In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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You’ve Got To Be Kidding

Christmas Eve morning, I returned from the grocery store to see an AT & T phone truck parked down on the corner near our house.  We switched our phone service back to AT & T from Mediacom two months ago because their phone service was terrible.  I hadn’t called for any service.  I went ahead and picked up our receiver anyways.  It was working fine.  There are three phone boxes out front spanning from our house down to the corner. 

I retrieved the mail and noticed this phone guy had all three boxes open, in the pouring rain mind you, doing whatever phone guys do on Christmas Eve day.  I thought about asking him what was going on but I didn’t.  That was mistake number one.  Then he pulled a bunch of wires out of our phone box, cut them off, slammed the box shut and jumped in his truck and drove away.  I didn’t chase him down.  That was mistake number two.

I picked up our receiver only to hear the loudest static I’ve ever heard.  I was totally thinking, no way.  I don’t know about you guys, but we tend to use the phone a little more over the holidays, especially since my family is all out of state.  In the meantime, our phone was ringing off the wall.  The phone would ring but if you answered it you got static.  The static was so loud that we couldn’t even record a voice  message to let people know our phone was out.  All the people calling left messages and assumed we weren’t home.  We quit answering it.  There was nothing we could do. 

I called At & T only to be on my cell for who knows how long, punching one for this and two for that.  The only thing I could do was order service that would happen on Wednesday, December 30th.  Because when they called and did a phone test, heck it was ringing, so the recording basically assumed we weren’t an emergency situation.  We can’t wait to receive our massive cell phone bill for the holiday overload.  Looking forward to January 15th already.

Let’s jump to Christmas Day shall we?  People are e-mailing us holiday photos and what nots wishing us well.  At 11:30 a.m. our internet decides to bite it as well.  I know you’re thinking I’m making up one hell of a story now don’t you?  I’m not.  It was true.  No land line, no internet.  And what, we got a dusting of snow?  Sheesh.  We called Mediacom since we’ve got that direct life line to their retention center now you know.  The word was 500 people are out in your area, we’re working on it.  Kewl.  We kicked back and enjoyed the quiet, minus the phone ringing and ring it did.  All night long.  It started to get really possessed and ring half a ring or just one ring at like two in the morning.  Crazy, I know.

Finally on Saturday, December 26th, I called AT & T again.  This time I just started punching buttons and got to talk to a real live person.  He was extremely nice.  And just for a heads up, it’s not the zero that gets you through to a heartbeat, it’s the POUND sign.  In case you’re ever in need.  He told me so, hit it once, twice or even three times (a lady) if you will.  Someone from AT & T will be here tomorrow, December 28th, a Monday, to repair our box. 

Around seven that same Saturday evening, our internet came back up and we got to have some sort of communication.  Does anyone have any luck with tin cans and wire?  How about a crank box?  I’m thinking with all this positive yoga energy I should be more than able to power something up for awhile.  Our holiday wasn’t all bad.  We actually had a very nice one and I’ll bring some of that in tomorrow now that we’re back online.  Stay warm.

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Merry Christmas

We didn’t get a real tree this year, nor did we last year.  A few years in the past, we’ve had a live tree.  We’ve always donated them to Bass Pro as they use them for fish habitats after the holidays.  At least that way, it doesn’t seem so wasteful.

Frank has a small, artificial 5 ft. tree with weak branches and lots of bare spots that we’ve used in the past.  One year we even put up my huge, fake tree.  We had to leave off the bottom two or three rows of branches because it was so full, and the top hit the ceiling.  No vaulted ceilings at this place.  This house has needed a slim tree since the day I moved in and this year, I headed to K-Mart and bought one.  It came with lights already on it which is a total bonus.  I put it together and fluffed it up.  Ready to go in an hour.


Jordan and his girlfriend, Breanna.

Lauren decorating

 While the kids decorated, I enjoyed a glass of wine and hung out with Lucy and Jacob.  It’s nice that the kids took over the tree decorating. 

Since we got rid of that big, ugly sectional (sorry Frank) we put the tree in the front window.  Our street is somewhat busy at times, so all the people driving home from work can enjoy the holidaze on their commute.  And since it’s a slim tree, I can still enjoy the view which is much better with a smaller car in the driveway.

