13 Vicissitudes in the Life of a Professional Genealogist

The months of October 2009 and thus far into November 2009–its Friday the 13th November today–have been a strange and in some cases difficult time for me personally.  And I have been laughing a lot–better than crying a lot.

  1. My entire online digital service went down–and we could not determine what was wrong.  No phone, no internet, no FAX, no television.  I always knew I would regret having everything on the same system.
  2. My sewer clogged and try as I could, no amount of plunging or power fluids worked. I met the plumber at his shop as he opened on Monday morning early–and he spent 5 and 1/2 hours snaking my sewer line.  There was a knot of tree roots in the line almost 4 feet long.  Then I left town as soon as the carpet was dry.
  3. I spoke at the Seaside Highland Games in Ventura CA.  Over 80 clans were there with their kilts and bagpipes and dancing.  What a wonderful experience.  And much genealogy interest–my classes were full both days.
  4. Over the next few days, I met with and gave reports to some 11 clients in Southern California.  Several that I have not met before.  And we had such a good time together.
  5. The Redding CA Family History Expo was a resounding success.  I was able to re–connect with Bob Higgins, a Redding house and deck painter par excellence, whom I have known for several years.  My genealogy classes were full.  Kathryn Bassett, my web-master, and I had a chance to talk with many genealogists–several who were new to me (and I assume I was new to them).  We sold a lot of books and took a lot of requests for information.  What a wonderful time we had.
  6. Then Kathryn went to Salt Lake to research at the Family History Library and I went back to Southern California to spend a week researching The Robert A. Brock Virginia Collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino CA.  One afternoon, after I had filled a notebook with notes and ordered many photocopies of documents, the fire alarms went off and the Pasadena Fire Department and Paramedics came roaring in.  I have already shared my cold chills that those priceless and irreplaceable materials might be lost  (see my previous blog).  My research time was awesome.  And I will go back again in March and in April to get more original Virginia data.
  7. As I was driving home on Saturday morning, on the first Baker CA hill, my front differential melted and exploded.  My truck slowed to a crawl and I limped into the only mechanic on duty in Baker.  He has a real thing going:  He charges $94.50, upfront, to diagnose the problem.  (He will apply the money to any repairs he does.)  So I paid fee.
  8. And then I called Triple AAA to tow me to Las Vegas.  Seems the mechanic does not have a car rental too.  And I had to be in Salt Lake City by Monday to consult for the Family History Expos -Semi-Annual Research Retreat at the Family History Library conducted by Holly Hansen.  [If I lived in Baker, I would operate a full-service automotive program including rental cars–and retire a rich woman.  Have you read the book, Smart Women Retire Rich?]
  9. My truck was in the Triple AAA Las Vegas garage, Car Works, for 11 days.  And I rented a fire-engine red (don’t you love it?) Dodge to carry me and my inventory to Salt Lake City–where I arrived just in time to attend Stake Conference Sunday morning and get ready for the Retreat.  I speak every day at 5:30 pm at the Retreat and take attendees by the hand and lead them to their ancestors from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. [ If you are interested in that priceless experience, see below.]
  10. When I got home from the Retreat, my whole digital online  system was still down–so Holly Hansen gave me a cell phone.
  11. With the cell phone I rode herd on Comcast–I was at last home long enough to be called back!  Well, it took a new modem and a re-run line to fix the system.  And half a day.
  12. Then my water heater burst, sending water all over the floor.  And requiring another visit from the plumber on Monday morning to replace it.
  13. In the meantime, my Merchant Services company cancelled my credit card merchant account and it has taken me more than three hours to get it restored.

13 Vicissitudes–

After the fact, I can laugh and joke. You see, after over three weeks on the road, I still had enough money on my credit card to pay for the car repairs and the rental car, and if I’m lucky,  pay the plumber.  That is the miracle of October!  For which I am truly blessed and truly thankful!  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS Now I just have to find the funds to pay my taxes and my truck insurance.  That is another month worth.  And if I can receive the same blessings in November that I received in October, I will really celebrate Thanksgiving this year!

PPS  And those of you awaiting books and research helps and email answers– over 500 were waiting for me (and Kathryn deleted all the spam and non-genealogy solicitations while I was gone)–and requests for information:  Please be Patient.  I am working as fast as I can to get it all done.  Harvesting the leaves that fall late in November all over my 1/4 acre green yard not counting.  I will be ever so grateful for the time to complete my commitments to you.  With appropriate bribes included free with each letter and package I send out.

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