Monday, March 21, 2016

Look Out Wattpad Here I Am

I am quite proud of myself today.

Of late it is all I can do to actually accomplish anything I plan with respect to writing or art.  Real life has been most insistent about taking up all my time.  I hate it when that happens.

Yesterday was Ostara, and so I spent most of it relaxing.  Which in my case usually means staring into space and thinking (when I wasn't doing my daily chores or decorating eggs).  Finally it is spring - and such a very typical spring type spring with chilly nights, and warm days with cold breezes that won't quit.  The winter seems to have lasted much longer than I expected this year - both in the way of cold weather, and in misfortunes.  You know how all our misfortunes tend to crowd into the winter.

Life is taking one last whack at us, but I have confidence that we will surmount that issue pretty soon.  Medicare once again is trying to say the hubby may have spontaneously grown a new set of kidneys and no longer needs medical care.  I handed that over to the dialysis clinic - since they like to be paid I'm sure they will be right on top of that issue with minimal stressing out on our part.

I joined Wattpad quite some time ago, but only lately have found the time to do some reading there.  There are some talented folks on the site if you are looking for some free reading material.  I feel like it might be a good spot to post some of my work, especially short stuff that won't make a decent novel for Kindle.

So today I published the first part of a short mystery story set in New Mexico, Serendipity.  I hope if you are a Wattpad reader you will be good enough to give it five minutes or so of your time.  The plan (that sound you hear is the gods laughing) is to put up a few shorts, mainly things that are already finished, for the rest of March.

In April I am signed up for Camp Nanowrimo.  What I would like to do is drag out and blow the dust off one of the oldest Nanonovels and edit and publish as I go along on Wattpad.  I'm hoping the readership over there will give me the impetus to actually finish something publishable this year.  I'll take all the help I can get.

Speaking of which, I also started a project over at Feed the Muse.  I guess I don't get a space over there to describe what I am trying to raise that $2000 for in detail - so I'll do it here and then give you the link - in case you are feeling generous.  Actually, now that I think about it, it would be better to devote one entire blog post exclusively to that project so I really can go into detail, and then use it as a link. For now, I'll simply add the widget to the side of the blog here.

Blessedbe and thanks for hanging in with me

Summer Foovay

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It is Positively Spring

Yes - finally a positive post!  Spring has sprung not only outdoors in the real world, but in here on the computer, too!

Outdoors I had the great pleasure of seeing for the very first time a baby jackrabbit.  He flat puzzled me for a minute as he loped across a clear space in my view.  He was round, fuzzy, and cute like our Desert Cottontail Rabbits - but he had the enormous ears of my beloved Black Tailed Jackrabbit.  And in his case, enormous is the only word for it - I think they were longer than his entire body!  Cute and awkward as a colt - all legs and ears in the case of the baby jackrabbit.  What a treat to see him!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way.  Don't drink too much green beer.  I had a bit o' the irish in my coffee this morning and that will do for me.

Otherwise, I have spent the day working at the Mechanical Turk and loving every minute of it.

You may recall the whole long story of how HSBC suddenly "discovered" I was in Mexico when I gave them my new address this winter.  From there it was like dominoes falling as I closed that account, opened a new one here in NEW Mexico, and then Amazon refused to confirm it for Amazon Payments, although it is receiving my KDP and blog payments just fine.  I wrote and called and called and wrote and begged and screamed and used a lot of bad words but nothing worked and they would not confirm the bank account for Amazon payments.  This caused me to lose a dependable little stream of income - $20 or so a month.   Might not mean much to you - but to us it can be the difference between eating and going hungry.  Plus I can reach out and work no matter where I am and have the money appear in my bank account - which is perfect for our gypsy life style.

I tried to replace that with day labor jobs only to have my husband fall ill, the car break down, the RV develop problems - clearly this life needs me to glue it together.  On top of all that, I lost even the occasional jobs cleaning houses.

Desperate, I meditated and prayed and got the goofy idea to write Jeff Bezos.  At which time I did a little Googling and discovered that he tries to project an image of availability, and even has an email for anyone having an Amazon problem to contact him.  I admit, I figured it was bullshit, but what the hell, I tried everything else.

So I emailed Jeff Bezos asking for help in getting the Amazon payments account fixed.

And within a few days, one of his assistants wrote back that they had fixed it.  Done.  Poof. And apologized. I got email confirmation that day.  Worked my butt off at the Turk the next day and the day after, and then, holding my breath, I transferred the first money to the Amazon Payments account in three months - and from there to my no longer quite so new bank account.

