Pandemic Journal, Day 562

I was scheduled to speak at the Silver Tongued Cats Toastmasters club this morning. I have one speech (plus the required “Reflect on your Path” project) left to do in each of the first two paths I started – Engaging Humor and Visionary Communication. The speech for Engaging Humor has to be 18-22 minutes long, which made it impossible to squeeze into today’s schedule, so I thought I’d give the second speech in the “Develop Your Vision” project and finish off Visionary Communication.

I’d had to choose a “vision” to develop in the first speech in the project. I’d chosen reinvigorating the Shir Hadash Ritual Committee – bringing in new members, for example. The project doesn’t require you to actually accomplish your plan, but I didn’t feel I’d made enough progress to give the second speech – and after last night’s two-hour meeting, I really didn’t want to talk about the committee today (it was a productive and constructive meeting, but I was tired).

I put that idea away. I’d started yet another path, Presentation Mastery, and the last project I’d worked on there called for me to take feedback from a previous speech and use it in another speech. I looked at the last speech I’d given on this path. I’d told the story of losing and regaining my sense of smell, and called the speech “The Nose Knows”. I planned to revise it slightly and sent the Toastmaster an introduction with a new title, “What’s That Smell?”

When I started speaking this morning, I began retelling the story – there had been a few developments since the first time. My allergist thought that Dupixient would reduce my nasal polyps and suggested I consider it – it’s not covered by my prescription plan, so it’d cost a mere $3000 a month. I told that part of the story and said “that smells”.

And suddenly I switched tracks. I talked about the insanity of our medical care system, where people have to choose between eating and paying their medical bills, where what you pay depends on how clever you are in working the system, where the actual payment for a procedure is often less than 10% of the list price, where medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy – I urged my listeners to contact their Congresspeople and ask for improvements. And I did all of that in three minutes.

I’m considering dropping the Ritual Committee as my “vision” and looking at ways to make a difference on medical care. Sometimes, I almost wish I wrote my speeches in advance so I wouldn’t surprise myself!

Pandemic Journal, Day 561

I woke this morning to an email from Apple saying that they’d checked out the iPhone I sent them on Monday and they’d be crediting the full amount of the trade-in to my card. It was a much better experience than I had trading in my old computer last May (that one required many phone calls and tweets to Apple Support to complete the process). We sent Diane’s old phone in this afternoon; I hope they’ll be as quick dealing with hers!

I chaired the Shir Hadash Ritual Committee meeting tonight, and I’m giving a speech at my Toastmasters club early tomorrow morning; I have Zoom fatigue, keyboard fatigue, and screen fatigue, so I’m calling it a night.

Pandemic Journal, Day 560

I slept much better last night – it might have something to do with my having taken a double dose of Atarax before bedtime as preparation for my first allergy desensitization shot today.

The shot gave me no problems, though I am mildly annoyed that I have to carry a plastic card with a barcode printed on it to be able to check in every time I get a shot. They use a slot scanner, so I can’t put the barcode on my phone, either.

My trip to the clinic gave me a bit of a scare, though – I discovered who the new temporary tenant is at the old Fry’s Electronics in Campbell.

But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised – Spirit specializes in finding large disused retail buildings and giving them a brief afterlife as popup Halloween stores, so the old Fry’s is a perfect fit. I wonder if they’ve taken over all of the old Fry’s locations – many of them would be thematically appropriate!

Pandemic Journal, Day 559

I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ve been dragging all day. I’m going to blame it on the flu shot and hope that tonight is a bit more restful.

After surviving our hour with the trainer, we took a quick walk; one of our neighbors has some wonderful orange and pink roses, and they seemed like a good subject to try the new phone’s camera on.

I sent my old phone to a farm in the country Apple as a trade-in today; I also upgraded my T-Mobile plan to qualify for their best rebate on the new phone. I guess I’m committed!

And a follow-up from yesterday: unpairing, wiping, and resetting my Apple Watch brought the Mindfulness app back. And now that I have it on the phone, I’ve discovered it’s not terribly useful.

Pandemic Journal, Day 558

We got our flu shots today. It’s a bit earlier than we would usually get them, but we are planning to go to my 50th High School reunion soon, and it seemed like a good idea to prepare. We avoided the big drug stores (CVS and Walgreens) in favor of Pharmaca in downtown Los Gatos – there was no line and we each got a $5 gift certificate, which we immediately used to buy chocolate bars (they have a much better selection than CVS or Walgreens!).

While we were downtown, we popped into the Apple Store so I could look at the new iPad mini and show it to Diane. The store was surprisingly uncrowded for the Sunday after a phone release – so uncrowded that I was able to get some time with a tech to see if he could figure out why I couldn’t install the Mindfulness app on my watch. He couldn’t figure it out in the time we had available, which left me three choices:

• Ignore the Mindfulness app (probably the best choice)
• Do an on-line chat with tech support and see what they could figure out
• Reset the watch and set it up as a new watch to see if Mindfulness returns.

I’m trying option 3 – and it worked. Now I just have to recover everything else on the watch….

This evening, we had dinner and drinks in the Sukkah at Shir Hadash along with a couple of dozen other members – it was a very pleasant evening indeed.