The Honor System (a Rant)

I sometimes forget how naive I can be. We have a thing around here (and probably in your area, too) known as the Honor System. I've seen it used for selling sweet corn, and in our office it is used for buying bottled water. Our office has vending machines, but more often people just want a cold drink of water. Because we're in the country, the water doesn't taste the best. It is safe – just not tasty. Or maybe I should say it has too much taste? At any rate, I am "in charge" of the water. I purchase it and stock our little refrigerator with it and we have a coffee can on the top that politely requests a twenty-five cent donation per bottle.

Every day or two I look in the can and take out any paper money that has been put in. Some of the guys just throw in a couple of bucks, or a five, and call themselves "good" for a month or so. That's fine. We had an incident a few years back where about ten dollars mysteriously disappeared from the can, and since that time I try and remove all of the paper money and put it away for future water purchases in a timely fashion. This morning I saw three dollars in the can. I forgot to take it out and when I went into the back room this afternoon to get a water for myself… you guessed it… gone. WTF? Is there no trust any more?

Before you start saying "maybe they needed money for the vending machine" let me point out that the dollars that were in there were of the highly crushed variety that our vendo won't take – and was most likely put in the can to make coin change that the vendo would take.

I'm just so disappointed in human beings some days.

Spoilsport (A Rant) *updated*

That's the nice name for them. I have many other names, none of which are family-friendly.

First, Brad had that awful experience with Paypal.

Now, there has been a dash of cold water thrown on my gaming fun. A year ago Christmas, my eldest daughter and her husband gave me the game "World of Warcraft". They'd been playing it for several months and enjoying it immensely. Her husband had always been a big game fanatic, and daughter got into it through him and found she enjoyed it too. After trying to unsuccessfully explain it to me, they ended up just giving it to me. Not thinking I would really be very enthusiastic, I didn't even get it installed until a few weeks later. Boy, was I ever wrong! All the years I've had computers, I just never got into the computer games. I'd tried… we'd had some various ones over the years, such as "Zelda" and "Myst" as well as the more arcade type games. Just never was very good at them, or really enjoyed them.

WoW (as it is known) was a whole different animal. The graphics! My gosh! The action… the role-playing… the ability to play with other people (my family!)… to chat while playing… I mean, it was amazing all the details the Blizzard people thought of. I was stunned. I was hooked. In creating characters I playfully named myself "Wickedwench"… and a star was born. My husband HATES the word "Wench". He feels it has awful connotations. One of the definitions is "a wanton woman"… please, let me put your mind at ease… I am NOT that. I just found it to be catchy and it was a name I rarely saw on the game, so when you see some version of that name (i.e. Deathwench, Spywench, Evilwench) it's probably me or someone who knows me. My daugher and SIL even created their own guild and in a 'round-about way, I became the "guild mother".

The past year and a half has been fun. Recently, some of the fun has gone out. First, my SIL decided to step down from being the leader of the guild. You would think that would be no biggie… that someone else in the guild would simply step into the leadership role and everything would go on as usual. Wrong. People disappointed me by their response. Several people jumped to another guild and the close "family" feeling we had there was gone. Oh, well… as I have to keep reminding myself, it IS ONLY A GAME. I can live with that. My kids are still on and I still get to play with them and talk to them, which was the main idea in the first place.

Last night was the crusher, though. I was online and my daughter was too. SIL was having trouble getting on, however. The game wouldn't accept his password. This was strange. He went to check his e-mail and there was a note from Blizzard telling him they were in the process of transferring his characters to another server. WTF? This is not good. HE didn't request they be moved! Not only that, Blizzard charges $25 per character to move them – and was charging this fee to my kids!! Somehow, someone had gotten his password, gone into his account and changed his password, then started treating these characters as their own. My SIL is a great player and the characters they are stealing are at the highest levels of the game, with lots of "stuff", "money", and talents. He immediately contacted Blizzard, but as of yet I have not heard of any resolution to the situation. Hopefully, they'll be able to restore his characters to their previous condition (someone said they'd seen "him" earlier in the day running around in his underwear – not a good sign when he should have had lots and lots of armor on!!) and with his bank account credited.

Damn. Why do people like this have to exist? Why do they have to take the fun out of stuff? I mean, yes… it is "just a game", but when you come home from a long day of work and want to sit down and have a relaxing evening of chatting and gaming with friends and family, you do NOT want to have to come face to face with this kind of asshat.

 *update* It appears that whoever took the characters must be the one paying for the move. My kids' accounts did not get charged. Also, It looks like he can still play on another server, it is only the one server that has been hit. That's the good news. The bad news is he has to write up some big report for Blizzard before they'll do anything. Grrrrr…

Revealed (a Rant)

Spring and warm weather and snow melting does not always reveal good things. Out here in the country – we are only about 3 miles from town – we get a rash of other things showing up when the snow melts. Namely, we get trash. Dumped in the ditches along the road, out in fields, wherever some cheap-minded city-folk decides he can get away with hauling his crap to and not get caught.

