This is sort of a good news - bad news kind of entry.

On my way out the door to the funeral this morning I grabbed my digital camera bag.

No, I'm not into taking photos of the deceased or of funerals in general. The church however was located across town, and that allowed me to take several different routes on the way home.

To top off a month of death and destruction my digital camera quit working last week. I'd say it died, but somehow in the light of so many funerals it doesn't quite seem like the right thing to say.

So sadly, I found my way to the store where I had purchased it and sent it on it's way to either the trash or to repair land.

Six weeks, the man said, at least 3 weeks before we get a diagnosis, and then another 3 or for before you have a camera.

Everyone who knows anything about me, also can probably predict that I've been "window shopping" since it quit working last week.

What you also don't know is that in between funerals and moving offices and such, I've been able to squeeze in a bit or work. As a part of the negotiations for the job it had been agreed that any "work in progress" that was completed in Jaunary would be all mine to keep, and paid out to me without the new company taking their customary 50% of the revenue.

I had a good month, no, I had a really really good month. I earned an additional half of the base salary that I hired in at. That's good news. The bad news is that most of it is committed to fill up the hole that was dug during the last 3 months of last year. Oh yeah, and there are these wedding expenses that are trickling in.

Did I mention college tuition?

Well, anyhow, it's been ugly ugly cold around here and Mrs's mother has been placed in the nursing home just a mile away from the house. That situation has calmed down and MRS declared that it was time to get out of the cold.

So, kiddies are going with their mom on a cruise for the last week of February. I told her that since I've been at the new place only 5 weeks, and since they are sending me to California next week for 6 days, I didn't feel right about asking for the last week of February off.

They cruise, and I'll work. That's good news and bad news, since I'll get lots of work done, but miss out on the cruise. But it's the same place we went 2 years ago, and cruise ships are kind of slow boats to mild adventure.

Today as I held some brand spanking new digital cameras in my hand I thought thinking about the money that the cruise wouldn't cost me, you know the "savings" that I wasn't spending.

But you can be proud of me, I didn't spend it. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew that I could probably get that same camera off the net for a couple of hundred of dollars less.

But as I drove away from the store, I started to shake. My mouth went dry and my skin felt prickly. I had no digital camera.

A quick stop at Costco to replenish the gatoraid supplies didn't help. I gripped the handle of my cart to keep from sinking to my knees as I waited in the check-out line.

As I headed out of the parking lot I decided I'd make one more stop at a local camera store. Once I walked into the store and saw all those cameras my nerves began to quiet, my soul was still.

When it was my turn to be waited on I simply nodded in the direction of the box and asked, "How much do you get for the 5700 up there."

He answered without turning his head.

"Are you sure" I asked, and just as I finished, one of the other salesmen turned to him and asked, "Really? Are you sure?"

"Sure I'm sure" he said, and he pulled down the box.

He opened it to show me that he had a new camera in there, along with all the stuff.

It was two hundred bucks less than the one at the other store.

I whipped out the plastic as fast as you can say "fix" and said "ok."

The shaking is stopped, and quiet relief has filled the air.

I walked out of the store, smile on the face, cruise in hand.