Thursday, February 27, 2003

Letter to the Editor ... or something ...

To the Editor:
Some people spend a few minutes in the morning clearing the frost or ice off their car windows. Other people clear a tiny space and hope the people who are more careful will see them first. I spent the time this morning to clear my car windows so I could drive safely and not be a hazard to others. I was nearly in an accident, however, when someone who clearly could not spend the time to clear their windows pulled out on the street in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and honked, so lady, yes, I'm talking to you. I could see through your back window that you were crouching down, peering through a space at the bottom of your windshield that was, maybe, six inches high and about half of the width of your windshield. You pulled out in front of me because you apparently didn't think you needed to clear your side windows. After all, even though you didn't take the time to clear your windows, other people must, therefore you don't need to worry. Every driver out there is looking out for you. We are making sure we take the time to have a clear field of vision so we won't run into you.

If you got a ticket this morning, you can blame me. I called the cops on you and gave them your license plate number and description of your car. I told them which way you were headed. Yeah, that's right. I'm an interfering person who thinks that other people should be able to see where they are driving and obey the laws (in this town, driving with an obstructed view warrants a ticket). Too bad. Next time, maybe you will take a couple of minutes to clear those windows before you drive off. I don't care if you were late to work. Getting into an accident makes you late for work or worse. And, I saw you had a child in your car, in the front seat. It didn't look like your child was wearing a seat belt, but I couldn't be sure. In this state, it's illegal to have a child under the age of 12 ride in the front seat, and seat belts are required for front seat passengers. I believe they are required for children of that age and under, as well. Based on the school where you dropped your kid off, I'd say the chances are pretty good that your child is 12 or under. Lady, is it worth it?
(Done ranting for now)

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

When I finished that last entry and tried to publish it, I got an error message. It was weird, like the computer problems followed me home. Just what I need...
I meant to go to bed half an hour ago, but thought I might as well get this down before I forget all the exciting details. We had so many computer problems at work tonight (yes, it's really Wednesday morning, but I'm still up,so to me it's still Tuesday night). Dave finally restarted the pagination server, and things worked a little better after that, but the computers were still sluggish. I had a problem which started when I tried to move a file and it didn't quite work, then I had to close the program, and I couldn't log back in. At this same time, I was trying to PDF a page that hadn't gone right when I did it before. My Mac froze and I had to restart. There was about 20 minutes where I couldn't work on my pages at all, and I finished about 10 minutes after deadline. After deadline had passed, and I finished the last page, the computer started working a little better. I did a couple of comics pages for later this week, then started a Sunday Lifestyle page. I couldn't believe I have everything for that page except from one source. That page 2E for Sunday, where I put the crossword, Annie's Mailbox, and information from service organizations. I decided not to do everything tonight, but left at midnight, came home and played on the computer too long... again. So, good night.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Long, boring, ranting, blogging, babbling, stream-of-consciousness, did I mention babbling?
Since it is after 2 a.m. Saturday morning, I will just refer to Friday as yesterday, even though I'm still up and it seems like the same day. I skipped my "Exploring the Visual Arts" class yesterday, but made it to my Photoshop class. I had to go to work right after class, because I had put my timesheet in my bag and took it home Thursday night instead of turning it in. Brilliant!

Some background information: On January 22, 2003, I was driving Kent's car (the Escort) through the parking lot of Citizens Community Credit Union in Fort Dodge when a young woman (Haley) backed out of a parking space and ran into the car. I called the police, took the report to my insurance company, got two estimates and turned them in to the insurance company that same day. The following week, I got a letter from the young woman's insurance company (which I will name later if things continue in this manner) claims adjuster (Brad B.) saying that he was unable to contact me and I should call him. We have a post office box in Otho, where we live. When I got the mail that day, I sat in my car and called him right away, didn't even drive home. I gave him my side of the incident, and he said he would keep trying to get in touch with the girl. He mentioned she is 18 years old. He claimed that he was missing some information (damage estimate), so I got his fax number and had my insurance company fax the estimates to him.

