Blog from the Hill

Red Sky in the Morning


January 16, 2021

I saw on the news, this morning, that people 65 and older and those with co-morbidity will be able to get the Covid-19 Vaccine in NC starting in February. That will enable both Becky and me to get the shots. That relieves some of my tension.

Shortly after that, I called Ingles Pharmacy to see if we could get our second Shingles vaccine, and did we need a reservation for it. While I was waiting to speak with the Pharmacist, I heard that I could get online and register for the Covid-19 vaccine. The answer from the pharmacist was, "Come in anytime for the Shingles vaccine." Then I got online with Ingles and registered Becky and myself for the Covid-19 vaccine. Now that we are registered, when Ingles Pharmacy gets the vaccine, they will start calling those of us on the list and set up appointments for us to come in and get the vax. That relieved even more tension.

Then we drove to Suzanne's and ate a good lunch of Turkey Chili, Guacamole, and stuffed olives, followed by four rousing hands of Mah Jongg (Suzanne, 2; Me, 2; Becky, 0). Becky wants another rematch, because this one didn't end well for her.

January 15, 2021

Beware the Ides of January!

Well, they weren't so bad, this year. I got the laundry done that had been deferred from Wednesday, then I went to Sams to replenish my vitamine supply, then to the drug store to purchase the wrong kind of toothpaste (again), as well as some chewable caramel candies. All in all, I did pretty well, and will try to find the correct tooth paste whenever Becky goes into the store with me to point it out.

I played around with camera placement, today, to see if putting the camera anywhere but on the top of the monitor would be any better. It won't. The old camera on my Windows computer is below face level, and looks up my nostrils, and the new camera on my Linux computer makes it look like I am looking down all the time because it is a little too far above my eye level for reading. Maybe if I had the script on the screen instead of at desk level it would look better. I'll see what I can do about that.

January 14, 2021

I read a post on fakebook that said today is the Day of the Donkey (Hee-Haw). I have not verified it, but if every dog has its day, why not donkeys, too?

After Becky's shots, this morning, which have been boosted from the beginners' blend to the continuing concoction, we came home, ate a hurried lunch and waited for the arrival of the AC Installers. They came a little after noon, had the old parts taken out by 1pm, and finished installing the new parts shortly after 4pm. In the process, they repositioned the outdoor pad on which the condenser sits. Apparently "Code" has changed since the old one was installed and it was required to be further from the hours than before. Additionally, they cut the vines from the side of the house so that they might not grow into and through the condenser. They did a wonderful job, reprogrammed the thermostat so that it will not try to start the now-non-existant heat pump.

Early this morning, I was contacted by the man who reads Compline on Thursday evenings. He asked if I would be able to substitute for him this evening, and I said I would. With 30 minutes to spare, I started testing fakebook live, and two out of three tests with my main computer and new camera failed the same way as last Monday, which is that when I clicked Go Live, the camera was switched off. The other test passed, but upon going live, the camera turned off, then back on. I then turned on my backup computer (Windows-10) and tested with the older camera, and both tests passed, again turning the camera off and back on. As a result, we used the Windows computer and old camera and were successful in reading the Order of Compline.

January 13, 2021

Friday the 13th came on Wednesday this month!

The technician came to do maintenance on our HVAC today, and said that the AC coils were corroded and leaking coolant. We had received that same news last Summer when the tech was here, so I decided to be proactive and replace them before they fail next Summer. I asked him if he could send us an estimate. He did better than that, and sent us an Estimator!

About half an hour later, the Estimator and an Estimator Trainee arrived, went under the house, asked us why we had a hybrid system of AC and a heat pump, then measured the HVAC plant, took about 20 photos, then took a few minutes to write up an estimate. He said to replace the old hybrid/AC would cost $5,600+, but if we wanted to switch to AC only, it would cost only $4,700+. He also said that it would save money to operate it, and be more comfortable in non-freezing Winter weather, also. We opted for straight AC and said BYE to the heat pump.

When Becky mentioned her allergies, he suggested a new air filtration using to eliminate dust, dust mites and other allergens. We added that to the contract, and will pay it off on time, with the first 18 months being interest-free, and we have the option to pay it off at any time with no penalties. Who could refuse? The installer will come tomorrow at noon.

January 12, 2021

After my blow-up with "Fakebook" for preventing me from broadcasting Compline last night, I had an email discussion with our Church Secretary concerning the missing Tuesday evening Officiant. Apparently she didn't get my email after the second time she (Ms. Tuesday N. Absentia) missed. However, during the discussion, I tried again to post a video on the church's Business Facebook page, and after the third attempt, I was successful. This time, though my camera was not switched off, but I got a message saying "Cannot Start Live Video" and instructing me to try again. I reported my success to the Secretary, who relayed it to Ms. Absentia, and I was left with the impression that the missing Officiant would try again.

Well, she didn't try again, at least not tonight. I suspect she and her husband don't know much about computers. It makes me wonder why they volunteered for the position. Perhaps she ambition to be a part of ministry clouded her understanding that it would be done by computer.

