Monday, July 28, 2008

It has been a while.  Sorry about that but life sort of caught up with me.  Mom spent two of the last three weeks trying to get her doctors on the same page so she could have the cataract surgery as it was originally scheduled.  She got all the necessary forms from her eye surgeon a month and a half before the surgery date.  She gave the papers to her family doctor with whom she had a normally scheduled annual physical a week later.  Because one of the blood tests came back out of kilter Mom had to see a specialist who changed her medication and told her the surgery could go as planned.  Then everything seemed to go into a twilight zone.  Two weeks before D-day (or S(urgery)-day, if you prefer), the eye doctor's office called and told her they still hadn't received her doctor's OK.  She spent most of those two weeks calling between the two offices (her family physician and the specialist, who had yet to get his report in).  Mom is usually the most calm person.  She never gets angry.  Almost never.  This time, however, she got a bit more than a mite testy.  The nurses all promised faithfully to give the specialist the message and get him to get the report done as soon as they saw him.  The nurses at the family doctor's office swore they were getting the same response and they really were trying to get this done.  And they all said that yes they understood this was time sensitive and yes they understood that rescheduling the surgery would be both highly inconvenient and very expensive since she had already started on the pre-surgery medications.  Well, the Monday before the surgery (scheduled for Wednesday) Mom called her specialist--for the gazillionth time and , miracle of miracles, actually got to talk to the doctor himself.  He had been in the hospital for the previous two weeks (WHY could one of the nurses not have told us or the family doctor THAT before) and was just that day getting back to his office to handle the paperwork.  Mom's chart was the first one on his stack.  He did get the paperwork done and faxed to the family doctor.  Both his nurse and the family doctor's confirmed that the paperwork was all accounted for.  Mom breathed a sigh of relief.  Until an hour later when the family physician's nurse called back and told her that her doctor was out of the office until Thursday (you know--the day after Wednesday--the day after the surgery was scheduled!!).   Luckily there was another doctor at the clinic that had an appointment open for early that afternoon and he could see her to finish the paperwork.  After a much more thorough exam than Mom expected (and which has led to an echo cardiogram as well as a 24-hour heart monitor coming next week) her paperwork was done and the surgery went as scheduled.  Her recovery so far has been excellent.

Although I followed the news reports of Obama's overseas trip I found little of interest.  I got the feeling that all of the attention the media focused on the event was designed to find the slightest misstep, gaff, whatever.  No substance AT ALL.  At least as far as the media was concerned.  Several web sites carried the text of his Berlin speech. As soon as I heard the story about Obama praying at the Wall in Jerusalem and leaving the traditional written prayer in a crack there, I wondered how long it would take for someone to snatch that paper out of that crack and reveal the contents to the world's press.  I bet with myself that the time would be less than 24 hours and that a smart person like Obama would write something relatively innocuous--like 'let thy will be done.'  I was right on both counts.  I thought Senator Obama came through with considerable grace.  I can't say as much for Senator McCain's performance during this time.  He came across as a petulant child wanting attention, demanding attention but doing and saying nothing to deserve attention.  He played the same note all along.  Obama, he claimed, doesn't have the experience to be Commander-In-Chief, yada, yada, yada.  

We finally got some fried green tomatoes over the last weekend.  We had anticipated them since we put in our tomato plants in mid may.  They were everything we hoped for.  This morning we found a couple of tomatoes blushing with the first signs of red.  By the end of the week they should be ready.  In anticipation we got salad fixings when we went grocery shopping this morning.

That reminds me of a couple of other items.  Last week we finally got our canvass bags washed and began to use them for our weekly shopping.  Originally, we thought we would wait until our town decided to ban plastic (or insist that stores charge for it) since the bags worked well as liners for our small trash cans and it made cleaning the cat box very easy.  But our town had a 'green day' where we could exchange our plastic shopping bags for a limited number of cloth bags.  We decided not to wait since we already knew how we would handle the cat box and would be very glad to get rid of the mass of bags occupying space in our cabinet.  We were totally bummed out when we found that the bags had all been given out before we got there--five minutes before the scheduled start time.  In fact, people had been lining up one and a half hours before that time and, to prevent traffic tie ups, the people running the event simply started early.  Since we were already there, with our bundled bags, we turned them in making sure our displeasure was politely but thoroughly noted.  Today was the second shopping day under our new regime.  We had to make two stops before the grocery store and at the second one we realized that we had forgotten the canvass bags.  We remarked on how hard it is to start a new habit and break an old one.  But home lay between the second stop and the grocery so we stopped to get them without having to go out of our way.  We were delightedly surprised at the checkout counter when the cashier asked how many bags we had and then credited us 5 cents for each.  They began doing that last month.  We didn't get any credit last week.  The cashier was a woman we know who didn't realize we were using our own bags.  We will make sure they know from now on.  

In another sign of the times, we were unpleasantly surprised when we turned into the little gas station we frequent.  It is conveniently on the way to where ever we have to go and, normally, has the lowest prices in town.  However, this time all of the pumps had new signs directing everyone to pre-pay.  Last year they started requiring all those who pulled up at the most distant pumps to do that.  Earlier this year they extended the procedure to all pumps after 2pm.  Now, it seems, all customers have to pre-pay.  That irritates us because we go in to fill up the tank and we never know how much the tab will be.  If we underestimate the amount we have to make a second trip in to collect our change.  If we overestimate the amount of gas we need we have to make a second trip to get the pump restarted to get more gas and fork over more cash.  We did not fill up hoping that another nearby station would allow us to fill up the tank without paying first.  No such luck.  It had also switched to a pre-pay policy.  We will check out some other stations in our area.  Unfortunately,  the number of drive offs and other scams have increased with the price of gas.  I can't really blame the station owners; but it is irritating.

I did notice that the price of gas has declined by about 40 cents per gallon from its earlier high.  However, it doesn't make that much difference to me.  I was already feeling the pinch during the spring and summer of last year when our prices went to $2.75+.  I managed to finally persuade my boss to concentrate my hours into three and a half days.  I could never get more that 26 hours at that store so off two days of travel to and from work made a big difference.  I noticed that the news media have been trumpeting the decline but I think it is very premature to celebrate.  Besides we noticed bread at $3.50+, the canola oil at $4.00+ and cat food at 47 cents per can.  I doubt that those prices will come down much either.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

How very annoying for your Mother! Glad to hear the surgery was done and no complications. I had both eyes done in my 40's! Curse of blue eyes, family history, and sun exposure as a child.

I was in Ohio this past weekend visiting my 81 year old Father and he puts the TV on mute when McCain comes on lol. He is so sick of hearing him whine and complain about Obama.

About the grocery bags ~~ I use the plastic ones too for other uses around the house, but have given in and purchased the ones offered by my grocery store (Krogers). I am very pleased with them...they hold a lot and much easier to carry. They cost 99 cents but you get 5 cents off each time you use them.