dalesql: (Dale badge)
Six months ago, about this time of day, I was being allowed back into my house to pick up some clothes and our valuables after the fire. Mom and I are still living in a hotel, Dad is in a different nursing home, and the insurance company is still stalling. *insert rant about insurance company abuse of claimants*

I got the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea earlier this week. Slowly getting used to going to sleep with a mask strapped over my mouth and a tube over to the machine. Waking up early in the morning and pulling the mask off for some normal sleep before I wake up. I suppose I'll get used to it. I'm going to have to. But it's a work in progress.

Work is in the process of moving to the new building. We've been packing up stuff and sorting and tossing away stuff for the past couple of weeks. But we are now four weeks out from having to be fully moved over to the new building and more or less operational. and to add more joy to my life, I got told this week that I have to be totally packed up and ready to be moved out a week before everyone else, because I'm being tasked to work for another department the whole week of the move. Meanwhile, everyone is finding old broken stuff as they pack up and bringing it back to me to be repaired. Our regular customers are still having shows and preps and so on, we don't have the luxury of just telling them all that we are going to be closed for a week while moving.

I've asked for the friday before halloween for vacation so I can go to Furpocalypse, but they said they won't approve it until we are fully moved to the new building. so my plans for the con are all jumbled up due to that. *sighs* More stress and frustration.

I hope that the rest of the year is better.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
Punched another new hole in my belt today! My waistline continues to shrink! Yay! I've decided that I'm going to keep wearing this belt until I reach my target weight or it breaks. Which means that eventually the belt is going to reach all the way around to the small of my back. Right now the belt goes a little past my hip. Goals!

Still waiting for the health insurance to approve the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. They dragged their feet for several weeks on approving the sleep study, so I fully expect they will drag their feet on this for as long as they can. It's what insurance companies do, after all.

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the insurance industry is really a creation of satan. Very likely everyone in the industry is very likely damned. They are just trying to bring some hell to everyone that they touch.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
While I was up in maine getting a second degree sunburn, my sister came here from seattle to take care of mom and help sort out stuff from the house.

Found all the legal papers we needed for his masshealth appication, so the lady should have that done shortly and submitted to the bureaucratic mill to the ground into oblivion. Found a slightly less expensive nursing home in Marlboro for dad, which is a feeder for the alzheimers center in wellesly we are trying to get him into, so once a space opens up, he can move over quickly, before the space gets taken.

Work is getting crazier, as we are now about 50 days from having to be completely moved out and over to the new building. The first truckload of our stuff went over today. Remodeling of the new space proceeds apace, and I hope that the occupancy permit happens shortly. The new building is located next to the main Amtrack line in Canton, Mass, so there will be plenty of opportunity to glimpse the trains zooming past. Also, we now have to have a disaster plan for a derailment impinging on the property.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
Festival is all done and I've moved out of the hotel in Bangor and moved back into the hotel in Dedham. Back to day jobbe tomorrow morning. Just banging out a quick entry after doing the dirty laundry.

Also, New personal life lesson. Dont carry a two way radio in your t-shirt pocket when working an outdoor festival in the summer. Second degree sunburn where it pulled down the neck of my t-shirt. Yup, it hurts, but it looks worse than it feels.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
Today I had to punch another hole in my belt because my pants were falling down. My waistline has shrunk another inch! This it the good kind of negative.

Also last day of work today. Now I'm on vacation. tomorrow I'm driving up to Bangor Maine to work on the AmericanFolkFestival.com for the next ten days. Where I'll be putting in ten to twelve hour days. Festival, my job away from job!

Anyone near Bangor who wants to come down and see me, I'll be at the festival site from about 9am until dark every day next week. Look for the guy with a black vest of many pockets on the golf cart loaded down with electrical gear. I probably will only ask you about volunteering for the festival once. Maybe twice.

My sister is flying in from Seattle and will be taking care of mom while I'm gone. Unfortunately, she goes back before I get back down here, so I'll probably not see her for another year or so.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, sixty years ago today, my mom and dad got married. Still are today. Not a common acomplishment nowadays.

