Our weekly guest columnist send me his third different head shot in his time with us here at Markbialczak.com, all predicated by a change in his personal style. I’ll say. Paul Curran told us why the facial hair had to go in his story titled ‘I’m Sorry.’ He continues to touch on it in this installment. Warning: His injury-area photo below is not for the squeamish. Go to it, my Canadian friend.

Your Beardless Barrista – Paul Curran

Your Beardless Barrista – Paul Curran

In Remembrance

Website: http://vfwpost9143.com/

Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. There are clouds this morning with a high just over 70 F. 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 worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa 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. Have an electronic sweet – all are all calorie-free. How has your week been? Are you enjoying the weekend? Any special activities?

First and foremost I would like to express my empathy to America at the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. All of our hearts go out to those who died in this insidious attack on your country on this date 15 years ago. It is so sad to see the photos of the wreckage and the faces of those whose lives were so irrevocably changed on that day. I don’t want to elaborate because the story grows daily with over 2,500 of the rescue workers now diagnosed with or dead from cancer. The tale will continue to grow and deepen and I pray for all those whose lives it touched and will touch – like the ripples in a pond, 9/11 grows outward daily. My prayers go out to America as a country and all those who have given of themselves and their lives from that day even to now fighting terrorism the world over. We are honored by your giving of yourselves. Thank You.

Website; https://www.treatmesothelioma.org/veterans/
Personally, I continue to get back to normal after my death last week. Strange to read that … Anyway, a long list of activities including getting sutures removed and staples removed, appointments with Thoracic, Thrombosis, etc. There’s a lot of paperwork that goes with dying, you know. So, no nurse or doc at the hospital likes to remove stitches or staples as they feel that is the duty of the GP – heaven forbid that a patient be helped: not my job. PFFFT!

After inquiring I was told: Take it to your GP or emerg – your choice. Sigh. So I called my GP and accidentally got his cellphone. He told me he was retired and had tried to get a new doc to take his practice but none would. (I suspect I know why – he rarely charged patients for anything even if it wasn’t covered by insurance, like filling out forms or doing required physicals for licensing, etc.) I rarely see my GP anymore because I have so many docs at the hospital and I can use emergency if I have to. Anyway my GP said he was vacationing in Niagara Falls so I apologized for bothering him. He asked my name and I told him. He perked up considerably and said he still received copies of my records from the hospital and then commented: ”That was a heck of situation last week wasn’t it?” Ha! I laughed and agreed and bid him a good vacation and retirement. I thought about this later and found it sort of amusing that my medical situation is so strange that it actually provides interesting relaxing reading for my retired doc. He has an innate grasp of medicine along with many other degrees and it makes me feel comfortable knowing he is reviewing my records because, knowing him, I am sure he would make himself heard if he saw something bad or dangerous.

Website: http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/keywords/retirees

I am healing well and took a few pictures as was requested:

Paul Curran's injury

Arm where fistula and aneurysm were removed – about 40 staples.
Credit: Steve Watson

Paul Curran's injury

Tunnel catheter installation that went so wrong
Credit: Steve Watson

All of that considered the doctors say I am still good to drive to Vancouver – the much delayed move that appears to still be on. When I originally reported here that I was moving I had waited months not wanting to make untrue statements. Well, every day some new issue would arise and the date would get pushed back. And it has been pushed again and again and again until it now appears that it will happen at the end of September – just a few weeks away. The owner calls daily to make sure we are still taking the property and he is as interested in getting us into the property as we are interested in getting there. If all goes according to plan –which I am sure it won’t – the owner leaves for Australia in the near future to take up employment there until his retirement.

The latest delay is the absolutely ludicrous stupidity of our federal government. My partner in the new home in Vancouver is waiting for a great deal of family money from the Canadian government – money that he is owed and that all taxes have been paid on and that they have been promising for months now. It is that money that will be used for the cash expenses of moving across the country and for deposits and costs of signing, etc. Back in January of this year the feds installed a new computer in the Finance Dept. that was going to be the solution to all their problems. The installers warned the politicians that they were not comfortable bringing this system – Phoenix – online as it still required a lot of work. Phoenix was to control all Government payables including civil servant payroll, all monies crossing international borders, funds being dispersed to contractors, payments on funds held for death taxes, etc, etc. The politicians had made promises of streamlining and lower admin costs and they insisted that Phoenix go live.