And this morning - it showed up at my bank.  I've been doing a happy dance ever since - when I'm not nailed to the computer doing little Mechanical Turk jobs and thanking all the powers that be for the opportunity.

Thank you Mr. Jeff Bezos, and your assistant, and all the good folks who post jobs at the Mechanical Turk.


Summer Foovay

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A little advice and rant

Word of advice: NEVER EVER clean house for someone else. From that point on you are "the help" - someone of a lower social class. You will be expected to do the most awful work of toilets and ceilings and walls and do it for $2 or $3 an hour and be GRATEFUL for this PITTANCE - Pittance = PITY You see they are doing YOU a FAVOR to LET you scrub the toilet for money. So you know what? Let them scrub their own fucking toilet and I will go to Day Labor or a temp agency and get at least minimum wage without having to fight for it and be made to feel inferior.

Believe it or not, I clean house for older people because I feel I am doing them a SERVICE to do the harder things they are no longer able to do. I am actually HAPPY to feel that I am helping you out.  

However, I do expect to be paid a reasonable amount for the nasty, hard work I do. I certainly do not expect to have to BEG to be PAID ANYTHING and have you come off with an attitude.

I could be at home caring for my husbands needs, cleaning my own house, writing and drawing.

It may not pay as much as I would like and feel I deserve, but my writing and my art are more important to me than your toilet. If you are not going to pay me, then I may as well be home working on something I am passionate about and that I do believe in. If you are going to make me feel inferior and dirty and awful as I beg you to pay me - then you can do your own bathroom. And pay for my novels and coloring books and other products down the road.

Is it so much to ask?

All in all, it says something about how people in this society view "the help", doesn't it?  

Our society would like to put down anyone who isn't of a certain income level as worthless, lazy, somehow to blame for their income.  How many times do you have to read that people with Masters degrees and PhDs are working as janitors?  When will you learn that someone who is working as a maid is doing so in order to send their own children through college or so they can be home more to care for a disabled child or adult family member?  

I know, we have to be ugly to those "below us" to assure ourselves that we would never end up there because we are doing everything "right".  

Boy, are you in for a surprise.

Karma works.

And if your life is so sterile and without love that you have to judge and make yourself better by putting others down, then be aware that those of us you are putting down are shaking our heads at you in pity.  I'm sorry you are so cold that there is no family member or friend who wants to be with you, who will step up and gladly clean your home for you.  No one who loves you and cares about you enough to help you.

My husband is loved and will never have to worry about it as long as I am alive.  But, of course, that does mean that in order to be here for him I have to take lower paying, temporary, odd jobs.  But we have love and comfort and the assurance that we will be here for each other, always. Put me down all you want because I come home to a place full of warmth and happiness and love - leaving you there in your dirty, lonely home - however nice it may be.  

You have money and possessions.  I have love, passion, and self respect.  I made my decision about which I would rather have a long, long time ago.


Summer Foovay

Friday, March 11, 2016

Automobile Mechanics Rant

Automobile mechanics – do they actually do anything at all for all the money that they charge you?

I’ve about concluded they do not.  It is a total fraud.

This is a multi-part rant.  I may be snarky and use bad words.  You have been warned.

First, I am going to show my age a little bit here.  I am in my fifties, and I actually did learn to work on automobile motors a very long time ago – when they wore carburetors and before they had catalytic converters and computer chips. 

Back in the old days, even the best mechanics fixed cars based on experience, their best guess and trial and error.

Say you had a car that was overheating.  First you checked, and probably replaced, the hoses.  Not that?  Maybe it is the thermostat – so you replaced that.  Still no joy? Okay, maybe it was the water pump.  You replaced that.  No joy?  Maybe the radiator – so you replaced that.  (Although let me interject here for the picky detail purists, that the old fashioned radiators rarely had a problem other than a leak – which would have been obvious from the start)  Somewhere in that process you would replace the part on the cooling system that was causing the problem.  You might go in a different order, based on your experience, the make and model of the car, other hints like noises – or lack of noise, temperature and so on. 

Fast forward now to the current day.  Your car has a computer chip.  This clever little chip – using sensors – supposedly knows all about what is going on in your engine, and tells you if something is wrong AND what is wrong (if you can read the code which takes a gadget for the most part only owned by auto mechanics). 

So the car starts overheating.  Badly.

You take it to the mechanic.  He reads the code.  It says you have a malfunctioning O2 sensor.  He replaces it.  The car still over heats.  Now, golly, he is lost.  So he replaces;  the radiator, thermostat, water pump, and some of it he replaces twice – including the O2 sensor since the computer chip insists the sensor – the old one, and the new one, is faulty.

