, Body Glove, was purchased at Kohl’s. Both are elasticized cotton or something. Boxer shorts. That’s where their overlapping identities end.

The Kirklands went on first. Wow, comfy. Very nice. Useful and expected, it had that vent up front that negates the need to drop trou and sit to pee. I know females are shrugging, “So you have to pull down your underwear, sit and pee instead of standing? Welcome to my world. Is standing to pee really so special? Got any other tricks?”

No, that’s my one trick.

Standing to urinate isn’t the world’s most amazing feat but I’m used to it. I’m in my mid-sixties. Learning new information is challenging. Especially when it comes to the body. The body is already rewriting its rules on its activities, sending out new advisories without warning whenever it feels like it.

“Hey, don’t move like that!”

I was in the process of sitting down. “But I’ve always moved like that.”

“Well, stop it.”

“Why?”

“Don’t question me! I don’t like it. And put that doughnut down. What’s wrong with you? Now go pee.”

“Again? But I just peed two — “

“Don’t talk back! Pee! Now!”

“Okay, okay, okay…” Grumble, grumble, grumble.

That’s why I still stand to pee: because I can. I almost feel young again, you know?

So the Kirkland shorts work. The Body Glove? Umm, no.

They were comfy. At first. But, they didn’t have that useful front vent.

I was surprised. I thought the vent was a requirement. I speculated, maybe men are all starting to sit down to pee, so the vent isn’t required.

It is possible. I’m not always up on the latest happenings. Take, if you will, ball deodorants. I saw a post on Trouserdog while I was flipping through the net: “How to Stop Smelly and Sweaty Balls — Defunk Your Junk”.

Yes, it is an arresting title.

I’ve never considered a need for ball deodorant. Sure, my hairy sack sometimes sweats. Smells can ensue. That’s why I wash. A quick wash and they smell fresh as rain. A sweaty/stinky testicular area didn’t seem to be a problem. Maybe it’s been one and others are too polite to mention it. Perhaps, after walking away, people turn to one another and whisper, “Did you smell him?” My wife has never said anything. Neither have my cats, who are some of the most critical creatures I know.

The second offense against the Body Glove undies is a classic: they shrank. A lot. The comfortable tight fit now felt like a girdle or leather pants encasing my skin like a sausage, i.e., tight as hell. Now, it could be that I’d gained weight. I’ll give you that. But to have gained that weight, my other clothes would also need to no longer fit or fit differently. That wasn’t happening.

I gave the BGs two additional tries after that first washing. You know, more data. They became worse and worse. Waist bands flipped over. Legs rolled up. No, I told myself. I’m too old to endure this crap. Off you go. I banished them to the giveaway pile.

Yet, the experiments have intrigued me. I saw undies that have a cool sack to keep my Johnson more comfy on these hot days. They might even keep my junk from getting sweaty and funky. I’m willing to try them as long as they’re vented and I can stand and deliver.

If my body says it’s okay. It always has the last say.

Ready

Well.

Pat drank coffee. Sheetz, black and sugary. Squinted. Eyes burned. Little sleep. Too much night telly. Too much sunshine. Possibly vodka, too. And beer chasers. A Marlboro was lit, sucked, stared upon with distaste. Vile habit. Had him in his grip.

This little mélange of acknowledgements about his underlife stirred anger. Anger fed determination. Get ‘er done. He threw down the cigarette. Tramped it. Picked it up and carefully added it to the small baggy in his pocket. To be thrown away later. Litter was terrible. He wouldn’t be part. Smoking might be killing him but litter embarrassed him. ‘Specially butts on the ground. Fuckin’ appalling.

He stared up at the house, shifted himself, and moved. Now he was ready. Pumped himself up. Drank more coffee. Marched the walk. Pavement needed repaired. Up the steps. The rot on them caused a grimace. To the front door. It stuck. Required a shoulder and a grunt to push in.

