Archive for June 2014


June 30, 2014

Well we made it home yesterday. We started the day with packing our stuff and heading out to the hospital to pick up Mary. First stop was to gas up the rent a car. $3.50 / gallon. So we got to the hospital at about 0930. Paula finished packing up Mary’s suitcase then I signed the final discharge paper work. We gave the nursing and PT staff a box of See’s Candies. The nurse wheeled Mary out to the car. We got her loaded into the car.

Mary says who’s car is this? Rental car we answer. It was a short drive up to SLC International. Nice quiet Sunday morning. Absolutely nothing like LAX. We pulled up to the drop off area for Delta. Nice skycap helped us with our luggage. Gave Mary a seat while we waited for the wheel chair to arrive.

I took off to return the car to the Avis rental return lot. and headed off to Terminal 2. I went through security with little problems. I got an iced coffee at the Starbucks inside the terminal. Then I met up with Paula and Mary at the gate. SLC is a lot smaller and quieter than LAX. The flight was full. These post 9-11 days I never see a flight that is not packed with every seat taken.

The gate agent called Mary’s name so that we could get pre-boarded. We all got on board and settled before the throng came along. One of the benefits of being in first class, is I get a drink as soon as I get seated. The nice stewardess brought me a nice cold gin and tonic. Man it tasted good.

We had an ontime departure and ontime arrival. Nice woman from LAX met us at the gate with another wheel chair. I waited for the walker to be retrieved from the stowed baggage. The woman was very patient waiting for Mary while she went to the Ladies’ room.

By the time we got to the baggage claim, our baggage has arrived. The wheel chair attendant patiently waited while we waited for Mike to arrive from the cell-phone lot.

And finally, a quiet ride home. It sure feels nice to be home.

So now we have to start up her out patient physical therapy and make appointments with her personal care doc and her local orthopedic doc. Meanwhile, I’m off to pick up the mail and do the grocery shopping.


Ford Edge

June 26, 2014

One of these days we will be buying a new car. Our Jeep Liberty is 7 years old and has 102,000 miles on it. Beginning to show it’s age. But it is paid for.

One of my favorite ways to decide what kind of car to buy is to rent one for a week or so. This week while we are up in Salt Lake City, we are renting a brand new Ford Edge. It has only about 500 miles on the odometer. In May 2013, we had rented a Ford Explorer. You get a much better feel for the vehicle than a 10 min test ride.

So the Ford Edge is the next size down from the Explorer. The Explorer is a wicked huge SUV. Back in the day when the Ford Explorer was the only SUV in the Ford lineup it was much smaller. The Edge is only slightly less huge.

The Edge is probably just a bit too big for my taste. Probably the Ford Escape might be a better fit. I had a little trouble parking. It was hard to see the yellow lines. As you see in the above picture, it’s not exactly centered in the parking space. It has a back up camera that comes on when you shift in to Reverse. It gives you an excellent wide angle view. I can see more than I can see with the mirrors. Very handy for backing out of a diagonal parking spot.

View of backup camera

So the Edge that we are driving is the “Limited” trim package with all the bells and whistles. The only thing it doesn’t have is the navigation package. Avis probably gets them that way so that they can upsell a GPS system for you to use for an extra $10 a day.

So it has the “Sync” system loaded. You can connect your iPhone by Bluetooth. You can make a phone call using the menu on the screen. It can play music from my phone. When I stop and get out, the phone pauses the playback and resumes playing exactly where you left off when you get back in the car. You can download (or is it upload) your entire contact database into the Sync system.

It has dual thermostat controls for driver side and passenger side vents. That would be a hit with Paula, seeing as I like cooler than she does. It has heated seats. Don’t need that feature in SoCal. Nice feature in cold climates like Boston, though.

Drive is very smooth. Doesn’t feel like your hitting 75 mph on the freeway. Has all of the steering wheel controls, cruise control on one side, audio system on the other.

It gets lousy gas mileage. The performance display says that we are averaging about 15 mpg on local driving. With gas prices in LA north of $4 per gallon, I might look at the hybrid version.

One feature that I find the Ford SUV’s lacking is that of a grab handle on the driver’s side door. There are handles on all of other doors. My Jeep Liberty has a grab handle on the driver door. I have trouble getting into and out of cars. For me, the handle is a “sine qua non”. Back in 2007, when we bought the Jeep, it was one of the features that swayed us from the Ford Escape to the Jeep Liberty.

Passenger Side

2014-06-27 11.13.48

Driver’s Side

Trunk space is huge. Back seats are comfortable. The Ford has a lift hatch that opens pretty easy. Closing it is more of a challenge. Our Jeep has a door with the spare tire mounted on it. Which makes it kind of clunky. Ford has managed to hide the spare somewhere. Don’t know where they put it and for this adventure I don’t care.

It probably comes with a tow package, but I don’t need that. Don’t have a boat or RV anymore. That ship has sailed long ago. This Edge has all wheel drive rather than part time 4 wheel drive. I don’t particularly need either. I don’t see much snow these days living in LA. And I don’t intend to be taking it off-road either.

