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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Yesterday we blew a tire on the highway. In the 20 years of being on the road traveling for our business, this has never occurred, and it happened just a few blocks from where we live. The quirkier things got the more blessed we became. How does that work?
Thank God for cell phones and AAA! With a tow truck on its way, Groom and I squeezed out of the vehicle and stood in the median to wait as people refused to slow down even with a stranded vehicle blocking one lane. They zoomed past, some swerving last second. What, were they texting and didn’t notice a completely stopped vehicle with its hazard lights on??
A police officer responding to another call rolled up behind us with his flashing lights and officially blocked the lane. Huge sigh of relief! But as he approached the vehicle, I was momentarily concerned he was going to give us a ticket for interrupting traffic or standing in the middle of the highway or breaking some other law.
Immediately another car experienced a flat right across from us, stopping traffic in her lane. At this point, the three lane highway was reduced to a single lane during rush hour. With the addition of a second police officer on the scene, gawkers from the opposite side of the freeway slowed oncoming traffic to a crawl. In other words, traffic was affected in both directions. Oh, the joys of being a temporary spectacle.
Next, an ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) truck magically appeared with its flashing lights, cones and arrows. The scene just kept getting bigger. The opinions of the police officer, the ODOT gentleman and the tow truck guys were that it hardly ever happens that two vehicles in the same stretch of road at the same time get flat tires unless somebody has purposely thrown or accidentally dropped sharp blowey-outy tire things.
With the addition of the ODOT truck, the police officer helping us was able to give Groom a ride home because we had a client waiting on our front steps for a design consultation, wondering why we had stood her up. I tried to walk home earlier but the policeman would not allow me to put myself and other motorists at risk by walking down the highway. Hey, I was just trying to keep my appointment.
Since I was the one with the AAA card, I then waited by myself for the towers. When they had the van safely loaded on the truck bed, I was able to talk them into stopping at our house, helping me unload the van full of groceries (picture the frozen foods starting to melt), and then take Groom to Les Schwab for new tires. Yes, we definitely tipped them for their kindness and willingness to go the extra step.
I then was able to design a pair of earrings for a woman who is leaving for Europe next week.
Before, Groom and I believed that someone being blessed meant that nothing disruptive ever happens to them. But after this experience, we have a new definition. While I was scared for a little bit, I mean, it is unnerving to suddenly stop mid-high speed traffic, everyone was safe and we were immediately taken care of by AAA, the police, ODOT, the helpful towers, and they made it to Les Schwab just before closing time at 6pm. Everyone was kind, understanding and we have brand new tires.
So perhaps being blessed means all’s well that ends well.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Hello from sunny California! We're currently in the Bay area for the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts this weekend.
Our big thrill of the day was finally finding fresh dates, pre-shrivel. They ARE as delicious as they were described to us.
To all of you on the storm impending East Coast, or with loved ones there, we send thoughts of love and safety while waiting for Irene...
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Thursday, August 18, 2011
Groom knew there was something terribly amiss two days ago when I stopped talking. He became alarmed when I refused to eat. He knew to call the doctor when I didn't want my back gently rubbed for soothing.
But even a misadventure to the “ER” didn’t keep this fashionista-at-heart down for long because how could I miss last night’s “Full Steam Eugene Fashion Show?!” A cat walk full of varied-skilled models wearing steampunk inspired clothing handmade by local designers was worth the effort.
Admittedly, I ran out of gas before the show ended, so I missed the finale, but getting a sneak peak of the Fall Fashion line up was inspiring and I can’t wait to play dress up!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I almost died on my half-birthday yesterday. At least that’s what it felt like was happening. The day started out like any other including an early morning walk with Groom, a camera in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
We were savoring the light, the shift in late summer flowers, noticing the bounty of growing squash in neighborhood gardens and having a great conversation.
But within 30 minutes of coming home, my throat started to swell and I was having trouble breathing. I could barely swallow and each attempt was excruciating. I could not eat and certainly could not speak.
Without insurance, things that would be scary enough under any circumstances tend to take on diabolical dimensions. My experience was abnormal and medical attention certainly needed. Groom called my doctor, even though I have not seen him in years (uninsured, remember?). Unfortunately, his office is in the midst of being relocated.
