Monday, September 28, 2009

LONG DRAWN OUT AFFAIR

It’s that time of the year. Time for my annual flu shot. So I thought I’d do what I always do... I’d get it under my belt early. And, that meant heading to the closest place advertising flu shots for $24.99. This year it was Walgreen’s. (Last year Wal-Mart, the year before that Rite Aid, the year before that the Mall)

I’m an expert at this process. You stand in line, in the middle of the store, get one tiny piece of paper to sign… that asks if you’re allergic to eggs or the flu shot? Then… you roll up your sleeve, get the shot, pay for it and are on your way in 10 minutes or less. Not big on paperwork and waiting rooms, I like getting it done this way. It’s cheap, quick and effective.

But today, it turned into a real hassle.


First… I had to go to customer service, which was actually the prescription drop off line, so it was busy… then, when my turn came, I was handed a clipboard and pen with MORE than one sheet of paper. The lady explained I needed to fill out all the paperwork before the shot. It asked the standard questions, plus more. Was I pregnant? Did I have a disorder, Guillain-Barre? Also included in those papers was a place to fill in the name, phone number, fax number and address of my primary care physician. This immediately raised a red flag. I never, ever had to do this before, in all the years of getting a flu shot. It’s none of their business. On top of which… I don’t have a doctor since mine quit his private practice, three months ago. He refereed me to a new doctor, but that information is at home since I haven’t had an occasion to go there yet.

When I bulked at the paperwork… the lady was exasperated with my explanation and insisted I not leave any spaces blank. It was important that a copy of my flu vaccination information be sent to my doctor. She directed me to a waiting area to fill out the papers. I sat down and tried... but decided I needed help and asked for a phone book. Another woman behind the prescription PICK UP counter gave me one.

I thought by reading all the names of the physicians, it would help jar my memory and help me find the name of the refereed doctor, I was given… but instead it confused me more. So then, I had to resort to guessing the address of the refereed doctor. I remembered it was on Market Street, so I wrote down the name of a group of internists there, that I found in the phone book… getting more and more peeved that I had to do this at all.

What happened to quick and effective? This was wasting time. If I had wanted to involve a doctor, I would have gone to one to begin with, and been overcharged for the shot and office visit. This was ridiculous. But like a good girl, I complied as best as I could.

When my paperwork was ready, they had me wait back in the customer service line. Thinking I was all done with this nonsense, the lady now asks to see my insurance card.


"WHAT FOR?
My insurance won’t cover this and I’ve never had to do this before either", I exclaim.

“It’s standard procedure”, she tells me.

”You are in our system, aren’t you?”

I tell her, I’ve never gotten a prescription filled there.


“Is that a requirement, too,” I ask?


She acts surprised I’m not a member of the Walgreen’s family. I swear, at this point, I wanted to scream and just forget the whole thing. She then takes my insurance card, which I reluctantly give her, considering it an invasion of privacy… and she begins entering the information in the computer, eventually handing me back a piece of paper and a couple of red heart stickers. Next she asks for my credit card to pay for it, since my insurance doesn't cover it. NO KIDDING. Then she redirects me back to the waiting area.

“We’ll call you when it’s your turn”, she explains.

Tick tock.

A man comes out and gives a shot, to the only other person waiting, besides my husband and I… then he packs up his bag to leave.

I ask him, "What about me?" He tells me someone else will take care of me.


Angry at the long, drawn out affair this had become… I wonder why I came here, at all. Forty-five minutes, after I arrived... a very nice woman finally comes out from the pharmacy to give me my shot. If not for her pleasantness, I would have been irate. Mission Accomplished, at long last.

