Thursday, December 31, 2009

Old Year ending with some highs, lows, and woes/whoas!

(Warning: This entry contains some whining and ranting and great deviation from gardening, but gets back to it eventually in a hopefully entertaining fashion)

This year has been a year of ups and downs in my gardening and personal life. (What year isn't full of these things for anyone, you might attest?)

 I am terrible pessimist and often become so blinded by the bad that I don't often see the good, and sadly this year is ending on more bad than good (more on that later).

Good things this year include growing tomatoes rather well this time around and having a good bounty of them for once.  My summer garden was not as pretty as the year before but more plentiful if not as squash-full. 

I've been attempting winter gardening with some success and wished I had planned better and attempted more/had more time to plant before the fall/winter began.

I was introduced to a local magazine editor who is on good terms with me and has been the publisher of my first written articles, a big step for someone who aspires to be a full time writer.

I did an excellent job with my other silly very part time job with trouble shooting and making things work with teams of people in other cities and recommended by my manager to be a manager of an entire region.

On to the bad news....
....the squash vine borers are the bane of my gardening life (next to slugs who all ought to be electrocuted by powdered copper).

I have not published more writing than I like, but need to remember that receiving any money at all is still big step.

I was totally turned down for a potential managerial promotion because I live in the wrong city apparently even though I've proven that I can work easily on 4 different cities in different states at the same time via email/phone.  *sigh* Oh well.

My car broke down a few days ago.  It's technically somewhat driveable but utterly not safe and unreliable and the cost for the repair would be more than the car is worth and could be better spent on getting a new used car.  I would love to be all Rhonda Hetzel-like, and go completely single car-ish but car insurance is actually cheaper with two cars and I think it's good to have an extra one in the garage for an emergency.

So, my husband and I are on the search for a small truck (for mulch and compost hauling of course!) that we can use for only moving things around purposes around a 3 mile diameter of the house and ignore for the rest of time in the garage and reduce our car insurance immensely.  We'd use his car primarily (all the time) as it just sits in his work parking lot all day anyways.

Only problem is that we can only afford about $5000-$6000 for a used truck (with reasonable mileage please) and being on a single income (because I am a stupidly wonderfully pampered woman whose husband loves me way too much and supports this writing thing), this is tough.  I mean, we can afford more probably, but it's just that we have been trying really, really, really, REALLY F-ing hard to try to save especially in this economy, especially as everyone's taking pay cuts and etc.

We're the type who try to save by allocating paycheck money to be transferred immediately into specific savings accounts so we don't see it, we can't touch it, and will not be tempted of it from our regular accounts.  We know that Roth IRAs are important and if you want to max out on them we need to be putting in $450 APIECE per month in them, or $5,000/year.  Then there's the house, the dog (she's fat anyways and needs to go on a diet; just kidding), bills of every sort and etc.  We rarely eat out, we have no tv/cable, my husband makes freakin' excel tables for the groceries and calculates cents per ounces for food at the grocery store and is a double coupon freak...

Ack.  We're not poor.  We're just very frugal and very much want to avoid being poor, and can afford seeing friends (via car of course) and eating out with people we rarely get to spend time with, but it's just so frustrating when your Toyota at 109,000 craps out of you when it should be able to go for at least another 100,000 miles.  It won't kill us to get another car, it just will sting like hell.  We're not the paycheck to paycheck type of people either, so we won't get anything new at this point in our lives because it's not really viable with the way we want to save.

I've become a little nervous and have been sorting through my seed piles and hoping I have stockpiled a good amount to start me up and think I will have to be more discriminating and sadly pass on interesting exotic vegetable seed purchases and be very careful with my potting soil purchases.  And I so wanted to try soil blocking this year.

ANYWAYs, this end of year story ends a little funny.

So today I went in to see what options I had available with my crapped out car and was told that it could be traded in for a good bit of money, not grand but some to take a dent out of a used car.  I sit down with my sales person and he goes out to find a car for me.  I take out my little netbook to start an excel file and get some spreadsheets going for prices and etc. when this guy all in black, who clearly works there sits down next to me and asks me about my netbook, what I'm up to, why I'm here and what I do.

I talk computers a little, chat a bit and tell him that I garden and write about it and he talks about how he could never garden because he has no patience and I tell him he could, it's not that hard! (My usual, everyone can garden thing, I can't help myself)

Next thing I know, he tells my salesperson guy to hold on, tells me to follow him and he leads me to the backroom of the Toyota dealership to an internet sales manager.  Who then proceeds to tell me all about the business they do, what they do, the system they use and everything!

I think I was being sort of interviewed???  Turns out the guy who led me to the room was the dealership GM and he wanted to introduce me to the internet business manager.

This proceeds for 2 hours.

Finally, they let me go after they realize the insane amount of time they've held me and I'm given a card and told to contact them if I'm interested.

(I get to look at a car later, but this bizarre interview-y thing clearly topped my day)

A sales position would entail lots of hours (retail) but could potentially lead to great earnings, is what they kept espousing.  Money that we could totally use now.  No free Saturdays though and crummy hours are assured.  Husband and I are talking and he won't push or pull me in any particular direction, but I get the impression he think I'd find it soul sucking and all the time I get money -wise would be ironically unhappy because I would not be able to find time to garden or etc.  (Granted one might say you always have time to garden, but I get it).

So, potential job to solve sort of money issue that might eradicate some degree of happiness.


Then to top off the year I dropped my cell phone in a part full of water dishwasher tonight as I was putting a dirty dish quickly in.

While my husband worked busily to try to salvage my phone and dry it out entirely, I went into screaming at my self in self-loathing mode and cleaned like a mad woman.  While I vacuuming I had an epiphany and started laughing.  I realized why the GM tried to interview/potentially hire me.

I was totally selling plants/gardening.  The GM would talk about how he couldn't garden and I would say of course he could and explain how.  He would say he didn't have the time, and I would say it isn't so bad and some things re-seed themselves.  And so on and so forth.   I was overturning objections all over the place, one of the most important thing sales people do.

And I thought he just saw my netbook and thought I was tech savvy.


Resolutions I'd like to make for this upcoming year:
1) PLAN BETTER! (sheesh, I need to delineate, and label, label, label my plants more!)
2) Combine pretty gardening with the edible gardening! (I do it somewhat, but could do it better)
3) Try to do more cascading plant things to look nice and hide stuff (like ugly water barrels)
4) Seed save (even more)
5)  Try not to fall into temptation and plant squash because the borers will just get to them
6)  Use more cover crops
7)  plant even more densely
8) Time my planting better so there's little blank parts of my garden period
9)  Combat slugs better so that I can get a serious strawberry harvest
10)  Eat more weeds (I might as well use them!)
11)  Learn more weed identification (I don't want to kill myself)
12)  DO NOT take my citrus trees in too early.  Cold helps them blossom and I always get antsy at the first sign of chill.  They're really hardier than I think they are and I want limes/lemons dammit!
13) Give away extra house plants to combat the winter fungus gnats woes
14) Keep a cleaner "potting shed" (sunroom) and garden area (I want to show it off without some embarassment!)
15)  Stop the perilla before it attacks with purple waves of crazy!

and I am sure I'll think of more things!

Have a safe and wonderful New Year and may your gardening (and finances!) be healthy and well in 2010 (well, and always!)