Thursday, September 30, 2021

Book Report: John Pavlovitz

I have frequently shared John's blog posts so you may be familiar with him, or at least with the fact that I follow his blog. I also follow him on Twitter, and on Amazon.

I love his writing style and his attitude. Up to now though, I have not purchased any of this books. The only reason being that I am not religious; his books are religious, though far more than that. I don't consider myself to be a Christian, although I was born into a Catholic family. I separated myself from religion and from Christianity fairly quickly. The nuns started the rot. I have written a couple of blogs about that! At first I tried. I read the Douai bible from cover to cover, I also read the King James bible - though to be fair it was a very old edition. I wrote a blog about that particular bible, nothing to do with religion, but a lot to do with the old family bible being returned to its home, mainly thanks to my son's detective work. I really liked that story. I was confirmed in both the Catholic and the Methodist churches before finally giving up.  

My observations of human 'kind' caused the rot to spread and the Christianity I discovered in the US cemented it (can you cement rot?). I firmly believe that people are inherently bad, the few like John Pavlovitz, are rare. I have been lucky enough to have met some, but they are still only a very small proportion compared to the many evil people I have known and observed. 

Too many people claim to be Christians and then proceed to display what I believed to be absolutely unchristian behavior; I have to pause and wonder, is my understanding of Christianity wrong, or has it changed. Love thy neighbor, to most Christians, appears to mean 'you love ME', but not the other way. I have met Atheists, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews who show more humanity that so called Christians claim is part of their beliefs. Of course, that is not to say there are no evil people among every cross section of society - perhaps all religions have their version of the Taliban or White Supremacists. That is why I refuse to embrace religion. I believe that everyone is entitled to believe whatever they please, and practice whatever they believe so long as it doesn't hurt others. Just leave me out of it. Religion is just an excuse to be an asshole.

But this week I bought and read John's latest book. 'If God is Love, Don't be a Jerk'. I did so because John posted on Facebook that he was about to have brain surgery and would not be able to work on launching his new book. He asked his FB followers to buy it, review it and help get the word out there. So I did. As my review on Amazon states, I did skim over the sections that were just too much Jesus for me. But still, I enjoyed it. Of course, John's writing style and viewpoint makes it hard to not enjoy whatever he writes. and his sense of humor is always present. I also did not remove a star because I found the Jesus references too much, I was not being forced to read it and I respect his right to believe - as I already mentioned.

Here are some snippets I particularly liked.

"If you've evolved or matured or progressed in some fundamental way, you know that there's a grieving in that growing and outgrowing, in losing some of the old story, the security of that story, the sense of self that story gave you"

"It's never lost on me that the greatest resistance to the Black lives Matter movement and to LGBTQ equality and to so many other human rights movements comes from followers of Jesus"
"You can't preach an all-people gospel while despising refugees and foreigners and immigrants"
"You can't claim that 'all lives matter' while protecting only those who share your pigmentation"
"You cannot be fully pro-life and uphold your supremacy based on color, geography, or religion"
I particularly love in Chapter 9, he relates how he accidentally watched a 3-D movie wearing his sunglasses instead of the supplied 3-D glasses to demonstrated the idea "The lenses through which we view the world matter".

My main takeaway is that the author is experiencing enormous pain, emotional and intellectual. As am I. However we are experiencing it from opposite sides of the concept of Christianity. He believes in a god, he believes in Christ and he is a good person and his psyche is hurting because so many people who claim to believe as he does, who profess to be Christian, are destroying all that he loves and cherishes about Christianity. I look at these same people and see it as proof positive that I was right to turn my back on the doctrine that the nuns tried to brainwash me with, a doctrine that says we are right and everyone else is wrong. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to believe whatever they wish. I also think these beliefs should be private. No one should have the right to force their beliefs on others. No one should be persecuted for their beliefs.

If you are a Christian, I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

I admit it, I love being retired

And why wouldn't I? Why did it take me 16 weeks to come to this decision? Well, I was worried. Partly because I had not planned to retire quite so soon, I had expected another two years at work before that happened. I had also expected that my eventual retirement would not be me 'taking my ball and going home'. I had imagined it would be a farewell party of some proportion - that is not to say I didn't enjoy the wonderful sendoff I got from my own team and it was during a pandemic. (Read about it here). 

