Friday, November 1, 2013

A little sanity for the working poor from Comcast...Hopefully.

When I write, it's usually about the crazy, insane things happening in my life. However, this is more of a public service message, that I want as many people who need it to know about.

If you currently can't afford internet for your home, but would like to have it instead of gathering up everyone to go to your local library between the hours of 9 and 6 (which might require a couple of bus transfers to get there), then this program might be the answer. Comcast now offers an "Internet Essentials" plan that allows families that have a least one child eligible to receive reduced or free lunches, to have broadband internet in their home for $9.95 a month plus tax.

The program has actually been around for a couple of years now, but I think it's finally been tweaked enough that it's worth looking into if you qualify. Most importantly, they recently increased the speed for this program to 5 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. There are no installation fees or equipment fees, and the price is fixed for life as long as you continue to meet the qualifications. There is also the opportunity upon qualifying for the service to purchase a computer for $150. I know that can still be a big chunk of money for a family who has an income tight enough that they need any of these services, but it might be worth looking into.

Now for the qualification details:
  1. You must live in an area where Comcast service is offered.
  2. You must have at least one child that is eligible to receive reduced or free lunches.
  3. You can't currently subscribe or have subscribed in the last 90 days to Comcast Internet service.
  4. You can't have any overdue bills with Comcast OR unreturned equipment.
Unfortunately, those four qualifications, are going to eliminate a lot of people that still really could benefit from this service. To be honest, Comcast probably doesn't really care if anybody signs up for this program. Low income customers are not their target market, but at $9.95/month they're not losing money on this deal since it's using infrastructure that's already in place. Plus, if some poor person stops paying, they just cut them off after a couple of months and send them to collections, like all their other customers. However, every time someone signs up, they get to add it to their tally to point to and say look how many poor people we're helping to educate by providing cheap internet in their home. This is good for Comcast, because they've been buying up the internet market (and NBC, but that's another story). So when people start pointing fingers saying Comcast is becoming a monopoly, they can say but we make sure everyone can afford to have internet in their home.*

*Don't look at the old person on a fixed income, the childless couple, the single person just out of college earning $8/hr with their bachelor's degree, or the family that is just beyond the lunch qualification and chooses providing lunch for their kids over internet at home. Look away! Okay, rant over.

However, the reality is there are a lot of people who do qualify, and I hope they sign up for it. Oh, one more improvement that has occurred this year with the program. Look at the wording on qualification number 2. You just have to be eligible to receive reduced or free lunches. What that means is that they've opened up who qualifies to families of children in private, parochial, cyber, and home schools in addition to public schools. See this article from Comcast, if you don't believe me.

If you think you might qualify, contact Comcast by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). If you have access to the internet somewhere, you can go to (English) or (EspaƱol). If you know someone that could benefit from this program, please mitigate their insanity just a little and let them use your computer or phone to apply.

Finally, if you don't live in an area where Comcast internet is available. Try calling them up, explain what Comcast is doing and ask nicely if they have a similar program. If you get the cold shoulder, try writing a letter to the president of the company. Hand write it and send it via snail mail explaining that you have to contact them via pen & paper, because his/her company is more greedy than Comcast and on your limited income, you opted to feed your children over paying their high priced internet fees. Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Which would you choose?

So, while we were getting ready for the day, Jim tells me he has a question for me. I never know what kind of question it will be when he says something like this, so I've learned to just roll with it.

Jim:  If a witch doctor forces you to choose between two potions to drink, which would you choose?  The first one will make you smell horrible to all other people, but you will smell sweet and pleasant to yourself. The second one will make you smell nice to everyone else, but you will smell moderately offensive to yourself.

Me:  What happens if I don't choose?

Jim:  You'll be killed. Stop trying to attack the problem.

Me:  Is this a philosophical problem, or are you trying to tell me I have a body odor issue?

Jim:  No, you smell nice. Just answer the question.

Me:  I choose not to choose. The first option would be very lonely, because no one would want to be around me. With the second option, I know I can't stand to be smelly, so I probably would just sleep all the time so I wouldn't have to smell myself, which would also be very lonely. So, I'll just let the witch doctor kill me, rather than live a lonely miserable life.

Jim:  Interesting. When I developed the problem, I didn't anticipate that being an answer.

Me:  You've known me for how long, and you still didn't anticipate my answer? What would you answer?

