jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been a hellish few weeks. I've had bright spots and good times mixed in, but things have been really hard lately. My birthday last week was really great -- a lot of good friends came out to celebrate and we had a lovely time doing escape rooms and drinking fancy whiskey at the Multnomah Whiskey Library. Then Saturday was DASH, which was also a blast. We finished well but did not repeat as world champions this time around. Next year.

On Friday night, my computer died. It held on just long enough for me to see the end of the Blazers game six vs the Clippers where they won and secured their advance to the second round of the playoffs. I could hear several of my neighbors cheering when that game ended. It was awesome. But shortly after the game ended, my computer informed me that it was done with life, and swiftly crossed to the other side. I was thinking of getting a new computer soon, but the timing was not ideal as I was starting to build some momentum with work, and also was still in a big debt problem. So I ended up replacing it with the cheapest ChromeBook I could find, instead of a full laptop. So far I'm loving it, actually. I haven't missed having a "real" laptop at all. But if it turns out that I will need one, Toby has an old Macbook that I can have.

I had made a promise to my therapist to take my first Uber drive -- I've been licensed to drive for them for several weeks now, but just hadn't ever done it. So yesterday morning, I watched a few training videos, then logged in and gave it a shot. I picked up two riders in the span of about 15 minutes, and made $17 in a half hour of driving around Beaverton in the middle of the day. I feel really good about my prospects if I can do that in a really not-at-all-peak time. But it was getting really hot and I realized my A/C wasn't working, so instead of continuing to drive, I took the car in to my shop to have them check out the A/C. Turns out it's not a simple fix. The compressor is blown, and because it's a hybrid, the quote to fix it was $4000. So much for the $17 I made. I called around for a bunch of second opinions, and everyone quoted me even more. My car only cost me $7000 and it's going to need a new battery pretty soon, too, which is another $5000, and no. I can't do that. So after a lot of crying about money and freaking out over what to do, I took it to a few dealerships to get quotes for trade-in value. Toby came with me so I wouldn't get the single woman treatment, and I found some cars that are pretty good options. All the dealers were willing to give me pretty decent trade-in value, and I found a used Prius that would be a really ideal trade. But there's still the matter of coming up with the money to pay the difference. And I'm NOT applying for a loan because I have this ridiculous credit card debt (a result of depression-fueled carelessness over the course of 2015).

I called my parents and explained the whole situation to them -- how I'm feeling healthier now and I'm doing the best I can, but I'm in this hole and I need help. My dad wouldn't let me through without some stern lecturing about responsibility, but my mom reminded him that his own depression has led to some bad choices, too. In the end they were both incredibly sympathetic, and agreed to loan me the money I need to both get the new car and pay off my credit card debt. They are tacking it onto the mortgage I have with them already, but not raising the payment, just making it a longer loan. I am so incredibly relieved. It's a huge weight off...but I also hate that I'm 33 and have to get my parents to bail me out. I hate that I can't trust myself to control my life. I'm doing better now and of course there's a lesson learned, but all the lessons and good judgment in the world are shit up against mental illness. I just can't guarantee myself or anyone else that I won't be back in that state some day. I was crying about this with Toby last night -- both before and after my parents agreed to come to my rescue. And he held me and told me he would always be there for me. When I said I was afraid I'd get sick again and lose control and fail at life, he just squeezed me and said "No you won't. I'm looking out for you." And I just sobbed big ugly sobs when he said that. It's one thing for my friends to say they're always there for me (and I know they are! and I'm grateful!), but the problem with depression and its effects is that it's easy to disguise. My friends can watch out for me and I trust that they'll speak up if they're concerned, but only someone who is in my life every day can really catch it. And it's a lot to ask someone to commit to a partnership so potentially volatile. I've warned Toby a million ways about how I've been in the past and what I'm afraid the future could hold. And he's here. He's not going anywhere. I feel really secure in his commitment to me. I feel really secure in my commitment to him, too. As a young person with two divorces under my belt, I just can't let myself completely believe in forever, or even plan for it -- it's important to me to take care of my own debt rather than turn to Toby and his tech salary to help me. He would if I asked him but I'm not asking him.

I guess I can't really put in writing just how he made me feel when he held me last night, but I just know that he meant everything he said. I just know he's got me. And I hope the ways I'm able to be there for him are as meaningful to him...but he is a lot more stable than I am. He says I make him very happy, though, and even through deep, dark clouds of depression, he makes me very happy, too. I never thought I'd find a better match for myself than McKenzie. But Toby and I share so much more than I ever did with Z...and he's KIND to me all the time. I will always love and miss McKenzie, but this relationship that I'm in now? It's so much better. I didn't think that could exist. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Woo I bought a car.

