Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, BTW. The Mighty Hunter killed the mylar bag of cat treats. I heard some crumpling noises emanating from the kitchen a couple hours ago. Turns out that Captain had chewed right through the mylar bag with cat treats in it. BAD KITTY. Neither he nor Stanley has ever gone onto the forbidden ground of the kitchen table to steal cat treats before.

I'm not even sure if he managed to get any treats out of the bag, as it seems to be pretty full. But the bag's been gutted and the treats will have to be transferred into something else. Bad kitty.

SIGH. File it under "Good thing he's cute!"
Good news from yesterday. Everything eventually worked out as planned. Most of us (as in all but one buyer) gathered at the real estate office at the originally scheduled time and signed all the settlement paperwork. The one buyer who had a final exam scheduled for yesterday morning made his appearance at the real estate office during the afternoon, at which time HE signed all the requisite paperwork, and the deal was done.

Our real estate agent dropped the check off yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was too late to deposit it yesterday, so the deposit had to wait until today. But all the transactions are accomplished.

All but one, that is. I'm still waiting for part of the report from the bank, containing some really old transactions, so I can see just exactly what Utility Company has received from me and when.

On the part of the report that I have received, I do see one payment, but I'm looking for one more. I know I had two separate, protracted phone conversations with Utility over the past couple years. One of those took place during my lunch hour when I was working at the hospital, and that's the one I haven't found yet. That day, a phone payment took place. The other conversation also included a payment, and that's the one I was able to find on the report.

All I can think of, if the missing part of the report doesn't have a Utility-Company-connected transaction on it, is, "Can it be that they never APPLIED the payment?" Is that possible, that they could go through all the phone transaction motions over the phone and not hit the "Submit" key or whatever equivalent thereof is on their computer screen?

If it is, I'll just tell the title company to pay the remaining amount out of the escrow that was set aside. But I need to see WITH MY OWN EYES whether there's a "missing" transaction or not. So help me, I will go to my grave saying I paid by phone. I don't know what the Sam Hill they did at Utility Company, possibly up to and including not actually TAKING the money, but I will go to my grave saying on MY end of the phone line, I made two phone payments.

One way or another, everything will most definitely be wrapped up within a few days, and then this chapter can be closed.

Except for one small thing. I'd like to see the house once the buyers are done refurbing it and are ready to "flip" it. :o)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good news -- not only was I able to reschedule the jury duty, but except for one bit of paperwork that I'm hoping I'll get hold of tomorrow, everything is ready for settlement tomorrow.

The bit of paperwork involves a printout from the bank that goes back more than two years, which unfortunately I had to order because of the length of time I want to go back. The contents of the report should prove, once and for all, that I resolved the Utility Bill dispute when I said I did. Then I'll get the Letter of Satisfaction, and that will be that.

If the information's not in hand by the time we make settlement tomorrow, the disputed amount (or shall I call it the RE-disputed amount, since I thought this nonsense was taken care of long ago?) will go into an escrow account until everything is FINALLY resolved. Again. For good this time.

I'm so glad that the only thing I have to do between now and tomorrow morning, other than watch the Flyers game on TV , is go back to battling Round 2 of the Flu.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Of course, I have to report for Jury Duty tomorrow.

Meaning I'll have to go in at the crack of freaking dawn and try to reschedule my jury duty, because I still have some stuff to get done before settlement on Tuesday if I can. (For example, I'm still in dispute with Utility Company over the Letter of Satisfaction that they should be sending me.) It's all paperwork, but I'll need to be either on the phone or in the Customer Service office of Utility Company to get this stuff accomplished, and I can't do either when I'm stuck in Jury Duty and no cell phones are permitted there.

Pains in my rump. What crummy timing for this to come up. Oh, well.
Quick rundown:

- We got someone to haul out the furniture from the house. What really sticks in my craw is that we had to PAY them, instead of being able to DONATE the furniture to people who really might need it. I know that the Salvation Army does good work, but it's a shame that they don't have the capacity to get a truck up a side street. God knows how many donations they lose that way.

