Solved mysteries

My friend Paul Curran is using our space here on Sunday morning to present his weekly Cuppa so his usual host Willow at willowdot21 can do other things over in the U.K. Paul will write here in his wonderful and unique style through September. Take it away, Paul, from your home in Canada.


Paul Curran

Your barista, Paul

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. For the next few weeks Willow will not be able to access her internet dependably so we’ll be meeting here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the back yard. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, comfy place for us outside on the newly mown lawn of the Little Bitty, so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is warm at about 76 degrees Fahrenheit with overcast skies but it supposed to get hot this afternoon, into the high 80’s. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa and calorie free electronic sweets while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been?

Ah, ha! The Light Goes On (note: no shirt)

Well, for me this week went by smoothly. I finally received notification that my application for prescription coverage has been approved for this year – time to get some refills. Ha! Remember a few weeks back that I did a post on changing my address officially for my health card and other government services? I have, of course, all the confirming paperwork filed away – one thing that is never lacking in government dealings is documentation. So, I was wondering earlier this week why I had not received any notification of prescription coverage and a little light popped on in my head. This small illumination was brightened by the fact that I normally receive my monthly bus pass by mail and it hadn’t arrived either. Hmm, coinkydink? I think not. Time for some investigation. Putting on my Sherlock cap, along with a shirt, socks and shoes (it is pretty hot here so I normally blog with just pants on – don’t get all excited now, bare-chested and all) I made my way down to the manager’s office and lo and behold, he was holding court (he manages about 12 buildings in this and the next block, so he is often out and about).

“Hey Mark, any chance of checking my old mailbox?”

Yep, sure enough – right here. Sigh

“Yeah, sure” and grabbing the ring of keys he proceeded to lead the way to my old apartment. Sure enough when he opened the mailbox there was a handful of government correspondence, including my bus pass and prescription confirmation. Sigh.

“Here ya go. Look Paul you have to get these addresses changed, we can’t keep doing this.” Pffft, double sigh.

“No problem Mark, I did – but I will follow up.” Flugga stugga, rugga, Bleep.

Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? So, I have a mission to add to next week’s tasks: try to convince the government – likely with faxed copies of the proof of address change – that I really did move. And now it becomes painfully clear why I was provided documentation proving that I had indeed changed my documentation. No doubt this next round of talks (as the diplomats put it) will result in documentation that confirms that I had documentation that confirms that I changed my address. Hopefully this will achieve the desired results and I will not be required to seek documentation that proved that I had documentation that I had documentation that I changed my documentation. Ha! We shall see. Wish me well.

Ahh, Freedom!

So, I finally broke down and decided to do some laundry Thursday. I live alone and have quite a few clothes, so this is not a regular event. I broke out my new little cart that I acquired last week and loaded it up – amazing, what a time and energy saver it is. I got it all in one load, as opposed to the multiple trips I used to have to make when I carried my laundry. I accomplished in 1¾ hours what would normally take about five hours – and many trips. Excited about this and needing some bread, my little cart and I made a trip to the grocery store Friday morning. This is normally a questionable activity. You see the grocery store is down hill from here about a kilometer. Whenever I set out on this junket, I tell myself over and over: Do not buy anything heavy as it all has to be hauled uphill a kilometer back home – when I am already tired from walking down. And, in my excitement at finding bargains, I inevitably break this rule of staying light.

Some of This

And Some of This

Now for the last few days I’ve been pouring liquids into myself as I am dehydrated from dialysis and some health issues. This is bad because my heart rate goes way up and blood pressure down – so it has to be addressed. So, I was open to buying some juices and such. And sure enough upon my arrival, I discovered that lemonade and soda were both on special (one dollar each). Now if I think I am going to run heavy with this shopping I will call for a ride the day before, but it is rarely possible to make such arrangements for the same day. So, day old hamburger buns and bread were both on special and I bought 4 packages, along with two cartons of lemonade and two 2-liter bottles of ginger ale, I checked out with about 15 pounds of groceries (for a total of $7.). Loading up my little cart, I headed home. This would normally be a strain hauling it all uphill, but with the cart, it was a simple walk in the sun on a beautiful late summer morning. Ahhh, what a difference. I arrived home with my treasure and still having energy left over. As a side bar, I chugged lemonade and ginger ale all day (normally a no-no for a dialysis patient) and when I went to dialysis Friday night my blood pressure was 125/68 and heart rate was 72 – both perfect for a man of my age.

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you for tea and drinks here for the rest of the month of September.

Afternoon Tea with Ellie B at the Little Bitty After a Hard Week

Snoopy B

34 thoughts on “Solved mysteries

  1. I love your little cart!!! What a brilliant idea! I have two strapping teenaged boys that lug all our stuff around, but me thinks your little cart might not grumble as much as my two boys do (even though they spend hours in the gym lifting enormous amounts of weight – what’s a couple of bags of groceries, I say). Can I please have one of those little sandwiches in the photo? They look scrumptious!!!


