Crime time

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Have you been following the Brittney Griner saga? I haven’t followed it that closely but I can say it is surprising and not at the same time. It seems that Americans (yes, I am one) think they can get (or deserve) special treatment when they go to a foreign country. I don’t feel this way, of course, that’s why I am going to write what I write. I’ll keep it brief.

In short (as I understand it), she is a basketball player from the US who was traveling to Russia for a game. She was detained because she was trying to bring contraband into the country (from what I understand, marijuana). She broke the law of a foreign country and now is being punished for it. The verdict was handed down today – nine years in a Russian prison.

My take: If you break the law in a foreign country and get caught, you should be punished under their system of laws. I, we (as US citizens) shouldn’t expect special treatment (even if we are a “celebrity”).

Now, there is always going to be the question of whether or not this was truly a legit case because Russia is shady and there is obviously some “make an example of her” and “the US is supporting Ukraine” thrown in for good measure by the Russian authorities. That does leave some questions in my mind.

BUT, my guess is she most likely knew what she was doing was wrong and thought she could get away with it. Or, she was hoping her status as a pro basketball player would win her some favor. Or, she was hoping that being an American would mean that ol’ Uncle Sam would come to the rescue if soemthing bad went down.

Well, not so much. We shouldn’t be going around flouting the laws in our own country let alone one that isn’t our own. There should never be a “Get out of Jail FREE” card, no matter your status or country.

Put that “in your pipe and smoke it!”

Locked out

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Buying a car from an auto dealership and using the service department is one of the biggest jokes that can be played on a consumer. They tell you when you buy the car that you have a warranty, you have lifetime oil changes, you have access to loaner cars if needed…they tell you a lot of things.

What they don’t tell you is that they are severely understaffed (which has only gotten worse). What they don’t tell you is that their service department hours are limited to the hours you are working (no weekends), so it makes it virtually impossible to schedule even routine maintenance without having to take time off. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t really have loaner cars, just that they will get a rental for you IF they deem it necessary.

So, the long story…

I bought a 2018 Kia Niro almost four years ago. I like the car. I really haven’t had any issues with it up to this point. But, the routine maintenance has been a challenge for the reasons listed above. It’s just hard to schedule an appointment.

About three or so months ago, the car started to give me issues when unlocking the car. Initially, the car wouldn’t recognize when I walked up to it (mirrors open and lights come on). The keyfob is the trigger for this function so I started keeping my eye on how often it would happen. It slowly began to progress to the point that pushing the button on the keyfob wouldn’t unlock the car. Pushing the button on the door handle wouldn’t unlock the car. Eventually, after pushing the buttons for several minutes, it would eventually unlock.

It did what most people would do and I assumed the battery in the keyfob was going dead. Afterall, it’s been four years with lots of use. I was actually surprised it took so long for it to be needed. So, I replaced the battery.

Did is solve the issues? Nope. It seemed to have made them worse.

Not only was it still difficult to get the doors unlocked, but now suddenly the car wouldn’t start! The car is a push button start, so there is no auxillary ignition slot for a key. Now I was getting a message that the keyfob needed to be in the car – while I was holding it while inside the car! Again, after furious button pushing, eventually it would start. But now I am wondering when I would be stranded for good if something didn’t happen soon…

So, I took the car to the dealership (last Wednesday) to see if they knew if there as an issue that was something fairly easy. They initially discussed that the keyfob might need to be reprogrammed to the car.

Cost? Approximately $75…

Mind you, there is NO OTHER WAY to start the car as there is no key. The keyfob is the key!! So, it is kinda required equipment. To charge a customer for this is absurd!

I complained loudly. The car is even still under warranty. There should be no charge for this!

They decided they better investigate further and find out if that really is the issue. So, an appointment is needed. Remember the whole schedule thing? Can’t do it and I am afraid I am going to be stranded. Soonest they could get me in would be five days (a Monday) because their “electronics guy” is out for training. They offer to pay for a rental while I wait for the car to be looked at.

OK, I supposed. Whatever.

