Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Free?

There's a lot of talk about freedom in my neck of the woods these past few days, but I'm going to try to keep it simple and mention a couple of cool free things that have come my way the past couple of weeks.

There is of course the car, a great little Honda Civic that is serving us nicely around town. I say a prayer of thanks every time I get into it.

I've been offered another car for no charge: my sweetheart has a Saturn that is not highway-friendly and he has been meaning to take care of it for over a year now. He said I can take it whenever I want to. The caveat is that it is manual so I will have to learn to drive standard. My "bucket list" (I really dislike that term) includes this skill so I think it is time to cross something else from the "list of things to do before I die" (my preferred title).

Finally, I was pleased to receive an email from Ms Single Mama requesting my snail-mail address, as I had commented on her offer to give away a free copy of Lori Gottlieb's Marry Him, which arrived at my door early last week. I have had only a few minutes to browse the introduction and I was especially pleased to see that the copy was signed by the author! I think this would be a good book to take with me to the beach this weekend but I don't want my sweetheart to think I'm dropping hints.

The mere thought of having a wedding sends me into fits and rants but I'll save that for another post.

Seriously, Karissa

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here's a thought

If the city wants commuters to switch to public transit, how about giving the drivers a little training in customer service?

I have to say I will be skipping to my friends' house to pick up their car, because I can't stand the public abuse the bus drivers dish out. Not just to me, but to other parents as well. For some reason they really like to pick on the parents of small children.

In this city, anyone over the age of two is expected to pay $2.25 for bus fare, but nobody bothers to pay if their kid is four or five, and the bus drivers don't enforce it. Some of them, however will grumble every time we get on and don't pay, but if we offer money, they won't take it. They just like to grumble. There's one driver who asks the father of one of Bean's classmates every single time they get on the bus, "how old is he?" And every single time he replies, "he's four" and she starts grumbling. This same driver passed one of the mothers and her son while they were waiting at the stop, refusing to pick her up because the bus was almost full. She called to complain. That driver never causes me grief, but yesterday she sped past our stop and then hit the brakes violently when she realized her error. After we picked ourselves up we managed to jump off the bus before she sped off again.

The driver who gave me grief this morning has previously closed the back doors on me while I tried to jump off. Bean had already jumped out and had me by the hand, and he was screaming "Mommy!" while the door closed on my back pack, trapping me on the bus. The driver would have continued if the students on the bus hadn't started yelling at him. Bean was slightly traumatized by this.

This morning the same driver gave me hell because my bus pass wouldn't swipe, and he accused me of trying to use a 30-day pass for "the past six months." I told him a month ago I had a car, and offered to pay with my coffee money. When he refused it I had to wonder why he gave me any trouble at all. Why grumble about it? If it's bothersome, enforce the rules, or else shut the hell up!

Anyways now I am especially grateful for the use of a car for the next two and a half months. I have to think up something extra special for this family to show my gratitude.

Seriously, Karissa

Friday, June 11, 2010

Three goods and a bad

More like one fantastic, two greats and an ugh.

The Greats:

- The university has an agreement with Dell for computer purchases. I got the brainy idea to contact our sales rep and get quote on a Mini. He quoted me $297 taxes, etc in, and that includes a six-cell battery. I am going to wait until July to order it because when the HST comes into effect the university will apply an institutional rebate of 78% (meaning I will save another $15 on the price).

- HST rebate cheque direct deposited yesterday. $200 immediately goes on the debt, bringing it down to $8000 even, and the other bit I am saving for another pair of orthopedic shoes (bringing me up to three pairs: sandals, clogs, and then shoes!)

The Ugh:

- I signed up for this challenge and on the first day wrote a few hundred words, which I promptly lost when my Word decided to go bunk on me. I started again yesterday but it's just not flowing like it was the day before. Haven't lost all hope yet, but I'm clearly missing the goal here.

The Fantastic:

- A dear person has offered me the use of his car for the summer while he is away. "Gratitude" can not express the relief I feel at this kind offer.

Seriously, Karissa

Monday, June 07, 2010

Car-Free

A couple of observations on living car-free:

- Our day is extended by at least an hour because of waiting waiting waiting for the bus
- If we miss the "fast bus" (the express) we will almost certainly be late, because the "slow bus" comes by every forty minutes
- Unfortunately the "fast bus" runs only six times a day during the summer term
- Wearing a back pack is turning into a serious habit
- I'm convinced I have less cellulite on my hips and upper thighs, from walking across campus at least twice a day
- I have already put $200 towards the credit card debt only one week into the month
- It's not so bad, really (I tell myself this several times a day and almost believe it)

Seriously, Karissa