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Discussion in 'Everyday Living & Entertainment' started by jastwins, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. mtka

    mtka Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    There are a lot of cost saving measures that the USPS is resisting. I too live in a rural area. For the first few years, we had a post office in a different county 9 miles away. They needed the extra addresses to stay open. As this was quite inconvenient and caused issues with voting and such, we were switched back to the closet p.o., 4 miles away. Now the farther Post Office is open with very limited hours, part time shall we say. We still go there on occasion, as their mail goes north to a sorting center and ours goes south. But it was a comprise to stay open and works just fine being open only a few hours a day.

    They should have eliminated Saturday delivery decades ago. They could also cut down another day or two of at home deliveries but be open at the post office. Many years ago they could have delivered newspapers, not the mailed kind, but the local kind. They go to just about every address, they could have saved the newspapers some delivery fees and added to their coffers. Now that option is just about gone with paper copies of newspapers becoming obsolete. They have started putting large boxes at the end of streets in suburban areas, they could do much more of that.

    It's also unreasonable that I can order stuff of ebay, from China or other countries near there, and get free shipping. Those countries should be paying more for US mail delivery. The epacket rate needs to be raised significantly, especially for China.
     
  2. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    That's great you can get such cheap Internet in Israel @Fillies Fan. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here where everything is privatized. We can't depend on the government to upgrade our infrastucture and private corporations aren't going to invest a penny they don't have to. That's why rural America is adamantly against privatizing the postal service. We've been too badly burned by services we've already lost.

    Our slow Internet costs us nearly $100 a month in ADDITION to our regular phone bill – which is far too expensive to start with, however, my husband still needs a landline for his work. The phone company is now pressuring us to get its “higher speed” Internet that requires a Dish Television Network package and would add another $80 to $100 to our bill after the initial promo period.

    Our other Internet options also require Dish packages and are equally – if not more – expensive. We didn't like the high price of pay television, which is why we quit cable years ago. With only one cable company there is no competition and prices are VERY high. We don't want to be forced to pay the same amount for Dish.

    We swallow hard and pay the Internet bill every month, but many – including the elderly and working poor – simply can't afford the expense. We've been frighteningly close to their shoes too many times not to have pity on their plight. My husband was unemployed due to a corporate buyout when we were first forced to switch from dial-up to high speed Internet and we honestly had NO idea where we were going to get the extra money for the much higher expense.
    In places like Seattle and Portland – where homelessness has reached a crisis – fast food restaurants known for free Internet in the rest of the nation refuse to offer it.

    Since my mother didn't have Internet – like a LARGE percentage of the elderly in this nation -- my husband would drop by the nearest McDonald's, buy a lunch and browse the Internet. However, when the homeless took over a park across the street, McDonald's covered all the electrical outlets and secured a password so customers could no longer use the free Internet McDonald's advertised so heavily at the time. It is virtually impossible to find a fast food restaurant with free Internet over there any longer, so that isn't an option for the poor either – especially those in large cities who are barely able to scrape together skyrocketing rent.

    Incidentally, my mother relied on her mail service even though she lived in a huge metropolitan area. She felt she was too old to learn a computer and against my counsel, my sister talked her into dropping her long distance due to the high cost. Eventually Mom found the lengthy numbers on phone cards too confusing to enter and became more isolated when she could no longer phone anyone outside the city -- a problem faced by many on fixed incomes.

    As she became more housebound with age, cards and letters from friends and relatives were an ever important connection – with an added benefit most don't consider. Due to their unique jobs, postal carriers know a WHOLE lot more about us than many of us realize – and they make daily visits to the homes of the housebound. As Mom got older, her postal carrier actually showed a whole lot more concern than any of her neighbors.

    On a couple occasions Mom came down with the flu. When she didn't get out the front door to pick up her mail for a couple days, she got a friendly knock at the door from her mail carrier who wanted to make sure she was not in need of assistance. He realized she was an elderly woman living alone and admitted that was an extra service they considered part of their job. How many other postal carriers are performing exactly the same service without anyone realizing it?

