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What I Learned This Week – 3/19/17

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I am sure many of you were already aware of what I am about to tell you. But, this series of posts is called “What I Learned This Week”, not “What Everyone Else Already Knew.” So, ya.

I left work for my lunch break on Tuesday, something I don’t usually do. When I went to restart my car, it wouldn’t start. I’m a woman, so my only guess was my battery was dead, although it had started up just fine a half hour prior. And the dashboard lights were acting…unusual. They would all come on and sort of dance when I turned the key to try to start the car. Even where the “P” usually lights up to tell me it is in Park, it was cycling through and lighting up “R”, “N”, “D”, and “1” as well. It truly was the strangest thing.

I tried to jump it–nothing.

I have a cuter picture of it with a Christmas tree on top, but it would take me forever to find it.

I called in my husband, who while not a trained mechanic, totally understands engines and how to take them apart and put them back together. (I, on the other hand, believe they run on hamsters on wheels and fairy dust.) The crazy lights with the lack of success at jumping had him convinced it was an electrical problem.

During the next 24 hours, we proceeded to juggle the one remaining car and our two jobs and elementary school pick-up of M. I contemplated the hassle of having to pay a tow truck to tow my car the literally .3 miles my car died from the actual dealership. But as crappy as all that was, I have to admit the timing was actually fortunate because my husband was still home to assist me.

But while my husband was at work, I realized something…

In the old days when your battery died, it just died. Your headlights were weak, nothing would work. You could just jump it back to life and be on your way.

What I realized is that we don’t live in that time anymore. (Let me take this opportunity to reiterate that I don’t understand how a car engine totally works.) We live in a time where computers are ingrained into everything from our cars to our televisions to our electric toothbrushes. Computers are made by humans. Computers have unnecessary safety features. Computers fuck up.

I remembered that the second time my battery died in my beloved Aztek, I thought it had an electrical problem. Turned out that the battery got so low, that it tripped the anti-theft system. See what I mean about computers having unnecessary safety features?

So I hypothesized my battery had just gotten low enough that the car was like “Ya, we are done with this battery” without actually giving me a clear message that that was the case. Figuring that would be the least expensive option, I talked my husband into taking it to O’Reilly’s and getting it checked out. Sure enough, it was dead. After we spent some more time in a parking lot in a -10F degree windchill, it started right up.

The lesson this week kids is if your car is acting goofy and you have no idea how old your battery is, it may just be that you need a new battery. Your car is not your grandfather’s car. Unless, you know, it is. But if your family has children early, then chances are your grandfather’s car could be computerized as well. My family waits to have our offspring. My dad drove a Ford LTD from the 1970s. I am pretty sure it would have exhibited the standard blasĂ© of a car with a dead battery. 🙂

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

Blow the Fence Down

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We have had high winds this week. We never lost power. I considered that a win.

Until I let my dog out last night, and she didn’t return.

That is when I discovered we had a fence down.

What the wooden privacy fence used to look like.

After. Where, oh where, has my little dog gone? Oh where, oh where can she be?

Still, I am going to count us as pretty fortunate considering the damage others have sustained.

And I recovered my escaped dog within an hour, unharmed.

If you want to read more about how we had a (previously) fully-fenced backyard, but still cannot keep our dogs contained within it, you should check out this post: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2013/06/25/a-determined-dog-cannot-be-fenced/

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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When Spam Repeats on You

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No, not that kind of Spam. Although, that also tends to cause stomach upset on occasion.

Everyone thinks technology is so great.

Except when it isn’t.

I had a job at the end of 2014. It turned out the job was not a good fit (in every conceivable way) for me, but I tried to stick it out for a short while. During that time, I got an email to go to a website and look at documents regarding benefits. Benefits I wasn’t going to enroll in, but since I got a reminder in my personal email about every third day, I wanted to take care of it. But my password didn’t work. I tried to contact someone about it. They reset it. It still didn’t work. The emails, with a due date of 8/4/14, wouldn’t stop coming. Then I left that position to become a famous author (I am still working on the famous part).

I thought, “Well, at least those emails will stop coming.”

I was wrong.

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

Censored not to protect them, but to protect ME from getting sued by them.

They still come, every three days, over two years after I left that job. They still have a due date of 8/4/14. It is an international Fortune 500 company. You would think that they would purge that stuff every now and then. It makes them look very bad.

There is no way to opt out or stop the emails from coming, since I have no way to log into the site they come from. I am no longer an employee, so I wouldn’t have access to any inside way to stop it. And that didn’t work even when I was still an employee. So, I set them to go to my spam.

Which is probably bad for that company, which happens to be in retail, when they want to send advertising to actual customers, and I have marked them as spam. But I had to.

