Friday, July 25, 2008

My Home Overfloweth...

So, I'm drowning in all the stuff we have in our house. I'm sick of living like this. We have a small house and yet we hold on to everything we've ever had like we have a mansion with lots of storage space. What is wrong with me? I've never been so poor that I can't get what I need, and yet I hoard as if I was growing up during the Great Depression. Seriously. I need to let go.

A friend of mine recently told me that she read you should only keep things that totally inspire you or that you just love and can't part with. Well, as I look around my house I see...nothing (material things that is) that evokes those kinds of feeling (inspiration or love that is). So, do I get rid of everything I own? I recently was at someone's house that I was very impressed with the organization and lack of "crap" for lack of better words...then someone told me that she gets rid of even sentimental things--picture albums and such. So, how do you find the middle ground? I want to save important things w/o saving every card and picture my kids have ever received or made. I want to save a couple of things from my babies' babyhood, but not everything that might bring back a memory of something (hello, we do have lots of pictures with these same objects in them as well as really nice baby books filled w/ pictures and memories written down). Also, why in the world do I have egg cartons in the garage? Just in case there's ever a worldwide shortage of styrofoam? No, I save it in case I ever in my life come across (and actually let my children do) a craft that calls for egg cartons.

Clothing that hasn't fit me in 10 years? I MIGHT get back into it at the same time it comes back in style, right? Wrong. Gotta let go! Craft projects started in 1996...yeah, I might finish them one day, right? NEVERGONNAHAPPENMYFRIEND!

I have every gift bag ever received at any occasion (baby shower bag? don't go to Walmart--come here! I have it! 1st birthday gift bag?? nope, don't need Walmart...come to our house!) Need tissue paper?? Got it! How about banners that say "Happy Birthday"? Again, got it!!!! Are you getting the picture here? My home overfloweth...unfortunately it's mostly crap! And all of those shows about how you can become a millionaire just by selling the stuff in your garage or attic? Ha! Notsomuch.

I do occasionally clean out something that I was hanging on to and it feels so darn good. Why can't I do it more often?

All this to say, guess what I'm doing this weekend?? I'm going to start cleaning out stuff that I do not need. I will live with the idea that I might have to **gasp** buy a dozen eggs if we come across that adorable project we must do. Or (I might faint here) maybe I'll have to buy some tissue paper for one of those gift bags (come on can't get rid of everything in one day--and those gift bags are expensive, right?)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The sun'll come up...tomorrow.

I have been very bad lately. I have hardly deprived myself of anything. I eat when I want to eat and that is all the time. But, I haven't really gained any weight. I also have not been exercising. It's very difficult to get motivated to deprive yourself and torture yourself (aka exercise) when you're not gaining while doing nothing but living in gluttony. It's a wonderful life, stuffing your face. But, like all good things it must come to an end because although I have not gained anything I have not lost anything either. And I'm getting very out of shape. Boo. Hiss. This is where it stinks to get older. Turning 30 changes lots of things about a woman's body I guess.
It's so hard to get up out of bed in the morning when I'm barely allowed to lay in it at night. So, if I can't exercise in the morning...when?
I definitely feel better-mentally as well as physically-when I am eating right and exercising. So, here I go. Tomorrow. Really. But tonight I have a sore in my throat that is SCREAMING for IceCream! So, tonight I will enjoy! :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Customer Service Strikes Again

