Friday, July 26, 2013

One giant leap for kind Facie

This post doesn't have anything to do with my being kind, which I mostly am. But I was pretty sure I had already used the post title I really wanted, "Make a decision already." Yep, just checked now, and I wrote a post with that very name three years ago, ironically about the topic this post is going to be about!

But I digress.

The real story?

Ladies and gentleman: Facie bought a smart phone!

This is monumental for me! Can you tell?! I am using a lot of exclamation points!

The details:

My over-three-year-old phone had been dying a slow death for quite some time. It couldn't hold a charge for an entire day. To make matters worse, my car phone charger died, but it seemed silly to replace that, knowing I was going to replace the phone soon. Or so I told myself for the past six or eight months. But despite my stopping into the Verizon store a few times in the past five months, I just couldn't pull the trigger.

Last week, when my phone decided to shut itself off as I was walking to the office, I knew the end was near. I stepped up my research to include a Facebook sampling, and I talked to few Verizon CRs over the course of the week to see what my options were. By mid-week, I had it narrowed down to the Razr M and iPhone 4s, both "free" (Verizon charges a $30 "upgrade" fee, though the phone itself is free). The Razr M runs on a 4G network, which apparently is faster, and a Facebook contact raved about it, so that sounded pretty good. On the other hand, the hubby has an iPhone, the kid has an iPod, and my mom has an iPad, all of which made the iPhone seem like the more practical option (read: not-a-steep learning curve).

I debated Friday night and most of Saturday. By dinnertime, I figured I might as well wait another weekend. What's one more when you have been putting it off for about 30 of 'em! I just couldn't bring myself to do it because 1) what if I made the wrong decision and 2) I just did not want to pay another $30 to $40 per month just for a smart phone. Seemed pretty stupid to me.

After dinner, the hubby, annoyed by my constant indecisiveness, asked me what I would do if my phone stopped working and he needed to get a hold of me. He said that I was never going to make a decision, and he crabbily left the house to ride his bike with J. That irritated me (mostly because I know he is right). So as I was doing the dishes, I decided to make a decision already. 

I got on Verizon's website, I pondered for about two minutes, and then I selected the iPhone, for store pickup within the hour. There was no turning back now. But I felt pretty good about it.

Within an hour, I got a text that my phone was ready, so I headed to the store. I wavered only once when the sales dude told me that 4G was better because eventually Verizon would stop putting money into 3G, but I did not panic (it would have been nice if one of the three CR people I had talked to in the past week had shared that tidbit of information).

I had to make yet another decision when it came to phone protection options. Since I declined every type of phone warranty, and the dude said that the iPhone is the most damaged/broken/something-negative phone, I figured I better get something. I wanted to wait to do some research and/or find a cheaper price, but I figured I was on a roll with decisions that evening. So I ended up getting the waterproof/shockproof case, but only because of my 25 percent work discount.

I am happy to say that six days later, I am still, well, happy with my purchase. Now if only I can figure out how to write a blog post with it, I will be all set.

Now excuse me while I hang out with my newest addition and ponder the next decision I will be making.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

At the risk of sounding like one of those idiots on the web...

This post is going to be about George Zimmerman being found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. But not completely.

Let me start off by saying I did not follow the trial closely. I did, however, read a few AP articles over the past week or so. About the only thing I can say with certainty is that I was neither in the courtroom nor on the jury. So I do not have the benefit of all that testimony and evidence. And neither did you (unless you were there).

But the comments I have read on Facebook? They are all over the place. Based on various comments, George Zimmerman could have been a racist (a Hispanic man can be racist against a black man), a vigilante, someone trying to protect his neighborhood, or someone trying to defend his life. He could have started the fight, or he could have been the one fighting back. He may have been following neighborhood watch guidelines, or he could have been overstepping. I think he had some sort of a record, but not sure. Trayvon Martin could have been walking along minding his own business, or he could have picked a fight with a man who was following him. Trayvon may have been high; he might not have. He may have had some type of a "record" but that is pretty irrelevant to what happened that night (he was not on trial). Whatever really did happen, this much is true: a young man (teenager) is dead and another man will have to live with that for the rest of his life. Both families have been and will continue to be affected. And, sadly, since race is involved, I am sure there are those who will "want justice" who will do some less than peaceful things.

As I have said before, I just don't think I could sit on a jury; not only am I bad at picking out lies, I also fear that I would not be able to sift through the testimony and evidence well enough to come up with the "right" verdict. I am certain I would not be able to sit on a jury for murder (in any degree or form). The weight of that would be overwhelming. But regardless of how I feel about this particular trial (and I never made up my mind, though I will say that a gun was involved bothers me and leans me slightly more in one direction), I was not the one left to decide. How can I criticize the jury when I did not have the benefit of the testimony, evidence, and arguments? How can any of us criticize them? As I understand it, they were not necessarily saying he was innocent; they were instead saying there was not enough evidence to prove he "demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for human life" (second degree murder) or that there was "an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death" (manslaughter). Even though the jury may not have been convinced he acted in self-defense, they apparently could not necessarily prove otherwise.

