Monday, July 2, 2012

Good Monday, Everyone.  After a very lazy weekend I got out in the gardens this morning.  I don't have to water--thanks to our monsoonal rains on Friday and Sunday.  Between the two I think we got about an inch.  Yesterday afternoon's thunderstorm had more high winds and driving rain.  The wind almost blew my rosemary off the fence and did blow the sheet I had shading the greenhouse off onto one of my tomato plants.  I ran out and grabbed the sheet, the rosemary and the hanging hummingbird feeder just before the rain slammed into us.  Thankfully, no damage here though the news said that areas of Chicago had some severe damage and widespread power outages.  From the weather forecasts we can expect such episodes for the next week--at least.  The say the winds reached 80 o 90 mph.

We just took a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Only a few tree limbs down and one building is missing a section of its eaves.  The city has been repairing, widening and extending the sidewalks along a couple of the main streets here and they are very nice.  The old ones (those we had) were so narrow that only one person could walk comfortably.  Now we can walk two abreast and still have room to pass others (or be passed.)

I found this interesting because I had a good bit of dental work done in our local Aspen Dental office this last spring.  Comparing my experience with the woman in the story is revealing.  I needed a broken, infected tooth removed.  I got the free exam and x-rays as promised.  Then I also was presented with an extensive list of other work that the dentist thought I should also get.  The quoted cost amounted to nearly the same $7+k mentioned in the story and I was also offered the credit card.  I rejected the credit card outright and told the office manager firmly that I don't do credit cards--period.  Then we started dickering over what I really needed and what the costs would be.  By the time we got done the treatments included two crowns, two fillings, one tooth pulled, and a thorough cleaning/descaling for around $3500.  That may sound like a lot but it was a bit under half the original.  Considering my teeth hadn't had any attention for 50 years (thanks to the last brutal treatment I got at age 13) and I got to keep all but the one tooth that was removed--I feel I got a good deal.  We aren't used to questioning doctors and dentists but given the commercialization of medicine and dentistry, which rewards the practitioners for the number of procedures they can talks their customers into, we need to question and then we need to understand the answers.  It is sad that we have to be so vigilant about protecting ourselves but that is the world of predatory capitalism.

There is something disturbing about the headlines like the one for this article.  I can't remember widespread blackouts due to storms when I was a child.  In fact, for most of my adult life, electrical service has been so reliable that we never gave it a thought.  Although our local service has been highly reliable other areas not too far away have not been so lucky.  As a result we think more about what we would do without electricity.  And, every time we see headlines like the one I linked to above, we think about it even more.

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