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I'm back from festivating in Bangor, and it's been an eventful couple of weeks.

First in family health news, Stephanie, my niece in Seattle had a much more serious case of the cancer than initially thought. So Wesley couldn't come east to take care of mom while I was in Bangor. Meals and wheels was able to add a supper to her delivery schedule, so that handled her meals weekdays, and my oldest brother was able to take care of her meals on weekends, do her laundry, and so on while I was gone.

Stephanie had her surgery yesterday. The doctor told her that her chances of survival were 50/50. So, fourteen or so hours of surgery later, she spent the night in the intensive care ward, and moved to a stepdawn unit this evening. The cancer had destroyed nearly all of her inner ear, so she will be totally deaf on that side, don't know about the other side. I'm praying and sending good thoughts her way. She is on some major pain medications still, and lab results are not back, so things are still full of question marks. I expect there will be chemo in her near future, which is another huge insult to her body. All I can do is support them via telephone.

In house news, the construction loan came through just before I left for maine, so paid the contractor up to date. He got the subs back on schedule and is working the punch list. replacement refrigerator was delivered today, so we now have all appliances in the house. Need to assemble fridge and install icemaker, and hook up water to it. Three day weekend coming up, I hope to be washing furniture and putting it back into the house, weather permitting.

The festival had some bumps this year. We had to rearrange the site due to construction, and cut some things due to lack of budget. Predictably, bunch of folks were unhappy with this. They will be even less happy with the changes we will have to work around for the next couple of years due to sewerage tank construction on the festival site.

We also had some vandalism during setup. Several tents had large slashes in them, and one of the power distros got tossed into the river. The police evidence tech was able to get fingerprints from the distro once we fished it back out of the river. So had to give the police my fingerprints to eliminate them from the mix. The water was salty brackish, so when we get the thing back from police evidence in a year or so, I expect that it will be less expensive to buy a new one than try to repair it.

I continue to be very pleased with the lowering cost and increasing brightness of led rope lights and strip lights. They are lower power consumption, are now about equivalent lumens as the same length of incandescent festoon lights, more durable, pack into smaller storage space, and are easier to install and remove from tents. Win all around. Next year, gonna buy more and take a pass through the existing inventory of festoon lights to recycle the more broken ones. I figure in four or five years, all the festoon lights and quartz floodlights will be gone.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
So, it's been a busy time since I last posted.
Dealing with dad's passing, the funeral, memorial service, and the endless paperwork mom and I are filling out to officially notify all the financial entities he was involved in. I haven't even begun to think about doing his taxes.

We had the funeral just for family. It was a cold and windy day, I was worried mom would get hypothermia when we were at the graveside portion. The memorial service was at church, unfortunately we got that day the first significant snowstorm of the season that day, and it was kinda blizzardy. So attendance was low. Mom is, unsurprisingly, depressed.

Then came Arisia. I attended, and it probably will be my last arisia. The main reason I was there at all was to see Ursula Vernon as GoH, who is one of my favorite people. Arisia is becoming increasingly intolerant in it's desire to be open and accepting and a Safe Place for everyone, no matter how many hot buttons they have. As an older white male, I am feeling less and less welcome in their ever-increasing drive for political correctness.

In sadder news, I bought my usual stack of books from Larry Smith in the dealers room. We chatted about this and that and I said I would see him at Boskone. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. Larry died three days later. Goodbye Larry. I'll see you next time.

The weekend after arisia was Anthro New England. It was it's usual nice fuzzy three ring circus, hampered by outgrowing it's hotel, and the hotel's severe shortage of parking. I hope that they move to a better hotel. Ideally, the westin waterfront where Arisia and Boskone already are. If that happens, and the hotel is amenable, logistics for all three would be eased by allowing materials to be stored at the hotel for all three cons. Lots of maybes there, but it's a hope.

Monday after arisia, we had a grand open house at ALPS. Turned the warehouse into a vendor showcase and demo zone, with food and adult beverages. It was a lot of work, and my area got crammed full of everyone elses stuff, since my area was the only place that was not open for visitors. I'm still finding things that belong to other parts of the company. I finally unpacked the last gaylord of my stuff from the move. (A gaylord is one of those pallet sized cardboard boxes. eight layer corrugated board. Strong stuff) So big step completed with that.

Now that I can actually see everything I have, I can now sort out things and put them on their proper shelves and boxes. Since I lost some of the storage space promised to me, I have to figure out what I don't need very often and pack them into a storage bin to go up on a high warehouse shelf. I'm thinking of constructing a storage unit that folds up into a pallet shaped box for storage, but unfolds into a set of shelves and bins for access when needed.

We signed the repair contract on the house finally. It's only been ten months since the fire. Unfortunately mother nature beat us to the punch and they can't fill in the driveway washout while the gravel is frozen and the gullies are filled with snow and ice. Delays, delays, delays. Repair estimate is six to nine months. ugh. But it's progress.

Boskone is this weekend. I'm running the con suite again. I've been shopping and preparing for a couple weeks already. Last night I hard boiled 75 dozen eggs for the con suite. They are now in the back of my van enjoying mother nature's refrigerated storage locker.

today I was able to finish the cleaning and repair of my seltzer tap setup. It's full of chlorinated water now to sanitize it before I put it into service. So it will be at Boskone, providing infinite seltzer to the masses. After it is done at Boskone, bringing it into work so I can have infinite seltzer to drink, which is way lower in calories and price than what I get from the coke machine.

Edit, post-boskone: The seltzer setup still had an off taste of the smoke from the fire, so I dumped it back out and took it out of service. So now I think I need to replace all the plastic parts, and give the stainless steel parts another, more thorough, scrubbing. Replacing all the gaskets also.

Boskone was, as usual exhausting, but overall successful, and the con suite came off well. Attendance was up by a couple hundred, leading to more rapid depletion of supplies, but I haven't heard an official number.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
My dad is very sick in the nursing home. He's been unconscious for a week or so now, stopped eating solid foods about the same time, and stopped even taking liquids early this week. While nobody is saying any kind of timetable, I don't think he has more than a few more days left. I'll probably be pretty distracted by this for a while.

As for the house, we finally got the estimate from the third builder. Hoping to make a decision tomorrow on which one and then go forward from there. Insurance company continues to be a dick, threatening to cut off our ALE money since we haven't started repair work yet.

Christmas was pretty low key, just dinner at my brother's house. 2016 has been a really sucky year, I'm glad it's almost over. And now I have a cold and can't sleep with the amazing runny nose it's giving me.

SO about two hours after I posted this, the nursing home called to let us know that he had passed. Goodbye Dad.
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, 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)
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.

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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