Saturday, September 18, 2010
The BW asked how I hurt my knee a little while ago, and this is the story. I left the house a little before six this morning, and the stars were out. Orion is straight overhead now, and all the brighter stars show up just fine, but thereís so much light pollution that you canít see the dimmer stars, and the Milky Way is only a memory. Anyhow, there is enough light to see by, even under the trees, although thatís pretty dark. The horizon is completely dark to the west, because of the gulf, but there is some light in the other directions, brightest in the south. I made it up to 16th street, but the only light on 16th is at the corner of Pennsylvania and 16th, so the two blocks to Nebraska are very dark. Trees hang over you, there are no house lights, but you can still make out where the sidewalk is. When I got to Nebraska, the house on the south-west corner has three bright lights, and itís hard to see because they shine in your eyes.
As I started to cross Nebraska, I stepped in a depression in the gutter, turned my left ankle over, and fell down, landing on my left hand and my knees. I brushed the dirt off, and still had more than four miles to go, so I kept going and didnít realize that my right knee and left thumb were skinned. When I got home I brushed against the storm door latch and lifted a flap of skin by my right elbow, so I get a star for being the graceful one today.
Last night we drove 30 miles through the city for the opening night of a modern opera the BW wanted to see. I like the music of a lot of operas, but the only one that I really enjoyed was a movie called Carmen Jones. I didnít make a fuss, because it makes her happy. This thing is called ďA Little Night MusicĒ and the music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, and the book was by Hugh Wheeler. It ďwas suggestedĒ by an Ingmar Bergman film. There was a lot of talking as well as the singing, so I think it is light opera Ė Iím not sure.
We got there, got a parking place, go in, and got our seats. Then I could understand maybe 20 percent of what they said, probably one percent of what they sang. Fortunately, I read the four page synopsis before the thing started, so I could recognize the part where this guy said his wife hadnít had relations with him for eleven months, and the other guyís wife agreed to accommodate him as a favor to an old friend. That was the high point for me, because I was sure what was going on, even though they were singing.
It was so hard to follow that I just dropped out and thought of other things after about 15 minutes. I remembered learning to play the piano and pipe organ, and then learning to play my fatherís violin after he died, and how I gave it up to please the BW just when I was ready to join a string quartet. My best piece was Turkey in the Straw Ė I loved to sound like Grand Old Orpey.
The first time I looked at my watch the show had been on for a half hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half. Then the BW crooked her finger at me, grabbed her cane, and we sneaked out the back and down the stairs. Then I asked the ticked man, on the way out, if the opera had an intermission Ė he said yes, in about 8 minutes. The good news was, it was easy to get out of the parking lot, and there was very little traffic on the way home. The show started at 7:30, and we left at 9:00. I didnít ask how long it would run because I was so happy to be on my home, and we were here just before 10. I consider it a triumph, although there are a series of events in Tarpon Springs, three of which are operas. Fortunately, at least I recognize the names of them.
I asked her at supper tonight if she could understand the words (which were in English) and she said she couldnít understand anything, so I was a mutual reaction. We both clapped on demand, however.
Friday, September 17, 2010
For the last week or two, the old Dodge that I have was acting as if the battery was low Ė it didnít go ďyeah, yeah, yeahĒ when I turned the key, it would go ďI donít wanna, I donít wanna, I donít wannaĒ instead. Yesterday I had a 9:00 appointment with a podiatrist, and when I wanted to go home, the car went, ďI donít -----.Ē Fortunately, it did start on the second try, so I took it to McBeeís and left it. They called about four hours later and said it was ready. It had a new starter. The bill was $337.77, and I was happy to pay it. The Stratus is a 2000, and has 62,000 miles on it, mostly in short trips. Any time thereís a problem, I deliver it to McBeeís, and they make it run like a new car again.
When I told this story to the TOPS group, one lady asked what it cost, and told me that the alternator cost $123, or some other price like that, and someone would put it on for me as a courtesy. Maybe they would for her, but I doubt that they would for me. I looked at the receipt, and they charged me one hour ($80) to diagnose the problem, get the new part, and replace the starter. It is not a rebuilt starter, itís brand new. I like it that way.
To change the battery, you have to remove the left front wheel and the inner fender to get to the old one. The engine compartment is packed incredibly full of stuff, and I probably couldnít even find the starter if I could get the car up in the air.
I also remember when Annie had my old Firebird convertible, and they were going to charge her $80 for a new starter. I told her that she could buy a rebuilt starter for $20 and change it herself, or pay the $80 if she wanted to do that. Then I asked her how long she had to sell lipstick to make and extra $60. After she thought about it, she decided that she would get her hands dirty. She bought the rebuilt starter; I got the car up on ramps, and helped her by loosening a couple of the mounting bolts. I also bought a new contactor (switch for the starter) and installed it, because that would be the next thing to go bad. It only cost me $5.00, and I didnít want to mess with it again.