Jim:  Well, when I developed it, I was going to pick option two. It was about what I could still do for other people, and I figured I would get used to my own body odor eventually. The question was supposed to be a way of assessing a person's selfishness.

Me:  So, what does my answer tell you then?

Jim:  I'm not sure. You managed to input a 2 into the binary code that can only handle 1s and 0s.

Me:  Hmm. So my answer does not compute. I'm pretty sure I just destroyed the Daleks and saved the universe. So, I believe that makes me the least selfish person ever. I win!

Jim:  [SIGH] There's no winners or losers. Plus, you know the Daleks don't really exist, right?

Me:  I know they don't exist...anymore. You're welcome.

Jim:  [Shakes his head] I think I need to go lay down.

So, which would you choose? Also, If you don't know what a Dalek is, then you probably don't realize the importance of my choice. I suggest you have a Doctor Who watching marathon and then come back and thank me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Despite Mrs. McConkie's best efforts...

Blogging is hard, y'all! You disagree? Well, you try being me and committing to weekly (or even monthly at this point) blogging. There's a great whirlwind going on in my head all the time and getting it to slow down long enough to pull out the interesting, humorous, thought provoking bits, while keeping the rest corralled in there is a daily--and often hourly--challenge. Believe me, you do not want to encounter ALL the things that go through my mind.

My therapist had to get her own therapist to deal with it. I'm referring to my imaginary therapist that I meet with every Tuesday, Friday, and every third Thursday. Her name is Chamomile. She does not make me sleepy and I seem to give her nightmares. I mention this because the circles under her eyes are getting darker and she is looking more disheveled lately. I wonder if her own therapist has pointed out the irony.

I feel some of you judging me right now, but really, it's OKAY. I never really got into the imaginary friend thing as a kid--Ignacio never did anything but sit there, so I ditched him. So, now I'm making up for it with an imaginary therapist. Which if you think about it, is perfectly fairly somewhat logical.

Real therapists exist to provide someone to listen to you when you're too scared to talk to anyone else or everyone else is too scared to listen to you. The goal is that through talking out loud about your problems, you eventually realize how it all became a problem in the first place, how to fix the problem or accept that you can't, and maybe how to avoid it in the future. Well, my main problem is that I'm always broke. So, I can't afford a real therapist, so I just talk to my imaginary one. I'm pretty sure this is not what Chamomile had in mind when she agreed to take my case, though. Example: Problem--I can't buy a new unicorn or fix my current one, because I never have any extra money in the budget. Solution--Suck it up or get a new job that gives you a bigger budget that includes farriers, better oats, horn wax, and an on call unicorn veterinarian (because the farm vet is just out of his league). Future--Stop buying unicorns.

Anyway...I digress. The point of all of this is that whether you think I'm creative or crazy, I have a hard time putting my thoughts into written form. It seems that the award winning ideas always happen when I'm away from a typing utensil. After all, even I draw the line at bringing my laptop into the bathroom with me. I've also tried just sitting at the computer and trying to write something. As it turns out, that is the best way to lock up every interesting thought to ever cross my brain.

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. McConkie, can attest to this. Mrs. McConkie, who was one of my most favorite teachers ever, used to insist that we keep a creative writing journal with daily entries. Sadly, Mrs. McConkie must have thought I was the most boring pupil she would ever have. Forced creative writing entries always went something like this (but in big loopy handwriting to fill the page faster):

"I wonder what I will write about today. I could write about what we had for dinner last night, but I think I wrote about that last week, and I think it was beans and cornbread that time too. I could write about my dog Pal, but all he does is eat and sleep. Maybe I'll write about my favorite book. Well, that's not really creative, because I'm just talking about something that someone else creatively wrote. I've got it. 
There once was a girl that was supposed to write something creative. However, she could never think of anything to write about when asked. So, her teacher had to read very boring stories about nothing instead, and questioned whether she should have become a teacher at all. The End."

So, in honor of Mrs. McConkie, I'm providing a list of topics that have popped in my head at an otherwise busy time, and never got around to writing about. Things that might be actually interesting for other people to read. If you want to read the full story on any of them, then leave a comment. I promise to try to write them all in the next year or so. Best not to push for any sooner, unless you want to end up feeling like Mrs. McConkie.

