What is the Deal

Watch this video from my favorite Christmas movie.  Don’t worry, it’ll open in a separate window.  I tried to embed it but the person who posted this set it up so it couldn’t be embedded and it was the only clip I could find with the crucial line in it.  If you don’t have much time, skip ahead and watch from 3:03 to about 3:30.  (Thanks a lot, Christmas Dave for ruining the flow of my blog post.)

Go over to YouTube and watch the clip.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Finished?  Great.  Now allow me to branch off into a seemingly completely unrelated topic, only to loop it all back around in then end…

I’ve got a bit of seemingly minimal crap going on in my life.  But of course, “a bit” of seemingly minimal crap can pile on and amount to one big pile of smelly, unpleasant…  stress.

The apartment I have lived in for the last four years has only one built-in source of heat.  It’s a small, gas-burning fireplace with asbestos (probably not asbestos) logs that glow when hot to make it look like they’re on fire.  The flame itself only resembles a smoulder and offers no ambiance to my apartment.  The fireplace gets pretty hot right where it is and according to “them” is supposed to be sufficient to heat my whole apartment.  In reality, it s about 85 degrees at the fireplace and about 65 degrees 8 feet away.  Plus, the fir place puts off an obnoxious odor that gives me a headache.  I choose not to use the fireplace and in the meantime, it is freezing in my apartment.

Yesterday I went to the Orthodontist for what was supposed to be my take-my-braces-off appointment.  Last month, the younger Dr. Tinloy (it’s a father and son practice) told me to pay close attention to my teeth over the next month and see if there was anything else I felt needed to be corrected and this month we’d talk about taking the braces off.  Realizing that literal perfection is not a possibility at my age, without extraction and implants, I’m pretty happy with the way my teeth look these days, but I did notice that the back teeth on the bottom are not in-line with the rest of my teeth.  I didn’t know if it really mattered, or if it was worthwhile (or even possible) to try to correct, but I didn’t want to look back on this experience in a couple of years and wish I had stuck it out and gotten those last two teeth straightened out.  When I pointed this out to the older Dr. Tinloy yesterday, he agreed that it could be done and even said he did think it was worthwhile.  So here I sit with braces still on my teeth and in some respects tighter than they’ve ever been.  I’m aware that after only one year and nearly finished I’m better off than most and my threshold for pain is pretty high so I haven’t had a lot of discomfort, but they’re a hassle and I’m ready to have them off.  In the end though, I chose to continue with the process and finish what I started.

Some time in the last month or so, some ne’er-do-wells managed to sneak some contraptions into the self-service check stands at several of the local Lucky’s grocery stores.  These contraptions record and somehow transmitted or conveyed the information from customer’s credit cards to the ne’er-do-wells who have been using the information fraudulently and causing a lot of trouble and heartache for the owners of those cards and the banks they’re attached to.  Sadly, I frequent two of those Lucky’s grocery stores and while, fortunately, I have not been a victim of any identity theft, or bank fraud, my bank, proactively, decided to cancel my debit card because I shopped at those stores.  They sent a replacement, which I received yesterday, but for several days I was without access to my money…

This was not as much of a hardship as it could have been, because, well…  I really don’t have any money.  I have $38.00 in the bank until payday which is this Friday.  I need to do Christmas shopping (soon, since most of my gifts are going out of state) and I have bills that are coming due soon, but for the moment, I’m OK, financially speaking.  Still $38.00 isn’t much and I would certainly prefer to have more money just hanging around…  I suppose we could all say that, though, no matter how much we actually have “hanging around.”

