Saturday, September 20, 2014

Engagement ring maintenance.

I noticed that I was a bit remiss on taking my ring for the 6 month check.  I was so remiss that I was almost a year out.

Oops.

I've never had that happen.  Life has, well, happened.  I also hate the mall.  (Hate is a strong word, but I really do.)  The store that holds the guarantee is in the mall.

Drat it all.

I go to big box jewelry store and a gentleman helped me and K.  At first, I couldn't tell if he was going to.  I thought he had just walked away, but he was readying himself to check my rings.  He called us over, I handed the rings over and he started his inspection.  He pulled out the mandrel and started pulling.

Yup.  I knew that she was out of round.  She was more so in oval.

:(

He checked.  He cleaned.  He was truly the most thorough that anyone has ever been.  Then came the news.  The news that I knew was a few years coming.

"The shank needs redone."

"I've known that for some time.  I figured that you'd tell me that."

"The ring is just about to break.  If it breaks, it may fall off and be lost."

I knew that the shank was thin when I had the great hand squashing incident of 2012.  I was hoping that when they reshaped it that by some miracle, that the shank could be made whole again.  Well, it was.  It just didn't earn anymore metal in the transaction.

So I bid my engagement ring a short farewell.  I had to pay the $160 in full to get her into repair.  (Redoing the shank does not fall under the warranty.)  It kind of irritated me having to pay for a repair before the item was actually delivered, but people stiff the jewelry store on repairs all of the time.  I understand the need for the change in policy.

My engagement ring isn't at all large.  I'm good with that.  Though I have my wedding ring on, I do feel a little naked without it.  I didn't realize how much I played with it until I had to hand it over.  Soon enough it will be back with another shank repair that will last me another & years or so.

What's funny is that the gentleman was apologizing for everything taking so much time and for the fact that they were essentially dead, then everyone came in.  "I work retail.  I understand how it goes."  He asked where I work and I told him.  Apparently, he is a customer.  I told him how I work display and sales.  He said it explained a lot about my ring.  He also made a comment about my energy.  "That would be a good job to keep you busy.  You seem to have a lot of energy."  "I was blessed with ADD.  Sometimes, I suppose, that it is a bit more manic than I give it credit to be."  And I thought I was being a bit more sedate than my usual self.  :shakes of the head:  He chuckled, handed my credit card back and I was off.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Smile! A post about the church directory photos.

This week has been picture week.  K had soccer photos on Sunday.  I had to send her back up the hill because they didn't take her single shot, just the group shot.  Since I paid for it, I kind of wanted it.

Yesterday was school picture day.  K went all rainbowy and if I didn't have an issue posting her beautiful 10 year old face on the internet, then I would.  Just take my word for it-- she looked fabulous!  A 10 year old in her rainbow glory.  :)

Last evening was the church directory photo session.  M came home feeling a bit under the weather, so the fact that he was even with us was pushing it.  His coworker has been sick and though she missed a day, she came back to share.

As church directory photo sessions always are, it hearkened back to the days of Olan Mills.  When she had me to the hands on the shoulder thing I did comment, "Really?  :snarly nose:  You want me to do the Olan Mills pose?  I'm feeling very 1980's."  She laughed.  I wasn't being snarky, but I'm thinking that they need to update the posing a hair.  She did after that.

To their credit, they did take a few nice photos of us.  The time came for us to view and select and all that.  We got a free 8x10 and a directory.  Super!  We haven't had a family portrait done since K's adoption.  We discussed which portrait for the directory and chose the free one.  We decided that 2 additional 5x7s would be great for the parents.

"Okay, then that will be $70.35."

"Um, the 8x10 was complimentary, right?"

"Yes."

Y'all, it was $50 for the 2 5x7s and then the additional $20 was for tax and ship.  The last I checked, it shouldn't cost $15-$20 to ship two little 5x7s.  I'm just saying. Oh, and especially with the 5x7s being shipped bulk to the church and not to the house.

"I'm so very sorry.  I didn't expect 2 5x7s to cost more than the picture package that I bought for my daughter today that includes 2 5x7s along with 6 other sheets of photos.  I apologize.  We should have asked the cost.  We will just take the complimentary 8x10."

