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Medical Update

So as it turns out, I have something wrong with my heart. There’s a blockage. The test I took was digital, in a manner of speaking. It could only tell whether or not there was a blockage. I don’t know how severe it is, or where exactly it is.

I have an appointment on Thursday for a consultation with a cardiologist, after which they will schedule a procedure down in Houston.

The problem is logistics. The doctor won’t know what needs to be done until the procedure is underway. Best case, I go home that afternoon with a treatment plan primarily made up of pharmaceuticals. The middle case is that I have to have stents inserted, which means an overnight stay and three to five days a rehabilitation where I can’t drive. Worst case, I have to have a bypass, which could mean months of rest and rehabilitation. Not the best situation when you’re living out in the boonies in a teardrop trailer!

I’m trying to handle the logistics now. A friend has put me in touch with a not-for-profit organization that offers a place to stay for people in my situation. I hope to have an answer in a couple of days as to whether they’ll be able to put me up in the event I need a place to stay, long term. I had another friend who’s offered to put me up for a few days if all I need are stents. So we’ll see what happens.

The big question is arranging care for Frank. One of the people at the not-for-profit is a big dog lover, and I was told that they might have some ideas. What I’ll have to arrange for will probably be something along the lines of foster care. A place where he can stay for an extended time period without me having to give him up.

I don’t know yet what this does to me travel plans. Obviously. My initial thought was that I would resume my itinerary in October, picking up in Virginia and heading south in the Florida before returning to Texas around Christmas. I may wind up just staying here, though. I don’t know that I want to do that much travel over such a short period of time.

The other consideration is whether. This area is projected to have an unseasonably wet winter. If you remember this place, the Triple Creek music and RV Park that I stayed at last February, it’s at the end of a three mile dirt road, out in the boonies. We were cut off from the mainland last February for a while after along rain. Hell, we were cut off for most of the past week, too! I really don’t know that I want to have to deal with that on a regular basis while I’m recuperating, or even if I’m fully recovered!

The other thought I had Kama assuming I fully recover in a short period of time, is to head to New Mexico for the winter. There are some places in the southern part of the state that offer some very inexpensive RV parking and we keep us out of a winter of inclement weather.

But first things first. I’ll post something after I visit with the doctor with an update on our accommodations.

Thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Thanks as always for everyone’s support.

 

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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Planning

 

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Why, Why, Why, Why, Why?

Why do I invest so much heart and emotion into the teams I root for?

I am a long-time fan of the Golden State Warriors … started rooting for them when I moved to the Bay Area in 1979.  Before that, I had rooted for the Knicks, a leftover from when I lived in New Jersey. But seeing as how basketball was somewhat down on the list of sports I cared about, it was a relatively easy switch to simply root for the “home” team.

For some reason, I got invested in them.  I tell you, there were years that they were so bad, I think that on any given night, they could have lost to Duke, North Carolina or Kansas, three perennial college powerhouses.  I lived through the “Run TMC” period, named for Timmy Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullen, the three stars of the team back in the early 90’s.  Those teams were fun to watch, but they had as much defense as Switzerland … it was nothing for them to score 125 points in a game, and then wind up losing by 10 points!

So the Dubs resurgence (“Dubs” as in “W” as in “Warriors”, for you non-basketball enthusiasts) over the past 3-4 years has provided a great deal of sports joy. Unfortunately, “sports joy” is fleeting. It’s like a sugar rush: when they win, especially a championship, the feeling is incredible. But it’s short-lived.  Not only that, it doesn’t translate over into the rest of your life.  A couple of days later, if you get a ticket, or if you get into an argument with your boss, you don’t really sit there afterwards and say, “Yeah, but man, those 49ers are Super Bowl champs!!!!”

What’s even worse, is that when they lose, it does seem to translate over to the rest of your world!  I’ve gone through times when, after one of my teams lost in the playoffs, it would affect my mood for weeks!  So that being the case, why, why, why, why, why do I invest so much heart and soul into rooting for a team?

Last night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers sucked. Big time.  I mean, the Dubs were up three games to one!!!!  I was already celebrating, which was stupid, seeing as how I know “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings!”  I experienced the other side of that “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” experience a dozen years ago, when the team I root for – the Boston Red Sox – came from four games down to sweep the hated New York Yankees in the AL championship series and then went on to win their first World Series in 86 years!  At a gut level, you know that anything’s possible … that having a commanding lead doesn’t mean squat.  That’s why they call them “upsets” or “miracles”.  But when your head says, “Jeff, you know they haven’t won it yet,”  your heart steps in and tells your head, “Shut the hell up, will you? I’m celebrating here!!!!”

After they lost last night, my Facebook post was, “Shit. Shit. Shit.  Wasted season.”  Here they had set a record for the most wins any team had ever had in a season.  They were now part of the, “Who’s the best team ever?” debate.  And then last night, they shit the bed!

Funny thing, though.  I woke up this morning … and the world hadn’t ended!  The sun was shining, Frank was licking my face, and the coffee tasted pretty damned good!  Huh.  What’s going on?  And that wasn’t meant as a rhetorical question, either?  After finishing my morning meditation, I really thought about it … “What’s going on?”  Why wasn’t I feeling the way I felt in 2003, after Grady “effing” Little left Pedro in too long and the Red Sox had yet another kick-in-the-gut loss?

My first thought was, “They won last year.”  As bad as last night’s loss was, they did win the NBA championship last year.  They’re part of what could go down as one of the top five “Game 7 of the Finals” of all time, albeit on the losing side.  They didn’t get blown out, being in it until the end. They had a record-breaking season this year and were one game away from a repeat.  Maybe this loss will give them reason to improve the team, perhaps go after free agent Kevin Durant in the off-season.  Either way, they’re set up for potentially being in the finals for the next 6-7 years, given the team’s talent.  Yeah, they lost, but it could be worse.

sonny and c

“Mickey Mantle don’t care ’bout youse … nobody cares!”

Then I thought about one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale. Everything in life can be explained in a movie … and I am one of the biggest movie buffs (literally and figuratively) of all time.  Here’s the scene I was thinking about – where young Calogero is heartbroken after Bill Mazeroski’s grand slam gives the Pittsburgh Pirates the World Series over his beloved New York Yankees …  and Sonny the gangster imparts his sports perspective. “If I can’t pay my health insurance next month, maybe I should go ask Steph Curry and see what he tells me.

