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A Final Gift

Several people I "know" from internet postings have lost loved ones recently. In some cases, the loss was quite sudden and shocking. Each time I read the sad news, I was reminded again of my mother's death, and her careful, caring preparations for it.  She had a binder with all of her paperwork, kept next to her favorite chair. In it was a copy of her will. Copies of her various powers of attorney. Recent copies of household bills, so we'd have account numbers.  And a copy of the paperwork for her pre-paid funeral arrangements.  We were broken and dazed, in no shape to contemplate decision-making or financial constraints. And we didn't have to. Not only was nearly everything pre-paid, but we had the comfort of knowing the arrangements were what she genuinely wanted. It's not a pleasant topic, but since that experience I've shared with everyone of a certain age what a relief it was, in a terrible time, to have all those details already handled, in the way s
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Betrayed by Costco

Well, no. I just thought a little drama might keep me awake. I have been disappointed by Costco, however. Last winter we discovered their Kirkland Master Carve Ham . Hooray! Good ham. Good price. Sandwiches for days and days. Hurrah! Then, it disappeared. So after not finding it for a few months, I contacted Costco and discovered it's being discontinued in my region. Why, Costco, why? Good ham is hard to find in this area. It was one of the consolations of the lands of my misspent youth, but they seem unclear on the concept here. Maybe that was the problem: people here didn't realize what they had, couldn't appreciate it, didn't buy it, and now I'm paying the price for their foolishness. Costco didn't betray me: my neighbors did. Those jerks.  So, it's back to expensive import deli ham. No, Boar's Head is not substitute. Am I the only one married to a hardcore pouty foodie?

That last spoonful

Sarah at Digging Out of Debt, One Spoonful at a Time has closed down her blog.  I missed the original announcement, but was fortunate to find a cached copy of her last post. She shut it down for a good reason ( debt paid off, wonderful! ) which was due to a very sad reason -- an inheritance from a dear relative ( oh, no ). The internet's odd, isn't it? I only read her blog intermittently, clearly; I'm not sure I ever even commented on it; and of course, we never met --  but I still feel as if I knew her a little bit, like the neighbors at the opposite end of the block that you see once a month outside their houses, and wave to. She seemed like a nice person, and I will miss her a little bit, too. I hope she and her family remain well, and it's a long time before they have such sadness in their lives again. 


Well, Spouse and I have both received our jabs - two doses each of vaccine.  (Which one? Moderna, as it happens, though why everyone keeps asking I can't imagine. I had no idea and had to dig out the card to look it up. I takes what I can gets, y'all, particularly for a contagious life-threatening disease that I have risk factors for. I've watched loved ones die slowly, gasping for breath, and it's a horror.) Anyway .  We got our jabs and then things went wonky. (I know you see what I did there. Don't ask me if I'm proud of myself. Of course I'm not proud of myself.) Yup, we got jab-sick. But for much more than 48 hours. Five days in fact. Poor Spouse battled through the weekend and staggered into work on Monday and Tuesday, because the PTO benefit there is abysmal. As a contract worker with no looming deadline, I could take the time... unpaid. It's going to be a mouse-squeak of a payday for me. I mostly slept for th

Work News, Money News, New News is Good(ish) News

News: I have some. And here it is. Work: I have work. Not a job, unfortunately, but at least a six-month contract. Not at my usual rate, either, but it's more important at this point just to get something to keep the gap in my résumé from metastasizing into a black hole of nothingness. I may be mixing metaphors at this point, and also being a bit dramatic. Still: giant gaps make prospective employers twitch, we all know it's true. The challenges? Learning the new software, getting used to working again, not annoying anyone. I'm working from home at least until I'm fully vaccinated, so that should help. Money: A few good things here. One, our tenant renewed for another year. Two, we didn't owe any taxes, which was my great fear -- we actually have a large-ish return coming. And three, I'm re-refinancing our mortgage to take advantage of the low, low, Covid rates -- the new rate will be 1.5% lower, and even with the mortgage costs, we should still save over $50,00

Biannual Update/Whinge

 I've sorely neglected this blog. 2020 has been a dreadful year for me, for both the pandemic-related reasons and a host of personal ones. I lost friends and family this year, to COVID, cancer, and aneurysm. I was in an accident that caused a "cataclysmic" injury, according to my surgeon, who seems eternally concerned that I'm not taking things seriously enough, and still in physical therapy. I've been sufficiently depressed to be prescribed another anti-depressant. And of course, even if I could work right now, there are no jobs in my field .  Not quite accurate, that. More specifically, there are no jobs in just my field. Employers seem to think their strongest strategy for getting through this downturn is to combine barely-related specialties into a single position: one super-data goddess, please! Yes, you must be expert in servers, database administration, data conversion, data warehousing, and data visualization. Oh, and website design/maintenance, including

Antisocial Distancing

Beginning this morning, Spouse is working from home. Till further notice. In our tiny, teeny, ~600 square-foot dollhouse of an apartment. We have a bedroom just big enough for a bed, a wardrobe and a dresser (so long as the bed is pushed into a corner and Spouse is willing to clamber over me to get in and out of it). We have a kitchen just big enough for a small (5 feet high) refrigerator, a sink, an oven range, two small counters, and two shelving units (necessary because there are no upper cupboards). We have a bathroom just big enough for a sink, a toilet crammed under an eave, and a shower smaller than a phone booth (link for those who don't remember phone booths).  The only room of any size is our living room, which is full to bursting and has: a sofa two ottomans a television shelving my desk and chair and computer(s) Spouse's desk and chair and computer(s) three cats, one of whom is hiding behind the media server So yes, clearly, all the li