Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Shaved Today

OK. So that is not an earth shattering event by any stretch of the imagination. But I don't usually shave on Sunday, so that presaged a "different" sort of a day.

Dilatory Greyhound

Perhaps a bit strong but...

Gumpa has stayed with us for the past 3 days: picked produce with me late Friday afternoon, went to church with us on Sabbath morning and went to Popham Beach with us Sabbath afternoon.

This morning he left for New York City to visit some relatives while Melissa spends a few more days here with Jean and, at least for the next day or so, Auntie Bethy and for Friday (build-a-bear day) and today (swim at the YMCA day) Auntie Allie too.

The bus was scheduled to leave at 8:20 AM and the website advised travelers to be at the bus stop 1/2 hour ahead of time. We were there 35 minutes early. I checked in with the clerk at the 7-Eleven which is the bus stop on Maine Street. Yes, 8:20 was right, though she allowed that the half hour early was "way overstated."

Indeed. She, it turned out, understated. The bus had not arrived at 8:30 AM so I decided to do that only thing the I know that has ever made something long overdue to finally happen: I made a phone call. Right on cue the bus pulled in at 8:35 AM. Gumpa embarked with about a dozen drawn from all walks of life, ages and ...maybe I won't go there. Let's leave it there. Suffice to say it was a diverse and interesting appearing group that embarked on the bus headed south.

Salivatory Stimulation

OK. So there is no such thing. So what if I made it up. It actually applies. Somewhat.

Jean has wanted to visit the model condominium during the weekly Sunday Open House for months. Today was the day. We walked over and were greeted by a young realtor with an attractive face. Jean didn't look south. I plead the fifth.

Understand: we have watched (and critiqued) as these units were being built. We know which units will have mold problems, which ones have iffy subfloors, which ones have warped roof trusses. We know these units as well, if not better than, the developer because we walk by and in them very regularly. And actually critiqued is too mild. I have frankly been critical of some of the building practices that have been used:

1. Press-board roofs (I understand subfloors and walls but not roofs in Maine)

2. Leaving roofs "open" without tar paper or shingles for up to 4 - 6 weeks with frequent rain storms

3. The use of 2"x4" trusses for the roofs on single family homes making them LOOK like 2 story homes with just "wasted space" overhead. This design, in a fire, has the roof collapse very quickly, compared to 2"x10" rafters which most of the other homes have.

That gives you the flavor of my opinion of this development despite some admittedly nice touches in the design and overall excellent landscaping design.

We were VERY impressed with the interior finish on the model unit, which is sold already with LOTS of options. It is a 3 bedroom unit (2 upstairs) with a finished basement and a sunroom. Gorgeous. And it should be for $369,000 for a quadriplex! That does include a 2 car detached garage and a $120 monthly bill for condominum fees. The fee increases for duplexes ($140) and singles ($160). One could easily covet...but we own ours and we paid nowhere near that much! We just need some cleaning out and...

Quadraphonic Sound?

Well, it could be if I were quads myself. While looking for a home made cello bow case for transporting a professional quality bow I dragged several clarinets out of my closet. Actually, three. That leaves just 3 more in the closet:

1. My first clarinet (all nickel and in need of a LOT of work to be playable)

2. My step-grandfather's clarinet (a plastic Albert System clarinet)

3. My wooden bass clarinet (which is playable, I just prefer to play Bb soprano clarinets).

The ones I hauled out include:

1. My second clarinet (Hallmark, made in France, in good shape and very playable - cost $100 my senior year in high school)

2. A Buffet Albert System A clarinet - belonged to a church member who died, his widow gave it to her doctor who gave it to me - I had it repadded and recorked, but it is NOT tuned to A440 so I need a different tuning barrel to play it with current bands/orchestras

3. A wooden (made in France) student clarinet which is very good and in good shape as I bought it from a music store after it had been overhauled and it was never played - I bought it for Debbie to play and she gave up on it

Then of course I have my two Bb Buffet clarinets:

1. The 1937 R-13 that I have played on for about 12 - 15 years

2. My new R-13 clarinet (which is not playable as I can't get the bell on the lower joint due to humidity.

I also have Allison't R-13 Buffet here to take down to Bill Street who I use for repairs on the Buffets to repad the lower joint. He will also look at the Buffet A clarinet.

