Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ice Balls

I'm procrastinating today. I'm supposed to write a paper on public key infrastructure and cryptography (sounds like a fun time, doesn't it?), but I'm writing this post instead.

So we survived Hurricane Sandy with minimal loss of power. This was odd, because it only takes a strong fart to knock out power here in The Hundred Acre Wood. Which was a small kindness from The Fates, I suppose.

Thanksgiving was great and there were no squabbles, only lots of good food and fun. We always do a big party on Thanksgiving Day, and my mother does the same the Sunday after. I had a few days off, but somehow I'm still exhausted.

It's much colder out now.....the temperature dropped severely. We went from the mid 60's to the 20's within a few days. I've been holding off turning on the heat until recently because over the past year my electric provider likes to send me bills that don't seem to correspond at all with the actual energy use.

They refer to them as “estimated” bills.

I refer to it as as being too lazy or unorganized to get their asses out here to look at the meter, or put one in that doesn't require a warm body to read it.

One month they'll overcharge me outrageously, then deduct the difference the next month. That is, provided the next month is an “actual” reading. After 10+ years in this house, I have pretty good idea what the bill should be during the year.

I know electricity went up, but getting a $500 estimated bill when  both the air conditioning and heat have been off  really chaps my ass. 

In other news, Dog enjoyed his first snowfall yesterday. He's almost two years old, but we had  no snow last year, except the three feet that fell last October. He was just a wee pup-monster then, so I'm sure he doesn't remember it.

Anyway, he loves snow. He rolled in it, danced in it, inhaled it and ate it. When I brought him back into the house and toweled him off, I realized there was no way I was getting those crusted ice balls off his undercarriage. The dog, however, found this exciting because he took one look at his snow-ball covered tummy and thought “Yay! Snack!”, and ate them.

Then again, this is the same dog that eats carpet lint, the corners of his blanket, cat fuzz, leaves and insects. Last night he tried to eat a used dryer sheet that fell out of the laundry. He yakked it up within minutes, but hey, SNACK!

Cat Friend Vs. Dog Friend. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

(Disclaimer: I like to make this blog a “fun” read, but I felt I needed to say something. So take it for what it's worth and I'll be back to discussing spiders, cat pee, lack of sleep, and bad driving again in a few days.)

We were considering putting an addition on the house next year, or at the very least, a patio or deck.

That won't be happening.

Our last “big” vacation was in 2008 when we went to Hawaii. Since then, we haven't done more than a few days off here and there. However, for 2013 we were looking into either a cruise to Alaska or going back to Hawaii.

That won't be happening.

I planned to use part of my bonus to pick up an inexpensive used car so that my daughter has some autonomy.

That won't be happening (also, there probably won't be a bonus).

We were considering replacing the 15 year old sofa and chair in our living room, and possibly upgrading the 10 year old television.

That won't be happening.

Before you all start calling me a Chicken Little, Spoiled Brat, or maybe something filthy, allow me to explain.

It comes down to the fact that recent events make it imperative that our family save as much money as possible, pay down any debt, and not spend on anything big and/or unnecessary.

Even if we don't fall off the fiscal cliff looming before us, we will still have to watch our money carefully.

My per paycheck contribution for my family's healthcare has already gone up for 2013. But if I like my plan, I can keep it, right? Maybe.

My plan may technically be considered a “cadillac” plan which means under Obamacare, there's a 40% excise tax on it. Even if my company absorbs that, do you really think it won't be passed along to me in some form? How about no raises or bonuses for a few years? Or maybe they'll dump the current plan and go for something more affordable, but with less coverage?

Should everyone have access to affordable healthcare? Obviously. But it doesn't mean rebuilding the entire process and (intentionally or otherwise) punishing people who do have healthcare. There's got to be a better way to accomplish this.

My employer has made no bones about the fact that the taxes and other increases with Obamacare, etc. will cut into profits. I have no doubt that there will be layoffs. Other companies have already announced theirs.

Oh Boo Hoo. Those big meany corporations should be helping the economy, not laying people off and making it worse. Maybe the government should get involved in that too? Stop corporations from laying people off. Just do it for the Greater Good, right?

It doesn't work that way. Corporations have stockholders to answer to. Government involvement at that level turns our economy from capitalist to communist.

But I work in IT and my skills are needed so there's NO WAY I could possibly be laid off!

