Tuesday, October 5, 2021

An UN-EZ Day

October 5, 2021.

It was like a kick to the gut. I was beyond angry all the way to sick and actually felt like I might vomit. I told Glenda this is the kind of angry that makes a man drink and then commit violence. 

Our calendar says that we have nine days until our scheduled departure on October 14th for a trip that includes a tour of three Italian cities and a 7-day cruise in the Adriatic and around the Greek Isles. A trip we have anxiously awaited. A trip we have planned for months. A trip we booked and paid for in May of this year. I had slept poorly the night before, out of excitement and apprehension for the trip. We have made lists, shopped, located all essentials for travel, practice packed. Still, my mind wouldn't stop going over the lists and the mechanics of the travel. 

The Email in my inbox from the travel firm said, "Here's your updated itinerary!" Cool. Except upon examination, it proved anything but cool. 

This 'updated' itinerary was a major change. Nearly every aspect of the trip had been changed. The date of arrival in Italy was changed--meaning the date of our departure was changed to an earlier date. The city of arrival into Italy was changed. The date of the cruise ship's departure was changed. Its departure port was changed. The city and country of departure for our return flight to the U.S. was changed, along with its date. Nearly every detail of the two-week vacation was different than the one we had planned. And the changes were problematic. 

My mind boggled. I felt clammy, my breath rapid and shallow. My hands were sweating. The 'updated' departure from the U.S. was now only five days away--on a Sunday. 

Italy currently requires a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. A Sunday departure and near 24 hours in transit means we would have to have the quick-turn test done on Saturday next. Does anyone do that? Can we get an appointment? We have an appointment for the tests a week from tomorrow, Wednesday the 13th. We would have to cancel that one. 

That assumes that American Airlines can and will change our air reservations. We are booked to fly to Milan and then return from Rome 14 days later. The new itinerary calls for us to fly into Rome and return to the U.S. from Athens 11 days later. Does AA even serve these routes? We paid for upgraded seating--will AA have that available on new flights at short notice? What will the change cost us? (We booked our air travel separate from the main group because of our departure city and the fact that we had nearly $3,000 of flight credits with AA from an earlier Covid-related cancellation that needed to be used before the end of this year--so the travel firm is not, cannot, make changes to the confirmed air reservations for us.) 

An 11-day tour and cruise instead of a 14-day tour and cruise? Will we get a partial refund from the travel firm?

Sigh. Airport parking. I have a pre-paid reservation for airport parking in Phoenix for two weeks starting 9 days from today. Will I be able to change that?

And our furry best friend. The pet-sitter is expecting him the afternoon of Wednesday, October 13th. Can she accommodate the change? Will that impact the cost?

There's a hotel glitch, too. The original tour group was to wind up their visit so as to depart the Rome airport for the U.S. on October 27th. AA could not accommodate us at our required level of service on the 27th, so our return from Rome is booked for the morning of the 28th. As a result, we have a reservation at the Rome Airport hotel for one extra night. Pre-paid, of course, to the tune of $250.00. So many changes to be made! I didn't even think of the scheduled USPS mail hold.

But, of course, I can't make any of those changes until I speak with the travel firm and confirm that what they sent me is correct. So I called them. Three times. All I could do was leave a voice mail each time. I Emailed both the customer support team and the travel assistance team. 

Their voice mail recording said, "We'll get back to you within 24 business hours." It's Tuesday now. That means, at best, not later than Friday afternoon. For last-minute flight changes on an international agenda. For changes in parking, pet sitting, and a myriad list of other things.

Each Email elicited a prompt, automated response. "We have received your query. We will get back to you as soon as we can." Yeah, right. 

I wasn't feeling any better. But all I could do was wait. Or wait and pray. Probably the same overall impact, but quiet time might calm me down. After some solitary reflection (checking my Email every two minutes), I told Glenda, "Well, we have a roof over our head, food in the pantry, and a little money in the bank. We are OK."  After that, I decided I had other errands and I had better do them.

Bidding my bride farewell I headed to the grocery store three miles away. On my way, cruising northbound at the 45-mph speed limit, a traffic signal turned from green to yellow just as I entered the intersection. For some reason, the driver of the southbound red Mustang decided that was his signal to turn left. In front of me. Despite my full-panic stop and evasive maneuvering, our cars kissed, clipped ever so lightly. A piece of chrome trim was torn from his taillight trim. He didn't stop. When I stopped, after a few moments of shaking, I examined my car. I could see no sign of any damage at all. No dents. No scratches. No missing pieces. No sign that another car at speed had been so close. All the lights and accessories operated as normal. I resumed my drive and completed my shopping. The trip home was uneventful.

