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It's the time of year for numbers

By CAROL KALLBERG Columnist Published: February 25, 2017 5:00 AM

This is the time of year when numbers are rolling around in my head.

It's tax time. Not that ours are so complicated this year. We don't have a business any more and we didn't buy or sell a house, thank goodness.

All of the papers that were needed to file came dribbling in as expected. All except for the 1099 for my piddly little bit of Social Security. I had a terrible time getting the statement at the beginning of the year that tells how much you will make and how much they will take, so I should have expected this glitch.

It seems the department that sent out that statement still had my old South Carolina address and it was past the forwarding date. Why that happened I have no idea since they had sent me something else earlier that had the correct address.

Anyhow, I had a frustrating time trying to reach a human being to get that mess straightened out and was not looking forward to making any more calls to that agency.

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There is a local office for Social Security right here in Charleston. The last time I tried to call them, I was told that all operators were busy and to call back another day. They didn't even give me the opportunity to be put on hold and listen to annoying music.

Feeling optimistic one day lately, I decided to give them another chance. My call was answered on about the second ring and after choosing from only three options, I actually got a live person. Ms. Williams was most helpful. In fact, she scared me because she didn't even ask any security questions.

Two days later, the form appeared in the mail, and now I can proceed with getting all my ducks in a row.

The other numbers that are dancing in my head are the cost of our bundle with the local phone, cable and internet provider. We got a notice that we are once again being held hostage as far as cable prices go. It seems the media companies are raising their rates. Our provider tells us that the cost of basic cable has increased three and one-half times the rate of inflation over the last 15 years because of demands from networks for higher programming fees. The robbers! The cable company is over a barrel. Either ante up or lose the network.

I can't for the life of me understand why we have over 300 channels now, and sometimes we can't find a single thing we want to watch. If it was up to me, I would get rid of everything but the very basic channels -- and go read a book.

It is not up to me, however, but to The Man of the House who controls the remote and can't go to sleep without the TV. Which reminds me, I just spoke to someone who is in the process of getting a divorce. The one bright spot she mentioned was that she now has control of the remote for the first time in 40 years! (I'm not that desperate for the controls. We do have more than one TV, and other rooms where I can go and read.)

I got a letter this week from Jeanette Humberger of Curtice, Ohio. She had read about our dog having gastrointestional problems and suggested trying probiotics since they work for humans. She said they had met Shiloh when we lived in Winesburg and hope he gets better. Sadly, we have already tried the probiotic route and it has not helped.

Right now, we are still trying a home-cooked bland diet of chicken and rice. We just got a $52 bottle of some kind of vitamins and minerals to add to this so it will be more balanced. The stuff does not smell good so we are advised to add it to his food slowly. We will see how he tolerates it.


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