Mom’s house, without Mom, waiting inside. He had, he was certain, never been to Mom’s house without Mom being there. No, wait. He nodded. Yes, there was the time when she was hospitalized. Yes.

Eyes went to the steps where she’d fallen, flipping over the side, where there was no rail, bouncing off furniture. He’d warned her. Damaged shoulder, black charcoal and gray clouds covering her fair, flabby skin. Pierced lung. Broken ribs. Could have been worse. Gone into Mercy for three days which became ten. Had to come back for items she needed. Dan lived with her then. Her fiancé. But Dan, Mom said, “Can’t do it. He doesn’t know where things are.” The man lived there with her for twelve years and didn’t know where things were? Come on. But Dan beat Mom out of the house, dying while driving, crashing his Prius into a tree on a snowy winter night while the icy road laughed. Fuckin’ roads.

Yeah, only he was left. Shit. To go through Mom’s stuff. Shit. He brushed away tears from his eyes’ corners before they could get a rolling start, finished the final coffee ounce, tossed that cup and looked. Shit. Where was he supposed to start? He was the last of the children. Mom outlived them. Well, till now. Him, the oldest. Cancer took two. Shit. Both non-smokers, just a year apart, pancreas. Just him and grandchildren now. Well, widows and widowers. But they…yeah, no.

He’d called his ex to help. She couldn’t. Sympathized but couldn’t. Busy with their kids, going to Disney. Second wife just laughed. “No. Not bailing you out this time.” Like, when had she bailed him out? Made it sound like he’d been in jail. He’d never been in jail. Third wife was in Vegas with her fourth. Cried a lot on the phone but made no commitment. So here was Pat. Alone. Cleaning out Mom’s life. Shit.

He’d walked, he’d sat, he was thinking. Didn’t know how to do this. Despite everything with Mom, he thought she’d keep on living. Always thought somehow, impossibly, she would outlive him.

He bent his head with a heavy sigh. Yeah, he was wrong. It would take more coffee, more cigarettes, more time.

He was not ready.

A Day Like Others

They went to the library

because three new books were on hold,

ready for pick up

and they’d finished six books

so they needed to be returned.

Then they walked around town,

enjoying the mild spring day,

before deciding to go to the Co-op.

Because it’d been so long.

While they were there,

they picked up sandwiches,

chips,

and locally baked pastries.

Then walked back up to the car

and got a library book each,

and walked through the breeze in the park’s sun and shade

until they found a picnic table.

Whereupon they sat,

eating and reading in silence

until two hours later,

when she said,

“I’m cold. Let’s go home.”

The ER Visit

5:15 PM.

He was thinking, I should call Dad. See if he’s out of the hospital and how the colonoscopy went.

Pain stabbed his pelvis. Sucking in air, he bent down, then controlled his breathing and studied the pain. He’d never felt something from that region before. Seemed too low for gas…but what else could it be? He was a little concerned. He’d already had four bowel movements for the day, one more than normal. All of it looked good (yeah, he looked – always). Everything else felt fine. He checked the area for discoloration, bloating, and tenderness. Nothing but pain.

He remained puzzled. It’d been a good day. He and his wife, Brenda, had done some cleaning, then taken hazardous waste to the White City center. After that, a whimsical stop at Dairy Queen. Been a year since they’d been to one. Brenda ordered a fish sandwich and small Reese’s Blizzard. He ordered a small Thin Mint Blizzard and a cheeseburger. They’d slathered his cheeseburger in mustard and ketchup, ruining the flavor for him. They’d eaten in the car in the parking lot. He usually avoided food like this but it was a whim. An indulgence because he and his wife used to go to DQ on dates. It was the only place to go in their home town back then, two years short of a half century ago. After DQ, they’d gone to the park and read books, then went for a walk.

Now, home, and this pain. The pain was increasing, stabbing through his left side, up his back. Motrin was found and swallowed. He peed…a little. Another bowel movement, very loose, followed.

