Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas is cancelled

Okay, not really. Just toned down a bit. Maybe more than I would like.

I'll get back to that later.

In the last post I mentioned being worried about my husband's job. Really worried. But now all seems back to normal, or at least, as normal as it has been for the past few months. The middle management of the old company went to a meeting with the new company, and we all sort of thought that these managers would be told that most of them would no longer be needed. But instead they went to this meeting and mostly heard "welcome to the family" type stuff. The week after that my husband went to a meeting of the new company, which was run by the managers of the old company, and he didn't meet anyone from the new company that wasn't already working for the old one. So he signed the papers and such, and then went back to work as usual the next day.

We're still being told that nothing will change until 2012. We believe that, as there is only a few weeks left of 2011.

There is now a rumour that major changes are coming in March or April. We will see.

Anyway, while I was getting out cookbooks wondering what I could make with beans and rice and such as that, everything seems to be back to normal, and we have mostly returned to our previous spending habits.

While I was in the stage of really worrying about money, I asked to be less involved in gift exchanges than I was last year. This seemed to upset my mom a bit, but everyone else seemed okay with it.

In fact, my friends went so far as to say that we shouldn't exchange gifts at all, which was not what I was trying to do. I wanted to limit the gifts to small things, hopefully small things that I had bought earlier. Or maybe I would knit them all hats, or make them soap or baked goods. The person I thought would be most in favor of the soap or baked goods plan wasn't there for the discussion. The person who is most into the whole Christmas exchange thing wasn't there either. That left a couple who only wants to exchange cards, a guy who said he was going to be out of town the weekend we normally exchange gifts, and a girl who says she'd rather do the cards this year just because she's running out of ideas of what to get people.

So the gift exchange that I usually enjoy the most has become a card exchange, which wasn't what I meant to do at all. I hope that the other guy speaks up and says that he's already got something for me, so I would at least exchange gifts with one of them.

I've said that I would not do the charity thing this year. And I probably won't, even if the money situation is better. I'm just not that into it.

And that leaves my family, and my mom doesn't seem as upset as she did. We usually draw names and get one person something that's about thirty dollars. And then we also bring a five dollar gift for something that is usually called the Chinese gift exchange. (That's when someone opens a gift, and then maybe someone else "steals" it, and then the first person opens another gift.) The "stealing" bit is a lot of fun, but there are only six of us. My brother and I think that instead of drawing names for the thirty dollar gifts, we should each bring two of the five dollar gifts for the "stealing" bit. So that would save us all about twenty-five dollars and be more fun anyway. My brother thinks that we are all adults, and we don't really need the thirty dollars gifts, cause if those are things we really want we've probably already got them.

I think that he's right.

Anyway, when Black Friday came, I didn't have as much money as I would have liked to spend, but I didn't think that I had as much to buy either. I was only spending twenty or so on my family, and almost none on my friends, and none on the charity.

Still, for the past few years, I've been going to Walmart early on Black Friday to buy jeans (two or three three for myself), a small appliance (for myself), and several DVDs (some for the charity, some for friends and family, and some for myself). Except for the DVDs, there usually isn't that much on my Christmas list that is worth getting out at four or five in the morning for. But I've long had the tradition of buying stuff I needed for myself, like underwear and a crock pot.

Except for the toys, I wonder if anyone is actually buying the Black Friday stuff for other people. I mean, who gives away giant TVs for Christmas? And, if your family has enough money to give away giant TVs, is saving a hundred dollars or so worth standing in that really long line, possibly all night?

I do not have enough money for a giant TV, and on Black Friday I always wait at least an hour for the really crazy people to get done shopping. But if I ever did have the money for a giant TV and cared enough about it to wait in that long line to get it, the giant TV is going in my living room, and it's going to stay in my living room. I'm certainly not buying three or four TVs to give to friends and family.

Anyway, this year, I went to Walmart at five or so in the morning and found a mostly empty parking lot. I didn't need a small appliance, I couldn't find the jeans I wanted, so that only left looking through the DVDs.

I wish I'd had the money. I hadn't seen anything that interesting in the ad, but once I got there I found complete seasons of Supernatural, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, Fringe, and The Big Bang Theory. If I had bought everything I wanted, that would have been about two hundred dollars, and that's before buying extras for friends. I didn't have two hundred dollars. I ended up spending about twenty, and I haven't yet decided if I will keep them or give them away.

