Goodbye rabbit and good riddance.

“Well, we’ll not risk another frontal assault. That rabbit’s dynamite.” King Arthur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


When I heard the Year of the Rabbit was going to be a slow year, I immediately had my doubts. When have you ever heard of a rabbit being slow? And I was right..

As I type this I’m dealing with a terrible stomach bug that I’ve had since Thursday. I’ve restricted my diet in hopes that will help it out. So it’s saltines, apple sauce, rice, and jello for me. Yay..

In this Rabbit Year I’ve had the worst head cold of my life. I also had a wisdom tooth removal that didn’t heal well. Wonder why I stopped blogging about it? Because the next day (7?) when I returned to the oral surgeon, one area of my gum had swelled shut and had to be reopened so it could be rinsed out. It was a level 10 pain, a level of pain which I had previously reserved for broken bones and childbirth. I told what happened to another oral surgeon and watched him visibly wince. You know it’s bad when someone in the profession winces.

I’ve still been having sinus issues. Lately I’ve been having jaw pain on my left side by the jaw joint and left ear pain. I’ve been grinding due to stress and have some gum receding going on so quite a few of my teeth are extremely sensitive right now. Tomorrow morning I’m due to have 3 fillings done. I have no idea which teeth or where in my mouth. Three fillings is enough information for me. It won’t be fun. I always get completely exhausted later in the day. I don’t know if it’s from the anesthesia, the trauma, or both. Hopefully though it’s the last of the filling work that I need to have done. At this point I just want it over with. On Tuesday afternoon I go to see an ENT again about my facial pain for further examination. Since I always get sinus issues on my left side anyway, this will hopefully prove informative as to why and what I can do to prevent these issues.

I had a whole heck of a lot of stress due to my mother’s failing health. On my birthday she had a breakdown and had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks. They would only let her go to an assisted living facility. She’s that bad. Depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Which explains why she would frantically call my husband and I when she couldn’t get a hold of my brother who lived near her. And why every time it was an emergency that she needed help with NOW. And she calls someone who is a 10 hr drive away.. She couldn’t understand that I couldn’t really help. I can’t do anything in an emergency. Of course later it was discovered it wasn’t an emergency, it was her panicking. My brother was there most if not every day of the week tending to each ’emergency’ she had. Before the breakdown my mom went to the ER 3 or 4 times in 1 week. *sighs* Even now it’s difficult to describe the pressure my mother put on us and stressed us out. My health took a huge tumble and I started having nightly anxiety attacks myself. Fortunately that’s stopped and I’ve been attack free for weeks. *Knocks on wood.*

And that’s why this year’s resolution is simply more “Me” time. Last year I was sideswiped way too many times. Blows came at me like I was playing dodge ball and Fate always had possession of the ball. WHAM! Something unexpected happen. I try to plan for things to not get hit again. WHAM! Hit by something I didn’t expect. WHAM! Hit by something else I couldn’t have possibly expected. And so on. I started to wonder how long this was going to keep going on and how many times could I pull myself up again. I got a bit depressed myself because things kept happening pretty much every weekend, every other if I was lucky. I didn’t get much of a break to get any sort of breather. Eventually you get tired of playing and I wanted to just be left alone for a good while.

During this time I took a class in Fundamentals of Website Design. I got an A+ in the class. Don’t ask me how the heck that happened. I worked my butt off relearning HTML and learning CSS. I’m proud I did so very well, but I’m taking a breather from any other classes until my health finally resolves and I get some major recouping time.

So yeah it hasn’t been a good year no matter what calendar I look at. All I hoping for is that the Year of the Dragon holds some promise of things getting better. I would like to see things turning around in my life soon. I’m tired of being sick, tired of doctor appointments, tired of reworking my schedule to make up lost time from those appointments, tired of burning through the very little that’s left of my sick time since I ate so much of it up last year. I just want to be healthy, happy, and get my quiet life back. Though right now I’d take the healthy so I can finally start getting in some much needed exercise and get stuff done.

And for Valentine’s, I got…

     My car back from the repair shop aka Dealership.

     Backing up now. A little over a month or so, I took Haku in for an oil change. It turned out my belts were cracking. The oil change place did not have them in stock. So as soon as we could, Giuliano and I took the car to Pep Boys to get the belts replaced. Now the priced they quoted on the phone turned out to be only for 1 belt. The person on the phone didn’t realize there were 2. So they kept to the price and changed them.

     A week later I started having problems turning my steering wheel. Then as I turned the wheel too far in one way or another, the belt squealed really loudly.

     Haku went back to Pep Boys, but they were already busy with repairs. I mentioned the car was getting hard to turn and the person I talked to came out to look at the car. We turned the wheel as he watched. He said that when we turned it, the pump stopped working and the belts were getting frayed. Now Giuliano had checked the belts earlier, and one seemed loose. The guy pressed on it and said it was tight enough. The mechanic said the pump or the rack was failing. However they had to order a pump. As this was right before MLK, we worried who would be open. We decided to go to Subaru, the dealership, for the repair. If it was something slightly major, we wanted a professional taking care of this car.

