Tag Archives: bus

It is a backwards day

Greetings, readers. This morning I got up at 5:00 wanting to use my new toy, AKA the new laptop I got last week, but my morning allergies said no. I had to go back to my recliner chair until Rebecca arrived at 9:45 this morning. Instead of getting right to the blog as usual, we made phone calls for doctor’s appointments and re-entered my website passwords. Oh, what fun. It didn’t help matters that Meals on Wheels was almost an hour later than usual, getting here a couple of minutes before my accountant. We had our meeting, and after that was left an hour and four minutes to do everything else we have to do, including this blog entry.

While we were waiting for my accountant, Rebecca and I looked at my blog numbers for the last week and I found them quite encouraging. Especially the number of views for the entry about my mom. Many folks from my Facebook page as well as the Bear Spring Camps Facebook page had a read and it is quite touching to me that my mother was loved by so many.

After a quick snack at Panera, I will have to dart to the bus to make it on time for my work shift, which starts at 3:00. Due to road construction, which made yesterday’s buses run behind schedule, I will need to get as early a bus as I can. If the same thing happens today, I’d rather be early than late.

Last night was super crazy at work. Three people called off, leaving me to be the only register person. I didn’t mind that, I can do that job, but when the fans of the local baseball team, the State College Spikes, brought in their coupons from promotion night, all hell broke loose because of my short-term memory issues. Two sandwiches per ticket with purchase, tap the promo button twice. Once I fully comprehended the concept on attempt number 10, things went more smoothly. We were so short-staffed that I was asked to work past my shift ending time, which I did not mind. I simply told my friend Jim, who had come to meet me, that I would be with him ASAP.

Although all the business made yesterday seem to go fast, I’m hoping for a nice slow day today at work. It would mean less stress on register and would give me more time to do my side work. I’m scheduled to work from 3pm to 8pm. Time will tell. After that, I’ll be off for two days. In essence, I get my weekend on Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow we will have another blog entry for you to enjoy and next week I already have planned a top ten list. Those always seem to do well. So until tomorrow, I bid you a good day, take care, and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: Construction zones

There seems to be construction zones on several streets in and around town. I do like good roads, safe bridges, and up-to-date gas/water lines. But it does get frustrating to find delays and orange cones on every trip out.

My husband Darren and I frequently encounter one project in particular. A small bridge on a street that is part of a highway, and a main artery through town, is receiving heavy maintenance repairs. The work has been going on for almost two months and is scheduled to run through July. Thankfully the work is being done without completely closing the bridge, with one lane in each direction staying open. It is still a delay to get through, especially during rush hours. Darren and I have to go over this bridge to get to his mom’s apartment, as well as get to the store from which we get her groceries, and the pharmacies for her medications. We will both be glad when the work is finished and all lanes of the street are open again.

Downtown also seems to have constant construction zones. One new building is finished, another seems almost finished, another building, on the other end of town from the first two, still has a way to go, and they always seem to be building on the university campus. This all adds to the construction traffic and lane restrictions around the building. Now, the town is also re-paving the roads. Last Thursday I crossed the street in front of the library to head to the bus stop and all was normal. The next morning I came from the bus stop to cross that street and the top layer was gone – it was milled. That was quick. They are doing the work at night when there is less traffic.

Another long running project is on and around the street my dad, sister, and nephew lives on. They haven’t said anything about being inconvenienced by the lane restrictions and side road closures that move around their block, but I often see the construction cones when I ride by on the bus on my way to and from work. This project does seem to be less intrusive, as it is on one block one week and on another block the next.

I feel the most sympathy for the bus drivers. The learn their routes and are trying to stay on time, and here are a number of construction zones to contend with, the number and location of which changes from week to week. We can at least choose a detour, they are stuck with the established route and any delays.

On another topic, I wish Joe luck with buying a new laptop today, to replace the one that is slowly dying. He is at the store as I type this. There is a slight possibility that Joe will put up a bonus entry about his new computer over the weekend.

I am glad so many of you enjoyed Joe’s tribute to his mother in yesterday’s blog post. We will be back next week with two more blog entries, on topics to be determined then. As Joe would write, take care, hope you are not living in the middle of a construction zone, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

New chair has arrived

Greetings, readers. I will dictate this blog entry while my voice holds out. I’m still getting over whatever this cold/infection thing is. Although my sinuses are clearer today, my throat is scratchy and half an octave lower. Oh dear, oh dear. We are writers, so we carry on and write.

