Drunk With Vista Power

My dear hubby will tell you that he doesn’t get all that much say-so in his life.  At this stage of his life cycle, he is rather on the low end of the power totem-pole.  Somewhat tied into the demands of family life, church life, and running a homeless shelter, his days and hours are pretty much mapped out for him.  Get up, go to work, come home, do family things, write a blog, go to bed, and start all over again.  Even his weekend “down time” is usually filled with diaconate classes, yard work, his teaching and serving duties at our church, and often speaking at other churches.  There just isn’t a lot of wiggle room for R-T to pick and choose what he would like to do or not to do these days.

Until now.  From the first boot-up of his shiny new Windows Vista computer, R-T knew that something was afoot.  The first thing that popped up on the screen was a question – – aimed directly at the computer’s new owner….”Would you like to register your new computer?”  Wow…a choice!  Would he like to or wouldn’t he?  Being unused to such preferences, he had to think about it awhile.  Yes.  Yes he would like to register.

And the options didn’t stop there.  In a matter of only about ten minutes, R-T got to pick his screen resolution, his background, a screen saver, and even a virus protection plan. I could swear the normal slump in his posture became noticeably straighter. 

Before long, R-T realized that Vista was a system that didn’t do anything without asking first.  Every time he opened a new program, an unfamiliar website, or tried to complete a download, he would get a pop-up screen which said, “Windows needs your permission to continue.”  What???  Someone was asking him for PERMISSION before they do something??  I brought R-T a cold glass of water, noticing he looked pale and faint.

This is a man who struggles to get his rescue mission staff members to even call him before they leave work early or don’t come in at all.  A father of two adolescent know-it-alls who think it is fine to head down to the neighbor’s house without informing him of their whereabouts.  A husband of a wife who remembers to tell him she is taking her church youth group to the movies as the movie is about to begin.  R-T just doesn’t always get the respect and deference he needs or deserves.  Until now.

Microsoft is really missing their advertising boat.  You remember that guy from the Viagra commercials who was suddenly all confidence and smiles because of his new prescription?  Microsoft needs to snatch up that idea and run with it!    My hubby would make a terrific commercial…he would walk into the rescue mission, shoulders back, chest forward, a new spring in his step, and everyone from his staff to his host of volunteers would be trying to figure out what is different about him.  New haircut?  No.  Measurable weight loss?  No.  So what is it about their Operations Director that makes him look so confident…so in charge…so virile?? 

“Sir,” says the mission cook to R-T outside his office, “I think we have a mouse problem.  I’d like to set up some traps in the walk-in, and around the kitchen area.”

R-T looks at him for a moment, and rubs his chin thoughtfully.  “You have my permission to continue.”

Who needs Viagra when you have Vista?

Do All These People Have Windows Vista??? 
Think maybe all these people use Viagra Vista?

I Hear Welding Pays Decently, Kids

My loyal readers know I am big on confessions…so I have another one to make.  When I saw the video below, I seriously started wondering just how badly our boys need that college fund of theirs.  I know I should feel guilty for even having the thought flit across my little techie brain – – but flit it did – – more than once.  This thing just gives me goose bumps.  Literal goose bumps.  And to my credit, when I picture myself with one of these babies, I am always using it for good and not evil. 

You think the money I save driving my Th!nk-mobile might pony up enough cash for my new tabletop love affair ? ?  If not, then I’m afraid the boys are just gonna have to pick a trade. 

Robbing DirecTV to Pay Microsoft

No one has ever put me in charge of anything financially important.  The US Treasury has never called on me.  My tax preparation software always asks me to double check my facts.  I even lost the 7th grade student council election for treasurer.  That has always ticked me off.  The girl who won got ‘C’s on her math quizzes.  I know because I sat behind her and always had to switch papers with her.  But C-girl was put in charge of our entire class treasury – – the whole 42 bucks!  So what is it about me that screams “financially irresponsible”??

Well, here’s one thing.  As you know, I recently decided to trim our financial waistline by cutting out our monthly satellite TV subscription.  That will be a helpful addition of $75 to our monthly budget.  Sounds pretty financially responsible so far, doesn’t it?  Keep reading.

computeritis We’ve been having computeritis in our household.  That is a degenerative condition caused by too many people, and too few computers. Fortunately, it is a disease only rampant in affluent societies such as ours.  Third world countries have to deal with slightly less distressing illnesses, such as malaria and cholera.  But in our house, computeritis is going around like crazy.  The worst symptom of the illness seems to be uncontrolled computer pouncing.  Somebody working on his blog needs to pee?  Someone else will be in his computer chair before he even gets his fly unzipped.  And God help anyone who leaves the computer to check the mail.  Probably won’t see the sight of that screen again for two hours! 