Time passed. Around Feb. 5, my insurance company called to see what was going on. I called Brad B. and he said that Haley hadn't contacted him (big surprise), and he had to give her 15 days to get in touch. He said he would send a letter to her and if she didn't respond in 15 days, he would make a decision. I called this week, on Tuesday or Wednesday. He said he had to give Haley until Friday, then he would make a determination based on what he had if she didn't contact him. He did not say he had not sent her a letter. He said he would call me. Okay. When he didn't call, and I had to go to class, I called and left a message on his voicemail, saying he could call Kent and tell him what was going on. When I left class, there was a message on the cell phone from Kent, and he called while I was retrieving it. Apparently, Brad called Kent and told him that he had not sent the letter yet, he was going to send it, and had to give Haley 15 days. This is another 15 days, in addition to the first 15 days we just went through. I called my insurance company and they are trying to contact Brad. Brad did not return their call before he left work Friday afternoon. Apparently, our next step is to contact his supervisor... then maybe file in small claims court.

This all makes me angry, which is why I'm posting this here. I won't give you the name of the insurance company which is avoiding paying a legitimate claim, unless I feel I have no choice. Is this any way to do business? She backed into me. It was clearly her fault. The damage is to the passenger door, rear panel, and bumper on the driver's side. Unless my car suddenly developed the ability to drive sideways, I could not have hit her. This girl refuses to contact her claims agent and he refuses to pay the claim. Would you really want to do business with a company that won't fulfill its contractual obligations? What if you had a claim your insurance should pay, such as a fire in your home - would you trust a company that won't pay out on claims?

You may say that the company has the right to make sure about the facts. That's true. But I think the fact that this girl refuses to return his calls speaks volumes. She must know this was her fault. Not getting in touch with the claims agent won't make this go away. Trust me, I'm not giving up on this one. If they think we will just say, "oh this is too much trouble, I'll let it pass," they are sadly mistaken. And, actually, Kent tells me that Brad told him that we should have our insurance pay the claim and then our insurance company can try to get the money from them. Yeah, right. Wrong!

Now for legal purposes (meaning I don't want to get sued), I am not giving out last names, location of insurance companies, or the names of the companies involved. However, I may reconsider if this isn't resolved soon.

Okay, that takes me up to 3 p.m. Friday and there's a whole lot more... Kent left work early and met me at the parking lot at my work. He took the cell phone and went to pick up the girls from school. I went to work. I had to get as much done as possible, because I needed to leave for awhile to go to a film showing at The Blanden. The film was Basquiat, about the life and art of Jean Michel Basquiat. I will write my "review" of it later, although I have a small start already. I think I can sum it up briefly by saying, that like drugs, Basquiat is a mood-altering experience. Why drugs? Because that was a huge part of his life and, ultimately, the end of it. When the film ended, I had to leave quickly, get something to eat and rush back to work. I had no transition from one thing to the other, and it was a shock.

Now, I'm exhausted, sitting here at the computer at nearly 3 a.m. My head is floating and feels too big for my neck. My mind was restless, but is growing numb. I would like to go to bed and watch tv, flipping through the channels until I fall asleep, but I can't. The tv in the bedroom is small and we lost the remote when we moved. I can never get the volume right - it's either too loud or too soft. Since I have to get up to change it, I usually don't. My to-do list for today(!): work on project for Photoshop class, try to help Donna network her two computers, go to work. I'll be up too late at night again, and probably be too tired for church on Sunday. I'm going to bed now.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Warning: long rant ahead
I thought I was going to have a stoke today. I was up too late again last night, as usual, so after taking the girls to school, I went home and took a nap. When I got up, I had time to eat, take a shower and get dressed for work, go to the pawn shop to pay interest, and get Kent lunch. Then I went to work. I got there about 12:30, which is normally plenty of time to do the two pages I do for the Sunday Lifestyle section. I do one page with "highlights" from various organizations, a couple of puzzles, and Annie's Mailbox. The other page is the Announcements: Anniversary, Birthday, Engagement, Wedding. Normally, Bill K. scans the photos for these. They are supposed to be done by Tuesday night, but he usually does them Wednesday night. I didn't work Tuesday, and Wednesday I just didn't notice that he wasn't there. I was pretty busy Wednesday night with five pages.

