Kaput

Remember exactly four months ago when I wrote Bricked, describing how my Blackberry bit the big one, for no apparent reason?  This Blackberry Bold 9780 has now frozen.  Worse than the Blackberry Curve 3G did.

At least that one had some minimal functionality.  For instance, the trackpad was the only thing that was frozen.  So, I could cleverly use the keys to navigate and at least make calls.  It held me until I could get the new one, just before Santa came.

No, this one is completely frozen, despite all attempts to troubleshoot.  Don’t bother with any technical suggestions.  Unfortunately, I am well acquainted with troubleshooting a Blackberry.  And I’ve successfully brought some back to life.  You know, after third party applications crashed it.  Reinstall the OS.  That’s what they make SIM cards for.  Things like that.

So, this is my second defective Blackberry in less than six months.  I’m fed up with it.  I was loyal to RIM and defended Blackberry when everyone bragged about their iPhones and Androids.  “Could you hand two hundred some emails a day?”  “My phone still has an external keyboard.  Awesome for texting.”

No, even the external keyboard is not worth my sanity like this.  I live and breathe through a smartphone.  I rely on it.  Yeah, it’s sad to say, but who doesn’t anymore?  (Answer is not required.  It was rhetorical.)  I’m lost.  Get Google Maps App up.  I need to check the spelling of a word, or get a synonym.  Get the Dictionary App up.  Text, email, WordPress, Pandora – all necessities in my life.

Do you know what’s even worse?  I had to argue with T-mobile to get them to drop their $20 processing fee.  C’mon people!  It’s not my fault!  Other people have their phones for over two years with minimal problem.  And I have mine for four months?  The one prior lasted me eight months!  This is ridiculous!

And when I expressed that I was wholly unsatisfied with the Blackberry models, and asked if I could have a comparable Android, they told me no.  No, I couldn’t.  “Unfortunately, under the manufacturers warranty, I can only replace your current phone with the same or a similar model.”  Are you freakin’ serious!?

I remember back in the day, about six years ago, my ex was having serious problems with his phone.  I mean, a phone he had to send back three times in a month.  And finally, they said, “Would you like to pick out a different phone?”  It clearly wasn’t working out, and has serious bugs.  And they allowed him to do so.

If I’m meeting problems with a phone every four months or so, don’t you think it would be reasonable to offer another phone?  Because you know what T-mobile is going to do with mine?  They are going to refurbish it, and resell it.  It’s not as if they are really losing any money.  Meanwhile, I’m stuck paying for a data plan I can’t even use.

I’m done with T-mobile.  I am really sick of it.  Their customer service is awful.  Their phones are defective.  They are completely unreasonable when it comes to customer requests.  They no longer offer a “bill me later” option when it comes to upgrades.  Yeah, they want it up front, whether you decide the phone isn’t for you in the time period you bought it or not.  And their phone selection for upgrades is far behind their competitors.

No wonder the owner is so eager to unload this on someone.  I would have to say that their business practices are shady at best.

So, for the next few days, I’m going to be roughing it with an old school Motorola.  Or some other flip phone of that nature.

I should see my phone probably sometime next week.  Until then, it’s probably likely that I’ll mostly be off the grid, save for a few moments when I can check my email.

Until then, everyone be well.  Know that I am fine.  I am just extremely perturbed.  And I’m likely cleaning house or reading a book.  At least I’ll have some time to update my journal.  Even when I have no music for my long commute.  Ugh.

I’m Game!

I didn’t realize that I had been tagged multiple times.  I should have!  As I was saying to Angel, events that occurred during my depressive fog kind of jumble together.  So, I’m still catching up.

So, I’ve arrived at Angel’s Questions.  Here’s the deal.  I’m not going to tag, because I’m sure everyone has been tagged by now.  If not, feel free to pick up the questions I leave at the bottom.

Angel’s Questions:

1) What is your favorite mini-series?

