Archive for September, 2008

Subprime Explained.

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A cup of Love

I was in Lexington, SC watching a trial all day Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday morning.  I stayed with Jennifer and Matt on Wednesday night.  They just moved into a precious house with a great backyard.  I have my own room and everything.  Wednesday morning Jennifer and I went to Starbucks before she took Clemmie to dog school and I went back to the courthouse to be tortured by the closing arguments of the personal injury attorneys. 

Wednesday morning was mild, with a sharp wind.  It was one of the first real days of fall, and in celebration of Fall, Jennifer and I thought we deserved a Pumpkin Spice latte.  We laughed in line about the days immediately following college where we thought nothing of spending $5 a day on a coffee (because we couldn’t be expected to make our own now, could we?), and how now Starbucks is a special treat.  My new office is dangerously close to a starbucks but I do enjoy making my own coffee most of the time.  But we were both excited about our coffee treat.  When we got up to the register, the poor child behind the counter had a difficult time with my name and my complicated order (if I’m going to pay $4.53 for a cup of coffee it damn well better be custom made how I like it be something I can’t make at home), and by the time we got it all sorted out, he unhappily informed us that the espresso machine had just gone down.  Dang it.  So we ordered regular coffees, and he didn’t charge us, and he was nice and apologetic and everything he should have been.  Then as we walked away the machine started working again.  Of course. 

Regardless, every since then I’ve been feining for a pumpkin spice latte.  Seriously, I woke up this morning and knew there was no way I was going to get anything done until I had one.  And since it is Friday (a day for treats), and I woke up in time, I went to starbucks.  It was awesome.  I asked for half the number of syrup pumps, because I can’t believe how strong those things are, and it was still extremely sweet. 

When the starbucks girl handed me my much anticipated pumpkin spice latte, she said – “Here’s your cup of love.”

And I thought that was perfect. 

On my way to starbucks this morning I passed two gas stations that have gas.  And since they have gas, there was nothing short of a traffic jam to get near these two gas stations.  I really couldn’t believe it.  It was nuts.  But then again, I haven’t seen a gas station with gas in a while, so I guess everyone has to have gas for their weekend plans.  It’s really pretty frightening.  I heard on the radio that people were getting into physical altercations last night at gas stations. 

So a lot of tv show seasons started back this week, and I’ve been watching a lot of tv, as usual.  And there is one commercial that absolutely drive me crazy.  It makes me angry.  It is a ford commercial with Mark Richt, who is basically a god around here, with a football in his hand, standing next to a big new F-150. 

And the announcer starts talking about how you can get $7500 cash back when you buy a new F-150. 

Okay.  This is ridiculous.  Especially right now.  In the days of a lending crisis, where the disasterous effects of predatory lending are crashing down upon us, it is absolutely unbelievable to me that Ford is still trying to get people to borrow such an absurd sum of money.  $7500 is enough to put the average american worker who lives pay check to pay check into debt for the rest of their lives.  Especially at the ridiculous interest rates associated with car buying.  I am offended when the cashback offer is $2000, but $7500 is just unconscionable. 

So when this person defaults on their car payment, not only will they lose their truck, they will still owe Ford Credit Company at least $10,000.  Or, when three years from now this person wants to trade their truck in for the new version, they will owe money on their trade in.  Oh, and just as a side note, Ford Credit Company makes more money than Ford Motor Company.  How does that make you feel?  Ford is just a big giant credit card company disguised as a car company (although I’m sure that Ford is not the only car company guilty of this). 

And I’m really not trying to imply that the average american is stupid, I’m just trying to highlight that advertising is powerful, especially when you put someone as revered as Mark Richt in the advertisement.  Also, finance is difficult and confusing and the lenders don’t want you to understand it.  They want to lend you money so they can charge you interest.  Which is why every single store in america, from Walmart to Saks Fifth Avenue, asks you if you’d like to save ten percent and open a credit account with them.  Honestly, I have been confused for years about what the commercials meant when they said – $$$ Cash Back.  I could never understand why they would want to give you money to buy something from them.  But now I understand. And it makes me kind of ill. 

