Thursday, July 2, 2020

COVID 19 #16 AN EMERGENCY DURING AN EMERGENCY

Emergencies arise even during emergencies! 

Last Wednesday my husband's (upper) denture broke in half.  He still had a tooth in the front that was his, but had been trying to leave him and apparently, as he puts it, “it acted like a wedge as it moved and split the entire denture in half”. 

This would be a problem in the best of times, but right now – when the thought of going to the supermarket sends fear through us – the thought of going to the dentist to have it replaced sends worse fears through us – someone touching his mouth during the pandemic…

To top it off we no longer have a dentist.  Our long term dentist (he was my dentist before we started dating in the 1970s) retired in 2018.  We are not the best at dental health as most of our actual teeth are gone and fake ones replace them and therefore do not have a new dentist.  Last December husband lost another tooth in the front of his mouth. We needed to have it replaced quickly as we were doing a craft demonstration the coming weekend and  he would not look like someone that one wanted to buy a higher end woven item from if he was missing a tooth . For information about that see - http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2019/12/real-estate-tax-exemption-paperwork-and.html 

Not only the general fear of going to the dentist, and the fear of doing so during the epidemic, but also financial fears faced us.  While we knew we could charge the work, we only have the money that is in or will be in our checking account when the credit card bill comes in to pay our bills.  In normal times in an emergency we could go and make a withdrawal from husbands small IRA, but that would be another trip out in the world of Covid- 19 and we don't  want to go out more than we absolutely have to.  Also we had not met the dentist last time – only his staff – staff and did not know if would be understanding or not. 

I telephoned the dentist's office and explained.  We were given an appointment on Saturday morning (and not too early for us to deal with) as the tech who makes the dentures would be in that day.  Husband worried about surviving until then both in terms of eating and being nervous.  He has an older denture and used that for the week.  (I had offered to cook only soft food if he needed.)   I was told that he had to come in alone.  As I was discussing this with the employee and that it was a problem, he said he understood and could go in alone.  We were texted forms to fill in – basically Covid-19 disclaimers in case husband came down with it.

Friday night neither of us really slept at all in fear of the appointment to come.  We drove there Saturday morning and I telephoned the office.  An employee came out and took his temperature.  They told him to wait and then a brief time later she came back and took him in with her.  I sat in the car and played card games on my cell phone.  He telephoned me to discuss the options he had been given – fix this denture or buy a new one.  We went with “fix this one” for now – if nothing else when he did get a new one, he would have a more complete spare for emergencies.   

He was done and out a short time later and we drove home – and I went to back to bed  hoping to still get some sleep – that was not to be.  Now in 2 weeks we will know that we are okay.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK – Often when we are afraid the fear is much more than the situation calls for.  We know this, but it does not stop us from being overly afraid of things and we tend to over think and overplan them.  (By we I mean my husband and I.)  I find that in the end generally it all works out – in this case as we hoped, other times it works out in ways we had not hoped for or had not thought of, but everything always works out someway and somehow in the end.

A very good  and safe fourth of July to all – even if you are not here in the U.S. 





Thursday, June 25, 2020

COVID 19 #15 MORE DELIVERIES - MORE PROBLEMS, BUT NOT AS BAD

Well, Monday husband commented to me that he found a couple of things he needs, but not enough for a delivery order (US$35 minimum).  I decided to tell him that I needed some things also – most important was lint trap filters for our washing machine.  (These are the mesh bags that go over the outgoing hose of the machine and keep lint from ending in the drain.)  We went to the computer and the Walmart site and started going through our lists - $35 – easy – we went over $100.  Most of what we ordered was not food – but household stuff.    We put in the order – first items were to come today, Wednesday. 

Last time we ordered (the first time we ordered) from Walmart the first shipment came a day early and most shipments were sitting on steps when I woke up and looked out – 3 hours earlier than I normally wake up.  So despite husband insisting that nothing was coming on Tuesday – per the delivery information  - I woke up and went downstairs and looked out the front door.  Nothing there.  I decided to agree with him and not wake up hourly to check and went back to sleep. 

Tuesday is one of the days I go out and take in the mail.  When I did so in the afternoon – surprise!  A box from Walmart!  I brought it into the porch and unloaded it – wiping each item down with alcohol on a piece of paper towel and handing it to husband in the kitchen.  (Items that are packed in a package – we just toss the outer package instead of wiping it down.)  We cover the kitchen table with a towel – and we are running short on bath towels as we have the dining room table covered with same so the cans and plastic boxes living there for now do not scratch or mar the table – to hold the items he brought in.  Nice assortment, but none of the urgent items. 