The pain kept growing. He had Flomax on hand for his BHIP. He was beginning to think kidney stones. Flomax worked on relaxing organs and muscles, allowing an easier urine flow. If he had a kidney stone, maybe Flomax would help pass it. Meanwhile, he’d chugged a liter of water. Increasing, the pain encompassed all of the left side of his lower back and his pelvis. Not his right side, and nothing above his rib cage or in his upper abdomen. It was hours before he was due to take his daily Flomax, but he downed one.

An hour had passed. A little liquid had dribbled out. Oh, no, could this be another blocked urethra? He’d gone through that with his BHP two years ago. But this didn’t feel the same. Maybe memories of it were wrong. But wouldn’t the Flomax give some relief?

8:15, with the pain intensifying and options dwindling, he informed his wife. “Sounds like a kidney stone,” she replied.

He agreed. He thought he could tough it out but the pain was growing. He hated to say it, but he thought he needed to go to the emergency room. She agreed, donned bra and lippy, got her mask, a book, and the car keys. They headed to the local hospital.

An efficient, friendly staff took him in. Each introduced themselves and explained their function. Each came across as intelligent, friendly, and professional.

Meanwhile, he listened in on the patient in the next room. Narco overdose brought in by ambulance. He’d just been in on the twentieth last month for the same thing. He’d gone into the Safeway bathroom, smoked heroin, and passed out. Could he call his wife and let her know he was okay? Were the police coming? No he was assured, they weren’t.

He reflected on the different windows into lives. He never saw the man next door. His voice sounded rough and tired.

He wrote a short short story in his head while he passed the time. Time was spent looking at this vitals. Pulse stayed around 71. O2 saturation was 98 to 100 percent. Blood pressure was 155 over 92, yeah, high, but not a surprise, as his BP always reacts. He takes Amlodipine for it.

Two hours later, after pain meds, urine and blood samples, and CT scans, confirmation came. A 2 mm kidney stone on his left side in the ureter. Another, larger one, in his right kidney.

2mm. He was appalled that a kidney stone had reduced him to this. Collection equipment was given for him take home so the kidney stone could be captured and identified. Oxycodone acetaminophen was issued for pain. Why, wasn’t that the stuff they’d given him for his broken arm last year? He still had twenty tabs of that at home because he’d never taken it. Hell, if he’d just taken on of those… But, really, he didn’t know what was causing the problem. The pain had largely dissipated at this point. Instructions required to drink lots of water. Sure, he understood that.

He got home at 11:30 and peed 250 ml into the bottle. No kidney stone, but no pain. But…pain killers, right? He sat down to catch up on reading the news on his ‘puter and researched kidney stones. The pain crept back in. At 1:30 AM, it struck as it had over eight hours before. He downed a pain killer and a half liter of water. After twenty five minutes, the pain subsided. He fell asleep.

This morning, he felt fine. No pain. He peed into his collection bottle and hunted the stone. Nothing. Maybe the little bugger got away. Maybe it remained in there.

Mild pain oozed out of his right flank.

Wondering if the other kidney was beginning his move, he drank a liter of water.

