Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hospital is needed, But--the clock isn't ticking

In the last few months I have lost several very good friends. They couldn't help it. They died.

I am still visiting on Tuesdays with the very loved friend and husband of another very good friend. This gives her some hours to do other things. He is on hospice, but so vibrant and interested and involved in the life that he is teaching me. He will die soon.

But my younger son was in the hospital because he had pancreatitis which led to removal of his gall bladder. Now he's home. He goes back to work Tuesday.

It's so normal. I haven't had that in a long time.

Normal can be such a wonderful word.

The older we get, the less often we see it.
But the word is mine for now.



Friday, September 13, 2013

September--and the living is sweaty

Coming from a state with mountains--New Mexico-- it was hard for me to learn about fall in Texas.

Y'see, we do have one. It comes in November.

Once in a while, we have color. If the pecans have enough water, they turn yellow, not brown. That's not too often. Sweet gums, bless their hearts, turn almost every color, A small grove will range from yellow and red to bronze and purple--all on he same tree.

Sumac, and we don't have a lot, turns red, like accent points in a rich man's landscape. Overriding colors are wheat, straw, gold. Elegant, really. Understated.

If we are lucky, we have rain and the pecans are plentiful. If we are unlucky, we have rain and the ragweed is stratospheric in pollen.

This year, we all would give anything for the rain. Drought is omnipresent. Boat docks are closing. Worse, water restrictions are increasing as we struggle to maintain some flowers, water to drink, water to bathe in and wash our clothes.

The end of August brought on a plethora of three-digit days.

My granddaughter is horrified to be wearing her band uniform tonight instead of the uniform shirt and shorts of the last two games. Temps tonight will be only in the upper 80s. They will be miserable, but no one should faint from heat stroke.

My September bill for air-conditioning could beat August.

But triple digits may abate now, most of the time. Highs in the 90s, lows in the upper 70s.

We have a Texas constitutional amendment on the November ballet to invest two billion dollars into ccreating more water reserves. The amount is paltry, but a start.

Our dead--I mean, lame--duck governor keeps running ads in Maryland, California and other places inviting bidness to Texas, where social care means we don't roust the homeless under the bridges too much, and the taxes are light. But you can't water much.

The green grass lasted unnaturally through much of July, but now, the ground is sere.

We are beginning to learn about buried soaker hoses, hand-watering, less water-demanding plants. I would hate to see the spring azaleas go away, but I would hate more showering with recycled water.

Yes, it is September in Texas. Sometimes, you can smell the honeysuckle in the air. The dry, brown grass remains from summer. Some rain will green things up. Lower cattle prices for your steaks.

It is still too hot to eat outside, mostly.  A pity. I love cool evenings with barbecue.

Tomorrow, Sept. 14, only a high of 93 or more.

Fall is coming.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Truth? Truth? Who Among You Will Say What It Is?

Who we trust and who we don't is paramount.

If you trust Biker News, and I trust Snopes, we have a problem. Especially when I think my sources are better.

No, two million bikers are not thundering down on DC. Even 2,000? Don't think that many.

Muslims, much less one million, did not get permission to march in the streets. An ecumenical park gathering is arranged. No idea how many.

The President doesn't orchestrate who marches through Washington, DC. The National Park Service does. For reasons why they refused the bikers, check records. I am not going to replicate.

I think a huge number of civics classes for persons 60 and under are warranted. How the uh, heck, do we expect to hold on to freedom when we don't even know how  our country works?

And I have no idea how a traffic jam of motorcycles impeding citizens about their business says anything about God Bless America.
By the way, I don't want to have a military imperative on Syria. It sounds familiar. But worse than Iraq. And that's why we don't want to do it.

We are so mixed up. We are so angry, looking for targets. Not to shoot up, just to yell at.

I keep looking for peace, and friends. Hope you can do also.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Huh. This year is Sept. 11. It Isn't 9-11.

I have had a luncheon scheduled with former college classmates this Wednesday, which is Sept. 11. Didn't raise any awareness whatever. Huh.

When I realized today, I thought it might be because it didn't happen here. Kennedy was assassinated here. I took a guess. Nov. 23? No, Nov. 22. I remember everything about that day, just as I do Sept. 11. I am glad the date is fading in my memory and only the events remain. Dec. 7 is a National Day, so we cannot ever forget it. That is okay. I wasn't even born yet. It was the first time our country has been attacked.