Next I stood in line at Half Price Books, not quite an hour early, so that I could get a five dollar gift card and have a chance at getting $100. I didn't get the $100, but with the $5 and a coupon I got one of the Chinese exchange gifts.

Next, I bought calendars with coupons in them, a few dollar DVDs at Best Buy, and then headed to another Walmart. I found the jeans there and bought two. Again I looked at the DVDs, but didn't buy more. I had a bit of money left, but I just couldn't decide how to spend it. Which season of Supernatural is the best? Season two maybe? Is that better than any seasons of Stargate Atlantis? Or Fringe? I just couldn't choose.

I think that might be it for the Christmas shopping, except for one or two more Chinese exchange gifts, a gift card, some candy and other food, and maybe some yarn if I knit a few more things. I think I'm done.

This year is probably going to be dull.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Two paychecks from being homeless

It has been a while since I posted anything. There were a couple of things I wanted to write about that turned out to be very long projects, and somehow, I just never got around to writing them. And then I missed blogging about a couple of trips I took (and a few trips that I wanted to go on but missed). And then there were a few more things that I meant to write but somehow didn't.

I guess this just isn't my routine anymore. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and actually have something to do. Or, sometimes, I manage to get back to sleep for another hour or so. Or, maybe, I wake up early and watch whatever it was that I missed on TV the night before.

Mostly, not being obsessed with the blog is a good thing. Last month I actually had time to both get the house clean before the bug guy came and put up about half of the Halloween stuff. And I wasn't even home all of the time, having gone on a trip to middle of nowhere Texas and attempted to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Still, I have forgotten to blog about a few things, and I regret that. It's good that right now I don't feel the need to bitch about every little thing that happens to me, but I like to look back and see what I did the year before and other things that I would like to look up, but I can't do that now, cause I didn't bother to write anything down.

Okay, so the big thing that I have to write down now is not our little trip to Houston, but I will talk about that for a bit. Earlier there was a planned trip to Houston, which was scheduled and then unscheduled and then rescheduled, but I got sick and didn't get to go. I really wanted to go. We had paid for a room in Webster, a bit south of Houston, about half an hours drive from Galveston, and if I had gone there would have been many trips to the beach and probably long soaks in a hot tub. But I didn't get to go then, and this trip didn't seem to be as good, being on the north side of Houston and much to far away for morning trips to the beach. But we could at least spend Sunday afternoon in Galveston, and I always have this thought that I shouldn't turn down any trips to places I like, no matter how dull I expect most of the trip to be, it might be my last chance to go for a while.

And I think maybe this is it, no more trips, even mostly boring ones.

The big news this week is that the company my husband works for was bought by another company. The second company is one that my husband has worked for before, two or three times, so we already know what to expect. More work, less pay, and no insurance.

The holiday season is already a tough time for us, not only because of the extra expenses that most people have, but also because of the expected two or three weeks off with no pay. But most years we have thought that if we didn't do anything too stupid that it would all be okay again by February. This year we don't think that it will all be okay again, and that if he even still has a job it will be with a much smaller paycheck.

So half of the time my husband talks of gloom and doom, and half the time he acts as if things are really good, and we go out and spend too much on lunch. I rather think that we should start getting used to peanut butter sandwiches, but I don't argue with him, and we go out and eat seafood or barbecue instead.

The new company is saying that no one should worry, and that there will be no major changes until 2012.

Like we can't all look at the calendar and figure out how soon 2012 will be here.

So I don't know what we are going to do. It will be a while before we learn anything useful.

A few weeks ago I was happy that we had been able to pay off one of the cars a few months early. And then we had to pay for some car repairs. And now this.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Are there any real people who work at eBay?

I don't think so. If there are, they are a bit dim. And how do you get to talk to a real person at eBay?

Okay, so I've already written about buying a bootleg Star Trek Voyager dvd from a seller I don't believe knew that it was bootleg. And I was going to give the seller neutral feedback, but after talking to a few people it was decided that positive feedback was okay, as long as I still said that item was not as described and probably bootleg.

