Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GRRRRRR........Rant in Progress Here...

For a long time, I used K-Mart Pharmacy; it was convenient, and I could pick up toothpaste, shampoo and greeting cards at the same time as a script.  But a few months ago, I received a letter from my insurance company stating that K-Mart was no longer on their preferred provider list. Whatever.....I thought, since K-Mart was always causing me problems or extra trips to the store.  Since we had moved five miles south of that pharmacy last July, I chose to switch to CVS, which is only 3 miles away. Rite-Aid and Walgreens are closer than that, but I'd had problems before with Rite-Aid and Walgreens is not on the insurance list. 

So I transferred all our prescriptions  (not a small number of them) and began using that pharmacy. At first, all was well, and they welcomed me, of course, as anyone would when that Medicare money is at stake. Then the trouble began. 

I abhor with passion those automatic robocalls telling me that I have a script ready to be picked up. I may be old, but I am not so nuts as to forget an RX in the shop, once I have ordered it. And they managed to get me mixed up, since some of those calls come after I have already picked up the RX, and I make a second trip to the store without knowing it is for naught.  About a month ago, late in the week, I got a call from CVS with an actual person on the line. She advised me that my husband had a script that needed refilling, and asked if I wanted it. I knew he was not running out of it yet, but I said yes, and she told me I could pick it up the next day. Three days later, I went to the pharmacy to get it. 

It was not ready, they had no record of that call and asked me repeatedly who had called me. I had no idea, of course, just a pharmacy tech - as far as I knew. They made me wait 20 minutes, just to slap a label on a bottle. I was not happy. That has happened twice. 

So this morning, knowing that my husband needed a new bottle of his special shampoo  -  for which I had no label because it had been attached to a plastic bag that the RX came in and it was thrown out.  I attempted to call CVS to speak to a tech or pharmacist, so I could ask them for a refill. 

It was impossible to speak to a live person. The robo-voice mail system was not set up  to allow access to a real person. At K-Mart, if I needed a person, I simply pressed 0 during the announcement and I would be connected to the pharmacist. Not so with CVS. There were no options available in the voice mail menu to get a person instead of a recording

I called the main number for the store, which is also a voice mail hell, and eventually I did get a person. I asked her for the direct numbe to the pharmacy, so I could order a script and she gave me a number. When I called it, I heard the old familiar "This line is no longer in service or has been disconnected." To be fair, the woman who gave me the number did not have English as her first language. She speaks with quite an accent, which is nearly impossible for me to understand. I was so frustrated!

So, I went to the store and explained my plight to the tech behind the counter. I asked her specifically for the direct phone line to the pharmacy and she said "it will be on the back of the bottle when you get it filled." I said "if the bag it comes in gets thrown away again, it won't help me any." She looked right at me and said not. a. thing.  Nothing/squat/diddly/crap.  She declined to give me the number. Then she said..."Do you want us to fill it?"  I answered "How long will it take?" and she replied "25-30 minutes."  

Why does it take 25 minutes to generate a label and slap it on a bottle of shampoo? It isn't as if they have to formulate it. I opted to pick it up later, so, tomorrow I will have to go 6 miles out of my way to get the darn shampoo. What do you want to bet it won't be ready when I get there? 

Note:  there are always at least 6-7 people behind the pharmacy counter when I go there. It seems to me they could be a bit faster about getting RX's ready. What am I missing?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Carolina Order of The smoking Fish - Meet-Up 4-12-14

This motley crew makes up the Carolina Order of the Smoking Fish. The name comes from a web-site we all read and have for years. We "met" on line and now we have met in  person. I already knew all but three of this group, and I was pleased to finally meet the others and see the ones I had not seen in a long time. 

All bloggers know how much they value the interaction of their readers and those other whom they read often. You come to know them, over the years, almost as well as you do local friends. They laugh with you, cry with you, offer consolation, humor and empathy when needed and share their anger and moments of frustration as well - which leads to lessons learned and valued. 

It was so nice to be able to be with them; to share a meal (everyone brought something) and the hosts provided grilled meats and appetizers. I finally met the "Blond Goddess's" handsome husband, of whom she writes so fondly and with humor. He is all she says he is - and a heck of a nice man - who didn't seem to mind the old lady in the group. (They are all in their 40's or very early 50's.) That he is an antique and memorabilia collector didn't hurt, as we had something in common right away. He even let me hug him at the end of the evening ( and he says he "isn't a hugger." I met Blond Goddess during one of my trips back home to Charleston, along with 4 others. I wish they all could have been here yesterday. 

A Durham blogger named Brenda is one I stumbled onto in the early days of blogging and have enjoyed her former blog and being on Facebook with her too. Having never met in person, it was great to cast my eyes on her at last. I'd seen photos, of course, but they never do justice to the real person. 

Our hosts, Tiff and Biff  (their blog names) I have known for about 7 years, as I have Renn and her daughter "L". Nicer people would be very hard to find. They all have very good - albeit quirky - senses of humor and I marvel at their take on life.....and say....."Why didn't I think of that?" L was a quiet and tolerant teenager; I even saw a smile or two creep over her pretty face. Now she will realize that her mama has some pretty cool friends....lol  Tiff and Biff live in "The Tiny House" in Wake Forest, NC, and no better hosts can be found. Laid back and welcoming at the same time, they are a treat to be with and I always look forward to seeing them.

Shiny Rod, as he is known on the site, is a special person, a good writer who is not wary of sharing his feelings, his music and humor with us on Facebook. He is good with advice about computers and I was really looking forward to meeting him in person; he was so nice. (Gives good hugs too!)

