Thursday, September 29, 2016

The 365K Challenge, Or How I Plan to Write 125K Words in 3 Months

I’m a member of the fantastic 10 Minute Novelists group on Facebook. And this year, for the second year, they are hosting the 365K challenge. It’s simple: those of us who accept commit to writing daily. We keep a spreadsheet to tally our numbers publicly and have monthly chats to talk about writing and award prizes for those who meet goals.
Last year I did not win, although I wrote a lot more than I would’ve normally. This year, I joined, but there were different levels offered! I chose the “Hemingway” level, which means my goal was just 250,000 words for the year. That’s less than 1000 words per day, and it seemed manageable.
In doing the challenge, I learned some things about myself. I learned that when I don’t write first thing in the day, it’s very difficult to write later on. I learned that I need to carry a notebook with me in my purse to make writing daily easier: that way even if I’m away from my computer, I can still write. I hate writing by hand, but the point of this challenge is to develop the daily writing habit. I also learned that I don’t like to write on the weekends. Having a notebook to do handwriting in was great, because it allowed me to continue writing without having to use my computer, which is my work computer. Part of my resistance to weekend writing was, of course, resistance to doing anything that reminds me of work on the weekends!
It’s been a two steps forward, one step back kind of process, but I’m excited to say that I’m about to reach my halfway mark! Here, at the end of September. Three quarters of the way through the year.
I’ve done the math, and I CAN complete my goal. I just have to make the next three months nanowrimos. Nanowrimo is, of course, the abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, in November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. With 125,000 words left, if I write a 41,670 word novel each month (October, November, December), I’ll hit my goal. So hooray! I’m off to the races!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Ache of Loneliness

I watched my 5 year old stand on a playground full of kids. Her shoulders droop, her mouth is ajar, and her eyes darken with unshed tears. She is alone and lonely.

I know that feeling and I ache for her. I still get that way at times. Standing in a room where everyone got the secret dress code right but me, in a room filled with old friends catching up (none of them my old friends), or watching other preschool moms clump up naturally and chat while I stand apart.

I learned early on the best cure for loneliness was to reach out. Like a predator scanning a herd of prey animals, I seek out the easy target: another person standing alone, someone else wearing the wrong clothes, another mom with that uncertain smile. As an extrovert, I am the designated leader, the one obligated to make the first move of any relationship.

I saw other lonely girls on the playground. I beckoned my girl to me and pointed them out. See that girl, the one standing still, looking confused? What about that one, carefully selecting rocks from the mounds of leaf litter and acorns? They don’t have anyone to play with. Go up to them. Say, “Do you want to play?”

When I was single, I used to joke that my most successful pickup line was “Hello, my name is Elaine.” It’s true for friendships too. The best way to meet and befriend people, for any purpose, is a smile and a greeting. We are all afraid of each other, to a certain extent. It’s no surprise a lot of my closest friends are introverts: I’m the extrovert who pursues them!

I watch my little girl walk towards the other lonely girl, but trail off repeatedly.

“Mama, she can’t see me.”
“She doesn’t see me.”
“You have to get in front of her face, make eye contact. Or you can try the other girl.”

I watch my daughter follow the other girl, staying a safe 24 inches away, matching her speed so there’s no danger of overtaking her.

“Mommy, it didn’t work.”
“Why not?”
“She’s walking too fast.”

Y’all, the girl was walking at a pre-global-warming glacial pace! And then I got it. I remembered how hard it was for me before learning the power of “hello.” How hard it still is for me, even at age 41.

In college choir, during a break, when my appointed “big sister” was talking to old friends, I saw another freshman standing alone, another singer who had been abandoned by her “big sister.” I went over to her. My heart was in my throat and I felt obvious, targeted, the reject at the family reunion. She had on an interesting top. I complimented her, timidly. What if she rejected me too? Why would no one talk to me. She answered me back. We became best friends.
I sat on the couch at a child’s birthday party, watching family members and long time friends laugh and chat. The men, including my husband, all left the room. The women ignored me. They wouldn’t even make eye contact. I was thirsty, but didn’t know where the cups were. I smiled hopefully at any face that glanced my way and made stilted small talk with a family friend. I refused to go to any more birthday parties.
Another time, I stood at a women’s conference, awkwardly holding a plate of food and a drink. Everyone wore the right clothes except me. Everyone knew someone else. Everyone chatted and laughed animatedly, and I searched out the chairs for a place to sit. I sat alone. I talked with the women who sat near me, but one by one they came, sat, and left. I didn’t make any friends that night.
I joined a new church and looked over the other new members. Who seemed like a potential friend? I saw familiar faces at Sunday School pickup, and determinedly made conversation with women who intimidated me. I have a circle of friends at my church now.

