Sep 30, 2012

The blog in which Charlie gets his first acting job and I stop writing songs.

So.... I was texting a conversation with a lady friend about the woes in her life, and it really sounded like a country song in my head.  I told her so.  Then, I decided to ask questions that I could use the responses in the form of a song for her to make her smile.  It was then that I remembered- I don't care for country. I do like Jimmy Buffet, and for some reason, I heard her words through the song, "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw."  As the conversation continued, she would add too many explanation points, and that made me sing out of tune.  I told her I was done with the conversation, since I really couldn't use this for a funny blog I was formulating in my head. Well, that's not all true.  Actually, it is all true, except for one part.  Sadly, the most unbelievable parts to that story are true, and the the part that makes the most sense didn't happen.  (No, I didn't end the conversation.  She did.  I think it's hard to pour out your heart to someone who is working hard to find the humor in your difficult situation.  It sucks to be my friend.)

Charlie was blessed with yet another amazing teacher this school year. While she is fantastic, I still have to work very hard at home with Charlie so that he is successful in school.  However, this weekend was a mom fail.  We have taken some time to share our challenges from his leveled reader.  For those of you who do not know that term, a leveled reader is a book that is meant for your child's abilities.  It is supposed to be "their" level.  Well, this was not even my level, therefore, I could do nothing more than make a little video about it.   I asked him if he wanted to be a part of a video for my blog.  He said "yes."  I offered to pay him.  I asked him to name his price.  He wanted ten cents.  Done.  But I made him wear clothes.  He ended up with a shirt with chocolate on it.  I might dock his pay.

This is take number 17 I think.  The blooper reel is actually more comical than you might imagine for such a simple acting job.  I love this kid.  I wish learning was easier for him.  I wish talking was easier for him.  I wish I was better at being his mom sometimes.  But right now, I wish to remember take number 11 every time he drives me crazy.  That will always make me smile, even when he is not.  ;o)

Sep 28, 2012

The blog in which I don't run a telethon for education.

We have been back to school now for almost two full months, and I have felt like my wallet has been exhausted.  From school supplies and clothes, to PTA and other fundraisers, the public school just isn't "free" anymore.  I have been grappling with the extra expenses, and finally, had an opportunity to question the PTA president on the latest fundraiser they are pushing, and I think that more parents need to know a bit more about this, the Boosterthon.

First, I refuse to sell items for fundraising for anything.  I will not ask my migits to go door to door selling.  One, because there are many other children in the neighborhood already selling it, or my neighbors might send their children to my house to support their extracurricular sports and activities, and in all honesty, it's not in my budget.  I find warmth, water, electricity and food to be more along the lines of my budget lately, and from making my own laundry detergent to budgeting how many miles I should allow myself to drive, I think wrapping paper that costs more than a present is out of my budget.    

Second, I will not allow my children to ask family for money.  Both sets of grandparents have numerous grandchildren, and to give to one would mean that they have to support all of them, and that will get difficult for anyone.  Aunts and uncles all have their own sets of children to support at schools, and that would be hard for us to reciprocate.  As you can see, I refuse to send wide-eyed, beautiful beggars out into the community, and I don't care what prizes that the fundraiser offers my children on behalf of their panhandling.

I do, however, feel a responsibility to our schools to make sure that my money is spent wisely.  I will often ask a teacher if there are any school supplies they are in need of.  It might be a package of wipes, or tissues, or dry erase markers they are needing, and honestly, I have no problem helping out the class in that way.  If I had more money, I'd be the first in line to buy that new white board, or computer.  But for now, I help in small ways, hoping to make a big difference in a teacher's own budget.

So, in walks Shayna from school telling me all about the pep rally for the "Boosterthon," meeting all the cool characters and the how she wants pledges so that she can get "cool prizes."  She sounded like someone was selling her a bridge in the country, but I wasn't going to burst her bubble just yet.  Two days in a row she talked about it.  (Sorry, it's the middle of the night, and I just had a small panic attack.  I thought maybe Canton was hit by a terrorist attack because my eyes started watering from a sudden, horrific smell.  False alarm.  Brody just gased.  Nasty, nasty.)  I was annoyed that I felt like Scrooge, but told her, that I really couldn't justify sending in the FIFTY DOLLARS per kid that each teacher had suggested we raise/give.  It's not the teachers, I know that.  It's the school's needs, and I feel responsible, yet, not able to pay that.  The fact that Geoff works from 8:AM-7 or 8:PM each night doesn't help enough to even pay our own bills, let alone our free education's needs since budget cuts have affected it so tremendously.

