Tag Archives: Rebecca

Frustrations with health insurance

Greetings, readers. For the past half hour, Rebecca and I have been calling numbers trying to find out information about my soon-to-expire health insurance coverage. The deadline for the marketplace is two days away and I was supposed to get a letter from the state telling me rather I qualify for medical assistance through them or not. I looked in my mailbox today and got all the mail from this last week; no such letter was in the pile.

This brings me to a problem. I cannot proceed on the marketplace website without said information. Sometimes I think the government does this on purpose. Their mission: give Joe grey hair. Just now, Rebecca and I called three separate numbers; two of them were not the department I needed to talk to and one was a non-working number. Thanks Yahoo!, get your information updated please.

With many of my co-workers sick with colds, flu, and such, I feel like I am going to need my health coverage very soon. I’m praying I won’t have a lapse in the coverage, for knowing my luck, that’s when I’ll get double pneumonia.

Yes, it seems the town bug has hit, mainly because of the sudden drop in the temperature. Yesterday morning, I walked from the bus stop into work and said to myself, yep, winter is here alright, even if it isn’t officially here until the 21st of this month. I’ve had to forgo my comfortable hoodie for the bulkier down coat. The pockets are not as deep so I have to my cell phone and keys in my backpack.

On Monday, we’re having a code inspection in the apartment building, starting on my floor around 9am, and the notice said I need to contain any pets. I’ve asked the restaurant manager who hired me if I can work a later shift on that day. I’m hoping she says yes. If not, poor Keekee will either be locked in the bathroom or crated up until I get home. She will not be a happy kitty cat. I used to work the 3pm to 8pm shift, and that wouldn’t be bad. If I was put on the 5pm to 11pm shift … well, let’s just say I’m used to going to sleep at 9:00. My fuel tanks would be running on fumes. I hope to get a response from my manager by this afternoon.

Rebecca is not certain quite yet if she is coming down with something or not. I’m sure she hopes to make it tomorrow but her body might rebel and say no, you need to sleep today. If that is the case, either I will put a blog entry up or Rebecca will from home.

Speaking of the blog, I’ve made an executive decision. Beginning in Feb 2018, I am going to begin to compile blog entries from years two, three, and four for my second blog book. I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while, and I was going to call it Greetings, Readers 2, but I think I will use my creativity and come up with a different name. My target date to have that out is mid-April. Between the novel and my new blog book, there are many positive achievements for our creative endeavors coming out before I go to camp in August.

Well, that just about does it for today. I’m going to call it an early session and let Rebecca go home and recoup, if she is indeed catching something. I am going to rest my feet most of the time today and tomorrow before I go back to my fast food job for the Friday and Saturday shifts.

So, until next time, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.


From Rebecca: Editing Four’s a Crowd from proofs

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Joe, my husband Darren, and I are doing the unusual practice of doing heavy edits in the proof copies of Four’s a Crowd. Usually this would be done before the proofreading work, but we got blocked and needed a way to push forward. As regular readers know, Joe wrote a play, Kimberly, which four years ago Darren began adapting into the novel Four’s a Crowd. Darren and Joe would get together every few months and touch base with what Darren was doing with Joe’s characters and plotlines to expand them, and make notes on moving forward.

Darren finished writing the first couple of drafts, then we printed off copies so that the three of us could do edits. We did a couple of rounds of that, in starts and stops, and then sometime in the last year the progress just got stuck. As the three of us worked at different stages, we would think that one of us was doing something with the book, only to find out that the person thought that someone else was doing something, so all three of us would be in waiting patterns. And then nothing moved forward on the project for many months and Darren gave up.

Someone, I think it was me, suggested we just jump to the next step, which was getting proofs, and edit from there. Which we did, and the project is moving rapidly now. We are using the print-on-demand publisher CreateSpace for the novel. Joe had a good experience with them when he published his three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Beyond North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger. I downloaded the CreateSpace formatted templet, and started plugging in the content. We had to wait a couple of days for the review, but then we were ready to order proof copies.

For Darren, this was the first time he held a bound book with his name on it as author, and he was pleased. The book is thicker than we imagined, and has a heft to it. We are all really proud of it. We will be changing the front cover photo, we still need to put in author photos, and make a few more cosmetic changes, but it is already an impressive achievement.

We got four of copies for editing, one for Darren, one for Joe, one for me, and one for Darren’s mother who agreed to read it and give us feedback. Darren’s mom read the book in two days and loved it. She pointed out a few things to change that helped a lot. I was going to say that Darren finished his editing yesterday, except he is sitting on the sofa right now with a pencil in his teeth and the book in his hands making more changes. Joe plans to do some editing with his copy today, while he also rests from a very busy week. I am on page number 232 out of 300 in my copy, so I don’t have much left.