January 11, 2021

Facebook is now Censoring Church Accounts!

Normally, on Monday nights, I would be commenting about Bible Study in the morning, and maybe mentioning Compline in the Evening.

There was NO COMPLINE tonight, even though I tried several times to broadcast it. As soom as I clicked Go Live on the church's facebook site - a Business Facebook account - initiating the start of the broadcast, my webcam was switched off. I tried three times, and each time it was switched off, and not by me, either.

I logged into my personal facebook page and was able to broadcast a brief video describing the failure to broadcast on the Church's page, and Grace Church's former Deacon watched it and commented, so I was emboldened by the success, as well as being assured that my computer system was not at fault. Being thus bolstered with success, still on my personal page, I broadcast a video RANT AGAINST FACEBOOK for censoring the church's broadcast. Then I sent a trouble report to facebook describing the problem and, again, accusing them of censorship. 

One of several things may result from my rant and trouble report: 1) nothing at all; 2) facebook will respond to the church and give empty promises that they had nothing to do with it; 3) facebook will delete the church's business page; or, 4) facebook will insist that I not be licensed to broadcast on their business page anymore. Of course, if option 4 is used, then I will have no further use for facebook. Over the past 7 months, the only reason I've kept a facebook account was so that I could broadcast Compline on Mondays for my church.

January 10, 2021

10am, I tuned in to YouTube expecting to find the link to today's church service from Grace Episcopal. It wasn't there - yet. Well, it was 30 minutes before the service was due to start, so I found a fun video to watch that was only 22 minutes long. When that video was over, the link to the service was posted, so I clicked it. I was treated to a slide show of photos of the church, bios of the four candidates for the four empty slots on the Vestry, and other still shots. The service started some 13 minutes later. It was, as usual, a good sermon.

When the service was over, the Congregational Meeting was to start. Actually, it was announced that the Meeting would start at 11:45, but since the service ended at 11:48, obviously THAT didn't happen, at least not on the announced time. I fired up Zoom on my computer and watched the notice that said, "Please wait for the meeting to open." It hadn't opened by noon, and I figured if they had planned to open the meeting at 11:45, 15 minutes after the projected end of the service, but the service started later than the usual 10:25 (prelude usually starts five minutes before the service), I added the eight minutes between then and the actual start, then tacked on the 18 minutes of the late ending of the service, and figured the meeting wouldn't start before 26 minutes after its projected start time...

I lost interest in attending the Congregational Meeting and started trying to play my daily puzzles - which also wouldn't play, just like they didn't yesterday, and I figured that Bill Gates was pissed because people are bad-mouthing his HERO (#45) and disabled those games for spite!

January 09, 2021

When I arose this morning, the temperature was 32 degrees. We might have gotten up to 37 degrees today, but not for long. At 4:40pm, when I left the house to go to the store, it was 34 degrees, and when I left the store 10 minutes later, it was 32 degrees. It will, they say, drop to 27 before the sun rises again to try to warm us again.

I tried to "attend" Compline this evening using my Windows computer, and we could barely hear it, though the volume control was all the way up to 100%. I've got to find my other set of external speakers, because these speakers in the back of the monitor are inadequate for any use.

January 08, 2021

Something has been very odd, today. I felt as though I had not slept last night, though I knew that I had. I tried to awaken about 10am to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, but it felt as though I had been drugged with narcotics. I went back to sleep after shifting the laundry, and when Becky tried to awaken me for lunch, she had to call my name four times before I recognized it and responded by jerking awake violently. I was, as I heard in a movie once, "...dug in like a tick!"

Well, yes it snowed last night, but not the 4-8 inches they had predicted for Asheville. We got more like 2 inches. And, yes it was above freezing and did not accumulate during the day, but instead it melted what had accumulated, remaining wet and cold, the temperature remaining below 40 degrees.

January 07, 2021

This morning, I went to the urologist to finally get the procedure I've been needing for the past year. As often happens, the Nurse/Receptionist found no appointment lested for me. After some investigation she found that while I wasn't scheduled for the procedure, today, I was scheduled for a urine culture, which was to be done at their other office, a block away. She took the specimin and sent it over to the other office to save me a trip. Now I have to wait another two weeks to get the procedure done! If things keep deteriorating the way they have since November, I will be in the ER in a week, unable to void a full bladder!

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

January 06, 2021

Terrorists Attack the Capital Building!

The only other thing I can say today is, "Let the punishment fit the crime!"

January 05, 2021

This morning I drove Becky to get her allergy shots (both of them, this time), then we returned home. When I read my emails that had come in overnight, I found one from Amazon. The delivery they had promised last Sunday, then changed it to Monday, then to Tuesday, they had changed it again, this time to Thursday. After all that, half of the order arrived today (Tuesday). It was the ultrasound cleaner I had ordered.

