Scheduling woes

Remembering

I took this picture earlier this year, but never posted it anywhere. Since I didn’t have any recent photos, I chose to use this one.

***

We had a problem with our clothes washer last week. The pump on it broke and poured water onto the basement floor. Another flood, no matter how small, was not something we wanted. Besides, we needed to wash our clothes. So Cindy immediately delegated the responsibility to call a repair person to me. Great. She also informed me that our reasonably new washer, purchased at Sears, was still under warranty. That would help.

So I opened up the laptop to look up phone number for the Sears’ repair service. Finding the page, I whipped out my smart phone, punched in the number, and listened to a busy signal. I frowned. No recorded voice told me that my call was important. I hit re-dial and once again heard a busy signal. I repeated this process half a dozen times over a three-hour period. Each time I got the same result. So I let it go for the rest of the day.

When I woke up the next day it occurred to me that perhaps I had erred and fingered in an inaccurate telephone number. I know that it is hard to believe that I could do that, but I decided to go back to the laptop and check. Hmm. I had erred. I entered the correct the number and dialed. Almost immediately I got a recorded message stating that I would be transferred to a customer service person, but while I waited I could listen to an amazing offer. I listened and was then told that if I wanted to take them up on the offer I only had to enter the number 1, or to decline enter #. I declined. Then I was given another offer. Again I declined. After the third offer I dialed 0 because that often takes you to a real person. Instead I got another offer. I just started hitting the # key as soon as another offer began. I gave up after the seventh futile attempt, and hung up.

Then I thought that I would give it another go and see how long it would take to get to a customer service representative. So I dialed again and prepared to start hitting #. After the twelfth # another recording came on and told me that the company I was trying to reach was no longer at that number, but if I wanted to hear more offers I could dial another number to listen to offers there. Sure. That’s what I want.

At that point I finally gave up on the Internet, and called the local Sears store. They answered on the first ring and transferred me to their repair department. I’m pretty sure that the person to whom I next spoke was somewhere on the other side of the world. While I had a hard time understanding everything he said, I was able to schedule an appointment for two days hence. He gave me a window of time in which to expect the repair person; between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Well, that narrowed it down.

I mentioned the warranty on the washer, and was told that he didn’t believe our warranty would cover anything but the electronics in the machine. He then tried to sell me insurance to cover future repairs at around $150 a month. I turned down that amazing offer without dialing #.

The repair person appeared on the scheduled day around half way through our window of opportunity. He put on a new pump in short order. He said he would clean the dryer for an additional amount of money (we accepted). And then he offered to sell us the same insurance that I had turned down two days earlier. Again I declined. Before he left he told me that he was required to call a customer satisfaction representative so that I could tell them that he had offered but that I didn’t want the damned (my term, not his) insurance. After I talked to the Customer Service Rep, the repair guy apologized and left. I liked him.

Catching up

A photo from our vacation

This is another photo I took while on vacation. It shows the smoke in the air from the recent wildfires, and the tree remnants from a past wildfire.

***

I haven’t been writing much lately. So it is probably a good thing that I’m not doing Na-No-Wri-Mo this year. Plus, Cindy doesn’t like it when I choose to spend hours at a time on the computer when we have a holiday party planned. Somebody has to send out the invitations, haul up all the Christmas decorations from the basement, erect the tree, and decorate it.

That doesn’t mean that I have completely given up writing, or planning for Na-No-Wri-Mo. I’ve just decided to have my own private month to write in February. There are only two things happening in February that I have to aware of. 1) Valentine’s Day, and 2) Indiana University Men’s Basketball. If it snows, I might have to clear the driveway. On the other hand, it isn’t all that long until the spring thaw.

***

Here is something strange. Almost every weekday morning I start the day with two cups of coffee while I watch Morning Joe. Shortly after I finish the second cup, I start to get drowsy. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve had any breakfast, or failed to break my fast. I just get drowsy. I often close my eyes and listen to the television as I sit in my La-Z-Boy.

As an aside, I marvel at the branding of the furniture with the cute La-Z-Boy, rather than with the more pejorative La-Z-Man. Absolute genius!

***

I feel that as I grow older, I have the right to grow more cranky. It only seems fair to me. What do you think? Should I start writing nasty letters to the editor of the local newspaper? Can I start yelling at teenagers who are walking in the street rather than on the sidewalk? How about setting traps for the cats that wander into our yard? It is worth a ponder.

A small part of my day

Mosey

I took this picture about a month ago. Once a month during the summer, Lafayette has what they call Mosey Down Main street. People set up stalls to sell wares; there are food stands; there is some live music; and some of the merchants are open after their regular store hours. While this has been going on for a number of years, this was only the second time that we attended. The first time we went, it started pouring down rain and we left. This time was OK. But I think that attending once every two or three years will be good enough for me.

