Showing 1 - 10 of 209 posts found matching keyword: family

Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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If any commercial could get me to start drinking beer....

For those of you who don't watch the right kinds of television, I created that advertisement from footage of the 1978 The Incredible Hulk television show episode "A Child in Need," in which the Hulk solves a case of child abuse by beating the shit out of the child abuser. Violence is always the answer!

By the way, the title of that video, "Flagler Hits the Spot," was suggested by my mother. So blame her.

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I typically say something snarky here, but I'm proud of that pasta

That there, that's homemade spaghetti. And I made it! And it tastes great!

Yeah, I know. People have been making homemade pasta — essentially just flour and eggs — for centuries, maybe millennia. But none of those people have ever been in my kitchen.

As it happens, my father gave me the pasta roller/cutter and drying rack you can see in the image above for Christmas... Christmas 2019. (I might even have asked for them.) Which means I've had them throughout the pandemic of 2020-21. Despite all the "free" time that gave me away from restaurants, I never made any pasta until now. Why not? I guess I was intimidated. I thought it would be a lot of work. Turns out it is.

I got the recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, and I used advice I've picked up over the years watching Joe Bastianich criticize would-be Italian cooks on MasterChef. ("Salty like the ocean!") I understand now why that show always has so much footage of people struggling with pasta rollers. While the dough itself is a breeze, the little home consumer counter-mounted pasta roller is a bastard. I christened mine "Mussolini's Revenge."

So it is all a lot of trouble, but it might be worth it. I can now attest firsthand: fresh pasta is good eating.

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My father has problems with the way I communicate, but it's not always my fault.

I'm just a soul who's intentions are good.

I was texting some do-it-yourself instructions and tried to type the phrase "easy peasy."

My autocorrect changed it to "eat pussy."

If that's what my autocorrect thinks I should be saying, who am I to correct it?

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My father's aging (10+ year old) DIRECTV satellite receiver finally died, so he called AT&T for a replacement. That was the easy part. The new receiver came within 3 days, and Dad installed it (correctly!). He then visited the url the device displayed on screen for remote activation. That link re-routed to a page that told him to call a telephone number, so he did.

The first customer service representative he spoke to tried to remotely activate the receiver and failed. Repeatedly. Dad ultimately had to abort this attempt for a pre-scheduled doctor's appointment. Afterwards, he had me try again in the hopes that I would be better able to communicate with the technician. The customer service representative I spoke to also tried to remotely activate the receiver and failed. Then she hung up on me. I don't think it was her fault. She was using AT&T phone service, after all.

At this point I stopped waiting for a customer service representative to suggest what I suspected: that the problem might be in the receiver's access card. The receiver was reporting an on-screen ID number of "0000-0000-0000", which happens to be the default number if there is no card installed. When I opened the panel, I did indeed discover that whoever had inserted the card before shipping had installed it upside down. The old receiver model took cards face down; the new model required face up. I pulled the card, turned it over, plugged everything back in, and called DIRECT a third time. This time, the customer service representative was able to activate the receiver on the first try.

The terms for the new receiver required the old receiver to be shipped to DIRECTV for recycling. Again, the url that DIRECTV provided for generating a label was outdated, redirecting to *another* page that returned a 404 page error. After a little creative Googling, I found an AT&T electronics recycling link that appears to do what the suggested link was supposed to have done. By this time I was not surprised when the website instructions (and generated label) made it clear the receiver was to be mailed via USPS but the downloaded file called it a "FedEx Shipping Label." AT&T seems to have a real problem with modernization.

Hopefully, Dad will get credit for returning his receiver as instructed, though given how hard it was to do almost everything else, I'm not holding out strong hope. I'm starting to feel like I'd have a better chance if I sent a telegraph to the company to tell them it was coming and personally handed the box to a Pony Express rider.

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Dictionary.com made news this week by defining "supposably" to mean "as may be assumed, imagined, or supposed." That's the same definition typically ascribed to "supposedly" ("according to what is accepted or believed"). There was a time in my life I would have been bent out of shape about this.

Where I come from, "supposably" is not a word. At least, it's not that word. According to my trusty Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (2nd Edition), "supposably" should mean "in a supposable manner." However, it has been used as a mispronunciation of "supposedly" for so long that some 21st-century lexicographers have finally thrown up their hands in defeat.

I have a personal connection to this word because my father has always uses supposably when he means supposedly. In his case, I think he does it because it bothers me. Dad's a real tease that way. (See? It's not my fault. I have been trained to be argumentative by a parent who thinks its fun to fly red flags in front of bulls!)

The reason I'm not a raving basket case over this new definition is because A) I've been reading a lot lately about the bizarre and often counter-intuitive developmental history of the English language, and B) the world is in such a state that if I let myself get worked up over words these days then I'm really going to need to start drinking. The meanings of English words have been meandering for centuries and will continue to do so for so long as someone is still speaking the language. I need to remember that the important part of language is understanding one another, not clinging to arbitrary rules of pronunciation.

That said, I will continue not using "supposably" in my own writing. Even in the 21st-century, a man's got to stand for something.

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She was very excited about the cake

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For Christmas, my aunt gave me a Libra 2021 Calendar ("Personalized Daily Horoscope Presented by The International Astrological Alliance, a Leading Resource on Astrology and The Zodiac").

Personally, I have never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. But maybe that's because I've never been exposed to someone who really understood it all. Reading the back of the calendar, it says that "Libra can be possessive, smothering, insulting and sarcastic." If that wasn't written for me, I don't know what was.

Yesterday, on the first day of the year, my horoscope recommended that I should hang out with friends so that I could meet "someone who brags about every little thing." That doesn't sound like fun, but hey, maybe because I now know about it, I can avoid it, right? Thanks, horoscope.

On the other hand, today's entry reads:

Wedding bells may ring for many Librans in love. Others might get engaged. You can also meet interesting people at the wedding reception of a friend.

Um, I thought this was supposed to be personalized. Not only does that not sound like me or anyone I know, it also doesn't seem to have anything to do with 2021. Doesn't my horoscope know there's a pandemic on? "May ring"? "Might get engaged"? "Can also meet"? I've read things in cookies that were more definite and useful.

But maybe that's just one bad entry. Rather than throw it out, I've decided to hang the calendar in the most appropriate place I can think of: in my bathroom over my toilet. May the stars continue to be my guide in 2021.

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The year 2020 has been horrible in so many ways, but Christmas was not one of them.

Because the family was minimizing the amount of time we were spending with one another outside our households, I woke up at 1:30PM and opened presents — provided by friends and relatives who were much too generous — at 3 with just my Mother. When we were done we delivered pound cake and key lime pie to family elsewhere in town, and then came home to a ravioli dinner and a rerun of Jeopardy!. I finished the day watching a silent Hitchcock film and a spaghetti Western staring Toshiro Mifune.

I recognize that most people would disagree, but as someone who generally finds the holiday chafing, I think it was the best Christmas of my life.

Thank you, COVID-19.

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To be continued...

 

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