Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's all good until you get a recycled number

I am a huge fan of recycling. This wasn't always so. I used to be a pitcher. I hate clutter, and I like(d) the instant gratification pitching things in the trash gives you. Ahhhhhh, that clean & organized feeling. I hate piles, don't even get me started. And lets face it, recycling is a bit of work. These reycling centers are picky about the condition the recyclables are in. You must be detail oriented. Remove staples, bottle caps, paper wrappers, wash and rinse...okay, so it's effort, big whoop. I hopped aboard this crazy train about 2 years ago, thanks to my son in part, and the Psychotic Pimple (ex friend, see previous blog post for more info). As much as I'd like to dismiss any and all advice or demands she ever gave me, this one has stuck.

However, there is one thing I would prefer not to be recycled for my convenience. And this would telephone number. My son got a cell phone for his birthday. Yay right? Well no, not really. His phone has been ringing incessantly!!!What you say? Does he have a secret life? Who is calling him all hours day and night? At first I was geared up to lecture him on the evils of giving every Tom Dick and Harry his new cell number. But then he showed me the numbers that were calling all hours of the day and night, and they were all various 800 numbers. Then I started answering his cell phone for him. Here's how a couple of the calls went:

ring ring ring ring

ME: hello?

Western Watts Corporation: (heavy accent) Hi m'am! garble garble garble 10 minute survey garble garble garble jibberish?

ME: Please take our number off your list, this is my son's cell phone.

Western Watts Corporation: Ma'm, garble jibberish survey and jibberish garble of your time?

ME: click

ring ring ring ring ring

ME: hello?

Unidentified caller: Is (name has been changed to protect lady that gave everyone except her mother her cell phone number) Lilly Bilkins available?

ME: no, you have the wrong number, please take us off your list, this is my son's cell phone

THEM: Oh, are you sure she isn't there?

ME: Um yes, unless she is hiding under our stairs, I'm fairly sure she isn't here

THEM: silence.....

ME: My son just got this cell number, please remove it from your list

THEM: um okay

ring ring ring ring ring

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! (that would be me)


Some financial institution that speaks part french and I couldn't tell you much of what the automated thing said until Spencer got on the line

Spencer: Hello, is Sissy Bilkins there?

ME: Who?

Spenser: Sissy Bilkins

ME: It's Lilly Bilkins

Spencer: I apologize m'am, are you Sissy..I mean Lilly Bilkins?

ME: *heavy sigh* No

Spencer: Okay ma'm, is there a better time to reach her?

ME: No

Spencer: I'm not sure I understand?

ME: you have the wrong number, you and 10 other people, are calling my teenage son sir, please stop it

Spencer: This isn't Sis...I mean Lilly Bilkins number?

ME: No

Spencer: Oh I am doubly sorry ma'm for your inconvenience but it will take 48-72 hours for this number to be removed from our list. Until then, please accept my apologies for any future calls.


ring ring ring ring ring......

Now I am going to have some fun.......


Telemarketer or debt collector, take your pick: Short pause....."Um, is Mrs. Bilkins available? May I speak with Mrs. Lilly Bilkins please?


THEM: dead silence



Okay okay okay.....I'm bad. It's not their fault that we got a number that happened to be pre-used and apparently well advertised. But I can't help but get my bloomers in a twist, as every time they call it chews up our minutes, wastes not just minutes on our plan, but minutes of MY LIFE, and Brandon can't even enjoy one uninterupted phone call without some other random 800 caller beeping in. We could ignore the calls and let them flow freely to voicemail and hope that one day they would get the hint and go away. But I don't think that would happen anytime soon. Meanwhile, we'd be stuck listening and deleting 20 voicemails a day. No I think our only option is to give back Lilly's number, and tell them we don't really like Lilly. She was a little too loose with that cell number if you ask me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring has sprung!

Well this week was certainly better than the last! Weather wise, attitude wise, it was better. The beginning of the week greeted us with a warm high of 68 degrees. I got a lot of yard work done and could barely move by Wednesday. The temperature dropped sharply by Thursday to 23 degrees (need I remind you where I live? Antartica! Michigan really, but that's my nickname). So the fun in the sun...or yard, came to a hault until today. The sun peeked out mid afternoon and got up to out we went, Hailey singing loudly Happy Burtday to Aunt Backy, Happy Burtday to Aunt Backy... and riding her Dora bike, while I rake my neverending yard. Then I saw woodpeckers and I knew Spring is finally here. If you haven't read my older posts, go back and read 100 Acre Woods. We have a multitude of wildlife here, so once I start seeing Woody and Hootie, I know it's just a matter of time before warm temps are here to stay.

