Sunday, September 14, 2014

A True Story

A week ago, I was in Palm Springs airport preparing to leave on my vacation. I breezed through the security check with “preferred” status and was on my way to the boarding gate for my flight when the sun hit on something in the landscaping alongside the sidewalk. Curious, I walked over and picked up the object that had caught the sun’s rays and saw that it was a memory card. I put it into my purse and didn’t give it another thought until I arrived in Canada and was looking for something in my purse.

I told my son/daughter-in-law the story of finding this memory card at the airport and asked if they could open it to see what was on it. They put the card into my son’s computer and dozens of family photos emerged. With all the pictures on the card, they were able to determine an address, but they also discovered the name of a woman on an award for service to an organization, after which a Google search led them to a city/state to go with the address. I was amazed at how easy it was to “find” the owner of the card, but the story does not end here.

Son looked up possible phone numbers for the name he discovered and decided to make phone calls to track her down, verify it was her card, and then return it to her. He made a couple of calls, left messages, and then we waited. Sure enough, Charlotte called and was delighted to learn that I had found her memory card; however, the story that goes with it is amazing. She was visiting Florida and either lost her camera or it was stolen from her. She’s never been in California, so she had no idea how the memory card ended up in the landscaping at Palm Springs Airport. She was delighted that we had the card and would return it to her because the photos on the card were special to her.

My son told Charlotte that he saw the photo of her award and recognition for service to an organization that helps people with liver disease, which my son has had for the past 20 years. After a conversation between them, Charlotte told my son that she would keep an ear open for any break-throughs in his type of liver disease, which is auto-immune chronic hepatitis.

When I left Canada this past weekend, the envelope containing the memory card went into the mail. I continue to marvel that I found the card and that my son and daughter-in-law were able to find the owner. That she had never been in California and had the camera taken from her in Florida astounded me. And, finally, what are the chances that she was recognized for her service to an organization that works with liver patients?

All in all, one of those weird, but true "6 degrees of separation" stories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gentle Soul

Does "gentle soul" describe a very large man who steals from a merchant and then becomes physically assertive when the merchant confronts him with the theft?

Does "peaceful protest" describe unruly mobs of thugs and vandals who tear apart the business district of their hometown while allegedly seeking "justice" for the death of one of their members?

Does anyone really want "justice" based on evidence and facts, or do the non-white people of Ferguson want vengeance for what they perceive is a racially motivated hate crime?

Do all the non-black residents of Ferguson believe the officer involved shooting was justified?
Do all the non-white residents of Ferguson believe the officer involved shooting was unprovoked and a criminal act?

If I listen to the TV commentary, I hear polarization on the part of the residents of Ferguson that is sold by the commentators as truth. Seldom have I heard a commentator say let's not rush to judgment; let's wait and see what the facts are before we come to a conclusion. Instead, there is a constant clambor for being the first on-air with the latest street gossip, and the more polarizing the commentary, the better the station's ratings. And it's always all about ratings.

News requires the test of time, especially because we all tend to react emotionally at first, and seem to calm down and see events more rationally with the passing of time. In this day of the focus on the needs and wants of I, we no longer seem willing to take the time to allow a process to occur that clarifies and provides perspective. My mother's favorite saying was that we can't put an old head onto young shoulders; wisdom comes with age and living through life's experiences--the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The hot-headed youth have to take to the streets in violent protests that show who's in charge and who's going to tell the world the way things are going to be. It's challenging to tell the youth to slow down, calm down, sit down and think before you do something you'll later regret. And, truthfully, sometimes the senior citizens want to take too much time to think about situations and events that could benefit from moving a bit more quickly to resolution. Somewhere in between there is rational thinking, wisdom, and the truth, and once we have that, we can also have justice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sewers Suck

My water bills have been hovering in the mid-$30 range this year ($33.27; $39.37; $33.05; $20.61 $30.98; and $50.22), which is pretty much where they’ve been since I moved into the house in 2000. Yesterday, however, I opened the envelope to find a bill totaling $145.40. As the shock began to set in, I read the details and found that for this billing period, I’ve used excessive Tier 2 and Tier 3 services, which I have no idea what that means in water consumption. I also have a new charge, the sewer service, which is $35.00. Then there’s a $29.64 fee entitled “adjustments,” with no further explanation. The bottom line is that I’m paying $4.85 per day in water usage fees. Even on the days no one is in the house and no water is turned on.

