Procrastination (But I Digress)

Friday, August 26, 2011

TMI (Too Much Information)

Dear Diary:  (happy, Leon?)  So Tuesday at lunch I made myself a lovely tomato and bacon sandwich.  After several bites, I experienced a slight discomfort in one of my back teeth.  It was a tooth with a crown.  In the past, I've been very careful to floss that tooth, because stuff can get caught under the edges.  Bacon and tomato skin are just such culprits, so I put "floss" on my to do list and finished my lunch chewing on the other side.

The thing is, I don't have floss at my desk, so I was most likely going to have to wait until I went home.  As the afternoon went on however, that tooth hurt a lot more.  And I had Toastmasters that evening, so "go home" was going to be awfully late.  At 3:30 in the afternoon, it hurt a lot, so I called my dentist for an emergency visit.  My dentist doesn't work on Tuesday--they could see me on Wednesday at 1:00.  Oye.  I took two tylenols and got used to the discomfort.

[On Tuesday night we had the Tall Tale Speech contest--I won, Yea!  I changed "smiled, flashed a peace sign and got into the car" to "Before he left, Bob Dylan looked back and said "I smiled because I'm happy" and then he was gone".  I think it was improved by Uncle Marcel's input--oh and I titled it "No Kangaroo" which I thought was a pretty funny inside joke, but I digress.]

All Tuesday night I was in a lot of pain, but I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and I had to go to court on Wednesday morning, so I toughed it out.  Court was a joke and the less said (or remembered) the better.  So I got to the dentist and they were all "How are you?"  I misinterpreted and told them I was horrible--my tooth hurts.  A few seconds later, Sandy asked exactly the same question again to give me an opportunity to say the politically correct response of "fine, how are you?"  Oye.

Howard ( a friend from Kiwanis is my dentist) poked and tapped and then brought out ice for the "cold" test.  I looked at the ice and I said, "What's the test--see how high I can jump if it hurts??"  Howard laughed (the way dentists do).  "Well," he says, "I have to see the extent of the symptoms to make a diagnosis."  The rat.  Anyway, he said some big long word that I must have and he gave me a referal to a dentist who does root canals.  Now I have had a root canal before and it was not as bad as it sounded.  It is kind of like, a bunch of people pan a movie and then you have zero expectations and it turns out to be not half bad (The Hangover).  So I wasn't immediately concerned about the prospect of a root canal.  But the other thing was, my tooth hurt a lot now that Howard had banged on it with heavy metal objects.  Howard gave me a prescription for vicadine (that sounded scary) and sent me right over for an emergency consult with the specialist dentist. 

The specialist dentist is an older gentleman.  He too said he wanted to do the "cold" test.  Since the ice Howard tried out on my teeth didn't hurt, I though, go for it.  So the teeth around the bad tooth (under a crown) hurt a lot from Dr. Specialist's cold test, but the bad tooth, not at all.  Proof said Dr. Specialist that the nerve in bad tooth is dead and decaying and probably infected (nothing to do with the crown?, my suspicious brain thought).  He prescribed anitbiotics and motrine (a much less scary sounding pain medication).  He said I needed a root canal--he could fit me in tomorrow at 1:30.  I fought for my bacon or tomato skin caught under the crown theory, but since flossing had not resulted in alieviation of pain, I was temporarily willing to leave the diagnosis to the guys with the degrees.

The nurse charged me $175 for the emergency visit and told me that the root canal would be $1,050.  I gave her my credit card and then thought (and stupidly said out loud), I'll just bring a check tomorrow for the thousand, fifty (I could see dollar signs in the nurse's eyes--very spooky).  That is the price for the white coating for my roof.  Two different contractors told me not to waste my money on the white coating which is supposed to save energy--except I don't have air conditioning and I already have insulation, so I can probably live without it.  Excrutiating tooth pain--just a tiny bit more important at this precise moment.

