Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vaccinated (Or Not)

I had pneumonia back in 1985. There's a whole story about that, but I'll just summarize it by this was about the sickest I had ever been.

In 2005, when I lost my job at Mueller Steam, I ran straight to the Doctor's office to fit in one last insurance-covered check-up. The Doc suggested I get a "pneumonia shot" since I had already had it once and needed that extra protection against getting it again.

I didn't really want the shot, but I went along with it.

Yep, six months later I had pneumonia again. Not as bad as back in 1985, but I was pretty sick.

In November of 1997, I was offered a free flu shot at the radiator factory where I was temping. Usually, I pooh-pooh such things, but, like an idiot, I went for it.

Yep. I was sick from November, 1997 through April, 1998. I had never been sick that long.

Here is my conclusion: These shots may have not caused my illnesses, but they did not prevent me from getting sick, either.

Isn't there a saying that a definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and yet expect different results each time?

(This is a left-over draft that I had in my blogger folder, so I figured I'd throw it up here)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From Today's Headlines (to Tomorrow's Breadlines)

From The Sampson Independent:
Clinton’s Nestaway plant is reducing its workforce, effective at the end of May. It will impact 75 production, administrative and management employees.

Employees were actually notified of the reduction on the last day of March from the management of Nestaway, LLC, a Leggett & Platt Incorporated company. The company is recognized as an industry leader in the appliance and housewares market. The Clinton plant primarily manufactures dishwasher racks. According to company officials, the reduction in force is the result of excess manufacturing capacity.

“We are certainly concerned about the reduction in the workforce at the Nestaway plant here in Clinton,” said John Swope, Sampson County Economic Development director. “ Any time you have a reduction in the workforce it hurts the local economy, but it hurts the employees even more. This action from the home office of Nestaway is not surprising given the current state of the national economic situation. We are very optimistic that the economy will soon be turning around and we will not see any more additional cuts locally.”

The press release from Nestaway indicated the decision to reduce the Clinton operation was in no way related to the abilities or productivity of the employees at the local facility.

The first reduction is expected to occur later this month. In accordance with the federal Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN), employees will receive at least 60 days of pay and benefits from the date they receive formal notice of the plant closure.

Peggy Davis, manager of the Sampson County office of the Employment Security Commission, said her office will conduct an informational meeting with the Nestaway employees later this week to provide them employment and training opportunities that are available they enter the ranks of the unemployed.

Davis also stated that other agencies would accompany her to provide information on services that they may be able to provide. Those agencies include DSS, Sampson Community College; the Sampson County Health Department and WIA, (Workforce Investment Act).

In the memo released by Jim Trimble, manager, Human Resources, Nestaway, it reads, “The company is exploring several sources of outplacement assistance for employees, including job placements services available through various outside agencies.”

Outplacement activities for employees will be coordinated through his offices Any area businesses with employment opportunities for workers displaced by the closing are encouraged to contact Trimble’s office.

First, the good news: I didn't get a sixty day layoff notice at the end of March, as noted in the above story. The "effective end of May" part isn't quite right, either, as we should be going on at a pretty good clip past that date.

Now, the other news: I got my layoff notice today. I am pretty much guaranteed employment through July 17th, but after that, the crystal ball goes dark.

The sad thing is, I can't really blame this on the current economic fiasco. But that's all I'm going to say about that aspect of it for right now.

I guess I'd better cram in as many medical visits as I can between now and mid-July...

Monday, May 18, 2009


As I mentioned a while back, my neck and left shoulder blade have been bothering me.

And by "bothering me" I mean my spinal cord feels like it is chewing tinfoil while a rusty ice pick is being shoved into my shoulder blade.

Being a life-long devotee of chiropractic, I made an appointment at the Salta (pseudonym) Chiropractic Center. For various reasons, I have had to pick a new chiropractor, so this was to be my first visit.

I dutifully got there thirty minutes prior to my 4:30 PM appointment so as to fill out the "new patient" paperwork. One of the first papers shoved under my nose was one that informed me that they expected full payment, up front, for services rendered. By not doing any billing or insurance filing they could better serve their patients and keep their prices in line.

After filling out the papers I was escorted into a small room where I was shown a video explaining what Chiropractic is all about.

"Duh," I thought to myself. "I already know what chiropractic care is. Why do they think I'm here?"

The doctor soon came into the room and asked some questions about my history of back problems and my current afflictions.