Then I thought about the Cleveland fans and how they must be feeling right now.  Not only had the Cavaliers never won a championship, no sports team from Cleveland had won any championship for over 50 years!

I remember when the Red Sox won in 2004.  I sat on the end of my bed and cried.  I mean, I had both hands covering my face, with tears streaming out between my fingers!  How could I begrudge that feeling to some Cleveland fan who was stupid enough to invest as much into his teams as I had in the Red Sox?  And by the way … what I wrote about sports joy being fleeting at the beginning of this post?  The 2004 Red Sox championship is the exception that proves the rule.  That championship provided sports joy that will last me the rest of my life!

So, I’m cool.  I’m surprised as all hell that I am … but I am!  Only thing I can chalk that up to is the perspective of coming so far out of the valley I was in only 19 months ago. Of feeling an overriding sense of inner peace after being on the road for more than a year.  There’s a lot to be said for that.

I root for four teams:  the Boston Red Sox; the San Francisco Giants (out of deference to my grandfather, who introduced me to baseball – the greatest game ever invented;  the only time I ever saw the man cry was when the Giants left New York for the west coast); the San Jose Sharks; and the Golden State Warriors.  If I had to pick a football team – I’m a semi-interested New York Football Giants fan, so five teams.

Since the beginning of 2004, those five teams have won nine championships.  Nine championships … in twelve years!  Maybe I should go ask a San Diego sports fan if I have any right to be unhappy about the Warriors failing to make it ten last night.  What do you think he’d say?

Yeah, this “inner peace” thing is pretty cool!


Frank and I took a drive over to see the ocean yesterday.  I’m planning on taking him to the dog beach in Wildwood, NJ this afternoon, but it was nice day yesterday, and I’ve been missing the ocean ever since we left Charleston a year ago.

Avalon-by-the-Sea is the closest beach town. It’s right across the bay from where we’re staying, so that’s where we headed and drove a little ways north from there. The bay was on the left, the ocean on the right, and we were approaching a waterway connecting the two. We caught a break … just after crossing a tiny, two-lane drawbridge over the inlet, I noticed a cruiser approaching from the bay and knew they were going to have to raise the bridge to let him through. So I sped up a little and made a U-turn at the next chance to head back over the bridge in the direction from which we had come.  Sure thing, we were the first car in line as the bells started ringing, lights flashing, and the safety arm lowering.  I got out of the car and snapped a few shots.  What a great vantage point it was, being up over the water instead of at sea level.  Here they are:

A view looking towards the southeast, out into the Atlantic.  Lots of surf fishermen out today:

southeast

A view looking to the northeast. I was surprised there weren’t more folks out on the beach celebrating Father’s Day.  The weather was glorious!  By the way – check out the rust on the bridge.  Pretty scary, huh?  What do we need to do as a country to develop the will to address our failing infrastructure?  There are like, what … 70 thousand bridges that are structurally deficient in this country?  We’re waiting for a disaster before we do something about it?  Why can’t we get our elected officials in Congress to do their freaking jobs instead of focusing on bullshit??? (Hmmm … where’d that “inner peace” go?)  :o)

northeast

A view over the car looking due west, into the wetlands.  The NJ mainland is in the distance.

west

A view to the southwest and the “Great Bay” separating Seven Mile Island from the mainland.  The cruiser in the foreground was the reason we were sitting on the bridge.  All because of those outriggers!

southwest

Five years ago, if you would have bet me that I’d be happy sitting on a drawbridge waiting for a ship to pass underneath, I’d not only have taken the bet … I’d have given you odds!  Isn’t it funny what perspective can do for your psyche?  :o)

bridge.jpg

This last shot was taken after we crossed back over the bridge and were back on the island. The view is from behind a seawall in Avalon, looking north.  I’m pretty sure the buildings in the distance are the south side of Atlantic City, about 20 miles due north as the seagull flies.  By the way, if a seagull spends all his time on the sea, what would you call a bird that spends all his time on the bay?  Answer:  a bagel!!!  (Don’t shoot the messenger – I ran across that little dandy a few days ago.  Nothing in this world is as good as a bad pun!  And yes, I know – “bad pun” is redundant!)  :o)

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Posted by on June 20, 2016 in Musings, Play Ball!, Travels

 

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Miscellaneous Photos Part 2

The leg’s much better … thanks for the emails and private messages you all have sent. They’re very much appreciated.  It’s only been a couple of days and already the pain has subsided substantially – I can get around without having to rely on my walking stick for support now.  The redness has started to recede from the line the nurse put around my leg to show the upper point the infection had reached.  (I hope she wasn’t a practical joker … I’d hate to find out she used indelible ink.  I can see it now: “That’s an interesting tattoo. Is there a story behind it?”)  Here’s hoping the issue becomes a distant memory shortly after I finish the antibiotics course I’m on.  Another eight days …

Anyhow, here are the rest of the photos I promised earlier this week to post.  There aren’t a lot of them,  I’m sorry to say – the phone continues to act up.  Hopefully I’ll have a new one  before we leave New Jersey at the end of the month.

Antietam / Sharpsburg

Depending on whether you’re a Yankee or a Southerner, you know this battle site by different names.  If you grew up a Yankee like me, you were taught “Antietam” in school.  As with other Civil War battles, Southerners refer to the site by the name of the nearest town, hence “Sharpsburg”.  I had ancestors that fought on both sides of the war. More importantly, I have dear friends in both parts of the country.  I will refer to the place as “A/S” from here on out in order to show no deference.

This site wasn’t even on my radar until one of my Texas friends suggested that I visit there after I had posted about going to Gettysburg on Facebook.  We had run out of time for a visit while staying at Circle M, but then once I realized that our next campsite was in the same general area, that was the first thing I planned on Frank and I driving to see.  Chris, I’m really grateful for the suggestion.  Like you said, A/S is nothing like Gettysburg.  It’s much more pristine, very well preserved, and completely devoid of the “tourist” feel  surrounding the latter.

We arrived around 11am and stayed until after 3pm.  Visitors can see pretty much everything via a car tour.  We were given a very detailed map, with descriptions for each of the various stops they suggest during your drive.

dunker church

Dunker Church today

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, A/S was the bloodiest, single-day battle that’s ever taken place on American soil.  At the end of the day, almost 23,000 Americans were dead, wounded, or missing … 12.5 thousand Union soldiers and 10.5 thousand Confederates.