Waiting at home for me was a response from the travel firm by Email, "Hello Dan, The previous Email regarding a new itinerary doesn't apply to your upcoming vacation. That Email was sent to you by mistake. So sorry!"

Relief battled exhaustion. I think exhaustion won. 



Wednesday, September 15, 2021

It Was EZ to Go Down in History!

September 15, 2021

Over this past weekend, our grandson, Tyler, took on the project of sorting and rolling all of the coins I have carelessly tossed into a quart jar over the past couple of years.

In San Antonio, our credit union, RBFCU, had an electric coin sorter that could be used by CU members at no cost. We haven't found such here in Mesa, so the rolling seemed to be the best way to deal with the bulk coins. In a couple hours, Tyler had sorted and rolled over $58 worth of coins. But wait, there's more!

Amongst the coins, Tyler found an old, soiled brass token. I do not recall ever seeing it before, nor do I have any clue how it came into my possession. But it made me curious. The token, a little larger than a modern quarter, was imprinted 'L&B Co. General Merchandise the Store of Quality 1915 Hazelton, Idaho.' On the inverse was 'Good for 10¢ in Trade.' 

I was intrigued. Knowing that Hazelton, Idaho resides in Jerome County, I researched the Jerome County Historical Society and, finding an email 'contact us' link, sent the following:

---------------------------------

From: Dan's Gmail <dan.g.moyes@gmail.com>

Date: September 11, 2021 at 12:30:51 PM MST
To: info@historicaljeromecounty.com
Subject: L & B Co., Hazelton, 1915

My grandson is rolling coins for me from my loose change jar. He found a brass token from the subject business. [picture below]




I grew up in Hazelton and graduated Valley HS in 1968 but have never heard of L&B. I see a similar token on sale on eBay for $25. What can you tell me about L&B? Would you want this token (at no cost)? TIA.


Dan Moyes
Mesa, AZ
(210) 413-7743.

---------------------------------

In return, I received the following:

Hello Dan, 

I am always excited to find items of Jerome County. I had not seen this token before, but am very glad you have it. I did some researching and got even more excited when I found where the token was used!  

At the Jerome County Historical Society Museum we have a book that Hazelton City put together in 2011 for their 100 year celebration. I am attaching the pages in that book that pertain to this token. The L&B Company had me stumped at first. The name of the company is Longenberger & Belmont--no wonder they shortened it to L&B!  They first started in Milner and when Milner ceased to be a community, they moved over to Hazelton. They were a farm implement dealer. In 1946 it became Stokes Market then in 1960 became Mike's Market. That is probably what you remember. it was sold several other times and in 2011 was a health massage clinic. I will check to see what the building holds at this time.  S

Go to Jerome Idaho Public Library website to North Side News Digitized. You will be able to search for about five early instances of the Longenberger Belmont company. 

We  would love to receive the token if you wish to send it to us. It will be put into a locked cabinet that originally had Timex watches in it so people can look at it, but not touch it and will fill out a donation paper for you.    

My Dad grew up at Greenwood and graduated Hazelton High in 1932. Grandma and Grandpa Helms moved to Hansen in 1947. Dad came back to Jerome to farm after WWII in 1945. 

Linda Helms, Curator, Jerome County Historical Society Museums
------------------------------

So, I am going to mail the token to Ms. Helms at the Jerome County Historical Society Museum. It will be displayed, per her note above, identifying me as the donor! There you go. I will be named as a benefactor in a museum!

Ms. Helms also sent me copies of some pages from the book prepared by the city of Hazelton in 2011 to mark their first century and showing history of the L.& B. Co. Next time I'm in Idaho, I will surely visit the museum.

Along with the token I will include a letter explaining the connections of the Dille and Baum families to Greenwood and to Hazelton, as well. How about that?






Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Road trips aren't supposed to be EZ.

In the U.S., we have a tradition of ‘road trips’ that reaches back over 100 years. Z√≥calo Public Square, a magazine of ideas published by Arizona State University, as reported in Time magazine, calls the road trip the signature all-American adventure(1). Indeed, it has long taken an adventurous motorist to complete a truly epic road trip. Such trips were long much more arduous, uncomfortable, and dangerous than the drives we normally complete today.

A proper road trip can be made alone but most often includes friends and/or family members. The road trip is the embodiment of the ‘hero’s quest,’ which is an essential part of Western literature. The drive, regardless of length, may provide adventure, awe, great fun, hardship, suffering, despair, fear, and joy. All on one trip! A good road trip will build character. As with the hero’s quest, there should be a reward at the end.

It has long been my belief that there ‘must needs be opposition in all things.’ In other words, you have to experience discomfort to truly appreciate luxury.