May your holiday be safe, warm and fun-filled with the happiness of family and friends!

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Mediacom Update

The other day we were experiencing internet drama and I blogged about it.  Turns out, some key words will stimulate google alerts, kind of like the crime alerts my husband receives.  I actually received a response with a  direct phone number to Mediacom posted on my blog comments.  I in turn gave that number to my husband because frankly, I was done trying to call them.

He got through immediately at work.  Wow.  And then he called me.  We were all three on the phone at the same time.  Our internet came back up on its own last Thursday in the middle of the night while I was on puke duty.  But our e-mail was all jacked up.  So for days I could receive, but not send.  That’s a pretty serious problem when you need to send out the Yoga Community E-Newsletter to about 650 people.  The girl we spoke with was very nice, but really didn’t do anything but set up a day for them to come out and check everything.

A few days later we were receiving and sending e-mail but it took like 4 or 5 hours to get where it was going.  Still not safe enough to try to do a newsletter, so I blew it off.  I cleaned my house, I Christmas shopped, I got stuff done.  Tired of not being able to send, we made a call using our direct life line.  They had us change some server stuff from to which helped.  But then it quit helping. 


On the 15th we were completely locked out of our e-mail not only through our outlook express but through the Mediacom webmail as well.  It didn’t recognize our usernames or passwords.  Crazy, totally crazy.  Frank called again and they said they were working on it.  In the meantime a technician came to the house on Tuesday (a day earlier than promised) and found two splits.  We had been receiving a weak signal which had been part of our problem.  The tech also set us up with a different modem and left.  Everything was working fine except the e-mail. That same Tuesday night, we decided to call again about the e-mail.  They asked us to change some server info. 

Hello.  We’ve already done that.   They assured us the problem would resolve itself.  I’m Ok with that but can ya tell me when?  Frank called again yesterday, which was Wednesday and got the same stuff.  So today, Thursday at 4:30 I called.  The guy on the other end says, “Oh some people with certain e-mail programs are locked out as spam, hang on a minute and I’ll fix it.”  Just like that.  Just like that and I had 137 incoming e-mails no password or username needed.  What the heck. 

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday I get a phone call from Frank telling me the e-mail works.  I said I know, “I called them and they fixed it over the phone.”  He was like no way, “I called them today too and they told me the techs were locked out of the e-mail as well.”   I guess they’ve done some serious upgrades that didn’t go as planned. 

I was ready to switch to DSL but we won’t be doing that.  Frank doesn’t want to share bandwidth, he knows how fast I like this to be when I do my auctions, etc. so I guess we’ll be staying with Mediacom…..until this happens again.

So far, so good!!

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Lizards and Hamsters and Cats, Oh My!

So.  What does one do with the kids while the internet is down?  Last Tuesday the kids were released at 1:00 from school and Lauren’s friend Maddy came home with us.  We carpool.  Her mom takes and I do the pick up.  We have a unique connection with Maddy.  I met her mom at the pool one summer when the kids were in first grade.  She was recently divorced and it turns out Maddy’s dad used to hang in a circle of friends that I had.  Small world. 

The girls were excited that school was out early and talked in the car about geeking all over Youtube, but guess what?  That didn’t happen.  The internet was down.  I told them to clean Priscilla’s cage instead.  Priscilla is the dwarf hamster that we inherited somehow.  We are down two pets though.  Our old cat Jasmine passed away recently and I sold our Crocodile Gecko on Craig’s List this week for $25.  I couldn’t figure out why the ad kept getting flagged.   Then I met the girl that bought the lizard.  She said you can’t put pets on Craig’s List.  I was like you can put a nekked body part in the casual encounters ads, but you can’t sell a lizard?  I’m confused.  Guess I should’ve read all the fine print.  Our fish tank is on there right now and no one has flagged it.  It comes complete with four fish that are fully clothed in holiday sweaters.  So if you’re reading this and want to flag it, go ahead. 