Here's what I wrote:
probably BOOTLEG, probably NOT seller's fault, offered refund, early shipping

It's hard to write what I'm trying to say in the limited less than one hundred characters we are given to write feedback, but I think that I got it all in this time, and still managed to say something nice about seller and that it really was supposed to be positive feedback.

This is a message that I got from eBay yesterday, after I had already told the seller that I would keep the item, and after I'd already left positive feedback.

MC015 Security notice: eBay listing removed
From: eBay
Sent: Jul-04-11 01:56 PM

eBay sent this message to (buyer).
Your registered name is included to show this message originated from eBay. Learn more.
MC015 Security notice: eBay listing removed

Hello buyer,

We're writing to let you know that this listing for an item you won or bid on is no longer available:


We understand this may be disappointing, but occasionally we need to remove listings. In some cases, the item itself is fine, but was listed in a way that didn't follow eBay's guidelines.

Here's what you can do next:

-- If you already paid, received your item, and you're satisfied, please disregard this notice.
-- If you won the item but haven't paid, don't pay. Since eBay removed the listing, you're no longer obligated to go through with the transaction.
-- If you already paid for this item through eBay, and it's past the estimated delivery time, you can open a case in our Resolution Center. Click the link below, and select the "I haven't received it yet" option. This will guide you through the process of opening a case.

If the seller offers you the item outside of eBay, we strongly discourage you from accepting the offer. These types of transactions are extremely risky and aren't covered by eBay buyer protection programs.

If you didn't pay through eBay or PayPal, and:
-- You paid by Western Union or MoneyGram, contact the company directly (Western Union 800-325-6000 or MoneyGram 800- 926-9400).
-- You paid by check, contact your bank to stop payment.



To learn more about eBay Buyer Protection, please visit:

I can only guess that I set some automated thing in motion when I checked a box that said counterfeit item, or whatever it was. But shouldn't there be some real person somewhere reading the feedback before sending out this stuff?

Wonder if I should write seller an apology?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Great Minds Think Alike

On Buddy's first birthday, I was invited to a party. They made a big deal of it. He was surrounded by just about everyone he knew as the traditional picture of trying to eat cake was taken. He was presented with every age appropriate toy on the market.

The following Christmas, there seemed no point in getting him anything, as he received just about everything I could think of already for his birthday. Still, his grandparents managed to find a few toys that he didn't already have. I don't remember getting him anything.

For his second birthday, I don't remember them doing much of anything, and I don't remember getting him anything. As it turns out, his birthday was celebrated in combination with some other event, to which I was not invited. So that explains why I don't remember it.

The following Christmas, I didn't think that he needed anymore toys, even if I could have found something not already given to him by one of his grandparents. I knit hats for both him and his little sister. I was surprised that he seemed happy with it and wore it the rest of the day in the house.

For his third birthday, I did not expect to be invited to a party, but I thought that I would get him something anyway, if I found something I thought that he'd like. While shopping on eBay, I found just the thing. Benji. I used to like that movie when I was younger. And I found a dvd with three other stories that I don't remember seeing. It sounded like a good deal, and I ordered it.

The week before Buddy's birthday, while I was waiting for the dvd to come in the mail, I get invited to a party put together at the last minute. It isn't going to be the big deal that the first one was, and I would have to miss out on something else that I'd already planned. But, I decided not to miss Buddy's birthday. He doesn't speak a lot of complete sentences, but he does know everyone's name, and he knows who is missing and asks about them. It is usually men who are missing, and we usually tell him "he's at work." I have no such excuse.

The day before the party, the dvd had not yet appeared, and might still not come in the mail for another week. That didn't matter before, when he either wasn't having a party, or wasn't celebrating with a bunch of adults. I'd just give him the gift later.

But now that there was a party, I'd rather be there with something for him to unwrap. And it was too late for me to go in with someone else and buy something nice. Not that I'd know what that should be anyway. He sort of has five grandparents, and they buy him a lot of stuff.

While at a nearby store buying groceries, I found a slip and slide. Okay, not really a slip and slide, some rival company, but you get the idea. Also there were small blow-up pools made to look like turtles and such. I called his mother, and she said that she did not really want a pool that looked like a turtle. They already had something similar, and they didn't use it much because it was such a hassle to empty the pool later, and you can't leave even a small pool with water unattended. But the slip and slide sounded like a good idea.

