Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sudden Storm

Busy around the house today--tidying up, doing some laundry, filing or tossing the accumulation of papers on my desk, taking care of some bills, making those insurance calls--I took a break and sat outside to read for about a half hour after my lunch, then came back in to continue with the chores I'd set myself for the day.

The sun was bright and warm.  I kept my head in the shade but I stretched my legs out in the sun and relaxed.  I thought I would go back out a bit later and I left my book on the lounge chair near the garden.

How quickly things can turn!  The sky turned black.  The trees were swaying, trying to reach their leafy tippy tops to their roots.  I ran out to grab my book just as the first drops fell.  In a few seconds there was a deluge, lightening flashing and thunder rumbling.

My chores are done.  It has turned out to be a good day for curling up by the lamp and reading.

Do you think I can count saving that library book from a soaking as part of my library hours for this week?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Bounty

My neighbors brought over a bag of green beans and assorted summer squashes from their large vegetable garden this morning.  That simplifies meal planning for the week.  And lucky for me that they stopped by before I headed out to the grocery store.

I have a couple of casserole recipes for summer squash that I like.

My brother gave me blueberries.  A loaf of zucchini/blueberry bread will go in the freezer.

I will have to freeze some of the green beans, but I do love fresh picked green beans--just don't know that I would eat them three meals a day for the rest of the week.

My mother made a creamy soup with green and yellow beans that I really liked.  I will have to spend some time tracking down that recipe.

I love summer meals!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Insurance Games

It is no secret that I hate the very concept of insurance.  HATE it.

Here is a sacrificial goat I am burning at the altar.  Please don't let bad things happen to me.

Here is a big pile of sacrificial money, that may as well be burning at the altar because I will likely never see it again.  Please don't let bad things happen to me.

A quote from Kristin Cashore, author of young adult fiction/fantasy:
 “Q: Why do you use swear words on your blog, but never the F word?
 A: Because I'm saving the F word for the day when I write a blog post about the for-profit health insurance industry and the way its CEOs become wealthy by not only preying on, but exacerbating, other people's personal tragedies.

When my daughter was little, she used to play a card game with my mother.  It was called, "Amy Wins."  So you can guess how that went.

The insurance industry has become a gambling game of "You Lose."  But we can't guess how that is going to go.  We burn the money and never see it again while an industry benefits or it pays off because something bad happened.  We "win" the bet by losing a house or a car or our health.  This is not a fun game.

I've said all this before, I know.

So I hate the concept, but the reality of it is I have to have it.  So I need to get over it.

I have good health insurance.  I want to stay healthy, but I also know too well how quickly costs for medical care can escalate.  I am not messing with health insurance although I do agree with Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) who said we need universal health care, not universal insurance.

I don't have dental insurance.  I could get it but the expense seems out of proportion to any hope of benefit.  Usually I get two cleanings a year.  That doesn't cost nearly as much as insurance would.  Sometimes a filling falls out or x-rays are recommended, but I still think I am better off without the insurance.  I suppose I could start going to a clinic instead of a private dentist and save that way.  Of course, I am saving a bundle by not having the $11K worth of cosmetic work done.

I just got done paying home and car insurances and I have been advised that I can make some savings here.  This is why I am spinning into angst--I have to think about insurance and go so far as to talk to insurance agents.  I can up my deductible and pay less for the car insurance.  If I sock away the savings, I will be able to meet the increased deductible should I have have the bad fortune to "win" the "You Lose" game.  So I will have to look into that--but not while I am using a car to travel between VT and FL.

Maybe I will save some money if I shop around.  Hey, all this time I thought I was being rewarded for loyalty.  Hmm, apparently not.  I need to investigate consolidating with one agent/insurance company maybe as well.  I may have to be making one of those "I unfriend you" decisions.  I do LOVE this commercial.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

War on Pests and a Politican Statement

Arkansas Patti apparently feels a bit guilty about giving her new pup rein to indulge its hunting instincts.  She has a problem with voles.

There is a lot of that going around.  I went to the hardware store just the other day and asked about traps, poisons, machine guns, anything that might get rid of these little pests.

Wikipedia image.
Much cuter than a mole.

We did not have this problem when our cat was alive.  Perhaps he was more of a hunter than we ever suspected.  Now there is such a system of tunnels in the yard that I sink when I work in the garden.  The tunnels rim the perimeter of the house.  I live in fear that the place will sink into the center of the earth.

Our neighbors old cat saunters over to lie down under the shady astilbe and seems to just watch the voles scamper around him.  Useless.