Today I had a re-run-in (new word) with the phone company (Yeah, you Verizon Southwest) who says I am responsible for the 432 times 411 showed up on my phone bill. I had called in on Friday and gotten ahold of someone dumber than dirt (seriously-his name is Ryan. Try calling and asking for him, you'll see) who said that the calls were my responsibility. And that maybe I should check with my ISP because People PC customers had been having this problem. ?? HUH?? The first month I had the problem they credited me the small amount involved...the second month they said they would but then disallowed it AFTER hanging up with me. They, of course, didn't bother to tell me but tacked that onto this month's exorbitant bill (with still more 411 calls). I asked for a supervisor. He said I could talk to one but then kept coming back to tell me why it was still going to be my fault (this $326 phone bill full of hundreds of 411 calls--come on, who calls information that many times?). I finally hung up on dumb butt. So, I decide today is the day I must tackle this yet again. For tomorrow my minutes on my cell phone start over. I had some left for this month...didn't want to "waste" them, right? Thankfully this time I get Melanie who was not quite so incredibly lacking in brain cells and communication talent (Melanie, this does not mean I love you, just that you were better than Ryan--but thanks for trying hun). So, she checks with multiple supervisors and yep, it's still my problem, not theirs. Hmmm, surprise... **eyes rolling** and that I should check with People PC (my other favorite person--to report to the BBB) because this would be their fault. Ok, as long as you're not saying it's my fault...I'm with ya. She says it's due to a virus and that this is not an uncommon problem but that they (Verizon) will not eat the cost. She also informs me that the first month that I was credited my measly $36 they did that to appease me. Thanks. Don't bother to tell me what the problem is so I can fix it...wait to do that until I "owe" you $326. Oh, and you only give credits for $50 or under? I understand...thank you for your help. By the way, if you are no longer a customer with an active account (which I'm not) they don't make payment arrangements with you. So, I call People PC and get someone who does not speak English well. Hello, I'm calling with questions about my account in AMERICA I need English (or apparently Spanish) but instead I get middle east accent. Woot. He proceeds to read from his "script" repeatedly about the agreement I made w/ them at the opening of my account that I would be responsible for any and all long distance chages incurred. Yes, sir, I understand that, but these are not long distance charges. These are calls made to information every minute on the minute. Not long distance calls.(I never even had my phone line enabled to make long distance calls-at all, so this could not have been a problem) After 43 times of explaining this to my new friend in the middle East (somewhere) I ask for his supervisor. Yeah. I get another one just like him. REading his script about long distance charges. I finally tell him not to say long distance again lest I have some kind of horrible attack. He (mercifully) stopped with that cue card and got another one. He is, of course, saying it could not be their fault...their software would never allow dialing when the customer had not clicked directly on "connect". Of course not. Your software is the ONLY FREAKING computer software in the world that is immune to dialer viruses. My brother confirmed this is prob'ly what I had. And that it is able and in fact designed to circumvent virus protection software. Great. And apparently I should count my blessings because often they use these "dialer" viruses to make 1-900 calls.

The Better Business Bureau has been informed on both of these and I will dispute the bill until doom's day if I must. I won't pay it.

And on my list--and not the nice one (Cause Santa is not bringing these people anything) are:
1) People-err, I mean jerks who are smart enough to create computer programs but use this brain prowess to cause mayhem in the lives of innocent people. And what do they get from this?? NOTHING!!! They don't even get to watch the destruction they cause! They get nothing monetarily from it (the phone company gets it). I don't understand people like that.

2) Customer Service representatives reading from their cue cards. Who will make their $7 per hour whether they help you or not.

3) Anyone who says the words "long distance" to me ever again in this lifetime.

Oh, and kids and husbands who don't know how to clean up after themselves...maybe tomorrow I'll have a "glass half full" kind of attitude. Today? Not so much.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Day in the life of Haley

Ok, so all these pictures weren't taken in the same day, but all of these things would be typical on any given day if you are in our house.

My Babies and My Stupidity

So, today we had a great time at a pool we'd never been to. It's about 20 mins from our house and has 3 big waterslides plus all the fun stuff in the baby pool, rope monkey bars, etc! Great fun! But, you play you pay, right? That is if you forget your sunscreen. I didn't forget it actually...I just did a really poor job of applying it. You have to look towards the bottom of the picture to see what my skin is **supposed** to look like!

P.S. Don't mind the fat you can see in the white. Remember, it'd look thinner if it were tan ;)
And I am ashamed to say I didn't do much better on the kids. (A little, but not much)

A New Best Friend

"How in the world do you get around this thing?" "I don't know, but 2 heads are better than 1, right?"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Round two-I get knocked down...but I get up again

So, the worst part of traveling and having a bad experience on the way to the place is knowing you have no choice but to go home. No matter how horrible it is you know you have to do it again--or have your belongings shipped to your new home, right? In my naivete I thought surely lightning can't strike twice, right? The trip home has to be reasonably smooth because the trip up had so many complications. Ha.

We get to the Syracuse airport about 40 minutes before my flight was to leave. Wendy helped me check in my bags and stuff. When the man at the counter asked how many bags I had I said "Just this one suitcase and the...carseat--wait!!!!! My carseat is in my friend's car!!!" So, I run off leaving my suitcase, wallet, everything there at the counter to chase Wendy down before they left the airport w/ my carseat! I made it...phew! The man told me to hurry because they would be boarding soon. Good!!! I rush up to security (hurry up and wait) and get through fine (although it's a real pain to "undress" yourself and a toddler--who then does not want her shoes back on for anything--so you can get through security. But, I understand why. Whew, my bags are checked, we are through security and the flight is scheduled to leave on time, right? We're good!!! Notsomuch.

