Monday, September 29, 2008


I have always been amazed at the quality of the people in my life; they are far more generous, gracious and honorable than I and yet they seem to love me still. I am at times judgmental and pious and frequently harsh and clumsy. I am sometimes selfish, thoughtless and distant. I know I drive people crazy, but they still hang around and I know I can depend on them and that they will always have my back. I love them, and I know they love me, despite all my flaws.

I know I have good qualities; I'm not trying to put myself down or anything here, but I am still amazed by how good the people I know are. That they care about me touches me. Sometimes, I'm so touched, I even cry a little. Actually, I cry a lot. So much so, its embarrassing.

So there's this sensitive side that I have that leads to all this weeping and carrying on and I wonder sometimes how anyone can take me seriously when I'm so obviously verklempt. I mean it can happen anytime; at work, at home, even when I'm alone. I'm sitting talking to someone and BAM, I feel my face get all red and my eyes get watery and sometimes I can just stop at that but sometimes I can't and the next thing you know I need a tissue. A little dainty tissue. Like the kind a 10 year old girl uses when her dolls are sad at the tea party.

So all these people and all this sensitivity has culminated in the most powerful, emotional force I have ever experienced; Wesley.

Wesley is the sum that is greater than his parts. He is part Joshua; curious, intelligent and logical. He is part Amber; kind, thoughtful and generous. He is part Adrianne; fearless and capable and beautiful. He is part Corey; wild and strong and loyal. And he is part Yaya; connected to the universe and safe (as only a two year old can be) in his trust of it. And he is good, like they are.

I never thought I could feel such love for someone as I feel for him. That I could be so connected and just... overwhelmed. Sometimes it feels like there is not enough room in my heart for anyone other than him. And yet there is. There is Joshua and Amber and Adrianne and Corey and Kathleen and now Jillian.

And so I am a crybaby. That is his gift to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I can't believe he picked her

I cannot believe how stupid Sarah Palin is. How did she get to become the VP pick for a presidential nominee? What was McCain thinking?

Watch that video. It's not even the "Bush Doctrine" one, its about Iran and nukes and the Middle East. She knows NOTHING.

How bad is this country getting? We pick George Bush twice and McCain picked Sarah Palin.

My god. We're all gonna die.

Another thing about Banks...

Banks now charge you to cash a check there if you don't have an account there. So, if you get a check from work to go buy something, and the bank it is drawn on is not yours, but Wells-Fargo (for instance), you will have to pay $3.50 to cash it ($2.50 at B of A).

This absolutely drives me nuts! The check, drawn on that bank, is NO GOOD. It does not pay the face value! And they will not budge. Believe me, they won't. I think I was a few angry words away from a silent alarm when I got going about this in the lobby that one time!

The standard answer is "well then cash it at your own bank". Why, so they can "hold" my money for a few days while it clears? What if it's a lot of money and I can't cover it? What if your last paycheck bounced and so this time you want to cash it?

This makes me so mad I can't even write about it any more!


Banking crap is the worst crap!

Let me start by saying I have never cared much for banks. Part of this hatred comes from years of living from paycheck to paycheck, "floating" (and bouncing) checks, driving to the bank with only enough gas to get there and counting on the bank to get money for gas back, and living without a bank account at all. I had fat years and I had lean years, and banks were no help in either case. I know that a lot of that was my own fault, but it also gives me a perspective not everyone has.

Those days are over now (I hope) and I have worked out the banking thing pretty well. I use my debit card for everything that I don't already do through on line banking and I hardly ever carry cash. Over the past few years my credit has improved and my stress has gone down. Happy days are here. Sort of.

Let's talk about Wells-Fargo, ok? I have a joint account there with Kathleen and my student loan is with them. Her personal checking and mortgage are there, as well. Not a ton of money, but not a little, either.

First off, their online banking is superb; much better and more comprehensive than Bank of America's (where my personal account is). Unfortunately, EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THEM IS CRAP. Here's a list;

  • When we opened the account, they wanted way too much info, and I had to really argue with the guy to tell him he didn't need to know if I was a college grad or not (for instance).
  • Also, when we opened the account, they tried to issue us a credit card that we didn't want as "overdraft protection".
  • They issued a new debit card to Kathleen for our joint account for no apparent reason. Concerned, I called them but they refused to tell me anything saying "I can't tell you if your name is not on the account". That's crap because MY NAME IS ON THE ACCOUNT! And the guy I talked to (ironically named Dave) was an ass. Rude and just a real jerk. He hung up one me once.
  • They offered to re-finance the house but got all pissy when we wouldn't call back because they were supposed to tell us the interest rate on the new loan. Then we got a "turn-down" letter when we had never even applied!
  • Just recently they held onto a paycheck for a week after it had cleared. It's a long story, but they shouldn't have.
  • It costs 12 dollars a month to bank there. Crap.
So they are crap. So we moved to Northcoast Credit Union.

