Thursday, November 18, 2021

REMEMBERING WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO CHANGE SEASONS - JUST NOT IN TIME

 Changing seasons -

Well fall came in – and rather quickly around here, though we are to have a burst of warm weather to come this week, before it leaves again.

Of course every year for the two big seasonal changes – to cold weather and to warm weather, of course – we plan to be ready to make the change, but never do.  

Our house has a hot air furnace, something neither of us grew up.  We both grew up in houses that had hot water heater – furnace heated water which then ran through thin pipes throughout the house and the  hot water doing so would heat the air in the rooms, finally returning back to the furnace to be heated again and return to heating the air in the room again…  With the furnace we have in our house hot air is blown through vents to the various rooms in the house and then after it cooled it is sucked back down to the furnace to be reheated…  Seems the same, but it is not.  

Both kinds of furnaces need to be cleaned for the heating season.  When husband was still working I would remember to call the company which delivers our fuel oil (same as diesel) to run the furnace to come and do the annual cleaning of the system.  In the most recent years (even before the pandemic) I seem to keep putting it off until when I call they are all booked and we get it cleaned late.  So, it has not yet been cleaned this heating season and by the time it is – April – the heating season will be either mostly or completely over – unless they have a cancellation (or actually enough cancellations) as we are on the wait list.  I put a reminder in my computer calendar to remember to call them in June starting next year (though if they don't service it until April, I will just skip next year's cleaning.  

Husband has some tall sticks (made for this purpose) which he sticks in the ground around our two driveway entrances to mark where they are so he can see where the ramps are when there is snow and it has to be cleared.  Last year – a terrible year for snow with many storms of deep snows – he had forgotten to put them in the ground – before it froze.  They never did go in deep enough to stand up properly.  So for this year I made a notation in my calendar in early September to remind him to put them in the ground.  I have put back the date by 2 weeks 4 times now as the weather is far from cold enough for the stakes not to go into the ground or to have snow (at least no snow of any sizable amount).  

And now the big problem that causes me to post about my lack of preparing for winter.  Our humidifier.  Since the house is heated by hot air the air in the house gets extremely dry which is not good for me (nose bleeds from dry nose) and not good for the house or furniture.  In the past we had a humidifier in our furnace, well at least in it's outgoing vent, to deal with this.  But several years ago we changed oil companies and the new one told us that a humidifier in the furnace system is NOT a good thing as it helps rust it.  I should mention that our furnace is original to our house which was built in 1949 so, depending on when the former owners (there were several of them) had the furnace humidifier put in – it has worked well and not, apparently rusted.  

So now we only have a humidifier in our bedroom as nighttime while sleeping is the major problem – at other times we can just put out some water if we find the air too dry.  This humidifier only runs while we are going to sleep, sleeping, and waking up.  It needs to be refilled from the kitchen sink about once, maybe twice a week.  We had the sink spout setup with a piece on the end of it that allowed us to snap a hose on it to fill the tank of the humidifier.  It is not a huge tank, but it is not small either – I can lift it when full much easier than husband so it tended to be my job to do so.  At the end of last winter the end of the sink spout cracked – so, due to the pandemic – the sink has tape around the spout, which means we can no longer snap the hose on it.  

In addition there comes the problem which I am in the midst of dealing with and caused me to write about it.  Gunk builds up in the tank, the filter and the plastic holder of the filter from minerals in the water.  It is suppose to be cleaned on a regular basis during the heating season as well as at the end of the season.  Not something we do.  Normally I clean it once a year as the heating season starts and I remember it needs to be done.  To clean it a mixture of water and vinegar has to be put in the tank and swirled around – then it sits in same.  Then the tank is rinsed out several times and hopefully both the gunk and the smell of vinegar are gone.  The base also needs to soaked in the same manner (without the swirling).  The filter – a web of very easily breakable thin metal – also needs to be soaked in the same manner.  As I started to write this post I was going to tell you that I know we bought vinegar for this and something else (in another season) which needs to be similarly cleaned – but I have searched my kitchen pantry closet, as well as my work table in our studio which is being used during the pandemic to hold cans, bottles, cleaning supplies, and paper goods in excess of what we normally have so it does not all fit where it should.  I looked through everything several times – I then gave up and just put in water in hopes that it would it at least loosen the “gunk” I can see.

