Archive for ‘Look for the silver lining’

March 21, 2020

New times, new digs

by Janie Jones

Hello friends!


The Spud, Miss Pickle and I were out at the park today, it was a lovely day for a game of Sticks.  But if you are Miss Pickle, every day is a lovely day for sticks.


It has been lovely hearing from many of you either in your blogs, comments or by email.  I am glad many of you are doing well.  My heart goes out to those who have been hit close to home, I send well wishes and will keep you close in my thoughts.

I have been thinking about life in our new reality and decided I want to document these days, because it feels like something good should come out of this.  So, I have opened up a new blog, something I have thought about doing for a long time.  And, I have decided to go transparent, no aliases for myself.

If you are interested in reading the real life and times of Janie Jones, drop me an email and I will send you my new address.

September 18, 2015

The new, new deal

by Janie Jones

So, for any of you on pins and needles with me over the being “over paid” federal financial aid loan dollars here’s the update:  all seems to be resolved.

Stickittoyou U, in a nearly unprecedented display of taking responsibility for their screw-ups, has given me (and presumably the others who they dumped in the same boat) a University Grant to cover the amount of funding that they over extended in my federal loan package.  This grant will basically repay that $500 I wasn’t technically allowed to have but was allowed to borrow anyway.

As the university packages your financial aid by school year, it seems as though this grant will also cover spring semester.  Even though spring loans haven’t technically been disbursed yet, I had already “accepted them” and those amounts would also have exceeded my lifetime undergraduate federal loan maximum.  Way to be surprisingly pro-active in preventing a repeat of this debacle in February.

The long and the short of it all means, provided no additional screw-ups are discovered, I should be able to finance my last spring semester as originally planned.  And, as this is grant money, I won’t have to pay it back.  In this case, if you look at it from the silver lining perspective, their screw-up actually has saved me money.


May 14, 2015

Thursday Quote Du Jour: A stiff drink is in order, anyone got any vodka?

by Janie Jones

I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.

-Ron White

The semester is finally 100% over.  My last final was yesterday.  Ahhhh.  The freedom.  I think this calls for a celebratory drink.  You bring the vodka, I’ve got the lemons.  Oh, yes, have I got lemons.

Did I mention summer school starts Monday?

March 23, 2015

Monday morning pep talk before heading back to the ol’ grind

by Janie Jones

Break is over.  It was so very wonderful to have a few days of total leisure, but like all good things it must come to an end.

vacation is over

I am sad.  The thought of going back to class this morning is so abhorrent, I actually feel ill.

endless sea of misery

But I can look at the bright side, right?

Only 7 more weeks left in this semester.

And, today I register for next fall’s classes.  It will be my last fall as an undergrad.  Yes, my friends.  I am truly getting close.  At this time a year from now I will be 7 weeks from graduation.

14 months until I am a bona fide college graduate.

14 months til graduation

I am going to just think of that and nothing else.


March 1, 2015

Laundromats, generous gentleman, random albino ferret, lost stocking, co-op membership, and mimosas-and all for naught

by Janie Jones

A strange combination of events led to a surprisingly pleasant Saturday.

As there was the need to wash laundry and a lack of functioning washing machines in my life last week, I decided to try and make the best of the situation.  I called my visually impaired friend Peggy who’s back living in the Big City and also has no washing machines at her disposal.  I suggested if she had some laundry in need of washing we make an outing of it.  Seeing as she can’t drive, a trip to the laundromat involves either walking all her clothes and supplies a dozen blocks down the street to the nearest laundromat or taking a bus, she readily agreed to the free ride and companionship.  We decided to meet at 9:30am yesterday and we planned to get brunch afterward.

The weirdness then commenced, but in the most surprisingly pleasant way.  Normally I loathe laundromats.  They seem counter-intuitive.  Every one I’ve ever been in has either been filthy dirty or just so run down you wonder how any clothes actually get clean.  And then, the cross-section of Americana I’ve seen there tends to provide little to re-assure me.

As Peggy has lived in the Big City for something like 7 years, most of which she was laundromat dependent, I asked her where she thought best to go, and followed her lead.  But first she asked if we could stop at the Co-op because she needed laundry detergent and she preferred to buy the ecologically friendly kind sold there.  I certainly had no problem with this pit stop, especially as we had to drive right past to get to the laundromat anyway.

While Peggy made her purchase, I stopped to ask about getting my own membership and found that it was surprisingly affordable and would give me more benefits than just membership there.  Apparently there’s many other businesses in the Big City which give you discounts if you show your Co-op membership, several of which are places I already frequent. On top of that, being as I’m certifiably poor, I get an additional discount by flashing my poor person credentials.  So, I happily bought a bunch of organic produce and left quite pleased.

We finally arrived at the laundromat, and while it was a little cleaner and in better repair than most laundromats of my previous experience, it didn’t take long for the host of weirdos to descend.  As they began swapping stories of recent jail time and drug related charges, I distracted myself from their stench of illegal smoking substances and barely intelligible conversation by having a heart attack at the prices to wash and dry clothes.

