No Excuse

oxygen atom. Structure atom. vector diagram

Oxygen: can’t live without it, although one man doesn’t care if I try.

Uncle Shel Silverstein has a poem, I think it’s called “Sick Note,” wherein the narrator lists all the reasons she can’t go to school that day — only to learn it’s Saturday. Miraculously, all the complaints disappear and she heads out to play.

Well, I am waiting for my Saturday so I can dispense with all my excuses for not reporting in on this blog. But on my calendar, I don’t think Saturday ever comes.

I mean to check in, honest. Photos gets taken; notes get jotted down; thoughts are thinked. And then the writing never happens. This might be because I sprained my ear, which is an excuse my sister Terri actually used once upon a time in an effort to get out of piano lessons. Her teacher, Sam Sweetkind, never forgot that, and when Terri graduated high school the Sweetkinds presented Terri with a book of excuses she could use as she went off to college.

But they never gave me one — I went to all my piano lessons — so now I will have to come up with my own, none of which, I guarantee you, are going to be as fun as a sprained ear.

Let us start with the one you are tired of hearing about: oxygen. Believe you me, I am more tired of it (and tired because of it) than you. In April I sent my concentrator to some odd man in Littleton, Colorado (part of the Greater Denver Metro Area). He sounded sincere when he told me “three to five days,” but he totally was not. And his communication skills suck.

In all the phone calls I have placed to him, he has answered the phone one time. When I leave messages on his phone, he somehow never gets them, telling me, “I get a lot of calls.” He does usually reply to an e-mail, about 24-48 hours later, although it seems to exhaust him to write an entire sentence.

For awhile his lack of urgency regarding what many people regard as necessary medical assistance didn’t matter, because the Barrys brought me a replacement concentrator. But then that one also broke. In the exact same fashion as the first one: the warning siren shrieked, but no warning lights lit, which means (according to the manual), that either it’s not plugged in correctly (not the problem) or an internal part has failed.

Everyone keeps telling me that electricity is simply electricity, and two electricians and my electrical co-op have found no issues, but the number of failures of electrical devices in my life have increased multi-fold since locating to this new house. Including now not one but two oxygen concentrators.

So suddenly the urgency was back on. By now the odd man from Littleton had fixed my concentrator, and here is where I made yet another in the long line of mistakes I love to make: in an effort to save myself $100 in shipping, I asked him to hang onto it until friends could pick it up.

They’re actually Kara’s friends, although I am friendly with them, and they live a mere 10 minutes from this man’s place of business, but I don’t know how I ever expected them to pick this up when he never answers the phone, doesn’t reply promptly to e-mails, can only text receipts that don’t account for how my $200 was spent, and never seems to be at his business despite assurances that he is “always” there.

They don’t have a trip planned to Gunnison until later this month, which wasn’t a big deal until the second concentrator broke. Then I decided I needed my repaired concentrator sooner rather than later, but I should have known that just wasn’t going to happen.

This man of course didn’t respond at all to my phone calls, and when I finally sent an e-mail he replied, on delay, that he would send it “next week” when he got “back.” Well, yesterday was the start of “next week,” and I still haven’t heard from him. Following our usual pattern, I will wait until it is too late in the week and then attempt via various means to get hold of him to ask what “next week” might actually mean — come to think of it, his calendar is more dysfunctional than mine — and ultimately what will happen is he will send it, charging me $150 to do so, a week after Kara’s friends come to Gunnison.

So today I’m doing what I should have done back in April, which is to order a new concentrator from a company I’ve already done business with, one that got me the supplies I ordered within 48 hours.

My original concentrator, used when I bought it, is going to end up costing the better part of the price of a brand-new one — and here I am, assuming this man is more functional at repair than he is at running a business. By the day the chances of me actually recovering my concentrator grow slimmer. Probably along with my chances of getting an itemized invoice that might inform repair of the broken one sitting here (that will NEVER be going to this man who is in serious need of repair himself). Because in this house, when you’re talking electrical devices, it’s never a bad idea to keep as many spares as possible on hand.

[I am having a worse time than usual with WordPress today. Maybe it’s part of whatever internet outage they were blithering about on the news that I wasn’t paying attention to. But at least that pipeline will get a fair chunk of its money back from the ransomers (until it turns out the feds decide they need to keep it for some reason), and drug lords around the world were dealt a major setback by the same FBI that for some reason felt it was important, the other day, to know who was reading a particular story in USA Today. Not who wrote the story, or who the sources were, but who might have happened to read it. This world of ours is nuttier than the bars from Nature Valley, and this has not helped my state of mind, either.]

My hope — but we all know how that goes — is to circle back to some of these posts I planned but never actually, you know, wrote. They won’t be as timely as they could have been, but then again, my calendar doesn’t come with a Saturday on it.

It’s just called “Sick,” it turns out. “Sick Note” might be a Chieftains’ song that is equally entertaining.

One thought on “No Excuse

  1. Thanks for mentioning my mom, TL! I had forgotten that story about Terri, but it was one of Ma’s favorites to tell. She never failed to smile and laugh as she told it. I hope Terri still has the excuses book. I’m sure it’s worth a read.


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