Hands down, “Pillars of the Earth”.  If you haven’t read the book, by Ken Follett that’s fine.  You can read the book before or after you watch the mini series.  In this case, it doesn’t really matter.

2) What song is currently stuck in your head?

Now that you mentioned it, one came to mind, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack.  It is also the “House” TV series theme song.

3) If you’re a girl, who would you pick as your girl-crush? Or if you’re a guy, who would you pick as your guy-crush? You have to choose at least one. Although I guess this question has a heteronormative bias. Whoops. Well, if you identify as homosexual, choose someone of the opposite sex as your answer. Okay, I’m amending this question to try to make it as bias-free as possible. Who’s one guy and one girl you have a crush on? You must choose one of each.

Literally, and this is going to sound hilarious.  I have a crush on my husband.  I’m not kidding.  Any and all males who bear a striking resemblance to my husband can be included.  That’s Robert Pattinson, (Edward Cullen from “Twilight”), and Tom Welling (Clark Kent from “Smallville”).

Women?  Kate Winslet!  She is gorgeous, no matter what color her hair.  She had the perfect figure.  She’s not rail thin, and she’s curvy.  She is a real woman.

4) If you got to choose any occupation you wanted and money wasn’t an issue, what would you choose and why?

Cheating.  My ideal occupations are teacher and writer.  Both of which I am doing, and both of which I am not making a whole lot of money at.

I love being an educator.  I really do.  It is fulfilling and thrilling.  It’s different each day.  I get to watch about 90 kids grow up each year.  And to think that I’m a part of their lives, even for that short time.  Some will be able to look back to that and think, “That’s Ms. Em.  She taught me music when I was a kid.”  I remember some of my favorite teachers, the ones who really touched my life.  And that’s what I try to do every day, is make a difference in a child’s life.

As a writer, I want to make a difference in the mental health community by lending my voice, support, and ideas.  I want this to become a serious public issue one day, not something that everyone just puts on the backburner, because they don’t want to talk about it.  Mental health is important.  Mental health disorders are real, and they have a real effect in people’s lives.  Untreated, there are serious consequences.  I want the world to see it, and know it.

5) When you’re using numbers to make a list, do you put periods, parentheses, or something else (if so, what), after the numbers? Why do you think you have this preference?

When I’m using numbers to make a list, there is the number, a period, and then a parentheses.  It would look like this 1.)  I have this preference because it looks neater and is easier on my eyes when I’m skimming the list.

6) What sorts of books do you like to read, and why?

I have favorite genres.  Personally, I love psychology books.  Psychology is my thing.  It could have been my career, but I decided education is where my heart was.  There’s a scientific way to figure out how anything works.  We can take all kinds of things apart and figure it out.  Even the human body.  But, we still haven’t figured out the brain.

That’s because the mechanisms that make the brain work aren’t physically apparent.  It’s a mysterious thing.  I want to know how people think.  I want to know why they are the way they are.  I want to be able to draw similarities and differences between them.  It’s just fascinating.  People are complex and fascinating creatures.

7) You’re driving for at least four hours by yourself. You don’t have a CD player, and you can’t hook up your mp3 player or smartphone to your stereo. How do you occupy yourself?

I’ve never thought about it.  I’ve never actually driven that kind of distance alone.  I guess I would have to start playing license plate games, or something. 

8) Do you believe in anything supernatural? If so, what?

Of course I believe in the supernatural!  I believe in ghosts, aliens, astrology, spirits, “God” (if you will), and all kinds of things.  Especially aliens and astrology.  Astrology is something that ties in closely with psychology when you look at it hard enough.

Anyone who is interested, I do natal astrology.  Mainly through the use of natal charts.  Go ahead, check out your chart and see how close to being correct it is.

9) Why do you visit my blog? (How’s that for a nosy self-promoting question? No, you don’t need to answer this second question. It’s rhetorical.)