So I gave him a slip and slide. Just after that was all wrapped up and ready to go, the Benji dvd arrived in the mail. Oh, well. Benji can be a Christmas present.

Yesterday, we all went to dinner. I asked if Buddy'd had a chance to try out the slip and slide.

Out comes his dad's phone, with pictures. "He ended up with two of them, but we decided to keep them both. Everything breaks eventually, and he'll already have a spare."


"It's broke," Buddy said.

"Yes," his dad said. "He gets stuff handed down from cousins who don't need it anymore. Both the other kids used stuff for years, but he gets it and it's broke a week or two later."


His mother then tells me that the thought of the Benji dvd was appreciated, but it turns out that they already have that one. His Aunt K already got it for him.

I think Aunt K must have also got him the other slip and slide. She wasn't at the party, and they were planning to see her somewhere else the next day.

I hope that Aunt K doesn't knit.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Moral dilemmas on eBay

Okay, if you've been reading, you know that I've spent too much money on eBay in the past two or three months, and you know I've had some problems with plants being shipping too late in the season, or just being shipped bad plants, or whatever.

Okay, I'm having another problem and would like to hear opinions from others. I bid on Star Trek Voyager seasons 1 and 7. Not seasons 1 thru 7, but just the first one and the last one. I thought that was an odd combination to have in an auction, but I bid on it anyway. I stopped bidding at seventeen dollars, and someone else won.

I guess the someone else didn't really want it, and I got a second chance offer. So I bought two seasons of Voyager for seventeen dollars plus three dollars shipping. And it arrived two or three days later, sooner than I expected.

The package was smaller than I expected. I've seen Voyager seasons before, and they are in plastic things that take up space. These were in cardboard boxes that had the same artwork.

So that was odd. Either I got really nice looking bootlegs, or there's some sort of new "green" packaging that I wasn't aware of.

I asked the seller about it. Seller didn't know.

I did stuff like Google--Star Trek Voyager cardboard box. I found a lot of unhappy people talking about bootleg copies of Voyager. Not bootleg copies in general, bootleg copies of Voyager in particular, mostly on Amazon. Like, most, if not all, Voyager for sale on Amazon turn out to be fake.

I thought at first I had somehow lucked out and either got a really good fake, or maybe the real disks in a fake box? The first disk was just fine.

Only the second disk, not so much.

Third, fourth, and fifth disks also have problems.

But, I have this used divx player, and I can still watch most of them.

So now I have to decide what to do about feedback on eBay.

Now, I don't really think that this particular seller is a crook. I don't think that seller has boxes and boxes of fake dvds to sell. I haven't seen anything else like this in the past month or so, and I didn't find anything like that listed now. Also, seller would refund my money (shipping was not discussed).

I don't really think that I'll take the refund. Someone, probably me or the seller, is going to get stuck with this copy. I don't think that either of us deserves to be out money, much less any more money for return postage. I at least have the divx player so that I can watch most of the disks.

Still, I think that I should report the bootleg dvds, at least in feedback. I think, just in case I'm wrong and seller has more bootleg Voyager to sell later, I should warn buyers. I don't want to leave negative feedback for someone who a.) probably didn't do this on purpose, and b.) would offer a refund. But I'm also thinking that no one reads the positive feedback, except the seller. Buyers just look at the number of positive feedback and then go read the negative and maybe the neutral.

I'm thinking of leaving neutral feedback, saying it is bootleg, but then giving seller high marks and a nice comment about the shipping.

What do you think I should do?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More drama about the trees

Okay, I've now cut down most of two trees and a large bush. To finish cutting down the two trees I either need a chain saw or an axe. I have access to a chain saw, but I'm afraid to use it, and I do not have the clothing made to protect myself from accidentally sawing through an arm or a leg, and I'm not sure that there is proper safety equipment for protecting fingers. So I think that the chain saw is out, and I should acquire a big axe. Or, at least, a normal sized axe, as opposed to the current small axe with the twelve inch handle.

I'm getting warnings that I should not be much safer with an axe, but I would feel safer. My plan is to first try to borrow one, but if that doesn't work by next week I will probably end up buying one.