Jackson the white cat loves the hamster.  In fact, one time the hamster escaped from his ball during a cage cleaning.  Total devastation for Lauren.  I finally decided to think like a hamster and look in the messiest closet that we have.  Sure enough there was the hamster, hunkered down, hangin’ out.  It was a rough 24 hours around here though.  We tape the ball closed as a precaution now.

Jackson is missing the lizard.  He loved jumping on the top of the screen lid and thinking he could actually catch him!


Seven Little Lights

We’ve had high speed internet cable service through Mediacom for years.  And we’ve never had much, if any problem with it.  Last year we decided to jump on the band wagon and sign up for their phone service as well.  That’s when we started having problems.  We would be on the telephone and the call would just drop.  Sometimes the phone service would go out for days.  But in this day of massive technology with four other phones (my husband carries tw0, I have one and our son has one) we kept this terrible land line.  Until we realized we were paying for something that we could never use.  Welcome back AT & T.

Our internet service on the other hand is going crazy.  Especially lately.  Our modem is supposed to have seven lights lit, two that blink.  For days we’ve had two or three lit and they blink and that’s it.  Say the wind blows, it rains or it gets bitterly cold outside, it goes down.  The internet will be working fine when you go to sleep at night, but in the morning it won’t work.  That’s because little gnomes start their massive destruction that no one can seem to find.  My husband is smart with fixing stuff, but he can’t grab a Mediacom signal from thin air.  One time he even went out to the pole and did something so we could have service.  Because you know if you’ve ever called them, they’ll be out sometime between Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday.

This past week he couldn’t fix it.  We’ve been on and offline for the last week.  And this time it was off for two days in a row.  That’s like a month without food or water around here.  And you couldn’t talk to anyone on the phone about it because of a severe winter storm in Iowa that had knocked out a call center.  Ok.  How about talking to someone locally?  We just got a recording that we had a service interruption in our area and they were working diligently to correct it.  Riiiiiight.  I want see a massive pack of Mediacom vans swarming the area when they play that recording.  And guess what?  I never do.

Where am I going with this you say?  To my own procrastination that’s where.  I’ve decided to go paperless on everything we pay.  Our cell phones and our home phone as well as our Discover and  Target cards.  We do all of our banking online and have for a long time.  So.  I waited until the last minute to pay the Discover and Target bills, the only two credit cards we own.  I like Discover, they pay me to use their card and I pay it off every month so I give them no interest.  It’s like free money.  I like Target, no need to explain there.  Both of these bills are due today and I pay them both online.   I found my Discover card and called the number on it.  I got that sucker paid off and it didn’t take that much time.  Target on the other hand was another story.   We went through the whole bank account information and then she says, “Did you know there will be a $15 charge to pay this by phone?”  Whaaat?  I drove out to Target.  I paid my bill, for free, sort of.  It costs me $27.99 in a pair of Levi’s for our son for Christmas plus the gas out there.  But hey, if I was going to give them $15 extra over the phone, I wanted some merchandise.

Fast forward to the afternoon.  The kids are home from school.  When they realized our internet was non-existent they were totally and completely lost.  Kind of like I was in the morning when I was wringing my hands wanting to pay my bills and read my newspaper for gods sake.  Instead of Youtube or Hulu the kids settled for offline stuff.  Lauren painted on the computer and Jordan played puzzle games.  Lauren puked in her bed last night at 2:37 a.m.  As I walked by the office doing the clean up, I saw seven lights all lit, two blinking.  You’ve got to be kidding.  Frank was on the phone all night last night with Mediacom and you know what?  They’re coming out on Wednesday to check it out.  That’s seven days people, wish us luck.

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R.I.P. Jas Cat

Meet Jasmine.  Twice a year I have her shaved and have for quite some time.  She’s old and can no longer take care of her coat and hates to be brushed by me.  She has long, beautiful, soft fur and looks like that cat in the movie  Meet The Parents. 

We got her as a kitten of 6 weeks old in 1990.  She passed away quickly and comfortably wrapped in a warm towel on Thanksgiving night.  I think she waited until our big day was over and every one was home.  It was nice.  Our house is super quiet now.  She would wake up really early, or sometimes in the middle of the night meowing her throaty meow wanting food.  She ate little, but often and it was getting rather exhausting for sure.