Monday comes, no call from the dealership.

I call. I am told they are too busy to look for the paperwork, they’ll call me back. Two hours later, I call back. I am now told that the car wasn’t looked at and that the “appointment” wasn’t really an appointment so much as they were going to see if they could squeeze me in. I am told they will for sure get to it tomorrow…Tuesday…as yet, still no call with a status update.

Are car dealerships set up this way just to be a pain in the ass? Does everyone else have an issue with their car dealership after purchasing a car?

Life distracted

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If you have been following along for any time, or have gone back and read some of the old stuff, you know that I have a family member who has a mystery illness that has yet to be figured out. Specialists have looked and they basically have shrugged and said, “Not my system. Check with someone else.” When they are pointing their figers at another bodily system, which leaves us with a bunch of docs point at each other, what does that leave us to do?

We start over, I guess.

Wednesday of last week was spend (at least most of it) in an ER some 50+ miles away. Part of that was to push a referral process along and part of it was the fact that the ER/hospital is not only approved by insurance but is connect to or works closely with the specialist with the insurance parent company/clinic.

Confusing, right?

Anyway, ER time equals overnight observation and a test that hadn’t been done yet but which we has pushed for with the first specialist. Thursday was mostly spend waiting for a test and then waiting for results. As it turns out, that test revealed nothing other than everything appears to be “normal.”

Yet the doctors that have seen the family memeber agree there is definitely something wrong.

I am at work today but needless to say, I am distracted. It’s been that way since this all started. Hard to focus. Hard to get stuff done.

Actually, it’s hard to do anything in life really. I am constantly reminded or thinking of something than whatever I am doing. I am find that I don’t really enjoy anything because I am always thinking about the other person. They don’t enjoy anything because they can’t physically do it or when they try they suffer the whole time they endure it.

Endure it.

Really, that’s what life has become. Everything is about enduring every activity, interaction, location, meal, or socialization.

Normal doesn’t feel possible any longer.

Ghost power

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Weird thing occured today. I am working away in my home office (aka the garage) when I notice something out of the corner of my eye that isn’t right…

Sitting on a shelf to my right is a Lighthouse 400 lantern made by Goal Zero. I have had a couple years and have used is less that a handful of times. I bought it from someone who received it as a gift and didn’t want it. It was in the sealed original packaging when I picked it up.

It caught my attention because it was on, while sitting on the shelf.

It wasn’t that way when I started work this morning.

It caught my attention in my periphial vision because it was blinking slightly and then just came on.

Now, mind you, the power switch for the lantern is not on. It hasn’t been powered on. As it sits next to me now, it is in the off position.

I can turn the lantern on to the right to use both LED lights and return it to the off position. The light stays on. I can turn the lantern on to the left and use only one of the LED lights and return it to the off position. The light stays on.

I have no idea what is going on.

I searched the internet to see if someone else has had a similar issue. I only found one instance and it was a different model and it was after the person had physically turned on the lantern themselves.

So bizarre.

I have contacted the company but haven’t heard back yet.

For now, I am going to leave the thing on an open concrete floor in the garage in case it decides to set itself on fire too…

Cheaped out

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“Tradition” has been (or will be) broken. Actually, I am not sure how much of a tradition it is but I do know it is an annual occurrence that has taken place for at least as long as I have been with this organization. I am sure it started way before I became employed here.

The annual company/department picnic is today. Only it isn’t going to be a picnic today…

The picnic hasn’t really happened, of course, over the last several years because, ya know, covid. People freak out if you’re in too close proximity even when outdoors so it didn’t happen. But this year, the powers that be decided it was alright to have it again. As such, we will be headed to the park later this afternoon.

But, here’s the thing. It isn’t really going to be a picnic.

In the past, the managers have provided all the spread for a picnic lunch. Sandwiches, fruit, veggies, chips, drinks, etc. were all included with this time away from the office and official duties. People brought chairs and hung out in a relaxing atmostphere and got to know each other in a different setting.

