when it rains, it pours

Seems like when one thing goes wrong, everything does, doesn’t it?  Thankfully we have those periods of time where nothing goes wrong!  However, now is not that time.  Though, we will live.

Steve had his last day of work Friday, yup laid off again.  We knew it was a temporary job, after all, the building project must end at some point.  Actually, we’re blessed because he worked a year longer than he was originally told he would.  However, he’s still high up in the numbers at his union.  Monday we went around and re-signed three Illinois unions (he couldn’t stay signed on in the same state he was working in while working), and we are hoping that some projects that are supposed to open up will require enough guys (and that many guys in St. Louis will turn them down because it is far for them to drive) that he can go back to work.  We shall see what we shall see.  In the meantime, it’s up to me to figure out Illinois unemployment and try to re-budget some things.  Good news is that we paid off the Jeep a little over a month ago and we apparently have Kayleigh’s bills at Children’s hospital paid off because today we got a check back, they said we overpaid a bit.

It’s a bit ironic.  Steve’s been saying he’s ready for a vacation and now that he’s laid off he’s started with the Big Fat List of Things to Do.  Yesterday he started putting in a chain link fence.  He already had most of the supplies but we’ve still had to spend a few hundred dollars already.  However, he thinks that we are good to go now.  He’s got most of the posts in and then my brother is going to bring a fence-stretcher, or whatever you might call it, and help him get all the chain link on.

In other news, Elijah is sick… though he doesn’t seem to know it.  His eyes have been getting really, really puffy again, so I took him to the doctor yesterday with concerns about allergies and hoping to go ahead and get him some allergy tests.  However, it turns out that not only are his eyes infected, but he’s got two infected ears, something going on in his chest, and strep throat.  Yet he says nothing hurts.  Kids, I swear.  I just hope Kayleigh doesn’t get anything.  She’s already got that low-grade antibiotic that she’s had every day of her little life, so hopefully that will help it ward something like this off.  I was a little annoyed, though.  We saw our nurse practitioner for the first time, EVERY time I’ve gone in, I’ve seen the doctor.  When I expressed concern about Kayleigh getting it and not being able to convey her symptoms to me, the np was going on about how I could go “sign her in” aka pay another $20 so she could look at her throat.  Um, yeah.  Had it been the doctor, he’d have just taken a look.  That’s one of the reasons I like him.  He’s done that before and he knows we’ll be back.  So I just decided to wait and see what happens.

The really sad thing is that I forgot what else I wanted to post about.  Guess that’s not so much pouring right there.  I’m just really so busy I can hardly remember to breathe.  Seems like that comes in waves, too.  Working, working, working…

Funny how things work out that way

It all started several weeks ago when the element in my oven went out.  This oven was so old… How old was it?  So old that we don’t even know what brand it was.  All branding had long since disappeared from it and any parts.  It was here when we bought this house… nearly 12 years ago… and it was old even then!  Steve had already replaced the elements once… and the burners… etc.  It does help to have a Mr. Fix-it-All in the house, but at some point, stuff just dies permanently.

Let me tell you, it wasn’t fun when the element went out either.  On one hand, Steve seems to think this was completely normal, but then he’ll say it was strange.  I had cooked a meatloaf and was making the boys french fries to go with it.  I’d just put them in not long prior when a spot on the element started sparking.  As if that didn’t freak me out enough, even though I immediately turned the oven off, it just kept sparking… and sparking…  I thought it was going to burst into flames.  I eventually had to go shut off the breaker and completely cut power.  It stopped sparking then and didn’t start again when we gave it power again.  I kept using the cook top for a few weeks after that but we just weren’t having any time to replace the element.