The battle had three distinct phases: in the morning, it was centered around a cornfield in the northernmost part of the site and in the woods to the west; in the afternoon, the battle moved further south and was centered around what’s become known as the “Bloody Lane”.  In the evening, it moved further south still and was centered around a bridge that the Union army had to capture in order to flank the Confederates.

DunkerChurchAntietam1862

Dunker Church, in background

In the morning, the Union planned to attack from the north, aiming for Dunker Church, visible atop a small hill to the southwest. (I think it’s ironic that the church was used primarily by German immigrants that were known to be extreme pacifists.) You know, so many of the sites we saw here and at Gettysburg were given the moniker “bloody” – The Bloody Wheatfield; the Bloody Lane; and here, the Bloody Cornfield, which stood between the Union position and the church.  To me, it almost diminishes the ferocity it’s supposed to represent, being used so many times to describe these battle scenes.

The battle raged all morning, back and forth through the field and through the woods to the west.  It started with artillery barrages from both sides and ended in hand-to-hand combat.  The Union Commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, had this to say about the morning battle … and to me, gives a much better understanding of what it must have been like to witness the horror of that day:

“In the time that I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battlefield.”

By the way, the historical photos are courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and were taken by two assistants to Matthew Brady, considered by many to be the first photojournalist.  The photos were displayed in New York City and were the first time  average citizens could view actual scenes of war.  I found them in doing some research before visiting the battlefield.  What I read though, was that the photos didn’t have the effect everyone was expecting.  Instead of repulsion, they created a fascination amongst the people visiting the photo exhibition.  What is it about humans that we’re drawn to the macabre?  As an aside, I’ve never understood the popularity of horror films either, especially those that are violent and gruesome.  But I digress …

irish chaplains

Chaplains of the Irish Brigade … not very “priestly” looking, are they?

By midday, the battle had moved a bit further south as the Union advanced on the Confederates, whose men had taken position in a sunken road that had been worn down by years of wagon traffic.  The Union attacked, sending several waves of troops.  This included the First Regiment of the 69th New York Infantry, better known as the Irish Brigade and comprised mostly of immigrants.

They attacked directly at the center of the Confederate ranks, and while their maneuver allowed other parts of the Union Army to flank the line, they lost almost two-thirds of their men. I read that of all the regiments that fought in the Civil War, only two others suffered more losses over the course of the war than the Irish Brigade – one from Vermont and the other named “The Iron Brigade”, made up of units from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.

irish brigade

Monument to the Irish Brigade at the Bloody Lane

 

Anyhow, at some point, a weakness developed in the Confederate line and two regiments of Union soldiers were able to gain control of a small hill overlooking the sunken road.  Again, fierce fighting took place.  The three hours of battle that occurred in this little section of land resulted in over 5,600 casualties and the “Bloody Lane” label.  I came across this quote from a private in the 9th New York Volunteers and was quite moved by his observation of the scene he witnessed after the battle was over:

“Before the sunlight faded, I walked over the narrow field. All around lay the Confederate dead…clad in `butternut’…As I looked down on the poor pinched faces…all enmity died out. There was no `secession’ in those rigid forms nor in those fixed eyes staring at the sky. Clearly it was not their war.”

When we visited the Bloody Lane, I was struck by how small an area it is.  I was picturing it in my mind as some long highway, but on arrival, I was taken aback at discovering that it couldn’t have been much more than the length of a football field!  The road took us past the start of it to the west and circled around to a parking lot on the east side.  There, I got out to take a few photos and to stop for a moment just to try and envision what it looked like years ago.

BloodyLaneAntietam

Aftermath of the Bloody Lane fighting

A previous post mentioned the “Ghosts of Gettysburg” and how it seemed they were absent the day Frank and I visited.  That wasn’t the case here.  After snapping a couple of photos, I was hit by the eeriest feeling of the presence of dead souls.  The hair on the back of my neck and on my arms were suddenly … and literally … standing on end.  I tried to laugh it off as I walked back to the car.  But as I opened the door, I saw that Frank had curled up into a little ball on the passenger-side floorboard … he was shaking and would not get up on the seat! That really freaked me out.  I got back in the car and started driving to the next point on our guide map, and it wasn’t until we had been moving for about five minutes or so that Frank finally got back up on the seat.

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The Bloody Lane, today

Take a look at the photo to the left.  It was shot from the eastern end of the sunken road.  It extends to perhaps fifty yards beyond the tall monument you see in the distance.  Look at it for a moment and then consider that in that little patch of ground, almost 2,000 men were killed or wounded per hour … and that went on for three hours straight!  I recognize that in certain cases, war is a necessary evil. I hate that, but accept it. I wish though, that the war hawks in Congress … the ones who are responsible for sending off our boys to battle … were required to visit this place first. I doubt that many of them have any real inkling as to what war is really like, or the impact it will have on the young men who are the ones risking their lives.  It reminds me of a verse in one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs, “Lives in the Balance”:

I want to know who the men in the shadows are;
I want to hear somebody asking them why
they can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are,
but they’re never the ones to fight or to die.

Odd, I have no idea where that soapbox came from.  I’ll put it away now. Back to A/S …

I don’t have any photos from the rest of our visit.  About ten minutes after we left the Bloody Lane, it started raining.  After that, we saw the bridge that was seized by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and thereafter named for him. Then we drove through the back area that was controlled by the Confederates and from which they retreated towards the Potomac River at the end of the day, followed by a drive past the national cemetery on the southeast edge of the battlefield.  All along the route (actually, all throughout the the historic site),  we stopped to read the placards that identified positions of the various regiments of each army along with the action they saw at each particular location.

The Road to Sharpsburg

CF State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park, MD  … I love roads like this!

We traveled through some absolutely wonderful countryside on our way to visit Antietam / Sharpsburg.  To get there, we had to pass close by Gettysburg again, after which we were treated to more farmland … beautiful, expansive fields with silos and farm buildings in the distance.  It reminded me so much of the farmland in eastern Tennessee I used to visit when I was a kid, going to see my grandparents’ farm outside of Knoxville.  I love how they lie nestled among wide, rolling hills. There’s just something so “America” about it, to me.  But as soon as we got off of interstate, we entered a thick woodland and began driving through Cunningham Falls State Park.

appalachian trail sign

Have you watched the movie, “A Walk in the Woods”?  I happened to watch it about a week before seeing this sign and was reminded of it.

