Drunk Driving in Anchorage

I caught an article this morning (read here: http://www.adn.com/2013/10/14/3124117/4-ideas-to-curb-drunken-driving.html).  I’ve known people who drive drunk.  None have been caught.  I would love to see the laws we have more strictly enforced.  To do that, we need more officers patrolling. 
To have more officers patrolling, we need to have more money in the budget.  To have more money in the budget, we need to institute a sales tax in Anchorage.  Plain and simple.  We can’t get blood from a turnip and there are no real options that I can see other than this one.  We all benefit from more officers on the street, therefore we should all be paying for the officers.  The best way to do that is a sales tax. 

The drunk driving issue is a cultural one.  It didn’t matter 20 years ago.  We still have people who don’t care.  We need people to really care.  To admonish their friends.  To report their friends when it happens.  Nobody wants to be a designated driver, so they need to start looking into cabs.  A couple of busses should be running until 4:00 AM to take people close to home. 

I do like the volunteer drunk spotting that has popped up.  A large-scheme “Neighborhood Watch” type endeavor. 

I don’t think we’ll be 100% effective unless we install the ignition interlock devices on every car as a preventative measure, but that seems unnecessarily punitive to me (especially since it’s a pay-for-use service). 

Memories

Today I inexplicably remembered an old friend.  I don’t know why I thought of him.  I haven’t thought about him in at least a few years.  We haven’t spoken since 2007. 

Let me back up.  We met in 1998.  I was a freshman and PB was a senior.  We met in drama class, if I remember correctly.  We stayed friends after I left school, married, divorced, married, etc.  After my second marriage fell apart, he insisted that I needed to find a doctor to marry and was mad that I wasn’t following the “advice” he was giving me.  I was in the depths of a depressive phase, having just lost my grandfather and dealing with my divorce, so I wasn’t in the mood to listen to any dating advice, no matter the source. 
I introduced him to my SO when he was still just a friend.  PB was upset at the fact that I wasn’t being serious about my dating prospects (I was 24 at the time), and wasn’t taking his advice and that he didn’t think that SO was good enough for me.  We argued and the gist was that if I wasn’t going to take his advice and “fly right”, he wasn’t going to waste his time on me.  I said some words about his character (which were true at the time) and we haven’t spoken since. 

Do I regret my words?  No.  He had no right to dictate to me who I was going to see and how I should act and who I should BE.  Especially when he wasn’t dating me and there was no interest in dating each other.  I think I just regret the loss of the friendship.  I miss our occasional talks about nothing at all.  I kind of miss being able to chat about tv shows and gossip about things and celebrate our birthdays together. 

All in all, I guess what I’m trying to say is… even though a friendship has passed, there are good memories that make the loss of the friendship okay.  There can be a wealth of great moments in a toxic relationship.  Okay, I’m going to stop rambling and go to bed.

My First Amazon Refund Ever

I order from Amazon a lot.  Alaskans order online a lot to begin with, but I’ve never had an instance where I had an order wrong.  I did have a cancellation where the order still went through and had to return the order and get refunded, but this was different.  I ordered violin strings.  A pack of 4 full sets of strings.  This means a total of 16 strings.  It as a steal at $15.27.  The first shipment sent me two A strings, one D string and one G string (get your giggles out).  I was missing four E, two A, three D and three G strings still.  I contacted customer service (which is hard to do) and was told to send them back (they paid for shipping) and they’d send the replacements.  Instead, they sent me one pack instead of the four I paid for.  I waited a week to see if maybe they’d send me the other three.  Nope.  So I emailed again and explained the situation. 
I was told to keep the strings I’d been sent for my troubles and I’d be refunded my money.  I still need to buy extra strings, but at least I have extra money in which to do so.  Amazon did try to help, but I think the four packs of four strings each is what got confusing for their order-fillers. 

This year I have two kids playing the violin.  M is playing for the 3rd year and G has decided to start playing now that he is in the 6th grade.  Luckily I had a 3/4 violin still so he could use that.  I will need to purchase a bigger violin for G if he decides to play next year.  His half-brother, C, played the viola. 

I’ll price strings in town and see if it will be cheaper to buy at the local store (I doubt it) rather than order online again. 