I was going to do a white and a dark load of clothes, which would have cost $8.00, and drying would have been extra, at $2.25 for 45 minutes of drying time.  I had bought a roll of quarters thinking one roll should be plenty, as the last time I had to use a laundromat it was $1 to wash and $0.75 to dry per load.  Now I was worried I wouldn’t have enough.  Peggy told me they had an exchange machine where I could always buy tokens for the laundry machines, but being a cheapskate and having just plunked down some cash for Co-op membership and knowing there was brunch to follow, my pocket book could be heard quietly whimpering in my handbag.  So I combined my two loads, the horror of mingling together whites and darks be damned.  It still cost $7.50 all told to do my one week’s worth of clothing and two towels.  But, my one roll of quarters held the day with a few to spare.

Peggy and I took seats on the opposite end of the ‘mat from the weirdos so we’d have some privacy and I would be able to avoid staring at the appearance of an albino ferret on some woman’s shoulder, and settled in for a cozy girl chat while our laundry suds-ed, spun and tumbled dry.  Near the end of our adventure, a normal-looking older gentleman began hovering next to us and looking right at us while we gabbed.  So I stopped talking and looked at him.  He continued to look back and I cautiously smiled.

He then said in somewhat of an embarrassed rush, “I’m not trying to hit on you, but do you come here often?  Hahaha.  I don’t, and last time I came I had a bunch of extra laundry tokens I bought out of the machine and I didn’t need all my tokens so I’ve had a bunch left from last time weighing down my pockets.  I still have one left after today and I thought if you come here often you might be able to make better use of it.”

Peggy made a comment about not generally coming here very often and I said I’d never been before, but he already was trying to hand me a token.  So, almost automatically, I took it from him.  I noticed it said $1.  So I said, “Oh, my, is this a dollar token?”

“Yes, but I don’t think I’ll be back and I don’t want to carry it around.”

“Well, I don’t usually have to use the laundromat myself, but my laundry machine just broke at home so I may need to come back after all.”

“Good then.”   He said, “You’ll make use of it.  I wasn’t trying to hit on you really.”

I smiled and laughed and said, “Oh, I understand.  But we sure all got a good laugh out of it didn’t we?  Thanks for the token.  You have a great day.”  And he laughed and said good bye.

Peggy and I looked at each other, and I stuck the token in my pocket book, and said, “Well, that was nice.  A little strange, but nice.”  It did occur to me that this was a pretty pleasant laundromat experience after all.  I mean how often do you see albino ferrets and sweet old men give you dollar laundry tokens?  He could have easily given it to the group of weirdos who looked more in need of charity than me and Peggy.  Then again, I wouldn’t approach the weirdos if I could help it, either, no matter how charitable I felt.

By then our clothes were done and we began to pack up.  That’s when I realized one of my socks had gone MIA.  I checked all around the inside of the dryer, and the floor and the washer, but I think one of the weirdos had used the washer while our clothes were drying, so they might have ended up with a rogue sock.  But, I was already thinking of brunch, besides, what could I do?  It was just a sock, and if I wasn’t willing to approach the weirdos and offer them a free laundry token, I certainly wasn’t about to ask if they found my missing sock.  Maybe I got that laundry token as compensation.  Karma is funny that way.

So Peggy and I went off for brunch and on a lark we both decided to order Mimosas.  They were a little stronger than I expected, but tasty.  I got this delicious pecan pancake with maple Marscapone cream and a side of heavenly bacon.  The place was a little busy so we had a while to wait for our food, but that was okay because we had Mimosas.  We lingered a while after our food, too.  Just because it was really relaxing and well, did I mention we had Mimosas?

After sitting there about an hour and a half the waitress came and asked if we’d like another Mimosa.  I, having to be able to drive, declined, but I did say to Peggy that if I had to continue to do the laundromat thing for a while, I could get used to making a girls-day-out thing out of it.  I mean, everything seems better through a gentle Mimosa haze.

When I felt I’d eaten enough and sat long enough to wear off any potentially compromising champagne, I took Peggy home.  Then it was back to the place in town where I have my room, and that’s when I found out that the washing machine there was fixed.  Apparently it was just that the socket had a surge protector fuze thing and it had been tripped.  Once the handy roommate figured that out and reset the fuze in the outlet the machine was back in business.

So my expensive excursion to the Co-op, laundromat and brunch was pretty much for naught.  Although I can’t complain because it was one of the most enjoyable Saturday mornings I’ve spent in quite a long while.  And I now have a nifty $1 laundromat coin as a souvenir and I have a Co-op membership that will save me money going forward.

I guess if you look at it from a silver lining perspective, I should actually be grateful to the Universe for the twist of fate that caused both laundry machines to be out of order last week.  Otherwise, I’d have never had such a wonderful day or such a bizarre and convoluted story to share.