They tell us there is a delay in Chicago O'Hare where our connection is. My layover in Chicago is 2 hours so I still figured I was fine to make the connection to San Antonio. Nope. They got us off the plane after we finally got on, then (not having learned my lesson about food opportunities in airports the first go-round) I stood in line trying to figure out what the deal was instead of getting some dinner for Haley and myself. Really. The true definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. **eyes roll** When I am almost at the front of the line they call for us to hurry back onto our plane because there might be a break in the weather in Chicago (the weather that had caused a ground-stop there) and we'd have a small window of opportunity to take off. Ugh. So, back to the plane we go. (Without any food--but don't worry, the flight attendants had a chance to get pizza--I could smell it like a bloodhound--because they had not had to stand in said customer service line) Anyways...we take off (2 1/2 hours late--and my layover was 2 hours) Luckily I had very nice people around me. The men in the seat across the aisle were talking to Haley a lot of the time and one even held her and played with her. It was wonderful. Too bad my child has no sense of modesty. She repeatedly acted the part of "Babies Gone Wild--the Next Generation" in showing him her belly. Everything he said to her she responded by lifting her shirt. Yeah. That's good Haley. The minute I get to Chicago I get Haley some McDonalds (healthfood) and stand in yet another customer service line to get information on the next flight to San Antonio that night. Haley was swinging on the (moveable) line dividers, playing on a wheelchair, running off into the terminal--amusing everyone in line-except me. But can I really blame her? She'd been sitting for quite some time on the plane. When I **finally** get to the front of the line I am told with a trite sympathetic acknowledgement to my predicament that there are no flights to San Antonio until the next morning at 8 am. So, she cheerfully hands me a voucher for 60% off of a hotel in the area (the delay was not their fault it was "air traffic control--weather" so you don't get a free room which I understand) and tickets for the first flight out in the morning. Now, I have to try to get a hotel room and find my way to it!? I decide that first I should let baggage services know just how important it is that my bags arrive in San Antonio (with me) the next morning. Because you see, I don't live in San Antonio. I live almost 3 hours south and A) will not be able to take my baby home without the carseat and B) How in the world would I get the bags when they did arrive?. "Yes ma'am, they'll be on the earliest flight out to your destination" **eyes roll** OK. Yeah.
By this time I have called the 1-800 number on the voucher for the hotel discount and I am sent (by some rotating computer genius) to the Crowne Plaza Hotel but it's all done by automation (and we all know how I feel about that from entry I made about that subject) and I cannot hear the confirmation number. So, I have no idea if I actually have a room or how to prove it. But, I head off in the direction the baggage services lady tells me to go (for the shuttle to the hotel). On the way to follow her directions I am greeted by some man (not wearing any kind of uniform or name tag--just street clothes) who asks me where I'm going and then tells me to follow him. Mind you I'm in Chicago. I do it. Don't ask me why. I don't know why. But I follow a strange man in a direction different from what the lady told me to. Stupid, right? Luckily (blessedly I guess) he leads me to the right place but wants a tip! Aaah, I get the game now! That's what he does for $$! But, although I am stupid enough to follow a strange man in a (big) strange city, I am NOT stupid enough to pull out my (pretty much empty) wallet and find him some dollars. (I didn't ask for his help in the first place) So, I tell him I'm sorry and he leaves. We ride to the hotel and it's a NICE one. My rate (after the 60% off) is $77 (eyes bulging). Yeah. I needed a clean shower and a bed without bugs! Not the Ritz! Oh well, at this point I don't care. I need a shower and Haley needs serious cleaning. She is after all covered in INTERNATIONAL germs. (Remember the refusal to put her shoes back on?? Her feet are now BLACK! Eww!) I get her cleaned up (she hates the shower by the way so I'm sure the next door neighbor people wondered if they should call the police) and we get to bed. The next day (thankfully) was uneventful. We made it back to the airport easily and onto the plane which actually left the airport on time. My luggage made it on time. All was well. I was very glad to be back in my van, headed back to my children and husband. :)

Now, let me add a little Post script here: My visit was WONDERFUL. It was worth the craziness getting there and getting home to finally meet Wendy and her family. :) We had the nicest time and it was not awkward or difficult in any way. I am very thankful to Wendy and Steve (her dh) for purchasing my plane ticket w/ their sky miles (otherwise I would not have gotten to go). And I am extremely grateful to her parents (Mr. and Mrs. Robertson) for having 2 extra people in their home so graciously--feeding us and boarding us.

