Win some, lose some

Maldives. I’d be a bit worried about climate change, I think.

Ugh, ugh, ugh … pain! It’s been six months now since I first reported a pain below my left rib cage. The GP said it’s not suspicious, probably scar tissue from a previous op (of which there have been a few). Prescribed Panadeine Forte. Hardly any effect.

Since then it’s been slowly getting worse to the point where it’s on my mind all the time – it’s always there, with severe jabs as if someone is shooting me with glass shards in the left side. At the same time I’m being stung by bees and wasps in the chest. Sharp pain! I’m crying out, yelling.

The GP reckons it’s nerve pain. Strange that it’s not position sensitive.

I finally got in to see a pain specialist on 16 October after a nearly three month wait! This is unacceptable! Anyway, I’ve had the CAT scan he ordered, but they haven’t told me anything a week later. He prescribed a pain patch, but no effect that I can tell and it was only for two weeks! I’m having an MRI scan on Tuesday. I still don’t have a follow-up appointment for that. Meanwhile I’ve run out of pain medication prescriptions and all the GP is prescribing is gabapentin, a nerve agent. Bloody useless so far. Nothing touches this pain! I’m sick of this. (As well, he’s taken me off Lyrica and that means the restless legs are back. Aaaarrrrgh. I can hardly sleep.)

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The headline refers to my battle with supermarkets trying to rip us off. For nearly ten years I’ve been frequenting an IGA near me, and for ten years they’ve been ripping me to shreds. My latest foray on Friday was the last straw. I can’t go on subsidising them. I know they’re battling. Half the cold cabinets are boarded up, and the shelves are becoming less and less stocked.

As well, they have a lot of stuff at “past use-by date” markdowns. I buy a lot of that stuff, as I figure it’s doing both of us a favour.

But on Friday I discovered four large pricing discrepancies on my docket, only after I got home, of course. I’m talking items marked at discount $9.95 but checked out at $12.99, and a V8 vege juice marked at $4.60 but charged at $5.94.

To add insult, I didn’t notice until I got home that the cap was loose on this V8 – someone has opened it and had a small swig. Can’t use it.

And how about this?

In the attached liquor store, I picked up a four pack of beer, but when I went to pay, we found one can was missing. The lady went to the fridge and got another can for me. Only when I got home did I find the above – the can she got me was different to the other three, and lower priced. But I was charged the full price as if it was four the same! Great balls of fire!! I’m not going to drive all the way back just for this price difference so I’m ripped off again, even in the liquor section. It’s enough to drive a man to drink.

I am 100% fed up with this IGA. I’ve been battling this for nearly ten years. They closed down a few years ago, driven out of business when Woolies opened at Butler Central, and Aldi just down the road. They reopened after a couple of years under new ownership, but they’re dying again. I want to support them but I am sick to death of having to go back and complain. It’s happening too often. What they’re doing is marking things as special on the shelf, but not changing their computer to reflect the lower price at the checkout.

What gets me is that it’s ALWAYS in their favour. The price I pay is ALWAYS higher, never lower. This is the last straw. I’m going to write them a letter to say that I can’t go on subsidising them! Don’t shop at Butler IGA, corner of Connolly Drive and Kingsbridge Blvd.

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Is it just me? Why do I keep having bad things happen to me?

You may remember I had my Peugeot 407 diesel coupe in with RAC Morley for around two months in June/July, having a coolant leak fixed, with a new water pump and hoses. $2,160 worth.

When I gave it to them, I left a printed sheet on the seat with my instructions. As well as fix the cooling system, I asked them to do a service – oil change and new oil filter. Their invoice was incredibly hard to read, printed in tiny type, about 6 point, fuzzy and hard to understand. When I got the car back, I assumed the service had been done as per my request.

But a few weeks ago I realised that the windscreen sticker was from the last service in 2019. Likewise there’s no stamp in the log book. So I’ve been driving it for the last two months thinking it’s got fresh oil.

I phoned the RAC last week and asked about this. Oh no, they said, we didn’t do a service, just the cooling system repairs. What??!! I said I think I’ve been charged for the service. No you haven’t, they said.

Bloody hell! That means I’ve been driving it since, thinking it’s had a service, when it hasn’t, and it’s going to cost me another $200 – $250 for the service.

Bloody hell! Why do all these things happen to me? What have I done to deserve this?

The lesson is that you cannot take anything for granted, in any kind of service exchange, whether it’s for vehicle or shopping. You have to meticulously go over your bill and check every detail, no matter how tedious and nit picking it is and query anything. I’m fed up!

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On the other hand, I’ve been paying house and contents insurance to CGU for about five years, I think. Recently I’ve been getting emails from them saying “Sorry, we’ve made errors in calculating your monthly premiums. We’ve re-calculated and we’re refunding you.”