I think now the only thing that still stings a little is the fact that I was denied an exit interview. I loved my job, even though it was very stressful and I did work long hours. I loved the team I was working with, we all worked together (what a team does, or should do) and we had each other's backs. But retirement is good!

I have a bunch of hobbies and certainly I am never bored however, a few weeks ago my embroidery machine had a nervous breakdown and we had to bring it into the shop for a service. 'The shop' is Northwest Sewing Center, and that is located almost downtown; 35 miles away!.  We drove down there on a Thursday morning, dropped the machine off and came home. Two hours gone just like that. About the only downside to living by the lake. Small price to pay.

Two weeks later, back again to pick up the machine, another Thursday morning, another two hours. I was excited to get it back. I had missed it! When I started my next embroidery project I was pleased to hear how smooth it sounded. Then horror! It once again started stamping a hole in the fabric instead of continuing on its designed path. Now it was the weekend, so first thing Monday morning, back down we went. Well, actually not first thing as they don't open until 10 a.m. But by 9.30 we were out of the house. 

This time we stayed and the entire staff were extremely helpful. All that is, except the elderly grumpy man who ran the maintenance section. I am sure he was offended by my claim that the machine was still not fixed. I did try to be as non accusatory as possible. But he was not going to be friendly. Of course while old, he was also not retired.  Someone worked on the machine while we waited. While chatting to the rest of the staff I was introduced to some, much more suitable, stabilizer for my t-shirt projects and learned about their virtual embroidery classes. 

It was 12.30 by the time we got home - on a Monday lunchtime. That was three weekday mornings pretty much used up by my embroidery machine. I could not have done that had I still been working. Had I been working, I would have had to wait for the weekend each time.

I think I mentioned before, one of the side effects of being old that I enjoy, is the invisibility factor; seriously, people (those who are not old) don't actually see old people, we become invisible and there is a huge bonus that accompanies that new power. 

I stopped wearing makeup when I started working from home and wearing a mask when outside further eliminated the need - if you can call it a need. I will never go back to wearing makeup again, money saved, time saved and probably my skin is happier; I wear comfortable clothes, and spend most of the day barefoot or in flipflops.

Being retired takes the invisibility power and increases it by adding a cloak to it - a superpower. You are still invisible but if you have that cloak on, they know you are there but their attitude is "ah sure, god love her". Although I never was a talker, I know I mentioned that before; but now I pretty much say what I want to, when I want to. People either ignore me or look at me sympathetically. But I don't care, I am retired. If I don't feel like making conversation I don't; when I feel like it then I say whatever comes into my head.

If you turn up at a sewing machine service shop, on a Monday morning, with a sewing machine that they just serviced, and after an hour, it is established that there is really nothing wrong with the machine. You can see it in their faces "poor old thing". Then you go home with your machine and none of it really matters.

My manuscript is sitting on the desktop waiting for attention, whenever I feel like it - not to mention this blog. My embroidery machine is, apparently, perfectly fine and I can now generate more t-shirts with funny sayings and images on - for no obvious reason other than it amuses me; the boat sits patiently in the dock waiting for us, the fish are swimming around all over the lake and I can do whatever I please.

I can't wait to get the retirement effect on my travel. Just as soon as COVID-19 is fully under control, and all my grandchildren have been vaccinated - almost time for the under 12s!! I can decide when and for how long, and just go. That is going to be the icing on the cake!

So, I apologize for being such a wuss before, and making such a fuss about retiring. And once again I thank my small team who did give me a wonderful sendoff, even if Amazon leadership looked the other way. Who cares about them anyway? I am retired! And now I have found yet another interest - virtual embroidery classes!

Now, back to my embroidery with fingers crossed that the machine really is in perfect working order.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Management, Emotional Intelligence and other thoughts

I am a bit all off the place with this post. It started out because I was looking at our local Nextdoor web page - something I very rarely do, and I was struck by how negative and angry everyone seems to be. Some people posting joking comments on posts (and the comments were amusing and clearly intended to be funny) to be attacked by literally dozens of  'God fearing' neighbors. I say god fearing because so many of them spouted religious 'curses' upon them for being 'cruel'. Clearly with no sense of humor as they obviously missed the joke.

