Money Talks

I must admit my head spins when talking in depth about money. This is something in the future (and even now) I will be grateful Brandon is skilled in managing. He seems to find just the right things to build equity in so he can turn the same amount of money into more cash on-hand and less paid to bills in just a matter of months. And with perfect credit and a great job, he’s done very well. Plus he makes smart choices. IPFW vs. Purdue means he’s free of any student loan debt. $80k house at auction vs. $130k sparkling and new. He owns a Civic so he can also own an S2000 and an older F150 for all the fun and utility and fuel economy anyone could hope for. And now that fuel prices are back down, he wants to invest in a hybrid car, since there is little chance of wait list & retail premium.
So far I’ve managed to wrap my brain around putting more money in my savings account than I spend on Starbucks and shoes (put together!). I hear all the time that money is the #1 reason why couples get divorced, and I remind myself to try to learn from his wisdom. I still have a little fear over what combined bank accounts might mean. I feel a twinge of guilt knowing my rather abysmal credit will probably blemish all of his hard work. Still, no one can yet predict what the next few years will bring for our hearts or checkbooks.
Which brings to mind alternate definitions for “stimulus package”… Oh lucky me.

Dawn

I had this dream the night before last, it has been bothering me ever since.

Brandon and I were at my grandparents old house in Atwood. He was sitting on the old couch facing the picture window the way it always used to & he was watching the news. Terrible things were happening in the world or maybe just around us. We were running out of food. He asked me to kill the cat.
(We have two cats now, that he’s had since before me. But his first cat favors him and the second prefers me. She’s an adorable calico with a shy, yet sweet & playful personality. I could go on about all the cute things she does, but I’ll just say that I’m quite taken with her.)
I accept that this must be done and take her into the kitchen an put a towel over her head and get down on the floor to break her neck. I feel and hear a sickening crunch and pull the towel back. I see blood on it. And then I hear a tiny meow. She’s not dead. I look at her face and see blood came out of her nose. I’m so scared. I pet her gently on her forehead to try to soothe her and she starts to purr. I scream as I bring her to Brandon, who tells me to get away. “You’re grossing me out,” he says. I hold her and cry.

And then I wake up. Sobbing & terrified, I reach down to feel her at the foot of the bed. She stretches out her chin for me to scratch under her neck. Brandon must have heard me crying because he wrapped his arms around me and asked me what was wrong. I sob through telling him what I just dreamed and he holds me and apologizes for these things so terrible, though I only imagined them. I get up to wipe my eyes and blow my nose and when I come back to bed, he’s got the cat curled up (on my heating pad) near my pillow so I lay down to pet her and he holds me, and somehow I fall back asleep.

But even as I type, every time I think about it, I start to cry. Why did my brain come up with this horrible idea? I don’t usually put much value into dream interpretations, but I do understand that there are things in our subconscious that seep out to be contemplated. The only thing I have figured might have played a small roll was hearing that Socks had died. Even to say that hearing that story would bring out all of this sounds utterly silly. Maybe not, though. I’m at a loss.
And I need a tissue.

tweet tweet

Last night I found myself in hot pursuit of major and minor celebrities on Twitter. Having relative success, I was reading some of the tweets by someone who called himself Luke Wilson. Silly read, like most random people who are limited by 140 characters. One particularly catching entry read about his famous-ness with a link to one of the infinite “news” sources we find on the web. Of course, this was not just an article about how talented (or not) Luke Wilson may be. It was about the celebrity of his Twitter profile. The debate over whether or not it was the REAL Luke. The verdict, yes. Because his tweets are so full of mundane things and droll commentary that only the real Luke Wilson would be so boring.
At this I had to lean back from my hunched over the keyboard, squinting at the monitor stance and think for a moment.
I had found someone going by John Mayer who had reverted to posting only nutritional and dietary information. Just when you thought his next post would be about the regularity of his bowel movements, he says something if not revealing, at least charming. Again, pause for contemplation.
So if “Britney Spears” tweets were all about the various colors, textures, and smells of her shit, would she still have 169,335 followers (and counting!)?
Trent Reznor is anti-everything, Shaq talks mostly to himself, Demi & Ashton talk mostly to each other… you wanna talk about twitter addicted.
I’m sure we’ve all realized by now that these online social networks have no actual point other than diversions from whatever is actually going on around us. And yet sometimes we really believe that without all of it, we’d lose touch with so many of the people we (actually) know who are a little farther than face to face conversation allows. Which brings me to my dad, who updates on so many online media I actually feel involved in his daily life. Brandon and I actually had to stop and figure out when I’d last seen his face (about three weeks ago already). I’m still not even sure if that’s right.
And I still feel compelled to write lengthy paragraphs here.

The way Brandon thinks (quoted with permission)

With the current economic situation and all of the talk about the bailout of the “Big Three” (even though Ford has not requested a bailout yet) there has been a resurgence of the “Buy American” discussion. I’ll start with a little bit of my own automotive history:

My first car was a 1974 Javelin. It was my Mom’s car a long time ago and was handed down to me when I got my license. Unfortunately, someone rear-ended that car and totaled it.

I then went through a few “throw-away” cars with a Ford Escort and Mercury Topaz. These cars were pure pieces of junk but they were free to me so I couldn’t complain.

