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A frustrating week makes the next look promising

It has been one of those frustrating weeks! Why me?

Things started out with an online purchase of a needed item. I got a confusing message about the shipping, so I went to the website for customer service. I could not find a telephone number or the usual “contact us” which leads to – one hopes – an onshore, helpful human being. So, I called the associated store in St. Charles and asked for customer service.

The responder couldn’t find the number either. So, I asked for a manager.
“I am the manager!” she asserted.

She finally yielded to ask someone else, an ordinary person, who showed her how to find the number. I called the secret number and was told that the delivery was delayed until Jan. 24. The order arrived yesterday.

Later, I went to my doctor’s office for a routine visit. The woman who arrived to take my blood pressure was sick as a dog – sneezing and coughing, and she had red eyes, etc. ... .  
“Be gone,” was my response. So much for “health” care.

Then I tried 411 for the phone number of my cousin’s nursing home. I spelled it three times, and then tried the so-called “supervisor” who literally said, “I give up”.

I did find the number online, called the place and got disconnected by an employee who was trying to put me on hold after I spelled my cousin’s name twice and tried every phonetic device I knew.

Yes, I did call back, and got through to a supervisor who, somehow predictably, had no clue. In the background I heard someone point out his room, which was in walking distance from the telephone.
Not to mention, the football playoffs featured a loss for every team I picked.

The good news came at our Class of ’56 monthly breakfast at the east side Colonial Cafe in St. Charles. I arrived late and only heard part of the conversation about Rollie Vander Hagen and how he had bought breakfast for everyone. It seemed perfectly plausible since Vander Hagen had socked away lots of money after his short career as a country and western singer. Remember “The Belgian Cowboy”?

This is a good point to pause and acknowledge the fine experiences we continue to have at the Colonial Cafe on East Main Street in St. Charles.

The manager greets us with a smile  – contrary to the cranky hostess at another of my recent stops – and the waitress is efficient and does her best to overlook our faltering memories and sometimes bawdy topics.  

The food is good and the prices are reasonable – especially when we have to buy our own breakfast.
There is good news too, especially for those who appreciate the value of being a blood donor.

Kathy Oakes reminds us that there will be a blood drive at 4 p.m. at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Jan. 23. Donors will receive a $10 Target certificate.  

Hearing from Kathy (Oaks) reminds me of yet another frustration. Will somebody please tear down and replace the sign on west Route 64 near Norton's that directs drivers to turn left down Dean Street to "Leroy Oaks!" That wonderful Forrest preserve was named for Kathy's dad who was a leader in land preservation, not for a variety of oak trees!

Let’s all have a better week. A good beginning for me – my Badgers beat Indiana. I’m thinking about getting a lottery ticket.

 • Joan Arteberry is a resident of St. Charles. Write her at

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