But I'm not really that worried about those trees now. Most of the current hassles are about the little fruit trees I bought on eBay.

As I have mentioned earlier, I saw a five-in-one pear on eBay. After I won that bid, I also bought two Stella cherries and a five-in-one apple from the same seller, to make good use of the combined shipping discount. So I ended up spending about thirty-five dollars on the plants themselves, plus shipping, which then came to about fifty-two dollars.

The trees were all supposed to be dormant. They weren't. The cherries were dormant. The cherries were thin little twigs that arrived dormant and have now grown into healthy little plants. I think that they are to small to be of much help to me, and after next winter they may decide that Texas is not to their liking and not bloom and never have fruit. If they do fruit it will be years and years from now, as they are just too small, and not a season or two away from having fruit as in the plant description. But I really have no serious complaints about the cherries. For an extra five bucks and two dollar shipping, I thought that it was worth trying.

The other two trees were different. It's odd to get such different quality stuff from the same seller. Again, the trees were smaller than I expected. Not really smaller than described, but the smaller than I had pictures in my head from buying bare root trees in local stores. They were just thinner than I had imagined, and I wonder how you can have a healthy graft on something as small as the pear. The pear had leaves all up and down the plant, in about twelve places. It didn't look like I'd expected a five-in-one pear to look like. I wondered if I got a single variety pear by mistake. And plants that already have leaves usually don't like being sent in the mail, and they especially don't like it in May or June in Texas, it's just too hot. So the plant looked quite limp and sick. The apple looked a bit better, but it only had three sets of leaves at the top. Again, not the dormant plant described, and not what I expected a five-in-one apple tree to look like. And while the roots of the cherries were still moist, the apple and pear were maybe just a bit damp.

I gave all the plants water, and having almost no planting instructions (other than to plant with the burlap on), I kept the trees inside for three days, thinking that water and air-conditioning would help the plants recover, as I'd been instructed to do that with some other plants I'd bought from someone else.

In three days the cherries were starting to grow, and you could tell that they were in fact dormant trees instead of dead sticks. The apple looked about the same. The pear had lost leaves and the remaining leaves were turning black.

I suspected that in it's weakened condition the pear had caught fire blight. I wasn't sure if there was anything wrong with the apple, just that it wasn't thriving like the cherries. I put all four trees outside in part shade. I worried that it might be too hot for them, but I knew that other plants I've kept inside for more than three days suffer.

The cherries immediately improved and started to grow leaves. The pear turned even more black. The apple did not appear to change at all.

I gave up after a few days of this and complained to the seller. The seller said this was all normal, and that the leaves would grow back.

Another week went by, and the pear was totally leafless and black. The apple was starting to dry out. Again I sent a message to the seller, who again said this was normal and that the leaves would be replaced. If I would do a scratch test I'd be able to see that the plants were still alive.

Okay, the plants were still a bit green on the inside. But I still think that they are dying, and that if they don't actually die at least parts of the plants I wanted are probably dead. The rootstock might still be alive, it might grow more leaves at some point, but the leaves weren't going to grow back where they had been. The grafted parts were probably dead, and I'd never get five kinds of pears or five kinds of apples.

I sent another message to the seller, asking that I not be required to mail back dead plants for my refund. Proof of death could be provided with photographs. I just wanted my money back, and if I got it that day or the next day I'd still leave positive feedback. I thought if I worded it just right, that I'd get my money (except for the cherries, which were still small but healthy), and that would be the end of it. Otherwise I'd file a complaint.

Instead I got an offer of new plants. According to the seller, the new plants had been kept in a cooler and were just starting to have buds. And I would get them soon, possibly Tuesday.


I did not get the plants Tuesday, and I did not get the plants Wednesday, but they did arrive Thursday. And they came in a big tube, and I imagined that they had sent me bigger plants to make up for the hassle.

The apple was about the same as the first one, only this one has four sets of leaves. Leaves. Not dormant, not just budding out, leaves.

The pear was just budding out, and it was a bit larger than the first pear, but it already had blight, right there in the tube. At least, I think it is fire blight, cause it's a pear. My husband thinks that it is freezer-burn, cause it's been in a cooler. Whatever it is, it's making the leaves black and curled up.