Website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/phoenix-pay-casual-employees-1.3689696

From Day 1 Phoenix has had problems, sometimes not paying owed debts, miscalculating wages earned, and applying incorrect charges to accounts. Still the Feds insisted that the roll-out go forward. As it did, more and more issues came up when thousands of connections were added to Phoenix. It has completely ignored paying over 80,000 federal employees driving them into serious financial ruin, causing some bankruptcies and serious hardships, like losing their homes. The other 200,000 plus employees have gotten some pay but not what they were owed – sometimes way more and sometimes way less. It is a mess. My partner in the moving has funds caught up in this and the government has been promising to pay out for months – since April. This time many have gotten lawyers – including my friend – and the Feds have admitted they cannot fix the problem and so are dispersing a sizeable percentage of monies owed as an “advance” in good faith until they can get Phoenix fixed. They said that will be October, but I would bet it will be 2017.

I cannot believe that the Canadian Government with the resources of an entire country and unlimited funds to purchase whatever help they need – has been so negligent as to allow this problem to continue to grow without fixing it. They should be fired – politicians included.

Anyway, that is the latest delay and the lawyers say funds will be released on Sept 20. God willing. Hopefully I will be on my drive west to Vancouver by Oct 1.

Vancouver Calls Out To Me

Website: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/search/grouse+mountains

Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this weekend. 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. Oh and roughseasinthemed, your bottle of chilled Muscadet will be on the table on ice every week now. Have a great week all.

Tea Time!
Website: https://sevendaysofsweets.com/2014/09/23/himmelska-hundar-heavenly-dogs/

48 thoughts on “Potpourri

  1. Thank you for your comment on 9/11. The day the world changed forever.
    I agree with the beard vote. Best of luck making your way to Vancouver. It’s a lovely city. My son lives in BC and I pass through when flying in. A good place to finish recuperating.
    Phoenix story just makes me shake my head. Such a waste and a source of aggravation and worry.
    Glad the nurses helped you out. Always dependable!🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Moonwatcher. Thank you very much for dropping by to read and comment. Yes 9/11 was horrific.I’m not a pacifist but the slaughter of thousands of innocent non-combatants makes me want to throw up. It would be as if we sent bombers into a peaceful Muslim country and bombed them for being Muslim. Hateful and I hope Allah treats them accordingly. I’ll tell you this though Moonwatcher, there are hateful people scattered through all countries, races and religions. When I was trucking many years ago, there was, at one point, a truckers strike in the US. It dragged on for months and it got very dangerous down there (I’,m Canadian). There were people on the East coast who were standing on overpasses at night and shooting at truckers passing underneath. They caught one group in the act and the shooters were white male adult American Christians who had no connection with the truckers and just used the strike as a reason to shoot at people because they liked to shoot at people.

      After a few additional comments tonight (from nurses) at dialysis, I made the decision to go with the flow and grow the beard back. Your side wins. Ha!

      Vancouver is a beautiful city – my Mum lives there and I have visited.

      Phoenix – I hope some people are charged and jailed but they won’t be. The media was gagged but they are now saying enough is enough. One group of government employees have not seen one dime of pay for over 10 months. Over 80,000 have missed many paychecks, some for months. Another 200,000 have not been paid what they earned. About 500,000 non-government employees have found themselves seriously affected. I’m willing to bet it would be fixed by now if the politicians responsible had no pay for 10 months.They are callous and inconsiderate and don’t deserve to be called representatives of the people. Charges would be appropriate from my perspective but it is not possible to charge a politician for anything related to their job. They can be charged for criminal acts but not for asininity and incompetence.

      Nurses are always dependable – 😀

      Thanks again for the visit Moonwatcher, please drop by again.


  2. Glad they didn’t remove or kill your sense of irony, Paul. It is clearly in full force!

    Thanks for the Vancouver update. I’m holding my breath for you, because it is probably better that I do it than you!

