Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

How many times have you made a resolution, only to find yourself not being able to live up to your own standards and/or expectations?

Here are a few techniques to use to make sure you are not a failure this year - at least as far as resolutions are concerned.  If you are destined to be a failure in life I can't help you, sorry.

Don't set the bar too high.
Perfect
If you really want to guarantee you'll be able to accomplish your goals, then make them easy.  Not eating fast food for the first week of the year is a lot better than saying you won't eat it at all for the entire year.  If you want to challenge yourself, at least make the goal reasonable.  Try to not to eat fast food at all for the entire year between the hours of 3 AM and 6 AM.

Increase your odds.

If you only set one goal then you have to achieve that goal to feel good.  Give yourself many opportunities to succeed.  Having at least eight resolutions, some of which should be able to get done with no work on your end, should enable you to achieve at least one.  If you really are an overachiever, shoot for completing 50% of them, but make sure at least half of them are easy.

Rely on others.

Make a resolution to do something better than someone else, or put yourself in competition with them.  Find someone who has recently filed for bankruptcy and make your goal to have a better credit score than them at the end of the year.  If you know someone confined to a wheelchair, make a resolution that you'll take the stairs more often that they will.  It might seem a bit harsh, but as long as you are the only one who knows your goal, it won't matter.  I still think it's probably best NOT to mention this goal to the handicapped person, just to be safe.  

Make your goals flexible.

The most popular resolution has to deal with weight loss.  Give yourself a chance to win no matter what happens!  If you lose 10 pounds, you win since you lost weight.  HOORAY!!  Go get a cheeseburger!  If you maintain your weight you still win because everyone knows muscle weighs more than fat.   Another cheeseburger!  Since you've been working out (again, give yourself a loose definition here) you might gain weight since you'll be turning fat into muscle.  Get two cheeseburgers for this since you'll need calories to burn during your workouts!! 
 
Make the resolutions non-quantifiable.

These are the easiest ones to achieve.  Saying you want to be nicer to door-to-door salesmen this year is a good one.  Resolving to eat out less than in prior years is one you can lie to yourself about, and since nobody tracks how often they eat out, you can do this easily.  Even if you end up eating out more often, just tell yourself you ate less food, more frequently, so you still win. 

Set up next year.

If all else fails, you still have the rest of the year to totally screw up so that next year's resolutions are easier to achieve.  Don't workout, so you can vow to work out more.  Start bouncing checks so you can work on not doing that next year.  The possibilities are endless.
If you can't fail yourself, encourage others to fail for you so you can beat them.
I'd love to hear some of your tips for making and keeping resolutions.  I'd also love to hear what your resolutions are so I can throw them in your face later in the year encourage you to succeed.  Actually, I'd just love to hear comments in general, so feel free to comment away.

My resolution is to get more comments and followers than I did last year.  If I fail, it's not because I did anything wrong, it's because you all did.

That's the third lesson from above.  See how easy that is?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nursery Rhymes

We have several books with nursery rhymes in them. At first, we would just read them to the girls without considering what we were saying. As time went by, we started thinking about these rhymes.  I thought I'd go through some and give my interpretation of them. 

If you're planning on sending me an email with the actual history of these rhymes, please don't bother. I'm doing this for humor, and not part of a bigger movement to burn books or anything. Please just enjoy it for what it is.
How else would you get baby down?
Rock-a-bye-baby

Rock-a-bye-baby, on the treetops,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

My research shows this was created by two gentlemen:  Thomas Fisher and Jonathan Price.  Shortly after inventing the song they formed a company and released their first child safety device - a swing for babies that didn't require a tree.  Historians don't believe many people were actually swinging their children in the treetops, but the company has since gone on to produce countless toys and safety devices.  They are still doing business today under their original name - Fisher-Price.

The Queen of Hearts

The queen of hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day;
The knave of hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The king of hearts called for the tarts and beat the knave full sore;
The knave of hearts brought back the tarts and vowed he'd steal no more.

