Tag Archives: problems

Surprise! A Tuesday blog entry :-)

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was a hectic mess and almost a disaster. I took a good friend, Becky, to the train station. Traci went with us too. It was supposed to be a stress free day, but it didn’t turn out that way. It was cold, very windy and the Zipcar I was supposed to obtain was not there when I needed it.

After 30 minutes of speaking to several agents, I was finally able to get a car. Traci, Becky, and I got on the road a little bit late and with frayed nerves, but ready to enjoy the 40 minute ride. The speed limit was higher than I expected – 70 MPH – so the trip went by faster than I thought it would. We were in Tyrone in no time and having an early dinner at the Burger King. There weren’t many people there, so we were able to get our food quickly. After finding a table, we sat down to a nice meal and interesting conversation.

We had about an hour to kill, so we didn’t rush eating our meal. I sipped my coffee and relaxed. After sitting and talking it was finally time to go. None of us wanted to go back out into the cold and wind. I was severely under dressed, only wearing a shirt and hoodie. I ran to the car, unlocked it and started the engine. It took a few minutes before the heat was able to blast through the vents. It was just a short drive from the restaurant to the train depot. I kept the car running so that we would all stay warm while we waited for the Amtrak train.

There was only one problem, Becky’s train was a late. She got updates on her cell phone. As a matter of fact, the train was getting later by the minute. Something was wrong. As it turned out her train was being held up by another train that was having difficulties. I thought that’s what the problem was, but I didn’t want to tell Becky my guess earlier because I didn’t want to worry her. I was sad when Traci and I had to leave to get back to town on time. There was no place for Becky to keep warm, just a little shelter by the train tracks. I would have stayed, but I had only reserved the car until 6:30. We did the best we could.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care and happy reading.

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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.

Girlfriend is back in the hospital

Greetings, readers. I found out that my girlfriend Traci is once again having heart issues, so playing on the side of caution, she went to the ER to get checked out. I know we said this was going to be a From Rebecca blog day, but the computer went wonky and slowed her progress down. She will finish that blog entry and will post it on Wednesday.

Within the next half-hour I will be off to the hospital to see Traci and try to cheer her up. She likes when I make her laugh. Hopefully this is nothing serious, but I did agree with her decision to have it checked out. Her heart doctor should be on the way there now.

On a brief other topic. I was watching a documentary last night about a possible conspiracy theory dealing with the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic. Could it have been the Olympic that sank that night? That very well might be next Friday’s blog entry. Usually I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but I will admit to you that this one intrigued me.

So sorry for the short blog entry today, much more next week. Take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Who knew that flowers were so difficult?

Greetings, readers. The roses I bought for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day did not last. I thought we did everything right, I cut off the tips of the stems and put the powder in the water, but the roses began to droop after only one day, and by the third morning Traci had to throw them away. To put it mildly, I was not a happy camper. I stopped at the florist today to find out what we had done wrong. After talking to the manager, I discovered that it was my fault.

The scissors that Traci had for me to use were not exactly the sharpest. In the process of snipping the ends of the stems, I must have pinched too hard and closed off the capillaries. Hence, no water could get to the poor flowers. I feel like such a murderer! Just kidding. Truthfully though, I do feel bad. I won’t say how much I paid for them, that is not really the point. I was upset because Traci’s flowers, which she loved, didn’t last. She told me that she had never had flowers given to her and that she was thrilled.

What to do, what to do? Traci was sad about the short-lived flowers. Rebecca and I went to the florist today to find out what had gone wrong. After some conversation with the manager, we determined that the stems were squashed and that in the future I should use a sharp knife to cut the ends. Unexpectedly, the manager replaced the flowers free of charge to make up for it, and said that new roses would be delivered to her this afternoon. That is definitely the way to keep my business. I found this extremely satisfying. By the time I come to visit her this afternoon, the new roses should already be there. A big thank you to Woodring’s Floral Gardens in State College.

One thing I must do before I go off to therapy is to arrange for someone to let the florist in the building at the right time. I just called a friend of mine and he will buzz open the security door, so thanks to Scott.

Well, that is the Thursday news going on with me. Rebecca will have a blog entry tomorrow, and I’m sure you will all enjoy that. Until then, have a great day, take care, 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.

The last month and a half of Mr. Gotrocks

Greetings, readers. I was telling my accountant today how sick and tired I am of constantly being low on cash and stressed about my monthly finances. I told him I was going to come up with a plan by January 1st to rectify this problem. He told me that he has heard this story many, many times. Well, I have said it before. Times have changed, however, and it is a whole new ballgame.

I’m constantly talking to my therapist about how stressed out and depressed I am about my monthly budget. She and I talked about the idea of getting through the rest of this year and having a brand new self-imposed budget ready for the new year. I thought that was an excellent idea. I didn’t tell her, but I was already thinking about that idea myself.

After I get back from my mini-Thanksgiving trip with my girlfriend, Traci, Mr. Updagraff has given me the okay to have Meals on Wheels delivered 5 days a week instead of 3 days. This will take care of my weekday needs. Traci and I are going to have to just realize that any eating out we do will have to be done on the weekends and as cheaply as possible.

If I can get this plan to work, I think my stress level will be significantly lower and I will be much more of a happy camper.

Along with my new budget, I hope to have in place, by the New Year or soon thereafter, a new daily schedule to keep to. It will incorporate the early get-up time, which quite frankly I have become accustomed to. It is having the hours to write part and the going to bed earlier part that will need the most work. I’ve noticed one thing about myself over the years and it is this: I might take longer to get things done, but once I’ve ‘had it’ I do whatever I need to do and I don’t look back.