Today we were to officially get a delivery.  I woke up early again – no package.  An hour later – no package.  An hour later – no package.  Finally in the late afternoon I was working at my desk in the office -with the curtain opened so I could see if a big truck parked in front of the house – I saw the truck and the package was here.  I went downstairs and brought the box into the porch and repeated the unpacking procedure.  The lint filters I needed was in the order – using one of them right now as I am doing the laundry as I write.  The filters come 2 in package and we had bought 4 packages – I opened each package and held it out to husband to pull out the contents – they did not need to be wiped down. Good thing – if I did not get them, I would have to constantly run downstairs and make sure that when water was expelled from the washer the lint screen over the drain (there in addition to the filter all the time) was not completely covered and that water could still go down the drain. 

There was also the package of bars of soap.  Husband has been constantly afraid during the pandemic that we would run of hand soap.  Mostly we use liquid hand soap for washing our hands and bars of soap for showering.  He has had trouble finding liquid soap to buy more of and when he saw the brand of bar soap – we decided to more of them for showering and “just in case”.  The soap arrived today.  As soon as I opened the shipping box I knew the soap was a problem.  The package had looked right in the photo and it did not occur to either of us to make sure it was unscented.  It is scented.  I now have the bars in double plastic bags and still smell the awful scent when going past them.   I am working on the kitchen table onto which we had unloaded the items.  The towel which covered the table is gone from here – but the odor of the soap continues in the room – ewwww!  I figure if we don't need them  during the pandemic/soap shortage – I will donate them rather them use them.

The next (I think last) delivery should be tomorrow.  Husband has been worried as there was no update of its location until after 6 pm tonight.  At least after it comes I won't have to wake up early to check for it.

THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK -
Even now one should not rush and should stop and make sure items being purchased/ordered are the ones that one actually wants. 

Never trust that the delivery will be on the day one is told – always check the day before. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

COVID 19 #14 - GETTING OUR MAIL DELIVERED TO US

I think I got our mail straightened out – finally. 

Back in the early 1990s (maybe even the late 1980s) my husband and I opened a USPS Post Office Mail Box at a local Post Office.  At the time we lived in an apartment and did not want the mail for our craft business to come to our apartment lest the landlord think we were running a big time business in our apartment. The Post Office which was in walking distance of our apartment did not have any available boxes, so we went to the next nearest Post Office and opened the box there.  When we we bought this house it was in a third local community so we kept the box where it was to avoid having to change addresses on various items.  The Post Office that our house mail goes to is actually much further away from where we live than either of the two mentioned and is not in a direction we go to often.  So we left our craft business mail going to its PO Box.  Originally I would go to this Box and pick up the mail daily Monday to Friday and mail out any outgoing mail we had.  When husband retired it became something we both did together. 

About 7, maybe 10 years ago, we started having problems with mail deliveries to our house – we had several pieces of mail that we should have received and did not  - and that was just the mail we were expecting – we did not know what other mail might have never have made it to us.  We also received pieces of mail that had been opened and taped closed again.  Having done this myself once or twice – I knew it probably meant that someone else had received these pieces of mail, opened it without looking at the name it was addresses to, and then when the error was realized, taped it closed again and dropped into the mail for delivery.  We also received mail for people that not only had we never heard of, we had never heard of the streets which they lived on – and husband has lived in this area since he was 7 (and I for 30+ years when this happened) so the streets were not anywhere near us  - so they were probably not just misdelivered by the local mail carrier.  We decided we need to have our mail not go through our home post office for security and safety.   Rather than open up a second Post Office box, we just changed our mailing address for almost all of our mail to our business box.  This has worked very well – until now. 

Back in mid March husband decided we should not be going into a Post Office in general and this one in particular (the local community has a much higher number of Covid-19 cases than ours and others in the area do).  I came up with the idea of making a once weekly run to this Post Office on late Sunday nights – on the logic that since it closed at 1pm on Saturday and was closed on Sunday – it would mean that  than the few people who went in to pick up mail from boxes or to mail something out with the computer setup in the lobby, Sunday night , it would have had the fewest people in it, for the longest time.  So on the last two Sundays in March we picked up mail at 11 pm – using a credit card to activate the door unlock.  After that, though, husband thought it too unsafe to go at all.

Thinking quickly the last Sunday night we went, I went online and put in a “temporary change of address” for 2 months for the mail in the box to be forwarded to our house. I had to do it in the name of our business as that is all that the USPS website would let me do.  Since it said that the mail could only be forwarded to the business name in which the box was held and that the business would be responsible for all forwarding all mail to anyone receiving mail in the Box.  Sounds like we would be getting all the mail  - right? 