The knave didn't make much of an income, so he resorted to taking from the king to feed his family.  Shortly after this was released, the knaves formed a union to fight for better wages and a more hospitable working environment.  The movement was short lived, however, as anyone who joined the union was dealt with severely by the queen.  She would call out "off with their heads", so membership numbers quickly diminished, one way or another.
I'm telling you, those kids aren't right.
There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

This was the birth of child labor laws.  The details of this case were just horrific, and only discovered once her 22nd child filed for emancipation.  Her children were being forced to live in a singular shoe with no food - only a little broth each day.  They had to sew shoes for the old woman to sell in town, yet they were not compensated for their work.  No wages were paid and no profit sharing plan was established.  The only thing they regularly received were beatings.  The old woman's original attorney, Peter Pumpkineater, was forced to recuse himself from her defense team when allegations were brought forth against him that he had been forcing his wife to live in a pumpkin against her will. 

If there are any other nursery rhymes you'd like me to look into please let me know and I'll do my research.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spine tingling night

Pretty much the only thing that scares me at this point in my life is something bad happening to my family - or so I thought.

I discovered another "thing" last week.
This is It...Stephen King's It to be exact. This It is not the thing I'm scared of. 
Here's the scenario:

It was Mama's turn to go to our community group from church, so I stayed home with the girls and put them down.  That doesn't scare me, anymore, but I still won't do bath time alone.

Normally, the girls pick up all their toys before bed, but since they weren't feeling that well I allowed them to just go to bed without cleaning up.  They went down and I went to work.

The mess wasn't that bad, so I had it all put away in about five minutes.  The last thing I did was toss a small ball into the toy bin. 

Thirty seconds later, a toy sitting a foot away from the ball bin made a noise.  This is a brand new toy.  The batteries are new so you can't put any blame there.  I looked at it for a second, decided something must have jostled it somehow, and turned to go get a drink.
"Bye-bye"
That's what the little dinosaur said to me.

I froze.  I was waiting for Chucky to come slice me up.  Ever so slowly I turned around and stared at the toy.  It wasn't smiling, glowing, or doing some spinning head thing.  I'm pretty sure the toy doesn't have that word in its vocabulary, so I was a little bit freaked. 
Good old Chucky
Justification sets in.  I decided since we haven't had it more than two days, I just wasn't familiar with the sounds it made.  After standing there for a minute I went back to get my drink.
"Bye- Bye"
I nearly crapped my pants. 

Within two seconds there was some metallic clanking sound coming from the other room.  I moved quickly to see if the dogs were messing with something, but they were both sleeping, and the noise stopped as I entered that room.

At this point, the hair on my arms and back of my neck is standing up.  My heart is thumping so loudly I can feel it and hear it.  Adrenaline is racing through my body.  I'm starting to shake as I fight the urge to run screaming from the house.  I want to look in the room with the dogs, but I don't want to take my eyes off that creepy little dinosaur thing. 

My girls are going to sleep in the next room, I need to protect them.  Should I put the toy in the freezer?  Maybe just set it outside?  Will handling it just piss it off?  Will I need an oven mitt to handle it?  Maybe the prongs from the fireplace tools?  Maybe I should just leave it alone unless it does it again.

I decided no action was the best course of action at that point.  I was still concerned my house might be possessed, or at least this new toy was.  There was only one thing I could think to do.

I may have uttered the following words:
In the name of Jesus Christ my personal Lord and Savior I command you evil spirits to leave this house!
I've seen the exorcist, and I know this might not always work, but it made me feel better - as did those drinks I finally got to have.  The dinosaur has not uttered any unprovoked words yet, so maybe I'm onto something.  The voices have stopped.

At least the ones outside my head.

Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your new toys and their demons!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas confession

All the time I am asked "Twins?  How do you do it?"

We just smile and say we don't know any other way of having kids. 

I wonder how often that question is asked to Helene.  She has two sets of twins just two years apart in age!

I'm guest posting on her blog today, follow the link here to find me.  Please head over there to check out my thoughts.  While you're there, read some (or all) of what she's written, follow her, stalk her, leave a comment if you would. 

