Wednesday, January 31, 2007

wearing 3 shoes....who knew?

Ok, I guess I was wrong.

There was yet another shoe to be dropped after the last post.

Monday I had to put 2 new tires on the van and have it aligned before it was safe to take it on the road.

DANG! Just when I thought 3 was the magic number....(here we're making the sign to ward off the evil eye, hoping this new event isn't the beginning of a new 3 some!)

This time I was ticked off enough about the cause of the problem that I fired off a hot letter to the dealership about the total incompetence of who ever did the vehicle inspection before we bought the van (unless, of course, they just lied to us about that happening).

Seems this month we can't catch a break {sigh}

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Looking for a window...(the other shoe has dropped)

Ever notice how "bad" things come in threes?

Maybe I'm just nuts (ok, we'll discuss that another day), but it seems that bad things always happen in clumps.

I've now had my 3 in the last week, and I can say, I'm glad the clump is over now we can get on to recovering.

Item 1

Last week we went out to go some where, and the van wouldn't start. Nope, battery dead as a doornail (what DOES that phrase mean?), and this was the 4th time we had found this condition. And since I had already used up all of my alloted AAA calls, I had no choice, I called the dealership and told them that we had "the issue" AGAIN!

Much to their credit, they sent one of their techs with a booster box and got me started, then I took the van to them to figure it out.

Over the few months we have had the van I have gotten to know a lot about it. Through some miracle, the folks that owned it before us had left a receipt in the glove box that had a phone number on it. I got bold, I called the guy and asked him if they had ever had this issue with the van. He said yes, so I questioned him further about the DVD player that had been installed in the van. He had put that in the weekend he bought the van, so he couldn't answer my next question which was -- did you have the problem before the DVD player went in.

So, my thought was that the folks that installed the DVD player (Circuit City) had installed it with the electrical connection ahead of the starter so it was always on and draining the battery.

Well, after 24 hours and a lot of testing, the dealership found the problem ... guess what ... I was right.

So, the wiring for the DVD player has been REMOVED!, and I got to write a check for $311 to the dealership. (At least now the problem is fixed!)

Item 2

Then we had the furnace issue. Waking up to a COLD (even by our standards) house and getting to spend just under $200 to have the ignitor unit replaced on Monday.

At that point I knew there would be something else ... its that clump of 3!

Item 3
The other shoe dropped yesterday. (that's another phrase I'd like to know the origin of)

Since August I've been doing bank recons and account analysis for a small business locally to help them try to get onto a corporate basis from just being a small "mom & pop". The guy has been paying me at the rate I had originally asked him for, and I was making enough to cover the increase in payments going out for the van and my health insurance.

Yesterday when I delivered the December recon, he told me that they had some friend of theirs that was a Quick Books guru working on the inventory and other things, and for now at least he doesn't have anything else for me to do for them.


So, there we I need to find some way to make up that difference......

We believe that when a door closes somewhere a window, I'm looking for a window

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Slaying the Dragon....

I've done it again.....submitted something for publication.

Two things actually -- one is a sheet of paper dolls that I just finished, and the other is an article about a teddy bear's make over.

These both went to an online magazine. I was emboldened by receiving a notice from the self same Ezine that an article I had submitted back in December is going to be used in the upcoming issue......WHOOOPPPEEE!!

I don't get paid for these other than the free publicity about my work to a much larger audience than I can reach any other way, so its pretty good!

As soon as the issue comes out, I'll post links here.

Now, I just need to keep at another writing project I'm working on.....

Monday, January 15, 2007

Letters from home......

I have a dear friend in California that sends out an email about once a week to a long list of folks that I am blessed to be a part of.

Usually she writes it and sends it out (actually her daughter does the computer part) on Sunday afternoon, and I get to start my week by reading what I consider to be "news from home".

Even at this point, I have still lived more years in California than anywhere else, so it really does feel like home.

I should also add that this charming lady is an accomplished artist, so she notices things an artist would notice and shares them with us all.

This week's letter included the following: "The hills to the East have a green tinge to them." ...and... "The hummingbird (or another one) has returned. She is sitting in last year's refurbished nest on two eggs"

Oh, to have the hills in any direction from us have a green tinge! I am well and totally sick of winter, as we cleaned another 5 inches out of the driveway yesterday for a total of about 8 inches for this weekend's storm. (and I see in the long range forecast another storm for NEXT weekend --- please! say it isn't so!)

I love reading her letters and hate reading her letters....wondering how many days this week I'll feel homesick......Bless you June, for helping me remember that spring will come -- eventually!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Do I seem like an atheist to you?

Recently someone said to me "I sometimes think you are an atheist, its like you don't believe in anything".

Now this is troubling.

And since there was no specific example of what I had said or done that was cited to give me some opportunity for explanation, I'm now left wondering what it was I did -- or didn't do -- that gave someone that impression.

