Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Big Cats at the National Zoo

More from the National Zoo

The Fun of a Nasal Rinse

I had a cold in the beginning of September. It took about a week and a half to go away. What I was left with after that was a reoccurring cough. It was due to the fact that although my cold had gone away I was still have terrible post nasal drip. So not to be too gross about it I'd have snot running down the back of my throat. To try and clear it I would cough.

The wonderful hot and humid weather added to the fun of this. Sometimes I would start coughing and wouldn't stop for several hours. Every few minutes I would be coughing trying to clear everything out.

I finally decided I needed to go to the doctor. You can read all about the saga of changing doctors here.

I got an appointment with my doctor. He checked to make sure my lungs were clear which they were. He suggested using Flonase and a nasal rinse.

I have to say I'm not a huge fan of a nasal rinse in part because I never feel I do it right. Now what I have is not those little tea pot things but sinus rinse bottle like the one above. It's sort of like an enema for your nose only not as gross. Well not as gross as long as your nasal cavities aren't impacted with charming colored snot.

I will say I now think I have the hang of it. The rinse really seems to help or it could be the cough would have gone away on its own along with the fact that the weather has finally changed and the heat and humidity are now gone. 

In any case, the rinse really does clear me out and my cough is going away. Mission accomplished.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Great Lunch and a Quick Stop at the National Gallery

Had a great lunch today with a friend and former co-worker. We met up around 1 today and had lunch. We caught up on what's been going on with us.

We commiserated on our unemployment experiences. While hers was a while ago, she did have some good advice on what to do. The main thing is that you have to accept there is only so much you can do each day. After that you have to step away from it or you'll drive yourself crazy. I agreed. She also had some suggestions on things to do. I'll be following up on those in the coming days.

After we parted company I was going to go see the movie The Magnificent Seven but it was such a nice day out I decided not to. I got off the Metro at Gallery Place. Walked down to the National Gallery. I took a quick walk around seeing some of my favorite. Then walked to Union Station and headed home.

Here's a little of what I saw.

A Wonderful Visit to the Zoo

I decided to take some time off from job hunting and do something fun. So I went to the zoo. Over the next few days I'll be posting pictures of my visit.

I'm going to start off with these amazing tortoises.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changing Doctors

A few years back when my insurance changed I had to change doctors too.

So I went to the new insurer's website and looked at a list of doctors. I just picked one at random. Near where I wanted the office to be which is around DuPont Circle. The search function on the site wasn't the best. You could search by field which wasn't that important to me because I wanted a general practitioner. You could then select a zip code and search within a certain radius from that zip code. The smallest search area you could choose was a couple of miles. So when I conducted the search I ended up with a couple of hundred possibilities not exactly a small list.

Like I said I picked on at random. Turned out to be a good choice. I had this guy for a little over a year until he left the practice. So I went to another guy at the same office. Liked him as well.

Recently I got a letter from the office of the doctor with the following news. The first paragraph stated that the office was moving to a new location. A brand new office featuring state of the art amenities. The current office was located in an old building which probably had not seen major upgrading for years. The letter went on to say the new location would allow more services to patients.

I thought that's not bad. The new office wasn't too far away from the current one. So that wasn't a problem. Then along came the third paragraph. It said the doctor I was going to was retiring as of August 29. It went on to say: it has been our pleasure to offer you expert primary care, and we hope you will continue to allow us to meet your health needs. Following that is a list of doctor's associated with the practice that is accepting new patients.

Very helpful of them.

I took a little closer look at the letter. Here's where my problem with it started. It was dated August 25. I didn't receive it until September 12. Eleven business days after it was dated. Really why did it take that long. I'd have no problem with it if it was just an announcement of the office moving but my doctor retired. I should have been told about this earlier. Like I don't know before he retired.

I thought about what to do. In fact I need to see a doctor because, although my cold was gone, my cough from it was still hanging on. This had happened to me the last time I had a cold. I continued to have wonderful sinus drainage down the back of my throat which caused me to cough.

So the question now was what to do. Since the loss of my job, I was on a different insurance. I decided to call up my old doctor to see if they accepted my new insurance. After a little bit of a run around (which was mostly my fault), it turns out my old doctor's office accepted the insurance.

I thought better to go to someone who knows my history and I'm on friendly terms with (even if I haven't seen them in almost three years) instead of someone completely brand new. Also since I have a $6,000 deductible better to go to the place that charges less. The place that charged less was my former doctor not the current one.

I was able to get an appointment at my new/old doctor's office for that day. Got my new/old doctor caught up on what had been going on with me. Then we got to the issue of my cough. He told me what to do. I was in and out of the office in under 20 minutes. If everything works out with the insurance (I'm still a little confused about the whole insurance set up but the office said they did accept it), I'll call the old office and have my records transferred.

Now that's the way a doctor's visit should go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Finally a Ceiling Fan on the Ceiling

I've been talking about putting up ceiling fans for many many many years. Like at least five or more.

I had planned on taking advantage of an offer made at Home Depot many years ago. They would install the fans for free. I went into the store one day to do just that and the offer had ended a few days earlier. I didn't realize just how much you get charged to install a fan. I thought at the most maybe a couple of hundred dollars. No much more than that. I asked for some bids to put two fans. I think the cheapest price I got was around $500. Way too much money.

At Christmas I got some money from my dad. In the note enclosed in the card was a note that said buy the damn ceiling fans. I got back from Springfield and did just that. I did research on the best size fan to buy for the rooms I wanted them in. I then went down to Home Depot and bought them. I bought just two. My plan was to put them in the living and dinning room.

