Jim Terry
December 18, 2012
And life goes on
By Jim Terry

The end of the year has finally come, and not too soon. For years I have sent out a family newsletter to our friends at Christmas. This year, I have no good news to report. Therefore, I will not send out a Christmas newsletter.

Without going into the details of the entire year, this is the way things have been going the past week. It is a sample of the entire year.

Last week, my mother-in-law, who suffered a stroke in May 2011, fell at her home. She was hospitalized for a few days, then sent to a nursing home to rehab and receive some physical therapy. Examinations found no broken bones or other damage. She was a little dehydrated. Last Saturday our youngest daughter began to feel ill while the family was celebrating my wife's birthday at a nice Italian restaurant in Dallas. She went home and to bed with aches, some fever and a cough.

Monday, we picked up our six year old granddaughter at her school and she complained of a headache and being tired. She stayed with us Monday night so that mom could continue to recover from her problem.

Tuesday, the girl was feeling better and her mom took her home late in the day. Then, granddaughter's temperature climbed and she missed her last day at school before the Christmas break, and the class Christmas party.

Wednesday morning, the Dallas area was in the second day of a cold front and the morning temperature was 34 degrees. When I came down to make coffee and commence a new day I turned on the heat, but nothing happened. I checked the circuit breaker in the garage; it was fine. I checked the thermostat; it looked all right. The furnace didn't respond. I called the repairman and he told me he could come by "later in the afternoon."

About an hour after I called the repairman the furnace came on and worked fine the remainder of the day. And it is still working. I didn't cancel the repair call because I figured that he may be able to diagnose a problem.

While I was waiting for the AC repairman, I went upstairs to reconcile my most recent bank statement. I opened my Quicken program and began the process. Deposit, check; check number 90000, check. Wait, I'm $500 in the hole. Where is that $500? I discovered my bank had paid a $500 check twice. There it was, two images of the same check and it is listed twice in the checks paid column.

A call to the bank cleared up the problem. It was their fault. I was assured the credit would be applied in two or three business days.

The repairman came around 3:00 pm and worked with the furnace awhile and could find no problem. This reminded me of the days of TV repairmen, those days of the old tube type televisions, when the picture would go out our parents would call the repairman and when he arrived the TV was working perfectly. "Nothing I can do if I can't see what it is doing. That'll be $20 for the service call. Call me if it acts up again," he would say with a big smile.

Before the AC repairman left he smiled as he said, "Nothing I can do for your furnace if I can't see what it was doing. That'll be $72 for the service call. Call me if it acts up again." I thought how wonderful these throwaway televisions are these days.

Thursday our little granddaughter acted as though she felt much better. However, she felt hot to the touch. "Where is that fancy digital thermometer we slide across the forehead?" I asked my wife.

"Your daughter took it home with her yesterday and forgot to bring it back," she replied. I found several old glass thermometers in the bathroom pantry and couldn't remember which were the rectal and which were the oral. I thought about those days as a kid when my mom would wipe down, with alcohol, that glass stick filled with poisonous mercury and stick it into my mouth with the admonition, "Keep it under your tongue and don't bite down on it. It is dangerous."

The alcohol she didn't rinse off blistered my tongue more than once.

My wife then remembered we had an under-the-tongue digital thermometer which beeps when it gets to the maximum temp. It has those little plastic covers that go over the probe so it never comes in direct contact with the sick kid. We stuck that in the girl's mouth and a few seconds later it beeped. Wait a minute, I thought, this says 97.2 degrees. Something must be wrong. I tried it on myself, same thing. Then, I noticed a little symbol blinking-need new battery.

A trip to the local hardware store and $5.00 later we tried again. This time her temp was 97.7. Same with me.

The only thing we could do was turn to one of those old glass thermometers. I cleaned the thing with alcohol, but I rinsed it off. After a couple of minutes, confirmed, 101 degrees.

Daughter got a late afternoon appointment with the doc for granddaughter. The diagnosis-strep throat. The cure, a prescription for one of the mycin drugs and home to bed.

By Thursday evening, with the heater working, daughter feeling much better, the granddaughter on her way to good health, I thought all is right with the world. Little did I know that Friday was lurking behind the night.

Friday morning: it has been a little over a week since all this started. Na´ve me, I think everything is going to go well. When wife returns from an errand, she tells me, "I think you have a nail in your front tire."

As I'm going out the door to take the car to the tire shop she asks me what is in this envelope on the table. It appears to be a credit card. It is just another unsolicited credit card, I tell her.

"I think this is a prepaid credit card. Didn't you tell me you would have a rebate on the tires you bought awhile back?" she asks.

Yep, it was the $70 rebate on those tires in the form of a prepaid debit card. Guess what? It has long been expired.

I know we have all felt beaten down by life from time to time. I try to not let that happen. Life is life and it is not perfect. We have a solution to the year's woes.

Scholars have debated the birth date of Jesus the Christ. Most say December 25 is probably not the real date. Some have suggested a September date; some have given evidence of a birth date in the Spring.

I think that December 25 is a good time to celebrate the birth of The Savior. Some argue that since that date was a pagan holiday, it tarnishes the holiness of Christmas. But, I believe God may have blessed that day.

As we focus on the end of the year and think back to all the frustrations, failures, lost opportunities, loss of loved ones, and the challenges of daily living, we often look forward to the new year with expectations of a better life.

Perhaps God was instrumental in placing the celebration of the birth of His son near the end of each year in order that we have something positive, something of hope on which to focussomething to think about other than the year's burdens.

From my family to yours, Merry CHRISTmas, and may you have a blessed new year.

© Jim Terry

 

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy@flash.net

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