The stars aligned quite nicely for me on this one -- I got the settlement check for my totaled Honda on Friday, and my friend who owns a business settling estates contacted me with a fantastic deal on a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. The sales price was such that I really don't think I could have afforded not to buy it, and I'm quite tempted to turn around and sell it for a big fat profit, except I'd just spend that profit on another car that's roughly the same value anyway, so whatever. It's funny how I've never had the same kind of car twice -- not even the same make.

Chevrolet Corsica -- high school & college
Pontiac Grand Am - 2003-2008
Cadillac somethingorother was Jeremy's car when I first got married, then he got an old Mercedes. I drove each some.
McKenzie shared his Subaru Forrester with me after I sold the Pontiac. We also owned a GMC cargo van during that time, which I only ever drove once, for a total of three miles. The Subaru was sold for scrap after a long and dutiful life, and we sold the van to a family friend around the same time.
We bought our Hyundai Elantra in 2011, and got the Honda Accord in 2013.
Still have the Hyundai (which I love, except the seats are really low on it and I always make an old lady grunting noise when I get in and out), and now we've got a Toyota.

Honestly, all of the above have been good cars. The Chevrolet had issues, but that was more my fault than the car's, I think. I wanted to buy another Honda because I feel like the Accord protected me so well, but the price on the Camry was just too good to pass up. Maybe some day in the future I'll buy another car like one I've already owned. But I'm still hoping that my next mode of transportation will be something not-yet-invented.

Anyway, I'm pleased. And that was the biggest personal check I've ever written, so I feel like I've achieved a slightly higher level of adulthood.

Also, I'm so close to done with my real estate school...the plan is to finish today. That may be slightly ambitious given the interruptions for the car transaction and also the Portland Slutwalk that I'm doing later today (a rally against victim-blaming and slut-shaming), but it is the goal, anyhow. Soon, in any case. So I'll schedule my exam for next week and be licensed as soon as I pass. Woo! WOO, I say!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I hadn't really thought about it, but when the folks at work saw me doing my PT exercises for my neck, it became clear that I look like I'm simulating a blowjob. Except my mouth is closed. The therapist called it the "chicken neck," but really it's just me bobbing my head back and forth. And I've been doing this at my desk all day. Maybe I can claim more pain and suffering due to the embarrassment? Heh.

I'm going to see 10SS tonight. I love them so much. A new friend is coming with me. He says he will judge me based on how much he likes the show. I am not worried.

I haven't heard from the other insurance company since they told me they were accepting liability. I can't believe they haven't tried to settle the total loss yet -- every day that goes by is another day they pay for storage for the car and for my rental car. Fine by me! I'm really liking my little rental. It's a Hyundai Accent, which is basically exactly the same as our Elantra, only smaller. I like it a lot and would consider buying one, but McKenzie wouldn't fit in it, and if I'm going to have a car for driving real estate clients around, it should probably have a comfortable back seat. The back seat on the Accent is basically cosmetic, as there's no way a human person could fit back there. And anyway I really want to get another Honda, because I'm completely convinced the Accord saved my life. I'd like an Insight, but again, that's a pretty small one...maybe a hybrid Civic? I'm putting the cart before the horse here, though. First I need a way to pay for it. Gotta buckle down on that real estate stuff. It's just been really hard to focus with all the other bullshit in my life lately. I am close to done, though.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm feeling okay right now but not sure that'll last. I never let myself look at the clock last night because I knew whatever time I saw would really discourage me, but my estimate is that I finally got to sleep around 2 or 3. No idea why I couldn't sleep. Bed was comfortable. I wasn't hungry or thirsty. Maybe it was just knowing I had to be awake and physically active at 5am that kept me up.

I just noticed a transit worker doing tai chi in the bushes. That's a little strange.

Anyway I was on my bike and out the door around 530, but timed this day exactly wrong...arrived at the train station two minutes after the train left and 28 minutes before the next one. Whoops. I'll still be plenty early to work, it just means sitting around bored for a half hour knowing I could have slept a little more, maybe. But I'm not feeling the lack of sleep just yet. We'll see when I have to ride home later.

