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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Getting Over It

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a New Feature here at the Dept. of Nance, one we like to think of as a sort of Public Service/Therapy Session called Get Over It. I'm sure you'll figure out how it works as we go along, and we encourage you to offer up your own Subjects for Future Treatment, or you can provide your own rendition in Comments.

Let's get on, shall we?
"The Internet is so bougie."

1. Senator Lindsey "Old Lady Fussypants" Graham (R-South Carolina) proudly declared on Meet the Press to moderator Chuck Todd, "I don't email. You can have every email I've ever sent. I've never sent one." Oh, Senator, aren't you clever? And...sad? This past week, my mother, who will be 85 in June, picked up her new iPad. It is her very first foray into the world of technology. She learned how to use email, text messaging, the Internet, and some apps. She delighted in being able to FaceTime with her family members and add birthdays to the calendar. She can listen to Vic Damone on her personal Pandora station. You, however, revel in the fact that you eschew electronic communication as if you are a Puritan church elder who is denying the devil. Oh, Senator Lindsey Graham, Get Over It. Being a Luddite isn't virtuous, it's dumb. You might not send emails, but your staffers do, and those missives carry the imprimatur of your office. So do your Facebook page and your Twitter account. You even have a Web presence, here, and it includes a link to email you. You even have a YouTube page! So, again, Senator, Get Over It. You're sending emails and involved in the age of technology whether you "are" or not.

2. Can everyone check the date right now? We are rounding the bend and within striking distance of April. Yet, Some People are still displaying Christmas Decorations in their yards, on their homes, and in their windows. Hey, Holiday-Challenged Or Lazy Sods, Get Over It! Christmas is past, done, gone, and other holidays have come and gone as well. Even the snow is gone. There is simply no reason for any of this, all of which I photographed while I drove home from the grocery store and in a two-block radius from my home:
At left, a manger scene; Christmas lights are wound all around; they are illuminated most nights.

Confusingly, this Christmas wreath is in contrast to the bouquet of fake spring flowers at the door.

WTF is going on here?  Jolly snowperson out front; Uncle Sam next to the door with the US Flag Heart alongside.
You are hurting my feelings and annoying your neighbors. You are likely prolonging winter. You are devaluing the surrounding properties. This is, in a word, outrageous. What are you waiting for? If you hate this job so much, don't put this crap up in the first place. Winter in NEO is cold and long. Those decorations won't ever, ever take themselves down or put themselves away, and they end up looking pathetic and depressing. No one wants to see this in February, March, or at the rate you are going, April. Get Over It and yank this junk now.  My next-door neighbors just took down their plastic candy canes and inflatables on Sunday, March 22nd.  I thought I would die.

3. Hey, republicans--at least the eleven of you who are NOT running for president--Barack Obama is going to finish out his second term as the President Of These United States Of America. Get Over It. While I know that many of you still cannot do that, let me add that your continued attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have passed Ludicrous and are on their way to Psychotic. Since you took over the majority in the House, you have put a vote on the floor almost sixty times in those four years, accomplishing precisely nothing. Yet, the first thing you use in any argument about Democrats being unable to effect legislation is the fact that "they had a supermajority" and yada yada yada. Looks like you're finding out what it's like to deal with a group of people who don't follow in lockstep with The Party all the time. Hate to say I Told You So, but when you courted the teapartiers, you invited disaster. Now, Get Over It. 
Lovin' those Grizzly Mamas and Evangelicals now, aren't you?

Probably some of my Dear Readers could smugly say, "Nance, you should take your own advice and Get Over It as far as these things go." To you I would say pleasantly, "I tried. For a Very Long Time, I have tried. Now my patience is at an end, and Something had to be said. I said it."

Now it is your turn. Who needs to Get Over It? Or would you like to have Your Turn and snark a little at the three I have admonished? Let fly.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

That's Okay. I'm Used To It; This Happens To Men Around Me Every So Often.

