Monday, February 05, 2007

Year in Review

Last week, on January 31, I celebrated my one-year anniversary working for The Man.

It’s hard to believe an entire year has flown since my first week on the job. When I was first offered a full-time job, I was delighted by the thought that I would no longer have to collect couch cushion coins in order to pay my rent anymore. My brain immediately began tallying all the loose ends I could finally take care of with a salary and some insurance, and you might remember I made a handy list to keep it all straight.

So what became of those goals?

Going to the eye doctor:

What I Said Then:
It would be nice to wear reading glasses whose lenses do not routinely throw themselves from the frames. One of the arms actually dangles when you pick the glasses up, and I’m pretty sure that you’re supposed to have two of those little padded feet on the bridge. I guess the actual prescription is sort of important, too, and fewer ocular migraines would really lower my Advil budget.

...And Now:
I did go to the eye doctor. I spent the majority of my FSA on an eye exam which told me that my eyes hadn’t changed much in the last five years, and that my prescription is roughly like looking through Saran wrap. But since the Saran wrap has a slight wrinkle on one side, I need reading/computer/driving-at-night-without-terrifying-my-sister-with-my-inability-to-read-giant-streetsigns glasses to keep the migraines away. After trying on every single pair of frames in the place (and then again, with my hair up) (and then again, squinting hard because my eyes were so dilated I asked a pillar if these frames made my face look fat), I spent the rest of my FSA on some wicked cute frames.

Getting high speed internet:

What I Said Then:
I am on the internet all the time. It’s a requirement of my business, sure, but let’s be honest. iTunes is the boss of me, and in a fair and just world, it should not take 55 minutes to download “Baba O’Riley.” My current dial-up dinosaur ties up my land line, and since my crappy cell phone plan only gives me about twelve and a half daytime minutes per month, my land line is how people usually try to get in touch with me. For the last month or so, all anyone ever gets from me is a busy signal. Several people have expressed concern that I might be unconscious on my kitchen floor with the half-dialed phone in one hand and a bloody spatula in the other, entangled in the cord of a rampantly misbehaving electric beater, while my cat licks the blood from my head wounds. This is not the case.

...And Now:
Buying a high speed internet connection was the very first thing I did when I got a job. It was not an easy process. But even though CoxCommunicationsCustomerService makes me want to watch John Grisham adaptations over and over again until I find a legitimate loophole in this country’s judicial approach to homicide, I am ultimately pleased with the experience. And by “pleased,” I mean “so addicted that my hands started to shake when I spent the weekend at a farm.” I read somewhere that the average American spends 14 hours online per week. In other news, I am Rhode Island.

Cell phones:

What I Said Then:
Twelve and half daytime minutes per month really doesn’t cut it. I need a new cell phone plan, desperately, and I prefer to find one that is giving away free phones. My current cell phone is from about 1998, and is the size of a toaster oven. It has also lost the ability to hold a charge, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to buy yet another battery for it. I’m not even sure they make batteries for this model anymore. I would have to find it in the antique district of upstate New York, and I’m not up for that kind of travel. The only redeeming feature of the phone is its army-style camouflage faceplate, which I like because it has more than a passing resemblance to a tank. Still, an amusing self-referential visual witticism does not a proper communications device make, so it’s time to move on.

...And Now:
The new cell phone was the second purchase I made. That was a romp. Fortunately, all activation issues aside, my cell phone is now satisfyingly trendy. What I find interesting is that I deliberately got a phone with the least number of bells and whistles available; it was free with my plan. I don’t need much from a phone...just the ability to speak to people in complete sentences (“so I walked over to him and—hello? You still with me? Okay—so I was trying to be all—can you hear me?—I was trying to be calm and collected and—what?—Calm. CALM! I WAS TRYING TO BE CALM!—hello?—HELLO?—I think I’m in a bad area—I’LL CALL YOU BACK—NO, I SAID—NO, DON’T CALL ME—I’M IN A BAD AREA! I’LL CALL YOU BACK!!”) and to have a ringer that has more options than “Soft,” “Loud,” and “Mexican Hat Dance.” But even my no-frills phone has a camera and flips and can connect to the internet, and I find myself playing Tetris in odd places. It’s very handy for when you find yourself waiting for someone in a public place and you want to look busy, like you’re dialing the longest phone number ever.

Going to the dentist:

What I Said Then:
I’m not a big fan of having strange men stick their giant, latex-clad hands into my mouth and root around with sharp objects, especially when their distinguishing facial features are conveniently obscured by a mask that prevents me from picking them out of a line-up later on, but actually paying for this “service?” That’s just wrong.

...And Now:
Memo to self: Call the dentist.

On health insurance:

What I Said Then:
On the outside chance that I really do have a violent confrontation with my kitchen appliances, it would be nice to know that I can see a medical professional. I haven’t had health insurance since the military finally realized that a 23-year old woman who had graduated from college and moved out of her parents’ house was not really considered a “dependent” anymore.

...And Now:
Not only do I finally have health insurance (holla!), I also market it every day for a living...which only serves to enlighten me about how crappy my insurance really is. Still, with my quickly ballooning family medical history, I feel much better knowing that I can afford to see someone who will fix me if I break.

On car insurance:

What I Said Then:
The VenJetta is a nasty beast of mythical proportions, and I would be insane not to insure myself against its sense of humor. You never know when it is going to intentionally plant itself in the middle of an intersection and cause an accident. My father still graciously has my back on this one, but it’s about time for me to take responsibility. (And with that sentence, I guarantee you I just made my parents’ hearts stop.)

...And Now:
While I quickly took over my own car insurance early in the year, and felt very responsible doing so, I think I really missed the mark with this goal. Trying to protect oneself from the VenJetta with car insurance is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I’ve spent over $2000 in assorted repairs on that vehicle in the last year, all money that was meant for a new car. In fact, just yesterday the VenJetta broke down (again) while I was sitting at a stoplight, minding my own business. I. Have. Had it. We’re done with this. I’m sick of pouring money into a contraption that is clearly only malfunctioning out of spite now. I’m tired of being afraid that I’m going to run out of warm air when I break down on the side of the road in single-digit-weather. This is the end of my battered-wife relationship with a car that has hated me from Day One. The VenJetta is going back into the shop early tomorrow morning, but only because it needs to be at least functioning if I’m going to get anything for a trade-in. On Friday, I’m car shopping. And I’m taking my dignity back.


At 7:19 PM , Anonymous CT Cousin said...

Mel!!! Welcome back missed you and your humor an awful lot!! It is the only thing that would brighten my day at work! Best of luck car shopping! Miss ya!

At 11:40 AM , Blogger Michael Healey said...

We'd need a mushroom cloud, or at least wattage on the order of the Bat Signal's, to brighten the mood at my office, but that doesn't mean this year-end wrap-up is any less funny.

Quoting oneself is a great way to pad the word count, too.

At 3:03 PM , Blogger Diane Kristine said...

Hey, your RSS feed wasn't working for me so I didn't know you were back. So, um, welcome back to your blog. Good to hear from you again.

At 12:01 AM , Anonymous Mom said...

I am doing a happy dance now that the VenJetta has been exorcised from our lives. Maybe it will find a happy home with Stephen King. By the way, I think you did see the dentist, because I distinctly remember paying the bill. Feel free to go again now that you have benefits!

At 8:00 PM , Blogger Beach Bum said...

BWAH! Classic comments from your mom :)


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