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Customer Service, Part Cinco

(Here we are, revisiting a common theme in this blog.  It’s as if they are not listening!)

I was fully prepared (okay, 85% prepared) to post last night for today, as this morning I was to be occupied during my blogging time-frame.  Another medical procedure.  Sigh.

Another endoscopy.  A camera-down-the-throat (and biopsy) to see the ‘progress’ of my esophageal erosion due to chronic acid reflux.  Which might lead to cancer and/or surgery.

Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be doing it!

This was set-up by my primary physician, as she saw I was suffering from this condition, and wanted to see the progression of the disease.

SO…I was referred to a specialist who saw me six weeks ago, and scheduled this procedure.  One day, outpatient, a few hours.  Roomie J will be driving, as I will be rendered unconscious by propofol (the Michael Jackson drug) for the procedure.

Last time I had this done, the clinic-de-jour called me (and sent me a letter) a month in advance to ask me questions about medical power-of-attorney, organ donation, that kind of icky stuff.  And advised me there would be an intake charge.  Up front.

I was grateful for the heads-up, as being on disability I don’t have lot’s of spare cash lying around for unexpected expenses.  I still wasn’t thrilled at the charge, of course.

But this time, the different facility (I changed doctors as the previous guy seemed to want to get as much Medicare money out of me as possible) had not called or sent a letter.  I assumed (NEVER do that – D. Brown) that if there were a charge, they would bill me.

WRONG!

They called me yesterday afternoon at 1630 hours (I was to be at the hospital at 0700 this morning) and advised me there would be a charge of over one hundred dollars!  They would not bill me, and if I didn’t have the funds, I would have to reschedule!

Of course, I don’t have the money.  And the caller had NO IDEA why I was upset, that this was in the very least an inconvenience and poor customer service!

THEN, she hung-up on me!

But not before telling me to reschedule I had to call my specialist’s office – THEY couldn’t do that!  At 1630 in the afternoon.

(I did rant, but used no foul language.)

Fortunately, my doctor’s office was still open.

SO…it’s been rescheduled for August 16.

Grrr.

PS – While I was writing this, the hospital called to see where I was.  I advised them of yesterday’s conversation and the rescheduling.  Must I do everything?

Neither A Follower Nor A Leader Be…

Because I’m more a follower…   (sigh)

Tamara and Borepatch took the test.  So I was compelled to follow…

Your English Vocabulary Size is:

22350

★★★ Top 6.08%

Your vocabulary is at the level of professional white-collars in the US!
Apparently, my blog-building/copying graphics ability is not as refined!  Please visit Tam (which you should already be doing, regardless!) to use her link to take the test, should you so desire…

Life

It’s a cereal; it’s a board game.  A defunct television series.

It also is what it is.

My favorite line from the James Bond books, is ‘M’ (the head of MI-6, Admiral Sir Miles Meservy) telling Bond when he complains about receiving an assignment change, “Things change, 007.”

M

‘M’

And that might be one definition of Life.  Things changing.

Of course, the best part are the good changes – grand nieces ascending from 6th Grade, and another graduating High School.  Others having birthdays.  A dear friend’s birthdays and their elder daughter getting her doctorate!

The bad?

That dear friend (Bob Hall) being unable to be present for his daughter’s doctoral degree.

Daily dealing with issues regarding aging, illness and finances – both my roommate and I.

Friends, relatives and acquaintances becoming severely ill.  Some almost certainly in their way out, others hanging-in-there, but…?

And some already gone.  More than I ever expected.

Even some leaving voluntarily, but still present.  Apparently, friends no longer.  :-(

“Things change, Guffaw.”

I haven’t needed a fictional intelligence department head to tell me.

I already know.

Things are as they are.

This just in. Ray Carter passed this morning.
Puts my whining in perspective.

Pity The Nation

https://i1.wp.com/m.likesuccess.com/quotes/14/669678.png

h/t Brock Townsend

Survivalism Is Not Necessarily Ludditism

Joel writes:

Things that aren’t necessities but may as well be

61S3ZUWlhAL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_
I have a book that a reader sent me a year or two ago – and I apologize but I don’t remember who sent it – It’s about a guy who took it into his head to semi-retire into the Alaskan outback, near or above the Arctic circle. You know, just go out there and build a cabin and live.

Now, that’s more-or-less the plot of Into the Wild, and I think we know how that story turned out. But this older guy, Richard Proenneke, wasn’t some overindulged and suicidally starry-eyed kid. He was an old Alaska hand and actually knew what he was doing. He built a cabin that was a literal work of art – after he got old and retired from retiring, it became a tourist attraction for really hardy tourists. It makes the Secret Lair look like a particularly disreputable shed. And he made nearly every part of it from native wood or stone or bone – hell, he carved wooden door hinges.