In the past few years she dwindled away to a weight of just over one pound.  Her skin was loose, and her bones were sticking out all over the place.  But she was still spunky in the way that she could get up on the stove and steal a sausage out of the pan.  Our other two cats are totally not into people food so I am missing sharing my own morsels with Jasmine.

We have two other cats.  The orange one, Jake is proably 14 or 15.  The white one, Jackson is 3.  I think the dog really misses Jasmine.  She was very caring in the way of cleaning her ears very often.  I think animals can be depressed because the dog has been sleeping on a pillow in our room since she passed.  Today is the first day she’s been hanging out on the couch.  Nice to see her out and about  for sure.

I am so happy I didn’t have to take Jasmine to the vet like I had to with another old cat to be put to sleep.  One day Jasmine was good, and two days later she was gone.  That’s exactly how I wanted it to be, holiday or not.

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Sacred Space

I love the feeling of practicing yoga in a yoga studio, but over time, I’ve learned to adapt and can practice almost anyplace. 

I used to have a much larger home and after I started practicing yoga, I purchased this beautiful rug (on e-bay) that was hand woven by the Kurds in Afghanistan.  The dominant color is red and the pattern screams prayer rug, but I’ve never seen one quite like it.  It measures 6′ x 11′ and it fit perfectly at the foot of the bed at my old place, which had a gigantic bedroom.  This rug became my sacred space.  The place where I put my yoga mat down, the place where I meditated, the place where I did hundreds of sun salutations, the place where I cried and seached for the truth.  I even slept on that rug several nights after our bed moved out.   Right now, that rug graces our front room as our bedroom here is so small I can stretch my foot out from under the covers and touch the dresser with my toes with ease.

In this house I’ve put my mat down in the hallway, in the dining room as well as the front room.  I long to have a studio built here as the space above our garage is nothing but a flat roof, but who knows when that will happen.  Until then, I make do.  Now that winter is here, practicing outdoors is not an option.  I loved the summertime early in the mornings when I could unroll my mat on the deck, or take it way down back to the old kitchen flooring that our son has deemed a discus throwing spot.  Mosquitos or not, I was out there.

I’ve made a few little places here where I keep special things.  Things like this for instance.  A bowl with fish tank gravel for holding incense adorned with rocks from special far away places sits on a shelf in the hall outside the bathroom.

In our bedroom is a tall cabinet that Frank added extra shelves to so I could stack up my many pairs of yoga pants and other class attire.  On top of this cabinet rests all of this.

A chime bowl I purchased with a gift card.  A tea set I got at Silver Dollar City as a child.  A little Yoda that’s missing his staff, but still has his snake.  I’ve had him forever.  I know.  You’re totally wanting to break into my house now aren’t you?   A green rock gem stone and a small jar of clear crystals from India.  A dancing Shiva that also serves as a holder for earrings on occasion.  A little Chinese mudman.  I’d love to have more of these, but they’re hard to find.  A red Chinese tassle given to me by a student who travels often.  Two small red buddhas that were gifts from friends, an egg shaped kaliedescope and my name written in Chinese calligraphy are all packed onto this small cabinet top.  I open this cabinet every day.  I walk by it as I breeze in and out of our bedroom.  I love these tiny things and they all hold a story.

I’ve discovered that there is no perfect place for anything.  There will always be something in the way, or some sort of distraction.  For instance.  The studio downtown is in a basement.  There’s no windows and when the clothing store above us opens, we hear the sounds of clickity clackity shoes.  Instead of being annoyed, I’m thankful that I’m down below, practicing yoga with bare feet.  Another space I go to has a fitness center in the unit next door.  When they open, we hear the low thumping of music.  Another space I go to is on a busy street and sometimes, we can hear traffic noise.  At the YMCA, we hear basketballs, voices loud and soft, traffic and sirens on the street.

When I moved to this smaller space I asked myself two questions. 

 Where would I throw down my yoga mat? 

Where is my sacred space? 

It’s wherever I unroll my mat.