     My car went to Subaru on Jan 17th, and the verdict was.. the belt was loose, the pump is fine.

     Now I had noticed a noise under the hood from time to time after the belts were replaced or so. But it went away, so I couldn’t take it anywhere since they wouldn’t hear it. The noise remained, even though I had hoped it was related to the previous car problems. Then it started to happen more often and get worse. Finally it didn’t really go away.

     So I convinced Giuliano to take Haku back to Subaru and an appointment was made on Jan 30th. At first it seemed that the crankshaft was bent. Then the news got worse.. much MUCH worse.

     The bolt that held the pulley for the crankshaft got loose. The key ripped off and the end of the crankshaft got chewed up. Unfortunately by the time I heard the noise the damage was already done. The whole engine block had to be replaced. The rest of the engine was in good shape and could be rebuilt into the block.

     Subaru lent me a loaner for free, a 2006 Subaru Legacy sedan (blue), complete with a sun roof and leather interior. I enjoyed driving it a couple of times, but I spent most of the time depressed about Haku.

     Finally today I got word that my car repairs were done. The final verdict, the block was replaced with a new one, the oil pump was built into the block and was stuck so it was replaced, and the timing belt was stuck so that had to be replaced too. The repair cost just over $5,100. 🙁

     Giuliano and I came to an agreement on the repairs. I, of course, cannot afford a repair that costly. So Giuliano paid for the repairs. In turn all of my tax refund will go to Giuliano to pay him back for repairs. I’ll also most likely have to divert money to him whenever possible to continue to pay off the repairs. (Depending on how much of a refund I get.)

     So instead of a nice dinner and a nice engagement ring for 5k, I got a new engine block, oil pump, and timing belt.

     *Sighs.*

     Well at least there aren’t many big repairs left now. The car should last till at least 160k or so now, I hope. Now I just have to get used to driving Haku after driving the loaner for 3 weeks.

Death to the Cursed Jade Car

Major car rant incoming!
To sum up, what I have replaced on my car to date:

Within the first 100 or so miles after buying: (Car was bought at 50k)

  • Radio replaced because back light did not work.
  • All 4 tires
  • Entire exhaust system minus catalytic converter

Within the first or second k or so miles of ownership:

  • All 4 struts
  • AC condenser
  • AC fan
  • AC converted to new system
  • AC refilled several times
  • Thermostat housing (?) – When I was loosing coolant on a daily basis. Literally had to refill coolant every evening. No pool of coolant seen on ground, ever.

Since my move to GA:

  • Ignition module
  • Both axles including CV joints/boots
  • PCV Valve
  • Timing belts and other belts replaced
  • Water pump
  • Front breaks
  • That metal round part that connects tire to car via nuts, 2 replaced along with said nuts

Total cost of all repairs: ~$3,300.00

What needs to be replaced to finally fix AC:

  • Compressor
  • Drier
  • Expansion valve

Cost for that repair ~$1,200.00

What I plan to do:
Buy a new (used) car. (Especially since I finished paying off the loan a couple of months ago.)

So until then I’m driving in 80-90 degree heat (plus humidity) in a car with NO ac. The people who checked my car’s AC drained it cause the AC was leaking (yet again), and so now I have none, zippo, nada, big goose egg AC in my car.

Have I been giving Giuliano nasty looks for picking out such a bad car, and saying it’d be okay? Have I been grumbling about when he said “We’ll repair the AC later.” before buying the car (which meant I’LL repair it later)? Definitely to both.

There’s nothing but pure hate for my car.

Bad luck comes in threes…

      I’ve heard that bad luck comes in threes. I just didn’t want this to be the third..
      Yesterday I made the final decision to put my first cat Muffin to sleep. (I got her 18 yrs ago when I was in the 4th grade.)
      For quite a while now Muffin had been getting thinner and thinner. She doesn’t eat much. Even then sometimes she throws it back up or has loose bowels.
      My parents are leaving, as I am, to my brother’s wedding this weekend. They’ll be gone 5 days. They worried that by the time they got back, Muffin would already be dead.
      So when my mom first told me all this on Sunday night, I had to decide if I wanted her buried or cremated. Among all my tears and sobs, I had to make a decision I have been dreading for years.
      When I was last at my parents house before my move to Georgia, I hugged Muffin and said my goodbyes then. I knew I would probably not see her again. I thought that would help heal my pain. But it didn’t. I wish I could be there now, today, when she finally gets put to sleep.
      I had decided it was best to put her to sleep and end her suffering. Muffin isn’t getting any better. Also we wouldn’t be wondering if she’d still be alive when my parents returned home.
      I also decided to have her cremated. I had promised Muffin that I would show her my first house years ago. I had to break my promise because by the time I was about to move into this house, Muffin had gone deaf and she was already starting to get thin then. At least up in CT she had a home she knew and a vet who knew her. I figured that was for the best for her. But if I had known it would be less than a yr later that this would happen.. I may have thought twice about it. So anyway I figure this way I can bring Muffin’s ashes to my house, give her a spot in it, and keep my promise to her.

