Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Remains of the Vacation

Now that I am on the tail end of my mini-vacation, I should be ready to write.  Actually, more than anything I am ready to get back to work.  Weird, I know.  It's not that there is a really pressing and exciting project.  I just miss the routine.  Sad, huh?

Lucky for me, I have several more weeks before I get another extra day off and over a month until I have anything like a vacation day to utilize.  But that is just fine with me. 

You see, if things go to "plan" I should have a very busy month ahead of me.  Not to jinx anything, but I will hopefully hear within the next week as to whether or not my house can be sold before the end of the year.  It is a little hard to wait, but I have absolutely no control over the progress of the approval, so all I can do is sit back and hope for the best.

If and when the news comes back in my favor, things will really get moving.  Literally.  I will have to arrange to have my entire home packed up and moved to temporary storage within a matter of a few weeks.  It sounds daunting, but now that I have been nudged in the direction of hiring professional packers and movers, it really shouldn't take more than a day or so.  It's not like I live in a palace.

Then, and only then, can I start the real search for a new domicile.  There are truly many options, but I need to consider the all important budget along with the restraints of location and the fact that my household includes a dog.  Oh, and I would also like for it to include space for a small grand piano.  Long story.

This leads me to the distinct possibility that my future rental space may be more house-like than apartment-like.  Which is fine by me, but may require a little extra finesse by way of the search.  But don't worry; I have watched many hundreds of hours of HGTV and I have just a slight idea of what to expect.

Thanksgiving was nice this year, despite the fact that my brother and his girlfriend were not with us.  My youngest cousin and I engaged in our traditional contest of video game dancing and I was successful in moderating my consumption of edibles and drinkables.  The proof will be at this week's weigh-in, but I think I did alright.

It really is hard to believe that I have been living here with my parents for almost five months.  Truthfully, it has passed quickly, but I think we will all be happy when this situation is done and we can all plan our next moves to other locations.  You see, I am not the only member of my family facing major upheaval in the coming months. 

My parents are facing the likely possibility that they will uproot for what will hopefully be the last time and move into the family farmhouse.  It will be an interesting and possibly difficult transition, but I think that it has the possibility to lead to some good for both of them. 

Then there is my brother.  Where do I even start with this one?  The boy/man/creature has been in school for what seems like his entire life.  On one hand, this sounds great.  He is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and will soon have his Master's of Public Health.  The next big challenge is the obvious:  he needs to foray that expensive education into a career.  I know he can do it, but the process is far from simple and far from over.

There is also the issue which I am not allowed to name which relates to my brother and his "living situation."  He knows what I mean.  He knows my thoughts on the subject.  I leave it to him to resolve this one in a proper and timely manner. 

So you see, it is not just me who is facing future uncertainties.  Who knows, maybe in a year we will have made our decisions and I will be writing to you about completely different problems.  Or maybe I will have retreated to the woods and unplugged from modern technology.  We shall see.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I just completed a lovely mid-day walk with Lena and have another 45 minutes before I am obligated to do anything, so I decided that I should go for the gusto and write on the old blogoboard.  I believe my last post was pre-election, so by now some of the uncertainties and tensions have subsided.  Whether or not you were pleased with the outcome, I do not honestly care.  As in all election years, my life continues on its own trajectory regardless of who is in the hot seat.

Quite honestly, I am just thrilled that we can now go another couple of years without having to watch political ads. 

Today officially marks the first time I have been able to take fully approved vacation time at work.  After starting my new job in July, I entered into a three month probation period during which I was ineligible for paid vacation time.  Technically I was ineligible for unpaid vacation time as well, but thankfully did have some sick time available for the great Cold of October 2012.

As it is the day before Thanksgiving, my original plan was to get out of work, grab my dog and head out to the farm.  But then I realized that my car was overdue for an oil change.  So to address that situation, I made an appointment for mid-afternoon.  After that is done I will grab my dog and head out to the farm.

Unfortunately, I am now dealing with the Mystery Cough-Related Illness of November 2012.  I blame the jerk who sits in the cubicle row next to mine who has spent the last two weeks irresponsibly coughing out into the universe without covering his face.  Now I have the pleasure of multiple coughing fits during that day that bring me to a full face of tears and snot.  Beautiful, I assure you.

In news that is not related to me, baby season is officially over.  I think that I am safe to say it here because here is not Facebook, but today I received a text that my last pregnant friend had her baby yesterday.  She was a few weeks early, so I was not expecting this message, but everything appears to have gone well, so I am thrilled. 

Turns out, most of my friends have had girls.  I don't know if this is normal, but it sure makes my shopping a lot easier.  I get a little giddy when I think of all the awesome stuff I can buy.  It does make me feel a little guilty that I have not seen or given my gifts to my friend with the sole male child, but I am sure that by the time I meet him I will be able to get some really awesome boy toys. 

