AM I THE ONLY ONE . . . who has a list of do’s and don’ts in their head?

Donna’s Do’s and Dont’s

I have a lengthly list of items I’ve put together over the years. Here a just a few (perhaps I’ll add more from time to time.)

1.   A kiss is required after each ‘I love you.’

2. The 5 second rule states that if a treat (cookies, etc.) falls on the floor, as long as you get it picked up within 5 seconds, it hasn’t gathered any germs and  can be eaten.

3.   Calories fall out of broken cookies/cakes/pies/etc.

4.   Any baked goods on the Sale Rack have lost their calories.

5.   Birthday cakes absolutely do NOT contain calories.

6.   When a couple is walking, the man should walk closest  to the street.

7.   Do NOT talk to someone when they are in the bathroom.

8.   Always be on time. If you’re going to be late, STAY HOME.

9.   We only have so many heartbeats, don’t waste them on exercise.

10. Do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.


AM I THE ONLY ONE…who saw through the scam?

Get a Job Scammer
By: Donna Hale Chandler

I’m not completely stupid.  I know there are crooks out there in the big bad world, but I had no idea that there were sooooo many!

A few years ago, I moved from my comfy little one-bedroom condo into the home of my sweetheart. We did not make this decision on a whim and had discussed the pros and cons for quite a while. For Dick, the most rewarding ‘pro’ was that he would no longer be forced to make the long 10.9-mile drive to see me. Yes, I’m serious. He truly checked it and it was exactly 10.9 miles from his driveway to mine, and this very nearly was a deal-breaker when we first met.

But that is not the purpose today’s message.  Today I want to let you know that crazy, bad guys are out there walking amongst us. Scammers who spend more time and energy on their latest and greatest scam then most people do at their ordinary job. It’s a sad state of affairs that some of these people are very smart and if they’d only use a portion of that intelligence in a positive way, the world would be a much safer and happier place.

After the move into Dick’s home with a real front and back yard, I investigated the cost of listing my little condo for rent in the local newspaper. The price was amazingly expensive, so I instead listed it, complete with pictures, on Craig’s List. Ahhhh, I can see that some of you are already clicking your tongue and saying, “Silly woman, what was she thinking?” I’ll tell you exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking that Craig’s List costs exactly $0.00 for a 30-day listing and that was exactly what I was willing to spend.

I read all the instructions and warnings, but I was only offering a rental. How could that bring any unsavory characters into my life?

First my email box was immediately filled with offers to list my property here, there and everywhere else. Spam flew my way like bees to honey. I had a few inquiries that seemed legitimate, and I diligently answered each question, offering to make that 10.9-mile drive to show my condominium to anyone interested.

Then came the email that seemed almost frantic in the writer’s need to find a residence. It seems that this young man (or old, oily, deviant for all I know) was working in a foreign country.   He was employed with a major corporation of some sort and even provided me with an impressive-sounding name of the business. He stated that he was thrilled to find my ad because he was being transferred to my area within the next few days and would need a home immediately. He went on to tell a little about himself, that he was a non-smoking executive and very able to pay the amount of rent I was asking.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! This major corporation that employed him would be paying his moving expenses, the security deposit and his first month’s rent. (Now, isn’t that just wonderful?) HOWEVER, the company would be issuing him ONE check for the total amount of the cost of his move. Being the nice guy that he was and wanting to put me at ease that he was trustworthy; he was willing to send me the entire check. I could keep the security amount and first month’s rent and wire the remaining back to him. And please, Mam, keep enough to cover any wire transfer fees. 

My mamma would have been proud of her eldest daughter because I immediately saw through this ruse. Anger consumed me and steam started to creep from my ears. How dare he?!? I’m just an ordinary old lady, trying to get through each day. How dare he try to cheat me?!? The longer I stared at his slimy email the madder I became. I finally hit the Reply Key and sent my response to him: GET A REAL JOB, SCAMMER AMD STOP TRYING TO CHEAT YOUR WAY THROUGH LIFE.

 A few days later, after I’d calmed down a bit; I thought it would probably be wise to alert the local authorities of what had happened. The response from law enforcement, “I believe that Craig’s List warns against scammers.” I’m not quite sure what I expected but that callous response wasn’t quite it.

Moral of the story: Sadly, we have to be on constant alert. Complete trust needs to be earned and should be reserved for only our very best of friends.

Family, Humorous

AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO …..who has ever developed a headache after dealing with telephone answering recordings.

By: Donna Hale Chandler


Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you have trouble with a particular company, you could pick up the phone, talk to ONE real person who actually has been trained to take care of you and do-it-right-the-first-time?!?

Some years ago, (maybe A few years ago) we made the decision to move from one TV/ telephone/internet provider to another. It didn’t seem to us to be a major undertaking but once on this road, there was no turning back. Unfortunately, it would take a novel to tell the full story of our nightmare so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet; actually, it’s not very sweet.   It went something like this.