I’ll answer it, because I don’t think it’s important information.  I visit your blog for a number of reasons.  At first, it was interesting to see how events unfold in your life.  It was kind of like piecing together a character in a story.  What has happened?  What will happen?  Things of that nature.

But, with every story, I find myself getting involved.  Except, with a character in a book, there is no way of two was communication.  However, here, you’re not a character.  You are a person.  And I have become involved with you as a person.

I want to know about your life.  I want to know how you are feeling and what you are doing.  I want to hear your ideas, your feelings, your thoughts, musings, whatever you have to give.  There is a certain investment there.  It’s interesting, and it’s a two way street.

10) If you have a smartphone, which 5 apps do you use the most? If you don’t have a smartphone, why not?

Pandora, WordPress, Twitter, Weather Channel, and my email client.  Does that count as an app?  If not, then I’d name Tumblr as my fifth.

11) What is the most important principle for you to live your life by, and why?

Altruism.  Pay it forward.  I want to be as selfless as I can possibly be without passing myself over completely.  I have needs and wants.  I cannot forget that.  However, I know that I want to balance that with my desire to provide support roles to others.

In my entire life, I’ve always played a support role.  In school, I played in the orchestra pit during musicals.  No one ever saw my face.  I sang alto and tenor, harmony parts that enrich the melody.  Most of the time, when I sang tenor parts, no one in the crowd realized that it was me, a woman, who carried that part.

Today, I’m the woman behind a brilliant man.  I’m the teacher that is building students up to be incredible people in their lives.  I’m the music director in productions.  No one ever sees my face.  That’s fine.  I was the one who designed and hand stapled all of those programs, without any billing in the liner notes.

I am the mother behind an incredible boy.  My son is truly something else.  I know all mothers say that, but he’s so curious.  He has limited communication skills.  But, he’s three.  He can do math.  He knows the Fibonacci sequence (to a certain point), without ever having been taught.  He knows his alphabet, and can sight read.  I didn’t teach him to sight read, but he just started doing it one day.  All of these things, besides counting the alphabet, were things I thought he was too young or impaired to do.  I guess I was wrong.

And I know that with some help, and a lot of love, encouragement, and work on both of our parts, he is going to be a brilliant man, maybe more so than his father one day.

All of that.  What about what I want?  I want a lot of things, believe me.  But, I’m willing to sacrifice all of the things that I want to see others succeed.

Optional Questions:

  1. What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of your gender are?
  2. You’re kicked out of the country you currently reside in.  Where do you go?
  3. What do you do with your change?
  4. What is your favorite beverage and why?
  5. What would be your ideal vacation spot?  Why?
  6. Do you have pictures around your house?  Of what?
  7. Do you think that if I were to walk into your house right now that I would have any idea about who lived there?  Why, or why not?
  8. Doomsday Scenario:  A solar storm knocks power grids out worldwide.  There is no way to know when power will be restored, or if it will.  What is the first thing you do, and why?
  9. What do you think is the meaning of life?
  10. Another Doomsday Scenario:  A few servers malfunctioned and the internet is going to be down indefinitely.  What do you see yourself doing to entertain yourself?
  11. Are you superstitious?  What are some of your superstitions?

Fast-Forward to Showtime!

It is a stressful and moderately sleepless period of time for me. It always is before a show.

My official job title is Music Director. Any and all things musically related go through me. This includes the winter and spring musicals. In fact, the explicit purpose of hiring me was 1.) To serve as a musical director for all productions and 2.) To fulfill a Keystone Stars Requirement.

Since, my duties have expanded exponentially. I am a substitute for general education. I have taken all things surrounding fine arts. I am partially a drama teacher. I do some office jockeying. And now, I’ve taken on graphic media and design.

I wish I could post my latest masterpiece, but I’d out myself so fast. It would be one thing if someone else stumbled upon this, as it is. There is still a considerable shadow of a doubt. There are dozens of programs like mine in the city. I could be anyone. Even as I watch Lulu and Em bounce off of each other, there is still no overlap. Not yet, and hopefully I won’t ever have to worry about it.