- For the first time ever, and I do mean EVER, I have called out sick from interpreting. The flu symptoms, which ranked about 3 on a scale of 1-10 yesterday, came back with a vengeance after all the activity (furniture issues, Phantoms game). I thought I was getting better, but apparently not. Boo.

I am about to eat breakfast, then crawl under a blanket, not to emerge until tomorrow morning for jury duty. OK, I'll emerge tonight for long enough to call the number on the jury duty card, give my ID number, and find out if I have to report tomorrow. I hope I don't have to. Last time I was called, it turned out I didn't have to report, but I went anyway. I was working at the clinic at the time, and the Spite-Fest was in full swing. I had been looking forward to jury duty as a day away from the individuals who were the source of the hostility. So I figured, "Phooey, I'm getting my day away from those people no matter what", and I reported to jury duty. When I checked in, the lady behind the counter told me that I didn't have to serve if I didn't want to. When I said I would, she looked at me as if I had two heads. I guess she was more used to people trying to get OUT of jury duty than people trying to get IN. :o)

Right now, I'm trying to get OUT of joining the ranks of people who are awake. I feel frightfully bad and I'm going to log off and go keel over somewhere.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I don't believe this. I REALLY don't believe this.

The Salvation Army was supposed to send their truck to us first thing this morning, after last week's failed effort to get their truck up the small street to PICK UP DONATED FURNITURE.

They were supposed to send a smaller truck and/or a more experienced driver. The manager that Mark spoke to even said that HE would drive the truck.

Well, I've been down for the count with flu for the past few days. I actually spent a good 80% of the past 24 hours asleep. So Mark went to the other house without me.

I got a call here at 9 AM. The Caller ID said Salvation Army, so I picked up. "We can't fit the truck up your street", said a lady who was calling from their offices. "You'll have to call on Monday to reschedule."

"WHAT? We close on the house on TUESDAY. We don't have the time to spare."

"I'm sorry, Ma'am, there's nothing else I can do."

I bit my tongue. Having worked in a call center, I know better than to take out my ire on the person bearing the bad news. I wasn't about to become this lady's Harridan of the Day. "Call my husband on his cell phone at [number]. He's the one at the house."

She agreed to do that, and we hung up.

I waited a little while, to give them time to have whatever conversation was going to take place, then called Mark's cell phone.

The call went directly to voice mail. This means one of two things -- either he's currently using the phone, or the phone is off.

I left a message, in the hopes that I was getting his voice mail due to Option A.

But I called every few minutes thereafter, to no avail. Voice mail, voice mail, voice mail. So I called my parents, who live a block from the other house. To make a long story less long, My dad went down to see what was going on.

Mark's phone was off. The Salvation Army driver did not go and knock on the door and tell him, personally, that they couldn't fit the truck up the street.

Now we're trying to get hold of the real estate agent, to keep them apprised of what's going on, as we have to have the furniture out of there by Tuesday. GEEZE OH freaking MAN.

Oh, and I have jury duty Monday. What fantastic timing.

P.S. I still maintain, as I did at this time LAST week when we went through the same rigamarole with the Salvation Army truck, that MOVING VANS fit up that small street.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The darned flu symptoms are back. PHOOEY.

Last night, the Flyers won Game 7 in overtime. Talk about nerve-wracking! But when that puck went in, both Mark and I yelled loudly enough to be heard in the next ZIP code. Joy to the world, we're going to the next round! :o)

BUT... hours later, my throat was sore. I thought, "Dang, I know I yelled, but I didn't think I was cheering THAT loudly that it should hurt this long."

Well, this morning I woke up with a sore throat AND two earaches. There's no such thing as a cheer so loud that it could cause an earache the next day. So PHOOEY. Something else is going on here.

Time for another round of "Zicam is my friend".

Monday, April 21, 2008

Notice the upper-left-hand corner. I've actually had an account on Twitter for a while, but I never did anything with it. That is, not until I got some emails that a few people had subscribed to my Twitter feed. Surprise! It's kind of like a micro-sized, instantaneous blog post. So, since it's extremely easy to update via cell phone, I decided to use Twitter's ability to display the latest post(s) on the blog. I noticed some unused real estate in the upper left corner of the blog, so I figured that was the logical place to put it.

