Heart vs. Head

I own my house.  Well, technically, the bank does, but you know what I mean.  Part of owning a house is maintaining that house, so that you will continue to own it in the future without it crumbling down around your knees.  I am eight years into this home, the longest I’ve lived anywhere for the last 22 years.  So it’s weird that I am here and have these sorts of repairs to do, as I am not used to being around long enough to do them.  I have started repairs on the exterior, and have another $8500 to go–all cosmetic.  Teardown/rebuild projects, reinstallation projects where the prior owner did a crappy job, etc.  As I do not make a ton of money, that $8500 is something that I would love to see happen, but haven’t got the faintest idea how it will.

Here is my dilemma.  I spent two weeks in Germany this past summer at the generous gift of my friends to serve on a mission trip with my church.  It was a glorious opportunity, and one I’ll not soon forget.  I was incredibly blessed, and it was a poignant reminder of how service is essential to all that lay heartfelt claim to the Christian label.  It was also a chance to connect with some people in my church that I had not known before, and as I was in the minority as an adult (most were in the 21-23 age range) it was also a reminder that I’m not young, that these are our future leaders, and that I am no longer 23 years old myself.

This morning Continue reading

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You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

Several years ago, I went back to school.  Until that time, I did not have a computer.  I figured that since I was at work for 9-10 hours per day, sitting in front of a 17″ screen, there was no need for me to have one at home.  In order to submit my homework and participate in the online requirements, I needed to cave and buy a laptop.  So I did.

I called a friend of mine who owned his own business, working with computers and supplying them to others.  And I purchased a computer.  It worked great for what it was–a tool for my graduate degree, and (of course) a portable jukebox with all of my music.

About a year ago, I started to notice that the cord was fraying.  Plus, the unit itself would overheat drastically if I wasn’t careful and cut off.  Soon I noticed that the power source was sparking against my left leg as I worked, so I went and bought a universal adapter (at the cost of $100, natch) to use.  after about six weeks, THAT cord didn’t work so I returned it and bought another one.  Same problem–the joint didn’t hold and I had issues with the replacement AGAIN.  So I called the guy that I bought the computer from.  He came and picked it up and tried to ‘fix’ it.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  Six weeks later I finally got him to give me the hard drive back so that I can access my music and, most importantly, my contact information.

Since then I have been sans laptop.  I have an old desktop in the back bedroom, and that is what I have been using for my job search and correspondence for the last two months.  But it’s slow, and inconvenient. Not to mention the AC doesn’t circulate back there, and whenever the door is open the cat leaps at the chance to go destroy the chair that is in the bedroom.

It’s weird.  I had gotten into the habit of checking email, Facebook, and blogging while in front of the TV.  I miss being able to do that–I feel like I am wasting a ton of time by stopping everything to go back into the back bedroom and work.  I miss being able to pull up actors on IMDB so that I can instantaneously answer “where have I seen them before?”.  I miss being able to write on my prayer blog every day, because it is not something I take the time to do in the back room.

At the same time, I have noticed tonight that there is quite a bit I haven’t done.  For tonight, for just the night, I have swiped my laptop from work and am using it for personal reasons.  I have work to do tomorrow, but I am currently trying to do personal stuff, mostly just because I can.  I haven’t done laundry, I haven’t done dishes, I haven’t cleaned my house, I haven’t finished making a baby sweater for the same guy that sold me the laptop as they just adopted a baby girl.

But I’ve played approximately 82 rounds of Fast Money in Family Feud on Facebook (say that nine times fast), looked up tons of miscellaneous comments, and checked in on all kinds of useless celebrity gossip.  (Jessica Simpson is qualified to judge Project Runway finals?  Really?  Have you seen how she dresses???)

This just solidifies the fact that I need to get another laptop.  Quicker than planned.  And it’s going to be a Mac this time, as I cannot stand to deal with the problems IBM is giving me again.

And if the laptop has made me unproductive, just wait until tomorrow when I get my new TiVo…..

When health care gets personal

Two things have happened in the last week that make me wonder how we got here.  I’m sitting here, typing away, and retyping every few keystrokes as my persistent, hacking cough overwhelms me and causes me to type on the wrong keys while I quickly try and cover my mouth.  Sounds attractive, right? Yet I can’t go to the doctor.  I am unemployed, and while I have health insurance it’s not the greatest plan in the world.  I only get to go to the doctor three times a year before I start paying out the wazoo for my visits.  I’ve already been to the dentist, have to have an annual checkup later in the year, which leaves me exactly one doctor’s visit to use at my discretion–in the next 48 weeks.

So is my hacking cough bad enough to go to the doctor now?  What if I get appendicitis? What if I break my wrist?  Then I’m up a creek later in the year because I don’t have the finances to cover a visit.  Sure, I could go to someplace like the Fan Free Clinic, which is a cause I support financially when I am able.  Or I could go to a Doc-in-a-Box where they are required to give you a prescription regardless of condition when you walk in, thereby incurring additional costs that I can’t cover.  It’s a vicious circle.

How did we get here?  Continue reading

The year in review

As we face a new year and I face a time of great personal change in addition to the one on the calendar, I figured now would be a good moment for a time of reflection and review.  The year has had many changes, many upheavals, many instances of drama.  I’ve hit lows, highs, middles, and sides.  I’ve had days where I’ve been running insane, working 14 hour days, working 21 days straight.  I’ve had times where I didn’t get out of my PJs or my nightgown for two days.  So I figured this would be a good time to go down the list of things that happened in 2008.  Things both dramatic and mundane, both noteworthy and ordinary, both elated and miserable.

January: The year started with the traditional New Years Day movie viewings.  This year it was Juno and Sweeney Todd. It was interesting–mom had heard of Sweeney Todd but had no idea that it was about a homicidal barber who turned over the corpses to the baker downstairs for inclusion in her meat pies.  How on earth she could have reached the age of 58 and not figured that out I have no idea, especially since she knew the music, but there you go.  Of course, being on vacation that week, I had a bit of a movie marathon.  We ended up seeing the Academy Award winning No Country for Old Men, the forgettable Dan in Real Life, and a slew of others both good and not so good.  Virginia Tech then lost in its bowl game against Kansas, and while watching the game I learned how my cousin split his thumb cutting a sweet potato pie.  Oddly enough, he split the other thumb on a beer glass that same night while telling the story of injury #1.  Managed to sprain my wrist by falling off a stool at my mother’s house, that was fun.  While trying to learn how to use my new Inno XM radio device, I ran across this particularly useful bit of advice for how to make it compatible with my iPod: “Personally, I would duct tape them together. I think you can still get a lot of use out of both of them without any interoperability.” Continue reading

I’m living the life of the Morton’s salt girl

You know, as in “When it rains, it pours!”

In July, I lose my job due to “corporate restructuring”.  That’s just a fancy way of saying I was fired, dismissed, laid off, pink slipped, told to skedaddle, or basically told to hit the road.  I have had job interviews out the ying yang via phone, Internet, in person, you name it.  The economy is tanking, and I am panicking because we’re into October–I’m truly afraid that nothing is going to happen until after the first of the year because of the economy, the election, the holidays, and the fiscal year end of many of the companies.

So if you had asked me to make a list of everything that I thought could possibly go wrong in my life once I lost my job I would have had things on my list like ‘mom gets sick’, ‘grandmother gets neurotic and is in the hospital again’ (check, actually happened), ‘car blows a gasket’, things like that.  Never in a million years would I have expected the things that have happened over the last four weeks to have been anywhere near the top 50 on that list. Continue reading