So the bottom line is that Ford Edge is not the car that we will be buying.

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Mary update

June 26, 2014

Yesterday was Wednesday, hump day. We took Mary across the parking lot to the medical building. She rode in a wheel chair, Neil pushed.

The front office people asked way too many questions that we didn’t have the answer to. Driver’s license no., SSN, what drugs is she taking. We said ask the folks in the hospital. PITA.

Eventually we got to see the PA (physician’s asst.) He was a nice young man. Seemed to know his stuff. He had Mary go for a new x-ray. X-ray looked good.

He then had a look at the incision. Healing nicely. He removed all of the steri-strips from the wound.

He gave us Rx’s for pain and anti-nausea, copies of surgical notes and X-ray images on a CD. Also added orders for outpatient PT, a walker.

We’ll schedule follow-up with local surgeon in Pedro in 6-8 weeks. We’ll just use the same doc who did her shoulder back in January.

We had dinner at Neil’s. Neil made mustard, salsa chicken out of a Paleo diet recipe book. Neil is pretty good at cooking. We added Caesar salad and bottle of wine.

Today will be a quiet day. We need to catch up on laundry. Perhaps go to grocery store.

Here’s the picture of Mary that I took after we got back from the Dr. visit.

I am really looking forward to getting home.


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Cell Phone Lots

June 24, 2014

So you might say, what the hell is a cell phone lot. Perhaps, you have seen a sign for one at the airport. A cell phone lot is a place where you can park for free and wait for someone who is arriving at an airport. They appeared on the scene about 5 years ago.
 The concept is simple. You go to the cell phone lot. Sit in your car and wait for the arrival. You tell the person who is arriving to call or text you when they have their luggage and are at the curb, ready to be picked up. Then when you get the call you head out to the terminal and swoop in and load up your arrival and off you go.
 This means you don’t have to pay to park and wander around the arrival area looking for your arrival. Hopefully, you do one orbit around the terminal area.
 So most airports have cell phone lots. I know for certain there is one at LAX and one at BOS. The one at LAX is across from “Parking Lot C”. While driving north on Sepulveda, stay in the center lane. Follow signs for Parking Lot C. Go past the exit for the terminal then turn right at 98th St. Cell phone lot will be on your left. By this time, you will probably see signs for the Cell Phone Lot. When leaving for the terminal, turn left out of the lot then immediate left turn up the ramp takes you to the terminal. Here’s the map.

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June 23, 2014

Now I remember why I would rather drive to Salt Lake City. LAX. Daughter in law Theresa drove us to LAX this morning. All went well until we got to the terminals. Creep and beep, stall and crawl, four lanes of traffic doing about 2 mph.
 We finally got to terminal 5 for Delta airlines. Got my bag checked. So far so good. Got through security with no problems. I bought an over priced bottle of water for $2.50. Then we headed for the bathrooms. Men’s room was dirty with paper on the floor, one of three urinals stopped up and over flowing. Paula reported that women’s just as bad and worse. Three stalls and line out the door. Paper and sanitary napkins on the floor. What a dump.
 Terminal 5 is under construction but still that’s no excuse.
 So next we look for some food. All we want is a muffin and cup of coffee. Went to place called Farmer’s Market. No muffins, no scones, yes coffee, but no ice coffee. $13 for two coffees and brownie and pastry. Other restaurants also way over priced. I would be happy with Mickey D’s or BK, not some upscale eatery with high prices and slow service.
 They had a display for doggie treats. Paula wanted to get a treat for Beast. Overpriced and under serviced. Had to wait for an eternity to take her money.
 Here’s the picture of the doggie stuff. Not worth the wait. Beast ate it but seemed to not care very much.

So finally announced boarding. We had booked first class (I’ll explain that in later post.). So we got on board and the stew brought me a gin and tonic right away. Feeling better already.
 So now we are starting descent into SLC after having been properly medicated. Once on the ground, we need to pick up a rent a wreck ( actually the car is pretty nice, new Ford Edge) and off to West Jordan.
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Location:West Jordan,United States

Picture of Harold & Mary from 1949

June 21, 2014

This morning Paula and I were digging through the piles of mail that Mary had saved over the past few months. (She hardly throws any thing out). We found and old photo of Harold and Mary taken in August 1949. It must have been some important occasion. They are all dressed up and the photo was taken by a professional photographer. There is not much to glean from the photo other than the date and location from the back of the folder. Harold and Mary would have been about 25 years when this picture was taken. Needless to say, Paula was at home with her grandma.



So here is the photo. Harold and Mary are seated on the left. I don’t know who the other two women are. I will ask Mary when I get a chance, but I doubt that she will remember.


So I wonder what the occasion was? It must have been important. It’s not a birthday or anniversary. I get the feeling that the Wilton Hotel was a pretty fancy place for dinner.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the Wilton Hotel that I found online.


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

June 21, 2014

Tonight you’re mine completely
 You give your love so sweetly
 Tonite the light of love is in your eyes
 But will you still love me tomorrow.