The first car that I ever bought with my own money was a 1982 Ford Crown Victoria. This was a good car, all except the fact that it go a whopping 18 MPG on the highway. I soon learned that I had to do something different when I started going to college 30 miles away from home and commuting every day. Even when gas was “cheap” it added up for a poor college student like myself.

Right around this time frame was when I started getting into sports cars and I bought a 1988 Toyota Supra Turbo. It was a fun car until the turbo blew up.

Soon after I bought the Supra, I also sold the Crown Vic and bought a 1989 Toyota Celica. This car was in excellent condition and even though it had over 100,000 miles on it, I NEVER had a single thing go wrong with this car. Add to that the fact that it got 40 MPG highway and it quickly became my favorite commuter car.

I traded in the 1989 Celica for a 1991 Celica convertible after a couple of years. The convertible looked shinny, but I never should have made that deal. Anyways, after the Supra’s Turbo grenaded itself I found myself using the convertible as an autocross car. Another lesson learned when I destroyed the engine in that car and had nothing to drive.

This led me to a 2001 Toyota Corolla, and Excellent toaster oven. This car NEVER broke down and got 42 MPG on the highway and 36 MPG in the city. Once it turned 100,000 miles and the warranty expired I traded it in for a car that I still own, a 2003 Civic.

Along with the civic I also bought a 1987 CRX Si. This was a fun little car that wouldn’t quit. I autocrossed it for a few years and then decided it was time to step up to a real autocross car. So I bought my 2000 S2000.

The S2000 is a marvel of modern automotive technology, and I have yet to drive a car that surpasses this car as an all-out sports car (yes there are cars that are faster in a straight line, but straight lines are lame). Well I guess except for maybe newer S2000’s.

Anyways, I sold the CRX and decided that I had a need for a truck. Thus came the latest addition of a 1995 F-150 to my line-up. This is a good truck for the $2200 that I padi for it.

So there is a brief history of my automotive history. There are many other vehicles that I have minor experience with but those are the major ones that I have had long enough to get a feel for them.

So back to the “Buy American” discussion. Here it is: I feel that the people who buy American just so that they are buying American have contributed to the near collapse of the American automotive industry. Consider this… Back in the 1980’s when “The Big Three” were starting to get pressure from all directions… Unions, foreign competition, regulations, etc. They started to make some REALLY crappy cars (see Ford Escort and Mercury Topaz). Unfortunately, even though the product that they were making was far inferior to the foreign competition (see 1987 CRX Si), people kept buying them because they were “Buying American.” This led the American automotive industry to become complacent with making crappy cars.

Think of it this way. If a child acts up in school, and then gets rewarded for acting up in school, what incentive is there for that child to begin to change his or her behavior? It falls similarly true for a car company. If they let it slide and make crap, but people still buy the crap, why would they change?

Well this worked all well and good until momentum started shifting, and more people started buying the foreign cars. Then came a stroke of genius on the part of the foreign car makers. They began making cars in the United States. This started to erode some of the stigma that revolved around buying a “foreign” car. My Civic was made in Ohio. Thus, I “bought American” when I bought my Civic. Once this shift occurred, the momentum for the “foreign” cars was rushing ahead full steam. The only real holdouts were the people who were still determined to “Buy American.”

Now it is 2009 and we are in an economic “situation.” When GM and Chrysler begged for bailout money from the government people were rightfully annoyed at the prospect that we as taxpayers would have to pay for an industry that has been failing us for the last 30 years. If we wanted to give them our money, we would have bought more of their cars. But why don’t we buy their cars? Most people who won’t buy an “American” car now have been scorned in the past by some piece of junk car that they once owned. Perhaps if the shift towards the higher quality “foreign” cars were more abrupt as the free market should have allowed, “The Big Three” would have corrected their path in 1980 instead of making a feeble attempt right now. I fear it is too little too late. All because people ignored the basic principles of the free market and “Bought American.”

another new day

I took out the last four years of posts here… not exactly the “last” four years… the things I found started late ’03… a very very unraveled time in my life. The writing more or less stopped three years later. Which happens to be within months of when I met Brandon. And more or less found myself my very own version of ‘happily ever after.’ It still makes me cringe a little to say it. I never really seemed to believe in it much after that first heartbreak ages ago. But I’m so happy, we just lie in bed and make each other laugh sometimes. So we’ll see.

I wonder how often we’d find that we don’t recognize the person we used to be, if we really took the time to document our hearts? I laugh at the things I read, the brilliant phrases once used that I admire but just can’t relate to anymore. The ways I really thought love was supposed to be… the way I really hoped my life would turn out. I find myself at an age where many of those things will never be, but what I’ve found instead seems pretty great anyway.

You know, I was terrified of turning 25. Unwed, childless, no degree, too much debt. And at halfway to 26, I’m not sure what’s changed, other than perspective. I still get anxious about creeping closer to 30, but what’s a girl to do? I try to focus on all the wonderful gifts in my life, maybe not packaged the way I’d imagined. You’d think I’d be able to let go of all that by now. Maybe not ALL of it, just the silly pieces… the arbitrary time tables, the things I experienced when I was young & hoped to give to my someday-children. Some of those things just aren’t reasonable. So very serious now.

There are fond memories in the things deleted. I saved them somewhere if I ever need to look at how far I’ve come. Such a good girl now. Such a good woman.