2017 October 10-13

2017-10-01_07.47.15 (1)

Tuesday 10 Up at 6 and on the road by 6:30. Country roads can be very dark at that time of day. There was no moon or stars visible either. It was all very peaceful … except for the knowledge that there is at least one new dead deer along this six mile stretch of road every week! So what could make us leave the nice cocoon of bedding and go out to a chilly (59 degrees) early morning ride? I have an appointment with my VA doctor in a couple of days and I need to have lab work done several days in advance. The lab opens at 7:00 and it is about 20 miles away from home.

We arrived shortly after 7:00 and there was a line waiting to check in. After a while, one of the VA folks said, “If you’re here for lab work, you don’t have to check in. Just take a number and have a seat.” Nearly everyone in line did as he said and took a number from the little pull tab machine.

We sat like good little soldiers, not speaking to each other. As I looked around the room I noticed the coffee bar in the front of the room. There were even snack items available. How cruel to set before people who were doing FASTING lab work. There was noting else to do but sit and watch the large television placed high upon the wall. Slowly, we were called back three at a time. I was so engrossed in watching “Flip or Flop” on HGTV that I almost didn’t notice when my number appeared on the screen.

I was number 60 so I went back with Mr. 59 and Ms. 61. Three partitioned areas and three chairs awaited us. “59 take a seat in the left chair. 60 the middle chair and 61 to the right.” It crossed my mind that there were three chairs with patients, but only two medical techs. Was someone missing? Did one of the two techs work twice as fast? I don’t know. “Which arm?” she asked. I replied that it didn’t matter. I also told her that I am a “hard stick” and most people find it easier to draw blood from the back of my hand.

Ignoring my helpful suggestion she proceeded to try each arm several times. Tying the little blue strip of rubber around my arms and slapping them, looking for a vein. “I think if I use a smaller needle, I can get something here,” she said as she looked at spot on the outside edge of my elbow. She made it. She managed to fill two and a half vials before the blood stopped. That’s when the readjusting of the needle started. Push it in a little farther. Pull it out a little. Move it this way and that. She managed to extract a small amount in the fourth vial. “That’ll have to do, I guess.” Mr. 59 and Ms. 61 were long done by now. Strangely, they didn’t call in two more people. I guess that there is a regulation that said we had to come in groups of three.

It was now shortly after 8 and time for some breakfast. 1010170831_HDRElla suggested the IHOP but I wanted to try something different. Someone (I don’t remember who or when) had told me that the 1431 Café had good breakfasts. It is located directly across the street from IHOP on highway 1431. It’s a good thing that the café was located there  because it would have made no sense for the 1431 Café to have been located on 183. What a coincidence.

It was surprising to me that it was larger than it had seemed on the outside. Not quite like the TARDIS but deceptively large. I’d guess it had seating for around 100 people. However, it was nearly empty. 1010170819_HDRThere was one booth with a young couple leaning close acrossed the table and talking quietly. The only other table in use was occupied by 3 men (our age) and one of the waitresses. At one point they started singing something that I didn’t recognize. I said, “I didn’t know that there was entertainment here also.” They laughed.

One of the items on the breakfast menu intrigued me, Chicken Fried Bacon. I really wanted to try it. However the price of nearly $4 for two pieces of bacon seemed a little high. I had two hot cakes, two eggs, and two sausage patties while Ella had eggs, toast and grits. It was all good.

By the time that breakfast was over it was time that we could go to the Leander Senior Center. 2017-10-14_14.49.51Jerry, Marvin, and Eddy were already there. We sat and just visited for a short time and then Ella brought out the dominoes. Gloria arrived shortly thereafter and joined us. Next to arrive was Charlotte and Arlotte. The two of them  brought out the Rummykube (spelling?) game. Other folks began to arrive.

We finished our dominoes game in time for lunch. There was a salad and eggplant Parmesan. I ate the salad and the noodle from under the eggplant. However the soggy, mushy eggplant was pushed off to the side.  Ella ate her’s. Surprisingly, she had never had eggplant before. Why is it called eggplant when it neither looks like nor tastes like egg?

After lunch most folks left. Charlotte, Arlotte, Ella and I played two rounds of Rummykube. Neither Ella nor I had ever played it previously. Ella was familiar with the card game rummy but I had never played that either.    think I have the hang of it now. I am very good at seeing patterns which if very helpful in the game.

It was sometime after three when we returned home. We did some housekeeping, took a nap, did some more housekeeping and generally goofed off the rest of the day.

