I’m surviving (?) Dronepocalyse 2020.

Published January 11, 2020 by ia84

If you don’t live smack dab in the middle of the United States, you may or may not be aware of our current mystery drone situation. It started shortly before Christmas in Colorado, and has progressively worked it’s way into Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming (they’re probably in other states too, but these are the three I currently know of). Every night people are reporting seeing very large drones, usually in groups (the drones, not the people), zipping through the skies, hovering over towns and farms. Honestly, the whole thing sounds like the paranoid ravings of someone who is on a really bad drug trip.

Up until this week, I’d shrugged off the reports, because as previously stated, it sounds crazy. At the beginning of the week, a friend of mine, who lives in the middle of the state, posted video to Facebook of a drone over her home. And since I know she’s not high, I realized there might be some credibility to the massive pile of drone sighting reports. Tuesday, another friend added me to a group on Facebook dedicated to sharing eyewitness accounts, theories, and humor. I would say 92% of the group is made up of genuinely curious, amused people. The remaining 8% are seriously paranoid and get mad when jokes are made because the situation is clearly not being approached with enough seriousness. By this point, I’m in two of these drone groups, and both have turned into a serious dumpster fire of insanity. I’m only staying because I’m equal parts amused and terrified by people’s response to the mystery.

The drones made it to Omaha on Wednesday. I got home from work, right at 2200 (10 pm) and as I was getting out of my car, I noticed lights in the sky rapidly headed my direction. I ran to the backyard to get a better view. Soon enough, something flying too low to be a plane and too quiet to be a helicopter passed by, almost immediately followed by another.

I couldn’t make out anything more than the lights on the bottom. Was way too dark to make out the size, but based on placement of lights, was definitely larger than a drone you’d buy off the shelf.

There was something a bit eerie about the whole thing. I’m used to planes flying overhead, and at least once a year Able-1 (the police helicopter) buzzes over my neighborhood. Those are explained things. I see and/or hear them, and I know what they are. Unlike those things, the drones genuinely are a mystery.

Why do they only fly at night? Why hasn’t anyone come forward and explained their presence? Why so many?

I’ve read a ton of theories at this point that range from plausible to completely ridiculous. Here are a few:

-They’re documenting wildlife migration patterns. I don’t really buy this because I’ve not seen a good explanation for why they’d only be out at night.

-They’re coming to take away all the guns. I don’t even understand how this would work. Maybe they’re scanning for guns? Another one that I’ve not seen a viable explanation for.

-They’re mapping the Ogallala Aquifer. I’m a bit intrigued by this. The drones have been spotted flying grid patterns and they’ve been flying over the aquifer, so I guess that’s possible. (For those who don’t know, the Ogallala Aquifer is a giant body of water under several states here in the middle of the country. Google it, it’s pretty interesting.)

-Tracking the weather patterns. Unless they’re getting sucked up in a tornado, I’m not sure what they’d be tracking that satellite and radar can’t. I’m not completely discounting this one, but I do feel it needs a better explanation.

-It’s the government/military. This, friends, is the most likely.

Personally, I think it’s the military doing training, learning to fly drones at night. So far, it’s the only theory I’ve heard that has a valid reason for them only being out at night.

Whatever the truth, I’ll be surprised if we ever get an actual answer to this mystery. I anticipate that soon the drones will disappear, and it will become a story that turns into an urban legend. It’ll get exaggerated, and in fifty years kids will be telling stories about the alien drone invasion that their grandparents fought off single handed with a fire truck full of Head and Shoulders. No matter what, it’s made for an interesting start to the year.

(And kudos to everyone who gets the Head and Shoulders reference.)

This story sounds fake, and had I not lived it I’d think it was.

Published January 6, 2020 by ia84

I have had bronchitis for what is beginning to feel like forever. Back in November I started waking up every morning with a really bad cough. This continued until the Friday before Christmas. That’s when I developed a sore throat to accompany the cough. That entire weekend I dealt with my voice going bye-bye and generally feeling awful. The Monday before Christmas I went to my doctor’s office, and they did a flu test, because I was showing symptoms of the flu. The test came back negative, but they decided to treat me for the flu anyway (Omaha is currently a hotbed of flu, so not an unreasonable treatment decision). Then on Christmas, breathing got so difficult I found myself in the ED, where they did chest x-rays and another flu test. My chest was clear and I was definitely negative for flu. They gave me a breathing treatment, and diagnosed me with an upper respiratory viral infection. With being in the middle of the holidays, the earliest I could get in to see my regular doctor for a follow up was last Friday (1/3). Since I wasn’t doing much better, she diagnosed me with bronchitis, and prescribed me a couple of meds, one of which needs a nebulizer. She also told me that if I’m not over this by my next follow-up, she’s probably going to send me to see a pulmonologist; which considering I have a long history of bad lung infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, is understandable.