Even as an extrovert, it’s not easy to make the first move in human connections. People see us extroverts as effortlessly relational, the center of attention, full of confidence, but that’s not true. Just because we crave human contact doesn’t mean we are good at it. Even at 41, I struggle with the “cold open” in a room filled with strangers. And at 5, so does my daughter.
When you stand alone in a crowd, it doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert: you feel marked off, targeted, disregarded. And the solution is always the same: reach out to someone.

I brought my daughter into my lap and told her what I do. I explained that when I’m in a room filled with people, I find the lonely person and go talk to her. I repeat the opening line: “Hello.” And then I did the hardest job of all motherhood: I send her out into the game. I refused to play with her. I kept my head down, forcing myself to let her sink or swim all on her own.

In the end, she and the rock collector played together, making a fairy house. I’m not sure if my daughter actually initiated, or if the rock collector simply noticed her presence. But they played together. Success.

There are a lot of things that make motherhood a tremendous challenge. But for me, empathy is the hardest aspect. Seeing my daughter facing the fears I still face today breaks my heart wide open. Seeing my daughter get frustrated over the same issues that frustrate me today makes me crazy with wanting to help her. Feeling her disappointment when she makes a bad choice cuts me like paper. At the end of the day, all I can do is tell her my stories and hope she learns more quickly than I did.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Political Ranting

I am registered Independent. I’ve never joined a political party and I don’t mean to. While I “lean” Democrat, I have voted for Republicans in the past. I might vote for Republicans in the future, if they ever gave me someone to vote for.

I don’t love Hillary Clinton. She is a corrupt politician. But I am voting for her because she is better than Trump by every single measure possible.

The Republican party has gotten more and more extreme, and the Tea Party has only made things worse. The “Christian” aspect of their pandering infuriates and dismays me. Exposing the blatant hypocrisy of Republicans who claim Christianity has been the greatest service of Trump’s candidacy.

I can understand people who vote for Trump because they appreciate his vulgar style of speaking. I can understand people who vote for Trump because they are repulsed by Clinton’s corruption. I can understand people who vote for Trump because they appreciate his blatant racism. What I can’t understand is people who vote for Trump because “his party represents Christian ideals.”

First of all, both and neither party represents Christian ideals. Both parties seek to serve the government and the people. Both parties seek to bring justice to the country. That is “Christian,” I suppose. Both parties also seek their own power, and will do what is politically expedient over what is ethically right. That is not Christian.

Second, even if you believe that Republicans think life is sacred, due to their posturing on abortion, Trump is hardly a guarantee of a pro-life Supreme Court justice or pro-life legislation. Trump has consistently shown that he has no principles he is willing to defend at all costs. In addition, he has consistently demonstrated that the Republican party machine cannot control him. So a vote for Trump in no way assures pro-life advancement.

Third, how can anyone even pretend that Trump is more “Christian” than Clinton? The man has obviously never read the Bible. He’s on his third marriage. Lies are his currency in trade. If you think we need a Christian in the White House, I have bad news for you: Trump ain’t it.

I’m not saying Clinton is or is not a Christian. But I am saying that by outward appearances, Clinton could be an elder or a deacon, and Trump could not.

So let’s be honest with each other. Stop pretending that God wants you to vote for Trump. God doesn’t endorse political candidates. If you want to vote against Clinton, then say so. If you want to vote for Trump because you believe an unqualified racist is better than a corrupt politician, then say so. But let’s not drag God’s name through the mud any more.

One final thought in this rant. I said I would vote Republican if they would give me a candidate. That’s true. If I saw a candidate who embraced science, who was pro-life and not just pro-birth, who offered fiscal responsibility without exceptions for morality meddling (ie, small government at all times instead of small government except when gays want to marry), who spoke respectfully and intelligently, I would consider voting for her. But so far, the Republicans aren’t interested in my vote. I hope that changes. I truly do.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top 6 Reasons to Buy an Electric Car

Last week, I bought a fully electric car, a 2013 Nissan Leaf. I had been researching it for over a year, and I knew this would work for me. Now with the gas crisis in full swing, I can't believe my good timing! So for Top 10 Tuesday, here are 5 reasons to buy an electric car!

