October 12, 2005: My Paternal Grandmother Passed Away

Euphemia Miller (Allan) Passed Away Today.   My paternal grandfather, her husband, died on November 27, 1971: Mahlon J Miller.

I got up first thing this morning and wrote a bit of updates but I decided to uninstall Window Blinds because it was bogging down my computer too much and the crappy software immediately closed all of my applications without warning and didn’t save anything so I lost all of the work that I had done. What a pain.

I was up by 8:00 this morning. I had hoped to sleep in until about noon. But that didn’t happen. By 8:00, the phone was ringing constantly and there was little chance of me getting any additional sleep. So I decided that it would just be better if I sucked it up and got out of bed.

Eric found out this morning that it will be at least three weeks before he is given a new computer for work. It has all ready been one week. It is pretty tough for a guy whose entire job revolves around using a computer and who doesn’t even have an actual office to work in to be without his computer for an entire month. Heaven only knows what he is going to do at work for the next three weeks.

The good thing about being up when I did helped me get outside to deal with the trash that needed to be taken out this morning. I took the opportunity to clean out both of the cars of all of their trash. That really needed to be done. I also managed to take out a bunch of recycling that has been sitting in a bin in the garage since one of the first weeks that we were in the house. At least eighteen months ago!

I went down to the basement and did some cleaning down there and got together another trash bag full and managed to get it out just in time to actually hand it to the LT Disposal guys as they drove by. Now I know exactly when they come: 11:00.

Last night I decided that I wanted to try out a desktop focused BSD project. So I downloaded DesktopBSD. DesktopBSD was super easy to install. Very impressive. It totally beat out any Linux or Windows system that I am familiar with. And it was fast to install as well. Once it was installed I was really impressed by how fast and responsive it was. The system is still pretty sparse and needs some work to meet all of the needs of normal home desktop users but DesktopBSD definitely has an amazing jump on most desktop UNIX projects and I will most definitely be keeping a very close eye on it. I am very interested in trying out DesktopBSD on some of the equipment that we have at the Castile Christian Academy to see how it compares to SUSE Linux.

I just noticed today that Bob Crissman has a podcast out now, with only one episode so far, that you can subscribe to. So give it a listen. I haven’t heard it yet but expect to listen later today.

Min got up around 1:30. She showered and got ready for work and then she and I drove down to my grandma’s to visit for a little while. She isn’t feeling well enough to talk to us and Min was going to be late for work so we were only able to stay for about twenty minutes. But grandma couldn’t handle any more than that so it worked on well. Min got to work and I came home to get ready to go to the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce monthly After Hours event with Eric which is being held over at Leisure’s in Lakeville today.

Before I was able to leave I checked the mail and discovered a huge bill from Associated Healthcare who provides my CPAP machine. I was really surprised since I knew of nothing that they would be billing me for. I had received a bill from them last month that was the first I had ever received from them. It had two monthly rental charges that I had assumed to be for May and June and it said that that was the total that I owed. Since I knew that I owed rental charges starting from May and since in late September they had billed me for two months I assumed that the two monthly charges must have been May and June and that that was the total that I would ever owe. Oh boy was I in for a surprise. With today’s bill I found out that those were actually a “mistake” and that those bills represented an accidental double billing of August’s rental. I originally hadn’t considered the possibility that the two bills for the same date were an accidental double billing since they were expected to have been back billings and I assumed that they were able to bill correctly. Who would let two rentals go out for the same item for the same day? I guess I shouldn’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt, should I? I had even called them back in September when the bills had come to talk about them but the billing person was not in and did not return my call. I was not too concerned as I assumed that I would receive another statement in October that would show the final amount again and I could talk to them then when there was a unified statement. The bill that I received today added mysterious and unexplained and previously unbilled “back due amounts” that had not existed at the time of my last billing statement as well as three more months of rental charges from May, June and July. So now, instead of less than $400 I owe more than $1,500! All of this over some items that I could replace online, new, by buying outright for under $400! To make matters worse, I asked when my “rent to own” would be over and I would no longer have to pay 50% of the value of the CPAP every month. Turns out they had no idea. The rental was going to go on forever until someone questioned it. The whole thing is a scam. They are supposed to call me back tomorrow to see what we can do. But I feel like my only reasonable course of action is to take them to court over this. Apparently it is their practice to totally overcharge insurance companies and to keep charging them until someone audits the books and notices that they have been paying thousands of dollars for a $250 item. This is the same company that delivered a much higher end CPAP model than I should have received and set it up not as a CPAP but as a C-FLEX which is a very different device which does exactly the opposite of what a CPAP does – but to their credit is preferred by most people who get CPAPs – that seriously aggrivated my central sleep apnea causing me to not be able to sleep with the CPAP for a month or more and causing Dominica to not be able to sleep well from the sounds that it creates. So, the bottom line is that everything that has gone on with this company has been awful with the exception of the delivery service. That part was fine. But now I am caught between a rock and a hard place and have no idea what I should do. I could simply refuse to pay and then dispute the charge later if they decide to try to put it on my credit. That might be the best way to go. I could send the amount I think that the machine is worth along with a letter from my lawyer and see if they drop it at that. Or I could pay the total amount and take them to small claims court in Erie County. Either way, it isn’t good. I am losing out no matter what because it will be a huge headache. But I really can’t stand unethical companies taking advantage of me and countless other people this way. I really don’t want to let this go but I don’t know what I should do. I guess I need to pray and wait. Maybe they will give me some halfway decent news in the morning.