We are looking for a replacement unit that will be easier to deal with and clean since we can not refill it from the bathroom sink until we can replace the sink spout.  Of course this process of finding a new humidifier has just started – a bit late in the season.  Husband is looking online on his computer (upstairs in our office) and came down to ask what model our unit is – perhaps he can at least find a new filter for it.  I mentioned to him that I am just soaking it all in plain water and have put vinegar on the list to buy tomorrow (shopping run – especially for Thanksgiving items).  He reminded me (that is the polite to say what he did) that we had bought a half gallon of it.  OH!  That means it is on the floor of the pantry closet – did not think to look there as looking for a quart or so bottle!  There is was.  So I paused mid writing this post to redo the soaking of all the parts in a proper mixture of 1 gallon water to 1 cup of vinegar.  Hopefully this will get rid of the gunk – though I doubt it.  

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Try to remember to get needed seasonal things done on time.  Holiday decorating we remember to do, but this sort of grunge stuff we don't want to do and forget it has to be done until the last minute.

Most thing such as this I have a reminder in my computer calendar – set to repeat for 5 or 10 years at time – so I don't forget, but as everyone else I tend to use the “snooze” on the reminder – and not for minutes or hours.

Friday, November 12, 2021

THIS DOCTOR'S OFFICE IS NEVER ORGANIZED

 Sorry to post late again.  Yesterday was a short day as we had to get ready to take my 93 yo mom to a doctor today.  

Before the pandemic my husband and I had been “the schleppers”.  Since both of my sisters and their husbands work full time and we are mostly retired and both self-employed, we can better spend time, normally, to take mom to assorted doctors and similar.

During the pandemic it has been tried as hard as possible for mom not to leave her assisted living residence to decrease her contacts with people and her chances of getting Covid.  (Her residence has done what we think is an excellent job of keeping the residents safe and well from the pandemic.)

Since my husband and I are also “seniors” and both have medical conditions which further make us high risk for Covid, my middle sister, who handles most of things involving my mom, had to take over as schlepper also for some medical emergencies which arose.  

But schlepping mom in addition to sister's needing to deal with her husband's medical conditions and her own, meant that she used up all of her allowed time off from work.  So we had to step up and take mom today to one of her doctors.  

We don't mind taking mom – my husband says he even enjoys it somewhat as it is something different for us to do – but we REALLY don't like take her to one doctor's office.  Doctor is a good doctor – that my brother-in-law is alive is proof of that as brother-in-law has heart trouble and very nice - but his office is in a building which houses doctors who are part of a network.  It is dealing with the network that drives husband and me crazy.  

Our first dealings with this doctor and this setup was a nightmare – in organization and it this continues to be true.  We took mom there after she had been in the hospital and had to go for followup (he had not seen her in the hospital).  The followup was the day after she had been to the hospital and my sister had made the arrangements.  We arrived for her appointment and the appointment had been made with a different doctor.  After a telephone conversation with my sister – it was to be Dr. Q or no one.  With my sister, my husband and I all complaining the office staff setup an appointment with Dr. Q for mom – some hours later in the day.  We had lunch.  We ended up spending the time between in Barnes and Nobles – husband walked around looking at what he wanted to and I pushed mom in her wheelchair aisle by aisle through the store.  When we saw the doctor basically he said nothing needed to be done – and mom should be retested at a (fixed) future date.  

When I try to make appointments for mom they cannot be made with the doctors' office, but need to be made though the hospital system's setup – for a doctor appointment in New York State I have to telephone to Florida!

No appointment up to now has gone well and all involved sitting in the waiting room for this group of doctors for hours.  Nothing is done at the appointments – each time they take mom's information again and try to weigh her (she can barely stand – how can she stand on a scale and not hold on – I have learned to get the wellness office at her residence give me in writing her last weight taken there, as well as copy of her meds).

