Thursday, September 27, 2012

The End of the Road

It will keep you awake at night, but everybody needs to see this.  It confirmed what I already knew and painted an even bleaker picture than I expected.  In hindsight, I wish I'd been bringing in a second income all this time to pay down these debts faster.  I'm a little frantic now.  Is there a patron saint of bad currency?






Monday, September 24, 2012

Despair: It's Catching

I'm not a huge fan of Romney by any means, and when I heard about the huge gaffe he allegedly made, I was expecting something juicier than the fact that he was caught despairing of certain blocs of voters.  Seriously, can you blame him?  People barely know which way is up, but they can recognize the difference between red and blue.  And I thought I was uninformed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Such a Little Thing . . .

I love autumn, but unfortunately if I miss my medication by just an hour or two, I'm almost guaranteed to spend the day with my nose and eyes swollen shut.  Necessarily, all productive activity then comes to a standstill.  Also frustrating is that my medication seems to wear off a few hours before it's alleged 24-hour cycle, which means I have to remember to take it a little earlier each day.  I'd rather get up at night to take a pill than spend the next day beside a HEPA filter with an ice pack on my face.  I look forward to the cold barrenness of winter.

Monday, September 10, 2012

iTunes Highlight: David Garrett

My Pandora stations introduce me to all kinds of new artists, but I'm always a sucker for classical crossovers.  Today's highlight is David Garrett, born David Bongartz in 1980 to an American ballerina and a German lawyer.  He took his mother's maiden name for his stage persona because it was "more pronounceable."  David first took an interest in music at the age of four when his older brother was given a violin.  He was winning competitions by the age of five, and recording by thirteen.  Almost makes me sorry I gave up piano after two years.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Booya!

Mwa-ha-ha!  THE CAR IS OURS.  We made our last (very aggressive) loan payment yesterday, it cleared this morning, and the title will allegedly be in the mail within the month.  Our savings account is severely depleted, but it was worth it.  Debt is a four-letter word around here, and this investment represented more than a third of the family debt in January of this year.  The loan didn't mature until January of 2018, and in the end PNC Bank only took us for less than $400 of interest.  The student loan is another matter, but now it has our undivided attention.  Eating budget food and being an energy nazi has paid off once again.

I'd still rather have kids, but in this political and economic climate, I am glad we're able to pay this off so quickly.  More on that later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nature is Knocking

To cross the forbidden threshold carries the penalty of death.

It's cricket season again.  It's nothing like the great cricket invasions we saw in Texas, but they're still driving the husband crazy.  We've always had a "take no prisoners" attitude about bugs in the house, but we have yet to break-out the big guns.  My family resorted to something we called the Bug Vac during those seasonal invasions, and I have to admit I'm tempted to acquire one of our own.  However, that would also mean someone would have to empty the bag once in a while.  Yuck.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Good News, Bad News, and a Miraculous Recovery

Good news!  After abandoning our apartment to the wrecking and repair crew for three days, our kitchen has been gutted, refitted, and reassembled.  The new vinyl on the floor is a vast improvement over what was there before, and all the carpet was shampooed from the entryway to the dining room!  Those pesky stains by the front door are finally gone and all the high-traffic areas look like new.  The biggest improvement by far is that the sink is in perfect working order and doesn't smell like sewage.  We're looking forward to cooking real food again.

Bad news.  We can't move all our furniture back just yet because the new baseboard around the wall in the dining room hasn't been painted yet.  We haven't heard anything about it, and I'd really rather not move all our stuff more often than necessary.  I'd call the office and ask, but it's a long weekend and there's nobody home.  Also, we're not sure whether or not they disconnected the refrigerator when they redid the floor, so all our food is suspect.  In the meantime, when we went to finally load the dishwasher with all of our dusty dishes, we discovered it doesn't work.  It seems to either be broken or disconnected from its power source.  And, of course, it's the weekend and there's no maintenance people around to look at it.  It will be hand-wash only for a few days, I guess.  Good thing the sink is clean!

In other news, my four-year-old Mac laptop has been under the weather for the past few months.  The battery case was starting to bulge out of the bottom, and the mouse pad had fritzed out.  I'm rather attached to this laptop because it was a graduation present, and also because there's no way we can afford a new one like it just now.  I had heard that although it is recommended to replace a bulging battery, far worse cases than mine had been seen functioning in the wild.  My sister's four-year-old Mac had just suffered a fatal stroke, and mine had begun manifesting the same symptoms, so I didn't think investing in a new battery would be the most prudent choice under the circumstances.  I resorted to a $15 external mouse to extend the useful life of my aging computer, expecting it to give up the ghost any day.

However, earlier this week the battery was bulging more than usual, and the safety concerns won out. I did some poking around online and discovered that not only is four years the common life span of a MacBook battery, but that a swollen battery is often the cause of mouse pad malfunction.  Whodda thunkit?  Resolved to buy a new battery, I found that Apple.com was selling them for $130 and Amazon.com for $50.  For a few seconds I was a bargain shopper, but I've seen too many cautionary tales about cheap blackmarket counterfeits lately.  I decided reliability was worth paying for.  So far so good.  The mouse pad made a complete recovery as soon as the new battery was installed.  Here's hoping I can keep the laptop running long enough to get our money's worth.