They sat in their boxes for many months. A couple friends said they would help install them. I finally made arrangements with one friend to put one up. We ended up cancelling that. This past Friday talked to that friend again and he said we've never put up those fans. So he said how about tomorrow. I said sure. I added that I decided to put the first one in my bedroom. In part because the ceiling was much lower than the one in the dinning room.

Around noon on Saturday my friend arrived. We then installed the fan. Actually it was more like I watched as he installed the fan. I did help out some.

So thanks Tom for helping me to finally get a ceiling fan up. Hopefully the next one wont't take another five years.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Visit to Anderson House

Every once and a while you come across something new in Washington. Well not all that new but something that you've never been to. That you knew was there but had never taken the time to explore it. I had lunch with a friend and he said he was going to go to Anderson House. He said it was free and they conducted tours as well.

It was about a five minute walk from where we had lunch. We arrived and were greeted with the question of did we speak French. Turns out there were a group of French tourists there about to begin a tour. We said we didn't speak French. The staff joked that they would set us up with a guide who spoke English.

We waited a little while for the French group to head out. We looked at one of the exhibits at the house. Our guide then conducted us on a tour of the house.

Here's more about the Anderson's and the house:
In the spring of 1905, Anderson House was completed and took its place as one of the capital city's most fashionable mansions—a "Florentine villa in the midst of American independence." The firm of Arthur Little and Herbert Browne of Boston designed the mansion as the winter residence of Larz Anderson, an American diplomat, and his wife, Isabel, an author and benefactress. For more than thirty years, the couple enjoyed their Washington home as a showcase for their art collection, a backdrop for high society galas, and a home from which they explored what they considered "the most beautiful of American cities."

At a cost of nearly $750,000, Anderson House included a walled garden, tennis court, and three-story carriage house and stable. The fifty-room mansion is Little & Browne's finest architectural achievement. Its eclectic interiors, dominated by English and Italian influences, feature the painstaking work of craftsmen who adorned the house with carved wood walls, gilded papier-mâché ceilings, ornate iron staircases, and intricate marble floors. Anderson House was also outfitted with all the latest conveniences, including electricity, central heat, telephones, and two elevators.

Larz and Isabel Anderson intended their Washington home to be a grand setting where the rising diplomat could entertain American and foreign dignitaries. The Andersons would distinguish themselves among the capital's most sought-after hosts. During the Washington social season—generally between New Year's Day and Easter—the Andersons held diplomatic and inaugural receptions, formal dinners and luncheons, concerts, and dramatic performances. Their guest lists included Presidents William H. Taft and Calvin Coolidge, Gen. John J. Pershing, Henry A. du Pont, and members of the Vanderbilt family.

To the Andersons, their Washington home represented the culmination of what America's founders, including George Washington, hoped their capital city would become—a grand, modern city to rival European capitals, but with a patriotic identity and a sense of history that would make it distinctly American. When Larz Anderson died in 1937 with no children, his widow oversaw the gift of Anderson House and its contents to the Society of the Cincinnati, of which Larz had been a devoted member. Since 1939, this National Historic Landmark has been open to the public as a historic house museum where the Society has continued the traditions of collecting, entertaining, and patriotic service that the Andersons began one hundred years ago.

The next few posts are what I saw on the tour.

The Society of the Cincinnati

The Society of the Cincinnati is the current owner of Anderson House. There are in fact bedrooms on the third floor of the house that members can stay in when the visit Washington. Here's a little more about the society:
The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation's oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members. Now a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the principles and ideals of its founders, the modern Society maintains its headquarters, library, and museum at Anderson House in Washington, D.C.
The first president was George Washington. Alexander Hamilton was a president too.

The Grand Ballroom at Anderson House

Flemish Tapestries at Anderson House

There were these amazing Flemish tapestries that the Anderson's collected. Here's a little more about them:
Two sets of Flemish tapestries, the Diana and Arbor series, have adorned the walls of Anderson House since Larz and Isabel Anderson acquired them in the early twentieth century. Woven in Brussels at the turn of the seventeenth century, the silk and wool panels recently received extensive conservation treatment.

Inside Anderson House

Here are a few pictures of the amazing works of art in the house itself.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Spectacular Sunset

An incredible sunset from the other night taken out the windows of my back bedroom.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Golden Knights Army Parachute Team Drops Into Nats Park

The result of the game was a disappointment but the pregame ceremonies were nothing short of spectacular. The Golden Knights, the army parachuting team, dropped into Nats Park.

Here's a little more about the Knights:
In 1959, nineteen Airborne Soldiers from various military units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC). Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. gathered the Soldiers with the intent of competing in the relatively new sport of skydiving, which at that time was dominated by the Soviet Union. That year, the U.S. Army team began representing the United States on the international competition circuit, and performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia. Two years later, the Department of Defense announced that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team.

By 1962, the team earned the nickname the "Golden Knights". "Golden" signified the gold medals the team had won while "Knights" alluded to the team’s ambition to conquer the skies.

Since then, the Golden Knights have conducted more than 16,000 shows in 50 states and 48 countries, reaching an average of 60,000 people per show. The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competition. Team members have also broken 348 world records.

The Golden Knights are one of only three Department of Defense-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, along with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The team is composed of approximately 95 men and women, which includes four parachute units, an aviation unit and a headquarters. The demonstration teams, which use five dedicated aircraft, perform at more than 100 events per year. The tandem section is known for taking Soldiers, celebrities and heads of state on jumps, and the competition section focuses on winning national and international skydiving events.

And here they are coming into Nats Park.