Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bob the Prius, RIP

We got word yesterday that Bob the Prius has been designated a "total loss." They're going to give us a decent amount, and with some money from our savings we think we can buy a used car outright. It's still going to be at least a week before I'm driving around in my newest vehicle. It's nice to not be in limbo anymore, and while the process will take longer than I like we're at least moving forward.

Ah, Bob. Always in the background of our 251 pics. RIP, Bob. You did good.

Our generous insurance is giving us a week from yesterday to return the rental, which is awesome and not awesome at the same time. Having the rental means we don't have to share the Leaf, which because its 100% electric only has a 100 mile radius. With the colder weather, its actually closer to 85mph. I love driving that thing, but with our vastly different schedules sharing would be a trial. 

On the other hand, rental is from Texas and can't handle the cold so the tire pressure light keeps beeping at me. The rental guy said I could return it and get a smaller, less beepy car if it looked like I'd have it for a while and it kept beeping. But now that I've had it for a week, I've gotten used to it and have learned to (mostly) ignore the beeping.

I hate driving, and it takes me a long time to get used to a vehicle. In the space of two weeks, I'll have driven a now-dead Prius, a beeping Jeep, a potential smaller/not smaller car, and my as-yet unpurchased new-to-me vehicle. That is not even taking into account I started the year off driving Veronica the Ford, before dumping her and being given Bob the Prius. That is a lot of vehicular transitioning for someone who would walk everywhere if she could get away with it. 

So, I probably will suck it up and not bother returning the Jeep. At this point, it's the devil I know. Best Guy is sick to death of listening to me complain about the Jeep. But well.... he said "I do," didn't he?

Insert evil laugh here.

Anyway, we're going to go look at some cars today and tomorrow and get the ball rolling. Hopefully I'll be in a new-to-me as-yet-unnamed Prius by early next week.

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude Abounds

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and we went up to my Mom's house for the day. It was a pretty quiet Thanksgiving, all told. Just me, Best Guy, Mom, Brother and Sister-Out-Law. We ate a lot, laughed a lot, and had a lovely family day.
Mount Mansfield as viewed from Underhill, VT on our way to Mom's house.

Toby making himself at home at Gram's.

It gave us a lot to be grateful for, and on the way home we unfortunately had a lot more to be grateful for. This is what running into a deer at 55mph on the interstate at 7pm looks like.

Whenever we turned the high-beam on it illuminate the other side of the road.

When we pulled into the gas station, some guy jokingly called out
"You run into a deer?" When I said "Yes, like five minutes ago!"
He was a little flummoxed.

Best Guy, Toby, and myself are all very much okay. Watching the deer scramble off the road on a broken leg and probable internal injuries was possibly the most heartbreaking and traumatic thing I've seen in a very long time, however.

This could have been a lot worse. The cars behind us could have been closer. We could have been going faster. We were able to get off the interstate and drive home.


After we got home, we started the process of submitting to insurance. Luckily, we have good insurance and you can do a lot online. On Black Friday, we watched Bob the Prius get taken away.

Bye, Bye Bob the Prius. Just as I was really getting used to driving you.

They told us to take all personal items out and remove the plates. So while we're waiting now to hear if they're going to repair it or total it, the latter is most likely given the age of the car, the damage... and the fact they towed it to an auction house. In the meantime, I'm driving this... little as possible. This was the smallest car they had on the lot, and its still an SUV. They tried to put me in a Suburban and I nearly burst into tears. Plus, because it's from Texas it doesn't understand cold weather and the tire pressure alarm keeps going off. We drove back to the rental place for them to check it out...two of the tires were just off by 2 pounds. It's still doing it, but hopefully I'll only have the car for a few days and I'm using it as little as possible. It's too big and I'm terrified of driving it.

But, as we have learned the last few days, we have a lot to be thankful for. We are safe, we are unhurt, we have insurance, we will be able to afford to get a second (used) car, we will be able to make it to our jobs, this is not majorly affecting our lives in a grand way, with the exception of some car-buying stress.

So, this weekend we have a lot to be grateful for. And so we are.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


This evening, I am testing for my Purple Belt in Kempo Jujitsu. I am excited for it, and nervous. Far more nervous than I was for my yellow or my orange. I know what I need to know - as far as I know.

But I am nervous. Shaky nervous. Queasy nervous.

Because this important.

Yellow Belt just meant that I wasn't a newb anymore (thank god). Orange meant that maybe, just maybe, I might be okay at this.

Mostly just stoked I wasn't the lowest rank in the class anymore. 

But purple? Purple means I'm taking it seriously. Purple means dedication. Purple means expectations. Purple is the highest beginner rank in my dojo. When I test for my blue belt (note the use of "when") it means that I will move up into the intermediate class. Which is where - according to my Sensei - is where you learn "all the cool stuff you see in the movies."

Not that he has to sell me hard or anything.