No, only mail with the name of our business could be forwarded.  I found this out when I called after 2 weeks had passed and we had not received any mail forwarded.  Our business generally receives only it's bank statement and credit card statement – and we have not used the credit card since maybe mid March.  This is not much of a help.  The very nice female Postal employee I spoke with offered to mail us the accumulated mail to give us some time to figure it out.  I thanked  her and she put the mail in an envelope and mailed it to our house.  Two weeks later I called again and apologized and asked if I could pay the postage for her to again send mail to us – she said she just could just mail it the same way again.  Three weeks later I called her and – well, you can see where this is going.

Luckily I use Quicken for our accounting and had an ongoing, constantly updated list of when our bills would be due.  I would call up each credit card – even ones I was sure we had not used – to make sure of the amount due and when or that no amount was due. I did the same with the utilities and any other bills – such as insurance.  I write a cover letter and send the check with it, except for the few bills that I have received in time to pay normally. 

Last time I called to have the mail sent to us, I asked if there was way to close the box in the name of the business and immediately reopen it in one of our names as a personal box – I even offered to pay the annual fee again.  This started a discussion among several employees at this Post Office and myself – they did not know about a difference between “business” and “personal” boxes and did not have any record of same – though the main computer did.  Apparently one has to come into the Post Office to close a box – so  that would not work. One employee spoke with the employee in charge of the boxes and they worked it out so that he would change the name and status of the box for us.  I did go online and change the mailing address for my 2 magazines. 

This was finally done!!  While we have not received any forwarded mail as of yet (well, I only check it on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and it is Wednesday so there may be mail sitting out there in the box from today's delivery that I will get tomorrow), it is done. I went online and was able to put in similar temporary changes of address for my maiden name, our craft business (since the original one has ended), our reenactment unit and my embroidery chapter – the latter two do not have their own mailing address and I receive the business mail for them as I am the treasurer of each. 

Hopefully we will start receiving our mail from the box here at our house. 

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

What works well for one in normal times, might not work well when one should stay home.  There is always some way to deal with problems and people are very understanding and nice right now due to the pandemic.  Be sure to thank those who help you and let their bosses know how helpful they have been (as I am going to do) so that they know that their help is appreciated so they will go out of their way to help others in the future when they need help. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

COVID 19 #13 - DEALING WITH LOTS OF FOOD TO STORE AND KEEP FRESH

Sorry – like everyone else – I lost track of the day of the week and did not post yesterday.

Okay – we are all getting tired of the pandemic.  I hope that you and yours have either been lucky enough not to be affected or have survived any illness and are well again.  I thought I would mention some things we have been doing to deal with a variety of things that arise.  This week, one of my favorite subjects – Food!

I recently wrote about finally ordering food and going out to buy food  - http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2020/05/covid-19-11-food-delivery-and-shopping.html

But what the heck does one do with all the extra food!  We have a rather small house, with our kitchen and dining room also being rather small so of course our refrigerator and freezer are small – 18 sq ft fridge with top freezer – which we bought last summer - see -

http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2019/06/replace-refrigerator.html
http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-refrigerator-saga-contines.html
 http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2019/07/refrigerator-at-last-and-on-to-next.html

We also have a dorm fridge sized freezer in our basement.  Both are full to the point I could not keep track of what is in them.  I cut scrap sheets of paper (all those papers that get printed out of the computer by mistake or run 4 pages when you thought they were one page or only need one page – I use the backs for scrap paper – good for the environment and cheap scrap paper as it would just be thrown out.  into quarters across the width so I got 4 from a sheet of a paper and made lists.  I have a list of the meats and entrees which are in the basement freezer and how many I have of each.  I also have a list of same for the kitchen freezer.  I have a list of the frozen vegetables, breads and such in the basement freezer.  ( I pack things very well.)  I don't have a matching list for upstairs – but I rebag frozen vegetables into quart zipbags – label each bag with which vegetable is in it and mark the end date (not that vegetables sit that long) and I stand them in alphabetical order in the door shelf of my freezer – empty bags (we have run out of some vegetables) are at the front of the bags.  It is easy to see how much is in each, generally a new bag of vegetables fits into the quart zip bag – if not I am generally using some when I start a new bag from the store anyway – they are in an order so I can find them, hey are at my eye level to make it easier to figure out and since the bags zip closed, they stay fresher than open bags with bag ties on them.  I know that we have a started bag of biscuits, and I know most of the other items in the freezer.  I also have a plastic box that fits on about half of the top shelf in the freezer to hold odd shaped items – like freezer paper wrapped meats, open bags of things like fries and pancakes, meal sized  amounts of stew meat in small zip bags, etc.  the other half of the shelf is boxed and bagged items and the stack of ice cube trays with a bin for ice over them on a wire rack.  We did not want to wast the limited space we have in the freezer with an ice maker as we tend to use ice only for cooking related chores – such as cooling down food quickly to put in the fridge.

