Friday, April 27, 2007

Veg reward points

One of the fun things about visiting ksl & the gang is seeing how the kids are being taught life skills, a la "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarden" - the types of things we often forget as adults.

Ksl's newest scheme in development was the 'points system' for everyone in the family - you earn points for things like doing homework, cleaning up, etc, then need to spend points for privileges like tv. Trash tv costs more points than pbs-type tv.

I like that system, and was talking to E about implementing it here - I'd like it because it would allow me to be guilt-free when I've officially 'earned' the right to veg and watch Gilmore Girls season 2 for the 4th time. Unfortunately E is 'Johnny Project', and for him, vegging is a punishment, so his points system will have to be more of a trucker's log - after he's racked up so many project points, he must take a mandatory veg break.

I still have to work out the details of the system, but I'm confident it will either work swimmingly or I'll be begging E to trade points with me so I can veg more.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blame it on biorhythyms

Whenever everything I touch seems to go wrong, I like to check my biorhythms. I know it's kind of like praying to pagan gods during an eclipse, but for whatever reason, believing that there is something controlling this mess is comforting.
According to my chart for today, it's a miracle I even got out of bed. My Intellectual, Emotional, and Wisdom states are all in the crapper right now.

Light examples of my current state: could not speak properly yesterday. Ordered a 'whole wheat tomato' instead of a 'whole wheat bagel' at Tim Hortons yesterday, and it took a while to clear up the confusion

More serious example: I think the accountant I used to prepare my taxes and E's taxes was incompetent. Still sorting this mess out.

I am trying to look for the silver lining, but I just want to curl up under a cozy duvet and not think about it.

Oh, and I broke E's snappy labelmaker (the nice Brother P-Touch kind, not the cheap 70's kind) when I was trying to do filing in my office.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Home again

When I found out Friday that my car wouldn't be ready again(!) and I'd be waiting until at least today, maybe longer, I sunk into a pit of despair. Gran Dorse kept trying to entice me off the ledge:

GD: "It's sunny and warm - you can go running outside!"
me: "don't want to"

GD: " I made dark chocolate brownies"
me: " grrr"

GD: "I can see if we have enough frequent flyer points for E to visit for the weekend"
me: "ok"

As it turned out, E was too busy and important to fly out Saturday even if GD did have enough points, so she lent me her snappy red vehicle and I made it back. GD & Boba will drive the friggin' Civic back if they ever manage to track down all the unique gaskets, sprockets and hoozits required to make a Honda run.

While it has been lovely to see E, it has been less-than-lovely to deal with 3 weeks of neglected misc - specifically taxes. Bad news from my accountant - I owe more than he estimated. great.

So I am digging change out of GD's car cushions hoping to scrape together enough to keep myself out of debtor's prison.

On the plus side, my tulips are starting to sprout : )

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Am I a Mean Boss or an Understanding Boss?

Ok, so my car engine blew up - could happen to anyone. But gone for 2 weeks!! Isn't that a bit much? Yes, yes, I'm working over the Internet, but I'm only doing jobs I'd already committed to - I am not drumming up new work, following up on outstanding invoices or doing any marketing/promotion.

I am thrashing back and forth between
understanding boss: 'it's a stressful situation and you should cut yourself some slack'
mean boss: 'get on with it and quit whining - you're lucky you have the kind of job that allows you to be gone so long - take advantage and get as much done as possible.'

On the plus side, I'm in a good workout groove - The local Y here is excellent - I've been swimming twice and spinning twice. The instructor for this morning's spinning class was, let's say 'nearing retirement age', and she kicked my a**!! That was humbling. The Pilates class led by a soft-spoken granola girl left me feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach for an hour. Apparently I NEED these workouts.

I've been wearing the same pair of jeans over and over, and finally today I found another pair for $7.50 on the red dot clearance rack at Peebles. If your engine ever blows up and you've eaten a bunch of pizza and frosted cookies and you don't want to buy any nice pants at your current weight, but you need another pair of pants until you can get home, I recommend Peebles.

BTW I have stopped eating pizza and frosted cookies. I might still be snacking on chocolate easter eggs and Hershey's truffle kisses, but they're small and slow me down with all the unwrapping.

'it's ok, you'll get back on track when you're home'

'quit making excuses, a**clown. life is tough. deal with it.'