    Lastly, I’m with the folks who love the beard. But better to have you alive than furry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Elyse! thanks so much for coming out for a visit and a comment. Yep, I’m taking note on the beard – it appears unanimous – of those who voted. Vancouver seems to be getting closer but I’ve said that for 6 months now. So far nothing to change the plan – just the timing. I am very emotionally invested but still no financial investment. Still plugging along Elyse. Thanks again for dropping by. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chillsville, still. So glad you lived. Those stitches and scars make me want to cry for you and yell at someone. 😦 I hate the phrase, not my job.

    Funds distribution + government = CF.

    Thank you for posting the pic w/o beard. I have no preference. I’m just happy you are alive. Please keep us updated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi 1J1! Great to have you visit. The wounds are healing well – they look worse than they feel. Thank you for your concern and kind thoughts. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the beard yet. I’m pondering that one. **Ponder, Ponder**

      Thanks again for the visit – I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Phil! So great to have you drop by with some commentary. Yep, I put a lot of effort into my Halloween costumes – home grown ya know. Ha!.Yeah, I was really surprised that I talked to my doc. I knew he was busy with his bucket list but thought he was still practicing. He was very funny and down to earth.

    I am really looking forward to Vancouver, although I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up as I am not the one driving the plan – just the car. ha! It seems very solid though as I know the house is there , I know he wants two handicapped people for the tax deduction and I know he is headed for Australia and wants trustworthy renters – i.e. his nephew,( my friend) and me. The owner calls us every day checking to make sure we are still bought on – and we are very much so.

    So sad about the last search dog passing.

    Thanks again for the visit Phil. I hope all is well with you and yours – please pass along a big paw wave to RC and Molly.


  5. That’s a bit too much effort involved here in order to win award as best Halloween costume this year, Paul. Whew. (How cool you did get to talk to your former doc. They do like people and to hear what is going on with them)
    Got such a laugh out of this “There’s a lot of paperwork that goes with dying, you know.”
    Somehow all that paperwork is so you won’t notice that the gov. computer systems are a mess and a great excuse to keep from paying money owed. It’s a huge mess everywhere.
    But Vancover is such a gorgeous spot and vibrant area. I really wanted to move/live there after college, but life interfered….maybe one of those islands – I hear the sailing is as good as the scenery.
    What a deal your rent is! Can’t wait for you to relocate and tell us all the tales along the way.
    (The last 911 search dog, Brittany, was laid to rest a few months ago. She and her handler live not far away. Honors for her as well as all the first responders and victims of that day. Wish the US had as much class as France with their memorials – sure seems like today should be a day of reflective remembering with everyone off work instead of football game afer football game. I know the show must go on, but….)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much for dropping by with a comment Kerbey. I’m healing well – very little pain. I was actually asked by some readers to show some pictures – Ha! – or I wouldn’t have. Interestingly enough, as roughseas mentioned above, the pictures of medical issues seem to draw readers.

      It is hell having your life on hold because of the incompetence of politicians. They were the ones that ordered the Phoenix ahead when the experts said it wasn’t ready. This has been getting worse since January. Idiots. Can you imagine? There are Billions of dollars tied up in this.

      Anyway, thanks so much for the visit Kerbey – have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gaaaah, Phoenix! This is my first time hearing anything about it, but … it’s a pattern I recognize, from my line of work.

    As far as Vancouver? Fingers crossed all goes smoothly from here, despite the (bigger-than-)hiccups so far! I spent a couple nights there the summer I volunteered at Orcalab. I was enchanted (though the second night was a bit nervewracking) and would love to return someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Deborah! Great to have you drop by – I am honored. I don’t have any financial stake in this move but I must say my emotional stake is great and growing. I sure hope it all works out. I don’t walk very well – a side affect of the dialysis – so winter is a no go for me when there is ice and snow. Vancouver would be awesome with its weather and very little snow. And I was born by an ocean and have always desired to move close to another ocean – I thought I would not see that desire fulfilled ; hopefully I was wrong.

      Phoenix – some should be fired for that.