  1. I just gave a honey bath.
  2. Should I get Lawyer Jim to file a class action suit against...?
  3. So, I've had a cast from just below my...
  4. Did the zombie apocalypse happen already?
  5. Move it over, over here.
  6. Stocking up on food rations for the end of times is easier than you think, if you are a "member" of a certain elite warehouse club.
  7. Federally mandated "Procrastination Day".
  8. Friends come in all packages, but remember to always leave a breathing hole.
  9. I'm pretty sure a pharmacy tech, an HOA president, and now the NSA think I'm a cooker/dealer.
  10. "The good news is that you'll be at your menstrual nadir," is surprisingly not what most people think of as good news.
So, after that list, anybody dare to be my new Chamomile?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Must...escape...the...Dungeon Cave.

WARNING: This post has a butt load of run-on sentences, misuse of punctuation, the Roman Asterisk footnoting method (patent pending), and other assaults on the English language. English teachers, librarians, scholars, and those who think they might be a scholar probably should not read this. Side effects may include, headaches, irritability, depression, mania, a desire to stab me with a red marking pen, and/or unmitigated insanity. 

Ever rented an apartment or house with little time to shop around, so you pick the one that meets the majority of your basic requirements thinking, "Okay, it's dated & not that nice looking, but it's in my budget, a decent location, and it will do for a year until I can find something better."

THEN, within a couple of months of moving in, when the landlord has completely ignored a simple request to fix the two faucets that are dribbling water (one was leaking 2 1/2 gallons a day), all the faucets leak at the handles when you turn them on (except for temporarily stopping when the water pressure randomly drops to nothing again, which happens 90% of the time), and the garbage that the landlord's handyman threw in a pile in the parking lot when he was prepping the place next door has been sitting there for a month, etc., etc., etc., you start to think..."Hmm, so they're really throwing down the gauntlet to see if I'll stay here the whole year."

HOWEVER, you're traveling a lot, so you tell yourself it's really only like six months that you have to live there. No big deal.

THEN, you have an ice storm that leaves you without power for four or five days, and you can't even go to McDonalds to get some "food" and warm up, because you're parked at the far end of your parking lot and then there's the driveway that is only slightly less than a 90 degree slope* all covered in ice with a layer of snow that is just thick enough to get your tires spinning on the road to nowhere and completely solidify all snow underneath it into a marble ice slab.

HOWEVER, you remember by the second day that you actually own a snow shovel** and decide to start shoveling & see if you can make a path to get out. Turns out you can when you're a kick-ass snow/ice shoveler (I expect my invitation to be on the next US Winter Olympics Snow Shoveling team any day now.), and you have a couple of people to relieve you every once in a while.  So, three hours later, two-thirds of the parking lot is shoveled, as well as the entire Evel Knievel driveway and you finally make it to the in-laws house who already have power on.***

THEN, you eventually make it back home once the power is on, thinking about how nice it'll be to be in your own place again, only to remember the refrigerator FULL of food that has to be cleaned out. BONUS, the 35 year old stove*^, which came with three whole functional burners and an oven that likes to sit there randomly with its door open a little, like a mouth breather during allergy season, has initiated what one can only guess is its final death wail for itself.

HOWEVER, you decide to ignore it for awhile, because A) given the landlord only fixed the leak on 1 1/2 faucets (The second one still drips, just not as much. All other water issues are untouched.) B) the trash heap is still sitting in the parking lot C) landlord's answer to pointing out some mold on the living room ceiling, was to assure us it was a continuing problem with the bathtub upstairs (Oh, that wasn't disclosed to you before you signed the lease?), and that he would fix it by redoing the entire bathroom, kicking you out of the place for at least a week to do it, and charging you more rent (Didn't happen, of course.), it seemed rather unlikely that generous landlord would do anything about a depressed, old, but somewhat functional stove. Plus, it kind of feels like you're kicking Grandma to the curb just because her broken hip and emphysema were slowing her down to much.

THEN, two months later the heater unit decides your electric bill has been way too low. So it decides that sometimes when it kicks on, it will only run the blower, and not the heating element too that actually heats the air it's blowing, so instead of heating the rental unit, it actually cools it until you notice that your teeth are chattering and go and reset the whole unit again. So, after dealing with this somewhat random problem for a couple of weeks you call the landlord about the heater and the stove that still hasn't stopped moaning. Amazingly, he actually sends someone out to fix the heater the next morning. [Insert SHOCK FACE!!!]