We were given the option of seeing another doctor later that afternoon out in Thurston or going to a walk-in clinic immediately here in Eugene. In between crying from the pain, trying to catch my breath and learning very quickly not to swallow, I made what I thought was a fiscally sound and life-affirming decision: The walk-in clinic.
I didn’t know if I would be around long enough to be seen late in the afternoon and when Groom called the clinic, they told him no one was in the waiting room and there were two doctors on staff so to come on down. We made sure that it was not the ER and we were assured that the ER had moved to RiverBend.
Fifteen minutes later when we walked through the door to the clinic, it was not empty. Several scary looking people, yes, scary, in various states of drug impairment were crying, yelling, coughing and one woman was complaining there was blood on the chair. Another man was taking a taxi to the Mission. This only confirmed that this was a “we see everybody” clinic.
Throughout the entire ordeal, I asked every person I encountered, from the check in person, the man who took my temperature and blood pressure, the nurse, the doctor, to the X-Ray technician how much these services were going to cost as I was uninsured.
Each person told me, “don’t worry about it.” Then added their own special deflection, “That’s not my department,” “I make sure not to know about the financial end of things,” “you’ll have to ask the front desk,” the front desk told me I’d have to ask billing, billing told me they had to wait for the coding which could take up to fourteen days.
Afterwards, to allay my concern (she says bitterly) they said I was being charged for an emergency visit. Plus a hospital room (you mean that little curtained cubicle?), plus the services of an ER doctor, plus emergency X-Rays, the strep culture, medications (liquid steroids to calm the swelling so I could breathe).
What? On a Tuesday mid-morning? This was a walk-in clinic. This was not after hours, this was not on the weekend, this happened in the middle of the day during the middle of the week. The billing clerk estimated the charges as several thousand dollars. For someone to look at my throat and peer into my ears?
I am almost speechless. After all my asking about the cost of services before I accepted them, why could they only tell me that on my way out the door? How is it that nobody could or would answer my questions so I could make an informed decision, but acted as though they had no idea until it was too late?
By the way, in case you’re curious, negative on the strep, normal blood pressure, no temperature.
But imagine this if you will. Moments earlier, my 80-year old father was painting his bedroom. He set the paint can on top of the ladder. He bumped the ladder, paint fell down went boom. All over his clothes, all over his shoes, all over the carpet, all over the plastic covered furniture.
My mother hears from the other room, “No. No no no. Nooo.” She enters the room to see my father covered in white paint. Next, they are squatting on the floor (not easy to do in my 40’s!), scooping up the paint with spoons. Retaining their renowned senses of humor, my mother asks dad, “Hon, was this on your list for today?”
He replies, “Of course it was. Was it on yours?” Then the phone rings on their end. Groom is calling to tell them about the near miss with their youngest daughter while we wait for my emergency room prescribed Rx. They don’t miss a beat, don’t bother to tell their son-in-law that they are covered in paint, they just lend their ear and support.
So if I didn’t die yesterday, but am not yet totally excited over that fact (too tired, bummed about the looming bills), then I can certainly at least look for the life affirming lesson and possible gift from this whatever it might turn out to be.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
My father pointed out that in terms of miles driven from Oregon to Utah and back, Groom and I traversed more than half way across the country. No wonder we’re tired!
We also celebrated 20 years of marriage and his 50th birthday while on the road. Celebrated might be too strong a word for riding 10 hours in the van that day, but hey, at least we spent it together.
Yes, we’ll be thinking of something imaginative to do for our milestone, but as we’ve already been blessed with a trip to Mexico and New York earlier this year, it won’t have to be over the top.
We would have posted more from the road, however, Internet reception for our laptop or phone was not very good (okay, practically non-existent) in the 7,000 feet above sea level.
Home to the Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City is also a fertile training ground for athletes because it is darn difficult to breathe that high up when a person t’aint used to it. By the time a human body acclimates and can perform a sport impressively, then when back to playing on home turf, boy, can that athlete fly!
Speaking of home turf, we’re back on ours for a brief moment to create more stock and then head for California.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
After 17 hours in the van spread over two days, we finally arrived in Park City, Utah this afternoon just in time for a good old fashioned thunder and lighting storm. I took photos of the drive including the menacing sky with my 35mm which is why this gorgeous blue sky and white snowy peaks of The Three Sisters are featured here instead. This one was taken yesterday closer to home with my phone.
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