Old fool that I am, here is what my mind wants to ask. 

Could it be the computer chip is at fault? 

Meanwhile – did that brilliant new auto mechanic, on a new(er) car, with the computer chip – not just go through all the things the old fashioned mechanic would have done, and replaced some of them twice (because the computer chip said they were bad even after he replaced them the first time), to solve the same problem?  If so – what is the point of the fucking computer chip?

I could have sat under a shade tree and gone through the same fucking process, cost myself a whole lot less than $997, gotten the correct parts for the job the first time, and done it over a few days instead of six weeks.

The second part of this rant is somewhat more personal – but I bet it happens to an awful lot of people. 

I am female.  I am about five feet tall.  Frequently I am blond.  And I am now in my fifties.  Each of those factors adds up in a mechanics mind to give him a read out of “complete utter idiot who barely knows where to put the key in to start the car”.

Auto mechanics, from the day I turned sixteen to right now have added those factors up to the same total. (Everyone seems to assume a woman over 40 is an idiot - so that's an added factor now)

Except for those few mechanics who actually taught me to work on my own car, that is, due to the fact the I happen to LIKE cars – especially FAST cars.  Give me an old muscle car and I will keep that muthafucka running - don’t need a dick to do that thank you.

However, I am smart enough to know that I do not know certain things.  I do not have the tools to work on some things.  You know – like new cars with computer chips, fuel injectors, and front wheel drive (in case you aren’t a car person – this means that to me they turned the whole damn engine sideways).  So I tend to think it is smarter of me to take the car to an auto mechanic who does have the tools and the training to work on them.

But this has led to more than one incident like this one:

Me:  The transmission is slipping.  It only seems to do it when the car is cold.  Can you check on it for me, please, when you are finished with the oil change?

Mechanic:  (patting me on the head and shaking his head at the silly little woman) I’ve never heard of such a thing.  That’s silly.  That cannot happen.  If the transmission is slipping – which I doubt – it would do it all the time.

Three months later, a second oil change (at the time I was touring and driving the car 100s of miles every month). 

The mechanic calls me – incensed.

Mechanic:  Why didn’t you tell me the transmission was acting up?  It dropped reverse while it was on the lift, and now we can’t even get it out of the garage.  It had to have been slipping for some time before this happened.  I can’t believe you didn’t notice!  You are so stupid!

Me:  (Wordless.  Didn’t I tell this guy three months ago the transmission was slipping?)

Fast forward to the present day – with fancy cars with computer chips that tell you when something is wrong.

Me:  The engine light is on.

Mechanic:  It is just an O2 sensor, don’t worry about it.  You can go right on driving it, it won’t be a problem.

Three months later – the car is overheating.

Mechanic:  Well why didn’t you bring it to me when the engine light went on?

Me:  So you could tell me, again, that it was just the 02 sensor, don’t worry about it, keep driving?

So at this point, I admit, I am a little punch drunk.

But there is a part three – yes, there’s more.

For the last decade or so, since I’ve had nifty little newish cars that have clever little computer chips that I take to a mechanic for oil changes (I am told by the mechanics they don’t even need a tune up!) here’s what keeps happening.

I take it in for an oil change.  I get it back with fresh oil and a list of things wrong with it that I have to fix right this minute. 

Let me repeat that:  I take in a car that runs just fine, but is due for an oil change.  I get back a car that (twice) now has an oil leak – quite a dramatic one – and a list of things I have to fix RIGHT NOW.

Let me repeat that one more time, because it blows my mind.

I take a car – that runs just fine – to an auto mechanic for regular maintenance – and I get back a car that runs WORSE THAN WHEN I TOOK IT IN.

Car runs fine.  I take it in for maintenance.  Car does not run fine.

Using simple logic – what does that make you think?

It tends to make me think the mechanic FUCKED WITH IT and broke something so I’d have to get it fixed.

Which brings us to the current six week long car problems. 

Okay – I took it in because it was overheating, and while it is here please fix the oil leak the last oil change mechanic put in, and also fix the air conditioner that doesn’t cool, and fix the O2 sensor that causes the engine light to be on continually – making it impossible for me to know if there is anything really wrong.

Yes, I know there is a lot wrong with it and that due to our financial situation I have not been able to afford to fix for some time.  Mea culpa.  Yes, I expect it to take a little while to get all this fixed.  But lets recap the reasons I took it in.

