Weather Complications

Gen’s trip to Ohio ended up being a bit of an adventure. ✈️ The original plan had her taking off from NJ, landing in NC with a half-hour to catch her connecting flight, and then onto Columbus. But for whatever reason, their plane landed in Charlotte only a couple of minutes before the connecting flight took off… so anyone that was continuing to Ohio missed their flight. πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜•πŸ˜ πŸ˜ πŸ˜πŸ˜ŸΒ πŸ›« American Airlines obviously knew they screwed up, and had everyone quickly booked on the next flight out to Columbus, but the result was that she ended up getting here about an hour and a half later than anticipated.

It was almost 4pm by the time we were leaving the airport, and that’s when the flag placement ceremony was supposed to beginΒ – so we didn’t even really try to hurry, assuming that we were just gonna miss it. (And that was the main reason that she was coming to visit.) But as we were heading to Lancaster, she was texting with Toni (who was already there) and we learned that the crappy weather and other “opening remarks” type stuff had kept everyone inside one of the buildings at the fairgrounds πŸ˜―πŸ€”πŸ˜ƒ and that we’d possibly be able to make it in time for the flag placement after all.

The first couple of flags had already been handed out by the time we were pulling in, but it worked out so that they called Dad’s name just as we had parked and joined everyone standing there. πŸ™‚πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Couldn’t have cut it any closer. 😎 They go alphabetically, so that meant there was still plenty of time before Uncle Rick, Grandpa Shepherd, and Genesee’s dad’s names were called. Any other year that would have been great, but this year… whoothe weather, man. πŸ˜―πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈπŸ’¨πŸ˜£

Ominous dark clouds, half drizzle, half sleet, freezing winds gusting so hard that people were struggling to hold their flags… it was just awful. 😟 (They had a huge eagle on hand as well, and he wasn’t too thrilled about things either.) πŸ¦… And as much as I’d have liked for Dad to have been able to go… at least when we were talking about it in the daysΒ prior… I’m glad that he decided not to. With the flight delays, getting there late, mother nature going crazy, and him not feeling that great over the past few days anyway – he definitely made the right choice. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Other years that I’ve gone, loads of people would sit in the stands, listening to the names, ranks, wars, etc as they waited for their person’s name to be called. But there was no sitting this time. The bleachers were cold and wet, so everyone just huddled together… enduring the weather until they could place their flag and then flee to their car. πŸš™πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ¨οΈ I don’t blame anyone… it was just unfortunate that this year’s event didn’t have the same “feel” as previous years because of all that other crap. πŸ˜•

We did end up going back through there the next day though, when the weather was much nicer, to see how many flags were displayed – and to pay the proper respect to the whole thing that none of us were really able to give the day before. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ We did take a handful of pictures on the actual placement day, and boy do they not convey what the experience was actually like. 😏 (But of course once everything was overΒ the weather calmed down considerably.) We’re still fortunate to have made it though, since this is the first year that we had flags for Dad and Gen’s dad – so it would have sucked if we weren’t able to place them ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a busy couple days, so I’ll follow up soon with an entry covering anything else worth mentioning from Gen’s stay.Β I didn’t even do half as much as her… but I’m out of juice. πŸ™„πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Mini-Vacation Visitor

Disregarding how the entry below this one probably sounds, things haven’t been that bad around here lately. The way that all of my “shit” usually finds a way to land on my schedule all around the same time, this time it’s the opposite – and I’ve found myself with a chunk of time where I’ve got no doctor appointments, no WC stuff to work on, no immediate need for attorney communications, none of my few friends needing anything from me, etc. πŸ™‚ I’m glad it worked out that way, because Genesee is gonna be in town for a few days starting tomorrow and it’ll be nice to not have to work around any other obligations while she’s here.

The weather isn’t looking ideal for it, but she’s visiting so she can attend the Freedom’s Never Free ceremony tomorrow at the fairgrounds. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ In past years I’ve gone with Toni and her family since they had a flag to place in remembrance of Uncle Rick’s service as well as one for Grandpa Shepherd. But this year, Genesee ordered a flag for her dad, and helped me get one to place for / with my dad as well. 😊 It’s a very inclusive thing… for any branch of the military, it doesn’t matter if the person is alive or has passed, and I think they even said that flags can be ordered and placed for “first responders” like firefighters, police, EMTs, etc.