Thursday, July 3, 2008's for the birds

So, the day finally came when I was to go and meet Wendy (my email pal for 7 years!) I was so excited but very nervous that Haley would be a mess on the plane. I truly had visions of the other passengers conspiring to push us out of the emergency exit-in mid-flight. In preparation I bought her stickers to play with, Color Wonder markers (hoping that their claims that they only write on the special paper was true) because she loves markers but is never allowed to play with them-for obvious reasons. I had also decided that she would be allowed to nurse on demand (for the first time in months) just for this trip. Oh, and m&ms!!! Lots of m&ms. I wanted to make things run smoothly. Ha!

We left for the San Antonio Airport (on time! woohoo!) and make it there just fine using my mapquest instructions (yes, Leah and Harold, they do work!!!) and we got checked in. We were fine through security and far so good...Our seat was next to a young guy...great! I'm sure he loves to look at boobies. **eyes rolling** but he was a really nice guy-helping me to pick up markers OVER AND OVER AND OVER. But, still, things are going wonderfully!!! The first snafu came when I noticed the milk I bought in the terminal to refill Haley's sippy cup had spilled all over the entire carry-on I brought. I had done such a good job of packing it-an extra shirt for me, extra clothes for Haley, a blanket for her, etc, etc...all of it was SOAKED in milk. Yuck. the good news is, my phone, wallet and important papers were on the other side of the bag--whew! We made it through that flight wonderfully! Haley was sooooooo good!! I was so proud of her. :D

We arrived (on time) at Washington D.C. (Dulles) airport and the first problem came up. We got there at 9-something. Just after every food place in the airport closed. Yeah. That's good. We had not eaten dinner. Ok, we'd just get some when we got in to Syracuse, right? No problem! Then, we find out our flight is "delayed". I came off of the flight and looked at the monitors and it was delayed by a small amount of time. I got into the shuttle that goes from terminal to terminal and when I came out it was delayed more. Oh great. No food, almost out of diapers and now this. I called my friend to let her know and she told me her hubby was leaving Washington DC on a flight right then...she suggested I try to catch that flight. I thought that'd be a wonderful thing! So, I RUN to the other terminal and it says "departed"...ok, no biggie. I just went back to my original gate.

But, every time I looked at the monitors the flight was getting later and later. Finally they put us on a plane. Great. So, we're sitting there on the plane and the lights go out and everything shuts down. After like 3 times of this plane "malfunctioning" I was getting a little nervous about this flight. Thankfully, they decided that plane would not be okay to take. Ya think? So, we were all herded BACK into the terminal. By this time it's like past mid-night. I don't even remember the exact times. Late and later is what I'm thinking now. At this point they informed us that leagally they could not fly us out that night even if they could get another plane. Whatever that meant. (It's illegal to fly late??? Puhlease!) By this time I had made a friend who was trying to get to Syracuse too. Her little girls were waiting on her. After we found out they wanted us to stay in a hotel overnight and then come back in the morning to see if we could squeeze onto a stand-by flight (the earliest we could've gotten out was 12:30pm) she decided to rent a car and DRIVE TO SYRACUSE. She told me we were welcome to ride with her if we wanted. Hmmmm. I've never "hitched" a ride with a virtual stranger before-especially with my baby in tow-but the alternative is to be at the mercy of the airline that night (no food for my child or myself, no diapers, etc) and the next day. So, we decided to split the cost of the rental car and go. The only problem with this plan? They would NOT GIVE US OUR LUGGAGE-which included my carseat. Oh you better believe I was mad!!!! We ended up renting one from the car rental place--an INFANT seat. Which Haley outgrew at about 11 mos--she's now 17 mos~!! So, my new friend drove us to NY from Washington all night. We arrived in Syracuse at the time we'd have just gotten back to the airport. And we got to stop and get food in this scenario!!! The other thing is that my newfound friend refused to take my half of the rental car fee. I was so blessed by that act of kindness. Valerie, if you ever read this THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! I was a little tired when we got there but all was well. And I thank God that He kept us safe.

I think I'll save my stories of the trip back for another blog. ;)

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