Today I cleaned my old R-13, my Hallmark and the other student instrument. I oiled the keys on the last two and oiled the bore on both of my Buffets, the Hallmark and the student instrument.

In all of this I made a discovery: a 3rd Richard Hawkins handmade mouthpiece with a Rovener ligature. These are worth about $70 plus the cost of shipping so I was very glad to see them. I also found a Selmer HS* mouthpiece which is also a very good mouth piece.

I'm thinking that I ought to learn a little more and go into clarinet repair, sales and rentals!

Internet Musical Supply Orders

I decided that I no longer have the bow case in question, though we uncovered the need to a deep cleaning out of my closet...and the attic...and the basement. Oh, well. I went ahead and ordered a single cello bow case from Shar for $25. Done.

While we were in an "ordering mood" Jean found and ordered a chromatic tuner so that we can tune our instruments better. Long overdue. Boy, am I glad I found! I've ordered a lot of supplies from them this fall and have always had free shipping as well as reasonable prices.

More later...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Acrobat Reader File

Here is the link to the Acrobat Reader file of the End of Life Checklist:

End of Life Checklist

End of Life Check List

Earlier this year I wrote that the most melancholic task one could undertake was settling the estate of a loved one. I would like to retract, or modify, that statement because this is giving it a run for its money.

A friend who recently lost a spouse requested that I write an outline in a “check list” format to help organize the process. This list will not be all inclusive and suggestions for expanding it will be welcomed.

Documents to Prepare

□ 1. Complete & Sign an Advanced Directive/Living Will outlining care preferences

□ 2. Complete & Sign a Medical Power of Attorney

□ 3. Complete & Sign a Durable Power of Attorney

□ 4. “Prepare & Sign” or “Review & Update” Will (if prepared over 5 years ago)

Documents to Assemble

□ 5. Long Term Care Insurance Policies

□ 6. Life Insurance Policies (Update beneficiaries!) include any that may be through:

□ A. Work – contact Human Resources if you do not have the policy
□ B. Professional Organizations
□ C. Credit card companies
□ D. Auto or Travel clubs

□ 7. Retirement & Pension Plan Documents (Update beneficiaries!):
□ A. Social Security,
□ B. Defined Benefit,
□ C. 401k/403b,
□ D. IRAs, etc

□ 8. Financial (Joint Ownership will allow access to these accounts):
□ A. Savings
□ B. Money Market
□ C. Checking
□ D. Credit Card Accounts

□ 9. Property (Joint Ownership bypasses probate court to transfer property):
□ A. Deeds for Real Estate
□ B. Mortgage Papers for Real Estate
□ C. Title Insurance policies for Real Estate
□ D. Titles to motor vehicles/RV/Trailers/Other
□ E. Loan/Lease Agreement for motor vehicles/RV/Trailers/Other

□ 10. Corporation papers including corporate insurance policies

□ 11. Other Insurance policies: □ health, □ auto, □ house, □ umbrella

Things To Discuss

□ 12. Treatment preferences
□ A. palliative radiation,
□ B. chemotherapy,
□ C. narcotics,
□ D. surgery

□ 13. End of Life care preferences
□ A. IVs,
□ B. feeding tubes,
□ C. ventilators

□ 14. End of Life care location (in-home care, hospice, hospital, extended care facility)

□ 15. Funeral Arrangements:
□ A. Cremation vs. Casket
□ B. Church vs. Funeral Home
□ C. Service details
□ D. Funeral plot (private vs. military)
□ E. Headstone

□ 16. Reconciliation:
□ A. God - Spiritual Matters
□ B. Family
□ C. Church Family
□ D. Business Associates
□ E. Friends

□ 17. Business:
□ A. Notice to □ employees, □ clients, □ partners
□ B. Pay last bills
□ C. Sale of □ business, □ property, □ equipment
□ D. Storage of records

□ 18. Travel/Vacation

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New Clarinet's and Tropical Storms

Friday Night Madness

Sometimes it pays to put one's mind into gear before putting one's hands into motion. Other times the work week just wears one down just enough that come Friday night there is a certain gleeful exuberance that simply bypasses the normal cerebral functions.

