Ever since I started using Firefox and discovered the joys of tabbed browsing, I have had my browser start with multiple tabs open to my most commonly accessed websites. For about three years, there were only two: Slashdot and ESPN. About two years ago, I added Google Reader to the mix for blog reading.
What pages make it to my startup screen is a delicate balance. Slashdot could be an RSS subscription in my Reader, but I found that it was easier to just scroll through the website for a couple minutes and pick out the articles I wanted to read. The same was true for ESPN.
Lately, Lifehacker has been high on my list of sites I read, but it too is starting to clog my Reader screen with too many posts. As a result, I’ve decided that after two years, it’s time to update my startup config for Firefox. The list, from left to right:
The other notable addition is Facebook. I still hate their design for the most part, but it’s becoming a critical tool that if I don’t start with it open, I won’t make it to Facebook somedays, and there are too many youth there to forget a day.
What website(s) do you include in your startup screen?
I like things that are new and shiny. You might also. For me, it’s always been about computers and gadgets. Sure, a shiny new car would be nice, but I can live with my old car. But the latest computer hardware or home theater setup or tech gadget… Now that’s interesting to me.
I’ve noticed, however, less of a desire lately to chase those new shinies, mostly because of our financial journey. Ironically, I now have the savings to buy a new television to replace the 20” loaner I’m using because ours broke, but I’m not really dying for it. It would be nice, but it’s not essential.
There’s something that happens when we get control of our financial situation: We want material things less. Sue says it’s because we focus on our blessings more than our wantings. I tend to agree with her.
Here’s how I know I’ve changed: There’s a new iPhone coming out in about a month. And I really don’t have a desire to go out and get it. I’m also not feeling bad about getting mine when I did instead of waiting for a new and better model. Because there is always a new and better thing coming.
We had a great weekend celebrating Mother’s Day. My mom came in from Cleveland, plus my sister was here from Oregon. Some of the fun things we did:
Mom and I saw Star Trek. Great movie, not unlike what Batman Begins did for the Batman series. I really dig the fun new feel of Star Trek and already can’t wait for the sequel to come out.
We played On The Dot. It’s a spacial thinking game where you have to line up the dots on clear plastic sheets to match a picture on a card. There are only 4 dots per sheet and 4 total sheets, but it’s a lot harder than you’d think. I did really well at first, then quickly lost the hang of it.
Hiked down the escarpment with Mom and Jaime (Judi was gone to a wedding in Pittsburgh for Saturday afternoon/evening) to see Devils Hole. It was a good climb with a nice payoff at the end. There used to be water flowing through the cave into the Niagara River, but has been “dry” for quite some time. I say “dry” because there’s still a tiny trickle that comes through the hole in the ceiling.
Played some Ticket to Ride and Imaginiff. I won Ticket to Ride. It was my only win for the weekend. Jaime won most of the games we played.
Went to lunch at Applebee’s to celebrate Mother’s Day. We waiting until Monday to avoid the crowds.
Interesting experience today. A strut went out on my car. Long story short: it cost $900 to repair. I heard the number and immediately panicked. I panicked because that’s been my learned response to unexpected bills for about 10 years. How were we going to pay for this?
It was a silly response I guess. We actually have the money to pay for it with cash. It comes from our emergency fund, which we set up as part of our financial journey these last 8 months.
The problem is that for years this kind of thing overwhelmed me. It was as if the spirit of fear had come over me. It felt like three years ago when we would have had to pay for this on credit and not known what to do when that bill came due.
As we talked about it, Jaime said we might have to relearn our emotional responses to situations like this. We no longer have to be slaves to the spirit of fear because by the grace of God, we are living in a way that we don’t need to panic about these sudden expenses.
In Christ, we have the Spirit of Power, not the spirit of fear. Sometimes, though, it takes a while to let go of the learned “spirit of fear” response and trust in the Spirit of Power instead.
Well, the moment has finally arrived, only 10 months since I first posted that I wanted one: I now have an iPhone. I wasn’t planning on getting it until Monday, but it turns out today was the day to buy. Here’s what happened…
The Back Story I’ve really wanted this for a long time, but I also wanted Jaime to get a nicer phone when we switched to AT&T. Amazon was offering some nice deals on phones, but I wasn’t sure I could do that and keep both our numbers since they don’t sell the iPhone. ATT.com had some good ones, but no slider phones with a full keyboard.
So I’ve been meaning to stop into the AT&T store to find out what they could do for us for about a month now. I figured I’d be as prepared as I could be, then go get the phones on Monday from wherever gave us the best deal.
So I walked in this morning to find out what kind of free phones were available if I purchased an iPhone. Kerry, the sales rep, showed me one option, but I didn’t think it was that great, so I asked if there were any slider phones for free. No, but they might be able to work something out.
He asked me when I was planning to buy, and I told him Monday, the day after my Verizon contract expired. He says:
You know, we could give you a temporary number and you can buy it today. We’ll wait to transfer your number until Monday when your Verizon contract expires.
He then went on to offer lots of incentives if I’d buy today. I told him I’d call Jaime and see what she said, then maybe I’d be back. So I did, and we decided to go ahead and do it.
The Deal Here’s what I got as part of the package today:
So the long wait is finally over. I’m excited to start using the phone and see what kind of fun things I can do with it. And Jaime’s excited because she doesn’t have to listen to Pastor tell her why I need to get an iPhone.
So, speaking of financial matters, I just had a funny conversation with an HSBC representative. I had to give them a call because we got a notice from the credit union that they didn’t get our March payment. It’s set up to automatically pay through the Bill Pay online, so I thought that was odd.
So I called to find out what’s up. HSBC confirms the check was never cashed. Now I have to call the credit union and explain what happened and see if they’ll waive the $20 late fee. Irritating, but whatever…
Then, after resolving the initial problem, the following conversation occurs:
HSBC Rep: One more thing Mr. Christ. I notice you don’t have overdraft protection on your account. Would you like to add it for free?
I’m about to head to bed and wrap up my actual birthday, though we will actually be celebrating a few days late because of the Sawmill Creek retreat I was on. Here are a few highlights of the day:
Darcy and the youth got me Lost and Found’s Speedwood Hymns CD. It’s old favorites with the Lost and Found flavor added in.
Mom and Jaime had a birthday party for me with the youth at my mom’s house, where we stopped for dinner on the way home from Sawmill.
Instead of candles on a cake, I got to blow out a single candle in a Chipotle Burrito. Man those burritos are yummy! 🙂
Addison gave me her first card.
Jaime is taking me shopping to get an iPhone accessory, which continues my tradition of owning an accessory before the actual piece of equipment. The last one was a Wii Backpack that Jaime got me for Christmas, approximately 6 weeks before I got a Wii.
Jaime and I are headed to Outback for my birthday dinner.
I look back at the last year and realize a lot has changed since I wrote about turning 31. Most notable, Addison entered our life and changed our world forever. She was alive for my last birthday, we just didn’t know it. It was actually on March 17 that we found out about Addison. Jaime told me about it at Applebee’s. Fun memory.
Lots of other things changed I’m sure, but none so amazing as Addison. It was fun to have her with us for this birthday, her first family birthday party. I’m looking forward to many more with her.