Of course, I understand that this pandemic has caused so many people to get very stressed. But I too have been here for the pandemic, experiencing similar stressful issues, not least of which is the low vaccination and high infection rate in this area. I have been lucky enough to have, for most of it, a job where I could work from home. I know many people either had to go out and work among those unmasked anti-vaxxers, or worse, have not been able to work at all. 

I know people who have suffered like that and still remain good, kind, caring adults. The amount of hate and open cruelty being shown is, in itself, stressful. You would think that people who are stressed would understand, and try to alleviate the stress of others. Instead of deliberately adding to it. For instance the unfortunate restaurant hostess in New York who was physically attacked by a group of people, because she asked to see their proof of vaccination, currently the law in NY.

It is impossible to condone attacking people, physically or verbally because they don't agree with your political choices, are not the same color as you, or don't worship the same god (or gods) - or don't worship any god, or just because you are stressed. The color and religious prejudices have been fairly constant not just in the US, but across the world. But suddenly this appears publicly acceptable in the US. It is hard to believe and impossible to condone. 

It used to be that, for most civilized people, your political or religious ideology was not something that broke up friendships, even families. Not anymore.

I first became interested in the concept of emotional intelligence, EQ as opposed to IQ, when researching for a post I was writing as is usually the case, as a therapy. I was trying to understand why my mother in law behaved the way she did. She almost never showed appreciation for anything that was done for her; taking everything for granted. In fact often complaining rather than showing appreciation. Please and thank you were not part of her vocabulary. And she frequently made  cutting remarks without appearing to realize how hurtful they were. Example "You are fat."

Since then I have observed EQ, and more often the lack of it, coming into play in so many different areas of life. I am now convinced that part of any interview for any job, but most especially for people management, should include testing for emotional intelligence. This website has an interesting article about the importance of EQ in management. If you can't understand how another human being is feeling and what 'makes them tick' you can't properly manage them. You can't direct them to be their very best. 

"The job of the manager is to find a way to turn a team member’s skill and talent into a higher level of performance. This idea doesn’t suggest manipulation at all. Instead, it is about maximizing human potential, one team member at a time. It is as much art as it is science."

I had 5 siblings, we were, and are, all so totally different from each other in every way. I have been a people manager in three different companies; the last time managing a team of the same people for 4 years. I have experienced how using EQ to get the best from and for people actually works. And sadly, how the lack of EQ causes so much harm to people and stagnation to progress in the workplace. It is important to relate to people in a way that they understand and can respond to, if you want to get along with them. It is also important to be able to see things from another's point of view, to at least consider that point of view when dealing with them.

EQ is essential in every walk of life. Family, school, work and political. Those people who can tolerate kids in cages without a second thought, they have low or no EQ. That manager who drove me out of Amazon, has no EQ. That is obvious by the way she is now attempting to manage my team of high performing engineers. She is incapable of understanding how they think and feel, therefore unable to play to their talents and skills; and unable to see how she is squeezing any pleasure out of their working day.

I can't begin to explain how it hurts and frustrates me. My husband constantly reminds me that I can't take care of everyone, I can't fix everything that is wrong. But I can't just do nothing either.

I particularly like this article on Today's Parent, explaining why EQ is more important than IQ. Another great article looks at this from the opposite side, the signs of low EQ. Looking back on my life, I can identify the people who had low EQ and those who had high EQ. I do have one question, is it bad to have EQ that is too high? Here is an article on the downside of high EQ.

"Taken too far, however, it can slide from influencing others to engaging in tactics of manipulation. The risk of overusing one’s social skills is in focusing heavily on the emotional aspects of communication while neglecting logical arguments and the more transactional aspects of communication. In that sense, the darker side of EQ is helping people with bad intentions to be overly persuasive and get their way."

And finally, the 12 elements of EQ listed by the Huffington Post in this article.

