Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Year That Doesn't End

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly
- Macbeth.

I'm taking this Macbeth quote somewhat out of context. He's talking about trying to get away with murder; I'm talking about trying to get away from 2008. It's technically over, according to the clocks and calendars, all the way across the world to Samoa. It's even January 2nd in Tonga. But the prevailing conditions of a difficult year are hard to banish with a ball drop or the tick of a clock. The economy is still bad and getting worse, I'm personally still unemployed, and George W. Bush has another 19 days to do further damage to the country and the world.

It seems to me that for many years now, the prevailing attitude for me and for John every New Year's Eve has been, "Thank God that's over." That's what the celebration is about: hope that the next year will be better. But if I were a superstitious person, which I'm not, I'd say that my experiences of the past 24 hours do not portend much improvement. Consider:

Scenes from a dysfunctional gas station.

  • December 31st was the last day to fill a collector's request for political buttons; apparently they don't "count" unless they're made before the election year is over. I didn't get them done - too distracted, I guess, and conflicted over charging money for them and not reporting it as income against unemployment. Plus the week got away from me - I lost a day somewhere and thought I had more time.
  • It was also the last day to redeem a discount on gas at a Safeway station five minutes northwest of the dog park, about 20 minutes from here. My almost-daily shopping at my local Safeway had racked up a $1.40 per gallon discount on my purchase. I had hoped John would use it, since he's the one with the long commute, but his tank is full and he's on vacation. My tank was half full, but I went over there after the dog park. Cars were in line in several parts of the parking lot and out onto Broadway Blvd, and the employees were organizing people into the most efficient pattern possible. After half an hour of waiting, and seeing about two cars get gas and pull away, I was told that they were having equipment problems, and needed to close down immediately for at least half an hour. The nice young man who told me this advised me to call the toll-free number on my Safeway receipt to (probably) get a rain check. We'll see.
  • My brother called sometime around 11:30, and was in mid-rant about something or other when my phone decided I'd waited too long to recharge it, and turned itself off. The phone was the only place I had Steve's current phone number, so I couldn't even call him back on the house phone. Until he gets my explanatory email, he'll probably think I hung up on him.
  • When I went to check messages on the house phone, which we hardly ever use for anything, there was a job lead on it from a potential employer - from December 23rd. My resume has only my cell number, so I tend to forget that someone might call me on the land line. What are the chances he's still interested? John was already worried that I won't get a job before my unemployment runs out, and will have to resort to McDonald's, which add to my stress over the whole thing. This unreturned call doesn't help!
  • Cayenne was freaked out all evening by illegal fireworks in the neighborhood.
  • I was so distracted by a table on a web page that refused to align left no matter what I did, that I lost track of the time both before and after Steve called. When midnight came, I was typing a div tag. John gave me a head's up on the time, and I rushed to turn on Dick Clark, kiss John and grab some sparkling cider, pretty much in that order. We missed the ball drop; it was probably 12:01 AM when we kissed. Ah, well, close enough. We marveled about Dick Clark still hanging in there, years after his stroke, acknowledged that neither of us cared for the show's music (admittedly on the basic of one or two songs only), and John soon turned his DVD of the British series Spaced back on. Happy New Year, John, and can you tell me how to fix the alignment on this table?
There's nothing dire there, although I'm a bit upset about the job thing. But do you see what I mean? 2008 ended with a fleet of minor difficulties, and no good news, except...this:

Less than half a day ago, the St. Michael's web site I've been slaving over rose from the fourth page of Google results to the third result on the first page for terms that could hardly be more specific to a church called St. Michael's in Tucson. This was the delayed result of my submitting a site map to Google, which is a formatted page showing what pages exist on the site and how they connect to each other. It may also have been influenced a little by my work on the pages themselves. #3 wasn't perfect, but it was a huge improvement, and #1 and #2 were for the school that our church operates, more or less, at the same address. I was very happy to see St. Michael's almost at the top of the first page for "St. Michael's Church Tucson." But I was even happier, not to mention astonished, when the result above turned up on a refresh of that page, in the wee hours of January 1, 2009. #1! It should be the number one result for those search terms, but I didn't think we'd actually get there.

Maybe 2009 will be okay after all.

Happy New Year, all!



DesLily said...

happy 2009 Karen! It's bound to be better right?! :o)

barrettmanor said...

Happy New Year, Karen. I'll drop you a line about that table.

just me said...

Happy New Year, Karen.

Bea said...

Congrats, Karen... it sounds like much work and time paid off. I wouldn't even know how to begin doing something like that for our church... would love to. I think I'd have to quit school, though (chuckle) in order to accomplish that kind of work. Blogging takes up so much time... I think that is why I don't do it as often as I used to. But I did get my January first entry in just to let everyone know that I haven't disappeared entirely. Don't give up hope about a job in 2009... despite the series of bad luck moments you've had lately, I think there's a positive event coming up very soon. Hang in there. bea