Friday, January 09, 2015


I don't have a word for this year. I have goals, but they're not written down.

I want to get healthy. I'm recognizing that means detoxing and performing large changes to the way I eat and move my body. I'll be posting more at Melanie's Gym about that.

I want to make more money, so we can get the tax debt under control. That means hunting. And if I can't find something in my field, it means getting work elsewhere and running myself into the ground a bit. I'm OK with that.

I'd love to have a garden this year that actually bears fruit. Definitely scaling back a bit, so I can identify clearly where I go wrong. Actually, may end up focusing on herbs this year, for teas and medicinal purposes...that will keep it scaled down and allow us to both engage in it.

By some miracle, I'm not perimenopausal yet, but I recognize that we have likely missed our chance to have children. I work through those emotions rather monthly.

I'd like to preserve more food, save for a chest freezer, and read more about self-sustainability.

I want to meditate more, do more yoga, and find more ways to engage my spirituality.

We need more bookshelves. We need to purge our belongings a bit more. I need a new-to-me desk chair (and maybe desk) and to rearrange the 2nd bedroom again. I'll be hitting the thrift stores when money allows.

I need to work on time management. I need to create meal plans on a weekly basis. I need to.....

Well, I guess some of them are written down now.

Friday, December 26, 2014


It's the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring except this web editor who would LOVE to be napping...


We left Aiken at 10:30 a.m. Stopped for Chipotle on the way back. It was almost on the way, winkwink.

I sat down to the laptop at 3 p.m. I should be trying to do 25 sites today and 25 tomorrow. I'm skeptical that that will fully occur.

My anger and frustration are two-fold. I have an IT department that royally screwed me over last weekend, and there's no way they can or will make that up to me at all. It's my bad luck that I'm a freelancer, and I have to suck it up.

There's also the mother-in-law. She started trying to ingratiate herself and our niece into a visit here about a week ago. We balked, on several accounts: I'm buried in work, she was just here for Thanksgiving and we were visiting for Christmas, and we had my family visiting right after Christmas. For her, it has nothing to do with actually visiting us; she wants an escape from her home while the kid is on vacation.

We decided to work our way around to a hard "no" with her. She fished around the subject with me once or twice while we were down here, and I hedged and suggested they come up for the 3-day weekend that usually occurs around MLK in January, as that would be better for us. Honestly, I'm so buried in work worry right now, I tried not to answer her directly because I was spending the entire time down there just marking time through the holiday and holding my tongue. It's an unhealthy house, and they do NOT actually want my opinion on the situation.

Then Les went upstairs for something last night, and his mom, in a voice heavy with reject, said something about how she guessed she and Kylie wouldn't be visiting this week. Les got just pissed enough and said yea, that's right, that we're here visiting now (in Aiken), and that we just saw her at Thanksgiving, so it's not like it's been ages. She tried to throw guilt about disappointing Kylie. He reminded her that it's not his fault she told Kylie they'd be going when she hadn't solidified plans with us, and she didn't give us enough notice. She tried to claim she'd mentioned it at Thanksgiving, and he said nice try. But she's still his mom, so he wrestled with guilt and anger the rest of the night too.

It's a house of manipulators, and I've helped him see that we don't have to respond to that bullshit. But it's still family, so treading carefully is essential.

I'm so damn glad to be home. We only visited for 24 hours, and it was more than enough for another year. But I'm coming down off the stress, and I'm exhausted; and that doesn't bode well for my focus or my ability to get this crazy number of sites done. There's coffee and sugar in my future, as I plow through my sites and thank the gods that I've created a safe and healthy haven for us to come home to.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The calm and the storm

After the shock wore off, I actually had a really terrific weekend. I was at loose ends at first, but given how close we are to the holiday, that didn't last. We spent Saturday pulling off most of the rest of our holiday shopping and wrapping presents. We went down to South AVL to grab dinner at Chipotle on their first day, and while the wait was what you'd expect, their delivery was terrific - no complaints, good food, great, hardworking, cheery staff. I was in heaven!