After the requisite Luxuriation Period In My Jammies this morning, it was finally time to face the Grocery Shopping. Luckily, only a few items were on the list, and it was really only a trip to get Cat Supplies at the pet store that was forcing me outside today. I stopped there first, then continued to my grocery store, noting with great satisfaction the number of empty parking spaces. This was going to be a quick trip, thank goodness.

I zipped in, grabbed a cart, and was immediately thwarted. An elderly gentleman was intently browsing the baked goods right next to the carts. He sidled up even closer to them, then began to bend low. I had nowhere to go; his cart was blocking the aisle, and he had one hand resting on it. I waited, trying to be patient, and he bent lower still, aiming toward the bottom shelf. Suddenly, he simply fell, prone and on his face, his legs completely stretched out towards me, cart veering off ahead. He was motionless. I bent down, and as I did, I yelled, "Call 911! An elderly man just collapsed. Hurry!" I tried to feel if he was breathing by holding my hand near his nose and mouth, and I was afraid to move him. I could feel warm breath, steady and definite. "Sir. Sir. Can you hear me? Sir, can you hear me?"

Another person knelt next to me. "We have to get him turned over," she said. I looked at her; she looked somehow familiar. She had black hair piled up on her head and large, dark eyes. She was about my age and height, and she was calm and capable-sounding. "Yes," I said. "Ready when you are." Carefully and gently we turned the man over. He was awake and blinking.

The young man from the Customer Service Desk rushed over and got behind his head. "Run to Closeouts and get him a pillow!" he yelled to a nearby employee. In the meantime, he sat with one leg askew so that his thigh cradled the man's head, slightly propped. "You're gonna be okay, buddy," he said in his heavy West Virginian accent. "The paramedics are on their way."

"Sir, what's your name?" I asked him gently. His blue eyes blinked and he focused on my face. "Silas Bell," he answered. "I'm fine. That cold air just knocked the wind outa me."

We all asked him if there was anyone with him. No, there wasn't. There was no one to call, either, according to Silas Bell. He was shopping alone today, as always. He had a daughter, but she lived far away.

"Sir, do you have a pacemaker?" the black-haired woman asked. He told her no. "Are you a heart patient?" Silas Bell had had a bypass in 2006. He struggled to sit up. "I'm fine. This happens to me all the time at home, and it happens to me here, too. I usually find a place to sit down until it passes. But this time, there was no place to sit."

"Please," I said, "please lie back and try to relax a little. You have a bump on your head and nose from when you fell. Let the medics check you out just to make sure that you don't have a concussion or anything. You fell pretty hard, and right flat on your face."

"Mr. Bell," said the black-haired woman, "does someone have your power of attorney? Are you sure there isn't someone we should call for you?"

"My girlfriend, Ruth Winters, has my power of attorney. No need to call her. I'm fine. I just want to get my groceries and go home."

As we waited for the ambulance to come, we all talked to Mr. Bell to keep him calm and relaxed while shoppers came in and saw him lying there. We found out he was 86 years old and that the black-haired woman was a career nurse. He was alert and aware, and he wanted to get his shopping done.

To my amazement, the paramedics walked in without a single piece of equipment. Neither did they take a single vital sign or attempt to ascertain much information about him with regard to his health history. They heard what happened, asked if he wanted to go to the hospital, and when he said no, they filled out a form and he signed it. That was it. As I pushed my cart away, I felt uneasy and upset.

This man was alone, had just had a fall involving his head, is 86 years old, and then was going to drive a car. None of that scenario merited at least taking vital signs? Asking about medications, diabetes, blood pressure issues, anything? Why did they come into the store with nothing at all? Wouldn't that have cost them precious time if the victim were bleeding, unconscious, having trouble breathing, possibly in other trouble?

As I walked away, I wondered if I should have offered to accompany Mr. Bell as he shopped, just until he was sure he felt better. But I know he would have refused. After all, the paramedics had signed off on him, giving him the reassurance that he was perfectly fine. Perhaps he was. But I still feel unsettled.

