In the mirror

brass framed wall mirror

Photo by Drigo Diniz on Pexels.com

Every stand in front of the mirror and wonder, “What happened?”

I mean, this is starting to become a regular occurrence for me. So, I wonder if others have a similar experience any time they are in front of a mirror.

I am not a good judge of myself, at least when it comes to appearance. I’ll say that right off the top. I am hard on myself. But, to be honest, I haven’t ever though that I fall in the “attractive” category. “OK” at best, but probably mostly “Fair” would be safe.

Anyway, the bathroom is becoming my enemy. Well, any place that has a mirror, but mostly the bathroom. Or, you could probably include any picture of me. Those suck too, but that’s a whole other story.

So, morning and night starts and ends in the bathroom for me. I have to “put in my eyes,” as I like to say it, in the morning and “take out my eyes” at night. Blind as a bat…but that too is a post for another day.

I watch my body change. I watch my face change. I watch what “used to be” become my “new normal” and I just wonder, “What the hell happened?” My face could scare small children (and likely does…though it doesn’t crack the mirror so maybe it isn’t that bad…) and my body could be used as a boat anchor, only I probably would still float too well. Aches appear from nowhere. Creaks and pops from the joints that used to be flexible and nimble. Bumps, lines, and spots appear on my face as though I am trying to win a topographical map contest. I stare at it and it stares back. Only the gaze that comes back is different than the one previously.

Age. Is. Unkind. It can’t be denied and it can’t be avoided. I guess there is some control over how it happens and how gracefully you can handle it, but in the end the end still comes.

Some days though, I can’t help but dislike what I see.

 

fitbit – one last chance

This is a love/hate story. I can’t think of anything else to say about what you are going to read. I love the idea of the product, but the execution of said product hasn’t been great, nor good. Thus, I find myself loving the product and hating it at the same time.

Bear with me here. This is a long, complicated story with lots of history. I’ll do my best to condense it to a cohesive, frustratingly loud, “Aarg!” and head shake.

It all started with the fitbit Charge. It was small enough to wear comfortably but large enough to be helpful and readable. It had features I liked and it was convenient enough to wear. Then the troubles started…

The bands on the Charge were not holding to the molded plastic inside and the rubber started peeling away from the unit. Eventually the band would just wear out and would need to be replaced. I wore it as long as I could. Luckily the warranty from the store it was purchased from hadn’t expired yet. They replaced it free of charge. But, it didn’t last long and they were again going to have to replace it because of the same issue. This time I decided to pay the difference and upgrade to the Charge HR.

This time the band on the unit seemed to be much better and lasted longer. But, after about a year, the display screen started having issues and it got hard to read. I made it last as long as I could until is just up and died (at least the screen did).

I missed having it on my wrist and they had a new version of the Charge out, the Charge 3, so I bought it off of Amazon. I was happy with it. Bands were good. It had more functions than I had previously. All was going good until…about eight months into it the display screen started to do strange things. At first, it started loosing lines of pixels. As more and more started to drop off, then the screen turned almost a light white color – like someone had turned the contrast up and it no longer had much.

I contacted customer support after doing some research and seeing that other users were having similar issues. I took pictures (sorry don’t have those any longer) and they walked me through some reset functions and finally determined the screen was bad and since it was under warranty they sent me a new unit. I got the replacement, put the bands from the old one on it and off I went.

Less than four months later, I am contacting customer service, again. This replacement unit, which I highly suspect was a refurbished Charge 3, was beginning to display the same issues as the one it had replaced (see top of photo below). There were lines forming in the display again and it was losing pixels. We of course go through the whole process of “Did you try this? Or this? How about that?”

img_6111

Now, I am starting to get irritated. Look, you have a bad product, parts, design, something. I want my money back. I don’t want another replacement of this product. The best they will do for me is replace it or give me a 50% discount on another product. As if my confidence isn’t already worn down, “OK, whatever. I’ll give you one more shot.”

So, I took my 50% discount to their products page and purchased the fitbit Versa 2. With the discount it was actually less expensive to buy it now than with any of the Black Friday specials the stores were offering. So, I’ll jump in cautiously.

Product arrives and I open it up to set it up. Immediately I am met with this thought as I go to charge the unit, “Who was the designer of the charger and how did this idiot get it approved for production?” Seriously, my confidence is already not real high on your product and then you send me this?

img_6110

fitbit, you’re really gonna have a large faced product that will sit sideways on a surface so that it can’t be seen or used while it is charging? REALLY? 

img_6109

I was a little wary of getting a large faced product since that is the reason I don’t really like wearing watches, but so far the larger screen isn’t the issue. Design. Design is the issue, at least for the charger. Not a good start, or first impression. My confidence isn’t high in this product but we’ll see where it goes. This may be the final product I ever purchase from them.

I was already eyeing the Apple Watch, so it may not be far off in my future.

Viewing issues

food snack popcorn movie theater

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Want to watch a show?”

“Sure.”

“Let me see what I can find.”

Anyone who travels outside of the US have any issues viewing television or movies on your preferred viewing platform?

When I was in Canada a few weeks ago I was going to try to catch up on a TV show that I watch when I went to Hulu and couldn’t get it to play my shows. I could get to the screen to launch the show, but as soon as you get to the page that typically has the episodes listed it didn’t display any episodes. Was this an issue with Hulu? Was it because it was a TV show?