Of all the high-profile trials and crimes I have read or heard about, there has been only one to this day that I have felt very strongly about: Jonny Gammage. The shortish version of the story is that a not-large black man was pulled over by police in a Pittsburgh suburb for driving a jaguar erratically (the car belonged to his cousin, former Steeler Ray Seals). What happened when he was asked to get out of the car is unclear. What is certain is that there were, at some point, five white police officers involved. When the confrontation/altercation was done, Jonny Gammage lay dead. Although I also do not think it would be fair for me to criticize the jury's not guilty verdict for the officers in that case (only three were tried), because, again, I was not in the courtroom, there is little anyone can tell me to convince me otherwise that when one weaponless man goes up against five cops and said man is dead, something is terribly wrong; self-defense is not an option. If there would have been only two officers involved, I would probably feel the same way; it is about the numbers. In fact, race has very little to do with it for me (but, unfortunately race may very well have been a big factor). You can say what you want about the Zimmerman case; there were no winners, but it was one person against another and only the two of them know what really happened in that tragic story. You weren't there, and I was not there. And we were not sitting on the jury, with the weight of that task on our shoulders.

And we all need to remember that.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Regrets? I've had a few.

But this post is not going to be about my regrets; I will save those for another blog post (or maybe never). Instead, I want to come up with a list of things, on the fly, that I do not regret!

Here goes, in no particularly order (because, again, these are just popping into my head):

  • Moving to Pittsburgh. I have blogged about my love for the city (and I have complained about a number of things as well). But I am glad I live here and hope to for as long as possible. 
  • Having a child. I debated about this for years. And I almost did not have J. But I thank God and whoever and whatever else is responsible for that (including the hubby!).
  • Getting married. I am not going to pretend it has been easy. And there are times I just do not want to be married. But there is something about making a commitment and sharing the journey with someone else.
  • Loving and losing in love. Heartbreak sucks, but I think it is important to go through it. Whatever doesn't kill you...
  • Being close to my family. Sure we argue, and there are things we each do that bother each other, but I am so grateful for those people.
  • Going to Penn State. I loved my four years there. I am such a fan of the college, the sports, and, yes, even JoePa still (though not in the same way). I proudly wear my blue and white and Nittany "swoosh" in many forms and will probably until I can't anymore.
  • Being a sports fan. Sports are great. And when you are a Pittsburgh sports fan, well, even better. Enough said.
  • Trying out for things. When I was in college (and I blogged about this), I tried out for various musicals and choral groups as well as to be a Lion Ambassador and on the Morale Committee for Thon. I was completely unsuccessful in every venture, but I am still proud that I took the chance and kept taking chances.
  • Taking piano lessons. I wish I had listened to my mom (and probably dad) and practiced more because I am not good. But it is nice that since my kid is new to it, I am good enough that I can help her. Hopefully she will far surpass me.
  • Running in 5ks and 10ks. There is something about running (or, in my case, mostly jogging) in a race and having people cheer you on. For me, it is also about racing against myself.
  • Going back into teaching. I was away from teaching for about 13 years when I realized I missed it. I had such a wonderful (though at times stressful and even disappointing) four years going back into that. I know that I touched a few lives, and that means something.
  • Fighting for what I believe in. I need to do this more, but I rarely regret it when I do it, whether it is something important for my kid or as silly as spending 25 minutes on hold just to get a deserved discount.
  • Participating in and staying awake for Penn State's 48-hour Thon. I never pulled an all-nighter, and I have no plans to ever again stay up for even close to 20 hours, but I did it for the kids.
  • Going back to work. I am still struggling with this, but I think I made the right decision. It helps that the kid is at a place she really likes this summer.
  • Trying to be a good, moral, honest person. I turn my cheek more than I should, and I am fairly certain people want to hear less truth than what I give. But at the end of the day, even though I am not perfect, I know that the vast majority of the time, I am doing the best I can and setting a good example for my kid. 
  • Not caring about material things. This too is not a good thing all the time (one look at the carpet in my house and you will agree), but it goes back to deciding what is important in life. And wearing expensive clothes, living in a fancy house, going on vacation every year, and having the latest tech gadgets are not things I want/need to do. 
  • Being careful with money. I should be less frugal, for sure. But thanks to being the way I am, I can proudly say I have had credit card debt/paid interest only one time in my entire life, and that was for only one month, to pay for our honeymoon.
  • Writing a blog. It has been nice to write about a good bit of what is on mind, and to get feedback. Even better, I have made some blogging buddies/gotten to know people. So even if I don't get here as often as I would like, and even though not many people are waiting for my next post, it is all good. :-)

Here's hoping you have a bunch of things you are glad you did/are doing. And here's also hoping I can get the guts (as well as the time) to have my hair cut short(er). Keep thinking about it, but just can't bring myself to do it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pleasing no one

Before I launch into a woe-is-me tale, let me tell you how bad I feel about complaining, knowing how many good things I have in my life and how much worse off others are. But I feel the need to get this off my chest.