Mom had a problem two weeks ago and was taken to a local hospital as an outpatient – and was referred back to her doctor.  Since, my sister could not take her – it was up to us.  I told mom about the appointment during our weekly telephone call last week and again by telephone, reminded her the yesterday.   We over allowed time to get to her and get her to the doctor as we never know what the traffic will be driving out there (about 45 minutes away from us) or how long it will take us to get her ready and out to our car.  

Everything went fine picking her up and getting her into the car (not an easy thing to do).  Drive to the doctor went fine – but all this is the easy part.  When we arrived at the building his office is in (again, a building offices of doctors all associated with this hospital group – a one story building) there was havoc in the parking lot.  The lot was completely filled and they were parking one's car for one so they could move it as needed.  This has happened before, but never saw so busy as today.  Husband dropped mom, in her wheelchair, and me off at the door to doctor's office – we had figured on this problem and he had planned to stay in the car if he could not park, though he likes to come in with us as he worked in a medical related field and talks “doctor”, as well as it is good to have two people listening (mom's hearing is not good).

When I mom and I entered the waiting room of doctor's office I was shocked at how empty it was.  I had to sign her in on a tablet (theirs) based system – I remembered to bring my soft tip stylus to use on the tablet as I don't show up on it when I use my finger, let alone I did not want to touch a touch pad that other people have touching.  One problem is always asks for one to put their hand on it for sign in – not sure why and while my hand does not, of course, work for this – neither did mom's when she tried it our first trip there.  I made sure to wipe my hand down well with hand sanitizer after wards – is this the best idea, for everyone to touching their hands to these pads during the pandemic?  Husband came in rather quickly – he had been lucky a car pulled out and he pulled in.  

We were shocked when we were actually called into to see the nurse practitioner a bit early.  I had taken an appointment with her as the doctor did not have any open appointments until December.  Hmm, maybe things were not as bad as they had been?  

Nurse who took us in started taking doing a test on mom.  She talked with us about why we were there and then left room.  Yeah, there had to be a problem.  The nurse practitioner we had the appointment with was not associated with mom's doctor and did not work in the same medical field as we were there for!  As I was getting ready to scream and yell – “not easy to take mom out, not good for her to be out at all...” they said that they were making arrangements for a correct person to see her.  So we did get to deal with the exam today.  Told that what she came there about – she was okay, changed a medication to help with the problem – BUT – she has an entirely different problem!!!

So we now have 3 more appointments for mom – two for testing (3 tests – 2 given together) and one to see the doctor – himself.  

Not the most organize place to go and I am not sure if they had not made the mistake they would have done the EKG at all – and her medical tests at her residence's doctor have not shown any of the problems they say exist!

On the other hand – it was good to see her.  

Tomorrow it is suppose to rain, first day it does not, we have to put our car back together as it normally is and I have to move things I keep in the front for mom to sit in the front passenger seat as that is hard enough for her to get into, the back seat would be impossible.  

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -
Sometimes things go well, sometimes we have to deal with stupidity and there is nothing we can do about it.  As husband once said to me when I was upset when he was in medical office with similar problems - “stop getting them upset – they are going to be giving me shots!!”

Thursday, November 4, 2021

SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN EMERGENCY...

 Sometimes it take an emergency to push us to do some clutter removal.  I have probably mentioned that we have been having water in our basement after the various big storms we have had since Hurricane Ida came through.  The water appears as wet carpet (indoor/outdoor carpet so the carpet has not been ruined) in front a bookcase in our basement.  The bookcase is in front of a window.  Our hope is that the problem is caused by the fact that the basement windows sit below the grade of the land and there is a window well outside the window.  It used to have a plastic bubble over it, but a few years ago the bubble burst  (okay broke) and we have not been able to replace due to the fact that this is where poison ivy grows.  

