A Mixed Bag Life Update VII

A Mixed Bag Life Update VII

It’s time for another thrilling installment in the life of the Lewis family, it’s mixed bag life update, no. 7.

Alright, let’s start with the positive news, we finally received our tax refund, which we filed for all the way back in late February. We just happened to check our “Bill Pay” account and there was a $3,300 deposit from the IRS listed. This refund was earmarked for paying off some debts to reduce our monthly outgoings, but, of course, things never seem to work out for us in the way we had planned it.

Our plans were scuppered by my wife being made redundant from her part-time job, meaning a reduction of $1,100 in monthly income. So, the tax refund, earmarked for debt reduction will have to be used to replace my wife’s income for the next 3 months, at which time we hope that she will be working again, or we will have to reevaluate our lifestyle, moving to a cheaper home, and reduce expenditure.

We are not surprised by the end of this job, as the company who employed her, liked the idea of having a service coordinator for their Section 8 residents, but did not want to make the financial investment for my wife to do her job, meaning her hands were tied. They asked her to lean on the property’s vendors, but the property is so in debt to its vendors, that they are not feeling inclined to make “goodwill” gestures.

School is still going well for my 16-year-old son since the switch to “My School Remote”, last semester, he had straight A’s, and this semester, he has four A’s, and one B. It really seems that online learning suits my son, so much so that we are going to look into switching him to an online school when the COVID-19 crisis is over and school returns to onsite learning, which my son struggled with in previous school years.

My daughter, who recently turned 11-years-old has been plagued with technical problems with her “My School Remote”, using Microsoft teams. Some of it was hardware related on our end, but the majority of it has been related to problems with Microsoft teams, I confirmed with our daughter’s teacher, that most of her students are having the same issues with Microsoft Teams, dealing with it the best we can.

I anticipate more issues as today, December 2, 2020, due to COVID-19 cases increasing, Wichita Schools have decided to go to a full remote school model. Which, in my opinion, should have been the case from the start, expecting elementary school children to follow social distancing and keep a mask on for 8 hours of school is unrealistic. The bizarre thing is that high school students were fully remote from the start!

On the subject of school and technology, my mother-in-law bought herself a new laptop, an ASUS Vivobook (F512DA-EB51) on my recommendation, for a bargain price of $479.99, almost $100 less than it currently sells for; freeing up her second-generation Core i3 laptop for my daughter to use for school. Previously, an attempted SSD upgrade due to her spinning rust hard disk developing bad sectors failed, the SSD just was not recognized. I confirmed that the SSD worked in another machine, and installed another mechanical drive to get it up and running. When the laptop was handed down to my daughter, I tried to replace the mechanical drive with an SSD, of the same make and model as the previous one that failed and it worked the first time, I also added another 4GB of DDR3 RAM for a total 8GB of RAM.

What a big difference, doubling the RAM and upgrading to a cheap 120GB SSD, makes it feel like a whole new machine. Not as fast as a new laptop, but it feels at least five times faster than before the upgrade.

Continuing the technology theme, I just purchased my wife the new Google Pixel 4a, at a cost of just under $15 per month for 24 months, to replace her aging Samsung Galaxy S7, as the battery is barely holding a charge anymore and her screen has massive burn-in of a match 3 game she plays a lot.

On the subject of Pixel phones, my Pixel 4 XL has developed a perfect semi-circle dot at the top of the screen, which was not there before the Android 11 update. I have posted on the Google support forums and the lack of response is deafening, so I guess it’s a problem with the screen, as it’s not there when I take a screenshot, and of course, it’s just outside of the warranty period, while I still owe $400 on it.

We thought we might have been exposed to COVID-19 after our daughter’s singing teacher was confirmed to have contracted Coronavirus. Her teacher seems to be recovering nicely after being very sick with the virus, and we seem to be COVID-19 free after a couple of weeks of quarantining as much as possible.

While on the subject of singing lessons, we are considering stopping the lessons as our daughter refuses to practice her assigned songs for an upcoming virtual performance, choosing to sing other songs, repeatedly. If our daughter is not willing to put in the work, we are not going to keep paying for lessons.

Finally, my photography has been used without permission by a local franchise of a property management company. Real Property Management First Choice was using my photos of 2020 E Murdock without a license. Twelve photos were downloaded from my employer’s website, complete with watermark. RPM First Choice cropped the photos to remove our watermark at the bottom right corner and published them as their own on their website and, where I stumbled across my work.

I sent an Email to the parent company of the franchise two days ago, and as I write this, the photos have been removed from the First Choice website, but still remain active on Hopefully, these will be removed too, as after cropping out our watermark, they added their own watermark, showing the Real Property Management branding. I’m guessing they don’t want to be linked with stolen photography.

Addendum: As of 12:11am on December 3, 2020, the infringing photos have also been removed from However, after doing a quick Google search for “Real Property Management 2020 E Murdock”, I find several more listings using my photos, including, but not limited to;,,,, and, but I will give RPM the benefit of the doubt here as I know syndicated listings can take a day or two to refresh.

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