For a few weeks, ever since the very sniffly, coughy, non-hand-washy DMV worker, I’ve been struggling with cold-like symptoms.  First it was a couple of weeks of running nose and sniffles.  Then just as that was dwindling away, I started coughing… TWO. WEEKS. LATER.  The cough has persisted.  It’s not constant, though it is a nuisance.  It’s not productive and despite my best efforts it’s not offering any kind of relief to the irritation that causes it in the first place.  While I have not been short of breath, I have had a hard time getting a full, deep breath and when I try, it just makes me cough some more.  Also, after nearly three weeks of coughing, I have muscular pain in my chest and back when I cough.  Monday, I finally broke down and called my health care provider.  I wasn’t sure there was any point in me going in – I don’t go to the doctor for the common cold…  though maybe I should.  After a conversation with an “Advice Nurse” it was determined that I could probably make do with a “phone appointment” and a little while later, I spoke with a doctor who, after discussing my symptoms said, “it sounds like you’ve got bronchitis” and proceeded to put in three prescriptions for me; two inhalers and one bottle of pills.  Now, what I’m about to say is going to sound really ungrateful, so let me just specify that I KNOW I’m luckier than many people when it comes to health care coverage and yet, even for me, an employee of my healthcare provider, costs have gone up.  Everything is relative and compared to the coverage I used to have – $5.00 for prescriptions and $0.00 for everything else – the increased expenses suck.

Remember that my ATM/Debit card was cancelled and I did not have access to the $38.00 in the bank.  I happened to have very full jars of change on my dresser which I took to a coinstar machine and cashed in.  It gave me enough cash that I should have been able to get through this week without any fears of running out of lunch money.  My three prescriptions on Monday night cost me $45.00 and I had to pay another $1.00 for parking.  I had $49.00 cash in my pocket.  Suddenly, I didn’t have any more money for the week.

Monday, I reminded K of a task she needed to complete for me this week.  It’s a task that will take her all of 20 minutes to complete and normally she wouldn’t have to do it right now, but she’s on vacation next week and I’m taking another two weeks stay-cation starting at Christmas.  What she needs to do for me needs to be done and announced before I go on vacation, therefore, she needs to do it this week.  Her response?  “See this is why I asked you last week if there was anything else I owed you.”  After thinking of a number of less friendly things to say, I simply said, “You’re welcome,” and left it at that.  I chose not to make her attitude, my problem.

Yesterday, I had about an hour and a half between my Orthodontist appointment and my bi-weekly appointment with Deb and while I was at home I had a thought that caught me a little by surprise and when I expressed the thought to Deb, “With all this stuff going on, I’m not stressed out about it.  I’m doing just fine,” I got a mental picture of The Grinch in the scene above…

To paraphrase a little bit, “I’ve got all this crap going on, and I’m fineWhat is the DEAL?!?!?”

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Need a Nap?

Just in case you were in need of some extra zzz’s and couldn’t fall asleep, I bring you the following:

I’m on stay-cation next week. There’s no particular reason, except that I have three float holiday’s that I will lose on December 31, 2011 if I don’t use them and I’m also dangerously close to maxing out on my Paid Time Off hours and if I don’t start taking some, I’m going to hit the max early next year and will be essentially giving my PTO back to my company. Stupid.

Having all of next week off should come in handy as I am (Gasp!) 14,513 words behind if I plan to complete NaNo this year. More importantly, I’m in a difficult to digest portion of my story and I’m having a hard time finding the space to do the writing unencumbered by numerous distractions. I hope that by being home and with little on my plate, I’ll be able to power through and get to a good pace again (and caught up).

I do have plans to go, next week, to a local clinic where I will FINALLY get my pre-employment physical done so that I can move forward with getting my ambulance driver license, the latest in a series of obstacles that have provided me with good excuse not to have gotten an EMT job yet.

After a conversation with my friend Micah who was a class or two ahead of me and who I became friendly with when he was the other “Teaching Assistant” last spring, I am now aware that while I have the paper work the Doctor needs to fill out for my physical, there is another little card that I needed to have, which could not be downloaded. So for lunch today, I went to the DMV. Fun right? It needn’t have taken long. I wasn’t doing anything but grabbing a form that was supposed to be out for the taking… And it was, only since I was there, I figured I should ask about getting an Ambulance driving Manual.

See, while I’m basically getting a commercial driver license, I couldn’t believe that the 160 page document I printed that is very broad could possibly be what I needed. It’s Friday, it was bout 1:30, the DMV wasn’t terribly busy, so I asked the young man (GET OFF MY LAWN!!) at the front desk if I had the right book. He told me I did not. I asked if I could get it from him, he said yes, it’s $5.00, and made no move to get the book for me. I asked him how long the wait would be. He looked at his computer screen and said, “not long”. Everything is relative.