The big news of the day is that my new recliner arrived. Well, new for me. I got it at a used furniture store and it is in extremely good condition. To my surprise and joy, Keekee also seems to like it. It is very soft cloth material, blue in color, and is wider and longer than my other chair. It was a very good purchase, especially since I got it on sale. When the old chair was removed, I quickly had to run the vacuum and get all the little bits and pieces of the last eight years of snacking and tissues out from the space. It was a chore, especially at 8:15 in the morning, but I got it done.

The delivery men placed the chair down and plugged it in, and didn’t really wait for a tip. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do that or not. Perhaps it is factored in to the delivery charge. Even with that extra charge, I still think I got a great bargain.

On a side note, it is a foggy morning here in State College, PA. It was quite cool last night, when I had to step outside at 3:30 in the morning to get fresh air for my ailing sinuses. As with most people, I don’t sleep well when I am sick; I keep waking up and that is extremely annoying.

Both Penn State University and State College Area High School have their homecoming games this week, which means two parades and plenty of people here for the weekend. I thought my cousin Eddie and his family might come in from New York, but I just spoke to him and he is going to choose another weekend. Eddie graduated from Penn State and loved every minute of it. He always attends at least one game a year.

Lastly, on the bus the other evening, there was a report of two people dressed in sinister clown outfits wielding weapons. The bus drivers, via telephone, were kept up to date on the whereabouts of these two clowns. They were hoping they would not board one of the buses. I asked my bus driver what the protocol was in case something like that happens. She said that if they weren’t carrying weapons in their hands, then they could get on the bus. They couldn’t if they were brandishing weapons. When I got off at my stop, there was no update, so I never did find out exactly what happened. I assume that all these clown sightings across this area and across the country are due to next year’s release of the remake of the movie It, which was based on Stephen King’s original novel. I think these people are sick to willingly want to scare people. Sure, on Halloween kids and teenagers dress up in costumes. Folks around the country expect it then; not now. All I know is, if I see one, I’m going to duck into the nearest establishment.

Well with my voice almost totally gone, I will end this blog entry here, and tell you that next Wednesday I will have a top ten list for you. Take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

UPDATE: 10/19/16 I have a photo of the new chair now to share with you.

My new [used] recliner. Arrived at my place on October 6, 2016.
My new [used] recliner. Arrived at my place on October 6, 2016.

My life without a car

Greetings, readers. I have been without a car since 2008. I enjoyed the years I drove very much, but an accident totaled my vehicle. With the money situation the way it is, I’ve been told by my accountant that even a used car is not in the current spending plans. For now the occasional Zipcar will have to suffice.

In the early years of my driving career, I would drive past our local airport and head for the back country roads. They would twist and turn and that drive really kept my skills and reflexes up. The only time I really drive distances now is in August when I go to Maine in a rental car.

Even though I have Meals on Wheels, a lot of times I like to have an evening snack when I watch TV. Luckily there is a store nearby, but it is a drug store with a small selection of food in it and their prices are not cheap. For me to go to an actual supermarket I would have to either rent a Zipcar or take the bus. The bus poses two problems. First, I’m going by someone else’s time schedule. And second, depending where I get dropped off, I would have to lug my bags back home. It is not the worst thing in the world, but when you have a convenience store right in walking distance, that choice is more expensive but quicker.

The only doctors in walking distance are my psychologist and the dentist. My general practitioner and, most importantly, my neurologist, have to be reached either by bus, cab, or Zipcar. This can get a bit expensive and inconvenient. For my next doctor’s appointment, I will need to get a bus an hour and fifteen minutes early, because the next scheduled bus would make me late to my doctor’s appointment. And as much as an hour could be between the end of an appointment and the next bus.

I don’t mind taking alternate transportation when it is needed, but I’ve cut my Zipcar usage way down. Basic insurance is covered by the company, but yearly dues and full insurance are two yearly major expenses for me.

If I had my own car, I could hop in it tomorrow and go visit Walnut Grove, Minnesota, if I wanted to. To accomplish this in my current situation, would require a check of the Amtrak train schedule, one of the many long distance bus charter companies, or an airplane. With money tight, I think I’ll just stay home. My point is, that if I just want to get up and go, I can’t. About 75% of my life must be planned out.

Zipcars do help. But that sense of freedom, of hopping in my vehicle and going anywhere anytime is gone for good. From now on, I will have to walk, take a bus or a cab, or some other means of transportation, to get where I’m going. This coming Sunday for Easter, as happened this past Christmas, my girlfriend’s friends have invited us to have dinner, but they have to come pick us up in their car. Although this is not the most terrible thing in the world, I do feel a little bit like a burden to them. Perhaps next holiday, we’ll rent a Zipcar and pick them up.