I sent the seller another message, and again the seller says this is normal. Trees just look like that when they start to bud out.

Well, that has not been my experience before. My experience is that if it looks like blight then it's probably blight.

Anyway, on my eBay account I noticed something about the deadline for dispute resolution being on the twenty-seventh. There's no way that I'd have healthy plants by then. I've thinking that I should complain, just to get an extension. So I started doing that, though I'm supposed to be checking little boxes, and the little boxes don't really fit my situation. I finally settle for "item not as described" as I think that is the main problem, that the seller didn't originally send dormant plants, and now it is just too late and too hot to have healthy plants sent in the mail. And I would never have started this whole thing if the ad wasn't for dormant plants.

Then there are more boxes, and a place to describe the problem in more detail, and at the end you are asked if you want a full refund, if you want a replacement item, or other. I check other, and write that I want a refund if the plants die.

To be on the safe side I send two complaints, one for the pear and one for the apple. And eBay says someone will contact me by July 2. And I figure that will be good, because that will give me another week to see if the plants are going to die, and then I can say for sure that I want a refund, or maybe they really will get better and I'll just keep them.

Except I guess that at least part of this process is automatic, and the seller says I can have a refund if I send the plants back by the June 28. Only now I have to send back four plants instead of two. And while I just found it annoying and an unnecessary expense to ship back dead plants, sending back live plants is a problem for me. This will probably kill the plants. I don't really like to kill plants.

On the other hand, if I pack them well enough and they don't die, I'm now thinking they'll probably be sold to someone else.

This sucks that I'm supposed to do this by the 28th. I was thinking that I'd complain and get an extension. From the 27th to the 28th isn't much of an extension.

But most of the time I think that mailing the plants back and getting some of my money would be better than keeping these two plants, as I can't imagine that either one would actually grow into five-in-one fruit trees, and one of them has fire blight or something that looks like fire blight.

I just feel bad.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wasting my time for mom

My mother called last Saturday and asked for a favor. I don't mind doing my mom a favor. I just don't see that I should have to waste the whole day to do it.

My day went something like this:

I get out of bed and do the usual stuff while I wait for my husband to get out of bed. This doesn't take as long as usual, because on Saturday he has to work earlier than most other days. So I read the "news" on Yahoo while he takes a shower. I don't have a bath right then, there isn't time, but that's okay, cause I had a bath just before going to bed the night before. I brush my teeth and get dressed.

He is soon dressed and such, and we go get a McSomething for breakfast. We then come back home, make sure that he has everything he needs for the day, pack his lunch, etc.... He leaves at about 8.

I water the plants and look at a few things on eBay. At almost 9 I still haven't had a bath. I figure that I should get a few more things done outside before I do that. I'm still trying to remove two trees from the backyard, and I've cut down a large bush in the front yard, so I have this almost daily chore of cutting branches down into smaller pieces and tying them up for removal. There's not much point in taking a bath before I get this done, as I would just need another bath after.

I'm thinking that before I do any really hard work (and getting really sweaty and really needing that bath) I should go to Home Depot. In my head I start organizing my day. I'll go to Home Depot first, while I'm still clean, and buy string and check for clearance paint and lumber in the scrap pile. If I find lumber, that will be a lot of work, work results in sweat, things that result in sweat should be done before taking a bath. So Home Depot first. Then the rest of the outdoor work. Then the bath. Then lunch. Then indoor work that will probably not result in sweat. Then at some point I'll probably go to my brother's place. Then after all of that I might need another bath before bed, just because it's June and it's Texas and it's hot, even if you don't do that much stuff that usually results in sweat.

So at just about 9 I have a mental schedule of my day in my head, and I'm getting my keys out so I can go, and just before I leave the phone rings.

My mother doesn't feel well. She hasn't felt well all week and should probably have gone to the doctor earlier. But she didn't do that, she waits till Saturday to decide she needs a doctor, and she can't see her regular doctor on Saturday so she'll have to go to the minor emergency clinic type place.

Seeing someone other than her regular doctor probably isn't going to do much good, but she has decided that she really needs to go, and she has insurance that will pay, so she's going. She wants me to drive her to the clinic.

