The creepy nun announcement

Back around the time I was born, my dad’s mom was a nurse, and she worked with a certain nun.

Now, in my family, the truth is always a bit twisted and shaped, so there’s a lot of rumor about the place of this nun in my family’s life, but at least one of these stories is that my middle name was after her to appease my grandmother. But then, my middle name is one of the most common female middle names you could find, so who knows.

What is sure, is that she was close friends with my grandmother while they both lived in that town, and that for my first birthday, the nun and/or all of the nuns gave me a stuffed dog.

I still have that stuffed dog to this day. It became the security animal that I carried everywhere.

So, years back, maybe a decade or so… There was an event that was being held at a Catholic retreat center in town. I ended up on their website and I noticed on their staff page that they listed this nun.

So, some years later, after my grandma died, I ran a search for the retreat center to find the page again, and I sent the nun a couple of emails.

I don’t really know what I was expecting. I’m thinking I may have even written about it here at the time. But in any case, the nun and I exchanged about two really short casual emails in about 2011 or so.

There’s been no other connection between this nun and I. At all.

Enter today… And Google Now.

Google now is an app on Android phones that comes up frequently, as it’s trigger is sliding up from the bottom of the screen, so it’s easy to do accidentally.

It’s Google’s idea of a personal assistant… But it’s honestly creepy. It tracks where you go, finds patterns, and is scary with how accurate it can be on offering you driving directions and times.

It literally learned the small group location and time for when my daughter babysits in just two weeks, and offered me the best route on the right day at the right time the third week.

It’s sometimes also crazy on what it pulls up on articles that it offers based on what it thinks I want to see. I was researching different litter box types, it offers me articles about litter types and shelters offering kittens the next time I open it. That sort of thing.

So today I open it, accidentally. And the first thing on the page is the nun’s obituary.

Google now has never given me an obituary before.

And yes, it was kind of nice. Not that it matters much, but our family likely wouldn’t have known for a long time otherwise, and one aunt in particular was glad that I let her know.

But the more I think about this, the more creepy it becomes.

Because, obviously, the obit didn’t list the nun’s email address, and her email was with the church, not with Gmail.

But somehow Google knew that this obit, just published today in a metro area of a half million people… Was the one that belonged to the nun’s email address.

And was sure enough about it to show the announcement to contacts that she’d only emailed twice about 5 or 6 years ago.

It’s impressive, I can’t deny that. And useful.

But that still makes it no less creepy to realize the power it holds is capable of connecting real life to virtual, even when it isn’t someone using Gmail to give them access to all of their mail.

It’s not like I expect privacy, or even that this is the first time they have creeped me out.

But still… This is just a different level somehow.

You all read my blog. Google knows that, I’m sure. From my Gmail, Google knows all about me as far as the names I used on things like hotel reservations. It also knows where I drive, and my online habits from my phone. It’s entirely possible that if something were to happen, and my obit were published, that Google might be the one to tell you about it.. without my family even knowing this blog exists.

Let’s face it… Google might even know from the end of phone traffic even before the obit was printed.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Church of the pirates

So, after the story a few posts ago about all the work for the church decoration, I figured it would be nice to have pics on the same place, and to show you the scale of what I was talking about.

So, as you first approach the building, there the huge parking lot. In this lot, every single light post now has a pirate flag waving in the breeze.
This honestly makes me laugh every single time I’ve pulled up to the building since they put them up, as the church is right across the highway from the entrance to two different major highways.. and I can only imagine how many countless number of drivers are seriously wonder what the deal is with the church with pirate flags.

Which of course is probably really the point of the flags, hoping they will investigate and find out that there’s a month of movie based services going on and decide to see what’s up. But I’m sure a lot will just remain a bit confused and never check into it. Lol

Then, there is the mast in the main entryway.
Yes, that is a telephone pole lashed to the roof.

Golf cart in front is one of two that shuttles the parking lot to drive people to the doors and back… And the mast is more than twice as tall as the cart.

Going inside…

The lobby is rather ship-shape.


That would be part of a boat, hand built by volunteers.

It’s big and stable enough for kids to play on it, and whole families to get pics taken on it with some of the folks dressed as pirates.

Not the project we worked on, but seriously impressive.