And that’s when the drama began.

About an hour after the prescriptions were sent in, I got a call from CVS letting me know that they could fill the all the meds, but they didn’t carry nebulizers. No big deal, I thought. I left a message for my doctor regarding this, and went to work. Mid-afternoon, I received a message from my doctor that she’d sent my nebulizer prescription in to a local pharmacy. Since I worked until 9:30 that night I was unable to go pick up the script.

Saturday morning, I decided to call the pharmacy to see if the script was ready, since I didn’t really want to drive all the way across town to find out it wasn’t. When I called, they informed me that they had received no prescription, and therefore had nothing for me. Baffled, I hung up, and sent a message to my doctor so she’d know what was going on. I knew I wouldn’t hear back anything until today.

First thing this morning I get a message from my doctor stating she called the pharmacy, and when they looked into their faxes, they found the script that had been sent on Friday. They just hadn’t printed it out. Now they had, and they told her they were in the process of getting it put together for me.

I had some other errands to run, and when I got done, I realized I had enough time to swing by the pharmacy before my therapy appointment.

I stupidly assumed that since this was a local pharmacy that’s been around forever, it was going to be a good experience handled by helpful people.

I walked in, and there was a guy and a gal working the drop-off and pick-up area. They both appeared to be in either their late 50’s or early 60’s. On the shelf right behind them was sitting a nebulizer with paperwork tucked into the top of the box (I mention this, because it will come up later in the story). I told them why I was there, and received a confused reaction from them. The man went, “A nebu…?” As if I had uttered a foreign word. To which I responded, “A nebulizer.” He shook his head, and the woman said, “We don’t have any orders for that.”

I proceeded to tell them everything from my doctor sending the script to the fact she had called this morning to find out why they hadn’t received it. I told them she was told it was there and being put together for me. I offered to give them my doctor’s info and the clinic phone number so they could verify what I was saying. Instead they asked me if I’d ever been to their pharmacy before, and who did my doctor talk to this morning. The answers were no, and I have no idea. The guy then pulls out this pile of papers and starts rifling through them, which leads to he and the gal getting into an argument because these are the faxes from the last two weeks and no one’s gone through them yet.

At that point I seriously considered walking out, but instead I pointed to the nebulizer behind them and asked if that was the paperwork they were looking for. Neither one even looked, they just informed me. “No, it’s not.” After several more minutes of going through faxes and fighting with each other, I was told they didn’t have it, and was I sure it had been sent to them. Considering that my doctor had provided me with the name, address, and phone number of their pharmacy as where I was supposed to go, I knew I was in the right place. Again I offered to give them my doctor’s contact information, but they blew me off.

While this is happening, other people started coming in, and they turned their attention to helping those customers. After they handled a few people, the gal turned to me and asks if I’ve ever been there before, and could I be in their system. I told her I’ve never gotten my prescriptions filled by them, so I doubt I’m in their system.

They helped more customers.

Finally, the guy told me that they don’t have my script and he doesn’t know how else to help me. Really frustrated at that point, I told him I’m going to go get ahold of my doctor and find out what she wants me to do. He then offered to call and get the script.

I give him the info, and waited as he called. He got the info and had them fax over the script again. When he got off the phone, he told me that the fax number they sent to before is one he’s unfamiliar with. He then proceeds to try to look me up in their system…which surprise surprise I’m NOT in. I gave him my i.d. and insurance card, and he starts inputting my info. At the same time, he decides to have this other customer, who was there to return some medical equipment, come up to the same desk, right next to me to start her return process. And when I say right next to, I mean picture the bank teller area, and instead of having her go to a separate station, he had her come to the same station I was at, where all my private information was sitting out, easy to see. I snagged my stuff as soon as I could, but not as soon as I would’ve liked. Since I work in healthcare, this whole situation set off so many privacy violation alarms in my head.

Finally, he told me that once he receives the script, he’ll send my insurance info to their people that will investigate (yes, he actually said investigate), my insurance to see if the nebulizer will be covered.

