: Caretakers

Beware of Elizabeth River Tunnel Scams

Hello everyone:

This week, another scam came into my life. This time, it was from a Tunnel Toll collection company. According to the posted they have on their website from 19 other people who have never crossed their bridge, I am not alone. I pass this along to you, dear readers, in the hope that you will not get scammed by them or someone like them. Here is my letter:

Dear Sirs or Madame:

I wish to report a miracle. It appears, based on the enclosed bill I received from you, that I was in the Norfolk area on Saturday, January 11, 2019 at 5:40 am while I was on my treadmill in Lynchburg at the same moment. Since the locations are 189.7 miles apart, I believe that this qualifies me for sainthood in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.

Please also note that my temporary tags were about to expire, so on Friday, January 10th, I had the Virginia tags replaced with my Maryland tags while I waited the arrival of my updated sticker for my new vehicle. The tags which you say were crossing the Elizabeth River Tunnel were actually in my home in Lynchburg, as well. I am unaware if sainthood can be bestowed on cardboard, but perhaps you can check into it.

This is to say that I have no intention of paying your bill for $5.76. The photo you sent me is totally dark so unless someone in your organization has X-Ray vision, I would argue that the car in question is not mine. I do not have a self-driving car and I am reasonably certain that my car was in my driveway at the time of this event, since I used it to go somewhere local at 8 am. The car, unless it sprouted wings and flew, could not have possibly have made it back to my house in time to take me to breakfast with some friends. They can vouch for the fact that I was in Lynchburg, should that become necessary.

Please reply via snail mail that you are removing the charge of $5.76 from my account, especially since I have never crossed your bridge.  (Nor do I plan to, anytime in the near future. However, should it become necessary, I will make sure I get a receipt for the toll.)

I remain,

Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.

I hope this saves some of you from paying bills that you did not generate.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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Your Immediate Response is a Scam

Hello everyone:

I recently got a new car. It’s under warranty from the auto maker, but I got a very panicked-sounding letter from the “Vehicle Services Division,” telling me that my warranty was in danger if I did not respond immediately, if not sooner.

It’s a crock of baloney. Let me tell you what they told me in their letter.

First, they told me twice, no less, that my “immediate response to this notice requested.” [Please note: They left out the verb “is”- perhaps they thought that would scare me more.]

Next, they accused me of not contacting their company to “have the vehicle service contract for your ___________ uploaded.” Sorry, folks, this is the first time I have ever heard of you. Why would I go looking for you, pray tell?

Then they told me that they had created my very own website. Why? I didn’t ask them to do that. I refer back to the thought that I have never heard of them, so why would I expect them to create my own personal website?

Additionally, they told me that “by neglecting to replace your coverage you will be at risk of being financially liable for any and all repairs after your factory warranty expires.” Yes, I assume that I would be, but my car has less than three thousand miles on it, so why would I sweat over this right now? [Note: They left off the commas with their parenthetic expression that begins “you will be at risk” and ends with “all repairs.”]

Then they told me that I have less than a month to sign up. They said “your file on this vehicle will be deleted [Oh, no, please do not delete me!] and you may not longer be eligible for this offer regarding service coverage after 3/13/2019.” [Good. The extremely fine print says you are not associated with my car manufacturer anyway.][The finer print says that all repairs would have to be pre-approved, even if I did get their coverage.]

I am reminded one final time that I must “call no later than 3/13/2019” or really bad things will happen. Their small print (that I had to put my glasses on to see) informed me that “This is an advertisement to obtain coverage.” This information is buried so completely in other legal gobbledygook I would have missed it, if my panic had set in to the degree that they had hoped. [I did not panic; I got ticked off. Poor punctuation and bad writing have a tendency to do that to me.]

Watch out folks! The bad guys are out to get you, but let me wave you off. Don’t panic when you get a piece of garbage like this. The only good thing about receiving this urgent offer was that I could share it with you. Please forward this blog posting to everyone you know, to warn them about these folks, as well. Thanks!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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Whitey-Tighties Don’t Look Very Manly When They’re Pink

Hello everyone:

A friend of mine needed to wash his orange bedspread. He had never washed it before, but jammed the spread into a large-capacity washer and turned it on.

Although he took care to wash it separately from his other clothes when he went to the laundromat, he was not so careful when it came time to dry the clothes.

He felt that he could save money by dumping his whites in with the bedspread. Well, he did save money but he left the establishment with pale orange underwear and T-shirts.

He admits that the tiny bit of savings did not make up for the months he spent wearing colored undergarments. After a few months, the color faded to pale peach, which he steadfastly refused to wear and he replaced the garments.

The idea that “Yes, you must separate the colors from the dark clothes” is actually no longer etched in stone, if you purchase something called Shout’s “Color Catchers.” If you goof and mix your colors (or if you steadfastly refuse to separate the clothes), you can throw one of these sheets into your washer and re-wash the clothes.