My eldest son, Derek, along with his wife, Jillian, and their son, Ian recently completed a road trip that surely includes the primary essential elements listed above and fine-tuned their appreciation for the finer things of life, such as air conditioning, comfortable seating, and quiet transport. Their quest was to return Jillian’s father, Manny, to his home in Silver Springs, Nevada after his weeks-long visit in San Antonio. The nearly 1,700-mile trek was part of the second half of the story, as they had made the reverse trek after flying to Reno from Texas several weeks earlier, driving Manny, in his early-‘90s Ford Econoline van, to their home for an extended visit with his family and old friends in Texas. You see, Manny won’t fly. As Manny is a senior citizen, his family doesn’t trust his ability to drive great distances alone.

The earlier trip to Texas in May had involved all the normally expected inconveniences of a long drive, plus some minor adventures, with the van showing a tendency to overheat, but the intrepid travelers were able to overcome that problem and thought they had accomplished a permanent fix. The old van may not have proved the most comfortable way to travel, but the trip was accomplished with a minimum of difficulties and in an expeditious fashion. The trip in July to return Manny to Nevada was going to be a bit different, as the vehicle’s air conditioning had recently failed. Their schedule did not leave time for repairs before the trip.

The portion of the journey that brought them to our home in Mesa, Arizona, was accomplished safely. The adults took turns driving and sleeping, so the total elapsed time was a little less than 20 hours. Twenty hours without air conditioning. Twenty hours with the windows down at 60 mph, wind whipping against sweaty skin and roaring in tired ears. There would be a shower, a meal, and a night’s sleep in cool quarters for them on their arrival in Mesa, and, Boy! Did they ever need it!

From Mesa, they made the decision to drive the remainder of Arizona at night hoping it would be a bit cooler. They also decided to change their route from the most direct route to one that would take them to higher altitudes and cooler temperatures by going north to Flagstaff and then west on IH-40 to Nevada. That routing choice may have been less advantageous than expected. The route from Phoenix to Flagstaff is a gentle climb of over 5,000 feet in less than 150 miles. The van didn’t like the climb and overheated several times during the cool, night-time, climb up to Flagstaff.

I’ll let one of the road-trip participants, my son, Derek, tell you a bit about the trip in his own words:

15:11 July 5, 2021 – We made it safely to Silver Springs. We didn’t think the van would overheat in the cold weather, we were more worried about climbing the hills near Tonopah (Nevada) during the day. Turns out that having to stop a few times while climbing up to Flagstaff made the 5 hour trip to Vegas take about 8 hours. The weather was good while we were up there, though. I got some sleep after getting to Kingman, maybe 4 hours of broken sleep in the van while Jill was driving. We made Vegas by sunup, and then we swapped drivers again in Tonopah. We did also have to baby the van up the hill to Tonopah, and the rest of the way to Silver Springs, though, and that was not fun. We had to run the heat in the cabin to keep heat off the engine, and turn off the engine and coast down the big hills to help the coolant stay cool. Turns out, the internet says 100% engine coolant* boils at about 388°. We did that twice. All this while driving across the desert without working A/C. Still, all in all, a safe trip, although long and tiring.

* Note: Most mechanics recommend a 50% coolant/water mix for optimal cooling.

 The road-trip is something that my family has been well-trained into from their youth. We have endured many at my hands. Some we may have enjoyed. Without fail, they yield awe and adventure. The best ones leave us all feeling a bit like we’ve completed an epic quest.

  

(1(1) Blodgett, P. J. (2015, August 15). How Americans Fell in Love with Taking Road Trips. Time. https://time.com/3998949/road-trip-history/. Accessed July 6, 2021.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Therapy begins easily

I took Glenda to her first appointment for the Mind for all Seasons Enhance Protocol today at the Summit Memory Clinic on Signal Butte Road in Mesa. We earlier had her blood and urine collected for the laboratory panel at LabCorp in Queen Creek. 

Glenda on Light Therapy device.

Glenda on O2 saturation test machine.

I think it went very well. They did some more comprehensive cognitive testing (we get results with roadmap in a week or so), we've had the specimens all collected for the lab panel, she did very well, indeed, on the exercise machine with O2 monitoring -- Robeson Flynn, her memory coach, was impressed at how well she did on that test. She had a bit of anxiety with the chilling in the chair with the optic therapy headset, but once she understood that all she had to do was relax for 30 minutes and I put on some soft music for her (I sat in the room with her), she was fine. Afterwards she said it was good. We may take her earbuds next time so she can listen to a book during that 30 minutes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The daily EZ, August 11, 2021

Cool and rainy today. Unusually cool and rainy. Today's high will be in the 80s with lows in the 70s. We have had over an inch of rain today by 9am. Yes, it is the monsoon season in Arizona, but this year is proving to be exceptionally cool and wet. That's OK, the first two years we lived here proved to be exceptionally hot and dry. Essentially no rain at all during the 2020 monsoon season. We'll gladly take this.

