HKARLSSON   77,394
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
HKARLSSON's Recent Blog Entries

Mars Attacks! or, more appropriately, Mars Panics!

Friday, September 05, 2014

I am so ready to be done. My job is about to drive me over the edge. Correction: it already has. I've been fighting off anxiety and sleeplessness for the past three months. I thought I could deal with it on my own, but my body is telling me otherwise. I am on the verge of a panic attack right now because people will just not respect the fact that I am on vacation.

I am this close to shutting down my entire business and get hired on at my husband's workplace as a coder for minimum wage part time. I really am. This isn't funny any more.

I know that part of the stress is my fault, because I keep falling behind, but dammit, where do people get off on treating me like a second class citizen, or like they are the only people in the world?!

As I said, I am fed up. If hermit was a career choice, I'd choose that. Maybe I can apply for a grant. I can make it performance art.

I keep falling behind because of the sheer futility of it all. I know I should have the self discipline to do the day-to-day stuff, but hey guess what? I DON'T!!!! Yes! i AM A COMPLETE FAILURE AS A HUMAN BEING AND AN ENTREPRENEUR! yES! SHUN ME! JUDGE ME! LOOK DOWN ON ME! bECAUSE YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER!

*pant pant pant*

Okay. Deep breath. Yeah, so anyway, I may have to go on anti-anxiety meds because cutting out caffeine and chocolate and sugar just isn't enough. It could be withdrawal, I realize, but JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ. I'd like to be able to enjoy my life again. At least a little. Is that too much to ask? I can totally see why my sister smoked week for so long and then got on Prozac.

But other than that, I'm okay.

Any encouragement would be helpful, because my husband is in complete denial about it (as in "just have a glass of wine, it's all in your head") and I have no friends in real life. And my cats are useless as per usual.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOFFEENUT 9/6/2014 5:09PM

    Owning your own business is HARD - part of the reason such a small percentage of the population even attempts it. When you're a one person enterprise you have to do EVERYTHING, even if it isn't your strength. Sounds like your current challenge may be boundary issues with clients and maybe finding a way to fit in all the things you need to move forward. I don't know if there is a SCORE chapter locally, but they may be able to help you sort through issues like this. SCORE is Service Corps of Retired Executives; they are a FREE service that provides confidential advice and guidance to small businesses. They will be accustomed to working with folks who are great at what they do, but are struggling with some aspect of their business.

Hang in there - keep taking those deep breaths!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NASFKAB 9/5/2014 10:12PM

  keep at it

Report Inappropriate Comment

Roly-Poly: Destroyer of Bikes

Friday, April 25, 2014

I am at the end of my rope with my Specialized Sirrus Sport. It seems that just about every month I am down at the bike shop for something or other. Just since the beginning of the year, I have had to replace the back tire, the cassette, the shifters, a failed inner tube (the valve exploded while I was out riding; I thought someone was shooting at me), and when I went to get geared up for a charity ride tomorrow, I found a fault in the front tire. There is this little bubble that is distending the tire. This happened a few months ago with my back tire. I am SO OVER THIS BIKE!!!

Yeah. You could say I am a bit frustrated.

I have a Giant mountain bike on layaway at the local shop. I am starting to have second thoughts. Am I going to have just as much trouble with a more expensive bike? I sure hope not. I mean, it has a carbon frame, just like my Specialized, but I'm hoping that the components will last longer. I realize that I am a good 30 pounds over maximum weight, and I know that has to be taken into account, but I mean really. What the actual bloody heck is going on with my Specialized???

It vexes me endlessly.

Any suggestions you real cyclists may have would be most helpful, because I am about to chuck the dumb thing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPEEDYDOG 5/10/2014 3:39PM

    Hi Heather,

Specialized makes good bikes. Every bike company offers different grades of bikes. You mentioned you had to replace the cassette on your Sirrus. Your Sirrus was likely equipped with a Shimano HG-20 "Alivio" cassette, which is a $15 item. Your Giant XTC has an HG-62 "Deore" cassette which is a $60 item.

The HG-62 cassette is made from stronger and lighter alloys; and machined to closer tolerances than the HG-20. Not only will the HG-62 last longer but will also work better than the HG-20.

Giant provides a lot of bike for the money - so does Specialized. There is a trade-off between price and quality.

If you bought the XtC Composite 29er 2, your bike is identically equipped as Little Stumpy. Little Stumpy lasted 7 years and a bazillion hard miles before I decided to rebuild the bike. However, there was still a lot of life left in the original components. I just decided I wanted to upgrade to lighter and better components and restore some crispness. The sadly abused Little Stumpy was still reliable without the rebuild.

