...the Elevated Record

Blog from the Hill

April

Happy Birthday Kathryn Smith, my grandmother, born 140 years ago! Also, Happy End of April! As we were talking on the phone with Melinda, this morning, my cell phone rang with a call from our automobile insurance agency. We were almost late with our payment, so rather than lapsing the policy or charging us a late fee, they called to ensure we would pay before next Thursday. After we hung up from Melinda's call, then, we drove to the insurance agency's office and paid the bill, then picked up a couple lottery tickets because who knows, bought some Starbuck's coffee and spent the rest of the day as we have for the last year - "self meditating". BTW, the MegaMillions ticket I bought today was a Mega Disappointment! not a single number matched - just like all the others we've bought this year.

Suzanne called this morning and suggested that we might drive up and help her eat the huge bowl of salad she had. It had started out as a left-over Cobb salad, but the lettuce had become disgusting, so she replaced it with fresh greens, then added olives, both green and Calamato, and some chicken fajita strips and so forth. After taking Becky to Allergy Partners and back, we spend a few hours with Suzanne, munching "salad" and chatting. She was still pretty sore from her second Covid shot, so we did our best to take her mind off the discomfort.

We had nothing to do today, so we rested up from yesterday's marathon romp around the city and viscinity. I know, I could have left this day blank or just skipped it altogether to save screen space, but that isn't exactly my style, so I'll just say, in my best military style, "This Day Intentionally Left Blank."

It was a full day. Becky and I picked up Suzanne and drove her to her appointment with an Immunologist at Allergy Partners, the same time as Becky's allergy shots appointment. Suzanne collected a blood sample kit and then she and I drove to the lab so they could collect blood samples from her - and me, as a control subject. The lab refused to do it, since a) there was no written order for the test, and b) the collection kit was not the lab's collection kit (or at least that's the way I understand the conflict - I don't do well with conflict). Back at Allergy Partners, nobody there seemed to know or understand what was going on, so we, along with Becky, decided it was lunchtime. As we were pulling out of the driveway, Suzanne got a call from Allergy Partners to say that everything had been cleared up, that all she needed was the doctor's order for the test, and the lab would do it. They arbitrarily set up an appointment time with the lab, but we ignored that for the time being and continued toward lunch. After eating, we went back to Allergy Partners, picked up the order, then went back to the lab. They drew Suzanne's blood only - no need for a control draw, which none of us understood anyway. With over an hour and a half remaining before Suzanne's Covid-19 2nd injection, we decided it was best to go to the "Injection Site" and see if they could take us early. We got there at half-past one, and they said it was no problem to take us that early for her 2:30 appointment. After a physician reviewed and approved Suzanne's medical history, she (the physician) administered the shot, after which we drove to a holding area, waited for about 30 minutes before driving off to seek coffee and/or ice cream. We found coffee and desserts at Green Sage, and Suzanne treated us to a very pleasant finish to our previous lunch.

Since it was Monday, I arose early, took the Trash and Recycling bins to the curb, worked the day's crossword puzzle from Washington Post, read through my email messages, then got ready for Bible Study. Ours was the second computer to have logged in, so until the third one came online, we chatted with George and his wife. Rev. Milly was the third to join, and from there it snowballed until we had 14 computers, about 18 attendees, in attendance. It was a good discussion about the Vine and branches. After lunch, I drove Becky to Fairview for her last Laser, Graston, and Chiropractic treatment for the trauma to her right leg and hand. Her leg, by the way, works properly again, but her hand has some tendonitis between the thumb and forefinger and is still painful. We might try a less forefinger intensive mousing system for her computer to see if a more ergonomic tool could lessen the inflammation of the tendon. In the meantime, we have some topical NSAID gel she can use.

Acting on an invitation from our Rector, Rev. Milly, Becky and I dressed in our Sunday best (or whatever would fit our enlarged forms after a year of inactivity) and made our way to the church. We were greeted inside by three very joyous people - the Rector herself, the Verger Lori, and James who reads Compline on Saturday evenings. We were ushered to our reserved seats where we found bulletins and communion wafers in a teacup (but no wine - I KNEW we should have carried our own supply!). Milly and her husband, himself a Minister in the Presbyterian Church, presented the idea to make gift bags to hand out to people begging on street corners. The bags contain a bottle of water, an easy-opening can of soup, some peanut butter, and two cups of applesauce. On the outside of the bag is written, "You are loved," which is also something people need, whether they will admit it or not. After church, we were guests at the new Rye Knot restaurant for Brunch (served only on weekends). There were 18 of us from the church seated at six tables under a canopy. We enjoyed a full meal of an appetizer of Pork Belly and Deviled eggs with winter slaw, then entrees of "Bennys," Eggs Benedict, or as I call them, Benedictine Eggs, which were served with hash-brown potatoes. Naturally, there was more food than could be comfortably consumed, though I did my best to clear it away. We've found our new favorite restaurant for after-church brunch. The owner is a retired sailor, too, which makes it all the more imperative that we frequent the place.