While I know that Shay had her heart set on some "cool" prizes, I am excited to use my decision to teach a fantastic lesson in giving.  First, I believe that everyone should give of themselves without expecting something in return.  I live my life like this.  I give because I want to.  Whether it's a gift, a donation, or of my time, I feel a need to give, and hope that what I have to offer can put a smile on some one's face, or make an organization run smoother because of my time and talents.

Another parent asked on the PTA's Facebook forum about the actual percentage of the money raised that will go back to the school.  About HALF!  Holy smokes.  So,  turns out, the company that runs this fundraiser really does so much of the work, and with the cost of the prizes, this is the best fundraiser for us.  So, I thought, if the school is suggesting that each child raise $50, that means, they are only expecting about $25 per student.  That would mean, I could give a total of $50 since I have two children, and NOT do it through the Boosterthon, but directly to the PTA, and while my migits won't get any cool prizes, the school directly receives the same amount of money,  I spend half, and if that is the lesson I want my children to learn.  Sometimes you give and expect nothing in return.  Give humbly.

I'm working hard to justify many decisions for my children.  And hopefully, the level of awareness will be raised for the future.  If all for the sake of not getting that "cool" prize.

Sep 25, 2012

The blog in which I tell you I won't keep my kids in a bubble. (video included)

Charlie got a trampoline for his seventh birthday.  We gave it to him a week early, since he was going to be out of school that week for Fall Break from school.  He is naturally very gifted when it comes to gross motor activities, and he loves doing gymnastics.  This Fall, we enrolled him at the YMCA for a gymnastics class, and he has done so well, we have decided to set up some equipment for Charlie at home to use in order to help him from a sensory integration dysfunction standpoint.  While I know that gymnastics without proper supervision is discouraged, I feel like I am qualified to supervise these activities since I did gymnastics, and everything he is doing, or trying to do, I have done and generally, know how to instruct or correct.   Well, everything except that trick he did last night.  None of my flips had a twist to them, and I think that's where he went wrong.  He had done two days of these twisty flips, and then, out of no where, he had done one two many, and probably had lost some sense of balance and did the flip and landed in the middle of the enclose trampoline in some weird position that I honestly can't even remember the position since it happened so fast, yet I knew it was bad.

We know something is bad when Charlie complains since he doesn't generally feel pain as other children due to the sensory integration dysfunction diagnosis.  His pain tolerance is much greater than most, and usually is an enabler to him to try things that might frighten other children to attempt.   While I was older, about ten years old, when we got our trampoline, I remember doing all sorts of tricks from flips to handsprings, to front and back falls that would make a chiropractor cringe.  However, I have never had back pain or problems, and I did all that without a safety net enclosure and managed just fine.  However, I felt pain in my shoulder and upper back last night as we were in bed.  I knew it was his pain.  I had given him ibuprofen and had him sleep in our bed last night since I wanted to keep an eye on him.  At 5:30 AM he woke up vomiting.

I knew it was time to take him to the have him checked out.  Luckily, our local emergency room was empty, and we were seen immediately.  The doctor said he generally doesn't do all the work up on an injury with vomiting as he did, (CT of head, cervical and thoracic spine), however, it was tricky because Charlie isn't great at describing his pain, and I remembered the back pain being his chief complaint after the incident.  All  looked fine, and he was given a dose of ibuprofen and Zofran for nausea, and he is doing so much better.

So, here is where I stand on trampolines.  I feel the same way about them as I do about bikes, jump rope, running down a hill too fast with untied shoelaces, hanging upside down off playground bars, etc...  They all can potentially be dangerous.  But so can lots of activities.  I remember when I worked the urgent care seeing a wind instrument marching band student who came in with a pneumothorax, and it was attributed to his instrument playing.  Holy smokes...

Can I keep my kid in a bubble?  Nope.  And I don't want to.  I want him to wear a helmet if he is on ANY contraption with wheels, like his bike, roller blades, skateboard or his scooter.  I want him to stop and look both ways if he is going to cross a street or parking lot.  I want him to learn what his body is capable of doing, and then try to push it a little further  in order to develop new skills.  Does watching my kid get hurt make me cringe and worry?  Yep.  But he will be okay, because I am here to prevent the worst of it, and allow him to fall down so that he can learn from it.  It's not like I am sending him out to juggle knives while riding a unicycle and tame a wild snake without a helmet... Of course he will be wearing a helmet when doing that sort of stuff ;o)

The jumping last night was right AFTER dinner, teeth, and bath.  I needed to work on some homework with him and he was not focused.  So, I put he and Shay on the trampoline to alternate every five minutes so that after he had jumped, I could have his attention for a five minute span and then get him to move some more.  It really works for us, and he did great, until....  Here's a video of the trampoline time just prior to to the injury.