We have a small closet in our kitchen which holds a variety of items including 3 shelves being used for can, bottle, jar and other storage.  What husband bought would overwhelm the entire closet.

I have left most of the items which were in the closet in it.  I covered my dining room table with thick towels and stood the cans, bottles and jars in rows sorted by what they are – all of the lentil soup cans together, all of the evaporated milk cans together, both of the soy sauce bottles together (somewhere around 3 years worth or more of same I estimate), etc.  Having had ants and mice over the 31 years we have been in the house I do not have food items which are not in sealed cans, jars or bottles out on their own.  Normally I will put unopened packaged items in two large boxes under the kitchen table.  But this is now too much for that.  Small packages such as individual packages of instant cereal, packages with 4 servings of instant mashed potatoes, and the like have been put into plastic boxes the size of a gallon of ice cream would come in.  These boxes are also on the dining room table.  The two boxes under the kitchen table are fuller than they have ever been.  We also have larger plastic tubs in the house which we use for purposes unrelated to food.  I gave up one of the tubs I used to store my bear village pieces in and husband gave up one of the tubs he uses to store finished items he has woven and they are filled with food items – such as bags of dry cereal (threw out the boxes), boxes of assorted dry pastas, cake mix boxes, mac and cheese mix boxes, and the like.  They are also in our dining room – on the floor.

When one has this much food one has to deal with managing the food and keeping perishable food from going bad.  Anything which could be frozen to keep it longer was frozen.  I am keeping an eye on the end dates of other items.  One problem is eggs.  Husband was buying 3 dozen eggs from BJs on our first try at ordering food delivered.  That is a lot of eggs for us – we don't eat breakfast so they are eaten for dinner some nights and used in things such as the cake mixes.  To make it even worse, BJs did not have the packages of 3 boxes of a dozen eggs each – so he ordered 5 dozen eggs and these eggs came in restaurant style packaging – 2 open sided trays of 30 eggs each stacked on each other – and the expiration date was June 15.  While I know that eggs do last longer than they are dated for (if unsure if an egg is still good – put it in a pot of cold water – if it floats it is not good), how long could they last.  Then I remembered – eggs can be frozen if they are opened and the white and yellow mixed together and will keep much longer that way.  So earlier this week we started freezing eggs.  I put a small plastic sandwich bag in each of several (4-5) pudding sized plastic storage cups that can be frozen.  I then break an egg or two into a one cup measuring cup (husband's idea to use the measuring cup) and mix it together with a fork.  I then pour the egg(s) into a storage cup and repeat.  I put the lids on the cups and put them in the freezer.  By the next day the eggs are frozen.  I take out each eggs – or pair of eggs and knot the bag closed (single egg) or put a bag tie around the bag to close it (two eggs).  I then put them into half gallon zip bags – the single eggs in one and the double eggs in a different one  - and label which is in the bag – and put them back in the freezer. I am down to 14 more eggs to freeze.  Why two and singles?  If we have eggs for dinner we have 2 each – so 2 in each bag is good for that.  But in cooking sometimes I need one egg and cake mixes need 3 eggs, so freezing some eggs as singles allows for odd number of eggs to be used easily while taking up less little plastic bags by having two in a good number of them.  And of course if all the 2 egg bags are used up – 2 singles makes a double. :-)

THOUGHT(S) OF THE WEEK -

Make sure that you keep track of expiration or other end dates on the food in your house – normally also but especially now.  Freeze items that can be frozen before they go bad or use them if their life cannot be extended. 

Also – just because areas are being reopened from stay at home orders – does not mean to run out and about willy nilly.  The corona virus is still here and still dangerous.  How terrible to get so ill and risk one's life to get a hair cut, go to the gym, shop for items which are not crucial or eat out in or outside a restaurant.  The number of cases is rising rapidly in some states which either have reopened too much, too seen or its residents are going out before they should.  Health and life – yours and others – are too important to rush the return to normalcy.  Stay well!  (I have too few followers now – I don't want to lose any.)


Thursday, June 4, 2020

COVID-19 #12 - DEALING WITH INCOMING MAIL WHEN ONE CAN'T GO TO POST OFFICE TO GET IT

So how is everyone holding up?  Is your area coming out of having to stay home?  Stores, parks, beaches, barber shops, beauty parlors, restaurants starting to open where you are? 

