Category Archives: Help and Support

Only Child says Dell Canada came through with Windows 7 problem

Laptop 18-433930798Sometimes big companies do come through with providing good service and with a staffer who not  only knows what he or she is doing but is also polite and professional.

So, after the runaround with Dell Computers, Canada Branch a few weeks back to extend my laptop lease on a month to month basis for up to a year, and get the service warranty connected to it extended, it was a surprise and relief when I actually had to use the current warranty to get a malfunctioning part in Windows 7 fixed. Yes, that is covered by my warranty, so no extra charge. Like many people with Windows 7, the Check for Updates function  on my laptop got stuck in an endless loop. I only hit that button because the regular daily check had stopped working the week before the monthly Microsoft updates.  There were also some Dell software updates that needed installing and perhaps they might be interfering here.

So I used my warranty and the Dell Support Assistant on my laptop to get to the contact info for Technical Support and phoned them. The first person took down the basic particulars, then transferred me to someone else who got the info on the problem then transferred me to an actual technical support person. This might seem like a runaround, but it all took under five minutes with no wait time for each call.

The fellow who helped me was Raj. He explained what he was doing and got my permission to access my computer remotely, taking me through each step. I also had him download and install Internet Explorer 11 in case that was needed to download Windows 7 updates. First, I told him I wanted to see if the other stuff opened the way for the update function to work.

It didn’t. But the email Raj sent me (all technicians do this after a session) with the Service No. also had the line that if I still had problems related to that service no. to get back to him.

Next day I did and suggested a time for him to call me. He did at the requested time and he got to work with the Windows 7 problem again with my permission using their program to access my computer and keeping me informed about what was going on.  And he did use Internet Explorer 11 for this.  After awhile he said this would be taking longer so he would put me on chat and we could stop the phone call. This gave him a chance to work on my computer problem (and maybe a few others’ computer problems that weren’t so complex) and me to go on to other things on my desktop computer.

The whole thing took around three and a half hours (I also had time to cook dinner in the oven and eat it). When I saw the laptop shutting down and rebooting and then put in my password to connect to Windows 7 and then saw the familiar updates available logo instead of the loopy Check for Windows updates, I cheered and got back to Raj with a thank you. And let him know he could close the remote connection and close the chat.

Of course being the partial computer Luddite that I am, I didn’t think to restart the computer again to clear, so when I clicked on the download and install updates – it didn’t do it. So I shut down the laptop.

I left it for a few days and when I turned on the laptop yesterday, opened the Windows Update box and hit the download and install button, it worked. And yes, I emailed Raj’s manager (there is a link in the email for that) and gave a good report on Raj and how much he helped me with the laptop software problems.

I don’t know what exactly was the block to Windows updates, but as mentioned above it is now common on laptops since last year when Microsoft started pushing Windows 10 on everyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. As Windows guru Woody Leonhard says, Microsoft wants us to upgrade to Windows 10, not do updates to Windows 7, yet Microsoft is supporting Windows 7 until 2020. It is still 2016.

Bill Gates, now a philanthropist, is probably glad he is no longer with Microsoft. People used to take his name in vain when he was. But the powers that be that took over from him are missing something – like they don’t seem to know or grasp the true philosophy of customer service. Maybe they should take a lesson from the Dell Canada technical support system.

Would like comments on others dealings with Microsoft  in particular.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dell Canada, Help and Support, Life demands, Microsoft, Only child, Technology problems

Empire Life Insurance apologizes and Hudson’s Bay reimburses

The garden is one way I have to heal

The garden is one way I have to heal

Last Friday, I followed through with phoning Empire Life Insurance and got a reasonable person in the call centre. After explaining the situation, she said she would look into it and get back to me Monday after 12 noon when she was back into work. When I said I had a dentist’s appointment that afternoon, we sorted out that I have vm and she could leave a message.

She did a couple better than that. She waited until 6 p.m. yesterday to call to make sure I was back home. And she fixed it. She checked my computer file and said there was a flag on it since 2013 to not send the letter and to automatically up the premium at the beginning of each new fiscal year in August. She explained that the letters are generated (from the computer) automatically and  sent out automatically unless someone follows the flagged info and someone missed doing that this year. She said it was human error and she apologized for the company. She also told me the amount of the increase which starts with the August bill and confirmed that the amount on the quarterly bill I have is the right one to pay by June 1  and to ignore the amount in the letter and the letter itself.

I accepted her apology. So, no repercussions for Empire Life Insurance Company now.

The companies doing something to fix their errors continues. I have mentioned before having problems with my prescription glasses which I bought at Hudson’s Bay Optical in December 2014. Unfortunately their warranty is only for one year – which covered the replacement of one pair of sunglasses last fall because the one frame handle kept falling off and could not be screwed back in – only could be temporarily glued. They still had one more frame like it, so the lenses were switched to those frames.

Last month the same thing happened with the new frame and in I went and had it glued back on with the caveat that new prescription glasses would need to be purchased as these glasses frames were no longer available.

