January 22, 2020

Karma--And a Couple of Funny Stories

I have to say, it's been nice having my posts scheduled ahead of time the last few days so I haven't had to worry about making sure to fit in time to write a blog post. I spent all day on Friday working on the "favorite posts" series.

At first, I was going to put them all on one post, but I figured that if people were actually interested in following the links to read the favorite posts, it would be way too much to have in one day. Since my posts are always long, it would read like a novel!

Anyway, a couple of funny things happened recently and I just thought I'd share here. These stories aren't exactly laugh-out-loud hilarious, but I thought they were notable ;)

My sister was in town for the weekend, and she mentioned a book that I should read called "A Curve in the Road". She said it was super fast-paced, easy reading, about $5 on Amazon Kindle, and that I would probably read it in one sitting. Sounded perfect for me right now!

When I go home, I had to do a couple of searches to find it... I couldn't remember if it was "bend" "curve" "corner" or something else. All she told me was that it was about a woman living an ideal life with a husband and teen son, and she gets into a car accident at the beginning of the book. Jeanie didn't tell me anything more than that so as not to spoil it.

After some searches, I downloaded the book (I had some credits from choosing the "no-rush shipping" when ordering things, and it only ended up costing $1, which was cool. So, I started reading it that night when I got home, and again in the morning.

I was about a quarter of the way through the book, and I texted my sister about it. I told her that I liked it so far--that my prediction was that the woman's husband had switched places with her in the car before the first responders got there, because he'd been drinking before driving and wanted to make it look like she was driving. After the accident, people seem to treat her badly, but the book never mentions who was at fault or drunk driving or anything, so I was just speculating. I told Jeanie that I was at the part where the woman faints during yoga class.

My sister responded, "Are you reading 'A Curve in the Road'?"

I looked at the title of the book I was reading, and it was called "Around the Bend"! I burst out laughing (literally out loud) because I'd been reading the wrong book. I hadn't remembered the exact name of it, but I was pretty close. And the book started with a car accident, just like she said. And then Jeanie texted, "The girl faints, but it's not during yoga!" BAHAHA

I was dying.

I got about halfway into the book I started with, and it was getting weird, so I just switched over to what she told me to read, and I like it much better (also, it's a free Kindle loaner!). So, if you're interested in the book my sister described, it's called, "A Curve in the Road", FYI.

Monday evening, I had to get some groceries, so I went to Kroger and rushed through my grocery list. It was 10 degrees outside and I was freezing--I just wanted to get home and put on warm, comfy pajamas. I went through the self check-out, scanning everything and putting it into two paper bags. I was kind of impressed that it's all I bought for the week--we have enough stuff at home for several meals, so I only bought the things we really needed for the dinners I'd planned.

I paid for the groceries, set the bags in my cart, and walked to the car in the 10 degree weather. It was SO COLD. When I put the groceries in the back of the car, I noticed a single jalapeño pepper that I missed and didn't pay for. Ugh.

I wrestled with the idea of just leaving anyways (surely Kroger has overcharged me several times and I haven't noticed, or I've bought enough horrible watermelon--their watermelon is never good--from them that a single pepper wasn't a big deal. Heck, the last time I was there, Kroger short-changed me by a penny, but I didn't say anything because it was only a penny.

It would have weighed on my conscience if I didn't go back in and pay, however, and I believe in karma, so I decided to take the tiny pepper back in and pay for it.

I went back through the self-checkout and you know how much it cost? Eight cents! Luckily I had some loose change in my purse so I didn't have to put it on my credit card. But I'd done the right thing and felt good about it. Because karma.

Normally, I don't post on social media or my blog about when I do something randomly nice for others, because it drives me crazy when people post things like that just so they can get "likes" instead of doing it just to be kind. But for the sake of this story, I'll share something here that I did last week:

I was picking up a couple of things from Meijer (basically a grocery store but also with clothes and other things). I was in the self-checkout when I noticed a young girl (maybe 18?) next to me digging through a backpack, obviously distraught (and maybe a little high?). She was mumbling to herself, "Where is it?" and I assumed she was looking for money to pay for her items.