Husband decided that we need to move the bookcase and pick up the edge of carpet and see “what the story is”.  The bookcase not only is filled with books – most related to his profession and many of them college textbooks (ie, big and heavy).  On top of the bookcase are some shelves husband built to hold a stereo and small TV (video player for TV on the other bookcase next to this one) as he has an exercise bike there and would listen to music or watch TV while he rode it more regularly than he does now.  

First job therefore was to find an alternate location for the stereo.  He redid part of the top of a long, low bookcase in our bedroom (on his side) and managed to fit the stereo there – without having to get rid of the stuffed bears (his bears, not mine) on top.  We then had to bring up the CDs for the stereo and the rack they are kept in.  He found a spot under the bedroom TV for that – problem is that he cannot read the titles without sitting on the floor and can barely read them there and barely get up from the floor – but they have a new home.  

Next came the BIG JOB.  We had to get the books off the shelves and do “something with them”.  I have mentioned before that I have trouble donating items as all of the locations I used to go to have all been closed over several years (actually over a decade since they started closing).  The last one closed in late 2018 as I had items to bring there in October 2018, but had to come home as husband was unwell, and when I could back out in December 2018 to donate them – Goodwill had closed the location!  Husband went looking online and Goodwill has opened a collection center where the store used to be – so we could bring the books there as they accept books.  

First he sorted through the books – a good number of them he feels he can sell online (as if that idea has ever worked for us) and he moved them to a nearby table.  The rest of the books had to be packed in some way to take and donate – and the packages of books had to be light enough for us to lift.  I myself would gone with stacking them and tying the stacks, but he decided to use kitchen garbage bags – which could only be about half filled due to the weight of the books, being a problem both in ripping the bags and our being able to lift them.  We packed the books over the past weekend.  After they were all packed we started carrying the bags up from the basement.  They were put in our dining room.  After all were upstairs and we took a brief rest to recover, came the next part.  I would carry a bag of books to the front door and he would be outside to carry the books to our van (parked on our driveway in front of the house).  That gave us a van filled with books.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I added the 2 bags of stuff I had from before and we set out to donate it all.  When we got to the Goodwill location there was actually parking near their location.  When I have been there in the past the parking lot was always full (it is in a strip mall with stores and restaurants), but apparently between their store being closed and the pandemic it was far from full.  There was even a shopping cart nearby that we could use.  (Supermarket at other end of parking lot.)  Problem was the drop off center was closed!!!

Apparently they have not updated their open times on their website.  They are closed Tuesdays and Thursdays (and of course Sundays) now.  So we turned around and drove the van home.  We then ran the errand he planned to today (Wednesday) buying new eyeglasses as his vision had changed.  

Today we went back and they now have all of the books and my miscellaneous stuff from 2018.  (The 2018 stuff is some household items and also – we used to babysit his niece when she was young (now in her early 20s) one afternoon a week and had a laundry basket filled with toys for her.  I had gone through the toys back in 2018, kept a couple of them that I liked, and bagged the rest to donate, along with plastic tissue box covers that had not been used in some years and other similar items.  

So it took a flood to convince husband to donate stuff and get rid of it!  He has not opened these books in decades – and certainly not since he quit his job, a little more than 10 years ago (before that the books were partially in his office at work). Now they are gone.  

Today he took apart the shelves he made for the top of the bookcase and we will put it in his wood shop (our garage) for future use.  Next thing to do is take apart the bookcase so we can put it out for trash pickup – will need a call for them to take it.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -
What has been taking up room in your home for years/decades only because you have not bothered to deal with getting rid of it?  Don't wait for a flood to deal with it.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE - AT LEAST IN THE BASEMENT

 My apologies for missing last week's post.  After years of not missing any posts, seems lately my attention gets taken away and I forget to post or I am otherwise needed in the house and don't get a chance to write and post.  

Lest you think this is a unique situation to this blog, on the final Wednesday of the month I send out a newsletter to my embroidery chapter which includes the meeting notice for the meeting the following Tuesday.  Club used to meet on Wednesday and the newsletter/meeting notice went out a week before.  Location of meeting was changed and with it the day the group meets and I have not yet gotten into the habit of sending out the newsletter a day earlier so it would remain a week before the meeting.  Being the lazy person that I am, I write and post the newsletter  for them at the same time.  (I do send an email a week in advance to the other board members in case they have something to include.)