But it doesn’t stop there. When I periodically check my spam, there they are, all sitting there, mocking me. They remind me of a very unhappy, unhealthy, and chaotic time in my life that I would rather never think of ever again.

And they force me to think of it weekly, putting me back into that horrible state of mind, even if just for a few seconds. I should sue their asses for mental anguish. I have PTSD from that position. I wanted a clean break, and it was in every way EXCEPT FOR THE EMAILS!!!

It bothers me so much to still receive them that I am writing a whole damn blog post about it! Using up my personal space just to rant about their stupidity!

Interested in spending time in my headspace during that time? Check out this flashback post:

iNsTaBiLiTy: a poem

Eight days after that post, I put in my two weeks notice. And I really only gave them eight and a half more days; I could not even make it to a full ten.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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FOTO PHRIDAY: Shark Teeth

My son is getting his first big boy tooth.

The thing is, no baby teeth have fallen out yet. The adult tooth is actually coming in BEHIND his baby teeth.

I Googled it. It seems to be common. It is known as “shark teeth.”

Shark Boy Taylor Lautner

“Shark Boy” Taylor Lautner

This happens to 1 out of 10 children. Most of the time the big tooth will find a way to push the baby teeth out of the way and make room for itself. If not, it sounds like I still have plenty of time to send him to the dentist for extraction. Which is good, because we seem to not have dental insurance at present, although we are supposed to. *sigh*

My lil shark boy. (All )

My lil shark boy. (All shark teeth in the picture have been circled. )

 

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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The Fifteen-Year Quilt

Before I had a kid and before I devoted all my free time to creating physical manifestations of my colorful imagination on pulverized trees (i.e. books), I used to have this crazy thing called free time. Ya, it didn’t seem like it then, but I did. I tried my hand at many crafts during that time: wood-burning, cross-stitch, hot glue creations, latch-hook. One of my more daring projects was when I decided to make a quilt.

I had never made one before, didn’t know anyone who had, didn’t know how to do it. Like most everything, I researched the right way to do it…

…And then threw that out the window and made up my own way.

I started with some old clothes I cut up into squares. But I needed more material. So I went to JoAnn’s and bought all the cheap scraps of material I could find. I would probably pick different ones today. The overall theme of my quilt?

“Making a quilt.”

That’s it. There are tractors and stars and chefs and flowers, all sharing the same space. At some point, my future husband and I knew that we were going to buy a queen size bed. I decided to make it big enough to fit the bed.

What!?

I must have been crazy, you say?

Annnd you would be correct.

First time quilters out there–> do not make your first one queen-sized. (You will NEVER want to ever attempt another ever again.)

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

I don’t remember what kind of batting I bought, but I know it is fairly thick. Many of the top squares are flannel or sweatshirt material. I decided the back should be fleece. I know, not a traditional quilt backing. Just the other day I found the original receipt for it in the scraps. $72.23. $72.23! JUST FOR THE FLEECE ALONE! I could buy a quilt made by children in China cheaper. Oh, the date on the receipt? September 24,2002.

You see, I put all the layers together, basting and safety pinning them. Then I threw it in a garbage bag (to keep the dust off) and neglected it for 15 years. It had been so long since I worked on it that my husband said he didn’t even remember me starting it. That is, until I reminded him about when I had it spread out across our entire living room floor in my apartment and he walked on it, getting a needle in his foot in the process. That he does remember.

A close-up of the borders.

A close-up of the borders.

All those intervening years, I had anxiety over it. I kept adding it to To-Do lists, but it never got To-Done. We moved into our house. I designated a whole bedroom as a craft room with a vision of finishing that project. But we changed it into a railroad station bedroom for my son before the quilt was ever completed.

So, after finishing Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom, then getting through Christmas, New Year’s, and birthdays, I told myself I would not work on another book until I finished that quilt. It took about a month to quilt the layers together and sew the edge. Bear in mind, I own a sewing machine. but I have a mental block where I cannot for the life of me remember how to thread the blasted thing. So, a majority of the quilt was done by hand. Using the machine makes it a stressful experience, where as sewing it by hand is relaxing. A big bonus? You can binge Netflix while sewing, unlike when writing. Hello, Nikita & Birkhoff.

It is bigger than my couch!

It is bigger than my couch!

So, I did it. I finished it just this week. I’ve included pictures of the final product . I see why it took so long–>it is ginormous! I am afraid to wash it, because I am afraid it will fall apart. We slept under it. It may not have exactly the right dimensions, but it is totally warm.

I guess now I can add “quilter” to my resume of achievements. Not that I will be starting another one anytime soon.

Completed quilt on the bed.

Completed quilt on the bed.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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