Hopefully the weather will be tolerable enough that Dad will want to go, but the alternate plan is that me and Gen will still go, take some video, place the flags, and then go visit with him afterwards. And once the flags are purchased, they stay with the organization and are used again in each of the following years’ ceremonies. It’s amazing how many flags are added each year, and I think that even for the folks who don’t care to think about / talk about their service time, it still must be a nice feeling to get some recognition for what they did – even if multiple decades have passed since then.

(Especially for Vietnam vets, considering the reaction from the public that many of them got upon returning home… something that I didn’t truly understand the awful extent of until a handful of years ago.)

But she’ll be in Ohio until Sunday, and we’ve got a couple of small plans for things that we want to do, and then she’s got plans with other Ohio friends as well, but all of it will have to be played by ear due to the weather and the relatively short amount of time she’ll be around compared to her other visits. 😯⏰ But it’s nice that this visit is for something good, and not because of someone passing away, or because I’m recovering from a surgery and need babysitting or whatever. 😏

And I’m a little jealous that she’s getting to fly here and back home. I’ve been watching so many different airline / pilot themed YouTube channels lately… (Mentour Pilot, Captain Joe, VasAviation ATC, 74 Gear, CargoSpotter, etc.) giving myself the itch to take a cheap day-flight down to Florida and back or something, basically just a joyride… but between those videos and having not been on a plane since Jim and I went to Kansas years ago… hopefully she gets a window seat so she can use ReLive to record the path of her flight. πŸ€“Β (Not sure how it’ll handle the speed / altitude as it tries to plot the path on its animated map.)

So today I’m just taking it easy. Not gonna even do any light work around here, ‘cuz a lot of times it doesn’t take much for me to unintentionally screw up my neck, shoulder, or knee to various degrees. πŸ˜• It’s only a few days, so I wanna do what I can to make sure I’m good and can keep up with whatever we end up doing. In fact, she’s actually gonna help me dump the small bags of gravel out by the mailbox, as well as help me take the old mailbox off the post and get the new one installed. πŸ™‚ I could probably manage both of those things by myself eventually, but since she offered… I guess I’ll take the help. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I gotta get better at that. Accepting help. Because I’m at the point now, more than ever, where I actually do need help with a lot of things… and more often than I’m currently willing to admit to others and even myself. 😟 Stupid pride. 😏

Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»

Some Today, Some Tomorrow

Woke up to my neck feeling all janky today… either from sleeping on it wrong, or just from the building stress of the last few days. But I still dragged my ass out of bed with intention today, determined to get some of the stuff on my mental to-do list done. It wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave the house that I realized it was 92 effing degrees outside today. The heat still takes a little more toll on me than it used to, and along with the neck / headache shit – I ended up scaling back my goals just a bit.

First stop was gassing up the Fusion and topping off the air in the tires, then to the bank, then to the post office – to mail out that report for my attorneys. I wish I could snap my fingers and it would just be there, but I’ll have to be okay with them getting it tomorrow and then finally actually looking at it at the start of next week. I’m gonna give Jim a call though and leave him a message, letting him know that it’s coming.

And then since my car has gone from “change oil soon” to “oil change required”, I figured I should go ahead and get that done while I was out today. It was like I suspected though… and why I like these new guys that I go to for service… he said the synthetic blend that I got last time could have actually lasted me many more miles, and the car was only crying because I forgot to inform it that it got synthetic this last time, and didn’t increase the mileage interval before it starts squawking at me. But yeah, for an oil change place to say 7,500 miles on synthetic is cake, and even 10,000 wouldn’t be that bad… that shows some honesty that you wouldn’t always expect.

But by the time the oil change was finished, the base of my skull was thumping and I was feeling pretty meh due to hanging around in the heat as I waited, so I decided that was enough “on the go” chores for the day. Hoping I’ll bounce back overnight tonight, so I can finally go get my hair cut and schedule an eye appointment tomorrow.