The kidney stone watch continues…

Wednesday Wuthering

  1. On day five of the three-day green smoothie fast. Yesterday, besides three green smoothies, I enjoyed a few celery sticks, four prunes, a boiled egg, a cup of cubed watermelon, eight raw almonds and a handful of raw walnuts. I feel great, so why not continue? Sure, I was constantly mildly hungry throughout the day. And yes, my stomach talks to me in squeals, growls, and grunts all day, too.
  2. Okay, I cheated and ate a protein bar in the mid-afternoon.
  3. Well, the credit card ordeal might be over. Brief recap: was given new cards after reporting fraud on the previous cards. New cards received and activated. Wife wasn’t given chance to set her PIN. We tested: her old PIN didn’t work. Neither did my new one work on her card. Calls were made. A new PIN was set to her. We tested it. Nope. So, I commenced to pursue a fix. After spending over an hour on the phone with three different credit union reps, calling the numbers they specified, etc., I was turned over to a person in the credit card payment division. She listened to the tale. “You’ve been calling the wrong number.” I’d been calling the number the reps had given me. She gave another number. I called it. PIN changed, at least telephonically. We won’t be certain until we use it.
  4. Makes me wonder, though, you know? Why did it take so long for that number to emerge? Why is there a different number? Customer service and focus continues to die a slow death.
  5. Ah, technologically. I have a telemedicine call tomorrow. Video with a new family nurse practitioner. Annual event, to renew my meds for BHP and hypertension. Did the hardware check yesterday. Couldn’t connect to the video. Whaaat? The webcam worked last year. Went through all settings for hardware, software, security, privacy, etc. All was as should be. Even said that website had been given permission to use the camera. So…?
  6. Searched the web for advice and ideas. Microsoft, Kaspersky, HP. Talked to Chatbots for support. Uninstalled, reinstalled, updated drivers, rebooted machine several times, installed new webcam software, checked the device manager, registry, and so on. After three hours, the hardware check claims it works but I get nothing. Tested it on Zoom. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing, except exasperation and frustration. Tested it this morning, just in case. No change.
  7. Forums are a joke in this regard. Many people reporting the same issue. No solutions found that work. Hell, most solutions were the previously-tried solutions. Ditto, the search engines on every browser and search site tried. They all regurgitate the same results. Remember GIGO? Garbage in, garbage out. Yep.
  8. Screw it, is my final position. I can use the iPad, which would be tres small. My wife generously offered me her iPad. That might be the way I go.
  9. Dad is out of the hospital. He was in at least two weeks, but don’t have greater details. He’d told me, don’t call, I’ll call you in a few days. That was weeks ago. He finally called yesterday. Has issues with fluid in legs. Turn bright red, swell, blister, etc., Medicos finally concluded, yep, heart weakening, kidney issues contributing. Wasn’t surprised, as he’s had COPD for decades. Some pulmonary issues were bound to reveal themselves. He’s in great spirits, mind remains sharp. That’s a tale I hear with many, many friends, though. I see the signs, and know where he’s going. Not unexpected, as that’s where we all go. Primary questions are about how long he’s in this declining state, how much pain and suffering he endures, and what his wife and family will experience during this watch.
  10. Dad and I are both retired military. Twenty-year vets. We receive pensions and healthcare. He retired about twenty-five years before I joined. That makes all the difference. He’s not paying anything for care. Tricare covers everything for him. Then launched into a “no wonder this country is going broke” stand. My Tricare is good, but I have co-pays. Dad does not. I have monthly premiums. Dad does not. I pay a small amount for prescriptions; Dad doesn’t. He also lives in San Antonio. A large military and retired presence there helps him. I live in rural southern Oregon. Time, age, location: that sums up the changes, right? Oh, yeah, and people are living longer, healthcare is constantly evolving, and it all costs. For example, he now has five people coming in each day to help him with different functions, from PT and leg exercises to bathing. He is married, and his wife is there, but I know how hard it is for a spouse to be a care-giver. She’s but a few years younger than him and has her own issues.
  11. Dissatisfied with offerings from U.S. television, we now watch a lot of foreign stuff. Mostly European. Dramas and comedies don’t work well, but thrillers, mysteries, and procedurals do. We try American offerings. We find them shallow, formulaic, and simplistic. Pretty people with fake issues to enhance tension dominate. Cry us another, you know? Right now, we’re watching Swedish, German, French, Italian, and British offerings. Don’t have anything coming out of Canada that entices me, which is a surprise. Same with the Aussies. But this might be the streaming gap, you know?
  12. Watching foreign television shows, we’re often entices by the settings. The procedurals often take place on the coast, an island, or a lake. They’re beautiful, intriguing places. I told my wife that we should set up tours to these places. That would cost a mint, and it’s impossible during the pandemic. If I had to chose one, I’d go to the Stockholm archipelago where “The Sandhamm Murders” is set.
  13. Okay, have my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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