    While walking to a post office might be an option for small villages, there is no way the elderly or others without vehicles would be able to walk to one central location in our city to pick up mail. The distance is just too far – even when the weather is good. Cab fare is expensive and buses that take you from your door to a business are only for the handicapped.

    We are located in a valley where everyone lives on either a flood plain or foothills. Some of our hills are very steep, so even a few separate pick-up locations spread across our city wouldn't solve the problem.

    We were forced to rent a home on one of the worst hills in the latter part of the 1980s and I used to get exercise by walking three miles DOWN that hill to meet my husband as he was getting off work. There is NO WAY I ever would have considered hiking back up it – or attempting to walk up OR down in sub-zero temperatures of winter. We can go weeks on end where temperatures range from 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero – not to mention all the snow and ice.

    Needless to say, traveling to get mail isn't ideal for those who either can no longer drive or can't afford a vehicle. Even some of our grocery stores are offering delivery to those trapped during the pandemic, because it has been virtually impossible for some to get to stores – and the independent stores accept phone orders because they know the people who need that service the most don't have computers, cell phones or Internet access.

    Many of us still rely HEAVILY on the postal service. Going “paperless” simply doesn't work for us. You might even want to consider the forum on which you are posting. The end of the USPS would also mean the end of HCW. How are HCW members supposed to complete trades without the postal service? We certainly can't trade coupons “electronically” and private delivery companies would be MUCH too expensive.

    Even our “junk mail” is an important source of restaurant and store coupons. Those never go in the trash at this household – not to mention the valuable coupons we're still able to clip on occasion from magazine subscriptions. I wouldn't get those were I forced into digital subscriptions. I can't read many articles online anyway when my computer frequently goes on spurts of shutting down every 30 to 90 minutes thanks to defective Microsoft updates.

    I found a deal on dresses included with one of those magazines the other day. I wouldn't have received the separate insert had the magazine been digital. I may take advantage the offer although I'm hard to fit and I'm debating whether it will be worth the hassle if I must make a return. We no longer have the option to buy much in the way of clothing or shoes in our city since Corporate America doesn't think we're worth servicing. They claim we can buy everything online even though we know we'll have to return most of what we buy.

    I finally got desperate enough for shoes that I ordered two pair the other night from a company that usually fits IF I stick with the same general style, but at least 95 percent of the shoes I try won't work with difficult feet – and I've had that problem since childhood. With virtually all our shoe stores gone, there are few other options.

    That's the problem with depending on the “private sector.” Corporate America will charge whatever the market will bear and will drop you in a heartbeat if it doesn't feel there is enough profit to be made. That is why “rural Americans” get so incensed when we're told we “aren't worth the expense.” We pay taxes just like other Americans.
     
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  3. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    @Gardencook, you have a misunderstanding about Israel. It is not a socialist country and the government does not provide our internet service. Here, too, the private sector provides it.

    Why, then, is it so much less expensive than in the States? For the simple reason that internet providers in the US can charge more -- so they do. American incomes are much higher than Israeli salaries. The average Israeli family income (both spouses working at full time jobs) is a bit over $4,000 per month. In the U.S. it is $7500.

    Think of it this way: If your local supermarket can sell milk at $25 per quart, why would it charge any less?
     
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  4. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    I'm under no misunderstanding about Israel @Fillies Fan. I realize you don't live in a socialist country and I wouldn't want you to. However, you claimed it would be cheaper to update our infrastructure than continue the postal service. We KNOW that simply won't happen. Neither the U.S. Government nor private industry want to spend the money, therefore they won't.

    You may believe American salaries are $7500 month but as a journalist, you above all people should know not to believe a vast amount of what you read. Most rural Americans would be THRILLED with the $4000 a month you claim Israelis make. That would be a huge pay RAISE for most families in our county -- but we don't get Internet for anywhere close to $15 a month. As I said, "whatever the market will bear."

    When employers know they can get by with hiring part-time instead of full time employees and avoid paying benefits they do exactly that and we now rank as one of the top states in the nation for part-time, no benefit jobs even among the highly-skilled sector -- a problem that has only worsened since Obamacare.