Friday night = Playing Hymns

Playing Hymns = New Clarinet

Tropical Storm Ophelia = Humidity

Humidty + New Clarinet = Wood Swelling

Wood Swelling = Locked Joints

Yes, one would think that I would learn. I hadn't learned, it seems. I locked up the bell and the lower joint of my new clarinet. Jean suggested (wisely) that I take it down stairs and set it next to our dehumidifier for "a half hour". That was not long enough but this morning I was able to get it apart.

Jean has (again, probably wisely) bought a 2nd dehumidifier to run upstairs in this kind of weather when it's not hot but it's just horribly humid.

To continue, I played the prescribed 20 minutes on the new clarinet and then took out my "old" R-13 Buffet (1937) and played for another 20 minutes with Jean on her flute. We found a GREAT song for Filipino church: Hymn 192 - which has great harmonies for the top 3 parts. We also found that I have music for several other pieces that we have played before with Cheryl including a Gluck Andante (manually transcribed for flute as it was written for 3 clarinets) and a clarinet-flute arrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem. I'll bring the lot and we can figure out what we want to play. Lots of options!

New Topic

If you wonder why you haven't seen me here more often? I've been suffering from soft tissue overuse from work. I've been too aggressive it would appear and I have elbow and leg pains (likely related to driving my little Hybrid which is a bit cramped for my long legs, it seems). I'm not back to normal but feeling cautiously better today. So this will be a short post.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Clarinet's Home Again & Ruminations

I brought my new clarinet home from the repair shop today:

1. The bore has been polished and oiled

2. The tuning barrel has been adjusted so that it doesn't stick or lock on me

3. I have been instructed to only play it 20 minutes/day for the next 1 month and to oil the bore weekly for the first 1 - 2 months and monthly thereafter for the first year.

I was encouraged to bring in:

1. My "old" R-13 Buffet to find out why it doesn't play well in the upper register

2. Allison's R-13 Buffet to get it's lower pads changed, etc.

3. My Albert system R-13 Buffet A Clarinet which is NOT tuned to A-440 as he thinks he can fit it with a tuning barrel that will let me play it with modern bands and orchestras!

On other, more work-related notes, my worklist was briefly down to: one file. That's right. My work list got essentially caught up. Then I had walk-ins with my nurses this afternoon and I am back in the thick of it with at least 3 - 4 file reviews plus as many coming in tomorrow. So they are no looking to lay me off any time soon!

Additionally this evening I signed up with a trade organization for insurance company medical directors, the American Academy of Insurance Medicine - there actually is board certification in insurance medicine. Who knows, I may work on that in my spare time.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

A few notes about yesterday's activities and plans for today.

Muffins, Muffins - Jean's Got Some Muffins

First thing yesterday morning I helped Jean make a batch of her favorite banana-bran-chocolate chip muffins. Well, actually a DOUBLE batch. I cleaned up all of the cooking dishes right afterwards as she had plenty of bananas left to make a second batch later in the day. While I was at work at my computer later in the day (see below) she made the second batch and I cleaned the muffin tins a second time. She has frozen most of them, though Deb took some with her back to college yesterday afternoon.

Deb Is Safely Home

Deb came home for two days. We enjoyed Sabbath together - Deb and I led the singing for church. Sabbath evening we finished transferring files, programs and her wireless network card to her new computer and got it ready to go back to college with her. She left mid-afternoon so that she would get back to college before dark and hopefully before the traffic was too heavy. We got a call that she made it there safely before 7 PM.

ABFM Patient Simulation

Every year to maintain family practice certification we have to complete a knowledge base exam and a patient simulation. I have been studying the syllabus for hypertension through the summer and took the exam a couple weekends ago. This weekend I did the patient simulation.

Most family physicians take about 1 1/2 hours to complete it. A window popped up afte 90 minutes pointing this fact out and asking if I needed help! I closed the window and struggled on. Eventually I got the patient's blood pressure controlled for 3 visits and made no serious errors - I didn't see the option to give her an information sheet about high blood pressure, an ommision that was not judged serious. I passed the simulation and am all set until next year, when I will understand the process a lot better.

