Friday, August 31, 2007

The Big Day

Well, here we are on the big day -- we just got back from signing the lease for the new apartment and moving a few things in. I thought I would never get there -- as it was I was 15 minutes later than the latest time I gave them earlier in the day. Traffic was == well, just say it was a lot of it. The lease was a normal legal document that went on and on. The scary parts were the info on late payments and early move outs. If the rent is late, it will cost us well over 200 bucks extra (the full market rent plus fees). If we vacate early, it costs 1200 bucks plus all remaining rent due plus reimbursement of all previously received discounts. If something happens that we need to move, it would be cheaper to leave the place empty and pay the rent. All in all, the event went without a hitch and the move has begun. There was one hitch when a dining room chair jumped out of the truck on the freeway -- other than cosmetic damage, it is fine. Ben pulled over and collected the chair and went on his way. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of traffic when it happened. He must have found the route without traffic. I guess I forget that it was Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend -- YUCK. I was frazzled when I got to the apartment. After moving the first load, we got some dinner and headed home. Tomorrow will be at least one more load and then Sunday will have us on the way to the bridge. Hope you all have great holiday plans.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So What About Senator Craig?

By now, the name Larry Craig seems to be a household word. In case you haven't heard (What cave have you been in?), Senator Craig has come under fire since the revelation of his having pled guilty to a misdemeanor as a result of his restroom caper. Anyway, now there are calls for his resignation from the Senate. These calls are coming from all sides and for all kinds of reasons. So what is the issue here? Is it hyprocrisy? Senator Craig's voting record on GLBT issues is surely not reflected in his alleged behavior. Senator Craig is far from the only hypocrite in elected office. Many elected offices would be vacant if all the hypocrites were cast out. Is it the fact that he has pled guilty to a misdemeanor? If so, then apply the same rule across the board -- kick out any elected official who has ever committed any misdemeanor. Is it perhaps the TYPE of midemeanor? Well, how different are Senator Craig's actions from those of elected officials who consort with prostitutes? Yet, no one seems to be calling for those folks to resign. Is it that Senator Craig MAY (I did not say IS) be gay or bisexual? If that is the root reason, it is nothing but blatant homophobia. I would hope that Senator Craig has been through the wringer enough over this to reconsider his far right conservative stance on GLBT issues. Perhaps -- just maybe -- his votes would be more balanced. It's amazing how people come to a better understanding of the issues when they land at their own doors. Based on his voting record, I don't much like the Senator. I don't really approve of what he is said to have done. Do I think he should resign? That much depends on the reason. Whatever "rule" is applied in this situation should be applied across the board. The halls of Congress will rattle with the sounds of skeletons in closets everywhere. It is a sad day in this country when people, news media, and colleagues swarm like vultures and move in for the "kill". Senator Craig's political career is pretty much over. His conservative constituency will not likely re-elect him. Why not let him finish his term and then go home to deal with the consequences (and meaning) of his situation? That's how I see it. Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Week of Fun and Business

Well, here we are on Tuesday of what promises to lead to a very busy weekend and begin a series of very busy days over the next several weeks. On Friday, we sign the lease on the new apartment and begin moving. Now most people would take advantage of the three day holiday weekend to make the move, but not us! We will do some moving and packing on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday after church we will head north to the Mackinaw area where we will camp Sunday night in preparation for the 50th anniversary Mackinac Bridge Walk. We will head to St. Ignace on the north end of the bridge, and with thousands of others, we will walk the five miles south across the bridge to Mackinaw City. Once we do that and do a little touristy stuff, we will head home and begin packing and moving in earnest. We are looking at doing a yard sale the next weekend and doing the big move on the 15th (Want to come and help?). By the 22nd, we should be completely out of the house and beginning to settle in in our new digs. Perhaps by the time October comes, we will be ble to stop and breathe. Keep us in your thoughts as we make this transition. We are hoping and claiming that, even though we are losing our first home together, this will be a good move and a new beginning for us all. Take a moment and hug someone.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Puzzling Question

What is it about the overseers of public restrooms that makes them think that those huge rolls of narrow stiff paper (so called) are beneficial to anyone's butt? I can understand the logic that it is probably cheaper than Charmin or AngelSoft, but it takes about three times as much of that underprocessed tree bark to do the job and probably ends up costing more. It's enough to make one want to carry a private stash of real toilet paper for those emergency moments. I guess it's not an important issue, but it's another of life's great mysteries.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Next Step

