Saturday, July 26, 2014

The missing package

Earlier this month, I ordered 4 copies of one of my new poetry books. Two of them were to go to the person who edited the book and the person who designed the cover, and one was to go to my son. My kids each get a free copy of every one of their mom’s books. The fourth one was for me. Well, I knew that choosing standard shipping meant it would take FOREVER for the books to get here, but because Createspace has expensive shipping, I could not afford a faster rate. So I ordered the books with standard shipping and pretty much prepared to wait days to get them.

Meanwhile, I went about my business and took care of other things.

But I ended up waiting. And waiting. AND WAITING!!

The new books for me to review for Night Owl Reviews arrived.

The movies I ordered from the Disney Movie Club over a month ago FINALLY arrived.

But these four books never arrived. At all.

I started to get suspicious. I knew shipping was slow, but not this slow! So I tracked the shipment and it said on the UPS site that the shipment had been delivered.

Uh, no, it had not!

But I remembered that once, when I ordered something from Amazon and the 2-day shipping I get for free meant that it would be at the POST OFFICE and not my house in 2 days, it could mean that the package had been delivered at the post office but not brought to my house just yet. So I waited a couple of days to see if that was the case. That was NOT the case! Two days later, still no books.

So I went to the post office to ask about it. Since this had been a UPS shipment, they sent me to the UPS store. I went to the UPS store and the clerk there called it in. He was told the UPS carrier had given the shipment to the post office. After that, it was out of their hands. So I went back to the post office to tell them what I had learned. The clerk there was confused and went into the back to try searching for the package. He also looked it up in their system. The package WAS in their system, with a new tracking number, but it was not listed as delivered or anything else. More confusion!

So I talked to the manager at the post office. I explained to him what happens when packages are delivered – how they’re either put into the mailbox if it fits or at my door behind the screen if it’s too big. I have ordered books from CreateSpace before and usually when it’s just a few, the package is not large and does fit into the mailbox. But I was unsure this time. So were they. The manager said he would keep looking for it and contact me through email if it turned up.

There was no email, though. And, the next day, the mailman came to our door with our mail and told us they could not find the package anywhere. He assured us he would have put it in the mailbox or at the door. We considered the possibility it could have been lost or even stolen. (People in our neighborhood have had problems of strangers getting into their mailboxes and/or stealing packages.) The mail carrier was clueless about what happened to it and apologized. He also said they would keep looking.

At this point, I started to seriously consider the package to be lost. I was upset it might’ve been stolen, but also upset that if it had, the thief might try to sell the books on eBay, or something. (Just in case, I checked online retailers and my book was not listed on there. I have been keeping track of sales of this book so I had a better idea of just how many copies of this book could be floating around out there.)

So, I counted it as a loss, and I also decided that I’ll just have to order the books again next month. Yes, it meant waiting longer to get a copy of this book to the people I had to get it to, but I only have so much available in my budget for this kinda thing.

Then something very interesting happened today.

Today, while I was giving Jesse a bath, he informed me there was someone at the door. I asked my husband to keep an eye on Jesse while I went to see who it was. There was a lady standing on my porch and she was holding a box in her hands. A rectangular sized box. When I opened the door, I asked her what it was she wanted, thinking maybe she was trying to sell something. But then I noticed that the box had a label on it similar to those used for shipping purposes. She said hello then pointed at the name on the label and asked, “Are you Dawn?”

I said yes and she further asked if this was me, noting the name on the label. Sure enough, it was my name! And it looked strangely similar to a package specifically for shipping purposes, with the same label used from CreateSpace.

She explained that she had found this box in her front yard. I asked her where she lived and she indicated she was practically across town!

I was excited about this turn of events, thinking this was my lost package, but I was also confused. How the heck did my package end up in someone’s front yard all the way across town?? Good grief!

She handed me the package and I thanked her profusely for bringing it to me. What a wonderful thing to do!! I am SO GLAD this person, this honest and decent and friendly person, found this package in her yard and took it to the rightful owner. We sure were lucky with that one!

So, my lost package was now in my hands. Hooray!! I was SO HAPPY and very excited to finally have this package. How nice for this mystery to be solved!

My family and I still can’t understand how my package ended up where it did but I am just glad to have it now.

So, here is my package:

And here are my books! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meeting Internet people

Despite the many stories going about of how some gullible teenager was lured into the arms of some predator she met online or some insane psycho killer hacking up someone who met him to buy something advertised on Craigslist, I am not against meeting in person the people I know through the Internet. I have actually managed to meet a couple of people who I met either through email or through a social media site. No bad experiences YET!

But there HAVE been times when I tried to meet someone in Internet land in real life, but something or other mucks up that encounter. And we never end up meeting in person at all! (Have to wonder if they decided it’s best not to even try again. Or that maybe just knowing each other only through Internet is better. Hmm.)