Wednesday 11 I woke a few minutes before 5:00 and checked my phone. It was dead. It died last night and I was hoping that by being on the charger all night, it would be revived. No such luck. Knowing that Ella would not be awake for another couple of hours, I decided to do the dishes. There were two reasons for that. One, obviously, the dishes were dirty and needed to be washed. Duh! However, I also needed to make sure my hands were clean and warm so that I could do my INR testing. (blood flows better when the hands are warm)

Even with the warm hands I wasn’t getting enough blood to do the test. Although the small amount of blood was enough for the glucose meter. I suspected that the lancet needle wasn’t going deep enough. So I changed lancets and tried again. Success! I managed to squeeze out a nice size bubble of blood for the test. Yay. Both the INR and blood sugar levels were within normal range. Normally, I would call in the test results right away. However, … that’s right, … my phone was dead.

I would need to use Ella’s phone. I know better than to try and get to her phone while she slept. She guards it like a bear sow guards her cubs. It was safer to just work on the blog for yesterday’s activities. Once she was awake, I asked to borrow her phone so that I could call in my results of the INR. Before I did that though, I swapped batteries between the phones in the hope that all that was wrong with my phone was the battery. Nope. Still dead even with the fresh battery. I replaced her battery and made my call while she was in the shower.

While she dressed, I made breakfast … in the microwave. I ran out of gas in the lighter yesterday and forgot to replace it while we were out and about. No lighter … no stove. Microwaved bacon is great. Sandwich a couple slice between several layes of papertowles and the bacon comes out crisp, flat, and non greasy. The eggs are another matter all together. Years ago Ella purchased some “as seen on TV” microwave egg cups. They work for hard cooked eggs. But I’ve never been able to come up with “over easy” without having the whites uncooked. So, they come out more like boiled eggs than fried. We were also out of bread. I had some hamburger buns to I toasted those. The first ones came out charcoal. The second were merely burnt. The third ones were just right … said Goldilocks.

About quarter after eight we headed into town to Grandies*. However, we stopped at Parker’s Corner (grocery store) to purchase a lighter for the stove. They didn’t carry the lighters but did have boxes of wooden matches. I bought a box.

At the checkout the cashier asked about the shirt I was wearing. It was the one I wear to Grandies and has the logo of Cross Tracks Church on it. She first asked about communion. I said that we use juice instead of wine and generally it is a small loaf of bread that we break and have pieces of. Then she asked if we were accepting. I said that the church’s motto is Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors (which is close enough to the actual motto. I think.) We are an inclusive rather than an exclusive congregation. Then she wanted to know if we allow gay and lesbion couples in. I said that we do and that until fairly recently there were an openly gay couple that were members. They moved away and no longer attend. At this point she wanted to know about out hours, which I told her and explained the different services.

Attendance at Grandies was a little light today. Louine and Donna were home waiting for a health care representative to check up on Donna’s progress. Ethel (whose nephew just passed away) was home preparing for family to arrive. Mary Lee came in late because she was working in the worship center.

We sent out greeting cards and then Wanda read a devotion about a woman who was going through a divorce and found that the Lord could keep her from having “dry bones.” Proverbs 17:22 ESV “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

After the meeting, some people left and the rest of us broke into groups to play dominoes or canasta. About 11:40 we ended the game so that folks could go get some lunch before Benny’s memorial service. Ella had brought snacks so that we did not have to drive all the way home and back before the service. We sat in the fellowship hall most of the time. I did go to the post office, which is just a few blocks from the church, to pick up our mail.

1:15 came and we went to the chapel for the memorial service. It was an uplifting celebration of the life of an incredible man.

The service was followed by a light lunch in the worship center.

As the crowd began to file out of the luncheon, Ella and I went into Cedar Park to the Verizon store. They examined the phone and found no damage. They tried charging it and it would not take a charge. They removed the battery and reinstalled it and nothing worked. (I had already tried all of those things.) Then they called the Service Center where I talked to George. He is sending a replacement phone which I should receive sometime Friday. Yay!

We stopped on the way home at H.E.B. to pick up a loaf of bread so that we could make sandwiches for supper. While we were there (and had a good phone connection) I called Cutty’s and paid my electric bill from last month. Since we no longer have a trailer in storage, I also asked about my refund for the unused portion of the yearly storage. Dianne didn’t have an answer for me. However, she said she’d call me Thursday. I told her that I wouldn’t have my phone until Friday. So I will call Cutty’s some time Thursday.