I didn’t have any issues with Netflix or Disney+, just Hulu (and I didn’t try Amazon Prime).

It just seemed very weird to me as I would have thought that I would be able to access the content no matter where I was in the world. Maybe I was wrong.

What say you, oh world of wise tech folks and blogging friends?

Belly up

white vehicle in road close up photography

Photo by Liza Lova on Pexels.com

When things go belly up, especially a car, it makes for a really unpleasant rush to make a decision.

We, meaning my X and I and my teen daughter, purchased a used car back in June. We knew it wasn’t a top notch used car, but we figured it would get us a year (hopefully two) before it would need to be replaced. Since I just talked about making decisions with the X a few days ago, you can imagine that the process of finding and deciding on a car the first time was a chore, to say the least.

Well, now the car has gone belly up and the repairs (at least by the first estimate) appear to be more than the car is worth. I, nor her step-dad, are mechanically inclined when it comes to engines so doing a repair ourselves isn’t really an option. I have friends that could possibly do the work, but since the car is 30 miles from my home that isn’t exactly a “Hey, can you pop over and do some repairs?” kind of situation.

So, we…are back to trying to figure out options. Besides high school, my daughter has a part-time job and is also doing running start (college while still in high school), so the need for her transportation is kinda high as public transit isn’t the greatest or most efficient (or safe?) in the area where she lives. Thus, the options are few.

Ugh! Why are children so expensive….?

Monkeys all

architecture building capitol dawn

Photo by kendall hoopes on Pexels.com

I think it is safe to say that Congress continues to demonstrate that we, the American people, have elected a bunch of monkeys to run the country.

I am having a difficult time seeing anything else at this point. Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, continue to live up to the old Mark Twain quote, “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

I am just tired of it.

Nonsense, from everyone, though some seem to be more nonsensical than others.

Monkeys actually might be more civilized. I am sure there could be a serious debate on that point, but in my mind I think it’s probably true. There has to be a better option than the yahoo’s we have “running the country.”

Anyone else tired of this poo slinging behavior and really want them to get about the business of something other than party agendas and political sabotage?

Savings

abundance bank banking banknotes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anyone else notice that banks, the place that needs money more than anyone to do the business of money, does nothing to encourage savings? I mean, well, they do give it lip service but that doesn’t really count.

A bank is a place to put money, to store it or save it. That’s what they were originally created for. It was safer to have it stored in one place where they could keep it safe and then when people needed it they could go there to get it out.

As time went along, the banks figured out they could make money by loaning out the money people deposited with them and then charging interest on the loan, thus making it a profitable venture to store money.

As banks increased the amount they loaned out, they needed more and more people to “invest” with them and they used the new capital to loan more money out. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, but it makes sense for all involved until…

…until it didn’t make sense to put money in the bank any more.

The interest rate you get from the bank on the money you put in the bank is almost nil. Like far all intents and purposes, it is ZERO. So, what is the benefit of putting money in the bank? Sure, there is the convenience of not carrying around piles of cash or pounds of coins, but is that all?

Banks need capital. You think they’d do something to encourage people to put there money there. I actually deposited a rather large amount of money in a bank that was giving an outstanding rate on CDs (Certificates of Deposit). That’s how a bank should generate capital.

They seem to take for granted that they are just guaranteed business, which maybe they are. Maybe consumers pay no attention at all to the fees or benefits they get from bank to bank, but it does pay to shop around and give business to banks that actually benefit you rather than just use you as an endless supply of currency to feed off of.

We need to be better consumers and actually cause the banks to fight for our money. Let’s bring the competition back and make them beg for our money instead of letting them tell us what we can do with our own money. Make sense?

Who’s with me on this?

X factor

yellow and pink lighted x decor

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

When you are divorced and have had a child (or children), there is always the “X factor” to consider.

It’s sad to say, but as fathers we very typically get the shaft when it comes to co-parenting the children after a divorce. There is honestly no logical reasoning behind this precedent other than the mother is nearly always seen as “the fittest parent” in these situations, regardless of the circumstances. Even when you can demonstrate, with evidence, that as a father you would be a better choice for the child’s custodial parent it is a costly uphill battle that has no guaranteed outcome.

As I was preparing the visitation calendar for 2020 for my teen daughter, it just brought back all the times where I have had to consider the X factor over the last 14 years. We divorced when she was under two so I have had a lot of considering to do, and still have a little while longer to deal with it. It has been a challenge over the years.

How will the X respond to this? What will the X do now? Is there a way to get the X to be reasonable? How crazy is my X, really? I can’t believe the X responded the way she did. Why does the X have to make everything about herself? Why does the X always make this more challenging than it needs to be? How is the X gonna take this? How can I do this so it doesn’t piss the X off? Now what does the X want? 

If you are a divorced father with children, you likely know all too well what I mean. Or, maybe you are even a mother with a crazy X, you know too. Really this post isn’t so much about fathers (though that is my experience) but about the fact that while raising children as divorced parents you are always having to consider the X factor. Everything you do seems to revolve around the other person even though you aren’t with that person every day.

I am thankful that it has gotten a little better since my daughter is now older and can transport herself, but as I was still working on a visitation calendar (which really hasn’t been followed since my daughter is old enough to have a job now) that I still have to consider the X factor when it comes to my daughter. Just a couple more years that I am REQUIRED to consider the X…then it will only have to be during major life events for my daughter. That will be a whole new chapter of X factor to deal with.

Can anyone else relate to this?