If you sprung for the XtC Composite 29er 1, you get a better crankset, smoother fork and a upgraded shifters and derailleurs. The XtC Composite 29er 1 would shift smoother under heavy pedal pressure than the XtC Composite 29er 2. This smoother shifting under pedal pressure is important to me so I would bought the "1 version" for the extra $650. However, both XtCs would be good perfroming and durable bikes.

You made a good choice.

Thanks, Bruce

Comment edited on: 5/11/2014 8:16:09 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
PROT358 4/26/2014 8:24PM

    I agree with Koffeenut. That is a LOT of problems, much more than I as a consumer would expect. I would consider a new bike ... and be sure to mention upfront that you are a serious cyclist who logs x miles weekly. Or start digging around cycling magazines and get some better advice from sources much more knowledgeable than I am!

I hope you had a good ride today. Was this the tutu ride? If so, I want pictures! At least of the world's ugliest tutu!

Have a lovely weekend!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARISPHERE 4/26/2014 4:12PM

    Don't know anything about bikes, either. I just dropped by to shake my pom-poms. Go, Heather! Don't give up on the bikes! emoticon


Report Inappropriate Comment
KOFFEENUT 4/26/2014 3:26PM

    Not a cyclist so have no suggestions but was wondering - any possibility some of this could be covered by warranty? Seems like a LOT of problems regardless of your weight!

Report Inappropriate Comment

You know you're tired when...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Greetings, Sparkpeeps, and welcome to the continuing series of indignities that is my life. You ought to get a kick out of this.

So there I was last night, stepping out of the shower and drying off, trying to get ready for bed. It had been a LOOOOONNNNG day, and Mrs. Karlsson was VERY tired. HOW tired became quite evident in the minutes to follow.

See, I'm one of those lucky people who manage to contract "bike rash" due to chafing and perspiration and so forth. Let's just say that the nether regions are a very uncomfortably itchy area after a ride. To combat this, I have invested in some anti-itch cream, the name of which escapes me right now.

As I was saying, I was going through my nightly ritual of treating the affected areas and reached for the tube sitting on the vanity. Everything was fine, but then there was the unmistakable odor of wintergreen. 'That's funny,' I thought. 'Why does it smell like Icy-Hot?' I got my answer soon after.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me say that I would not wish such an excruciating burning sensation in the nether regions upon ANYONE. Well... almost anyone. After trying to keep quiet and not alert my husband to my agony, I hobbled into the bedroom and tried to pretend that nothing was going on. My lethal expression gave me away. "What happened to you?" he asked. "I mixed up the Icy-Hot with the Cortisone," I whispered. He rarely laughs out loud, but he did this time. "Go get in the shower, quick! Before there's any permanent damage!" he said, trying not to wet on himself from laughing so hard. I dashed to the shower, and, about a half an hour later, the burning subsided.

I stood under the freezing stream of water, cursing the indignity of human existence, and then I thought that it was actually a pretty hilarious thing to do to oneself. I mean, really. It's hard to take yourself seriously when you do something that dumb.

Moral of the story: keep your muscle relievers close, but your cortisone closer, especially if the tubes are the same size and color.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOFFEENUT 3/23/2014 12:43PM

    Ah, yes....the things we inflict on ourselves when we're tired and barely awake! Glad your DH didn't injure himself laughing at you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NASFKAB 3/22/2014 9:49PM

  lovely story funny though you were hurt

Report Inappropriate Comment
MERRYMARY42 3/22/2014 9:36PM

    that is a great story, and really something I would do, glad the shower finally gave you some relief. I can imagine how that burned. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WITCHYALISHA 3/22/2014 7:14PM

    It wouldn't do permanent damage that could be an unfortunate mistake.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DMEYER4 3/22/2014 7:10PM

  so sorry for your pain. glad there is no permanent damage . hope you had a better day today

Report Inappropriate Comment

Holding steady at -15 pounds. I need a tutu.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greetings, Sparkpeeps.

I know it's been a while, but I crawled under a rock in the weeks leading up to my birthday and just decided to stay there. This seems to happen every year. I think I must be one of the few people in the world who actually dreads their birthday because they will be forced to celebrate it. It stresses me out, and the expectations always lead to disappointment. I actually feel the same way about most holidays, but there we are.

