Saturday Posts . . .

My wife and I may have finally found a replacement vehicle for the one destroyed in her accident a couple of weeks ago. She’s going to go test drive it today, if all goes well.

There are two primary reasons why she’s going to test drive it. First and foremost is that since she will be the one most using it, she must be comfortable with driving it. Second is that I have the training and skill to drive anything that can be legally used on US roads, so I’m not worried about what we end up with.

After getting our insurance settlement on the car, we determined that we had a budget of about $15k USD to spend on a replacement vehicle. The car we found is around $12k USD. It has a very favorable Carfax report, so we’re hopeful this is the end of our trial. I’m crossing all of my fingers (and yes, I am still able to do that, even with the arthritis in my hands! LOL!).

Personally, I’d have preferred a hybrid or an EV (all electric vehicle) – but even used cars in those categories seem to still be out of our price range, since we’re unwilling to finance anything we KNOW will go down in value. It’s just being smart about how we spend our money.

Saturday Posts . . .

This last week has been a challenge for us. We’ve still not succeeded in getting a rental car (but we have finally a reservation for Tuesday morning) – and because I’ve pushed myself trying to pick up the slack where my wife had trouble from the car accident, we’ve both been pushed into “coping mode” just to try to get through. Getting the car rental will help a great deal, as that will enable us to begin a proper search for a replacement car. We’ve looked at sites like Vroom and Carvana – but honestly we want something we can pay cash for in full, and those sites are entirely tailored to locking you into a monthly payment. The cars on those sites are at least $5K USD more than we want to spend. So, we’ll keep looking.

Saturday Posts . . .

One of the worst moments of my life . . .

Yesterday my wife took the day off to take our vacuum cleaner to a repair shop to find out why it wasn’t working correctly. Because she had to travel to a larger nearby city, while she was there she visited a health food store to get some things that we normally buy whenever we’re over there. While she was doing all of that, I was here at home trying to get some sleep.

At about 1530 (3:30pm) I heard the phone ring. When I answered it, a woman asked if she was talking to me. I assured her she was, and her reply sent chills down my spine. “Mr. Pope, I’m a nurse at the hospital ER, and we have your wife here – she’s been in an auto accident.”

Before I get any farther – I want to be clear that although she has many bruises and is in considerable pain, my wife suffered no major injuries and was released shortly after that phone conversation. However, it seems that our car was damaged enough that expectations are not high that it can be repaired at a cost comparable to it’s value, and all of the groceries she bought were ruined by getting left in the car. We have no idea if the vacuum cleaner survived.

Because it was Friday afternoon, we couldn’t get to any car rental agency before they closed – and because it is a holiday weekend we probably can’t get to one before Tuesday morning. We also can’t contact our insurance agency to file a claim until Tuesday morning, which leaves us mostly house bound for the balance of that time.

Even though we had to scramble to adjust our expectations for this weekend, we’ll be alright. Mostly I’m just glad to still have her here, to listen to my awful jokes.

Updates . . .

First, I’d like to announce that I found a solution to my trouble with my current PC operating system. It should arrive here within a week, and after I install it everything should be fine.

But, another thing has been going on which totally baffels me. Over the last 2-3 months, I’ve had a lot of dreams while I was sleeping in which I was back in my childhood hometown. Some involved me rebuilding my family home (or a modern facscimilie of it) on the site where the home originally stood, others involved me becoming politically active in the affairs of the town, and another dream was of me “retiring” there just to become a fixture in the annual 4th of July parade (because I’m the only veteran of the US military of my generation to come from that town who was honorably discharged).

Oh, well. Dreams are only worth what you want to invest in them.

New Uncertainty . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that some of the primary apps I’ve been running on my computer had stopped working. One in particular was BOINC – the Berkley Online Integrated Networked Computing app that allows people like me to donate computing time to scientific research by making the computing power of my computer available to the research. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, which also means that I haven’t deliberately turned my home PC off for over 10 years.