Mother’s Day at the restaurant the frame side fell off again. My son snapped it in. Then two weekends ago, the right lens popped out of the regular prescription glasses. When I went in to have them popped in (this is free), I ordered a new pair of prescription glasses and of course had to pay full price as the warranted expired in December 2015.

The saga continues. Last Saturday the lens again popped out of the regular glasses and in a very bad mood I took public transit to Hudson’s Bay Optical. They didn’t mind popping it in again and did so. I was wearing the sunglasses and so just put the regular glasses back in their case. They did check and said the new sunglasses had left the manufacturers on Thursday and should arrive this week, Tuesday or afterwards. They also said the manufacturer is in the United States, which would explain the long time frame (pun intended).

Does this also explain the poor quality of the glasses? Because I decided to complain to the manager about all this nonsense. By then I was out of the optical department and walking through the cosmetic department. One of the cashiers called the manager and he came down.

We discussed the glasses problem with me making comments about the poor quality of the glasses and I never had this problem with Sears and had only switched to Hudson’s Bay Optical because the Sears store downtown had closed and the mall locations of Sears are too far for me to go on public transit. I also said I had been wearing glasses for 46 years and had never had lenses pop before. I also complained of the one-year warranty Hudson’s Bay policy compared to Sears two-year warranty policy. He said he would see what he could do about that.

Then he decided I should get half the amount back of what I paid for the sunglasses and had the clerk in cosmetics do the transaction.

While we were talking he noticed that the frame on my sunglasses had again become detached. I handed him the offensive glasses and like my son had done, he snapped it back it.

The next morning at home I noticed that the lens for the regular glasses hadn’t been popped in correctly – it was the same as I managed to do to pop it in with one corner not all the way in.

I’m hoping it stays until I go in later this week to pick up the new sunglasses. And I’m not wearing the sunglasses much if at all in case the frame falls off again. I cannot pop it back in.

The glitches/snafus are getting to be too much and they have affected my health. Last Thursday, I dealt with five problems – all sorted out; Friday was calling the insurance company. Yesterday I finally had that filling put in the back bottom tooth, so hope that is now going to be okay

What all this stress, all this having to be my own consumer advocate is doing is making my IBS and the like worse and it is scaring me. I’m making some changes – more exercise as in walking and gardening (neither of which was done from Saturday to yesterday because of the cold weather). Today it is still too cold to do more than collect fresh flowers but I hope to get out for a walk. I am changing my diet slightly, but mainly starting to drink more water as I’m sure I’m dehydrated. Have also done some more research on the Internet and will see a nutritionist at the Health Planet for suggestions on supplements to help.

And do some meditation regularly and other stress reduction things. Plus get more sleep. Eliminate some stuff from my life and postpone some.

All this may be very well. But God will have to do his part, i.e. stop sending me so many problems in all areas to deal with. And send me some more money to ease the financial burden. The latter is starting to happen. But the first part has to happen or all the lifestyle changes in the world may not be enough. I don’t have the good fortune to have a partner to help with things so the burden of all falls on me. Lessening it would be very helpful.

That’s my take anyway.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Consumer action, Digestive disorder, finances, Gardening health benefits, God, Healing through gardening, Health, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life Balance, Life demands, Life Insurance, Meditation, Older Women living alone and health, Pain, Worrying

Only Child Tallies 2015 and previews 2016

Only child ponders 2015 and 2016

Only child ponders 2015 and 2016

I know I’m a day early posting but I’m experimenting – might change to Mondays for weekly postings after last week. Then I wrote the post on Monday but set it to go live Tuesday at noon. But I wasn’t too clear about when exactly I was writing and with the weather timing, it became confusing when it was posted as I had set it.

2015 has finally come to an end. It was a roller-coaster year all over and personally. Here are a few highlights of the bad and good – not just personal. And I promise it will only be some – if I put all in, it might fill the proverbial book.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in no particular order)

Health:

In the past 13 months four friends have been diagnozed with cancer. The first of them is clear after one year. And my friend next door has a very aggressive lung cancer and is now undergoing chemo-therapy. I will talk about this more in another post about cancer. As for me, I have had to deal with an on-again-off-again respiratory infection for five months, going 85 per cent deaf for six days, new and old allergies (including a local allergic reaction to a wasp sting, an injury from a fall, and a dental emergency. Plus some of my usual health issues. Getting old is no fun. But wait a minute – my friend with cancer is only 50.

Weather – all over it is catastrophic – too much rain, too much snow, floods, floods, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like, too dry weather, forest fires, etc. etc. You name it and somewhere on this earth it is happening. Don’t believe me or think I’m exaggerating? Go to the The Weather Network and check it out. My take here is it is a combination of green gas/climate effect and to quote what the lady on the bus back in May said “God controls the weather.”

On a personal level with weather, water got in the basement three times from rain – not a lot. But it isn’t supposed to be happening because it was all waterproofed nearly five years ago. It worked for nearly two years, then stopped. Attempts to get the contractor to fix it haven’t worked, so I mention his name to warn people not to hire him. Nigel Applewaite.