This is good, because sometimes it's easier to send out a mini-post, like the ones on Twitter which have a 140-character limit, when there's something small-yet-significant I want to say. But when I REALLY want to comment on something, the obvious solution is to post to the blog, not to Twitter. Now I can have both of those things available right here on the blog, and people don't have to hit multiple web pages. :o)
What the HEY?

I just got a call from the company that runs our prescription plan. They want me to change to a different acid reflux prescription.

Trouble is, I already TRIED the over-the-counter ones that they're suggesting and over-the-counter stuff didn't work for me. I tried a few over-the-counter options and nothing was strong enough. That's WHY I went to the doctor to get a prescription. If I could have taken care of it without a prescription, I would happily have done it. I don't even like going to the doctor when HAVE to, never mind when I don't have to.

But the doctor prescribed something for the acid reflux, and it works. My life can be described like this: Take med, get no symptoms that day. If I forget the med, I get symptoms. When I take med again, the symptoms go away again. So I'm thinking there's a direct connection there between taking the med and the not having symptoms.

So let me put it this way. I have a prescription that WORKS for me. It will be a cold day in the nether world before I change meds solely on the advice of some bean counter in some office of an insurance office. To heck with that.

When MY DOCTOR advises me to change a medication, or if a prescription no longer works for me and I have to change the dose or the medication itself, THEN I'll change what I'm doing. But I am not having my health-related decisions influenced by anything other than my own symptoms and/or my doctor's advice. PERIOD.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

When my friends and I were kids, we used to raid EM and BA's dad's record collection. He was in a band, and he bought a LOT of records, which if I understand correctly, the band used in order to learn the music.

Regardless, we got into his record collection on a regular basis. That's how I developed an appreciation for, among other things, the music of The Manhattan Transfer.

Well, OH BOY but I struck gold a few days ago on that front while I was listening to the internet radio which I've linked to on the left-hand side of this page. See that blue button? The station in question can be found by clicking that blue button, choosing "Easy Listening", then choosing "Nice Noise -- always eezzzee". They played a song from The Manhattan Transfer called A Nightengale Sang in Berkeley Square". Oh, my gosh, what an auditory treat! Have you ever heard a song that was so amazing, you had to completely stop everything you were doing and just listen to it? This was like that.

I've got the song on the brain, mostly because I have that radio station on again and the song just came back on. It was just as outstanding to listen to this time as it was a few days ago, so I looked it up (partly because I wasn't entirely sure if the locale in the song was "Barclay Square" or "Berkeley Square" -- little bitty laptop speakers aren't ideal when it comes to clarity of sound).
And what did we ever do without the internet? Here's where you can sample at least part of the song: Click Here

Enjoy! :o)

Oh, and click on that internet radio link. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

If I were a patient, I'd get a big kick out of seeing my favorite teams' logos posted in the hallway. Reminders of things I like are a great pick-me-up.

Look what's in the hallway outside Aunt Phyllis's room. A Phantoms jersey! :o)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mark just made catnip tea. (Yes, there is such a thing as herbal tea made of catnip and yes, it's intended for human consumption. :o) ) Stanley has been meowing at him nonstop. Or should I say, he's been mewing at Mark nonstop, since Stanley has a rather high-pitched voice for a grown boycat. The funny part is that, and I've seen cats do this before, when he's vocalizing he's raising his voice in pitch like he's asking a question. So here I sit in the living room, listening to the microwave heat the water and Stanley asking Mark, "Mew? Mewwww?"

Captain and Stanley turned 4 years old on April 8. Obviously, I should have thought to get them teacups as a birthday present. These are the only cats I've ever seen who try to mooch *beverages*. They have fresh water in the basement, and sometimes in the kitchen as well, but let Mark or me take that bottle of water from the fridge and there will be one or two cats right there asking for a share. We don't even have to add catnip to the water for them to ask for some.

I wonder if PetSmart has cat-sized teacups? If not, maybe there's a market niche I can start to fill.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Utility Company that I am dealing with is run by the biggest collectiion of thundering morons on the face of the planet. They claim there is no record of my payment. That's BALONEY.