The day was capped off by attending a performance of Biff's band, known as "Steelwater", at the small amphitheater in front of Relish .  The weather could not have been more perfect; both during the day and for sitting outdoors in the evening, listening to great rock music and watching small children play with beanbags. Some people brought their dogs too, and the animal lovers among us (nearly all) managed to pet a few. 


All in all, it was a perfect day.....one I hope can be repeated before too many more years pass. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

In my travels around the internet.....

I found this site, which may interest you. I was doing some research about a place I took photos of back in 1997:

This is Our Lady of the Pines, built in Tucker Co., WV. I was not able to find the date it was built, but we know it was before 1959, because that was the year that Alaska and Hawaii became our 49th and 50th states.

Follow this link to find out more. 


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Not Much is Going On.....

that I can talk about here, so I'll mention the few good things that happened in the past few days. 

DaughterOne belongs to a Facebook site called "you know you grew up in Raleigh when..." and she saw a name she recognized from back in the 70's and 80's. The woman belonged to a group that we joined, and we were good friends until we moved across town in 1982 and the group disbanded. Daughter sent a message about seeing her name, and I went on Facebook and searched for her - and found her! I checked her friends list and found another woman from that group - so I "friended" both of them - which makes me happy. We will get together soon and it will be so nice to see each of them again and catch up on the last 30 + years of our lives. 

I have two pieces of advice:

One:  as you age, remember to keep your muscles strong....it is frustrating to see how quickly a person can deteriorate when they don't exercise. You may have arthritis/bursitis and don't want to move and experience the painful joints, but if you don't "use it" you will definitely "lose it." A little pain is definitely a good hedge against losing mobility.

Two:  Reserve a bit of skepticism when you think you know someone. There are people who can appear to be a certain way and when they suddenly show their true colors, it is an extremely rough lesson to learn. I hate to be a cynic, but sometimes a touch of cynicism can be valuable when you find out that someone you thought you knew is a very different person inside. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Royally Ticked Off and....

trying to get over it.

Last week, I received a letter from a collections agency, saying we owed $171 on a "past-due" insurance account. I was 99% certain that wasn't true, but had to check it out. I emailed my insurance agent, who happens to be my son, and asked him to look into it for me. 

I just received an email from the insurance broker, saying that it was sent in error and apologizing. Our last payment to the company with which they had placed the fire policy on our old home (the one we sold last October) had been received, but not recorded. 

An email asking them to be sure that this non-debt gets wiped from our credit reports has been sent, but to be sure, I will have to get our credit reports in about 4-5 months, to see if it has been done. 

WHY don't people who work in offices check and double-check their work??? I hope this serves as a lesson for others:  for those who oversee data entry in offices - do your jobs well, and for consumers - make sure you check and double-check invoices. Don't just pay something without knowing for certain you owe it. (I know, it sounds nuts, but I have known people who would do that.)  $170 isn't much, but it's a lot if you don't really owe it!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Ordered a Book.....

from Amazon last week and when it arrived in my mailbox, the envelope looked good (although a bit large for the book) and there was no damage to it. So, imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope to find a paper-back book with damage to the spine, indicating severe folding at some point in the mailing process. The paper with all the details of the transaction was also damaged, in fact only about 1/3 of it was included in the envelope. 

I sent an email to Amazon and followed up with one to the seller, who responded quickly and offered to send another copy, which was used and heavily annotated. Since this copy is not so damaged as to prevent me from reading it, I said not to bother. 

After cleaning closets yesterday and this morning, I took "Brunellechi's Dome" (by Ross King) out onto the deck and reveled in the sunshine and warm breezes we were blessed with today.  I started reading, and I couldn't stop. That often happens with fiction books, but not with non-fiction. Perhaps it is because I have always had a love of architecture; when I read "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett it was the same - I simply couldn't put it down. This book is historically accurate, and has interesting stories about the artists and craftsmen who were working in Florence and other parts of Italy during the 1400's, when the dome was being designed and built.

Before we went to Italy in 2006, I had no deep interest in it, (even though I am married to a man who is part Italian) but after that visit, I can truthfully say it is a wonderful place and I would love to return, to see all the places we saw before and visit those we didn't. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to travel in Europe know the magnificence of the domed churches and cathedrals in every country, and especially in Italy. The domes are awe-inspiring marvels of engineering, which were built so long ago that we hardly can believe the abilities they had developed so well  (without computers and modern techniques!)

If you have any interest in these things, I suggest you read "Brunellechi's Dome."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

That's One Item off my Bucket List...

Nancy, one of the women from our old neighborhood planned a pot-luck luncheon for our friend Kerstin today, and also, a wonderful private concert with Anita Burroughs-Price, the harpist with our NC Symphony. I have long wanted to touch a harp, and today was the day. Although I really wanted to touch the strings and pretend to play  it, I consoled myself with studying the frame - which was gorgeous in every way, as you can see. I believe Anita said this harp was made in 1936. 

Anita not only played for about 45 minutes, she told stories about some of the songs, or the makers of harps, or former owners of them, which really added to the enjoyment of the afternoon. 

Kerstin prepared the kitchen and dining room tables for the group of nine. 
We ate lavishly (as usual) and excellently (as usual.) Chicken and broccoli, white cheddar/Gruyere mac and cheese, a cranberry casserole (one of my favorites), croissants, a lovely congealed salad, wonderful canapes and lemon bars for dessert (to die for) and white wine for those who imbibe. I forgot to take photos of my plate, but I did get the place card - after dinner.  It was just lovely and I felt blessed to be among the invitees. 

While Anita was playing "Londonderry Air" I inexplicably began to weep. I don't know why, but the incomparable, richly-sweet sounds of a harp are soothing to my soul.  Thank you, Nancy for planning this day and thanks again to Anita for sharing her wonderful instrument and talent so freely with us.