Story 19Aug2022: Last Free Friday

The morning started with me getting going at about 6:30 as I had to be at Susie’s on time. Physical Therapy (PT) was coming at 11ish. My office is now in the back bedroom, so it was strange to make breakfast and then take it to the office. I used to work just next to the kitchen. I had liberal coffee with yogurt and a croissant, an industrial one that would shock a Frenchman. It is certainly not, as described in Wikipedia, “A croissant is a buttery, flaky, French viennoiserie pastry inspired by the shape of the Austrian kipferl but using the French yeast-leavened laminated dough.” But still not a bad breakfast.

I wrote the blog and put the dirty laundry in the washer. I then showered and dressed and jumped in Air Volvo, which delivered me without any issue, but with a high count of police along the way, to hummingbird house. Susie was eating very slowly but ate most of her breakfast. Susie was leaning oddly to the right when eating and sitting in her wheelchair.

Rick was only a few minutes late for the PT appointment. We looked at the hummingbird house’s pedals, tried them out, and failed. So I ordered new pedals for Susie. I ordered using my Mac, “Cubii JR1 or JR2, Under Desk Elliptical, Bike Pedal Exerciser.” It will be here on Sunday and ready for PT when they come next week.

We discussed the standing frame, I had made no progress on acquiring that equipment, but I promised to look into it. Which I did after the PT by calling multiple medical equipment places. Nobody had one, and I am getting a price to buy one as so far nobody rents one. I was surprised to see prices in the $3,000-$4,000 range, so I will discuss this more with Tracy, the PT person who thought we could use one.

Returning to PT with Rick, Susie scared us by learning so far in her wheelchair to almost fall out of it. Rick and I had to guard Susie a few times, and I had to help some. I usually try to stay out of the way most time and just listen, but Susie was leaning, and her right side was not responding to her, so I was needed. This reminded me of the signs of the debilitating stroke in October 2022, and Vanessa, the nurse aide in the morning, had told me Susie seemed quieter than usual today. So I am worried but not panicked; I have seen this before.

Susie could be having a bad day. She struggled with breakfast and PT. She looked tired, and her stroke damage resurfaces like an old sports injury when she is tired.

Rick completed his evaluation, and Susie will get four weeks of visits, which is excellent. So Rick left, and Susie and I headed out to Mezger Park. It was a cool 70F (21F) overcast–there was no sunshine to warm you.

We just headed to our favorite bench in the cedars, and it was even a bit cooler there, as usual. The insects were still resting and waiting for the warm sun to get them going. We called Leta, Susie’s mother, and they talked on my iPhone for a while using FaceTime. Susie was better. Leta could only chat for a bit as the church wore matching t-shirts to a local baseball game, the Lansing Lugnuts. There were fireworks planned after the game, so Leta was excited. Leta loves parades and fireworks. Leta was worried about Covid, but it should not be a high-risk activity as it was outside.

Susie was cold when we headed back. We went right in, and Vanessa moved Susie to her recliner in the living room. Susie again leaned to the right, and Vanessa had to move Susie again to safer.

I sat next to Susie on the couch, looking up equipment on the Internet and calling local suppliers. No dice. One will call me back with a price. I will call them back on Monday as they likely closed, it being Friday, before getting a quote.

I left with a kiss and headed home via The Olive Garden. I ordered soup and salad in the car using the app before driving there across Beaverton, where I saw at least two of Beaverton’s Finest bouncing radars on Air Volvo. As usual, I never touched my phone and was attentive to the ever-changing speed levels in Beaverton. The 20 mph area near the library is new and requires braking, and I nearly missed the first sign. Invariably, one must be diligent in following the laws in Beaverton.

I used the Olive Garden app to tell the folks which car part I was at, #5. Soon the food was placed in the back seat without contact. It is always great to see folks play by the rules–even when the nice gal was unmasked.

I took my food bounty with me home in Air Volvo. There I had the salad, soup, and two breadsticks–the policy is now that Olive Garden provides two breadsticks with an entree. There was some hubbub about this a few years ago, and the two breadsticks became the default, not the three that most folks remember.

I also purchased a premade spaghetti with meat sauce designed to be microwaved.

Next, I headed to Hillsboro. There Darren, my new CPA, had a tax amendment for me. I had missed the new TriMet Tax for 2021- a new special local tax. Darren was unhappy to show that I owed, with penalties and interest, just over $1,000. However, I was happy to get it paid before they come looking, or the penalties are higher.