Every single thing he had that he couldn’t make himself had to be flown in on a little bush plane and it could only happen a few months out of the year, so space and weight were real factors. And I was looking at the photographs reproduced in the book – Proenneke was a photographer, and my only complaint about the book is there aren’t enough photographs – and in one shot of the cabin’s interior I saw…a roll of paper towels.

And I had me a chuckle. Now, here’s a package of six paper towel rolls, which I just bought today…
IMG_1322
It doesn’t weigh hardly anything, of course, but it’s bulky as hell. I suppose you could open the package and distribute the rolls around the plane, but my point is that if it needs to come by bush plane, you’d have to really want that roll of paper towels. Seems like there are more important things to which you could devote that plane space.

Except maybe there aren’t. When I was first alone out here, experimenting with ways to make due with virtually no income and really studying the difference between a want and a need, I learned that the line between the two is not always clear. Some commodities, while of course you can get along without them in the sense that you won’t actually die, are themselves so useful that it almost doesn’t matter. It’s not a question of life and death, it’s a question of quality of life. Indoor plumbing: Have I ever wasted a moment wishing I hadn’t devoted all that precious Lair space to an indoor toilet? Nope, not so much as a millisecond. To the best of my knowledge, and leaving poisonous spiders out of it, nobody ever died from using an outhouse as I originally planned. But a flush toilet is just such a massive improvement that, if you’ve got the water pressure, only an idiot would decide not to go ahead and dig for a septic system. Electricity’s the same way: Not a necessity of life, but look at all the things it makes possible.

Those are big things. There’s a myriad of little ones, like paper towels. It’s good to pay attention and learn what those things are, because it’s the little things that mark the difference between living and just surviving.

PAY ATTENTION – my personal motto.

I’ve found in my years that had I paid attention (or more attention) perhaps things would have turned our better or differently.  Perhaps not.

But almost always were worse for having not done so.

Today’s Lesson: Read The Fine Print

scottWhen I moved in with J. (a good friend and ex-gf ) over three years ago! (Where does the time go?  “Cleveland!” – G. Carlin), she noticed we prefer different brands of TP.

She likes the girly, soft stuff, promoted by cartoon bears.  I prefer coarser grit stuff, like Scott Tissue.  And, when I can afford to, I purchase it in 12-packs (above). (I know, TMI)

And there is a small coupon for points toward something free on the package.  School Supplies, I think.  One of J’s customers is a schoolteacher, and has need for such things.

So J. asked me to collect the coupons for her friend.

And I did, as much of a PITA doing so was (no pun intended)…

After I had collected YEARS of these things, I presented J. with the bundle.  Turns out about HALF had expired!  I hadn’t noticed there was an EXPIRATION DATE on them!  :-(

I failed to read the fine print!

So, here it is Tax Time.  Regular readers know I am loathe to giving the government money, especially taxes! As oft happens, I just file under-the-wire.  I call myself Last Minute Louie.

And for the past couple of years, I’ve been using Tax Act software.  I used to use Turbo Tax, but when my income dropped, I couldn’t afford it!

Tax Act starts sending out reminder emails even before Jan 1, mentioning the sooner you purchase it, the cheaper it is.

Being of modest income (and not wanting to file, anyway) I put off the purchase.  Until I began preparation on Sunday.

And the total was much more than I anticipated!  And I didn’t have the money.  :-(

But, I able to finagle the fee to efile my tax returns MONDAY (two weeks ago).  Last Minute Louie it is!

Lesson learned – from now on I shall read the fine print!

(FTC – in no way is this an endorsement of either or any tax software product)

Nope, Nothing Here!

(My doctor, after examining my head(!)

correction – My EYE doctor, after my eye exam!  :-) )

Part of my annual medical exam involves a visit to the ophthalmologist.  You know, the guy who dilates your pupils to see what he can see.

Being a diabetic, there is always a concern.  Diabetes, as it limits proper blood flow, can cause neuropathy (which I have) and even diminished flow to the eyes, which can cause blindness!  Even with my ‘good’ blood work numbers.

I don’t like having my pupils dilated, and even more so do not like paying for the privilege.  My eye doc does take Medicare (which I am on, due to my being disabled).  Of course, every year there is the deductible.

And, it is the beginning of a new year.

Sigh.

So, I’d been putting it off until I could cobble some funds together.

My regular physician – knowing my predilections in this matter – sent a referral to the eye doc, who set up an appointment, and they called me with the date and time.

