2021-02-22 Ready, Set, Rewind… 🕹🕹🕹

Today I’m transitioning my moves to match more of how life was in 2006. That’s right, it’s really happening. It’s definitely a transition infused with little moments of awareness. I’m thinking about the behaviors and technologies I use on a regular basis. It’s one thing to say “I’m going to try this experiment for one week where I disconnect from life in 2021 and channel my inner 2006.” And another altogether to actually try and live that way. 

What I’m saying is that the word transition is completely appropriate. I don’t think I’ll even realize the full extent of what I’m proposing it until I belong to embrace the differences. 

There have already been at least 3 instances this morning that I deviated, both consciously and subconsciously from the “plan.” Typing this is on my phone is #4 and obvi a conscious decision. 

The others were as follows: 

#1. Checking my phone email and sleep stats as soon as I woke up. I did it automatically without thinking. I suppose this is because it’s such an ingrained habit that it’s just natural. After I did that, I realized it and decided I need to keep my phone elsewhere overnight. 

I mean, in reality, I still need my phone in case of emergencies just like in 2006. I’m just trying not to be tethered to it so much and am interested in what apps I miss. Which ones make my life easier versus just being a distraction or time suck. 

#2. I felt compelled to check my phone when a text came in and also felt it necessary to respond to said text right away. This one was more of a conscious choice. My wrist buzzed (my FitBit connects to my phone via Bluetooth) and when I saw who it was from I just could not help myself. It’s one of those things that could probably have waited. Not an emergency by any stretch, but ugh.. so easy to just respond and nip it right there. Done done. 

This is probably a fence and I’ll have to decide which side I’m on. Would it be better to resist checking the phone or responding immediately or would it just drive me bonkers wondering what it was. For sure knowing who it was from would be good. If it’s the kids or Jim, then I would react differently than other folks. Certainly this particular person doesn’t need an immediate reply. 

I suppose it also brings up the question of whether or not getting that notification on my wrist is good or not. I a way it allows me to leave the phone wherever and not tempted to be on it. In another way it’s just the “immediacy” I’d need, the interruption pulling me away from whatever it is I’m working on. Mite thinking about this will be needed. 

#3. While making breakfast this morning I asked Alexa what the news was. This is another one of those learned behaviors. In the morning when I’m alone in the kitchen cooking or doing dishes I ask Alexa to tell me what’s going on in the world. 

This is definitely not something that would happen in 2006. Alexa hadn’t been invented yet (I’m fairly certain). I would say that the tech in this case definitely improves my life by making it easier for me to get the news and add things to my grocery list. Aside from the speaker capabilities, those are the two uses I’ve found the most helpful. 

Which leads to this… #4.. Typing my thoughts on my phone. Also super convenient but not necessary. I could just as easily read a book or something while walking on the treadmill. But it’s gonna be tough to give up my best multitasking opportunity of the day. If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past thousand days blogging, it’s that it definitely adds value to my life. 

For THIS.. there might have to be an exception to the rules. But let’s be real. There are no rules. It’s my game and I’m making it up as I go along. 😜

That’s gonna be it today. We’ll see how the rest of this day goes. 

Cheers, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-14 What is Above and Below the Fold

You’ll never know because I’ll never remember.

When I wrote this morning.. I wrote for an hour. Something about a procrastinations and lists that somehow led to writing about sharing my poetry with Jim, even the ones covering topics that might not be to his taste or worse, make him uncomfortable. Blah-blah, woof-woof, and then I had to pee.

You know, walking and drinking water does that. I’ve learned a lesson about Evernote in offline mode losing content that’s in cache memory only. I click the little green check box in the upper left on the screen. That should commit my words to more permanent memory right? Like a little “save” button cuz what else would it be for? But no.

I return from the bathroom and open the app and it reloads. Like that elephant icon displayed for a hot second and that’s when I knew, part or all of my writing would be lost. It was. One damn character was saved. The “2” which was the first character of the title which I always start with the date. That’s it. 