I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely love driving on roads like this, especially when there’s no other traffic, like the day Frank and I traveled this one.  You get a chance to slow down to 30mph or so and really look at what you’re passing.  There were a couple of times where we had cars come up on us (fortunately, the speed limit here wasn’t much higher than what we were driving, so it’s not like I was a hazard).  When that happened, we just pulled off onto the shoulder and let people pass so we could continue to dawdle.

We also drove by an egress point on the Appalachian Trail.  I’m including this photo, despite its “suckitude”.  The grey blotch you see at the bottom was actually mist rising up from the gravel walk you would follow from the parking lot to get to the trail itself.  There have been more than a few times where I’ve wished I was traveling with a professional photographer, one who could show me the proper way to shoot some of the things Frank and I have come across.   I’ve read and read about photography – I bought a couple of “concept” books that were more about approach and less about settings, along with reading innumerable online “How you shoot ‘X'” instructions.  They just don’t seem to take (pun intended).  As I read them, I’m thinking “Ahhhhh” … but when I’m faced with a situation, I can no more remember what the book said than I can remember what I had for dinner last night! Alas, I have too small a hard drive inside my skull. One that’s near capacity and no longer benefits from any attempt to  “defrag”!  Ask what David Ortiz’s OPS was during the 2007 World Series, though (.945) … who can explain this shit????   :o)

I feel bad that I’m not doing our subject matter justice … that these shots do a disservice to you folks who are following the blog.  Anyhow, take a look at this photo and imagine how it might have been captured by an Ansel Adams or a Jim Brandenburg …    :o)

appalachian trail mist

Mist coming off the walk into the Appalachian Trail

Frank Makes a Friend

moose

Say hello to Moose!  :o)

I can’t put Otter Creek behind us without mentioning Moose … a basset hound that was camping a few sites away from us along with his humans, Bobbie and Mike.  This was Frank’s first encounter with a relative and he really seemed to understand how close in breed they were!  Frank’s normally the standoffish one when he meets another dog. It’s funny to watch him in a dog park … he’ll run up to a group of dogs, but then stay on the outer fringes.  He’ll happily jump up and down along with the rest of them, but he’s always on the perimeter. Never in the middle of the group.  It’s like he wants so much to join in, but he’s afraid he’ll get trampled or something.  Hilarious to watch!

moose1

Is this a trick mirror or what???

But that wasn’t the case when he and Moose met.  In a matter of seconds, he became really excited, as if he was fascinated by the physical resemblance.  I think Moose was a little bit taken aback at first.  He just stood there while Frank was seeing if he could set a world record for the number of times he could circumnavigate a bassett hound in 60 seconds!  The blur in the shot to the left isn’t the fault of the camera … none of us could slow Frank down! I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen him this wound up!

In the “small world” department, Mike came back for a visit after finishing his walk with Moose.  We started talking about where we were from and places we visited.  Mike mentioned that he was from a little town in the San Bernardino valley east of Los Angeles … Glendora.  I said, “I know Glendora!  My uncle lived here at one point.  You don’t happen to know anyone with the last name ‘Tice’, do you?”

Mike replied, “Yeah. Mike Tice. He and I were friends in high school.”  I think you could have knocked him over with a feather when he found out that Mike was my cousin!  I’ve had a few “small world” experiences over the past year and never fail to be amazed by any of them.  There were a couple of others that happened just his week!  A woman was admitted to the ER while I was laying on my gurney with some antibiotics dripping into my arm through an IV.  As it turned out, she was from San Jose and lives only a half mile or so from a home I used to own back there.  Not only that, one of the nurses was from Pompton Plains, a town right next to where I grew up in Pompton Lakes!

Anyhow, Frank and Moose had another chance to visit later in the week.  Bobbie walked him one morning and as they neared the  Nutshell, Moose took a detour up our driveway and let out a bay.  Frank heard it and jumped out of the Nutshell to scamper over and greet him as quickly as he could manage!  Both their tails were wagging a mile a minute.  Later that morning, the two of them had a short play date at the playground across the road, where Bobbie was watching her granddaughters on the swings and slide.  They ran around each other as much as their leashes would allow (Moose and Frank, not the granddaughters … I felt that needed to be said).  Bobbie and I spent most of the time doing a little dance as we tried to keep the leashes from getting tangled.  Moose was baying like crazy and Frank had the biggest smile on his face I’ve ever seen!  A good time was had by all.

That’s it for now. It’s Saturday morning in south Jersey.  The campsite is near capacity now. We have tent campers on either side of the Nutshell and Frank has been straining at the end of his lead in order to capture as much activity as he can.  He is one nosy neighbor, figuratively and literally!  We’re about to take our morning walk, after which I’m sure Frank will hop back up into the Nutshell to take another of his midday naps.  I’m pretty sure that in an hour or so, I’ll be joining him in Dreamland.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekends!  :o)

 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in Travels

 

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Pagosa – Then and Now

They say, “timing is everything,” or, “you have to be in the right place at the right time”. I guess that summarizes our Pagosa Springs experience last month.

I promised a while ago to post about that experience, but have been struggling with it and can’t put my finger on exactly why. I’ve started it at least a dozen times, but have tossed it in the trash each and every time. This time? I’m bound and determined to finish it. So here we go …

Frank and I went back to Colorado last month for one reason: to see two friends, Keith and Warren. I’ll get back to Warren in our next episode.

Keith and I went to school in NJ together from 2nd to 10th grade. His invitation came out of the blue … back when we put up our help request at youcaring.com, another dear friend, Donna, forwarded it on to all our former NJ classmates. As a result, I got this email out of the blue:

Hello from Pagosa Springs. I have a spare bedroom in a wonderful home on the lower Blanco. I live alone, the house is not quite an earthship, but a passive solar home. If you and Frank want a roof over your heads, a warm fire to sit around, soaking in the hot springs, you are welcome to come and spend some time. Give me a call. Keith

Keith and I hadn’t spoken in 40 years, so I was dumbstruck by the invitation. So I called hiss number. First off, I couldn’t believe that we were in Pagosa Springs and didn’t run into each other. I was even more surprised when he said that he knew the owners of the campground I stayed at last summer and was over there on a regular basis to buy eggs! And we still didn’t run into each other!