At first this had the whiff of a scam, since they say they’ll refund into my bank account. I was waiting for them to ask me to send bank account details. But they assured me I didn’t need to do anything, to just wait.

OK, good, a few weeks ago I got an ANZ cheque from them for $64 (who goes near a bank to deposit it any more?) Then last week I got another email with another recalculation and whacko! This time I’ve just found a refund of $565 into my bank account, plus another couple of amounts of $11 and $20 from them too. Nice one.

Add to that a payment to me from Synergy of $111. Must be for my solar rebate, I’d guess. I don’t care what it’s for, just keep ’em coming.

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Mind you, HBF are going to debit my account of $2,750 for next year’s fees in the next few days. Ouch! I do wonder if I can afford private health cover any more, but I do often have expensive bills. I’ll keep it going as long as I can.

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One of my Amazon purchases arrived the other day and I’ve just opened it up. It’s a Dremel gas powered soldering iron / hot knife / heat gun etc. Very neat. But when I went to use it I found that they don’t supply any gas with it. Booger. Made in Taiwan, by the way. Very high quality.

I bought it for soldering inside my car, but since it produces a jet of flame, another thing I plan to do with it is to burn the weeds away from my paving blocks at the front of the house. They’re not bad, but it looks untidy. OTOH, it might need something a bit bigger, like a butane torch. I’ll see.

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I mentioned that I bought a new mattress in mid-September. I bought on-line, so I couldn’t try it beforehand. What could go wrong?

Well, after this six week trial, I’m going to have to ring them up and say, “I HATE IT!”

The trouble is that the edges are soft, but as I lie down and roll onto my right side (from the left side of the bed), I feel as if I’m having to pull myself up a slope. Same when I’m lying flat, reading, I feel as if I’m rolling down a slope and if I don’t hold my body just so, I’ll roll out of the bed. That is, the edge is soft, but the middle of the bed is hard.

I can’t stand it. This is the most uncomfortable mattress I’ve ever slept on, except for the one it replaced. I can’t stand it.

I don’t know what to do. It has a warranty, of course, but is this a warranty fault? The company is A.H. Beard. Never heard of them, but they’re very proud to display Made in Australia tags.

So, wish me luck. I guess I’ll have to go to a stockist to try out another model of mattress before I can choose something else.

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I don’t go out much these days and I’m spending a lot of time watching Youtube. Wow, there is some really good stuff on there. This is stuff that twenty years ago we would never have known about or seen. Especially cars and car mechanicals. I have learnt a tremendous amount.

But in the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching one particular guy who calls himself the Vicarious Traveller. He’s a Canadian guy of Chinese extraction, but who grew up in Saudi Arabia. He’s a medical software developer and travels all over the world, on the company, and documents all his trips. His company pays for Business Class, but he often pays to upgrade himself to First Class (and uses his Frequent Flyer points to do this too).

Therefore we’re shown all the details of what it’s like to travel “upper deck” or “pointy end”, and wow! Flat beds, showers, all the champagne you can drink, and I’m talking Roederer Crystal, Krug, the absolute top brands. Not Moet, that’s too low cost.

He likes caviar and has that almost every flight. The first class food is just amazing, five star restaurant quality, always served on china plates with real cutlery. None of your plastic. The reviewer also rates Turkish as the best airline food in the sky.

I would also have to rate the Turkish decor, both in the airport and in the aircraft, as just amazingly tasteful and beautiful. It makes me wish I could go there, just for the experience. I never thought I would say that about Turkiye, as they want to be called these days, but there you go.

I’d say Qatar and Emirates are at the top, (Etihad is not mentioned because it’s not part of the loyalty group he’s in). Turkish is brilliant too, although he had a very bad experience with very rude cabin staff once, so that’s marked down. Japan Airlines are tops too.

But! Another reviewer showed a trip from Tokyo to Sydney on Qantas and boy oh boy, Qantas does not look good in comparison. It was shot a couple of years ago but the plane looked dated, like about 20 years behind the other airlines. Nothing especially wrong, but “threadbare”, like seeing fraying on uniforms. I don’t mean literally, just as a metaphor. Qantas doesn’t come close to the middle eastern airlines in Business or First.

And airports are all the same, right? Well, take a look at Istanbul airport! My jaw drops. This is the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen. It’s also the world’s biggest. Not the busiest, but the biggest by far. It makes Perth Airport look like a country town wooden shack. Just search Youtube on Istanbul airport to have a look, and I highly recommend the Vicarious Traveller. He’s smart, shoots great video, is a genius editor, makes jokes and keeps me watching, even at 40 mins a time. Highly recommended.

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