I'll be disputing this. AGAIN. Not that it did much good two years ago, when I THOUGHT the disputed bill was both paid in full and the issue was resolved.

*%&/¿æ@...!!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mark and I visited my in-laws this afternoon. Mark and his dad went food shopping and had a talk about the necessity for installing a wheelchair ramp in the back entrance of the house. My mother-in-law's leg has been worse than ever, and she only spent a couple weeks at most using a walker before it became necessary to start using a wheelchair instead. From what the doctors have been able to determine, the problem is a nerve issue, but there's not a reliable surgical solution that exists to resolve it. Operating in the spinal cord area could end up doing much more harm than good -- the odds are that surgery would merely cause additional damage without doing anything to fix the symptoms that currently exist. :o( So there's a strong likelihood that her leg isn't going to improve any time soon.

There's a visiting nurse that comes a few times a week, and there's a physical therapist who comes twice a week also. The biggest issue at the moment is that in both the front and back of the house, there are stairs to navigate in order to get in and out. It's stupendously hard, and dangerous, for her to try and use stairs with a leg that's numb and buckles under her. And my father-in-law is in his 80s, so while he's willing to assist her in using stairs, both of them are risking injury the way things stand now.

Hence, Mark had the talk with his dad about adding a wheelchair ramp. Though he's been resistant to the idea until now, Mark thinks he's starting to come around and understand that my mother-in-law might never reach a point where she can get up and down steps again. It seems unlikely at this point that she would recover as much as that, as her symptoms have existed for over a year and have gotten steadily worse during that time. But even if she were to improve dramatically, who's to say that she won't have another downturn later on and wind up unable to use stairs again?

Their house is already set up so that everything they need is on the first floor. The second floor is set up as a second, independent apartment. The only issue is the need to use stairs to enter and exit the house, and a wheelchair ramp would resolve that situation.

Well, that and the fact that there are wooden thresholds that are over an inch high in EVERY freaking doorway. They're a downright bear to cross with a wheelchair. Even pushing the chair across them is difficult, never mind being the person IN the chair trying to get the chair over the darn things. I think they all need to be replaced with something MUCH lower and flatter, so my mother-in-law can get the chair across them without assistance.

The good news is that once the decision is made to have the wheelchair ramp added, both of my brothers-in-law are engineers and moreover, the brother-in-law that married Mark's sister has a brother who is a carpenter. (Have I managed to get enough branches of the family tree mentioned in one sentence? ;o) ) The long and short of it is that actually getting a ramp designed and built shouldn't be much of an issue once we get the go-ahead. The weather's turning nice, which makes it a good time now both to build a ramp and also for my in-laws to actually get out and enjoy themselves. So the sooner things start, the better.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


RIP to Puzzles the Giraffe. I just saw the article in the Daily News that discussed the recent passing of the Philadelphia Zoo's 27-year-old giraffe. I'm sorry to hear it. I've always loved her name. (She's not the only local giraffe to have had a clever name -- I used to smile at the name of the late bull giraffe, Dinky, because he was anything but.)

Given that the ravages of old age were causing her to suffer, to the point where only the Final Act of Mercy could release her from her pain, I hope that by studying her remains they can learn about the needs of geriatric giraffes. Then all zoos will benefit from Puzzles's legacy.

RIP, lovely, graceful lady.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The good news: it took me less than a half hour to go from "on hold" with the utility company to speaking to a live person. Five minutes later I was being transferred to a different live person, since the first one I got through to couldn't help me, but hey. A live person is a live person.

The not-so-hot news: the second live person, however, who was ostensibly from the correct department, told me something completely different than the one whom I spoke to approximately ten days ago. She said that a fax was sent on March 14. I don't know to whom it was sent or what it was about, but since I didn't call Utility Company until the 28th, I'm thinking that her info is either incorrect or is unrelated to my phone call. Then she said that Utility Company doesn't SEND Letters of Satisfaction. Well, you could have fooled ME, as both my realtor AND the person I spoke to ten days ago said that they do send them. Today's Live Person said that my REALTOR has to call to get a particular proof of payment form filled out and sent to the title company. There isn't even one SYLLABLE in common between the information this lady told me today, and what the other person told me on March 28.