So, if I had known that Bill K. was ill, I could have (and would have) scanned those photos Wednesday night after the paper was put to bed and I was waiting to hear that all the pages were okay. Unfortunately, I missed out on that announcement, and although someone in the newsroom told a certain person that it "needs to be done," that certain person didn't realize the exact deadline, so they didn't get done. I realized this about 1 or 1:30 in the afternoon on Thursday, the day that I do the pages and they go to press. So, that left me with 15 photos to scan, which was totally unexpected. I was nearly having a panic attack. I have to leave work at 3 p.m. to pick my kids up and can't be back before 4. I was really freaking out, thinking about all the stress I was having because (apparently) this other person doesn't realize that if you don't get something done, it affects other people.

I got back to work at 4 and got the photos scanned, then started on Friday's paper. Finally, I could calm down. Part of the stress came from the fact that I missed a personal deadline of turning my timesheet in to the Student Success Center. I get paid to take notes and transcribe them for a student in my class. The deadline to turn timesheets in is the 20th of each month, and the check is sent on the 15th of the following month. So, now I won't get paid for my February hours until April. I had planned to turn my timesheet in after dropping the girls off and before heading back to work, but that plan died when I had to go back and scan the photos.

Part of my stress also stems from the fact that I think some things at work just plan don't work. There are three computers in the newsroom with Photoshop on them. Two are next to each other, one is at the desk next to mine. The person who was there quit, and I asked if that copy of Photoshop could be put on my computer instead. No go. I asked if a scanner could be put there. Also no go. Picture this: there are two computers in the old Pagination area that both have Photoshop. Another department got a new scanner, so their old one was put on the computer on the left, where there was already a scanner. The semi-new scanner is under the older scanner. You can't use two scanners at once, and if someone is on that computer, you can't scan at all. It doesn't make sense to me to see two scanners hooked up to one computer and someone's using it when I'm frantically going around trying to find a place to scan the darn photos! It's unreal. It didn't help that the person on that computer refused to move. Although I got back around 4, it was about half an hour before I could start doing the scans.

The rest of the evening seemed to go okay, except when I took my supper break. I wasn't watching where I was going, and my left arm was swinging a little and hit something hard. It hurts a little, mobility is slightly impaired by pain, and there's a definite bump. I'm going to see how it looks in the morning. (Wait, it is morning - well, when I wake up, then.) And, I should do laundry, but I think I can find something to wear... I hope... and the girls will just have to find some not-too-dirty socks... Good night.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

It's nearly 2 a.m., I haven't started on my project for my Advanced Photoshop class (because apparently I didn't really upload it to my Yahoo briefcase like I thought), and I'm watching "House Hunters" on HGTV. This is a semi-interesting show... you get to see other people look at homes to buy. The couple in this episode (Alicia and Gentry Patrick) have my vote for "most overuse of the word nice" It's starting to get annoying.

Tomorrow (actually later today) I have to turn in my days off request for March, my timesheet to the college for note-taking, and my timesheet at work. It's that time already. I was playing on Neopets, but their server is down for maintenance (according to them), so I gave that up for now. Oh well, maybe I can get acquainted with sleep. That's always a good idea. When I was still at work, I had rebooted and took a bathroom break. While I was busy, my Mac came back on, but most of the desktop icons didn't appear. I rebooted again, and turned it off for awhile. David, our IT guy, had left while my Mac was rebooting the first time. I didn't feel there was any point in calling him in since he's scheduled to come back in at 8 a.m. So, I didn't get some things done that I usually get started on Wednesday night after the paper is put to bed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I added a "cast of characters" to my blog so people can figure out who the heck I'm talking about (that is, if anyone is reading this besides me...)

I went to Relief Society tonight. Jessica volunteered to help with the nursery again. I feel guilty about relying on her all the time, but it does get her out of the house. I gave her a scrapbooking book and templates that I had. It's nearly new, and the templates were only used once when Jessica was here watching the girls. Anyway, I think she likes it. And I do appreciate all the help she gives me.

