Dealing with Adversity

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything and as I look at my last entry it was at about the same time that things stopped going as smoothly as I would like for them to go. For starters, I developed a head cold. Just a minor nuisance, not enough to keep me down but enough to make me want to sleep an extra hour a night. That lasted about two weeks. As I got over my head cold, I developed a cough. Once again, this was a minor nuisance but around the same time I developed stomach pains. My personal diagnosis was and still is a muscle pull from the coughing. I went to the doctor yesterday after two weeks of having trouble. I was hoping for a muscle relaxer or even a diagnosis of something to do with my coughing and something to help me stop. Instead I’m going to be checked for gallstones beside the fact that I really don’t think that that is the problem. At the same time I was finishing up an online class. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except that the school was having a lot of technical difficulties. I’m the type of person who understands mistakes happen and that people are prone to error. However I also expect that if I’m paying good money for something, I ought to get what I paid for. When I pay $750 for an online class and there are 19 other students who paid that same money, I expect problems to be solved swiftly with no concern for the cost because this is what we have paid for. Instead of solutions, I only received excuses and apologies. Last week I had a meeting out of state and returned home Saturday night. On the way home I hit a chunk of rubber from a blown tire. It was small and innocuous. But it was enough to cause me to blow my tire on the highway. With my spare, I had to get off the highway and travel backroads the final 80 miles home because I couldn’t go over 50 mph. Within a mile of getting off the highway I got pulled over. The speed limit had dropped from 45 to 25 but I didn’t see any sign. Despite having never been pulled over in my life, I got a ticket instead of a warning – final cost $144. I don’t write any of this to complain or to receive sympathy. Instead it is a reminder that we all go through down seasons in life. Despite my frustrations in the past few weeks, things could be a lot worse. I was able to finish my class despite the fact that things weren’t working properly. Although I haven’t felt great for five weeks now, at no point have I felt terrible. And even though my flat tire ended up costing me a speeding ticket, I was able to safely get my car pulled off of the road. The shoulder was wide enough that I could actually pull over and replace the tire. Before I even had time to pray about it, someone else pulled off and helped me change my tire. And even my tire ended up being under warranty so it only cost me $15 for the wear that I already had on the tire. It’s easy to say that things could have been worse but that’s not even the case. God has been watching out for me even in the midst of my frustrating time. Being a Christian doesn’t always mean smooth sailing. What it does mean is that God will be with us during those rough times and that He won’t abandon us.

Windows 7

The new windows operating system, Windows 7 came out Thursday. I hadn’t planned on buying it yet but I was having trouble with my laptop and figured that upgrading might solve my problem. Fortunately it did and my laptop is working fine now. I’ve only been using Windows 7 for a day but I can share with you my thoughts so far.

Installation is simple but time consuming. I upgraded from Windows Vista which possibly took longer because it had to convert all of my old files. What isn’t mentioned up front about the upgrade is that if you are upgrading from XP you are doing a full system install. This means that you will have to reinstall all of your old programs so hopefully you have all of your disks.

Installation from Vista took over 2 hours but was relatively simple. I had to enter some information for the first ten minutes and then was able to leave the computer to itself. If you’re using XP the actual installation will likely be quicker but reinstalling all of your old programs may take considerable time depending on how many programs you had installed.
Windows 7 is attractive and runs fast. It uses less system resources than Windows Vista so your computer itself should run better. There isn’t a big difference between Vista and Windows 7, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the the money but I didn’t have a problem with Vista to begin with.  From everything that I have read though, Windows 7 eliminates the annoyances that have prevented Windows XP users from switching to Vista, namely program compatibility and an annoyance problem with constantly asking for permission to do stuff.

If you’re still running XP, Windows 7 is a big upgrade and I believe that you’ll be very pleased with the new look and function of the programs.  It will take some time adjusting to new things but is worth it in the end.

Debt Collectors

I’m a big believer in paying bills on time.  In my years of paying bills I’ve only been late on one payment and somehow didn’t realize that I didn’t send in a payment one month.  As much as possible I don’t even carry a month to month balance on my credit card so that I don’t pay interest on it.

So this makes calls from debt collectors all the more annoying to me.  I’ve had my current phone number almost two years now and apparently at least two people who had it before me didn’t like to pay their bills and I keep getting calls from debt collectors for them.

At first I answered these calls to tell the companies that they had the wrong number and to take my phone number out of their system.  One company I had to tell six times before they finally got the message.  Lately though I’ve been just getting a recording, instructing me to call them back at their 800 number. 

I’m not taking my time to call back about a debt that I don’t owe and waste my time on hold, all so the company can call me again the next day because they never bothered to remove my phone number from their system.

All consumers have rights.  Debt collectors may only call during certain hours of the day.  They may not call at work without permission.  They may not make threats or use abusive language.  They must identify their company and explain that they are attempting to collect a debt.  Unfortunately many debt collectors don’t follow these rules.

Fortunately you can report such thugs to the FTC.  http://www.ftc.gov explains all of the that collectors must follow.  If a debt collector has broken any of these rules you may report them to the FTC.

First, Google the phone number that the debt collector called from or search www.whitepages.com to find the company name.  After you have found as much information as you can about the company, go to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov to report them to the government.  You won’t receive anything in compensation for your annoyance by these companies but the government will investigate their practices and fine them if they have been breaking the law.