Except for Joe who is using a sheet of paper, we are making our changes and suggestions right in the book with pencils. I am not sure why, but it is so satisfying to write directly in the book.¬†The novel feels so much different in bound form than in loose sheets of typing paper, and editing in that form feels different too. Darren has already put his mother’s changes in his copy, then when I am done he will put my edits in his book too. In early January, Darren and Joe will have a meeting to go over Joe’s changes and put those in Darren’s copy too.

Then we put the edits in the manuscript computer file, upload the book to CreateSpace again, get another proof (which should read a lot smoother and faster), edit and change and upload again, and when we are ready, we will hit the publish button. And then Darren and Joe’s book will be out in the world ready to buy, hopefully by the end of March 2018. We will keep you posted.

Joe will be back next week with a new blog entry. Until then, as he would write, take care, have a great week, and happy reading

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

Greetings, readers. A bizarre thing happened last afternoon and evening that I wish to share with you in case any of you know what it might be and can give me advice in the comment section. I woke up from a nap to find both my hips and lower back stiff as a board. Occasionally I would have a sharp pain on one or both sides. It did not keep me from walking down to my appointment, though I was uncomfortable. Later, when I was watching television, I got a knife jab in my right side that made me consider going to the E.R.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain was almost gone, much to my relief. I don’t remember making a false move or lifting anything heavy, but obviously I strained something. Thank goodness this morning the pain is gone. I still wish I knew what it was and will it come back. Now on to other news.

Rebecca, Darren, and I are proofreading our copies of Four’s a Crowd. I’ve already found one scene that there is going to be head-butting about. It involves the female lead character saying a word I’m not comfortable with. The question is, with Darren the author of the novel, and me the author of the play it is based on, who should get the final say? Hopefully we can compromise.

More news. My Beatles sing along show is tomorrow, but at 3:30pm, not 1:00. There was a slight mix-up in the entertainment schedule and my show will start after the country line dancers are finished. It should make for a wonderful day’s entertainment. I will be singing along to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl CD, and my friend Mike Weaver will be singing a few Christmas carols while I take a break between my two sets. I’m a tad worried that Mike and I have not had a practice session yet, but we’re not professions and if a clunker is made, it is okay. I’m sure folks will love the show.

It will be very odd not to go to my other job tomorrow and I do thank my manager Savannah for giving me the day off to do the show. I will work at my fast food job on Saturday, probably have off Sunday, and return to my regular schedule next week.

After Rebecca and I are finished with this blog entry, I am going to go on the Zipcar website and reserve a vehicle for the my Christmas Eve Light Ride. This year I want to book early to make sure I get a vehicle. I believe my other job will be closed that evening, so a work shift should not get in the way.

On a sadder note, I was in a bit of a funk yesterday when I learned about NBC’s Matt Lauer being fired for sexual misconduct. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has lost its shine for me now. He was the co-host of it for many years and that team was part of my special day. I watched part of it at David’s this year and have it set in my YouTube queue to watch anytime, but will probably not watch it after this. Next year it will be Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and ?. If the allegations are true, Matt Lauer deserves to be locked up. I guess you never know about people. It is getting harder and harder to trust anyone in this world, but with my jolly personality, I shall try.

Lastly, I’ll be doing my show tomorrow and most likely be doing my own write-up about it for a blog post. Rebecca is unable to attend and if memory serves this will be the first show she has missed since we began working together. I just know that I am going to criticize my every mistake as most artists do. I promise I won’t be too hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, happy reading.

Rebecca and I have been working together for 7 years tomorrow

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe it has been seven years already since Rebecca agreed to be my typist and editor. That job quickly morphed into personal assistant, but that is okay. The main job is writing. After almost seven years together, we have put out over 600 blog entries, three books, and part of a book (written by Rebecca’s husband Darren) based on a play I wrote before we started working together. Oh, and by the way, that book is coming soon.

Yes, we’re very excited about Four’s a Crowd. Although we still have one or two edits to go, I’ve read the project and it is awesome. You’ll love it. Very soon Rebecca is going to begin putting it into the CreateSpace formatted templet, cutting and pasting each chapter in place, and we need to write a book description, before uploading the file to the publisher. Then it will be time to order proofs and we are going to do our final edit right on the pages. Proofs are never for sale, so what the heck, let’s mark them up.