Dad is in a nursing home now, with his alzheimers at the severe level. He still recognizes me and mom when we visit, but not much else recent. After work today, I took mom to the nursing home for our usual daily visit. Dad was better today. Yesterday he was convinced that the nursing home was a jail and we needed to get him out. I'm told that the jail thing is common with alzhiemers patients who are in a locked in living situation. *sighs*

My sister is flying in from seattle saturday to care for my parents while I'm up in Maine working on the folk festival. Taking dad to a restaurant for family lunch sunday.

the insurance company is living right down to the stereotype of being cheapskate bastards for covering our fire loss. Still negotiating values with them on the house and the contents. *ugh* I'm really beginning to hold a powerful hatred towards insurance companies.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So I got a new cellular phone a couple weeks ago. Went up to a samsung galaxy 5. I was happy with the 4 that I had, but the battery was worn out and it was cheaper to upgrade than buy a new battery.

So I use the phone a lot. Every break time and lunch time out comes the phone to check my emial and social media. Even with turning off the worst power wasting apps, the battery was mostly dead by the time I was driving home. Plus I'll be doing 16 hour days at the festival in a couple weeks. So I shopped for an extended runtime battery after trying the external battery packs and finding them too much hassle.

The zerolemon.com battery pack was recomended to me. Bought the one for my model phone. It is about 3x the capacity of the stock battery, and 3x the size. It came with a thicker external case that had room for the battery, and protected the back of the phone as the thicker battery will not allow the back of the phone to be reinstalled.

Been using it for a few days now. It is weird to look at the phone at quitting time and seeing 77% charge remaining. tonight I'm not plugging it into the charger to see how many days the phone will go before low battery alerts.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, we got an offer from the insurance company on the contents of the house. As expected, they found the cheapest possible version of everything on the inventory to set base values, then they put about 50% depreciation on everything. Including things like paintings, books, antique furniture, prescription medications, and everything.

I'm sorry insurance company, but not everything is subject to depreciation. Sheesh!

Time for our public adjuster to start earning his percentage.


I'm also wondering is a four month delay on the initial offer from a house fire claim is egregious enough that we should be engaging a lawyer to sue them for interest and maybe even triple damages under the massachusetts triple damages law.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
But she is a democrat, wealthy and powerful. So she probably will avoid prosecution for malfeasance in office. It's all the trend now with Democrat politicians nowadays.

Specifically, today the massachusetts atty. general sent out revised definitions of what constitutes an "assault weapon" to all licensed gun dealers. The first public notice of this proposed change was yesterday. No public comment period, no hearings, no studies, nothing but her personal political agenda to remove all guns from the hands of ordinary decent citizens in this state. Oh yeah, it takes effect immediately. Timed to be released during the RNC convention, when many of the opposition party are out of state. Smooth move there Exlax.

The substance of the change is to add more cosmetic features to the list that defines an assault weapon in this state. Since there is no functional description of what is an assault weapon under the law, what the law lists is a bunch of rifles and pistols by make and model, and a list of various cosmetic features that if the rifle has enough of them, turns it into an assault weapon. So she has taken upon herself to expand the list of features. and try to ram it down the throats of massachusetts gun owners.

I have looked online, all I've seen is some fuzzy scans of the letter so far. No doubt folks who are much better informed will be finding a clear copy and doing the painstaking analysis to try and figure out what the actual effects of the changes will be. Meanwhile, massachusetts gun dealers who had expensive rifles in their stock that were legal to sell yesterday, now have their money sunk into unsellable rifles today. I hope that GOAL or someone files a lawsuit to overturn the order. The basic law was, IMNSHO, unconstitutionally vague, and also pretty clearly violates the Heller and McDonald precedents on the second amendment. This new rule also would constitute an illegal taking under the constitution, considering it's incredibly short notice.

But one of the ways she wants to disarm americans is to drive gun dealers out of business, and I expect that this loss of business and trapping of their capitol will drive a few more of them out of business. Catching them at just the wrong time.