Enrichment Night was about music - how it can help in many ways - bonding with family, growing spiritually, etc. Sister McCall read from her journal some thoughts about when she was young and her dad would play his guitar and sing her to sleep. It was really well-written. It wasn't the stream of consciousness type of journal like mine is. I didn't speak up during the lesson, but I was thinking of a lullaby I used to sing to the girls when they were babies. I had a little book called "Rock Rock My Baby" by Kay Chorao. I made up a tune to the words in the book and would sing it to the girls when they cried. They seemed to like it, or they went to sleep in self-defense. (Have you ever had your kid ask you to stop singing? Happened to me.) Anyway, little Peter Hill was fussing after the lesson and Jessica picked him up. He got fussier, so I stepped in. I held him and started singing that song... and soon realized I had forgotten most of the words! Well, Cayla is 7, so it's been a few years since I've sung it, but I still felt bad. I was reduced to humming the melody. Peter didn't seem to mind - he calmed down a little, as long as I kept humming that song. When I started singing another song (softly), he got fussy again, so Heather came over and took him back. Ah, well, my youngest child is 7 and it will be many, many years before I will be a grandmother, so I can either wait til then or keep my skills polished by keeping up with the infants at church. I like that second option better. I miss having a baby to hold.
Hey! My sister's blogging now.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

I made a blog entry before I left for work, but when I tried to publish it, somehow it got lost in cyberspace...oh well. I have submitted to and been added to two web rings: blogs by women and blogging mommies.

I guess this is all my little slice of fame. Somebody, somewhere might read this and think about me. Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and this is my way of getting my 15 minutes.

I didn't have any problems going to work or coming home. The roads were still kind of messed up when I went to work, but nearly clear by the time I made it home. Well, the county road from 169 to Otho was pretty much covered, so I drove slowly (about 40-45) for that short distance. The streets in Otho are still pretty much covered in snow, but the drifts are gone. I wonder what Riverside Trail looks like. There's a road leaving Otho that goes zigzagging through trees. It is a pretty drive, but you really have to keep your eyes on the road. With snow on the road, it would be very hazardous. Well, we'll see tomorrow (later today) if I actually go to church.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

We're in the grip of a serious winter storm. It rained a good part of the day Friday before turning to snow. I don't think the snow has stopped. I left work at about 9:45 p.m. and took about 30 minutes to drive the 10 miles home. I was going about 25 mph most of the way. Highway 169 was nearly 100% snow- and ice-covered with drifts up to 1/2 foot, and visibility was less that 100 feet at times. That was nearly 4 hours ago, and it can only have gotten worse. I didn't see a snowplow on the way home. I could tell there had been one, but that it had been quite some time since it was there.

Kent is at work. Normally, he works 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but he went in at midnight tonight in place of a guard who lives farther away than we do. At this point, we're just hoping the guy will be able to work tonight. I called Kent at work - he hasn't seen a snowplow yet.

We live in a mobile home and I'm wondering just how sturdy the roof is....

Friday, February 14, 2003

I decided to add a link to my home page on the side and, in the process, thoroughly messed up the fonts. I'll see if I can fix them tonight. Sleep deprivation, while now my normal state, doesn't do me any good in the brain processing department. In other words, I'm stupid without sleep. No comments from the peanut gallery!
Well, I nearly got my wish today. I've been wishing for a snow day. You might think that most moms would be against a snow day, because it can be inconvenient to have the kids home when you have other plans. Well, my wish for a snow day is based on my need for sleep. I've been wanting the opportunity to sleep in. I would have settled for a 2-hour delay, which would allow me an extra 2 hours of sleep, but today I just wanted the whole day free.

The brakes in Kent's car are going bad, so for the last week, I've been driving him to work, driving the kids to school, going home for a nap, going to school, going home again, driving back to town to pick the girls up from school, picking Kent up from work, then going to work. This only makes my bad habit of staying up way too late even more tiring. If school had just been cancelled today, I could have let Kent drive my car to work, then wait at home til he gets back, then go to work. Yes, even though it's raining now and will freeze and then it will snow tonight, I will still be going to work.