Now I wasn’t planning on being in Colorado this year. We were headed either to the Great Lakes or back east, the latter winning out when we were able to buy the Nutshell.  I thought about stopping in Colorado on the way back from picking it up in southern California  … just a quick stop to see Keith and Warren, another old high school friend from Dallas. Warren and his wife Dinah live in Colorado Springs and had stopped by twice when we were in Colorado last summer.  I wanted to see them again, too. Of course, the Colorado detour went out the window when my finger was crushed by the trailer hitch and we had to head directly back to Texas.

I thought that would be it, but then Keith mentioned in a later email that he had decided to quit his day job, move to Hawaii and buy into an organic farm. I figured our only chance to get together would be before that happened. So, after consulting with Frank (his only question was, “I’ll keep getting fed, right?”), I decided to take a quick 2 1/2 week detour, first to Pagosa Springs, then on to Colorado Springs before heading to Fort Wayne, IN to see my brother.

So we arrived back in Pagosa Springs in early April. And this is where I start having trouble figuring out what exactly to write about this experience.

Keith is a interesting guy. Sort of a renaissance man. He has a pretty wide variety of interests … and has delved deep into many of them. He has a wall filled with lift tickets and annual passes to the Wolf Creek Ski Area and other nearby ski areas. We had a late-season snow while I was there and Keith spent two days skiing, undaunted by the knee brace he now has to wear while enjoying his favorite sport.

Music is another of his interests. One of the rooms in his home is filled with old vinyl records – a collection that rivals all that I’ve seen with one exception (which happens to be the collection amassed by Donna’s late husband, Allen). We sat up listening to old records on multiple occasions while I was there … everything from old Willie Nelson to Dan Fogelberg (whose widow lives just over the ridge from Keith) to Chuck Mangione to It’s a Beautiful Day. Keith has a small collection of ukeleles and other stringed instruments, too.

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The sign over the front door reads, “Courage is being afraid to ride … but saddling up anyway!”

His home is very “zen”, and I’m not just referring to the thousand or so Tibetan prayer flags that fly in Keith’s yard. His house flows – from a big kitchen into a dining area and then into a sitting area. Note that they’re “areas” … not really rooms per se. And all along the south wall, there are floor to ceiling windows. A two-foot wide section of river rock lies all along the bottom of the windows where Keith tends to plants, flowers and a big tub filled with goldfish. The walls are painted deep reds, grey-blues and yellows: he said they’re the colors used in Buddhist temples.

The yard is filled trees, shrubs and rocks – piles of balanced rocks that Keith stacked as part of a meditation ritual. I asked him if he was a practicing Buddhist. He sort of laughed and said he was a “Catholic Methodist Buddhist agnostic atheist,” or something along those lines.  Whatever his beliefs, they suit him well!

The guy is also an incredible chef and is very much into organic foods. I ate like a king while there and quite honestly I can’t remember half of what we had. Keith would take breaks from his office (he’s a customer support tech for a specialized software company with clients in the banking industry), walk out to the kitchen and just start whipping things up. We had bison topped with gorgonzola; polenta; chicken mixed with some sort of grain; homemade rice pudding; smoked salmon with cheese and organic something-or-other that again escapes my memory. He even brought out a bottle of homemade limoncello from his freezer … something else he decided to give a try.

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It may not look like much snow, but there was over 2 feet of new snow at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass!

Keith has his rituals, too … whether it’s taking walks in the middle of the day to clear his head or going over to the springs for a soak when he’s finished for the day. While I was there, he came back from a soak with business cards from two people he met. He’s active in community organizations, attends restaurant openings … he even offered to speak with the lama at the local Buddhist monastery to see about arranging a tour for me and a fellow “crossing the country in a teardrop” friend (who wound up not being able to make it to Pagosa Springs as we had tentatively arranged). He is definitely a “people person”!

Now, I don’t mean to make this post into a “Keith is the Dude” lovefest. His lifestyle did make quite an impression on me, though. I think that’s because he is the antithesis to what I had become over the five years prior to going out on the road with Frank. I mean, here’s a guy with a wide variety of interests, who has no problem meeting and dealing with people, and who enjoys his life to the fullest. I mean, it’s 180 degrees from the life I had been living!  I had basically given up on people, had walled myself up in an apartment that I was afraid to leave and had completely abandoned any of the things I had enjoyed doing, including cooking!

I mentioned it to him the second night we were there, that I was truly taken in by how happy he seems to be, and how comfortable he is in his own skin. His answer was, “It’s taken a lot of work to get to there.”

And I can understand that. After having been on the road for so long … after spending so much time in the mornings doing meditation and Bible study … after so much introspective writing in my diary … after working so many exercises on changing perspective, I can understand that it can take work. And God bless those of you who haven’t had to struggle to be happy. I hope you’re not taking that for granted.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this post – the thing about “timing”. The brief time Keith and I spent together was a true blessing. It allowed me to see “possibilities”. How someone can align their lifestyle for happiness. How someone can counter the crappy elements of their day (“Customer Support” folks have to deal with a continual amount of bullshit) and not let it weight them down or take away their joy.

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Frank made himself comfortable while Keith and I visited.  He might be part “bass”et hound after all!

Now let’s say Keith and I ran into each other last summer when he was over to the Last Resort picking up eggs. I don’t know that I would have been able to see what I needed to see a couple of weeks ago. Back then, I was still onedge from starting out on our little road adventure. If anything, I might have felt jealous of how happy he was … or I might have felt worse about myself, thinking that I was incapable of anything close to “being happy” and what a loser I am.

But that’s not the case. Our visit came at a point where I was on an uptick towards feeling happy. To feeling better about myself. To seeing possibilities beyond suicide as a way out of a totally unhappy life.

Last summer, when Warren visited us in Pagosa Springs with his wife, Dinah, he made a casual remark about “taking a break while I figure out the next part of my life.” At the time, I commented in the blog about it, saying that while he threw it out there almost offhandedly, Warren’s comment made me think: perhaps there is something to follow this journey that Frank and I are on. Last summer, I don’t think I could have processed anything more than that.