I'm trying not to hate Democrat politicians as a class. But horseshit like this makes it harder and harder not to hate them all.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
As I'm sure anyone in the USA is aware by now, no less than the FBI director himself laid out the evidence about Hillery's misuse of the by now infamous private e-mail server for conducting all of her official e-mail while being the secretary of state. But even though she clearly violated the laws about mishandling classified information multiple times. And when this came to light in the investigation of the Benghazi fiasco, she did her best to delay and hide the evidence of wrongdoing, which is a separate felony under US law.

Despite fairly clear and convincing evidence, the FBI director also said he was not recommending an indictment. Since Bill had his rather suspiciously timed "coincidental" meeting with the attorney General, forcing her to recuse herself, took her out of play. Leaving the final decision with the career bureaucrats who are overwhelmingly supporters of Hillery and the democratic party, making this decision not to prosecute not a surprise at all. Very disappointing, but not a surprise. They are not going to prosecute a political power like her without strong encouragement from their leadership. Leadership which is still rather lacking from the president and his appointees.

This despite the very same justice department going after people who are not wealthy or powerful for far smaller violations of the classified information laws. Prosecutions which are usually ending in convictions or plea deals resulting in multi-year sentences. But the rules are different for the wealthy, powerful, and well connected politicians. They can manipulate the people running the system to make the system dance to their tune. Nice double standard there democrats. I hope it turns around and bites you in the ass.

This also confirms in my mind that the FBI is rotten to the core. After J. Edgar Hoover died, and his immediate cronies retired from runnning the agency, they made some major progress in changing their culture and leadership to match more closely with their ideals, taking them away from their previous status of a tool for wanna-be dictators to use to crush their enemies. The closest they got to those ideals was probably in the 90s, but the all-consuming war on terrorism pushed them firmly back into the secret police role where they enforce their master's ideology on the populace.

The refusal of the FBI leadership to acknowledge these failures, let alone try to actually fix them, leads me to the inescapable conclusion that the FBI is, just like the BATFE, a failed state organization. No longer enforcing the law and constitution, but enforcing the ideology of their political masters. Nixon could only dream about that the things the FBI would do on his behalf. Now they simply get their marching orders from the thought police and go to work, rooting out politically incorrect thinking wherever they think they have found it.

Time to disband the FBI, fire all of their agents, and start over again with new people. But I'm not gonna hold my breath.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
All of the proposed gun control laws that are being bandied about by the various politicians that use the no fly list or any of the other secret lists created by the government to deny any citizen the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is a really bad idea.

Being put on double secret probation by the government is bad.

Not being told you are on the double secret probation list is worse.

When you try to get on an airplane for a trip and get told that you cannot get on that airplane and they won't say why, even though the airline sold you a ticket weeks or months ago, and they didn't bother to tell you until you are at the airport is worse.

You are pretty sure that your name is on the double secret probation list because they wouldn't let you fly. But when you try to find out how your name got on the list, they deny that your name is on the list, and they can't tell you why you might be on the list, because, well, secrets. Even worse.

You hire a lawyer to try suing the feds to force them to show up in court in front of a judge and show cause for blocking your right to free travel. Your lawyer can't even find anyone in the government to serve the papers on for the case. Because it's the double secret probation list and they are required by law to deny any knowledge of the list, or that even the list exists.

So you can't prove you are on the double secret probation list. Don't know why they might have put you on the list. Could possibly even explain why you were doing whatever it was that got you put on the list, but you can't because it is secret.

And once that the people on the double secret probation list have their second amendment rights stripped away by a secret bureaucratic action, it is not so far to start stripping away other constitutionally guaranteed rights. I mean, you are on the list, so obviously you must be a terrorist. So lets remove your fourth amendment rights. Why should they go to the trouble to get a warrent to tap your phone and internet, or to break into your home while you are away to search for incriminating stuff. Don't need those fifth and sixth amendment rights either, you are obviously guilty. But until they get around to putting you in jail, lets remove your third amendment rights and require you to put a homeland security agent in your spare bedroom to live there so as to make it easier for them to keep you under surveillance. Lets get rid of your sixth amendment rights to a fair and public trial by an impartial jury too. We already know you are guilty, no need to actually prove it to judge and jury. And while we have you detained for trial, dump the 8th amendment too, set your bail to one hundred billion dollars and schedule you for some torture sessions to wring all the possible confessions from you. From the lindburgh kidnapping to the killing of cock robin, we know you are guilty, just have to torture you into confessing.