To the right of the ship is the hospitality area… Aka tavern.
Most of these pics were taken while I was waiting for kiddo after the 4th service, so things are mostly picked up.

But this area usually has lots of things of coffee, teas, and water, and snacks, which right now included bags of popcorn and a candy area like for ice cream places to put various candy into little paper cups.


Table area usually has a lot more tables than under tavern management… Lol

On the other side of the random boat in the room, they really went to town…

And across from the town, was the pond, complete with live plants and living goldfish in the water
It looks kind of small in this pic, but that bridge is big enough there are pics of about ten grown adults standing on it for pics.

The kids area was kept less scary, with a Jake and the Neverland pirates theme… Which is apparently a loosely Peter pan based cartoon aimed at young kids.

Giant map hung on the wall

You can see the dotted map lines that went all over the building in the floors in some of the other pics.

Also a dock area instead the kids area doors, where they could take a pic with an actual Jake!
Which happens to have Boo inside the big cartoon head. Lol
(Borrowed pic, she wouldn’t cooperate with mine…)

Between the two areas, in the area where the main bathrooms are, was the project where we were helping most of the time…
The cave!


Complete with pirate treasure!

My favorite parts are the humor though…
And, I did mention this is the bathroom area, right?

You see all that rock? Covering all 4 walls plus both sides of the entrances going all three directions… On the whole section of the lobby, in strips 40 foot tall?
Textured painting in two different shades of grey to get the look. 3 entire 1,000 foot rolls of yard-wide paper…
Let’s just say I’m sick of rock painting… And think we needed a sick figure chasing a buffalo somewhere. Lol

So… In case you might have thought decorating a lobby wouldn’t be much work spread over a week… But it’s all volunteers coming in, bringing their tools and skills and ideas and whatever else they’ve got.

It’s a bit extreme… But it’s awesome, and fun, it gets people involved and meeting others that they otherwise might never talk to, and the whole series brings in a ton of people who usually wouldn’t go to a church thinking it’s boring or whatever. sets attendance records in July​for this series each year, when it’s generally one of the slowest church attendance times of the year most places.

But not without a whole heap of a lot of criticism!

This link goes to one of the other campus locations  showing a video walkthrough of their full wizard of Oz themed setup, which is awesome!

But man, the comments by some of the critics…

Ah well. I’m sure my grandmother would have been appalled too, but then, jeans in a church would have been a scandal in her world.

But there’s plenty of churches around for the little old ladies to feel comfortable in.
Churches reaching teens, and the ones chased off by legalisms and cruelty under the name of religion, and writing the whole God thing of because the little old lady church is boring and had no appeal to them?

Not nearly as many of those types of churches.
And if pirates, candy, and popsicles gets them to give it a chance, I’m ok with a place that scares off the ones who are perfectly happy and getting their needs met with the more traditional vibe.

That and I’m getting really spoiled to a 1pm service time. Granted, still have to drop kiddo of for the 830 since she works the kids area, but still… Lol

Insecurity and dreaming

As it has been for years, moving as soon as possible financially was on the agenda.

And with being made full time, after a few months bill recovery, the time was near.

We’d spent a few weeks with my rushing home from work, picking up kiddo, then rushing off to the apartment complex of the night to check it out.

At this point, we’d decided. Location very close to work, huge complex with 36 buildings and 3 pools, literally straight across the street from one of the major parks we go to fairly frequently, and straight around the corner from another from the other side of the complex.

I’d run the numbers. Tighter than I’d like, but workable.

I’d actually even already dropped off the application at this point.

My overall feeling was that it has taken me 12 years to get back to where I was back when… A 2 bedroom apartment in a big busy area.

It still felt like a huge step from where we are now, a house with a ton of very major issues and with extra issues from family drama from being down the street still.

But my feeling was sort of that I’m so far behind even where I was back when my daughter wasn’t in school yet.

On a completely regular day, my daughter’s phone was messing up while we were out doing Pokemon, and so we stopped across the street from a coffee shop while she used wifi to help the game reload, as it takes a lot more to load than to keep running so it would be fine once loaded.

As we waited, we discussed the building we were parked in front of, a historic area of town that’s the edge between the downtown area and the artsy entertainment district.

I pointed out the awning covering the door that lead to the lobby for the lofts upstairs, and explained a bit how loft apartments above storefronts work.