I'm coming unglued. I miss E.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I spent Easter discussing religion in McDonalds

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Me: “Is it fixable?”

Mechanic: “How much do you like your car?”

Not good.

Earlier Sunday, approx. 2:15 p.m.

As I pop in disc 5 of an audio book that I’m not crazy about, but is keeping me occupied on my drive from Illinois to Ohio, I hear rattling. I turn off the CD and hear louder rattling. I try to notice what is causing it – no engine lights are on, temperature is ok. Pressing the gas pedal makes it worse but even with my foot off the gas, the noise isn’t good.

I calm my rising panic by telling myself that sometimes really bad noises are more noise than trouble. Unfortunately my calm is short-lived when something goes POP!, the oil light and battery light go on, smoke pours out from under the car, and I’m forced to roll over to the shoulder. On the Interstate. Great.

I pull out my cell phone, get my CAA card and put my ‘in case of emergency’ plan to work. While I wait to get a signal and try to not think about how much ‘roaming’ is going to cost me, some guy turns up out of nowhere. He’s pointing to my engine. Does he think I don’t know my car has broken down or is he Ted Bundy junior? Where did he come from anyway? I don’t see a car anywhere nearby. From the rattle and smoke, I doubt that he can help. I motion to my cell phone and wave my CAA card. He mouths “It’s on fire,” and points to my engine.

I don’t think Bundy ever used the car on fire excuse so I take my chances and get out of my car. I say “It’s on fire?"

He tells me he saw fire under my car, but now it appears to be out.

I’m suspicious of this good Samaritan (too many after-school specials and that creepy Kurt Russel Breakdown movie) but I notice that I’ve got a good six inches and ten pound on this guy, so I try to look as surly as possible and hope he doesn’t see me as a victim. Just when I finally connect to AAA, two state troopers pull up.

Thank you, truck drivers.

The troopers send the ‘concerned citizen’ on his way, help me explain to AAA where exactly I am – Howe Indiana at the mile 115 marker - and then let me warm up in a cruiser, but not with my purse – that had to go in the trunk in case I had a gun.

4:15 pm

Since my car will obviously not be fixed anytime soon, if ever, I need a plan b.

Plan b is to have my Dad pick me up somewhere recognizable, easy to find, where I can wait in comfort and safety.


There is ALWAYS a McDonalds nearby, and of course, there is one just off the Interstate where we can easily direct my dad and where I can sit safely to wait.

I admit to being all over the anti-McDonald’s bandwagon – I watched SuperSize me in horror and straightened up in my upright position on my sky-high horse.

“I don’t eat at McDonalds” I’d proudly state when the buzz from the movie first came out.

Right now I am overjoyed to be eating in McDonalds. Compared to sitting underdressed (didn’t expect it to SNOW on Easter!) in my non-functioning car on the side of the highway, a well-lit, warm, safe McDonalds is nirvana. The excellent coffee is a bonus.

I luck out at this particular McDonalds in LaGrange Indiana – the back room with a big flat screen TV makes me feel less lost, alone and stranded. The world news helps keep my looming carless state in perspective.


I move to the front to watch for my Dad, who is supposed to be there any minute to pick me up.


Grizzled psycho: “THEY say the world is billions of years old but I don't believe it. Evolution – pshaw. Who do they think created it all?”
Apparently the question is directed at me. I've never actually seen anyone who didn't believe in evolution in person before. He really fits the cliche of a nutcase, but I don't want to give up my Dad-watching vantage point or lug my 3 bags around again, so I stay put and decide to character-study a living, breathing creationist lunatic.

15 minutes later, his rants about gays, lesbians, sinners and non-believers is wearing thin. He's SUCH a cliche that he's completely useless to me character-wise – fraying collar on a flannel shirt, stooped shoulders, unshaven, wild-eyed, ranting nonsense. Totally useless – nothing unique or interesting about him, just a run-of the mill nutbar.

Dad finally shows up, looks at the religious wacko, looks at me, chuckes and says, “I have to go to the bathroom” and walks away LEAVING ME WITH THE NUTBAR!

Thanks a lot.

I spend another eternity learning about how I can get my own subscription to 'The Daily Bread' when Dad finally reappears and we go to the car.

What a day.


The broken-down car saga continues. It looks like I'll be here for the rest of the week at least trying to either get it fixed (engines aren't cheap) or scrapping it and getting a ride back.

I miss E.