I love riding transit and using the many car alternatives that are available to me in and around Portland, but when a car is not an option at all, it gets stressful. On Monday, for example, I had two things on my agenda: meet my prof downtown for lunch and see my trainer at 3. Because I had to transit everywhere, and make several transfers from the burbs to downtown and then all over Beaverton, I was out of the house for almost nine hours, all for three hours of scheduled activity. The rest of the day was either spent riding or waiting. It's not that my house is inconvenient for transit options, it's that my house is pretty far out from most of the rest of what I do around here. Work is the worst though because there really is no good way to commute without a car. Biking works when it's nice, but it means waking up at ass o'clock. All of this is why I'm thinking seriously about getting a scooter. I've wanted one for a while, and it honestly seems like it makes a lot of sense. But I dunno. This is the only week on the calendar this summer where Z had the car away at a tournament, so I can't really use inconvenience to justify a purchase like that. Meh. But, you know, it'd be fun, I think.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
So it turns out the guy I hit is a lying jurkface.  Not only is he claiming $1000 in damages (I didn't even scratch his car one little bit!  NO dents! Even if the paint was scratched, a bumper paintjob is only $500 -- I know this, I'm in the biz, y'know), but he's claiming injuries now.  So I went ahead and turned it over to my insurance.  They'll cover the costs, so it's nothing out of pocket right now, but it is possible our rates will increase come renewal.  Luckily we don't renew for another 11 months...  I've talked to three different adjusters now, and all are sympathetic, that it's really unlikely dude is actually injured and they are also dubious about the damages.  I sent them pictures of my car, which shows that the paint isn't even scratched and there's no evidence of a collision, beyond the fact that I admitted to it.  I just can't believe that mofo is claiming injuries.  I've hit cars harder while parallel parking.  Ugh.  I hope my insurance will deny his injury claim.  Our adjusters would.  Seriously.  Less than bumper car impact.  What a fiasco.  I can't wait 'til bike weather is back.  I would like to quit driving please.  Maybe I just need to suck it up and start biking in the cold rain now.  Maybe next week...

My fitness has been faltering a bit.  As expected, I have been totally slacking on my half marathon training.  It's just not breathing down my neck yet, but it's not like it's the kind of test you can cram for.  I know I need to work on building up to it.  It's just so hard and unpleasant!  Suck it up, Massie.  You got this.  Maybe.  I also managed to gain 7 pounds in November, before Thanksgiving, even.  So I've been working on undoing that, and I think I mostly have, but it was kind of a wakeup call, like, hello, you are getting too lazy again...

I still work out every day, but having a gym at work means I use it on my lunch break the three days that I'm there, and that means a much less thorough workout than I'd get at the real gym, because there's less time and less equipment.  So I'm looking for ways to mix it up a little better and amp up the stuff I do on non-work days.  Perfect days for adding mileage, really, except that I always schedule my free time to the supermax.  I need to just put more gym time into the schedule.  And get out and run more and just fucking do it, because I know I can.  I just don't WANT to.  But the more I do, the easier it'll be, and the less miserable...at least I'm trying to tell myself that.  I'm also looking for a yoga studio.  My gym has yoga, but it's not my favorite style, and yoga studios around here are pretty cheap (and also more common than Starbucks).  Katy is coming to stay with me this weekend, and I think we'll try out a yoga place together.  We're also gonna do some motherfucking baking.  

Blazers game tomorrow with Rob.  Rip City!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I have always known that I am not a good driver.  I prefer not to drive.  I try to be safe and careful but I just suck at it. 

Yesterday, I rear-ended a guy on the way home from work.  I had looked down for maybe 2 seconds, while creeping along at about 15mph in rush hour traffic.  (I was trying to find the mp3 player that I had hooked up to my car stereo, because I wanted to see the name of the song that was playing.  I didn't see it when I immediately looked down, and then I looked up again to check the road like a responsible person.)  When I looked up, traffic had stopped moving, and I slammed on my brakes.  There should have been space to stop, but the roads were slick and I hydroplaned into the car in front of me.  Do you know how awful it feels to be at-fault in an accident when your job is to process accident details all day long?  Ugh.

Luckily, everyone's fine.  It was a very light impact, and aside from my license plate being bent, there wasn't really any other damage.  The other driver was super nice, too.  He wasn't mad at me for hitting him at all -- he just wanted to be sure that I was okay.  I was so flustered, I didn't think to take pictures or get his info at all.  I would have gotten his info if my phone were handy, but I couldn't find it after the impact and was too shaken up to do much.  Knowing what I know from my job, it was stupid of me not to take any pictures or get his info, but the fact that he volunteered to give it to me anyway is a good sign.  He seemed like a trustworthy dude, not the type who's going to sue me for 3 months of chiropractor bills now.  His car didn't appear to be damaged at all, but he said he had *just* gotten the bumper fixed from another accident, and he wanted to take it to a body shop to check it out.  I told him I would pay for everything and I really would prefer not to have insurance involved in it, but I think he was going to report it...English wasn't his first language so I'm not sure he understood me when I tried to say I would pay out of pocket, and again, I was too shaken up to be thorough about it.  So it's possible I could get totally screwed by this incident, but if I do, it's my own stupid fault. 