Next year... I won’t get my flu shot at Walgreen’s. It's too complicated.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UMBRELLAS

Torrential rain hit here. And as usual, yours truly got caught in the downpour. But this time I was prepared, or thought I was. I saw lots of people running for cover, but no umbrellas. People don’t carry them, anymore. I wonder why? Little did I know, I was about to find out.  I remembered… I had a pocketbook umbrella and snatched it from my purse, in a flash. I would be protected. Unfortunately, I had never opened it before this emergency, and was shocked to discover… it barely covered me. My back and hair got soaked, as I ventured farther from my car. And my feet were sloshing through a couple inches of water, just trying to get inside. SQUISH. SQUISH. Then, I had the wet umbrella to contend with. What do you do with a wet umbrella, to dry it off? Open it up and lay it on the floor? Couldn’t, I was in a store… so I folded it back up and put it in the cart, dripping wet. Meanwhile, I had to drip and dry, myself. What a mess! I should have driven home. Truth be told… I like the basic concept of an umbrella… it’s designed to shed water and keep you dry. I just got a little peeved, because this one didn’t do its job. Maybe, the rain was coming down, too fast and furious, just pounding too hard, for it to be effective… because, let’s face it, I got drenched... carrying it. But, maybe it was just this particular umbrella. I bought it a year ago, for ten dollars... because I wanted something, small and compact, to stick inside my purse... just in case, a storm like this, hit. So, it was never tested until now. And… boy oh boy, did it FAIL. Guess you get what you pay for.  It seems the manufacturer was a bit chintzy on the fabric and construction. Too bad, I didn’t know about that, ahead of time. I would have just waited for the storm to blow over and in the process, stayed dry. For… all its fury, the rain only lasted, fifteen minutes or so. I could have, easily, entertained myself in the car, listening to oldies but goodies on the radio. On the other hand, what would I have to write about? Do you carry an umbrella?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SAGA CONTINUES

Two pigeons are sitting high on a wire, directly over my car, in the parking lot of a local eatery. I bet my windshield is splattered with their business by the time I get outside. Maybe the predicted rain will begin falling, to wash it off, so I won’t have to get a car wash. Fifty/Fifty chance. I came here looking for a relaxing cup of raspberry tea, and a much deserved respite… now it looks as though I’ll have to contend with more crap. The home improvement saga at my house continues. The concrete in the new patio has been poured. The surface of it was smoothed out, in some places, and roughed up in others. So, its overall appearance looks shoddy. He tells me the surface will wear off, looking more uniform as time goes by. I can only hope and pray it will. Add to this the fact, the contractor took it upon himself to fill in an open spot behind my front porch, that nobody told him to. He didn’t use forms, so the concrete dripped down the sides, coming out uneven, with the rest of the porch. The edges aren’t smooth, so it looks like the cement has crumbled and is breaking off around the corners. He’s pronounced the project incomplete and claims filing it and sanding it will finish off the edges. He says he’ll do this soon. I guess with this guy, the finished product is all about visualization, seeing things how you want them to be, then accepting them as they are. Needless to say, I am disappointed. I’ve never heard more EXCUSES. If you can’t be PROUD of your work, what’s the point? Believe it or not, my husband PAID him. Meanwhile, the driveway was supposed to be resealed and that job was started and then left unfinished because of the weather forecast. I say why did they start at all? But who am I, in all of this… just the victim?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MY BELOVED

I am livid. I want to scream, but all I can do is cry. The contractor hired to do cement work, and put in a small patio, here at my house… has cruelly yanked out my beloved rhododendron plants. These plants were murdered. They were supposed to be dug up and transplanted to another spot. Instead, one of them is now torn to shreds and the other one barely has a root system in place. I doubt it will survive my attempt to save it. How could this man have been so barbaric? It’s just as much trouble… to take a living, breathing plant, out of the ground properly, as it is to hacksaw it to death. I am seething with anger. In twenty minutes or less, he destroyed ten years of beautiful blooms. And unfortunately, I was too late to catch him in the process. I would have read him the riot act. What a jerk. He was scheduled to come out here on Saturday… so there would have been ample time to transplant. But since he arrived so early… there was no time to prepare for the madness that ensued. If he had the decency to ask me… what to do with the plants… I would have told him.  But he took matters into his own hands and destroyed the rhododendrons that I loved, so much. I made assumptions, I shouldn’t have. And I will never forgive myself. I don’t care about the stupid patio anymore. It will be a reminder... of the terror, my plants endured. I miss my purple flowers and the beautiful leafy branches that held them. How sad, today is. How sad.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NIRVANA