After dealing with that for an hour (it took extra long because to get time to collect themselves they put me on hold and then disconnected the line after five minutes) I had to run over to Lakeville to meet Eric at the After Hours event. That was supposed to start around 4:00 and we weren’t doing to badly when we got there. It was the United Way hosting tonight and there was a good amount of food. We were really impressed.

On my way home from the Chamber event I stopped at McDonald’s in Lakeville and picked up a quick dinner. I really wanted a sub but I had been out of the house too long and I didn’t want to leave Oreo there any longer than I absolutely had to.

I got home pretty close to 6:00 and Oreo was bouncing off of the walls, he was so happy to see me. I was pretty tired so I laid down on the bed and listening to “1491” for about fourty-five minutes to relax. Now that I am not travelling nearly as much I get to listen to books at home as well as when I am in the car which is nice.

By 8:15 I had actually wrapped up listening to “1491”. “1491” is a nonfiction book that takes a look at recent research and how it effects our views of what the New World was like just before Europeans arrived en masse. It was a pretty interesting book very much along the lines of what I like to listen to. I wouldn’t say that it was as good as Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” but it was quite good.

Since Bob discovered the podOmatic service I decided to give it a try. It is very easy to use. It is too bad that they only give you 250MB of storage, which is very generous, because when recording so much audio you can fill it up very quickly. The average SGL show is almost 4MB in size and so you can do the math but we will eat through the storage limits very quickly. But the site is nice and easy to use and for people who are not doing really long posts or aren’t posting very often it seems like it is a great service. So I am trying it out and I will let you know how it is. Tony should really give this service a try because it is SO easy to post podcasts. I know that all of you are just going crazy trying to figure out how you can get ever simpler access to my voice so here it is: The SGL Podcast Website and for those of you with a podcatcher here is the SGL Podcast RSS Feed. You can subscribe now using your favourtie podcast reading software and listen to all of the great SGL podcasts as a feed now.

I had to call Turning Stone tonight and cancel our reservations in the Tower for Saturday night. With grandma sick we don’t have anyone to watch Oreo because dad is with her all of the time so we need to get back home as quickly as possible. So we are now going to drive out to Clinton for the wedding rehearsal on Friday and drive home that evening. That way Oreo can go with us and we can all sleep in our own bed. Then we will get up early on Saturday morning and drive briskly out to Clinton again for the wedding. The Ralstons are able to watch Oreo on Saturday so that dad doesn’t have to, fortunately. I called Eric tonight to let him know that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the ARC JobPath breakfast thing that we were supposed to go to on Friday morning. That is actually the one positive thing to arise out of all of this because I really did not want to have to go to that. After the breakfast that we went to last week I don’t want to get stuck going to anymore of those!