When the book comes out, I’m going to go to Webster’s bookstore across the street and ask the owner, a personal friend of mine, if she would take several copies on consignment and push them. The worst thing she could say is no. I already have a few people from Facebook who I will go out on a limb and say will be guaranteed buyers. I have one phrase for you folks: Spread the word … please.

I’m extremely excited about this project, and Darren, who had lost all hope when things were moving slowly, has renewed enthusiasm as well. I’m not going to set an exact release date, but let’s just put it in the ballpark of January or February of 2018. I think we can do it. Updates as they happen.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to those families affected by the California wild fires, and by Hurricane Nate. I don’t know how long those fires will burn, but from what I saw on TV, they have already ruined several wine vineyards. Expect the price of wine from California to skyrocket. Also, an R.I.P and condolences to Tom Petty, a great singer, and his grieving family and friends.

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

The 52 year old kid

Greetings, readers. I’ve often told myself and other people that I’m young at heart and I feel like a big kid. I really have not taken life seriously, upon reflection. At age 15, I should have gotten the job that I have now, which is a cashier at a local fast food restaurant. That is the time I should have learned the importance of saving money and having my own. Still my favorite recreation is playing video games or watching them on YouTube. I don’t sit down and write for hours and my hands have not had 35 years of hard labor. What does this say about me?

I’m about to open up a little bit and share. My mom, God rest her soul, loved me and yes, overprotected me. I was basically taught that everything would be okay and that I would be provided for, I think because of my disability. To young parents: This is a mistake. While I had a happy childhood, and young adulthood, I’m still trying to straighten out the curves thrown at me later in life.

At this point of my life, I had envisioned myself writing several books, a couple of plays, and maybe even a pilot for a TV series. Well, only a fraction of those things actually came to pass. I guess I’m alright with that. But at age 52, with a brain that’s been slightly damaged by seizures and dulled by medication I don’t know how much creative writing I have in me for future projects.

When I sit down to play my games, I can lose myself in my own little world and forget all my worries, such as my handicaps, and my monetary situation. Then the phone will ring, or I’ll have to put laundry in the dryer, or go buy that jug of milk, and back to the real world I come. I can do it. Sometimes I just don’t like to.

Is this escapism? Or just a single guy wanting to have a hobby? There’s a question for you. If I were to ask my therapist, she would probably say it is a little bit of both. Am I going to change my ways and become Mr. Ultra Serious Man? Hell, no. I don’t want frown lines on my forehead. The Lord made me the way He wanted me to be, and that is good enough.

I again have a work shift tomorrow, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog from home, either a fresh one from her, or another re-post of a previous blog from me – most likely from my third year of blogging.

Now we have some good news to share with you. I have decided, with Rebecca and Darren’s go ahead, to begin final editing work on our novel, Four’s a Crowd. As my older readers may remember, it is based on my play Kimberly from several years back, which Darren adapted into a novel with my imput. I think Darren was excited when we had our conference call this morning. It was bugging me no end that my work from days gone by and his recent very hard work had stalled in the mud. I see this on CreateSpace for sale by February 2018 … earlier if we get our butts in gear. ūüôā

Before we close, prayers go out to the families and survivors effected in the senseless shooting in Las Vegas. There are people like that in the world who do monstrously terrible acts. As I understand it, he committed suicide. What a coward. He didn’t have the courage to serve his jail time and pay for his crimes. Now he will have to deal with a Higher Power and face his final judgement there.

Well, that is the news from today. Until next time, have a great day, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My friend Dave is coming for my birthday

Greetings, readers. My buddy and brother Dave Trost is coming up tomorrow to visit me for my birthday. What a fantastic surprise. I’ll be turning 52 tomorrow and it will be nice to have Dave here. We’re planning on having birthday dinner at the Indian restaurant right underneath my apartment building. I suppose after that it will be back upstairs to watch movies or YouTube. Quite honestly, I would not mind just sitting and chatting about the old days. I love it when we reminisce.

Dave is able to take this two and a half day vacation because the poor boy cracked a bone in his ankle playing softball. That is a major ouch. Luckily for him, since he is planning to drive down for the visit, the walking boot is on his left foot. I don’t imagine we’ll be walking to Panera or any of the other eateries because I’m going to want my buddy to rest that foot as much as possible.

Another reason I don’t want Dave walking around town is that this just happens to be the week for our Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Panera and Sheetz will be crowded and who knows if we will even get a table. I might try something called OrderUp, which is an online service that will pick up food ordered from a restaurant and deliver it to your door. I think David will enjoy staying off his foot as much as he can.