One thing leads to another. Last year’s Pagosa experience was a stepping stone to last month’s Pagosa experience. It’s easy to see that last year’s entire road experience has been a foundation for what’s happening this year. I’m grateful for the timing.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Musings

 

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Goll Durn Heck Refugees

I was in the middle of creating a post about the Syrian refugee issue when the sudden thought of, “Screw this,” popped into my head. Sure, I have plenty to say. But what good is it? I’ve decided that people’s minds are pretty much set on the issues of the day. As my buddy Larry has said to me, “I’ve realized that once I offer an opposing viewpoint to someone, the odds of them saying, ‘You know, I was totally wrong on that issue and you’ve made me see the light!,’ are pretty much nil, so why waste my time? I don’t need the frustration!”

Ain’t that the truth?  One of my goals for this journey was to reduce the amount of stress I have to deal with. I’ve always been “politically involved” – I’ve worked on political campaigns, marched and protested, supported causes, blah, blah, blah. And you know who it’s had the most impact on? Me. And my stress level. So I decided to let it go … at least for this post. Well mostly.

No.  Instead, I’d like to share a story about something that happened this past week where I’m staying … sort of a different “refugee” story. One that I got to witness first-hand.

When I made plans last January to winter in south Texas, I didn’t stop to think that there would be a lot of other “winter Texans,” as they refer to the folks that come down here with their RV’s. But it’s a pretty common thing, I guess. The area caters to them and I’ve discovered there are quite a few RV parks in the area. Not too many of them allow for tents, which is one of the reasons why I’m at this particular one.

I’m the only tenter here… Liz, the owner, told me there aren’t many of us. Usually one or two a season, but that’s it. Not too many RVers yet, either. For the most part, I’ve been here by myself. Most of the them don’t start arriving until after Thanksgiving. Right now, there are about 5 RVers here, mostly from the Great North – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. One from Illinois and another from Nebraska. I’ve met some of them, but have discovered that most everyone sort of keeps to themselves.

The host couple are from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Len and Susie. Their mannerisms and speech are straight out of “Fargo”. You could imagine Len being the guy shoveling snow when the cop stops to follow up on his call about the “little odd looking fellow out by the lake”. They’re great people: very kind and very attentive. Len stops by at least once a day to sit and chat a bit. Susie also stops by daily to say “Hello” to Frank. They love him!  And Frank’s taken to them, too.  There have been a couple of occasions where I’ve come out of the main building (where the restrooms are) to find Len kneeling next to Frank, exclaiming, “You see?  I told you he was coming back!”

Joe the gardener stops by, too. The three of us will swap stories, talk about dogs we’ve had, tell jokes, etc. etc. It’s been very relaxing for the most part (I won’t talk about the obnoxious guy with the huge RV and equally huge TV antenna that’s now eight feet from the back of my tent … I’m trying to maintain inner peace here …)

But I digress. On to the story.

This is an adult, “Over 55” park and campground. Evidently that’s the way it is with all them around here. Early last week, I noticed a young guy had stopped by and engaged in a long conversation with Len. Didn’t think much of it at the time … until last Thursday, when I noticed Len helping the guy back his trailer into the last spot in the row, across the way from the field my tent’s in. It was only after they finished the parking job that I noticed his pregnant wife get out of the truck. She looked like she was ready to give birth right on the cement patio next to the trailer!  Following her were two little girls and two dogs, a chihuahua and a big, chocolate brown lab.

Joe was already sitting with me, taking one of his six or seven daily work breaks. He sort of reminds me of a Hispanic Goober. You rarely saw Goober work – he was always sitting in front of Floyd’s barbershop, waiting for Andy Taylor and Opie to stop by so they could talk about that day’s gossip.

Today, Joe was taking a break from working on a washing machine’s “transmitchon”.  I have to say, the guy has a real mechanical gift. Len, too. Between the two of them? I’m pretty sure they could have figured out how to fix Apollo 13’s problems about twice as fast as Gary Sinise did, rescuing Tom Hanks so he could then go back in time to save Matt Damon! You betcha!

Anyhow, once they were all settled in, Len headed over our way and pulled up a chair. I was going to say something like, “so this isn’t an adults-only park?” Not that it matters to me. Kids are great. I’ve met very few bad kids. Bad parents are another story …

Joe beat me to it though. “So you let them stay, huh?,” he asked. He had a slightly incredulous tone to his voice.

Len looked at him with a weird expression on his face. He paused for a minute as if he was trying to gather this thoughts together. Then he let loose – not at Joe. It was more his general observations on things.

“You know,” he started. “This guy has been all over the valley looking for a place to stay for about 3 weeks. He’s just bought a house, he’s waiting for it to close, and he can’t find anywhere that’ll take him. To stay for three lousy weeks! They all say, ‘Nope. Sorry. We’re an Over 55 park.’ There was one place that was gonna take him, but then he said he had two little girls … and they said, ‘Sorry, no kids!'”

“This guy did two tours in Afghanistan! His wife is ready to pop any minute. He needs a place to stay And no one has a place for him? No one can help this guy?” Len was giving in to his exasperation at this point, getting louder and more angry as he continued.

“We say, ‘Support Our Troops!’ We say, ‘God bless the U.S.A!’ But when this guy … who put his life on the line for two tours … needs a place to stay, no one will help him? What the, pardon my language, goll durn heck is THAT all about? There was no way he was gonna get a ‘no’ from me. No sirree, Bob!

Pardon my language? Goll durn heck? Yes sirree Bob, Len was really mad! Any second now, Joel and Ethan Coen were gonna step out from behind my tree and buy the rights to Len’s story.

Joe asked him, “What’s Liz gonna say?” Liz lives in Fort Worth, about 500 miles northeast of the campground. She was very accommodating in dealing with me over the phone, giving me about a week of extra time before having to pay for my 2-month stay. I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to mind. But you never know, right?

Len smiled. He chuckled a bit and then said in perfect Upper Peninsula-ese, “You just let me worry about ole’ Lizzie!” It was magnificent! I actually had tears well up in my eyes.

“God bless you, Len,” was all I could think of to say. He looked at me and started to well up a bit, too. “God bless ALL of us,” he said … the exact same thing the camp host in Alabama replied when I said, “God bless you,” to him for staying after hours, waiting for me to show up.

Good people rise to the occasion. Len and Susie are good people.

I still don’t know the young fellow’s name.  Susie told me his wife had her baby the day before Thanksgiving. Another little girl. Yep, a refugee story in its own right. I wish more people could look at the plight of refugees and say the same thing Len did: “They need a place to stay and no one will help them? What the, pardon my language, goll durn heck is THAT all about?”

Fucking Ay!

Happy Thanksgiving. God bless us all!