So we stopped at Genuine Appliance in Festus, MO last Friday on the way home from the dentist to finally get a new element but, not to our surprise, it was gonna be near impossible.  Happened to notice a used range and we bought it on the spot.  I really don’t care, but Steve was about matching and this matched the fridge…  I just didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I hope that we can move in the next few years and, to me, it’s a waste to spend a lot of money on a new top-of-the-line appliance that’s just gonna end up being left here.  So Saturday morning, we picked it up and brought it home.  We had to get the old one out, the new one in… down some stairs with the old one… up some stairs with the new one… and then said new one… no workey.  The top worked fine but the oven wouldn’t turn on.  Something with the circuit board.  After a lot of run-around from the store despite having somewhat of a warranty, we had to get the stupid thing back out, loaded back up, and take it back to the store.  Extremely stupid because we’d been told the whole thing had had a once-over and was in cleaned and working condition.

Steve wasn’t about to take the old one back inside.  Despite being through with it, it was heavier than the “new” one and we’d already pushed an oven through all the doorways three times at this point.  Wasn’t too fun preparing meals without an oven OR cook top.  You don’t realize how much you depend on something until it’s gone.  Sunday, though, we went by Lowe’s after spending time with my family at my brother’s (where we incidentally were able to drop the old one, when he gets enough scrap metal he’ll be hauling everything off to the recycler) and we kinda looked and stewed around for a while.  We were finally ready to buy, already spending twice what we wanted, and… out of stock…  so ok, how about this nearly-identical but $50 more model?  Out of stock.  Seriously??  Later, Steve reckoned that they might do this kind of thing on purpose, try to force people into spending “just another $100” or something, so they can get one in stock.  He was also reluctant to buy a floor model, what with all these electronics and just anyone having opportunity to bang on the machine’s buttons, and, of course, what we’d already experienced with the last one we brought home.

In the meantime, Kayleigh is getting more and more upset.  She kept standing up in the cart and overall being a turkey.  I finally strapped her in after warning her several times if she didn’t stay seated, she’d be forced to.  That then resulted in an all-out screamfest.  We lost our patience and concentration and so we just left without buying anything.

It wasn’t until Thursday that we were able to get something.  Thank you Facebook!  I’d posted that it was so weird going into the kitchen and seeing a big gaping hole where a range should be.  It was!  Caught me by surprise nearly every time.  One of our old pastors saw that and “it just so happened” that he and his wife had just replaced their range, for no other reason than an upgrade, and we could have the old one.  Turned out he’d recently asked another guy we know if he knew anyone who needed one and that guy couldn’t think of anyone, then pop, he sees my post.  Funny how things work out.  Not to mention, who’s happy about saving $3-700?  This girl!  I really couldn’t care less about not having a new one, it doesn’t bother me as long as it works, and it works.  It probably helps that I don’t really like cooking.  I don’t suck at it, I just don’t care for it, I have other things to be spending my time doing!

So, yup, yay for people who give things away.  I always say I’d rather give things away than try to sell them, let someone use whatever-it-is, rather than leave it sit around waiting for a yard sale to attend.  Guess it pays off.  And, yes, we’ve already got them a gift card as a thank-you, just gotta get a card to put it in and mail it out.

suckage

This past weekend has largely sucked.  Not completely.  Just largely.

It started Friday morning when Steve had to take the day off work to go to the dentist.  Not fun, but not as bad as he thought it was going to be.  From there, though, I had to stop by an AT&T store.  Oh, yes, here we go.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my stupid Samsung Captivate, which started out as a wonderful phone, went belly-up… again.  This is the second one.  The first one was replaced under warranty.  Both phones lasted about 6 months before the speakers started really going out.  I was missing calls, sleeping through alarms, etc.  I drove an hour to the warranty store place a couple of weeks ago to find out that phones don’t get new warranty periods, oh, no, when you get one replaced under warranty, it adopts the warranty time of the phone it’s replacing.  So if you replace a phone a day before the warranty runs out and then your new one dies two days later… you’re outta luck.  I wasn’t very far past that original warranty end date.  It also was quite annoying because though I explained to the guy that this wasn’t the first time and how I knew it was a hardware problem, aka not software, he wiped it clean anyway and that always takes lots of recovery time. Even with keeping the phone on vibrate, it was incredibly annoying because it would go through periods where it would constantly press the search button on its own, stopping you from doing anything.