So I called the realtor back. It's her freaking DAY OFF, but she's calling Utility Company to scorch an ear or two and get something accomplished.

Oh, the stupendous incompetence of Utility Company! If brains were leather, they wouldn't have enough resources on hand to saddle a junebug. I went through the runaround with these people a few years ago (remember that disputed bill I mentioned, back in my March 28 post on this subject?) and apparently my subconscious mind blocked out the trauma I went through getting everything resolved. Or at least, I THOUGHT it was resolved, until now when I find out that the title company was never notified that All Is Well. I'd forgotten just how abysmally frustrating it is to deal with this utility company.

I'm trying not to torment myself with the knowledge that these uncaring, lazy, incompetents have full-time jobs while I'm on a job search. It just raises my blood pressure... and that's not a good idea, because I'm still waiting for my doggoned BP prescription to be refilled. Phooey.

Now I'm waiting for *two* phone calls; I hope I get some productive responses when the doctor's office AND the realtor call back.
Nice. It only took 11 minutes of hitting redial (upon reaching a busy signal or a "The office is currently closed" recording) before I got a human being at the doctor's office. She promised to call me back when the renewal has been put through at the pharmacy. Here's hoping that's soon.

Next up, the Utility Company. Thank God for cordless speakerphones so I can actually, you know, DO THINGS while I'm waiting on hold until I die of old age.
Why, why, why can't professionals do what they've promised to do in a timely fashion?

Remember that Letter of Satisfaction that I posted about several days ago? I waited nearly an hour on hold so that I could speak to a rep from the Utility Company. They promised to fax the letter to my realtor. Well, did they fax it to YOU? Because that's how they faxed it to the realtor. I can see that today's going to be another day spent on hold with the utility company.

But first, I need a call to my primary care doctor. They tend to play fast and loose with their phone lines, taking them online well after the office has opened in the morning, putting them offline earlier than I'd expect for their lunch break and taking their sweet time about putting them back online again when lunch is over. I requested a prescription refill from these people TEN DAYS ago, via my pharmacy. The Pharmacist is still waiting for a callback. I found this out yesterday afternoon.

So before I grow old and die waiting on hold with the Utility Company, I'm going to have to play "call the doctor's office and get a busy signal five hundred bleeping times before I hear a human being's voice".

Oh, what a fun day this is going to be. Oh, there goes my alarm. It's 3 PM. Time to start calling the doctor's office again -- they're supposed to put the phones back online now. I hope.

If you need me, I'll be on the phone, probably listening to a busy signal (doctor's office) or on-hold music (utility company).

Saturday, April 05, 2008

On-the-job hazards. Even the goalie who's got the night off has to duck once in a while. ;)

Hi, Max! :)
Whew. What a Friday.

I heard from Joe M. Aunt Phyllis, who's been in a regular hospital room for the past few days, started to have problems with blood pressure and heart rate again this afternoon... and the bleeding, which was the original reason she went to the ER in the first place, also started again after having been gone for several days. So she's back in the cardiac care unit.

They originally thought that the bleeding had been caused by one of her prescriptions, which has since been stopped. But she's been off that med for a week, so if the bleeding has begun again anyway, they might want to double-check as to whether the medication was the real source of the problem. The trouble is, there were some tests that they were planning to do once they were sure that the bleeding had stopped and everything was stabilized. Needless to say, the tests have been put on hold now that the bleeding and heart-related symptoms are back. What a crummy turn of events.

Obviously, my personal favorite distraction-from-reality can't completely counterbalance serious things that are going on in Real Life. However, shortly after the pretty significant disappointment of that phone call from Joe M., I headed up to Trenton to see the person who's arguably my favorite active player now that Neil Little has retired. This is significant to me because, though I see a lot of hockey games in person and on TV, I haven't seen this particular player in a game since December 2005. The only games he's played in the past two seasons, prior to joining Trenton's team in late February, were in Europe and since he was a backup goalie in Germany and Austria, he wasn't in a lot of games, period.