Ugh… I hate that the workers comp crap is still in the back of my mind though. Today is a good example of something that would be used against me. “Look! He admits to working on his car!” (Because they’d count putting air into my tires as work.) And if I didn’t specifically state that I took my car somewhere for an oil change, they’d probably claim that I didΒ that myself as well. And of course, regardless of whether I mention any levels of pain or not, there’s this strange “Robert admits to performing multiple chores, including multiple stops at various locations throughout his day.” kind of stuff that’s obviously intended to imply something…

I guess I just thought that I was past the point of having to justify doing things that I simply have to do, or pointing out every time that something causes me difficulty or pain each time I do it. It hurts to do certain things, such as folding laundry, standing and doing dishes, etc… but of course I still have to do those things. I’m not sure how pointing out that I’m still managing to get by, despite my disability and pain, somehow makes me the bad guy. Meh… but anyway… I’m okay with what I was able to accomplish today.

EDIT: After I finished this entry, I remembered something else that annoyed me enough to come back to add this. Weeks ago I learned that Skillet was having a concert at the end of September in Columbus. However, I’m not going to that concert… a concert by one of my most favorite bands… because it’s a general admission show, and it would simply hurt too much to stand and be bumped around for that hour and a half. I’ve fought with myself, trying to make myself go, but I chose not to because I don’t want to hurt. I think I even made an entry where I wondered about “disabled seating” for folks like me… but in the end, despite it being a show I’d desperately love to see, I’m not going. My life is a constant balancing act because of my disability and pain… sometimes I have to do things that hurt (like chores) that I don’t want to do, but I have to. Sometimes I choose to do something fun, despite knowing that fun thing will likely cause me pain… and I think that’s okay too. But then there are examples like this – where I really wanna do something, but I’m not willing to pay the pain-equivalent of “the price of admission” to do it, because I’m that concerned with avoiding extra pain. Yet the legitimacy of my disability and pain is still being questioned, year after year after year…Β  fml.

Hopefully Motivational Rambling

Now I just have to decide how much other stuff I want to do this week. πŸ€” The car has been crying about an oil change for a while now, but it’s because I forgot to tell it (through the computer system settings) that I used synthetic oil last time instead of the typical cheap stuff… so I know it’s fine, but it thinks it isn’t. πŸš—βš οΈ Whether it ends up being important at some point or not – I know that it’s keeping track of all that sorta stuff, so I’d rather just get it done so she can stop whining at me. πŸ™„πŸ˜

And while she’s not ready for a new set just yet, I find myself airing up the tires a few times each month, so I’ll probably actually schedule the oil change with Piper’s service center there by the railroad tracks on Maple. That way they can rotate the tires, check ’em over, and hopefully plug anything that can be plugged. I could try to do all that through the local Ford place, which would also allow me to get any trivial recall shit taken care of – but that sounds like a longer process than I think I’m up for. πŸ˜’ I suppose I could get a rental for a night or two if I really wanted. Meh… again… just thinking out loud. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ For whatever reason, it helps.

The other “gotta do” thing on the list, eventually, is getting into Walmart to get my vision checked and glasses updated. πŸ€“Β I’ll be able to keep the Rx shades I’ve already got for driving 😎 because I don’t think my vision has changed that much, but when it comes to my normal glasses – pretty sure it’s gonna end up being bifocals this time. 😟 I’ve actually been wearing older “backup” glasses since the end of last year, so it’s gonna be like having new eyes whenever I get around to getting this done. Still glad that I did my LASIK all those years ago, it’s just a shame that it’s not a “fix it and forget it” thing that lasts forever. But I’m not gonna push my luck and go under the laser for what would be the third time in total for each eye, because even if they correctly and safely fixed my distance vision again, I’d still have to wear reading glasses.

Of course the garage door still needs attention, but that’ll be based more on Rick’s schedule once I give him the go ahead to come check it out and start, and then after that he’ll be able to start on the shower. 😬 That’s the first thing on my “to do” list that starts making me a little twitchy. He knows what he’s doing, so it’s not that… it’s just the “fuss” of having people here and the bathroom sorta torn up in the process – along with that same type of worry that you also have with car repairs. 🀨 Where you go in for a rattle or whatever, they find the rattle, but then they also find “this, that, and the other” which also could or should be worked on. He’ll be able to handle whatever, it’s just that cringe of not knowing exactly what’s going on behind the tile and hoping there’s not bigger, unknown problems ahead. 😐🀞🏻