House repair problems – from iced eavestroughs and downspouts, to unlevelled toolshed, to broken rain barrels, to electrical upgrades, etc. etc. The latest – discovered New Years Day 2016 – a window with a non-working lock – suddenly – this is a year and a half old window with a lifetime warranty (well longer than I will live anyway). I have to phone the window company today and being the untrusting person I am from previous experience – there could very well be problems with how it gets fixed/if it needs replacing and if they try to charge me, saying I damaged it, which I didn’t. It stopped working; it’s defective.

Consumer issues – mostly with utilities from the long (month and a half) business with Rogers Cable taking 8 visits to find out the cause of the on-again-off again no service. I pay  my bills so that is not it. What it was is a cable outside between the poles – which I kept telling each of the seven technicians (one was sent for two calls – not two in a row) who came. Only the last one listened – a seasoned technician. He checked outside – yes, a cable needed replacing and he called in for the service technicians who do that to come in. Cable TV service was up and running within a couple of days. In November and early December , the digital cable adapter has been acting up – they are documenting that and it can be replaced if necessary. If so, I may have to pull my senior ticket to get someone to come here and install it for free. I haven’t a clue how to do that. But I’m hoping all the reception works fine.

The other utility screw-up was when I had to change my Enercare heating protection plan to the more expensive boiler one. Unknown to me, years ago. one of the previous companies (Enercare took it over) had signed me up for the wrong plan. The fellow I talked to said I could get the discount for the first year because it was a new plan for me. I also booked a furnace cleaning – included in the plan. A few weeks later after I received an email about this plan with the full rate being charged, I phoned Enercare. Not only had my furnace cleaning appointment mysteriously disappeared, they were saying I wasn’t allowed the discount for the plan itself. I kicked up a big fuss and finally got a supervisor, who said they would check the recording of when I was signed up and get back to me. I was told I couldn’t book a furnace cleaning until then, but I called in again and did so. And I wasn’t pleased with this techs cleaning summary – he never said anything except that all was okay – until I got the electronic version of the checking – my furnace which is 13 years old got a rating for a 20-year old furnace. But I finally heard back about the heating protection plan. Yes, I had been promised the discount, so I have it.

Computer problems – including the old desktop computer with Windows XP finally not able to handle all programs. My son, Martin to the rescue who helped me get signed up with another Dell Lease . Microsoft’s bad move trying to shove Windows 10 at those of us who have either Windows 7 (that’s me) or Windows 8.1 on our computers, including “accidently” downloading it on some people’s computers. That, plus any new PC will have Windows 10, and the not-so-good screen setup for good lighting and vision (tied into Windows) and trying out my son’s Mac laptop has convinced me to lease a Mac laptop this coming fall when the PC laptop lease expires.

Public transit problems – from city subway and other upgrades to service disruptions to VIA rail never failing to screw up the service when I return from holiday – no matter how my travel itinerary is set up. This latter has actually happened in 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Never enough time to do what’s important – partly because of having to deal with some of the above such as the consumer and house issues.

That’s a sampling.

On the good side for 2015, I will mention now and elaborate in next week’s post on a few of them.

  1. My family, especially my son, Martin and his partner Juni – for their support, help, etc.
  2. My friends – same reason and for just being my friends – Margaret, Nola, Tanya, Marlene, Diane, Bob, Sheila, Reccia, Ellen, Rosemary, etc.
  3. My neighbours for their help – some are friends, too.
  4. My writing and getting books published, writing books, promoting my books including presentations with other crime writers,  my writing group, my clients – the list is endless here.
  5. My health – what works – I can still walk, hear, see (the latter two have some “getting old” features), talk (some people probably wish otherwise).
  6. Good books to read
  7. Good TV programs to watch.
  8. Cooking, trying new recipes, and eating, too.
  9. Walking around and exploring Toronto.
  10. My garden – despite tree problems. I miss the garden now in the cold snowy winter weather. Spring to fall going out in my garden even just to sit calms my nerves, gives me hope and peace, that not all is bad in the world.

These are only a few. May we all have a good, prosperous and interesting 2016 without a lot of the bad stuff from 2015 or new bad stuff.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under cancer, Complaining tactics, Computer problems, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Faulty Contractors, Floods, Gardening and depression, God, Health, Help and Support, Martin Crawford, Only child, Public Transit, Railways, Rogers Cable TV Service, Time management, TTC bus and bus station upgrades, VIA Rail, Weather

Only Child’s hearing returns – problem list still long

Martin, Juni and me on the new couch. I'm the sloucher

Martin, Juni and me on the new couch. I’m the sloucher.

My hearing is back to normal thanks to the ear drops and the doctor flushing out my ears again. I’m grateful for that. A few days after that some of the respiratory gland stuff died down – at least it looks that way. Still have the tinnitus in one ear and some sinus problems but the latter could very well be from allergies. I want to get tested for allergies in the next few months.