I went right out and filled the precriptions for antibiotics (take every 8 hours--I was going to need to scramble to time that so as not to require getting up in the middle of the night) and motrine (sounded less scary).  At 3 p.m. I took the antibiotic and motrine and by 4, I was fine.

Now here's the thing:  when you are not in pain, spending over a thousand dollars to get a root canal seems counter intuitive.  I was gabbing with someone in the office and she said, that her husband had the same thing and he was fine just taking the antibiotics--he never did have to go in for the root canal.  Hmmmm.  I called Howard.  Do I really need a root canal?  Howard talked to me for about fifteen minutes and promised to call Dr. Specialist to discuss it.  After a while, Howard called me back and said--you could wait, but eventually, you will need a root canal.  So I called Dr. Specialist's office to delay my appointment.  Basically I was told that they could see me today (and yes, I really, really, really--in their not so humble opinion--need a root canal) or they could see me in October.  Just because the motrine was working, doesn't mean I couldn't remember the tooth ache.  I went in for the root canal and I wrote the check.

Dr. Specialist knocked the tooth first thing, throwing me into agonizing pain.  I think he felt bad making me cry like that, so he gave me two shots of novacaine.  He wanted to make sure I wouldn't feel anything.  HA.  Then he positioned me so that my head was lower than my body--I was tilted almost upside down.  My numb tongue was against the back of my throat so that I felt like I was gagging.  I kept struggling to get up and he kept adjusting me back down.  He told me to breath through my nose.  That was the most excrutiating hour of my life.  Finally I threw up--everywhere.  The nurse was completely unprepared and she couldn't get the paper towel off the dispenser.  Meanwhile, I just kept throwing up.

Dr. Specialist told me to think about something pleasant--that it would only be another five minutes.  I couldn't think of anything pleasant so I counted to 60 five times.  He lied.  Finally, he was done and I got hussled out really quickly to pay.  Oh, and I need to go back for another check up with Dr. Specialist ($175) and then I have to go to my regular dentist and get a new crown ($700 plus who knows how much for the two to three visits that will take--oh well, I like Howard, so that's a plus--Dr. Specialist--not my favorite person).

So Dr. Specialist told me to take the pain medication in about an hour and then every six hours (even though the bottle said every eight hours)--"No, you are going to need more today."  Ominous words.  I was still a little tramatized and I thought --this is what sick days are for and I went home.  Half my face, tongue and mouth were still numb.  In an hour, I went to take the pain medication and didn't need it.  I was still numb.  It was kind of difficult to drink or eat, but I just got on the phone to order my cable for the new place (one hour on hold and over thirty minutes to set it up--that was fun).  Productive use of my time.

At five, I figured I better eat dinner, because I had skipped lunch, but my mouth was still numb.  Completely.  More than one half of my tongue was numb including the tip--that was weird.  I figured that I would just eat on one side.  I had done it the past few days, so I was sure it would be fine.  It was surprisingly difficult, but by 6:30, I had managed to eat my meal.  Except that I was still numb.  Six hours is too long I thought.  So I went on the internet.   When you google novacaine and numb face, you get menogitis--that was fun reading.  So I called the dentist and pressed the number for emergency and sat back to wait for a call from the doctor to report that he gave me menogitis (bacteria that can travel through an injection into the blood stream and attack the nervous system sometimes resulting in numbness in the face--at least that's what I read).  The dentist never called back.  [My iphone has call waiting, so I also placed a call into the cable company since the e-mail of my order did not match what I was told, but after waiting an hour on hold I figured that since I had menogitis and was  going to die, the extra $11 per month that I didn't agree to was probably no big deal and I hung up.]

