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Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Bonin Walkers

Bonin, a road that divides as much as the Rio Grande divides. One divides a clean, middle class neighborhood from a trailer park that, among respectable folks, also houses drug addicts, thieves and ner do wells. Unfortunately the undesirable are the ones remembered from across that Bonin divide. That divide is a paved road that delinates one section from the other; the upper middle class neighborhood and the area of poverty as much as the Rio Grande divides that third world country, Mexico  from the land of the USA.

There is always someone walking The Bonin Ride. One can see them dressed in their fast food uniforms. They walk the mile to their jobs in the heat, the rain and the cold. I always offer these people a ride.  Occasionally a bike will be seen on that road which is a dangerous ride on a bike. There is no shoulder on the road. The automobile driver must be alert. Most times the 'walkers' will be out at night dressed in black making it difficult to see then until you are upon them. I've had my heart drop many times from almost hitting one of the walkers on this road.

Seeing the walkers, who sometimes are carrying bags of groceries, I slow down, roll down my window and ask if they need a ride. I think back to the days when I worried about having a vechilce to drive. My big fear living away from family was being without an automobile. How would I get to work? How would I shop for the things we needed. As I watch the 'walkers', I'm empathetic  to their plight.
I've blogged on Mary#1, one of The Bonin Walkers. Mary, the mother of two sons was seen, barely though, walking toward her home off Bonin Road. She walked slumped forward, head down, hair long and straggly in disheveled clothes carrying a bag of groceries in each hand. Her son, the younger of the two she had, walked along carrying his own burden of supplies. I slowed down and turned around and drove back to ask if they needed a ride. Gratefully they accepted. A mile or two down the road, we swung down the street into the trailer park. Mary shared with me she did have a car but it was in the shop for repairs. Apparently the older son had caused some damage to it and it was towed to a holding yard. She needed to get a ride the following day to pay the charges and get it moved from that yard. Money was tight. She was a heroin addict that was off heroin but on Seboxon, a drug used to help people kick the "H" habit.  I offered to pick her up the next day and take her to pay bills and to pay for storage on that auto. She gratefully accepted.

As time went along, Mary shared her story and how she ended up being a Bonin Walker. The story wasn't pretty nor did it put her in a good light. Drugs and lots of them had caused Mary to walk down a narrow road into desperate times.

Thanksgiving approaching, I made a trip to the market. All the Thanksgiving dinner supplies, I bought and delivered to Mary and her sons. This was the first Thanksgiving they had together as a family in years. Usually she would take her two sons to a food line for their meal. This year she had no vehicle. Christmas came and the same thing we arranged. There is much more to Mary's story and in a prior blog I have went into detail. I'm moving on from this Mary.  http://ftell001.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-person.html

The next Mary was a woman standing on Bonin, a Bonin Walker. She hailed me down as I pulled up to a stop sign. She asked if I was going to Walmart. I said I was and offered her a ride although I was headed to Home Depot in the opposite direction. I'm not in a hurry; nothing pressing. I have time to do 'a good deed' today. Again a story of her car in the shop and she was waiting on getting it out. Mary looked to be in her late sixties. She worn a long brown skirt, a loose cotton blouse and a very long scarf that wound around her head, around her neck and draped down over the front of her ending very close to the hem of  her skirt. TURKISH! As we rode along, she shared that she was from Turkey. In the short distance to Walmart, she shared tidbits from her life. She thanked me effusively as she stepped from my car to the parking lot of the bank. She really wasn't going to Walmart but to the bank that was next to Walmart.

I waited until she returned to my car so I could return her back to her home on Bonin. Mary was a political refugee who had left her country because of religious persecution. She told me there were no churches in Turkey and there hasn't been any since the 1800's. All of them were destroyed years and years ago and Christians had to be very careful in their worshiping.

Mary is going to be another Bonin Walker that will be interesting getting to know. We traded phone numbers and I told her I would call to see if she needed a ride to Walmart when I had a trip planned

My friends chide me for my reckless ways and the rides I offer. I say a good deed never goes unappreciated. I try to be selective in my offers. Mary#1 casually shared with me that she had killed her husband by stabbing him to death. As we rolled along during this admission, I slid my eyes sideways to look at her. It was self defense! No worries! The Bonin Walkers are interesting.





Monday, June 5, 2017

Courtesy Chevrolet, Broussard, La. Hwy 90

So, it all started with a need for a vehicle. I detest shopping for a car. It means one has to deal with a car salesmen, usually noted as a "snake oil salesmen".