I felt bad to lead her on, but we couldn't have been the only people to have sticker shock.

I understand that they are trying to make a profit.  Good for them.  However, highway robbery was spoken to me many times last evening when telling people our story.

Eeek.

If you choose to purchase church directory photos, and I know folks who have, just know that they are going to be photo studio prices.  My comment to my friend?  "It's not like Lance Mercer or Annie Leibovitz came out and took the photos."  Now for them, $70 would have been just fine.  They wouldn't have made me do an Olan Mills, either!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The media and panic.

Wednesday, we had an episode here with weather reports that sounded somewhat like when the tornado hit Tuscaloosa.  Mom called and said that they had reported that those "in the downtown area need to get away from windows and doors."  Of course, that's where I was at.  I had just been outside.  We were under a tornado warning and so help me, I couldn't find anything that suggested anything that would spin up into a tornado.  There were no swirling clouds.  Believe me, I saw those above my house years ago when we got hailed.  Turns out that whatever they were concerned about over downtown blew and split and split again and dropped a few EF0 tornadoes just a few miles past my in-law's house.  Some roof damage.  Yards turned up with plants and trees.  No one hurt.  (The in-laws and their condo are fine.)

Thursday brought us the prison break of TJ Lane and his fellow inmates.  Y'all, that is 2 hours away from our house and though I realize that they could have secured a car and all, everyone was advised to stay in with doors and windows locked.  Bless the people of Chardon.  They immediately sent security to the homes of those injured or to the families of the victims.  But, we were 2 hours away.  Cleveland news was pre-empted.  They couldn't tell us anything more.  They just kept saying the same thing over and over.  By 4:30 AM, the three inmates were found and have all now been transferred to a high security prison in Youngstown.  Still, living in Lima or in the Mansfield area?  I could get all of those "lock your doors and windows" warnings.  Where did they find them?  Well, TJ Lane was 100 yards from the prison.  His one inmate buddy didn't even make it off the grounds and the other guy didn't get very far away.

As we were walking the other day, Hubs and I were talking about the state of the world and my theory is that it is all made worse by -- social media.  They were begging people not to give any type of updates on where the police were or whatnot the other night on social media because they didn't know if the escaped inmates had access to any of the updates and they didn't want to compromise the search.  Governments watch each other, made much easier by -- social media.  I told Hubs that I seriously doubt that world peace will ever occur again due to instantaneous coverage of "news."  :shakes of the head:

How often have we found that "breaking news" was inaccurate?  The Boston Marathon bombers were reported found by the AP and other news organizations far before it actually occurred.

The internet, news and whatnot can be a blessing.  We do not, however, need to incite panic and worry over states.  (Boston is not the story I'm talking about.  That was necessary to keep everyone safe.)  How do you feel about the saturation of news coverage?  Kate Middleton is having it tweeted that her shoe is falling off before it even hits the ground.  (A silly example that I don't know happened, but go with me here.)  Do we always have to know everything "as it happens?"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The difference between Target and Home Depot.

I stopped by the local Target store yesterday to hunt down some items that our fearless Santa Shop chair was looking for.  I was closer than she was, so I volunteered.  As I was checking out, I asked the cashier what she thought of the Home Depot debacle vs. how it was handled with Target.

"Target caught it in what, three weeks?  Home Depot had it happen in April, they are just announcing it now and it is a much larger breach than what Target had, yet Target was raked over the coals."

"Ma'am, you don't even know."

"I can only imagine."

"Actually, you probably can't.  I had people screaming at me and still do on a daily basis.  I was part of the hacking victims, too."
"If that is accurate - and if even a majority of Home Depot stores were compromised - this breach could be many times larger than Target, which had 40 million credit and debit cards stolen over a three-week period," he noted.
Why did Target get so much flak?  You can say it is because it was the height of the Christmas shopping season, but wouldn't we say that from April through September would be Home Depot's main shopping season for home improvement projects?

