Soooo … this is a tale of irony and frustration.
In early May, I had the honor being named Outstanding Blog through the GLAAD Awards. It was so great to have the hard work of 14 years plus dozens of contributing bloggers and AMPLIFYers acknwoledge on a national platform.
We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner and then fate brought five then-six week old kittens into our lives, well, technically under our deck. We had been feeding their mother and running a crowdfund to collect donations of cat food for caretakers of feral cat colonies. We hadn’t realized she was preggers until we met the kittens. I literally scooped one (now known as Sun Volt) off the back deck and carried him into the house.
Thankfully our TNR friends in the cat food drive gave us what we needed to know and we had all five kittens in a week. They are now living in our (only) bathroom together, well fed, vetted, safe and secure. We are still working to TNR their mother that we call Jennie Jane.
Their welfare has consumed most of our attention these past three weeks, but its been a very joyful experience.
Anyway, it took me awhile to notice but my laptop is dying a slow death. I’ve consulted with the support folks and it might be salvageable, but I bought it used so they all suggest I buy a new one.
As you can imagine a laptop is pretty important for the nation’s Outstanding LGBTQ Blog. Composing blog posts on my phone or tablet is possible, but a lot more time consuming and less flexible.
A laptop is also an unexpected expense that is impossible to address with all of our current financial needs, especially five kittens and possible mama. Our expenses are not emergencies – we can afford the cat food and supplies, we have to replace some rotted portions of our deck (25+ years old), and we have to take care of some plumbing issues. Those expenses are pretty much consuming our budget. But with the looming costs of buying pet insurance, upcoming car inspection, and things like trying to get the Cat Car road ready and so forth – finding another $1,000 for an unplanned purchase is a challenge.
I’ve been lucky. I bought my first laptop in 2007 and it lasted until 2013. That year, my friend Nina gifted me with her gently used Dell because someone bought her a newer MAC that was more useful for her work. In 2017, that one started to falter under the intense usage of blogging. I was fortunate that my friend (and artist) Brittney Chantelle was selling her very gently used HP Beats because she needed different set up to work on her art. My lovely friends helped me to raise the $500 to pay her – thus supporting both my creating and hers.
The Beats laptop has been sturdy and useful. But it gets very heavily used as you might imagine and apparently, it is just not going to last another season. I”ve recently begun to run ads through the SheKnowsMedia network to help defray costs, but it will be more than a year before that raises enough for a laptop. Blogging is not cheap – I have monthly hosting fees, my site is large enough to require professional web developers to maintain it, there are software fees, mileage, the costs of AMPLIFY, etc.
I can’t help but laugh (and sigh) at the irony of winning a national award at the beginning of May and having to ask people to help me replace my laptop at the end. I should be pounding the keys for Pride month and sharing all of the #kittencaboodle content, not to mention continuing to promote the cat food drive AND continuing the fundraiser for the #FlipTheScript project that we just launched. Plus, there are other people out there who need support and investment.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a computer company offered GLAAD a brand new laptop to give to the Outstanding Blog winner in exchange for sponsorship? It is the perfect award. It is the category that is most grassroots and community level. And it just would be a perfect solution for me had that happened. As you can imagine, I’ve already made that suggestion internally because i know most of the other nominees over the years would appreciate a brand new laptop to continue their work. So if it happens in the future, good on them.
Alas, it did not happen this year, so I am reaching out to you, my friends and readers and followers, to see if you can chip in to help me with this unexpected expense. Maybe I’ll get lucky and there will be another Brittney who has a gently used computer for sale and I can help them while helping my own blog. I’ll certainnly ask around.
I’m hoping HP can still help me figure this out. I have a phone, I was gifted with a tablet last year, my partner has a mini laptop from 2010 and her own tablet. I still have my older laptops (both of them) and several other stopgap measures at my disposal. People have offered to lend me their devices which is incredibly kind of them.
If you can spare a few dollars to help with this expense, that would be appreciated. It is a few more dollars I can not have to worry about to resolve this problem. If you’ve already donated to my many other projects and causes and drives and so forth, I get it and appreciate it and am grateful.
If you have a gently used laptop to sell, please contact me privately. I need a big screen, a full sized keyboard, lots of power and memory, lighted keys, and it has to be PC (that’s funny if you know my politics) Sturdy is the order of the day, a workhorse not a fancy lightweight 2-in-1 type device.
If I raise the funds and there is a surplus, I will transfer it to the #FlipTheScript project to compensate our guest and contributing bloggers since that’s in line with the spirit of this request.
I appreciate that you’ve read this much. I know it is a lot to ask. I’m not comfortable not being able to meet my own expenses, but I am on disability so my income is limited and blogging has never produced a surplus,ever. My partner bears the majority of our daily expenses and I hate to add another to her list without being able to really contribute.
I just stopped typing, went to answer the door and found a Fedex package. Someone saw me post on FB that we need a yard stick to work with the kittens (long story – trust the cat ladies) thinking that someone probably had one lying around somewhere. I did not expect an anonymous donor to buy one at Lowe’s and ship it to my house. But they did and now we can start using it tonight rather than waiting until I can get to the reuse store to buy one. That’s pretty magical. We’ve received more than package of kitten food, toys, litter, and other stuff recently and it really resonates that people support the work we do.
Soooo … I’ll stop now. If you can donate, lovely. If you can share this, lovely. If you have something you want to discuss with me about blogging, please message me or call me or text me or send me a package from Lowes with a note (ha.)
Blogging matters. I’m very proud to be nationally recognized. I’m proud to have a column with The Pittsburgh Current, to be friends with the columnists at other outlets, to have another soon-to-start monthly feature with the website Burgh Vivant, and to have the capacity to raise funds for cat food, food pantries, community artists, LGBTQ events, and more. None of that would happen if I hadn’t had these computers gifted to me over the years. So I hope the magic continues.
Voices of people who can’t just put a new computer on their credit card with impunity matter. Voices of people who are aware that e-waste is killing the Earth my six niblings will inherit matter. Voices of people who are disabled and need bigger keys with good lighting and a big screen matter. My voice matters and the many other voices amplified on the blog matter.
Thank you, GLAAD, for acknowledging that with the award. Here’s hoping we keep our voices loud and strong and reasonably grammatically corrrect for many years to come.
ps: I am so grateful that our everyday expenses and true emergency needs are covered. That is a form of stability and comfort that many people do not experience and I know this
Thank you, everyone.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.