Sep 24, 2012

The blog in which I saved money and I laughed until I peed.

I have had my eye on this toy for a few months recently.  While I was holding it in a store, another frugal mom suggested that I just make it myself.  She said that she and her daughter did, so I figured I would as well.  I finally got around to it, and I can't wait for the migits to wake up and try it out.  It's like the "Find It" games that sell from $20+.  I was particularly interested in the glow in the dark version Charlie had in his hand the other day, so that inspired the glow in the dark pieces I added to both bottles.  I collected 35 objects for both bottles, some are the same for both bottles, and then colored the rice.  After that, I let the rice dry out for a few hours and then I layered the rice and the items.  I did not hot glue the top on, however, I might, if my super tight twist comes undone.  Otherwise, it might be nice to change out some of the items.  Who knows.  All I know is, it cost me $9 for two games, while it costs more than twice that for one from the store.   I took a picture of each bottles' contents that way they can actually play the games with it, instead of just look at it.  That was thoughtful of me, right?  The objects were things I found in the craft chest or the kids' toy boxes.   

I had to buy stuff for the Johnny Appleseed day for both classes, so we got the lemon juice and apple cider since those requests came in today.  Great excuse to run to the store!  
Rice after being dyed.  
This is all the items for both bottles.  
This one is for Shay.  Although, both are pretty gender neutral.  She really wanted the duck since that was one from her toy box.  
Charlie's.. he won't mind the girlie items.  He's pretty chill.  Wish I had more glow in the dark items.   Part of the reason I am not hot glue gunning the lids on just yet.  
This looks easy, but honestly, just those few big items are easy to find.  the rest of those pieces are REALLY hard to find.  If you make one, don't forget to leave about an inch at the top to be able to shake it and move the pieces around.  I layered putting the items in, but I know they will move around.  
For those of you who remember Charlie's infamous self portrait when he was 4 years old---- this is not what you think.  However, when you see the rest of the picture... it doesn't really help.  Never mind.  here is the rest of the picture, below.   
The girl on the left is Shay.  That is her hand she is holding out to his "hand."  They are BOPPING each other.  Boy wonder there drew the sound effects and everything!  It seemed obvious to me, but I had a point of reference.  (And a puddle at my feet since I laughed until I peed.)  Notice how happy the picture depicts them?  While I have two migits that really don't hit or rough house like this, they are really enjoying pounding away on each other.  It's a lovely gift.  I think we can say it works on some motor skill????? 
This is actually what he was drawing in the "thank you" card to my brother and his wife,  his Uncle Keith and Aunt Susan.  This was one of the many gifts he got from them.  He was so excited by their gifts that he fell asleep last night, and then, two and half hours later, walks into my room with a toy gun in hand, held military style like he meant business, and when I asked him what he was doing up, he very proudly told me, "I'm going to play with my new toys."  So, the deal is this- This set only comes with two, so each person gets only one, therefore, Charlie drew each of them wearing one.  Geoff wants to go buy another set.  I wanna wait for Christmas and see what Uncle Keith and Aunt Susan are going to arm us with next.  We got the boxing gloves, the gun.. maybe grenades??  I love those!  Build your own fireworks kit?  The possibilities are endless.  Actually, I had a rough week, and if Geoff walks through the door with another pair of the gloves----

Sep 23, 2012

Early bedtime. Wow...that so didn't go as planned.

So, Charlie has had an incredible birthday week, and by 5:30 PM, he looked like he was going to fall asleep before finishing his cake pop.  I suggested we head up to brush teeth, read, pray, and snuggle.  Well, by 5:55 PM, we was out.  Then, I'm on the phone with my mom around around 8:30 PM, and in walks Mr. 7 year old, with a fake ball spitting gun in hand that his aunt and uncle gave him as part of his gifts today.  He looked like he was going to do some damage, and I quickly got off the phone the moment Shay walked in behind him.  Okay, so I ask him what he is doing up.  His answer?  "Just wanted to play with my new toys."  Nice.  Uncle Keith, Aunt Susan?  I'm sending him to your house to play with the incredibly loud and exciting new toys.  The blow up fists were a thoughtful addition, however, I took them out from under his covers after he snuck them into bed tonight.  Why?  The kite will have to wait for a windy day, but he loved every single present that everyone gave him.  He is incredibly lucky to have so many amazing family and friends that took extra care in picking out gifts they knew he would enjoy.  Now, to get him back to sleep before he shoots a light out with that gun.

The blog in which I realize how bad Curious George books are.

I've been reading Curious George for years now.  I read the original, 1941 edition, this morning.  I think we are done with George.  You will see why.