 

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Musings

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday – I am 62 years old, or will be at 12:32pm (evidently time flies, even when you’re NOT having fun). It also means that I’m 45 days away from starting my life on the road with Frank. Since birthdays are sort of a milestone, I thought I’d use this one to do a “recap post”.

There are two reasons for this. The first one: I’ve let all my friends and acquaintances on Facebook know of my plans today, and that there was a blog they could visit for more information. I wanted this to be the first post they read. Surely some of them will be thinking, “What the hell?” The short answer is, “Yeah, this is where I’m at!” I think the long answer is contained in the second reason for a “recap post”: I wanted to write about the process that’s occurred over the past six months. So please, read on.

As I said in the opening sentence, Frank and I are going on the road. My lease is up at the beginning of June. At that point, we’re going to set out on a long-term camping expedition around the country. For logistical reasons, I’m going to gradually make my way to Texas, to establish “residency” there. We’ll then spend the last part of the summer in Colorado before heading to the Rio Grande Valley and the Texas Gulf coast for the winter. My plans after that are to head back to the east coast, where I’ll take a north / south zigzag approach, gradually making my way to the west coast. I figure it’ll take at least 5 years to get there, depending on how side-tracked we get. Winters will be spent as far south as I can manage, the rest of the year in more northern areas. We’ll be staying in National and State park campgrounds, along with some private campgrounds along the way.

I have to take care of a number of things over the next 45 days … final fix-ups on the car, sell / donate my meager possessions, get in the last of my gear and supplies, etc. Since January, I’ve acquired some of the big ticket items I’ll need, like a really nice tent, a roof rack for my car, a new camera and the like. I’ve also made reservations for the first leg of my journey, which goes through March of next year (check out the “Itinerary” section to the right for more info as to where we’re headed). And I’ve been doing a lot of planning.

When I arrived in Charleston last spring, I was not doing well. The relationship I thought was “it” had ended. I had been dealing with a late-2010 diagnosis of complex-PTSD and the symptoms were not getting any better (in fact, they cost me my job about 5 months earlier). Deep depression. Massive anxiety. Periods of dissociation, where I’d lose long blocks of time without knowing what had happened. Agoraphobia. Nightmares and fitful sleep. And a general inability to take care of myself and my surroundings.

Daily life was a constant battle.  In the middle of all of that, I was picking up a decent amount of consulting work … a few long-term clients and a somewhat steady level of non-recurring work. Certainly enough to live on. My goal was to make enough where I could work 3-4 days a week and use the rest of the time to find a sense of peace (something I’ve rarely experienced in my life). Frank arrived in July and has become an incredible friend and companion. I’ve said this before, that I keep checking him for wings when he goes to sleep, because I’m quite certain he’s an angel. Despite all of that, my symptoms were getting worse and it was harder and harder to turn out my work.

In November, I basically broke down. I stopped posting to Facebook, withdrawing to my recliner and rarely venturing out of my apartment except to let Frank take care of business. The effort it took to handle client responsibilities was monumental. Figuring that this was no way to live, I contemplated suicide. I even went so far as to look into ways that Frank would be taken care of, but discovered that the contract I signed with the Humane Society stipulated that I he would have to be returned to them if I could no longer care for him. I didn’t want to risk putting him back into a situation where I didn’t know for sure that he’d be taken care of the way I’D want him taken care of. I was at my wit’s end.

I want to expressly thank a few people for looking out for me during the last two months of 2014. They called, wrote emails, posted on my timeline, doing what they could to keep me going. My brother, Andy. Donna and Jeanie, two old high school friends from New Jersey. Mike, another old high school friend from Dallas. Eric, a former co-worker. And of course Larry, my “brother from a different mother.” (Special note to Andy and Donna – while I was pretty pissed when the cops showed up at my door to check on me after not answering my phone for a couple of days, I understand now that you were acting out of loving care and want you to know that I do appreciate you looking out for me!)

This all came to a head right after New Year’s Day. I decided that drastic measures were needed to get me back out of the house, re-engaging with the world. I let all my clients know that I was going to retire (something that was really just a formality, seeing as how I wasn’t able to work anyhow) … I respected them too much to perpetuate a situation where their requirements weren’t being properly handled. I took down my pages at Elance and LinkedIn, filed for Social Security and started making plans. I also started this blog and began posting. Over the last few months, I’ve let a few people in on my plans and shared my blog with them, if only to get feedback. As an aside, I’ve also discovered some other bloggers who have been very supportive of my efforts. Some have also decided to chuck their “normal” lives and spend their time traveling, too. Others share a common struggle with PTSD. Or depression. Or agoraphobia. Or some other hidden mental condition. I am very grateful to them, too, for offering support through blog comments and private messages.

At first, I was feeling pretty negative about this impending lifestyle change. I looked at it as an acknowledgement of “failure” … as “giving up”. But while I’m still struggling with recurring “black” periods and massive anxiety, my overall outlook has made a slight turn to the positive. I posted elsewhere about some of the logistical benefits I see arising out of this decision. But aside from getting out from behind my self-imposed wall, I’m hoping to benefit in other ways, too:

1. I’m divorcing myself from politics. What’s been going on over the past 20 years in Washington and state capitols has taken a tremendous toll on this country … and on me as well. At times, I am overwhelmed by what I read. I have always been politically and socially active, but I feel the “fight” will ultimately kill me. So rather than spend my time on poltical blogs and in chat thread battles, I’m going to simply turn my back on it and (hopefully) recapture a better sense of “America” while on the road. I’m praying that I don’t find it as divided as it appears to be on the Internet!

2. I’m also hoping to restore my faith in humanity. If one were to believe what he sees on the Internet, America has been overtaken by selfishness, hate and greed. I’m praying that my experience on the road will negate that belief. I want to expand my view and meet more people. Hopefully  the Internet battles I’ve witnessed aren’t representative of how we as a society really treat and view our fellow man.

3. I want to document my travels through the blog and let other people enjoy the places I’ll visit. I plan on sharing a lot of photography as well as writing about people I meet along the way.

Benefit #4 has really only come up in the last couple of days.  I had a phone conversation with another old high school friend earlier this week, Mark from New Jersey. We hadn’t spoken in almost 10 years, although we’ve communicated online from time to time since then. He said something that struck a chord.

