I will be out of town this weekend with my hoooomies in Squaw Creek. I'll be back late Sunday night. Have fun kiddies, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.
Just about everyone I know my age has credit card debt.
After lots of time working in restaurants and freelancing, I ended up with a wallet full of cash rather than a bank account full of Real Numbers. I could try to find people to blame, but it is my Own Dumb Fault I ended up with so many things that aren't nearly worth the APR I've paid on them. So I did what any good American would do – I ignored the fact that I was in debt up to my eyeballs.
I made a choice when I started working in a Real Office again that I had to rein myself in. In the past year and a half, I've managed to wrangle my debt down from nearly $12,000 (not including student loans, thank you, those will get paid, like...whenever) to a projected...$1000 in May.
No, really. I swear.
Here's a few tips that I've picked up along the way to get yourself dug out from that hole, cos it starts to feel just as good to pay off debt as it does to buy things in the first place. (I am obviously a sick woman for thinking this, but stay with me here.)
Anything is negotiable. Anything. Wrestle these people to the ground if you must, but don't pay what they ask you the first time. These companies are like used-car salesmen on acid. If your debt is past due, It never hurts to ask if you can pay less if you pay it now, cos it's likely they've already written it off as a loss. For them, getting something is better than getting nothing.
Do what Jenny calls “setting yourself up for success”. I started with the smaller, more manageable debts and called each of them in turn as I saved up enough money. I would explain my situation over the phone, and ask if they would settle for half the amount owed. This would have been better done via certified letter, but I am not what is known as patience, so I cut straight through and called them.
The only people I liked were the ones who played "Songs in the Key of Life" on their hold music. I didn't even want to talk to them. "Put my back on hold! I love Stevie!"
Then there were the cards I owed on Big Time. I set up payment plans with them that were reasonable but steep – I had to pay them, though, and fast, to get my head above water. This last one I’m working on is an obscene amount for three months, but then I’ll have it over with.
There’s things you can do to save money, but sometimes you do have to splurge to remind yourself that you are young and fun and can travel places and see things. Even if it is in the off-season.
Keep an eye on your credit with reports from Equifax or Experian. Make sure these people are keeping up to date with accurate information on your creditors. It’s also a good feeling when you’ve knocked out a debt to look there to see it reflected on your credit report.
These are probably big-city-only tips: Take the bus instead of driving or taking cabs, or walk. If you need a shopping pick-me-up, go to a vintage shop or have a clothes swap with your friends. (We dump all our clothes in a pile, open a bottle of wine, and make everyone try on each other’s clothes.) Get NetFlix. Museums almost always have a half-price or free night. Support local movie theatres – they’re cheaper anyway. Make presents for your friends. Bring lunch. Bring a flask. (Not necessarily to the same place.) Go to the library for books, DVDs, and weird CD's.
The only way I’ve gotten through this is to NOT take it too seriously. When I pay off my last cards, I’m throwing myself a big old party, and all yall come on out.
While I've always loved to write, the inspiration for it comes and goes. Lately, I've been stuck with my fear that I am just not good enough to keep up with the books I read. Intimidated by that niggling feeling that I can't keep up with the bloggers I read. In a word, it's writer's block. Blech.
When I moved down from Portland to SF, I changed computers and lost a lot of data, and I thought several pieces of work were gone forever. I had Christian try to resuscitate my backup disk (ha!). No dice. Somehow, I found it on an old web server recently. So - voila, you have it, my revising of a work-in- progress called "Flight." I welcome your open criticism. I like the idea of using TypePad to
display it though, with photos et cetera, so I will publish it over here.
When I moved down from Portland to SF, I changed computers and lost a lot of data, and I thought several pieces of work were gone forever. I had Christian try to resuscitate my backup disk (ha!). No dice. Somehow, I found it on an old web server recently. So - voila, you have it, my revising of a work-in- progress called "Flight." I welcome your open criticism.
I like the idea of using TypePad to
display it though, with photos et cetera, so I will publish it over here.
My mom sent me this article illustrating a bit more behind the love story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, upon whom he based many female characters. Flighty and self-indulgent characters like Daisy Buchanan.
In case you're still here for The Saga of The Purse, a play in three acts, here is the latest and greatest. I swear, I'm gonna take photos of it in different places, like the gnome in Amelie.
Anyhow, FedEx delivered it....to the wrong building. SF kids, take note, never tell someone who is not from here the cross street, like, "We're at 4th and Brannan." Cos it makes no fucking sense to them.
So my package was gone, kaput, untraceable, delivered to some random person in some random apartment building. Signatures? We don't need those. The gal at FedEx was being particularly unhelpful, I was starting to lose it just a wee bit. And by a wee bit, I mean crying. Not cry-my-fake-eyelashes off crying, like at the party, but still. AUGH!