    • Bwahaha! that is too funny Beth. Thank you so very much for dropping by for a cuppa and a chat. It is an honor. I hope your long weekend is going well – your last post was fun.


  2. I was too late for my cup of coffee, so do you have herbal tea? A little honey, too? Hope you continue to hydrate, you are so right about fluids and dialysis, Paul.
    Hope the whole problem of letting government agency know your address disappears and becomes resolved. If this is your fault for not completing change of address papers, tsk. Tsk.
    Hi to Ellie B. and Mark (Karen, if around by the time comment is posted) in the Itty Bitty.
    Take care, Paul and enjoy the day out 🙂


    • Welcome Robin! There is lots of fresh coffee available but I understand that this time of day tea is likely the best. One herbal tea with honey coming up. Would you like a sweet with that?

      And I did complete the change of address paperwork. Part of the problem is the Privacy Act. Many departments are not permitted to get personal info from other departments. And there are contortions that must be endured to prove you are who you say you are before any changes can be made – ostensibly to .prevent the hi-jacking of identities. When you think about it, what better way to get a ready made identity than to get the government to send it all to you by changing an address without authorization. So, that said, it is always an uphill battle to change personal info. I know that and yet when all the paperwork is done a month before and the change is still not made, then it is time to investigate.

      Hydrating for a dialysis patient is a fine balancing act at the best of times. I do not have the kidney function needed to dump excess fluids should I miss the target. Dialysis itself is problematic for me because I have a colostomy and that changes the process considerably. Typically waste material is held in the rectum where excess fluid is removed – but my colon does not go that far. This complicates the measurement process for dialysis to determine optimal fluid levels. The nurses leave it up to me to gauge and we have upon occasion actually added fluid during dialysis when I am too dehydrated. That is one good thing about dialysis, IV fluids can be added with minimal work – just attach a saline feed to one of the multiple ports in the dialysis circuit designed for exactly that and you are good to go. Anyway, I judge fluid levels by any swelling of ankles and/or other peripherals or tissues (sometimes my cheeks will get puffy but normally it is knuckles and ankles) blood pressure and heart-rate, amount and color of any urine (I do produce a small amount of fluids), and the amount of fluid in my stool. With all that info I decide how much fluid to remove or add at any given treatment. Degree of success can be measured by weight and also by muscle cramping. When either too much fluid is removed or fluid is removed too quickly, then there is cramping in large muscles – i.e. thigh -and small strong muscles, like fingers. On each dialysis machine there is a read-out seldom used that I find helpful and it is the relative percentage of blood volume. So it is typically negative as volume decreases during treatment relative to beginning volume – set as zero. So I watch this during treatment and if I am dry that drops faster – typically -10% is as low as you would want to go. It will fluctuate during treatment as cells give up their fluid to the blood stream for removal. When the balance is good then the percentage will drop to about -6% then recover to -3% then drop again to -6 or -7%. When I want to take a lot off fast, I will drive it to -12 or -13% which will then suck fluid out of the cells faster as the blood and surrounding tissue try to achieve fluid balance. That will; give you a headache if continued for a whole treatment.

      Anyway, there is more, but rest assured that doctors and nurses keep a close eye on the treatments. I have been a patient for about 10 years and all is well so my procedure seems to be valid. I typically remove 1- 2 kilos (2.2 to 4.4 pounds) per treatment. but can remove up to 3 kilos. More than that and it starts to hurt with headaches, sharp abdominal pains, cramping, general malaise. How much has to come off is determined by many factors including temperature, humidity, food and fluid intake, amount and quality of sleep, etc.

      Well, I see I’ve gone off rambling, so i’ll thank you again for dropping by with a comment and invite you to visit again Robin.


    • Hi Martha! Thank you so much for dropping by for a read and a cuppa tea. Please help yourself to whatever sweets you desire – they are all calorie free so have as many as you wish. Yes, Mark’s Itty Bitty (which I erroneously called Little Bitty earlier – sorry Mark ) is a wonderful place to gather for a cuppa and a sweet. with conversation. It is a pleasure to have you here and please drop by again.


  3. Perfect time of year to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea inside or out! Such beautiful weather! 🙂 I’d love a cup of tea and a macaroon! 🙂
    Congrats on your cool cart! It will make life so much easier!
    Hope all continues to go well with your dialysis!
    HUGS, Carolyn 🙂


    • Thanks so much for dropping by for a read Carolyn. I am honored. One cup of tea and a macaroon coming right up. It is gorgeous weather for chatting and having tea outside – or inside. Have as many macaroons or any sweet as you want – these electronic sweets are calorie free 😀

      Thank you for your well wishes Carolyn and for the visit. please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Gatorette. A pleasure to have you drop by for a read. Mark’s readers are very kind. On the subject of dialysis they would certainly take me in and “fix” any fluid problems – who the heck wants to spend their night in emerg to be given IV fluids when the fluids can be put in the normal way – by mouth, with some enjoyment I might add. 😀 After some years you get used to how it feels to be dry or heavy on fluids and can adjust intake to compensate.

