Reports from the OP, June 18, 2022

How about a virtual observer?

(I’ve been trying since Wednesday afternoon to get this post up. It goes up today, complete or not.)

I had to go to the chiropractor Wednesday, and Mrs. Freeholder kindly volunteered to do the driving. Honestly, that was fine by me. I overworked the ankle and knee Monday due to a chigger infestation in our house. No idea how that happened; in all my years of living in the South I’d never heard of such a thing happening. But according to the Intertubz, they can and do get in houses. Unless you care to fumigate your home (not happening), the next best thing you can do is to knock the population down while you wait for tincture of time to finish them off. It seems that the adults feed in dirt, so barring house plants or a serious lack of cleaning ability, they eventually die off. But since the larvae are the ones that bite, a through cleaning using steam helps the process along by killing off many/most/nearly all of the larvae. So I put the steam cleaner to use on the furniture while she vacuumed and steam mopped. Bedclothes, laundry and cat beds went out on the deck to await a turn at the washing machine and dryer. I’m happy to report that it seems to have helped significantly. We’ll see how it goes over the next week or two.

My chiropractor is located in the Nearby Small City, where I worked for a number of years. Being a passenger for a change allowed me to actually look at the landscape that I normally ignore because I’m driving. I spied with my little eyes several houses that appeared to be vacant, but that are being cleansed of personal belongings and/or trash or are in the midst of some sort of renovation or are simply sitting there. All of them are being taken care of-yards mowed (at least occasionally), roofs in good shape and so on. I was a little surprised that I had missed so many, but they are all further off the road, making them difficult to see when driving.

I also noted growing woodpiles at a number of houses, including some that I don’t recall burning wood before. I supposed that the talk about increases in the price of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and propane have persuaded some folks to take precautions now.

Gas prices in the Nearby Small City were around $4.60 on our way into town. On our way out, they were in the process of going up to $4.70 at most stations. We managed to duck into one that was still “only” $4.54. How sad is it when you pay $4.54 for a gallon of regular gas and you feel like you got a deal? Diesel was in the $5.60-5.70 range and didn’t seem to be going up just yet.

We stopped at the Nearby Small City Walmart for some more groceries. Mostly, I wanted whatever they have that we’ll eat and that store well without repackaging. We picked up some canned chicken, tuna in various types of packaging, applesauce and a few other items. Not really a lot, but still almost $100 worth. I consider myself blessed that we can still do that. Here’s a few views of the Walmart, minus “The People of“. Too early in the day for them to be out, I suppose. Forgive the gallery, it’s a new plugin and I’m still learning how to make it work and give me the things I can see in my mind’s eye. (For starters, I want the gallery smaller rather than being the entire page wide. Advice welcome.)

[robo-gallery id=10357]

Restaurants are having hard times. We stopped for lunch, and the place was maybe 1/3 full. I know what this place was like last summer-packed and you had to wait for a table. Some other restaurants we passed were doing better, with only a few parking places left in their lots. Other restaurants, not so much. One or two drive-thrus were busy, but most weren’t. People are cutting back.

We passed one auto dealer, the local GMC/Buick/Subaru dealer. There were no new GMC trucks I could see, perhaps 6 new Buicks and one lonely Subaru. The used car side was pretty well populated, but not as full as I’ve seen it. Another dealer we passed, who specializes in high quality (but not necessarily super new) used cars had posted on his sign “We haven’t raised our prices.” Yet another dealer, who appears to cater to the Hispanic population, had plenty of vehicles on hand.

Commercial properties that have been for sale for months have been bought and construction work seems to be starting. Strikes me as crazy, but not my circus, not my monkeys.

The Nearby Small City Municipal Golf Course had a full parking lot. One of the local country clubs, not so much.

The Department of Transportation has been out, filling pot holes. The quality of the work is questionable at best, but the filled potholes are an improvement.

Here in the Bitty Burg gas seems to be holding at $4.50-4.60, diesel at $5.60 and premium gas closely tracking diesel. I’m not sure why, but I have noticed that there is less traffic on our street than is normal. Spread that over the town and perhaps it’s working to hold prices down.

Today (Saturday), we had to take one of cats to the vet, who happens to be in the Nearby Small City. The practice was sold a few months ago (in what appears to be another Great Retirement story), and they’re down two vets from their normal complement of 5. Fortunately our kitty boy wasn’t too sick and we could wait, because it took us three days to hit the lottery in the “sick pet appointment” category. If we hadn’t gotten him in today, it was off to the emergency vets, which would cost 5-6 times what our vet would charge. Kitty boy got a good report-nothing nasty was found. Again, the best treatment seems to be Tincture of Time. If he’s not better in 7-10 days, we’re to call them back.

On both directions of the trip, I noticed what felt like a lot of cars on the road, more like a normal Saturday than the less than usual traffic I’ve become used to. Several were obviously traveling, as they were towing an RV or had stuff strapped to the top of the vehicle. But being a Saturday and given that Nearby Small City is on the way to the beach, there should have been more than “several” traveling. Gas at the two stations I saw was $4.60, so I’m guessing they couldn’t get the $4.70 to stick. Those are interesting data points.

It isn’t just vets where you have difficulties getting care. We’ve had a heck of a run of “requiring medical care” in our family and circle of friends. Old Friend’s Older Brother wound up in the local Band Aid Station. Rather than sending him up the line up the line to one of the local tertiary care facilities, which is their normal MO and what his condition seemed to cry out for, they kept him until he ran out of allowable days (he’s on Medicare, since he’s 65), then sent him home with the home health people supposed to visit 2-3 times a week. I fully expect him to boomerang back to the hospital soon. Old Friend had a heart attack scare, which after the nearly fatal one this time last year, threw everyone into a panic. Fortunately, it was “only” and angina attack. He can’t get into his cardiologist until July 7. Daughter needs to visit with the PT folks. The way she’s carrying the twins is causing her some problems. She can’t get i until mid-July. I finally got a call from the orthopedics crowd. No appointments with an MD until mid-July, They’re trying to get me into see a PA. I believe we’re starting to see the heavier fallout from Obamacare. I wonder if we get that “Red Wave” everyone thinks we’ll get, if it gives the Republican team a veto-proof majority and if they will actually do the People’s Business for a change and drive a stake through Obamacare’s alleged heart. lol! Just can’t see that one.

You know, that gets me thinking, which is always dangerous. It seems that the possibly coming uncivil war is going to work out to be 4 groups vying for control of the country. One will be the Hard Leftists, who we see represented by the likes of Antifa freaks and the BLM kleptos. There will be the Deep State, represented by most mainline Democrats and Republicans, acting as the Uniparty and working for the shadowy “elites”. Then we’ll have the Socialists, embodied by Occasionally-Cognizant and the like. And then there will be the Conservatives, small “l” and big “L” Libertarians, the “I just want to be left alone” folks, Sovereign Citizens and so on. A 4-way shooting gallery which could eventually break down into a n-way shooting gallery. Boy, that sounds entertaining! What a time I picked to get old.

That’s enough for now. Out here.

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