Sorry, there's a ton of IT people with great skills that can't find jobs. This is actually one of the reasons I started going back to school. I felt I needed to solidify certain skills, especially since I've taken a step into a different field within IT, and there are many certifications I need to pursue in order to complete my training. Along with the fact that my daughter will be going to college within a few years, I had planned to move into a higher position so that I could better afford her tuition.

Unfortunately, if I were to lose my job, I will have no choice but to pursue education loans for myself and my daughter. Double the debt, baby!

That said, any extra money I have, will not be going to that small business contractor for putting an addition or patio on our house, it won't go back into the economy since we won't be booking that vacation or replacing the furniture, and someone will lose out on the $2000 or so that I would put on a used car.

I am also sure that I am not the only person thinking this way. What do you think will happen to our economy when so many others stop spending?

Right now, I can only plan to save my money, pay down debt, and pray that I don't get the pink slip.

Welcome to The Law Of Unintended Consequences.

(By the way, it's come to my attention that my liberal “friends” blow off my perspectives because they think I'm unduly influenced by the Hubby. They would be wrong. Also, by taking that opinion, you've just reinforced the standard liberal attitude that the rest of us can't think for ourselves. Thanks for that.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Apparently I Had A Brain Tumor For Breakfast That Day

I needed powder. I wanted something different. I was lazy, and skipped Sephora. I skipped the researching, and went straight to my department store counter. They're professionals too, right?

That's when I was accosted by a 300 pound drag queen.

“What you look for?” she said, in an accent I couldn't quite place.

“Uh, just looking for a powder that won't settle into fine lines,” I said.

“What wrinkle? You have no line....” I think that was a compliment, but she made it sound like an accusation.

“Okay, well, can you give me a recommendation?”

“Here, come to counter and I show. What foundation you use?”

“I don't wear any foundation. I'm using tinted moisturizer and a light setting powder. I'm just looking for face powder.” I was trying to make it clear that I'm pretty low maintenance.

“Okay, we try a little bit of this powder in your eye corner,” and she makes a motion to the corner of her eye, “I remove just a little bit here.” Her accent still floating around the globe, yet not touching down anywhere specific.

When a make-up counter lady is that anxious to use your head as her/his(its?) new canvas, you should be very cautious. 

Bam! She took rag full of makeup remover and toweled off the entire left side of my face.

“What treatment you use?” But she didn't miss a beat, and answered her own question with “I use wrinkle cream here for you.” She slathered something wet on my face, and lobbed a too-dark foundation at me.

Then I noticed her tools, namely the makeup brush which appeared not to have been cleaned in a while. I tried to get away but....too late. RuPaul was smearing my face with foundation and using that brush. Oh well. I had medical coverage for whatever flesh eating disease I might contract.

Then we finally get to the powder. It's white. Not light, not opaque, but the color of cocaine.

She decided to take a light hand with this, barely setting all the other slop.

She handed me the mirror. There were streaks of foundation crisscrossing the side of my face.

“ you have a powder that is NOT WHITE??? Maybe something in a nice flesh tone, and not the color of nose candy??”

She responds with, “But you use this white powder over color foundation. Then is not so white.”

“Yes. I get that, but I just told you I don't wear foundation. I don't need all that. Look at me, I didn't have much makeup on in the first place, so that should be a pretty big hint right there.”

A light went on in her brain. “Oh, nooo. We don't have thaaaat.”

What she actually meant was, “We don't have that in the product line I'm trying to sell you, but I'm also not going to offer any recommendation on another product line, so suck it.”

Normally I'd hand out a verbal beating at this point, but my daughter's been reminding me that my menopause temper has been getting the better of me, and I should try to relax a bit more. In retrospect, all my daughter did was snicker through all of this, so I should have just gone with my instincts.

I grabbed a tissue and began looking for a mirror somewhere far away from this sales clerk. As I'm wiping goo from my face, I was tempted to ask the MAC Weirdo behind the counter about their powder. Although they tend to hire freaks as beauty consultants, in my experience, they really know their stuff. I used MAC about ten years ago, it might still be good.

Apparently, in anticipation of a cosmetics question, the MAC consultant came over, smiled widely through purple glossed lips, and revealed a pair of eye teeth that had been sharpened into fangs.

I kept walking. I had my share of freak show for the day.