At 10 p.m. my face started to itch--that was annoying and lasted about an hour.  By 11, I was not numb anymore.  At 7:45 a.m. the next morning, Dr. Specialist's office returned my call.  What was my emergency?  I dully said, I'm fine--it just took 10 hours for the novacaine to wear off.  That's normal, the girl says.  I was going to argue with her, since Dr. Specialist had gone to a lot of trouble to tell me to double up on the pain medication (not needed while I was numb for 10 hours), but I couldn't work up the enthusiasm.  I'm fine.
Poorer, but fine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Painting the Walls

No, I did not paint.  The last time I tried to paint, it took me months and I have to get the rooms rented really soon, so I do not have months.  But I was tempted to paint myself when I was quoted $2,200 to paint the rooms.  How silly was I?  When I finally wrapped my mind around that price, I called the painter (now several weeks later) and the price was more than double, but he was going to add the ceilings (that were awful) and the floors (that I was going to carpet anyway) and it would all be done in a matter of days, so that I could get the rental listing up sooner with pictures. 

The painter is quite a guy--he's a talker--he wants me to know that he loses money on every job.  He works seven days a week, fourteen hours a day for the past 30 years that he's been in this country.  He spoke Armenian and Spanish (and English) and had workers that only spoke Armenian or only spoke Spanish.  Adrienne got to hear some of them fighting and said it was pretty heated until Joe came and spoke with both groups in their language.  They worked mostly evenings and weekends, which made me realize that Joe probably does work every day--he was always tired when I saw him, but he was very meticulous about details that he saw.  I noticed a lot of little details after he left, but I figure he was too tired to notice them when he was there.

One thing that he did (that I didn't ask for, but it is so pretty) was that he put a really nice molding all around the rooms that I am renting out.  The floors are that laminate (but the heavy wood kind--not the flimsey tile kind).  The floors are gorgeous.  It really is too bad that the house should be torn down (according to every general contractor I bring in).

I noticed that one of the covers for a light switch was missing and I pointed it out to one of the workers.  I had replaced all the covers brand new when I painted a few years back, so I didn't want to lose any of them.  They guy (in broken English) said they were all new.  I looked and sure enough all the little screws were white from the store.  I remember the ones that I bought had silver screws (because I was mad at the time that they were not white too).  I have no idea what he did with the old (sort of new) covers.

Another time, I pointed out an electrical outlet that the painters had just painted over.  I said that they had to fix that.  They guy looked at me a bit blankly--I think it was a language barrier, but later when I looked, there was a brand new cover and the plug area was clean and bright--no paint.  I know I saw paint all over it, so I'm not sure how they were able to get it looking so new.  However, for what I paid, they could rewire the whole house, but I digress.

The painter is in love with two colors:  Pearl White and Swiss Coffee.    I can't really tell--it all looks pretty white to me. The night before they were going to do the kitchen, I began to be worried--did I really want white again.  I tried to find a nice pale yellow that would look nicer, but I wasn't sure.  Then I started to worry that if I changed the color, they'd go away and say that they were waiting for the "special" order to come in.  Kiss of death if you are in a hurry--"special" order.  So I have white walls.  It is clean and if I were a renter, I would want to rent it.  Score.

The place smells like paint and it is pretty serile looking (all that white), but I'm sure that we'll get used to it and settle back into the space.   Now if I can just find a renter.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Packing the Boxes (Misnomer Alert)

So it's a very long story how I came to be in this position, but I have two houses.  One is far too big and costs way too much money (but no one wants to buy it).  The other is fine for just me, but its not free and it is far away from work.  The solution is to move into the small house (mobile home)--and commute by train and rent out my rooms in the large house (while retaining one bedroom for me or Adam if he ever moves back, one bedroom for my sister and a third bedroom--the smallest for a guest room, I mean the junk room--let's be honest).  So I must move.

Someone was complimenting me recently, telling me how they admire how organized I am--they like that I make lists and have so many different things under control.  At the time they made this observation, I was in the middle of packing my rooms for my big move.  I did not feel organized.  Oh, I was making lists--I have about 20 lists ranging from what furniture goes in what room, to what repairs need to be done where, to budgets, to more budgets, to contingent budgets, etc.  My lists do not feel very productive, since the budgets never balance and I'm always forgetting something really important, but I digress.