  • Empathy
  • Associating actions with consequences
  • Good judgment
  • Personal responsibility
  • Insight
  • Mental flexibility
  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Impulse control
  • Deferring gratification
  • Perseverance
  • Emotional Courage

What I find most interesting about this list is that almost every one of the elements are is some way a part of one or more of Amazon's Leadership Principles, with two notable exceptions, Empathy and Compassion. How much better it would be for Amazon and for the employees if they somehow added these.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Punctuation matters

When I started this post I paused and considered that it would probably prove very boring to most people. Then I remembered, I don't write this blog for you, I write it for me, just as I explained in this post, and I continued. 

After completing a bunch of Masterclasses in writing, one point made by a number of authors is the importance of correct punctuation - obviously, we have all seen the funny memes demonstrating how punctuation, or the lack thereof, can vastly change the meaning of even a short sentence. The emphasis these classes put on it was to explain the requirements of editors and publishers if you are trying to have a book published; or just trying to get an agent on board.

As I am working on writing a novel I started to research punctuation. Of course, I did learn grammar and punctuation at school; the nuns were extremely fussy about it and back then I couldn't understand the fuss. Pretty much like everything taught in school, at least when I was a kid, they never bothered to explain to us how these lessons translated into the real world. That is, assuming they even knew.

You would think a subject like punctuation would be dry and boring - and maybe to normal people it is, but the more I researched the more I found I was enjoying myself.  And so I started writing about it - not because I needed therapy in this instance, but because by writing I can reinforce what I am learning, and also gather all of the referenced websites in one place for future access.

I am fascinated by the fact that there is always something new to learn, even in the most mundane of subjects. For instance, I had never heard of en dashes or em dashes. I guess they didn't exist back in the late '50s when I was going to school. But when I discovered them I realized I must learn the rules because, you may have noticed, I do like to use dashes, I just thought there was only one type, also known as a hyphen depending on whether it appeared in the middle of a word (no spaces) or between two words (with spaces on either side). Of course this, along with a lot of other grammar and punctuation classes, could have been taught by the nuns while I was elsewhere. I hated school, and didn't attend after I completed 2nd year (Ireland) equivalent to 8th grade in the US. I was enrolled, I just didn't go and no one was ever the wiser. (Chapter 4 of Peeling the Onion).

Either way, I am now wallowing in punctuation research and enjoying it. Had I been exposed to it in such depth in school I know that it would have gone in one ear and out the other.

Of course, some things I did learn when I did a secretarial course. For instance with handwriting you do not consider the size of the space between a period and the start of a new sentence. When I was learning to type it was two spaces. What I didn't know until I started this, is two spaces is now outdated and the accepted practice is only one space. However, some old school writers and editors are still stuck with the two space rule. As this article explains, the two space rule applies only to typewriters, because typewriters always used monospacing; and that makes perfect sense. However, if you learned to touch type, changing that habit is extremely hard.

Back to the en and em dash. According to this website:

"There are two types of dash. The en dash is approximately the length of the letter n, and the em dash the length of the letter m.

  • The shorter en dash (–) is used to mark ranges.
  • The longer em dash (—) is used to separate extra information or mark a break in a sentence."

Here is the difference: 

  • hyphen: -
  • en dash: –
  • em dash: —

However, only the hyphen exists on a normal keyboard. In order to type either of the other two you need to use the following keystrokes (definitely this would slow down your writing). 

  • en dash: Alt+0150 
  • em dash: Alt+0151

Note: the numbers must be typed on the number pad.

Rereading this I realized I didn't make it clear that you don't type the +, that indicates that you hold down the Alt key while typing the numbers. Sorry!

I have noticed that some word processors will substitute an en dash for a hyphen depending on the context.

The website indicated above also points out that the en dash is more common in British English and the em dash is more common in American English. It amazes me the differences between these two versions of English. When I first came to the US I believed there was no language barrier. I actually published a post a very long time ago about the differences that tripped me up. Now, digging into punctuation I discover there are some major differences there also. For instance, books written for the British English market use single quotation marks for dialogue, US English uses double quotes. As with everything else the most important thing to remember is to be consistent.