The person who gets the worst case of the malady? Poor Resistant-Techie.  I think everyone figures that he is too technologically challenged to deserve more than a few minutes at a time at the computer.  But R-T is getting quite frustrated at constantly losing the musical computer chair game.  His blog is burgeoning, he is a master I-Tunes downloader now, and his surfing skills are way beyond average these days.  Plus, his birthday and Father’s Day are just around the corner, and I usually like to make sure he understands how appreciated he is this time of year.

So…I bought him a computer.  His very own super-deluxe, easy-to-operate, resistant-techie-friendly computer.  I saw in the sales flyer, I went to see it in the store, and I bought it.  And not one person who helped me locate it, load it in my cart, or check it out for me asked me if I could actually afford it.  I took that to mean that I was getting quite a bargain.  My credit card went through just fine – – another good sign.  The store was even on the way to where I needed to drop my son off for an appointment, so I was even saving gas!  And I would definitely get the new computer desk he now needed from the local thrift store, instead of one of those high dollar department stores.

So whether or not that beautiful new piece of hardware sitting in the bedroom far outweighs the yearly savings we will get from our dropped satellite subscription, it is all good right?  Hubby is happy.  I am happy.  The computer manufacturer and the retail store are really happy.  And C-girl?  Well, she is probably sitting in her stylishly decorated Manhattan penthouse, that she scrimped and saved and lived financially responsibly for.  But is she as happy as I am knowing that my wonderful, hardworking, incredibly selfless hubby never has to worry about getting up from the computer to get a Diet Coke ever again?  I seriously doubt it. 

You Try To Raise Them Right…

Uber looked over at me from his side of the bench.  “I feel kind of guilty.”  We were enjoying a few minutes of down time this morning in a picture-perfect courtyard outside a picture-perfect 19th century Episcopal cathedral.  There were cobblestone pathways below us and ancient oaks overhead.  The wind was stirring just enough breeze to remind you there was a touch of spring still in the air.  From our vantage point on the courtyard bench, it could have just as easily been a Saturday morning in 1890 as one today.  Except for the two of us.  Uber had his head buried in his Nintendo DS, and I was busily typing away on my portable keyboard.  

I looked up long enough from my work to see that hangdog look on his face, and I sighed.  Guilt is so annoyingly contagious.  “I suppose you think we should be sitting here enjoying the peace and tranquility, huh?” I asked him. 

“Well, doesn’t it just seem wrong to be looking down at our screens, when there is all this around us?”  Uber replied.

It’s my own fault.  I had the outlandish notion to raise my children with respect for creation, and acknowledgement of beauty.   I wanted them to literally learn to stop and smell the flowers, and even stare at them long enough to see the miraculous composition that went into each one.  I hoped they would rise above the materialistic, and learn to appreciate the abundance of natural treasure that freely surrounds us daily.  And I prayed they would never take any of these wonders for granted.

And wouldn’t you know, just as I was in the middle of writing an important paragraph, all that would come back to bite me in the butt.  Hmph….kids.

                                                                 allsouls

Just how good is it??

Have you seen those Yoplait ads, where the women are sitting around eating their incredibly tasty yogurt, and comparing the experience with the height of everything good they can imagine??  They say things like…”This is not-standing-in-line-at-the-ladies-room good”    or   “dating-a-masseuse good”….you know the ones, right?

I like yogurt fine, but I probably wouldn’t compare it to –say–being put in charge of the chocolate fountain at a wedding reception.  But hey…to each his own.  But even without yogurt, I feel pretty good today.  We are just one day away from the end of the homeschool year, and it has been an incredibly successful year, in my opinion.  Life is good today.  How good you ask?  Well, let me tell you…….

LIFE IS:

  • Seeing-your-oldest-son-finish-his-final-science-project good
  • Cooercing-your-hubby-into-doing-most-of-the-actual-work good
  • Having-the-whole-thing-actually-do-what-it-is-supposed-to good
  • Basking-in-David-Cook’s-Idol-win good
  • Knowing-that-tonight-is-the-two-hour-Grey’s-Anatomy-finale good
  • Hearing-your-youngest-son-express-his-desire-to-work-with-the-Red-Cross-so-he-can-help-people-when-he-grows-up good
  • Going-car-shopping-for-a-less-gas-guzzling-model good
  • Having-your-honey-bring-you-home-a-piece-of-decadent-double-chocolate-cake-just-because good
  • Getting-to-talk-to-your-long-distance-BFF-on-the-phone good
  • Downloading-a-super-cool-CD-for-just-99-cents-because-of-a-price-mistake good
  • Knowing-it-is-Memorial-Day-weekend-and-the-weather-forecast-is-terrific good

Yep, today is a very good day.  Here’s hoping yours is too….