So far, looks harmless.  However, the cover art seems pretty vague.   Looks like two domestic partners in drag are taking their monkey for a walk, pre-cell phone time.  I mean, this was published in 1941.  Seems legit.  

He "lived" in Africa.  As in, this is already past tense.  Spoiler alert.

At this point in the story, a man in a yellow hat sees George, and literally says, "What a nice little monkey.  I would like to take him home with me."  Okay, see.  that is what is wrong.  We can't just take animals out of their environments and take them home with us!  Come now.  That is so wrong.  What were we teaching children back in the 1940's, other than it is acceptable to take monkey out of Africa and walk down the street in drag with wanna be cell phones?  Progressive? Perhaps.

Then, the man takes the hat off and uses it to bait the George.  George goes for the bait, and once the hat is over his head, "the man picks him up quickly, and popped him into a bag." Wow.  That was sneaky. I don't think the monkey will be very happy.  
I'm no Jane Goodall, but this was obvious.  I totally saw this coming, and I almost got a tissue out.  Almost.  I think I'm close to finally dropping my egg for this month, therefore, my estrogen has all but left me at this point.  When I read this part, Shay said, "Awe...."  She was sad for him.  See, even a five year old gets this.   
First, it seems that African, undomesticated monkeys in the 40's completely understood English.  That is impressive.  All Cocoa knew how to do was sign and beg for a kitten as her own.   George was so much more advanced.  He even sat while being spoken to.  My migits don't even do that all that the time.  However, here's the part that made me go all "ape" on the story.  The man actually sits him down to tell George that he is going to take him to a zoo in the city, and that he will like it there.  LIES!  All Lies!  First of all, no, the monkey did not live in a zoo.  Second of all, why would he like it in an enclosed, un natural habitat where people stare at him all day?  And I don't remember seeing any part in the story about his family being brought with him.  Right, so, let us clarify.  Monkey has been monkey-napped, told he is going to have to like his new life, and this man who if you noticed, is SMOKING A PIPE, tells him to go and roam the ship and to be good, because this man who is now sans hat, can't be bothered to look after a wild animal.  Fantastic.  This seems very responsible.  Not really, but let's keep going.  I'm sure it gets better.  

Okay, the story goes on to tell how George some some sea gulls and wondering how they flew, he tried, and began drowning in the ocean while the pipe smoking kidnapper chilled out in his cabin on the boat.  Luckily, the pipe smoking sailors saved him.  Why does everyone have to smoke a pipe?  I mean, was it so unheard of that smoking might be bad for us?  I suppose the social and moral responsibility of the great literary writers of that time were not a precedent.  I feel privileged to be able to provide you, dear readers, with this enlightenment.  You can thank me later.  OR send an African monkey a yellow hat to enjoy, in Africa, with his family, where he must not need to be sold into slavery.  Moving on.  

So, they arrive and disembark from the ship, and walk to the man's house in the city.  However, now I am getting very angered.  How the hell is George going to stay in a house?  
Tell  me you can see this for yourself.  "After a good meal and a good pipe George felt very tired."  Oh holy hell.  What the F is in that pipe?  And why was he smoking it?  I'll tell you.  Date rape.  Sick bastard.  

Next it says that "He crawled into bed and fell asleep at once."  Right, that just proved my theory. I really need to consider detective work if this blog thing doesn't work out for me.  

It says the man telephoned the zoo, and George was  curious about using the telephone, so he tried it too.  Luckily for him, he dialed correctly. He dialed the fire station.  How fortunate.  Sadly, the monkey could not talk to them to tell them where he was to be saved from this pipe smoking, monkey raping man who wears questionable head coverings.  However, it says there in black and white that the firemen looked for the signal on the map that showed where the call came from.  Freakin' A!  They had Lo-jack in the 1940's?  Really?  Wow.  
They get to the house and see that there is no fire, and once they see only one "naughty" monkey, they decide to catch him and lock him up in jail.  Wow, that was rather hasty.  I think the freakin' man in the hat should be taken to jail.  This is totally his fault.  
Now we are on to yet another of my pet peeves.  A "thin" and a "fat" fireman.  Everyone knows how I feel about those words.  Then the firemen said to George, "You fooled the fire department.  We will have to shut you up..."  Okay, this is totally pissing me off at this point.  This poor monkey has been taken a slave and now you are making him a prisoner and talking to him like he's a human?!?!?  No wonder he fooled you.  You people aren't too bright, are you?  

Luckily, he fooled them again, and got out, and somehow, managed to get a hold of a bunch of balloons that carried him far away.  George went higher and higher, and became frightened.  Somehow, he began to come down from the sky, and out of nowhere, his "friend" is yelling his name and he is very happy.  The man in the yellow hat buys the bunch of balloons, takes him to the zoo, and if you ask me, the zoo looks more like Noah's Ark on crack with all those freakin' balloons, but no one asked me and luckily, I will leave it at that.  Although, I am still wondering if they are given balloons, might they also be offered smoke breaks?  