In any event, I've had Friday's and Saturday's dates marked on my calendar for weeks. The second Max was sent to Trenton, I pounced on Trenton's remaining schedule and marked off the few home games they had that didn't conflict with Phantoms home games. It turned out that I could attend two games in early March, and two games on April 4 and 5. I went up for both games in March (Mark went with me for one of them), and I even saw Max and chatted with him after both games, but he was injured at the time and didn't play. :o( Trenton hasn't actually had all that many home games in the past month, at least not compared to the number of games they've played on the road, but the way things have worked out, prior to Friday night, Max had only played in road games anyway. So I didn't miss any opportunities to see him during the games in Trenton that I didn't attend.

Along comes Friday night, and I can say that my spirits got a huge lift when I saw Max lead the team onto the ice for the pregame skate. (Tradition holds that the starting goaltender is at the head of the line when the team comes out of the locker room.) My spirits got an even bigger lift when he WON the game. A player whom I like tremendously, and whom I've missed watching for what feels like forever, earned his first home win with his new team and I was there to see it. OK, it's only a game, but I'll take my Happy Events anywhere and everywhere I can find them, and that made me happy.

I was also happy to be able to congratulate him post-game, and hand over a note from a fellow longtime Max fan who'd been planning for weeks to drive up from the DC area for this game. Unfortunately, she had a work-related crisis at the last minute, and couldn't leave the office until 6 PM. Given that she'd have had to drive from DC to Trenton, the game would have been over by the time she arrived, so she wound up listening on the internet rather than attending. But since she couldn't be on hand in person, the next best thing was to send a note, so she emailed it to me, I printed it, and I delivered it after the game tonight.

Anyway, I now have something Really Nice to think about, in the midst of the not-always-so-nice things that comprise Real Life. Like I said, I'll take my Happy Events wherever and whenever I can find them. Here's hoping that I can add another item to the Happy Event list on Saturday evening, when I head up to Trenton for their last game of the season.

Boy, how'd it get to be nearly 2 AM? Sheesh. No wonder I'm ready to keel over. Good night!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I posted a few weeks ago that the Phantom whose scrapbook I was working on from the start of the season, Brian Boucher, signed an NHL contract with San Jose. I turned in his completed book tonight to the chair of the Scrapbook Committee, and she'll be mailing it to him c/o the Sharks.

Now I have until April 9 to finish assembling the scrapbook for the player who came in to replace him. Martin Houle made my life easy tonight by earning a shutout and being the first star of the game. I love taking pics of the scoreboard at the end of the game when there's a shutout involved. Taking photos of the player who's the first star of the game is easy, as well, as he's interviewed at center ice. Thanks for giving me some nice material for the scrapbook, Martin.

This week, I got emails that not one, but TWO people have started following my posts on twitter.com. There's only one slight detail... I totally forgot I HAD an account on twitter.com so I hadn't posted there yet. LOL. Well, for kicks, I made my first post on there a little while ago. If you're wondering what in heck I'm talking about, then check out http://twitter.com/gabey8. It strikes me as being a kind of mini-blog where one can make itty-bitty updates on the spur of the moment.

Last Sunday, Mark and I had a pregame dinner at Bullies at the Spectrum. The meal I ordered was an absolutely enormous portion -- I was only able to eat about half of it, so I asked for the rest to be packed. The waitress brought me an empty styrofoam container and I filled it with the leftover portion myself.

That's when it dawned on me that do-it-yourself leftover packing seems to have become the norm, rather than the exception. What the heck? When did the transition occur from "waiter/waitress takes your leftovers and packs them for you" to "Here's an empty container, feel free to put your leftovers in it"? On behalf of myself and my fellow klutzes, I'd like to request that we go back to having someone who handles food for a living do the packing. Knock on wood, I haven't had any packing mishaps so far. But with my luck, one of these days I'm bound to have the Spill to End All Spills and that'll be the end of my leftovers.

Anyway, time to make some ZZZs. I was up late (even for ME) the past two nights, and the sleep deficit is starting to take its toll. Good night -- er, morning.