The clinic is right next to the Home Depot. Not only do I not mind doing my mother a favor, this happens to be where I'm going anyway. And I now feel better about the plan to go there, as earlier I'd wondered if it was a waste of gas just to go looking for clearance stuff. I could probably get the string someplace else.

My mother doesn't want to leave right away. She wants to take a bath first.

My mother is one of those people who always takes a bath first, even before going to the doctor. The is because a.) having a bath almost always feels good, and b.) my mother is one of those people who thinks that when you feel bad you should get up anyway and do all the stuff that you would have done if you felt good, and maybe while you're doing that you'll sort of forget that you feel bad. So maybe having a bath would really make her feel better, and maybe she'd stop feeling bad and not even need to go to the clinic.

But I'm thinking that she's sick and that she really does mean she's just going to take a bath first. I know that on a normal day (when she is not sick and asking for something other than a ride to the doctor) that the delay is going to be two or even three hours, and that I should say no, or that I should agree to whatever she's asking only if we have a set time later in the day and I can get my work done first. Usually, if she wants to do something at 9 she won't really want to go anywhere til 11 or 12. But I'm thinking that she's sick and that she's not going to be putting on makeup and doing her hair and such, or whatever it is that she does for those two or three hours. I'm thinking that she's literally going to take a bath and brush her teeth and get dressed and comb her hair, and that she'll be calling me back at about 9:30.

So I agree. My mother is sick, and I'll do her a favor, but it is early in the day and I'll probably still have time to do some of the stuff I'd planned to do before lunch.

I don't take a bath myself. All of the earlier reasoning and plans still apply, I'm just delaying for half and hour or so. And I don't even know if it's going to take that long. She's sick, she might be in a hurry, and she might call back very soon.

I watch TV for about half an hour.

I remember that there's stuff in the car that can't be in the car if I'm to have a passenger. The bag of clothes that I keep intending to drop off at Goodwill is still in the front seat. The stuff I bought at the garage sale two weeks ago is still in the back seat. Other stuff is in the floor. I've totally forgotten about it. I never have passengers. I just don't think about it anymore.

I run outside and look at the mess. A lot of it is junk that I don't really know what to do with. Some it is actual trash that needs to be thrown away. But I don't have time to sort it out. My mom needs me, and she'll be calling soon. I get a container, shovel everything in that I can, dump everything on the living room floor, and take the container back to the car and shovel in more stuff.

I find some glasses of the prescription before this one. I had wondered where those were. And here they were in a hard case in the front seat of my car, most days inches away from me, unseen. But I don't have time to do anything other than notice what they were and shovel them into the container. Then I take the container into the house and put it on the living room floor.

Okay, that was work. Not a lot of work, but it was starting to get warm outside. So the result of working outside when it is warm is--sweat. I don't like it. It isn't much sweat, but I don't like it. I haven't planned to have a bath this early, but now I want one. I decide that I can't have one, there isn't time. I have a Coke and watch more TV. The sweat dries up and probably isn't noticed by anyone but me. I don't think that I smell bad or anything. I remember to check the answering machine just in case my mom called in those few minutes that I was outside making sweat. Nothing. I go back to watching TV.

Sometime later I notice that it is about 11. I am sort of halfway mad at my mom and halfway wondering if her guts exploded and she's bleeding to death on the bathroom floor. Maybe I should call her.

But, she does finally call me. She is ready. She wanted to call and make sure I was still at home before she called the clinic.


She calls back. There's about a two hour wait at the clinic. But, she has heard that before, and she knows that she can "sign in" online, and that she can wait at home for the clinic to call just before it is her turn.

Okay, so I've just wasted two hours of my day because I thought she was really sick and needed to go to the clinic. But she wasn't that sick or she would have wanted to go at 9 or 9:30. And now I find out that she can do something online to reduce the time in the waiting room, but she didn't think that it was important enough to do that earlier, so there's probably going to be another two hours of waiting.

I don't ask her why she didn't do this online thing as soon as she got out of the tub, but that is what I'm wondering.

She says that she'll call back.

I still haven't had that bath. I still haven't done any work, other than getting all that stuff out of my car. And I can't either do my outside work or have a bath, because she thinks that it might be a while before she calls, but she doesn't really know that for sure. And I really don't want to start anything else that I would have to stop in the middle and/or put things away if she called.