So I raked and raked and was pretty proud of my accomplishments. Two hours later my back was beginning to tell me it's time for a break. Then I went along the side of the house to do just one more area around the bushes. We have a hill that leads down to the brooke. I was up around the bushes furiously raking dead leaves when I lost my footing, hit a mud slide and away I went! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Luckily I caught myself before I went into the rushing river little brooke in our yard! My daughter wasn't phased by my tumble, in fact, she told me she couldn't catch me. Thanks darling. What a dear. Anyway, so I got up and looked around (for anyone shooting a You Tube video) and dusted myself off, put the rake up by the deck, and decided that was my que. Two hours is a good run for raking anyway. By now I've spent 6 hours this week on the yard, mostly raking, and other cleanup. It's coming together nicely. Once the grass turns green again, I'll take a pic and post it. Right now, there's some sad bald patches and brown grass. I am hoping it will turn back to green, it gives the yard a healthier glow that way.

Where to begin?

Okay so I joined Twitter recently and have been exposed to a whole new online community! I've found new blogs to enjoy, new friends to chat with, and a slew of blogging resources. Where to begin? I would like to step it up on a notch here and revamp my blog, but I haven't the foggiest clue how or where to begin? I want a new layout, more readers, more exposure, more more more! ha! I have found that there are "professional bloggers" out there. What? Whaaaaaaat? There is such a thing? Well sign me up! Count me in! I did find, via Problogger, a job board, so I will be looking into that tomorrow. I love to write, and I would love to do it as a career/profession. I've always wanted to write a book, in fact, several people have told me I should. Yet, I haven't. So I have decided to pursue what I want to be when I grow up....a writer! Do I think I'll be the next Best Seller? Who knows. I just want to write. Whether it goes Global or stays within the confines of my little corner of the internet, then so be it, I'm writing. Even better to get paid to do it, but hey, beggers can't be choosers. So if anyone out there has any tips, advice, direction, guidance, therapy....well let me have it; Point me in the right direction please!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Queen of Relationships Contest

I am posting this on behalf of a fellow blogger, and absolutely fabulous woman! Without further ado......

(This was copied from her website, there will be a link at the end so you can run over and check her awesome blog out!) It’s Time For A Contest!!Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Gerbils and Hamsters…It’s time for our first..and I do mean our FIRST…Queen of Relationships Contest! Are you excited? I know I am. I thought since we have a new look and all, it was time for something different and fun! So, with that being said….let the games begin! PRIZE: $100 + Your entry will be published on my blog with your personal and/or business links, etc. 1. You must subscribe to The Queen of Relationships Blog by RSS feed or email. Oh come on, you knew that was coming. 2. If you post the contest on your blog, website, twitter get an extra entry for each post. You must show me where it’s been posted. 3. You must e-mail your contest entry to 4. You must put “QOR Entry” in subject line. 5. Contest will end April 10th, 2009 @ 6:00 pm. 6. Monies will be mailed out the day after the contest. Contest Entry Must Include: You must dig deep into your soul, yes I said dig and I do mean dig…The Queen would like for you to answer one simple question, which is “What is the meaning of true love?”. You can write about an experience, a situation, the first time you knew you were in love, etc. There is no right or wrong answer because it’s your opinion and your feelings. Don’t worry, entries will not be graded on grammar or dangling participles..did I just say that? While I love reading, please try to keep it within a few paragraphs….unless you just can’t help yourself. Hey, love does that to people sometimes. So, with that being said, it’s time for you to start writing so I can start reading. Good luck! It’s Time For A Contest!!Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Gerbils and Hamsters…It’s time for our first..and I do mean our FIRST…Queen of Relationships Contest! Are you excited? I know I am. I thought since we have a new look and all, it was time for something different and fun! So, with that being said….let the games begin! PRIZE: $100 + Your entry will be published on my blog with your personal and/or business links, etc. 1. You must subscribe to The Queen of Relationships Blog by RSS feed or email. Oh come on, you knew that was coming. 2. If you post the contest on your blog, website, twitter get an extra entry for each post. You must show me where it’s been posted. 3. You must e-mail your contest entry to 4. You must put “QOR Entry” in subject line. 5. Contest will end April 10th, 2009 @ 6:00 pm. 6. Monies will be mailed out the day after the contest. Contest Entry Must Include: You must dig deep into your soul, yes I said dig and I do mean dig…The Queen would like for you to answer one simple question, which is “What is the meaning of true love?”. You can write about an experience, a situation, the first time you knew you were in love, etc. There is no right or wrong answer because it’s your opinion and your feelings. Don’t worry, entries will not be graded on grammar or dangling participles..did I just say that? While I love reading, please try to keep it within a few paragraphs….unless you just can’t help yourself. Hey, love does that to people sometimes. So, with that being said, it’s time for you to start writing so I can start reading. Good luck!