So I was feeling really unorganized and not able to motivate myself into organization, when I hit the wall.  I have to get the rooms at my house rented by September 1st, but I can't rent them until I get them painted and fixed and pictures up on the internet to advertise.  And I couldn't do all of that until I got all my stuff out.  So I hired the mover and figured, it will all have to get done.  The mover (my handiman and his son) couldn't come on the weekend, so they came on a Friday (one less day to pack--no worries--it has to get done, it will get done.)  So Thursday night, I still had not packed much from my room.  I started just putting together boxes and shoving stuff in.  Box after box.  When you don't care about organization, it is not that difficult to fill a box and somethings were ackward sizes, so some boxes had less stuff than others.  I had plenty of boxes.  On Friday morning, I still hadn't touched the closets and one side of the room, but the large furniture was empty, so I figured the movers would have plenty to get started while I finished packing (I mean throwing things in boxes).

I had to go to the office for a minute (read the hour it turned into) and when I got back, the movers had taken the unpacked side of my room and thrown it in the truck.  They put stuff in bags and big stacks of books just traveled unpacked.  Hey it got done.  They left the closet (I think I scared them by yelling when they were moving something without wrapping it and I told them to leave the closet).  So except for the closet, my rooms were empty (sort of--there was still lots of stuff, but I kept saying--no, don't move that, I'll take that in the car--a lot of stuff was left to go by car--four car trips later, I'm almost done).

Now the night before the movers came, I had gone to IKEA.  I found a beautiful kitchen island that I want for the new place.  I could not lift the box.  At all.  No Adam.  What to do.  So when the movers (my handiman and his son, Ozzy) had the truck all packed and it was time to drive to the new place, I asked Ozzy to come in my car so we could stop at IKEA.  Ozzy is a big straping youth, probably stronger than Adam, but he could barely handle the Kitchen Island.  Those were some very heavy boxes.  (Now I have to figure out how to assemble something I can't lift--I'll worry about that tomorrow--its on the list).

When we got to the new place, the plumber was still there and had everything ripped up because the plumbing needed to be replaced.  The cleaning lady left a few days before, in the middle of getting the place ready for me because the plumber was just getting everything dirty.  The dryer was in the middle of the kitchen and the fridge had been unplugged (melted ice--lions, and tigers and bears, oh my).  So to say that the new place was a mess before I got there is a fair statement.  (It was two weeks before the dryer went back to its place and the cleaning lady finished the floors).

I had made a list to tell the movers what room to put the furniture in and I had this really cute packing tape that had the name of the room it went to on it (of course, I only used bedroom, since I was moving my bedroom and sitting room only, but I digress).  The movers still asked me for every bag, box and piece of furniture, what room?  Dad was hanging around and I was so tired that I just said second bedroom for everything and Dad said--do you want me to make a sign that says "second bedroom"?  Meanwhile when I wasn't looking almost all of the boxes and bags of books went into the living room.  Even the boxes that said bedroom.  Oh well.

Years ago, I helped (I use that word very loosely, because I had hardly nothing to do) Erika move.  The boxes were all perfectly organized and we were finished unpacking in the afternoon of her moving day.  Completely finished.  The only left to do was to recycle the boxes and we brought them to the recycle place right before they closed at 4 p.m..  That move was a thing of beauty.  When Adrienne and I moved to the condo, we were pretty darn organized.  We had the excess boxes out of the garage in a matter of days.  When we moved to the house we are in now, I don't think that we even put any boxes in the garage.  Nothing close to an Erika move, but we were fairly organized.  I'm getting old.  This move, not organized.  Actually really, really bad.  If Erika is the gold standard A++ and my previous moves with Adrienne are good solid B's and C's, this one gets a failing F right down the road. 

