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Baby, It's Cold Outside


January 7, 2014 – Happy Freezing New Year!  (Love that Polar Vortex!)  2014 could very well go down in history as the first year when entire continents were brought to a grinding halt by climate change.  Thousands of flights have been cancelled in the U.S., my hometown of Chicago – Chicago! – has been brought to its knees by snow and below zero temperatures, and many thousands of schools are closed, and events cancelled, nationwide.  Meantime, Europe is suffering from an historic deluge.  Let me explain how the weather in the U.S. has affected me personally:

My 93-year-old father-in-law, who has dementia, lives with a round-the-clock caregiver in a northern suburb of Chicago.  Normally, she lets me know what groceries she needs, and I order them from Peapod, a grocery delivery service.  Yesterday she gave me her order, and I placed the order on the Peapod website.  However, when I tried to schedule delivery, the webpage said that all the delivery times were sold out.  Hmmm – time to get on the phone.

Easier said than done.  It seems everyone who places orders with Peapod wanted to know when they would be delivered.  In fact, callers were greeted with a recording telling them that due to the severe weather, orders were backed up indefinitely.  After 45 minutes spent on hold, I left my phone number so that I could receive a call back.  I got a call back about an hour later from a very nice lady, who told me that my order wouldn’t be delivered until late Friday afternoon.  Three days later than usual!  Time for emergency measures.

The agency that provides us with our caregiver was first on my list of calls.  I asked that they go to the store to pick up an abbreviated list of groceries to see my father-in-law through until Friday.  They were hesitant, since there is a hefty charge for additional services like shopping.  Their suggestion was that I call the grocery store myself, to request delivery directly from them.  I agreed to try that.

Simply put, my request was denied.  After speaking with two people at the Jewel grocery store closest to my father-in-law, they informed me that they offered delivery only if the individual came to the store (???) to select their groceries, which the store would then deliver.  I thanked them, and called the home care agency back.  I explained Jewel’s policy to them, and they then agreed to pick up groceries for my father-in-law, for the aforementioned hefty fee.  I didn’t bother to mention to them that they’ll have to get through the foot of snow on the sidewalk leading up to the house first, before they can deliver the groceries.  What a mess!!

We’re always told, in situations like this, that it’s the elderly and the very young who suffer most.  It’s getting rougher and rougher out there, with every passing year.  Maybe the winter of 2014 will cost enough billions of dollars that it will finally occur to our government that doing nothing costs more than taking action.  You might want to call your representative in Washington to give him or her a little nudge in that direction.  Stay warm!

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