Procrastinators Unite...Tomorrow

So I haven't been my normal hilarious self lately, what with all the talk of a friendship that went down like the Titanic, bullies, and mean people in general. I figure I owe it to you to step off the crazy train now, and leave all that yuck behind and return to normal. I was thinking of what I could blog about, and something came to mind, along with a clear (and funny) example.

Procrastination. Standing up, hanging head in shame, I confess, I am a procrastinator. However, I am married to an even bigger one. Oh yes, my one true love, my heart's desire, my Knight in Shining the biggest "why do today what I can do 3 months from now" guy. It drives me INSANE!! Come on over and take a look around if you don't believe me. We've been remodelling since forever it seems, but by remodelling I really mean, he's been starting project after project and then leaving them hanging to move on to other projects, which he has perfectly reasonable (only to him) explanations for why he can't complete just ONE project at a time. The remodel stopped a few months ago, and now it's like pulling teeth to get him to even plunge a toilet. Oh but if a friend calls or his Mom (we won't go there on this post, that will be a post all itself), to fix something or to spend a day doing plumbing, roofing, or any number of things, he jumps right on it. So why oh why oh why can I not get him to put the rest of the drywall up or finish the insulation in the attic or finish the downstairs bathroom??? Because, he is a putter offer, a "it'll get done" kinda guy. Meaning, it'll get done on HIS terms and in HIS time. Okay so now that I've made it clear how I really feel, here is an example of the negative consquences he gets for doing tomorrow what should've been done 2 weeks ago.

My white Caterra sat parked off to the side in the grass by the corner lot (which is all woods) for months because, in a nutshell, it's posessed. It was a fine car, and still looks very sleek. I love that car. But for the fact it has had one problem after another after a darn nother for the last year. And they aren't just minor things, they cost us big. So we decided to park it several months ago and the only place to do that was a spot over by the woods, out of the way of the driveway and garage.

Now I might add that the car sat through the winter, buried in 2 feet of snow. And once that thawed, the monsoon like rains came. Two weeks ago the ground was still frozen, which WOULD have been the prime time to move the car back over by the garage, if not to work on it, just to get it moved before the ground thawed. I had the foresight to see this, he did not. He waited. And it rained. He waited some more. And it rained even more. Then the ground thawed. Do you see where I am going with this??

So one day last weekend I am getting the kids ready to run errands. James said he was going to move the car into the garage that day to replace spark plugs and see how it runs after that. I began hurrying around, I did not want to be here when he started THAT project. I knew it would be a sight and there would involve some bad language. However, as fast as my little legs could carry me around the house, it just wasn't fast enough. hailey came up the stairs hollaring "Daddy needs you Mom!". Oh no. So I grabbed a jacket and as I walked through the open garage I saw quite a sight. There was my husband, muddy and disheveled, asking for my help. Oh goody. so I approach him as he directs me to walk through the swamp, get in the car and push on the gas while he physically pushes the car out of the mud pit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I don't have time for this, nor do I want to play in the mud with him. Against my own will, I step in the mud. Luckily I had my winter boots on because we do live in Antartica, so the boots don't get put away until July. SQUISH. SQUISH SLOP SQUISH SLOP. Oh yuck. Now I'm standing in about a foot of mud. What the hell was he thinking parking the car in this area? So I delicately try to get in the car without dragging a ton of mud in with me. He has it in reverse, so he yells for me to give it a little gas, as he pushes. So I do, but I give it to much gas and it kicks up mud everywhere. whoopsie. So I roll the window down as he has his ever popular one eyebrow up. Then he instructs me on how this delicate operation should go down, I listen, and then I give it some gas, let off, give it gas, let off, give it gas....and we get nowhere fast. Then I suggest he put something under the back tires, like something hard, to give it something to catch hold of. Then I get out, slop through the mud, and we get two good sized boards out of the garage. He places them under the back tires, or as close to it as he can. I step back in the mud and feel a cold sensation. What is it? It's mud. Mud in my boot. Oh isn't this just peachy? I get in the car, by now I am testy. This better work. So I get in and give it some gas. I didn't mean to (or maybe it was a subconcious thing?), but I gave it too much and flung mud up all over him. Now he's yelling, I'm yelling and Brandon comes out to see what the commotion is. He begins laughing. Not a good idea. He quickly turns around, still laughing at us, and goes back inside. By now we have spent a solid hour on this. I go over my mental to do list and start thinking if we don't get this show on the road, my errands will be cut short and I'll be that must testier.