I was so angry I immediately stopped the treadmill and left the room. I was soooooo angry. I was so angry I marched up the stairs and grabbed my laptop and searched for the open support ticket with the company. Opened 2+ weeks ago. No answer yet. I don’t expect to get one, but I can guaranteee they won’t get another freaking dime from me. I updated the comments on the ticket saying I wanted help getting my money back (fat chance, I know). Whatever. I was so angry. 

Then I exported all my notes to my laptop in HTML format. Then I created new folders in my google drive. Not wasting any time, you see, dumping that Elephant and switching to a new platform. 

This little incident was followed by my coffee maker refusing to make coffee. I found myself standing there beating on the side of my Kureg like we did with the wooden cabinet tube TV my parents had in our living room growing up when the signal was bad or the picture off. It worked then and it worked today. (It was either that or the fact that I unplugged it for about 20 seconds, effectively rebooting any internal electronics).

I had my coffee but was still angry. About losing my words, my hour, my temper. Can a person be angry about losing their temper. Ohhh the irony.

I promised my dad a visit today. I needed a shower. I didnt have more time to fuck around with stupid broken things. 

After getting out of the shower I got an email which, you guessed it, made me angry. Detecting a trend yet? 

I mean, there wasn’t anything in particular that should have made me angry about it, but it did. 

I replied, gathered my things which included a reheated coffee in a travel cup, and headed out the door. Running late. On the interstate I punched my steering wheel and then declared out loud to no one that “I’m the problem.”

*** The Fold ***

By now I’m sure I’ve lost 90% of people who started reading this post. But, hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. 

Then I arrive at my dads and spend the next hour trying to get him signed up for some online account where he can check the status of his railroad retirement and hopefully report that his wife has died so they can adjust their monthly benefit accordingly. 

Get this. He was calling them to see what he needed to do and the automated phone system included this ominous message about delinquency reporting such things and how it’s a federal crime to keep funds distributed erroneously after a persons death. He likely has already received some funds (for her) for December and is worried about the repercussions. 

So your spouse dies suddenly at the end of the month and now your facing federal charges for money deposited automatically to your bank account?! Really??!! Good grief. 

Try to do the right thing. I dare you! Try to go to the office (reportedly closed due to Covid). Try to call the main number and wait for an hour (plus)  on hold. Try to sign up for the online system which takes about a half hour and lots of technical hoops, just to find there is absolutely no option to help you update the records or anyway to send a medsage electronically or chat. Just try. 

Then fail and give up. That’s what he did and then so did I. I promised him I would try to call first thing tomorrow. I want to help. I’d like to provide him more support than just driving over a couple times a week to chat or have lunch. 

The whole thing cured my anger, though, momentarily. I left his house feeling sad and helpless.. all heat drained from my body.

Now I’m walking again. This post is just a test of the google docs/drive capabilities in offline mode. This post is just another hour of my life and another hour of words nobody cares about but me. This post is just more therapy for my anger and insanity. 

Is it working? Can’t tell yet. 

If I lose this post, though, I’ll probably have to murder someone. My sister maybe since she works at Google. 🤷‍♀️

I’m like 3 days until my period Starts so the anger and on-the-verge-of-tears emotion make sense. Wait a week, the dust will settle, it will all be normal again. 

The “Above and Below the Fold” title we’re for my two lists (lost this morning). Above was the list of things I choose to do instead of working on my MFA lecture, effectively procrastinating it until the bitter end. Below is the list of things I am not doing (don’t want to do) and would rather work on my lecture than do. You know, like cleaning toilets and talking to my ex-husband.

I remember using the word douche-y twice in my post this morning. Describing my ex and his behavior. I remember because I had to look up the proper spelling.

My lecture is 14 days away. Ugh!! Time to get to it I suppose. Wonder if I can work on it while walking?

I think that’s enough of a test. Time to go self medicate. Whatever that is today. 🤷‍♀️

Simmering Down, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-08-02 Web Form Hell

I want to write a little bit about my day today which includes a visit or my MD, a full set of work, and meeting up with my Texas peeps where they will meet Jin for the first time. Incidentally, the Meetup is also a housewarming party for our mutual friends Mike and Amy who just happen to be good friends with my Ex-husband and his girlfriend. That means Brian and Jessie will also get to meet Jim. How’s that for complex relationships?!