    Just because we are now required to have health insurance in this country doesn't mean people who can't get full-time work can afford it. When you can't afford health insurance but you make too much to qualify for Medicaid, you have no choice but to pay the penalty -- which is basically just another tax on those who are already struggling to survive. This is why we have a state heavily populated with the "working poor."

    Why throw a lead brick to those about to drown? That is exactly what discontinuing the USPS would do in our area.

    The fact that private businesses can charge whatever the market will bear is EXACTLY why we know we'll get the short end of the stick if the USPS is privatized. Requiring people to purchase more services they can't afford to make-up for the loss of the postal service would simply push those in our county into the same homeless crisis so many large cities are now facing -- including Boise. The poor in "rural" communities wouldn't have a chance.

    And just so you know, I avoid Internet "arguments" at all cost. I hardly ever voice an opinion on Facebook. I can't handle my stomach in constant knots. However, a large segment of our population is about to go under for the last time. There are NO simple solutions to complex problems.
     
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  5. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    I never said it will happen. In fact, given the power of the American Postal Workers Union, I am certain that it will not happen. I said it should happen and that is a major difference. The federal government would wind up saving money by paying for the modernization of the internet infrastructure and dumping the USPS.

    At the same time, the states should treat internet providers the way they do other utilities, like electric and water companies. That means setting rates which are high enough to guarantee profits for the providers but low enough to make the internet affordable for (almost) everyone.

    Yes, there will be some people who cannot afford it no matter how inexpensive it is. They also cannot afford electricity and water and are the homeless seen on the streets of all too many American cities. Still, in many places there are libraries where people who don't have computers, much less the internet, can get on line for free.

    BTW, please do not allow this exchange of posts to get your stomach in knots. I don't feel that we are arguing but rather sharing our views.
     
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  6. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    The medical bureaucracy in Israel is driving me insane.

    I posted how prior to my gallbladder operation last year the hospital put a stent in and then called me in a panic saying that the stent had to be taken out ASAP. I went back to the hospital and was sent to surgery -- where the first operation was botched up and they had to do a second one.

    Then, about 3 weeks ago, the hospital called asking me if the stent had ever been taken out. I said I presumed it was removed during those operations but, being asleep, I cannot swear to it. They called again 10 days ago, saying they have no record of the stent being removed and want me to come in for a "procedure" (not surgery) to have it removed.

    I told them that before I did this I want to have a lower abdominal x-ray to see if the stent was there. They agreed, I had the x-ray taken, brought it to the hospital, and they saw the stent. They told me that it has to come out to avoid the possibility of an infection and that they would contact me the next day to give me an appointment.

    They did not call me so, yesterday, I called them. They gave me an appointment for June 15, but NOT for the removal of the stent. First, they said, I had to get approval from an anesthesiologist. In order to do that I have to:

    a. Do a complete blood check and bring it to the appointment.
    b. Get a form from my family doctor for chest x-rays.
    c. Go to my HMO to get the chest x-rays.
    d. Get my family doctor to give me a letter discussing any medical problems I might have.
    e. Have an ECG done and bring the results with me.
    f. Get a certificate from my HMO agreeing to pay for the visit to the anesthesiologist.

    Note: After all of this is done, and assuming that the anesthesiologist finds no reason why I cannot have the procedure, I will be given an appointment to have the stent removed -- but will have to get another certificate from my HMO agreeing to pay for it.
     
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  7. jastwins

    jastwins ※Kaboom!・:・:・゜ Trader Group

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    @Fillies Fan , so glad to see bureaucracy is alive and well in your country! I am sure they will add a few more steps along the way to make sure you forget why this whole debacle started....hospital/doctor error!
     
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  8. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    It was so hot we had a hard time bearing it last week. We're back to blankets and a furnace again today. o_O

    The potato farmers are worried about crop damage tonight, since it may drop below freezing again. The ski resort near Boise got a record NINE inches of snow yesterday!