Today I dealt with all sorts of things online and then suddenly realized that their newsletter had to go out today.  It was put together quickly, but as completely as possible and went out today just before I started making dinner – all 3 versions of the newsletter, which this week were basically the same.  (One version to members, one to region of group to be sent to other newsletter editors in the region plus the head of the region, and one version I send to people (okay, ladies) who have asked about joining our chapter or used to be members and like to keep in touch.) Mostly all 3 versions are the same, but, for example, we normally have our June meeting at a specific members house before we break for the summer and I don't want to send her name, address, and contact information to everyone who has asked about our chapter, so only the member's version will have the info.

We are also dealing with water in the basement whenever it rains since Hurricane Ida earlier this year.  We never had this problem before (or at least never noticed it before) and it is now a recurring problem.  When it rains we check the basement and vacuum up the water with a wet/dry vacuum and then run our dehumidifier  - which would running anyway, but it is set at 35% dampness instead of its normal 70% dampness so it needs to be emptied much more often.  Yes – we had a large rain storm yesterday and will have another one this weekend.  We are hoping this is only a problem with needing new plastic covers over our basement windows (on the outside of the house) and the second window so far, thank goodness, does not seem to have this problem.

Husband has decided that we need to clear out a bookcase which stands in front of the window in question.  It is adjacent to his exercise bicycle and has his stereo, a VHS player, and some other similar electronics on top – so he is figuring out where we will moving these items.  The books on the shelves tend to be ones from when he was in college and of his field of study.  He figures that they can be donated – presuming we find someplace to donate them and go out to do so.  (If we do, I have some items I packed to donate just before the pandemic started and they will go out also.)  Another bookcase near by has books he plans to get rid of also, but thinks he can sell them online so they will remain for now.  

We can then move the bookcase and see what is going on behind it – as well as sort see to each side of where it was – behind a second bookcase and behind metal storage cabinets.  He has given me notice that he plans to work on this over the coming weekend.  Well, at least I know I have to finish up anything I want to do before then – such as pay any bills and write any letters I want to mail out on Sunday night (unless it raining again on Sunday night).  I know that there is some mail in our box at the Post Office and would like to post the outgoing mail from there and take out the mail in the box if we can, one in particular has me wondering what it is – looks like a card, addressed to me, and from someone I have never heard of in Washington state – and we live on the east side of the U.S.  Probably just a piece of fancy junk mail.

How do I know what it is our Post Office box?  No, I am not a psychic.  The USPS has a service which will send an email to one when there is mail at their address – including in their USPS boxes at their Post Office.  They will only send if first class mail and there is a scanned picture of that first class mail.      It does work well for us now when we are not going daily to our box as we did back in normal times.  (Back in normal times almost all of our mail was going to the box as more secure than box at our front door, especially when we went on a trip.)  We do not have to go to the Post Office unless we know there is something there to pick up (we can post outgoing mail at a local USPS collection box instead).

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -
Too much to do when doing nothing!

P.S,  The problem which I posted about when last I posted – the money from the loom we sold being taken back by the company it was paid through – has been resolved and we have the money back in our bank account.  It will sit there for a month before we touch it again!

Stay dry all!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

MONEY IN BANK ACCOUNT TO BE TAKEN AWAY DUE TO AN ERROR AND WHEN IT IS DONE IS BEFORE THE NOTICE WAS EVEN SENT!!

 Husband and I have a checking account which we use only for having money sent to us through Internet sites – Etsy, Square, Paypal and the like.  Our idea was that we did not want to give out our checking account information to site after site after site… and make our checking account vulnerable to  hacking of so many sites.  It is at a separate bank than our main account.  

When money comes into this account it sits in the account a short while – to make sure that there is no problems with it and then I write a check on this account and deposit it into our main account.  Easy as can be and has worked for well over a decade.  