If your area is opening up – are you going to be running out to go everywhere?  Or do you feel it is not safe enough yet and maybe you should stay home awhile longer? 

We tend towards the second choice.  Since he bought all the food we have plenty to eat in the house – maybe for the rest of the year or longer.  Okay, we have been thinking of looking for sales on Diet Coke 2 liter – presuming the store actually has some when they advertise it – as we are down to 3 full bottles and one almost empty one and have been drinking diet orange drink and diet grape drink alternating which one I mix – and he has iced tea for lunch.  He likes the orange better and I like the grape better.  Yes, we have lots of good water from our tap and drank water only for the first month – I finally had the idea to fill 2 quart plastic bottles and keep them in our refrigerator to keep the water cold for drinking(which are used for same in our RV when traveling so water cold on a hot day and water to drink is from home – as is the water in our water tanks in the RV).  We have been drinking the Diet Coke very sparingly – not at all until I pointed out to him in early May that the best by date was May 18 – so we would not drink it so we did not finish it off – or we could drink it slowly before it got too old and the taste is gone. 

One big problem we have had is mail – coming in and going out.  In the late 1980s or early 1990s we opened up a box at a USPS office for our craft business.  We lived in an apartment back then and did not want mail addressed to a business coming to our apartment.  There was a Post Office about a block and a half from our apartment – but no boxes were available, so we went to the next nearest Post Office and opened the box there – where it still is.  Our home is in close to where our apartment was, but is in a third community which shares a Post Office (and zip code) a different community and that Post Office is far from our house – further than the one near our old apartment (which is in fairly easy walking distance) and than the one where our businesses' box was.  We started having problems with mail delivery to our house maybe 7 or 10 years ago and have changed  the address on most of our personal mail which used to come to our house to the box, as well as the mail that I receive as Treasurer of both my embroidery club and our reenactment unit.  In normal times we basically went to the Post Office where our box is every day Monday to Friday to check for incoming mail and mail outgoing mail.  If we went on a trip we could put a hold on the mail in the box.  If we needed something delivered – it has been sent to the box and was inside the Post Office and safe.  This system worked great.  Today I am talking about the problem with the mail coming in to us.

The last two Sundays in March we went to the Post Office late Sunday night (forgive me if I repeating myself here) and picked up the mail for the entire week and mailed the outgoing mail for the week.  I had figured out that since this Post Office closed on Saturdays at 1pm and was not open on Sundays – there were the fewest people in it for the longest time at that point and would have the least chance of us catching the corona virus then.  Unfortunately our local paper started publishing the number of people who were ill by community and the community that Post Office and the Wendys we normally went to for daily lunch – are in had rather a high count of people who were ill and husband decided we should not go there for some time.

So – all our mail was nice and safe in our Post Office box – but we had no access to it!  Aha!!  Have the mail what I called forwarded and the Post Office calls “Temporary change of address”.  I went online and set the mail up to be sent to us – since I did it online it cost $1.05 by credit card for verification that we are the box owners.  We were only able to enter the name of our craft business – the name the box is in - as it is a “business” box.  The wording implied that all mail would be sent to us and we were then responsible to forward it to those who it was addressed to  - great, they are all us. 

We waited for the forwarded mail to come.  I had called and checked the second day of the forwarding to make sure that the Post Office had received the paperwork and they had.  We kept waiting – it should take 7-10 days for each item to reach us from the Post Office – after 2 weeks of no mail I called.  Since it is a “business” box only mail in the name of the business can be forwarded (okay, most months a bank statement and a credit card statement – and we are not currently using the latter).  The woman I spoke with was very nice and offered to mail the accumulated mail in an envelope to us to give us a chance to figure it out.  I had hoped we would be going again in a week or two and thanked her profusely.  I did go online and change the mailing address for the two main magazines I get to come straight here.  I also emailed the members of my embroidery group and told them to only mail things – such as the dues I was collecting in April and May for end of May annual renewal – to me at home and not at the box and did the same with my accounting clients for anything they would need to mail to me.  Husband did the same with the members of our reenacting unit. 

Two weeks later – same problem. I called again and offered to pay for the mail be mailed to us again – she said she would do so at no charge.  I made a third call – this time waiting over 3 weeks and again she was able to mail us the mail.  Then it was 3 weeks again – this time I asked her if there was some way to  - without having to go into the Post Office – there was some way to close the box in the business name and reopen it immediately in one of our names – even if we had pay the annual fee again.  This started a multi-day discussion involving her, two other employees at the Post Office and the Postmaster.  What they finally worked out is for them to change the name on the box and change it from business to personal.  It would take a couple of weeks – at that point – 2 weeks no problem.  They have mailed us our mail twice since then.  I was suppose to call yesterday and check how it was coming – but ran out of time.  Today I was going to call – but I was called and it suppose to all be changed and all the mail set up to be forwarded – we will know for sure in about in a week – and the accumulated mail is again being mailed to us.