To get myself out of my funk, I began mulling over doing another bike rally. I stopped doing them two years ago because I felt I was always the ONE PERSON who had nobody waiting at the finish line. It is discouraging, so I quit doing them. I got tired of feeling like a social outcast. Okay, I also got tired of being buzzed by the Tour de France trainees and then trying to climb a hill behind a person who hadn't figured out what all their gears are for. Bottom line: I'm a lone cyclist, and I guess I always will be.

But lo! I was on the local website for all things Texas bike related, and saw there was a charity rally for a local hospital. I have an acquaintance who works for that hospital, and who recently took up cycling. So I dropped a hint, and he said he'd "look into it." As you all probably know, this is code for "in your dreams." Usually, that's what it means. I just let it slide and got on with being overworked and underpaid.

Then I got a note from him saying that we were signed up for a fund raising team. And I have to wear a tutu.

I thought he was kidding.

He wasn't.

At first, I was outraged. ME?! In a TUTU?! Then I thought "YEAHHHHH!!!!! I CAN GET AWAY WITH ACTING LIKE A COMPLETE NUT, AND IT'S FOR A GOOD CAUSE!" So I'm down with it. Now I just have to find a tutu. My friend is going to wear a tutu as well. In fact, the whole schtick of this team is wearing a tutu. Brilliant.

I want to find the ugliest tutu known to humankind. It will be epic.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 3/19/2014 10:26PM

  do post a picture of all the tutus with the wearers

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUEJEANS27 3/19/2014 8:24PM

    What a blast this will be! You'll have to post photos emoticon


Report Inappropriate Comment
KOFFEENUT 3/19/2014 3:12PM

    I have personally found it easier to slip into the "get away with acting like a complete nut" mindset if I also wear a red foam rubber clown nose. Of course, since you're wearing a tutu you would need something in a complementary color.....

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANDREWMOM 3/19/2014 1:48PM

    Have fun with it!!!!!!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ARMYWIFEKASS93 3/19/2014 1:47PM

    There are a lot of how-tos on pinterest on how to make tutus that are super easy. Then you can choose your own colors and stuff.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Patience is not always a virtue. And I think I bit my tongue off.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Greetings, Sparkpeeps.


I got a call from my husband at 8:30 this morning. I was about to go out and scrape the inch of SNOW off the car before heading to a client visit in a neighboring city. It seems that black ice had accumulated in a frighteningly short amount of time, and his wheels locked up when he took a turn off the freeway. He plowed into the curb and it bent the passenger side front wheel into the wheel well and the car was no longer drivable. It was 16 degrees outside, with a windchill factor of 4, and the snow was getting worse. I told him to find shelter immediately, and to hell with the car. He told me that there was a hotel about a half mile away, and he said to meet him there and he would make for that.

Lord have mercy what a drive. He managed to drive the car to the hotel (nearly running off the road in the process) while I was throwing on sweaters and socks and forgetting to eat breakfast in my haste, and I headed out into the snow to start the car. In the process, I broke the knob that controls the heater, so all that would work was the air conditioning. So off I went, slipping and sliding. It took a half hour to get to the freeway (normally it takes maybe eight minutes), then another half hour to get to the exit where the hotel was. The snow was so bad that I couldn't see to get over into the proper lane, and since the very polite and courteous drivers of Dallas would not let me over anyway, I had to turn around and try to find a back way. All the back roads were frozen. The intersections were iced over. And I was lost. Another half hour later, I eventually found the hotel, and my husband.

Who hadn't called a tow truck.

I think this is the moment when I bit my tongue off. He was pretty shook up, and cold, and bewildered. So, I gave him the number of roadside assistance through our insurance company (that he had on his keychain and didn't have the presence of mind to look for, poor guy) and let him handle it. I was reminded of similar incidents in childhood, where some crisis would occur, and my mom would have to go bail my dad out, or vice versa, and that's when the fireworks would start. They would start screaming at each other and calling names, which would terrify my sister and me (and passersby), and make the situation a thousand times worse than it had to be. Fortunately, I have learned from their mistakes, and from other old married ladies. It is disrespectful and unhelpful to berate a man when he's shook up, especially when he's your husband. So instead, I gave him a big hug and a kiss and let him take care of business. Meanwhile, I sat watching early morning trashy television and drinking bad hotel coffee and thinking "look on the bright side, kiddo: at least you didn't have to go visit that plague-ridden middle school this morning! And nobody got hurt. And our car has full coverage."