I held it together well enough to give my info to the guy and get back in the car and drive the rest of the way home, but when I got home, I fucking lost it.  I just couldn't stop sobbing, even though everything's really okay.  No damage, no injuries, whatever comes of the repairs is not going to bankrupt me...it's fine, really.  But I think the fear of a car accident is so deeply ingrained in me from when I was a teenager and I knew that if I ever did anything to my car (accident, ticket, whatever), my parents would KILL me, and even though my parents have nothing to do with this now, I think that fear is just hard to shake.  McKenzie wasn't mad at me at all, but he kept asking if I wanted him to get mad, because the way I was crying and apologizing, it sure seemed like I thought someone should be mad at me. 

Really, it's ok.  These things happen, and it wasn't a big deal, and I know all that on an intellectual level.  Emotionally, though, it might take a while to recover from the jolt of it.  I made myself drive to work this morning, because I didn't want to develop a phobia of getting behind the wheel again.  It was fine.  I was extra attentive and didn't have a panic attack or anything.  But I probably won't be able to relax very much behind the wheel for a while.  I guess that's not entirely a bad thing.

Anyway, let this serve as a PSA.  I wasn't texting or phoning or anything.  I was just trying to look for a second at something that wasn't the road.  And that was enough of a distraction for me to have an accident.  So learn from my mistakes and just keep your eyes on the road, mmkay?
jianantonic: (Default)
Z took me out for my first driving lesson in our new car last night.  I was worse at it than I expected to be when we started, but I caught on much faster than I thought I would, too.  After a couple of hours, I was successfully starting on hills and navigating the streets of my neighborhood.  I got REALLY frustrated at one point where after successfully starting on an uphill slope several times in a row, I lost my touch and just couldn't do it at all.  After a zillion tries and stalls, I gave up and rolled backwards down the hill to a flat part where I could rebuild again.  Even starting there was hard, after I really thought I'd mastered it!  But when I tried to shift into 2nd, I realized that I had been in 3rd that whole time.  Whoopsie!  So I went back to the hill and made extra sure that I was in FIRST gear and pulled off several stops and starts without stalling.  

I love this car.  I'm really excited to actually be able to drive it.
jianantonic: (Default)
It was glorious having the day off work today.  It's so much better to have a weekday off than just a regular weekend, and I needed it so much.  I was so tired last night by the time Z made it home that he couldn't even shake me awake.  I woke up in the middle of the night on the couch and migrated to bed, and I think I got something around 12 hours of snoozing in.  Still, by mid-day I was crashing hard, so I took a four hour nap.  And now at 8:30, I'm in bed for the night, about to pass out.  I guess I really needed some sleep.

Anyway, despite all the napping, it was a productive day.  We went car shopping and picked out the car we're going to get.  We had already picked it out online, but we decided on a specific car today.  A 2012 Hyundai Elantra, manual transmission, midnight black.  Color wasn't important to us, and the only one available right now with the specifications we wanted (manual, A/C, cruise control, no further frills) is this black one that's currently on a lot somewhere in Colorado.  But it's coming to Beaverton soon 'cause we're buying it.  I've tinkered around on a stick shift a few times, but I've never really been proficient at it.  It's going to take some getting used to, but I imagine it's a lot like mastering a video game.  You're completely hopeless the first few times you try, but you eventually settle in and the moves become natural and Mario is totally your bitch.  Wish me luck!

Z is leaving for Charlottesville tomorrow -- he's visiting my parents for a week while I stay home and earn the money to replenish our savings account after we buy this car.  I don't know how soon we'll get it, but I won't be able to drive it at all until Z gets back anyway, so I suppose it will be at least a week.  Probably not much longer than that, though.  I'm excited :)  So excited, in fact, that I'm going to go to sleep.
jianantonic: (Default)
Despite my annoying doctor's appointment this morning, I'm feeling really great about so many things.  First, I heard a little bit more about some potential jobs, and everything seems very promising.  So that's good.  I'm still impatient and anxious but feeling good about the eventual outcome.  

Then I went outside to enjoy the day -- and to look at cars.  I walked to the Honda dealership about a mile away and checked out their hybrids.  The Insight was great -- I test drove it and loved it.  41mpg...now THAT's decent mileage.  And the brand new one on the lot was cheaper than a bunch of used ones I've seen advertised.  Still not ready to buy yet, but I'm pretty sure this is the car I want.  I'll only actually need a car if I take the full time job, and I'll only be able to afford it if I take this job, so...it works out nicely, I guess.  
 
