Saturday, January 25, 2014

Relentless winter

Only three weeks ago the Polar Inversion struck.
Children from the Mississippi to the Atlantic had no school.
These children, like most, had been off two weeks for winter break
And were bored to potholders by two more days.

It ended, they went back to school.
Toby was grateful.
He has certain duties,
Like watching for children to come home. 

Winter has not improved these last three weeks.
If it's zero in the morning they walk to the bus stop.
That way they will have uphill both ways stories to tell the next generation.
If it's below zero, Uncle Tom throws them in a vehicle to go and wait for the bus.

Temperatures the coming week are going even lower; the school has already notified us they may close Tuesday.
The forecast is minus ten at bus time.
At this moment we are under a Level I Winter Storm Warning.
That means, "We told you to stay off the roads".
This is my north facing bedroom window. 
Weather seldom affects it.
It stays open all summer, even through severe rain storms.
It's quite a snow event today; my window screen is caked with driven snow.

It's fifteen feet to the ground from the deck, and prudent to remove the snow's weight.
It's wonderful to have children to move it.

While you're booted and gloved up, might as well get the feeders filled.

Watching her come across the yard,
A line from an old hymn came to mind.
"Bringing in the sheaves. We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves"

I doubt the birds rejoice when the refilled sheaves are returned.
Our wonderful flying pigs expect them.
Watching cardinals, blue jays, self important little juncos, sparrows, tufted titmouse, woodpeckers, finches among the bare oak branches makes me smile.
As does the janitorial staff on clean up, the squirrels and the doves gleaning fallen seeds.

Supervisors, both of filling the feeders
And of watching the birds, out the windows.

I need to go to work today, get ready for the bi-annual audit that begins next Tuesday.
But, although I like audits (I do!), I'm not about to inch my car up our hill and back down in the valley. And back home.
I'll go tomorrow.

Today I'll continue the saga of Hamilton's glasses.

The optometrist had no frames to fit the lens. 
My optometrist of twenty five years thought she might be able to cobble the frame together with superglue.
It turned out, now the lens is quite out, it will never go back. 
This lens is bigger than the frame. Its pressure eventually overcame the frame.
Too boot, the other lens is smaller than the frame and was glued in.

This could have been a separate rant, but it's just a post script.
A sad note about the power of insurance companies to take my son-in-law's premiums,
Offer me very, very few options for using the insurance
And costing me literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars to rectify the errors and shortcomings of the providers.

This is not the result of the ACA. This insurance existed before the ACA; made reform such as the ACA necessary, and continues to accumulate the industry's wealth one premium at a time.

The optometrist read the lens, but cannot make new lenses without a prescription or an ophthalmologist's sign off. She could not slip a note through to my ophthalmologist yesterday, due to his patient load.
When I see him Monday for my own follow up, I'll see if duplicate lenses are a go.
Since Hamilton is not yet 18 the optometrist could put the order through on their "juvenile scale" and deliver the new pair for around two hundred dollars, not three. 

I am so grateful to have a job.


  1. At keast he won't need glasses to shovel snow.

    That optomatrist should be shot!

    1. Fortunately for him he folded his tent and disappeared into the night. And, I mean fortunately.

  2. I am sure the birds rejoice when you take such good care of them in these very cold days.

  3. Oh dear, I know that my eyeglasses were the bane of my mother's existence when I was a kid. I needed a new prescription every year (I became increasingly near-sighted) and special lenses and it always cost a fortune. I feel for you!

    It has been such a cold winter this year!! We're having a warm spell today ("only" -10C) Quite something. I know the wild birds appreciate that food!

  4. Makes me very grateful for the optometrist I have. He ALWAYS gives me a copy of the prescription even when he knows I ALWAYS buy my glasses from him. Any problems and they get fixed for free for the first year...minor things like a lens popped out or a screw fallen out ALWAYS get fixed for free. He's a good guy.

  5. I am so sorry about the frame. I hope that you find a suitable frame soon enough.
    Health insurance has not improved at all. For people with no insurance the waiting time is never ending.
    Toby looks soo cute in the window!

  6. Hari Om
    Am just ropable for and with you about that charlatan. But am thinking the kids bring light to your life and reward for your effort. DO drive carefully when that hill does have to be faced Joanne! Blessings, YAM xx

  7. Those feline supervisors look intense.
    What a pair of screwed up glasses! One lens too small and the other too large? Idiots?

  8. On the upside, those photos of winter are so beautiful. That's something you won't see in Hawaii. However, there is some snow up on the volcanoes on the Big Island on super cold days.

  9. Two necessary things that neither Medicare or ACA pay for -- glasses and the dentist. Oh, make that three with podiatry.

  10. I just never knew how hard is was to have crap or no insurance. Here in Michigan everyone had insurance, or so it seemed. I do know thought that even with good insurance Big Daddy's glasses never lasted a full year much less 2 and even if they failed under warranty--for some reason they could never fix them. What a scam on the eye wear industry.

  11. It's been my experience that vision insurance (unlike medical or dental insurance) isn't worth much unless you pay for a premium provider. We've had luck with VSP when it's available to us.

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  13. I think I would throw a fit over lenses that didn't fit the frames properly. It's a good thing you have kids around to work for you. I always told my kids I gave birth to them so they could be my slaves.