About fifteen minutes later, another man came in. He had the exact same thing happen to him at the exact same spot where my husband had his accident. He called AAA. We had called All-State. Forty-five minutes later, his tow truck arrived, and he left. Meanwhile, our truck was not scheduled to arrive until three hours later. So we waited. I was not pleased, but I didn't want to exacerbate the situation or upset my husband (whose hands finally stopped shaking by about 11:00). We watched some daytime talk show and marveled at how mean and catty women can be. We watched Divorce Court and marveled at a great many things. We watched TMZ Live and were convinced as to why the rest of the world hates America. And our pickup time came and went.

I was ready to go home. I had tons of work to do, but my dear husband wanted to be patient. So I bit my tongue (again), and sweetly asked him to call the insurance company and see what the deal was. So he eventually got through, and they said they'd text him back when they got the truck rescheduled. So we watched Judge Judy and an hour of local news, and another round of Divorce Court and no text.

Mrs. Karlsson decided that enough was enough. I could feel my blood starting to boil. I could also feel my blood sugar hit rock bottom. Let me tell you, the world does NOT want to deal with me after four cups of coffee and no food. I make Ivan the Terrible look like a saint. No joke. So I excused myself to the ladies' room to give myself a moment to come up with a logical argument as to why my dear sweet husband should stand up for his rights as a paying customer and call to demand an answer. This, I concluded, would be much more constructive than what I had witnessed in my youth when my parents would deal with a crisis by insulting each other and raising their voices so they could be heard three counties over (it always amazes me that nobody ever called the cops on them). So saying, I emerged from the ladies' room, smiled, and gave my husband a well-reasoned and calmly delivered argument as to why he should call again. So he did. "Oh! We forgot to reschedule!" said the agent. 'I'm going to need stitches,' I thought. I was very tempted to take the phone away from my husband and give the agent what-for, but I didn't. So my husband patiently explained that we had been waiting for several hours and no truck had arrived. They said they'd get back to him.

By this time, it was getting late, and I hadn't brought my husband's evening dose of anti-rejection medication for his transplanted liver, foolishly assuming that our insurance company was competent and we wouldn't have to wait ALL EFFING DAY FOR AN EFFING TOW TRUCK. *ahem* Excuse me. It was two hours before he was scheduled for his next dose when the insurance company finally got back to him and told him it would be another two hours before the tow truck would arrive. My dear, sweet husband agreed to wait.

At this point, Mrs. Karlsson had had Quite Enough. She quietly informed her husband through gritted teeth that we would leave the vehicle and deal with it in the morning, and that his medicine schedule was more important. He protested, but eventually conceded the point when I pointed out the likelihood of the truck actually arriving on time, the fact that the roads were getting worse, it was getting dark outside, and rush hour was about to start. I told him we'd be lucky if we made it home in time to take his medicine (it's really not a good idea to skip or be late with doses of anti-rejection medication: you could lose the transplanted organ and wind up dead). He argued that the hotel wouldn't let us park overnight. I said "ask and ye shall receive." So he went to ask. And they graciously agreed to let us leave the car (especially since two different shifts of employees had watched us wait in the lobby all day). That being done, we left for home.

After six hours of waiting for a truck that never came, we finally made it home, tired and hungry enough to douse the cats in pizza sauce and have at it. I decided that I would schedule a tow truck on my own for the morning and my husband could handle it on his way to work. And viola, it was done, easy-peasey. Ironically, an hour later, the tow truck that our insurance company provided called from the hotel parking lot to say they were ready to pick us up. My husband told them they were too late, that we had gone home after waiting for six hours and had hired someone else. Then he hung up.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I put it to you that even though me being patient with my husband and letting him handle things was a respectful and empowering thing to do, it was not productive and I feel we were taken advantage of by our lousy insurance company. I also lost a full day of work, which I can't afford since I've already been out sick for two weeks. When you're self-employed, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Also, I don't think there's enough thread in the world to stitch up all these bite marks on my tongue. I think I need skin grafts.

My patience sorely tried (albeit with a relieved hubby, which makes it worth it somehow), I bid you all good night. And I pity the fool who tries to cross me tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 3/6/2014 9:46PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
KOFFEENUT 2/7/2014 7:41PM

    What an....adventure!!! Good for you for learning from the mistakes of others and handling a stressful situation in a mature and supportive manner. (And I hope your tongue heals up soon!)

Report Inappropriate Comment
TAICHIDANCER 2/6/2014 10:29PM

    I pity the fool!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad he's okay. ... and that you still have a tongue.

Comment edited on: 2/6/2014 10:30:07 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 Last Page