Pardon my hyperbole, but I find the double secret probation list, aka the no fly list, the selectee list, and many other names to be a profound threat to the basic fabric of american life.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
It was confusing action. A check from the insurance company, the only explanation on it the one line Partial payment on settlement. Ummm.... We haven't agreed to a settlement yet. We only have gotten e-mail scans of the offer of settlement on the structural damage portion of the claim.

But, it's money, and the hotel is burning $1431 per week on additional living expenses.

Color me mystified at the byzantine opaqueness of the whole mess.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, today brings us to the three month anniversary of our house fire. We are still in the hotel, although we will have to switch to a single room next week. Someone has reserved every double room in the hotel from July until next january. Since residence inns include a sitting room with a convertible couch, and dad is not going to be leaving the nursing home probably ever again, gonna move to a single room. Unfortunately they don't have a single room with a roll on shower, just bathtubs with grab bars. Will have to see if we can handle that kind of room or not.

Preparing the MassHealth / medicaid application now, as dad's medicare coverage from the hospitalization ends on monday. That requires us to gather up every financial transaction from mom and dad for the past five years to bring to the consultant who we will be paying to actually prepare the application.

The insurance company has come back with an initial offer on the structural damage. It seems pretty low to me, but we are trying to find a general contractor who can sanity check the offer. Still no offer on the contents of the house, which continues to sit, waiting for action.

Frustration describes my feeling, but doesn't convey the intensity of my feeling.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, I wake up this morning to the bad news from the Pulse nightclub in orlando florida. Took mom to visit dad at the nursing home, and when I got back I heard President Obama once again not mentioning radical islamic hatred but he did take the opportunity to use this horrible event to push for more restrictive gun laws. So, since he chose to dance in the blood to advance his political agenda, I feel no compunction about pushing back against his political agenda.

Facts on the ground are slim. The media pack of giggling jackals are endlessly repeating the few things known and then bringing in alleged experts to speculate endlessly to build these logical castles in the sky out of their own imagination. Surprise surprise, they come to the conclusion that the country needs more and stricter laws put onto the books that advance their cause.

We know the bad guy brought a rifle of some kind. Most accounts call it an AR15 or something similar, or just call it an assualt rifle or assault weapon. Somehow got into the club with it. Didn't they have security at the door, or did he shoot his way through them? Called 911 claiming credit in the name of ISIS for his actions. SHot many many rounds into the defenseless victims on the dance floor, until he was confronted with the lone good guy with a gun in the club. Gunfire was exchanged and then bad guy retreated to the bathroom, acquiring hostages along the way. Police arrived and a couple hours of standoff, then SWAT assaults and bad guy ends up dead on the floor.

I'll continue this later, my alarm is calling me to go to work.
Back from work. To Continue.

The nightclub, as a venue that derives more than 50% of it's income from alcohol, is a no go zone for ordinary decent citizens with concealed handgun permits. Even though employees, who shouldn't be drinking on the job, and the designated drivers, who are enjoying their reduced price soda pops, are just as defenseless as the intoxicated patrons. So the only citizens who could legally carry their concealed handguns on the premises are police officers. Which is one of the many reasons that nightclubs like this love to hire police officers as part time bouncers/security. When the feces strikes the rotary impeller, they are a good guy with a gun who is already present on the premises.

Hmmm.... How many of these mass shootings happen in venues that by law or by property owner fiat are some form of gun free zone? Nearly every one. It's almost like the murderous lunatics seek out locations where they know the chances of encountering an intended victim who is armed with a much more equal level of weapon are much lower.

SO, more and more gun control laws don't seem to be reducing the level of violence. Chicago, LA, and NYC have the strictest gun control laws in the country, and their violence levels are a high as ever. So lets try outlawing the mandatory disarmed victim zones in a couple of states and see how that works out.