I asked my accountant to bear with me until the end of December, in case I need extra cash for the upcoming trip, Christmas presents for friends, and maybe a little something for me. Then Mr. Gotrocks dies. I will no longer be able to live outside my means and I no longer wish to. I think it would help my self-esteem if I got on a serious budget and stuck to it. I shall let you know the outcome. 🙂

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

P.S. Prayers go out to the families of the victims from the horrible terrorist attack in France. My heart goes out to you.

Worried about a possible neurological problem

Greetings, readers. Last night, for the second time in about a week, I had a startling and unsettling thing happen to me. Both times I was almost asleep when I felt what I can only describe as a gun shot go off inside my head. No pain or pressure with it, just a loud bang. Both times it jolted me awake. I sat up, I looked around, and I told myself it must have been a car or truck’s backfire. But you know what? I don’t think it was. I must go back to the fact that it felt internal. I know the brain can do very strange things. But can it give me the sensation of a shot? I’m not so sure.

As some of you know, I’m on quite a bit of medication for seizures, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this a new side effect of some kind. If it happens again, I’m going to contact my neurologist and see what he has to say about it. I’ve always been the kind of person throughout my life to over-react to almost everything. However, as I understand it, one of the symptoms before either a stroke or a brain hemorrhage is pain in the head followed by this kind of exploding sound. This hypochondriac is gong to keep his finger on the problem.

This concludes this Thursday blog entry, because Rebecca and I have phone calls to make and then I’m going to continue to compile more entries from the blog for the new book.

Until tomorrow, take care, enjoy your day, and happy reading.

I defeated the computer!

Greetings, readers. Welcome to this rare Thursday blog entry. I thought I would share with you what happened this morning. I started off at my usual 6:45 wake up time, which I’ve been trying to hold to. I washed up and made coffee and was planning to put four or five videos from YouTube to my Facebook page. That would consist of me singing the songs, typing in the information, up-loading the video to YouTube, and then when it was finished being processed it could be transferred to Facebook. That was the plan.

At 7:30, I turned on my computer and was going to spend the morning singing and enjoying myself, knowing that friends and family on Facebook had been waiting to see a few of these videos. They are selections of songs from my previous show, which I perform in my apartment sitting down, for people who couldn’t make my show. I have what I call morning throat. Because my allergies don’t drain very well at night my voice sounds like a scratchy old bear. With coffee and water, I got that part of the dilemma cleared up by 8:30. Then I had computer issues.

First, Spotify music would not open, and once it did, YouTube malfunctioned half-way through my first recording. Once the technical problems were solved, you would think I had it made. But no. I then became hopelessly tongue-tied and forgot the words of the song. Back to Spotify I went to activate the lyrics; thank goodness for that function.

Finally, at 11:25, I was able to put one video up on Facebook. I was actually considering calling Rebecca to change our meeting plans. But it wasn’t necessary. I won out over the computer.

On Friday, along with a possible other topic, I’ll let you readers in on a minor dilemma of mine, which is me learning how to make ends meet until next Wednesday. Mr. Silver-Spoon Kid still has a lot to learn.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Possible problems with WordPress

Greetings, readers. This morning, Rebecca’s sister sent me a Facebook message, alerting me to a possible problem with WordPress dealing with hackers, malware, and a plug-in that I don’t use. Before we began today, Rebecca looked over the site and read linked articles. She deems it safe to use today, as far she can tell. The problem seems to be with a plug-in called Slider Revolution, which we don’t use. So this blog entry will not be on the topic which I had planned,  but it will be more or less a test for what happens after we hit the publish button.

As all of you have read in my technology grrr pieces, I’ve become deathly afraid when I hear such words as hacking, malware, or viruses. My Asus laptop is over five years old, and like Muhammad Ali, it is towards the end of its career. One good punch could put it down for the count.

What is going on with WordPress is something that I don’t think my AVG anti-virus could catch. I believe it is an internal issue with a third-party site connected to WordPress. After we spell check, add a category and tags, we will post this test entry and if all goes well I will have an extra special one for you on Friday.

Until then, take care, think sunshine if you are in a cloudy area, and happy reading.

The ultimate in technology grrr day

Greetings, readers. I am dictating this blog entry while gritting my teeth. My alarm went off this morning at 6:45 and I turned on my laptop by 7:15. I was going to enjoy a morning of Train Simulator 15. Ha ha ha.

After coffee was made and I had my comfy seat arranged just the way I wanted it, I activated the game. The error message read something like: Missing start application. Right there I knew my whole morning was screwed. After fiddling with it for ten to fifteen minutes, I decided to play some music on my PS3 using Music Unlimited, go back to my laptop and uninstall said game. It shouldn’t take long to reload and I will have it running by 9:00. Ha ha ha.

By 10:15, I was still struggling to get the program to run. With no one else in the room, I actually said out loud to the computer, “Eight stories is a long way down.” Yes, readers, I talk to myself when I’m angry.

By 11:15, I had to leave the apartment to get some brunch and meet Rebecca. I shall try one more time to re-install the game this afternoon after work hours. Most of you, I’m sure, are thinking, “Well, what’s he complaining about?” But my days and weeks are very rigidly scheduled. Afternoon is writing and creation. Evening is filled with activities with friends or getting caught up with Netflix, so my mornings are slated for personal computer time. After almost four hours today with nothing but troubleshooting, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “I’ll try this again later.” As my pop would have said, “So it goes.”

While waiting for Rebecca at Panera this morning, I almost grabbed a newspaper and read my horoscope. I would have laughed if it had said stay in bed, for today is going to be a terrible day.

Okay, I’m done ranting now. For this weekend, Saturday will be my usual Dungeons and Dragons day with Rebecca and Darren, and Sunday will be filled with watching football and having someone come to help keep up the apartment. So I wish you all a good weekend, do stay warm if it is cold outside, and happy reading.