If you like my humor and sarcasm, you're going to love her.  Even if you don't like my humor and sarcasm, you're still going to love her.

Thanks, and enjoy!

In case my imbedded link doesn't work, you can just go here:

http://www.twosetsoftwins.com/2011/12/christmas-confession-courtesy-of-brad.html

Monday, December 19, 2011

I know you get paid to push a product, but seriously?

This was just too funny not to share. 

Let's start with the concept I was being sold by the finance manager at Nissan, and then get into why he had no clue what he was talking about. 
No qualifications for the job?  No problem!
The Concept

Here are the basics for those of you unfamiliar with it.  If you have a debt, you can make two payments per month instead of the customary one.  Each payment should be half the required payment.  This means you are paying the same amount every month, but it will pay off the debt quicker.

How does it work?  Simple.  If you wait until the end of the month to make a payment, the interest compounds on the full balance you owe for the entire month.  If you make a payment half way through the month, it will pay the interest accrued to date, and then reduce the principal.  This, then, results in less interest being charged during the second half of the month.  If you're following me, the end result is more money going to principal each month, less going to interest, and the debt wiped out sooner than later.

Still with me?

The Proof

The finance manager offered this to me.  It only costs an additional $2 per PAYMENT, but since it saves you so much money it is well worth it. 

He could run a program to show me how much money I would save.  I already knew the answer, but I thought I'd let him give it a whirl.

As he entered the terms of the loan I waited patiently.  60 months.  $XXX per month payment.  0% interest rate.

The computer spit out the verdict - I would save over $2,000.  That savings was after adding in the additional $240 of fees associated with the plan. 

AMAZING!!!

There was, however,  one teensy, weensy, little problem.  It's so small I almost hesitate to mention it, but I will - the computer was wrong.

The Truth

The concept only works if you are actually paying interest.  Since I now have a 0% interest rate, the only thing I was doing was paying off free money early.  I asked him to explain what was I saving if I wasn't paying interest.  Surprisingly, he didn't have an answer. 

I explained to him, briefly, why the computer was wrong, and he seemed to get it.  He planned on calling his represeantative to ask about it.
La-la-la-la-la
In the end, I don't think he understood anything I said.

The Punchline

His very next question to me was this:
"Did you want to put any money down or borrow the full price of the car?"
I simply told him
"I'll take all the free money you guys want to throw at me."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Big business takes on small business - and loses horribly

The bigger a company gets the more inefficient it becomes.  I suppose you could say the same thing about a government, but since they are basically just huge companies I guess I just did.
When you have this many cogs you don't even need a wrench.
Case in point - my dealings with Nissan.

I already posted about the car having a defect that caused it to be sidelined.  Here are the details:

September 16th - The brakes went out.  The car then went to my mechanic where the problem was identified.  He told me this was not fixable and I should plan on selling the car for scrap.

September 19th - The Nissan dealership has the car towed from my mechanic to their lot so they can perform the necessary repairs at their expense.  They informed me that they would work to fix it and should have it back to me by the end of the week.

September 26th - I have heard nothing so I call them to get a status update.  The damage was a little worse than they thought so the repair won't be done until the end of this week.

October 3rd - Again, no word.  I call back in to find out the car may not be fixable.  They'll have someone from Nissan call me to discuss the problem in the next 24-48 hours.

October 14th - Apparently, in Nissan's world, 48 hours is the amount of time it takes for the sun to rise and set 11 times.  At least they did call, I guess.  Now, they tell me that a Nissan specialist has to go see the car to determine if it can be fixed or not.  They should get his report in a week and will call me when they have it.

November 8th - Nobody at Nissan owns a calendar.  I guess they bought the Microsoft package that didn't come with Outlook.  I finally got my call almost two weeks late.  The car cannot be fixed.  They need me to send them a bunch of information and then they'll call me a day or so after they have it to discuss their offer to buy the car back.

November 9th - I send them everything they need, and then some.