This big scare made me think about all the problems – health and otherwise – I’ve had to face during the summer and the fall so far. One of my friends says I have a hard life and he is right. Sometimes I think someone or something has put a curse on me.

Won’t rehash my whole life – that’s for the memoir books. But a partial list of the problems over the last six months is scary enough. Besides the ear and respiratory problems mentioned above, the following has been happening.

  • got stung by a wasp with a local allergic reaction in August
  • tripped over picture hanging wire some asshole left on the sidewalk
  • water got in the basement with the rainstorm Oct. 28
  • constant problems with eaves troughs and tree overhanging and squirrels (I’ve been yelling “roadkill” a lot lately)
  • more house and property repairs/upgrades for safe living
  • many other ongoing health problems including oste0arthritis in my neck
  • too many wind and heavy rain storms causing worries about power outages, roofs, trees, etc. (Another one due here this Thursday – garbage collection day, of course)
  • too many good dishes falling down when I’m not near them – and of course breaking
  • vacuum cleaner hose detaching from vacuum
  • Utilities and businesses screwing up my accounts
  • Dealing with the city for partial green pickup and getting the sewers cleaned

To offset some of this I have a wonderful son and some wonderful friends. Many of you know that my son Martin paid for the new chesterfield that I purchased in August. Sunday, Martin, his girlfriend Juni and my school friend Margaret came over for dinner. But not just dinner. Martin drove Juni and Margaret here and Margaret brought a ton of fresh fruit, cakes (one gluten-free) and two bottles of wine (no we didn’t finish them and Martin as DD didn’t drink any) and Martin and Juni brought some lettuce greens for me to make a salad to go with our dinner. Juni helped me transfer digital photos from my camera to my laptop. I can never get the hang of it. Martin did some other computer stuff and also some minor house fix-its, like taping that vacuum cleaner hose solidly to the vacuum and changing the battery in the smoke alarm in the basement ceiling.

So, there are good and bad. Sometimes the bad is more than the good. It should be more good than bad, but when you look outside at this world (the weather is a good example – but more on that in another post) and see all the crap going on, all the bad things, no wonder people’s personal lives are a mess. It’s like constant uphill living. No smoothies except the drinks.

Like I said before, someone or something put a curse on me – perhaps right when I was born.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Bug bites, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Health, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life Balance, Life demands, November Weather, Only child, Power Outages, Problems, Rain and wind storm

Only Child on federal election and poverty levels

Only child ponders upcoming Canadian Federal election

Only child ponders upcoming Canadian Federal election

With the Canadian federal election coming up October 19, one issue that keeps coming up is the middle class versus the rich. Yes, the middle class seems to be disappearing, but disappearing to where? Much of it has fallen into the poverty level of living, if you can call that living.

The worst of poverty “living” is social welfare or as it is called in Ontario – Ontario Works. A study done by Poverty Free Ontario shows 2011 (latest year statistics available apparently) statistics for those living on Ontario Works compared to those not on Ontario Works who live at the poverty level. For example, a single adult living alone in Ontario on Ontario Works gets $7,452 a year, compared to a single adult not on OW but who is in the poverty level of $19,930.

Although Ontario Works clients received a small increase last November there is still a big gap between the two figures. Much of that blame goes to a former Conservative premier Mike Harris who reduced Ontario Works payments in half in the 1990s.

The title of a report on children living in poverty in Toronto, Ontario, Canada  says it all.  “Toronto holds onto its shameful title: Child poverty capital of Canada”  The study states that 28.6 per cent of children in Toronto live below the poverty level, with that percentage changing with specific areas of Toronto.

Today, Toronto is releasing its 20-year busting poverty plan. City councillor in charge is Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. There is a long list of what is to be implemented during the 20 years. And a list of low income categories appears at the end.

Here are links to the above stories:

http://www.povertyfreeontario.ca/poverty-in-ontario/status-of-poverty-in-ontario/

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/10/13/toronto-holds-onto-its-shameful-title-child-poverty-capital-of-canada.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/06/23/toronto-releases-20-year-poverty-busting-plan.html

All very well. But seniors aren’t listed.

In fact in all these reports, there is not much about seniors living below the poverty level. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m one of those. And this election doesn’t do much to address seniors financial and health issues, in my opinion. The Liberals’ Justin Trudeau keeps talking about the middle class versus the rich. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives already raised the eligible age for receiving the Old Age Pension to age 67. NDP leader Tom Mulhaire wants to raise the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

As a senior I am grateful for what I receive. But not grateful for what I have no choice to eliminate from my life because of limited finances. Unfortunately most of that is in the health area, a lot of which is not covered by OHIP, the Ontario provincial health plan. Outside the plan, I focus on eye care, although eye tests are covered by OHIP once you reach 65. But glasses aren’t. Neither is dental – it never was unless you had dental surgery in a hospital. I have a dentist but can’t afford him. I can’t afford audiologists (except if they offer free hearing testing). Physio-therapy, which might help my osteo-arthritis, has reduced coverage. Many medical tests are no longer covered by OHIP thanks to former Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuilty (as my friend calls him) – don’t excuse me here – McGuinty, kicking some of them off the covered list.

