Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Numbskulls, Fat Beagles, Running Away, and Internet Piracy

First, the Numbskulls:

A little over a month ago, I received a notice that repayment would begin on the student loan I took out to pay for graduate school on March 7. I logged onto the loan company's website and registered for automatic payments, and was told that it would take 30 days to process my request and the first automatic payment would not take place until the April 7 payment date. A few days later I got a letter in the mail thanking me for enrolling in their automatic payment program and stating again that the first payment would take place on April 7. I knew that I needed to send a check for the March 7 payment.

Fast forward to March 9 when I cruised through the ATM at my credit union to make a quick cash withdrawal. Except I was told that there were insufficient funds for the withdrawal. Huh, I thought, I could have sworn I had well over $100 in that account, but maybe I paid a bill that I forgot about. When I got home I checked my checkbook only to find that, indeed, I should have had $138 in my account, definitely enough for my measly $50 withdrawal. So I logged onto my account to discover the problem. Not only had my check to the loan company cleared, but they had also taken out the automatic payment!

I didn't think they could do anything about it, but I wanted to make clear to the loan company that I was pretty annoyed that they had overdrawn my checking account, so I called them. They swore up and down that it always takes 30 days to process the automatic payments, but I was living proof that, this time, it only took about a week. In the end, the loan company offered to redeposit one of the payments back into my checking account, but it would take 10 days so they could be sure my check cleared (uh, did I not mention that I KNOW my check cleared already... hence the problem?). But anyway, I checked my bank balance every couple of days to see if my money was back, but was always disappointed. I logged back onto the loan company's site last week to discover that I was no longer credited with the extra payment, but still no deposit to my account... where the heck was my money?

Finally, yesterday, there was a check in my mailbox. Oh well, I thought, must be they couldn't do it automatically. And then I opened the envelope. They refunded BOTH payments to me. And yet they are still crediting me with one of them. Is it any wonder that these companies go bankrupt?

Next, the fat beagle.

For the last few months, whenever anyone has come to the house, it seems they have commented on my little girl's chubbiness. I knew she had put a few pounds on over the winter, but didn't think it was any big deal. Spring is here and we'll be going on more walks and running around the backyard a lot more soon.

And then we went to the vet for her heartworm test yesterday. She walked on the scale and I gasped... 41.4 pounds! On a dog that should max out about 35! She has put on seven pounds since she was there in September. So I guess the denial is over. She's not just a little chubby and it's time to go on a diet. I guess it just runs in the family, but I feel so mean when I deny her the extra treats.

Next, running away.

I was worried late last week when I hadn't been to the gym in nearly two weeks that I had lost all the ground I had gained in becoming a runner. The day before I got sick I had run nearly two miles and was quite proud of myself. Luckily, my illness and absence from the gym didn't hurt me all that much. When I ventured back on Sunday I was still able to run a mile in quarter-mile increments. Then, yesterday, I couldn't get to the gym due to Copper's appointment (I refuse to go after dinner... it's far too busy and I can't get on any of the machines), but it was a fantastic day (76 degrees), so I went running outside. Knowing that it is more difficult to run outside than on a treadmill, I would have been happy with a half or three-quarters of a mile, but I still managed to get in the full mile! Then, today I was back at the gym and I did 1.25 miles (plus three-quarters of a mile of walking) before getting on the elliptical machine. Oh, and I finally got my heart rate monitor fixed so I can keep track of calories burned again, too. Turns out it really was just a dead battery, so the lady at Walmart who told me the battery was fine was wrong. Plus I didn't know there was a little reset switch to hold down after changing the battery, so thanks to the nice guy at Timex who helped me when I called.

And finally, Internet Piracy.

That was where this post was supposed to end, but when I turned on my laptop, it failed to connect to my wireless network. I looked at the available networks to discover that my own network has somehow become a secured network since I used my laptop all of two days ago, and I have no idea what the key is to log onto it. Guess I've got some investigation to do. In the meantime, it's a good thing that one of my neighbors also has an unsecured network that I was able to connect to. What's a little sharing among friends? I'm sure more than one neighbor has used mine at some point.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Tip for the Day

When you're walking through automatic doors at a store, say, PetSmart for example, and something over to the side distracts you, such as a lost dog poster, be sure that the automatic doors have actually opened all the way before you progress into the store. Otherwise you may end up with one hell of a bruise on your knee from where it collided with said automatic door. Not to mention the embarrassment of being the numbskull who walked into the door.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

No Fair

Just barely a week after I got over my cold and I have a new one. In addition to the solidly congested sinuses, this time I also have a sore throat and a cough. Oh what fun. And perfect timing since this is the week Heather is home on spring break, so I actually have my friend around to go do stuff with, yet all I want to do is lay on the couch and veg out. Plus this is ruining my running streak at the gym since I have no energy and haven't been there since Tuesday.

I guess that's what I get for enjoying the summer-like day we had on Tuesday.

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Monday, March 12, 2007


Found this over at Leesepea's site and thought I'd give it a whirl. What's sad is the number of books on this list that I have wanted to read for years and never have. And the number of those book that I actually own already!

Look at the list of books below.

  • Bold the ones you’ve read.
  • Italicize the ones you want to
  • Don't do anything to the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (well, parts anyway)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMavrier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blogger's Block

So I was chatting with my friend Drew the other day and somehow a comment was made about me being "gym addicted."


Well, seeing as I hadn't been to the gym in nearly a week, and even then I had only done about three days out of the previous ten, I asked Drew what made him think that. He replied that he had read in my blog about how I was doing really well with getting to the gym regularly.

Oops. Guess it's time to update.

So here I am. There have been lots of days that I have wanted to share tidbits, but for some reason the thoughts just haven't made it to the computer screen. Sorry about that.

It appears that blogger's block is going around. I've noticed a few of my favorite bloggers mentioning a lack of ambition or fodder. I guess I'm just joining the club. I'm such a sheep.

So, some highlights:

  • While the diet part of the weight loss journey is going okay, the exercise has been not so much. I've been so exhausted when I come home from work that I just can't do it. I usually do alright on weekends, but this past one I was sick with a cold and so had no ambition.
  • Hawaii appears to be a go. Heather is supposed to get the final word this week and then I guess it will be time to make the plane reservations. Six nights on the big island of Hawaii (where her conference is) and three on Oahu. I cannot wait.
  • I'm also chaperoning a school trip to Chicago next month to see the musical Wicked. I am so excited! I read the book over winter vacation and then got hooked on the soundtrack, and while I am bothered by some of the changes from book to stage, I still am really looking forward to seeing the stage production.
  • Our superintendent denied my request to move to the MA+30 payscale because my +30 hours are not graduate hours, even though our contract says nowhere that they must be. I filed a grievance last week and our union president is doing a fantastic job of getting people fired up about it. And all this over a measly $1000 a year.
  • Also on the job front, our media specialist is retiring at the end of this year. This is the job that I just finished a Master's degree to do, but with the sad state of the budget, it is questionable whether she will be replaced. At any rate, I received information today that indicates that the position may not be eliminated, and I may be moving into it afterall. Keep your fingers crossed!
  • I was under the impression that I would receive a six month grace period on my student loans after finishing my Master's degree, just like I did when I finished my Bachelor's and my endorsement. And yet both the companies that I owe my first-born to sent me bills for this month. That's $350/month that I wasn't expecting to have to start shelling out until June. Crap!

Yeah, I think that's it. I really need to start having a more interesting life so that I have more to write about.

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