February 27, 2015

So far, this is all Friday has going for it

by Janie Jones

So the universe apparently doesn’t want me to have clean clothes.  The washing machine at the farm broke down on me last Saturday, as you may recall.  Yesterday I went to do some laundry in the machines in the house I’m living in in town.  And, lo and behold, the washing machine here wouldn’t run at all.

So, I had some soup, and decided to call it a day early again, in hopes I could wake up this morning returned to my pre-cold vim and vigor.  Or at least be regularly worn out and not sick and worn out.

But the room mate who likes to have guests stay in the extra basement room decided again to have company last night without giving me any notice.  I won’t go into the details, but it interrupted my night and when I did finally fall back to sleep, I slept fitfully dreaming of people barging in on me in all sorts of ways and situations until my alarm went off.

So I am quite glad it’s Friday for Friday’s sake, as I have the weekend off and I can try to rest some more and catch up on the ever present mountain of homework.

But, if we are trying very hard to find silver linings, I can also be glad that today I finished the two boxes of nasty breakfast cereal I bought on sale and have been choking down every morning for the last couple weeks.

See, I don’t always have to complain.  I can find things to be happy about even with a headache, disrespectful roommates, and being broke.

Happy Friday to you, in what ever ways it turns out to be special.

February 23, 2015

Well, now I know why I had that screaming headache Saturday

by Janie Jones

Saturday I did finally make it out to the farm, only  to have the washing machine (which is maybe a year old) break on me.  It would not drain.  So, I did my best to fish out my clothes, hand wring them, threw them in a garbage bag, and bailed out the washing machine.  I then schlepped the very heavy bag of sodden half washed clothes to the truck and drove back to town.

I had some errands to run, so I stopped on my way back to my room.  First I went for a haircut, I go to one of those no-appointment discount places, but there is a particular hair dresser that works there that I always wait to see, as she does a pretty good job.  But she wasn’t in on Saturday.  It was a bit of a long shot, but the salon was in the same shopping center so I thought I’d try my luck.  Should have known better.

The I went to the crafts store.  I wanted a decorative shoe box.  I thought I had a coupon.  So I looked at the various options, some were marked $9.99, and some $3.99.  So I opted for a plain black one.  I waited in line for about 10 minutes (there was only one check out lane open), finally got to the register, discovered my coupon wasn’t good until March, then apparently the plain black boxes were also $9.99.  Well, I wasn’t about to pay ten plus dollars for what basically is a black cardboard shoe box, so I left.

Next I went to the computer store.  I need a micro USB to VGA adaptor for my new tablet/netbook.  I wandered about the store as they had rearranged everything and the computer accessories weren’t where they used to be, naturally.  Finally a clerk found me and led me to their new location.  No micro USB to VGA adaptors were to be had.

By this point, it was almost 3pm.  My headache was down to a dull roar, thanks to a liberal use of naproxen and muscle relaxers, but I was feeling quite worn out.  So I called off the rest of the excursion and drove back to my place in town, only to break the wheel on my laundry tote trying to haul the big bag of wet clothes inside.  It is rather impressive how much a load of wet clothes weigh, even after you’ve hand wrung them.

Once inside, of course the other renters were already using the laundry machines so I had to wait to finish my stuff until Sunday.  I decided the day was such a loss I’d just reheat some pizza and watch Jane Austen movies until I fell asleep.  So I went to set up my DVD player, which I haven’t used since I bought it on uber-sale after Christmas.


Oh, Janie Jones, don’t you ever learn?

Well, the diagram for plugging the damn thing into my ‘smart’ TV that came with the VCR didn’t match the configuration on the actual backside of the TV.  So I had to randomly try plugging the stuff in until I finally gave up and dug out the TV manual.  Then I realized I had tried the correct combination more than once, but it still wasn’t working.

Eventually, about a half hour later I finally figured out that there’s a special setting called COMP that I have to switch the TV to when I want to use the VCR, and that I need to go into the menu options then in the COMP setting I have to type in VCR so the damn ‘smart’ TV knows to search for a VCR through the COMP ports.

So, after this I decided it was Rum Punch time, muscle relaxers and naproxen be damned.

You know, Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility and a Rum Punch do tend to make up for a lot of things.

I would have posted this yesterday, having woken up feeling much better, but I got busy with various household chores like rewashing my laundry.  In general the day started out quite well, with the exception of being quite lonely.  Leif, who knew of Saturday’s travails, happened to call while I was feeling quite blue and that cheered me up enough to get a fair amount of things accomplished, until mid-dayish when I realized I had come down with a head cold.

Proving once again, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Now some people would say there are lots of things I should be grateful for.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t even wreck the truck or have a house fire, or break my right arm.  And even though he’s far away, I had that lovely phone call from Leif just at that precise moment when I needed a figurative shoulder to lean on.  But seriously, how cruel is fate that after such a miserable Saturday I should come down with a cold on Sunday?