Some time ago my husband found a service online that I have since found invaluable, Grammarly, it highlights suspicious spelling, punctuation and formatting and makes suggestions for correction. There is a free and a paid version. I highly recommend it.

Other interesting websites I have found so far are: Enago, Esl Grammar, The Punctuation Guide, and The English Student.

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Both my husband and I were diligently doing allergy shots on a weekly basis prior to the pandemic. My husband had been doing his for about 4 years and was really seeing the benefits. He, poor man, is allergic to absolutely everything! I am allergic to some grasses, molds and cats. When the pandemic hit we both stopped our allergy shots. Actually, we stopped pretty much everything. 

We were fully vaccinated by the end of April 2021 but as I was about to retire at the end of May with the resulting significant changes to our medical cover, we waited to restart our allergy treatment. We didn't expect it to be so difficult to navigate the Medicare requirements. It took almost a month to get the correct referrals in order to actually make an appointment to be retested before starting the shots. As we had downsized at that point to one vehicle, I decided that I would switch over to my husband's allergy clinic; to be honest I wasn't that impressed with the one I had been using anyway.

Finally we went in early on a Thursday morning. We already knew pretty much what our allergies were but they couldn't take our word for it obviously. 

We went through the allergy testing process. If you have never done it, it consists of multiple pinpricks under the skin, back and upper arms; each pinprick contains a specific allergen. Then wait. Then check the body's response to these invasions. If the pinprick becomes red and hot or angry looking, that indicates an allergic reaction. They have a sheet of A4 paper listing all the allergens they have exposed you to and whether or not you have displayed a reaction to these. Below is the result of my tests. My husband received a similar page with the exception that every item on the page displayed an allergic reaction.

this is my chart

While I felt sorry for him, I also felt somewhat smug that I got away so lightly. Ha! I should have waited.

Next we were ushered into the doctor's office. That was surreal. The doctor was a diminutive, elderly man seated in a wheelchair. His right arm was bandaged above the elbow, and below the elbow was severely bruised. Not the purple, green or yellow bruising you would expect from a fall or a blow; that deep blood colored bruise more commonly see in very old people. Senile purpura. The bruise covered his entire lower arm from elbow to the back of his hand. 

This is NOT a photo of the doctor's arm, I would not be so insensitive as to take photos!

An intravenous catheter dangled from his left upper arm. He looked like he should be in a hospital and I felt very guilty to be sitting in front of him complaining about some minor coughing and sneezing.

Some of my sympathy, and guilt, waned when he turned his attention to me asking me multiple questions, most of which appeared to be totally unrelated to an allergy to mold, grass and cats.

He wanted to know what drugs I was allergic to, how I slept, did I have nightmares, did I wake up tired, among many others I don't remember. Then he gave me a referral to any lab of my choice to have as many blood tests as he had asked questions. Seriously, when we went to a local lab later they took four vials of blood! He also gave me a prescription for two different nasal sprays and recommended I buy, and use, a Navage machine. No doubt you have seen the quite disgusting advertisements for this instrument of torture. 

We left with my prescriptions, lab referral and an appointment for me to return to see the doctor one month later to discuss the results of the blood tests. They would call us as soon as the concoction for our allergy shots was ready, we will then start going three times a week at first, in order to build up to a full strength shot, after that it will be just once a month.

We went first to the lab where I had the four vials of blood drawn, then to the pharmacy to get the Navage machine and my prescriptions. $200 later we went home. I carefully studied the instructions for the Navage until I was sure I knew what I had to do. Next morning, after my workout and shower I did the first treatment. I can't begin to tell you how gross it was! Naturally I didn't get it right first time, the warm salty water is supposed to be pumped in one nostril and out the other. It did that alright, but it also went down my throat and down the front of my shirt. I cleaned the machine as instructed and sprayed my nose twice each nostril with each of the two sprays.

I was not happy. I felt fine before I started. Now I was wet, I had a head ache, my ears were popping and the back of my nose was stinging. I guess I should be thankful that I didn't swallow enough of the salty water to throw up. The following morning I managed to use the machine without the associated leakage all over me and down my throat so that was better. Meanwhile, the three locations on my upper arm that had reacted to the mold pinpricks were continuing to display an angry allergic reaction, like three large hives they were itchy and painful.

