Tuesday, January 02, 2007

For each and every one of us, it's a brand new day

Happy 2007, y'all! I rang in the new year doing something close to nothing; I was on the computer doing Flickr things and email until about 11:55 p.m., then wandered in to join my wife on the couch; she set aside her book, we checked Dick Clark's recovery progress at midnight and kissed, watched some fireworks on the Space Needle, and got back to whatever we were doing previously. You may think that sounds boring but people say "have a safe new year" and you have to admit, I was doing just that. There were no resolutions made by me, I don't believe in them. Inaugurating the new year was a change of bedding; we bought a mattress and boxspring set at the auction mentioned last entry when we went back a couple days later. not what is implied It's a brand you haven't heard of which is made locally, queen size, pillow-top, quite firm but not like plywood, both came new in thick plastic bags, and a steal at $300 plus 10% auctioneer commission and 8.8% state sales tax. [The bowling ball in the picture is a joke, and bless you if you get it.] And now, the story of how we got it home...

After cutting up those large chunks of tree and debris from the yard, the husband of one of my bride's coworkers was going to come over to take a couple pickup-loads of wood. We figured that since we had a mattress to haul and a yard to clean, we might as well do both in one go and rented a U-Haul truck. I laid down a tarp in the back, we jam-packed the truck with yard effluvia, and once the wood-totin' hubby had departed we went to the county landfill (yard waste is free to get rid of through this month) and took a dump. The back came clean quick 'n easy because of the tarp, so after a minute of brooming we went over to the dead furniture store to pick up our winnings. This was the only scary part of the day because there had been such a lineup at the landfill (to dump garbage then pay the fee) that we were afraid we wouldn't make it to the auction place before 4 p.m.; we arrived at 3:30 p.m. We brought the mattress & boxspring home, then took the truck back to the dealer. We weren't inspired to take it out of our livingroom and swap out the bunk in our bedroom until yesterday afternoon. The coworker's husband did us a big favor and took the logs that we had accumulated from the previous two trees we had taken down months or years earlier, so we've reclaimed part of our yard! There's still a bunch of debris piled left to go (maybe we should have got the 14' truck rather than the 10' truck, they're the same price) but it'll be eliminated within a couple-three months and we got rid of the parts we can't put in the bin.

Today's continuing saga of state-issued stupidity: I mentioned last entry that I had fun trying to file my weekly claim due to logical issues. I tried to file my claim on time this week and it wasn't giving me that option. Turns out that if you skip a week (I didn't skip! It didn't let me file!) it closes your claim and you have to call them to reopen it. I did that today, and the phone system was talking like I have to wait a week before I can make a claim. Er, this won't do, I put in my three applications last week, thank you. [#3, the community college techie thing, was harder than you'd think because they later sent me lotsa forms to fill out, including an essay question about how I handle diverse populations.] I called their office this morning, and their phone system said "call back later, *click*". They meant Thursday-later. I tried an hour later and got through, waited through some soft-rock favorites (and inevitably they played Chris DeBurgh's "Lady In Red"), grabbed the newspaper, and just as I sat down with the paper the guy answered. Another person from the Indian subcontinent. hee hee So I explained what the deal was, and he asked why I didn't call a week ago to reopen my claim. Er, how about because I didn't know they'd closed it? He explained I could not be paid for two weeks ago because I didn't apply for anything, I said I didn't expect or ask for that week's money, and it's last week I'm trying to file. He punched some buttons, told me that I could go online and file my claim as usual tomorrow, and all will be back on track. He illuminated to me (in so many words) that in order to keep on the state's good side you have to lie -- either you say you made 3 contacts and risk punishment for fraud, or you say you didn't look for work at all and look like a lazy slacker (and I'm sure there's a penalty for that), but doing anything else that is honest or accurate will make the system implode. My dear friend Chrome, R.A.T. #1, once told me that the purpose of politics (and by extention, any bureaucrasy) was to give the politicians (or bureaucrats) a livelihood.
[update, 12 hrs later: I'm not there yet. Douche-nozzle mistakenly updated my account to December 31, Sunday, rather than December 30, Saturday, so the system now won't let me claim for last week. Fuck. Gotta call 'em again.]