Feeling that we were paying too much for TV/phone/internet service from Company C, we called Company D. After listening to their well-rehearsed sales pitch, we agreed to switch our service. This momentous decision that was to save money was made on February 7, 2012.

The first step was to send an Inside Lineman to our home to make sure we were getting a good signal from the existing wiring. As it turns out, we were NOT. That meant an Outside Lineman had to come and see what was wrong with the line coming from the pole to our home.  The line was replaced (on the second trip) and still no signal. Another Outside Lineman had to check the line from the main box to the pole behind our house.

Are you beginning to get the picture? It is now February 24 and we have, as yet, not had service. For those of you considering switching your TV/telephone/internet service to Company D, let me save you some time and tell you who you need to talk with to make the move much smoother than ours.

Call their 800 number. Be sure you have several hours to spend on hold or being transferred from person to person. Allow time for being disconnected and having to start all over again. Be prepared to have your order confused/delayed more than once and be sure to have a spare phone handy because it is unlikely that you will get through this process on one battery. You will need to talk to Rob, Vicki, Matthew, Ben, Paul, Jimmy, Brian, Ronnie, Ryan, Stephen, Jacob, Ian, Mark, Aaron, Troy, Julie, Valerie, Rosa Jena, Juliana, Cherina, Frank, Amos, and if I’ve left anyone out, I sincerely apologize. I was so silly as to believe that this would be easy and started out not bothering to write down employee names.

You know what? On second thought, if you find yourself thinking about making this kind of change, JUST SAY NO, and fix yourself a bowl of ice cream instead.

Note: In order to not sound as if Company D is a complete and total experience in incompetence. I should also list a few things that they do extremely well. Every single employee, whether on the phone, in our back yard or standing in our living room was very well trained in apologizing. The conversation would start with, “I’m so sorry you’re having a problem,” and end with, “I’m so sorry I was unable to help you.” It appears that Company D excels in training their employees to apologize. Perhaps there are even company workshops stressing this action. I may be wrong but perhaps some training in Getting It Right the First Time would be beneficial.

The second action that all employees had down pat is ‘taking your information’. Whether you talk to two or twenty employees, each one must have your complete name, phone number, address, last four of your social security number, your favorite restaurant, mother’s maiden name, how many cups of coffee you had that day and whether or not you had sex the night before. After giving your life history and promising your first born, you must start from the beginning and explain your problem to each and every person you talk with. I’m just an ordinary female with perhaps less than ordinary technical skills but it seems to me, that in this day of amazing technology, information just might be able to be stored and passed from person to person the same as passing along the phone call. Maybe not ……. That would probably be much too simple.

And on that last note, I shall retire and take my newly prescribed blood pressure medication.   Hmmmm, wonder why I suddenly have high blood pressure.



AM I THE ONLY ONE…..who gets into sticky situations?

The Man With Two Sailboat
By: Donna Hale Chandler

I was sitting home alone AGAIN.  Watching TV alone AGAIN.  It had been a little over a year since my husband passed away.  Was I always going to be alone?   Did I want to find someone?  I sat there mulling over these questions in my mind. 

As I sat there so deep in thought, my phone rang.  Caller ID told me that it was the ‘older gentleman’ that we’ll call Jack, who lived in a condo unit near me.  When I answered, he asked if I was busy.

Since I serve on our condominium Board of Directors, I assumed that he was calling with a question, or more likely, a complaint about something to do with the Condo Association.

“I would like to talk with you for just a couple of minutes if you’re not tied up.”

“That would be fine.  I’m not busy.”

“Great, I’ll be right up.”

“What?  What did he say”, I asked myself, as I stood there stupidly holding a phone receiver with no one on the other end.  He’s coming here?  I thought he was going to talk to me over the phone. Oh my, oh my, oh my.

Before I could clear my confused mind, there was a knock on the door.  There stood Jack, all dressed up in what looked like a new shirt and brand new suspenders. 

He made himself right at home on my living room sofa and started making small talk.  I sat across the room in my favorite chair hoping that he would soon get to the point of his visit.  That he would spit out his complaint and I would tell him that I would check into it the first thing in the morning.   

But as Jack continued tell me about himself, about losing his wife, and about wanting to find a nice female companion, I realized that he, as my mother would have said, had come a-courting. Realizing that Jack was at least 20 years older than me, I was polite and smiled at all the right times, while wondering how I was going to get out of this without hurting his feelings. I didn’t want to be ‘courted’.   

Then Jack said something that caught my attention.  He was explaining that he had moved from Jensen Beach and that he missed the beach very much.  He went on to tell me that when he lived there, he sailed every day. This turned my thoughts toward a new direction.  Sailing.  I’d never been sailing.  Would that be something I would like to do?  I can’t swim (which will be the subject of another story) so would I be afraid?  Humm, maybe I’d like to go out on a sailboat IF Jack knew what he was doing. There’s only one way to find out, ask, “So Jack, how long have you been sailing?”