Like an angel sent from Heaven, our neighbor that lives 3 doors down on the left, happened to be driving by. He pulls over and asks if we want a tow out. YES!!! I wanted to hug him, if not for the fact I'd never met him so that might be a little awkward. So I harnessed my joy, and shook his hand. We must have been quite a site for sore eyes by this point. Because, lo and behold, another neighbor happens by the freak show and pulls over. Now we have 2 neighbors with chains and man power, that will get us out of this mess my husband didn't see a comin. So with a good chain, someone to guide, and someone to back up, and me standing in muddy boots with a smile, the car gets tugged out of the mud and rescued! I am just hoping no one was recording us to put on you tube. What a circus. Doesn't he realize by putting these kinds of things off, he is essentially creating MORE work for himself and others?!

This is but one example, and I'm not bashing on him, I'm simply telling a story that I know other women can relate to. I know my husband isn't the only get'r done later guy out there. He is outstanding in many ways, but he comes with quirks. For as planned as he likes things to be, he sure seems to wing it most of the time!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And the show must go on.....

I just saw a quote from a favorite poet of mine, Robert Frost. "In three words I can sum up life: it goes on".

Indeed it does. The trials of today, will they be important tomorrow? People disappoint us, people upset, anger, hurt and betray us. But if we're lucky, the good outweighs the bad. Other people will love us, enjoy being with us, befriend us, support us....and the list goes on.

Words to live by; should be my mantra right now. IT GOES ON. *sigh of relief* I sure wish by the age of 33 I have gotten a grasp on a few more things by to trust my instincts & listen when I am approaching crazy and my gut tells me to RUUUUUUUN! lol I wish I were better at letting things go too. I can hold a mean grudge. I blame that on my lineage. My mother had a hot temper, she definitely had spunk. I favored my father's temperment most of my life, he is so laid back, easy going and charismatic. Everyone loves him. But as I get older (I hate that term), I think I'm getting angrier. HA! No seriously, people just suck sometimes. But such is life, isn't it? I can't change you anymore than you can change me. THAT is one lesson I've got down pat by now. Oh the years I could've been doing something other than trying to change someone else! Anyway I've gotten off track.

Life goes on. Wait..wasn't that a show back in the 90's? Yes it was!! I loved that show!">

Being a bully means you're a big boob!

Do you ever wonder how a bully becomes a bully? Where does it start? And why? Haven't most of us run across at least one "punk" in our day? Both my kids, unfortuantely, have had encounters with bullies, as have I. Even sadder, my daughter is only 4. Additionally, bullies aren't just a part of childhood, you can encounter a bully at any age, in any walk of life.

If you've read the previous blog on my Toxic Friendship then you'll also know I have been pushed around a little in my day. Well it's time to put our collective feet down and stamp out the meanies of the world! Why do some people want to push other people around? Is there joy to be found in it? Well maybe, if you need to feel big and bad maybe? Or perhaps you just plain suck? But what I really think it is, usually, is that one person has a deficiency, a void, a weakness, you decide what word you want to descibe it, but that would be the bully. And the other person has what the bully wants. That is what makes the big bad bully huff and puff, and the other party to get blown down. Now maybe my theory is wrong, who knows, but I think we should have a chitty chat about this topic. First I believe a person's temperment plays a role in who will be the bully and who will be the..oh what's the term? The one who takes it, versus the one who dishes it. Usually the bully is terribly miserable and has low self esteem. You would think it would be the exact opposite, but lets think about it. Look at this picture, we'll call it Exhibit A: Now look at the bully. Look at his face, all contorted, sending a very threating unpleasant message all its own. If you're a happy clam, then this isn't going to be what your face ever looks like. And you aren't going and pushing people around, screaming at them over Sticky Bun placement (Oh no I didn't!!), with a look on your face to match your soul. Oh no, that doesn't sound like a happy sorta gal/guy to me, does it to you? No. And if you are the one getting pushed around, chances are, you are less confrontational, and the other party knows it. They find your achilles heal and go it. It's like you have a bullseye on you somewhere. You may be timid, shy, and less social, or you may be fine socially, you just might not be "like" the bully or group that is ganging up on you.

Now here is a great example of what happens or can happen I should say when the person who is picked on has had his or her fill of your BULLSH*T. "> Bullies around the world be forewarned. Things like this happen and usually, when the person getting picked on finally snaps, the bully backs down. The bully is really weak inside, even though they portray a tough exterior. They may be hurting and angry about something completely unrelated to you, but you catch the brunt because they can't take out their frustrations anywhere else. Lucky you.