6. You probably don't need to go more than 70 miles in one trip. Look, I know that range is the top concern for many people. And I understand that a lot of us go on road trips. But if your commute is less than 70 miles round trip, track your driving for a month and see if you really need a bigger range. The 2016 Leafs charge between 87 and 107 miles, depending on the model, so 70 is conservative. As far as road trips, well, my husband has a gas car. We also occasionally rent a minivan for long trips, as it's more comfortable for our family. If you track your mileage and look at the data, you'll probably be very surprised.

5. Privileged parking. This is a regional advantage, but if you live in a city, chances are that there's some nice up front parking for electric only cars. The reason is charging stations. North Hills Shopping Center here in Raleigh has crazy parking issues, but if I drive my car there I can park in a great spot, thanks to my car.

4. Less Maintenance. Electric cars don't have oil changes. And emissions testings are a breeze, since there are zero emissions. Yes, I do have to maintain my car: wheels, wiper blades, lights. But it's a lot cheaper and easier.

3. Go used for a great price. A brand new Leaf can set you back upwards of 30 grand. That's a lot of money! And there is some debate about whether the savings on gasoline and oil changes really makes up the price differential. However, I got my 2013 Leaf, with less than 20K miles on it, for just over $11,000. That seems pretty reasonable for me. Most used electric cars will have lower miles because they aren't driven on long road trips, so that's less wear and tear. You'll want to make sure you see how much capacity the battery has when fully charged, because that's what you're buying: the battery life. It took Carmax a couple of tries to get the Leaf fully charged for me, but when they did I was pleased with the range.

2. Peace of mind. This may seem counter intuitive, but I find that I am much more relaxed about my car's range now that it's electric. Before, when I got low on gas, I had to think about where I was, how much time I had, and how far I could go before running out! For example, if I needed gas, but was on my way to pick up my daughter, I had to consider whether I had enough gas to get to her, or if it would be better to be late picking her up because I had a full tank of gas. But now I know: as soon as I get home, my battery will be recharged. I don't worry about whether the gas station will be gross, or whether it's cold and rainy outside, or whether there will be a line at the pump, or whether I have enough cash in my account. It's all pre-determined, and that leads to peace of mind.

1. Zero emissions. My car doesn't give off any exhaust. Now, in reality, I have slightly increased my carbon footprint because I am charging my car at home, which increases my power consumption. But there are economies of scale to power production. And there's less exhaust in my garage, and in the places I go. It's nice to know that my car isn't polluting the air around me all the time.

I hope this is helpful!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Scandal of Grace

If you aren't even slightly offended by God's grace, then you might not be paying attention.
The thing about grace is that it's free. That's not fair. That's not even close to reasonable. It's not the act of a "just God." But it's the actions of the Christian God.

And I would argue that we see evidence of this insane love across religions and cultures. Mystics of multiple religions talk about this experience of divine love and connection. No mystic describes a meditation experience when she felt ashamed, guilty, or in need of repentance. No, it's all fires that don't burn, visions of glory, and exhortations to not fear.

This kind of grace is uncomfortable. When my daughter needs to apologize to me, I require eye contact. She has to look in my eyes as she apologizes, both because that's good manners and because I want her to see my love for her. I want her to see the forgiveness and love. And she can hardly do it. Imagine it for yourself. Imagine going to someone you have wronged, making eye contact, and saying "I'm sorry." Imagine that this person forgives you freely and instantly. Imagine that they don't want you to make amends. That they don't allow it. How would you feel? Would you shut your eyes from theirs?

When we accept forgiveness, we lose our power. Even asking for forgiveness is a loss of power. It's an bald acknowledgement that we did something wrong. We don't like to lose power! And so, when faced with divine grace on a global scale, we shut it away. We hemmed God's grace in with rules and conditions. We say things like "Love the sinner, hate the sin." We insist that while a gay person can be a member of our church, they can't be in leadership until they deal with their "sin issue." We condemn women who leave abusive marriages.

Because if we worship a God who will freely and fully forgive everyone for anything, we have lost power. We don't have power over others. We can't hold anything against anyone, because the very Creator of the Universe holds nothing against them.

Those who argue for "living moral lives" certainly have a valid and important point. But one thing I hear over and over is that we shouldn't "cheapen" grace. That if we pursue lives of sin and debauchery, we are making God's grace cheap.

God's grace is free. How can it get any cheaper than that?