We often make fun of signs like the one to the left, but this one is becoming a reality for us. Yes, we found a place to move to when we vacate the house next month. Subject to approval and such, we will take possession of a 1000 sq ft. 2 bedroom 2 bath third floor apartment. It's balcony is in the upper left corner of the building in the accompanying picture. We were kind of driving by and saw the place so we stopped to look. Actually we went to the Melon Festival (yes, there is such a thing) and wandered around some booths and watched about thirty seconds of the parade first. Then we went back and looked at the apartment. They are running super specials right now which will make our move much more possible. They are waiving the pet deposit and additional pet rent, giving a free months' rent, discounting the rent by almost 25 percent for the first year, and waiving some or all of the standard security deposit. So now it is time to really dig into sorting, packing, throwing, selling, giving, etc. all our crap and getting ready for the big move. We should be doing the big move the weekend after Labor Day. We are now a step closer to know what's going on in the world for our future. HOORAY.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Life is Tough

Well, it's been 10 days since I posted, and what a time it's been. I have come to realize even one more time that life is tough and I am really tired of the uphill battles and struggles. Between stress and trials at work, medical stuff, two or three customer service battles, and the crisis we are facing in housing, income, and future, I am exhausted. I begin to wonder what's the point?. So far this post is pretty vague, but there's a few examples to follow, so keep reading.

Last Sunday I ended up at the local urgent care clinic with a blood pressure that should (If I had insurance) landed me in ER. Instead the doctor lectured me, gave me two prescriptions, and instructed me that any pain would a sign to head to ER. More than 100 bucks later, I was home resting. Things are calming down thanks to medicine. What bothers me with this whole story is that I have needed to visit the doctor and deal with medical issues for months, but without insurance the costs are restrictive or prohibitive. When is this country going to realize the depth of the health care crisis?

Then there's been the week at work. The company where I am working has changed Contract Houses for Temps. That means I have a new employer. Now, you would think that all the wrinkles would have been worked out BEFORE they actually made such a major change. Yeah, in a perfect world. Today ends the first full pay period and it was on Friday that we received info on how to enter our time -- now we will wait until Monday morning (the deadline for reporting time) to see if it all works. On top of that, the project I'm on is getting stupid! When it started, it was supposed to be for about a month -- that was a month ago Friday. At least two or more times a week, we are on a conference call with our colleagues in Malaysia and Europe receiving more training (hmm -- a month in and more training -- doesn't sound quite so temporary). The most recent training was for a task for which we don't have the required file accesses. SO -- Why train us for something we aren't able to do? Would make more sense to me to get the access first and then train us and let us do the work. The stress level on the job is a key factor in the blood pressure battle I am certain.

On Monday, I took the new car in for service. I bought it the end of May with 25400 miles on it, and have put about 4000 miles on it. The service advisor informed me that it was time for the 30000 mile service at a cost of nearly 600 bucks. I blew my cork -- that should have been done as part of their "certified pre-owned vehicle" process. I called HONDA's national customer service number where I spoke with an agent who appeared to have not cared less. Between this experience and others with the dealership and corporate, I informed them in that call and by mail that I would not purchase another HONDA. I love the car, but if they don't care about their customers, then I will seek a manufacturer who does. Of course, it will be years before that threat (or promise) will be exercised, but I did let them know that I would be sharing the story with LOTS of people.

On top of all that is the reality that in just 6 weeks Ben and I have to be out of the house. We have no idea where we are going, whether Ben will have a job, how we are going to pay for a place or a move, what to keep and what to sell, etc. It's like moving in the dark!

My most likely reaction to all of this is to pretend none of it is happening -- I think they call that avoidance. But, with deadlines rapidly approaching and bills still arriving, avoidance would be deadly. So, I try to deal with each piece of the puzzle as it comes. Ben is wonderful in putting up with me, but I know that he is as much a basket case as I am. It seems that when I'm down, he's okay, and when I'm okay, he's down. We support each other and do the best we can. There's no quick solutions and this is not a bid for sympathy or anything like that. It's just me sharing where my life is going. If you are a praying person, keep us in prayer. Beyond that, it will all work out somehow -- it just seems too hard. Anyhow, hug someone special and have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ten Things That Piss Me Off

1. Those guys who wear their baseball caps backward! What do they use for brains?
2. The drooping pants look showing off the underwear and more!
3. People who throw cigarette butts and garbage out the car window – pick it up!
4. Inaccurate grammar – most of it is just laziness.
5. Cashiers who can’t seem to count change but rely totally on what the register says!
6. Folks who seem to have missed the turn signal option on their cars!
7. The drivers who speed up to pass you only to slam on the brakes to exit in a matter of yards.
8. So called religious folks who deny love and compassion to certain people or groups.
9. Incompetent parents – you know the ones I mean!
10. People who “flip people off” in traffic = how ignorant is that?

That's my current list of pet peeves -- what are yours?