HOWEVER, you're amused because the fix is a $3 can of cleaner and a pocket knife to clean the sensor, and the whole time they're musing over the ancientness of the whole system^, along with the fact that there are giant unfilled holes in the furnace closet where piping used to be, and give you a stern warning to get a carbon monoxide detector (A quick look around reveals that there isn't any in the house. Doh! You expected there to be one along with the smoke alarms, or at least a mention that their not included? Ha ha ha ha. Silly you.) No one ever comes to check on the stove, because she's obviously unloved at this point, but you do buy carbon monoxide detector and install it the next day, because you would hate to have survived this long only to be killed by some gas coming from an obviously vengeful heating system.

THEN, you happen to look up in your dining room one day...big mistake, NEVER, look see that the portion of the ceiling just on the other side of the beam from the living room mold...that was reported 3 months ago...has a significant patch of green & black grossness. BONUS, the living room side of the beam now has two visible wet spots, not dripping, but wet, and all of this seems to be under the toilet area upstairs. Landlord, without looking at it, insists it's still the bad bathtub plumbing, which he's more than happy to replace (with the same previous conditions attached) or he can have his guy just fix the problem, and notifies you that his guy will be out there the next morning to diagnose. Landlord's "guy" shows up a little after 6....PM! the next day, and agrees that it is probably just the toilet, and will be out the next afternoon to fix it. Two days later, the wax ring is replaced, the moldy portion of the ceiling is bleached and then covered with a couple of coats of spray-on Kilz. BONUS, he decides to re-caulk around the outside of the tub in case the one drop of water that escapes the shower per day was the real culprit of the mold farm growing below. UN-BONUS, he didn't realized he purchased black caulk, until he'd laid about 20" of it, then since he only uses silicone caulk (Because "It's the only way to get a real good seal.") he just squirted some white over it the next day, except he didn't cover all the black, so it just looks like our caulk is all moldy there. [Insert IRONIC FACE!]

HOWEVER, you're happy content for now, because the leaky/moldy spots don't seem to be reappearing, so it would seem that the toilet was the issue, and total cost for supplies to fix it was about $15 including the bonus caulk job, an hour in labor cost, and three months waiting on the landlord to finally send someone to look at it. You get a small bit of satisfaction from knowing you were right, but you're annoyed that it took the landlord so long to address it because he's too busy trying to up-sale you. You make a mental note, to research if said landlord was ever a used car dealer or some other shyster salesman.

THEN, you look at the parts of the ceiling that were Kilzed (What is the past tense of Kilz?) and are reminded for the 264th time that the walls in this place are the color of dirt and the trim and ceiling are the color of off-white with a little extra dirt thrown in to coordinate with the walls, except for the kitchen and bathrooms that  break up the dirt motif with the occasional 70s gold marble counter top or 80s blue wallpaper with floral pattern to add a bit of pizzazz, and the flooring, which consists of 95% carpet, is an ancient Berber the color of dirt mixed with some gravel and pebbles.^*

THEN, your mind briefly awakens from the fog you've been in for say the last eight months, to realize that the reason you haven't wanted to do anything, including writing quirky, humorous, [insert other positive adjectives here] blog posts is that you actually rented a dungeon cave loosely disguised as a two-story townhouse.

That my friends,^** is what happened to me and Lawyer Jim, exactly eight months ago. I swear it really is a dungeon cave. Think about it. It has "dirt" walls and a floor with the occasional rare flora that can grow in a cave and fools gold vein running through it, water is always dripping, it gets colder and darker as you go to the lower levels, there's a weird ghostly moaning that pervades the place, it's sucking the life out of us and we've been sentenced to live here for one year. That is the very definition of a dungeon cave.

Now that we realize what it's doing to us, we are rapidly planning our escape. Unfortunately, money always seems to get in the way. So, rapidly means four more months, as of today. Let the countdown begin. In the meantime, I'll try to score some black market anti-depressants or something so I can keep writing while serving out my remaining time.

*I SWEAR I'm only exaggerating a little. There should be a run-a-way ramp installed on this driveway.
**Turns out that snow shovels are a valuable tool to own even when living in the south, where you get snow on average once a year, because they're also great for shoveling giant loads of mulch & fertilizer around all of those lovely trees and flower beds one must have when one owns a yard.
***They are famous for 7 to 10 day outages after any significant storm, summer or winter. So, it really was a Festivus miracle that they got their power back 24 hours after it went out.
*^Not making up the age at all. Google knows all and dated this stove back to 1977. In 1977, I'm sure all the other housewives were jealous, because this thing had all the bells and whistles. Now it just has all the moans & aches.
^You're less amused the next month, when your electric bill has increased by 50% due to your heater playing freeze out on your dime.
^*Landlord obviously believes one can't have too much carpeting in a rental unit, including the bathrooms. There must have been some concern about the kitchen, so landlord covered it in a laminate that is obviously meant to look like a floor made from dirt tiles.
^**You are obviously my friend, if you've read all of this insanity. Thank you. Please message me if you know where I packed my lasso and I'll try to reign it in a little next time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

An important safety message...