The Color Catcher will pull the dark dye in the clothes away from your lighter colors. As it does this, the Color Catcher will turn a dark color, which beats having your clothes that color! Do not dry the clothes together, or you will have defeated the purpose of the Color Catcher catching your misplaced color. You have to dry the darks and lights separately or the problem will reassert itself.

Do not try to re-use the Color Catcher sheet. Follow the directions on the box and discard the sheet after you use it. Keep in mind that these things cost money, they do not replace your need for laundry detergent, and they do not function as fabric softeners. Their sole task is to keep your light things from turning dingy because you washed white or light clothing with dark.

Think of this as the “morning-after pill” for washing machines. Do not dry the clothes before you re-wash them, or the dinginess will be set in the clothing. If you are careful with money, it would be better to just separate your clothes and avoid the need for this product. Let me repeat: you will still need to use laundry detergent with this product and it is not a fabric softener sheet, although it looks like one. These products are not interchangeable!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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When Bread Becomes a Broken-Tooth Risk, It’s Time to Toss It Out

Hello everyone:

My maiden aunt was blessed by many friends who liked to give her meals, but she didn’t eat much. She would have one meal out of a big dish and then put the rest of the food in the refrigerator where she would forget she had it (she was 93 ½ so this was forgivable). This applied to whole turkeys, casseroles, and pies.

The remains of the food she was given were in the refrigerator when we inherited the property three months after she had been put in the rehab center where she died.  She was very well-liked by many considerate people who thought she had a much larger appetite than she did.

Bugs flew out of the refrigerator the first time we opened it, along with the most horrid stench you can imagine. [Decaying food had been there at least three months and was accompanied by bugs, mold, whatever….you do the math!]

Here’s more advice: if you have an elderly family member of friend who is hospitalized, offer to check on his or her house and check out the refrigerator. Immediately. Get everything out of it that has the potential of decaying or turning a peculiar color and dump it out.  

Throw away all expired food. It does not get better with age; once it’s gone a few years past the sell-by date, you need to toss it or take the chance of getting food poisoning from it.  [The record for expired food that I have found is eleven years past the expiration date. Please don’t try this at home!]

When the person is ready to come home from the hospital, replace what you threw away, if that’s possible. That way, you don’t have the guilt of starving the person to death and you will have done something very nice for someone who might have needed the food in his or her refrigerator.

You might also try offering to buy all new food at the store, since the fact that the food was in there for a very long time might mean the person tried it but didn’t like it. [Another side note: If the sliced bread has been in the house long enough to become one solid, petrified block, it is time to get rid of it, rather than risking a broken tooth on it.]

I hope you find these tips helpful!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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Making great scrambled eggs

Hello everyone:

Since neither of the men I originally penned Suddenly Single for knows how to scramble an egg, let me share my recipe with you.

It starts with a non-stick pan heated on the stove. Put the pan on the stove and turn the heat on to medium.

Get a coffee mug, and take two eggs and crack them open by hitting them on the side with a sharp knife. Dump the contents of the eggs into the mug, checking to make sure you don’t have any eggshells in the cup (remove the shells with a spoon, if there are any eggshells in the mug).

Add a dash of milk to the mug (about a tablespoon, if you are measuring it) and stir the milk and eggs rapidly in circular motions, using a fork. (You are beating the egg here.)

When the pan is hot and the eggs are mixed up, dump them into the pan. Using a plastic spoon (one of the long cooking spoons, not a plastic spoon from a fast food restaurant), stir the eggs continuously as they cook.

The secret to great scrambled eggs is to constantly keep stirring the mixture as it cooks. When the eggs are firm, they are done.

Add salt and/or pepper to taste and eat them while they are hot. If you want toast with the eggs, make it in the toaster while your eggs are just beginning to cook. (I assume you don’t have 3 hands here, so put the toast in the toaster while the eggs are still cooking and it will be done at about the same time as the eggs.)

Enjoy!

Dr. Sheri

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Adjusting to life’s adjustments

Hi everyone:

You know you’re getting older when you are never called “Miss” anymore. You sense a feeling that age is creeping up on you when you can’t fasten your buttons as easily and it’s not because your clothes are too tight.

When you go to get on the bus at the airport parking garage and they lower the step so you can get on, the sign is there that you aren’t the spring chicken you once thought. Perhaps you went through the TSA security line and they told you that it’s okay to keep your shoes on. (Please note that this is only okay if they think you’re over the hill and most of the way down the other side.)

“But I don’t feel old,” you might whine. Look in the mirror, brother or sister. Does your makeup take more time in the morning, ladies? Do you have to re-apply it several times a day, in order to not frighten small children and animals? Groan. I am there with you, my friends.

Sometimes our age shows in other ways. Take, for example, the television shows we watch. Do you find that the advertisers focus on denture adhesive and constipation remedies? That, dear friends, is a sign of the aging times.

Do you remember when jeans used to be thrown away when they got holes in them? Now they are sold for three times the price and displayed in the store’s window.