When I tried to update the apps that had stopped working, I ran into a problem. In retrospect, it was inevitable, but I’d always hoped that I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

The problem is, I’m running Windows 7 Pro 64bit on my home computer. Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. So, I need to find an upgrade that will work on my computer and is compatible with most of the apps that I want to use. I’ve been searching vendors (part time) for the last 3 days, and I’m having trouble matching the parameters of my computer to the PC Operating Systems that are currently available.

So, the upshot is – I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to add new content to my blog. Not only has BOINC stopped working, but Skype, GOG Galaxy, Adobe Acrobat, and a few others. If you suddenly stop hearing from me for over a month, it’s probably because I can’t access my account here any longer. Never fear – I’m going to continue to look for a new OS to upgrade my computer and return to my former status quo.

Saturday Posts . . .

We’ve had an eventful year so far.

We discovered that an invasive vine had infiltrated our shrubbery outside of our home, and was trying to turn our home from a nice clean “European Continental” look into an “English Manor” look. At one point the vines managed to climb all the way up to the eves of the house. After consulting a few different contractors, who each had different approaches to dealing with the problem, we ended up spending nearly $2,000 USD to eliminate the vines completely. In doing so, we also had to sacrifice our bushes.

I’ve also been binge watching several shows that deal with individual survival in the wild. One in particular was “ALONE” – and while I respected all of the contestants who appeared in the show, what caught my attention was how the show contrasted the caloric intake of the contestants with the amount of calories they were expending just to try to survive. Since I’m not in a situation where I can reduce my caloric intake any further, I decided that I need to increase my daily caloric burn if I want to loose weight. That was when I saw a documentary where I observed a medical Doctor who had a “walking treadmill” in his office, which he used while writing reports in between seeing patients. I talked to my wife about that idea, and she told me that her library had one “walking treadmill” in the public area of the facility, and she’d used it a few times and thought it was a good idea. So we ordered one. It arrived yesterday.

Unfortunately, my wife was experiencing back pain when it arrived, so it fell to me to unpack the treadmill and get it set up. That process alone was a major exercise workout, but I got through it. I suffered a couple of minor injuries while doing so, to my left elbow and left hip. Using this treadmill will be something that progresses on a gradient. I’m still convinced that it is a good idea.

Saturday Posts . . .

Also, I have some updates.

First, the experiment of my reconnecting with my family has failed. My parents do not want to deal with anything that has happened in the past. My father repeatedly told me that “you just have to let go of it” while my mother was quite different. She denies everything, including events that I was personally there to witness or took part in. For my own personal integrity I was forced to return to the total disconnect I had previously been enforcing.

Second, I have recently been watching a show called “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” which has me a bit riled up. The first problem I have with the show is that it seems that some states have laws which require an autopsy on nearly every death that happens within their jurisdiction – something Dr. G seems to revel in because she loves to “solve puzzles”. My problem with this is – what gives her the right to solve a puzzle about me if I do not care to have it solved? Another problem is that she seems to view ALL medical problems as preventable, and is particularly judgemental about any and all suicides. Has she never heard of “death with dignity”? If someone already knows that they are dying, do they not have a right to choose to end their own suffering early? Dr. G does not seem to believe this is an option. Since she currently works out of the Orlando, Florida, USA, medical examiner’s office, that is one jurisdiction I will not be visiting anytime soon.

Finally, I have recently gotten approval through the VA’s community care program to begin receiving chiropractic care at a local wellness center. I’m really impressed with the size and scope of the facility, but I’m not so impressed with the results I’m getting. To me, the first red flag was their focus on longevity – like they just can’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to live to be 115 years old. Sorry, but that was never a major consideration of mine. I’ll take every day I can get – but only if it comes with a good quality of life. So far, I’m not really seeing any improvement, and after getting acupuncture yesterday morning I had a very stiff neck and headache that lasted well into the evening.

Saturday Posts . . .