More excuses...but mitigating the insanity in many little world has been about as futile as trying to keep the pollen washed off your car in the springtime. You can clean up the mess, but turn away for a moment & it's already back. Sometimes it's just better to hunker down & wait it out. I'll do a catch up soon.

In the meantime, an important safety message from our trash can:

"Don't forget to leave a little room at the tip."

Friday, February 1, 2013

The tragic tale of the magical card that almost died, but was saved, only to realize it wasn't so special after all.

The story you are about to read is true. Especially the magical parts. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, because that would just turn it into gossip. Some details have been omitted by He/She Who Must Not Be Named, because I don't want you nut jobs knowing where someone used to live. We're all about privacy here. Mostly. Frankly, if you can fill in the details from what's revealed here, then you obviously have super powers and would have gotten it out of me eventually anyway. This is my story. Dunh, dunh! (Also know as the doink doink or the chung chung.) 

So, this card was delivered to our house in January. It was postmarked 12/27/12 from MD and addressed to Ms. Linda [CLASSIFIED]. I was pretty sure it was a better late than never Holiday card. We're used to getting previous tenants' mail, so I was just going to return it to the post office on my next trip. However, I noticed that the house number on it was not ours. So, being in a giving spirit and wanting to support my fellow procrastinator, I decided to just hand deliver it to the correct address. 

I went driving down my street, and it turns out there is no such street number. So, I took it by the local post office and explained that:

A) This was delivered to my house, but I'm not Ms. Linda. Ms. Linda does not live at our house, but admitted that I hadn't checked the Harry Potter closet lately for squatters.
B) It was supposed to be delivered to 2204.
C) I checked our neighborhood and there is no 2204. I admitted that I had not tried to reach in between 2202 & 2206 to see if there was a magical mailbox slot for 2204.
D) There is a Methodist church where 2204 should be & perhaps the 2204 #2 is to indicate Linda's aisle and seat in the church.

The kind postman, who's used to dealing with crazy, rich ladies (I'm obviously not any of those, but he hasn't seen my certifications proving otherwise.), smiled and said he would take care of it. I immediately forgot about it.

Fast forward. No, too far. Back up about four days. Okay. Now hit play.

Among our Tuesday sale ads, there was a card in the mail. As usual, addressed to not anyone who currently lives here. I throw it in the stack to drop off at the post office the next time I go. The next day, when I'm gathering the stack to take to the post office, I look at the envelope a little more carefully.

Postmarked MD, on 12/27/12, addressed to Ms. Linda. Mr. Postman obviously changed the second 2 to a 0 and redelivered it. Poor Ms. Linda still didn't have her card! I was prepared to take it back to the post office again, and explain that Linda still hadn't moved to my house, so it could at least be returned to the sender. Then I noticed that there was no return address anywhere on the envelope. Therefore, if I took it back to the post office, it would just end up in the dead letter file. Which we all know is like a paupers grave site for undeliverable mail. Poor Ms. Linda would never know her forgetful friend tried to contact her via a slow & tree killing form of message.

I couldn't let the card die! After all, a thoughful note from a friend can make a world of difference in someone's otherwise dreary life. Plus, there might be money or gift cards in there for Poor Ms. Linda--which could really lift Poor Ms. Linda's spirits too. While I was debating what to do...magically, the envelope fell out of my hand, opened, and the card inside fell out of the envelope, then rested open on the counter! It's Kismet! There wasn't anything of monetary value in it (I felt it my duty to check), but inside was this message:

Obviously, Madalene put a lot of time and thought into this note to Poor Linda.

Poor Linda! The message was too late. Not only did Madalene mail this TWO full days after the celebration of Christmas****, but over a month later, due to Madalene's substandard addressing skills, Poor Linda still had not gotten the message. Without this message, Poor Linda has surely forgotten Jesus by now. Plus, Poor Linda probably has forgotten her friend Madalene too, because Madalene doesn't call, she doesn't write, she doesn't send smoke signals.