I drove to Baton Rouge for my first encounter. A note here to buyer: If you are looking for a used vehicle with low mileage, make sure you buy that vehicle from a dealer that DEALS in that brand. You will then get the remaining warranty on that vehicle. Should you select a vehicle from a dealer that does not SELL THAT VEHICLE among his new car lineup, you will forfeit remaining warranty on that vehicle and the snake oil salesmen will try to sell you an extended warranty for 2000.00!

The things I have learned on this car buying trip are priceless and that little ruse of the warranty was one of them.

Besides the tax, title and license, the dealership collects a fee of 220.00 for doing the paperwork!! Oh, you thought that was free? You didn't know that one of the charges in that total was for notary to sign that paperwork? I was told two different stories when I tried to pin down the dealership on this charge. One explanation was that the state of Louisiana demanded this payment for the paper work they would have to do when the car was taxed and licensed. (and I thought those state workers were paid a salary already!). The other explanation was that the people that worked at the dealership had to charge this for the paperwork they did. This explanation became a little fuzzy as the salesmen tried to put his spin on it.

After many trips to different car lots, I settled on a little white Hyundai Elantra SE 2016. Telling the salesmen that the grandson would have to drive this car for 8 hrs. back to Corpus Christi, didn't inspire this salesmen to alert me that the car did not come with a spare tire and jack? I had no idea that this was the norm now among vehicle manufacturers. Apparently keeping up with all the safety requirements demanded of them, putting a spare tire in the vehicles not only saves them money but apparently does not relate to a safety hazard should one have a flat tire in the desert in a scorching hot summer!
When I examined this vehicle, I especially noted the tires on it. I always do this when inspecting a vehicle I'm interested in. It's a cost that I can predict I might encounter along with the purchase price of the car.

The tires were in excellent condition. He wouldn't need to replace for  many miles later.

Wrap it up. I'll take it. The salesmen left me sitting in her cubicle while she said the finance manager was going to see me as soon as he can. His spiel was to try to talk me into buying an extended  warranty. I listened to his horror stories for 30 minutes. He stressed how cheap it was and when he gave me the total of 2000.00 dollars I smiled and declined.
Meanwhile, while waiting on him, I could see out the glass window to where the Hyundai was parked and noted the salesmen getting in the car and rushing it to the back of the dealership to the mechanics. When asked why it was going back to the mechanics, she said they would be checking it out. This is strange for a dealership. I'm sure all the cars on their lots that are SLIGHTLY used have been thoroughly checked out BEFORE being offered to the public.

A few days later we picked up the car. Another day passed and when I checked the tires on this car, I found they were NOT the tires that were on the car when I first test drove it and then I realized why this auto was hastly taken back to the mechanics shop. The tires were changed to worn tires that would need to be replaced by the buyer.

Courtesy Chevrolet is NOT a courtesy to anyone. Let the buyer beware!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It Was Just a "hunter/gather Kind of Day

A Sale! Don't we all love a sale? I have a huge freezer that will attest to my love of a sale. I'm not the typical female shopper that drools over a huge price cut for new underwear or a pair of pants.
I'm a 'hunter/gatherer'. You won't find me slaying animals and dragging the carcass home to perform magic with a knife and freezer wrap. You won't find me hunched down at the vegetable patch pulling weeds and salivating over the green bean and cucumber plants awaiting the produce they will produce. (I know, I know...produce used twice...It's my blog and I deny any English major to suggestion corrections).

Every Tuesday the grocery sale papers arrive promptly (usually ANY time of the day) but at least it's usually Tuesday anyway. We hike the 50 ft. to the mailbox to rescue the sales flyers and walk with a lighter quicker step back to our kitchen tables to 'hunt'. Products are circled, separated later into lists that appear on line paper and to each designated store. Preparation is key. Any coupon on hand corresponding to a sale item is catalogued into the list of supplies.

Next a route is formulated related to which store first and this is usually determined by what is on sale at that store. Imagine buying ice cream and then traveling from sale store to sale store. Imagine what the ice cream would be like by the time this hunter/gatherer trip made it's full circle back to the lair where the spoils of the trip would be hefted out of the collection vehicle (a car with a huge trunk in this case.) Ice Cream bought early on this trip will require a quick return to the cave to dump it into that huge freezer storage so Ice Cream gathering has to be last on the list of stores to visit.

All the preparations are done and it's time to contact Portia. Portia (pronounced the same as the car Porsche) is a friend that lives close by and is a better hunter/gatherer then I. She loves the hunt and her unskilled mathematical brain suddenly turns into a calculator that can divide at lightning speed which makes for a desirable talent when calculating the tricky pricing of some of these grocery stores and their marketing department. One learns quickly and watches and learns to divide total price by individual item.