Aside: Why does he not have this book at the front counter where he could take my money, hand me my book and send me on my way?

He handed me a number and I waited for… well, I don’t know how long… two and a half chapters in the book I’m reading, long. Finally I was called to a window were a very sniffly, coughy, non-hand-washy girl very lacadasically went about selling me a $5.00 booklet that they clearly printed and stapled together in the back room.

Aside: Why could I not just download a PDF of this book on-line?

My oldest nieces birthday was on November 5th. My status as “Favorite Uncle Kevin” is quickly dwindling away as she has not yet received a gift from me, nor did I call her on/for her birthday. Don’t judge me! Have you spoken on the phone to a 9-year-old child lately? No thanks!

Being 2550 miles away, I have no idea what to get an 9-year-old girl, I don’t spend nearly as much time with as I would like, for her birthday. So I asked her mother. Prepare for cringe worthy moments ahead…

After thinking about it for a couple of days, my sister came back and told me that what Caitlin really wants is “to get the clutch on her motorcycle fixed. This bad idea is going to cost about $600.00 and so the suggested gift for the 9 YEAR OLD GIRL was a “rechargeable visa card” with some money on it that she could add to until she had enough saved to pay for the repair.

Aside: I hate the idea of my 9-year-old niece being on a motorcycle, let alone owning one of her own, so I at least take comfort in the idea that it doesn’t run, and since I was only going to spend about $25.00, it’s not like I’m going to put her over the top or anything, but still!…

Reluctantly, I agreed to this plan, only, I really have no idea how to go about procuring a rechargeable visa card for a 9-year-old, and so here we are 13 days after her birthday and I haven’t even started the ball rolling…

My sister has since suggested that she thinks I should be able to get it at my bank and so, since I was already out at the DMV (see, you didn’t think these stories were related, did you?) I figured I could go into a branch to inquire there about whether and how they could make this happen. So when I finished my DMV business I went back to the car and I asked my iPhone, “Siri? Where is there a Bank of America around me?” And, well, I have an iPhone 3Gs, so, my iPhone didn’t say anything back, but the app told me where there was a Bank of America, less than half a mile away. As it turns out, I already knew this Bank of America was just where it was, I just didn’t realize I was so close to it while at the DMV, which I did not know where was and had to have my GPS direct me.

I drove toward the BofA, thinking how long I had been at the DMV, and how long I had already been MIA and what I should have for MDM (Mid Day Meal – otherwise known as lunch.) As I rounded the corner in front of the BofA I was reminded, ’cause I saw the sign, that there is a Boston Market right next to the Bank. Seemed like a good idea. Nothing fried there; that’s a plus right?

I walked in the front door of the bank and saw a longer line than was at the DMV and turned right around and walked out again. Thirteen days and counting, still dont’ know how I’m going to go about getting my niece her card.

At Boston Market, I ordered a combo plate with meat and two sides. I ordered brisket. No matter how good my intentions are when I go into a place like a rotisserie chicken restaurant, if there’s red meat there too, it’s almost guaranteed that’s what I’ll order.

Looking at the sides though, I thought, this place is supposed to be healthy? There sides are all carbs! New potatoes, mashed potatoes, loaded mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (actually yams, yuck!), stuffing, corn, green beans, creamed spinach… OK, granted green beans and creamed spinach are probably not that high in carbs, but, yich! Don’t like either of those.

I ordered loaded mashed potatoes and this squash, zucchini casserole thing topped with melted cheese (who doesn’t like melted cheese?) That shouldn’t be too bad, right? Squash isn’t high in carbs. There’s the cheese, but I’m less worried about a little extra fat than I am a lot of extra carbs.

Lo and behold it was some sort of stuffing type thing with the sliced squash over top and the cheese over that. It was delicious, to be sure, but still… Someone said, “Oh, wait. There’s not enough carbs in this dish, we need to rectify that!”

Also, I had an extra slice of cornbread.