I told him that I didn’t expect my life to turn out this way. He replied (and I’m paraphrasing here a bit), “Jeff, you don’t know what’s going to happen once you get out there. You don’t know what you’ll be led to do. Maybe you’ll find ways to help others the way you have in the past.” Mark, I thought about that all that night and most of the next day.  I appreciate your encouragement in that regard. It’s spurred an idea …

My intent was to simply decompress over the first 9 months of Frank’s and my journey. To find some peace and to lift my mood a bit. But I’ve decided is to also take that time to work with Frank on his training. Next spring, I’m hoping to get him certified as a “therapy dog,” allowing him and I to visit nursing facilities on our travels. Frank’s incredibly intuitive and loving … if he can bring a little joy into someone else’s life … someone in a nursing home or hospital, for example … well, I think that would be a pretty good thing. I talked to him a little about it. He’s told me that while he’s not keen on having to “heel” and “stay” on command, he’ll begrudgingly agree to give it a shot. (His primary question was, “Do I get treats?”)

So that’s it for now. Feel free to wander through the blog at your leisure. The “About” page might be a good starting point … there are links there to some other background pages that will tell a bit more of my story and how I got to where I found myself this past November.

One favor I’d like to ask … if you’re inclined to keep in touch and share this journey with me, please click on the “Follow” link. You’ll be notified when a new entry has been posted. I’d really appreciate it. Feel free to leave a comment, send me a private message (there’s a link on the “About” page), or shoot me an email.

Thanks for your support.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Musings

 

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Camera Shopping Redux

Camera package

The camera package I purchased …

I hate shopping!  Back in the “old days”, when you actually went shopping, I had a few rules that I followed:

  1. Know what you want before you go.
  2. Use the Yellow Pages. Find a store that is either a stand-alone building or is in a strip mall. Avoid “shopping” malls like the plague!
  3. Pay cash unless you absolutely have to use plastic.
  4. Get in. Get out.

Pretty simple, right?  That approach suited me to a tee!

I welcomed online shopping like Norm from Cheers welcomed his second beer!  Online shopping and I were made for each other.  Except for today.

I mentioned in my last post about wanting to talk to someone at a brick and mortar store before finalizing a camera purchase via their Amazon storefront.  I was interested in a camera “bundle” that included a few extra lenses, extra batteries, and a bunch of other accessories. (Oh yeah … and a camera!) There were enough inconsistencies in the listing that I thought the deal was too good to be true and might not be honored after the purchase info had been sent to the store.  When I called over the weekend, I was given the number of their “Amazon sales rep”, who was out until today.

The package I selected included an 18-55 mm VR lens with an option to buy either a 55-200 mm or a 55-300 mm VR lens (“VR” stands for “vibration reduction”, which compensates for shaking if you’re holding the camera in your hand instead of mounting it on a tripod).  I chose the bigger lens after reading a couple of online posts about the extra zoom being worth the price difference which, best I could tell, was about $250.  But when upgrading to the bigger lens in this package, the price only increased by $30!!!!!  The total package price came to $750.

I went to two other camera websites, both of which are known for offering great deals.  In both cases, the best price I could get on comparable bundles was $1,150 … $400 more than what I was looking at on Amazon.

customer service

I think I talked to the girl in the middle …

So that’s the background to the phone call.  And I tell you what … the phone call sure didn’t go the way it had gone when I played it out in my head.

After about 12 rings, I got some young woman on the phone, told her that I was interested in a bundle and that I wanted to verify the price and the bundle contents before finalizing things.

Phone girl: “Well, the bundle contents are listed in the description”  (sort of exasperated, like I had interrupted her morning coffee)
Me: “That’s the point, there isn’t a list.  The list you’re talking about appears on every other bundle but this one.
Phone girl: “(sigh) What’s the ASIN number?”
Me: “B00OG372US”
Phone Girl (after a “hold on” and a few minutes of breathing):  “Yeah, I see no list, but the picture is there. You’ll get what’s in the picture … and the description does say ’22’ items, so what’s the problem?”
Me: “Well, depending on what option you select, the photo doesn’t always match the number of items in the description, so I’m just trying to make sure before I make the purchase as to what the 22 items are.  That’s one issue.  The other issue is – I wanted verification on the bundle price with the 55-300 mm lens because that’s just a very good price and it didn’t quite make sense to me.”
Phone Girl: “Why wouldn’t it make sense?”
Me: “Because the 300 mm lens is a $400 lens.  And the $750 price for that bundle is only $30 more than the bundle with the 200 mm lens even though stand-alone, the lens itself is $250 more than the 200 mm lens. The camera and the 300mm lens alone retail at about $900, and you’re throwing in extra batteries, a charger, a carry case, tripods, filters and a whole lot of other stuff. Do you see why I’m wanting to verify that the $750 price is correct?”
Phone Girl: “No.”
Me: “Would you please just verify the price for me. Please?”
Phone Girl (at this point, really put out): “Hoooold on!”

After less than 15 seconds, she comes back on: “Yeah, $750. That’s the price.”
Me: “Thanks. you take care”
Phone Girl (reciting a script): “Thank you so much for calling. We appreciate your business. Have a wonderful day!”

So that was that! I doubt she talked to anyone else to verify the price – I wasn’t on hold long enough for that to happen. At that point, I was out of energy. And I didn’t even get to ask the other question I had …  I didn’t have the energy to ask her why the optional three-year “Drops and Spills” protection that was being offered on all the other configurations wasn’t offered on this one.  I think I would have lost it if she came back and said, “Because it isn’t!” Given the tone in her voice during the call, I’m pretty sure that’s the snarky answer I would have received (or something like it).  I hate dealing with people who either don’t like their job (and consequently, don’t do it well) or simply aren’t qualified to do their job, whether by intelligence, personality or skill-set.

customer_service_meme

Yep.

The package is supposed to ship tomorrow.  Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a notice from the storefront, saying there’s a mistake. Once Amazon notifies me that it’s shipped, I’m going to contact the store (not the Amazon sales rep) and ask if they can email a shipping doc of some sort that lists what they sent.  I really don’t want to wait until the package arrives to verify that the “too-good-to-be-true” purchase I made was “good and true”!

Deep down … actually, pretty close to the surface … I know I’m not sane. I know this shouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did.  I wish I could have just thought, “Man, that’s a good deal,” placed the order, and just let it go.  But. That’s. ME.

I have to now see if there’s any way I can get the “drops and spills” protection without going through her.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Planning

 

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