Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tropical Paradise Otherwise Known As My House

We have heat. Yes, heat is important. I love heat. I will NEVER complain that it is too hot in our house during the winter EVER again. Even when my dad has the heat jacked up to 70 degrees and I'm sweating and sleeping in shorts and tank tops. 

So, if you read my earlier blog, Frozen Tundra, you know that earlier today our furnace wasn't working. It was totally craptastic and reminiscent of a few winters ago when I woke up to find a seriously cold house and a flooded basement. But, this time it wasn't that drastic. Apparently you're supposed to change the filters on your furnace. Yes, I knew this. I'm not entirely stupid. But,  I have no idea where the filter is and I thought someone had changed it last winter, so I thought we were okay. Personally I blame my sister. You're probably wondering why I'd blame my sister for something like this though, right? I'm about to tell you...

This weekend my oldest sister called and said that her furnace had stopped working and she needed a ride to Wal-Mart to get a filter. Apparently she had taken her furnace apart (yes, you read that right) and tried all the little secrets "someone who works on furnaces" told her and nothing worked. So, she figured since the filter was pretty clogged up she'd try that. So, after a quick trip to Wal-Mart she put it all back together and turned it on and miraculously it worked. But, the reason our recent furnace failure is her fault is because she said "When was the last time you changed your furnace filter?"... To which my reply was, "I assume it was changed last winter. I think."  

Thanks Brenda... But seriously, it's a bit ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic, and yes I really do think... (Sorry, musical reference... back to the blog.)

I know nothing about home maintenance and repair. My father used to take care of all of that and make all the necessary phone calls and arrangements and such. But, because of all the developments in my father's physical and mental health over the last year or so(there may be a blog explaining this in the future), I've had to step up and take some responsibility. I've had a crash course in the last 12 months. Let's do a recap:

1. Replace toilet (Our as the plumber called it "water closet".)
2. Clean drain in basement and drain lines (Same plumbing service.)
3. Replace water heater (Again, same plumbing service).
4. Replace back interior and exterior door (This is a story for another day perhaps).
5. Furnace repair

When the furnace repair man brought the filter upstairs to show us it was totally disgusting. My father's physical therapist was here and she said "Wow. That's gross." I seriously think that was the original filter that was installed with the furnace in 2008, that's how bad it looked. Our furnace has an automatic shutoff that is triggered when it overheats because of blocked airflow (like from a seriously clogged filter). But when he tried to reset the unit it wouldn't reset. He said that the part had most likely burnt out because it was constantly tripping and shutting off the furnace. He said the part was "kind of an oddball part" and that he would most likely have to order it but that he could "temporarily set us up" until the part arrived and then left. Pops doesn't hear to well and didn't hear the dude so the physical therapist and I had to explain what he just said. Neither of us knew exactly what we were talking about but my dad just nodded his head. He was either agreeing or had given up because the two "girls" had no idea what was going on. The physical therapist then said "The repair man talked like it would be repaired soon. I think... Gosh I hope so... It's really cold out there." Yes my dear, and it's really cold in here too...

Yes, he did reappear with a temporary part to fix the furnace until the other part for the furnace comes in. So the bill for today's adventure was $95 for a diagnostic test and $3.50 for a filter. He said he'd have the office give us a call when the part came in and they'd come out and install it. Perhaps we can have my sister do it and save some money... No. I'm totally kidding... Heat is important but so is preventing home explosions.

So, it's 70 degrees in the house once more... It's a tropical paradise. All that is missing is little fruity drinks with umbrellas. Maybe I'll whip some up to serve with dinner tonight... Ha ha ha... No.

So, the moral to today's story is this: CHANGE THE F'N FILTER!

Because heat is important. Yes, heat is very important.

Peace out!

Frozen Tundra Otherwise Known As My House

Our furnace is not working. It is 22 degrees outside and our furnace is not working. Hopefully the repair technician who is making a lot of noise in my basement right now can fix whatever is wrong with our furnace. This furnace is relatively new and was installed in February of 2008. I'm sure it's probably something stupid like a clogged filter or something of that nature... But I'm not a service technician... I don't even know where the filter is... 

I have to go find some blankets to pile on my un-amused and very cold pops. 

To be continued later... Hopefully with heat.

Yes, heat is important...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Insomnia and Weather Radios

Greetings kids!

Insomnia sucks. I've dealt with it on and off most of my life. There are nights when I fall asleep within an hour or so of laying down and remain asleep through most of the nights. Other nights I fall asleep and wake up every few hours. Then there are those nights when sleep doesn't come at all, and although they are few and far in between, it's still rather annoying. There isn't much you can do when you're an insomniac and the rest of your household, including a cat that loves to run through the house meowing at all hours of the day and night, is sound asleep. Usually when insomnia strikes I lay there for an hour or so staring at the ceiling. When it's obvious that sleep desires to remain elusive, I usually either turn on the laptop and surf the web or I watch television shows On-Demand. But even then I have to be mindful of the fact that my pops is asleep in his bedroom, which is separated from my own by a small bathroom, and sound travels quite easily in our house. Some nights are worse than others because they come with a restlessness that can't be quieted by late night television or surfing the web. It's those nights I dread.

