Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Romeo, Romeo and Return of the Mosquitoes

This is a sad way to begin a post. My daughter's cat Romeo died last night around 11:00. My wife was with him so he didn't pass alone. My daughter was cat sitting last night. It is a pity she couldn't have been with him at the end. Romeo loved her so.

Romeo came into the SPCA shelter two years ago. At the time my daughter worked there and she took a special interest in this cat. He was very different looking than most other cats. He had large, long paws and a regal head. His head reminded me of those you see on Acient Egyptian pyramids. He seemed a royal feline.

Bt he came to the shelter with a problem. He couldn't eat. He needed an operation on his mouth and
teeth, a costly one for which there were no funds. There wasn't much choice. He was scheduled to be euthanized. But some, including my daughter didn't want to see that happen. They set up a FundMe account and they did raise the money and get Romeo his operation. After saving him from the executioner, my daughter adopted him.

He was a sweet cat and very loyal to her. I never saw a cat act so dog like. He looked for her to come home and then he followed her everywhere, walking s few feet behind. He loved her and she loved him. He was an old cat and I guess his nine lives had all been used up. This is always the hardest part of beinga pet owner.

Rest in cat heaven, Romeo

Romeo's passing is part of the mosquitoes' return. What are these? Several years back I wrote of a number of bunched together problems I had. I called them 'Mosquitoes' for those bugs that come in swarms, small, tiny things, but very irritating and annoying.

Within just this week we have been bitten by a swarm of such mosquitoes. The vacuum sweeper appears to have died. It makes a clicking sound. I'd say this sucks, except there is the problem, it doesn't. The left rear brake light on our car apparently has burnt out. See small matter, not too costing for a bulb. I know how to change it, not real difficult on a Honda, except now I have this ALS and my hands don't work so well. As another heat wave begins, the window air conditioner in our bedroom began spewing water. Maybe an easy fix, maybe not, but I can no longer lift these little units. A friend is coming tonight to look at it. As I checked the side of the house and reentered yesterday, my left glasses lens fell out of the frame. The little screw that holds it in place is missing. And then Romeo dies.

Mosquitoes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trapped by Technology

The last year and a half has not dealt kindly with the Little Woman and me. (if she's the Little woman, then I must be the Big Oaf.)  We's kind of broke. We could do a sad wail and moan called, "Medical Bill Blues", but maybe another time. This time we're going to play a weeping harmonica number about how technology has got us, and probably you too.

Since our finances have moved else where, mostly South,  we had to do the empty wallet shuffle, meaning we had to look for ways to downsize our life, make some small sacrices and maybe eventually stop robbing Peter to pay Paul, if you know what I mean. I'm sure a lot of you have been there.

So where is a good place to start with as little pain as possible. How about that thing called Cable? Well, we have Fios, so that little thing called Fiber Optics. I don't really know what the difference is between the two, but Fios says, " Fios isn't cable. We're wired differently." What does that mean? Maybe they twist the wires left instead of right or something.

Doesn't matter, when it comes to the old bait and switch they and Comcast are the same. They lure the unsuspecting mouse or should I say mouse-pushers in with a nice little pitch. Bundle up with us with your TV, Internet and Phone and get this cozy little price a month for the next two years. Of course, it requires a contract and if you don't like it after a few months just try to get out of it. Hefty little divorse settlemet comes with that contract. An after two years that cozy little bundle begins nibbling away at your wallet.

I don't know what Dish and Direct TV do; Probably much the same.

Now service-wise and all, I have no complaints with Fios. Over the six years I have been the fish at the end of their fibre-optic line things have been fine. The've been all around better than Comcast was. Yes, I had Comcast for about a decade before Fios, and I switch because there were problem and poor customer service. But leaving Comcast gave me the same run around I just went through with Fios, except I have stayed with Verizon's money-maker.

When we signed up original with Fios we were flush. I ws still working somewhere, still bringing in the dough, and more importantly still healthy. Doctors were yet holding me up by my heels and shaking out my wallet and loose change. We had some bundle called, "Extreme". Not sure what was so extreme except the price. It had an awful lot we didn't use, at least on the TV.

Golly, a million channels and hardly anything we wanted to watch. Didn't need all those sports channels. Didn't need the 30,000 music channels, especially all the Latin rthymns. Most of the other stuff has become dreck. When cable...oops, fibre optic, TV began with it's five hundred channels to choose, the claim was all the choices you would have and all the variety and creativity that would now be available.  And this was true once upon a time. Bravo use to put on shows and concerns, MTV played music videos, and dozen of other things. But all those new independent specially channels as they got successful also got bought out by a few and now it seems a mere handful control everything and everything is starting to look the same and the variety and creativity have taken a bus into obscurity.

So I says to myself, "Myself, if you can cut out some of the things you don't watch, maybe you can get it cheaper?"

Ha!

First I tried dropping the land line, no phone in the bundle. One less thing to provide should be cheaper to them, thus cheaper to me. Except when I said I wanted to drop the phone they said, "No, you don't want to do that. It'll cost you more if you do."  Say what?

I asked them how getting less service from them would cost more. I still don't understand the explanation, something about it allows them to provide me more services then I save because I don't have to have a bunch of third partoes supplying me with services. I ain't lookin' for a bunch of services from any thrid parties.  I already have a third party supplying me with phone service on my mobile phone which doesn't cost me much of anything cause I'm not a big phone user. I got the mobile phone for emergency use. I couldn't seem to be able yo fit my land lline in my pocket nor find a long enough cord to go everywhere I go.

So okay, keep the bloody phone. Can I cut back on my TV. What choice have I here. Well, thre is the Ultimate package. You mean Ultimate in beyond extreme. Frankly, I though I had the Ultimate, but no, they informed me I had the Extreme. Extreme wasn't even on they choice list. How'd I get it?

They next one down from Ultimate was called Preferred. It was slightly cheaper than the Ultimate, but said I would be paying $10 more a month than the Extreme. Why?  It had less channels, both regular and High Definition, than I get now. Why should it cost me more. I asked their guy. He said he would have to find out why that was so. I never found out because they hung up on me. I think I asked to many questions.

The next plateau was called, "Starter". You can see the implications right there. Starter, you got far lass channels and as it were a lot we actually watch. Didn't really want to lose those, and the cast differential really was very significant.

Now they have some copy, "Have TV your way" and something called Custom TV. It isn't custom at all. You get to select from about a half-dozen categories like New and Sports, Entertainment, Family and Kids, things like that. You get a grouping of shows they think fits the category, far less selections than other packages. That isn't custom. Custom is let me select the channels I wanna watch like buying a song off of iTunes.

But they got you, unless you are ready to give up TV, Internet et al.

I reup'd with Fios for another two years. Man, you'd think the locked in contracts would end after six years.