And this flash in my mind is among the scattered puzzle pieces that leaves a hint: At this point, so what if anyone made the connection? Puh. Yeah, I’m so sure that will be my thought while I’m watching my life go up in flames.

I spent my entire Monday night slaving over that program. I spent all of Tuesday fiddling with the format, stapling the prints, and making handwritten corrections on all 100 copies. Meanwhile, I was lugging a stapler the size of a tripod with me, and two hundred pages of paper.

My mind and my body should be spent.

My hands and my arms hurt like hell. I’m sucking down Ibuprofin and benzos. And yet, I find myself taking on more, and more projects!

In fact, in the last week, I’ve taken on more than I have in the last six months.

I interviewed for a second job on Friday. That went amazingly well. A new grocery store chain is opening up, and I wanted to try to get in on the ground floor. I have a cumulative three years in retail, two and a half in two competing grocery stores. I know my way up, down, and sideways – from registers to stock to pricing. I never thought it would amount to anything, because I’ve always been at the bottom of the food chain. But, this manager wanted me bad. “I could use a person with your experience and education.” Who knew?

I am now officially a Sunday School teacher again. My aunt is having surgery and passed the torch.

I’ve been marketing for a second-hand shop.

And today, I’ve taken on advising and web administration of a fledgling music site of a friend.

Hypomania? Again?

Atypical at best. Overly ambitious. Check. Social. Check. Sexual. Check. Sleepless? No. I was so done last night that I apologized to C.S. for checking out so early.

I can’t make heads or tails of it. And I’m anxious at the thought of exploiting this.

Also, I want to offer my profound apologies to anyone or anything I’ve neglected. And an explanation to go along with it.

In Bricked, I detailed how Tallulah, my Blackberry Curve 9300, took a dive. It required me to completely wipe the device and reinstall.

What a pain in my thumbs! I’ve had to reinstall all of my apps. Everything was going fine until I went to install the Gmail app. Apparently, they stopped offering it in October!

What’s the problem? – you may ask. Well, I lead a double-life of sorts. More like a triple-life really. I have two personal emails and a work email that have always been hooked up to Tallulah. Lulu was through the Gmail App. It made everything very accessible and clean. Now, I’ve had to hook Lulu up to Tallulah, and divert it to a different folder with different alerts. (I get a lot of emails in a day).

In hooking it up to my device, I have only received new emails since Sunday evening. I have a lot of loose ends. Apologies if you are currently under the rug. I’ll get it taken care of throughout the rest of the week.

Bricked

I decided on Friday that I was going to take a mini vacation from myself over the weekend.

And it was fantastic! I took my full doses of medicine and smiled. I grinned ear to ear at all of the things stretched to near transparency and the rest that’s hanging by a thread. I went grocery shopping at a local market, on a Saturday morning when it’s always packed with people, and loved every minute of it. I eagerly sampled all they had to offer and just enjoyed the flavor of something new.

Saturday was the white ponies, double rainbows, and gold dust dreams are made of. It was an easy day like Sundays are supposed to be. I was well-rested and in great company. We ended up spending about $150 on groceries that will take us through about 3 weeks. Conversations took place where not a single whisper of the lawsuit existed.

All of T.D.’s Christmas presents were purchased by C.S. and a good friend while T.D. and I napped. And later, we drove around aimlessly and found a 24 hour doughnut shop not too far from home. Any hour of the day, there are doughnuts to be purchased! How incredible is that?

Oh my, do I have a penchant for rambling!

Sunday. Well, I don’t actually believe that was the day God rested. If so, then wouldn’t that be the last day of the week in the Christian calendar?

Sidebar – A Little About Lulu v. Religion

I was brought up a good little, white, blonde, pink cheeked Episcopalian. Just like all of my Scottish ancestors before me. I was baptized, confirmed, and married in a small church in my hometown.