November 22nd - I forgot about the time-space continuum difficulties they have, so I actually expected them to call sooner.  Shame on me.  They finally call me with an offer - another two weeks later than expected.  They'll email me the terms today and once I sign the acceptance and send it back they'll let me know within  a week what the next step is.

November 23rd - Their email came through, was signed, and returned promptly.

December 7th  - They called back to schedule an appointment to get our check and return their car.

December 15th - Everything is done.  Just one day short of three months.

Let's take a quick look at the numbers.

My mechanic told me in 15 minutes the car was not fixable.  His cost was nearly $60, and he only charged me something because I told him Nissan would be picking up the cost.

Nissan took nine weeks (90,705 minutes more than my mechanic) to tell me the car was not fixable.  They paid for my mechanic's expense, a rental car for me for twelve weeks, all of their own mechanic's time, the bill from the body shop that tried to fix the problem for them initially, and their specialist's time (and presumable travel costs to and from the area since he was not a local guy).
I could've watched this movie 840 times between when my mechanic diagnosed the car and Nissan did.  Coincidentally, Nissan must have been involved in the making of the movie because the runtime is actually 108 minutes, not 88.
 Seems like quite a waste of time and money.  Either that, or I have the best mechanic in the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Professor Papa - Part 6

Here we are once again where I tell you something good I've taught the girls, and something bad. 

The good - spitting

Why is spitting good?  Because we've all had some sort of sinus and chest congestion thing going on for the last seven weeks.  Most of the time it's been - "productive", for lack of a better term. 
I've tried to teach the girls to expel anything they bring up instead of swallowing it back down.  It might sound gross, but I know how much production there has been around here so we need to make sure their bellies have enough room for food.

I won't bore you with all the details, but we've made some partial progress.

While they still don't hack anything up (and out), they do a fairly good "spit" sound.

Anytime, and I do mean anytime, someone as much as coughs at our house you will hear each of the girls say "tah", which, of course, is the spitting sound.  It might be one quick cough or a good bout of deep coughs, but it will be followed by "tah".

As I sit here writing, the girls are asleep.  They're in the middle of a very good nap and I have heard no sound for over two hours.  Hadley just coughed twice.  Seconds later, I hear Brynne, brought back to consciousness by her uncanny sense of comedic timing, says "tah".  They each giggle a bit and go back to sleep.

The bad - nothing

While I do my best to corrupt them, they have somehow managed NOT to pick up any bad habits or actions.  Oh well, better luck for me next week.

On second thought, maybe walking around spitting, or at least making the sound, is bad enough for now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vacation - Papa's point of view part 6

I was recently made aware of the fact that I failed to mention where we went on our vacationSouth Carolina is the answer. 

Since I don't really want to do a post with just two sentences, I thought I'd throw in three of my favorite pics from the trip.  All were taken by Melissa.


I know it's a cheap post, but since:

a - it's free for you and

2 - I didn't have much time to do anything this weekend it's all I got for ya.

Better stuff to follow this week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm officially a guest blogger!

Check me out over at MaMe Musing today for a bit of holiday cheer!

Do you know the next words out of cousin Eddie's mouth?


The power of the media or standard operating procedures?

A friend of mine, and his wife had to take their young daughter to the ER a few weeks ago, because she had an issue "down there".  They were given the "third degree" about what happened. 

It wasn't quite like this
Was it just the father present, the mother, both, or someone else when this happened?

Have they had any visitors recently?


Does she go to daycare?


Are there any male siblings?


Are there any female siblings that have had the same or similar experience?
He anticipated these questions due to the nature of the injury.  He did not anticipate being asked them repeatedly in different forms to see if his story remained the same. 

Don't get me wrong, neither he, nor I, were upset that these questions were asked.  We both agreed that the ER staff was totally justified in asking them to ensure it was truly an accident, and not an indicator of something more. 

