money

Car talk

Fine, I need a new car. Anyone want to buy me one?

On Sunday I was just church-ing along and whatnot and I got in my little emerald green two-door vehicle I lovingly refer to as Penelope with my sister and we attempted to set off for Taco Bell.

Except, you know, it wouldn’t go from park to reverse, or park to drive, or park to neutral or park to anything.

I’m not going to lie, it’s happened before. Once or twice or 20 times, but each time I just said a prayer and wiggled things and banged others and BAM it would shift.

This time, not so much.  (I can only assume it finally decided to take out its anger at me for not ever getting oil changes).

Anyway, so before I started crying or whatever, I called some church people over to help, but nobody seemed to be able to make the stupid thing shift out of park. So, then one of my church friends started reading through the owner’s manual and he figured out some way to override the shifting thingy but sticking a screw driver into a random hole next to the park thingy.

We didn’t have a screw driver though, so we settled on testing out various nails, and then viola! a thick silver one did the trick.

And then, you know, two seconds later the stupid handle on the shifting thingy popped off and my car was all, NO!! SERIOUSLY!!! I AM MAD AND I’M NOT GOING TO WORK!! LOSER!!!

I cried a ton on the inside and a little on the outside. We all gathered together though and calmed Penelope down by slipping the handle back on just so. And sure, it randomly turns around while I go down the street, but the point is that I CAN go down the street. (For now).

And I know for a true fact that this whole time you are shouting at the computer, “CRYSTAL, IT IS TIME TO BUY A NEW CAR!! AND ISN’T YOUR MIRROR FALLING OFF?? SERIOUSLY. GO. NOW. BUY. NEW. CAR!!”

But for serious, I don’t have any money. See, I live in my own place and whatnot and I have student loans that I like to pay most months and well, you know, food is important and so all that doesn’t leave any money left over. Plus, my credit score is lower than well, everyone’s, so there’s that.

So for now, I’m just going to start my car while simultaneously sticking a random nail in a random slot and pray that it doesn’t break down on the highway or while I make a left turn onto Rt. 59. Sounds like a solid plan if I ever heard one. Right Penelope. Penelope? You there? Hello? Crap.

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Happy! Love! Joy! Starbucks!

Hello. My name is Crystal and it’s been five and a half hours since my last raspberry mocha from Starbucks.

It’s been rough, yes, but I’m still awake, so yay!

Guys, I’m seriously getting addicted to Starbuck’s again. It’s just cups full of happy happy love joy! And I have like an hour commute now, so my sleep time is about negative three hours a day. But with wonderful, magical coffee IT DOESN’T MATTER!

WHEEE!!

YAY!

I do, feel like I’m basically just saying F-YOU to the developing world when I pay $5.67 for a cup of coffee, seeing as how I could probably feed like 37 people for a month on that in like Africa or something, but then, the coffee makes me happy and I justify it in my mind and everything is fine.

I need to get off the stuff though. Aside from the fact that it basically costs as much as my rent, it also has 3,000 calories per cup. Ish. Also, when it wears off I crash like a mofo. All, splat on my desk.

But I can quit anytime I want to. I swear. I totally can.

And I’m totally going to. Maybe. Probably.

Well let’s just play it by ear.

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Top 5 ways in which the recession isn’t total crap.

First, I need everyone to know that my deep-rooted hatred of the recession is very real. I hate it more than flossing, getting oil changes and paying my student loans, combined. I hate it more than Jay Leno, more than watching golf, and more than speeding tickets.

But. Well. See. Last night, I was watching Desperate Housewives while eating a piece of my $5 hot-and-ready pizza from Little Caesars, and I started to see some upsides. I figured I should write them down so I can read though it the next time I’m living for a week on Ramen Noodles.

5. Tons, and tons and tons of story ideas.

I’ve written about 7,493 stories for work that somehow related to the horrid economy. And my fellow reporters have done the same. Want to know how the recession effected napkin sales, or obesity, or both? We probably did a front-pager on all three.

With that many articles, it’s hard not end up with some really good stuff, like the series of vignettes I wrote about the unemployed, and the great articles about failing city developments and pieces on school districts cutting everything but math and water fountains. Really fun to dig into and share with the world.

4. Things are super cheap.

UMM, $5 for a hot-and-ready pizza. FIVE DOLLARS! That is just insane. Amazing. A whole freaking pizza for $5! AND, Six Flags season passes are on sale for $64.99. For a SEASON PASS! As in, it’s good for the WHOLE SEASON.

I can buy all my clothes on clearance for less than $8 at even the expensive places, like Gap. Cricket offers unlimited everything plus one for cell phones for $25 a month. Subway sells foot-long sandwiches for $5. Houses sell for $3 (ish). And GoogleVoice is FREE!!!

It’s great. I love it. I mean, sure, the prices are low because nobody has any money, but it’s still exciting.

3. My job is no longer my top priority.

When my whole life centered on my career, I had to be the best all the time everyday no matter what, because if I wasn’t then suddenly all the sacrifice wasn’t worth it. But then, the recession came and pummeled my industry. Suddenly, being the best didn’t even matter. There were no raises, no promotions, no job prospects. Being the best at my job turned into the equivalent of being the best at Facebook’s Farmville – nobody cared.

I still work hard, and I will never, ever reach a point where an article with my name on it isn’t the best it could be. But I don’t feel so bad about leaving, say, ON TIME, or saying “No” to an assignment.

And with that, comes a freedom to have a life.

2. I lost a ton of weight.

I had been trying to lose weight since the day before forever, but it was never at the top of my to-do list. The top half of that list included things such as: Find a new job. Move to where new job is. Repeat.

But then, the recession came and killed all the new jobs, so I had to go down to the second half of my list. And there it was. “Lose weight.”

Being in the same place, with a steady life and access to a steady stream of exercise and food choices did a lot to help me meet that goal. And I’m really happy I did.

1. I grew closer to God.

It is possible to have a strong relationship with God when you move to a new church every six to eight months, but it’s possible like me fitting into size 2 jeans is possible or the Cubs winning a World Series this year is possible.

My newfound steady living situation helped me to really get involved with my church on a level I never would have imagined when I was moving at both the beginning and end of every football season. I’m leading the youth group, attending fundraising events, and really connecting during praise and worship services.

And, well, when you have $4 to last the week, it’s hard NOT to turn to God for help. But, later, when money magically appears from some random source, it’s hard not to say thanks to the big man then too.

By using God as my crutch, he somehow turned into my friend. Seems like a little economic downturn is a small price to pay for all that.

Wouldn’t mind if the economy kicked into high gear anyday now though. Just sayin’.

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