So there’s no avoidance…

Good news!  They take payments!  There is no sign of diabetic damage in either eye!  AND my prescription hasn’t changed.

Until next year…

Person-Of-Interest, Part Deux

Those of you who know me, or who have read this blog at any length, know I love TV, movies, etc.  In spite of this, I’ve come late to the table on many popular shows (original Star Trek, Firefly/Serenity to name a couple) and am now dogged by the idea that anything I truly enjoy is doomed to be canceled.

Person-Of-Interest, for example.

Here is a show with interesting characters, good acting and an engaging theme with caught my interest a few years ago.

The government (and others) are spying on us ALL through public surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, ATMs, personal computers, security systems, cellular telephones ad infinitum, and crunching the data to use for their ‘purposes’ (propaganda, ‘nudging’, marketing, politics).

The lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays a spec-ops former CIA guy in the show, even took it upon himself to train with Navy Seals near his home to learn realistic weapon handling and unarmed combat techniques.

Sounds fantastic, right? (from the root word fantasy)

Now, approaching the delayed beginning of Season Five, we’ve been told this will be a truncated season (13 episodes) starting later this year, and probably the last.

Damn.

I’ve never written a letter to a production company (as an adult – I remember writing Sky King when I was age 7 for an autograph!  :-)) but I am considering writing one now.

But, a comment by another fan of the show on an entertainment website may have said it all:

Well, maybe it is not the rating but the subject matter this show speaks about – not so much science fiction at all anymore. Better shut up.

Sigh.

poi

What’s In A Name?

Billy Shakespeare said that.

I’d a recent experience, wherein I left a blog post comment @ one of my blogfriend’s™ blogs.  A few minutes later, it occurred to me that I’d addressed him by someone else’s name!

And there was no method in his blogging software by which I could make a correction.

(I did go back and make a second comment, apologizing.)

This reminded me of a year-or-so ago, when a kind soul sent me a few dollars on my sidebar Paypal link.  (hint, hint).  It was late, I was preparing to retire, and had taken my evening meds.  (HALF of the medication I am prescribed has possible side effects of memory loss!)

And I thanked him profusely, using a wrong name!

Then, I sent him another email, apologizing.  Hopefully, I got it right the second time(?)  I’ve not heard from him ever again.

Sigh.

At least, in the few significant personal relationships I’ve had in my lifetime with the opposite sex, I’ve not uttered another woman’s name whilst in flagrante delicto!

I don’t think?  I wasn’t on this kind of medication, then…

I don’t know…

DOOM And DOOM-ER!

doomThe Internet is replete with tales of doom and gloom.

Two of the more current (having appeared almost simultaneously) are (first)…

BERNIE SANDERS BECOMES THE NEXT PRESIDENT

Why?  Because the expected Democratic front runner, Hillary Clinton is mired in all her illegal, dishonest and unethical mess – to the point where even the main-stream media couldn’t ignore it.  So Bernie, who seems to be running strong, and is an avowed Socialist – became the candidate.

And Donald Trump, the RINO populist, who says what ‘the people’ want to hear (at least some people) and cannot be bought (as he is running on his own cash) scares the bejezus out of the Republican establishment.  As they are not about to make him their candidate (because they cannot control him) he forms a third party.  This splits the Republican base, and Bernie The Socialist wins!

Result?  More editing and erosion of the Constitution, and increase in governmental power.  And out-of-control spending!

Quelle surprise.

(second)

WORLD FINANCIAL COLLAPSE

The People’s Republic of China (aka the PRC or ‘Red’ China), the communist behemoth to the East, is tanking financially.  And our own system (Wall Street and The Fed) are failing as well.  (the DJA dropped 1100 points in one day), AND, China holds our note (they are propping US up!)  Translation – both East and West are preparing for a large financial hit.  And failing in the preparation.  International terrorism is rampant.  And let’s not mention Europe and the tinder box in the Middle East (nuclear Iran – “I told you not to mention that!”))…

Quelle surprise TWO.

Expectations are (again, per the Internet-feeding your fears since 1994) that with a second, incompetent Socialist President, and a rapidly failing financial system, WORLDWIDE, the international banking system and what’s left of world stability will fail.

No access to your bank accounts, IRAs, profit-sharing funds, stocks, pensions, gold, jewels.  You will be asked to bring in any valuables to the nearest federal collection station for ‘processing of your contribution’.  Social Security, Medicare and disability payments will STOP.

And anarchy will ensue.

Need an Alka-Seltzer, yet?

Or a whiskey?

Me?  I don’t buy into it.  At least not yet.

I think the demise of the Republic will occur much more slowly and painfully, as it has been since, oh, 1930…

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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