Since I use a Quicken to keep track of our finances I had the advantage of having all the bills we pay being memorized with the day of the month I normally sent out the payment (such as a bill due 30th of the month – would be dated to be written on 23rd of the month) and it repeats monthly, quarterly, or annually – bi-monthly I have to adjust myself and have bills due same set as monthly as change the date due – I knew I would not miss paying any bills.  I also figured that bank statements can always be reconciled after the fact.  It was the unexpected item that I was concerned about – luckily there have not been any surprises.  When a bill will be do I call and, generally by computer on their end, check the balance due – if any – and due date.  If I do not have the bill I write a cover letter giving the name on the account, account number, amount I am paying and the check number and letting them know that I am doing this as I can't get to the Post Office to pick up mail. 

Hopefully we will be getting the mail forwarded and all will even off – of course we are depending on the same Post Office that we were having trouble with to deliver the mail from the box to us when it is forwarded, but the mail carrier has been doing well so far with the mail when it comes from the the Box, as well mail which does come here.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Sometimes what seems like the perfect thing to do – is no longer good at all when the situation changes.  One has to figure out what to do, to make things work as needed.  It sometimes takes a bit of creative thinking to do this. 

Plus – we should be grateful for our Post Office employees who are doing their best to help us keep getting our mail despite the health risks to them (next time you lick an envelope to seal it – remembering people will be touching that envelope and many others and risk getting ill from them.  They are making sure we have bills so we can timely pay them, checks so we have the money to pay the bills, plus the cards, photos and letters (yes, people still mail send same) that are sent to us by loved ones and friends.  (I just found out that my mom does not have to go out of her apartment and downstairs to the mail boxes to get her mail – it is being brought to her – I am going to mail her some “cute” photos of my Teddy bear village under the stay home at order – the summer setup also when I get it set up later this month – I hope the photos make her smile.)

Please all stay well and return next week for the problems sending mail out we have had.

COVID 19 #11 - FOOD DELIVERY AND SHOPPING

On last Thursday (the day after I posted) we received another delivery for the food ordered. Again cans were dented – 5 of the 8 cans we received. I am sure I have mentioned that we don't ordinarily order things – and this is one of the things we worry about.

After we dealt the delivery on Thursday husband decided that it was time to go to the supermarket. His logic was that if we went during dinner time (around 6 pm) there would be less people there. Yes, we could go to the special hours for those who are older or at risk, but we are not morning people – we are barely asleep at 6 am when most of the special hours start. We have a Walmart Neighborhood Market at which we normally do a good deal of our food shopping. It is a supermarket and related items – no clothing, gardening etc. He went online and checked that items he planned to buy were in stock – they were.

He had me bring a can of Lysol spray and used it spray the cart – good idea (no, no one was wiping the carts off and even if they were – we had to bring from the parking lot to the store and would have had to touch it to do so). His plan was that I would push the cart and he would put the food in it – both wearing gloves of course. There was no one at the door counting people in and out as we expected there to be – nor anyone checking that we had masks on (we did). The store when we went in was emptier than the Walmart we had gone to for our medications looked from where we parked and looking in the exit doorway. There were directional markings on the floor, but so small I did not notice them and husband did not notice them until the second aisle we went through.

I had thought we were just there for “cold” items – but our first stop was soup – as he looked for and found some varieties which had not been available online – and the cans were not dented. People ignored the 6 foot rule – and even bumped into us. (Okay, this was the first aisle and we were going in the wrong direction – but still – walk into people when there is room to pass them by at least 2 feet?)

We then headed to the meat department. We normally buy regular foods – not organic. Only chicken breasts they had were organic – so we bought organic – 2 packages of 5 breasts each – a reasonable amount under the circumstances. Next some whole chickens caught husband's eye. “Can you cook a chicken?” I shrugged. “I guess it must be the same as turkey – just less time.” We bought a chicken – He was going for two, but I was concerned that maybe it wasn't the same roasting a turkey.

This led us into the freezer department. He added a number of frozen entrees for families that we had bought before - just not this many. I found the frozen vegetables – they had green peas and green beans that we needed (bought multiple bags of course – they are small), but no carrots. We did find frozen mixed vegetables which included same and I needed them for stews – so figured that was good and bought 2 bags of them. He also bought 2 boxes of frozen fried fish – something I don't eat.