What we wondered was this:
Are these questions being asked more often lately due to the publicity from the Syracuse and Penn State debacles? Or have they always been asked like this?
Neither of us have any experience with this, so I thought I'd post the question here and see if there are any of you who have been down this road or just have thoughts about it. 
Does the media sway the medical communities' actions?
I'd love to get your thoughts on these two questions.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Professor Papa - Part 5

Sometimes, little ones learn more by watching than they do by hearing.  Here is an example.

I close doors.  The video is only 22 seconds, but it proves Brynne closes doors too.

Mostly, I do this to block off access to potentially dangerous parts of the house.  Our house is not a death trap for little ones, but a bathroom obviously poses more of a threat than the living room - as does a kitchen or any room with stairs.

The girls have picked up on this.  More often than not they will close doors behind them. 

Brynne is almost beside herself when we leave the bathroom after a bath.  She will close the door to the bathroom, then the door to our closet, and finish with the door to our bedroom. 

Most of the time she is closing the door to a room she has just left, but not always.  When getting ready for the bath she will close the door, shutting us all inside.  I assume it's to keep the heat in, but who knows for sure.

Doors in the house are not all that get closed. 

Refrigerator doors, car doors, hatches on the back of the car, baby/puppy gates, doors to the dog's houses, cabinets, entertainment centers, drawers - I think you get the picture.  If something can be shut, she will shut it.  Hadley will do the same, but she doesn't appear to be as OCD as Brynne is.

That's a good thing.  At least she won't ever be accused of being raised in a barn or trying to heat/air condition the whole neighborhood.

Along with the good comes the bad. 

I will confess that I almost always lock doors behind me.  When my in-laws sold their house they had to change the locks.  I don't know any reason why you wouldn't change the locks when you move into a new house anyway, but they had to do it as they were moving out. 

Why?  Because they couldn't find any of the keys. 

That blew me away. 

I don't purposefully leave the house and leave it unlocked, or my car for that matter. 

Brynne has taken up on that.  The only problem is she knows how to use the locks on our internal doors and might have locked herself in a room before.

Once the girls could reach the handles I made sure Mama knew how to unlock them from the outside.  She already knew it, but I just wanted to be sure. 

It came in handy the first time Brynne was knocking/banging on a door from the other side and Julia tried to twist a handle that wouldn't turn.

For now, the external door locks still are too hard to turn for them, but I'm sure the time is coming when they'll figure it out.

Guess I should have left those child proof things on the doors after I moved in instead of pitching them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Tis the season

What a way to start the month!  Here's how the morning of December 1st went for me.

3:00 AM - Laying in bed - still awake.  Don't know why I can't sleep, but I can't.  I decide an extra hour of sleep is more important than getting up at 5 AM to work out, so I turn off the alarm.
Soooo sleeeepy
6:15 AM - I'm awake.  Not just awake, but wide awake.  Mama has left to workout, the house is silent, yet I'm awake.  I get up and take the dogs out.  Like an idiot, I forget it's December so I only have a t-shirt and sweats on.  It is freezing outside and each dog decides to take longer than ever to do their business.

6:45 AM - Not only am I freezing, I am also starving.  Going to make breakfast or get a glass of milk, but I can't eat or drink anything since I have to fast for my annual blood work.

7:10 AM - The girls wake up and appear to have their eye infections back.  I wrestle with each of them for a bit to clean out the eye boogers, wipe their noses, and put in their eye drops.  I am now the bad guy and both of them scream if I come near them.  They run to Mama and I don't get my usual hugs and kisses before I head out the door.  Awesome.

7:25 AM - My new phone is giving me fits.  I'm trying to call someone, but their number is not showing up in my contact list.  I have to switch to a different contact list.  I still don't see it.  They are a Facebook friend, though, so I hit the little icon to see if the number is listed there. 

As I'm doing this, apparently, I swerve slightly over the center line - and a cop is behind me.  He turns on his lights and pulls me over.  I'm less than a mile from home.  I set my phone down to get my license and registration ready, as well as to find the paperwork that proves the car is a loaner from Nissan.
Cop - Why are you driving erratically?

Me - I was trying to call a friend and couldn't find his number.

Cop - Can you show me your phone?