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The Little Things

My weekend was full of obligations.  Some pleasant obligations, like dinner plans with a friend who was in town, and an engagement party.  Some less pleasant, like bulk pick up.  Pleasant or unpleasant, they are still obligations.  For those of you who are uninformed, bulk pick up is when you drive around on saturday morning and pick up stuff for the junior league attic sale.  No one put a gun to my head and made me join the junior league so I'm not going to complain about such obligations, but suffice it to say that when my alarm went off on saturday morning I was less than thrilled.   But! It was a beautiful morning and I went to Starbucks as a treat for myself and there were krispy kremes at the jla office, and overall it ended up being an enjoyable experience. 

Then today I volunteered at Arts in the Heart, which was also rather enjoyable.  So, although I had all these obligations, I ended up having a great weekend.  But for each obligation, I had an extremely strong urge to skip them, to cancel dinner, to call in sick to bulk pick up, to just not show to the engagement party.  Really, who would really care or notice?  Then I realized that the answer to that question is that I would care and notice.  I would be the one racked with guilt and bothered by my own irresponsibility.  No one would be more bothered by my flaky behavior than me.  And the only way to prevent that, was to not be flaky and to not cancel and to not be the kind of person who although they say they will be there you really believe it until you see them. 

There are little things that make a difference in my every life.  If I get enough sleep, if I take my vitamins, if I exercise, if I take my adderall like I'm suppose to (this helps me with ALL the other things on this list), if I drink enough water, if I eat breakfast, if I don't drink too much alcohol, if I hang my clothes up when I take them off, if I write down what I'm suppose to do tomorrow before I leave work today, if I return phone calls, if I go to church, if I wash my hair, if I floss, if I keep Briscoe's hair cut, if I keep my car clean, if I get my coffee ready for the morning before I go to sleep tonight, if I wake up at the same time every day, if I take half an hour a week to do something for someone other than myself.  if I do these things, my life is better. 

Now, let's be clear.  I don't do these things.  I try.  Just identifying what these things are is half of my battle.  That has taken years.  Actually training myself to do these things is going to take a lot longer.  And I'll probably never get all these things down, and this list is not complete, and as I get older I'm sure it will just get longer.  But each time I do one of these things, each time I actually accomplish an obligation, my life is enriched. 

The difficult things is that I don't want to do most of these things.  When I change clothes when I get home from work, I want to throw them on the ground.  I don't like washing my hair.  I forget to take my vitamins.  I can barely check my voicemail, much less call people back.  I do like to exercise, but I still have to make it a priority or it won't happen. 

In other news, How Bout them DAWGS!  We looked good yesterday.  I'm excited about this weekend.  I had totally decided to not go, but now I have to go.  It's going to be a blackout.  I'm being flaky by changing my mind, but there isn't anything I can do about that, because I really need to be in sanford stadium on saturday night. 

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Digging through drawers

When I was young, I used to love to go through my grandparents drawers and closets looking for treasure.  The adults in my life would tell me to stop plundering. 

I love the word plunder.  Especially as applied to digging through junk drawers.  Oh, you don't have junk drawers?  I don't believe you, mostly because if you are telling the truth we probably won't be able to be friends.  People who don't have a single junk drawer in their house kind of frighten me.  I have quite a few junk drawers and I love them. 

Last night I was digging through my mom's desk drawer trying to find the password for my parents wireless, and I came across a greeting card I'd given my parents for Easter when I was in high school.  It was an Edward Monkton card.  I used to LOVE these cards.  And I'd totally forgotten about them.  I was so happy to be reintroduced to this quirky hilarious artist.  I felt like I'd found a treasure. 

I'm still watching the hurricanes compulsively, mostly because if my coastal friends have to evacuate for Hanna they can come to Augusta and we can have a big party.  And I'm tired of reading about people complaining about not being able to get back into New Orleans.  It sucks to have to evacuate.  It sucks to not know how your stuff it doing and whether your house is still standing.  And I'm sure there were lots of problems involved with the evacuation.  But last time I checked, New Orleans is in the United States, which is on the planet earth, a place full of uncontrollable destructive weather which is populated by humans who are not perfect.  Let's try to appreciate the work that was done to prevent another Katrina. 

Also, I love the google quote of the day – "An idealist is person who helps other people to prosper." – Henry Ford. 

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