The church itself was built by the parishioners in 1930, with their bare hands. The diocese only lent them enough to build the church itself. Sometime in the 1940’s, the parishioners took it upon themselves to dig out an undercroft, so they may have a common area to meet. My grandfather and his brothers were among those men.

As you can see, my family is deeply rooted in the church. My aunts and mother ran the Sunday School. My grandfather was the financial officer and my grandmother headed every charity event. I was a dedicated member for my entire youth.

There are events surrounding my separation from the church that were beyond my control. I was invited back five years later. But after living in a Jewish community for awhile, my ideas of faith and religion had deviated from Episcopal practice.

Throughout the years, I have been actively involved charity events, but rarely spotted at mass. The church has been facing some serious problems, and I’ve wanted to help so much. But, C.S. isn’t much for wanting to get up early on Sunday morning.

End Sidebar

C.S. has been the one dragging me out of bed on Sunday morning! Somewhere along the way, he’s had a change of heart. I can really only speculate – but in any case, it’s been nice.

Sort of.

This is where the frenzy begins. T.D. went number 2 and we didn’t bring wipes. I was ripped away from a project I didn’t know when I’d get back to.

Then, in the afternoon. It happened.

I was toying with the new Blackberry App World. I should know better. I’ve bricked dozens of computers from downloading things. PC’s aren’t anything I can’t fix. I graduated with honors from a Microsoft Certified School. But, I don’t know much more about the workings of a Blackberry than what can be pulled from Crackberry.com’s forums.

Tallulah froze.

No, no, no, no, no, no, noooo!!!

Stupid 3rd party apps. I waited until we were finished with dinner and told C.S. that I had to get my phone fixed ASAP. And that required me to sit upstairs, hooked to a USB cable, silently loathing myself for the entire debacle.

I wasn’t up there ten minutes before C.S. yelled up. “What are you doing?” Even more irritating, I had to get up and go into the hallway to talk to him because he’s deaf in his left ear. “I’m trying to fix my phone.”. “Still?”..

Eye roll. Yes, still!

Another ten minutes goes by and I hear C.S. yelling at T.D. There were some crashes and T.D. crying. I flew down the stairs and demanded to know what was going on. My kid was acting up. Big surprise.

Everything was busy loading, so I stayed awhile to get them settled again. Then, I excused myself back to the Blackberry battle.

“Lulu, could you come help me?” Back down. Up and down, a dozen times in two hours for every little thing.

I helped C.S. get T.D. into the bathtub, and once again, I took my leave. Fifteen minutes elapsed and I heard a crash, bang, boom! T.D. was hysterically crying and C.S. was hollering. All while I’m jumping two and three stairs at a time screaming, “What happened?!”

I scooped my son, wet and naked, into my lap and hugged him. C.S. began explaining that he ran off and must have slipped. My boy was fine in a minute, jumped out of my lap, and ran off to do his thing.

Suddenly, I was filled with rage at the whole ridiculous, irritating, infuriating situation. I clenched my fists and ground my teeth. I grabbed the item closest to me (thankfully, a little plastic tube), and hurled it at the fireplace. C.S. stood behind me and asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Every muscle in my body tightened and locked. And I pounded my fist onto the floor. Repeatedly.

“What’s wrong?!”

I snarled and screamed, “I can’t even do anything without getting interrupted by every little thing!”

He responded, “I can’t handle T.D. by myself. I just can’t do it.”

I yelled at the top of my voice, “I do it, by myself, everyday! I was doing it all by myself the day after my surgery!!!”

He went silent. I guess walking a mile in my shoes caused a few blisters. And I was left in peace to finish the repairs.

I know. My fit was absolutely outrageous. Honestly, I couldn’t stop it. It all came on so fast! I rarely have tantrums like that, but I was so overwhelmed! It was such a strong I was obligated to act.

Am I alone in the indulgence of inappropriate expression?