I have finally managed to get SUSE Linux 10.0 downloaded today so that I can start playing with that and getting ready to install it over at the school. It is always a big deal to me to be able to get my hands on the latest and greatest technologies. I also downloaded PC-BSD today so see what that project was all about. That one I actually took the time to install while I was working tonight so that I could play with it right away. My quick take on the BSD systems is that they are very nice. Obviously *BSD running KDE on the desktop is almost indistinguishable from Linux running KDE but the BSD systems seem like they might be a little bit more responsive. DesktopBSD seemed to be a little more responsive than PC-BSD was and definitely a lot faster to install. But both were incredibly easy. PC-BSD has a new and very simple software installation mechanism that works great – at least when I tried it. The downside is that there are very few software titles prepackaged for the PC-BSD installer so it isn’t as useful as it might appear. But DesktopBSD didn’t appear to have any software packing utility and I think that both systems would be tough for novice UNIX users because of the lack of apparent means to install new software. Both systems rely totally on the core KDE packages to provide all of the core software, which is great, but making more available easily would help things a lot. It is nice to be able to get a really bare system so easily but there are certain things that almost all users need that are not included and I think that it would be handy if they were easily accessible. Things such as an Office Suite and some simple games. I love that they aren’t included in the base install. But they should be just a click away to make users really love using these systems. In SUSE or Fedora Linux getting KOffice or OpenOffice up and running would be no problem at all.

I did do a little bit of cleaning tonight. Not much but I did manage to squeeze in a little reading up and a little vacuuming. Min is always happier when I do some visible cleaning. I got the dishes taken care of as well. She hates doing dishes.

For anyone who hasn’t heard the novel “Brace for Impact” – you can check out the MP3 Promo. No really, check it out.

I did get a chance to listen to Bob’s podcast of “The Jedi Council Speaks” where he speaks in depth about, yes you guessed it, Star Wars. I am going to make an audio segment for him so you might get to hear me talking on his show as well.

I managed to squeeze in the fifth SGL Podcast tonight. It is about twenty-five minutes long so you might want to save it for your drive into work. Now that I am done with Wegmans I hope that I will be able to Podcast a bit more often. Instead of providing a direct link to the MP3 file, I am going to encourage everyone to bop on over to The SGL Podcast and download the audio from there. Or even better yet: install iPodder and get the subscription.

Min got home from work around 11:20 and ran into the shelves on the side of the garage so left the car running, half out of the garage. Since I had to go out and move the car anyway and since she really hasn’t eaten anything today we decided to run over to Tim Horton’s (Timmy Ho’s as Art would say) and get something to eat. Min has been having an even worse day than me and is really upset and doesn’t feel like going to bed so it is good that we are going out. To make matters even worse on top of her having a bad day today in conjunction with me having a bad day today but she has a test, basically her mid-term, at FLCC tomorrow morning and she really isn’t able to deal with it because she is so upset about other things tonight. So timing is bad on top of everything else.

After getting a light dinner at Tim Horton’s, we stopped by Walmart because we wanted to get some USB cables so that we can rearrange the office to get the printer off of my desk and onto the printer stand. The plan is to move Mr. Humphries into the office so that he will be able to get more attention more easily.

We got back to the house and dad was looking for me. Grandma passed away at 11:00 pm tonight. That means that she died while I was talking about her on the podcast. Dad is doing okay. It worked out well that everyone managed to go down and see her today. Min hasn’t seen her in some time and managed to go down and see her today and all of the grandkids were there (that is Sara, Jeremy and I.) We are all very glad, obviously, that we got to see her today. We must have been there for one of the final moments that she could have known that we were there. She died in her sleep and it was very peaceful. She only had to be on pain killers since yesterday evening. She was going to turn 90 in nineteen days. She was born on Halloween Day 1915.

Well we really couldn’t have asked for anything more. Grandma isn’t suffering anymore and she went in her sleep which has been her biggest fear. Ever since mom died awake and gasping for air grandma has had a terrible fear of sufficating. Everyone seems to be doing okay. Dad and Aunt Sharon are exhausted but I think that the relief is keeping the grief at bay. There has been so much to worry about recently. Its hard to believe that it is over now. I don’t think that it will hit me until tomorrow.

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