If I have to take my girlfriend somewhere, like to her doctor or to the hospital, the Zipcars are $9 an hour, and we would book it for at least 3 hours to be sure we have enough time. My lowest tally with her has been $27. That is not exactly the same as her chipping in $5 for gas if I took her in my car. Plus, if all the Zipcars are rented and she needs to get there in a hurry, we are calling a taxi cab. And once again, we wait for them. If we want to take a drive to see the scenery, or go for a special lunch someplace that is a few towns over, I would want to rent that Zipcar for at least 3 to 4 hours, and we are talking about $36. Sometimes we just don’t have that to pay, so we don’t go.

Do I miss my car? Absolutely. With all the expenses, such as gas, upkeep and insurance, I’m probably lucky that I don’t have one. Knowing my luck, I would crack a cylinder head and it would be a $3,000 repair. Do I miss my freedom? Absolutely. But in 8 years I’ve learned to adjust. Things are more difficult without a car, but I am making it work.

Until Friday, when we will have another interesting blog post for you, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things that are going on in my life right now – Dec 2015

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I thought it would be a good idea to post a top ten list of things that are going on in my life in the current moment. Most are good things, a few of them are perhaps not so good. I don’t think I would consider any of them “bad”. Life is a journey and a struggle and every once in a while we get a peach pit in our peaches and cream. So here we go.

#10. Fog. [The last four days State College, PA. and surrounding areas have experienced thicker than usual fog. This morning I awakened early as usual, looked out my window, and could not see the buildings across the street. Very unusual. State College is prone to bad weather from time to time, but thinking about it, I must admit fog is the phenomenon we have the least.]

#9. Learning to win on the WWE 2k16 wrestling game, PS3 version. [As my regular blog readers may remember, recently I got a copy of this wonderful video game. It is much more difficult than I was expecting. I am finally learning how to win on it. My overall record is 2 wins, 11 loses, and a whole bunch of just watching the computer playing against itself. Fascinating game. I must be careful, because I can play it for hours, which is not good for my very mild seizure issue.]

#8. Christmas decorations going up and excited about Christmas. [Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Even though I can no longer have the big, real Christmas tree with tons of ornaments and lights, I do try to decorate a little bit to remind myself of the great days when Mom and Dad would spruce up the house and would make it look magical. Pop never let us turn the lights on once tested until Christmas morning, which made it seem more wonderous.]

#7. I am enjoying Spotify music service. [For $9 a month, I am considering Spotify to be a steal. I have found tons of songs and complete albums to listen to. Also, you can click and drag songs into playlists you create. So far I have four lists: my collection of 70s and 80s songs, Beatles songs done by the a tribute band The Coverbeats, my favorite list of KISS songs performed live, and Christmas songs. If you are on Spotify and want to listen to my playlists, drop a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll send you the link.]

#6. Working on a new budget for the new year. [I continue to struggle with money. I keep running out before the end of the month. Here today on the 9th of December I was already talking to my accountant about the slow leak in my wallet. I bought some new pants, a belt, and underwear last night and even though I should have been expecting the amount, the bill gave me sticker shock. I needed the clothes very badly. My old slacks were literally worn out. I need to find a way to get what I need and make my money last longer at the same time.]

#5. New issues with Zipcar. [Up until a month or so ago, my dealings with Zipcar were great. Recently … not so much. The last two times I’ve tried to rent, I’ve either had an issue with the vehicle or none were available despite the reservation I had made ahead of time. The last time, the car that was supposed to be mine for the morning was in for maintenance. I was not told about this – oh joy, oh bliss. The friend I was going to drive to the train station, and who had agreed to pay for the rental fee, had to take a cab. I am picking her up this Sunday, let’s hope all goes well. If not, Zipcar and I will have major problems.]

#4. Doctor appointments for both Keekee and me. [Keekee’s appointment is for a semi-annual wellness check, complete with vaccination, clip nails, and new bag of food, just to name a few things. I have a neurologist appointment in January, to make sure my brain is running the way it should. These appointments made this list not because they are particularly noteworthy but because of the expense it will take to get us there and back. I will either have to take a bus, a taxi, or rent a Zipcar. It is easier to take a cat in  carrier in a Zipcar. Some bus drivers don’t mind, others do, but it is legal. Also, I have a routine dentist appointment in a few weeks.]

#3. Waiting for a notice from the copyright office for my play Kimberly. [We sent in the application, play, and the check a couple of months ago. I want to know that is done by the time Rebecca’s husband Darren is done with the novel based on the play, so that we can then copyright his work.]

#2. Six book sales at the end of November. [Whoot. I was very excited to check my CreateSpace e-store page and find three sales for each of the Bear Spring Camps books. Yay, team! It is not enough to pay the rent, but it is a start. And I am glad that people are still enjoying Picking Up Where We Left Off and Tales from North Bay and Beyond.]