“Oh years, it’s something I truly enjoy.  I have two sail boats.”

Now the little hamster in my head is really running on that wheel making the thoughts swirl faster and faster.  “Really, do you still have your boats?”

Jack very proudly said, “Well, of course.  I could never get rid of my sailboats.”

“Now that you don’t live on the water anymore, where do you keep them?”

Jack appeared confused by my question and answered, “Oh, they’re both downstairs on my back patio.  Would you like to go with me sometime?”

Now the poor hamster on the wheel is confused.  He doesn’t know whether to run faster or stop completely. I hardly even realized that he’d asked me to go sailing with him. “On your back patio?”   I don’t know much about sailboats, so I was asking myself, do they fold up?  No, that didn’t seem right.  How big is a sailboat?  I truly had no clue but I knew how big Jack’s patio was and I couldn’t imagine that it was big enough for TWO sailboats. 

Finally, I asked him how big his sailboats were.  And honestly, I don’t remember his answer but the sailboats he had been telling me about were REMOTE CONTROL BOATS.

I didn’t want him to know that I thought he was talking about REAL sailboats.  Just about that time I was feeling relieved that I had dodged a bullet by not jumping at the chance to go ‘sailing’ with Jack. he asked another surprise question.

“Well, I haven’t had dinner yet. Would you like to go to Dale’s Bar-B-Q with me tonight?”

This was my very first Date Question since the passing of my husband, and was such a huge shock to me, that I leaped from my chair and flew into the kitchen.  It was evidently some sort of reflex action because once in the kitchen, I still didn’t know what to do. I hardly even knew how I had gotten there. But I knew I needed A Plan.  So, I opened and closed the oven door, LOUDLY, walked as calmly as I could back to the living room and said, “That’s awfully nice of you to ask Jack, but I have dinner in the oven for my mother and I.  I was just checking it and it’s almost ready.”  I blundered on by saying something about taking it to her and I’d better call her to see if she was ready and …. whatever else I said is a bit of a blur.  I can remember thinking that I needed to shut up and stop rambling but, just couldn’t seem to get control of my mouth.

Jack probably knew that I was lying through my teeth but I had no idea how to handle the situation. I decided that being alone beat sailing any old day.  And that IF I was going to ‘date’ at some point, I’d need to handle it a LOT better than I had on this night. (My dating disasters continued.  I evidently need quite a large ‘learning curve.’)



AM I THE ONLY ONE . . . . . who has witnessed a miracle

Brain Surgery for a Headache
By: Donna Hale Chandler

It was shortly after lunch when my 25-year-old daughter first complained of a blinding headache, I wasn’t terribly concerned. I had been a sufferer of Cluster Headaches for years and knew that a headache does not automatically translate to ‘I have a brain tumor and only hours left to live.’ I simply assumed that I had passed on those bad headache genes to my youngest and gave her all the home remedy advice that had worked for me in the past.

However, nothing seemed effective for her. The headache would hit with blinding speed, last for hours and then finally ease allowing my daughter to function somewhat normally. One particularly painful day, I received a call to drive her to the emergency room. She felt her head was exploding, her vision was blurred, sounds were painful, altogether a miserable day.

After sitting in the ER waiting room for over an hour, she was ready to give up and go home. The bright lights and loud hospital noises were becoming more and more unbearable for her. At last, someone came for her, listened to the description of her pain, took her vitals and again left us to wait. At least this time we could dim the lights and pull the curtain to cut out a little bit of the noise.

A doctor finally appeared, looking concerned and over-worked. The first order of business, he announced, would be a CT scan.  My daughter was immediately on alert with dollar signs flashing amidst the bright lights. She asked the doctor if he could just give her something for the pain as she was without health insurance and a CT scan sounded like a pretty expensive procedure.

The elderly doctor stood firm, insisting that a CT scan be performed. After all there is not a price tag on one’s health. She received an injection to help with the pain and soon was whisked away for the scan. Again, the waiting began, this time for the results of the CT scan and to find out what test would be next. The doctor had mentioned a spinal tap and she was not at all thrilled with the idea of a foot-long needle being inserted into her back.

Suddenly there was a flurry of activity. Nurses appeared in mass with the doctor hurrying along behind them. At first it was difficult to understand what they were talking about. I heard the word ‘aneurism’ and had no idea what that could mean. But it seemed there was no time for lengthy explanations. There was a bleed in her brain which could bring about instant death or a severe stroke at any moment. A medical helicopter had been ordered to fly her to a bigger hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Even though the new hospital was less than 10 miles away, driving there in an ambulance was not even considered.

