Thursday, February 15, 2018

If a Tree Falls in a Forest...

...what are the odds that it will hit our car?


Luckily, no broken glass. In fact, other than some dirt and a few small scuff marks, no real damage to the car at all. However, what we park the car under didn't fare so well.

The park guys came back here with chains saws and got rid of the big stuff. I spent my days off cleaning up the rest.

 We're not sure what we're going to do now. I don't like the idea of our car sitting under old trees without some kind of protection from falling debris, but technically, that ain't part of our lot. The only reason we've been able to use it is because everything was already there when we bought into the park. The new management was rumored to be instituting a park-wide ban on all new free-standing structures, but as is usual, nothing official. There is also a rumor that all the dead-end roads like ours will have turn-around's installed so people don't have to back out. I need to find time to run over to the park next door and talk to the Corporate Head Cheese and get the real 411.

My mom had a second "event" back on Sunday, February 4th. Given our problems with 911 the first time around, I just stuffed her in the car and didn't even bother with it. This time seemed much worse. The aphasia was much worse and was combined with a lot of confusion. She asked me about halfway to the hospital if I was a friend of her son, Ric. She took much longer to come out of it as well. She's home, but still struggling with the aphasia, especially when she is tired or upset. She is also having a lot of trouble with numbers. Again, no word on if any of this is permanent, if these "events" will continue or if there is anything that can be done to prevent them. But I'm sure the hospital is being paid well by the US taxpayers for keeping her in there for several days so twenty different people could come in and ask her what her name is, where she is, her address, phone number, who my dad is, who the president is, etc.

Debbie's mom is now back to where she was a couple weeks after her initial surgery. She was doing well, trying to talk, recognizing people both in person and on the phone, etc. Then her surgery site became infected (MRSA, natch; she is in a hospital) and was transferred back up to Saginaw to take care of that. Everyone was so focused on the infection they "forgot" to pay attention to her lungs. After getting transferred back down to Pontiac, she stopped breathing. Ever since, she has been in a deep sleep and is not really responsive. Debbie will be heading back up in a couple weeks to give her brother and sister-in-law a break from bedside care.

I got through a first-draft run of our taxes. We're still getting hit with the $1,000 nigger ta... er... Obamacare tax. At least that goes away next year for a little while. (All of Trump's tax cuts for working stiffs expire the year he leaves his presumptive second term. The tax cuts for his corporate buddies are permanent.) But thanks to the massive medical bills we had to pay last year, we're still getting at least something back. It will likely all go into car repairs; we had planned on replacing the Durango this year, but then we had to give all the money we had saved to the fracking doctors. If we are going to be driving the thing up to Michigan again this summer, I need to get it to the garage and get some major work done on it. That will likely eat our entire tax refund plus a bunch more. Yaaay!!!

2018. The Year of Suck.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Shit Houses, Shitholes, and Other Shit

Whatever term Trump did or did not use, his point stands. Some countries are shitholes. That doesn't mean that every single person living there is a shithole, but before allowing them into our country, we should take a much closer look at them than we would someone from a non-shithole country like Norway. Of course, most of the shitholes in the world were created by the US, like both of Trump's examples (El Salvador and Haiti). And soon it won't matter, because the same people going nuts over whatever it was that Trump did or did not say, are busy turning the US into yet-another shithole. Once we are as big a shithole as Somolia, what motivation would anyone have to come here anyway?

Problem solved.

In yet-another example of Florida as the Land of Stupid, a couple walk up to a hotel valet stand, demand the keys to a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider and drive off. Problem: it wasn't their Ferrari. When they were stopped by police, the guy claimed that a) he didn't steal anything because the valet gave him the keys, and anyway, he was planning on taking it back; and b) he didn't have a clue how all that cocaine got on the center console. The real owner is now suing the hotel for unspecified damages. I'm assuming the valet was fired, but I'm pretty sure that would have happened no matter what he did. He reported that the guy was acting like a douche, and nothing screams Ferrari-owner like being an insufferable douche. I mean, who else other than a complete douche would spend $300,000 on a frackin' car. If the valet had refused to give him the keys and it turns out that the guy was the owner and really had left his valet ticket in the car, what do you think would have happened to the valet? Exactly. A classic no-win situation.

It looks like Michigan is trying to catch up with Florida in the Land of Stupid competition. A guy gets arrested for murder, then asks about the status of his "other murder case" during his arraignment. Right before that question would have been a great time for Rodriques-Ortiz to shut up. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for society), he did not. Wasn't it Mark Twain (or maybe Lincoln; or maybe Proverbs) who said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"?