Today I will meet with Mr. Robeson Flynn at the Summit memory care facility near our home. 

They are offering an outpatient program called the Enhance Protocol which shows promise of delaying age-related memory loss or even allowing improvement for some already experiencing cognitive deficiencies.

The purpose of the meeting is to enroll Glenda into the Enhance Protocol. The program is not inexpensive, and will likely involve some additional expense in the form of dietary supplements for hormonal and vitamin balance, and so on. But we (the family) are hopeful that the treatment will extend the time that Glenda and I can live independently in our own home. 

Pray for us and wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Family loss is never EZ

While we were enjoying our travels and visit to Moscow, Idaho, I got a message from my Niece, Jeannie Newman. Her sister, Karen, had suffered a massive heart attack and was in the hospital ICU near Blackfoot, Idaho, where Karen resided. She had been revived but was on life support. Having been without oxygen for many minutes, the doctors were reporting that she was essentially brain dead. The family, her siblings and children, were being asked to make a life or death decision for her. 

In the end, they decided to remove the life support and Karen passed at about 10:20pm local Thursday, August 5, 2021. 

Karen and Jeannie were daughters of my eldest sibling, Sarah Leane. Jeannie is the youngest of six. Karen was a middle child, and is the second of her siblings to pass. Her eldest sister, Lauretta, was killed along with her husband Bruce Thain and an infant, Jeremy, the result of a horrible car crash in July of 1975. 

Jeannie and her remaining siblings, Michael Jensen, Jolinda Cox, and Keven Jensen are making plans and arrangements for Karen's final needs. I may, or may not, travel from Phoenix to Idaho to be in attendance. The family will need financial help and it may make more sense for me to send them the money I'd spend on travel.

R.I.P. niece Karen.

First air travel in the time of COVID was almost EZ

We left home Wednesday, August 4, 2021. After driving from home to Pre-Flight Parking near the airport, we rode by shuttle to Sky Harbor where we boarded a Southwest Flight to Spokane, Washington, by way of Las Vegas with a plane change there. In Las Vegas we met up with Glenda's sister, Carolyn, who was flying to Spokane from Boise with a similar plane change in Las Vegas. In Spokane, we got a rental car and the three of us drove to Moscow, Idaho, to visit with Glenda's sister Jannie, who lives there at 919 Orchard Ave. Carolyn lodged on Jannie's couch, but Glenda and I had an AirBnB reservation for the two nights of our visit at Paradise View bed & breakfast, hosted by Mike and Lynn McCollough. Our lodging was on Moscow Mountain, about five miles north of town, and truly beautiful. The lodging was clean, private, and comfortable and offered a stunning view of the Moscow valley below. Lynn provided pleasant conversation over an outstanding light breakfast. Highly recommend. 


Paradise View BnB, 1005 Joyce Rd, Moscow, ID 83843

The three sisters had a very pleasant reunion catching up with each other. Laurie, the fourth sister, was missing as she had just spent a week helping Carolyn pack to move from Idaho to Pennsylvania later this year so as to be able to care for Mark's mother there. Laurie didn't feel up to making the trip north from Twin Falls. 

Much gabbing was done, several meals were enjoyed, and hugs around. A morning journey to the countryside let Jannie share the presence of her horse, Sonny, with us. 


Jannie, Sonny, Carolyn, Glenda, Dan at Sonny's boarding near Moscow, Idaho.

We left Jannie's Friday morning, August 6th to return to Spokane and fly home. All went well, except...as we were exiting IH-90 to take the Spokane airport exit, as I slowed, a truck flew by us in the near lane. As he passed, a rock flipped up from the highway which broke the windshield of the rental car. Oh, well. There goes $600.

The rest of the trip was pretty unremarkable. Of course, due to Covid, we were in face masks all the time in the airport and on the plane – same as during our earlier travel north from Phoenix. Our flight was a 2-hour direct non-stop to Phoenix. Southwest had routed Carolyn to Boise by way of Phoenix, so we were all three on the same flight out of Spokane. At Sky Harbor, Carolyn generously treated us to dinner at Zinc Bistro before we left for home. We were home by 4:30pm, retrieved our dog, Dak, from Chandra Buchanan who kept him for us, and relaxed. Carolyn reported later that she made it home safely, as well.