    I opted not to plant the few plants we purchased when I heard the cold front was on the way, so our plants should be safe in the garage.
     
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  9. mtka

    mtka Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    I know way more about small engine carburetors than I want to. Took me 2 days of work, but the lawn mower is working again. Thank you YouTube for the help videos.

    Finally got my hair cut today. Feels so much better. Planted 25 sweet potato starts today and we got a short rain so I don't have to water them again today.
     
  10. flowerkitty

    flowerkitty Super Swapper Trader Group

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    That’s awesome! You go!
     
  11. mtka

    mtka Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Well, today I am learning all about Kohler fuel pumps. The mower lasted all of 80 feet before it quit. We got it running about 2 seconds with a jump start, but now nothing. The local store has a fuel pump in stock, so may go get that tomorrow. Going to be checking fuel lines in the boiling hot sun.
     
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  12. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    That is so frustrating @mtka!

    Thankfully, DH muddled through getting ours started several weeks ago, but it wasn't looking good to start. He's had others in the past he hasn't been able to repair.

    Baking day today. Gotta take advantage of the cold weather while we've got it.

    The mountains all around us have had snow. Even the ski resorts aren't used to getting this much snow in June, but thankfully we're just getting lots of rain and cold temperatures down in the valley.

    We've got a turkey breast roasting in the oven and got a late start on a couple loaves of bread. They'll be coming out of the oven after dinner.

    We need to get some pinto beans soaking tonight before bed. Thought we'd make chili from some of the discount hamburger tomorrow, however, we need to open a 10-pound bag of beans to do it.

    We've got a large plastic canister jar we use to store pinto beans and used the last beans from it last week.

    We've got it washed out and thoroughly air-dried, so it is time to fill it again with another bag of beans -- although it isn't quite large enough to hold a full 10-pound bag.

    It will be good to get the jar filled with beans again. It was driving me crazy falling over each time it was bumped, because there was only a few cups in the bottom of the jar.
     
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  13. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    What a world! It would certainly be a lot easier if there weren't so many thieves in it. I guess I should be thankful our credit union is watching out for us, but I honestly DO NOT know what is going on with all the credit cards. As if life isn't confusing enough ...

    DH's credit card got hacked last autumn and our credit union security company caught the fraudulent charge immediately. However, we'd never heard of the company that called to alert us and certainly weren't going to call the toll free number of some unknown company to give them personal information about financial matters.

    The credit union wasn't yet open when the company called and as soon as it opened, he had to spend quite a bit of time on the phone with our local branch making sure the call was legitimate -- which it turned out to be. That meant we had to drive over to the credit union and get replacement cards -- the day before we were ready to leave on our long trip.

    Thankfully, that credit union has the ability to embed chips on-site. We were forced to get a new Mastercard from another of our credit unions when one of our Kroger chains quit accepting VISA cards for a while and we could not fuel our car without cash.

    We ordered those cards, but they didn't arrive on schedule so we were nearly left without either card for our trip! It is basically IMPOSSIBLE to travel without a credit card in this day and age.

    Then a couple months later, DH got hacked again. UGH! So of course, that meant another trip to the credit union for new cards.

    Then we had a fuss with the car rental company we used last autumn. The locations we dealt with on the way were good about the problems the cars kept having, however, the Little Rock Airport location was a pain in the behind long after we returned home!

    First they kept refusing to allow us anything but an economy car when we had paid for a full-size. We had a lot to transport and there was no way we could pack it all in an economy. They made DH run back and forth repeatedly to fill out paperwork that should have been handled when we first came in. Then they tried to charge us for a broken fuel button which was defective and not our fault.

    By the time we got the vehicle home, that Little Rock location had placed unauthorized charges on our bill, but thankfully the fellow caught it when we returned the car. He knew the charges weren't legitimate and he removed them.

    It was that vehicle that had the second blow-out and the emergency number promised us only a $200 reimbursement on the tire -- even though it cost more than that. Then we couldn't get the reimbursement at all and DH finally had to write the CEO to get the payment. We suspect it was that Little Rock location that was blocking the reimbursement.