As if by magic the small room suddenly filled with ‘helicopter people’. It seemed that everyone was asking different questions at the same time. I heard a young woman ask her, as she started an IV, “Do you have any allergies?” “Peanuts,” was her quick reply. “Ok,” the young woman quipped with a smile, “We promise to not serve peanuts on this flight.” With that, they were off and I was suddenly standing alone.

Once I arrived at St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor, I found that she had already been taken in for yet more tests. Her father arrived and along with her we met with the doctor. A vessel in her brain was ‘leaking’ blood. Should it burst, the consequences would be dire. It was Sunday evening and they were trying to locate a brain surgeon for immediate surgery. 

Just as the doctor again came to us with news, her boyfriend came rushing into the examining room. We were advised that the best neurosurgeon for her situation had been located but he practiced out of Ford Hospital in Detroit. She would need to be transferred there immediately. The doctors felt that she was stable enough to be taken via ambulance the 50 miles to Detroit. So again, we prepared to leave one medical institution for another.

We watched in a daze as she was readied and then loaded into an ambulance. Once she was settled, we sprinted to our car to follow along. We had not even gotten out of Ann Arbor when the ambulance pulled into an empty store parking lot and stopped. ‘Oh dear’, we all thought, “Something has happened and this can’t be good.”

As we pulled in behind, the driver of the ambulance came trotting back to speak to us. He said that she seemed to be having a reaction to a medication and they would be taking her back to the Ann Arbor hospital as they weren’t comfortable continuing with her in her present condition.  As we started back the way we had just come, we were wondering what in the world could possibly happen next.

At the hospital, we realized that she had not been taken out of the ambulance and was being treated without moving her back inside. It was several minutes, which of course seemed like hours, that we stood quietly in the darkness waiting for an update. At last, the driver told us that she was again stable and they would be leaving for Detroit. They would be driving with lights and sirens and we were not to try to keep up with them. The driver assured us that once they delivered her, they would wait for us and direct us to her treatment room.

Sure enough, the driver was waiting for us and walked us through the emergency department to a treatment room where she seemed to be in an argument with a doctor. The doctor introduced himself as the neurosurgeon and explained that emergency brain surgery was needed right away but she was hesitating to sign the consent form. Even though she was heavily drugged, she had stayed awake and alert. She was insisting that she only came in for a headache, that she felt better, and that NO, she did not want anyone to shave her head and start poking around in her brain. The ‘discussion’ continued until she reluctantly scribbled her name across the form. As soon as the pen left the paper, everyone flew into action.

It was exactly midnight when all activity ceased. The waiting room was deadly quiet. It seemed that everything had happened so fast and very little had been explained to us.  We sat in the dim lights bewildered, could there possibly be any more surprises in store?

A nurse appeared out of the stillness, sat down beside us and said that she would be keeping us informed as to the progress of the surgery that was to take approximately eight hours. After that, our daughter would be taken to the Intensive Care Unit and would probably spend at least 14 days there. Once she was well enough, physical and occupational therapy would begin and it was very probable that her would remain for another 30 days with them before transitioning to another facility or perhaps, if all went extremely well, to her own home with in-home care.

The night crawled by slowly, until finally around 8 AM a nurse appeared by our side to let us know that everything went well. She had been taken to ICU and we would be able to see her very soon. I dared not ask about the prognosis. I didn’t want to face any bad news. I just wanted to see my youngest child.

A few minutes later we were shown to her room.  Her head was completely covered with bandages except the hair that had not been shaved was gathered into a braided ponytail and was sticking straight out of the top of those thick bandages. She was awake, alert, and knew where she was, what had happened, and who we were, so we were encouraged that at least that part of her memory was intact.

In only four days she was moved from the ICU unit to a private room. Three days later they allowed her to go home.  She had made a miraculous recovery with no need for physical or occupational therapy.

Ten days later when she went back to have the staples removed.  The attending nurse said that in her 25 years of nursing she had never removed staples from a patient who had had this particular surgery and GONE HOME. Every patient had still been hospitalized; some still in intensive care at staples removal.

Now for what should have been an extremely happy ending – but wasn’t quite. The astounding medical bills began to arrive. If you remember when we began, she was hesitant to have the very first test as she was without insurance. The business office helped her apply to different avenues of assistance but in each instance the answer was no. The two main reasons – she was not a single mother with children dependent upon her and the treatment/surgery did not leave her disabled. So, because she recovered and did not have kids, she was on her own with a mountain of debt that, in her lifetime she would never be able to pay. However, she was healthy and you can’t put a price on your health.

As I put these words to paper, it is 18 years later. My daughter is living near me in Florida and has no after effects. I count her as one of my greatest blessings and every time I see her, I marvel at her recovery. She was born on Valentine Day and at one time I called her my valentine but in March of 2004, she became my miracle.