I've been moving relatively quickly through the belts. Not fast tracked like another in my class who should by all rights be a brown belt (she transferred from another dojo with a different belt hierarchy and had to start back at white). But by the time I hit the minimum number of classes required for testing, I'm ready. I had to ask for this test, because I was the only orange belt in a sea of whites and purples, and I got lost for a time. I had the attention and wisdom of the non-teaching brown and black belts (at least one of them wondering why I wasn't a purple belt already), but very minimal time with the teachers.

As a result, even though I am ready and want this promotion so badly I can taste it, I am worried that I didn't have enough one-on-one time with the person testing me. What if I do it wrong? What if I developed bad habits? What if they test me on some of the white/yellow belt stuff I've forgotten in order to make room for the orange? What if I forget everything?

The worst that can happen? I get tested again in a week or two. They won't humiliate me. They genuinely want me to do well and move forward. The Sensei has already checked to make sure there is a purple belt in my size. No one is worried about this except me.

Because this is important. This is me having to prove myself. And anything less than perfect is unacceptable. Ironically enough, this would technically give me an excellent excuse to languish in orange belt until I get bored and quit. But if I do that, then I can't possibly make black belt by the time I'm 50. And that's my goal.

So yeah, Purple is important, and scary, and exciting.

Purple is also totally my color.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Spinning in Place

I've been feeling pretty low this week. It was a tough one for me career-wise. Although in the grand scheme of things it really wasn't that bad, it brought me low enough to consider it may be time to move from massage therapy.

On the one hand, I truly love what I do. On the other hand... I'm tired, yo.

It's a physically demanding job, and I came to it in my late 30's. I'm no longer able to keep up with a "full" massage schedule, and I'm past even trying. It's also an emotionally draining job. People come to you expecting you to make everything better. While I can certainly help, I am no magician. I'm tired of constantly being "on the hustle" for more clients, more money.


When I see someone wander out of my treatment room after a treatment and they have a dazed expression on their face and all they can say is "Woah," then I know I'm doing something right. That I'm where I need to be.

So... how can I be where I need to be, doing what I need to do, when I don't know if I'm mentally or physically capable of doing anymore? What can I do instead that still serves the greater good, while salvaging what I have physically and emotionally?

I'm kind of struggling with this question right now. I'm not sure what the answer is. There doesn't seem to be one, and least not right now. All I know is that I feel like I'm in a limbo of still doing pretty good work but feeling like it doesn't matter.

How do I get past this? How do I morph this back into something that matters?


Gratuitous Toby picture. He seems to have it all figured out.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Getting Rid of Ugly Things

A couple weeks before we left for the UK, we (okay, I) met with some local tree management people. The crab apple tree in our front yard was looking mighty pathetic, and I made no secret about how much I detested the overgrown bushes along the front of the house.

Yeah, sure those bushes look well manicured, but they're also half-dead and farking huge. And scraggle tree there
is throwing off so many shoots that one was actually found growing by one of the bushes. Ugh

We were mainly doing the meet for an estimate, figuring we'd have to get rid of things piecemeal due to cost. The tree was our main concern. Sure the bushes were ugly, but the tree was half-dead and looking more dead every day. We were concerned about wayward branches making their way through our living room window.

Turns out, not only could we afford to have it all removed, we could even afford the stump removal! So we engaged their services. They were booking in mid-October and we were going to be be gone until then anyway, so it worked out perfectly. Last Friday they swung by around 2pm, and by 3:30 our front yard looked like this:

It's like we gained an acre and half a house without trying!

I can't tell you how happy I am with our naked house! Now that the bushes are gone (Yews, apparently), we could see how - 20 years ago - there was space enough for the last owner to plant violets, and there was a designated planting space. We also discovered that there was a Mulberry tree hidden under one of the overgrown yews. 


I actually chopped half of it off earlier this year as I mistook it for a random piece of crap amid more crap. It is planted too close to the house and we'll have to watch it to make sure it doesn't get too big. We may take it out, but for now it's "free" landscaping. And the tree guy seemed so excited to find it, I couldn't cut it in front of him. 

We are very glad that we took care of things when we did. Just a few days after the trees were removed, we had a bad wind/rain storm up here in VT. Lots of trees down and power outages; some areas still don't have power, and the temps have dropped significantly. The crab apple tree, it turns out, was half-rotted in the middle. After the tree guys left, I started digging the stump with the heel of my sneaker and the insides were sawdust. We could very well have seen a portion of that tree in our living room. 

We're still waiting for the stumps to be removed (Dig Safe needs to come in and make sure there are no utilities in harm's way first), but they did such an awesome job the stumps are no hardship. Now, we have the winter to figure out what we want to do with the front of our house. Neither of us are gardeners so whatever we do will be low-maintenance. We're also aware that we may need professional help with this - our front lawn is a mess and half-dead and we have no idea why. We think we may well have to have the whole thing dug up and start from scratch. Ugh.

But for now, we're both very happy with our new naked house.

Better Kate Than Never

As you've probably noticed (all six of you), over the last few months my contribution to this blog has dwindled significantly. In trying...