After 30+ minutes of this nightmare, I finally left, and headed for therapy. This is where the story gets even better.

My therapist is based in the same practice as my doctor. I figured that I’d see if there was a way to catch my doctor after therapy, just to give her a heads up regarding the situation. As it turned out, I ended up running into her in the hall as my therapist and I were headed back to session.

Doctor: Did you see my message? I got a hold of the pharmacy this morning and they’re filling the script.

Me: Yeah, so I just spent 30+ minutes over there and they had no idea what I was talking about.

This led to me relating the entire situation that had transpired at the pharmacy. Both my therapist and doctor were equally horrified as I filled them in. Then when my doctor found out that I still don’t have the nebulizer, she was clearly upset

Turns out, this pharmacy is the one place in town she’d found that is currently carrying nebulizers. She told me she was going to call them again to see if she could get a better handle on what was going on with them, and why I’d had such a ridiculous experience.

So, now I wait…and try not to cough.

Traditions

Published January 1, 2020 by ia84

During my twenties, every January 1st was spent marathoning the entire extended Lord of the Rings. While it is possible to do in one sitting, now that I’ve gotten a bit older I’ve discovered it’s also super exhausting. Then, I turned 30, and the tradition changed.

Tom and I had been together almost a year. We were engaged, and it was our first New Year’s Eve. I worked that night, but was done around nine or ten. I drove to Tom’s. He got a bunch of pizza and we sat up half the night eating and playing Diablo 3. Since then, every New Year’s Eve we’ve gotten pizza and played Diablo. Nothing like ringing in the new year by slaying hordes of demons.

This year, tradition shifted. Last night, we went out on New Year’s Eve. Nothing super fancy. Taco Bell and Star Wars. I’ve had a nasty respiratory infection, so it was both super fun and incredibly exhausting.

Today, I’m keeping quiet. Trying to continue getting better. So, we’re doing pizza, Diablo, and rewatching the Clone Wars series. Again, it’s nothing exciting, but it is pleasant and a lovely way to start the new year.

It’s been a long weird decade

Published December 31, 2019 by ia84

12/31/09. If you had asked me what my life would look like ten years in the future, I would’ve given you an answer that bears little resemblance to what actually happened.

How has it turned out? Let me see…

-I’ve lived in two different states.

-I’ve worked in two different medical labs.

-I got married.

-I discovered that I’m actually a dog person (I still like cats, but dogs are my favorite).

-I’ve discovered a genuine love of crafting.

-I’ve had two surgeries.

-I’ve had miscarriages.

-I’ve lost the best grandparents in the world.

-I’ve experienced evolution of relationships with both family and friends.

-I’ve learned to think for myself.

-I’ve learned hard truths about myself.

-I’ve been given gifts I never expected that have quite literally changed my life and given me back hope that I lost long ago.

Life has mountains and valleys. The last decade was filled with mostly valley, and as much as it hurt, as much as it tried to destroy me, I’m ending the decade able to say, “I’m still here.” I can’t say I’m ending the decade a better person, but I’m definitely ending it more self-aware and in touch with the world around me.

So, what about the next ten years? Honestly, I don’t know what life will look like a decade from now. If God gives me another ten years (which I really pray He does), I know that I don’t want to waste them. I don’t want to reach 12/31/29 and find that I’ve accomplished nothing. I do know that for the first time in my life I have a dream of something that I want to do, that’s not just a pipe dream (I know I’m being a bit vague, and I intend to flesh this out in upcoming posts). I know that I have certain talents, and I’ve got a calling on my heart to use those talents, and to give. I know what gives me joy, and what my purpose is. Now the trick is to dive in and not give into my fear of failure.

I survived the decade.

I want to thrive in the next.

Whether the weather is hot, Whether the weather is cold, We’ll be together, whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not.

Published January 29, 2019 by ia84
close up of snowflakes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hello, Polar Vortex.

Something’s been bugging me today.  What is it about weather that makes us all so competitive?

What do I mean by competitive?  Try telling someone who lives at least one state north of you that it’s cold.  You will be met with a response along the lines of, “Really?  You think it’s cold?  Try walking to class when it’s -20.  Your sweat will literally freeze.  You have no idea just how cold, cold can be.”  Mention that the weather is miserably hot and you’ll get, “It’s not really that hot.  Right now, in Afghanistan, it’s 120 in the shade.”