In today’s world… everything is all about the COFFEE. I don’t fit in. I’m all about the TEA. I love a good cup of CHAI to start my morning. I hate coffee. It used to be, tea, was a popular beverage. Years ago, I remember getting a cup of hot water, and a teabag from McDonalds or anywhere… nowadays; it’s coffee, coffee, coffee. I think that’s sad. We’re NOT all coffee drinkers. While, a cup of joe, is always readily available, it can be quite affordable too. But… tea, not so much. Starbucks, Panera and Biggby all have CHAI. But the cost is steep. I feel like I’m being penalized for this choice. Why? It can’t be more expensive to make CHAI than coffee, can it? I mean, seriously. Add to this… the fact, I don’t drink soda pop either, and I really feel discriminated against. I prefer peach or raspberry iced tea. You know how hard it is to find that on the menu???? To their credit, Applebees and Ruby Tuesday, carry it. And, so does one of the local eateries, I frequent. Otherwise, FORGET ABOUT IT. Of course... enjoying the simple pleasures, of TEA at home, is a given for me... So, I buy Snapple or Arizona teas, in bottles and cans, for my raspberry and peach, fix. DELICIOUS! For CHAI… I prefer Tazo or Oregon Chai, boxed concentrate. Talk about NIRVANA in a CUP. Yummy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

HOW SWEET

I live in the suburbs, and it’s rare to see wildlife... except birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Of course... there is always, the random, raccoon or possum, DEAD, on the side of the road. It just makes me sick to my stomach, to see how they met their fate. And how... cars and trucks, continue to run over them, flattening them out like pancakes. But such is life, in the animal kingdom, since humankind has encroached on their territory. I personally have never hit an animal when driving, and hope I never do. I would fret about it for weeks. However, the other day, for the first time, I came close… too close for comfort. As I was making my way to the store, I encountered a situation, of sorts. It was the perfect scene for a picture postcard… but potentially dangerous for yours truly. There in the middle of the road, as I rounded the corner, was a full-grown DEER. I immediately slammed on the brakes. The car skidded to a halt. The deer stood there and stared at me, as I stared back at it. Each of us silently wondering, what the other one was doing there? Standing her ground, the deer turned her gaze towards the other side of the road… I too turned, to see what she was looking at. There, frolicking near a driveway, were two of her babies. Cuter than pie, they followed their mother out into the roadway… her attention now completely diverted from me. Then, in the bat of an eye… the three of them, ran off in the woods, near the railroad tracks... as I looked on. I was awestruck. "How sweet", I thought. Then, with just seconds to spare... I saw headlights in my rearview mirror, and knew it was time, to step on the gas, before I got HIT from behind. The second time in one night, I avoided an accident. Lucky me! Nature has a way of creeping up on you, when you least suspect it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SHEER JOY

I have temporarily retired from the drudgery of pots and pans, the sink full of dirty dishes, and countless trips to the grocery store. I gave it all up for the sheer joy of eating out, every single day. And what a joy, it is. No cooking, cleaning or fussing. The money I would have spent on groceries, now goes to an outside menu. Yummy! Of course, this new lifestyle was thrust upon me, quite by accident... you see, the burners on my stove broke, one by one... until it finally went kaput! Meals, while optional are a necessity, so eating out became the solution, until a new stove could be purchased. Sounds simple enough, you think?  But a funny thing happened on the way to buy that stove... technology changed. A stove, just isn't just a stove, anymore. I had choices, FLATTOP or COIL.  I wanted to stick with what I understood. But... the thought of something new intrigued me, too! Add to that, the right color, and price... And yours truly had a dilema. DECISIONS! DECISIONS! No answer in sight. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months... So here I am, still no stove. BUT meanwhile... I'm a regular at all the local eateries and even have my own table! There's no harm in that, is there?