      Thanks so much for visiting Deborah. I hope you have a good week.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Paul, good to see you’re recovering well. But the 40 staples looks terrible though. And I hope the ‘liars’ would release the funds soon. BTW, I think you’ll look better if your head is bald not your chin…LOL All the best on your move to Vancouver. Take care! Oh yes, good to see you again, Ellie B (pat! pat!).(*’∀’人)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! My neighbor says the same NBC -I should shave my head.Ha! I doubt that will happen.Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment..I’m sure the wounds will heal well – they are dry with no redness or swelling – I’ll have scars because they were rushing but that’s OK. Thanks for your best wishes NBC – I am hoping the Vancouver trip goes well. I’ll keep you posted,.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Holy Moly Paul. That’s some healing you have to do yet. I’m looking forward to your move and the stories I am sure are to come with it.

    Thank you for the kind words about 9/11 and the impact on so many people. You’re right, it will continue on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Colleen. Yeah, I’ve healed bigger bo-bo’s than that in the past. There is very little or no pain so all is well. I just am limited to what I can lift until the healing is dine. Fine to drive though. Thanks so much for the kind words- I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yikes! You’ve been through the mill, Paul. I’m so pleased to see you still kicking and working on the plans for Vancouver. That’s good news and very exciting. You’d be in my neck of the woods and I can just wave across the water to you.

    Ah, the government and their computer systems. I can’t explain it, they just defy all reason. I love how they always purchase a “system” for hundreds of thousands of dollars and than can never figure out how to make it work. That is so typical. Most of the time they seem really good at releasing our personal data to every undesirable….but us. I suspect we’re soon going to have a huge underground economy of hackers. If the gov can’t access your water bill, let us just hack into the system and retrieve it for you. That’s my current headache, trying to pay my silly little water bill and it keeps coming up “no such account.” In theory that should mean no such bill, right? Ridiculous.

    Thanks for the kind words about 911.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for the visit and kind words IB. You have actually nailed another serious problem with Phoenix – it has released over 1 million tax records to computers not authorized to receive it. My friend went down to the Salvation army to get some food the other day. They have authorization to access only the past total earnings so they can distribute to the needy. They went into his file and found everything including all taxes paid, Social Insurance Number, monies he had coming to him, all his deductions,etc It was unreal.

      I have the greatest respect for those who have worked during 911 and still pay the price and those who pursue terrorists.

      Here’s a thought IB. My health will not ever get any better and will likely slowly get worse. I used to drive across the continent regularly when i was long haul trucking. I have met a number of great folks online that I would like to buy a coffee as this will likely be the last time in my life that I cross the continent. My partner in this move has a car and I have volunteered to drive it to Vancouver, stopping to have coffee with any and all bloggers and enjoying the road one last time. I will be meeting Ned in Florence Oregon and would enjoy having coffee with you as well if you are willing. (I am having dialysis done in Topeka Kansas while visiting Michelle Terry.) If you are interested in a free coffee drop me a line with your contact info at paulccurran@hotmail.com and I’ll let you know when the schedule gets firmed up. I am flexible in timing and can work around your schedule – for me it is a once in a life time trip. If you’re not interested that’s fine too – I certainly understand with the trolls and such that you suffer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am so pleased that you will be meeting up with some bloggers on the way and that you have your dialysis scheduled, too. It’s a grand adventure and you’ll be in my prayers! I hope you have time to blog along the way, I’d love to take a vicarious road trip, a virtual one. I’m really not far from Vancouver, so it’s probably best if I just let you get settled, rather than trying to meet along the way. You never know Paul, I just might pop up and visit you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve got some good blog pals in Vancouver. Sounds a good place.

    I posted pix of my broken ankle and fracture blisters two years ago and got loads of comments. Most people are surprisingly interested. Although your scars look ugly indeed. I won’t add the links cos I don’t know Mark’s policy.

    Anyways, good to see you are still around, perky as ever 🙂

    Governments? Money? We are waiting for a tax refund from ten (?) years ago. Must move myself, write, and give them grief. Greedy toerags. The same the world over 😦

    I wish you a good recovery my friend and a trouble free move.