It appears that the medical-industrial complex isn't done with us yet. Now it's my dad who is being sent off for a battery of tests. For some reason, the only place on planet earth these tests can be done is down in Tampa, where my father is not allowed to drive. The day of his appointment is normally one of my days off, so my parents thought they were all set. But alas, it is on the one Wednesday of the month that I work due to the monthly physical inventory being taken. So now we are scrambling to find transportation. What makes it more difficult that it ought to be is that they won't even give a time for the test; they'll call the night before and let us know when he is supposed to be there. What in bloody hell? Have I mentioned lately how much I hate doctors?

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate working?

Anyway, we have most of our tax forms, so I need to go make a first cut at our taxes.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ronald Kellaway, RIP

We got word that my Uncle Ron passed Sunday morning. The MRI had shown damage to the brain stem, so it was already decided that there would be no "heroic" measures taken. My mom isn't well enough to travel, so she won't be there for the funeral. She was instructed not to come by both her sister (Ron's wife) and her nephew (Ron's son), so it looks like we won't need to figure out how to get my parents up to Michigan.

And I'm becoming weary of typing those three letters in post titles.

2018? Still suckin'.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Robert Thompson, RIP

Bob has been seriously ill for quite some time. It seemed he was recently making some progress, but I read a post on his site by Barbara (his wife) that he died during the night on Saturday. Bob's blog is another link that has been on this site since day one. He will be sorely missed.

In other medical news: Debbie's mom seems to be doing better. She is more alert and has been responding to yes/no questions. They are supposed to be changing out her trach for something that will allow her to talk. She is moving her right arm and leg more as well.

My mom is home and stable. She seems to be fully recovered other than some slight aphasia. She will be talking along just fine, then the completely wrong word will come out or she will simply blank out on the name of something or someone. No one is saying whether this is a permanent thing or what, so I guess it's just wait and see.

So that's the good news.

We got word on Saturday that my Uncle Ron, who was already in the hospital for a triple by-pass, had a massive stroke and was completely non-responsive. Late yesterday, he was scheduled for an MRI to see if there was any reason to continue to treat him. No word yet on the outcome of that. His son had just died in November at 41 years of age. Nothing like piling it on.

We got word yesterday that my Uncle Jimmy's mom passed away. It was not unexpected, but that really doesn't mean much. No matter how "expected", death is never... well... expected.

So yea, 2018 ain't lookin' any brighter from here.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone up in Michigan.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

So Far, 2018? You Suck.

Tuesday evening, I get a phone call from my mother. Something is wrong; can I come down. Every question is answered with, "I don't know." I get down there and she's in full-blown aphasia. I grab the phone, call 911 and give them the house address. After a brief hesitation, the guy says something about how we're in Crawford county and to hold while he transfers us. After some back-and-forth, I think to ask what county I'm speaking with. Antrim County. In Michigan. At that point I just tell them to forget it and shove everyone in the van and head to the ER.

Now, please do not interpret anything that follows as a criticism of Antrim County 911. They were not at fault and even went as far as somehow tracking us down and sending an ambulance to my parents' place all the way down here in Florida. At that point, we were already in the ER, but still some serious effort on their part.

No, what follows is squarely aimed at Verizon.

How the hell can it be that I can get a restaurant's daily specials sent to my phone because I happen to be driving by it, and yet Verizon with its incredible network and unlimited technology from the whole universe cannot locate a 911 call to less than a 1,000-mile radius? Shame on you, Verizon. No; I'm going much further than that. Fuck you, Verizon.

Fuck. You.


And on a slant.

With sand in the Vaseline.

[Aside: A good collection of Talking Heads, FYI.]

So anyway, she did have a small stroke, probably caused by a blood clot. She was supposed to be released this morning, but of course, Florida Hospital Zephyrhills screwed up and she sat in a chair for nine hours waiting to get cut loose because some shit dick "forgot". And for this, the US taxpayers will be paying bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every encounter I have with the medical industrial complex gives me a deeper understanding into why these united States has the absolutely worst health care in the first world while spending an order of magnitude more than any other country.

Meanwhile, in Michigan nothing has really changed with Debbie's mom. Some movement in hands and feet, but she is still unresponsive to verbal commands. They are working on getting her transferred to the hospital that one of Debbie's brothers works at so she will be close to somebody in the family. The hospital she is at now is a four-hour drive from the closest one of her kids. Debbie is staying another week to make sure everything is settled as it can be before she comes back down here.

And tomorrow, I get to go back to work for another week.