A lot’s been happening in between me catching stomach viruses and sinus infections. I’ve renegotiated my home loan to something that’s survivable on my present income level. That’s a good thing. I hadn’t said much about it on the internet, but my continued occupancy of the house in question had been a question mark for the better part of a year. The negotiating process was stressful, maddening, and s-l-o-w. But I’m waiting for one piece of paperwork I have to sign, and then it’s done, allowing me to calm my beef min and concentrate on other things.
A while back, I learned that Avid was releasing a freeware version of its Media Composer software. Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I used to edit video with Avid Media Composer practically in my sleep, whether at work or at home…except that the Avid system I had at home was, unknown to me, a limited time offer. Sheer bad luck intervened, and the insurance company with whom I had homeowners’ insurance at the time conveniently decided that this was business equipment, not something one would find in a home, and therefore they wouldn’t cover its loss. I enlisted some help to try to restore the machine to working order, to no avail – it wouldn’t be a video editing system ever again. But where the new Media Composer Free is concerned? Any PC with the space and RAM required will do. A decent video card is best, but again, not required.
I socked back a little bit of money toward a new (well, refurb) PC with the required specs, and have begun setting it up as a new Avid. It’s slow going acquiring the necessary hard drives for this venture, and it might be Christmas before I’m editing again, but it will happen. I’m excited about it. It’s probably my most marketable job skill and I haven’t been able to practice it for seven years and change. Video editing is just what I do. Some people can whittle intricate shapes out of wood…I do that with pictures and sound. Or at least I can with the right tools. Budget and circumstance have not been my friends of late, but in this case, things worked out almost too well.
And speaking of that… about a month ago, I was having a normal Friday. I fed the boys breakfast, took them to school, and went to work. At about noon, once of the receptionists up front came and quietly told me “There’s someone up front for you with some papers.” My jaw clenched and my blood ran cold. What now? What am I being served papers for now? What has yet to be cleared up?
The “someone” were a man and a woman who asked me to step outside with them. Even better. This was not putting me in a good mood.
They then pointed to the vehicle next to my battered green car and informed me that they were here to hand the keys, title, paperwork and the vehicle itself over to me free and clear. They handed me a bill of sale indicating that it had been paid for. They told me there was an envelope in the console with money I could use to insure and register it immediately.
I was told that the vehicle was the gift of a local charity that helps people with vehicular needs, and that they had been told about my situation and the fact that I was hauling my kids around all summer in an un-air-conditioned beater. So…someone was remarkably well informed.
I will admit that I spent a few minutes scowling, holding my tongue, asking questions, looking over the vehicle, watching for Ashton Kutcher to jump out of the bushes with a camera crew, and being really suspicious. Because this stuff just doesn’t happen to me. I was waiting for the inevitable sound of the other shoe dropping, usually onto whatever fingers are all that are keeping me attached to whatever cliff I’m hanging from at the moment.
It has brand new tires and ~126,000 miles on it (the green machine had just crossed 190,000 miles). It has a working radio. It has air conditioning. The electric windows all work. The lights all work. I don’t even know what to do with a ride this new, though I can tell you, after a month, that it does a dandy job of hauling me and the boys to and from the arcade.
I waited a month to post anything about it because, in all honestly, I was still allowing time for the other shoe to drop. I hate to make it sound as if I have a cold, dead heart without a trace of gratitude – I am grateful to have this. I was grateful to the have the battered old green warhorse next to it, a 20-year-old car of a kind that isn’t even made anymore, even though that car’s fluids had to be almost constantly topped off, its engine sometimes had to be coaxed into turning over, and its tires were even more bald than their owner. It had no A/C, no working radio, and exactly one working power window (the other was permanently stuck closed). I was grateful to have that. I would’ve been grateful for a tune-up and new tires. I had not even begun to entertain the notion of a whole new vehicle.
All in all, things are looking up – I really do feel like I’m getting back a few things I’d lost: mobility, a means for expressing one of my more notable creative talents, and some certainty about the roof over my head and my children’s heads. Is this some hard-won break that I deserve? That will ultimately be for others to decide, not me. But for the moment, it almost feels like maybe, just maybe, I’m getting some of my mojo back. Any value judgements on the worth of these lucky breaks – or their bearer – will be determined by what I do with these things.
The boys and I will be getting out more – maybe not every day or every weekend, but more (gas budget is still a factor). E wants to learn the mysteries of Photoshop and of video editing; I’ll teach him what I know. I will rest easy in my happy place and, slowly but surely, get it fixed up.
And, eventually, maybe I’ll relax enough to stop listening for the sound of the other shoe dropping. Because I’m getting way too old for that.
Now which window do I put the Totoro window decal on?