I'm thinking that I should eat something. In my earlier mental schedule of the day, I either got things done well before lunch, or if I had taken mom to the clinic when I imagined she might have got done right about lunch time and we might have had lunch together. But now if I have lunch with mom it will be after noon, or even after 1, or even later than that. So I have some soup, and that way I won't starve, but I can still have lunch later with mom if she wants to do that.

While I'm heating up the soup she calls back, and says that she feels better. She still wants to go to the clinic, but she thinks that she feels up to driving by herself. She suggested that I go on and do whatever it was that I was going to do, and then if I get done in time I can drive her after, but if I don't get done in time she'll go by herself.

No, either I am driving her or I'm not. I'm not going to drive to Home Depot, buy stuff, take it home, pick up my mother, drive back to the Home Depot, and then wait for a hour or so. If she isn't sure she can drive, I will just wait some more.

She's sure. I go and eat my soup.

Before I finish my soup, she has changed her mind and calls back to ask if I can still drive her to the clinic. Since I haven't left yet, that's okay.

I go back to watching TV. I can't see getting anything useful done while I'm waiting for her to call. And I still haven't had a bath, cause I don't know for sure when she's going to need me. It will probably be still another hour, but it might not be.

She calls back and asks if I could come to her house and wait with her. Sure.

It is about 1 when I get to her house. The clinic calls not long after that. I drive my mom to the clinic. I know where I'm going, but she complains that I'm taking the wrong street. I'm driving. This is the street I'm driving on. This is the way I drive to Home Depot. The clinic is right next to the Home Depot. They have the same parking lot and everything.

Mother is still explaining how her way is faster when we get to the clinic. I am distracted a bit. Someone else doesn't stop at the four-way stop sign. He didn't hit us. Clearly his fault if he did, but I rather not be hit just the same. And I'd rather not have someone in the passenger seat talking about directions, especially to a place we're already at.

My mom gets out of the car, and I drive a bit closer to Home Depot before parking.

I decide against the scrap lumber and the clearance paint. I wonder if there had been more stuff available at 9.

I wander around the store looking at odd things I have no intention of buying anytime soon. I just need to kill some time while the doctor is talking to mom.

I think an hour passed. That's long enough I think. I head to the clinic.

Mom isn't anywhere I can see. I sit down. Someone puts in The Blind Side dvd. After a while mom calls my cell phone. She's waiting on an X-ray or something. I watch about half of the movie while I wait.

At about 3 my mom is done with her doctor visit. I think that it was a waste of time. She has a stack of papers of tests she should have in the future and such. I don't think that they did anything to make her feel better that day, except to tell her to take some over the counter meds that she already had at home. She does get sick like this a lot. Probably these suggested tests are things that have been done in the past. They probably aren't going to learn anything this time that they didn't already know from last time.


But now that's she's seen a doctor, and they did not rush her to the hospital to have some test that's supposed to be done on an empty stomach, and they told her it was okay to eat something if she felt like it, I thought we'd be either rushing to someplace for lunch or at least rushing to the grocery store. But she doesn't seem in a hurry to do either. There were coupons at the clinic for Chick-fil-A, cause there is one in the same shopping center, so she decides to go there.

After we order our food she remembers that she should take some tablet before eating, and she can't find any in her purse. They sell them at Target, also in the shopping center, and if she'd thought of it she could have bought some earlier. It isn't that far, and I volunteer to go get some.

So I walk to Target and buy her some pills. When I get back she's going on about how she didn't think that I meant to walk. But it isn't that far, and it's less trouble than moving the car again.

So she thanks me and pays for my lunch and I take her home. It is nearly 4 now. There's no point in doing anything before going to my brother's place. Except when I got home I did finally have a bath.

I said something like she couldn't have really been that sick if she felt like waiting two hours to do her hair. She disagreed. Or, she should have at least signed in online before she did her hair. Again, she disagreed.

She just doesn't seem to get it.

When I got home I found that I had dropped the missing glasses and they were on the side of the street. I had run over them. The case is ruined, but it seems like the glasses themselves might be fixed. I think that they just need some adjusting.