Sunday, February 01, 2009

Good Times

Well, it's REALLY been a long time since I last posted. Since then we've had the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression (and might end up surpassing it) and elected a new President (I don't care WHAT Rush Limbaugh says--ANYONE would have been better than W, possibly even the reincarnation of Millard Fillmore). Lots of other stuff has happened in our lives here in the Center of the Known Universe, most of which would pass as significant events in the lives of mere mortals but are actually rather mundane in ours.

Let's see--we vacationed on the West Coast this past summer, flying out of Atlanta to Seattle, where we stayed a week in the Pacific Northwest's glorious greyness (ONE clear day out of a week, don'tcha know) with a side trip to Vancouver, BC. We then drove down to see Mount St. Helens (well, at least the clouds covering Mount St. Helens), drove down the Pacific Highway through Oregon and Northern California to San Francisco, where we collectively improved our cardiovascular systems by walking up and down the hills of that fair city. Lots 'o fun was had by all.

I had all sorts of excitement watching my savings and investments drop like the proverbial lead ballon over the last year or so because of the absolute greed of a few folks who really didn't need the extra money. Looks like Big Blue will be having to work all the way through to his 30 years for his pension (assuming the State didn't invest it all in the derivatives market) and then five more years to earn a bit more in the "get of of Dodge" retirement plan our fair State offers its massively underpaid employees. There's been a big hue and cry here about those folks who have "double-dipped" (that is, they've technically retired under our "get out of Dodge" system, waited a month, went back to their old job at probably their old pay, but with a huge lump sum deposited to their retirement account AND getting monthly retirement benefits given them). All the outraged citizenry complained to the local newspaper, but it took a fairly Republican-leaning local columnist to remind them that (a) the Legislature set this program up and (b) the so-called "double-dippers" (including a number of folks I work with) are getting paid to do the job the same as anyone else, just getting the money that they are legally entitled to. Oh well, it's probably screwed it up for the rest of us in the future, so I wasn't exactly planning to do it myself anyway.

Besides, the longer I'm at my job, the more likely it is that I don't want to stay any longer than the 7.7 years I have left to get my full benefits. I've brought in a LOT of money to my home state doing what I do, but not exactly getting rewarded in kind (and probably couldn't be anyway) and the stress level is getting a lot higher because of certain decisions being made that I don't have any control over. Gonna be LOTS of fun over the next few years and I'll be happy to be gone, I suspect.

We got our kitchen redone (refaced cabinets, new countertops) and this week we're getting the floors redone throughout the entire house, tile and wood. It's gonna be hell moving everything around, but hopefully it'll be worth it. It had to be done, I keep telling myself, it had to be done. The trouble is, there's all sorts of OTHER things that need to be done too, but we'll probably have to put those off in these tough economic times. At least we've gotten a couple of new toilets in the deal, both of which promise that we'll be able to flush "a bucket of golf balls", NOT that I'm planning on putting my gastrointestinal system through something like that anytime soon, but it's good to know that, should I so chose, our toilet will be able to handle the load.

Littlest Blue is still riding herd on the inhabitants of her "residence hall" at the local University as an RA, getting paid for the experience. She told us about the suicide of a student at a neighboring residence hall (they really don't like the term "dorm" anymore, though I certainly don't understand why) last week. It sounded like he was having problems when he transferred here recently and being away from friends and family here in our fair burg probably didn't help.

Bigger Blue is still at the local community college. She did well last semester, which is always helpful. She spends way too much time reading "fan fiction" on the computer, but as long as she's doing better in her grades, I can't complain too much.

Mrs. Blue is still in her job, still as beautiful as ever and worrying about me and my occasional stress-induced ranting. Can't say as I blame her.

Since my last posts I've discovered a couple of good sci-fi authors, Jack Campbell (a nom-de-plume) and his Black Jack Geary series and John Scalzi (Old Man's War series, Agent to the Stars, his Whatever blog, etc.). I read Scalzi's blog as much to enjoy the occasional troll (a dimwit who likes to just irritate everyone for no readily ascertainable reason other than that they are a dimwit) who comments to Scalzi's positions on things. Someone today decided to get mad simply because Scalzi asked her a couple of times to put her website URL in the proper place in the comment section and she refused, essentially because she wanted to advertise her blog.

Now, I would like someone to read this mess of a blog I publish and today's blog was inspired by my going to the site and noticing that someone actually read my last entry (way back when) and wanted to know why I wasn't updating more). You cannot imagine how that gladdened the cockles of my heart (whatever the HELL those are!). I write, of course, more for myself than anyone else, so folks NOT reading doesn't necessarily bother me, but folks who DO read it are my heros, even if you think I'm a loon.

I'll try to post more often, at least when I have something to say and can remember my Blogspot login name and password. Any comments are appreciated (well, maybe those from trolls not so much...).

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