So how does a bully learn this behavior and when does it start? Well I haven't officially polled anyone, I haven't done scientific research with Harvard or Yale, or spent any of your hard earned tax money following bullies around for 10 years. This is all my personal observation. I think it can start at any time, but certain behaviors begin when they are younger and if not caught in time, this is your recipe for the backyard bully. For instance, they used to say it takes a village to raise a child. Yes it does. When your child gets in trouble at school for instance, its the school's job to discipline them (not physically of course) and then its YOUR job as a parent to further talk to them to explain why this was inappropriate behavior and why they feel the need to hurt others (be it physically or by words, they both hurt and they both constitute bullying). Now if you as a parent don't follow up and teach your child this is wrong behavior, then guess what? Either the child will continue on this path and become a bigger and badder bully or perhaps by dumb luck the child will outgrow this before someone has enough and punches him in the kisser. I think a huge part of the bully starts at home. What do they hear? Are they around yelling and arguing and bad language? Are they around physical fighting? Are YOU setting a good example? Some things to think on......

Like I said, both my kids have had their runs in. My son isn't the jock, he isn't the one who cares a hoot about fitting in (thank God!!), he is a leader, not a follower. He is so different than I was at his age (again, thank you God!), I cared about fitting in, and still struggle with it even at my age! My son is in 7th grade, and has run into his a couple bullies in his day. Now he could easily take them in a physical fight but I've taught him that is the absolute last resort (and only in defense). Maybe that makes him a target? Most boys want to prove their masculinity by talking rough and acting rougher. Again, it's a follower thing. Also I might add, that if your child is keeping company with a bully or little punk, guess waht? Chances are your kid is joining in the fun. And guess what else? Tell your kid to pick better friends! This is the only time when you actuallly have a choice who is in your child's life, including their freinds. I've heard too many friends make excuses on this front, and to that I say PFFFFFT! They'll make others and not get into so much trouble in the process!

As for my daughter, she is only 4 and her experience with bullies is limited to the past several weeks. Is it me or is it a tad early to be dealing with mini thugs yet? oh now, settle down, I know kids'll be kids for crying out loud. What concerns me about her situation is that these boys parents have no regard for this situation. They haven't made them appologize to her nor are they sorry, in fact, the one even in so many words called my daughter a liar. Um okay. If that makes you feel better. However the teacher backed up what Hailey's complaints were, so hmmm guess they'll have to come up with another excuse?

It's too bad that we can't all come together on this. But yet I have hope. Not for THAT situation, but for the bullying in general. No there will always be a bad apple here and there. And these little kids that I referred to aren't bad apples, their parents are just not doing their job to put a stop to it. So who knows what will become of them in the future. I do have hope that little by little we can stamp out bullying!! We're not gonna take this anymore! To all the bullies of the world I say this: you need help!! If you're mommas won't provide it, then go see a school counselor. if you're that angry, chew on rawhide for crying out loud, not my kid's ear! Where is all this anger coming from anyway, at 4?!! And to the saddest of them all, the ADULT bullies I say this: get a life! Worry less about me and more about yourself. Check it before you wreck sista. And now a message to the targets: hang in there. Stand up for yourself, that is the surest way to get these little freaks to back down. We teach people how to treat us, so teach them you're not going to put up with it anymore! Now of course, there are instances where you might not want to stand up, if you fear for your life, that being one. I am speaking in general. If we all come together, meaning home (parents), school and community, we can educate each other, protect our children and help those who need it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Downfall of a Toxic Friendship: Sticky Buns

Do you ever want to throw a fit? Do you ever get tired of being the adult, being the mature one, always being the one to "rise above" matters? If you're being honest, the answer to these is a resounding HELL YES. Well that's where I am at on this day. Lately I find myself wanting...dreaming of...having a nice nervous breakdown. ha! That being said, here's the deal. There are people in your life that will come and go. There are people that come and you wish they'd go and then of course there are those that remain forever.

So lets cover the first. The people that come and go. These people can be co-workers, acquaintances, friends even, anyone really, that is only here to serve a purpose and then to move on. Sort of like angels. They aren't meant or even needed to be a part of your life forever, and you usually part ways in an amicable way.

Now lets review those who you wish would go. You ever get the feeling like you just can't shake a cold? Well there are people we just can't shake sometimes either. Here is where I am currently. I have a "friend" that is no longer a friend, however she is friends with some of my friends, and we share friends of friends. Confused? Basically think of a divorce, only friendship style. Then think of the friends in common as your children. These friends we have in common often find themselves having to pick sides or a select few will remain neutral. This ex friend seems to be popping up everywhere and as much as I try to let it go, forgive and forget, be the bigger person, yada yada yada, I just can't shake the feeling like she is popping up on purpose. But I am getting ahead of myself. First let me tell you what brought our friendship to its knees.

