Tuesday, August 13, 2019


      Southwest Airlines is now my airline of choice.  The ticket, a round trip non-stop trip to Buffalo, had me departing at 3:30 pm and arriving at 10 pm...returning 18 days later at 5 pm from Buffalo and arriving in Phoenix at 8:30 pm.  NO EARLY WAKE UP CALLS.  Checking in with 2 bags was not a problem and was included in the ticket price.  Early boarding, with my gout , enabled me to pick a comfortable seat close to the bathroom BUT my boarding pass had me in the 3 group to board.  I showed the reservation where I had paid for Early Boarding and after explaining why, she said I didn't have to pay as I had a medical issue , issued a new boarding pass for round trip then REFUNDED MY MONEY!
     Two men traveling together sat with me.  They were both visiting relatives in Buffalo and one grew up in Ravena, which was 1/2 mile from Coxsackie, where my cousin and her husband grew up.
My Budget Car rental agent upgraded me to a Ford Fusion Hybrid with 3000 miles on it.  It had a dial for the gear shift, blue tooth connection, safety lights on the side mirrors that blinked when passing or being passed so there were NO blind spots.  Plenty of zip and 38 mpg, so refueling was not necessary until the day after I arrived.
       I received an email from booking.com ..."How did you enjoy your stay at the Red Roof Inn?"  I told them I was checking in around 1 am and they told me I would have to pay more so, needing a room late at night , I paid it.  They had me checking in at 1 pm and when I didn't arrive...took my money as a NO SHOW and charged me even though I didn't stay there.  I explained everything to the clerk but there was no room reserved for me.  They only had one left in smoking. What was I supposed to do...sleep in the car?  I will sort out the money when I return from Coxsackie for a week's stay to visit my grandchildren.
       Free breakfast was over when I checked out at Noon.   I hopped on the NYS Thruway and was on my way in bumper to bumper traffic with tandem semi trucks in both lanes making me pay attention to  my driving.  I had something in my right eye that was impairing my vision and I had no idea what.  I ignored it as much as I could.  I kept washing my eyes at  at every stop but still the same.
        David and Helen had two of their grandchildren, Clara and Ted along with Jenny who lived with them, and Barbara my other cousin , were all waiting to go down by the Hudson River for Friday dinner.  It was hot and humid outside.

Yanni's was busy and we waited a long time for desserts before heading home.  I had a fan in the room so finally fell asleep around Midnight.
       My eye was causing me to lose perspective on walking and I caught myself falling just in time after knocking a painting off the wall and scaring the hell out me.  I didn't notice it while driving for 6 hours but walking was a balancing act so Barbara drove me to an eye glasses store and we talked the technician into looking at my eye.  She realized I had had an implant 40 years ago...but it was not there!  I had to see an eye surgeon ASAP.  We called  the family eye surgeon but he was unreachable so the technician called and made an appointment for Monday morning in Poughkeepsie.

      Barbara drove me to Woodstock N.Y. after we had lunch in Hudson.  We crossed the Hudson River on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.  Both were lovely towns especially Hudson. 


        Woodstock was hot and busy with tourists

We returned home and I took her out to Red's Seafood for dinner.  She dropped me back at the house where I sat up with David and Helen outside on the porch until the house cooled down so we could go to sleep.
      Today we will take Ted to see the Lion Two Movie in the afternoon in Catskill.  Fun day and good movie and the Cats of Catskill.

We returned and that evening Barbara took me to Max's , one of my favorite restaurants.

Pork Chop with Apple Brandy Sauce

                               Vegetable Risotto with Fresh Chicken

I just erased a weeks worth of experiences so will try and piece it back together.  Monday morning Helen contacted the family Eye Surgeon and I cancelled my early morning appointment to go to Albany and be checked.   Barbara drove me up and I discovered I had a detached retina after photos, tests, paperwork, doctors, technicians ...then transferred to the office of the surgeon a few miles away for more paperwork, photos, tests, technicians, and finally the eye surgeon who scheduled me for Friday morning at 7:15 to be operated on.  We stopped at Urgent Care for a pre approval exam required for the operation.  We stopped at a Diner to eat then said goodbye around 8 pm that evening.
               David took me all over the next rainy day for an EKG , blood work and a stop for sandwiches to feed everyone at home.

               I thought I would catch up the next day with my notes, blog, photos, and reading.  Everyone had taken off to go shopping and run errands.  Barbara showed up and took me to work with her.  I went next door and got back on my computer while enjoying my coffee until her son Arjay showed up.  We went to the local restaurant for lunch then a wine tasting after.  Barb got out of work and took up to a waterfront restaurant for Prime Rib, Chowda, and a nice view.