Last night was one of those nights. I went to my room around 8:00 pm and spent a few hours talking on-line with friends and surfing Facebook. At around 11:00 pm I started to doze off so I said my goodnights and turned the laptop off. I turned the television to the Smooth Jazz Music Choice channel I listen to and settled in for the night. I drifted off to sleep rather quickly, but at 2 am I was wide awake. I can't tell you exactly what had woke me up but I could tell that it was going to be one of those restless nights. It must have been the energy in the air. The rain started to fall harder and the wind started to pick up and no matter how I tried I couldn't will myself back to sleep. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours and still sleep eluded me. 

Finally around 6:30 am I started to drift back to sleep, which sucks because I had to be up in an hour to start the day. Suddenly the silence was shattered by the NOAA Weather Radio I received for Christmas. I bolted up-right and jumped out of bed, running to the dinning room where the radio was sitting in its charger and grabbed it. I quickly ran back to my room and shut the door, hoping it didn't disturb my pops, who had another hour of sleep left before he had to get up for his medicine and breakfast. The warning wasn't even for our county or the city we live in. When I programmed the radio I set it to receive alerts for the surrounding counties so we'd have a heads up if anything was in the area or coming our way. So, I guess I can take comfort in the fact that the radio does work and that I successfully programmed it for every county in a 60 mile radius from my home. (I think that was over-kill in retrospect...)

That brings me to my next topic... The crazy weather we've been having. Yes, I know I live in Indiana. Yes, I know we have that popular tag-line "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change". But seriously, even by Indiana standards the weather recently has been a bit spastic. Yesterday it was in the 40s-50s and was raining. Last night and early this morning it was actually around 53 degrees and it was thunderstorming. On Thursday and Friday we had snow. See my post, Always Carry A Screwdriver, for just how cold it was when I left work on Thursday. I just heard a weather report before I came in to work that said the temperature was going to drop 20 degrees in the next few hours and by 8 pm this evening it will be snowing. 

Seriously? From thunderstorms to snow... Welcome to freakin' Indiana! Where the weather changes almost as quickly as my train-of-thought and direction in these blog postings... Yes, I think it's time to end this one.

Peace out!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Always Carry a Screwdriver

Greetings from the frozen tundra otherwise known as Indiana.

It's cold out there. No, cold doesn't even begin to describe how it feels outside. The minute you walk outside it's like all the air is sucked out of your lungs. It's so cold it hurts to breathe and any part of your body that is exposed to the icy wind starts to sting. Your breath hangs in mid-air, as if frozen. Yeah, it's definitely cold out there. The temperature is around 16 degrees, but when you factor in a wind of 30 mph with gusts around 40 mph you get a windchill of -2. But hey, that's winter in Indiana, right?

I work Thursday nights this semester with my friend Vicki. She doesn't drive and depends on public transportation to get back and forth to work so I usually offer to give her a ride home on the nights we work together. I parked on the backside of the building instead of in the main lot because there were no close spaces and I wasn't feeling the walking in sub-zero temperature thing. Frostbite   wasn't on my agenda tonight. 

For some reason when it gets cold outside my car doors have a bad habit of freezing shut. Well, tonight was no exception. When Vicki and I got to my car we found both doors frozen tightly shut. There were patches of ice right next to my car as well, making it hard to get any traction to actually pull the doors open as well. The passenger side door was not budging at all. I finally got the driver's side door open and Vicki had to crawl across the console/gearshift to the passenger side. It was pretty amusing to watch considering it's a Cavalier and there isn't much room for such a maneuver. Better her than me though, that's for damn sure. 

When she finally got over to the passenger side I slid into the driver's side and tried closing the door and heard a dull thud and the door bounced back open. I knew instantly what had happened. For some reason the latch that holds the door shut gets stuck and the door won't shut. It does it a lot in the winter time and two winters ago a co-worker of mine and I spent about 30 minutes in the parking lot trying to get the door to shut. We didn't have any tools in either of our cars and ended up breaking three pens but we finally got the door to shut, although neither of us really knew how. He suggested that I always carry a screwdriver with me so I'd have something to use to pry the latch into the open position. It became a running joke with he and I and he'd often ask me if I had a screwdriver and if I'd be needing assistance in the parking lot later. He was an awesome guy and always made sure I was safely in my car and pulling away before he'd leave the parking lot. He walked me out every night that we worked together. A few semesters ago he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. It was all very unexpected and shocking, especially since I had spoken to him a day or two before it happened. I miss him deeply. But anywho, moving on...