In November my husband sold a piece of craft equipment he was no longer using to someone on one of the various sites he is on and chats/posts with other people.  The person paid through one of these of these sites (which will remain nameless).  The sale was made back in September.  She paid, we shipped the item, she liked it, several weeks passed and I wrote a check for the amount we received from her (after the site took their fees) and we deposited it in our main checking account.  Something we have done so many, many times over the years with no problems.

Husband received an email from the person – she received her credit card bill and did not recognize our name and protested it as not hers.  She then (a day or so later) realized it was what she paid us and contacted her bank to stop the protest – too late.  

The same day husband received a notice from the company involved that there had been a protest and they would be taking back the money gave us  - plus the amount they had taken from it for fees (so they are taking back more than they gave us – they would take the money back in 1 to 2 days, which might be delayed by the recent (U.S.) holiday.  I envisioned the check to our main bank bouncing and fees from both banks.  Both of us were ill from this problem.  I checked the balance in this account and the transfer to our main had gone through successfully.  This meant that there was not enough money in the our “transfer” checking account to cover the return of the money to the company which had paid it to us.  I wrote a check on our main account and we ran to the bank to deposit it back into the original account.  Should not have a problem as it was to take a day or so – maybe even longer for the transfer to occur – right?

No, the company that transferred the money to us had actually attempted to take back the money from our account before they sent us the notice that they were going to do so (in the near future) !  Our bank refused the transaction as there was not enough money in the account and charged us US$30 fee for their inconvenience in doing so.  I don't blame them – though I was surprised at the size of the fee.

Over this past extended weekend it dawned on us that the company involved would try again and the amount we had deposited back was short $30 due to the fee.  So we went to our main bank to withdraw $100 in cash from the ATM to deal with this.  Of course the bank door would not open with our ATM cards!  We went to another ATM at another branch of our main bank and was able to withdraw the money.  We then drove to the bank where we needed to deposited the money and did so through their ATM.  Luckily this worked and the money was in the account in case there was a second attempt.

Yesterday we went to the bank with the problem.  We met with one of the “platform” employees and I went through the timeline of the event and asked politely – and he refunded the fee to our account. (We NEVER bounce checks or have problems such as this – a good reputation helps a great deal when asking for something like this.)

So we were now at the point that the money was back in the original checking account.  We had the US$10 balance we normally leave in the account to keep it open plus the extra hundred dollars we put in over the weekend.  We left the account like that.

During all of this husband had filled an appeal with all of the information which had happened about the original sale, the person's accidental cancellation and notice to her bank that it had been an error and to pay us.  Reply to same that it would take a period of time (I forget how long – two weeks to a month perhaps) to research the situation and make a determination and that in the interim – the money would not be taken.

Today husband received an email from the company that did the money transfer for us and again it said that the money would be removed from our account in 1-2 days.  They did so, again before the email telling us this was sent to us- so they now have the money back.  

Husband then received a reply to his appeal – they need more information from the buyer's bank and he is trying to get same.  

Our decision was that from now on any money received through this account will sit this at least a month before we transfer it to prevent this from happening again.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -
Just because money has been received by third party credit and is in your bank account does not mean that the money will stay there.  Allow extra time for it sit in the account – just in case something goes wrong.  Always keep good financial records so if there is a problem you can back track and prove it to the bank or whoever else needs to be shown what happened.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

STORING ITEMS LIKE WITH LIKE - SOMETIMES WHAT IS USED ALL THE TIME WITH SAME AND WHAT IS USED RARER TIMES WITH SAME IS BETTER

 When I first started reading about getting organized I was a teenager in high school.  One mantra of organizing that I learned about then is to group like things together.  To this day my closet had my shirts sorted by color, my two skirts together and I have 3 hangers, which each hold multiple pairs of pants, hanging from a hook each attached to the back (2) and side (1) walls in the closet.  (These 3 hangers – one holds my jeans, one holds the 3 pants of non-jeans pants I own, and the third holds my old ripped jeans that I use as pjs.)  