Sep 22, 2012

The blog in which I recap the day and got a long nap in.

Just woke up and wow, do I feel better!  Geoff left with the migits at 3:30 PM to go to his parents and then out to McD's with them in honor of b-day boy's day, and I fell asleep the moment they were headed out.  It is 7:PM, and I feel like a whole new chick!  I wish I could re-do our engagements from earlier today- this time, with a huge smile and patience.  Luckily, I trust that our friends and the radKIDS peeps all understand my lifelessness.  However, we did have fun today- exhaustion or not...  Take a look!

This was the fortune Charlie got from the cookie Grandma and Grandpa brought him last night.  How true!

One of the many gifts his G-d Family gifted him with today!  Although, I am partial to the prayer dice, the Saint book, he got a ton of great gifts, and most importantly, got the gift of time with this special family today.  

Uncle Greg is sorta' silly about games.  He was insistent in doing better.  I guess I just won't ever understand it....Le sigh... hahahaha.  I was worse than him since I was stuck on the game but never did perfect my technique.  Grr..

This is a piggy bank for Jesus.  You collect/save money and then donate it.  I love.    What I loved more than anything was that he took all his change and already put it in there.  Wow.  Awesome!

Eating a cake pop.  

This hamster wheel type thing is hard to do.  The kids helped each other out on this one.  It was sweet to watch.  

Virtual reality   ride with Mads.  They all loved it.  

She REALLY loved it.  

Just got my horse on!

The original has been revised to this form of Whack a Mole.  I prefer the real thing.  

The girls really enjoyed hanging out together.  But honestly, at all times, the kids were together, and had at least one if not two adults with them, and it was fairly uncrowded.  We got soooo lucky.  We spent 2 1/2 hours there!  We had almost 200 coins and split them between the four older kids.  We printed out coupons and got 40 free coins on top of the 110 coin package and the 20 tokens we got with the pizza coupon.  The 40 free ones came from 10 free coins per child we printed for different awards you can give your kids from the Chuck E. Cheese website.  Check that out!

As soon as they hopped into this car ride, I flashed forward ten years,  and saw the girls together in a car, and I couldn't resist yelling, "Turn off the radio!  Don't text and drive!  No boys!  What time are you coming home?"  And all Rachel had to add was, "Ten and Two!"  The girls thought we were crazy.  They.Have.No.Idea.

It's not funny.  It's all fun and games until someone gets a ticket.  Then, don't come crying to me.  You will spend all your Duck for a Buck money paying that off.  And Mads?  Love.  Please keep your eyes on the road.  Thank you.  

Oh holy hell!  Who let Chaz drive?  A-man?  You seemed so much wiser than that.  You must suck at "rock, paper, scissors, huh?"  Sorry.  JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!  

He's about to turn seven.  And they still walk hand in hand every once in a while.  It makes my heart swell.  

Our family spends very little time helping radKIDS nowadays, but we try to make it out to the graduations to help suit up the migits.  Charlie and Shay are always given the opportunity to do the simulation, and generally, I ask them to not do it, since it is a huge amount of extra work for David, or resident "Red Man."  He is just another volunteer from our community that at the beginning, donated money to start this chapter here in the community, and then went and got certified to help out.  This is just one of those organizations that has amazing people with amazing spirit for good.  We are proud to be a part of it, even though we only spend a little time with them.  I allowed Charlie to do it since it is his birthday weekend, and he loved it.  They even sang Happy Birthday to him!  We had a great time.  I was just dragging by the time we got there though.  ;o/

The blog in which you should get out of my way before my estrogen injures you.

Disclaimer- This is because I am slightly agitated, and no, at this point, I don't think you want to read this.  Unless, of course, your day is going too well, and you need something to bring you down a notch.  I'm the blogger for you then!

Have you ever made pancakes?  Have  you ever seen a pan look like this after making them?  Personally, I have not.  However, I am not a 39 year old man who has only made pancakes once before in my life.  Apparently, the first lesson I provided didn't take, and therefore, the man who says, "I know," to everything- doesn't.  I know this is the second issue in the kitchen we have had this week, and let me add, this is the second time he has been in the kitchen this week.

Shay was not happy that I was frustrated about the whole pancake issue.  She tells me that Daddy already told her that he isn't good in kitchen.  While I think it is noble of him to share his weaknesses with his child, I think it is more important that he share his strengths with her.  When we find them, she will know.