There’s like four blog posts of content in there but my brain is still in a knot over my day yesterday. I actually woke up at 5am this morning thinking about it and could not go back to sleep. I was at the gym by 6:30am, trying to make up for the set I missed yesterday because I was so busy.

I had an early work meeting on one of my new projects where I’m helping on a data conversion project acting as a project manager. Part of me is worried about being able to do a good job with it given all my other projects but after yesterday I’m more worried about working full time while I’m also in school full time. That leads me right to the main problem I had yesterday.

(Spoiler alert – long useless technology rant ahead)…

I’ll preface by saying that by the time I arrived at 8pm, I wanted to scream and punch a wall. I spent about 6 hours collectively over the past few days re-writing my lecture notes from Residency into readable 200-400 word summaries (summaries from 20 different lectures and workshops). Last time around, all we had to do was cut and paste our notes into a word document so this extra step took more time than anticipated.

This time, instead of a word document we were to use a web form. It only took a half an hour to fill out the form, rating each lecture and pasting in the content from each of my 20 documents. Easy right? Wrong. I submitted and the form issued me an error and would not post.

“My response was too long.. try shortening my answers.”. The first time I was like, ok, they must have a pretty tight control in this word count thing. I went back through and checked the word count on each one of my 20 documents and sure enough a few were too long. I took out sentences and paragraphs and made sure it was all good. Then I went back to the form and repeated the cutting and pasting. Hitting submit, I got the same error.

Then I thought it was perhaps the whole form that was too long and ended up cutting out some lectures I had summaries for. I got that down to a minimum and tried to submit again and was met by the same error. By this time I was irritated that this was happening and gritting my teeth about the waste of time.

I was also out of options for cutting content and still meeting the minimum requirements. I called our program coordinator and she was thankfully still at the office. Well, she was still at the office because she had been fielding calls from other students. This was my signal to relax as it wasn’t just me.

Her advice was to try another browser. Not only that but make sure I was signed into the platform with my student email and not my personal email. What? Ok whatever. I was using chrome and she suggested Safari. She also said people were having good luck with Firefox. “Good luck”? It should not take good luck to get a web form to post.

I never use Safari so none of my passwords were stored. And since I let chrome remember passwords I didn’t have mine to enter. The one I had written down did not work so I had to go through the whole password reset process which, at UNO, is NOT straight forward. There are multiple systems with multiple user id’s, and you have to navigate to yet another 3rd party system that controls user accounts and person authentication. Getting through all of that took like another half hour.

When I was finally back to the blank form in Safari, I started filling it out, for like the 3rd or 4th time. I got to the end and hit “submit”.. annnnnd was denied once again. Arrrrrrrg! 😡

Out of options, I cut and pasted the entire form into a gdoc and edited that so it had all my content and answers. I downloaded that document and attached it in an email and sent it off. That will have to do. Again, that was about 8pm and I was in full on super-rage mode. Was it the technology? Was I missing something with my entries? If something wasn’t valid with one of my entries, the form should point to the erroneous field. That’s web form 101. My gawd!

Anyway, my brain could not let it go and I had already wasted my whole afternoon on and evening. My work is backing up and now I only have two days in the work week to get 18 hours in to meet my minimum. That means I’ll probably have to sacrifice part of my Saturday to catch up. And that means there will probably be no Barcamp for me this year. We’ll see how today and tomorrow go.

Ok. Flame 🔥 off. It’s time for me to get my act together and kick this day’s ass now that I have successfully navigated my way out of Web Form Hell.

Doing the Thursday Thing,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-26 I Love (Hate) Technology

I stayed the night at Simon’s house last night. There’s a long overdue post waiting to be composed about that but today is not the day. Nope.

Today when I arrived home I was immediately aware of a situation that trumps most others. I did a nice slide all the way down to the bottom of the Maslow triangle. I walked in the door of my big beautiful house to find the temperature had dropped to a lovely 50 degrees.

If you are in Nebraska outside in January on a 50 degree day you might be wearing shorts and smiling as you shoot hoops or work on your car or do yard work. But 50 inside where you want to eat and sleep and write? No bueno.