Poison all over the yard is a bad thing for other forms of life while the voles a happily pulling the grass down from the roots.  Traps are distasteful when you have to empty them and supposedly don't always work that well.  A machine gun would not really do much more damage than a vole colony as far as tearing up the lawn, but I believe our town recently passed a noise ordinance.

Moles tend to be fairly solitary critters.  They are easier to trap successfully and you can impact their food supply to some extent.  Voles eat grass and garden plants--hard to eliminate.  Voles give rabbits a real run for their money in the family planning (or lack there of) department.

Oh! Oh! I just thought of the solution.  I will set out have-a-heart traps and send all my VT voles and my FL rabbits to Ted Cruz.  (You know, because he is the expert on reproduction...even though I am still convinced he himself is, in fact, a Disney animatron.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good News!

Good News! That is how a letter I got today from my credit card company.
I can request an increase in my credit card limit--instant!  No hassle!  Ask and it is mine.

Good news indeed.  And how lucky am I?  The opportunity to sink myself into debt is as good as winning the lottery.  Really, there is no need for me to want for a single thing.

So you won't be able to call me because I have no cell service...but I will be out shopping anyway.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Personal Journey in Technology

For years and years, I never felt the need for a mobile phone of any kind.  What would I have to say to anyone on the planet that could not wait until I was home.
I certainly never overheard a conversation on a cell phone in a public place that did not sound as though it was considerably less than urgent.

Then we got stuck at an airport after a weather-related flight cancellation and I noticed that those who were whipping out their cells phones were at a distinct advantage over those few of us (basically Mike and me) who were searching for a public phone to make the needed arrangements.

A few years later, when we started to travel to Florida for the winters, I decided to get a phone for travel purposes.  I had seen an ad in the AARP magazine for Consumer Cellular.  At the time is a free phone and $10 per month for a very basic service.  I called them.  They informed me that they could not send me a phone because there was no service in my area.  I tried to explain that I did not really need service in my area, I wanted it for travel.  I got switched over to a supervisor.

I explained that I wanted the phone for our time in Florida.  We had had some problems with the phone systems in rental houses, and of course there was the travel time itself.  It was about emergencies.  "Oh, you have an address in Florida?"  I thought I was getting somewhere.  I gave the address of the rental.
"Oh, but that is not your credit card address.  We can't send you a phone there and we can't send a phone to your home address because there is no service there."  Seriously?

It took some negotiations,but I finally received my little clamshell phone that allowed me to make and receive phone calls once I realized it had to be turned on and if I could remember to keep it charged.

A few years later, Mike decided to get a phone for himself.  By this time the basic clamshell was about $35, but it had a little camera and rudimentary texting capability--a real upgrade.  Also by this time, even though there is still no service in our area, it was not a hassle to convince the company to sell us a phone--I assume some corporate shake-up and a new business strategy.

Last summer,  I learned to text.  This was a necessity brought on by the need to keep family updated about Mike's condition.  We had the standard telephone dial setup.  That means 3-4 would drop down when you hit the key and you scrolled down to the letter you wanted and selected it.  It was a laborious process--far more so than those flying thumbs I see other people using.

So then I took the trip with my grandkids.  I could not find my phone the whole time I was gone--thought I must have left it at home.  I could not find it anywhere when I got home.  I needed to get a new phone and I caved to peer and grandchildren pressure and ordered a "smart" phone.

Then, of course, I found my old phone safely tucked away in the secret compartment of my travel bag--even though I thought I had completely emptied it at least five times over the two weeks we were gone.

I bought a Motorola G from Consumer Cellular for about $150.  It arrived yesterday and befuddled me for most of the day.  It was all about getting it hooked up to wifi--something my granddaughter does successfully every time she visits.  I finally left it alone and went and got a pedicure where I sat in one of those back massage chairs.  Ah, all was well when I got home and I got right onto the wifi and could start playing a bit with my phone.

Like my dryer, something new that I really didn't need, but there you have it.  So I am sure it doesn't do the things of an iPhone or more expensive Androids, but it will keep me busy for a while.

You still cannot call me though--no cell service here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Too Smart for Me

I finally did it, made a step into the 21st century!

I bought a smart phone.  So far it is way too smart for me.

And I hate being outsmarted by something the size of my hand so I may have to give it a full body smack down.

Or perhaps I should go see my grandchildren to have them explain it all to me.

I have the "getting started" videos, but they seem to have no relationship to what actually happens when I turn on my phone.

I have to stop and go listen to my anti-anxiety tape and I will probably fall asleep as a result.

Don't anybody try to call me for a few days.