Portia is a petite bundle of energy and usually needs no long notification to go anywhere. In 15 minutes I was at her house and we were, with our lists clutched in our hands, ready for assault we had carefully planned. (I've always thought women should run this country. We know all about preparation and planning and the necessity for such.)

After all this preparation, it comes down to the check out. Yes, this story isn't about hamburger, eggs, bread and milk. It was the checkout line that was most memorable.

Portia was standing in front of me with her loot on the grocery belt, I was standing behind Portia but in front of a women that I struck up a conversation with. A Canadian that was  on a teaching contract. She was a short woman and as I am a tall woman I could easily peruse the surroundings with nothing blocking my view. Over the head of this petite educator, my eyes locked on the person behind the Canadian. I hesitated, my eyes locked on her and then quickly returned my attention to the Canadian that was still talking to me. I wanted to keep eye contact with her but my attention kept dragging back to the person standing behind her, a female that was most unusual in appearance. My mind whirled wondering if there was some school event going on and this person was dressed to attend. Maybe Halloween was being held in March? Some sort of unusual spring thing? Maybe she was hired to do a birthday party?  I swung around and away from the Canadian to Portia standing in front of me and did one of those "jerk of the head around and eyebrows raised' which alerted her to look behind me. I watched the expression on Portia's face, her mouth got slack and her eyes widen as she scanned the row behind her, behind me and behind the Canadian.

I stole another look at this female behind be, gazing over the head of the petite Canadian into the red over arched eyebrows of a pair of eyes that had huge blackened circles around them. Tears tattooed one after another raced over her cheeks and down to the jaw line. A web was tattooed across the eyes and over the bridge of her nose. More tattoos  decorated her neck.  Her hair was an expression of freedom. I dragged my eyes away and back and away once again.

We are shopping in an upscale neighborhood.  This is not New Orleans. In New Orleans she would not have rated a second glance unless it was tourists from some small town that isn't used to see these freedom folks.

Another quick glance allowed a look at her dress. An oversized light blue denim shirt hung much to large on her body and buttoned irregularly over a pair of leggings and her feet sported a pair of men's white plastic sandals with one huge strap that wrapped over her toes. She rolled her cart to a red two door sporty looking car and loaded her soda's and pastries. Yes, the detective in me casually observed her bought items as I tried to arrange in my brain some sort of  acceptance to what we had witnessed. I wonder also if she is used to people studiously trying to avoid staring at her. She must know what her appearance does to the unsuspecting public.
My conversation with Portia on our mission to the next store was not about the sales list but about the 'teardrop lady' and who she might be and where she might live and what she might do for a living.
 might be time for me to make a trip to New Orleans. New Orleans prepares one for odd sites and since I haven't been there for a couple of years now, my senses might have become dulled to the quirkiness that surrounds us.





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Back to School

We are back in school. The Christmas break has ended and Carrie has headed back to her educational journey.

This morning we woke to a definite chill in the air. We are going to enjoy a cool down for the next week. I'm not looking forward to summer any time soon. Heat is not my friend.

I'm listening to the morning news on CBS. I quickly jotted down the following changes:

Crispr gene Editing. A technology that changes the DNA gene to correct sickle cell inutero or to change the T Cell that causes AIDS. There will be new monitoring systems for diabetes. Drugs are predicted to change in treatment of different illness.

I will be doing some research on this information later today. Are we opening Pandora's box with interfering with DNA? Will parents request gene alteration to specifiy eye color, hair color or skin color?

The phone just rang and interrupted my train of thought on this. Pat called to let me know she had taken her medicines and she and son were heading to the church to collect food from their pantry.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

What "They" Don't Tell You Until the Next Time

  1. The mamo was done,  The results come back and the phone rings. "Can you follow up on a diagnostic mammo? The date is set. The results come back and a biospy is done.

Your General Practioner calls you in and every thing is downhill from there. When he mentions the results and then you hear the words "oncologist" the ride starts here lady.

Tests were quickly scheduled for a CT and a PET scan. The appointments were within days of each other and a surgeon wall called into place a Mediport. Sitting in the surgeon's office for our first visit he looked over the PET scan and saw a "thickening" and wanted know if I had has the colonscopy done. Negative on that. He stepped out his office and called Dr. Noel.
That appointment was quickly scheduled. "Day after tomorrow..NPO tomorrow and off for the test the next morning and again back to LGMC.

The first visit with the oncologist I was in tears. Tears that couldn't be stopped. She looked at me and
said "We can fix this. We all cried and we  believed her. The surgeon that gave us the news about the colon cancer said "we can fix this". Again we were are relieved.