Look, I get it, I totally get it. I was a good girl. I still am. I follow rules, obey traffic laws and social norms, do "Christian" things. So when I come to accept God's grace, when I ask forgiveness for my sins, I receive grace that's not "cheap." After all, I tried to do right. But what if some "bad" girl comes into my church and receives God's grace? What if she's still hungover from the night before, and fully intends to go out and sin some more that evening? Is she cheapening God's grace? Many would argue she is.
Look at it another way though. That bad girl is throwing herself on God's mercy. She has no expectations that she has earned grace. She knows full well that the only way she'll be found acceptable is by God's grace. The good girl (me) is offering something to God. "Look, God, I made these good deeds for you. But I also failed you. Can you forgive me of my sins? After all, I did a lot of things right..." Who is cheapening God's grace? Who is treating it like a transaction?

There are people in my life that I dislike. There are people I consider bad, or even evil. But if I refuse to acknowledge that they have the same access to grace that I do, I have cheapened God's great gift of grace.

Grace is deeply unfair. There is no justice in it. Thanks be to God.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Wisdom Path

I just finished reading Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery. And my initial reaction is, “Yep, she’s on the wisdom path for sure now.”

I discovered Momastery when everyone else did, back in 2011 or 2012 when her Don’t Carpe Diem post went viral. Battling post partum depression, her blog became part of my personal treatment plan. I realized that even moms who aren’t depressed occasionally get tired of their kids, and that’s OK. What a blessing!

In 2013, Melton visited my church in Raleigh, NC as the keynote speaker of our women’s conference. I was there, loving every minute, getting my book autographed, drinking her in. But although I enjoyed it, I knew that there was something missing. It was missing in her book too. Despite the torturous journey she had been on, she wasn’t part of the wisdom journey, at least not in her public speaking. At the time, she had just had her first separation from her husband.

Now, over three years later, she has a second book out, Love Warrior, and has announced that she is getting a divorce. That’s kind of a big deal, as the book focuses on her marriage. Lots of people are shaming her for this. But I don’t. I’ve never thought that divorce was one of those sins that cuts you off from God. I was raised to know that divorce is sometimes the healthiest and best thing for a marriage.

So I read the book and I loved it. And while I was reading it I recognized the same words and the same path that I’ve read in many other books. The wisdom journey.

Martha Beck describes the wisdom journey in Expecting Adam and Leaving the Saints. Cynthia Bourgeault describes the wisdom journey in Wisdom Jesus and The Wisdom Way of Knowing. Richard Rohr describes it in Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality. Robert Benson describes it in Between the Dreaming and the Coming True.

The wisdom path is the spiral path of paradox. Once on it, we recognize that we are in a spiral, constantly facing the same battles, the same fears, the same dragons in a cycle that never ends. The pathway to that path is the dragon’s mouth: the moment we decide to enter fully into our pain and weakness rather than walk away from it. Most of us are dragged into it, because after all, who in their right mind would walk into a dragon’s mouth? But we go there because the alternative is no longer acceptable. We can no longer ignore the dragon, we can no longer bypass the dragon, we can no longer pretend that the dragon belongs to someone else. And so we walk through the dragon into the spiral path of wisdom.

Wisdom is where all the paradoxes begin to make sense. We see that freedom can only exist within servanthood. We see that forgiveness can only be received and shared, not given. We see that there is no separation between self and other, even as we see the need to create healthy psychological boundaries to ensure that we can all be safe.

When someone is on the wisdom journey, they tell you about being in touch with the true self and source: whether that be God, the Holy Spirit, the divine indwelling, or the true ego-less self. They tell you about how the only way to resolve and survive your pain is to embrace and accept it. They tell you about how the same issues come back time and time again, and each time we battle the same concerns and emerge wiser and stronger because of it.

I will never be free from my childhood hurts and scars because they are my dragons. They were encoded in me at an early age, and so they are my defaults. But maybe they aren’t dragons? Maybe they look like dragons at the bottom of the spiral staircase, but at each level they look a little less scary. Maybe at the top of the staircase, when I meet God, the dragons will be little kitty cats that I cradle in my arms.

One final aspect of the wisdom journey: there is always the recognition of this paradox: I am whole and complete and I am lonely for the Divine and will never find relief from that loneliness on earth. We realize that we are a whole: we do not need to find what is missing from anyone or anything. And we also realize that until we make a divine connection between our whole self and the Divine, we will never be happy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Time to Forget

Every year on September 11, I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary. While normally I can focus on that in order to block out the national hand wringing over the September 11th terrorist attack in 2001, on anniversary years like this one, it’s a lot more difficult.

