Monday, July 24, 2017

Day 2769

We had a terrible storm last night. The lights flickered on and off for twenty minutes and I kept hearing the thump of small branches hitting the roof. For a while I thought I smelled something burning, but I must have been imagining things. I looked everywhere and couldn't find a problem. We lost our internet connection for a while, but never did lose power. The storm was kind of a surprise after a succession of hot dry days, but at least I didn't have to worry about watering the grass today.

The overnight rain brought cooler temperatures along with it, so our morning walk with Dash was actually very pleasant. I noticed that Jimson Weed is blooming in the park again. I'm always surprised that the city doesn't destroy these beautiful plants, because they are very poisonous.

After breakfast, I wasted way too much time trying to figure out how we had become victims of a gift card fraud. I guess I'm still surprised that nobody was in any particular hurry to refund our money. It turns out that the kind of fraud we experienced is fairly common. It often originates at the facility where the cards are manufactured. An employee copies the numbers off the cards before they are packaged and shipped to a retail outlet. After an unsuspecting person purchases the card at a grocery store and has it activated, the person who copied the numbers at the manufacturing facility is able to receive a notification that the card is activated and then uses the card to make online purchases. There is an entire Consumer Reports website devoted to warning people about this scam. Scammers also sometimes steal batches of cards from a retail outlet, remove the cards from the packaging, copy all the card information, and them replace the cards in counterfeit packaging and return them to the retail outlet where they are purchased by unsuspecting customers. According to the Consumer Reports website, the only way to protect yourself from this kind of crime is to never buy a gift card at a grocery store or other retail outlet where the cards are displayed on an unsecured rack.  Live and learn. I suppose that we'll eventually get our money back, but I'll never buy a gift card again.

I wonder how long it's going to take for my legs to completely heal. I'm taking normal walks with Dash everyday now and the swelling hasn't returned. That's the good news. The bad news is that my left leg is still very sore. I still feel a hard knot in my calf that might take months to disappear. The slow progress is frustrating even though my doctor says that everything is proceeding normally. I'm ready to put this whole unfortunate episode behind me.

Maybe I'll go renew my passport tomorrow. My current passport expires next month and I've heard that the renewal process sometimes takes longer if you wait to renew until after your passport has expired. When did the cost of renewing a passport become so high? I remember paying somewhere around $25 to renew my passport. Now the cost is well over $100. Sign of the times, I guess. There is no place I particularly want to visit right now, but experience tells me that if I let my passport expire, I will need it almost immediately. I used to need a passport frequently when I worked overseas a lot, but somehow I don't expect that I'm going to get many jobs in Germany these days.

The closer we get to the solar eclipse, the more I'm reading that travelers must prepare as if they are entering a disaster zone. You are encouraged to bring your own food, arrive several days ahead of time, and make sure to bring your own toilet paper. It is anticipated that there won't be nearly enough porta-potties available to accommodate the huge influx of visitors. If huge traffic jams, no food, and and absence of toilets is what I've got to look forward to, seeing this "once in a lifetime" event is becoming less appealing every day.

Molly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day