This year, the managers have cheaped out. This year it isn’t a lunch so much as a snack time. Chips and cookies are the highlight of the menu this year. So, for most people, they will have to have a lunch of some kind before heading to the picnic.

Not sure why there has been a change from what was done in the past, but this is rather anticlimatic. Are we supposed to look forward to this? Doesn’t really seem like a celebration of another support year completed before moving into another school year support cycle. It almost seems more like an obligatory afterthought.

I guess I should just temper the complaint with the fact that I won’t have to be working during that time. But I would be much happier if they would feed me a regular lunch like in the past…

Trust the process

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Such a damn cliche. I get tired of hearing it thrown out there when stuff doesn’t go right and it hits the fan….

For me, I trust that the process is screwed and someone is going to have to fix or clean all this crap up.

Can you really trust the process when you saw and predicted the train wreck that follows?

I don’t hate being right, but damn if my track record isn’t near perfect.

Don’t use this phrase. Ever. Seriously.

No longer

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I awoke this morning to an email that made me pause for a moment. I knew the moment was coming. I have for a while, of course, but actually seeing it there in print made me pause and contemplate the past. A stage in my life is truly over and going back isn’t an option (at least not an easy one).

This morning I had the official notification via email from OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) that my teaching certificate is now officially expired.

Again, I knew this day would be coming for seven years (well, nearly 7…in a little over a month it will be 7 years since I left the classroom). It has been in the back of my mind and occasionally I would get reminded when I would glance at my National Board Certification. The expiration date was right there on the bottom – June 30, 2022. My state teaching certificate was tied to that because the National Board Certification linked the two and extended the state expiration date.

I am no longer a teacher.

It’s hard to say that. There was a lot of time, money, and effort tied to that part of my identity. Of course, I haven’t been a classroom teacher for nearly seven years, but to actually have that part of my life come to an official end (there was always that “open door” to go back) is a little surreal. I loved my subject and I really liked teaching students about it. I didn’t like all the time and politics related to the job.

I am happy with where I am now, don’t get me wrong. However, officially letting go of that part of me is surprisingly more emotional than I thought it would be.

I will always be a teacher, just not a classroom teacher. I guess I have to remember that. I still teach people in education about the software they use. I still teach teachers about the software they use to track student progress. It’s just a different kind of teaching.

Bucket of poo

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Well, well, well….this probably falls into the TMI category, but you get to take a look through the window of poop testing. Actually not really “probably,” it does fall into the TMI category but I am wondering if others have had a similar frustration while trying to poop in a bucket for health reasons.

A while back I was notified by the insurance company that I needed to have my colon checked because I turned 50 this year. I made the appointment with my doc and we discussed the options. Basically, there are three ways to do this: every year I can smear some poop on a strip of paper and send it in, or every six years I can poop in a bucket for Cologuard, or I can go the route of every 10 years having an up close and personal inspection of my colon via the colonoscopy. Three options that vary in invasiveness but all get the job done. I went with the second option, poop in a bucket.

Honestly, I didnt’ think it was going to be that big a deal. What I have learned is there is a huge marketing campaign (bigger than just the tv commericials) behind the behind investigation. The paperwork was filled out and short thereafter I started receiving snail mail about the test, emails about the test, text messages about the test, and voicemail messages about the test. Eventually the test showed up and about every 4-7 days I would get a text reminder that I needed to complete the test and send it in.

When I finally felt that I could complete it I read the instructions and went through the uncomfortable process of getting the bucket in the toilet and then making sure my aim was good enough to not make a mess. I completed the test, took the box to a UPS drop off place to make sure it was Next Day Air shipped as required.

Not long after I got a voicemail saying that my sample was not accepted and that I would have to do it again. No reasons given, just call them to have it sent again. Perplexing…

When I called to have another one shipped, I asked why it wasn’t accepted. I figured maybe it didn’t make it there on time. Nope, not the reason. The reason was because “the sample was too heavy.” My assumption is that the sample was too big – apparently they weigh it before testing it and if it is too heavy they just toss it. SMH….never mind the fact that the sample done correctly other than there was “too much.” And you’re telling me that it is completely unusable because there is too much???

