Writing

2023 Was A Year of Unexpected Expenses And Disappointments

As I sit here reflecting on the past year, I can’t help but feel a mix of frustration and disbelief. 2023 was supposed to be a year of new beginnings and upgrades. It turned into a series of unfortunate events and costly disappointments. I want to share our story, not for sympathy, but as a cautionary tale about the unpredictability of life, and the importance of perseverance and determination.

The Kubota Tractor Debacle

Our journey into 2023’s financial abyss began with our Kubota tractor. We live on a small farm, and that tractor was supposed to be the backbone of our daily operations. Purchased brand new, we had high hopes for its performance and longevity. However, it wasn’t long before we encountered hydraulic problems. Naively, we thought the issue would be a quick fix, considering the dealership’s reputation and the warranty we had purchased. To our dismay, the dealership refused to address the problem, leaving us with a malfunctioning tractor and a growing sense of betrayal. After spending thousands of dollars in repairs, the tractor became a symbol of our year’s misfortunes. We sold the Kubota tractor to someone locally for scrap value.

The Alienware Disappointment

Amelia and I have always been die-hard PC users. We decided to treat ourselves to two Dell Alienware laptops, hoping for a powerful and reliable experience. However, just two months in, both laptops started having problems and soon became unusable. The excitement of our new gadgets quickly turned into a nightmare of customer service calls, and as it turns out, neither of them were repairable.

Facing Discrimination At Hannaford Supermarket

One of the most disheartening experiences of 2023 was the discrimination Amelia and I faced at a local Hannaford Supermarket. We were simply using the women’s restroom, a mundane act that turned into a humiliating ordeal when the front-end manager confronted us. We were told never to return, a statement that stung with injustice and prejudice. I sent a heartfelt letter to corporate, hoping for understanding, perhaps an apology, or at least an acknowledgment of the incident. I also made it clear that I was, in fact, female, and provided a photocopy of my birth certificate and drivers license, both of which classify me as a female. But there was nothing. No reply, no action, nothing to suggest our dignity was worth their time. It was a painful reminder that despite progress, discrimination still lurks in the corners of everyday life. This year, we had minor problems with discrimination from employees at other corporations, which were resolved almost immediately.

Rejection From A Local Contractor

Our troubles didn’t stop at faulty products and public discrimination. When Amelia and I decided to build a storage shed on our property, we reached out to a local contractor known for quality work. However, upon meeting us, they refused us service because we are a lesbian couple. They made comments relating to how they disagreed with our lifestyle. It was a stark, raw moment of discrimination, one that hit close to home—literally. This wasn’t just a refusal of service; it was a denial of our rights and dignity. The pain of this rejection was a harsh reminder of the prejudices that still exist in our society.

The Toyota Tacoma Letdown

In an attempt to turn things around, we invested in a brand new Toyota Tacoma. Known for their reliability and performance, we thought this would be a safe bet. However, after only 2,500 miles, the truck began experiencing electrical problems. The joy and pride of a new vehicle quickly turned into frustration and regret. It felt like we couldn’t catch a break, and our financial burden only grew heavier. Amelia and I decided to trade in the Tacoma to a different dealership.

The Canon Camera Heartbreak

As a lifelong Canon camera enthusiast, I was thrilled to upgrade to a brand new mirrorless digital SLR. Photography has always been my passion, and I looked forward to capturing life’s moments with a state-of-the-art camera. However, the camera’s poor quality was immediately apparent. The images were not up to the standard I expected, and the camera itself felt flimsy and unreliable. It was a heart-wrenching disappointment from a brand I had loved for years. I sold all of my Canon photography equipment.

The QNAP Server Saga

Amelia and I are full-time writers, and I am a full-time master photographer. As such, storage of our digital data is crucial. We invested in a 12 bay QNAP server, expecting it to be the backbone of our data storage. For about a year, it performed well, but then things took a turn for the worse. The server started having major problems, becoming slower and less responsive until it was nearly unusable. Losing access to crucial data was not just an inconvenience; it was a threat to our livelihood and backups of our data. This was yet another financial hit and a stark reminder of how dependent we are on technology—and how it can sometimes let us down. Amelia helped me sell the server on eBay.