I liked them; they were very careful with my personal information, going so far as to ask me to write my SSN down so I wouldn't have to say it out loud in the bank (and then she had me watch her shred it). Really,really good about that.

We got everything going there and I went on line to set up the online bill payer. Here's the first sign of trouble. It looks like it was made by a 4th grader. Wesley, a two year old, knows more about web design. Awful. But that's OK, 'cause I'm a computer genius and I can live with that. Besides, it's free. Which leads me to the second sign of trouble; it's only free for 6 months, then $5 a month after. No one told me that, but I let it slide. Because that's how I roll.

One of the things I do not like about their online banking is that you cannot "nickname" the accounts; you know, like "joint account" or "Dave's checking". Its just the numbers, which are very similar since they were set up at the same time. I don't realize it yet, but this is another "sign of trouble" or rather, "trouble waiting to happen because Dave can be a bit impatient and might get confused about which account is his and which is the joint account".

On to bill pay, which is a separate thing you have to set up through the website. So I do. And I pay one (rather large, annual payment) bill to be sure it's all good. I had a little trouble getting the merchant set up, but it worked ok. Until about a week later when I went to check to be sure it cleared.

I'm sure you can guess what happened here. It bounced.

Now here's something I know about banks, but hate anyway; a check never bounces once, it (almost) always bounces twice because companies are allowed to re-submit it and do so automatically. So any fee you have to pay is doubled right off the bat. I had not set up any Email alerts so I didn't know it happened and it went through twice. At $25 a pop. But wait, here's the REALLY BIG SIGN OF TROUBLE; not only did the bank charge me, but so did the Bill Payer people, who are another company! $22 each time! That's a total of $94 in fees for a bounced check! Say it with me: CRAP!

I called and explained and they rather reluctantly and I thought rudely agreed to remove the fees, but had no explanation for why it was OK to charge so much.

We may be changing banks again soon, I think.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home repair and what not to do....

Some time I ago a re-wired a circuit in the house when the light in the kitchen stopped working. It took me about six weeks to repair it working on (most) weekends. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and decided the whole thing was a mess and pulled the whole circuit out and replaced it. I did finally figure out what had happened, but that is a story for another time. In the end, I was pretty happy with my work even though it seemed to take forever and cost a fortune.

To replace the circuit, I decided to go all the way to the breaker box and put in some nice, new romex wiring. To do that, I had to cut into the wall to get at the wire. When I got the lights on, the hole in the wall became a less than urgent priority and it remained until I had a rainy day to work on it. This is how it went.

So that's what it looked like to begin with. First off, I trimmed out the hole to make it square, measured it and cut a new piece of sheetrock (or "rock", as they guys at the store call it) to go in the hall. BUT, the first piece was 3 inches short for some reason. Then I realized I used the wrong scale on the corner-ruler-thing I was using.

Which was good to know, until I realized the difference wasn't quite enough to account for my mistake. At any rate, I cut a new piece and the new one was much closer. This is why I bought a 4' X 8' sheet for a 1' X 2' hole!

You may notice that there are three sets of screws when there is only one cross-beam to attach it to. That's because I decided I needed more support, so I put two backing strips in to help support everything. That way, when I need to get into this spot again, I will hit those oddly-placed screws and ruin my saw.

It took me a while to get this to fit because I was "creeping up on it"; that's what my Uncle Steve, the nationally-known-wood-shop-teacher-school-vice-superintendent says you should do. Go big, then cut back. And he should know, 'cause he looks just like me.

I have to say, we look less like each other now that he's lost weight and I found it. I'm dieting now, so I can look just like him!

Then I screwed it in with my machine screws, which only look they would work well. Actually, they go right through the "rock", so you have to go really slow and careful. But they did go in OK and I got it all taped up and ready for plaster (referred to as "mud" down at the hardware store. Mud and rock, yep, fun at any age!).

For the other hole, I decided to just make a cardboard template of the shape and then cut it out of the "rock". This is really the way to go! Much faster. After some fine-tuning, I go it in and screwed it in place. Amazingly, I remembered there were serious wires in the stud I was screwing (haha! wait...) and I missed them! Yay for me!

OK, now its time for the mud. This part is easy, I've been playing with mud since I was a kid. Slap it on, smooth it out. Let it dry. Easy.

So that's it. I'm not painting/sanding yet because I will probably do the whole space in a new color the next time it rains and I remember and have all the tools (a new paint sprayer, maybe?) and paint and everything. I want to replace the breaker box, too, I think (or at least re-wire it!), but I'm not really allowed (per code), so that will probably wait. There's plenty of other wiring projects for me, tho. Stay tuned....