From the Blog

I Don’t Know Much

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Here’s a few things that make me feel vastly ignorant.  Beyond, “I don’t know much about that,”  more like, “I can’t imagine learning enough about that to ever know anything.”  Like, I can feel the insides of my skull pressing on my brain.

1. Databases and web stuff.  So like, my site is like, slow?  Like, all the time?  And all this time I thought it might be my host’s servers, but my host says it’s a problem with WordPress and my database.  I have suspicions that various plugins might be slowing the site down.  So I’m turning them on and off to see what happens.  With all of the plugins off, indeed, it seems to run faster.

However, in the WordPress dashboard, the comments list is empty.  I have plenty of comments.  But WordPress doesn’t see them in the back.  So I believe there might be something wrong with the comments table in my database.

Lastly, after publishing a post, the site hangs.  It grinds away while contemplating whatever I just published.  It also happens when someone posts a new comment.  Or when I get a piece of spam.  And if I ever need to go back to a published post and fix typos or whatever, the site crashes.  It completely disappears.   I have had saved, published posts break in two and fall off the planet.

When this happens, I go back to Yahoo and run a little surface-level database fix tool just to get the site going again.  This is what I deal with every day.  It seems like the database is corrupted anytime something is written to it.  Then sometimes, on its own, it recovers by itself.   Inexplicable.  In short, my site is delicate.  Like me.

Have your eyes glazed over?  The second thing of which I am ignorant is worse:

2.  Retirement funds, 401ks and IRAs.  I have a couple old 401ks from previous employers that are just hanging out there in the universe.  I never moved them out of their plans.  I read this article yesterday and I feel a bit like I should maybe manage my “stuff” or something.  I might not want to keep the 401ks where they are, because who knows what kind of fees they are charging.  And one of them hasn’t been diversified since I was 22, when I picked the most risky, highest-growth fund I could find.  When I was a crazy, wild kid.  I didn’t diversify for shit back then!  Whooo!

Maybe I’ll roll over my old 401ks into a traditional IRA, but not a Roth IRA because of tax implications. I could start a Roth IRA and make contributions post-tax.  And I could make tax-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA.  I think.  Or I could roll everything over into my current employer’s plan.  But I have a feeling they probably charge what ever expensive fees they possibly can to employees, just because.  It seems like a good idea to start my own IRA, independent of any employer, so I can just continue rolling funds in from my inevitable 37 jobs I will have before I retire.

Okay, so I get irritated if I do a bit of reading and research and it makes me more confused instead of less confused.  I can usually figure stuff out.  I’m not dumb, I’m ignorant!  I’m trying to learn more, but it seems intentionally complex.  I’d have to read volumes, and take classes, and watch goofy investment shows.  I’m interested!  I want to know!

But it feels like it’s designed so commoners couldn’t learn how to do this stuff themselves, they need to hire someone.  And when it comes to money, it freaks me out that it’s designed so you can’t do it yourself.  I’m not paranoid!  I’m not!

3.  Coffee.  I don’t know a lot about coffee.  Or rather, I know enough to know I don’t know much.  That’s a Zen koan, I think.  I like coffee.  Maybe I’d like to run a coffee shop, or a coffee roaster.  But you know how much there is to know about coffee?  A LOT.  Varietals, soil, climate, shade, sun, beans, drying, shelling, light roasts, dark roasts, grinding, tamping,  pulling, brews, temperatures, and cat poops.

When I think of starting a coffee business, I get a little intimidated by how much I don’t know.  There’s a whole (sometimes snotty) culture of coffee.  I feel less intimidated by not knowing how to run a business.  I feel like that knowledge would come.  Or I can look it up on the internets.  But the the coffee.  The coffee is an art.

I know I have to play to my own strengths.  And any one person can’t hope to know everything.  So you build a support team of other people who are more expert than you, so you can concentrate on your own thing.  Whatever that may be.  But, sigh.  I just want to know stuff.

I’ll let you know when I find out what else I don’t know.


  1. Meredith says

    I think you don’t give yourself enough credit. You know a lot about a lot of things, and maybe more so than other people. Why rely on others strengths when you have a lot of great strengths that you bring to the table, and if you want to know more, find out more. You are an expert at a lot of things, don’t forget that.

  2. About the coffee thing: My Powerball-winner dream is to open a coffee shop in my ‘rents hometown that’s open 24 hrs, has a decibel meter over the door and if you’re talking too loud you get thrown out, and only serves drip coffee (yeah, you get a choice: regular or get the heck out). The snobbery annoys me sometimes.

    I don’t know how to cast metal jewelery, and it’s annoying me.

  3. Mary Sue: I know! I’m annoyed by what I don’t know!

    Meredith: Thank you.

  4. cat poop coffee. really? i read the link. I love cats, almost to distraction, but you could not pay me $99 to drink a cup of cat poop coffee.

    furthermore, heather, you crazy wench, you are brilliant. every time i read your blog i am consumed with jealousy (the “I wish I could do that” variety, not the “I wish her eyeballs would fall out” variety) over your ability to see things in a funny or different way, and to be able to describe that way so it is still funny. I say funny, or insightful shit all the time. IN MY HEAD. most of the time it doesn’t manage to make it to the page.
    You are brilliant, you are beautiful and you know more than 80% of the people on the planet.

  5. Weird. I totally had the 401k revelation the same time you did. I am pulling that puppy out and paying off credit cards. I am still working on moving up there by february.

  6. Thanks, Kelli.

    Indeed, I also have never, in all my years owning cats, looked in the litter box and wondered about boiling the contents and drinking it.

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