      My new cart is awesome – I should have gotten one a long time ago. I would recommend it to anyone.

      Thanks again for visiting – I look forward to seeing you next week – same bat time, same bat channel. O_o

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, what a lovely spot: outdoors and a pup to pet, too. Nice to be out this time of year ( there…still tropical steamy/showers with far too many gnats and mosquitoes here, so really appreciate your spot)
    That’s the perfect cart – such a smart idea. I plan on getting one of those eventually so I can walk to the stores and shops nearby if I need something. The bike basket is too small – and in nice weather the stroll is pleasant and healthy. We picked this neighborhood as it is quite walkable and for when we get older there’s things to go sit and watch at the marina, lake or park. Most of the year you can get out. A cool-ish front is due in within a week or so.
    Documentation and paper work. No matter where you are, it’s the same. I think computerizing information has only created more and more paperwork – and opportunities for confusion.
    Glad you found something to stabilize you a bit. (Do all ginger ales have green labels all over the world? Seem to here. Why does Pink Lemonade always seem to taste better – is it just because it looks fancy? Always wondered…and we always wanted pink lemonade (much to my mother’s annoyance)
    Good to see you up and about, Paul. Take care!
    Ellie B and company, thanks for hosting this morning in your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah Phil Mouse! Wonderful to see you here -thanks so much for dropping by It is indeed a lovely day for a cuppa and some sweets out here in the garden – and Ellie B is a treat herself . I always loved having dogs around especially in the seasons where they could get outside and enjoy themselves.

      Yep, the paperwork of life is an eye-rolling necessity. Ha! I called the federal government and they told me I couldn’t change my address on the phone- so they sent me information to the wrong address to explain how to change my address. I told them that it was useless sending address change info to the wrong address but they explained that they were not allowed to send to any other address as that was my official address until I changed it. Realizing the conversation had entered a circular orbit, I thanked them. They were very nice and were more than happy to send out information to the wrong address -even knowing it was the wrong address. Sigh.

      So, thanks again for the visit Phil, always great to see you here – please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a little bit tempted to get myself a shopping trolley, maybe something in a cool colour. I tend to walk everywhere and my weekly shop tends to get very heavy. My husband isn’t sure though. Hope you get your address things sorted out, it never ceases to amaze me how complicated bureaucracy can make a simple change of address.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Some! Great to have you drop be for a cuppa and a chat. The shopping trolley is an excellent addition to any home. I’ve only had it for a week or so and it has already made itself indispensable. I only paid $20 for this one used, but I checked and they are about $35-$40 new. Well worth the investment. Even if it only saves you a few car trips, it pays for itself. And you can buy what you please without worrying about carrying it home – so if there are specials at the store you can take advantage of them.

      Yep, the address ting is becoming a pain. You know I signed onto my cell phone account and changed my address in 30 seconds. Sheesh – if only the gov’t could be so efficient. Thank you so very much for visiting with us today at the Little Bitty. lease come again.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Paul, Mark, Karen and Ellie B . wooa its lovely here can I have a black coffee and a slice of carrot cake please!
    It sounds like your government bureaucrats are as determined as ours to destroy all rainforests! I hope you can sort it soon as before someone else gets your old mail box.
    The Shopping/ Laundry cart is an absolute boon!
    Glad all was good for you at dialysis. Love to you all. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Coffee with Barb and Paul Curran: a trucker’s response to bureaucracy | Barb Taub

  8. Thank you Mark for the opportunity to guest post here. I am much obliged. I hope all is well at the Itty Bitty and that your week is a good one.


  9. Pretty good coffee this. Oh and a couple of slices of toasted fruit cake! just the thing for a Sunday morning read. I’m going to pass on the laundry, I did mine yesterday. I like the idea of the shopping trolley – if I had one it might encourage me to walk to the shops rather than driving there all the time. Enjoy the rest of your week, Paul. And pass on my wishes to Mark and Karen, Oh I think Ellie B would like a little treat – perhaps you could fix that?
    (What does the B stand for? Never thought to ask before)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Roy! Thanks so much for dropping by. Coffee and toasted fruit cake coming right up! I think the “B” in Ellie B stands for Bialczak. That little trolley works amazing. And it folds up when not in use – I have it standing here between my desk and chest of drawers as we speak..One treat for Ellie B coming up! Thanks again for stopping by for coffee, sweets and a chat. I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the visit, Roy. The place is always better for your company! We added the B to Ellie when she was among several Ellies in a group of dogs playing together when she was a pup. I liked the sound of it, so it stuck! It stands for our last name. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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