I’m sorry for not posting a proper update in a while.  I have been very busy with school.  I’m not here to update about my schooling right now.  I have other things to update about!

The kids are back in school.  M is in the 8th grade, his last year of junior high.  G is in the 6th grade and his last year of elementary school.  We will have a LOT of changes next year.  G is running for student council president this year.  J just returned from New Jersey for the summer and is missing his dad.   His dad might be visiting for Christmas, but we haven’t fully committed yet.  It depends on the finances.  E started pre-school this year.  He is doing well and loves school.  He hasn’t gotten the hang of weekends yet.

I got a new vehicle last week.  A 2007 Ford Explorer.  The Suburban is now sitting in the carport waiting for me to work on.  The engine needs to be rebuilt, among other things.  I’m hoping it will be ready by next summer, since I’m doing it all on my own in my “free time”. 

My depression was getting worse.  I’m bipolar but the lows weren’t going away at all.  The doctor recommended Abilify.  The first few days at a regular low dose were horrible.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  We cut the pills in half for a few weeks and that worked out really well.  I’m now up to a regular dose and I tell you what, I’m doing a lot better than what I was doing.  I’m supposed to be seeing a therapist, but between SO breaking his toe, M breaking his thumb, me and my neck, back and foot, I just haven’t had time to go see the one they recommended.  Besides, the therapist is very busy.  I’ve been told I should blog my “feelings” more.  Or journal.  Something to get my emotions out.  Yeah… right.  More sarcasm, is what the internet needs, right? 

Right now, I’m watching the Torchwood Marathon on BBC America.  I’m up way too early, but that’s been normal lately with my medication, and with my pain levels the day after a procedure.  

I’ll post a picture of my new car once I take a good photo of it.

My Son Has A Cell Phone And I’m Okay

I got my son a cell phone Friday night.  We the adults spent a month discussing it.  My mom and stepdad (we’re under their contract because they have more bucket minutes than a circus could use up in a month – they were grandfathered into that contract), my ex-husband, my current husband, and I. 
I then started considering the rules for the cell phone.  What expectations we would have and all that jazz.  I ended up writing a four page contract.  Below is the contract, with names redacted for obvious reasons.  Please feel free to use the contract as needed and make changes as you need to.  This is used for my 13 year old son.

 

A cell phone is a privilege, not a right.  This contract is a guideline for not only how M is to use the cell phone provided, but the stipulations in which he is to follow in order to continue having the permission to use said cell phone.  Not following the rules set forth in this contract can and will result in the loss of cell phone privileges.

For the purposes of this contract, the following individuals are named:

M       otherwise known as “You”, “Your”, or “He”

J          otherwise known as “Mom”

SO      otherwise known as “Agent”

ex 2    otherwise known as “Agent”

GPD    otherwise known as “Cell Phone Account Holder”

GPC    otherwise known as “Cell Phone Account Holder”

 

General Rules:

1)      For all intents and purposes, the cell phone provided to you is to be considered a loan or rental, and must be treated as such.  This means that the phone and cell phone privileges are able to be taken away from you at any time.  You will have input in regards to what type of phone you have, but ultimately, the adults will have final say.

2)      All communications are subject to review.  This means that at any time, J or her agents (Agents subject to change as Mom deems appropriate) may access any and all phone logs, text messages, address book and pictures (if applicable). 

3)      Cell phone is to be kept in good working order.  You will take any and all precautions available to you to ensure that the cell phone provided to you stays safe.  This includes (but is not limited to) keeping the cell phone in a protective case, not flashing around/showing off the cell phone (to help ensure that the phone is not stolen), keeping the cell phone off of the floor, avoiding food/liquid spills, etc.

4)      Usage of cell phone is to be regulated and your behavior with said cell phone is to be appropriate.

  1. Cell phone is permitted to travel with you to and from school, but not to be used unless it is an emergency. 

                                                               i.      No calls or texting in class.

                                                             ii.      No leaving cell phone at school overnight or during the weekend.

  1. Curfew of cell phone is to be enforced. Cell phone is to be turned over to Mom for nightly charging and storage.  Cell phone may be returned to you in the morning.