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them…

Well, H-T would shoot daggers out his eyes at me if I actually referred to him as “little child,” but we’ll go with it for the sake of the reference.  He is safely back home, by the way, and had an incredibly cool time swimming with manatees and riding in speed boats and pulling up nets full of marine stuff to examine, and scuba diving in the crystal clear springs of Florida’s gulf coast.  He is stoked about all things marine-oriented at the moment! I will be sure to share some pics when his group sends them along…

Anyway, while H-T was gone, I had some time to think. (Who knew that having two children in the house was the sole reason my brain had been operating on 50% power for the last 12 years??)  I’ve been pondering different ways to trim our family budget.  The current inflation inflammation has hit our family hard.  We’ve never been very materialistic, and we’ve known that my hubby’s job as director of a homeless shelter was never going to get us on the Fortune 500 list, so we’ve always had to cut corners and bargain hunt.  But somehow, with gas and grocery prices skyrocketing, even our normal skimping isn’t quite cutting it.  So this weekend I took a long hard look at our income vs. expenses and tried to draw an even tighter line between needs and wants.

 j0431721We refuse to tighten our belts on certain things.  Our internet service, for example, is right up there with air and municipal water.  (And gee, I could dig my own well, if things got desperate).  My 6-week hair coloring is a no-brainer, too.  I’ve got enough premature gray along my temples to make hair plugs for Anderson Cooper, and I am a firm believer in the old adage “no wine before its time.”  I also refuse to cut back on extracurriculars for the boys.  (After all, I look at any hours they spend out of their computer chairs as an investment in chiropractic prevention!)  So what can we cut from the budget, then?

Then it suddenly came to me!  Why hadn’t I seen it before??  H-T had been leading me toward it, but I had been oblivious…till now.  H-T’s recent Hulu addiction should have opened my eyes to it, but I had completely ignored the signs.  Our satellite television subscription has become redundant.  We currently pay $75 per month for DirecTV service + Tivo, and for what??  So I can catch up with the Regis and Kelly host chat at lunch time?  And catch Grey’s and Lost on Thursday nights?  Surely that is not worth 75 big ones !? 

It started to occur to me that just about everything I watch on television is now available on the web…

  • Masterpiece Theatre
  • Medium
  • Private Practice
  • and yes, my beloved Grey’s and Lost and the R&K daily host chat!

Even reruns of my all-time faves like Gilmore Girls and Everwood will soon be available on the new streaming WB site.  The only big item missing from my DirecTV playbook will be my hubby’s Law and Order eps.  So far, I can’t find anywhere to view these online (but maybe in the near future?)  We’ve talked it over with the boys, and they seem game to go back to basic broadcast television with the good ‘ole rabbit ears.  Granted, they’ve never experienced the boob tube in their lifetime without the benefit of cable or satellite , but now seems like a good time to experience “new” things, right?

By dropping our satellite, I guess the Techie family will be either be trend-setting the future demise of television as we know it, or setting ourselves back a few decades.  Either way, it will be an adventure – – a money-saving adventure.  Stay tuned to see if and when the satellite tv jonesing commences!!

Double the Blogging Means Double The Fun

As some of you know, this blog is the result of a blog writing course I took called “Black Belt Blogging.”  It was an amazing experience, and I met some terrific new bloggers, many of whom are still on my blogroll!  The class was a transformational time for me, because it opened up my eyes to the inspirational world of blogging, which has let me have fun and express myself in ways I had forgotten I could. Black Belt Mama made for an incredible guide and teacher, because in my opinion, she has one of the most enjoyable blogs in the webiverse.  Please drop by and check out her site if you get a chance…but wait till you have a few minutes, because her blog will draw you in and pull you deep into the archives before you will be able to click away. 

That online blog writing course, however, is getting a new name, and a facelift, and is sporting a new free introductory blogging course in addition to the full subscription-based course that I took.  I highly recommend either to anyone who wants to start a blog or build a better one that will draw in readers.  I’ve agreed to contribute to the new blog promoting the course, and I hope you’ll stop by and check out the latest addition to my blogging resume. Who knew that I, the gal that barely knew anything about blogs six months ago, would now be blogging about blogging??!! 

Hey, I’ll use any excuse to stay tethered to my laptop a few more minutes…

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