Um, are you aware that pooping isn’t a start and stop kind of event? Basically, they want you to poop a little, stop, remove the bucket from the toilet, and then continue pooping. Yeah, about that….WHO DOES THEIR POOPING IN STAGES? Or, I guess the alternative would be to find some kind of utensil to dig around in the bucket to remove excess poo to deposit it into the toilet. Nothing like inspecting your poo before shipping off a bucket of it…

Anyway, there is now another box with a bucket sitting next to the toilet waiting for me to have “just the right size” “movement” to fulfill all their requirements.

Anyone else been frustrated with the requirements of the Cologuard sample process?

Evil doers

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The news out of Japan this morning is quite shocking. The former Japanese Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, being assassinated IN Japan is kind of a big deal because gun violence in Japan is virtually unheard of. They have some of the strictest gun laws anywhere in the world. The fact that this act was done IN Japan to a former highly elected official with seemingly good security protection just goes to show you that gun laws can be as restrictive as a plastic bag over the head is, but they don’t stop evil doers from doing evil.

This can’t be more clear when you start talking about guns in America. The US has a a guaranteed right written right into it’s founding document. The First Amendment of the Constitution enshrines this right from protection against the government being able to take the right away. People have long tried to limit or chisel away at that right and the courts have supported them to some degree. But the fact remains that American’s can’t and shouldn’t lose that right. It should be protected for all of time.

Thus, the news from Japan just reinforces that guns aren’t the problem when it comes to death and destruction. Yes, guns are widely available in the US for anyone who qualifies to purchase a gun, no matter the type. Should there be better background checks? Maybe. Should there be mental health flags in the background check? Maybe. Those issues are debatable. But what still remains during this discussion isn’t if we need to ban guns, it’s that no matter the laws and bans on the book, evil doers will find a way to get a gun. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if it’s a gun. They will find a way to do their evil even without guns because that is what evil does. It doesn’t care about laws and bans and limits and background checks and anything else you can put in the way of people doing evil.

What we can’t let happen is good people having their rights taken away because a few (we’re really talking about a small percentage here) bad apples decide to do evil. Keeping something from someone because others do bad things is stupid. That’s kind of like saying no one can drive a car because there are people who drive poorly and get in accidents and hurt or kill other people. Driving a car isn’t even a guaranteed right, it’s a privalege in America, yet no one would consider doing away with motor vehicles.

I hope you get the point here.

Evil doers will do evil. There is no stopping it.

Well, there is, but a godless nation won’t or can’t stomach the actual solution to the problem – bring God back into the daily lives of everyone.

So, for now, evil is as evil does.

Deaf ears

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Can you believe that President Biden hasn’t really done a thing about fixing the gas prices? It’s as if all the pleas of Americans at every economic level in the United States has fallen on deaf ears, and I am not just talking about the fact that he’s old and can’t hear that well. He literally is ignoring the only solution that would fix the issue – pumping more oil domestically.

He just told Americans (and basically the rest of the world) that they are going to just have to continue to suffer under high inflation and high fuel prices. He will ask OPEC to pump more oil, which we’ll have to buy on the open market at market price, while everyone else in the world faces the same issue. He’ll ask Congress to suspend a tax for short term relief, which for most people amounts to very little savings at the pump. He’ll scold oil companies for making a profit.

Notice he didn’t say he would open areas for more drilling in the US? Notice how he didn’t say he would do anything about opening a pipeline in the US? Notice how he didn’t say he would do anything to increase refining capacity in the US? Notice how none of the things he is doing make the US energy independent? Notice how none of the things he is doing are long term solutions and will have little to no real impact at the pump for a majority of Americans?

Not only is Biden hard of hearing physically, but he is apparently deaf politically too. His own political followers are bearing the brunt of his poor economic policies and he can’t hear that they’re totally suffering and unhappy.

“Build Back Better” was his slogan. Know what he has built back better?

Resentment. Inflation. Economic recession.

Anything else we can add to that list?

Good grief!