                                                               i.      Curfew for school nights is 8:00 PM. 

                                                             ii.      Curfew for non-school nights (weekends, holidays, vacations) is 9:30 PM.

  1. Texting:

                                                               i.      NO SEXTING. 

  1. No sexually explicit text messages are to be sent by you. 
  2. No pictures are to be taken of you or by you using the cell phone provided to you that are of anyone in sexually explicit / sexually compromising positions, nor any pictures of genitals/breasts. 
    1. Any pictures of this kind will result in the IMMEDIATE revocation of any/all cell phone privileges. 

                                                             ii.      No harassment or bullying of other people.  General rule of thumb: If you would get in trouble saying it to Mom, it is unacceptable to send to friends / acquaintances.

5)      You are to answer calls coming in from Mom or her agents when called. 

  1. Exceptions to this rule are:

                                                               i.      During class time or during educational/sports-related activities

  1. Examples of educational/sports-related activities include (but are not limited to):
    1. Sports practices, games/matches
    2. School-sanctioned before/after-school activities such as Orchestra concerts, fundraising car washes (or other fundraising events), detentions,
    3. While in a movie, concert, funeral or wedding.  Your cell phone should be turned off for these events.
  2. Any missed calls from Mom or her agents must be returned immediately once you are available to do so. 

6)      You must earn the privilege of continued use of provided cell phone.  This is to include your behavior / attitude, grades, and chores.  Chores will go towards “working credit” to “pay” for the use of cell phone service, accessories (such as cases), and if necessary, new phones.  This section will outline the behaviors / attitudes we expect, grades / school expectations, and chores.

  1. School expectations:

                                                               i.      All grades must be a ‘C’ or higher at all times. 

  1. Two or more unacceptable grades will result in the loss of cell phone privileges until grades are brought up to standard.  Once grades improve, limitations will be set on phone usage to ensure that grades stay at expectations.

                                                             ii.      As outlined in 4A, cell phone will be allowed to be taken to school with you.  You will follow all school rules regarding cell phones. 

  1. No phone calls / texting during class.  You are to keep cell phone turned off during class time.
  2. Should cell phone be confiscated by school officials (to include, but not limited to teachers, security staff, admin staff), you will owe the equivalent of $50 in chores in order for Mom to retrieve cell phone from school.  If the phone is not able to be retrieved, you will be required to work / do chores to “pay” for a replacement.
  3. We expect behavior and attitude to be acceptable in order for you to have use of cell phone.  This means:

                                                               i.      No verbal or physical bullying of your brothers. 

                                                             ii.      No verbal or physical bullying of individuals not related to you.

                                                            iii.      No stealing. 

  1. If something has been taken away from you, you are not allowed to “retrieve” it for personal use.  Mom (or agent) is to give you back anything taken away from you herself.  If a brother returns a taken item to you, you are to immediately bring it to Mom (or agent). 
  2. If you steal something, either from someone or from a business, phone will be confiscated as a part of your punishment.

                                                           iv.      Crying when you have not gotten your way, when food you do not like is put in front of you at meal times, or in an attempt to manipulate a situation will not be tolerated. 

                                                             v.      No verbal back-talking or disrespectful sarcasm / comments to adults, peers or brothers.

                                                           vi.      No manipulating or attempts to manipulate adults to get what you want.  Examples include: asking a second adult permission for something when you’ve already been told ‘no’, attempting to “plead your case” to a second adult when Mom (or agent) has given you a task or given you an answer you don’t like in an attempt to get the second adult to convince Mom (or agent) to change her/his mind. 

  1. Chores:

                                                               i.      All chores will be given a monetary value and used to earn “credit” towards cell phone service, accessories (such as cases), and possible new phones (if phone is damaged, lost or otherwise needs replacing).  Chore credit ratings are subject to change at any time.

  1. This will not include keeping your room clean or doing group chore activities (such as shopping, bringing in/putting away groceries). 
  2. Chore credits for chores done at relatives’ homes will be reassessed on an as-needed basis. 

                                                             ii.      Occasionally, chore credits may be redeemed for cash for non-cell phone related things (such as movies, outings, special clothes, etc.). 