I tried going back to my old phone from before I got a “smart” phone, a phone I’d kept for such a reason.  But there was a reason I left that one, too, and I kept having the nagging thoughts that I was missing two things: my calendar syncing and the fact that that phone can’t use apps and therefore can’t accept credit cards for my photography business.  After all, my partner had recently gone Android to match me.  So I ended up getting a Motorola Atrix 2, the only thing available that a) can use the credit card reader, b) works on stupid AT&T, and c) isn’t a Samsung or an iPhone.  It helps that it was the one I’d liked best out of what was offered, too.  Not to mention, my last Motorola was the only phone that never gave me trouble, I only got rid of it because it got water damaged and went nuts.  Hopefully this one will last so long.  It stunk though, because I wasn’t able to get it at Sam’s Club (aka $50 cheaper).

However, my line isn’t eligible for upgrade for a while.  So I stole my father-in-law’s.  Yeah, he’s on our plan, along with my mother-in-law, and one sister-in-law.  Only he and Steve were eligible for upgrade and I figured he’d be less mad at me if I stole his than Steve would, haha.  Steve is all insistent on being able to cancel his line at any time, blah blah blah.  So when the phone came, it came with a sim card for that line, I had to use my old sim card that I’ve had now for years.  I wasn’t able to get on the internet.  Here’s where this boring long story gets a little more interesting.  I talked to a guy on AT&T’s chat and he told me the internet wasn’t working because I was using an old sim card, not one that could handle 4G, so I should go to a store and get a new one for free.  He seemed surprised that I could send and receive calls and texts.

Ok, so right up the road from the dentist, there I went.  The girl, Jessica, at the Fenton, MO AT&T store gets me a new sim card right away.  That was nice.  Only my internet still didn’t work.  So she looks at the phone for 2 seconds then takes it in the back with her and is gone for several minutes.  When she returns she tells me that my settings are fine, so there’s something physically wrong with the phone, I need to have it replaced.  (Ugh, seriously?)  But then she proceeds to tell me that they can’t do that there.  Because I ordered it online, I have to call in to AT&T and let them handle it on the phone.  (Really?)  What was I supposed to do?  So we left and I started the call to 611 right away.

After being disconnected from someone I totally couldn’t understand I called back and actually got someone in the US of good ole A.  Heck, from that guy’s responses and attitude I think he hung up on me so he didn’t have to deal with me!  But this lovely woman with a Southern accent was horrified when I told her the story of what was going on so far.  “She’s just lazy,” she told me two or three times, “they can do that there, it’s not a problem.  But let’s look at this…”  She then did some stuff then sent me to tech support, another woman with a Southern accent who was also unsympathetic toward Jessica, and within a few minutes, she was able to fix the problem remotely.  Unfortunately, part of the problem was that I was paying $15 for internet instead of $20.  More nickle and diming you there, but that’s not her fault.  Just sucks, I think about canceling the internet completely only to end up paying more than before.  Might be of some encouragement if I’d ever actually gone over my 200 MB on the old plan, but I never did go over it to warrant getting 300 MB.   But, whatever.

Yesterday, AT&T sent me an automated text, however, asking me how I’d rate Jessica’s performance.  That was fun.  :)

Really though, I swear, every time I have to get a new phone, it’s a big ordeal.  Why are these things never easy??  And why do the people in the stores tend to lie to me about things?  When I was looking into getting the Captivate a little over a year ago, that first guy I talked to flat out lied to me about some things… and then they wonder why someone might go to Sam’s Club and get their phone rather than the AT&T store… as if saving $100 on that phone wasn’t a good enough reason.