Having spent a small fortune on all of this - the nasal sprays are a 90 day supply. I decided that I would follow the instructions and do this daily for one month, until my appointment to discuss the blood tests. I will decide then if I am going to continue or not. It will depend on 1. whether I feel any benefit at all and 2. the answers to all of the questions I have that I should have asked in the first place, before spending all that money!

Friday, September 10, 2021

More about retirement

I absolutely love being retired. I love the freedom to decide to do something or go somewhere, and just do it. Before it was a matter of preplanning, making time at the all too short weekend and then possibly starting the working week tired - depending on the activity.


There is always a but. There is still that niggling feeling of being 'put out to pasture'. So what? Horses love it. But, they probably don't dwell on the fact that they have served their purpose and are no longer of use to anyone, for anything. I need to learn from them I guess.

When I was working, rightly or wrongly I felt that I was fulfilling an important role; I felt useful and productive. The proof was that I was being paid for my time and I was helping my team grow their careers.

Perhaps if the choice to retire had been mine, I wouldn't feel quite so discarded. Well, of course the choice was mine in theory; as I mentioned before, the alternative was unthinkable. In fact, it would have been worse than I anticipated when I made the decision - given the stories I hear back from all of the members of my team; yes, I keep in touch with them. I care about them and I wish that I could have found a way to stay and prevent them from being as badly treated as they now are. 

It really appalls me that sort of thing can go on in Amazon and not be stopped, in fact it is condoned. Considering that I went through all the channels available to me to report the abusive and bullying tactics being employed by our new manager, only to bring the wrath of leadership down upon me, there is no way that my team will now report what they are going through. As I predicted, they are all moving, or planning to move, on to other positions or out of Amazon and the bully will remain in favor. Ultimately the customers will suffer - apparently Amazon doesn't really mean it when they say they are customer centric.

That makes me feel discarded, or perhaps a failure? I failed to correct what was clearly a very bad situation and then I left my high performing stars to be bullied and eventually reported up the chain of command as not meeting the bar; simply because they would not follow her bad micromanaging direction, or could not tolerate the way they were being treated.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining; OK I am, but not about being retired. I know how very lucky I am. I worked long past retirement age. Though, 10 years ago I would not have been able to afford to retire. I am lucky that, when I was pushed into it, I could afford it - I had saved carefully for just this eventuality. Yes, I worry as the coffers slowly empty but common sense prevails and unless I live to be a ridiculous age and start spending madly, we will be fine. I am not even complaining about the feeling of being discarded. I am complaining about the fact that I knew the situation was wrong and I couldn't correct it. Instead I walked away from it. At least I had that much choice. 

What makes me so frustrated is the fact that I can see the injustice, I can see the solution but I can't make it happen. I shouldn't be surprised. You do not get to my age without becoming aware of the fact that human beings are basically bad. That is the majority of them are selfish, self serving, greedy and uncaring. You only have to watch the news to see that. It is why I value and admire those who are genuinely good. Yes, I admit there are some - they just don't make it into leadership positions in Amazon.

Last week I would have celebrated 7 years with Amazon. If the last 7 years have taught me nothing else, I should definitely stop expecting most people to care about anyone but themselves. It is those few who are caring, who have empathy for their fellow human beings that are the exception, not the rule.

The most frustrating thing of all is the burning need to put things right and the inability to do so. When I was a child I was very proud of my nickname The Sheriff. I earned this name because I kept law and order among the kids in the neighborhood. I couldn't stand bullying and I made sure it was nipped in the bud. It is hard to accept that I can no longer do that.

Here is a something I wrote back in early 2015. I had totally forgotten about it, more fool me! I definitely need to spend time rereading my blog. There are lessons I clearly have not fully learned.

Friday, September 3, 2021


I used to believe that I jinxed any electrical circuit I came even close to. When my kids were growing up I must have gone through at least six washing machines, three refrigerators, one clothes dryer (would probably have been more but I wasn't allowed to use it), countless electric kettles and coffee pots. Then, mysteriously my negative impact on these items stopped. It didn't take too much effort to figure out what had changed. 