I tried watching television for a while but couldn’t find anything interesting. I think that I’d mentioned earlier that we receive 13 channels (over the air) and about half are Spanish (which unfortunately I don’t speak). Ella was unaffected by the lack of television because she played games and puzzles on her phone. I miss my phone.

Thursday 12 It was another chilly start for the day (60 degrees). I slept in (got up around 6) Ella was awake and playing games on her phone. She didn’t get out of bed until close to 8:30. She claims that she’s not addicted to her electronics. I’m not so sure about that. Even when we are visiting with people or playing “real life games”, she still is texting of moving puzzle pieces on her phone. Okay, that little rant is over.

We arrived around 9:30 at the Over The Hill Gang*** which was much earlier than anyone other than the “workers/volunteers” arrived. It was at least 10:30 before any more of the Gang showed up. Dawn (pastor of one of the local churches) began playing the piano and singing hymns. I and several others joined in for a while. We visited and ate snacks until we were “called to order” and the news about members was read.

We then had a prayer for the meal. Then those who needed assistance were allowed to go through the line (buffet style) first. Today was meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, pinto beans, and several salads. We sat with Ira and Ellen with whom we played canasta after lunch. Ella and I played two rounds of canasta and then excused ourselves to go to Ella’s appointment with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor in Cedar Park.

Because this was the first time to see this doctor, Ella had a lot of paper work to fill out. An audiologist put her in a booth and checked her hearing, The doctor said that she did indeed have fluid behind the ear drum in the right ear. Since it had not cleared up since she’d started medications six months earlier, she made an incision in the ear drum and drained the fluid. A prescription was called in and an appointment for a follow up in one week was made.

We went to the pharmacy and found out  that the prescription wasn’t covered by our insurance and would cost over $200. We asked them to call the doctor for a substitute. This is the same pharmacy where I had called in my prescription for a refill of one of my meds. The pharmacy said that the doctor had faxed it to them but that the insurance wouldn’t cover it until the 14th.  My dosage has doubled but no one told the insurance company. It was only $4 without the copay so I just bought it. Hoops. I hate jumping through hoops. Why are they always hoops to jump through when dealing with insurance? The pharmacy had still not heard back from Ella’s doctor, so we told them that we’d check back tomorrow.

After arriving home Ella checked her voice mail and found where the doctor had called to say, “Another prescription has been called in.” We will be going back into Leander tomorrow to the senior center. So, I guess we’ll go on into Cedar Park and get the prescription also.

Friday 13 Really? Friday the Thirteenth! It’s a good thing that I’m not superstitious. I was awake slightly before six and Ella woke when the alarm went off at seven. I got up and started breakfast while Ella sorted the dirty laundry. Today is laundry day.

Yesterday I received a check in the mail from the United States Treasury. Reading the enclosed letter, it appears that I was overcharged at the VA for something. It wasn’t a large check but I’m sure our bank account will be glad to have it.

There was a very small group (7) of us at the Leander Senior Center today. I have no idea why the attendance was down so low. The food was good, although I have no idea what the food was called. It was some Mexican casserole with black beans on the side. We played several rounds of Mexican Train dominoes. No one stayed after lunch to play more games.

We returned to the pharmacy and purchased the prescription that Ella was unable to pick up yesterday. From there we went to the Laundromat to do laundry.

From there we went back to the pharmacy to get more prescriptions that Ella had called in.

Around 7 p.m. Teresa knocked on our door to say that there was a package for us. Yay! My phone arrived. I spent most of the evening and night reloading applications. Google play did an automatic install for most things. However, I still had to go in and reregister most of them before I could find my data. My banking app and the DroidTV app took the longest. The hardest part about Droid TV was finding the app to download



*Grandies is a service organization that meets every Wednesday in the Church’s fellowship hall. The group is comprised of “old folks” who are (mostly) grandparents. Hence the name Grandies. We have a card ministry where we send birthday, anniversary, missing you, hope you get better, sorry for your loss, and other types of cards to church members and others. We also donate money and merchandise to the local schools for the care of the homeless children there. We support **Operation Liberty Hill by donation and service. We have a Sack Lunch program during the summer because some children rely on the school lunch program for what may be their only meal of the day. The Sack Lunch kicks in while school is in recess for the summer.

**Operation Liberty Hill is a Thrift Store and Food Pantry.

***Over The Hill Gang is a member suported senior center in Liberty Hill, Texas.



Published by Tom

husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and Santa

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