Last night was the first night I spent at the new place.  I have no cable, no tv, so I was going to set up music.  The cords were in cute little white boxes.  I remember seeing those cute little white boxes in the sitting room and I remember putting them in a bag, because they would fit.  I looked through a lot of bags--no cute little white boxes.  Then I thought, maybe I put them in a box with miscellaneous stuff.  I looked through every box--no cute little white boxes.   Man, I have a lot of boxes of junk.  I turned on my iphone ipod without the headset.  I could hear the music just fine.  But now I was too tired to do any unpacking. 

The move was more than two weeks ago--I've unpacked three bags and some clothes that I needed to wear.  It is a good thing that I don't have a tv anymore, because I'm afraid that I'll see myself on the show Hoarders--making a path from the kitchen to my chair and another to the front door.  Lions and tigers and bears. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tall Tale

We are having a tall tale contest at toastmasters.  I got up in the middle of the night and turned on the microphone in my iphone and taped a tall tale.  The cool part is that the app actually times the speech, the bad part is that the speech is supposed to be 3 to 5 minutes and of course it was 10 minutes.  I'll have to time this written version--I left out some parts, like how Bob Dylans car broke down and the million questions that Adam had for him that raced through his mind, while he listened to Poncho disparage the Chilaen government.  Oh well,


So my nephew, Adam moved to Australia last January.  About a month after he moved there, he found out about a Bob Dylan concert at a festival that was out in the middle of nowhere, but he could take the train there.  He couldn't pass up a chance to see Bob Dylan, so he went by himself on the train and walked the mile or so to the festival grounds.  It was a hot day (our winter is their summer) and Adam had on shorts and tee shirt.  He had a great time at the festival, but he wanted to be in front for the main event--the Bob Dylan concert, so he camped out at the stage that Dylan would be playing at.  Near the time for the beginning of the concert it started to rain--hard.  It poured, but they put up very large tents near the stage and Adam was near the front, under the tents.

The concert was fantastic, but the thing about it was that Bob Dylan smiled the whole time.  Now if you know anything about Bob Dylan you know that this is rather unusual--Bob Dylan is known for mumbling.  He always looks kind of morose, kind of sad, kind of out of it.  So for him to smile and look like he was really enjoying himself was so excellant.  Adam loved it.

After the concert, Adam stayed til the very end and by the time he walked back to the train station, he had missed the last train.  He looked around for an all night diner or even a hotel, but there was nothing.  It was pretty desolate.  There was an awning at the dinky train station, so Adam sat down to wait for the first train the next day at 6:00 a.m.  By now, it was almost 2 a.m. and pretty cold.  Adam had an extra tee shirt, so he drapped it over his knees to try to get warm.

Adam wasn't there long, when a car drove up.  The guy rolled down his window and asked Adam "Are you ok?"  Adam said, "I'm fine, I'm just waiting for the next train at 6:00 a.m."  The guy said "You don't look fine--it is cold and raining, I think you better come with me to my house to wait."  Adam said, "No, I'm fine--I'll be just fine here."  The guy got out of his car and said, "My name is Poncho.  I really think that you better come with me.  I picked up this other guy who was stranded on the road. I have an alarm clock--you can sleep on my couch and I'll get you guys up in time and bring you back to the train station." 

Now Poncho was not even five feet tall and a little older.  Adam is almost six feet tall, so Adam was more than a head taller than Poncho.  Well Adam is a little leary about getting into the car with this guy, but he figures he can take him if he has to and he is cold, so he gets in the back seat that Poncho is holding open.  When Adam gets in the car, he sees the other guy that Poncho picked up sitting in the front seat.  The guy seems kind of small and older and he's kind of hiding his head, but Adam sees that it is Bob Dylan.  "Bob Dylan!" Adam says really surprised.  Poncho is getting back into the car and he says "Oh, good you guys know each other."  Adam realizes two things right away:  Poncho doesn't know who Bob Dylan is and Bob Dylan doesn't seem to want to be recognized.  Well Adam doesn't want to bother Bob Dylan and he's pretty happy to be in a warm car, so he keeps him mouth shut.