Although Dave’s visit will be a short one, it has fallen on my birthday week and Arts Festival week.¬†If Dave is feeling up to it, we might check out the food venders on the block nearest my building. I heard they have yummy corn dogs, bundt cake and funnel cake. That sounds like a treat for a person with a sweet tooth.

The weather, as is usual for this time of year where we have the Arts Fest downtown and the People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg, is supposed to be warm and muggy with a chance of rain. That in itself is reason enough to stay in and play Yahtzee all evening. I can remember many an evening at Bear Spring Camps when Dave and I would play Yahtzee to pass the evening away. I still have very fond recollections of those nights. I even know where to find my Yahtzee game and score pads.

I’ll be certain to have a 12 pack of Coors Light so that when Dave arrives he can sit down and begin to enjoy his weekend. Usually we would walk together to get it, but this visit he gets pampered a bit. One of the movies that I know David will want to watch on Netflix is the Minions. My buddy just loves those yellow little characters.

The next blog entry we will be doing when we are together again next week will be a review of my new laptop computer. I won’t go into the full review here but I can give you a spoiler, I like it very much. Rebecca will be doing the blog tomorrow from home, which I am sure will be awesome.

Until I write again next week, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

My first week at my new job

Greetings, readers. As most of you know, this past Saturday I began my new job at a national fast-food chain. The first day was hectic, but I had a good trainer. Everyone seems to like me there, and throughout the week my speed increased. There are only two real problems. I got a relatively nasty burn on my finger, and my feet are killing me.

Never has Rebecca ever walked into my office/apartment and seen me dressed in tee-shirt, pajama bottoms, and my slippers. But with my 3:00pm work shift later today I am going to stay as comfy as I can as long as I can. I think I deserve that.

After my writing session with Rebecca today, I will catch the 2:20 bus to get to my work shift by 3:00. Oh, how cute I look in my blue jeans, black shirt, visor cap, complete with name tag. (Rebecca gasped here as I dictated this and had to see the name tag right now! She approved of it and said it is nice.)

Now for the negative part, and I don’t mean about the job. This is the job I wanted to get when I was 15 years old. My mother, God rest her soul, discouraged me from doing so. If I would have gotten it then, I would have had a greater appreciation for money and probably would not have been such a spendthrift throughout my life. With me getting married next year, though, it is time to start earning money. I am going to put most of my wages towards paying for the wedding reception. June 30, 2018 will be an extra special day.

Finally the pros and cons of my new job. The pros: I feel productive, I am earning money, and I am making friends. Not to mention the small dinner during my work break. The only two cons I’ve found so far is my lack of speed on the grill, which will improve, and my poor feet, which are not used to me being on them¬†for 8 hours. I think my feet will adjust and get less sensitive the longer I work there. My shoes will break in and my stamina will increase. So far I give my new job a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It is awesome to be a working member of society.

The top ten list I mentioned last week¬†will come next week. I’m still trying to get my work schedule pinned down to the number of hours I want and I think that will happen by next Wednesday.

I bid you all a great weekend, enjoy the sunshine if you have it, take care, and happy reading.

I think spring has finally sprung

Greetings, readers. I actually have my window open today and was running the air conditioner earlier. These are two classic signs that spring is here. I live on the top floor of my apartment building and have a great view. It is so nice to see the trees blooming again, for one of my favorite colors is green. I love green grass and bushes and of course the tall trees. The only bad thing about being a spring and summer person are that my allergies kick up from time to time.

Yesterday we hit 81 degrees F, which was only two degrees off the all time record. Okay, maybe we went from late winter right into summer. But that won’t last, the temperature is supposed to drop into the 60s tomorrow. I can handle the cool and the rain, for I know it is just a short matter of time before warm days are here to stay until October.

A quick update about my fianc√© Traci. She is in the hospital right now, so your¬†good thoughts and prayers would certainly be appreciated. I feel confident that the doctors can solve the issue within a couple of days, and that she will be home again as soon as possible. I have been up to visit every day since she went in, and will be up there again today and tomorrow.¬†It’s just not the same around the apartment building without her. One of my favorite times of the day is to visit at her place and listen to relaxing music. We’ll get back to that soon enough.

When Traci gets home and gets her strength back, I intend for us take nice walks together, and neither of us likes to walk in cold weather. We are also big fans of having days with more hours of daylight.

To finish up this blog entry, I’ve been fighting with the game My Summer Car and have concluded that my laptop simply can’t run it. What a shame. To buy a new laptop for one game would be absurd. I promised myself, my accountant,¬†and Rebecca that we would use the current laptop until it died. I guess my gaming experience with My Summer Car will have to wait.