We’ve had a lot happening here over the last couple of weeks. I learned that my dad’s home, which he’s owned for over 30 years, is about to be condemned because raccoons have invaded the attic and are destroying the house from the top down. My youngest full-blooded brother is going through a divorce, and is coming up here to see what we as a family can do to help dad.

But, there was one thing I found to be both refreshing and encouraging. About 21 years ago I bought a brass Zippo lighter, which I’ve used almost constantly ever since. Zippo advertises that they offer a lifetime warranty. A couple of weeks ago my lighter got stuck – the striker wheel that scrapes the flint wouldn’t move. So, I looked up the information for the repair center for Zippo, and after filling out a form and paying a $5.00 USD fee for “processing” – I sent in the lighter for repair. Yesterday they called me back to say they’d received the lighter, and I should have it back within a month.

Here is something I bought for my wife shortly after we became a couple, and it has hung on our bedroom wall ever since. In case you have trouble reading it, the text says, “I Love You More Today than Yesterday, and only half as much as Tomorrow.”

I’m a mess . . .

Once upon a time, I was so in tune with my body that I could continue to function while I had injuries that required stitches. One example of this was something that happened when I was about 10 years old, when I was asked to deliver something from my aunt and uncle’s home to my grandpa’s home, a distance of a few hundred yards at most. During the travel, I accidentally encountered the edge of a rusty shovel, and needed a dozen stitches to repair the injury, despite the fact that until my relatives pointed it out I had not been aware of the damage. I still have a scar on my left calf to remind me of the incident.

That is no longer true.

I just realized that I missed posting my usual “Saturday Posts” blog for this past week. I’ve been dropping a lot of “balls” lately, and that is only the most recent one. I’ve been having trouble keeping track of what day of the month it is, or even what day of the week it is. The closest thing I have to a schedule is by following a regimen of starting a laundry cycle each week based on when my wife’s last workday of the week is. That is the day I start my cycle by doing the white’s of our laundry, usually followed by her work slacks the next day, then the light weight colored clothes the next day, and concluding with the heavy colored clothes the next night (if there are enough of them to need it – in the Summer that isn’t always needed).

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. It’s likely more due to what I’m doing for pain management than whatever else is going on, but it is still a concern to me. Admittedly, some of the pain I’m trying to cope with is emotional – I am still reeling from the pain of my dad’s betrayal when I asked for his support to end the religious feud between me and the rest of my family. It doesn’t help that my dad’s birthday is only a few days away.

Saturday Posts . . .

I have some updates to share, too. First, since I’m now more than halfway through the year in which I hoped to regain control of my abdominal muscles, I ‘m now forced to admit a partial defeat. I didn’t realize until after I stated my goal just exactly how badly my abs had lost their tone. Even now, 8 months later, I still can’t do a full set of 10 sit-ups. This does not mean I’m quitting, or resigned to look terrible forever. It just means that I’m now realizing that this will be a process that takes more than a year to resolve.

Second, I need to talk about our home improvements. Every year we try to use our tax refunds to do something to fix a problem in our home. One problem that has been on our minds for the 11 years we’ve lived here is water control in the basement. The sump pump has always managed to prevent any severe water build up, but whenever there is extreme weather outside (rain, thunder storms, etc.) it has to work around the clock for several days to accomplish that job. We’ve known about “French Drains” for a long time, and have been looking for someone to install one here, but none of the contractors we talked to would even come over to give us a quote. This past spring we found out about a company from Omaha, Nebraska, that does something similar to those drains – but it’s installed in the floor of the basement instead of putting it around the outside of the house. The company’s name is Thrasher. We called them for a quote, and got it very quickly. Then, thanks to Presidents Trump and Biden (financial stimulus checks), we were able to put together the funds to get the system installed THIS YEAR!. It’s done, and the big take-away is that since the installation, our basement floor has been completely dry!

Finally – last Monday (July 26th) was the 21st Anniversary of my wife and I getting married. Thanks for putting up with me all of these years, honey!