Mar 3 2011

I’m scared… [day 281]

…of toilets.  Yes, it’s true.  I cannot bring myself to fix one of these when it breaks.  This fear stems from my childhood.

When I was about 8, we lived in a house that had 1.5 bathrooms.  My mom, being the neat freak that she was, only allowed us to use one of the bathrooms.  The other bathroom got used so rarely that the toilet water evaporated and there was always a ring around where the water had been.  You could count the rings, similar to telling the age of a tree, but there rings being measured in days, not years.  The main toilet was having problems, so my parents showed me how to fix it, just in case it happened when they weren’t home.  My, how times have changed!  Home alone.

If the toilet kept running, I was to jiggle the handle.  If that didn’t work, I was to remove the top and jiggle the little white thing.  Seemed simple enough.  Even at that age, my dad had to hide his tools because I would build stuff out of anything I could get my hands on.  So, of course, I came home from school one day, used the bathroom and the toilet kept running water.  I jiggled the handle, waited, knowing good and well that I would eventually have to remove the lid.  Yes, lid time.  I took it off, jiggled the white thing, and in seconds I had a 3 foot geiser going.

I panicked.  There were no instructions for this disaster!!!  All I could think about is how my mom was going to kill me for making a huge mess.  I quickly placed my finger over the spot where the water was coming out.  Then I thought, “Where is all this water going that I’m holding back??”  Look, I was 8 years old people.  A new panic set in at that point.  I let go, ran to the phone and called my friend next door.  She ran over to my house and found me back at the toilet, holding back the water that was probably flooding someone’s house in China.  After two young kids deliberating over something they knew nothing about, my friend ran outside to find some help.  She came back in less than five minutes with some guy she found on the street.  Again, this was a different day and age.  The man came in, turned off the water and quickly left the house.  I lived in a middle class, suburban area and I still wonder, to this day, where that man came from.   Continue reading

Feb 8 2011

how many of you stayed home today? [day 257]

The day after the Super Bowl is apparently the most missed day at work for hangovers.  The Dallas Morning News ran this article in a Super Bowl special excerpt.  There’s a website that will give you good excuses so you can miss work if you’ve partied too hard.  Seriously?  The newspaper is posting ways to lie to your boss?  So let’s say the employees of the DMN read this and call in sick.  I think they should all get a paid day off for lying, as suggested by their employer.  How about scheduling a vacation day is you plan to get smashed?  Or maybe just have one or two beers instead?  I just find it somewhat disturbing that the news would tell people to lie.  Sad.

Aug 26 2010

sign of the times? [day 92]

I snapped this photo a couple of months ago… I call it ‘sign of the times’.  I love hearing on the radio when someone announces that the recession is over or almost over.  I still have many friends without jobs and also many that are underemployed.  What is the definition of ‘recession’?

re·ces·sion 1 [ri-sesh-uhn]

Economics – a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration. Compare depression.

a temporary depression in economic activity or prosperity

Cultural Dictionary (I didn’t know there’s actually a cultural dictionary)

general business slump, less severe than a depression.

Our economy is built on our society’s shopping patterns and habits.  If everyone shopped like me, we would have a HUGE recession, and really, for people like me, there would be nothing to purchase.  Supply and demand.  As long as there’s a demand, there will be a supply.

When my friend lost his job a couple of years ago, I took it much harder than he did.  It made me think about a few things.

  • What if I lost my job?
  • Am I living within my means?
  • What short term changes would I have to make?
  • What long term changes would I make?

I decided not to wait and make these changes if I had to, in some sort of crisis situation, I decided to make changes immediately.  Changes meaning no debt, paying myself and my charitable donations first, learning to live within my means, a healthy savings, an emergency fund, planning ahead on purchases, and of course, this challenge.  Doing this progressively and intentionally made it easy.  I hope life doesn’t ever throw me the jobless status, I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be.  I’m living more within my means, but trying to live less than my means now.