      This whole thing has wracked my emotional well-being all week long, like giant waves crashing into a cliff. I’ve been sleeping poorly, and my work is starting to be affected by it all. I’m having a difficult time keeping tears at bay.
      The worst part is that Muffin has been holding on all this time. I wonder if maybe she thought I was coming back home. She always did follow me around the house and outside the house. If I was crying she came up and comforted me, even if we were outside. She was my friend when I had none. Maybe if I came home she would have gone in her sleep, content.
      Yesterday while talking with my mom and making the final decision, Muffin was sitting in my mom’s lap. She put the phone to her and Muffin was purring. That just killed me right then and there. She has no idea what’s coming.

      There’s so much more I can say about this and about her, but unfortunately I have to head to work now. I just wanted to type something up about her before I knew she would be gone forever.

More about my problems with AT&T Wireless

      I had called AT&T Wireless customer service several times. I was even passed around different people like a ball. Some of the people I talked to assured me that they could fix my problem. Whatever hope I had died when I found out time and time again that they couldn’t do anything for me.
      It turns out that when I moved from MA to GA, I moved to a different wireless region. When that happens, I have to be giving a new account number in the new region when I change my cell phone number. So that at least is why I got a new account number.
      Unfortunately I’ve been told several times by different representatives that they cannot link or join my new account to my old one. They can see my old account, see my old cell phone number, see when I bought the phone, but can’t link the two accounts.
      Now this whole account mess has made my life with them miserable. This is why:

  1. I had a past due on my old account when I changed my cell phone number.
    I pay my bills online. So when ATTWS gave me the new account number, I was no longer able to access my old one and pay my bill.
    Of course I assumed that the old balance would get forwarded to the new account number. It did not.
    So then I get an overdue notice in the mail. By that time, I didn’t have the extra money at the moment to pay the bill (thanks to car breaking down). So of course I get another notice saying to pay now or be sent to collections.
    I call ATTWS to pay my bill. I enter my old cell phone number in their automated system but it becomes soon apparent that someone else has that number now. So I have to hang up and call again entering my new cell phone number.
    Finally someone takes my call and I have to explain the whole mess that I’m in. I tell them that I’m trying to pay on a bill on my old account. I have to be on hold so that she can find it. Finally after a few minutes she sees it and I pay it.
    Now how pain in the butt was that to accomplish? If ATTWS didn’t give me a new account number, or forwarded the old amount, this would have been be so much easier.
  2. It messed up my ability to get an equipment upgrade discount.
    Now for some really stupid reason AT&T’s system bases your eligibility for that discount based off when your account started. It does NOT base it on when you actually bought the phone.
    So, of course, because I got a new account number, I was no longer eligible for the discount on a phone I bought in Jan 2003.
    This is probably the biggest problem that pisses me off the most.
    I scoff now when I hear that I can upgrade my phone every year. Nooo. It’s every year that you have the same account, NOT every year after you buy the phone. Of course they don’t tell you that.
    So now I have no choice but to buy a new phone at full retail value. Or get a discount by extending my contract 2 years. Fat chance of that happening.

      Basically when Giuliano and I called ATTWS CS they should have told us that changing our cell phone numbers from MA to GA would give us a new account number. They should have explained #2 listed above to us. If I had known this would happen, I would have paid my account, upgraded my phone, THEN change my cell phone number.

      So now I have a cell phone that drops calls every 10 minutes. Because the warranty is only for a year, ATTWS can’t do anything for me. I have to mail it back to Panasonic in order to get it fixed. Meanwhile I’m paying for minutes I cannot use.
      When I mentioned this to ATTWS CS, they said I can suspend my wireless account for around $10 (probably a month). However for each day my account is suspended, it adds a day to the end my contract. Four words, “I don’t think so.”

      So I did my research on cell phones. The cheapest phone ATTWS has, a Nokia costing 99.99, is basically a piece of crap according to reviews on Amazon. I’m not paying that much for a cell phone that won’t work well.
      I found a better cell phone, but for just about $30 more I can break my contract with ATTWS. (Something that I’m still tempted to do because I’m so pissed off over all this crap.)
      So I’m browsing eBay for good cell phones cheap. I’m looking for a seller that is willing to offer a return if something is wrong with the phone. It’s the only way I can actually have a cell phone that I can use.

      My contract with ATTWS ends this October. So I’m letting my contract run out at this time. However if I do get a good paying job soon, I’ll probably use one of my first paychecks to break my contract. I’d probably actually call customer service, tell them why I’m breaking my contract, and then do so.
      Of course I’ll have to wait now when I call ATTWS CS. They have to take a good minute to read all of the notes on my account. I bet.