Do you go to bed when it’s still light outside? (Okay, if you are in Port Isaac, England, the sun doesn’t go down until 10:30 pm in the summer and it’s up by 5, so that doesn’t count.) Do you have trouble sleeping past five am and wake up but aren’t sure what to do? This is a sign….

Do you go into a room and forget why you’re there? Be still my soul…

What examples can you share?

Best,

Dr. Sheri

 

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Facing the day

Hello everyone:

Let’s face it. There are some days when you just don’t feel like facing the day. The love of your life is no longer around, for whatever reason. The person you married is physically still there, perhaps, but has checked out mentally.  Don’t cut yourself off. Stay with it.

Why is this important? I have seen several people who basically disconnected from life when they lost their significant  other. With enough years of isolation, they became less than they had been, mentally and physically.

After a devastating loss such as the death or departure of a spouse, it can be difficult to get back into life. If you are a member of a church or synagogue, you may already be surrounded by friends who share your beliefs and values. But what about the individual who does not belong to a place of worship, or who simply wants to grieve alone? It is important that that person get back into the world in his or her own time.

There are numerous interest groups where you can join other like-minded people and keep your mind active. The temptation is to isolate yourself until you are “ready” but you may never feel ready. The groups you might enjoy include but are not limited to stamp clubs, game clubs (like bridge and other card games), book clubs, scrapbooking groups, couponing clubs, surfers, travelers, and Chatty Cathys.

If you live in an area with many senior citizens and you are an older individual, you may find there is a senior citizen center nearby where you could visit and take classes for little or no cost. If there is a class at the local community college on something you always wanted to learn about, you may be able to take the course for the cost of the books, if you are 62 years or older.

Jump back in, don’t cover your head and hope the world will go away. It might not be easy, at first, but it is the best thing for your future.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

 

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Preparing for storms

Hello everyone:

I thought this picture was absolutely stunning.  But what is it? Is the day dawning or fading? It all depends on your point of view and how you see things.

The photographer of this shot calls it “Lightning at Sunset,” so we see where he’s coming from. I mean, he was there and was the one who caught this breathtaking shot.  He knows what was happening.

It’s kind of like that with losing your spouse. It’s very helpful to have someone alongside who has been where you are going. I’ve watched as gals or guys lost their spouse and have observed them putting their lives back together as Plan B became their life. They had planned on Plan A working just fine, until one day when it didn’t.

Whether you are the spouse who thought “till death does us part” was the way your marriage was going to unfold but ended with a divorce or you are the individual who really lived out that saying, this website is for you. Just today, I learned of a young woman who lost her seemingly-healthy hubby to a heart attack at age 45. The novel I am just finishing writing tells the story of a 40-something gal whose hubby didn’t come home from a conference- he had a one-car accident on the way home. It is based on a friend of mine’s actual experience.

The storms of life happen, dear friends, but I am here to help you through that difficult time, that storm of life. I hope you will see my blog postings as a valuable resource just for you at this time of life. Take care and stay in touch.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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Bugs

Hello everyone:

Let’s talk about bugs. You may like them personally under some circumstances (which I cannot imagine) but you don’t want them in the kitchen, eating your food.

When I grew up in Florida, I went to an un-air-conditioned high school with direct access to the outside world. The school had problems with palmetto bugs and cockroaches. When we put our lunches in our lockers, the bugs frequently got our lunch before lunchtime. We got used to carrying our lunches with us all morning; I developed a taste for squashed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by default because my sandwiches always looked like they were run through an old-fashioned ringer washer by lunchtime. Please note that we could also stop here and talk about the rats in the locker rooms, but I digress!

Sealed containers are great for storing cookies, pretzels, and cereal. They are not expensive and can be purchased at the grocery store. If your significant other never had them, please buy some and transfer your food into them. If your dearly beloved had them but the food has been in there for an extended period of time, dump the food and start over. You may be growing penicillin, otherwise.

Here’s a quick bit of information: if you like soft cookies, put a piece of bread in the Tupperware-type container when you add cookies and they will remain soft longer. The bread will become hard as a rock, so you will need to toss it out and replace it occasionally, but the cookies will be delightful.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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Let not your heart be troubled; things will work out in the end

HI everyone:

I know that it can be very discouraging to watch a parent go downhill. You are used to seeing Mom or Dad strong, healthy, and vibrant. Now you are becoming the parent. You wipe his or her mouth. Perhaps you have to tuck him or her into bed. It can be depressing.

Try to keep in mind that your folks took care of you when you were little. Now you are just returning all those years of devotion.  Try to hang in there. Talk to people you know who are going through the same thing. Misery may love company but it also loves support. Do you have folks in your community or at your church who have experienced this in their own lives?

I paid tribute in this blog to a gal last week whose husband was diagnosed with dementia many years ago. She took care of him with a smile on her face, even when the going got hard. You know, I think that made a huge difference in how she took his eventual demise.

If you need to find help, try to find someone who shares your values and your attitude towards this stage of life. That in itself will help take a troubling time and turn it into a time of blessing, though it may be a blessing in disguise.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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