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On a more positive note, Serenity!!!

No, I am not talking about a peaceful state of apathy induced by flunking an exam three times, nor am I advertising bladder incontinence products — I am talking about the Firefly movie! I have been waiting all year for it and Joy got us tickets for the opening night tonight. The showtime is 10:30 — well past my usual bedtime. A little afternoon caffeine may be in order today…

3 strikes.


That was my score on my third –and final– attempt at Microsoft Exam 70-291. Since a passing score is 700, this means that:

  • a) I obviously didn’t pass
  • b) In all likelihood I missed it by one single question.

I think it is time I just moved on with my life.

I was determined to take the test, even though I had long ago decided that I didn’t *ever* want a job in which I actually was responsible for a large-scale network, because it was the last exam towards an MCSA title, and because I felt like I needed to ‘buck up’ and try to finish what I started. I have a long history of avoiding things that I struggle with. Many things come very easily to me and when I run into something that doesn’t, I don’t deal well with failure. My usual approach is to avoid things that I am not good at — like math — shutting the door on a lot of things I could have done/been in the process.  So while part of the reason for trying to pass the exam was a bit of foolish pride (wanting to have that impressive-sounding certification that I had no intention of using anyway) a big part of it, I guess, was that it symbolized all the things I have given up on in my life. For once, I wanted to stay and fight my way through to the other side.

I am not going to take the test again, not any time in the foreseeable future, anyway, and I don’t think that is giving up, at this point. I tried three times and gave it my best. I have spent the bulk of the past three months (yeah, that’s why no blog entries, web updates, etc.) studying for this test, worrying over it, reading book after book, and cramming, all the while worrying even more and stressing because other things — IMPORTANT things — got shoved to the back burner "until I am finished with this test." Why keep throwing myself at a wall that I am not even interested in climbing when there is so much more out there for me? I’ve got a mountain of ‘to-dos’ at work, everything from our clinic’s web site to building the new forms and documents we need. All tasks that I am good at, enjoy doing, and will benefit the clinic by doing. And then there’s the fact that we moved back here to enjoy all the things we missed about NC, and we haven’t actually had time for any of them. We haven’t even made it up to the Blue Ridge Parkway yet.

I am proud of what I have accomplished, even if it didn’t result in a passing grade. Subnetting, which terrified and bedevilled me so badly (and I still don’t like it <g>) is no longer my weak spot, in fact I aced the IP addressing part of the test. I also did real well on the DNS area, another former weak spot, and I have learned a lot of concepts that will be very useful to me in my current job.  I did my best, and everything I have learned along the way (not just talking about this test but the A+, Network+, and 3 MCPs that I *did* pass) helped get me where I am today — which is somewhere I *want* to be. So maybe I should just be happy with that and close the book on this one?

From bad to worse

Thursday night we came home from work to find junk strewn all over the back lawn and loud music blaring, and a huge mess on the back porch. It seems someone apparently decided to try and hang or swing from our potted asparagus fern that Joy’s mom gave us. It was hanging on a very sturdy metal hook on the back porch and had been for months. It was now laying broken on the porch, and has smashed down on — and knocked over — our callibrachoa plant below it. Both plants had branches broken off and the pot for the fern will need to be replaced. At first we thought maybe it had blown down, but when we saw the bent plant hanger — and when it took Joy both hands and a lot of force to bend it back in place — we realized it had ‘help’.

We also noticed that one of Lindsy’s dog toys, a latex football that we kept in a corner of the porch when she’s not playing with it, was in a different spot. The entire end of it where the air hole is had been carefully taped with packing tape to block the hole for some unknown reason. This meant that someone has been on our porch, took the football, and then snuck it back. We’ve been trying hard to be patient but these last two invasions were the last straw, we called the landlord to complain again. I just can’t believe some people have so little respect for others. There’s at least four children that run unsupervised all over the neighborhood –even on the road, in the dark — and all over everyone’s lawns, with not an adult in site.  We’ve realized we no longer have squirrels and rabbits in the yard any more, and the neighbors that used to sit on their porches and walk around the neighborhood don’t come out any more. Everyone just hides inside like we do, apparently.

The landlord said she is"not running a trailer park" and that the new tennant had used up her last warning. Hopefully they won’t blame us and retaliate in some way… but not sure if they have any intention of leaving since all day yesterday there was more stuff –including more mattresses — moved in. Friday there was more loud rap music…if not for the fact that we don’t want to alienate our other neighbors, it would have been tempting to have have dug out my L7 CDs and launched a counter-attack. I guess I am a little old to play the "I can make more noise than you" game but it was really annoying to come home after a long day at work, to find the cats are hiding because of the boom-boom base, and we can’t even hear the TV.

I forgot to mention in my other post the weird dream I had… in the dream apparently the two houses were joined inside, too, and we were in an uproar because the neighbor had come over to our side and decorated our house with some sort of cheap, tacky angel-themed wallhangings, pictures, and statues…  In the dream I was trying to hatch up some sort of plan to counter the angel assault by finding some sort of horrifyingly tacky art — like maybe a velvet painting of half-naked barbarian women battling a mythical monster or something along those lines — and hanging it up and Joy was telling me it wouldn’t work because the creepy men who hang out there would probably enjoy it. It’s funny, the silly stuff your brain cooks up when you are sleeping, though I guess it was also a reflection of my stress over the real-life situation.

Paradise Lost…

DISCLAIMER: this is a sleep deprived rant that probably won’t make any sense to anyone other than me, and probably not even me when I come back and read it later. Read it at your own risk.

Well there hasn’t been much in the way of posting from me lately… been busy with work, studying, and battling insomnia again. Last night was evenly divided between laying wide awake and fitful sleep filled with nightmares, mostly about the new neighbors.

The house we live in, which we have been enjoying very much, is actually a duplex, joined at the garage to an identical one on the other side. And when we moved in, one of my only concerns was the lack of a fenced yard or a divider between the two houses in the backyard. At first we had a very quiet plumber next door who was hardly ever home, and then for a while the other unit sat empty. It was very peaceful — this is a quiet neighborhood and it was nice sitting outside in the mornings and evenings… and then THEY came.

Let me say that I am well aware that a big part of the problem is my being perhaps somewhat obsessive about my personal space, probably because, growing up, I never had any. So the sudden influx of an as-yet undetermined number of small children, shrieking, squealing, and running across our side of the lawn has not sat well. I’m trying hard to adapt — but why can’t they at least stay on their own freakin side of the property? Officially there is a mother and two small children, but I have seen at least 5 or more and that isn’t counting all the beat up cars and trucks that converge on weekends, blocking us in our own driveway (no one has actually parked ON our lawn anymore since we complained) and the creepy-looking men that hang out around the cars and stare at us when we leave the house.  The kids come stare in our windows, traipse through the plant beds, and leave their bikes behind our cars, in addition to the aforementioned shrieking and screaming.

I guess if I go on about the loud soccer playing (the belches were a nice touch) outside our window, the small unsupervised toddler that chased the dogs when I tried to take them out to potty one day, the squashed ant-covered moon-pie behind my car on our side of the driveway and the grubby little fingerprints all over both cars, I will just sound like I am being a b*tch — and I probably am. If they want to trample down all the bedding plants on their side, coat every surface in blue silly string, leave broken toy parts, dorito bags, and other trash all over their lawn (or in the case of one plastic chair, halfway up a tree) I guess that is their business.  Maybe someday we will be able to afford our own place so we won’t keep ending up in situations like this.