I just returned from the water company where I received absolutely no satisfaction either for the total amount or for a better understanding of the “tier” system. I told her I know that’s water usage, but how much water usage isn’t specified. She told me if I use over my tier 1, the next tier is tier 2 – and you get the idea of her very patient, calm and quiet recitation of the tier system. I told her again that I understand it’s water usage, but what does a “typical” single resident residence use? I do 2 washers of clothes each week; don’t use the dishwasher unless I have company; only shower on alternate days due to a skin condition, and then the shower is maybe a total of 10 minutes if I have to also shampoo my hair. I removed all of my lawn and replaced plants with desert friendly landscaping – and I can’t think of what else to do to be compliant with all the water usage regulations we are all laboring under.
She assured me I must have a leak but, lucky me, I had the plumber here this morning and there is no evidence of a leak inside or out. She suggested that maybe the plumber missed a leak, but I told her that any leak that could result in $150 water bill for one month would be pretty hard to miss!

I requested that someone come read the water meter, but they don’t actually read the meters in this day and age. There’s a chip and they just drive by and click your chip. Well, then, I suggested that someone come click my chip again as I doubt I could use this much water unless I just opened a bathtub faucet and let it run for a while (like a week). She is going to put in the request for that chip click service to be performed.

As to the $29.64 adjustment? Oh, that’s the sewer fee retroactive because I was linked to the sewer system June 4, so owe for that entire month of service because it was not included with that billing cycle.

Wow. I’m so not going to like this program.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Psychic Sunday

Today I drove up the hill to visit with my movie buddy. She has a second home in Idyllwild, so when the temps soar here on the desert floor, I travel to the top of the mountain and enjoy sitting outside and chatting, and then dining at Oma’s. After our lunch, we walked around the village, with its clusters of charming shops and never-ending parade of interesting people to watch. Upstairs at the Fort, we saw a sign that announced a psychic was doing readings and I decided what the heck. My movie buddy, who is a staunch Catholic, would have nothing to do with it, but I paid my money and took my seat to wait my turn.

The psychic told me that she saw planning, guessing that I am a person who makes plans and then sees them through. Uh, maybe, I guess, as I spent 35 years of my adulthood as a teacher, as well as over an hour on the phone recently to plan my flights to Canada, so I’ll give her that one. Then she told me that I have a son who is delighted that I am going to be with him soon. Yep, that was the trip planning. Then she told me that I have a daughter – and a grandson – which I cannot deny. She also told me she could clearly see me riding a train, looking out the window and enjoying myself. That I don’t know about because I have no plans to be on a train, but have talked about taking the train ride across Canada when I come into the $10 grand it costs!

Finally, she told me I’ve been alone for a very long time, but that’s going to change. There is a “G” name coming into my life, either Gene or George, and we are going to become fast friends and, perhaps, even more intimately connected. She said his wife recently passed away and he’s deeply grieving her passing, but when he and I meet, it will be instant camaraderie. He’ll be walking his small dog when we meet, and I will be delighted with his million-dollar smile, and it will be on.

Her final words to me were that when I meet “G” and see his smile, I’ll remember my visit to the psychic one sunny Sunday afternoon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Three Strikes Weren’t Enough

There is a lace patterned shawl I want to make and I have the yarn for it, as well as the desire to spend the time to do the job well. Yesterday, I grabbed my crochet hook, the yarn, and the pattern, and set off on this new journey. I carefully followed the directions, reading it, then rereading it as I began the crochet. I had the bright crafts light on, was wearing my reading glasses, and felt confident that this was going to be a pleasurable experience that ends with a beautiful finished shawl.

After ripping it out a total of five times, I decided that I was done with this project. I know what the pattern says to do – and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing – but it did not turn out correctly five times in a row. Usually, it only takes three strikes to strike out, but I gave it to five before saying that’s it. All done.