****In Madalene's defense, on the back of the card she was sending National Geographic told her "That for a long time, the celebration of Jesus' birth was observed along with the celebration of his baptism, on January 6." I'm sure Madalene thought she was still in the grace period, when she mailed it on December 27th. After all, who knows more about Jesus and Christmas than National Geographic?****

Now, Madalene probably thinks her friend Poor Linda doesn't like her anymore, because she was wrong about the grace period thing and so Linda completely forgot about the birthday party for Jesus! Additionally, Poor Jesus is sad because Ms. Linda ditched his birthday party. Probably to go eat Chinese food and see a movie.

It's a sad story all around.

Maybe something good can come of it, though.

One, if you know, Linda & Madalene, tell them to pick up a phone, email, tweet, or instant message each other every once in a while, so they know where to send the invites.

Two, don't waste time killing trees to send your "friends" pointed reminders about what you think their religious views should be, if you can't be bothered to keep up with their address or put your own return address on the card.

P.S. If you insist on sending mail to a person's address that you are 99% certain is no longer correct just to alieve your own guilt trip, it's only polite to slip at least a twenty in there as a Christmas bonus for processing & handling.

Monday, January 14, 2013

In ultimate procrastinator style...My last two months of 2012.

I guess if I was really the ultimate procrastinator, I would write this next year. However, waiting 14 months to write a post just to prove how big a procrastinator I am is a little more than I was willing to commit too. Since you had to wait so long, I'm not leaving out any of the details. So, here it goes:

11/1/12 - Day of the dead, All Saints Day, - Either you all are saints for dragging your butts out of bed after your candy induced diabetic coma from the night before, even though you won't admit that you ate more candy than your kids...OR you call you boss to inform him you need to take a sick day, which literally translates to I need to deal with my sugar addiction by sleeping like the dead today. I personally, did not fit into either holiday, because I sat in the dark the night before with no candy. I did waste a lot of the day thinking about buying a bunch of half-price Halloween candy to binge on. So, I guess that puts me closer to the Day of the Dead side.

11/2/12 - All Souls Day, Deviled Egg Day - I kept my poor soul hidden behind locked doors worrying constantly about the evil souls trying to trick me into eating their deviled eggs.

11/3/12 - Sandwich Day - Peanut butter & honey with pear slices on 12 grain wheat bread. I'm assuming that's what I ate, since it's my favorite sandwich and why would I not eat a sandwich on Sandwich Day? Can we all just pretend we knew it was Sandwich Day and agree that we ate some kind of concoction of food stuffed between bread? I'm willing to count a calzone or even an ice cream sandwich here people.

11/4/12 - King Tut Day, Peanut Butter Lover's Day - Walked like an Egyptian while eating another peanut butter & honey with pear slices on 12 grain wheat bread sandwich. Made a mental note to petition for the combining of Sandwich Day & Peanut Butter Lover's Day into one day.

11/5/12 - National Donut Day, Guy Fawkes/Gunpowder Day - Ate a dozen chocolate iced donuts while contemplating whether the British know what the heck they are celebrating on Guy Fawkes Day or is it just a giant excuse to dance naked around bonfires and set off fireworks. Made a mental note to remind people that any instance of oppression can most likely be overcome with enough donuts instead of gun powder. That's probably why these to holidays are celebrated together.

11/6/12  - Election Day - Otherwise known as the day Mitt Romney called his career counselor.

11/7/12 - 12/31/12 - Became extremely unsuccessful in mitigating the insanity in my life and decided to ignore the stupid calendar because it kept lying about what was supposed to happen on any given day.

In summary, we spent the rest of that week mourning the death & celebrating the life of Jim's grandfather who died on Election Day. As is often the case, we spent a lot of time with family and friends. Some we hadn't seen in years, others I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time while hearing wonderful stories and learning new details about a man that I thought I already knew so well. I'm grateful for the time spent with all those wonderful people.

After that, a rather laid back Thanksgiving. Followed by a somewhat depressing, but not unexpected, final Razorback game of the season. However, there was at least some borderline orgasmic steak, cooked by Chef Jim, and consumed by all while watching the game.

December was a blur of Christmas preparations, work, work, trivia nigh, work, work, work, last minute wrapping of gifts, work, last minute baking because some douche kept buying every single pecan pie in town, non-stop family holiday parties, giant snow storm that left us without power and heat for four days, work, work, then nice relaxing New Year's eve spent with two of our best friends and their awesome kids.

So, two weeks late...Happy New Year!