Sunday was Yule, so we got up and opened our presents to ourselves and then had breakfast. I popped out to the store once, but otherwise stayed close to home, reading and gaming. Didn't want to bake because we still don't have room in our freezer, and don't want stuff drying out between now and Thursday/Christmas.

And then it was Monday (today).....

I joked on Facebook that I hoped I would be back online by 10AMish, so I wouldn't have to cast a naughty spell on the IT folks who put me in this position. I'm a believer in karma, but they are fucking with my livelihood here.....

10AM came and went.....

12 noon came and went.....

By 1PM, I was enjoying a small conniption. I brought my laptop into the kitchen so I could get a jump on the holiday baking anyway, while keeping an eagle eye on the work email for any news. My immediate bosses were sympathetic, and their hands were tied; so I wasn't mad at them. I was however, starting to compose an imaginery letter to our CEO in my head.....

Dear dotcom CEO,

So you were always a big proponent of an open door policy, even as the company went from small to huge. I always liked that about you. However, today, let's just say you're lucky I live in NC now.

I recognize it would be employment suicide to actually show up at your office door with my head exploding, but I just want you to understand how stressful it is to not be able to work, when this venue is my sole means of earning money right now. I get that I should have a safety net; believe me, this weekend brought that home in spades. But the fact remains that this shit should NOT have gone down the weekend before Christmas. We independent contractors have schedules we keep, and we have families to travel to for the dang-blasted holiday. I can normally roll with the punches pretty well, but when family responsibilities are lodged smack in the middle of a week and I'm unable to get any jump on my work at all.....well, that's bullshit and shouldn't happen.

You locked me out of almost 4 days worth of work, with no ability to make up that time other than spending the next 6 days running myself into the ground. I want restitution. I understand there are likely laws against awarding stock options to independent contractors, so I'll just be gracious and take cash.

(hysterical laughter devolves to ugly cry)

Ah, Melanie's's a happy place.

So here it is, 4PM, and I'm finally working (well, once I finish venting here). No chance of extra money, just nose to grindstone and work on my protective shield to deflect family stress once we're visiting. Here's hoping.....

Merry Yule, y'all! In spite of all this, it was really lovely here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Finding words

My frustration level over the last 2 hours has skyrocketed, and I don't want to rant on Facebook.

This morning, I knew I wanted to do a little shopping. Just got paid, and we haven't been able to do any holiday shopping up until now. Jumped online to see if I could knock out any sites before the stores opened. The kitten was kind enough to wake my ass at 630 this morning. If I need help getting up with the chickens once we have them, I swear all I'll need to do is get another kitten. Little furry alarm clock, that one...

The tool I work with is web-based, but was down, so I made sure it wasn't just me - emailed my supervisors - and was told that IT was on it. So I figured I'd take the morning and get the shopping done. Hubs was awake and came with, and we meandered here and there all over East AVL, getting most of our holiday shopping taken care of, as well as doing a decent grocery shop for the first time in 3 weeks. Didn't get home til 3ish, and by the time I got back online, it was 4PM....where I was greeted with the inability to get into the tool still.

Further investigation revealed they had JUST come up with a remedy, which involved downloading a fresh app to my smartphone (wha?) in order to acquire a security code that I would then tell IT, so they could catalog it with my name before I can move forward to trying to get into the highly secure program that might lead me to the tool (although they mention a prerequisite of being in a program that I haven't accessed in 2 years, because independent contractors get tossed out of such things)....and you get the idea.

And by the time I've figured out how to get the information they need, it's freakin' 4:45PM on the Friday before Christmas and every conceivable Monster-drinking IT geek burned hell out of there at approximately 4:44PM.