My husband was always amazed at this organization – especially since most of the rest house is not so organized – by a lot.  (He is not the greatest organizer either.)  He has changed my thoughts on using this rule for everything.  

I had always (since I was maybe 14 or 15 years old) kept my underwear together and kept my socks and stockings together.  When I lived with my parents this was one drawer.  When we got married my underwear went into the top left drawer of my dresser – a half width drawer – and my socks/stockings went into the same size drawer below them.  

One day husband pointed out the waste of time – every day I would open the top drawer, take out underwear, close the drawer, open second drawer and take out socks or stockings and then close that drawer.  He knew I had in both drawers items that I did not wear as often as others.  That started me thinking – what about putting together items needed every day and ones that are not often worn?  I redid those two drawers – the top drawer now holds my underpants and bras and socks. In the second drawer are things like my slips (haven't worn in years, but if need to dress up will need) and my stockings and pantyhose – only needed for work, religious services and the extremely rare other reasons to dress up.  Now I only have to open one drawer most mornings.  

In the kitchen I organized my dishes.  My everyday dishes, a set of 8 servings, were stacked – all the dinner dishes together, all the soup/cereal bowls together, all the small plates together, etc.  This involved two shelves of a kitchen cabinet.  I am 5' 1”.  I can reach the bottom the shelves, but not the ones above.  This meant every time I needed something on the second shelf I needed the step to reach it to take it out and then again to put it back – which of course meant that items were left in the drying rack for days sometimes if I did not feel like climbing up.  I took out 4 dinner dishes (use for serving plates for us also), 4 bowls, and 2 small plates from our every day dishes.  I fit a stack of 3 small serving bowls in the cabinet also.  (The cabinet has a wire shelf rack I added in it so I have 2 shelves in the one cabinet.)  Mixed in with the dishes and small dishes are 2 lighter dishes each also – these I use as utility dishes – serving, cutting on, draining on, etc. Now it is rare that I need something from another shelf for dishes and I don't have to climb up daily – easy to take out and easy to replace.  I have our drinking glasses in the matching cabinet on the other end of the cabinet.  I have 2 mugs on the bottom shelf, two of the drinking glasses I like, two of the ones husband likes, 2 ice cream glasses and 3 measuring glasses.  There are other items on this shelf also, but these are the basic items use from it and I can use without needing to climb up.  Again the upper shelves hold items not used on a daily basis.  In the third cabinet I can reach (between stove and refrigerator) some platters and serving bowls on the bottom shelf.  

Perhaps the problem is “what are like items”?  In both of these cases if like items means all of the same type of items together, the idea does not work.  If instead it means “items I used all the time vs. items I don't use often” it does work.  

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

How are your items sorted?  Do you have items you use frequently and items you use rarely together as they same type of items?  Or do you put items you use frequently together where they can easily be reached and used and items that are rarely used together in places which are harder to reach for storage and retrieval?  Try the second idea – it works much better.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

MISSING OUTGOING MAIL - BORROWERS?

We had a busy day today and while out and about I was composing my post for you for tonight's post.  Now it is all gone.  I know that the theme of it was things that are missing, but aren't, so I will go from there.  

I try to be careful not misplace or lose things.  As an accountant (since I was 12 and started helping my dad) I have learned to be extremely careful and organized with work items.  I strive for the same care and organization with personal items also.  I have written previously about “borrowers” - as in the series of children's books about same.  The “borrowers” are tiny people in who live in people's houses and borrow things  - they do not take or steal, they only borrow and then return the items.  

Husband and I say that they have taken things when items are not where one or both of us knows the items were put, and then they reappear exactly where they should have been, but were not.  Okay, we probably missed the items sitting where they should the 10 or so times we – taking turns – looked there for them and they did not disappear and reappear, but it does make us feel that it was not our fault we could not find items which were they belong and where we looked multiple times.  