When she took the bad starter in for a refund, the boys in the parts store didnít believe that she had done it, but she really enjoyed getting her hands greasy that time.
I also went through three replacement starters in tow years for our first van when we were living in the van and trailer, and the third replacement was a brand new unit. I learned the hard way a couple of times that rebuilt stuff isnít always as good as new, and when you keep getting stranded in the middle of nowhere youíre willing to pay. The best is barely good enough.
Anyhow, Iím running around in a car that turned 10 in July, and thereís no real point to this blog.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Yes, I was talking about KOPS. The rule is that you must weigh in within your range at on your KOPS scale at an official meeting within two weeks. If the club doesn't have a meeting two weeks later, that's too bad, you are now a TOPS again, and have to start over, which isn't really a terribly difficult thing, but you need a new note from your doctor on his stationary or prescription form, to be within his goal within three pounds over or seven pounds under, and pay five dollars for the request. Meanwhile, you can just be part of the gang, and start the meeting with everyone else. Since I'm the only KOPS in my group right now, it would be a little embarrassing, but not the end of the world.
When my neurologist had a fit, I yelled back in his face. He said "(expletive deleted) I have been telling you to lose a half a pound a week for two years, and you have gone from 265 to 282 pounds! I said, "I can lose weight, but I can't lose a half a pound a week. Where do I have to get to?" I actually yelled back in his face. He stopped, though a while, and said, "Well, I can't say for sure, but based on several thousand patients, if you got down to 220 you could probably get off the neurontin."
Then he set up an appointment to see me in six months instead of the three months that it had been before. That was a Friday, and I was down 11 pounds by Sunday evening, and really wanted to call Monday and demand a quick appointment so they would weigh me. Instead, I showed up at the next TOPS meeting and joined for life.
So I'm committed for life. I have been in leeway for two years with a goal weight of 185 pounds in street clothes, and I weighed in tonight at 185. Germans are stubborn people - I could tell you stories about my father.
I owe it all to Dr. Karp.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Last night the BW made penne pasta with chicken breast and a garden salad which was good, and which I ate in spite of the fact that I wasnít hungry. I also ate too much yesterday. Today I had my standard breakfast, oatmeal, flaxseed, and prunes, and stayed away from the goodie table.
We had a pretty good class Ė but the remote quit controlling the DVD and the manual controls only let you turn it on and tell it to play. From scratch, that put it nearly an hour behind the video I wanted, and I finally gave up and skipped the rest of the videos. As I was leaving I saw Joel in the hall, and he said that the remote connection had probably come loose again, and if it happened just call the operator and have him paged. I wanted him to show me where the connection was, but he was in a hurry. Iíll try to get back to Coral Oaks before next monthís class and beg him to show me the weak point. The video equipment there is so complicated that nothing worked the first five or six months I taught there, and no one buy Joel could get it to work again. He even got the tape player to work once, which I preferred, but the next month he couldnít get it to go again, so Iím stuck with a DVD player that turns itself off if itís too long between uses, and which sometimes just doesnít work. The videos would take up an hour out of the eight hours of class time if I used them all except for the recruitment stuff, and the ones the class missed were the two of the three most educational.
Beyond that, I stayed away from the treats today, and the four peanut butter cookies are still safe in the freezer. I have to weigh in tomorrow, and yesterday put me on the high end of my weight range, so Iím at 1070 calories in my pocked notebook now. Iíll have breakfast tomorrow and maybe a handful of nuts for lunch and not drink too much. Then a fair supper, and it will be another low calorie day. If I weigh in out of my weight range I have two weeks to weigh in back inside, or they throw me out. Thatís why I havenít gained all the weight back in two years.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I got up at six this morning, fed the dogs and myself, and got to Coral Oaks on time. The room was already set up for the number of students I expected, and I had laid out the name plates I made yesterday, along with the registration blanks just before the first students showed up. One lady didn't show, but the class started on time. It went fine, and we read every word on every page of the Florida supplement, but I still think it was a better class when I did it my old way.
I finished at 1:00, cleaned up, and was home by 1:30. Unfortunately there were a lot of leftovers, so I ate a couple of miniature chocolate donuts and brought home four peanut butter cookies, which are in the freezer. My mother used to make peanut butter cookies, and at least once I was eating them as fast as she could bake them - so when she got done there were about 18 cookies left out of six dozen. It's hell to be a teen aged boy.
I finished the paperwork by 3:30, and started going through my e-mail at 4:00, then segued into the Spark People. Now it's nearly six, and this is the end of everything. Unfortunately, the BW is working on supper but I'm not really hungry.
With luck, I won't do much but read a book this evening. All the material for tomorrow's class, and the certificates, are in my trunk, so it's time to loaf.
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