Case in point. Three years ago I had what appeared to be a severe Vitamin D deficiency. If I had gone for blood tests to determine this, I would have paid. So, I played guinea pig, taking mega-doses of Vitamin D from late fall to early spring. It seems to have worked. And getting extra health insurance coverage (read “private”) is out of the question – not when there is a cap on coverage in total dollar amount and percentage – now 80 per cent instead of the 95 to 98 per cent coverage you could get in the 1990s. Not when you choose your coverage a la carte and pay high monthly premiums.

The Toronto report on poverty being released today lists areas where improvements need to be made. I hope more dental coverage for low income residents is in the next few years. Some of us seniors may not be around for the next 20 years.

No wonder many people are finding it difficult to choose who to vote for next Monday. Many of us want to get Harper out. We may end up with a minority government of NDP or Liberal. Would they join in a coalition government? Would that be a good thing?

Only time will tell.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Goverment Legislation, Health, Health Insurance, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Old Age pensions, Only child, Poverty, Progressive Conservatives, Seniors

Only Child deals with time stealers

Teddy points out my time being wasted

Teddy points out my time being wasted

I am so fed up with unwanted and unasked for time-stealers. Over the past four months it has been difficult to get things done. Sometimes I feel like I am in freefall, in overwhelm, running around in the proverbial circles. Was it ever like this, even remotely, for my Mom and Dad when I was growing up? You know back in the grey ages in the 1950s and 1960s.

I don’t think so because the world, society moved at a slower pace then and there just weren’t as many “things” happening, so not so much coming at you.

Well, I’ve had way too much going on – a lot of it bad, some of it good, but it needs to be sorted so it’s not all happening at once.

First, the bad – only a short list or we’d be here until doomsday.

My health – this summer I’ve had to deal with sinus/gland infections (still traces but I see improvement with the third natural remedy I’m taking), being stung by a wasp and getting a localized allergic reaction. I’m now on wasp alert and when I killed one the other day I felt a lot of relief, felt the situation had evened out (I know, probably not the actual wasp that stung me), and getting injured from a fall caused by some careless dingbat leaving a picture hanging wire outside. Somebody got cursed then.

Consumer stuff – this is an endless list but I’m only going to focus on travel. The business with VIA rail delay because of US/Canada border problems when I was returning home from Grimsby earlier this month. Now, a much bigger issue is happening locally – Toronto Transit in its “wisdom” is upgrading/renovating two consecutive subway stations at the same time, including closing them to buses and bus platforms and moving the bus boarding a few blocks away in one case. I will enlarge on this one in a future post. Suffice to say I’m composing a letter to the CEO of Toronto Transit about that.

Too much in my life personal and writing going on at the same time.  And much of it not asked for, not expected.

That’s enough complaining for now. So, what am I doing?

First of all I am focusing on the most important to me each month, each week, each day. The rest can go to hell or limbo – for now. I will only take on so much at a time and let others know. If they don’t like it, too bad. My health issues this past summer have taught me that. I have also started to say “no” to things, even if I’ve already signed up for them. Case in point. Signed up for an entrepreneur seminar all day later this month. No cost. But when reason finally prevailed, I realized it starts too early in the morning for me to get out. No, not get up, get out. Some of my health issues are worse in the morning so I can’t get out of here until after 10 a.m. at the earliest. So health first. I’m not attending this seminar.

House and property work (excluding gardening) – I have made a list of who does what and that includes the two handymen. And I ride herd on either of them to get them here to do the job. Also hinging on the when for the main handyman is when I book a furnace cleaning, so the two don’t happen the same day. See what I mean by too much going on at once? I’m also following my cousin Ron’s advice about housework/housecleaning, i.e., lower my standards about what I do and do less. So just basics weekly on weekends – laundry, vacuuming and cleaning kitchen counter, sink and stovetop. Dusting only every four to six weeks and cleaning the bathroom – maybe every two to three weeks. Sorting stuff out – winter project. We are still in fall.

Have also made a gardening – fall cleanup list and am going through it now – this one is a pleasure. Also connected to this is preparing food for the winter and that is not going well – time problems again. I want to dry some of the oregano that’s in the garden and try to dry some apples and bananas. I’ve at least bought the dehydrator (used to have one until it died a few years ago). For fresh vegetables and fruit for the freezer – so far a few corn-on-the cobs I bought at a farmer’s market, plus local wild blueberries purchased from a greengrocers, and the black raspberries and rhubarb from my garden. Still need beans for sure. Problem? Finding time to get to a farmer’s market including when I can actually prepare the vegetables right after purchase. That’s being sorted out after….