Soda drinking in the morning seems to be a gift of his.  However, she is not a fan of that, so she shakes her head and asks why he does it.  Usually, it is before he has put his hearing aides in, therefore, he doesn't have to answer to that.  And not putting his hearing aides in, and choosing to frustratingly communicate with us.  And then tell us, "I heard something else" when asked why he responding awkwardly.

So, Charlie refuses to eat the nasty looking pancakes that Geoff has made for him, and then, requests a bagel.  Then, the bagel was put into the toaster, and he says he wants a microwaved one.  At which point, we are supposed to be in the car to begin the first of four events for the day.  At which point, I call our first group of people to say that we are not going to make it for the first part, and will meet them at the second part.  This person I called prefers text, and while text has it's place, it is not for a conversation like this.  Texting is great for a person you don't want to talk to, or if you just need a quick blurb out there, but I am amazingly great at getting to the heart of the matter and then hanging up.

When I woke up at that crazy early hour, I had super dry eyes, and blinked my contact into the shape of a needle apparently, and now,  I have some little tear in my eye, and can't see out of one eye since I took the contact out.  I'm sure that has helped the little headache I have.

Birthday boy is acting like a fool this morning, and I was woken up at 5:30 AM by a man who snores so loudly that I thought a truck was passing.  Then, I decided to go clean the bathrooms.  He then tells me that he thinks that he snores if he has soda at night.  Great.  Keep drinking the soda.  It sounds like a great idea.  At this point I think he should become an alcoholic or something seeing as there is a support group for that, and at this point, he is going to need some people around him who support him.  I gave my last f's about 4 days into the man child's vacation.  While he knows once I start taking pictures of his failures, he is in deep and he will read about it in mere minutes, he also can not for the life of himself figure out how difficult it is to raise two children and him, for his wife.

This is a pan with pancake batter in it.  For the record, the package was a dollar Funfetti type.  Seriously?  It shouldn't look like this.  

He only knows how to make them one of two ways.  Either burnt or undercooked.  You choose.  
If I tell you that today is the day of the month that I have begun allowing a future offspring to commit suicide, would you believe me?   If I see a feminine hygiene product thrown my direction, I will completely understand.  Just be prepared to have them launched back.  At some point, I will see the humor.  Right now, I'm stretched to my autism limits from my husband, and need to deal with a child in the throws of the "It's my birthday weekend and I will wear on your last nerve."

Sep 21, 2012

The blog in which I share our vacation. Photos included.

Weird Fall Break vacation week.  We put together a trampoline on Saturday.  Both kids were sickly this week.  We had dinner one night at 9:PM.  I painted a closet.  We crafted.  Made it to Learning Express for a free American Girl project and introduction to the newest historical doll, and Charlie got to pick out a cool toy with his birthday money he got from his uncle and aunt on Geoff's side.  We had to cancel on both grandparents offers to take Charlie to McDonalds to have a Happy Meal and give him his present, due to illness.  He handled it well once he realized that his illness gives him a free pass to sit and watch as many movies and Netflix things he wants until he is feeling better.  With a long doctor visit, and help from Grandma, three generations of girls made one pot holder that neither holds real pot nor will it protect my counter from heat seeing as it is the size of a square of toilet paper.  I suppose we will change the name of it to "Woven thing that takes forever to make and can be used for nothing."  Grandparents, holidays are coming up- act surprised.  Sorry Aunt Carol.  We won't bother sending you a defective pot holder.  Just enjoy the hippy, no sew fleece blanket the migits made you ;o)  
Geoff learned how to make a cake.  Let me verify- I prepared the three ingredients the boxes asked for, and asked him to throw it together with the migits so that I could make the cake pops after I spackled, sanded, and painted Shay's closet/desk area.   I got the six eggs, measured the water and the oil, and left it on the counter for them do make.  He didn't follow the directions, and while I was working, he had to ask me three times to come look and see if the texture was right.  "Did you follow the directions?"  I suppose when he told me no, I should not have been surprised.  In the last year I have now taught him to make a grilled cheese sandwich AND a boxed cake.  It is scary.  I am exhausted.  I might move on to boiling water if I think I can trust him with boiling eggs for my deviled eggs.  
Regardless, the cake pops are done, and we now have a bag for his school party, a bag for family parties, and some for us. The two boxes of cake mix makes a ton, but he likes to share with his teachers and some of the staff at school, so I made plenty extra.  It cost about $10 to make about 80 cake pops.  Couldn't have bought cupcakes that cheap to share with his class at school.  I also make little give away wands for all his friends at school.  I will go on Tuesday and be the Mystery Reader and give out the wands and then we will celebrate with the special cake pop dessert for his birthday.  (I didn't factor in the cost of the sticks for the cake pops, but I don't think those were more than a dollar or so for the package, and I still have lots left over.)  
And now, for the photo recap of the week. 