I saw that she only had two things--panty liners and a pair of joggers that were on clearance. She called the cashier over and said she couldn't find her money, so she asked if the cashier could just void out the items.

I quickly said to the cashier,  "I'll pay for it, just a sec". So, I finished paying for my own stuff and then I swiped my card to pay for her stuff, which was only like $17. She was super grateful and said she was trying to get to Detroit and that she was trying to turn her life around (not sure what she meant by that).

I didn't want to turn it into a big deal, but the cashier kept saying how nice it was of me. I quickly grabbed my stuff and left. All the way home, I was wishing I'd offered to take the girl to breakfast and at least ask her about "turning her life around" and how she planned to get to Detroit. Maybe I could've done more.

Anyways, even though I hadn't thought quickly enough to offer her breakfast, I did a good deed. Because stuff like that happens to all of us sometimes, and it's good to do something nice for others.

But so much for karma! Yesterday, when I was going through bank and credit card statements online to work on our budget, I noticed that someone had used my debit card number in Modesto, California to purchase $25 worth of something at Starbucks (probably the current going rate for a latte there) and $100 worth of stuff at Kohl's! (The odd thing was, the transactions were six days apart, so it wasn't like they were going on a shopping spree.)

I was SO FURIOUS. This has happened to me before, but I feel like I am a decent human being and I didn't deserve that! I was just so mad that there are people in this world that do shit like steal other people's money and use it for themselves. I really hope it catches up to them someday. My anxiety is bad enough already--I can't imagine having identity theft on my conscience!

What was very odd is that I haven't used my debit card in probably three years. I honestly don't even know my pin number, and I don't carry my card with me. Since we started our budgeting, I only use credit cards (or a dime, in the case of the jalapeño).

So, how could the transactions in California come from my bank account? I use a local credit union. Today, I have to go to the credit union to fill out forms and hopefully get the $125 back. Meanwhile, I had them cancel my debit card (which I didn't even know was still activated).

Okay, I guess that wasn't exactly a funny story--I just thought I'd share about the jalapeño.

Here's one more recent story:

You know the vacuum I just bought, "the best $50 I've ever spent"? Well, I was using it to vacuum the house really well, including using the hose to vacuum along all the baseboards and under furniture. I was vacuuming Eli's bedroom, when the suction on the hose stopped.

I had no idea what happened. The hose appeared to be unobstructed. I emptied out the canister of dust and dog hair, cleaning it out really well. Put it back in the vacuum. Still, the hose had no suction. I stretched out the hose as far as I could, shaking it, sliding my hand along it, hoping to find the problem. I wondered if there was a hole in it somewhere, but didn't see one.

I disconnected all the parts that I could from the vacuum, cleaned everything well. STILL, no suction from the hose! I grabbed a flashlight and pulled the hose taut, looking all the way to the end of it near the base. There, I could see a circular gray piece that was the perfect fit for the hose, so I assumed that something had broken loose and obstructed the base of the hose.

This is what it looked like once I was able to pull it to the top, but at the time, it was WAY at the other end of the hose, so I could barely see it:

I didn't want to break the vacuum, but since I was already in a predicament, I spent the next 20 minutes working the gray piece from the base of the vacuum to the top of the hose. It was a perfect fit, so it was very difficult to do. I wondered if it was some sort of filter or something. It was just a round plastic disk with an indentation in the center, and I decided that once I got it out, I'd figure out where it was supposed to be.

Finally, FINALLY... I was able to grab it with my fingernails and carefully pull it out.

And in that moment, I was ready to strangle Eli. Look what it was!

It was some sort of candy that comes in a container that is a nightmare to get out of a vacuum hose. When I was vacuuming under his furniture, the hose must have picked that up--and it just so happened to be the EXACT same size as the hose.

The color of the end of it made it look like part of the vacuum, too. I was mad at the waste of time, but relieved that the vacuum wasn't broken. After that, the vacuum worked its magic.