So, here's the day I wanted: Kent drives himself to work and the girls and I wait til he gets home, then I drive to work, for only 2 round trips and probably less than 50 miles total. (Well, I have to amend that, because he'll probably have to go back at midnight since the guard that comes in then lives even farther away from Fort Dodge than we do, so Kent will cover for him. So, less than 70 miles.) Here's the day I got: Drove Kent to work and the girls to school, went home for a nap, Kent called to tell me the schools were dismissing at 10:45, went to pick the girls up, went home... the rest of the day should go like this: Nap til 3, get ready for work, go pick Kent up from work, drive everyone home, go to work, come home, Kent drives to work at midnight, for about 100 miles and much, much less sleep. I better get started on that nap.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Something I didn't notice til Wednesday - my car's mileage rolled over to 263,000 miles on Tuesday night. It must have been on my way home. I was so tired that night I wouldn't have noticed if confetti and balloons had dropped down. Some nights I'm so tired that I'm amazed I don't end up in a ditch. It wouldn't be so bad if we still lived in Fort Dodge and I only had a short distance, but Otho is about 10 miles away and it's 55 all the way there. I'm an accident waiting to happen.

Okay, I was thinking about what I wanted to say while I was driving home tonight...unfortunately, I have forgotten. Let me think. Oh, yeah... I was thinking about how vindictive I get while driving sometimes. Most of my way home is on Highway 169 as a four-lane, but a mile before the turn-off for Otho, it goes to two lanes. Even so, I expect oncoming drivers to not use their high-beam headlights when approaching, but the concept of courtesy to other drivers seems to be lacking in many people. Similarly, I get a little steamed at people behind me with their brights on. I love to let them pass me, and when they do, they are now in front and I will keep my high beams on just for them. I know it's petty, but maybe they'll learn a lesson. Maybe.

I used to (when I did my blogs at my web site) give each day's entry a title. I kind of like thinking of a theme for the day. I haven't implemented that on this one... yet. We'll see.

Catching up: Cayla lost a tooth on Feb. 5. She forgot to put her tooth under her pillow that night, so she didn't get her money until the next night, when she remembered. Then, she lost another tooth Friday morning (Feb. 7). We were getting ready for school, so I taped the tooth to the side of the fridge, thinking this is a good place for it - easily accessible, easy to see and not forget, not easily lost... oops. When we got home that afternoon, Cayla immediately went to the fridge, started to take the tooth off the fridge, and dropped it somewhere on the floor... maybe. I'm afraid it may be between the fridge and counter, in which case, the tooth fairy will stiff her on this one. If it's not under the pillow, she gets nothing. Just call me Mommy Meanie.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Well, my art class (Exploring the Visual Arts) and other classes had the opportunity to visit the Des Moines Art Center yesterday. We went down in three 15-passenger vans, which Rusty Farrington said have been recalled or received safety warnings about high rollover rates. Great. The art center was interesting. The current exhibit, Magic Markers: Objects of Transformation, will run through April 20. It has a variety of styles and materials used by the various artists. I took notes about some of the things that really seemed interesting, but I'll put them on my web site, in my notes for art class. On the way back, we ran into some rough weather - wind, rain and snow. I recalled what Rusty had said about the vans, and couldn't help feeling nervous, but we made it back okay. I'm glad I went, and I wish I could go on the next trip, but that one is to Minneapolis and will take all day, meeting at 6 a.m. and returning around 10 p.m. I just can't do that - I have kids to get to school and I'm scheduled to work that night. Oh, well. Right now, I'm getting ready for work, then I'll pick the girls up, pick up Kent, come home to drop them all off, and go to work. Ta-ta.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Okay, okay, okay... obviously I didn't go right to bed like I said... but this is worth it. Dave Barry's blog!
I don't feel tired, exactly, but I don't feel like taking this little graphic heart blinkie apart right now. I checked it over and it still looks like it has some white outside the heart, which shows up against the black. The only problem is, when I checked each layer separately, I don't see any white. I'm not going to fix it tonight (nearly 3 a.m.). I have class in the middle of the day - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sometimes I come home after taking the girls to school, then take a nap for a couple of hours. Then I go to class, come back home and play around on the computer. Actually, I will need to update my notes from class. So, I really need to get my sleep. I'm too old for staying up all night.