Not to be too sentimental, but I would like to say that this Thanksgiving I am thankful that all my pregnant friends had their babies safely and that everyone can now start their new roles as mothers and fathers.  I am thrilled for them all, and on a slightly lesser note I am thrilled that it is them and not me, as I sleep peacefully through the night.  (Heh heh.)

Time appears to be getting away from me and I still have the task of packing ahead of me so that I can follow through with my plan to come home from the oil change, grab the dog and go.  It isn't a difficult task to pack for the farm, but it does require that I think about it or I will end up leaving behind something important, like socks.

For those of you out there traveling to be with friends or family this week, I wish you safety.  Eat, drink and be merry.  Do the drinking on my behalf, because now that I am on Weight Watchers, I am off the sauce.  Did you like how I dropped that WW bomb on you with no explanation?  Perhaps I can share more about that later, depending on how my post-Thanksgiving weigh-in turns out.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Armageddon cometh? I think not.

Well, it has been an eventful week.  In my own personal life, it probably measures up to be more eventful than the week to come with the election that will not die. 

First and happiest of all, my best friend had her baby.  It was a little earlier than I expected, but everything went well and I got to hold a less-than-24-hour-old baby for the first time in probably 25 years. 

The less happy part of my week was finally getting a decision from the lender on my short sale.  Unfortunately, due to the slight rise in housing values over the past few months, the appraised value of my property is higher than the offer I have had in place since August.  In normal circumstances, this is not a problem.  But in a short sale, it means that the lender figures that they could get more money from a sale and will not accept a lower offer.  So my deal has essentially fallen through and I am back to square one.

It is frustrating to be sure and more than a little disappointing.  It puts all of my future financial plans on hold and means that I will likely have to continue to drive up and maintain my property throughout the lovely winter months. 

Based on what I have observed in the media and through Facebook, a lot of people in my situation would attempt to blame this problem on the government.  They would even go so far as to try and blame the president.  But I am not that stupid.  I am well aware that I bought my house at the height of the inflated housing market (in 2004) and that within two years, I was already starting to notice a decline in value.

This brings me to a topic that I have felt like avoiding, but I sense that I cannot and probably should not ignore.  The election.

I am certain that no matter what side of the fence you fall, you are more than ready for this whole "season" to be over.  It truly brings out the worst in people.  The more I see, the more I truly believe that we are living in a warped reality.  Politicians and their employees, along with the media on ALL sides of the argument throw such ludicrous and inaccurate "information" around that we are all becoming actively dumber by the second. 

Have problems in your life?  Don't worry about taking personal ownership of them, just blame it on the president, Congress, rich people, poor people, or just the "government."  Don't stop for reflection, don't consider the forces at work that are truly beyond the control of any one person or entity.  But it is always most certainly the fault of somebody else.  Heaven forbid you ever made a poor choice in your life.

There is so much finger-pointing and character bashing that by the time Election Day actually rolls around, we are exhausted by the toll that the bombardment of negativity brings to our daily lives.  We are encouraged to blame someone, and the advertisements would have us believe that it should be directed at the person that they want their candidate to beat. 

As a trained but not practicing librarian, I am a strong supporter of fact-checking.  When someone makes a claim that involves statistics, verify it.  If they haven't cited a source, be suspicious.  The information could be misleading, imaginary or at the very least out-of-date.  No opponent will willingly point out anything positive about the other.

In the end, I have to say that American politics has become a bit like professional sports.  It devolves into "teams" and an "us against them" mentality.  Most people do not stop to consider the distinction between entertainment and reality.  Whoever wins the game improves their record or simply wins a title.  Whoever wins an election is then called upon to serve their constituency.   

NOTE:  Not just the people who voted for them; SERVE their ENTIRE CONSTITUENCY.  SERVE.  As in they are to work for US.  That includes you, but it also includes me.  And that weird person next door.  And the people living in the mansions.  And the people living in the street.  Both gay and straight people.  All religions and races.  All genders.  All ages.

So when you get wrapped up and worked up about who you do and don't like, take a minute to step back and think about what is really important.  Not just to you, but to everyone else who lives here as well.  Are your opinions based in reality, or have you become a cog in the media-machine?  Is your anger righteous or self-centered?  Are you throwing your own religious beliefs out to govern those who do not share them?  What would you think if something like that happened to you?

I will step away from my podium now and end with an exhortation to exercise your right to vote.  And no matter who "wins" on Tuesday, remember that we are all in this together.  This country belongs to all of us and we all have a right to be heard.  We do not have to agree, but we need to understand that we are the sum of all of our diverse parts.