Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So Let me explain...

Last Thursday, we received about seven inches of rain over 36 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't have one of my downspouts channeling water far enough away from the house. Thus, our basement was flooded, including our very nice family room. The carpet was destroyed by the seeping water, but we saved most of the furniture.

Unfortunately for us, a call to my insurance agent yielded disappointing news. Our policy (an HO-3) does not cover water seepage and associated damage. Now if a tree limb had fallen on the roof and punched a hole in it allowing water to enter the home, that would have been covered. We called ServPro, and they arrived late in the day to rip out the carpet, spray for mold, and set up their drying systems.

That morning, I also wasn't feeling well. I've been experiencing soreness in my belly button area for some time now. It comes and goes. I'm not sure when it started, perhaps six months ago...maybe more. Moving furniture on Thursday, however, really sent the belly button ballooning. I tried to take it easy as we emptied the contents of the basement into our garage and shed, but by the end of the day, I was feeling pretty intense pain.

The pain continued as I went to school on Friday. So I called the doctor. The doctor was quick to diagnose an umbilical hernia. She said that I need surgery as soon as possible. This doctor, who hails from somewhere in Africa I would expect, had a great smile and quirky sense of humor. I asked her what caused my hernia, and she replied, "Look at you! Look at what you're carrying around the middle. " "You're right," I replied. :)

So I'm in waiting mode now. The kind people at the surgery place are trying their best to call me to schedule a surgery with some surgeon. They haven't managed to complete that call yet. The ServPro people, after stellar initial work, have done an excellent job leaving us alone as their machines blast away in the basement.

The dog, forced upstairs at night thanks to the muddled basement, smells bad.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not so good

Have you ever had a not so good week?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Seeking Dragon Lady

Seeking Dragon Lady

Soon after moving back to Roanoke back in the late 1990’s, I began working BINGO in support of one sports endeavor or another for my children. Soon after that, I met “The Dragon Lady.”

She sits by herself and is always there. BINGO is a weekly pastime for her. My BINGO life moved into my family life the first time we went to visit The Red Palace Chinese Restaurant at Tanglewood Mall. As we walked in to the foyer of the restaurant, there she was, “The Dragon Lady,” dressed is a silk gown –smiling and ushering us firmly to our seats, “You sit here.” In the few times we’ve been there since, she’s always been there ushering us to our seats with a regimental precision. Every time I work BINGO, she’s there, sitting alone in a corner.

A few times, I’ve crossed “The Dragon Lady” and found her to be surly and combative. These were times when the BINGO caller may have misspoke a number or when the program may have been edited unbeknownst to her. “She not call N42. Then she call N44. But she no call N42. So I get BINGO. No call.” Yes, I’ve brokered such conversation with “The Dragon Lady.”

Today, I went to BINGO as an outsider. My daughter graduated from high school last June, and I no longer have any children that require me to have a BINGO obligation. Yet today, I went anyway because I thought there was a need. It turns out that there were a lot of people there, so I wasn’t really needed. But before I left, I decided to go out on the floor to sell a few instant scratch tickets.

There she was…”The Dragon Lady.” She was just unpacking her stuff for the long evening of BINGO ahead. So I decided to engage her in conversation.

“Hello! How are you?” I asked.

“Okay. Long time no see.” She replied.

I explained that I don’t get to work BINGO so much these days.

She then launched into her litany of complaints.

“These people are driving people away by raising prices on the games. I pay $130 to play today. These computers cost too much (computer BINGO machines) and they keep making them cost more and more. It’s not right and people talk. That’s why this place got no people here no more. People whisper and talk.”

“I hear you.”

I work at “The Red Palace. And we know how to treat our customers.”

“I know…I’ve been there. You were the hostess at the Tanglewood restaurant?”

Yes, but we sold it so we have just Valley View restaurant now. That one bad food but use our name. Not good. Valley View good Red Palace.”

“I’ve been to both. I didn’t realize that they both were from the same people.”

“I own it.”

“I knew you worked there, but I didn’t realize you owned Valley View and Tanglewood Red Palaces.”

“Sold Tanglewood. They use our name. Not good food. Go Valley View. Snow crabs on Thursday and Friday. Very good.”

“I really didn’t realize that. “

“Yes. Grandson start restaurant in Moneta called Jonathan’s.”

“No way…Jonathan’s? I had no idea. Jonathan is your grandson? My mother-in-law lives right there. And everyone there knows about this restaurant.”

“Jonathan’s good place to eat.”

I guess it just goes to show you that even though you may be acquainted with someone for a long time, unless you actually engage him or her in a real conversation, you most likely won’t uncover his or her story. I feel like I’ve only just scratched The Dragon Lady’s story. Where did she come from? How did she get to America? How often does she play BINGO?

It’s possible that I’ll never find out.