"Well, Mr. Davison," the doctor explained, "what we will do today is take a full set of x-rays and then do a thorough examination. The cost of the x-rays will be $199 and the examination will be $79."

Two hundred and seventy-eight dollars? Yikes! I was thinking the first visit might cost maybe $125. I can't afford $278, not with with that week's mortgage payment!

"Does that $278 include my first adjustment?" I asked.

"Oh, no," came the response. "We'll examine your x-rays and use the results of the examination to determine the subsequent course of your chiropractic care."

Summing up:

  1. I could pay $278 and have no adjustment and, therefore, no relief.
  2. I could pay zero dollars and get the same level of treatment and benefits.
Yeah, I paid the mortgage.

My shoulder and neck are still problematic, but I guess you get what you pay for.

Or not.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Infographic: My Daily Schedule

The work day includes the period of time from when my alarm clock goes off at 4:45 AM until my arrival back home at 5:45 PM.

Livin' La Vida Loca!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Men's Health

I'd say Mr. Chodat nailed it.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TV Trouble

It's here.

The day of reckoning that I have been fearing.

My fifteen-year-old television set is conking out on me.

The picture looks like this when you first turn it on. Then, after five minutes it straightens out. Then it looks like this again. Then it straightens out, Then... well, you get the idea.

I have already ranted and railed about these new-fangled flat-panel digital TV and I really, really don't want to cave in and get one. And forget about buying a new analog TV! They just aren't out there anymore.

What to do, what to do?

Then, I had an inspiration.

With everybody jumping on the digital bandwagon, there must be tons of perfectly good, used analog sets available through the local freecycle website!

Yeah, that's the ticket!

So I put a notice up on the local Fayetteville site stating that I was looking for an analog TV.

I short order, I got the following response:

Hello Craig,
We have a nice medium-sized (portable, not the elephant-sized behemouth kind), 19" SONY, hardly used and works very well.
"Yessss!" I though to myself.

I emailed back and indicated that I was, indeed, interested in picking up the 19" Sony Trinitron he had offered.

He wrote back with two phone numbers, asking me to call him to establish a pick up date and time.

I called and we agreed upon a Tuesday, 7:00pm rendezvous.

"But call, first, before you come over," he requested.

"No problem, " I replied. Gosh, with two phone numbers to choose from, how could I go wrong?

Yeah, you know where this is going...

Tuesday evening arrived and at 6:30pm I dialed the first phone number. After a couple rings, the grating sound of a fax machine blasted forth from the handset.

"Oh, well," I reasoned, "I still have the other number."

Of course this was a cell phone number and of course it went straight to voicemail. I left a message that I had gotten a fax machine on the other line and that I was on my way out so as to keep our 7:00pm appointment and hung up.

I arrived at my benefactor's address at the appointed hour. There were two minivans in the driveway, so I figured somebody has to be home. I went to the side door and rang the bell.

After a small pause a man in a gray terrycloth bathrobe came to the door.

"You the guy for the TV?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, " I answered.

"Come on in, " he said as he waved me into the house.

Suddenly, I was in what looked like Hannibal Lechter's kitchen.

"I though you were gonna call first," he said as he traipsed out of the room.

"Well, I did." I squeaked. "But I got a fax machine..."

"Oh!" came a woman's voice from down the hall. "That was my fault!"

"...and then all I got at the other number was your message box, so I figured..." I trailed off as the more fully-clothed TV donor re-entered the Kitchen-O-Doom.

"Well, the TV's out in the shed." he said. "Come on."

The shed was a nice workshop that helped me forget about the kitchen.

"Here it is," he said, hoisting a 20 year old Sony off the floor. "Lemme carry it out to your van."

"Well, I can't thank you enough, blah, blah blah," I spluttered as we loaded 'er up.

Once home, I pulled the old MAGAVOX from its perch on our dimestore "entertainment center." After wiping down a few melon-sized dust bunnies and attaching the proper wires I powered up the "new" set.

Of course, the picture was messed up. The top third of the image folded down on itself and jittered.

Bonus points for the blown-out speaker!

I put the ailing MAGNAVOX back in place and dragged the SONY out to the trash bin.

Well, it was free, and one shouldn't expect something for nothing, I guess.

I'll be hitting the yard sales and pawn shops soon in my search for some trailing edge technology.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Neck and Shoulder Pain

That's what I have. Eee-Yowch!