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Catherine Sevenau
Rude Awakenings
Catherine Sevenau

Wait! What?

May was a big month. My check-off list: ✓ Found driver’s license that had disappeared three months ago ✓ Blue auto registration tag came, stuck atop the eight others ✓ New passport arrived, not that I plan to wander away ✓ Renewed driver’s license: test, photo, 15 pounds wider (whoo boy) ✓ Renewed real estate license: 36 years active, okay for 4 more ✓ Yearly physical and skin cancer screening: so far, so good ✓ Dental check-up: no cavities, awarded new purple toothbrush ✓ Had mammogram: girls are fine, both of them ✓ Got hearing eggs: WAIT! WHAT? Back up a minute...   For some time now my hearing has been off. I found out three years ago when I had it checked. I received a birthday card from a local hearing clinic with a $25 gift certificate and figured if someone wanted to give me $25, I was in, and while I was there, they could test my auditory faculties. I thought my hearing was fine. After they tested, I was told I had 50 percent hearing loss, and that I needed hearing aids. I neck-snapped, “WHAT? I need hearing eggs?” For the next few days I paid attention and they were correct, I couldn’t hear, or misheard, a lot of what was going on. Funny how we don’t notice when we’re going blind or deaf. My health insurance covered my cataract surgery but didn’t cover hearing eggs, which were $6,000 a pair. I told them to forget it; I’ll learn to read lips. For $6,000 I could buy a boatload of cowboy boots, kitchen gadgets, and chocolate chip cookies. At the Thursday morning real estate meeting, before being informed that I was half deaf, I stood and was making an announcement on the microphone. Felice, sitting across the room, hollers, “Nice hair.” Before she came into real estate she owned a hair salon and cut my boys’ hair and mine. I put the mic closer to my mouth and said, “Can you hear me now?” She said again, “I said, ‘Nice hair.’” I reposition the mic and say, “NOW can you hear me?” The whole room is laughing, except me. “I can HEAR you fine. I said I liked your HAIR.” “Oh. Thanks,” and I do a shout out for Kristin, whom I’ve been going to for the past twenty-some years. Linda, my business partner, had noticed my hearing loss for a long time; she said I was forever asking people to repeat themselves or to turn up the volume, but had never said anything to me about it. Or if she did, I didn’t hear her. It came to a head when I was at Dan’s country listing and he said the septic tank had a crack in it. I’m puzzling over how in the heck a truck got in the tank, and just how they planned on getting it out. I said, “That was either a pretty big tank or a pretty small truck.” Out loud. And I laughed at Barbara a few nights before when she was asked at dinner how her salmon was and she said he’s good, he left about a half hour ago, referring to her son. It was probably her son who drove the truck into the tank. After the tank conversation, I surrendered. I had my hearing tested at Costco. Johnnique told me I had mild to moderate loss, and that I mishear a lot of consonants. Like that was news. I didn’t tell her about the truck. So I bought a pair. What’s it like to hear again? Well, it’s like having cataract surgery: everything I see is once again bright and clear, as is everything I now hear, like my breathing, my chewing, and the slap-slap of my flip-flops. The really disconcerting part is I also hear my own voice, which sounds echoic and tinny. Johnnique said it won’t be as irritating when my brain gets used to it. If it doesn’t, well, I probably talk too much anyway. The devices Bluetooth to my phone, which is also how you adjust them, except now my phone rings in my ear. This should be great fun as I’m already as jumpy as a water bug. She said I’d get used to that too. Along with being weary of looking like a half-wit, I made the leap because the cost was down from $6,000 three years ago to less than a third of that today, which I was willing to shell out. We can use part of my savings to haul the truck out of that tank, buy ourselves a salmon dinner, and have plenty left over for a new pair of cowboy boots, a Cuisinart, and a couple chocolate chip cookies.
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Napa’s vote on Watershed Ordinance still too close to call
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> Wine-Searcher - June 13th, 2018
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> The Verge - June 12th, 2018
The biggest challenge to Putin’s government? Stinky garbage
> The Conversation - June 10th, 2018
The top 10 wine grapes in the U.S. — and yes, you probably know the first two
> Forbes - June 9th, 2018
Forecast of Napa hotel growth brings worker housing worries
> Napa Register - June 9th, 2018
Did Russia hack the World Cup schedule?
> Fivethirtyeight.com - June 6th, 2018
Napa Valley’s Measure C, the woodland protection initiative, leads by a handul of votes
> Eater San Francisco - June 6th, 2018
The Google search feature that passes along faked Wikipedia info
> Motherboard - June 2nd, 2018
Political mailers: ‘Endorsements’ often go to the highest bidders
> Sacramento Bee - June 1st, 2018
In praise of doing nothing
> The Conversation - June 1st, 2018
St. Helena winery sues Google over bad reviews
> Napa Valley Register - May 30th, 2018
40 arrested in Petaluma animal rights protest
> Sonoma County Sheriff's Office - May 29th, 2018
Your Alexa device is recording your conversations — here’s how to delete them
> The Verge - May 29th, 2018
Cal Fire says PG&E responsible for three October fires; Sonoma/Napa fires still under investigation 
> Sacramento Bee - May 28th, 2018
The forgotten history of Memorial Day
> The Conversation - May 28th, 2018
Marin Grand Jury makes sweeping recommendations for homeless: 400 new units, more winter shelter support
> Marin Independent-Journal - May 24th, 2018
Expect massive wildland fires in 2018 – the “new normal”
> New York Times - May 23rd, 2018
Marin has its own “Schocken Hill” proposal for  Mt. Tam
> Marin Independent-Journal - May 23rd, 2018
Barbecue planning amongst the liberal elite
> McSweeney's - May 18th, 2018
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