Naturally, I did not want to wait to try it, so I loaded a sink with two stained coffee cups, a stained Tupperware measuring cup and a stained dishrag, filled it with soapy water, plugged in the power unit to the untrasound cleaner, lowered the transducer into the water and switched it on. Ten minutes later I turned it off, drained the sink and rinsed the contents. The coffee cups are no longer stained, neither is the Tupperware, and the dishrag is cleaner than it has been for 20 years (still darker than its original white and blue). Now I want to try it on the "permanent" stain on my cotton knitted sweater and, at another time, the varnished ovenware.

Once again, the Tuesday Compline officiant was ex-officio. I wonder if she died, or what. Perhaps I'll have to ask her husband.

January 04, 2021

Up at 7am again, because this is trash/recycle pickup day, and I had to get the cans to the street before 8. 

Then it was game time on the computer, and so far this year, I have a perfect record on the Daily Challenge card games. To be fair, I did miss the Expert game the first day, but I tried it again on the 2nd, and I won it. Four days of five different card games each is 20 wins. In december, there were only three card games out of 155 that I didn't win, which is not my best result (I had several perfect months, before), but far from my worst month.

Bible Study, this morning, we discussed the Baptism of Jesus. The question was asked, since Jesus is fully God, why did he need a baptism for forgiveness. The answer, which I was pleased to deliver, is that he is fully Man, as well. Our Rector said that there is probably a reason we didn't know much about the first 30 years of his life, so he may have needed forgiveness as much as any of us does. Then we got into the subject of Confession. Unlike our Roman root, we Episcopalians don't emphasize confession so much. There is, though, a rite of Reconciliation of the Repentant in our Book of Common Prayer, and that is something that Milly has found to be very valuable. (Naturally, I tuned out much of that discussion).

Becky and I read Compline, tonight, but did not sing any part of it, as we had during Advent and on the Fourth Day of Christmas. Today is the Eleventh Day of Christmas, but I felt we had better not get them used to us singine every week. That way, when we do sing again, it will be as welcome as a shower on a dry garden.

January 03, 2021

Becky was still under the weather this morning, so we took her temperature, though she didn't feel warm at all. It was 97.8F, so no fever at all. She started with some Thera-Flu, and sneezed and coughed up until the church service started at 10:30am, but then quieted, participated in the service more than she expected, even sang most of the hymns. Afterward, though, she stayed on the couch while I "attended" the Virtual Coffee Hour. There were four there besides me, and naturally they wanted to know why I had logged in as Bill (& Becky by proxy). I had to explain that she was down with some sinus malady, so naturally they all wished he a speedy return to health.

During the VCH, the conversation turned to the Vaccinations and the priorities for receiving them. One of the women said, since she's 78, she'll be getting it during the second stage. I expressed my dismay that, though they had begun by saying the second stage would take in anyone over 70, but then they changed it to those over 75, cutting me out by a year. However, with Heart Disease, perhaps they'll include me in the 2nd group anyway, unless they change that, too.

Becky and I started watching a movie at noon while we ate lunch. Halfway through lunch (about 10 minutes later) we got a phone call. It wasn't a short call, so when that was over, Becky had three bathroom necessities (related to her system's discharging all the evil - as well as solid waste - as fast as possible, so after the 3rd one, I remarked that at that rate, we wouldn't get to the end of the movie. I had told Suzanne that we wouldn't come up to visit due to Becky being under the weather, but that I would be there after 3pm. At 2:30pm, I put the movie on hold and drove to Suzanne's, delivered the pages she had asked me to print for her (her printer is down for the count) and to pick up some bread she had baked for us. On the way home, I stopped at Publix to get some more tissues, among other things, then returned home by 4:30pm to continue the movie. At 5pm, we were still watching the same movie when another long phone call came in. I think we finally finished the movie about 6:30pm. Not bad for a 97 minute movie!

January 02, 2021

Becky woke up with rampant sinus involvement, today, and has been sneezing and blowing through tissues at a rate we haven't seen since the Quilling convention in Tampa FL a few years back. It's a real hardship not being able to purchase more than two boxes of tissues at a time, but so far I haven't had to make an emergency trip to a second store for another two boxes.

Because of her sinus explosion, though, we delayed our trip to Suzanne's to enjoy some Pistachio Bread and Mah Jongg with her. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day and we can drive up to visit.

January 01, 2021

Happy New Year!

Goodbye to the Year of Covid! Although the virus is still with us and is mutating to become more spreadable, vaccinations are being given, and I feel good about that. We take a flu shot every year, and while the flu, in all of its mutations, is still with us, I have no illusion that Covid will be any different. We will likely take an annual dose and carry on.

Now, though, before you ask, I have again resolved to be irresolute. I figure, since almost nobody keeps New Years resolutions for very long, why make them in the first place? However, the last 20 years, I have held fast to my resolution not to make any resolutions! (Hooray for me, eh?).

In other news, There hasn't been a Compline broadcast from our church for the last three evenings. Lucky for us we have the Book of Common Prayer so we can read it ourselves. I wonder if it will resume, or be cancelled for lack of interest.