As we headed over to the cheese and hot dogs aisle he stopped in the canned vegetables aisles – not really any vegetables we were looking for left – except – canned potatoes. He had looked online to order them and there had been none listed for delivery or pickup in store. We bought 6 cans, they are great in stews. We continued on – he bought 3 packages of 16 hot dogs – I did not point out that at 2 hot dogs for dinner once a week for him – that was 24 weeks worth of hot dogs. (I used to love hot dogs, but became ill after having them once and since then – it is not even easy for me to smell the while I cook them for him.) Added some American cheese and real cheese without whey that can he eat. He found one package of chicken strips similar to the chicken patties I eat when he has the hot dogs, close enough and one is better than none. Also bought 2 packages of presliced packaged turkey – good for dinner or lunch.

Then he headed to the household items. He uses baby shampoo to wash and finish the pieces he weaves and need more. He has been getting some weaving done while we are in the house – just set up his loom to weave 2 dish towels – something he has not woven before, but seem to be popular. A quick stop in the plastic bag aisle to pick up more zip bags in different sizes and we started for the check out. Our cart was the most full of any cart we have had in 40 years of marriage – more than when I would buy for Thanksgiving dinner for our two families and my regular weekly shopping at the same time. I was feeling good – he had overcome his fear of going out and we would probably not need to buy meat again for several months.

As we approached the checkout he turned pale – he did not feel good – really bad in fact. I told him to go to the car and wait. I checked out. Also had the biggest priced order we have ever had. I went out to the car he was terrible looking sitting in the driver's seat. He pushed the button to unlock the back hatch door so I could put in 9 large bags of groceries. (I had made sure to put all the cold items at the front of the order so those items would be bagged together for when we arrived home.) The parking lot was on an incline. I was holding the cart with one hand and trying to open the car hatch with the other and it was not opening. I finally managed to wedge a foot around a wheel so I could use both hands to open the back. He had to drive home as otherwise he would have been sicker.

When we arrived home sent him upstairs to lie down in bed. When we bring things such as food into the house (including the orders when we received them) I have been wiping them off in the porch with alcohol sprayed on pieces of paper towel and handing them in the door to him – he would then put them either in the fridge or a large towel layed out on the kitchen table until I could decide where to put them. Since he was not there I spread the towel on a small counter between the door and fridge. I brought a bag of cold food into the porch and started each item off and putting it on the towel – I had to stack items on each other. When all the cold items were in the house. I ran upstairs to check on husband.

He had tested his blood sugar and it was low. Apparently between the excitement/anxiety of being out and having trouble breathing through the mask – he had burned off the blood sugar he had and low blood sugar added to the trouble the breathing and anxiety made him ill. I brought up a bottle of a sugared drink he uses when he has a low and when he finished it, I left him to go to sleep.

I looked at what was on the counter – I was not sure it all would fit in the freezer where just about all would need to be stored. For the moment I stacked the already frozen items in the freezer – it just fit – and stacked the cold. Not frozen items in the fridge. I then went out and brought in a bag of non- cold items at a time and repeated the process of wiping the items down and putting them on the towel on the counter until all of them were in the house. (Having also done this earlier in the day with 4 cartons of food delivered I was exhausted.)

I looked at the clock and it was close to 8:45 pm. I went up and checked on husband – he was between sleep and awake and not yet ready to get up and come downstairs. I went back down and wondered – after getting all this food delivered or purchased and stored – what to make us for dinner as he would need to eat SOON. I started water boiling and added some pasta – I figured it was easy on the stomach and would give him carbs to offset his low blood sugar. At around 9:15 I checked with him again – he realized we needed to eat and I told him what I had done – he was unsure, but willing to try. He came down and was able to eat and agreed it was a good choice. We then also had some of the presliced turkey in sandwiches for dinner.

We could relax a bit – we now have plenty of food for a long time – well at least until he comes up with something else we need.

Oh – On Friday the last of the orders was delivered – including 8 pristine cans – no dents – why? These were packed in their cardboard base with shrink plastic holding them in place and small plastic pillow filled air around them to keep them from denting – the other cans had some pieces of paper as the only packing around them and the other food in the cartons and they bounced around – though at least 2 of them had to be dented when packed from the extent of the dents.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Fear is a problem if it stops us from doing something we need to do (or even really like to do). I was so glad that he overcame his fear. Generally our fear is worse than the thing we are afraid of. I am glad that we were able to go out food shopping for the first time since mid-March – next time we know what to expect and it will be easier.