And that they tend to be very upscale and expensive… Places for business executives from downtown to be close to the entertainment.

Now, in this area and the entertainment area, there’s probably at least ten major buildings of loft apartments. It’s the major revitalization push to keep the area from just being dead between the two zones.

And the cheapest one bedrooms in the area are double the cost of the two bedroom we were moving to. So glancing at prices on website charts, I wouldn’t have looked further.

The very next day at work, I got asked a question that lead me to hunt for an answer, and one page I opened that wasn’t the right answer turned out to be a list of companies that had gotten tax benefits from the city while building in exchange for offering a tiny percentage of their units at reduced rates for low income.

By the fact that I’m mentioning it, you know what building was in the list, one of very few that I recognized that were not senior housing or section 8 projects.

Web research showed they only offered a few reduced units.

I called.

That usually have a wait list that runs about 6 months depending on turnover for the reduced units.

I honestly intended to move towards wait list for after lease was up at the apartments by work. 6 month lease was more expensive, but might work on timing.

As it happened, they had one reduced rate apartment open.

With the office hours​, we couldn’t see it until the weekend, so we set up an appointment.

Only to be told late Friday that that had an application pending for it now.

I asked to come see it anyway, just to be looking towards the future. So we did.

Very nice place. The bedroom views are a bit weird, mostly towards another part of the building with a roof between the two. But the front ones are nice, and I’m sure they picked the least nice ones for the reduced rate.

The rent for it is actually $100 less than the one we’d applied for already.

We both liked it a lot better than the current winner.

So two weeks pass. I’m playing phone tag with our new apartment manager, and getting really annoyed that I’m supposed to go in and sign a lease Saturday and I still haven’t gotten anything at all nailed down from him or even seen the apartment rather than their model.

I got the email Friday afternoon that the pending application at the nice place hadn’t gone through.

It was open again.

I’d actually already filled out the very extensive paperwork with plans to submit it for wait list, but hadn’t yet. So it was turned in first thing the next morning.

It’s been two weeks of waiting. And waiting.

And I’m extremely nervous.

Because this place is very nice, way above what I would have dreamed of getting into anytime soon in my life.

It’s where I want to be.

And yet, I feel so…

So much like a loser?

The income guidelines are very strict, requiring at least 3 times the rent in income while also being below 50% line on the median income for this county.

I’m within it, by only about $100. And so I’m nervous they will use some weird calculation and I’ll be disqualified.

The credit guidelines are also strict. I know what that are, I know that my junk is all far enough past that while my score is trash, the stuff is too old and of the wrong type to count for what they would count against me.

But that one bill from years ago reports as delinquent every month, even though it’s so old it will drop off my report next year. What if they don’t look close enough to notice that it’s actually old, and don’t tell me why to let me point it out?

What if my former stepdad, the landlord here, tells them lies and tries to sabotage when they call him as my only landlord in the last decade?

What if they are secretly judging that the fat chick single mom and the teenager with brightly colored hair are not quite the match for their much higher paying usual clients, and decide to make things lean such that they can look for a more usual applicant that will blend in better?

Suddenly, it’s an occasion for a million insecurities to come to the surface and convince me I’ve failed.

Until today I was pretty sure by the silence that I’d been declined and they were just sending me a letter instead of calling.

Well, today is a day under two weeks of the processing phase. And today I started getting texts from my references (former coworkers, as requested) that they were getting called.

I stopped and realized that the Friday afternoon email I got that the other person was not approved, was two weeks after that had submitted their app.

And I did not get a "nope" email today.

I’m cautiously hopeful.

And still honestly a lot more scared than I should be.

I’ve tried to hedge my daughter’s hopes, in case, but every conversation with her shows all the more how nervous I am without a concrete reason.

When she asks "why would they?", I can’t answer with anything that sounds like a good reason.

I just expect them to… Because, well, it’s me.

Such a contrast in mentalities between kiddo and I that I can’t even explain to her why I expect to be declined for being a loser, even knowing we qualify.

Even knowing it’s what I really want, I’m too scared to even dream for it just yet, while she’s planning her bedroom layout and sending me pictures of futons she wants to eventually get for it.

I’m now the one annoying the previously selected apartment manager by not responding. I don’t know that I will be brave enough to close that door until I have the key in hand.

Either way… It’s time to go home.