I’ll be visited Traci in the hospital tomorrow, so Rebecca will write the¬†Thursday blog entry, and then I will edit and post¬†it when I have a chance.¬†I’m not sure what time that will be, but it will be tomorrow. Rebecca doesn’t know the topic yet, but I have faith in her.

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

Here’s #600!!! :-)

Greetings, readers. Again we have hit another milestone. Blog entry #600. Incredible. When Rebecca and I began this blog in late 2011, I really didn’t think I could do it, and figured that the idea would be a flash in the pan. To my wonderful surprise, I’m gaining new readers each month, some on Facebook and others on the WordPress reader. Our work and accomplishments make me proud.

Rebecca has been a wonderful editor and has helped me get each and every entry as polished as could be. Sometimes we’ve had to dash out an entry in less than an hour. With Rebecca’s prowess, I can’t tell the difference from the ones¬†we¬†took more time with¬†when I go back and read them. Probably the real short ones are the ones we dashed off in a pinch.

What’s coming in the next twelve months?

I’m still very disgruntled at the Donald Trump victory but I am learning to live with it. I’m watching no news about him because I don’t want to see the mistakes he¬†makes. So if you are looking for anything political from me in the next twelve months, drop me a suggestion other than President Trump and we shall tackle it.

In the upcoming year, I plan on purchasing a used PS4 and I will begin to review games for that system. As some of you may have realized, I did not do a review on MLB baseball or Madden football last year. My system is too old.

Also you will see a good number of top ten lists and several From Rebecca. Those are always very popular. I shall keep you up to date on what is going on in my apartment building, and of course with¬†kitty cat Keekee. I can’t believe she is eleven now. Yikes. Lastly, as something new to try out, I plan on taking a couple of road trips via Zipcar to local areas, with tape recorder in hand, and shall take notes about my experiences, then Rebecca and I will work them up into a series of¬†blog entries. I’m always looking to give my readers something new.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and we can assure you that this blog is nowhere near done. I have no plans of shutting it down. I enjoy writing it very much. There will be one change, however, in the coming weeks. Although I love the current style¬†theme, Chateau,¬†very much, I think it is time for a change. I’ll have to choose one that is easy to read and easy to work with. Trust me, some aren’t. We’ll let you know when that change is about to take place.

I bid you all a wonderful weekend, know that I am thankful to each and every one of you, and continued happy reading.

One hour of sleep does not cut it

Greetings, readers. I don’t want to call myself fortunate today that Rebecca’s husband is under the weather and¬†therefore she¬†has to¬†leave¬†early, because¬†Darren¬†could use some help with a family chore. However, I am grateful for the early stop time.

I had an extremely rough night last night and I am working on a grand total of one hour of sleep. Way not enough. Traci had an issue and she needed my assistance. Her call came at ten minutes until 4:00. By the time I got back to the apartment at 4:15, I was up. You know how that goes. Your brain goes into crisis mode and when the crisis is over it is hard to shut the¬†it down again. So I turned on the computer and checked out Facebook. Not much going on at 4:30. I wanted to play music but couldn’t without disturbing the neighbors. I couldn’t use my earphones because at the moment I am suffering from a severely clogged left ear. I am hoping it is the usual ear wax issue I have about once a year, but this is an unusually bad case of it. I may have to go to my family doctor to¬†get my¬†ears sandblasted, as I call it.

I was going to make this next topic a separate blog entry, but because I¬†played¬†it this morning, why not just tell you now? The other day I purchased from the PlayStation store a rather cheap two-year old video game, which is NASCAR racing. The graphics and physics are excellent. Steering the car is a bitch. The first time I tried to make a lap on the Daytona Speedway I came off turn¬†four and plowed into the wall. And yes, I was turning the joystick to the left; nothing happened. This morning before Rebecca showed up I tried a few short races. I actually got better. One race I didn’t finish last – I finished next to last. NASCAR ’15 is a winner.

Finally, on March 1st ’17, State College experienced its first thunderstorm of the season. Caring about my electronics as I do, off went the PS3 and television. I don’t want any power surges around here.

As I get ready to sign off, I am looking to the rest of my day. I’m going to have a nice long nap while Traci has an appointment, then I shall visit her around 5:30 in the afternoon. That seems to be our pattern now. I think it is a wonderful time for a visit. We listen to music and talk about our day. By the way, I shall let you all know when the wedding date and venue have been arranged. We’ll be sending the “save the date” notices when they are made and ready to be mailed.

Until tomorrow, I wish you a good day, take care, and as always happy reading.