I told Eli if I ever find one of those things again, I really will strangle him ;)

So anyway, that's what's been going on here lately. My sister and her friend are going to Vegas on Friday and asked if I wanted to join them. Jerry said he had the weekend off, and it would work out well. I could use a buddy pass to fly stand-by (cheaper than buying a ticket). AND, it just so happens that Saturday is my birthday!

I was pretty sure that I was going to go. It would be nice to go someplace warm(er) for a couple of days. However, it's not in the budget right now. Eli's baseball hitting lesson really helped him with hitting, and after talking to the coach again of the team he really wants to play for, the coach said he could practice with them all winter.

After buying his turf shoes, jersey, sweatshirt, hat, and practice fees, it was pretty expensive. But totally worth it for Eli to get to practice with the team all winter--and if he's good enough in the spring, he may get to play in some tournaments. The exercise will be good for him, and this is great for his confidence, too.

Meanwhile, I'm going through some bad anxiety and depression right now. Not as bad as it's been in the past, but I just can't seem to feel happy about anything. I'm starting to wonder if I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression that tends to happen in the fall and winter months). I did some reading about it and for people with bipolar especially, mania or hypomania tends to happen in the spring/summer while depression tends to happen in the fall/winter.

I used to feel really good in the fall until about 4-5 years ago or so. Since then, it seems like December/January/February are my worst months. The cold makes me miserable and not want to go outside. I haven't run since the first week of January, and I don't want to undo any progress I made in my fitness from three months of running. I really want to get back to it, but I just can't seem to find the motivation to do it.

I'd made a plan for January as far as doing the two-month carbohydrate intolerance test and more MAF training, but when the test didn't work out for me, I failed to have a back-up plan in place. I wish I'd thought of that ahead of time! With my birthday being Saturday, I want to think of it as a "fresh start" (I love fresh starts when they fall on a significant day!). I may have to force myself to run, but hopefully as the weather changes in the spring, I'll start feeling better.

I want a wood project to work on, but I can't make up my mind what I want to make! I'm thinking I might make either shelves around Jerry's and my bed or a couple of nightstands (the ones we have currently are a few inches too wide, making space very tight on either side of the bed).

Whatever I decide, woodworking is something I enjoy so much that I think it'll help with these feelings of depression.

Anyway, a couple more days of my "favorite posts" series, and then back to the usual. Whatever "the usual" is, haha ;)


  1. Katie:

    I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch. I just wanted to let you know much your blog helps me. A few years ago, I got serious about losing weight and managed to lose nearly 50 pounds (and took up running, partly because of your blog!). Then I had to have surgery and some of the weight started to come back. Recently I rediscovered your site and reading through your archives is really helping me keep on track, I've lost four pounds so far! And I'm back on the running train! I adopted some bullet journaling methods to keep track of my practices that will help me reach my goals, and it's helping a lot.

    You said something about how you can't find the motivation--which reminded me of what you talked about in a very interesting post that helped me, how "determination beats motivation." I never thought about how motivation is short lived, but if we are determined, we can accomplish much!

    On the woodworking topic, my husband just made a hexagonal dice box, lined with cork (you roll your dice in it, and it's quieter than using the table, and makes sure your dice don't roll off the table!). We play a lot of role-playing games, and these boxes are awesome! They are neat little projects, and make great gifts for gamers. Just Google "dice boxes" and you should find some pictures and plans.

    1. I thought of that when I wrote "motivation"... but I can't even find the motivation to get determined, hahaha. I really wish I could, but I have a lot of personal stuff going on right now that has thrown me for a loop.

      I googled the dice boxes, and holy cow--those are amazing! I never knew they existed, but some of them are really beautiful. That's great your husband was able to make that!

  2. Oh, and Happy Early Birthday! :)

    1. Thanks! I am dreading it as I get closer and closer to 40... ;)

  3. Hi Katie, happy birthday weekend! I was petrified to turn 40 but then once my birthday arrived I was surprisingly fine with it lol. I was thinking about how handy you are with woodworking and tools... have you considered making something to sell? For example, my father makes wooden adirondack chairs which sell for over $100/each and you can find free blueprints online... :-)

    Love your blog!


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