Driveway Preparation

It's been 3 years since we applied driveway sealer to our driveway. This year is the year to do it again. And it is clearly time to do it. Yesterday I took a weed whacker and trimmed the grass and weeds at the edege of the driveway and walkway. Then I swept the driveway and used a hose to wash off all the visible organic debris. Jean put up red caution tapes around the driveway and before I started cleaning the drive, she moved our cars onto the edge of the road. Today is the day!

Clarinet Maintenance

After we came back from WalMart, where we found a sale of children's life jackets (we bought 3 for next summer), and visiting Allison and Brian for a few minutes, I decided to do some maintenance on Allison's clarinet and my "old" clarinet seeing that my "new" clarinet is in the shop.

The good news is that the bore of both clarinets looks a LOT better after putting bore oil to them. My old clarinet actually had a crack starting to form on the inside of the tuning barrel which is hardly visible after a liberal application of bore oil. Bill Sweet said that LeBlanc bore oil is the best and I stopped and bought a bottle at what used to be Eastern Musical in West Falmouth on the way home last week. I also applied key oil to Allison's clarinet keys (I ran out of time for putting it to my old clarinet's keys). So her clarinet is a lot better now.

The bad news is that both of our clarinets need work on their corks. The lower cork on the top joint has come off while I was working on it. There is nothing wrong with the cork except that it needs to be glued back in place. I may be able to get Eastern Musical to glue it in place. Other corks on both instruments are looking worn and frayed, so they will need attention eventually.

Potato Picking

Today I spend a couple hours picking up potatoes as they are dug at the Community Farm we are members of just a mile or so from our home: 10 AM - 12 Noon. I hope to have the driveway done before I go - we'll see.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Deb's Home

Deb Is Home Safely

We are so greatful that she arrived safely. Late, but safely. She arrived on the crest of the wave of holiday weekend traffic about 5:30 PM. Why so late when class got out about 12:30 PM?

Ah! The Book Tale:

The college in their infinite wisdom decided, literally at the last moment, to go out of the bookselling business to concentrate on their core business: education. When the students arrived they discovered that they needed to order their books online. Jean, always helpful, ordered Deb's when she got home from helping Deb move to college. So far, so good.

We "joined" Barnes and Noble to get a discount (the discount just about covered the cost of the annual membership). With 8 days to spare we used the basic shipping option which "guaranteed" that UPS would get it there in time (3-5 business days). It turns out that the "guarantee" is not a guarantee.

First of all, B&N let the order sit for 23 hours and 50 minutes before shipping it.

Then UPS took 1 1/2 days to "get it into the system" and when UPS finally did get it into the system and it was on its disappeared! So they re-scheduled the delivery. And then didn't make the new delivery date. It turns out that the tracking label got damaged and was unreadable so after the books got within about 10 miles of Deb's college UPS decided to cut its losses and just ship them back to B&N.

Jean had been calling B&N and UPS daily and emailing them. When she finally heard that the order was irrevocably kaput, she ordered the books again and this time got "Express" air shipping.

At first it appeared that the second order wasn't going to be much better than the first order according to the tracking log online. It turns out that the tracking just didn't keep up with the books themselves which turned up at the college YESTERDAY! Just a couple days after they were ordered. Deb stayed by to track them down and get them into her room before she left.

And then she stopped at Bolton Orchards' store and brought home a box of Cortland apples for us to eat and share.

Deb's Dell 5100

Once she was home we set up her new computer for her to use while she is here.

Tonight we will install her wireless network card so that it will be ready to go.

This Dell 5100 was bought, as usual from the Dell outlet at a significant discount from their "retail" price. It is interesting because it has no legacy ports at all. None. No printer port, serial port, PS-2 mouse port, PS-2 keyboard port. Just seven USB 2.0 ports. Good thing she has a USB printer.

Fortunately, the computer came with a USB multimedia keyboard with a wrist rest (and two USP ports) and a USB mouse, though Deb has a USB Evoluent mouse at school to install.

Deb is impressed with the improvement in speed with her "graduation present" that just happened to be available now. Her computer will be passed along and stay in circulation.

You will notice that I have added a second CD-ROM drive that I found hanging around as a "spare" in the attic when I cleaned out nearly 15 years of computer program boxes and instruction books. It is a Memorex 48X CD-ROM drive that I bought to "upgrade" a previous computer. It takes the place of an internal Zip drive. For now I have connected my USB Zip drive while she is home.