The Bosch Dishwasher Fiasco

Determined to make at least one positive upgrade to our home, we purchased a brand new Bosch dishwasher from Costco. Its sleek design and promised efficiency were exactly what we needed. However, after only using it five times, the pump stopped working. “This can’t be happening,” I thought. But it was. And to add insult to injury, Costco refused to stand by their warranty, offering only to refund our membership cost. The repair costs exceeded the cost of a new dishwasher. We felt abandoned by a brand we trusted. So, we’ll have to buy a new dishwasher to start 2024.

Finding Silver Linings: The Good Things That Happened in 2023

Despite the numerous setbacks and challenges we faced in 2023, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Amidst the turmoil, there were glimmers of hope and moments of joy that reminded us to keep moving forward. Here’s a look at the things that went right for us this year.

Switching To Apple

In a surprising turn of events, after our disappointing experience with PC technology, Amelia and I decided to switch to Apple products. We both purchased new Apple MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads. I also embraced the Apple ecosystem fully by becoming the proud wearer of an Apple Watch. So far, these products have worked great for us. The reliability and user-friendly interface have been a breath of fresh air, providing us with the stability we desperately needed in our digital lives.

The John Deere Revelation

In need of a reliable workhorse for our farm, we decided to replace our troublesome Kubota tractor with a brand new John Deere 3 series tractor. It has been incredible. Reliable, powerful, and efficient, it’s everything we needed to keep our farm running smoothly. In fact, it uses less diesel than the Kubota. It’s been a reminder that sometimes, the right investment can make all the difference.

The Leica Q3 Surprise

One of the most heartwarming moments of the year was when Amelia surprised me with a brand new Leica Q3. After my disheartening experience with the Canon camera, this was a dream come true. The Leica is absolutely flawless. Its precision and quality have reignited my passion for photography, allowing me to capture our farm and life’s moments with stunning clarity.

A Reliable Ride With A Ford F-150 Lariat

After the issues with our Toyota Tacoma, we were hesitant to make another vehicle purchase. However, we took a chance on a brand new Ford F-150 Lariat, and it has been amazing. It’s not just a vehicle; it’s a dependable partner in our daily lives, helping us transport things we need for our farm, and travel with confidence. The comfort, features, and reliability have made every drive a pleasure.

Salvaging Our Data

After the debacle with our Qnap server, I was determined not to let our crucial data disappear into the ether. With some effort and a bit of luck, I was able to save the data from the hard drives. I’ve since backed up everything to numerous Blu-ray Discs, ensuring that our photos, music, and documents are safe and secure. It was a massive relief and a significant victory in a year filled with technological letdowns.

The Shipping Container Success

After the disheartening refusal from the local contractor who was supposed to build our storage shed, Amelia and I were back to square one, trying to find a viable solution for our storage needs. That’s when we discovered a company in New Hampshire that specialized in selling and delivering gently used shipping containers, and they were more than happy to help us out. Their openness and willingness to provide service was a breath of fresh air, especially after the discrimination we faced. The value and the service they provide to customers was truly outstanding.

Reflecting On This Year’s Triumphs

As I look back on the year, I’m reminded of the resilience and resourcefulness that adversity can bring out in us.

The good things that happened this year, from the switch to Apple products to the surprise of the Leica Q3, the salvaging of our data, the new John Deere tractor, the reliable Ford F-150 Lariat, and now the shipping container, have all contributed to a sense of hope. They’ve helped balance the scales against the year’s disappointments, and injustices.

As we move forward, these successes will be the memories that fuel our optimism and resilience. They remind us that while we can’t control everything that happens to us, we can control how we respond, and what we learn from it. Here’s to carrying these lessons and triumphs into 2024 and beyond, with hearts full of gratitude and eyes open to new possibilities. I want to express my sincere thank you to my readers for being a part of our journey. Your unwavering support and encouragement means the world to us.

Colophon
Special thanks to United Ag And Turf, Heritage Ford, and Up North Storage Containers, and Apple for going above and beyond for us this year! I’d also like to give Converse a mention; my custom shoes are perfect!