    Oh, and my staples were taken out at the orthopaedic clinic and I was told to return at any time if I had problems. Tbh I was pleased to escape and avoided a monthly follow-up appt, whereupon, I fell off the end 🙂 Happily.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for dropping by roughseas – I trust you got your chilled Muscadet? If you’ve never been, Vancouver is an awesome city – some say the best in Canada. It is on the Pacific ocean, warmed by currents from the tropics with the Rocky Mountains directly behind – holding the warmth in but making it very humid. The humidity allows vegetation to grow very quickly – and very big. Close by are Redwood trees that grow hundreds of feet high and live thousand + years. Vancouver is less than an hour from the American border – meaning trips to California are quick and easy and fresh fruit and vegetables are available all year around. On top of that the waters are full of forested islands – many not inhabited except by wildlife. In those waters are some of the most amazing fishing grounds on earth – because of the warm water meeting the cold coming from the North. Crab, Lobster, huge fresh fish of all sorts including salmon. It is wondrous. The fish and fruit markets in Vancouver are the best in Canada.

      There is a large Asian population that adds much flavor to the city. However it also adds much money to the city and real estate prices are surging into unreal heights. A single family dwelling with three bedrooms and two baths on a reasonable sized city lot – is quickly approaching $1 million CNDN or about $750 thousand USD. Because the guy leasing to us wants an investment and because he can get a huge tax deduction by leasing to two handicapped people (as we are), we are able to get it for around $500 per month each for the 8 years he will be in Australia. Unbelievable synchronicity of factors.

      So, my wounds are ugly, eh? Good. I was starting to think that some were doubting my story. Which i would too without proof. Thanks for the good wishes roughseas- I eventually convinced the dialysis nurses to remove the staples. They are good souls.

      Thanks again for the visit roughseas – I look forward to your comments.


      • I know Vancouver is beautiful, I really enjoy reading about it from one of my best blogpals pix n kards.

        Wishing you so much the best for your trip and move.

        Staples? I took ibuprofen beforehand thinking it would quell the pain. Doesn’t work like that, said my nurse as she pulled out countless ones from both sides of my ankle. Urgh.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I got dialysis to pull every second staple after the above pic was taken. I used the excuse that my medical history is complex and the records are only at the hospital. I am on blood thinners and under those staples are man-made constructs. If bleeding starts it would take a hospital to address it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I hope everything falls into place. You deserve Vancouver.

        And if I make it back out there soon, you have to be my lunch date at one of those fabulous Vancouver spots. (Brunch at Edible Canada on Granville Island—the stuff of dreams, I promise!)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Gatorette for the read and the good thoughts. I am hoping to cross the Rocky Mountains before the first week of October – after that it can get ugly. And thank you for the vote of confidence regarding the beard. ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Grow your beard back. You look better that way 🙂

    I hope your move to Vancouver goes as planned. After all this time you deserve something that goes right.

    The Canadian Phoenix fiasco sounds even worse than our own Novapay fiasco. It got so bad that it was usually referred to as “nopay” by teachers. At least here, although there was some hardship, creditors invariably extended credit as they didn’t want to appear heartless or unfair – that’s bad for business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bwahaha! Thanks for the beard vote Barry – I’m leaning that way.I told Mark that this is just a temporary picture at the request of readers. There will be a more formal one in the near future. ha! Thanks so much for the visit and the comment – I am honored. W.r.t. Phoenix – creditors are cutting some slack. For those who were teetering on the edge though – it was too much. But the government seems to have threatened the unions and media because no one is saying a peep. As a result it is amazing how many creditors are not aware of the problem. but they are giving time to those involved.

      Thanks again for dropping by Barry. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It seems that Word Press ate my comment Robyn. Ha! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment. I am hoping we an have that coffee before too long. Keep your fingers and toes crossed my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you Mark for the opportunity to guest post here once again. I am honored. I actually included those photos of the operation results at the request of some readers. To be honest, my head shot is in transition and is only a temporary, again at the request of readers last week. There will be yet another and more permanent one coming in the near future. Thanks again to all the readers for their participation and comments.


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