I find social media, and media coverage in general, somewhat unsufferable when it comes to 9/11/01. I was living in Alexandria, VA, at the time. I was working just 5 minutes away from the Pentagon. I mourned the loss of a coworker who was on the plane which hit the Pentagon. I watched the smoke rise and the planes land on that day. All of which to say, I experienced the fear and mourning in a very personal way.

But in the years to follow, we have boiled the experiences of that day into the motto “Never forget.” I’d like to suggest that we can do more. We can transform the pain of that day into something much greater than an exhortation to never forget.


What if #NeverForget became “No One Else”? 

Try this on for size. It’s been 15 years since 9/11/01.
It’s been 12 years since the Madrid 11-M train bombing.  
It’s been 9 years since the Yazidi communities bombings.
It’s been 2 years since 700 people were killed in Syria by ISIS.
It’s only been 10 months since the terror attacks in Paris
Instead of circling the wagons, what if we took action to save lives through humanitarian aid? We know that when we educate the women in a community and provide birth control, the entire community benefits. We know that extremism flourishes in poverty. We know that our policies in the last 15 years have not reduced terrorism. What could we do to bring safety to the rest of the world?

What if #NeverForget became “No More Oil”? 

Yesterday I bought a 100% electric car. It will run on energy generated here in my state, produced by American citizens. When we buy oil from the Middle East, we are sending money to repressive governments, some of which directly support terrorist organizations. We’ve had 15 years to turn off the gasoline nozzle. There have been electric cars around even longer than that. And yet there are only a handful of fully electric cars on the market today. Providing money to terrorists is only one of the reasons to wean ourselves off the non renewable resource of petroleum! What if 25% of Americans had bought electric cars after the BP oil spill? And what if 25% more had pledged to make their next car an electric car?

Look, I get it. I’ve been dreaming of an electric car for about 5 years now. Not everyone can just go out and buy an electric car. But what if just 25% of the new car purchases in 2016 were fully electric? What could that do to the market? California almost mandated zero emissions, but then backed down. What an opportunity, lost!

What if #NeverForget became “Stay Connected”? 

One of the fondest memories everyone shares is how, for a few shining days, New York City became a place where everybody knew your name. The world rallied around the USA in sympathy. We donated too much blood to be used. And now we are right back to where we were before the attacks, barring entry to refugees because of their religion, calling for the Presidential candidates to go to jail (both of them), seriously talking about building an actual physical wall on one of our international borders. Why did we lose our sense of connection? When did we decide that someone’s views on abortion or birth control or gay marriage were more important than the fact that each and every person is precious? 

It's time to embrace again our understanding that we are all in this together. It's easy to think that there are good guys and bad guys. But at the end of the day, there are just people, making decisions based on fear or love, or a mixture of both. We can increase the amount of love in the world. We can stay connected, even to the supporter of the "wrong" candidate. 

Let's Forget, and DO something instead!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The 8 Crappy (or OK?) Things In My Life

Hmm, I wrote this post without realizing I just blogged about half this crap 3 days ago. That's kind of how my life is going though...

It’s been a heck of a summer. Or maybe just a heck of a couple of months.
8. It all started with a series of severe thunderstorms back in July. At some point in the last half of the month, I went out to treat our hot tub, only to realize that it wasn’t running. I figured maybe the electrical had been zapped during one of the storms. After some discussions with Husband, we elected to drain it, then get it serviced and buy a new cover. But life got in the way, so while we did drain it before it became a massive mosquito breeding ground, that was as far as we got before things really got bad. But really, it’s kind of good, because we really needed a new cover, and it’s summer time so we’re not using it anyway.

7. Next up was our thermostat. We were watching TV and realized it was quite stuffy. When I checked the thermostat, the display was blank. Not surprising, as I think this may have been the original unit from the early 1970’s. I opened it up and slammed it shut again and everything came back on. This kept on happening until just last week, when, after dealing with other broken appliances (more to come), the thermostat went blank again and I couldn’t slam it back into working order. So we bought a shiny brand new thermostat which promptly took 24 hours to start working, making us wonder if we needed an AC check as well. On the plus side, now we have a cool programmable thermostat that we can control using a phone app.