Faithful Readers may be experiencing a bit of déjà vu while reading this story. You and me both. While I am always glad to be of help (obviously), I'd rather not have to be The One in such cases. I will say, however, that I suppose I'd better hone my CPR skills. The men are getting older.

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Monday, March 09, 2015

In Which We Celebrate, For Things Do Get Better

Oh Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! Today NEO is basking in the sunshiny Upper Forties and the huge icicles have departed my gutters (or eavestroughs, as some locals here still insist upon calling them). I have seen wee margins of grass here and there as the monoliths of snow pull away from the sidewalks and driveways heated from the sun. And, quite importantly, today I wore only my lined raincoat to the grocery store.

So many lovely, lovely things are making me happy right now, and it seems like So Very Long since something has, so I would like to share.

My Latest Happies

1. My hair
2. Our Canada jaunt
3. The weather
4. President Obama's "Bloody Sunday" speech
5. A license plate I saw

Let me just tell you about those, and then you can chat about your Latest Happies in Comments.

1. My Hair is a constant barometer of my wellbeing. Last year, I decided to join the Pixie Movement (albeit late) and I was alternately pleased and horrified. Very sensibly, my friend Shirley over at gfeeasily said, "I think people are either Long Hair People or Short Hair People and just aren't happy being the other one." Well, my friends, I am a Long Hair Person. Period. My hair is finally grown out to a point where it is manageable and I no longer cry every other day because I Just Don't Know What To Do With It Anymore. The next time I say One Word about getting a haircut, I want every single person in the world to smack me hard. Thank you in advance.

2. Rick and I both knew we needed a change of scenery and that, despite the weather being identical to ours, the wine and comforts of Niagara-on-the-Lake would help us tremendously. So true. We had a lovely time this past weekend and brought home just under four cases, one being a gorgeous buttery Chardonnay. Our innkeepers took us as their guests to a winery party, and we had a very good time with tank tastings and nibblies. We even visited the newest winery, just opened, and because it is such a slow time, got a private tour. While in Canada, we politely asked that they keep their weather to themselves, and they said they would try.

3. What a lift to have temperatures higher than the single digits and teens! We are seeing the forties and maybe even a fifty or two in the next week or so. And sun...its effect on my mood and energy is incalculable. I know from living in NEO my whole life that this is merely a break in the action: our winter is far from over. But if we could get a full thaw and have all the snow gone, that would be terrific. I'm anxious to get back down to the lake and see how things are doing. It cannot be lake season soon enough for me.

4. I was in Canada for President Obama's delivery of his speech at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. When I got home, I had the full text in my inbox, and I read it. I did not get far before my eyes were full of tears. I am always happy when words can move me, and I am always happy when our President makes reference to great writers and great women. I burst into tears especially when he called on the great Walt Whitman, the chronicler of the American Journey, and paraphrased a line that I so often spoke in awe in my own classroom. "I am large, I contain multitudes." Politics aside, it is a beautiful speech. Please click here and read it in full. (Note: Time magazine's transcript is NOT the full transcript, their claim to the contrary.)

5. On our way home yesterday we drove through Cleveland, and I caught a glimpse of a license plate framed by rainbow-coloured peace signs. It read GETZBTR. All I could see of its male driver was a pale hand and sunglasses as we raced past the frozen lake headed into downtown. I hope that the license plate meant GETS BETTER, and that it was part of the campaign IT GETS BETTER, which was started to give hope to LGBT youth. Vanity plates cost extra and have to be renewed every year, so it would be a personal expense if he were spreading that message. I choose to think that he was. Cleveland hosted the Gay Games last year, and they were a rousing success. Ohio is still a DOMA state, and the governor and legislature are republicans. One look at Ohio's district map shows you how horribly gerrymandered it is, but attitudes are changing. The DOMA was voted by the citizenry, true, but so much outside money influenced it that it was criminal. But that license plate...my heart lightened instantly.

What has lightened your heart lately? Tell us and make us all smile.

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