All those items that broke - some to be repaired multiple times before finally hitting the scrap heap; some not worth repairing - all were purchased by my then husband, first husband, ex-husband - whatever you want to call him. He always bought the cheapest of the cheap. He never copped on that he actually ended up spending more money in the long run, and besides that, he never actually used them himself. Six cheap washing machines still cost more than one really good one. Even worse was the long wait between one machine dying and the next being purchased; washing by hand for a family of two adults and three toddlers was no fun.

My appliances started to have an extended life because I was doing the purchasing and I was prepared to spend a little more money to get something that not only performed well, but did so over a prolonged period of time.

Imagine my dismay when, within two days of each other, both my embroidery machine and my treadmill started to show signs of deterioration. The embroidery machine was not cheap, but it was also 4 years old and had been well used, so a service was probably all it needed and we dropped it into a sewing shop for that. Unfortunately their wait time is 8 weeks! so I am going to have to find something else to keep me occupied during the afternoons. 

The treadmill was another matter altogether. Before I met my second, current, last husband (whatever you want to call him) I used to have a bedroom set aside as an exercise room, with a weights machine, treadmill, free weights etc. When I met my husband I got rid of that equipment to make a room for my stepson, definitely a higher priority. The company where I worked at that time, had a workout room which I started using early in the morning. That was actually when I started getting up really early; so that I could workout and shower before work. Eventually, my stepson grew up and moved out and we moved. This time, into a larger house in order to accommodate my mother in law who moved in with us. I changed jobs and didn't have the luxury of a workout room at my new office, but we once again, had the space for one at home. 

When we moved out to the lake we downsized considerably. From a six bedroom house to a 3 bedroom house, and couldn't take the workout equipment - again, no space for a workout room. All I really wanted was a treadmill so my husband found a small, foldable one online and it fit in a corner in one of the spare bedrooms, and folded up to fit in the closet. That worked well for a full year. Until this week. I suppose I should have noticed sooner, when the soles of my running shoes started to come apart. They were very old so I didn't associate that with a problem with my treadmill and I had another pair. However, when it suddenly shut off three quarters of the way through my workout, I did sense something was wrong. I reset the machine and it started up again and I was able to complete my workout. I did a clean up and oiling of the treadmill, hoping that was all it needed. Next day, same thing. This time I could get a smell sort of like hot plastic I put a hand on the belt and sure enough, it was scorching hot, it had literally melted the soles off my running shoes. 

We do have a community workout facility where we are living, however it is over a mile away from our house, and in our downsizing I also gave up my car. Of course, a mile is not far to walk, but I won't do it at 4.30 in the morning, plus I am not really sure if the exercise facility is open at that hour. And yes, I have got to workout at that hour, if I don't do it as soon as I wake up I won't workout out at all. So after some 'discussion', I ordered a new treadmill, slightly more expensive and hopefully more reliable, although just a little bit bigger, but I am also hopeful that it will fit and be easily moved into place.  The important thing is that with prime delivery, I won't have to walk outside in the dark or miss a workout.

At least I will still be able to workout and write, and occasionally go out fishing. I just have to be patient and wait for my embroidery machine to be serviced and hopefully back in working condition in a couple of months. It was worth repairing,  the treadmill was not - it would have cost more than it was worth to get it repaired and I would probably have had to wait as long.

My biggest worry was bad things happen in threes - so I was on tenterhooks waiting to see what else would stop working. In anticipation of my computer deciding to be the third hit, I copied my manuscript to a USB key so I could move to my laptop if necessary. 

Then I remembered that two weeks ago I had to replace my electric kettle. The one my husband bought when we moved here was glass, so I could see the silver metal plate at the bottom slowly going from brown to black, as long as it continued to boil the water I was prepared to wait, but when the water started to get cloudy I stopped waiting and replaced it. 

Technically that counted as the first of three - right? I hope so! The moral of this story is that cheapest is not always the best and not necessarily a economy!