***

I decided to do some ironing this morning. It is something that I have been putting off for quite a while now. When I told Cindy what I was about to do, she said something along the lines of, “Oh, really?’ I believe I detected a hint of sarcasm in her voice. I had to admit that I had been talking about ironing for a month or more, but had never gotten around to actually doing any ironing. Well, today was the day.

I prepared for the task by setting up the ironing board, getting out the iron and filling it with distilled water, plugging the iron into the wall socket, and turning on the iron. Standard stuff that everybody does. Unless you are one of those devil-may-care types who use tap water rather than distilled. If you are one of those people, I can’t imagine what the innards of your iron looks like. Oh, and I put on some music to iron by.

I started out with the shirts. I had four that were so badly wrinkled that even I didn’t want to be seen in public wearing them. I need to tell you now that shirts are the garment that I least enjoy ironing. I don’t dislike all aspects of the shirt. The collar, the box plate, and the lower body of the shirt are easy to iron. But I always have trouble with the yoke, the arm holes, and the sleeves. They all have puckered areas that I cannot flatten with an iron without ironing in a crease somewhere else. It didn’t help that I started out with the iron on the wrong setting and found myself trying to muscle the fabric flat. I rectified that before I started in on the second shirt.

The second shirt went a little faster and caused fewer problems because it was a short-sleeved shirt. Still, It seemed to me that it took a long time to finish the second shirt. I thought about that. Maybe it was because I was listening to the wrong type of music. I popped out the Pink Floyd CD and put in one by Jerry Jeff Walker. That seemed to work. I defy anyone to do a slow job of ironing when Jerry Jeff is singing Hill Country Rain. It can’t be done.

The third shirt went quickly. The fourth also went at a similar pace. Of course with speed you tend to give up on other smaller things like the four-inch long wrinkle I ironed into the right sleeve of the third shirt. Or skipping the yoke entirely on the fourth shirt. Nobody will notice.

I also realized that I could put off ironing the two pair of pants that needed it. After all, I wouldn’t be needing them any time soon. I’ll get them the next time I iron. I’m sure that will be soon.

Various things

Another view

This is the third time I’ve used a picture of this structure in one of my posts. The first time was a color photo on July 23, 2012, and then again as a black and white picture on March 11, 2014. This picture was taken from a different angle.

***

It was one of those times when I wished I had a camera handy. I glanced out of our second-story bedroom window, moved on, and then went back to take a closer look. On the other side of our backyard fence I saw a shirtless young man standing in an apartment complex’ dumpster. He was staring down at his cell phone. I can only imagine he was reading a text message that said “You couldn’t be faithful, Kenny, so I tossed you out like the trash you are.” I went to get my phone to take the picture, but he was gone when I got back to the window. Or perhaps he just sat down, out of sight, waiting for the trash to be picked up.

***

I noticed the other day that when a famous person dies and it is announced in the newspaper or on television, that I start listening to how old the person was. I then mentally tick off a) older than me, or b) younger than me. I also pay attention to what the cause of death was. Was it natural or was it preventable? I know that their death has no connection to me, but I can’t help wondering if there is a lesson to be learned about how to live a better, more healthy life. There is also, probably, a smidgen of fear built into my thoughts. I feel that I still have a long life ahead; but still, there are those niggling thoughts in the back of my mind.

***

Coloring books for adults are very popular. I don’t understand why, but that’s probably because I didn’t do a lot of coloring as a child. Or f I did do a lot, I don’t remember it. I can’t believe that it would be a suppressed memory. I am guessing that I didn’t do a lot of coloring because my mother didn’t buy us many coloring books or crayons. Having grown up during the depression she didn’t like to buy things that couldn’t be reused. But I could be wrong about this whole topic.

The one about the bookcase

Bookcases in the basement

I mentioned in my previous post that there would be a new post about our most recent acquisition, another bookcase. This is it.

The bookcase on the left is the new one. Cindy found it in one of those shops that sells used furniture. We already had the one on the right. I bought and assembled it while we recovering from the flood last year. Both are merely pressed board with a veneer finish.

The one I had previously purchased has a black finish, while the newer (used) one had an oak finish. Cindy said, and I agreed, that we could paint the oak veneer black. Simple enough, right?

We bought the bookcase for 10 or 15 dollars less than I spent on the black bookcase, loaded it into the back of Cindy’s SUV, took it home, and unloaded it into the garage where I would paint it. I figured that the bookcase would be ready to go into the basement in two or three days.

The next morning I drove to a home improvement store and bought a quart of paint that boasted that it was a combination of primer and finish paint. Only one coat was needed. I had the helpful clerk mix the black tint into the base paint, and took it home.

I figured that it would only take about an hour to paint the bookcase. I was wrong. As started to apply the paint it immediately started to bead on the surface of the veneer. There was no way that one coat, let alone two or three coats would be sufficient. Rather than waste my time, I went back to the store to explain the situation and ask fr assistance.  I approached the friendly young man who was working in the paint section and told him that the paint I had purchased was beading on the veneer finish. He said, “Veneer? What’s veneer?” I sensed that there was going to be a problem. I explained to him what veneer was. He nodded wisely and said, “Hmm” turned to another young man, obviously his superior, and said, “He needs paint that won’t bead on veneer.” 