Our latest occurrence was this past Monday.  Before the pandemic we went to the post office daily as we have a box there and would go to check what was in it.  Mid March 2020 we decided that we did not want to go out or go into the Post Office.  After a long period of time we managed to change the mailing address for any mail that went there to our home address and did not really have a reason to go the Post Office on any sort of regular  (or almost any) basis. We went late night on the last two Sunday nights of that March and were not inside the Post Office again until about two months ago and have been there once since – both times after receiving an email from the Post Office that there was something in our box.  (A wonderful service of the Post Office.)  

We had not been in the Post office while it was open during the day since mid March 2020 until this past Monday.  Husband sold one of craft tools that he no longer was using and we had to go there during open hours to ship it out (would not fit in an outgoing mail box, especially since there is now a slot instead of the pull down opening.  

As long as we had to go into the Post Office anyway, we had been about to renew our passports when everything shut down.  We don't plan to travel out of the country nor have we done so in decades, but it is good to have alternate ID to our driver's licenses, just in case.  In addition to go into IRS if needed for clients I need to either have a special driver's license or a passport – the passport is easier to renew then get the special license (for which I would have to go to into the DMV office and bring alternate ID with me – such as my passport….).   So I filled in the forms to renew our passports, wrote the checks,  and we each signed our renewal form.  I had each set of passport renewal papers in a different envelope  - one for me and one for him – and was mailing them separately.  I also had 3 regular pieces of mail which in a regular week we would have posted late Sunday night either at a local USPS collection box a couple of blocks away or in same outside the Post Office, so instead of making an extra trip Sunday night, we were posting them at the same time as the rest of the items on Monday afternoon.

I have been putting our outgoing mail in a gallon size zip bag to keep it all together.  Sunday night I put the two passport mailings and the three pieces of mail in the bag, counted the number of items in the bag – 2 larger envelopes (the passports) and 3 regular #10 envelopes – just what should be in the bag.  I then went downstairs and put the bag next to the item husband was shipping.  I opened the bag and counted again – 2 +3 is 5.  

Monday afternoon we took the bag (which I did not open and check again) and husband's item and set off the Post Office.  We parked as we normally did every day in the lot of an adjacent park and walked through the park with the bag and husband's box to the Post Office.  Dropped the three regular items to be mailed in one of the boxes in front of the Post Office.  No customers inside and we felt good that the normal huge waiting line was not there.  We handed the clerk husband's item – found out that one no longer fills in the little form for insurance – done through the computer.  No problem.  I went to take out the two passport envelopes and ----- THERE WAS ONLY ONE!!!!  It was husband's.  We paid for it at the clerk (found out that Passport does not sign and return Certified Mail and had to mail by Priority Mail – a lot more expensive – to be able to track it.  

We then started back home – looking carefully as we walked along.  No sign of the envelope with my passport renewal anyway along the way to the car or in the car.  Drove home.  Checked all the way to the house.  Checked in the house to the table in the living room everything had been on.  Checked the floor – nothing (well,  a lot of dust of course, but not what we were looking for).  I went up to our office looking at the floor as I went.  Where would it be in the office?  Not in the outgoing mail basket, not on my desk or under my desk or in the sorter trays on my desk.  Not by my computer or calculator.  Husband has been following me and double checking every place I look and look for alternative places.  If I lost this envelope I cannot renew my passport (at least not easily and by mail) and will be worried about what happened to it and WHO HAS IT?

Husband is thinking and looking around.  “Did you scan the envelope before you dropped in the bag to take it?”  “Yes.”  He lifts the top of the scanner – there it is!!!  How could it be there when it was counted twice in the bag while downstairs?  We have no idea, but at least it was found.  A trip back to the Post Office and it was on it's way also and we were on our way to Wendys for lunch.  

Why would the borrower's want my passport envelope – just to see it?  No idea and it makes no sense at all as so many of these incidents don't.  

The passports have arrived at the government office - “whew” - per the USPS packing.  On the other hand, the package husband shipped still shows only that it was accepted at the Post Office – three days ago!  It is suppose to be delivered by Friday and we are hoping that  it is not sitting in the back of the Post Office and someone will scan it and let us know where it is!

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

No matter how many times one checks something – another check is not a bad idea – even better if one gets someone else to check it for them – just to be sure.