It rained nearly the whole morning, today. We didn't do much other than learning that after tomorrow's service our brunch will be out of doors. I understand we will be in tents, which may or may not be warmed. Becky and I have decided to each get Cesar Salad with an appetizer to share. The appetizer is Pork Belly over Brussels Sprouts. I drooled a bit when I saw the description, and before I moved to Asheville I had never enjoyed Brussels Sprouts, nor had I ever tasted Pork Belly. I can hardly wait.

Happy Lunaversary! After watching the morning news, at about 10:45 Becky asked "When are we going to Cedric's?" It's odd, at first glance that I have to remind her several times about when I'm doing something, why I'm getting ready to leave the house, and so forth, but when we renewed our annual passes to the Biltmore Estate intending to celebrate our Lunaversary at Cedric's Pub, she remembered that with crystal clarity. Upon further consideration, she would remember things that apply to her more readily than something that only applied to me. Anyway, we drove to Biltmore Estate, to Antler Village, parked the car at the place from which we would have to walk the farthest - likely not my wisest move - then made our way slowly to Cedric's. We got there just after 11:00 and learned that the doors would open at 11:30. Once the doors opened, we were seated immediately, got our water and pickles along with the gluten-free menu, and soon decided on our order. Becky ordered Shepherd's Pie, and I opted for the Cuban Sandwich. They were both delicious, of course, and filling. Still, we felt that dessert was in order. Becky had ice cream, and I had the Red Berry Hibiscus Bomb. Naturally, I shared some of my Bomb with Becky, who agreed that it was a good choice.

I drove Suzanne to an appointment with an Infectious Disease doctor who, it turned out, was just as baffled by her condition as all the others. After the appointment, we picked up Becky, who had driven herself to her allergy shots appointment, and we had a good dinner at the Indian Garden restaurant. It wasn't birthday cake and icecream, but we couldn't let Suzanne remain 39 all year.

Since yesterday was so much fun, today I drove Becky to her appointment with Dr. Reilly for more laser and chiropractic treatments. Her hip is working much better, but her hand is remaining stubborn. She has one more treatment to go, and we'll hold out for a miracle on her hand. 

Happy Birthday Suzanne LaCour and George Takei! Unfortunately, George wasn't here to party with us, so Suzanne cancelled the party. Feel better, Suzanne. In actuality, Suzanne was under the weather and that's why the party was cancelled. Instead of partying, I spent a few hours with Elizabeth trying to set up her new computer and transfer files to it from her old one. I think we got the computer set up (but I wouldn't bet on it being as thoroughly done as I imagined it to be).

Normally, when I take Becky for her shots, or chiropractic or laser treatments, I take along my Kindle or at least have my cell phone with me with the Kindle App. Today I left it all at home. Fortunately, I had my billfold with me so I could pay for the lottery tickets. The PowerBall is now up to $90 Million and the Mega Millions is up to $257 Million. I don't have dreams of winning the big money, but a few hundred would be nice once or twice. Naturally, I'm not disappointed when I don't win. It's a lot like playing Bingo, though I will admit that the one time I did play Bingo, I won a can of shaving cream. That was the first year I grew my beard. Were they trying to tell me something?

We "attended" church again this morning on youtube. Again there were several people present in the pews, and again the singing was wonderful. Yeah, I know we are not supposed to sing, though Becky and I sing every Sunday in our homes, all but drowning out the singing that's coming from the television. Afterward, we went to the Virtual Coffee Hour, and again we discussed the small groups (Tabernacles) that each parishioner was supposed to be in. I kept hearing about the wonderful virtual meetings the groups were having, and so far we have had none. Again I was reminded that we were assigned to our Director-of-Music's Tabernacle, and when I related my unanswered email inquiry to him and another to the church's email address, it was suggested we email the Rector directly. Then, later in the afternoon, we got a phone call from one of our Vergers, Lori, and our conversation included that Tabernacles were being invited to attend on specified Sundays, so we discussed our lack of contact from our assigned Tabernacle, and Lori, also, suggested I email the Rector with a cc: to her. Shortly after hanging up from our call, I did just that. within four hours, I received a reply from Rev. Milly with an invitation to attend next Sunday's service in the church and a promise to get our Tabernacle situation straightened out. (Why do I always have to take the gentle route?).

