I hear you knockin’

We buried Socks this afternoon…

It’s a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day and all the things that grow in the ground are scrambling to get with the program, to be fruitful and multiply in Maine’s brief slice of summer.  I need to go down to Agway in a couple minutes and pick up some stuff.  It had best be today; there’ll be no getting near the place tomorrow.

This morning was the hearing test.  It is as I had feared, I’ve lost considerable amount of hearing at the high end of the scale, the same amount of loss in both ears, which, yes, does kind of point at all those dictating devices littering my misspent youth as the culprits.

We — that being the medical “we” — are not of the opinion that the loss is yet significant enough for us to be talking hearing aids.  The plan at the moment is to retest in a year and see where we are then.

This is the first time I’ve had a hearing test since elementary school, so I guess I subconsciously expected something like the test we took then, and, indeed, it was kind-of something like that.

First, I was locked into a soundproof room, headphones on, while the tech in the next room played a series of noises, first through the left headphone and then through the right.  I had a button in my hand and every time I heard a sound, I was to press the button.  The . . .interesting and terrifying thing about this was that I could tell when the tones had gone out of my range.  The tones I could hear came in a rapid, distinct, rhythm.  There I’d be, punching my button like a mad, button-punching woman, and suddenly?  I heard only silence, for a looooong time, before the next tone that I could hear sounded and I punched the button again.

I’m not sure I have words adequate to the task of explaining how eerie it is to know that sounds were being made which were completely beyond  my ken.  Like watching television with the sound off, but much more disturbing.

The next test, with different earphones, was. . .even eerier. The tech in the next room would say a word — again testing first the left ear, then the right — and I would repeat the word as I heard it.  There, too, I hit a blank wall where I knew, by the elapsed time, that words were still being spoken in some place to which I no longer had access, but — as the post-game wrap-up showed — I also misheard a bunch of words with soft “th” “sh” sounds.  “POPCORN” was perfectly intelligible.  “Theft,” not so much.

So, that.  Growing old is not for sissies.

As I believe mentioned elsewhere, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Our Stockholders Come First!) has kindly allowed us to know that they will be increasing our rate of protection (Nice liver you got there; be a shame if something happened to it) by just pennies under $140/month.  This brings our monthly payment to over $600 — for an insurance policy that covers NOTHING.  We still have to pay all of our medical bills out of pocket; if we should ever hit the deductible, we would have already declared bankruptcy.  This is when you start thinking about playing Health Care Roulette — dropping one individual’s coverage in order to be sure the other’s covered.  Can you hear the gods laughing?  Yeah, me, too.

But!  Thank ghod we don’t have socialized medicine; that would be worse.

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I have been remiss in pointing out that Baen has been running a cover model contest, in which you can vote for your favorite Manly Man from among a field of twenty-three.  Here’s the contest, with pictures.  The amusing thing is that the contest went over yesterday, according to the posted rule, and the winner appears to be!

Rys Lin pen’Chala.

Also, I have seen things, as I have gone up and down the intertubes.  Interesting things.

Like. . .

Rare baby lemur born at the Baltimore Zoo

The entire photographic archives of unknown photographer Vivien Maier have been purchased at auction, and will/are for the first time available for display.

Get a look at a Parisian apartment that has been left untouched for 70 years.

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Progress on Carousel Seas

43,713/100,000 OR 43.75% complete

Nothin’ the matter with your voice. If you feel like you gotta have an instrument, we just hand you a tambourine, and you shake it when the mood strikes.”


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