Asides
Almost | My New Tractor | I Have Been A Lot Different | Seeking Happiness

7 Comments

  • mydangblog

    When things are shit, that’s one thing–they can be replaced. But when people are shit–that’s a whole different ballgame and I’m so sorry that you had to go through such awful discrimination. I just went to the Hannaford website and left them a one star review. (I didn’t say anything about your experience for privacy reasons–let them wonder why).

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you so much for your continued love and support. It means the world to me, especially during times like these when I feel so misunderstood and mistreated. Your gesture of leaving a review on the Hannaford website is deeply appreciated, even if you didn’t mention my specific experience. Let them wonder and reflect on why they’re receiving such feedback.

      My mom tells me to, “call people and explain,” as if it’s just a simple misunderstanding that can be cleared up with a conversation. But that feels like a slap in the face. It just shows me how much she doesn’t understand, and I’ve come to accept that she probably never will. It’s a painful realization, but one I have to live with.

      As for our local Hannaford, the situation there is just absurd. The front-end manager thinks that I’m transgender. And honestly, it shouldn’t matter if I was. Being transgender is completely acceptable and valid. But the truth is, some people have this fixed idea that I transitioned to female, which isn’t the case. I’ve lived my entire life as a female, except for those times at summer camp and boarding school when my father forced me to play the role of a boy. It was a confusing and painful period, but it wasn’t my identity.

      The one thing my mom got right was raising me as a girl. I have the pictures to prove it, and those memories, despite everything, are precious to me. They remind me of who I am and the authenticity of my identity, which no one can take away or invalidate. I’ve always been a little different, and I’m proud of that.

      On a brighter note, Amelia and I are planning some home improvement projects for the spring, and we’ve decided to hire a gay contractor. He’s been wonderful to work with and obviously doesn’t attribute any significance to me being in a lesbian relationship. It’s so refreshing to interact with someone who just gets it and doesn’t make a big deal out of our personal lives. It’s a small thing, but in these times, it feels significant to be treated with such normalcy and respect.

      Thank you again for your support and understanding. It’s a comfort to know that I’m not alone and that there are people like you who stand by me, even when the world seems unkind and unjust. Your empathy and action mean more than you might realize.

  • Mitch Waxman

    Sorry for all the bull shit you had to endure in 2023. I’m curious about the negative Canon experience, however. I’ve been using an R6 for the last few years, happy as a clam with it and my old 7D has been resting after long service.

    • Thomas Slatin

      Hey there, Mitch!

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for checking in! It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? I really appreciate your concern. Your R6 and 7D setup sounds lovely, by the way! I can totally see why you’d be content with that combo.

      So, about my Canon experience. The last Canon camera I had was a Canon EOS 5DS R. I was initially over the moon about it, but then, the issues started cropping up. The major problem I faced was with clipping. It was like no matter what I did, the highlights just blew out, and the shadow details just vanished into the abyss. Also, whenever I took landscape pictures here at my farm, the tops of the trees against the sky were always blurry, faded, or had an excessive amount of noise around them. I hoped a firmware update might help, but instead of fixing things, it somehow made the clipping even worse!

      Honestly, I’ve started to feel like the quality of Canon cameras has declined over the years. It’s not just me being picky, either. I’ve seen quite a few threads on Reddit where people are voicing similar frustrations about the newer models. It’s a real shame because Canon has always been such a beloved brand among photographers.

      I’ve since switched to a Leica Q3, and let me tell you, it’s been an absolute dream. The image quality, the build, the handling—it’s all just flawless, in my opinion. It’s like this camera just gets me and what I’m trying to capture. I never thought I’d say this, but I haven’t looked back since making the switch. Sure, it set me back many thousands of dollars, but it was worth it, in my opinion.

      I hope your photography continues to bring you joy and that your R6 keeps on ticking like a trusty old friend. Here’s to a better year ahead for all of us, with fewer tech hiccups and more perfect shots!

      Take care and happy shooting!

      Thomas 🙂

  • J Walters

    I’m leaving this comment to let you know I hear you, I see you and I absolutely abhor the discrimination you faced/face. The financial debacles would have been overpowering enough for any couple but to add the other things that happened to you…total sympathy.

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