Well, today, I FINALLY did manage to meet someone I have known online. I have actually communicated with her on and off through Facebook. It helps that she lives in the same neighborhood! (This reminds me of the time I lived in Desert Hot Springs and was going to College of the Desert. I was a member of the online community CollegeClub and was surprised to “meet” on that site a fellow COD student! The bigger surprise was that this dude lived right down the street from me! We did end up meeting in person and it went off nicely but I never saw the guy again and I never got to meet his fiancee, either. Still kept in touch with them both for a while there, though.)

I was actually hoping to meet her yesterday but there was an emergency that came up. One minute, Jesse was sitting on the couch, eating a snack and watching TV. The next, he came running to me with blood on his hand and in his mouth! We could not get him to a dentist that time but we DID stop the bleeding in his mouth. He saw the dentist this morning and we found out what was wrong. Still, I was waaayyyy too nervous to focus on anything else, let alone meeting a new friend, to leave my son’s side and not keep an eye on him. So we decided to meet today.

So, what finally brought about this meeting? She was selling something we’ve actually been thinking of buying for some time. We decided to buy it from her and I’m glad we did because, yay! I finally got to meet her in person! She was really nice and the meeting went well. I look forward to seeing her again sometime or even around the neighborhood.

One of my friends is someone else I met through Facebook, too. She is a friend of a friend. We met through Facebook thanks to my friend and, since she lived in the neighborhood, we met in person, too. We hit it off right away. She is just awesome! She has since been one of my dearest friends.

With some people on the Internet, yes, you DO need to be careful about meeting them in person. I think I would feel more comfortable if I knew them via email or social media first, and for quite some time even then, or if the meeting was entirely for professional purposes and therefore in a public setting. The Internet is certainly one way to reach out to other people in the world and creating new friendships with other people we may have otherwise never have had the chance to know had it not been for an online presence.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The power of three

This morning, while I was sitting at the table and eating my breakfast, I looked more closely at the discarded pizza box on the table in front of me and saw this:

And all I could see was "POND." Which of course made me think of the character in Doctor Who, Amelia Pond. And suddenly, I had this very distinct image in my mind of a wedge of cheddar attacking Amelia Pond while she was traveling on a boat.

Then, later, while I was reading, I was surprised to see this:

Hm. "The power of three." There is actually an episode of Doctor Who with the title "The Power of Three."

So, of course, after these two things related to Doctor Who happened in my day, I decided to wear this T-shirt:

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

An update on the bursitis/sciatica thing

Five days ago, I was at the Urgent Care because of severe pain in my hip and leg. I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes. It hurt like hell to walk – so much so that I was barely stepping across the room as though my feet were chained together by Thursday because it hurt too much to take a normal step. And sitting down then getting up was also painful. By Thursday, I was unable to lift my left leg.

The doctor told me I had bursitis in my hip. It had gotten so bad that I had swelling over my hip. It looked like the top of a basketball was growing over my hip! It was pretty alarming. I also had sciatica as a result of the bursitis. This explained the pain in my leg. The doctor said that once that part of my hip had become inflamed, it affected the sciatic nerve.

The doctor’s instructions were to use an ice pack on my lower back and hip for 20 minutes 4 times a day, as well as an increased dose of Ibuprofen 4 times a day. So I started that on Thursday evening. By Friday, I could bend over to tie my shoes and lift my left leg again. By Saturday, I was well enough to go somewhere (to the store), but because I still had pain, I could not stay out and on my feet for too long. By Sunday, I woke up without any hip pain and, even better, could easily get out of bed without the hip pain. Also on Sunday, the swelling on my hip was starting to go down. And by yesterday, I was pain-free.

That Ibuprofen and ice pack are good stuff. If not for the doctor, I would not have thought to use the ice pack on my lower back, where the sciatic nerve begins. I have found it also helped to ice the area of my leg directly over the nerve, where it hurt the most. I also made sure I walked around the house as much as possible. There were times I even stood at the counter to eat my meals because I did not want to sit down so much.

In order to keep up with both taking Ibuprofen and using the ice pack, I did both things at the same time. Soon it was a system for me. Of course, I got very bored sitting for so long and so often throughout the day for the ice pack sessions, but I knew I just had to hang in there and keep at it to get better. I hated it that I could not be very active, could not exercise yet or go running around, but I knew if I did that, I’d be right back at Urgent Care in the same condition as before. I also hated wearing a skirt. Because of the swelling on my hip, I could not wear my jeans and it was too hot to wear my sweat pants. Yeah, it really sucked. But I just reminded myself that this, too, shall pass. I took advantage of being laid up with the ice pack by watching TV (something I barely get to do!) or reading or checking out Pinterest on my phone.