I sort out my writing and book promo and speaking engagements. Too many too close together although I’m not complaining about doing well selling  books at Word on the Street on Sunday. But it’s the upcoming stuff – two big ones. Now I plan to focus on one per month – for October my East End Writers’ Group 15th anniversary celebration/presentations. The other one I’m involved with doesn’t happen until the end of November, so my participation in organizing my group’s part (not EEWG) will not start until November 1. I also have to use my timer more – sometimes when a lot of email needs answering (not today – so far) I set the timer and when it rings I only finish the current email. Then there’s my third Beyond mystery book, which I’m not spending enough time writing. That is changing this week.

Some help from God would be appreciated.

To pull it all together I’m doing an update on the A, B, C, and D charts I use. Each has headings like “Don’t want to do/don’t have to do.” That one ties with “Want to Do/Have to Do” as my favourites.

My mother would be proud. She was very organized.

I’d like some comments on how you cope with time management (outside of shooting the clock).

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

What Only Child is doing with unwanted chores and the like

What Only Child is doing with unwanted chores and the like

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Balance, Gardening, God, Health, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life Balance, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Prioritizing, Time management, Writing

Only Child Grateful for Garden and Friends

Raggedy Annie guards Only Child's front garden

Raggedy Annie guards Only Child’s front garden

You’re getting some garden photos today. From this spring and summer. Friends’ photos coming up in a future blog post.

But both are connected in one way. I am grateful for both.

Let me clarify.

First my friends, my real friends, not the so-called friends like “Lois” who think they can control my life. On Saturday, my friend Bob picked me up at the Finch subway station. We were en route to Aurora for an old newspaper journalist reunion. While driving, Bob told me he was glad I was finding some peace with that church I had blogged about recently.

My first thought was “church.” I’m not a church-goer. I’m no longer Catholic or even Christian. Then my aging-brain kicked in. The Buddhist temple I had visited and meditated in during Toronto’s Doors Open May 23. I had blogged about it just after

https://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/only-child-finds-a-little-piece-of-peace/

 

Bob said that he knows I have been through a lot in my life and he was hoping I would find some peace and that might be with that church. I replied “I plan to go back but there hasn’t been time.” He said he hoped that I would. I’m planning to this Saturday.

Thank you Bob. I meant to tell you this on the way to Aurora, but the conversation got distracted and old minds sometimes operate like the proverbial gnats.

Bob and I have been friends for years. He was one of my first editors at one of the community newspapers I wrote for in York Region when I lived in Aurora (not quite in the grey ages – the latter is my school days). He has listened to me rant about everything from house problems to nasty people in my life (Lois doesn’t quite fit in that bad category, but the boarder that lived here from summer 2013 to October 2014 does), to – well you name it. He has also come to many of my son Martin’s gigs with the various bands he has played in over the years

The garden is my refuge and my delight (weeds and all – you don’t want to know the number of containers and bags of weeds and tree and shrub branches in the last yard waste pickup). As I daily pick the many black raspberries, pot plants, water potted plants and just sit out and enjoy the garden while eating meals or reading or just sitting, I am grateful. Sure, we have had a lot of rain, but it has eased off the last week or so. Some rain and possible thunderstorms due later today so I hope I won’t be eating my words here. But when I see on TV and the Internet all those forest fires burning out of control in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatoon and find out the number of people being evacuated, I guess we are pretty lucky here in southern Ontario, at least up to now. We have greenery, lovely flowers, and fresh food growing in the gardens and on the farms. Out west it is fire and smoke and air pollution and fear of losing your home.

The Weather Network showed a map of the fires and within listed the culprits causing the fires. The furthest east was “Person caused.” The rest were caused by weather (read “God”). The sense of justice in me wants the guilty parties to pay. But we’ll never find the person who caused some of the fires. My hope is that God will bring the necessary rain (sans thunder and lightning) to put all the fires out. And keep the wind away. Unfortunately, current weather forecasts show T-storms and wind.

Meantime, back in gardenland here, I will continue to enjoy my garden. But still keep a couple of wary eyes on the weather.

 

Cheers

Roses early summer in front garden

Roses early summer in front garden

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Family and Friends, Forest Fires Western Canada, Fresh produce, Friends, Gardening, God, Help and Support, Meditation, Only child, Peace and quiet, Raspberries, Weather

Only Child on friend’s unsolicited advice

Only child contemplates living life her way

Only child contemplates living life her way

Should friends impose their advice on what you should do? Unsolicited advice. If you ask for their advice, that’s another story.

Over the weekend a friend of many years phoned me and began to tell me how to run my life and then had the nerve to criticize how I do it.

“Lois” as I’ll call her, decided she had information about a “cure” for my long time digestive disorder. She went into a long spiel about her dental hygienist who saw this medical practitioner who had her change her diet, that it wasn’t all just eating fibre, and…

But I’m coming to the sick part shortly. I didn’t just sit here and let her go on without saying something.

“It’s not diet with me. I’ve changed my diet a lot. It’s stress. I need to relax.  On the Doors Open weekend last month I went to a Buddhist Centre on Crawford Street – not sure if that name is an omen. It was so peaceful and I intend to go back. It’s just been so busy lately.”