His superior said, “What’s veneer?” Yes.There was definitely a problem.

After much discussion they brought in a third helpful young man who thankfully didn’t ask what veneer was, and they decided that I needed to put on a coat of primer before using the black paint. One of the young men took me in tow and we wandered the aisles of paint looking for the appropriate primer.

At last he found what he felt was the correct paint. I paid for it, went home, and started to paint. The gray primer started to bead on the veneer, but not as badly as the black paint had. It was going to take more than one coat of primer.

When all was said and done, and done again, and again, It took two coats of primer and three coats of black paint to get an acceptable black finish. I say acceptable, but if you look at it and don’t smile, it starts to peel. I can live with it. The basement is kind of dark.

In case you’re wondering bout the books, the top three shelved of the painted bookcase hold biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs arranged alphabetically bu author. The next shelf is mainly graphic novels.

The other bookcase holds books on historical subjects, also alphabetical by author. The third shelf holds books and magazines with reprints of newspaper comic strips.

Neither case is full yet, but I have plenty of books on those subjects in my to-be-read bookcase. Someday they will be full. Oh, and the silver box holds DVDs of old movies.

We are not aging well

Grand Canyon, September 2016

Here is a picture from our vacation last year. I love the Grand Canyon. It has aged well.

***

A couple of days ago I went in to get my quarterly blood draw to keep my Doctor (sorry, Primary Care Provider) happy for another three months. While I was waiting my turn to be stuck and have my precious bodily fluids taken from my body, I started looking around the waiting area at the other folks who were patiently marking time. Hey! Did I use patiently as a pun? I don’t know if it qualifies.

There were about half a dozen people there. Most appeared to be around my age. That age thing makes sense. Older people who have adequate insurance are more likely to see a doctor on a regular basis. We no longer feel that we are immortal. We know better.

I noticed that most of the men didn’t appear to care how they looked when out in public. Two of them were wearing shorts. One had on a particularly ugly pair of plaid Bermudas and the other guy wore a pair of denim cargo shorts. Both were wearing T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps. Don’t get me started on men who wear caps indoors. There are a few places where it is acceptable, but I don’t believe our setting was one of them.

Along with those two were two more fellows in T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps; but they were wearing faded jeans. That was OK except for the cap indoors. Who raised those people?

In case you are wondering, I was wearing a pair of gray denim jeans, a button-down short-sleeved shirt, and brown shoes. I failed to wear a baseball cap that morning.

There were three of us with beards. Two were scraggly, mine was neatly trimmed. Modesty prevents me from stating that I was the standard for excellence in that room.

There was another person waiting, but I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Brown slacks, baggy T-shirt, dark slip-on sneakers, with a short haircut. Your guess would be as good as mine.

One thing we all (except for the androgynous one) had in common was that we were overweight. Some showed it more than others. A tight T-shirts is not the friend of the weight conscious. Did I fail to mention that my shirt was overly large and hid my excess blubber?

As I looked around the waiting area and remembered how I looked in the mirror that morning I had to admit that we are not aging well.

Some things that I think about

Love the clouds

I took this picture while driving home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games last month. It was, as you can see, a beautiful day.

***

This is another one of my posts where I gather ideas that either don’t merit a full blog post, or that I’ve forgotten the thread of my thinking. Rather than let them set and never use them, I like to toss out these nuggets so that you can think about them.

  1. Recently a commercial has appeared on television where a faceless voice proclaims that we “literally can’t live without WiFi.” Really? I admit that WiFi is a handy tool that usually makes life easier for us techno-dependent urban dwellers. But we can live without it. I can remember  time when WiFi didn’t exist, and we survived. Really, we did! We could again…literally.
  2. Little things on television and movies bother me. For instance, have you ever noticed when watching a murder mystery/thriller how the hero, when surreptitiously entering a home or business, will turn off a television or CD player or radio that is playing. The place goes from loud noise to silence. How is that helpful if you don’t want an occupant to know you are there? Why do they do that? Are they being critical of the (often dead) occupant’s taste in entertainment?
  3. Here is a phrase that I came up with for use in one of my more philosophical thought trips. “I am not one of those people who see life as a series of metaphors.” I had planned to use this to explain why I will never be a great writer. I don’t have that vision. Maybe some day I’ll pick it up and finish the whole treatise. But I doubt if many people would be interested in reading it since I’m not a great writer.

I have a few more, but I haven’t given up on expanding them enough to use. Time will tell.

***

Here’s a reminder about the next N-N-1. If you want t participate, take a picture at 4 p.m. your local time, on Sunday, July 16th. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. I hope you will participate. My emaii address is houseman@comcast.net.