I don't believe them. It's not that they are really lying to you. They give you as much as you can handle at the time.

I hate the words "Cancer survivor". It's like being called an American Hero because  you died  in me Middle East. That doesn't make you a hero....it just makes you dead and is supposed to make your family feel better. "A cancer survivor means you haven't died from it YET but you will.

My family doesn't understand and i surly can't tell them how I feel about this. They are so  happy to believe that I can be fixed. I'm angry, I'm scared and I look at them and know what I know.

Let them at least laugh and play and watch  their children grow. My husband continue to enjoy his  job and whatever we can do together for as long as we can.

I wanted to write this but I can't publish it until a later date. I don't want them to see this. I want them to be happy and  enjoy what time we have together.

I pushed the surgeon today. Pushed for information on the surgery in the colon. Finally  he conceded

It didn't metz to the liver; the first place it would go..The PET showed it was clear however micros-pic  could be there.  Ah...you see, I didn't have to know this...it would be a while before it came back and my that time I might have lived a few more  years. I feel the same way about the breast cancer. She said she could fix me and I would not die from this..BUT she also knows it might be some other body part that get is and is the cause.

This will be kept in draft form on this blog site. It won't be published although it was supposed to be a blog  about how I felt through this whole thing. I can't publish this now.


4 Years Ago

Friday:

I have no idea why I decided to go from my dark brunette hair to having it heavily highlighted. I think it might have had something to do with the grey hair creeping in around my face. Figuring if I had it blond, it wouldn't be such a striking contrast when it came time to color my hair. 

 If I walked by a mirror and happened to notice my reflection, I would be uncomfortable. For the people that had never known me with dark hair, they thought I looked perfectly normal as a blond; for family and friends...most (especially family) hated it. A year passed and I finally got tired of thinking about it so I changed it back but not before I had my driver's license renewed. For the past 4 years I have carried a driver's license that sported a picture of that blond head. Since then I've put it back to its original color then finally got it cut short and  let it all grow out to a silver mix. Again I was undecided on this color. I finally decided that if I had to question it, it must be time to break out the Lady Clairol and get back to what I was born with.
Today I renewed my driver's license. The lightening has changed at ye ole Dept. of Transportation. I have a license picture that doesn't look as though I should be wearing prison stripes and be holding a card with digits on it.
Today has been a fruitful day.
Fat Tuesday  is just around the corner. Nanny Belinda (Carrie's aunt) throws a big party in Grand Mary (little village) where everyone goes to catch beads from the local parade then they gather at Belinda's to eat the huge pot of chili, drink some cold beers and eat some King Cake. The Cajun music will flow and soon the couples will be dancing into the night beneath the canopy. Eventually everyone ends up at the local pub where everyone knows each other and the party continues. It's some serious partying as the Tuesday gets closer and closer which means the partying here will have to be put on hold for a while. Lassiere Le Bon Temps Roule...(There could be a misspelled word in there somewhere) .. but translated "Let the Good Times Roll".
It's hard to believe that a blizzard is attacking the East Coast. My Aunt in R.I. is now in the middle of it and anticipating the loss of electricity. It has been named Nemo; when did storms start getting named anyway? 

I spoke with her for a while; she is nervous and frightened as her son is out working in it and has been for over 20 hrs. He is not expected home tonight either. Keeping the snow at bay, his crew is working at a mall to keep the sidewalks cleared..not that anyone will be shopping there tomorrow but if they let those sidewalks collect two feet of snow, it will be more difficult to remove then if they do it as it falls.

Saturday:

I'm going to start a room by room clean up around here. House guests are on their way next month which will inspire me to do some pitching and tidying up the guest rooms.













Yes We Have Winter

I've dug to the bottom of shoe hell in my closet to find some shoes with closed toes and heels. No spikey shoes fo this girl. I'm looking for something to keep these tootsies warm. I've clearned out the winter closet of all the clothes that didn't fit, didn't feel righ ton and stuff I had never worn and had no indention of wearing ever again.'I still have one more closet to hit and wean down the clothes and shoes.
The cold weather has kept me inside watching Netflix. Tomorrow I have to brave the cold and meet my hair stylist for an update on this hair.

It's cold once again.I'm waiting it out before I head outside to do some lawn work.

All In A Name

I've newly discovered a place I want to live. It's not based on population, traffic or location.

Rainbow City. It really doesn't matter the state it's in; it's thename.

Almost

Those warm days hit with some force. The temperatures rallied upward and for a whole two days, we here in the south, rejoiced. The trees shot out their flowers and the snap dragons looked right snappy.

Then the cold arrived once again and I scurried around to find those heavy sweaters and sweat pants I had hidden away when dragging out the pair of white shorts I wore for the spring fling of two days.