This morning's appointment at AAA Car Care went smoothly. I got there at 8 AM, watched an episode of Property Brothers Forever Homes, and two minutes before the end of the program the car was ready. It cost almost $37, but it got fixed. No more flat-on-the-bottom tire!

I called Discount Tire store today to try to make an appointment to get a tire fixed. It's been leaking for quite a while, and yesterday it was nearly flat. It seems there is only one employee who can answer the phone, and he was likely involved with one customer who had a myriad of questions. Ten minutes later, I hung up. Then I called AAA Car Care. The phone was answered immediately, and five minutes later I had an appointment for the next morning. What good is free lifetime tire service on your Michelin tires if you cannot get an appointment to get the service?

Beware the Ides of April! Again we drove to the clinic for Becky's Allergy Shots, then to Starbucks, the carwash to get rid of the pollen that had coated the car overnight. The rest of the day we rested. We likely wouldn't need to rest so much if we were actually active at any time during the days, but activity is still not being encouraged by the powers that be. We used to go to the gym for exercise, but since most of the inhabitants thereof never followed the rules of wiping down the equipment after use, we're certain that they would also not follow the rules of wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from others. We could walk up and down our hill, but that's so boring, not to mention the 7% grade.

We saw Dr. Reilly this morning. Becky had her Laser, Graston and Chiropractic therapy, while I had only Chiropractic. I had been experiencing siatica for the last week or so, which the doctor was able to confirm and effectively treat. When we left, we were both feeling much better. The rest of the day we spent on the phone, ignoring the calls waiting, or watching television (news, Forged in Fire, whatever).

We left home at 7:30 to drive to Suzanne's house and drive her to her appointment with an immunologist. Her appointment was at 9:15, but we arrived at 8:50. Fortunately, her doctor was early and took her in right away. Instead of her appointment lasting two hours, as predicted, it was about 20 minutes, which gave us over an hour before Becky's appointment in the same building, so we drove Suzanne across the street to the laboratory so they could draw some blood for tests, then I drove Becky back for her appointment because it took longer to draw the blood than anticipated. Once Becky got her shots, we picked Suzanne up and high-tailed it to a restaurant for brunch. It was a very full morning of driving around, refueling the car, and inflating a soft tire. I couldn't believe that it now costs a dollar to inflate a tire!

We started the day with a phone call from Dr. Reilly's office to inform us that he was not going to be in the office today. Our appointment was shifted to tomorrow afternoon, which left the day between Bible Study and Compline free. We took advantage of our free time to take naps and watch some movies, occasionally at the same time.

This Sunday was the 2nd partial congregational presence in the sanctuary of the church. In addition to a stellar presence in the nave, Rev. Milly reported that she was close to tears seeing more than 10 people present for worship. Her sermon, while written before she received the surprise of so many faces to hear it, reflected her overwhelming awe and wonder.

First thing this morning, I changed the MX Linux OS from Plasma to regular in my Asus Laptop, and it was seamless. All I had to do was to reload the apps that don't come pre-loaded in the installation package, and I was good to go. I have been waiting for some incoming information before changing the OpSys on my desktop to 19.4, but I think the surest way to receive it is to go ahead and make the update. I'll keep you posted.

Two days ago I learned that the next update of MX Linux 19 was released, so 19.3 becomes 19.4. What I was unprepared for was that it came in two styles, regular and Plasma. Naturally, wanting the biggest and best of the latest, I installed the plasma in my Asus Laptop. It works fine but looks quite different from what I've been using. I was having trouble doing things that should have been second nature to me, and eventually, I stopped thinking that I would learn, eventually. Still, I attempted to install it in my Toshiba Netbook, and it would not even load the demo, much less run it. I installed the regular version, and that runs well, looks the same as the 19.3 that I've been comfortably using. I will switch my other two computers to MX Linux 19.4 shortly. 

We had our taxes prepared this afternoon. We were amazed to learn that we owed no taxes this year, and our refund even includes the $1,200 that we didn't receive as our second Stimulus. I don't think I have ever owed no taxes, except maybe when I was working in a store for minimum wage ($1,15 per hour - back in the day). That was a good surprise.

I've had quite a day, today. First, Suzanne called to say that her new phone is unable to text to my new phone, though four days ago we had exchanged several texts. I'm sure I didn't change anything on my phone, and she's sure she didn't change anything on her phone, yet something has changed somewhere along the "line". Then I got an email from my brother, Lloyd, who had to send the email from his phone because his computer will not do it. Naturally, one might be inclined to think that I am the common link between these failures, but I promise that such an assumption would be unfounded. Then, to make matters somewhat more complex, the link that my brother had sent me to post on his website does not do what we think it should do. Instead of linking me to a video, it initiates a download of the video onto my hard drive. I'm not worried about overloading the drive, because videos are not usually two terabytes long, and this one is only 800-some-odd megabytes long. Few, though, have multi-TB drives in their computers. I did not post the link, and I will not until it actually will take a viewer to the video online.