  14. I love your posts from the Midwest. Although I have lived in eight states throughout my long life -- I am still a fan of the Midwest as it is where I lived in my youth. You certainly have the cold temps and the snow right now. Your grandchildren are troopers in the snow, filling the feeders and clearing the deck. Your sense of humor is delightful -- good post -- barbara

  15. Competition is still the best way to assure quality. Insurance people aren't always interested in quality--only cash. Sad. Pay through the nose for something that works or pay over and over for things that don't. ??????

  16. p.s. so sorry about your super cold weather. We've had January thaw for a whole month instead of a week. Hoping for snow, lots of it.

  17. However do people in the U.S. put up with this sort of scam?

  18. The ACA does make some necessary changes but as long as the system is insurance based, we're screwed.

  19. Oh, man, I feel for you Joanne.

  20. One hopes that Hamilton's glasses will come closer to $200 rather than $300, what an ordeal! It reminds me of my mom when we were growing up, all three of us in glasses, all three of us needing glasses every year. Thankfully the optometrist knew my mom's situation and allowed her to make monthly payments to pay the glases off. She would get one year's paid off and we would be back in again for the next round.

    My gosh, the snow and the freezing temps! Will the kids have to make up these snow days later in the year?

    Been a tough year for you folk in the East as I've mentioned before. We've had warmer than normal days but paying for it with no rain and drought conditions and water rationing possibly later in the spring/summer.

    Are you able to drive after your cataract surgery?


    1. Yes. Surgery was Monday and I drove to work Wednesday. I had work to get ready for the trustee meeting that night. It was a couple of days sooner than the ophthalmologist wanted. He sighed and told me not to make any stupid decisions. I didn't. All is well.

  21. Skip the optometrist and go to Costco…much cheaper. The exam there is relatively inexpensive also.

    The snow looks beautiful. We haven't had more than a dusting all season. I haven't bothered to put the snow tires on.

  22. I got positively shivery looking at the kids in the snow, but happy to see them clearing your deck and filling bird feeders.
    If you'll excuse my language, what a crappy job on those glasses! Imagine, one lens too big for the frame! That's really unforgivable. No wonder the frame snapped. I hope you get the cheaper rate for Hamilton's new glasses.
    I love that stained glass diamond in your window.

  23. Too bad about the "deal" on the glasses. That was such shoddy and unprofessional work. Which is why they vanished into the air one night. I have a friend here in town who paid almost $1000 on her glasses (no insurance and special lenses required). She has had nothing but problems with the long standing (reputable too) optometrist in the neighbourhood. In the end, they came to a parting of the ways and she got some (perhaps all) of her money back and she is now shopping elsewhere. I never knew it could be so difficult to get it "right" with a pair of glasses. I just know what high prices they charge. I have insurance and still my glasses cost me a pretty penny. Fortunately there were no problems with them.

  24. The snow is about to do me in; the bitter cold makes me want to cocoon, so my sleep wake schedule is worse than a newborn's. But broken glasses because the lens was too big,would send me over the top. It was good to see grandchildren making potholders instead of texting.

  25. 'When it snows, it blizzards'...far more appropriate right now than ' When it rains.....'
    Jane x

  26. Not one flake have we had here, but like Jane says - .... when it rains ...' thunder and lightening as well yesterday, but not as bad as the weather you poor people are having. Love the snow pictures of your grandchildren.

  27. Ugh, so damn sick of this Winter and we aren't even halfway through yet. I think shivering is just part of my day now. And bundling up, layering. I am grateful, too, for a job. Life seems very complicated when one is housebound. I think that is why people are so much more pleasant in the summertime. If you can walk outside, unencumbered by a wool sweater, two pairs of socks, a big coat, a scarf, mittens and a stocking cap, life seems easier.

  28. They're predicting snow here in Alabama tomorrow. I don't know about you, but I'll welcome spring when it comes.

  29. Yikes, I've never experienced such a cold weather. Right now, the coolest it can be here is 17 degrees and I'm loving every moment of it because come summer time, it will be a scorching 32 degrees (or higher)!

    It was my pleasure to assist the hearing impaired when I used to be an IP relay operator, however there were many fraudulent calls too coming from Africa! And that made our lives miserable!!

    I'm happy you're still working and with your ability to do so many things, I'm sure the people around you are grateful to be working with you! Take care, Ms Joanne

  30. it's the same vortex coming again here, I wish we had some of the snow to go with just ice, just what are sheaves, bundles of wheat? with all the technology nowadays you'd think something could be done with the glass wouldn't you.

    1. They are the small bundles that can be made in the field and carried off by hand to put in a wagon and take to the barn.

  31. If only there were a way to steer that pressure arctic vortex over to California. The mountains have not had much snow, the bears are NOT going into hibernation. Desperate situation out here.

  32. Sorry to hear the kids have been so board. I like a good day off but to many can really be annoying. I think this polar vortex is effecting way to many states.

  33. My granddaughter had no school today (Monday) in Illinois and no school tomorrow either. My daughter asked me if I could ever remember having 4 snow days in one year during my entire teaching career in Illinois. Nope! No even two! This is really unprecedented COLD! Take care, and good luck with the glasses.

  34. Joanne, I love this series of photos. The felines look very content with their sisal cat tree. It has been very cold this winter here in Montreal, with temperatures as low as -41! Take care and stay warm.