I fed my cat.. filled my water bottle.. didn’t take off my coat.. and went upstairs to my bedroom to check the thermostat. Yup.. 50 degrees and words blinking on the display, “no wireless connection”. Wireless connection?!

I’ve been at my house 2 years now. It was move in ready. The most I’ve done with the place as far as maintenance on the inside goes was change batteries on the thermostat and smoke detectors and redo the caulking on my kids’ bathroom tub. Oh.. and I’ve been through a lot of grief with my internet, but all of that was Cox Communications and my equipment and not issues with the house or cable lines.

I had no idea my thermostat was wireless. I had never questioned the fact that I have two thermostats (and also lots of other EQ in my utility room in the basement which seems to serve no purpose). I know my thermostat in the dining room is not good for much. I can turn the house fan on and off but that’s about it. The thermostat in my bedroom controls the temp and whether it’s on heat or cool. So.. wireless? OK.

I go to the source and find two panels of interest (after checking the breaker panel). Sure enough there’s a panel for wiring which controls the HVAC stuff and next to it a smaller one with one button. It says “Honeywell Wireless Setup”. My first clue for the problem?.. the two LED lights have no light. “Power” is not lit and “connection” is not green or red or flashing the way the quick guide on the panel indicated they should be for different states of operation.

I press the one button to confirm nothing will happen and then I quickly dismiss that to look at the larger one with more buttons and lights and a display that has words. I messed with that for a while and at least confirmed I could test my furnace. Thankfully it turns on.. but just for like a 120 second test. Not long enough to budge the temp of the house even by 1 degree.

I kind of went into mini panic mode because I don’t know what to do. Even as my logical brain was cycling through things I can check, control, understand, and do, there was another voice in my head getting angry and upset and starting to worry about how much it’s going to cost to fix. That voice gets louder and starts saying things like “you shouldn’t have quit your job”.. “you shouldn’t be a homeowner if you can’t solve these kind of problems”.. and then the worst one. “You think you’re so smart, just fucking google it”.

All of that is not helpful and not going to put me in a position to solve the problem. I aways pat myself on the back for being able to focus and solve problems. It’s typically at work, but what makes this so different?!

After I pushed enough buttons and run up and down my stairs between the furnace room and my bedroom enough to call it a good workout, I had eliminated any possibility that I could “fix” anything just by normal system controls. Conveniently all the manuals for the devises were dusty and wrinkled still laying on the airflow intake part of the heater. And of course I had google at my fingertips.

Quite honestly every google search I tried pointed me back to the manuals which only had basic install and operating instructions and not really any troubleshooting help. So much for that voice that said “just fucking google it”.

Anyway. I had pinpointed my problem from the start of it, seeing that there was no power in the panel that operates the wireless. Oh, and I also spent an hour on the phone with Honeywell support (half of which was me on hold). They helped me confirm it was a physical problem and not a system problem.

Certain things led me to believe it was a power problem and not the board of the controller that was faulty, but that has yet to be confirmed. I don’t have anything to test electrical nor do I have a clue about that stuff. Hence the voice that says “You shouldn’t be a homeowner”.

I thought at the very least I would get a new panel and swap that out and see what happens, but that’s not the kind of thing you can just pop into Lowes and get. You have to order it or probably go through an HVAC place. I don’t want to have to pay for some company to come out and look at it. On my way home from Lowes I went to the gym to get steps and think and get some focus. That’s where I started typing this post (which I realize now has been one long run-on with no conclusion).

If nothing else, I got 20K steps and have formulated an OK plan of action. Right now though, I need to get some food.

Oh yeah.. I forgot why I started. It really floors me that my whole system is so weak. All this technology and there is no override so that I can run my heater without this wireless BS? That is such poor design, I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about it. Yes, I love technology, but do we have to be so dependent on it? I love technology but when it goes wrong, I just hate it. People want more wired (wireless) lives, and I just want to go back to a simple life sometimes. Perhaps I should also start a fire in my fireplace while I think some more and cook my dinner? 😉

Baby It’s Cold Inside,
~Miss SugarCookie