I have lived all over the mid-west.  I’ve lived through tornadoes, blizzards, and 100% humidity.  I lived in North Dakota and walked to class in -20, and, yes, my sweat did freeze (it was super weird when I got inside and experienced the thaw of the sweat.  I know, I know, tmi.).  I lived in southern Illinois, and remember school getting cancelled for what, once I lived in Nebraska I learned, is considered a dusting of snow.  I lived in Kansas, and while everyone else spent the winter bundled up in heavy coats, I was perfectly comfortable in a hoodie (there was only one time that I agreed that it was downright freezing).  I live in Nebraska, and every year the weather gets even weirder.  Right now it’s -5 outside,  this coming Sunday it’s supposed to be 50, and a week from now they’re saying it’ll be 25 and snowing.

Personally, I prefer the cold to the heat.  You can always put on more clothes, and throw an extra blanket or two on the bed.  When it’s hot, you can only take off so much, and even then it’s still too hot.

I don’t know why weather brings out the competitive side of humans, but it always does.  It’s like we’re determined to prove that we’re the toughest because we’re surviving a particular weather condition.

The only thing I know for sure, is that it doesn’t matter if you live in Florida, North Dakota, or anywhere in between, once it rains or snows, everyone forgets how to drive.

Mother Forking Shirtballs, I just want to go to sleep.

Published January 28, 2019 by ia84

I’m trying so hard to get to sleep, and it’s just not happening. I went to bed at 9:30, and as I write this it’s now 12:20 a.m. I’m crazy exhausted, and yet annoyingly awake. Too tired to stay sitting upright, so I’m in bed.

Here’s what it’s like in my all over the place ADHD head right now (thoughts are in order of appearance, not order of logic. I don’t know how I skip so wildly from one thing to the other, I just do):

-I should totally make a Fairy Tail guild mark blanket. It wouldn’t be that hard.

-I’ve already got two blankets in progress. I should probably finish one before starting another.

-Yeah, probably, but I really want to make it.

-Just finish something, I’m begging you…wait what is that?

-Why is the song from Back to the Future playing? I thought Tom was watching Flash.

-Oh, it is Flash, must be something time travelly happening.

-I just want to sleep.

-Man, I have not watched Back to the Future in forever. I should watch it this week. Also, I really need to catch up on Flash.

-So, how much yarn would my Fairy Tail blanket take? It’s gotta be less than the temperature blanket.

-Gracie Groot, was that you? Oh yeah, totally you. Why are you farting so much?

-Okay, the TV is driving me to distraction. So much input just being flung at my ears. I need to invest in some new earplugs.

-I have so much stuff to make. What do people even want to buy?

-People will want to buy, right?

-I feel like there’s angst happening on Flash. Music is all angsty and characters sounded equally angsty.

-I can’t believe Tom got ahead of me in Pokemon Go. I’m going to need to play so much more so I can hit level 40 before he does. Seriously, how did he get ahead of me?

-I need more yarn.

-And I’m still awake.

-5:30 is going to get here way too quick.

-I want pie.

When Life Feels Too Much

Published January 24, 2019 by ia84

I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning, and it took me until 9:30 a.m. to drag myself out of bed.  I’m struggling right now.  And it occurs to me that I’m probably not the only one.

If you are…

-Trying to figure out how you’re going to pay bills with money you don’t have

-Rationing your meds because even if you do have insurance, you can’t afford refills

-Eating as little as possible, cause groceries are an expense you can’t really afford right now

-Feeling strangled by your debts

-Stressed out because you keep trying to do things the right way, and life just keeps knocking you down

-A payment or more behind on your mortgage and/or bills

-Terrified your utilities are going to get turned off

-Wondering how you’re going to buy diapers

-Exhausted by your school loans

-Questioning how far your car can get on less than a quarter of a tank of gas

-Going through something I haven’t listed

-Feeling overwhelmed by everything, and considering just giving up

Then, let me say, you’re not alone.  I know there are a ton of people struggling right now. Please, don’t give up.  Eventually, things will get better.  I know that sounds like an empty platitude, but I’ve been down this road before, and I know that things will turn around.

If you’re genuinely considering ending it all, please reach out for help.  Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  If talking on the phone isn’t your comfort zone, text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

And if you’re in a season of life where things are going along pretty smoothly, please be willing to be there for those around you who are having a rough time.