I exchanged a couple emails with my manager-to-be, and she's aware of my predicament, but her hands are tied. IT may or may not be working the problem this weekend; as far as I know, only Tech Support runs 24 hours there still. I'm not privy to nearly the scuttlebutt, being up in NC, but I don't think this is an accident, this latest outage, more like an upgrade that went horribly wrong.

Why is this so lousy? Several reasons...the main one being that the timing just blows donkey butt. Thank the gods I wasn't behind by much; I try to knock out 100 sites a week and I was in the 70s when this went down, and we're on the first week of the pay period, so normally, I'd say oh well and make up the difference the next week. 

But this means I can't work until Monday.....on Christmas-damn-week. We're traveling Thursday to visit family and staying a house that is so chaotic, so full of negative energy, that I won't even bring my laptop would be pointless to attempt to focus. Besides, we'll be celebrating the holiday as much as possible, making a nice dinner, playing with our 8-year-old niece, and trying our best not to rock a very shaky boat. Les's side of the family, unfortunately, has become painfully fractured since his dad passed.

It's all doable, but man, it's going to be hard. I was hoping to knock out holiday baking Tuesday or Wednesday. I normally do it earlier, but our freezer is packed to the gills lately and there isn't any room for half a dozen pound cakes or whatever. My mom and Lil Sis are visiting one day next weekend for gift exchanging, and I know Saturday would be better for them. But if I'm unable to plow through a significant chunk of sites Monday through Wednesday.....

I am fit to be tied, and there's no remedy except patience. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


This blog's practically defunct, because I figure if I'm investing the $18 a year to have a Wordpress account, then that blog should get the majority of my mental drivel. But that said, I rely on this one for when I need to talk about nothing. I guess I should call it the Seinfeld blog.


I've been crazy busy. Work has been paying extra, but only if we do more than 100 sites a week, and it's a royal bitch just getting to that number, because they're outsourcing again, and godbless'em, I'm sure the company's saving money, but it's at the expense of the editors' sanity. Some of the copywriting is so abysmal, I want to write the CEO an anonymous letter questioning his intelligence at allowing people for whom English is obviously a second language to be writing English websites. Alas, we send sites back for more work, we send feedback, and we suffer in silence instead.

So they pulled that on Thanksgiving week (right when the mother-in-law was visiting) and then again this past week, and I'm so drained I spend my days off not doing a whole lot beyond playing on the Kindle and staring into space. Actually, haven't had a day off in a solid week, because I get twitchy when there are ecommerce sites in the queue just sitting (because they're easy, if not easy money anymore), so when the extra money period had passed yesterday, I knocked the ecomms out just to get a jump on the week. Felt a little like that ep of M*A*S*H when Hawkeye couldn't stop operating, but I'm also pushing past family stress regarding the holiday and enjoying very little holiday spirit right now, so I  put my focus where it does the most good.


Random: I understand the point of the traffic sign "Bridge Ices Before Road". Makes lots of sense to have those up here. I get that it probably has to do with different materials having different temperatures (my dad's voice is in my head saying something about the static coefficient of friction too); and most bridges are concrete, whereas blacktop is warmer and doesn't freeze as fast. My question is: if they've blacktopped over the bridge, what's the point of the sign?
This went thru my head while flying down highway this morning to procure cut-rate Krispy Kremes. Go Panthers!


I started knitting Les socks for Yule. I don't see them getting off the needles by then.


Eye insurance is a joke. I pay into a plan every month for the privilege of a $10 copay on appointments and a royal fleecing everywhere else. Anyone who thinks that contact lenses are elective must have perfect vision. What's sad is it's a good plan probably, by industry standards. They pay $40 off wholesale on frames, 100% on lenses, OR up to like, $115 on contacts annually.

Either/or is frustrating enough when you consider that it makes good sense to have a decent pair of glasses around for when you have eye problems, your contacts run out or crap out, or some other issue. My eye allergies this year alone have demonstrated the need for a good pair of specs. Alas, it's that either/or that usually keeps me from getting new glasses, but my prescription has changed enough in recent years (I just LOVE being over 40!), where it was time for a new pair.