Freshly painted.  The neurotic in my is pacified.  For the moment.  She is sucking on a cake pop while I appreciate the clean look of the closet again.  
Wands!  I went ahead and made for Shay's b-day class party as well since her b-day is only two months away.
Here is how I manage temps and meds with dry erase marker.
Inspired by a $15 kit at Learning Express to make my own out of cardboard and we will decorate in Shay's room.  I spent $4 on a huge package of tissue paper. 
Once I trimmed them, they look more like the peace sign. Notice Chaz in the background jumping on his early birthday present?  Honestly, this was such a great idea.  I got it for $209 with tax and shipping to the store at our local Canton Sears.  It's a great trampoline.  And no, we do not generally spend that sort of money on presents, however, since we can't truly afford to continue to send him to gymnastics, I will just allow him the opportunities to do it here at home.  He is a very gifted little boy, and more importantly, he needs the joint compression for his sensory needs.  It's done wonders for him.  I spent about $60 for all the wood needed for a bar and beam set, and Grandpa Alan will put it together and we will keep it in the garage for him.  So excited about all these new ways to keep Charlie doing well.  He is motivated to do homework and speech so long as I take breaks to work on walkovers, stretches, and now, the new apparatuses we have brought to our home for him.  Shay loves it all too, so everyone is happy.  
About $10 for about 80 cakepops that we will share with his class, his teachers, friends, family, etc.  Such a fun treat, and honestly, I think they are not as messy as a cupcake.  
Actual size.  

This is invaluable to Geoff and I.  I swear, of all the extravagant purchases we have ever made, this was one of them.  With a coupon, I think it was about $35.  We bought ours years ago.  It is the best invention- EVER! Temp taking on forehead in about 2 seconds.  Extremely accurate too.  
Some of the wands.  
We watched Big Miracle.  It was fantastic! 
Cut her hair.  Made her cry.  She asked for short hair.  I gave it to her.  She likes it now.  And for the record... It is still long enough to do every hairstyle she loves since it's below her shoulders still.  While I cut Geoff and Charlie's hair monthly, Shay only gets it cut every few months.  I think she will appreciate that there are less knots and less she has to shampoo and condition.  While she started doing her own hair a few months ago, she is not a fan.  
And that was our Fall Break "Staycation!"  Believe it or not, just having Geoff home for 9 days in a row made this a really relaxing break from the norm of bedtimes and homework.  Hope you guys enjoyed your break as well, if you had one ;o)

Sep 17, 2012

The blog in which I screw around with bad customer service.

Why red?  Well, I need something that will stand out in this blog, and I was pretty hot when I had this customer service convo. today.  See, it started with a middle of the night email that I received at 3:20 AM, a mere 15 mins. after it was sent from the MagicJack company.  We know longer use that service, however, the email said that if I didn't respond within the hour, that I would be auto billed for another year of service.  Well, since we couldn't get it to work anymore, we trashed the connector to the computer, and use our cell phones exclusively.  So, I responded within the crazy allotted time, and yet, they still said I had to follow up with them in order to ensure the stop payment.  Okay, I followed all the steps on their website to change that, and still had this convo. with the customer service thing.  I am still not sure if "Tamara" was real of not, but I honestly  think talking to a sausage might have been less frustrating.  And for the record--- each time I asked if she was still there,  at least 5-8 minutes had lapsed.  I believe I had enough time to eat breakfast, clean up after it, and then prepare for lunch before she got back to me one of those times.  