Some time during the winter we've had a recliner (chair)… recently joined by 10 black plastic bags, which may or may not be full of yard waste (but really, do they think the black plastic is biodegradable?)… and a console TV. One year Hubs found some bags of trash dumped near a driveway to one of our fields and the idiot was dumb enough to leave mail in the sack with is address on it. Needless to say, he got to come out and clean up the mess and received a hefty fine. Littering is not legal here… not that it seems to stop people. We've had construction debris, old water heaters, too many sacks of trash to count, and any number of cans and bottles (which are returnable for money in this state).

It's discouraging to say the least. Just because we live in the country doesn't mean we should have to put up with that crap. We don't haul our trash to your back yard!

One of Those Things That Pops in My Head When I Least Expect It

Who was the first guy to decide… "Hey! I'm losing my hair on top. I think I'll just let all this hair on the side grow long (only on one side, though) and comb it over the empty space to fill in. Then, I'm going to spray it will some heavy-duty hairspray so when I get in a stiff breeze, the whole thing will lift up in one big wing and I can pretend I'm flying! Of course, this new look will totally make me a chick-magnet. Much more so than letting all that bare skin on the top of my head show, 'cause you just know people hate the look of bare skin. Anywhere."

What a trend-setter.

Giving Myself Time Never Got Me Any Closer to Being Calm

You know the old thing about you should never write a response to someone in anger? It is always said you'll regret the things you say in the heat of the moment. Me? I've never actually found that giving myself more time before responding made me any less angry. If anything, I'm have just enough Irish blood in me that I tend to carry that grudge out a bit… oh, say, several eons. This could be one of those times.

It is also said you can pick your friends, but not your family. I find it is really nice when you can have family that are your friends. Hubs and I have been very lucky in that our children all (at least to this point in life) seem to not only love each other, but actually like each other. That's a huge blessing. Myself, I am an only child and the older I get the more I think there was a reason that had to be. I've talked before about my husbands' brother and sister and their families and how f*%ked up they are. Yeah. Well… here we go again.

When my father-in-law passed away several years ago, my husband took over the farming operation and took sole responsibility for that business which he and his dad had been part of their whole lives. One of the things that happened at that time, was all the farm equipment was appraised by an independent appraiser and all the machinery and equipment my husband had helped his father pay for once he was paying for again. Fair market value was placed on all the equipment and machinery, and a fair amount of interest was agreed on and my husband makes payments to his mother. A lot of the equipment was older, and over the years since he's taken over the farm, many pieces have had to be replaced. Still and all, the loan is in place and is being repaid on time. My husband also had a side-line job in the off season where he would do repair work on pickups, big trucks, some tractors, cars, etc. To that end, he put a lot of money into good tools, a hoist, and a large supply of parts and equipment. All of which was kept in his father's large morton building, aka the shop. We do not pay rent, per se, for this building, but we pay all of the utilities not only for the building, but for my mother-in-law's large home, as well as carrying the insurance on the building and contents.

Shortly after my father-in-law passed away, my husband locked up his toolbox and the shop to keep people like his brother from just going over and helping themselves to everything that wasn't nailed down. My MIL had a hissy fit when BIL went whining to her, and my husband was guilt-ed into unlocking everything again. BIL thinks nothing of breezing in, putting his rig on the hoist (without prior permission), using whatever tools and supplies are within reach, then backing into the open area of the shop and washing his vehicle. Nevermind it's us paying for the electricity, the heat, the soap, the bolts, nuts, tools, grease, oil, whatever else he's decided to use! This shit isn't free people!

Now we come to the current issue. As part of the equipment and machinery purchased from MIL a 30-year old pickup was on the list. It was my FIL's and though had been a great truck at one time, had been used. A lot. Hubs used it for a work truck for a number of years, and finally decided it wasn't reliable enough for that and put a snow plow blade on it and used it mainly in the winter for that purpose. This winter, a few weeks ago, the transmission went out. Deciding it wasn't worth the money and hassle to fix, Hubs was going to sell it. I mentioned to him that when his dad died his brother had expressed an interest in the truck and maybe he should give him first dibs on it. (In hindsight, I wish someone would have duct-taped my mouth shut.) He asked. BIL said he didn't know. How much did Hubs think it would cost to fix? Hubs didn't know. He just wanted it gone. BIL hemmed and hawed and never said anything more about it. Two weeks go by and Hubs has seen BIL in the mean time, and not one word is said about the truck. Hubs talks to a friend who might be interested. Yes, he was. He would buy it for $1500. He was out of town, and would get in touch when he returned in a couple of weeks.

Another week goes by and BIL brings up the truck. Hubs tells him it's sold. The shit hits the fan. Big-time. BIL tries to tell Hubs that he wanted it. Uh huh. Whatever. Hubs asks him if he really knows what's involved with fixing something like this… BIL has the nerve to say, "it won't be that big of a deal, I have a hoist and a transmission puller"… excuse me? WHO has the hoist and the transmission puller? Hubs blew a gasket. At the end of what will now be known as "the big blowup", neither of them were talking to each other. End of subject, right? Oh, so wrong.

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