After getting the paperwork, I tried so antique stores in Hillsboro. I found in the Hill Theater, now a messy antique mall with all the seats pulled out and the floor mostly level, an Exporter Encycopidia from 1918, including all the clipped pages for corrections. The book, purchased for $8.50 in 1918 (about $172), came with a monthly update and news on exporters and shipping–this was before air cargo (literally shipping). It covers all the rules dealing with the war (WW1 does not formally end until far into 1919) and has such interesting facts as how much space a ton of banana takes up in cargo space. I history geek fest! Later, I ordered a 1924 version of the same book for my Call of Cthulhu writing.

Next, in the shop Le Stuff, another more orderly and friendly antique mall, I found an old suitcase that just screams the 1920s (it is likely a 1940-50s knock-off of better 1920-30s luggage with a painted cloth that looks like leather) for only $24. It does not smell of mildew, so I got it. Even empty, it was heavy. I also found an excellent working, very old combination square that is smaller and would work for me on modeling. I took my new treasures home.

I did notice that the local gas in Hillsboro was cheaper than anywhere. So I filled up there.

I rested a bit and then started writing more of my Dungeons and Dragons 5E adventure; I am beginning to conclude the first part. I had the sushi plate, which I picked up a Basics for dinner while I tried to use the Internet and then watch a movie. My Infinity (Comcast) connection had again collapsed to near dial-up speeds. I called them, and the robots sent me to get help from a texting expert and then sent me a text when nobody responded to use their unhelpful chatbot. I powered down the modem for ten minutes, restarted it, and got terrible but not impossibly bad service (maybe DSL speed).

I ordered Ziply Fiber to install their service at the house. As I do not have fiber coming to the house (I once had fiber, and then AT&T was bought by Comcast, and I was changed to cable), I suspect this will be an adventure. I have Friday 1-5PM to enjoy the experience. Once they are installed, for $99 a month, I will cancel Xfinity–I have twenty years with them (starting with the various companies that were merged in a Wall Street orgy of money and fees to form the unapproachable Comcast). Still, I don’t need the cable show, and I need fast working and reliable Internet access.

Aside: Ziply Fiber was another creation of merging small companies into an Internet (literally, in this case) start-up. They have to expand to survive, and their record for service is mixed. I hope that the technology change to real fiber to the house will at least give me a better chance for good access to the Internet.

Of course, I receive an email that requires me to do something with Ziply that does not work. I call them, and they bounce me around; the call center is in the Philippines, and while well trained to be friendly and happy, the nice folks seemed a bit lost on my question–how could I be the first one? After placing me on hold for a while to consult, they told me that it would be OK once I am installed next Friday, and I thank them, and they profusely thanked me for the opportunity to give me excellent service. Douglas Adams, long gone, would be grabbing a towel after that call. I added a towel to my office now.

Deciding that I needed something productive to do to get that strange out-of-this-world feeling out of my mind, I drove to Lowe’s super hardware mall. Yes, a house repair will get me back to myself and stop looking up at the sky for a Vogon fleet.

I look at mailboxes; mine was recently hit again by a car, likely the mailman. The metal box is barely mounted on the post, has been repainted twice, is covered with moss, the paint, again, is failing, the dents from someone taking a ball bat to it (they mistook for my neighbor’s mailbox who apparently had angered the drunk-high-under medicated person) are pronounced, been dented by paintballs or shot with some kind of low-power projectile (I did not ask questions), and lost it flag years ago. I bought the cheapest solid plastic (made in America) black mailbox. I then stopped by Jim’s to get an ice cream cone, once again entering Hillsboro. I had a Rock Road in a waffle cone. I then searched for Shadingwood Park as the Smith family will celebrating Natasha’s wedding there (they were married last year, I believe) on Sunday. I found it in a lovely park hidden in a new subdivision of moderate to expensive new homes. I finished my ice cream in the park talking to the squirrels (again, nature makes me get over thinking I am in a Douglas Adams novel).

On the way, I called hummingbird house and talked to Susie. She seemed OK. Jennifer said Susie had a nap and then dinner and seemed to be herself. I was much relieved.

Returning home, I got out my new smallish drill and tried to politely disassemble the old mailbox. Nope, I got a hammer and eye protection. I found that one lonely screw was holding the box to the pole. I smashed the box off the post with a few solid hits with Dad’s Old Adjusting Tool–something that cars, ball bats, and low-powered projectiles had failed to do, and then installed the new plastic one. Instead of attaching a wood plate to the post and then the mailbox to the plate with side screws (which did not come with the cheap mailbox), I took advantage of the cheap plastic and forced screws through the bottom into the wood. Six screws later, my neighbors and mailman have a new fresh target. I also put a few longer screws in the side post that holds up the box (it is just butted to the main post)–no reason to make it easy for them.

Come and get it!

With that home repair done, I was feeling better now. So, I went back to writing about undead mummies and poison traps in my D&D 5E adventure. I went to bed at about 10:30 and quickly fell asleep.

Thank you for reading.



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