But my old Captivate?  Elijah has claimed it.  I took off all the apps I could except for four: Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, and Where’s My Water? — he’s all about Where’s My Water? lately.  Of course, he has no audio except for a half a second here and there, about every 10 minutes, and it goes through those moments of constantly pressing the search button, but he’s quite happy with “his” phone.  I think I just need to remind him tomorrow not to make any emergency calls!

That was long enough, I can’t bring myself to keep going here on the rest of this weekend of annoyance right now.

nightmare

That would be my daughter.  She apparently was bored or something in tot drop today and the girl took her for a walk around the gym and so she had a head start when we left and took off running.  She beat me to the doors and hit the accessible door openers one after another and was outside.  I was right behind her, yelling at her to stop.  She didn’t make it to the lot/drive.  There was another woman coming in and she was prepared to stop K but I got there.  Then I picked her up and started carrying her to the Jeep, sending Elijah back inside the community center for my bad and water I’d left.  Kayleigh doesn’t like being carried places anymore and she got mad and threw her snack on the ground.  I had to go back because part of that snack was the cup she’d been carrying it in and when I was getting that she got down and I said, “ok if you’re going to walk you have to hold my hand.”  Rather than hold my hand she sat herself right down in the middle of the road and clasped her hands together.  She refused to get up.  So I had no choice but to pick her up again and carry her to the Jeep kicking and screaming.

Steve was home early, they’ve cut hours, and we didn’t get to have our customary Sunday lunch yesterday so I suggested the four of us go to dinner.  We went to this little place down here, a mom & pop place, right.  Thankfully it wasn’t busy.  I’d hoped that K would chill out when presented with some food but all she wanted to do was smash things, throw things, scream bloody murder, try to steal other people’s plates, and climb on the table.  I thought Steve was gonna have a coronary.  Our waitress got a 40% tip.

Oy.  Terrible Two’s…  I think they end at some point???

More Photobook America (Photobook Worldwide) Trouble

Seriously!?!

So after all that trouble of actually getting things ordered, I now have to have reprints of TWO of the FIVE books.  The third book was identical to the first two except each one had a different cover color (linen).  The third one arrived warped and some of the pages looked like the back of a kid’s project when they’ve glued paper together, you know, how it warps and ripples?  Steve kept saying it looked like it got wet but there were not any water stains.  And the binding was popped.  I had to take pictures of it to prove it to them, I guess, and they are now doing a reprint.

  

Ok, that one is not quite a big deal, Photobook blamed it on the shipping and in-transit time, but the one that came today…

REALLY!?

Really, really!?  That is the last page, with one more side on the back.  That last side is fine.  The side facing this one has the exact same pattern across it but it’s not big and blue, it’s actually not quite as noticeable, it’s a faded mark.  You can see the worst of it there in the left of the photo.

My support ticket on this one started with, “really, do you guys not check anything before you mail it out??”

I mean, COME ON.  They should have seen this.  This should not have been an issue.  They should be checking each page for things like this, errors on their part, as it obviously is, and then reprinting those pages right then and there.  Now they have to reprint a whole new book with a whole new cover and pay whole new shipping charges.  Really, what kind of business model is better?  Reprint a small percent now or reprint the whole thing later?

Furthermore, we have a bridal show soon and were planning on showing this as some examples, the book itself is a collection of some of our favorite weddings, 3 pages of pics from each one.  Now we’re gonna have to slice out that last page so we can at least show the rest of the book.  Probably both pages, but then I don’t like where the book ends.  Sigh.

This is just STUPID.

And I actually feel bad for the DHL man.  Yes, you are probably aware that I hate DHL but since they closed down domestic shipping I haven’t had to deal with them and this poor guy has to travel like 30 miles or more away from all his other deliveries to bring me these books that are coming from friggin Malaysia.  AND they have to be signed for.  I like him, he’s really nice and unlike the carriers we’ve had in the past, acts like he cares that I get my packages and in one piece.  Today I told him no, one more coming sometime soon then that’s it until this Fall (got another Groupon).  Now there’s gonna have to be two.