Poncho on the other hand, clearly loves having an audience and starts to tell them all about himself.  He's from Chile--he's been in Australia for many years because the government of Chile is corrupt and a bunch of crooks.  He goes on and on and looks to Adam and Bob Dylan to agree with him.  They get to Poncho's house, which is a small step up from a one room shack--there's two rooms.  Poncho asks them if they would like something to eat and Bob Dylan asks for a phone.  Poncho says, "no, I only have one for emergencies and it's not hooked up."  Poncho is still talking and talking about how much he hates the government of Chile, and he starts to make tomatoe soup.  Adam figures that he's pretty hungry, so he's happy to say yes to the offered tomatoe soup and they all sit down.  Adam is sitting there trying to work up his courage to talk to Bob Dylan.  Finally Adam says "Mr. Dylan, I don't want to bother you, but I'm really curious, why were you smiling through your whole concert tonight?"  At that Poncho suddenly says "Bob Dylan, the Bob Dylan, you are Bob Dylan--oh my goodness, I had no idea--you are the famous Bob Dylan?"  Bob Dylan kind of mumbled, "Yes."  "Why didn't you say so," says Poncho.  "You want a phone--I'll get my emergency phone."  With that Poncho goes to a closet and on the top shelf he pulls down a very old rotary phone.  He takes it out on the front porch and from the corner, he pulls down a cord and plugs in the phone.  Bob Dylan makes a call and minutes later a big black car pulls up in front and Bob Dylan leaves.  As he leaves, Poncho and Adam are standing on the porch and Bob Dylan looks back, smiles at them and makes a peace sign and then he's gone.  Poncho and Adam look at each other and say "wow".  Then Poncho says, "Well, I'm really tired.  I'll set the alarm clock and take you to the train at 5:30, ok?"  "Thanks man," says Adam, and Poncho goes in to bed.  Adam stands on the porch looking out at the vast night, in the middle of nowhere and says to himself "I'm in Australia. I just ate tomatoe soup with Poncho and Bob Dylan.  The world is upside down.  It's awesome!"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hot and Cold

So the bank wised up and said they wouldn't lend me more money unless I proved that the work was going to be done in the next three months.  I have to turn in signed contracts to have the roof and the heater issue resolved.  That makes sense.  I agree that is a reasonable and intelligent request.  Except that I'm not signing the contract for the estimate that I have for the heating and cooling--it is way too high.  What to do?

So I called another contractor (number six if anyone is counting) to review the issue.  The very experienced guy walks into the house and says, why are you considering ductless heat and air--why not simply put in central heat and air.  I'd love to, I say, except that I've been told that I can't.  Oh, yes you can, he says with complete authority.  [Been here before--all six before him have told me the same thing coming in the front door and all six have eventually determined--can't be done.  But I'm humoring him--he's the expert, not me.]

Jack walks around the front room looking at all the walls, then we go through the kitchen and he sees the back part of the house going on and on and on, until we are at the back.  He's getting pretty quiet.  Next we go outside and he starts frowning big time.  You are too close to your neighbor on this side, he says.  A little while later (on the other side) he says, you share a driveway with your neighbor--that's not good.  We walk around on the inside some more and I show him the three places I've been told a ductless unit can be put.  He points out why it will not work in one of the spots.  Next we go back to the front room--the main event--the bank wants a heater in the front room at a minimum.  Jack starts to postulate maybe we can put the unit on one side of the room (to get the most heating and cooling for the largest area) and then run the pipes through the crawl space above the house.  He's shaking his head and pretty soon he says, you are between a rock and a hard place here. 

He's going to give me an estimate to put the bare minimum heater in the front room.  He did say that I'm going to make him think all day to try to come up with a solution, but he doesn't think that there is one.  Another one bites the dust.