Erik, Helen's son arrived from Virginia to visit and take Clara and Ted, his children back with him on Sunday.   
        The next day we celebrated Jenny's Birthday with the Clan present.  The weather had been nice.  David had made some Spaghetti and Meatballs with Salad and Ice Cream Cake and Cup Cakes while Ted talked to Alexia.

I caught Ted having a conversation with Alexa on Echo Amazon...like he was talking to a real person!!

I went to bed early for my 6 am pick up to the hospital for the operation .

Barb picked me up on time and drove through the Mist

to Albany hospital where I was checked in, dressed in a gown, prepped by Anesthesiologist and given a briefing by my Surgeon Dr Wang.  She cautioned me to stay awake and still but after going under, I kept dozing in and out of sleep while she kept yelling at me ..."DAVID, WAKE UP AND STAY STILL".  Two hours later we were done and 7 hours after arrival, Barbara took me to Pandera Bakery for soup and sandwich before returning. 
      Helen's husband David fixed up a Pizza for all of us while Erik took his daughter to one of the original Old Time Drive In's that now had 4 screens, to watch the Lion King.
 Today David takes me back to remove the bandages and hopefully I didn't do any damage last night by sleeping laying down instead of sitting up. Dr Wang removed the bandages and cautioned me to keep my head down.  The retina was attached but next few weeks are crucial.  I could lose my right eye sight and will definitely have blurred vision in that eye. She scheduled me for another visit on Tuesday and told me I couldn't drive.
      We took the car to Albany airport and turned it in the next day along with ticket reservation for the train to Buffalo on Thursday.  When I returned to Dr Wang she assured me the retina was holding well against the wall of the eye as it should be, gave me all my papers for my new Eye Doctor on Monday as soon as I return.  I bought a massage chair to rest my head in and a couple special pillows to keep my eye down but be able to sleep.  Amazon delivers!
     Today I pack for tomorrow's train ride.  I have been watching the last episode of Orange is the New Black on my cell phone between my legs while I crouch over.  Helps the time pass.
     We are staying on what used to be David's father's farm.  His brother is the town sheriff and lives next door.  The Coxsackie Prison is next door where Helen's father used to be the Warden.  They grew up in the house on the prison grounds that is the Warden's house, not far from here.  I hear the guards practicing or qualifying at the shooting range , sometimes with automatic weapons, just over the hill.
        Last Jeopardy in Coxsackie. Barb stopped in to bid me goodbye. Bed early.  Alarm went off but forgot to turn on the volume?  Got up to Chef David's French Toast and Bacon, finished packing and arrived on time.  Requested and received assistance with bags and loading bags above my seat.


      The train from Albany to Buffalo was 20 minutes late. We all boarded and 10 minutes later I was in the cafe line paying for my order and the power went out, the train stopped and the engineer announced the train requires 10 minutes to reboot. The attendant gave me change from his tips so I could go eat my gourmet brunch on the Empire Express . 15 minutes later, the train started then stopped again. 10 minutes later the train started , moved a bit then stopped. The departure was supposed to be 10:20...we are about 5 miles away and it is now 11:44 and we are still standing still. I can see why people prefer the bus...half the price and it doesn't need rebooting. This is my fourth Amtrak experience. All were pretty similar. This one is nicer and newer but comes with LOTS of screaming, aggressive kids. It's almost noon and we are still rebooting.Now I was informed the engine died and a new one is on the way. Should have taken the bus...now 12:30...two hours and 5 miles down the road! Stop subsidizing a LOSER. A freight train passed and if the window could be opened, I could have hopped that.

     1:30 and power just shut down along with the Cafe.  Still no new engine or movement. We still have stops in Schenectady, Amsterdam, Utica, Syracuse, Depew, etc. FINALLY arrived and a Beef on Wick (homemade baked daily) at the Anchor Pub that made Buffalo Wings famous.

    I got off at the Depew stop and Ubered it to the hotel that was $70 a night now $140...Reservations.com snuck into my computer.  I am staying at Airbnb's for now on.  

Friday, Breakfast at the Anchor with Wings and Wick.     Jennifer came over and we went to lunch at Olive Garden and had a nice visit. 
             Taja came by that evening with the children and ICE CREAM .  We took some photos, later posted on FB by Taja.  The children were great and it was a nice visit.

       Saturday we headed for Cracker Barrel for breakfast/lunch with Alexis, Rose and Howard with the newborn. 

It was nice to see them all and we had a great time.  Jennifer drove me over to the airport and I was at the gate when she decided to surprise me and got a pass to sit with me while I was waiting for the flight.  Things didn't go as we originally planned but turned out to be a great visit with Helen, Barb and their family along with Jennifer and our family.

        It was nice to touch down in Phoenix and return to my newly cleaned condo and a massage chair that my new doctor told me wasn't necessary as the oil in my eye did support the retina in any position ??