Cinnamon Rolls. Pillsbury to be exact. Yes, you read it right, what? Oh stop giggling. Here is how the Sticky Bun incident went down. We were both in a mom's play group together. She was the "leader", by that I really mean dictator. We'd been friends for maybe 2 years, and along the way, I found myself being treated in ways I did not always deserve. Being taken advantage of, disrespected, used, and talked down to. Now I had come an awful long way in this area; so this is the first person I let have this much leeway in a long time. I valued our friendship and made excuses for her, and even convinced myself that maybe I was being too sensitive or perhaps I deserved a good brow beating from time to time. No no no, that's wrong thinking. That thinking landed me in an abusive marriage for 11 years. So here I am, putting up with the female equivalent of my ex husband? What? All that therapy and this is where I end up? I think not!! So back to the sticky rolls. I was signed up to bring breakfast for our group that Wednesday morning. I had even thought of skipping the group that day, but reconsidered and enlisted my hubby to get up and help make the buns while I got kids and myself ready to go. We went, and I was the first to arrive. So I make 2 trips in and out to carry everything without having an accident (I'm a little clumsy, I know my limits). I begin displaying the rolls with chocolate icing on dessert plates that had various chocolate sayings on them. I was pretty proud of my little set up, and knew the rolls would be a big hit with the mamas! In comes a mom here and there, commenting on the aroma and cute plates. And then comes the Dictator. She meandered over and commented with a sneer "Why are you the only one who insists on putting food at the table?!!" I can not lie. I wanted to punch her. This is not the first time she had talked to me like I was her child in front of others. And who cares where i put the rolls anyway? Then she told me to put them across the room by the coffee like I'm supposed to. Again, I wanted so badly to punch her, but our group happened to meet in a church, although I'm pretty sure God himself would've cheered if I did give into my desires and slap the crap out of her. My eyes burnt with tears, not from hurt feelings but from anger. How dare she?! Is there not a nicer way to ask someone to move their buns? and God forbid say thank you for getting up and making me nice warm buns in the first place! And why oh why oh friggin why MUST she control EVERY minute detail of EVERY DAMN THING?!! I wanted to run out, but I didn't. I sat down, and ate. And ate. Filling all the cracks in my heart with warm ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. I began to settle down when she actually had the gall to bring it back up and inform EVERYONE just in case anyone missed it, what my offense was and to please follow the rules and place your food across the room (so everyone has to get up and interrupt conversations to go get their food). Then group was dismissed, I left and came home raging in tears. This was absolutely enough.

Fast forward (I am skipping a lot of drama because this is getting long) 6 months. I have friends, she has friends, and we have many friends in common. Some friends we have in common she did not give two hoots about until recently when she found out they were hanging with me. And now all of a sudden she calls in tears gaining their sympathy, leaving fake lovey dovey Facebook comments, and so forth. It's enough to make me gag. I also have to see her at my daughter's school, so that's always a joy. And what's more, her son and his friend has started bullying my daughter. This has gone on for a few weeks, to the point that I had to step in and say something. My daughter is only 4!! I hoped we could be mature about it, but bitch is her middle name. I had almost forgot.... so I placed calls to the school and then reluctantly I emailed her to tell her what was going on, and also just as a mom, asking her to talk to her son and tell him he is hurting hailey's feelings, and please stop. Her response to this was basically to call my daughter a liar and then she added, why would you assume I can't be mature? Oh gee, who knows. I never said she couldn't be mature, so for her to end with that....just goes to show. So here's where I am. I can't shake her. She's like a bad sore, a festery pimple, a wart, a nasty phlegmmy cough that won't go away! I don't know how to deal with this in a way that will result in anything positive. All I know is, a friend is not a friend if they make you feel "less than". Friends should lift you up, be your cheerleaders, NOT treat you like you're starring in a bad Lifetime Movie. There is no going back, that is clear. I could never take her back as a friend, I know that now. How she has handled everything, including the bullying of my daughter, cements my decision. With that I say good bye and good luck with that to those who choose to endure the abuse.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Buyer BEWARE of Free Trials!

By show of hands, who of you out there has ever ordered anything online or from an infomercial. I know I have. Now who of you have ever ordered anything that has promised a risk free trial? Again, me too.