So with friends in tow, went back to the building. Yen ducked under the gate following a passing car, and snuck in the side, found my package and brought it out.
I'm burning some incense to the god of yuppie toys and also? burning the purse.
Here are the long-missing photos from New Year's...
someone found my bag! Some girl was all wasted, and they thought it was their drunk friend's bag! My stuff is coming home!
best. news. ever.
I'd like to thank all my friends, once again, who helped me with my stuff, who offered help, and who gave me hugs and beat up thug dudes. I love yall. Sniff.
My birthday is on Sunday. Yall come out to the Odeon on
Saturday night. We are also supposed to grill out Sunday afternoon, but Dolores Park is flooded, so we shall see. You could gift me a Kitchenaid mixer, or a
My birthday has always been a little weird. I spent one,
probably two, snowed in. I got a puppy who was my best friend for seven
years. I spent one drinking my first legal shots at a bar. I spent one when my baby
brother died. I
spent last year's trimming a Christmas tree. I spent one at Dot's in Portland, shooting pool
and talking smack with EJ. In other words, a solid mix of different activites,
a whirl of different emotions. (ETA: my mom wrote to remind me that I had a birthday where two boys attending crashed their car, and we ended up with the fire department, rescue squad, and some unhurt but embarrassed dudes.)
I like the concept of birthdays, but the reality often
seems a bit off-kilter. A day to celebrate the fact that you were born is a very
sweet notion. In actuality, like New Year's and weddings, it always seems to be
overhyped and someone ends up in tears or vomiting in the bathroom. Or both.
So damn the unrealistic expectations. I want to hear about your bestest birthday ever. How old were you? Did you play pin-the-tail-on-that-drunk-guy? Did you sing karaoke? Did you get Castle Greyskull? Did YOU get a pony?
After some careful introspection (read: an annoyingly bad photo of myself) I've decided to change my diet. Before you start - I know I am not fat, and perfect as I am, yadda yadda - this is different. This is about overall health. And maybe smaller pants, too, shut up.
I've started by giving up Diet Coke, which anyone who has ever worked with me before knows is both my vice and my saucy mistress. During software releases, I have been known to consume 4 a day. Calorie free and a quick perk-up? What could be better! However, anything with an ingredient list that long simply cannot be contributing to my health.
The second step is (ugh) giving up coffee. That means no more delicious pumpkin lattes. I'm replacing them with green tea, which no one will argue is a better option. Also? The caloric content of a latte is staggering.
<----no diet coke in here
Maile is on chocolate detail. She BOUGHT all that chocolate, so now she is in charge of not letting me sneak into the work pantry. A box of Whoppers is hard for me to ignore.
Lest you think this makes me staggeringly boring, there is no way on god's green earth I am giving up whiskey and white wine. I'm still human, and Southern to boot.
I did have one adventure last weekend.
For starters: the motorcycle. Really, it would make a good starter bike for a teenager, something to put in the garage and learn the ins and outs of the bike. Take it apart, put it back together with five less pieces, and probably faster than when you started.
Yen parked his bike out by the beach while we were in Europe. The battery is dead, but that never matters in our neighborhood, cos we have hills. The beach? Not so hilly.
So we drove out there (me muttering the whole time, I'm sick, I don't wanna drive all the way to the frickin' beach, yadda yadda) and he tried to get it started. The neighbors, all big burly dudes with pickups, looked on.
"What?" Ian said.
"I've done it plenty of times, it works just fine. Tie it, tow it, don't go faster than 15 miles per hour, jump start it and away you go."
"Hey babe, we've got rope in the car. Let's do it!"
"What?" I said.
Jason and Yen thought it was a great idea.
I thought it was the worst idea in the history of ideas. But I'm always game for trying something new, so I grudgingly agreed. Watching the boys (and believe you me, those two were BOYS, excited as could be) tie the rope up, I thought: "well, at least I'll be fine."
We actually _towed_ his bike with my little Ford for about 200 yards. Everyone on 48th ave was very helpful.
It did start, for a little while. Around the block. And then it died again.
Any advice on buying a new bike?
the same cold that I had through most of Europe is still keeping me down, and I even cancelled the barbeque I had planned for yesterday, and I love a barbeque. I can feel sorry for myself on my own site, right? ok.
have ever you sneezed on your own glasses, like I did? totally gross.
Updated to add: my mom wrote in to say she was sorry that I wasn't feeling well. Aw. Don't yall worry, she can tell you, sleeping for 10 and 12 hours at a stretch is my idea of heaven. I went to bed at 8:30 last night. In fact, it's the good part of being sick, along with soup (thanks, baby!) and bad TV.