I did ask her for the doctor’s name and if he was covered by OHIP. She gave me his name and I did write it down. (Since then I ripped up the piece of paper and threw it in the recycling bin). Yes, he is covered by OHIP, she said. But I couldn’t find him listed in the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons  registry online.

“Does he rely on drugs?” I asked.

He didn’t, but what Lois said that he did to her dental hygienist is sickening.

“She had surgery and he froze part of her intestines.”

Triple yuck! I don’t even want to imagine any side-effects or damage to the intestines.

The conversation continued with Lois saying something about how anti-depressants have helped her.

Was that a hint about how she sees me?

So, I jumped in with, “I’m not depressed (haven’t been for years) but go to the other side – anger.”

“You have a lot of anger in you,” said Lois.

“Yes, but it is all for good reasons. Sometimes I use my anger to do something about my problems.”

She didn’t say any more about that but when I got into what I want to do with my life and what I want to stop doing, she struck again.

Me: “I’ve been spending a lot of time promoting my books.”

Lois: “You won’t make any money that way.”

Me: “Well I enjoy doing that and want to refocus some of my business on doing some of that for authors. Maybe make some money that way. I’m kicking a lot of things and people out of my life.”

I’m beginning to wonder if she should be added to that list. I did wish her a happy birthday as that is coming up later this week, and mentioned that I couldn’t afford to take her out to dinner for her birthday. What I didn’t say was that I had planned to invite her here for dinner, which I would cook. No way now.

Operative word is “had.” She doesn’t deserve that. I’ve wished her a happy birthday and that’s it.

She’s on hold until at least the fall.

Late last night it occurred to me why her derogatory comment on promoting my writing. I am happy about what I do in my writing life (except maybe the straight editing manuscript part. I still like evaluating manuscripts. But that’s fodder for another post). I’m sensing she is not happy with her lot in life. Without going into details about her career, let’s just say she has been doing the same thing for at least 30 years. All lateral.

At least with my writing, I develop and change what I do, learn and improve and also help other authors.

But I don’t tell them what to do about their health and other personal problems. If they ask for suggestions, maybe.

And I have other friends who are not writers and I don’t get this “get a life” attitude. They are respectful and accepting of what I do as I try to be about what they do.

The truth is we are all individuals with individual life paths and it is up to us to decide where we want to go with our life.

So, Lois, take that in your pipe and smoke it.

Oops. Forgot, you quit smoking a few years back. And while I’m glad you did, I never told you to do so.

What do you think about friends who try to run your life? Do they have the right to do so with unsolicited advice?

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anger, Consideration, Digestive disorder, Friends, Health, Help and Support, Helping Others, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Stress, Uncategorized

Only Child on family help and support

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

Only Child and son, Martin on the Danforth in Toronto.

When Mom’s baby sister, my godmother’s first husband died and she had to raise seven children under nine years in age, my Mom stepped in to help. She couldn’t be physically present 24/7 – she had my Dad and me to look after in Toronto, the house and garden, and her sister lived miles away on the farm near Lucknow, Ontario. But we had Canada Post.

The sisters wrote back and forth a lot and Mom used to show me my godmother’s letters, but not her replies. Instead she made a big fuss out of playing Goodwill to help her little sister, something that people did then.

When the snow piles up in Toronto and stacks up on the farm, boxes of hand-me-downs, mother’s old clothes, my no-longer fitting clothes, and I suspect some store-bought ones find their way from our house to theirs (Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This family help and support appears to be following in my family’s footsteps – albeit from the other way round. And it gave me a reminder that maybe not all is so bad here (excluding basement leaks, sinusitis and the like).

Sunday my son Martin came over for lunch and to help me with computer stuff. He not only helped with the latter, he also fixed and helped with a few other repairs, etc. around the house. No, he didn’t fix the basement water leak. Some of that is humidity and the rest – where it is actual puddles of water getting in – is the fault of the a****** who did the excavation, etc. two years ago.

But some things and worries are out of the way.

Martin figured out how to use my knife sharpener, despite the instructions being in German only. My son is studying French and German and said his German isn’t that good. He sharpened my large garden clippers with the knife sharpener, explaining how it works as he did so. Not that it will stick in my non-mechanical brain.

He also fixed the battery in my wireless phone handset. After having The Source put in the new one last month (I had a three-for-the-price-of-one deal), it slipped out of my hand one day – that’s how bad my nerves were over all the worries – and its tenure in the handset was slightly out of kilter. It connected to the phone’s cradle- if I removed the cover and then I had to place the cover back on when carrying it around.

He changed the battery in the basement smoke detector. I did the main floor one (not completely mechanically-challenged here) but I can’t reach the ceiling one in the basement without standing on a chair. The main floor one is actually on the overhead of the doorway, so that gives me something to grab when I’m standing on a chair. Freefalling from the basement ceiling doesn’t appeal – a side effect from having vertigo.