And as of today, five days later, I am feeling so much better. Thankfully, the doctor’s care instructions helped me a lot. I can now lift my left leg just fine – though the nerve in my leg is still a little sensitive. But I am back to walking normally. My hip is still also sensitive but, thank God, I am no longer in so much pain.

I do believe I am on the mend. I was thinking of stopping the treatment today but was advised to keep taking the Ibuprofen and using the ice pack for the rest of the week. Just to be on the safe side.

After all this, I definitely have more appreciation for the sciatic nerve! I did some research and learned there are actually exercises a person can do that help the sciatic nerve. I will definitely be looking more into that and maybe start using them when I can start exercising again.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Hip pain

Starting on Monday, I began to experience a familiar form of hip pain I’ve had to deal with many times before. Some time ago, I went to a doctor about this hip pain, and was told I had bursitis in my hip. The doctor advised I use the ice-pack (15-on and 15-off method) and Ibuprofen until it cleared up. Well, it did clear up, and cleared up again when I repeated that treatment. So on Monday, when it started up again, I started the treatment again.

But the problem was, that did not seem to help this time. The pain only got worse. It was agonizing trying to get out of bed each morning; I had to lift myself up just by grabbing the headboard. Every time I stood up or sat down, I’d cry out in pain because it hurt so much. Walking became extremely painful, especially with the pain in my left hip going down into my leg. I could not sit down for very long, either, because it hurt too much or because I had too hard of a time getting back up again. And by yesterday, the pain was so bad, I could not lift my left leg. For 2 days, my kids have put my socks and shoes on for me because I could not bend over. I was barely able to dry myself off after my shower this morning; Jennifer had to dry my hair!

By this morning, I noticed the swelling in my hip was pretty bad. I was actually stunned when I saw how swollen my hip was. It looked like something was growing on top of it! Plus, I could barely walk.

That’s when I decided it was time to go to Urgent Care. But I could not go alone, since I could barely get into and out of the car. (The kids had to lift my leg into the car when I drove Jesse to summer school this morning because I could NOT lift my left leg!) Thank goodness I can drive with my right leg just fine but my left leg was pretty much useless. In fact, sometimes it was limp and numb. So hubby got out of bed this morning to drive both me and Jennifer to Urgent Care. (Jennifer was my interpreter.) We had to wait for over an hour to be seen and it was agonizing. I was in so much pain!

But finally, they called me in. I needed help to get out of the chair as well as lie on the bed, change into a gown and move around to lie flat. It was really, really painful to move. The nurse took my vitals and we talked about my medical history. Then the doctor came in and I told her about what was going on, and I mentioned the bursitis. She examined me and, oh my goodness, it hurt when she moved my left leg around. She even tested my nerves on my left leg with the knee test and my leg didn’t react at all. That freaked me out!

The doctor wanted an X-ray and it was more pain to get into a wheelchair AND be positioned on the X-ray table. Ugh! The X-rays were actually fine; there was nothing visibly broken or anything. While the doctor looked at the X-rays, Jennifer and I got to talking in the exam room. I told her I think this was happening because of all the time I’d spent at the computer desk, leaning over in my chair and putting strain onto my hip. I did have a habit of occasionally getting up from the desk and moving around, but apparently, that was not enough and it was still too much strain on my hip. I mean, I was not even sitting up straight in the chair. Jennifer agreed that is probably what happened.

When the doctor returned, I told her about this idea and she said it was an interesting theory. She went on to talk about the X-rays and that it was indeed bursitis in my hip. She also said I have sciatica because the hip was so inflamed that it affected the sciatic nerve, which is the nerve that goes into my leg. She said I should take a stronger dose of Ibuprofen and keep applying the ice (though for 20 minutes at a time instead of 15). And get up to move around more often. She said movement was a good thing. (The X-ray tech had indicated the same thing when she asked if it hurt less the more I moved around – I told her yes, it did.) 

When the doctor left, the nurse returned with paperwork. We asked her if the doctor knew what had caused this to happen and the next thing I knew, Jennifer was cheering. I asked her what the nurse said in answer to the question and Jennifer said, “Our theory!” Yay, us! We figured out the problem!

I read over the follow-up instructions and was surprised to see that one of the things the doctor recommended was walking. She said that walking will help my hip to get better and to try to walk a little more every day. I DO love walking but have not walked for a long time because I either never had the time to go for a walk or I was in too much pain. Well, it’s doctor’s orders now, so I gotta make a point to do it! (Er, when the weather is good, that is.)

I am hopeful this will help my hip get better. The doctor said it will be 2-3 days before I see any changes (I have used ice on my hip and back twice so far today but the swelling has not gone down yet). I am going to follow her instructions – and make sure that, from now on, I sit straighter when I am at the computer desk!