Have I mentioned the doctors lately? Well, the oncologist wants to see me in two weeks and the gastro doc said the same thing. I had the colonoscopy which was clear. Along with the colonoscopy, a hemmroid was banded. In two weeks, the second of three will be done and finally two weeks after that, the final one will be done. I had no idea this was the procedure. I assumed it was a one day deal.  Now I'm nervous about just how they go about getting to the other two. Access. That worries me a bit but I'll try not to think about it until two weeks from now.

Trips: on the subject of trips, I'm about to make one. April is the month of spring breaks and as soon as Carrie gets that break, the daughter, Carrie and I are heading for North Carolina. I'll leave them with the daughter's father and I'll continue on to Durham to visit with my sister.
A more recent trip is the one my husband will be taking to Colorado. I want to go. It's now been years since I've been back to the Rockies and I'm homesick. I've been homesick for the past 5 years. I'm going to try to hitch a ride and go with him. I can rent a car when we get there and do some exploring. The job is on the Wyoming/Colorado border, close to Cheyenne. I'm ready to go. Will take me but 5 minutes to pack. I can move quickly when bumming a ride to the mountains.

The last bit of news I have is, "Pat is in the hospital".
She was in an auto accident last night and her knee is pretty banged up. Surgery will be done this coming Friday. I visited her this morning and stayed with her until her family could get there. I'll go back again tomorrow morning.

I see Summer Rushing In

Rain and lots of it and continual. At 3AM, I lay awake on the sofa listening to the steady rythmn of the rain pelting the roof and tiled porch. We have had two weeks of rain. The grass has exploded, standing tall, the white clover gets beat down with the heavy downpours. Knockout roses engulf the mailbox while the flowers along the front of the house burst upward with their colorful blooms. It's a happy time for spring plants.


It has also been a busy spring here in southwest Louisiana. The husband has been in a 'non working status' since January 1. The oil field has taken more then a dip. It is in a full decline. Thousands and thousands of oilfield workers are being laid off. Rigs are stacked on the banks and boom towns are idle and withering away.

The husband couldn't get laid off as he works for himself but the calls offering him jobs has totally stopped which wasn't unexpected with the price of oil hovering around 50.00 a barrel.

All those phone calls that used to come in here and all those times the husband would say to me "I'm going to take these jobs. One never knows when it will be over."
I never minded. He was gone a lot. We saved a lot and now all those days he was gone and all the money we saved has let us accept this downturn without trepidation. We will ride this 'bust' out at home and enjoy the earned time off.

It's now time to do all those little things around the house we put off and to do a little traveling. To start the year off we headed for Arizona. Ten days spent in Casa Grande and then on to California and some sight seeing in San Diego.

Our break time back at home was spent remodeling. We tore out all the paneling and wood work in the office and hung sheetrock and new woodwork. Two weeks later, the office was finished and the cost was for materials only.
Sunday we will leave for North Carolina. We are going to visit my sister who is caring for her sick husband. He is terminal and she is alone there except for some very good friends that help her. I want to spend some time with her and offer to help her care for her husband.

On the return trip, I would like to cajole, beg, demand and plea to sidetrack and visit Washington, D.C. I have been wanting to go for the past two springs.






Anybody There?

Hello out there! Anybody home? It's my own fault. I admit it. I've become quite the slacker at blogging. I can't remember the last time I was here and I'm sure you haven't been around much either.

There is no way I can catch you up on the time lapsed since my last post so I will just try to hit the highlights.
 Healthwise, I'm happy to report there has been no bad news..yet. I still wait for a test to come back with an unwanted report. I think that's normal for those of us that have been struck with the Big C. I just try to NOT think about it very often. Of course when the three months pass by and it's time for another doctor visit or a mediport flush or a CT scan, I begin to behave a little strangely. I recognize it and I should warn everyone around me but I never do it. I think they should recognize it without my having to tell them. That's unfair to them (family) as not having this diagnosis themselves, they have no way of knowing what I'm feeling.

The other biggie is the oilfield has hit a major slump. The husband hasn't been out of town for a year now. The neighbors haven't either. We are calling it "retirement" thought it's really too early for the husband to retire. Financially, we are fortunate to have been able to save for this. When you work in the oil industry, you plan for a bust eventually. Unfortunately the young men in the industry have never witnessed a slow down and didn't prepare. There are a lot of foreclosures on homes and  rows of huge four wheel drive trucks sitting along the roadside with FOR SALE signs glued to their windows. It's going to be a rough ride for the next 4 or 5 yrs. for the young oilfield families.