This blog has moved!

Well, I found a great deal on a self-hosting provider for WordPress and I decided to pull the trigger and actually migrate.  The new location is

Life Between 0 and 1

Please make sure you follow me on the new site if you want to continue to get posts.  Now that things are dialing down a little at my full time job, I’ll be writing more because, I need to.  My sanity needs to be reset.

Hope to see you over at the new location.  It’s jetpack enabled allowing for wordpress.com users to follow me easily without having to subscribe via email.  Please leave comments on the new site, they’ve been turned off here.

The new sites first post:  Welcome to my new home

Family ties to technology

I didn’t have a good weekend. It rained all day Saturday and we were running around all day Sunday because it was Mother’s Day. Of course the daughter decided that Sunday would be a day she would grind against the grain of everyone else and, as much as I love her, single-handedly ruined an otherwise good day with family. I’m starting to notice a pattern though and will be putting in some strict restrictions on the use of anything that contains a screen and run on electricity. She lost her iPhone for 4 weeks because of her last quarter grades. We both noticed a marked improvement in her attitude and behavior that regressed literally an hour or two after she got it back. The girl is hopelessly addicted to all things screen and her typical “I’m not stopping until I want to” attitude always gets in the way. My wife doesn’t help matters either as she is just as addicted to her mobile as well and it’s been a struggle to hold a conversation with her that wasn’t disconnected and unintelligible. I’ve since refused to talk with her when her attention is on the phone screen as I already know, you can’t multi-task with an electronic device, it just isn’t possible. Anyone out there who thinks they can multi-task; verbal conversation and use their phone, they’re just fooling themselves and doing two things barely mediocre.

My level of frustration the last few weeks has unfortunately gone up. My wife tells the daughter to stop yelling at her, yet my wife yells at her to stop yelling. It really is counter-productive in my opinion. I, on the other hand, have manged to keep my tone and outward display of anger to a minimum (for the most part) as it tends to get better results. Our daughter is old enough to know and understand the impact of what she says and how she says certain things, so there really is no excuse for downright disrespect for the sake of exercising control despite her losing the privileged of what she’s trying to control. The whole thing is just counter-productive and doesn’t really make any sense to me. The daughter refuses to do anything when she’s on her phone, playing what I consider real stupid time-suck games, and only listens to either of us once we’ve taken the phone away. Then of course its a fight to get her to do what we’re asking because now she’s angry she lost her phone as a result of her own actions; but it’s our fault, always.

The evaluation of technology in my life is taking a very dark and negative turn, to the point where I get frustrated with anyone using a device near me when I’m trying to say or do something. I’ve respected them by putting my phone, laptop, etc. down but rarely get that in return. The old adage “lead by example” just doesn’t seem to fit when technology is involved. I’m not even going to the “do unto others” space right now. My wife has conveniently forgotten, consistently, that I deleted Facebook and has conversations with me based on Facebook information. When I say I’m not on Facebook anymore, she’s reminded that I abandoned the platform and just stops talking; the subject doesn’t change, she just stops and returns to the screen. I just don’t get it. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, at least that’s what we’ve been told for years, but all I ever see is the negative side of it. People who can’t hold a conversation unless it’s in text form. Social gatherings consist of an entire table of people on their phones. Parents hold up iPads at recitals to “record” their children without a seconds thought of the 9.4″ of blocking capability the iPad produces for the people behind them. Having a conversation with someone under the age of 30 consists of “so”, “like” and “uhm” being practically every fourth word. Call me crazy, but I don’t say any of those words when holding conversation with people. Hearing them tossed at me just derails my train of thought and makes it difficult to actually listen.

There are days that I wish someone would set off an electro-magnetic pulse bomb rendering anything electronic essentially a brick. Our civilization would literally fall apart in the span of a few days though, so it’s not a wish rooted in logic. It’s a wish rooted in frustration, as in “See, technology doesn’t make anything better, none of you can actually hold a conversation to literally save your lives.” Our futures in this world are in jeopardy if we can’t learn to ride the fine line between technology assistance and technology addiction. The Internet was commercially available around 1992, anyone born after that date has never lived without it. What ever happened to learning the hard way first in order to appreciate the easy way second?

Derailed by the Norovirus

It’s a bad day (and weekend) when the only person to get the virus in the house was ME.  No one else got it, no one else shared in my pain and all too well-known symptoms of this nasty and pointless virus that is living upon this Earth.  Really, what’s it’s purpose anyway?

Norovirus

MyNotFriendNorovirus

Got way too comfortable in my gut for my comfort!

I’m glad it’s gone now, still don’t have an appetite though.  Nothing got done this past weekend, was barely moving on Friday.  Sorry for the disconnect this weekend, however I’m better now and almost recovered.  Fingers crossed that no one yet has shown any symptoms that they caught what I suffered through.