So I told them to run the insurance on the glasses, and I'll save up for the contacts in January and just buy 'em online. Here's where the insurance falls through. Lenses = a very old-fashioned idea of what lenses entails. They cover single vision, bifocal, or trifocal (with lines). No Progressives. No High Index.

I live in contacts, and I have a decently strong prescription; so I say screw that and get the Progressive, High Index lenses, because I want the most optimal visibility possible. I normally HATE wearing glasses, and I'd love to be able to change that viewpoint with a nice decent pair. Insurance thinks I should look like the girl on the bus at the end of Ferris Bueller.

So in addition to paying $300+ for glasses, then I get to turn around and pay $200+ for contacts, because they consider them ELECTIVE???

The only bright spots in this story are a) I should be able to pay off the glasses by my next paycheck, in spite of Christmas (crosses fingers). and b) the trial contacts he ordered helped me see that my left eye has improved significantly. My focus issues are clearing up, and I'm not as frustrated with my astigmatism.


I went shopping last night at the local Ingles. They have those smaller carts with upper and lower baskets, and I slipped my phone into the little tray in front as I shopped. Finished shopping, left phone in cart, drove home. Thankfully, we live in BFE with civilization, so it wasn't too huge a hardship to race back up there when I got home and discovered I was without my communication device. Cart was gone, so I checked Customer Service, but nothing had been turned in. A stock boy went outside to check all the small carts in the parking lot (serious KUDOS to Ingles for their southern hospitality training! I wanted to hug the kid afterward.). I went walking up and down the aisles, praying that some old fart was shopping and hadn't even realized that the phone was there.

I found the phone all the way in Dairy, in a young fart's cart, as it turned out, and my assumption was correct - she hadn't even noticed it was there.

It's a password-protected iPhone 4S, so it's barely worth stealing, but I couldn't help wondering a couple of zoned out people get when they shop. How that definitely worked in my favor this time. And how in spite of it being an older model iPhone and password-protected, if I'd forgotten it in a city market, the chances of my finding it would have decreased significantly.


That last story would be unremarkable, were it not for the fact that I went shopping last week, bought pasta and sauce, got back in car to drive to another errand, and realized I really should've bought ground beef too, for meat sauce, so after errand, went to the OTHER Ingles near us to purchase meat. I can't decide if my flakiness is reaching epic levels or what.....but I'm definitely getting off the junk food again after the holidays.


How do you regulate weight on two indoor cats of significantly disparate ages? Our cats are 11 years old and almost 8 months. We've discovered there's really no point in them having two separate and different food types (we've been buying Mature for the big girl and Kitten for the little guy), because the kitten hoovers everything. in. sight. He's already developed a pooch! This cat is no stranger to activity yet; he does play and fly around the house, but our apartment layout could be better and they just don't get the exercise they should for the amount of food they take in. After the holidays, we'll probably integrate a weight control formula slowly and see if that helps.

K, i'm done for now. If you stuck around through all that, I'm impressed.


I lied, one more thing.....

Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting our Chipotle opens on either Friday December 19th or Saturday December 20th. I'm torn between...

a) not wanting to go near the place for at least a week while they work out the kinks and disasters that occur in the first week of a restaurant's opening,
b) showing up on their doorstep first thing on opening day, so I can be the first person served, thus cementing my crazy obsessed fan status.

I'm only half kidding with option B.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sap, Grass, Leaves, Snow

I'm buried in Thanksgiving prep and the impending visiting of family, but this post of Ben Hewitt's rang so true to me this morning, that I had to repost it somewhere. 

I still pray for the days when the wheel of my year turns according to that subject line. I will make it happen.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Yea, I fell behind's bein' a hard week.

My attempt at a standing work station. Didn't have the angles quite right, made my wrist hurt. Also, legs didn't mind it much, but lower back was a whiny bitch.