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Tamara'
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK554082455756X
Tamara: Hello, how may I help you?
Erin : Can you tell me the last time my credit card was billed by magic jack?
Erin : I received something in an email in the middle of the night saying that if I didn't respond within the hour, that I would be billed.
Tamara: Sure thing.
Tamara: May I have the order number for that charge please?
Erin : I can no longer use magic jack. It stopped working. Not sure why, but we have not used in about six months
Erin : did you understand the question? I want to know WHEN the last time I was charged by your company.
Tamara: Thank you for the clarification.
Tamara: Please wait while I check that for you
Erin : are you still checking?
Tamara: May I have the registered email address on your account please?
Erin : I gave it to her
Tamara: Please wait while I check that for you
Erin : Are you still checking?
Tamara: One moment please...
Erin : Are you still checking?
Tamara: Yes, please hold.
Tamara: Thank you for waiting.
Tamara: I do appreciate the patience.
Tamara: May I know if that magicjack device is currently with you?
Erin : Please wait while I check that for you.
Tamara: Thank you.
Tamara: :)
Erin : It appears that we have relocated that to a trash can.
Tamara: I see.
Erin : Is it relevant to knowing if my credit card was charged in the last 24 hours?
Tamara: May you try to plug it to your computer.
Erin : you want me to plug in a magic jack into the computer that has been thrown away? Sure. Give me a second while I try that. I promise... I gave her the same "moment" to attempt to connect nothing as she has done for me prior to this comment.
Tamara: Yes, please.
Erin : Okay. I tried. And no, I was unsuccessful. Shocker, right?
Tamara: Is the blue light on? At this point, I could not even joke with her.  I was beyond mad.  This seems to be taking more time and patience than I was given in my life.  My name is not JOB!
Erin : Has my credit card been charged?
Erin : please type the word "eye am a boobie suker" to let me know that you are not a robot.
Tamara: As I have checked it here in our end, your account is currently under Auto Renewal.
Erin : no, I have changed that.
Tamara: We are not allowed to do that, Erin. Are you allowed to do the hokey pokey or squat in the employee restroom?  I bet you'd jump on that stuff if I hadn't ask you to.  Snarky.  
Tamara: Regarding to your issue, YES we can still cancel if you wish to have a refund for this charge.
Erin : YES. That is my wish/desire.
Tamara: Please give me the following for Verification purposes:
Tamara: 1. Full Name
Tamara: 2. Email address
Tamara: 3. Physical address registered with magicJack
Tamara: 4. Last Four Digits of a Credit or Debit card registered in your account
Erin : I responded within the allotted time frame last night, and will pursue legal action if this is not resolved now. And no, I will not provide my credit card digits at all at this point.
Erin : I provided that at the beginning of our chat.
Tamara: For verification purposes only, Erin.
Erin : Tamara, I believe I need a manager.
Erin : I have already provided that information.
Tamara: Even I transfer you to our top agents, we still do have the same thought or resolution to your concern.Which is what?  Having me plug in an imaginary device and try to fumble with my native language?
Erin : you have been dishonest with me, and not understand english.
Tamara: I understand your frustration on this, Erin.I don't think she did.  I was ready to need heart medication at this point.  
Erin : Then, if you are able to see that I was billed to my credit card, why can you not see that I responded to the email from the middle of the night within 15 minutes of receiving the email.
Erin : I actually paid many years in advance, and for some reason, was billed last night?
Tamara: That charge is your Auto Renew feature which is currently enabled to your account.
Erin : no, I have already disabled thatI am not sure how many times I had to tell her that, but I took a picture and couldn't figure out how to email that to her in this chat.  
Erin : how much was I charged?
Tamara: That is why it have purchased an One Year Gold Plan automatically without your authorization
Erin : I want my money refunded five seconds ago. That was generous of me.  I should have had it from the beginning.  I responded to their middle of the night shenanigans.  Thank goodness Charlie woke up wet since he forgot his pull up last night.  So, while Geoff changed sheets, I got the email.  And, we found that our homemade laundry detergent cleans and leaves all sorts of nasty laundry smelling amazing!  Good to know, right?  Back to the topic at hand.  
Tamara: Yes, we can still cancel this if you will be providing me the required details given above for verification purposes only.
Erin : Erin Ahrens
Erin : last digits ****
Tamara: 2. Email address
Erin : ******
Erin : ************
Erin : >>>>>>>>
Erin : *******
Tamara: Thank you for that/
Tamara: You just provided the correct details of your account.
Tamara: Please hold while I handle this here in our end.
Tamara: Thank you for waiting.
Tamara: We have successfully cancelled the Auto Renewal that was made on your account.
Tamara: Is there anything else I may help you with today?
Erin : Yes, I would like this in writing, via email or postal mail.
Tamara: Yes, will be sending an email confirmation regarding to your cancellation of your renewal.
Tamara: Is there anything else I may help you with today?
Erin : Please hold. At this point I thought I might have some fun.  My day was shot already, so why not?  And just verify-- she got snarky right back and emailed over ten confirmations until I finally spammed her.  She sent them EVERY.FIVE.MINUTES.  That heffer.  
Tamara: Sure/
Erin : Thank you for your patience. Is there anything else I may help you with today?
Tamara: Would that be all for now, Erin?
Erin : Will that be all for now, Tamara?
Tamara: If you wish so, Erin.
Erin : If you wish so, Tamara.
Tamara: Goodbye and thanks
Erin : Goodbye and thanks
Since we haven't heard from you, we must release this chat. Please click here should you need further assistance:

Might I say that I think our MagicJack issues were probably with our internet, and not them, however, it was all we could afford, and it is good for the price.  But customer service-- needs improvement.. lots of it.