    The Little Rock car rental place kept placing unauthorized charges on our card after that and the credit union had to keep blocking them, finally giving us ANOTHER set of cards to stop the fraud.

    So we finally thought we had the whole mess straightened out. Then we were thrown for a loop when ANOTHER set of credit cards arrived in the mail last week!

    We still don't know why those were issued, but DH was the one who opened the envelope and handed me mine -- so I assumed he had activated it.

    I'd just used my "old" card to purchase shoes a couple weeks ago and thankfully that payment didn't get blocked. However, when I tried to purchase dresses online today the "new" credit card didn't work -- which needless to say was a bit embarassing. :oops:

    Turned out, DH just handed me my card and didn't bother to activate it as he normally does. o_O Thankfully, the old card still worked, however, now I don't dare deactivate that card to activate the new one for fear it will mess up my dress order. Meanwhile, the "new" card looks exactly like the old one, so I've got to try not to mix them up. :eek:

    Musical credit cards is NOT my game. Sure hope we get to keep the new ones for a while -- once I finally get mine activated. :confused:
     
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  14. mtka

    mtka Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Cleaned up one of the freezers today, looking for stuff to make for the dogs. They will have an interesting stew for the next few days on top of their kibble. It's all blue, from a package of blueberries, with hot dogs, spinach, broccoli, and tortelli. Will see if they eat it.

    The clearance meat has been non existent since this virus started. I did see a package of marked down ground turkey at Walmart, but it was still $2/pound. Still have 2 freezers to go to look for old stuff.
     
  15. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    Tomorrow is my son's 40th birthday. I've invited him, my daughter, my daughter's SO, her SO's daughter from a previous marriage, and her SO's father and mother to dinner at a wonderful restaurant about 35 kilometers from my house.

    At the rate that Covid-19 has been spiking in Israel for the past few weeks I wouldn't be surprised if the restaurant is ordered to shut down again in the near future. Fortunately for us, none of those who will be in this group live in the hotspots for the virus.

    Personally, I am too much of a snob to settle for a used virus like Covid-19 and have put in an advance order for the next model, Covid-20.
     
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  16. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    Sadly, there is now a case of coronavirus at the young girl's school and all of the children are in self-isolation. Her father will stay with her and, without him being there, there is little point in his parents going to the restaurant. This means it will be just my son, my daughter, and myself.
     
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  17. jastwins

    jastwins ※Kaboom!・:・:・゜ Trader Group

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    As sad as you are about the child and her father not being at your gathering, I applaud them for doing the right thing. The risk is not worth exposing others. I recall the story of how one big family got together for a birthday celebration and within 2 weeks, 5 family members had passed away from the corona virus. It killed them that quickly.
    While most of us are not thrilled with the way things are, I can say that for my family, social distancing is working and we are all healthy. Still I pray for this to be over and that things can go back to what they were. We will see.
     
  18. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    There was at least one upside to the smaller group. The tab came to $168 for the three of us -- and it would have been more than twice if all seven had been able to be there.
     
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  19. Fillies Fan

    Fillies Fan International Man of Mystery! Trader Group

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    I continued my assault on Marina's sanity today.

    Two times every month I take her to the supermarket and pay for her to load up a wagon with whatever she wants. The next time will be on Wednesday.

    As schools (including kindergartens) are closed for the summer, both Polina (age 12) and Olga (age 4) will be at home. I told Marina that instead of her not resting at home (she has the day off from work), starting this week and for the rest of the summer, she will stay at home and I will take the two girls to the supermarket and allow them to decide what to buy there.

    She immediately insisted that this is not a good idea, picturing, as I do, the girls buying only candy, Oreos breakfast cereal, cookies, and cake.

    I told her that I would make certain that they get at least one healthy meal by taking them to Pizza Hut for lunch. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  20. mtka

    mtka Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Well, I cut the cord on satellite tv today. It will be very different now. I have been watching acorn streaming and plutotv for a week to get ready. My mom though, won't be able to just turn on the tv and watch something anymore.
     

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