Also, it seems that one of the rumored deceased is a friend of a friend. Sadness.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, a couple months ago, I happened to hear about a minor league baseball team called the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Folks who have read this for a while know I have a thing for squirrels. So, I'm perusing their website, and notice that they are going to be playing some games against the Manchester, NH Fisher Cats. I check the Fishercats web site and lo and behold, after the thursday evening game, there would be fireworks! Squirrels and fireworks, two of my favorite things to watch.

So onto the website and buy myself a ticket, and heck, it's only 8.50 more for reserved parking in the VIP lot, so I bought that also. Now, understand that I am not a sportsball fan. Last professional baseball game I attended was in Baltimore, in their old ball park, around 1990 or 91. I did work for a season more recently as game day security at Foxboro stadium, which left me with an intense desire to never attend an NFL game again in my life, unless they could somehow guarantee that there would be no football fans there.

So, thursday rolls around and I took off early from work and drove to NH. It was a cool and windy day, I definitly should have worn long pants, I was seriously considering leaving early it was so uncomfortable.

I was going for a blood sugar test the next morning, so I couldn't eat anything that had a lot of sugar or starch in it. This is, you understand, just about everything that is served in the concessions that doesn't have the word diet in it's name. So the only thing I had to eat was one hot dog that cost me $4.50, and I skipped most of the bun. The only hot drinks for sale was hot chocolate or coffee, neither one an option for me.

I also intended to buy some Flying Squirrels merch. Hats, t-shirts, whatever. I was prepared to drop fifty bucks or more on overpriced logo clothing. There was no flying squirrels merchandise for sale. Which surprised me. Minor league baseball is missing an opportunity here for their out of town fans to buy merch at their away games. I mean, each park would have to allocate a space for the visiting team to setup their booth, and their would have to be space on the equipment truck for a pallet that would unfold into a booth and spare merch would ship on top of that pallet sized box. Probably have to hire a gameday employee to sell the opposing teams merch, rather than have the visiting team have a full time traveling employee. ALthough that traveling sales position could be used as a reward for the part time game day employees from their home park. They get a free trip with the team to whatever city and only have to work maybe six hours each gameday.

So I watched the game. They had the net up behind home plate to catch balls heading for the stands. But I was in the next section out from where the net ended. I was surprised at how many times the batter swung and just sort of deflected the balls into the stands. A couple of them landing only several feet away from me, and one I was convinced was going to nail me coming nearly straight down from up high, when it encountered one of the support cables for the net and got deflected into the next section of seats.

The squirrels scored first, and maintained the lead until the 9th inning, when the fishercats got three runs in on a home run hit, reducing the lead to only one point. But the squirrels managed to keep them out and won the game 6-5.

Then we celebrated with fireworks, and I went back to hotel sweet hotel and resumed regular life. IF I keep up this interval, my next professional baseball game will be in 2044 or so. Somebody remind me then.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
I am now the happy owner of my very own personal slushie machine. I can have a slushie whenever I want one.... as long as I want one about ninety minutes after I fill it with some slushie mixture and turn it on. *grins* Used it today for the first time at the CT furry picnic. Once it finally slushed the mixture, it was yummy, and popular.

the recipie. One part Fox brand neutral slush base. (mostly sugar water with some added acids) one part lime juice, four parts water.


Still in the hotel, still waiting for the insurance company to shift off it's metaphorical butt and take some action on our claim. arrrgh.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, I got the word that Jbadger lost his second battle with cancer yesterday morning. I don't have the words to say what I am feeling. I'll miss him is true, but it barely scratches the surface.

I knew him from science fiction conventions and furry fandom. I can't recall what the first con I met him at, but it was at least in the 90s, and probably earlier. He and I both volunteered at conventions in various capacities. He was a reliable and friendly person, opinionated, like all of us, but always willing to talk about whatever the opinion was. I'll miss our discussions and everything else.

