Archive for January, 2006

You could punch me in the face while you’re at it

Two things that happened to me today:

1) I looked at an apartment. It was about 10 minutes from work, which was nice, and it was newly-built, which made it look nice and clean. It was a little small for my tastes, but only by a hair. I could’ve made it work, but that was when I thought it was $700/month. I had been looking at several ads in the same day, and I had thought that this apartment was advertised for $700/month, which was great because it would save me money from what I’m paying now, even though it was smaller than I’m used to.

Then I found out while talking to the owner that no, it wasn’t $700… it was $825. All of a sudden, the apartment didn’t seem so appealing or workable. Oh well. My lease ends at the end of March, so let’s hope that I can find a place by then.

2) Then, on my way home, I talked with my dad on the phone and told him about the apartment. While I was talking with him, he mentioned taxes and all of that, and I told him I was going to file my taxes this weekend, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to see how much I was getting back from the government.

But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Turns out I’m going to owe money this year. For both state and federal. What blows the most about that is that I was hoping I could use my tax return to pay my 2005 car taxes. Yeah, it sucks, but I had no other options.

It looks like it’s going to be that I can either pay for new brakes or taxes. I don’t like having to pick between these types of things.

QuitJournal Update

Time Quit: 3 weeks, 1 day, 15 hours, 30 minutes

It takes twenty-one days to break a habit, or so I’m told. I officially quit at 9pm on January 2nd, which makes me past the 21-day mark. And that’s a really good feeling. I feel good that I’ve stuck with it; I feel good that my singing voice is already improving; I feel good that I’m not getting short of breath after small amounts of physical activity (though I’m still fat, so that doesn’t help in terms of the shortness of breath). I feel good that it doesn’t bug me that I quit like it did the last time.

I need to find some way to celebrate when I hit the one month mark (then I’ll do it again at six months, then a year, then two years, etc.). Unfortunately, due to a lack of cash, I think I’ll have to celebrate by getting new brakes on my car.

QuitJournal Update

Time quit: 1 week, 4 days, 1 hour, 32 minutes since 2-Jan-2006 21:00:00.

That’s over eleven days. And it was almost cut short on Wednesday night. Went to another Trivia Night at the bar, and I was pretty damn close to having a cigarette. I know now that I wouldn’t have, even if I’d been handed one. But it would have been a long and tormented several seconds while I figured out that I wasn’t going to have it.

I’ve been good since then, though. I’ll be glad when it doesn’t bother me that way when I drink anymore.

2005 Wrap-Up

Okay, so it’s now a week into 2006 and it’s time for my wrap-up of last year.

2005 started out with a whimper and not a bang. I had spent New Year’s Eve alone in my apartment, and I don’t even think I had bothered watching the festivities on television. In fact, I was probably watching The West Wing or some other thing on DVD. For at least part of the evening, I was speaking to a friend on the phone. I probably went to bed at a pretty reasonble hour.

The beginning of 2005 was not great for me, but it wasn’t entirely horrible, either. I had lost my job in June of 2004 and had started a new one in September. The resulting debts and financial issues weren’t easy to deal with, but I was definitely in a better place in, well, almost every way.

Except the actual place I was in. The apartment I live in is about 50 miles from my place of business, which means that at the height of the gas prices in 2005, I was paying out more then ten dollars a day, just to drive to and from my job. It seems virtually impossible to find decently-priced single-bedroom apartments, though.

In June I got a raise. While it wasn’t as much as I was hoping, a raise is a raise, and it was welcomed. I was still recovering from the unemployment thing the year prior, though.

Then, in July, I lost someone I thought was a very good friend. That hurt, especially because I had really done nothing except try to be a good friend, and it ended up getting me burned. That event has kind of weighed on me since then, and it’s rather depressing.

I try not to let it get me too down, though. I’m trying to keep things positive, and for the most part I’ve done pretty well with that. Things are fairly stable and steady, if quite a bit boring. Work was crazy for a little while, as I’ve mentioned previously, but it paid off in the end and things are back to normal now.

The year ended, though, with quite a bit more bang than it had the year before. I was with friends and while it wasn’t anything crazy, it was fun and not nearly as lonely as New Year’s 2005.

And I’d say that was a fitting close to a year that was, start to finish, represented quite adequately by its beginning and end.

Some Quitting Info

This is as much for my own benefit and to remind me of what it is I’m trying to do as it is to share with other people.

This is what the American Cancer Society lists as the health benefits of quitting:

20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, pp. 39, 202)

8 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

24 hours after quitting: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report,1988, p. 202)

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193,194,196,285,323)

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 304, 307, 319, 322)

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decrease.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.110, 147, 152, 155, 159,172)

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p.79)

Something to think about.

QuitJournal Update

I had a pretty rough time last night. Not sure why, but I think it probably had something to do with it being the end of the week and everything.

As of this moment, I have officially gone 4 days, 17 hours without a cigarette. According to QuitMeter, I have not smoked 65 cigarettes during that time and have saved myself $16.25. I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

This whole ordeal has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been at least a little challenging at times, especially those times when I would be almost definitely smoking, like the drive to work, or right after I eat something. Those times have been the worst.

There’s also the additional problem: I LIKED smoking. Stopping something that you like makes it that much more difficult. I find myself thinking about how much I liked it sometimes, and realize that it’s just my brain trying to fool me into having a cigarette. That makes it a little easier not to do it.

Still, it was kinda my only vice. I think I need to find something else that’s bad for me to take up the space, like skydiving.

Jon Stewart to host the Oscars?

Stewart to host this year’s Academy Awards ceremony

I’m so watching this year’s Oscars.

My favorite part of the whole article is the comments at the bottom. It’s amazing how ridiculous people can get over this stuff.

A quick update

I have yet to write up my wrap-up of 2005 (which will come at some point soon, I think), but I just thought I would share with those of you who are interested that as of this moment, it’s been more than 36 hours since my last cigarette, and I seem to be doing okay. I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it—for one, I don’t want it to be a huge deal if I start up again, and for another, I don’t like to put a lot of pressure on “New Year stuff” like that.

But I’ll take whatever support I can get.

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