I hate saying that. I don't feel old exactly. I like things that younger people like. I listen to top 40 songs just like I always did. I don't know... I have this theory that there is a defining time of your life... and you get stuck there. You don't progress with music, tv, prices of things, etc. You start saying things like, "in my day" and "when I was young." Well, I might say "when I was young" but I'm not saying it like an old person! I refuse to get stuck. I'm 42. I'm not a success. I don't make a lot of money, but I do love my job - most of it. But, like when I say, "I haven't decided what I'm going to be when I grow up," I really don't feel all that grown-up. I think I was born 20 years too soon. I like the things that are now.

Enough philosophy and confusion. I'm going to bed.
Well, I missed church again. I was up til 3:30 Sunday morning. It's now 2:40 Monday morning. See a trend here?

I did some blinkies yesterday afternoon. I think they are fun, but I hadn't done any for weeks. So, I did five. Four are the same shape, just different colors and stuff. One is heart-shaped. Shoot... I just remembered something that showed up when I put them on a black background... Back to the drawing board, so to speak...

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Tired, tired, tired. Was up til 3:30 a.m. again. Kent picked a fight with me this morning. The word "unreasonable" comes to mind... again. I'm heading to bed for a nap.

Monday, February 3, 2003

Well, another day of time wasted. The weather was getting bad when I went to class, and when I got out (1 hour later), it was pretty bad. I went to pick the girls up. The schools were releasing early, but I was going to pick them up anyway. I didn't want to make another trip to town in the weather we were having. It was snowing and blowing heavily. Visibility was nearly 1/2 mile. Roads were slick. The scariest thing about all that is what are the other drivers doing. I did slide a couple of times but managed to keep control.

I've been playing too much Neopets again. The 3rd of the month is half price day at the shops, so I've been trying to stock up on stuff. Unfortunately, nothing was available for most of the day. I finally got something to show up just before Kent got home. He took over the computer and gave it back around 10.

I need to type up my notes for art class. Apparently, I have been doing too much. The person for whom the notes are intended doesn't want all the stuff I've been doing. She just wants the important parts. I kind of thought it was all important, but I'll cut it down to size. Maybe she'll say it's not enough next time. Oh, well... I just have to do it, I will get paid. That's the thing that keeps me going in the face of underappreciation.

Sunday, February 2, 2003

I have had problems with my wrists for about 5 years now. It really started when I worked at Burger King and washed lots of trays every night. I had to remember to not hold the tray up in my left hand and scrub with my right, because that caused pressure on my left hand and wrist. It was diagnosed at tendonitis. The problems come and go and usually the pain and weakness is in my right arm now. Sometimes I wear a wrist brace with a metal support piece. These have a tendency to wear out, so when one starts wearing out, I buy a new one. Okay, I also buy new ones when I can't find one. One day last week I knew where 3 of these braces were and today I can't find one of them. If I weren't completely broke, I would buy another one.

I work at a newspaper. I get to see a lot of the news, and sometimes I just see too much. I get news overload. Sometimes I don't even read the paper - since I put part of it together the night before, I've already read some of it. I know that the shuttle disaster was on all day. We had the tv on at work, the front page was nearly all about that, plus two pages added on for tomorrow's edition. One of the tasks of my job includes selecting photos to go with articles. I also tone and size black & white photos that we get from the Associated Press. While looking through these photos relating to the shuttle disaster Saturday, I noticed a picture of four people looking at a piece of debris from the shuttle. One man had a stick about 1 to 1 1/2 feet long and was nearly poking the debris. One was a woman, holding onto a boy - I think he was 7 or 11... can't remember. Behind them was a man taking a picture. The woman with the boy and the man with the stick were about 2 feet away from the piece which could have come from the Columbia.

On the news, they kept saying not to approach the debris, that it could be toxic. At one point, someone went into detail about the fuel system components and that some of the chemicals could (if you breathe it) form a "skin" inside your lungs, and you would die within 48 hours due to lack of oxygen. Now, does that sound like a good idea - take your kid right up to the (possibly) toxic thing. "Oh, honey, look! It's a piece of the shuttle that blew up and 7 people died. Great! Now, take a deep breath... could be nearly your last." Ah, human nature...