The door latch has done that several times now and usually my brother-in-law came to my rescue. The last time he came to bail me out he shared the technique with me. Basically what you have to do is pull the door handle up and use the screwdriver to push the latch into the open position so it doesn't block the door from closing. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not tonight. The latch wouldn't budge. We were screwed so I finally admitted defeat and called my brother-in-law. But I'm not one that likes to admit defeat so I pulled my gloves back on and stepped back out into the icy wind and gave it another try. Finally I got it into the open position and was able to close the door. After a quick call to my brother-in-law to let him know we were good to go, I drove Vicki home. 

Of course the passenger side door was still frozen solid when we got to her house. I got out and pulled and she pushed and I almost fell on my ass but the door finally opened and the latch on the driver's side didn't stick this time so  once she disappeared into her house I drove away.

Now I'm safe and warm inside my house and ready to settle in for the night. The Weather Channel says it's 16 degrees with a windchill of -2 but inside my house its 70 degrees. It's almost tropical.Makes you want to sip one of those fruity drinks with the little umbrellas...

Peace out everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spring Semester

What it is, yo? 

Today was the third day of the Spring Semester. When I pulled into the parking lot at 12 pm it was full of cars and as I walked down the halls I saw a lot of students walking to and from class and hanging out in the lounges. When I walked into the Academic Support Center I was pleasantly surprised to find we were almost full. One of the English classes was using the lab to complete some assignments that required a computer. For the last few semesters we've had a lot of English and Math classes coming in to use the Academic Support Center. A lot of our classes are now using on-line resources and programs to reinforce what the students are learning in the classroom. Our instructors are also utilizing BlackBoard, our on-line learning software, in their classes as well. Even some of our face-to-face classes are now putting discussion boards, tests, quizzes, and other electronic items on-line for students to access and complete as part of their daily assignments. It gives the students a chance to learn our on-line systems and develop the necessary computer skills to succeed not only in college, but the workplace as well. 

Student traffic was steady throughout the day in the Academic Support center but died down around 3 pm. That gave me a chance to refill the printers, replace a printer cartridge, help a student reset a password, and go on a hunt for some cleaning wipes for someone in another department. Yeah, that's what I do in my "downtime" at work for the most part. After all, we can't stay on Facebook all day long now can we?

I decided to drop the class I was registered for this semester. I really couldn't afford to take the class since I pay for tuition and textbooks out of my own pocket right now. I already have one degree in Office Administration and decided to complete a degree in Computer Information Systems. It was going well until I hit the programming classes. It wasn't that I found them hard or that I couldn't do it. I just didn't want to do it. If I didn't want to do the assignments in class, then it was very clear that I wouldn't enjoy it as a career either. In fact, I became burnt out rather quickly. I took a break from taking classes and tried to figure out what to do. It was about that time that our Criminal Justice program started to take off and earned accreditation and I decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Youth Services. But, because of the classes I had taken in between graduating with the degree in Office Administration and starting the Criminal Justice degree, my financial aid had run out. That's why I've been paying for classes for the last few years. So, I only take one or two classes a semester and it comes out of my pocket. It's taking forever to complete my degree this way, but I'm determined to finish. But, I just found out from a friend who is also in the same degree program that they have changed the requirements and eliminated the concentrations so I'm not even sure what classes I need and how this effects my chosen degree. I've tried contacting my Academic Advisor, but so far she hasn't gotten back with me. Hopefully by the time the Fall semester rolls around again I'll have enough cash flow to start classes again and I'll actually know what I am supposed to take! It's good to have goals, right?

Well, I guess I've rambled on long enough. (I know you're probably thanking whatever deity you believe in right now that this blog is coming to an end...)

Until next time...

Peace out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Invitation

Inspirational and motivational words have an awe inspiring power for me. I often run across inspirational poems or quotes that brighten my day or cause me to think more deeply about my life and the environment that surrounds me. It often prompts me to take a deeper look at how I interact with the world and how it interacts with me. This morning I'd like to share an inspirational poem with you that has caused me to do just that. So, I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I have and that it holds a special meaning for you as well. Now, I'm going to shut up and post the poem (yes, I know that's what you were thinking after reading line two of this paragraph).

The Invitation
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer 
Copyright © 1999 by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

Monday, January 09, 2012


So, I have decided to start this blog. We'll see how often I actually post in it though. I've started blogs and forgotten about them only to discover them accidentally months later. Hopefully I'll actually keep up with this one though. Although I'm not entirely sure who the hell is going to read it anyway... Oh well. Here's my blog. For better or worse.

Peace out people.