Me - Sure. 
I turn the screen of the phone on only to learn that hitting the little icon doesn't pull up any data, it takes me to Facebook.

Cop sees Facebook on the phone and decides to write me a ticket.  I hit the back key to show him that I was on my contacts and didn't mean to log on to Facebook. 
Cop - Either you're getting a ticket for using an electronic device while driving or for improper lane usage.  They're the same cost, so I'll just give you the electronic one.

Me - I had a burning desire to ask why he felt like being an enormous piece of crap this morning, but I wisely kept my mouth shut.  After all, he was just doing his job and while I was looking to blame someone other than myself, I was the one who messed up.
As an aside, I do use my phone for non-phone purposes (navigation system, Pandora, checking e-mail, etc.) while driving so I guess I've earned this one over the years.  It just sucks that I got it at a time when I truly was not breaking the law.

8:10 AM - My loaner car goes from telling me I have 60 miles left to drive before running out of gas to ---.  I'm on the interstate and no gas stations are close.  For the next four miles I am waiting for the car to shut down.  It finally does.  Fortunately, I am coasting into the gas station as the gas tank goes completely dry.
So helpful
8:25 AM - I get to the office just in time for my annual wellness exam.  The nurse is taking my blood pressure and expresses concern over a 148/98 reading.  I tell her about my morning so far and she recommends I come back a bit later to retest. 

Finally, a bit of good news.  My triglycerides are down 55% from last year.  Still a little high, but significantly improved thanks to a change in exercise habits.

9:15 - I get sucked into a black hole of a discussion that benefits nobody and ends with no plan of action.

10:30 - I'm tired.  I want to go home.  The nurse is gone so I can't recheck my blood pressure.  Not that it matters, the Mt. Dew I chugged probably wouldn't help matters.

If this is a sign of what's to come this month, I think I'll hibernate.
Anyone remember the Hibernol commercial?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walking is like driving

This is a pretty simple concept.  Once I explain it a bit you should get the title, and why some people frustrate me.

When you drive, assuming you're in the US, you're supposed to stay on the right side of the road.  I think this principle should be upheld whenever possible - on the sidewalk, in an office, or anywhere a clear traffic flow can be observed.

It's not that hard!
I don't know Dave, but I know he can appreciate what I'm saying here.
How many times have you walked around a corner, usually holding a beverage or some sort of food, and been nearly run over by someone taking the corner a bit tighter than they need to?  Seriously, buddy!  Would that extra millisecond you saved by cutting the corner really benefit you?

Unless you are on your way to the bathroom with explosive diarrhea, the answer is a resounding "NO". 

It takes you, according to my math, 9,456,593 tight turns to make up for every instance you nearly run into me.  The reason is simple.  Once you have an impromptu introduction like this you have to stop, sometimes pick yourself up off the floor (because let's face it, not too many people - at least in my office - can come around the corner and collide with my 6'5", 240 pound frame and not suffer some sort of redirection), apologize for being an idiot, probably make some stupid comment about how we need mirrors at each of these dangerous corners, then continue on your way.

Save yourself the humiliation, and probably some precious time, and stay in your own lane.

Do I really need to bring in a roll of duct tape to put down lane lines?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Customer Dis-service

Satellite radio is nice, but it is by no means a necessity.  With that in mind, we cancelled our service earlier this year.  It was easy enough to cancel, but then things got difficult.  I need to vent, so here goes.
Seems about right
April - I called to cancel.  They offered us a two month free usage of their service in an attempt to get us to keep paying for a service we rarely used.  I informed them that if I had to do anything, even as little as call back in to terminate the free offer, I didn't want it.  I was assured that it would automatically end and I had nothing to do. They sent us a refund check for the unused months we had already paid for so I thought we were done.

I was just a little wrong.

June - We got a notice that our subscription was about to expire due to lack of payment and that we would need to make a payment to continue with them.  Knowing that the service would discontinue automatically, I ignored their request for cash.  When we received the third letter I called in and politely asked what the hell was going on.  I was informed that I did, in fact, need to cancel the service...again. 

