Friday, September 01, 2006
Greetings, everyone. I know I haven't posted for a while. It has been a busy week or two. As a bonus to this somewhat-overdue post, I have decided to include a picture from my new Razr phone that someone took of me at work. I thought about not posting this picture since I don't like to reveal TOO much about where I work, but if you can figure that out from this shot...you are very good.
First off...my trip back to visit Mom went all right. Not great, due to the problems my Mom was having at where she was living. She REALLY hated it there. Due to this, and the fact that we were perhaps too honest with the people running the place, she is moving back to her house. However, being by herself all the time at home wasn't really a great option either.
So, my sisters, who are in Albuquerque right now, have found a really good home care agency that we are hiring to make sure Mom is eating well and taking her medicine. They also do some housework and can help with running errands, and will only cost about half of what we were paying for rent and meals where she was at. My sisters are currently in the process of moving her back home. I suppose the house will be all right; it kind of needs painting and new carpet, but overall it's in pretty good shape, so we'll see how things go there for a while. I certainly don't mind helping with yard work and stuff my Mom can't do when I visit, but I can only visit every month or so. Mom is really attached to the house...I think a little bit too much so at times...but I have to admit I'm fond of it also. After all, I did grow up there. It will be nice to still be able to stay there when I visit.
My sisters and I (with the concurrence of Mom's friends and doctors) have also decided it's time for Mom to stop driving. While she has not been in an accident that we know of, there have been several close calls reported by her friends and one ticket for running a red light. For her safety and the safety of others, we decided this was best. And this benefits me because...TA DA...I am buying her car. While it is an older car (1996 Chrysler Concorde) it's in pretty good shape and only has about 54,000 miles on it. Unlike most used cars, I know the WHOLE history on this one...and no worries about rust, since it was in Albuquerque, or any chance of flood damage.
Car loans are very easy to get, and I know I could have bought a new car easily enough. But after my move down here, and all the expenses involved from that, I've decided to spend a couple years at least paying off bills and moving up in the pay scale at my new airline before I take on another loan.
Speaking of bills, if anyone uses T-Mobile out there, I am a recent new customer and have been very underwhelmed by them so far. In the month leading up to Mom's move, I used a lot of minutes and went over on my plan. I switched to a higher minute plan but not until one day after the billing cycle ended. The first time I called they were VERY uncooperative about making any kind of adjustment to my bill. I finally got someone who was able to get me a $100 credit on my bill (at 40 cents per extra minute, those charges add up quickly.) So that was all well and good. However, due to paying all my other bills, I couldn't pay the T-Mobile bill in full last month. So, I made a partial payment and planned to pay the remaining balance along with my new monthly charge this month. Wrong! T-Mobile deactivated my phone. When I called up to explain my situation, I got zero sympathy. So, I did pay off the bill a few days ago, and the phone is working again, but they also are going to be losing me as a customer when my contract ends. Maybe I'll go back to Sprint, my previous carrier that I probably shouldn't have left. Oh well.
Anyhow, enough complaining about money issues. I drove my new used car back from Albuquerque to Texas last Friday and spent the night at a relative's house before finishing the drive Saturday morning. It was a trip filled with nostalgia for me for a couple of reasons...it's the same route I used to travel as a kid when going to visit my grandmother's house, and I also passed through the town where I went to college for about two years after I finished high school, way back in the eighties.
I never liked Lubbock or Texas Tech very much, but some people love it there. In fact, one person I know from high school who went to Tech still lives in Lubbock working for the university hospital there. I did drive through the very attractive campus, past the dorm where I lived in my final year I attended, and I tried to remember why I hated the place so much that I blew off my classes and almost flunked out.
People I've discussed the matter with have varying opinions on this...one of my good friends said that he thought neither of us liked the university we first attended because our parents pretty much picked them out for us. I don't completely agree with that, but it is true my Dad was happy with my choice in schools, since that's where he graduated from. One person I know at work who is from Lubbock and went to Tech said that it couldn't have been easy going there at 17 and not knowing anybody...and this is an argument that has some truth to it, since I never did find anything much I liked doing in Lubbock.
I had a scholarship offer from Tech, and I didn't want to go to UNM in Albuquerque because I didn't want to live at home with my parents while I was going to college. Of course, several years later, after I did a term in the Air Force and got out, I finished up my undergraduate degree while living at home with my parents (not at UNM, though.) I guess hindsight is 20-20 sometimes.
Anyhow, there are a lot of small towns with funny names out there...before reaching Lubbock I passed through towns with names like Progress (it hasn't), Bovina, Shallowater, and Muleshoe. After leaving Lubbock I had dinner in a little town called Seymour at a place called the Rock Creek Cafe, which has been around since at least 1945 and doesn't look like it's been remodeled much since then...but they do have some tasty chicken fried steak there.
One of my earliest memories is from that restaurant, actually. On one trip from Albuquerque to visit my grandmother in Denton when I was about three, we stopped there to grab a bite. I remember I got a piece of pie, and I was really looking forward to eating it when my Dad grabbed it away from me, intending it as a joke. I started screaming at the top of my lungs. Dad put the pie back quickly. Mom later said that she had felt like killing both of us right there. Ah, family memories.
Most of the rest of my trip was in the dark, but it was thankfully uneventful (no flat tires or speeding tickets.) And now, here I am, car and all. Below is a picture of my car in my reserved covered parking spot at my apartment, which I finally now have something to park in.
Posted by Chuck at 1:01 PM