Don't be ashamed, we've all done it and some of us more successfully than others. Those ads and infomercials can be slick, full of empty promises and smooth talkers, and all I can say is, sit back and read on, and keep my story in mind before you give over to impulse/emotional buying. This is a true story about a mom (me) who after two children and quitting smoking, had added a few pounds to her once trim waist line, and came upon an ad online that swept her away like a good romance novel. It began innocently enough last September. I was new to Facebook and if you are familiar at all with Facebook, then you know on the right side of your screen there are ads for Diet & Weight loss miracles, Anti Aging secrets and more. So I took the bait and clicked on an ad that read find out what Oprah and Dr. Oz recommend to lose weight. Curious, I clicked against my better judgement. So what did they recommend? It was a supplement of Acai Berry, supposedly the newest weight loss wonder, in pill form. And what do ya know, it had a "no risk" free trial!! So once again, sucker that I am, I took the bait and began imagining myself in my former size 3 jeans, carpooling the kids with onlookers oooohing and ahhhing wondering if I was their mother or perhaps a sister? Oh okay, I exaggerate. Suffice to say, I took the bait and ordered it and it came with a 14 day trial, so it SEEMED that it was guaranteed to work or I would just cancel it and go on with my life. It arrived and I began my Acai Berry adventure. First of all I wasn't impressed with the taste. It was a melt away tablet that sat on my tongue and tasted bitter and gritty and made me gag, as it didn't melt as fast as I would've liked it to. Second of all, I shed not one pound in 14 days. So before my trial was up, I called the 800 number on the bottle and cancelled. And so imagine my surprise when my credit card statement came and there was an 89.31 charge from this Acai Berry company!! How could this be? So I immediately called them back to correct this, and so would begin an irritating and lengthy ordeal. The first woman I spoke with told me that the one month supply had shipped out before I had cancelled my trial, therefore they had to charge me. I replied (calmly at this point) that first of all, why would they ship it out while it was still on the free trial, and secondly, that being the case, I would just return the bottle as soon as I got it. To this she replied they do not do returns/refunds. Oh really? How convenenient for them. So we exchanged a few more words before I hung up on her. I waited a few days to collect myself, then I called again, determined to make someone correct this. This time they put me on hold. By on hold, I mean, they completely ignored me for 38 minutes. So I hung up, since I do have a life, and a few days later, called back yet again. This time someone answered and I explained what had happened, and that it was all a mistake and that if I ever received what they said they had shipped out, I would return it promptly. She was pleasant and assured me there would be a credit on my next bill. Yay!! Persistance paid off! So I hung up quite satisfied with the outcome, and returned to life as usual. Then, one day, my credit card bill arrived. I opened it, and there was indeed a credit. There was a credit for HALF the amount they billed me for, not the full 89.31. !!!! Ahhhhhh! Are you kidding me? So I decided to call my credit card company since obviously the Acai Berry people were being shady (who woulda figured since both Oprah and Dr. Oz gave such high recommendations huh?). The representative from my Sears Mastercard put in a request to remove this from my statement and assured me it was all taken care of. With a sigh of relief, back to life as usual I go. And my next bill came, and there was indeed a credit. But this time it was for too much. Now I begin having a terrible persistant twitching just under my right eye. Apparently Sears credited the FULL amount instead of what I had told them, which was half. Because remember, the shady Acai people did generously give me half a credit for the product that to this day, I never received but they are billing me for. So now I call Sears back and tell them about the mistake. They were confused, as I rambled on to explain they were only supposed to credit 45., not the full 89. They transfer me twice, and I reexplain myself a total of 3 times before Henry tells me he understands and will take care of this issue. Somehow I come away doubting his sincerity, but cling to hope, as I try to control the twitchy eye problem. So by now we are in the month of November. This adventure began in September. Next statement comes, no change. Then in December they send me a rather curt letter and put the 89.00 back on my statement twice. What? What the? The letter states that they have found this credit to be in error and it will be placed back on my account, which they did, TWICE. By this point I now have a twitchy eye, and a blood pressure problem, and am wrestling with the urge to throw myself on the floor in a screaming kicking tantrum. So here we go again, by now, their number is on my speed dial. I call them, explain, then get transferred, then reexplain, then get tranferred, and so forth and so on. Fast forward to February. Yes Februrary. I am still dealing with trying to get this corrected when I am told that I now need to hand write a letter and fax it in stating why I feel this charge is an error and why it should be removed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! Okay fine, so now I get out my stationary and hand write a letter stating the exact same things I have now told no less than 25 Sears Mastercard employees via phone. Just one day later I fax it to them and wait. Then for some reason I decide to call them to confirm they have received my letter via fax, and here's where it gets good. After speaking to another 2 representatives and then getting transferred to a manager, the manager comes on and unemotionally states that I did not respond to their request in a timely fashion and the case has expired. Expired??? What? What does that mean? My "case" has expired, as in bad milk? Or as in they just don't want to do their job, and they are tired of dealing with me?? He states there is nothing more I can do but pay. WHAT?!!! Let me add, that up until this incident, I have been a stellar customer, always paid on time, usually paying whatever I charge off each month. I CAN pay this bill. Should I have to? No. It's a fraudulent charge that should have been removed had either company done their job. Both the Acai company and Sears Mastercard have shown a gross neglect in customer service and quite frankly, they're idiots. So to sum it up, I am stuck, I have to pay this now, unless I want to try to jump through other hoops with higher ups, which at this point, I am just exhausted mentally and I have no more faith in the "high ups" than I have in the little dufuses that messed this up in the first place. I can assure you that I will never ever never order another free trial of anything again, and even more, I will NEVER use my Sears Mastercard again!! This has been a terrible and undeserving experience, and all I have been to this point is a loyal customer with an excellent reputation. So I am warning you, beware of free trials, if it sounds to good to be true, it usually is!