I suppose me thinking and talking about this stuff now… it’s all because of how my scan results turned out. Like, in a good way. Before I got the results, there was this subconscious feeling of “Why bother doing (whatever) if…” that I was probably having. Getting mostly positive (good) results from the scan, rather than getting something worse or even an expiration date… it’s allowed my brain to at least start thinking about shit that needs to be done, even if it still takes me a while to actually do it. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

You Got Your Hulu In My Spotify

I’ve been reading about how we’ve already passed the “heyday” of video streaming. It makes sense… because back when it started catching on you really only needed Netflix and you’d have pretty much everything you wanted. But now, each company that licenses (or used to license) content to Netflix – now they wanna keep that content and start their own streaming service. So now you have Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Disney Plus coming soon… basically any corporation that has its own content, they want it on their platform instead of someone else’s – so to end up having access to everything you want, soon you’ll need to subscribe to four or five of these things at 10 to 15 bucks a pop. Not ideal, and not likely to get better anytime soon.

I only bring it up today because I realized that by having a subscription to Spotify for my music, it also has the option of activating an ad-supported version of Hulu to go along with it for free. I suppose Hulu has nothing to lose, since they still get to play commercials, and if anything it may entice people into paying for the ad-free tier. Not me, most likely, but I did go ahead and set Hulu up today to see what the free version is like. I ditched my $50 YouTube TV a few weeks ago, which makes paying a little more than ten bucks for all the music I can listen to, and some sort of half-way decent TV/movie streaming, seem like quite the deal. Check into it if you’re already a Spotify subscriber.

Variety Week

I actually thought about making an entry over the weekend, but the prior few days were pretty eventful, and I knew today could be as well… so yeah, I basically actually just treated my weekend as a weekend, other than finally cleaning the kitchen and doing up all my bills.

Bri had her baby on Wednesday. 😊 I didn’t make it in there at 6am like she had to do, but I was there a few hours later and stayed several more hours… taking a break to go home, since I could tell it was gonna take a while. And in that time I was able to help Dad get his car back from the repair shop after getting the AC serviced. (Hmm… AC serviced… we’ll come back to that.) As I was ready to head back to my house after that, Bri messaged me that she finally had him (9 hours of labor… yikes…) and she wanted me to come back to the hospital.

Of course I went back in the next day as well to visit them… and as you may know, whenever I do an extensive amount of “stuff” sometimes my body’s like “Okay, that’s enough out of you” and I kind of crap out. 😏 And that’s pretty much what happened. But it didn’t end there. Later in the evening, Cassi called in a mild freak-out, because her cat was getting ready to deliver her kittens and seemed to be having trouble and was making all kinds of awful sounding noises – so she wanted me to come up, just in case we had to take her to an emergency vet.

You know, they may have actually been Friday. πŸ€” That’s how frazzled my brain was. I dunno, it was late in the evening and it was on a day where the last thing I wanted to do was to “do anything” at that point. Hence taking the weekend off for the most part. But I slept well last night, had a comforting dream… which of course I remember zero details from… but woke up feeling good enough to go out and use the hand trimmer to clear up the tiny branches growing out of the trunks of my crabapple (I think)Β trees so the mowers aren’t at risk of losing an eye around them… along with cutting out some other “trying to grow” baby trees popping up in weird places in the yard.

That wasn’t an intended part of the day though, so I’m just taking that as a bonus, because today was when the AC repair guys came to check out the furnace and AC. 😐 Long story short, I went ahead and opted to have a new one installed. 😣 The current unit is about 20 years old, any replacement parts (the compressor, specifically) would have to be a used part, the refrigerant used isn’t available anymore… just lots of things that made replacement the smarter (yet more expensive) decision. Whether I live here until I die, or if I sell the house in a year and move into an apartment or whatever… it’s just the better, yet painful choice. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

He gave me the estimate, but is gonna officially type it all up and send me an itemized version later this afternoon for me to sign. So I’m a little twitchy right now, but really, I’m not even paying for it. πŸ™‚ When Mom passed, her and Dad made sure that she left me some money, so technically Mom is going to be buying a new central AC system for me. That makes it a heck of a lot easier to think about. Okay… I need to give my head a break for a bit, but should be checking emails later this evening.