Everyone – hoping you and your family stay well.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

COVID 19 #10 PICKING UP MEDICATIONS AT PHARMACY AND ORDERING FOOD ONLINE FOR DELIVERY

To finish up about picking up our prescriptions – I called on Thursday to check that all had been renewed for each of us and all were ready.  We get our prescriptions at the pharmacy at a local Walmart – they have been really great and helpful even before the current pandemic.  They do not, however deliver.  For some reason none of the Walmarts on Long Island deliver anything – ever – or, currently, have pre order and pick up – they will, however, bring prescriptions out to the car.  So on Thursday we donned our masks and drove to Walmart.  We parked near the exit and I telephoned.  A very nice employee brought out our prescriptions and had a remote reader so we could use our credit card to pay for them – it is not usable for anything other than prescriptions – I had asked if they could add 2 tubes of denture adhesive to the order and they could not.  She sent me a text with a list of what had been charged.  We thanked her and drove home.

We had expected to see based on what we have seen on TV news shows and what I have heard on the various groups I read online that there would be a line to get into the Walmart (and the unrelated supermarket next to it) with one person coming  out of the store and one going in, people going in and out of the store wearing masks – spread out and not near each other.  As we sat waiting for our medications to be brought out – the Walmart looked more crowded than it does at Christmas!!  No spacing of people coming out.  Few people (other than employees) wearing masks – we were shocked.  The supermarket did not have anyone at the entrance either, though it did seem emptier than the Walmart from outside.  It was our first chance to see what was going “the world around here” and it was not what we expected, had seen on TV or heard from others online.

When we arrived home I stopped in the porch. I sprayed alcohol on pieces of paper towels and wiped down the medication bottles and handed them to husband in the kitchen.  One medication which we each take was not in a bottle as usual – it was in boxes with strips of punch outs for the individual pills.  I pulled the strips out of the boxes and did not wipe the strips, just handed to husband.  The boxes, along with the paperwork for each med went into a zip plastic bag to hold for awhile.  Husband's box of insulin pens, I should mention, was wiped down and put in the fridge first.  As I went along I realized that we were missing two items – husband's blood meter strips (had mine) and one of his blood pressure pills – not the one that we had been told we had to wait for Thursday to get them.  We also could not figure out the texted payment statement.

I telephoned the pharmacy – they had forgotten to give his meter strips.  They had not been able to renew the bp medication as it was too soon by 2 weeks. I expressed surprise as I had received paperwork from our medical insurance company had said that early renewals were allowed.  She went over the charges with me.  I then called our insurance company and complained about the no early renewal and questioned what we had been charged for the medication in strips – apparently we had received the name brand version not the usual generic, hence the extra charge – only US$14 extra for the two of us – so not much, just wanted to know why.  The other item that was a problem I knew what the problem was and it will work itself out and we get a refund of the overcharge. 

So next week – I will call in his strips and his missing medication again and we will have to go there again to get them.

On Monday, husband decided that we needed to order more food.  He had a list of what we needed.  I had a list of what we needed – no they were not the same, but there were overlaps.  He went online and put in an order from Walmart.  I had expected what happened with BJs would happen with Walmart – order taken, but then contacted that most things out.  No, Walmart listed items were in stock – some even said that were 3 or 5 or whatever low number were left in stock.  The first items were to be delivered today, Wednesday.  First item came yesterday!  6 boxes came today – 5 more items to come tomorrow – most items are coming sooner than told – that is good.  A number of cans were dented (40%), some cardboard box packages were dented.  Two bottle of cooking oil had been, we presume, jammed so hard into the box hat the top of them is bent and does not pop back up – maybe they will when they are opened.  Husband emailed Walmart.  They apologized and refunded the damaged cans.  Not happy with the damaged items – but at least they stood behind the deliveries. 

Again the boxes went into our side porch.  I opened the boxes and wiped down each item with alcohol sprayed paper towel pieces and handed to husband. If we could open a box in the porch and dump the contents into a plastic box of ours- we did and tossed the boxes.  After all this I then had to find “homes” for all we bought. 

No refrigerated or frozen items.  We will have to go out sometime in the next two weeks to buy additional meat items and frozen items – especially vegetables.  Husband said so to me – I have been afraid to mention to him and have him go crazy. 

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

When an emergency comes along life changes.  Never thought we would ever order food delivered – but we need to avoid going out.  One does what needs to do to adjust and live on. 

Please make sure that you and your loved ones are safe and continue to be.  Wear a mask when you go out – if you don't think you need one - it couldn't hurt could it?  Stay away from others when outside – why take a chance?  I want you to be reading – or ignoring – me for a long time to come.

For those in the U.S.- have a safe Memorial Day.  For those who are veterans – Thank you for your service.