  • 1)  Overheating
  • 2) Oil leak
  • 3) Air Conditioner
  • 4) Faulty O2 sensor

Six weeks later, every single part of the cooling system has been replaced, some of it replaced twice.  The O2 sensor has been replaced at least twice.  The air conditioner has been recharged, had valves replaced, and been recharged again.  I will say that the oil leak seems to be fixed, and it got another oil change and (hot damn) didn’t get a new oil leak to go with it.  Plugs and wires have been replaced (even though I was not consulted about that), the engine was steam cleaned (because, they said, the oil from the oil leak was causing all the other malfunctions).  The car has been in the garage for two weeks once, another day later, another day later…

And when I picked it up this time…  it was given to me, running, WITH THE MOTHER FUCKING ENGINE LIGHT ON.  And oh, by the way, the air conditioner doesn’t work.  

Again - the engine light was ON when I got INTO THE CAR which was left running - the mechanic having gotten out, smiled and RAN away from me into the garage.

They said I could bring it back again but I'd have to leave it overnight at least for another diagnostic.
Oh, and the engine light was NOT on when the mechanic drove it up to me - it must have "just come on" when I got in.  

Yeah.  Right.

We took it to Auto Zone to have the code read.  The code read...

Wait for it.

The 02 sensor is bad.

OH – and NOW we ALSO have a throttle engine body malfunction.

That is – something that was not wrong with the car when we brought it in.

Lets Recap:

  • 1)  Overheating - fixed by replacing every single part in the cooling system, some twice
  • 2) Oil leak - fixed
  • 3) Air Conditioner - not fixed
  • 4) Faulty O2 sensor - replaced twice, but still not fixed
  • and now 5) Throttle body malfunction 

So here is the pattern – I take a car to the mechanic to have X fixed.  I get it back.  X may or may not be not fixed, but now Y is also wrong with it. 

And the mechanic blames it on ME.

Okay, I may not be a trained mechanic – but I smell a rat here.

Just what do they train mechanics to do in those schools anyway?  Sit around, drink beer, fart, and laugh at little women and their other customers while they invent reasons things are fixed and break things that are fine?

*****The last two mechanics, by the way, had lots of lovely rave reviews on the Internet.  We all know you can purchase 5 star reviews for your books on Amazon, so I suppose it isn’t too out of the way to believe you can purchase rave reviews for your mechanical service, too. *****

One last thing before you scroll down to the comments and give me your IMHO - please do not tell me what I "should" have done.  As well meant as your advice may be - I've had quite enough advice in the last 56 years, thank you very much.  The next person to tell me what I SHOULD have done may be beaten severely about the head and shoulders until they SHUT THE FUCK UP.

I have been patient.  I have thought happy thoughts.  I have done my due diligence.  I have given everyone the benefit of the doubt (more than I have received in return let me point out) and the bottom line is -  I got fucked.

Without even a reach around. Not once, but several times.  

In conclusion, I'm driving this poor little car - with the engine light on - until it drops.  At which point I will hitchhike away and go through the want ads until I find a 1970 or earlier vehicle I can damn well work on myself if anything goes wrong.  Without a computer chip.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Progress on all fronts!

This has been one hell of a leap year February month!

The car is finally back from the mechanic - I think she almost gave him a nervous breakdown.  We almost had a nervous breakdown when he handed us the bill - for nearly $1000 - and then the engine light popped back on four miles from the shop!  (Its under warranty - he'll fix it - and we can still drive it meanwhile) Family helped with the bill - thank you so much.

I had the opportunity to do a bit of work away from the house and make a buck or two.  Which has the mixed blessing of making sure we do have food to eat - but takes away time I could have spent working on the adult coloring book.

Speaking of the coloring book for adults, there has been some limited progress on that task as well.  Some of the reasons I've not got as much done as I would like are things that simply need to be replaced.  My old computer.  My old drawing program.  My old hands.  Ooops, guess I'll have to make do with those.  Crowd funding has not been my friend - actually I apparently do not have any friends (except those as poor as I am LOL) - but if you wanted to send a buck or two to my paypal account, sffoovayATgmail,com,  that would help and when the coloring book is done I'd send you a signed copy.  Beg, beg, beg. There's more details about all that at the blog devoted to the adult coloring books by foovay.

The conflict with the insurance over my husbands one and only prescription drug - that he cannot do without - is still ongoing.  But I did find out that we have recourse with the company that actually makes the drug - they have their own program for kidney patients whose insurance will not pay with a sliding scale.  At this point, I may apply to that and say to hell with the insurance.

Go Bernie.  End this cruel bull shit.

Thanks for caring!

Summer Foovay

Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I l...