                                                            iii.      It will be the joint responsibility of you and Mom (or agent) to track chore credits and expenditures. 

 

Chore Credit List: Chore list to include (but not limited to) the following chores:

 

Laundry – wash/dry

$1 / load

Laundry – folding

$0.75 / load

Laundry – put away

$0.50 / load

Laundry – match, fold, put away

$2.50

Dishes – wash

$0.75

Dishes – dry / put away

$0.50

Sweep/Vacuum living room

$1

Sweep/mop kitchen/dining room

$1.50

Sweep kitchen / dining room

$0.75

Sweep/mop bathroom

$1.25

Dust living room

$2

Clean out litter box

$1

Clean hallway / staircase

$2

Wipe down bathroom counter

$0.75

Wash windows – inside

$0.50 / each

Wash slider glass door – inside

$1

Wash windows – outside, bottom

$1

Wash slider glass door – outside

$1.50

Clean stovetop

$1

Clean microwave

$1

Wipe down walls

$0.75 / wall

Wipe down running boards

$1 / wall

Wipe down heating registers

$1 / wall

Wipe down doors

$1 / each

Organize bookshelf

$0.75 / each

Mow lawn

$5

Shovel walkway

$3

Shovel driveway

$5

Help move furniture

TBD

Help paint

TBD

Watch brothers

$4 / hour

Wipe down T.V. / electronics

$0.50 / each

 

I, M, agree to honor this contract written by J, outlining my usage of cell phone.  Contract may be terminated at any time by GPD, GPC, or J.  If I, M, fail to follow the terms of this contract, I will be subject to punishment not limited to what has been outlined in this contract.  In signing this contract:

 

¾     I understand that a cell phone is a privilege, not a right.

¾     I understand that when using a cell phone, my age does not prevent me from being charged with crimes committed with said cell phone (such as bullying, taking pictures of naked or partially naked individuals under the age of 18, sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures of individuals under the age of 18, etc.)

¾     I understand that taking, sending and/or receiving sexually explicit pictures of an individual under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and is illegal and is punishable by law.

¾     I understand that the cell phone I use can be taken away at any time for any reason.

¾     I understand that there are limits to the amount of time I am allowed to talk per month on cell phone.

¾     I understand that I must work to earn credits to pay for my use of cell phone.

¾     I understand the restrictions to cell phone (school hours, curfew, etc.). 

¾     I understand that I am to answer all phone calls coming in from Mom or her agents, and if I am unable to answer, I am to call back as soon as possible.

¾     I understand that I am not to access the internet or download games, music or ringtones onto cell phone without the express permission of the Account Holders and Mom.

 

Cell Phone Brand/Model:     __________________________________________________

Cell Phone Number:                               __________________________________________________

 

 

_____________________________________________________                                           _____________

M                                                                                                                                     Date

 

 

_____________________________________________________                                           _____________

J                                                                                                                                          Date

 

 

_____________________________________________________                                           _____________

GPD                                                                                                                                   Date

 

 

_____________________________________________________                                           _____________

GPC                                                                                                                                   Date

 

 

We are using a chore chart system to help him earn credits to pay for his cell phone.  $9.99 a month, plus any extra credits to download ringtones, screens, buy cases, and save for new phones.  Plus he needs to reimburse us for the hook-up fee, and the original phone.  If he goes and helps relatives somewhere (i.e., the grandparents move, or an uncle paint), he will be marked for his hours worked, and the credits will be counted towards his cell phone credits.  If he has enough saved up, he can make a withdrawal of cash for other things (not cell phone related). 

G wants to get in on the credits too.  He wants to use it towards seeing movies rather than a cell phone (deal on cells is not until 13).  We have agreed. 

I’m going to go broke, but my house might look spotless!

Update for 8/5/13

I don’t get to update much.  Mostly because I don’t have much to update about.  I’m still working at the same place, I have started school (online), and I am still busy doing the same things I always do.  I am dealing with a bipolar low, which makes things harder.  I started a new medication on Friday and it is giving me a euphoric high that I don’t like. 

Other than that, there is nothing new to report.  The Renaissance Fair went off without a hitch and we enjoyed it.  We’re looking in to some different costumes for next year. 

I will give a better update sometime soon.