I am including the following information as a warning, do with it what you will, just don't say I didn't tell you so if you get scammed!

Extreme Acai Berry Melt Away Tablets 801-208-7485 (there is no other information on the bottle except directions, precautions and nutritional information)

Also, I would be VERY careful if you have a Sears Mastercard. Everything was fine with mine until this charge got placed on there, BUT the important thing to learn is that they did NOT correct it, and ultimately made the situation worse. If you have a Sears Mastercard I would be very careful what you charge to it, as the company will most likely jerk you around for months (if there is an incorrect charge) until your claim/case "expires" and there "is nothing more they can do". Just a warning based on my personal experience!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Where oh where has my baby gone?

No my "baby" isn't missing. In fact, my "baby", my first born, now stands 5'6 and just celebrated his 13th birthday!! Just to give you a fair warning, today was, in a nutshell, sad. If you are a mother, then chances are you understand exactly where I'm coming from. Wait, let me add, if you are a mother of a TEEN, then you will understand. Most of my friends are not quite to that point yet and probably think I am being overly dramatic and emotional. To those, I say with love, just you wait. There are certain milesstones in your child's life that are bittersweet. Like the day they start kindergarten and you realize, they are old enough to go to school now, and you won't be the only influence teaching and guiding them anymore. They will have teachers and friends and an array of other outsiders that you pray will be good influences on them.

I have been dreading this for almost a year now. In true form, I like to start worrying ahead of time, get a jump start on the actual event that I dread or fear, that way it doesn't sneak up on me and surprise me. HA! It's the end of an era, and the beginning of a whole new one. I put on a happy face, and celebrate, despite part of my heart wrenching. He had a "rockin" birthday,(his words) despite the fact 1. his mother was in mourning, and 2. his step father and I were both sick with terrible colds that had us violently sneezing and under heavy medication (Sudafed and Nyquil rock! Of course not combined). Thankfully he was preoccupied by the magic of turning 13 (and I'm sure the cake and presents didn't hurt either).

I couldn't be more proud or have asked for a better son. These 13 years have been quite a journey, full of ups and downs, learning curves, mistakes, triumphs, laughter and lots of love. Did I mention he had colic? I always have to remind him (and everyone else) of 2 things: first being how long I labored with him and second, how he had colic and the fact that I didn't get a full night's sleep for the first 2years of his life. I feel it my duty to let him know what a trooper I've been. HAHA Of course his (paternal) grandma has to dispute this, doubting the fact that he ever cried at all. God bless her, that's all I have to say on that one. And yes, he cried, I cried, it was hellish but we made it through and I'd do it all over again if I had to. Of course if I did it again, I'd be more demanding of help the second time around. It's amazing how much you come to learn over the years. His biolgoical father was rarely there, and never helpful, so that part I wouldn't do over if you paid me. But we overcame, we conquered, we survived, we got the heck out!

My final point being, smelly socks, shaggy hair, crumbs and spills, and yes, even back talk aside, I know in my heart I am blessed. He is growing into a fine young man, intelligent, with a heart of gold. And my oh my is he a cutie (of course I'm not just saying that, he really is!). Part of me would like to freeze time, maybe not at this age, perhaps 2 or 3 years sooner, and keep him young and adoring and safe for all time. But such is not the case....they grow up with or without my consent. Today was the end of one chapter, the Childhood chapter, and the beginning of new one, with much unchartered territory to be discovered. This chapter will be called The Teenage Years (insert music to the Wonder Years). How I wish my mother were here to see him, and to give advice (of course she'd also get a kick out of some of my plight, saying the curse has worked!! ha!). I have been blessed to have people along the way to lean on, to guide me, and to vent to, and even some who in their zest to love and help, have been smothering and overbearing at times, their intentions were pure enough, so I forgive. Through everyone I have learned, even if it was learning how not to be, at least I learned.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRANDON!! From your funny, witty, loving, Mom xoxoxox