The less than helpful person on the other end of the line asked me to hold while she transferred me to someone who could cancel for us.  Apparently she had not been trained in the art of closing an account.  She transferred me and their phone system hung up on me.  I called back and the same thing happened.  The third time I called I told the person just to cancel us and be done.  She said OK, tried to transfer me again for good measure, and the phone went dead.

July - More notices.  Not only were we getting at least one a week, now I was getting calls on my cell phone from an automated service telling me to pay up or be cut off. 

August - At this point we were getting about four notices per week, and probably the same amount of phone calls.  I called them again and went through the same disconnecting process.

September - After months of notices they finally turned off the service.  We hadn't used it in the past few months, but did check it every so often to see if they had figured out how to stop it.

October - We got a letter from a collection agency.  We were informed that XM had turned our account over to them in an effort to collect the past due balance.  I called and explained what happened.  They, of course, could do nothing so I had to write a letter and file an appeal with XM directly.

As of the date of this post we are still waiting for XM to reply.  I'm sure they will claim not to have received our letter and want us to pay the past due balance.

Anyone else had issues with XM?  I can't imagine we are the only ones to fight this battle.  I just wonder how many people pay the bill to get XM off their back.  I also wonder if there is some sort of class action lawsuit pending.

Their attempts to squeeze a little bit of cash out of their customers seem to be a bad business practice, if you ask me.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grocery Shopping/Preparation

I don't consider myself too anal retentive about many things.  I do like organization as I believe I've mentioned before.  I also like things to be clean if at all possible.  I hate to waste stuff.  There is one exception to this rule - I LOVE to chuck old food.

 
I look at this as an opportunity to create space for new and edible items. 

I don't like it when food goes bad, because there are starving children somewhere in the world that might eat it - though I would advise against eating some of the stuff I've found in the fridge or pantry closet.

Julia and I do the grocery shopping together almost every week.  I enjoy it.  Not only do I get time with my ladies, but I get a chance to sneak things into the cart.  Things that Mama would never get on her own.  And most likely things she will never eat or let the girls have.  Typically, these items don't go bad either.  Partially because I eat them, but more often because they are so loaded with preservatives their shelf life exceeds my own life span. 

We do this on Saturday mornings.  A typical Friday night, obviously, consists of me going through the fridge and making a list of everything we need.  While I'm doing the prep work, I look through some of the old containers and decide what to chuck.  Jealous yet?  I know, right now you're thinking "How cool are they?" 

We are so cool.

Julia hates this.

The typical conversation goes like this:
Me - Is this salsa still good?  I can't tell if this is green pepper in here or mold?

Julia - Whatever.

Me - Are we still planning on using this celery?  It bends, but I'm having trouble breaking it...and it's white-ish.

Julia - Whatever.

Me - If I can stick my finger all the way to the core of a peach does that mean it's bad?

Julia - Whatever.

Me - These chips bend, but they don't crunch.  Are you still going to eat them?

Julia - Whatever. 
Me - This salad dressing expired just after we met.  Is it edible?

Julia - Whatever.
Me - When did we have tomato soup last?

Julia - I can't remember.

Me -  Oh, never mind.  It's actually an apple that sorta melted.
Julia - Shut up and bring me some more wine.

Me - We have a bottle of white in the fridge that has never been opened, but appears to be evaporating.  Is that even possible?

Julia - Never mind, I got it myself.
As you can see, Julia is obviously as excited as I am about getting rid of the old to make room for the new.  Either that, or she is halfway through a bottle of wine and trying to unwind after a long week with the girls.

No matter.  I continue to purge and eventually feed the hungry monster garbage disposal almost everything I've found.    
MMMM, can't believe I threw this stuff out.
With that done, I complete the grocery list with all the necessities like bread, milk, sweet love makin, and eggs. 

It never gets old seeing Julia adding things to the list and then come across one of my "necessities".

Maybe if I had a kitchen like this I wouldn't need to create space for all the new items.  Maybe someday.