The first good thing, and by far the absolute best thing that happened to me today is that shiver101 was online and able to visit for some time after I broke my four-day vacation from the online world and hopped on FurryMUCK. It was very nice to see her again, and I was able to deliver a message in person that I had also sent via e-mail, which made me feel a lot better since I felt it was something that deserved to be shared "live," as it were.. We talked for a while, and I naturally said a few things that invoked the use of a cluebat. One of these days I'll get my words straight, but until then I can do little but grin when she calls for the beating-stick. Perhaps it's just me, but my perception of time shifts radically when I'm taking to her, and today was no exception. It seemed like only a few minutes after I logged on she had to be going, so I bid her a good day and buckled in for the rest of my shift at work.
That's when the second positive thing happened. The good news is that I managed to make serious headway in my workload at the office today, since I was pretty much being left alone (rare enough in itself) and we had a full compliment on the team so I was able to farm out some of the more menial/simple tasks to my coworkers, enabling me to focus on larger and more technical matters. I also got a bit of physical labor in: the defective Cisco supervisors that I was complaining so bitterly about were boxed up, labelled and left in the semi-capable hands of our friends in Document Control/Receiving. Towards the end of the day I cleaned up some helpdesk tickets, and built more ungainly spreadsheets.
During lunch I got Discover to increase my credit limit by another $750, thus pushing my limit past the $8,000 mark. This will give me the leeway I desire so that I can put my remaining expenses for the month (the trip to New Jersey for the wedding of captain18 and spoothbrush, etc) on one card without cutting into my checking or savings funds. This has the benefit for me of placing all my remaining revolving debt in one place, which means I can focus on paying that card off completely and then be done and shut of the whole mess. Mmm, six months to being totally debt-free and counting. It's nice to know I can pay the card at a nice relaxed pace if I choose, or pay it off all at once. For now I'm going to let it drag out over the remaining part of the year since there's minimal interest on it, and then I'll kill it off completely just before Christmas and use cash to do my gift purchasing. Everything else (MBNA, AmEx, Citi) is completely paid off and man do I feel good about that. This house is looking less like a dream and more like a certainty at this point. With a debt-to-income ratio of almost zero I should be completely golden for a mortgage loan.
Speaking of homes, when I got home today there were some pleasant surprises waiting for me in the mail. First was my updated Citi card, with the nice shiny "Diamond Preferred Rewards" logo emblazoned on it. This will come in handy because now I can really make them beg for my business. I love the power a good credit rating can have over a merchant. The second surprise awaiting me in the mailbox was even better, though.
My passport arrived!!!
Wow. I submitted the paperwork and the checks for it on the 25th of June, and here we are less than a month later. When I saw the US Department of State had deposited my $55 check on the 7th of July I figured the clock was ticking and the bureaucracy was grinding into motion, but I had no idea when to expect any actual results. The clerk suggested I wait 5-7 weeks... but hey, I'll take it now, that's for sure. I'm really very excited that it's here. I don't think Roho's ever heard me come that close to squealing with delight, but when I got handed the envelope and I saw it had a big passport-shaped crease in it and was addressed to me from the Passport Division of the Secretary of State I couldn't contain myself. I tore the envelope apart right there on the lawn and pulled my passport out, flipping it open to the photo page and staring for a long moment at the work the government did upon my picture. Surprisingly enough the photo doesn't suck when it's covered in laminate and official hologram-seals. I don't look bad at all. I look homicidal! I'm not sure that's really the picture I want a bunch of border guards to be looking at when I travel, they'll think I'm Charles Manson reincarnated. I better be prepared for a lot of "quality time" with a male nurse and a rubber glove if I ever do go abroad... but I think it'll be worth it overall.
Of course, that leads me to the most ironic part: due to factors like the sluggish job market I no longer have any immediate plans to travel out of the country.. so the passport is going to be sort of hanging around and collecting dust in my safe until something comes up. The good part of having it waiting is just that -- it's here, and waiting, ready to be used at a moment's notice. That's sort of reassuring. Yes, I still want to travel overseas, but sadly I don't think I'll be booking any plane tickets in the next two months.
Another good thing about today: I won a batch of auctions on eBay, so I will be receiving a number of packages over the coming week or two. I've got a batch of six 18 gigabyte SCSI-2 disks coming in along with a Sun-branded DLT 4700 autoloader that can hold 7 of the 20g/40g tapes. These items are necessary for me to upgrade my server so that it has not only increased (and, thanks to the power of RAID, redundant) disk space but will also automatically be archived to tape for restoration purposes in the case of a catastrophic loss. I'm tired of running my shop like a total amateur and it's time to seize control and get this matter fixed once and for all. I'm not sure when I'll find the time to install all these goodies, but I imagine shortly after the beginning of August I'll be taking the server offline for 10 to 12 hours so I can perform all the necessary hardware installs. I'll likely also upgrade the operating system to the current version of Solaris 9 while I'm at it.
The last bit of good news for my evening is that my Amazon order is being assembled and will be shipping shortly, with an estimated delivery date of the 25th of this month (super-saving shipping is my friend). That means that very shortly I will have a box from Amazon containing such goodies as:
Yes, this indeed has been and will continue to be a very expensive month for me -- but I think in the end it will all be well worth it. At the very least I can now say that I'm able to travel to a wholly different country at the drop of a hat....
...I just wonder if I'll ever have reason to take advantage of that fact. :/
Under the big top world