I will admit to having had doubts. Its not that I don't believe that God exists, or that He knows what's going on down here. But I can say that I've never had that "flash of lightening" feeling that people talk about. I guess that's reserved for folks that are already WAY ahead of me on this level.

So to a large extent I guess I feel like I'm sort of stumbling along, trying most of the time to be a good person tho' I'm not always, to give back to folks with less than I have.

I'd like to have that "I'm sure of it all" feeling that some folks say they have, but I guess I've taken too many detours along the way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Administrivia and trouble makers

I'm beginning to wonder if there is an active brain cell left among the administrative employees in this area.

Example #1:

Early in December, the DH was given a form by his doctor to get a handicap placard for the car. When we started filling in our part of the form, we discovered that the doctor's office had not had her sign the form, so it had to go back to her office to be signed.

After the form came back to us, we didn't get over to the DMV because of the 3 storms back to back.

Well, yesterday seemed like an opportune time, so off we went to the DMV, form in hand to accomplish the deed. But NOOOOOOO, there was a number missing! So I called the doctor's office, from the DMV and asked for them to give me the doctor's medical license number (required on the form by the State), and was told by the administrative employee that she could give me that information over the phone because it was "private information" --- HUH!? Then she told me she'd have to check with the office manager and call me back.

She finally did call back, an hour and a half later, after we had given up waiting and returned home.

So today the form is in the mail box waiting for the post man to carry it back to the DMV. I hope we've finally got it right.

Example #2:
This morning we got a phone call from the office of the specialist that the DH is supposed to see tomorrow asking us if we had the referal paperwork. WHAT?

Here's the deal here: when we first called (back in early December) to make an appointment we were told they needed the referal. I contacted the primary care doctor and asked them to take care of that for us (its SUPPOSED to be their job). About 2 weeks ago, the specialist's office called and said they had the referal and we made an appointment.

Ok, whose wires are crossed here?

On second thought, maybe it isn't all administrative employees, maybe it just the medical ones -- what do we expect from a system so seriously broken?!

And my second "rant" for today has to do with troublemakers.

Why is it some people are just not satisfied unless they are stirring up past history and flinging accusations?

Having just had an encounter with this issue, I am mightily tempted to reply point by point with both barrels (preferably of a shot gun full of rock salt!)

And of course that response makes me unhappy with feeling that way, having been told as a child that someone always has to be the "bigger person" in a disagreement, and that it should be me (why me always?)....

But sometimes it seems a little righteous indignation and a setting of the record straight might go a really long way to putting a halt to this kind of assault in the future.

Maybe I'll get to have my say someday.....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

tax screaming

I've spent a good deal of time the last 2 days working on taxes.

First we organize all the little pieces of paper into piles of what they are: medical, business, contributions, sales tax, income

Then its on to the spread sheets -- I should note here that effective Jan 1, 2007, I am converting all my business stuff into QuickBooks, so there will be less of this next time, but there will still be medical

And then there is the reviewing to be sure I didn't duplicate anything

and the downloading of forms from the site where I can take just the pieces I need (including from the instructions) but even so, I have a hefty stack of paper to wade through

I may run screaming from the room!!! (how did I do this at work for all those years without being certifiable --- oh, yeah, now my secret is out!!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

how did I write that?

yesterday, as we're driving off to the store to pick up a few things, the DH says to me "why don't you see if there is some place that you could submit a short story"

hmmmmm, well, uuuuhhhhh .... here's the issue my friends: when I was in high school (yes, low, nearly 40 years ago) I wrote short stories, and plays and poetry and newspaper articles. Thing is, I just wrote whatever was floating around in my head (or the assigned topic in the case of a newspaper article). I never took a class then, or in college, that gave me any really idea of how to create a believable character, or structure a plot, or whatever.....I just "did it"

so, do I still have a story or two to write? well, maybe, but I have no idea anymore how to start.

Can I blog? Well, yes, it appears so, since I have 3 of these running and I seem to be able to write a recipe and a few paragraphs about its source, or keep up a running commentary on the other art work I'm creating, but I don't seem to have the faintest idea of how to start a story.

is it possible to write a story without knowing at the beginning how it will end? how is it that the idea for that civil war era novel is still floating around, but I have no clue how to start (ok, I have done a brief character description for ONE character, but I don't seem to know those other people)

and so I'm puzzling about is it you can "forget" how to do this, or was it simply that when I was 17 I didn't even think about the structure, I read a lot and I wrote a lot......

having read several of Julia Cameron's books, I know that if you're going to write, you have to do it every day, and I'm managing to do that by blogging (I don't miss a lot of days), but that is not giving me any real direction....NUTS!

hmmmmmm, perhaps having some direction is the problem......

and so I consider this rambling a sort of "asking the higher power" as Cameron puts it, and thinking that perhaps someone in blogland will run across this and drop me an idea or two.....