Goodbye Lincoln. If there is an afterlife, I hope you are getting a good one.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So I finally decided to try the sun tea thing. But I'm living in a hotel room, and there isn't very much sun available to me. So I'm trying desk lamp tea. I bought some quart mason jars, since I wanted to be able to grab a sealed unit as I am walking out the door and add to a cup of ice once I got to work. and a size that is about the amount of iced tea I drink in the morning. So a quart works for me. YMMV.

SO I lined up a few bottles, filled them with cold tap water, plunked in two teabags of my current favored black tea, capped them and lined them up on a side table where they would not be in the way. They sat overnight, and the next morning there was the odd sight of the bottom inch having tea colored water, and the rest of it still clear. I tried one, just mixed it up and tried it. I was expecting it to be weak, but it was actually about the right strength for iced tea, and not bad. tried another this evening, after 24 hours of steeping, and it was about the same strength, and not bitter from overbrewing. So far surprisingly good.

Edit!

So for optimum flavor for me, about 24 hours is the right amount of time to steep the tea. Once the time goes over about 48 or so hours, the bitter flavors overwhelm the taste. 12 hours is pretty good, but 24 hours is slightly better.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, the fire was eight weeks and two days ago. Still waiting for the insurance to do their thing. I did mow the lawn last week, so the house won't look totally abandoned. Grabbed a few keepsakes to try and save.

Found my Noreascon 3 tech vest. Washed it a couple times and the smoke smell is mostly gone. Gonna see about buying a new vest of many pockets and transplant the embroidered panel to the new vest. Also one of the N3 glass mugs, and the dishwasher cleaned it up nicely from the evil black mess covering it.

The only thing I've heard from the insurance people was an offer to put a cap on our housing coverage on $18k. Out of a policy that is supposed to cover up to around $150k of temporary housing costs. They of course called early in the morning when I was half awake. Once I was awake and thought about it, my reply was to ask what they were offering in exchange for this substantial concession they wanted from us. No reply yet.

The company that is supposed to be looking for some housing for us still hasn't found a property even for our consideration. So we are still in the hotel in Dedham.

I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the incredible slowness of the insurance process. Cause of fire was settled in the first week. Yah, the house is big and full of a lot of stuff, but sheeesh. I can only describe their behavior as stalling for time. Of course, this is just going to increase the time that we are in temporary housing, increasing the total claim value.

Even worse, the construction season is now well underway. So all the good contractors are already busy with committed projects for this season. Even if we signed a contract monday for the rebuilding, all that is likely to happen this season is the cleanout and demolition. Since all that needs is a bunch of unskilled laborers with one supervisor.

The problem is that the foundation repouring has to happen before rebuilding. That involves jacking up the house while empty. Digging out the old block foundation and pouring a new concrete foundation. And concrete can't be poured when it is too cold. If the insurance company keeps stalling, they are pushing the major rebuilding into next summer, and it won't be complete until fall of next year.

Arrrrgh!

MayDay 2016

May. 1st, 2016 05:21 pm
dalesql: (Dale badge)
so, five weeks now since the fire. Still stuck in insurance limbo, dad still in the nursing home recovering from his infection, Mom and I still in the hotel.

Got the list of the contents of the house, met with the inventory guy back at the house and added substantially to the list. Many things in the living room, everything in the basement, and bunch of stuff in the attic. So that is making progress, but slow as molasses in january.

The memory care place in Marlboro that we wanted to place dad in was way expensive, and they didn't take medicaid, so they are pretty much a non-starter. Dad is doing poorly enough that he is eligible for nursing home care, so looking at switching him over to the long term side of wingate, which will take medicaid once he has spent his assets down. Once he has recovered from his infection.

With mom not being able to be under the same roof as dad, moving mom to the assisted living has also pretty much fallen through. Short term, the plan is for mom and I to stay in the hotel or wherever the insurance agency places us for living while the house is being rebuilt. I will admit that when we do move out of the hotel, I am going to miss the breakfast buffet they have every morning.

I'm picking up overtime at work, it's our busy season now. But much of that overtime gets eaten up by the various appointments for mom and insurance, which is a bit frustrating. My back is acting up again, and I have a toothache. Dentist appointment monday afternoon. I'm going to call my doctor and ask about a chiropractor or something.

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