When I got back from my car shopping, the sky had cleared up and it was a beautiful day, so I decided to take my bike for a spin.  There are bike lanes all around my neighborhood, so I thought it would be good to ride out to a spot in Beaverton where I know there's a view of Mt. Hood.  It's less than a mile away, and I figured that would be a good test for my bike's tires.  I had pumped them up this afternoon, but wasn't sure if they were just flat or if they had holes.  So anyway I rode out and looked at the mountain, then rode back.  My bike kinda sucks.  I bought it for $90 at Fred Meyer a few years ago, and it's just a 7-speed --  my short little jaunt today told me that this is definitely not the bike for a 9-mile commute.  I'll take it out some more and see how I feel after I've put some more miles on it, but I think I'll also be looking to invest in a better bike if/when this new job comes through.
 
A friend saw me bitching about my wrist frustrations and put me in touch with a friend of hers who has had success dealing with chronic pain.  The methods are a little unconventional, but it's not like conventional medicine has helped me so far.  So I'm open to it.  One really interesting thing he mentioned to me is that chronic pain tends to be more of a problem in people with obsessive, perfectionist personalities.  Who, me?  So that definitely got my attention -- maybe my tailbone pain is linked, too.  So he's sending some materials to me and I'll see how well this works.  
 
Then another job offer fell into my lap.  I love it when that happens.  My friend Matt owns the jewelry store where we used to work together in Harrisonburg (he was just a bench jeweler then).  He is hiring me to do some buying for him here in Portland.  I'm going to be paid to buy jewelry.  How awesome is that?  So I'm really excited about that and just feeling generally awesome and optimistic tonight.  Yay.
jianantonic: (Default)
I went to an orthopedist today about my wrist.  Still no answers.  They took more x-rays, they felt around my wrist and hand for a while, and told me all the same things the first hand specialist had said.  "The x-rays show no bone damage, and your pain is not consistent with any injury."  It hurts like a motherfucker if I try to put weight on my wrist, or bend it backwards, but those are the ONLY things that cause it to hurt.  The doctor poked and prodded my wrist in every way he could, and nothing else made it hurt.  The idea is that if it is ligament damage, it would be sensitive or tender to that pressure, too, but it wasn't.  So this doctor, like all the others before him, gave up and sent me on my way with nothing but another bill.  I did get referred to another hand specialist for MRIs, but that'll have to wait until I get back from Montana and Wyoming, so my appointment is June 29th, and that's probably just an initial consultation rather than an actual MRI that day...but I'm hopeful that they can do it all in one visit.  I'm just so frustrated about all this, and I'm so tired of not having good use of my dominant hand.
 
I've started looking at car lots nearby.  There are about a zillion dealers within a mile of my place, so I just walked to a couple of them yesterday.  I talked to a salesman at the Kia lot for a while, but I wasn't impressed with what he showed me, and the more I let that visit sink in, the more offended I feel that this guy tried to show me SUV's when the first thing I said to him is "I want a little car with great mileage."  Nothing he showed me got better than 26mpg in the city, and I'd be doing mostly city driving, so I'm going to need something better than that.  Seriously, who in the world thinks that 26mpg is good mileage?  My first car got close to 40mpg.  I loved my shitty little Corsica, but they don't make them anymore.  And it wasn't a great car, really (the brakes constantly failed), but it was the devil I knew.  Having done very little research, my first choice is a Honda Insight.  This is mostly based on the fact that other people I know who HAVE done lots of research have chosen that car.  It's a hybrid and I have driven one before, which I loved.  I love all the Hondas I've driven, actually, so I'd be really happy to get one of those.  The question is how affordable will it be.  And what does the sticker price really mean, anyway?  When I bought my Grand Am, it had all of 7 miles on it, and I paid less than half of the sticker price.  It was over $21,000, and I paid cash and got it for $10,455.  I don't expect to have that kind of luck again, but I do know that paying in full up front is worth a hell of a discount.  I also know that being a girl means I'm more likely to get ripped off, or at the very least, disrespected at the dealership.  I need to be better about speaking my mind and standing up for myself there.  It's just so hard not to be super polite, because salesmen are always super polite.  But I need to remember that they're just being phony and my politeness could end up costing thousands of dollars.  
 
On the job front, I have two interviews this week.  Both are promising, but I have a strong preference for one job over the other.  Of course, that's the one with the slower hiring process.  But I can be patient.  For a little while.

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Meg

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