Today is a sudden national holiday, a day of mourning for recently-expired president Gerald Ford. I was fairly young when he was in office (his successor, Jimmy Carter, is a more vivid memory to me) and don't remember what I thought of the man at the time. I probably didn't know jack about him at the time, since in all honesty I didn't know about the Vietnam war for several years after. Time and a broader view has made one thing clear to me, thirty-some years later, and that is that he did a better job than a lot of people give him credit for. I don't know all the intricacies of what he did while in office, but I do know that when he became president without running for that office, he was handed a huge shitty mess by the crooks who were leaving power and an unjust war to wrangle. He had to undo Nixon's dubious works and get us out of 'Nam, and those were tall orders. I read an interview with him the other day that said he was always bothered by the people who claimed he was the only president to lose a war. That bothers me too, since a) he didn't start that war, he inherited it, and b) we weren't "winning" in the first place and the only way to come out ahead would be to quit. In that way, he DID win the war and save lives, along the lines of the old phrase that says the only way to win certain games is to not play them. May Gerry rest in peace and may history be kind to his legacy. While I was thinking about all of the above it dawned on me that whomever succeeds GW Bush will have to pull the same kind of coup, of fixing the damage and ending an unnecessary war, but that person will have [at this rate] a little more time and notice to do it in.

Jamie Dawn said:

Hooray for you, using those big eords. Effluvia has a nice, superior ring to it.

I recall a commercial for mattresses where they use a bowling ball to show how sound and sturdy the mattress is. The bowling ball can be dropped on one side of the bed and not tip over a glass of red wine sitting on the other side of the bed.

I don't know much about G. Ford, but I do believe that he was an honorable man. From all that I have heard about him, I can't think otherwise.
Very good, you got the mattress reference. :) That's not the kind I got, and I'm not about to put either wine on my bed or drop a bowling ball on the mattress (mostly out of fear it would bounce into the headboard!).

Ford is deceased, ergo he's honorable. That's just how we talk. The local paper got into a stink recently: the front page said "Ex-President Ford Dies" and a letter to the editor pointed out that protocol is to say "former president" or just "president" -- there's only been ONE 'ex-president', and that was Ford's precessor.
Enjoyed your post, and tryed to comment yesterday but blogger ate it.

If you'd like vacation from the bureaucracy how about coming to Germany. On second thought, forget I said that. Hope you get it all straightened out.

I was in high school when Carter waws president. He was kind of lackluster, no charisma and boring to listen to. He probably was honest, and better than many people thought. He's highly respected in Europe because of his intelligent foreign policy, peace talks, disarmament. Probably his downfall was the hostage crisis in Iran. He sent a team of helicoptors to try and free them, but they broke down under desert conditions. Things might have gone differently in the 1980 election if that hadn't happened. I voted for Reagan, because he gave better speeches. That was the first election I was allowed to vote in.
I recall not liking Carter while in office -- possibly because he was a Democrat and possibly because of the Iran hostage crisis (and I recall the copter cockup). But I was a child, and as an adult I now understand things better, and believe he did the best he could and my political views are more aligned with his nowadays. Out of office, he has proven to be more of a humanitarian than most of the other former presidents (especially the Republican ones) would ever hope to be. And I've always had a crush on his daughter Amy because she wore big glasses and is one day younger than me. :) [For the record, I had a serious yen for Chelsea Clinton since the moment she walked into the White House -- and it diminished greatly the day she got her braces off and looked exactly like her mother as a young lawyer. I have nothing against Hilary at all, I just liked Chelsea's look better. :)]

Blogger's been doing strange things, so others report, and thusfar I've not been denied posting ability. Have had to log into my own blog in order to comment on other blogs because those blogs wouldn't accept my Blogger login. In fact, that's why I'm commenting right now, so I can get some posting elsewhere done. :)
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