I will never forget the day, and when you call it 911, I will never forget the date. But Sept. 11 has become benign again for me. Probably never in New York. Kennedy's death reasonated with me for years after the date faded for the rest of you. I was living in Dallas at the time.

Contrary to history classes--which, with a few great teachers, interested me in our past--I don't think the exact dates are that important.

I think it is more what we learned from the events of the day.

After the towers fell, our personal family became more careful of one another, more in touch. I don't think that has changed. It is a good change.I care, I remember. And I have let go of the terrible fear. And that is why, when I was invited to lunch Wednesday, I never thought a thing of it. I have cancelled, for a training on mentoring school kids behind in reading. Now isn't that a great reason?We will never forget the loss, the attack, our pain. But we can go beyond our sorrow to build new lives, new memories, build a stronger community.

I think that's a win.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do You Know What You Are Doing?

I have been offline for 10 days due to a failed attempt to change providers for my electronics. This, and the experiences of a friend buying a car, make me wonder seriously about American business.

We have these companies. We have this technology. We have fellow citizens who, so far as I can see, have good work ethics and work pretty hard to work with the customers. Two things are wrong: a lot of them are not taught the technology they are working with. It gets worse when the company subcontracts, because then they also don't know company procedures either.

The companies are poorly run, terribly disorganized. They have a goal for the customer's satisfaction and none of them are coordinating with the other departments. They count on their "deal" to be so attractive, the customer will hang in there to get it. They lose a lot of profit that way. Especially when they can't deliver.

Actually, I wasn't really offline because of technology. Since I didn't want my old phone number, I told Century Link I was changing two days before the date I wanted a disconnect. They turned me off immediately, which I don't understand. They lost two more paying days. They DID put me on "vacation" status where I could reconnect within 30 days without paying a reconnect fee.

I was changing from Century Link, which carries Dish satellite, to Sudden Link, a cable company. Proof of this move included a nice payment incentive for two years. It also included better and cheaper phone service, three times faster computer, and an array of tv stations I have refused to pay top dollar for. Sweet. On Aug. 29, a subcontracted tech came at 2:30 p.m. when I had requested the 8 am to 12 noon window and told me my cable would have to be trenched from the telephone pole on the other side of my neighbor's yard.

My neighbor, an amiable guy, had already switched and he signed a letter granting access.

I was told the trenching crew would be out Friday. They weren't. It would be Saturday or Monday--yep, on a holiday weekend--for sure. They didn't come. On Monday, I called in and was assured of a crew on Tuesday, with installation on Wednesday. They didn't come.

The installation tech, actually from Sudden Link, showed up on Wednesday morning. He said he couldn't do it because the telephone pole was too far from the house. (There's more, and I actually understood it, but I will leave it at that.) He couldn't have done it anyway, because the cable still hadn't been buried, thank God.

I reconnected with Century Link. Some of the computer is back--and I was able to make it some faster. This is good. Okay, they cost more for what I get, which was why I tried to move. But they actually know what they are doing and deliver.

One thing more. At 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the crew showed up to bury my cable. Sudden Link hadn't cancelled the work order. The head guy was relieved.

"This is too far," he said, "but my boss said to go ahead because it was contracted."

If hadn't come home when I did, much disruption in 100-degree heat would have occurred.

My neighbor is happy with his Sudden Link, although he said they had to come out three times to get him started. The friend who referred me is happy, although hers took all day to install and they brought the wrong equipment at first.

The second example of tech incompetency is a friend who bought a car and needed the Blue Tooth, GPS and recorder synchronized. They couldn't fix it, even though they sold her the car guaranteeing the equipment. Turns out, they just weren't trained well enough. After a week--she can be quite insistent--they brought in a tech guy and actually paid the outside tech to fix it. It's working okay so far, she says. She isn't recommending the dealership. Either they lied, or their staff is incompetent.

She was trying to get to work and get things done without her car for more than a week. I was on hold for 10 days. In my case, I am retired, but I felt unable to go virtually anywhere while I waited for service that didn't come, came late, or even the next day or so.

I think the owners, bosses, whoever at the top are so anxious, substitute greedy, that they too often promise more than they can deliver. If we have a tech shortage, then we ought to have new markets opening for more jobs. If these bosses simply don't know how to run a business, that needs to be addressed, too.

It makes me leery of my next purchase that requires any skill or technology. My confidence in the American marketplace is a little lower than it was. Does dependability relate to the average consumer any more?

I hope so. These two experiences, however, are not encouraging.