6. My car finally got a death sentence. It’s been in and out of the shop for the last 2 years for various repairs, but this last issue finally became the ultimate straw. My mechanic told me not to repair it because I was considering buying a new car in the next year or so. I’ve hit 200,000 miles and it’s basically worthless, so I feel pretty good about replacing it. And now I can possibly get an electric car!

5. A couple of weeks ago, our refrigerator stopped cooling. It made a strange repetitive humming sound, kind of like a bird song that says “I’m breaking down … I’m breaking down … I’m breaking down.” And the temperature slowly went up. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late. The milk and eggs were ruined. The loads of pre cooked meals in the freezer were also mostly unsalvageable. I made a repair call, but in the interim it started working again! Turns out our compressor has a flat spot, but if you bump the fridge just right, it’ll start back up again. I started researching new options, but was interrupted by life again when …

4. Our microwave magnetron (we think) broke. The convection bake and roast still work, as do the clock and timer, but the microwave function no longer heats anything. Clearly, a new microwave is a priority, as our fridge is currently working and can, we suspect, be kept in running order with strategic kicking. So just 2 days ago we took advantage of a Labor Day sale and got a microwave. No convection oven this time. I hardly ever used it. So the good news there is that we saved a little money. Another good thing: when we got to HH Gregg, they told us that it’s very hard to find appliances in the color “bisque,” which is the color I used for all the appliances when we bought them 10 years ago. But then, in a stroke of luck, the very microwave we picked out ONLY came in bisque!

3. The very same night that our microwave broke, I dropped my phone, which happens all the time, but this time the screen shattered. It was so bad I could hardly read anything. I took it to the discount screen repair place and spent $110 on a new glass screen, but they didn’t connect the speaker correctly so I had to go back the next day. They were very nice about the whole thing, but if this happens again, I’ll spend the extra $40 and just go straight to the Apple store for a repair. Lesson learned!

2. Wait, wait, I’m not done yet! Back before all this got started, my beloved cat died, of old age. I’ve covered that in a prior post. But I have wondered if, in some strange way, my cat was holding our house together the way David Bowie was holding the universe together…

1. And worst of all, one of my dearest friends discovered she has breast cancer. She’s started chemo and things are going well, but, you know, wow. I don’t even know what to feel or think about this. I’m not worried about her life – I’m convinced she’s going to get through this and live on for many years. But I know there are … feelings there.

With the pass by of Hurricane Hermine, we’ve had three days of glorious autumn weather. And while I know next weekend we’ll be back in the 90’s with insane humidity, I’ve loved this little refreshment. I’m looking forward to going back into the yard and picking back up with the work I paused.

As an ESFP, I like to change things up. The last few mornings I’ve had my morning tea outside, watching the sun rise. And I’m going to spend the next two weeks getting up super early and watching the sun rise daily. It’s time to let go and move on. Despite everything, I feel good. I’m blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mercury in Retrograde, Or Other Suspicions

They say bad things happen in threes. They also say that bad things happen when Mercury’s in retrograde. I think Mercury has been in retrograde and I’m doubling up on the trios, because tonight I dropped my phone and shattered the screen!

It all started after a bad thunderstorm back in July. The hot tub stopped working. Not sure why. We drained it and cleaned it out, but haven’t put in the effort to refill it and get it serviced. And now it’s looking like we may put that off for a few more weeks, if not months. Because just two weeks ago, our refrigerator stopped working. Even worse, after everything had melted and gone bad, it started working again, leaving me with a nasty frozen mess in the bottom of the freezer! Apparently the compressor is dying and it’s cheaper to just buy a new one. Less than a week after the fridge drama, our thermostat broke. It had been randomly losing electricity, but this time we couldn’t resurrect it, so we had to replace it. It took over 24 hours for our AC to start working again, so I’m a little iffy about whether that’s going to need repair or not.

My car has been going downhill rapidly for a while now, so today I decided to go car shopping. It’s running, but it needs a pretty major repair and given that I’m almost at 200,000 miles, I’ve opted to let the car go. So that’s not exactly broken, but it isn’t running well.

And tonight I dropped my phone. I drop my phone all the time. Not even kidding. And I have a protective case and a screen protector. But this time the glass just shattered. It’s so bad I’m having trouble reading parts of the screen. And I’m thinking, how much will THIS set me back!

Do I have another bad luck event on the horizon? Or can we just let this all go and move along.

Maybe I can just blame Donald Trump. Yeah. Forget about retrograde Mercury – the REAL cause of all my troubles is the orange clown running for President!