#1. My girlfriend and Thanksgiving with family. [Traci has been my girlfriend since late September, and she went with me to spend Thanksgiving with David and family. Regular readers will know that she got along great with the family and we all had a wonderful time. This is in the #1 spot because Traci was so happy to be introduced to the family and both she and I are happy to have each other, as well as them.]

So, this sums up this top ten list and my life at this moment. Although things are definitely on an upswing for me, I am still grateful for my therapist. She still continues to help me quite a bit.

There will definitely be a blog on Friday, on an as of yet unknown topic. Until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

My brain fart from last night

Greetings, readers. Last night something happened to me which has only happened once before. I went to a place of business without my wallet. Here’s how it happened.

On my mother’s credenza, sits a wooden duck. It’s sort of a bowl for storing things. I use it specifically to put my wallet and keys in; that way I know exactly where they are at all times. Last night my keys were on the dining room table. So after putting on my hoodie and loading my pockets with cell phone, keys and bus tokens, I thought, okay, I have everything, let’s go. After getting on the bus at the downtown stop, I plopped my bus token into the payment slot and took my seat. Off I went on the forty minute ride.

When I got to Denny’s restaurant, my friend Jim had not arrived yet. I meet him there every week to catch up on the week’s happenings. I ordered a Coke with light amount of ice, looked at the menu, and then ordered. My food arrived while I was waiting for Jim. I emptied my hoodie pockets to be more comfortable and to my horror, my wallet was not with the things in my pocket. Jim arrived and we started talking. unfortunately, the conversation dealt a lot with my missing wallet. When I am upset about something, I tend to not be able to let it go.

Did I lose it on the bus? Or did I forget to take it with me? From that moment until I got home, I did experience a junior nervous breakdown. It is a hopeless feeling knowing this money, debit card, and driver’s license could all be lost forever, and would then have to be replaced. What is worse, my security pass card to let me back into the apartment building was also in the wallet. That meant that at 10:00 at night I had to call a friend inside the building, have him walk down, and let me in. A wee bit on the embarrassing side. But I suppose these things happen.

To my relief, when I got home, there was my wallet sitting safely in the duck. I actually remember saying out loud, “Oh goodie, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.” If the wallet had really been gone, I would have been too angry and frustrated to doze off. Danger was averted, as well as a lot of paperwork.

What was so funny was, I went to a psychological testing that day to see what is wrong with my memory. It was the first of three testing dates. Rachel, the technician, is a sweet person and the testing is not too tedious. Hopefully they will be able to find out why I am beginning to forget things and not retain information. As I told my accountant this afternoon, I think it is a combination of age, slight brain damage from seizures, and my seizure medication. In four to six weeks, I’ll have my evaluation and hopefully there will be an answer to what is wrong with me. Please keep your fingers crossed for good news.

Until Friday, take care, enjoy good weather if you have it and happy reading.

In control

Greetings, readers. After much reflection over the past few months, and with the help of my therapist, I am becoming a more confident person. I am starting to regain control of my life and it feels good. In 2009, when I made my triumphant return to Bear Spring Camps I had to go by airplane, for I was not confident enough to drive the 1,200 mile trip by car. It was great fun, because I love airplanes, but I missed all the scenery that I so enjoyed looking at as a passenger when Mom drove the trip. For the past four years, I’ve rented a vehicle from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Here’s how it gave me back control.

With the aid of the rental, I can stop where and when I want to stop. I can pull off for a stretch at anytime, grab a coffee and a donut at the Dunkin’ Donuts, and choose any motel I want. When I traveled by bus for two years, we stopped when they wanted to, and you were all but threatened to get back on the bus on time or they would literally leave without you. Going by plane was nice, but oh, brother, all that waiting and the long lines at the security checks. The biggest benefit of the car to me is that I can pack my truck full of whatever I want to take to camp. I am not having to limit myself to a couple of carry-ons. And no luggage lost on the way.

My mom was always in control. It was one of the things I loved most about her. It seemed that almost every minute of every day was planned out and organized. I can remember Mom beginning to plan for the trip weeks in advance. I’m striving to be able to get all the accommodations booked and confirmation numbers written down well in advance. It is one less thing to worry about a few days before leaving.

On a non-camp note, I’m also taking steps to become more confident in other aspects of my life. Good friend Rebecca as well as others are helping me in this endeavor. Do I want to drastically change Joseph Kockelmans? No. He just needs peaked and tweaked a little. 😉

Until tomorrow or next Wednesday, take care, chin up, be well, and happy reading.