 This is opening verse to song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It was performed by The Shirelles. Today we mourn the passing of Gerry Goffin. The song writing team of King and Goffin was certainly prolific. Together they produced a huge amount of hits during the 1960’s.
 Here’s another song performed by The Drifters called “Up On The Roof“.

When this old world starts a getting me down
 and people are too much to take.
 I’ll climb right up to the top of the stairs
 and all my cares just drift right into space.

 Here’s a pointer to the obit in the New York Times.
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Good News

June 18, 2014

We talked with the care planner at Jordan Valley MC. this morning. She told us that Mary is progressing nicely and she expects that she will be discharged next week.
 This will work well with our plans to be up in Salt Lake City next week. If all goes well she will fly home with us on Sunday, June 29. We haven’t told her yet. We’ll save that news for next week sometime.
 We will check in with the folks at JVMC next week to be sure that we are on track. Then I will make airline reservation for her.
 She still needs to see her surgeon sometime next week for his blessing.
 Meanwhile, Paula and I have work to do to clean the clutter out of her bath room to make it fall safe.
 Stay tuned…
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More on Mary

June 16, 2014

Time for an update. Paula spent the last five days up in Salt Lake City tending to her Mother. If you missed the previous posts, she fell and broke her hip this past Wednesday.
 She was moved to a rehab wing of the Jordan Valley Medical Center on Monday. She in all likelihood be there for the next four weeks. She getting PT twice a day. She can get up and walk with help of a walker.
 I picked up Paula yesterday afternoon at LAX. I was so happy to have her home. I was really missing her. I had made three passes to terminal four before I found her. Usually I hang out in the Cell Phone Lot until she calls or texts me. (The cell phone lot at LAX is across from Parking Lot C. You can wait there for free until your traveller arrives. The idea is that your traveller calls or texts when they are at the curb. ) This time she sent the text a little too soon. Sunday traffic at LAX was crazy.
 We went to our son Mike’s house in PV for Father’s Day celebration. Hamburgers, hot dogs and beer. Paula gets down on the floor and plays with Jonathan. Jonathan loves his fire trucks. Jonathan is really good at mugging for the camera.

So, back to Mary. I sense there is a bit of depression setting in. She is wondering whether she would ever get home to LA. We keep telling her to do her exercises and it will happen. She is struggling with what God’s plan for her is. We can’t answer her but to say that it’s not your time yet. Stop obsessing over it. It doesn’t do anyone any good. It just deepens your funk.
 Indeed, I remember how I felt after my hip surgery in 2009. All I wanted to do was go home. Sleep in my own bed, etc. Perhaps, I can help her through that knothole. Have to work on the short term goals and the long term goal will take care of itself.
 So Paula has a week to recover from the trip before we go back to SLC. I volunteered to go with her on this next trip. I would rather stay home and arrange my sock drawer, but she needs me for support. So the sock drawer will have to wait. So we will be up in SLC for a week. After that, we’ll see.
 Neil has volunteered to fly with her back to LA when the time comes. That’s a really good idea. She certainly can’t fly by herself. And it will give us a chance to connect with Neil.
 So we went grocery shopping today. There are a few adjustments. First, we are buying only for two not three. Second, we are buying things that Mary really doesn’t like (Pasta, for example). Third, we are not buying things that Mary primarily consumes (eg. White Zin wine, butter milk).
 Looking on the bright side, this happened in SLC where we have family that can look after while we are not there. It could just have happened in Las Vegas where we know no one.
 That’s enough for now.
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Location:San Pedro, CA


June 8, 2014

Today is Sunday. It’s been a long week. We’re staying at a Double Tree in Las Vegas. Nice place to stay. No casino. I despise casinos. Too noisy. We’ve stayed here several times. Getting to know the staff, especially the bartender. We leave this morning headed home to LA. I get to blog while Ms Paula is in the shower.
 So Mary is doing better. Paula talked to her on the phone yesterday while we were driving south on I15. She seemed to be coherent. They got her out of bed and into the bathroom to toilet. Removed the Foley catheter. That’s probably a requirement to be moved to rehab.
 We talked to the Nurse Practitioner. She said her blood counts were a little low. Probably give her a few units of blood. I swear Mary has nine lives. There have been many folks (East coast and West) praying for her. Thank you all for the prayers.
 The news form New Orleans is still not good. Paula’s Aunt Donna is near death. She is suffering end stage colon cancer. Not expected to survive the week.
 Did I tell you that it is hot here in the desert? The thermometer in the car read 104 when we arrived yesterday afternoon. Peaked out at 109 driving through the desert north of Las Vegas. We have a room overlooking the pool. No one using it. Too hot.

 We will arrive home this afternoon. Today’s drive is about 300 miles. We filled up our tank in St George yesterday. Once we get into CA the price of gas skyrockets from $3.50 a gallong to about $4.50 a gallon. We’ll probably stop in Barstow at one of the few Dunkin Donuts in CA.
 Paula probably will be flying back to SLC on Wednesday. Gives us time to do laundry. Catch up on mail. Get our Rx’s filled, etc. Dinner with Mike, Theresa and Jonathan on Tuesday.
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