Happy Tartan Day! It wouldn't have done much good for me to have worn the Kilt today, because all I did was drive Becky to her Allergy appointment, buy some Starbucks coffee, get the car washed, go to Suzanne's for lunch and Mah Jongg, and then take her to her Covid Shot appointment and back. It was a full, busy day, but except for lunch, I didn't get out of the car.

There having been so many church services last week, our Rector took today, Easter Monday, off, so there was no Bible study this morning. It suited us well because Becky was able to get an appointment to see Dr. Reilly for therapy on her lower back, right leg, and right hand. I drove her to the appointment, then waited in the car while she has laser treatments on the affected areas. It was about an hour's wait, during which time I changed parking spaces twice as other patients departed, so I would be closer to the door when she was finished. When she got into the car, we drove to the gas station where I had purchased a lottery ticket last week, bought another. We decided that it was nearly lunchtime, and we headed to TGI Friday's for a bellyful of food, after which we returned home.

Happy Easter! The Lord has Risen, Indeed! Our Sunday service was wonderful, this morning. Other than not being tuned for a year, the organ sounded pretty good. I don't think the organist used the reeds, and that's fine since they would be the main pipes to need tuning. The flue pipes would change pitch with seasonal changes, but not the reeds. The net result is that the reeds sound out of tune. Rather than tune all the other pipes to the reeds, it's faster and easier just to tune the reeds. There were some noticeable tuning needs in the top octave, but those keys are played so seldom that I only heard them twice in the prelude, and never again the whole service. All in all, it was a very special service, and it was the first service to have an actual congregation (less than 20 people) for over a year, now.

We returned to Suzanne's today, responding to her invitation to join her for some Split Pea Soup. Naturally, I took along our Mah Jongg set, having predicted that I likely would not win. We played five hands, and I held off winning. Actually, I was held off very effectively by Suzanne's early wins of the first three games. Then Becky won the fourth and I won the last one. So I was almost true to my word. On the trip to and from Suzanne's house, Becky found that the heated seats in the car gave her lower back and right leg some relief, so when we got home she used our heating pad on her lower back. She felt great while sitting, but standing and walking afterward was combersome and painful. I suspect a spinal misalignment, so we intend to call our chiropractor early Monday morning to ask for a same-day treatment.

After spending the night on the recliner, Becky was able to hobble around the house with relative ease, today. Still, she stayed home when I went out to run two errands. First, I went to get a haircut but forgot to take a mask with me, so I made an impromptu stop at the drugstore and bought a box of emergency supplies for when I forget my mask again. Then I went to the clip joint and got my hair clipped. Like the last time, she cut the hair on the sides of my head, smoothed the top of it down to the skin, and left the beard for me to mangle when I got home. When I had paid, I dropped by the post office and dropped an envelope into the collection box. That was our check for payment in full of the account for our new reclining love seat. We were going to pay it off with our stimulus money, but I learned that we had a lot of money in checking, so I used that to pay off the furniture and will use the stimulus to purchase food and other normal stuff until the $2,800 runs out. 

Happy April Fools Day! No, I'm not going to pull any tricks, mostly because I haven't the imagination to do it. Instead, let me just relate the very best one I've ever heard. A co-worker of mine at Seabrook Island SC, Kathy, who stood almost five feet tall and looked considerably younger than she was, proved to be a mischievous imp. The Chairman of the Board came into the office looking for the Executive Vice-President. The EVP was not in the office at the time, so he asked Kathy, "Where's Bob?" Kathy pasted a shocked look on her face and said, "Didn't you hear? Bob quit this morning. He came into the office, flew into a rage, and stormed out, yelling that he quit." The Chairman asked if she knew what had upset him so badly, and she said, "Because it is April first!" Realizing he had been had, he shook his finger at Kathy and said, "If it wouldn't be considered Child Abuse, I'd take you over my knee!" End of Story. Now that I have that off my chest, I have to report that Becky hurt her right leg as she was getting into the car at Suzanne's house. We had gone to cheer her up, share some gluten-free Oreo cookies with her and play some Mah Jongg. When we left, Becky thought there was some mud beside the car, so left her right foot on solid ground, then got into the car. She kind of fell into the car with a shout of pain, and when we got home, she hobbled into the house and had a terrible time getting around. She spent the night on the recliner, not wanting to climb into our bed. Perhaps it needs to be lowered to a normal height, after all, we aren't getting any younger.