Unfortunately as much as I like my job, I find myself staying late pretty often. I had one blissful, leave-on-time week two weeks ago, which I thought was how it was going to be for the next month or so, but, well, um, no. We have deadlines. And, more than that for me/the bigger reason is I want my materials to be perfect or nearly so; I am unwilling to let pretty much anything slip past me. As a result, I find myself doing a lot of extra work/going the extra mile.

So after putting my time in (and often eating at my desk), I walk the 10 minutes to my car, sit at every light imaginable (seriously, can we just computerize those babies after 5:30 or 6?!), suffer through tunnel traffic, even after 6 p.m., and I am home late (duh). Some days I eat with my family; more often than not, I don't. But even when they wait for me, there are still dishes to do, counters to clean, floors to sweep, water bottles to fill, coffee and a lunch to prepare, and papers and bills to go through most nights. Some nights there is laundry to do. And when I am lucky enough, I get to spend 30 minutes with the kid before she takes a bath/gets ready for bed. Today was one of those nights, but the kid was cranky, and did not get her way, so she proceeded to cry that we never get to spend any time together anymore. She is not completely wrong. :-(

Unfortunately, my weekends have been pretty busy lately too. I have spent the past two at my mom's, which means I am behind on my laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping. Two weekends ago, after spending a day, a night, and another day at my mom's, I took J to her other grandmother's, 50 minutes away from my mom's and another 50 minutes away from our house. On my way back, I stopped at the Seventh Circle of Hell (aka Walmart), and I did not get home until 8:30 p.m., which meant I missed a surprise dinner the hubby had planned. But there was still plenty of time to heatedly discuss my not being home/taking too long.

This past weekend was good, full of family as I like it, but unfortunately even busier. After spending part of the morning and early afternoon at a park and a pizza place with the older brother's three kids and his wife (which was great), buying $$$$ shoes for J (she is flat-footed, so we have to go to a specialty store), I headed to my mom's to see two of my little brother's kids while that bro and one of the kids were at a Pirates game. We had a busy evening and I was tired from a long work week, so I was really hoping I would be able to talk lil bro out of going to Idlewild the next day. But no luck. Even though we had a great time, and I am glad I went (particularly since they live so far away and get back so infrequently), doing so meant spending $$$ on tickets, gas, and food. And, more significantly, getting home around 8, after a quick stop at the grocery store. After helping to get the kid ready for bed and organizing her stuff for day care for the week, I washed a load of clothes. I had hoped to dry them while I was doing some work I had brought home, but the hubby and I ended up talking for an hour (since I had not talked to him for more than five minutes since Friday evening), so neither of those things got done.

This work week has brought two late(r) nights (nothing past 6, but still), and an invitation from my older brother to watch a Pirates game with them Wednesday night since he is now in town. I had to say no for several reasons: 1. A few coworkers planned a happy hour gathering that evening; I had already told them I would have to see how much work I got through that day, but that I also might just want to go home to my family. 2. I just blew a lot of money this weekend on shoes for J and Idlewild; I don't really want to drop close to $100 for my family to go to the game. 3. I am tired! As much as I want to spend time with my bro and his family, whom I see about three times per year, I already saw the kids and the wife this past Saturday, and I will see everyone this coming Saturday (when I head to my mom's for a third weekend, which will end with another trip to my MIL's to drop the kid off again). It just becomes too much sometimes.

So there you have it. I even left out the part where my mom is mad that I did not let my kid stay at her house for a couple of nights because not only did the kid have a field trip today, but also either I would have to drive the 2-plus hours round trip to get her or I would have to be comfortable with my kid in the car with my mom for that distance, which I am not, and I am sorry. Oh, I guess I did not leave that out after all. But I will not get into my MIL issues, so there is that! :-)

In conclusion, I pretty much have pleased no one lately, I am tired, my house is a mess, and I cannot seem to remember to get everything at the grocery store when I find the time to get there.

But I do feel about 5 percent better having gotten this off my chest. Hopefully no one in my family will read this (they rarely read the blog), or you can bet there will be even less pleasing going on.

At least the Pirates are doing well.