I’m ready for a vacation

The last few months I’ve become painfully aware of one truth that I had, for years, denied myself from believing. It’s the truth that unless something drastically changes in the lives of my family, we’re going to forever be owing money to other people. Mortgage loan servicers, credit card companies, auto financiers, utility companies, insurance companies, etc.. The list goes on and on and anyone living the “American Dream” is painfully aware of how difficult and out of reach that dream really is. I’m far from being uncomfortable right now, in fact, I think we’re living just inside our means as I’ve consistently said “No” more than I’ve said “Yes” for the last year since moving into our current home. The problem is that we’re in a home where we aren’t certain what has and has not been properly maintained and it seems we find out when its the most inconvenient. Murphy’s Law in full effect for our household. In the last year, we’ve repaired or replaced:

  • Main water line (inside the house)
  • Water softener
  • Hot water heater
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Front door
  • Garage doors and openers

We’ve also had the back yard fenced in with post & rail with green goat fence stapled to the inside. We really didn’t need a fence, but the dog was getting bolder in going after rabbits and would make it much farther into the field before deciding to listen to our screams to come back. She’s a good dog, but damn, that girl is determined to get a rabbit in her mouth. We paid cash for the fence, cash that I had saved up rather painfully for several months to establish a cushion. One bank statement a few months back that the wife looked at saw the money and was like “we have money, we’re getting a fence.” Who am I to argue. My back thanked me for not having to sleep on the sofa if I said anything other than “Yes.” I’ve since converted our statements to paperless and they’re emailed to my account now 🙂

The wife isn’t working through the summer, it’s school break time. We have very little cushion at this point and it’s started to irritate my normally pragmatic approach to finances. I should have held my ground firmer and explained what the savings were for, like the hidden problem that will cost a few hundred or more that we’re not aware of yet for example. I know the air conditioner is too small for the house and it’s only a matter of time before the thing overloads and burns out. Internet and air conditioning are two necessities that I rank higher than anything else in the household; only the mortgage is higher priority. She doesn’t get it and is rather impatient with the whole waiting to replace things aspect of having a house that wasn’t built to our specifications. I have sometimes questioned why we moved in the first place when a few changes could have made our previous house workable. Hindsight is a bitch.

I’ve made so many changes and cuts to our monthly budget with very little difference to show for it. Every time I think we’re backing away from the edge some unforseen repair or payment pushes me back to the edge again. The most depressing part about all of this is that I’m nursing pants, shirts, shoes and other items to their bitter end before breaking down and buying some new stuff. Not because I want to, but more because I know that the daughter needs them more than I do. That girl grew almost 2″ from November to now and she is in the same size shoe as my wife……the daughter is 10 by the way. I’m not growing that much and can handle a few stitch repairs to extend the life of a shirt, but she literally is growing out of her stuff every 6-9 months.

What to do, what to do. The summer is going to be really tight and with me doing all the finances, I’m the one that worries and bears the burden of making sure there’s a roof with utilities for us to live in. I may just have to swallow my disgust and start letting people know I’m doing computer work on the side again to bring in some extra cash. I can only take so many “I don’t know how that malware got there” excuses before I get cranky with people’s attitudes towards security, or lack thereof. I need a vacation.

Swamped!

To say that last few weeks has been busy is an understatement.  I’ve been off my routine and my schedule is suffering because of it.  Nothing for the month of March has been “normal” and for someone like me that relies on routine it’s been that much more difficult.  There has been no opportunity for down time, the time that I take to sit down and write, and it’s starting to make me tired all the time.  I’ve attempted to compensate by trying to go to bed earlier and usually end up being futile in the end.  Adding to the strain is my anti-technology streak that is still continuing despite me knowing it would probably help out to a certain extent.  Something has to change as the pace I’ve kept up just isn’t sustainable over a long period of time.

The wife volunteers at the local fire house and they had their annual banquet over this past weekend.  Our house is no longer the headquarters for the basket raffle items that were all won and I have my Dining Room (soon to be home office) back.  The banquet, which I helped out at on Saturday, went well and made some money.  We’re not sure if this year was better than previous years as no one kept records of the financials.  My wife, the organized person she is, has detailed reports on everything and will preset it at their wrap-up meeting.  She’s made an impression with the fire house and is working on getting a part-time gig approved to do their book-keeping and light accounting work.  It will get her out of her current job, which she hates.

After realizing that I hit my maximum paid-time-off hours after my last paycheck, it was time for me to start taking some days off.  The wife had several that I needed to take because of random half-days and days-off my daughter has with her school.  The American school year really is horrible, but that’s a topic for another day.  We identified several days through June that I submitted for time off.  I added a few of my own, at random, that I’ll figure out what to do when they get closer.  I’ve been itching to get down to Ocean City, NJ for a day and one of those random days before the season starts might be a good time to head down there.  I always liked being down there when it didn’t have hordes of people around.  Some much-needed time off is in my future thankfully.

One more random subject to talk about is my daughter needing to get braces.  She’s counting down the days and it boggles my mind why.  I never had braces and to be honest, never wanted them even if I did need them.  It’s almost like she’s seeing them as a status symbol or a right of passage.  She asked me if they would hurt when she got them on and being blunt, I said of course they would hurt.  Every time she goes in to have them adjusted and tightened, her teeth will ache for a few days until the pressure lets up.  Not being phased about this, she is still excited none the less.  I believe she thinks she will get some special treatment or leniency on the consumption of screen time, but that won’t be the case.  The limits are there for reasons she’s not aware of and that doesn’t change regardless of the situation.

I’m hoping for more time to write in the near future.  See you all Thursday.