Martin helped me sort out my accumulation of electronic extra gadgets – from adapters to ?? to various wires and cords, to an old router no longer used to a very old hard drive which I have no clue as to its origin. Most got chucked in the electronic-labelled plastic bag from the City of Toronto. I can place this at the end of my driveway for pickup on garbage day.

And he removed the Styrofoam from and broke down some of my “collection” of cardboard boxes and tied them together so I can put them out at the end of the driveway for collection on recycling day.

Maybe the best was when Martin and I cooked lunch together – he cooked the pasta and sauce (Note: sauce was from a store-bought bottle and pasta was store-bought, but he does have a pasta-maker at home and makes pasta there sometimes) while I made the salad with most of the lettuce coming from the garden. We didn’t sit outside to eat but sat at the kitchen table. We had spent a bit of time sitting outside on the back patio before lunch.

Lesson learned: sometimes family can help – even if family doesn’t consist of a partner or any siblings.

I am grateful to my son for helping me. And yes I told him so – verbally and in an email after he left.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Martin Crawford, Mom and Dad, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child – as I see it with many more crises

Only Child's sanctuary - again threatened by negative destructive curses

Only Child’s sanctuary – again threatened by negative destructive curses

The list of crises keeps growing – some repeats and some new. Another world, another life looks awfully tempting. It is not fun having to deal with all the crap coming your way when you have to do it on your own. At least the old air conditioner seems to be working at this point.

So here we go again with more negative destructive curses (not challenges as others might see them).

Repeat: a bit of water in the basement – not to see but the floor in a couple of areas by the same outside wall was damp this morning. So I called the a****** who did the excavation, sealing, etc. two years ago (again – he didn’t return my last call last week.) He’s supposed to continue doing testing – heavy hosing of various parts of that outside wall – one area at a time, but has only done the window and that’s not it. He called me back this morning but refuses to come until I get the city and some private professional to check the drains from the city end and the house end. He went on and on about problems the drains could cause if that is it until I interjected with I’m tired of dealing with all this crap coming at me and reminded him that it is only me who is stuck doing so. I finally said I’d call the city. But I haven’t yet because…

I had to call Direct Energy – I rent my water heater (gas) from them and I had no hot water coming out of the tap this moenin. True, I had run the bathroom hot water taps for a bit to clear a hunk of soap that got down the drain (the idiot handyman had not put a catch at the top of the new drain setup) but that shouldn’t be enough to finish the hot water in the tank. The Pilot light is still on; I turned the water heater thermostat up to high and there appears to be some noise indication that it might be working. I still booked an appointment with them to check it out tomorrow if the hot water doesn’t come back in a few hours. Couldn’t get an appointment for later today but that’s partly because…

My sinuses are acting up – I get periods of sinusitis for various reasons – allergies and a compromised immune system and the big factor – too much stress in my life. This time it’s bothering my left eye – with odd periods of some blurriness when at the computer. The sinus stuff started on Saturday when I felt extremely tired and just wanted to crawl into a hole. A nap helped here but my eye was still sore. However, it was getting much better until I woke up this a.m. Now it seems to be somewhat better again but I made an appointment with my optometrist for this afternoon and hope all that will be needed is some anti-biotic eye drops. Because of my compromised immune system and digestive-gastro medical condition, I can’t take oral anti-biotics.

And the weird one. Last evening when watching TV, the screen suddenly went to that black and white snow static. I figured it was the digital cable adapter – the cable company had already been in a couple of months ago to fix some worn-out cables. But the TV came back a few minutes later and provided it doesn’t occur again I can only conclude it was something at “their” end.

I think I mentioned in previous posts that these are negative destructive curses – not positive challenges. Had quite a discussion with a friend who believes even the bad things happening are challenges. She says that if I got very sick I wouldn’t make it with my attitude. Not quite. Just because I see something as a negative destructive curse doesn’t mean I just sit back, moan and let it destroy me. No. The bottom line for me is when a challenge or a curse arrives inside my doorstep, the problem or challenge has to be solved – either by me or experts – and the sooner the better. But it is all very scary when you have to go it alone.

However, except for the Sears guys for the blinds installations (one even sent me a thank you note. Very good and heart-warming), some help from some friends and family, and (grudgingly said here) even the incompetent new handyman for doing a few things right (fixing air conditioner – so far – and the eavestrough and tree branch stuff), it’s me I have to depend on.

So I reserve my right to be cranky. And when all these off and on rainstorms/thunderstorms are done for a bit, I will get back out in the garden and yank more weeds. Guess whose names will be invisibly on the weeds?

That is if I can – Bell Canada is doing conduit work underground at the end of the property – if I’m lucky it will only be part of the driveway and not part of my rose garden at the end of my property by the driveway (see photo at top) . I’m still waiting to hear back from my city councillor’s office on that situation. Meantime, I have been slowly cutting back the overhanging rose bush branches so the “conduit” workers can do their job – as long as they stay out of the garden.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Aloneness, Family and Friends, Gardening, Health, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Only child, Problems, Stress