Target got a lot of flak for it taking them three weeks to notice/announce it.  Um, I'm counting up 5 months + with Home Depot.  Where is the back peddling with them?  Why aren't people up in arms like they were with Target?

I still shop Target.  I'm there a few times a month.

Will I continue to shop at Home Depot?  Yes.  Why?  Since our city tax information was stolen by Turkish hackers a little over a year ago, I locked all of our information down with Equifax.  No one can open a credit card without us being alerted.  No one can run a credit check, well-- not without our authorizing it with specific codes and whatnot.  We pared down our credit cards and took a bit of a credit rating hit for a while for canceling one.  (They don't want you to cancel them, but you can just leave them hanging there unused.  Tell me that's not an invitation to someone to use a dormant card.)  Our financial well-being is monitored.  You know what?  My friend who works for the Federal Reserve told me that it's just not an option anymore.  Cases like this will be the norm and not so much an occasional occurrence.

So, Home Depot, how are you going to correct the situation?

Friday, August 29, 2014

My child asked for water too many times.

K asked for water a couple of times today.  Since it was more than her teacher deemed necessary, he asked that I write a note for her regarding her water consumption.  I crafted the following note for him:

August  29, 2014

Mr. H,

K said that you needed a water note.  I wrote you a water song instead.  I thought you might appreciate my efforts.

K has some very hot pipes,
Doo-dah, doo-dah,
She drinks water like a camel,
Oh, the doo-dah-day.

She may need some extra water,
2 sips just won’t do,
When her sponge is dry she tends to have some headaches, too.

A little more water helps to solve that.
Doo-dah, doo-dah,
Please allow rehydration,
Oh, the doo-dah-day.

Whoooo!

Thanks,

Amy 
Mom to K and tacky songstress


I think that he'll understand her need.   Since he brings a guitar to school and did a bunch of magic tricks for the class on the first day, I figured that I could completely get away with this.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The 5th Grade


The first day of the last day of elementary school.  My kiddo isn't the little kiddo she was when she started.  

This was first grade.  (Yes, I have kindergarten but remember that the computer crashed?  It's squirreled away in a file and when it saved, it saved things in weird blocks.)  You'll see her riding Sparkle, her hobby horse unicorn.  Sparkle still exists, but she's just stowed away.  

That backpack was carried through 2 years of preschool and 3 years of elementary before the locker hang loop broke off. She needed to move up to a bigger backpack anyhow.  

Last year of elementary.  I can't believe it.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Camping Weekend: Lake Hope and Hocking Hills

We went on a weekend camping trip.  We were delayed by a day because of predicted severe weather.  We got out on Friday morning and started our adventure. 

We went to feed hummingbirds at the Lake Hope Nature Center.  I was the only one who got any action.  Hubs tried.  K had the magic behind the camera.


 Hubs set the tents up underneath tarps.  Heavy rain was predicted.  Normally the two tents aren't quite this close.  (We take a sleeping tent and a changing/bathing tent.)


The longest campsite we can find there.  Our favorite site! 

My people fished and I was taking pictures-- surprise, surprise.



I added a year.  My girlie made me a banana bread birthday cake.  They even remembered the candles! 


The two tents and the tarps.


The sleeping quarters.  Now, it says it is a 5 man tent.  As you can see, one queen sized air mattress and one cot fills it.  


We started our hiking at Ash Cave. 








We moved on to Cedar Falls.  Unfortunately, a number of trails and the main trailhead were closed permanently because of three deaths this spring.  People die in Hocking Hills every year.  Three people died at Cedar Falls because they tried to get too close and fell 100 feet.  If you follow the trails and stay on them, it isn't an issue.  Every single death was from people leaving the trail.  I might add, Ohio State Parks has a lot of signage and always has. 



We previously hiked this trail.  :(


Out of focus, but you can see that the trails aren't always very wide and the steps are covered in sand. Sometimes the steps are steep.  Keep in mind that most people we saw were hiking in flip flops.  I don't know how they did it.


On the quest for Old Man's Cave . . .











I just read that this bridge is slated for replacement this month.  Um, she was a bit bouncy and the deck definitely needs some love. 




Dinosaur Scale, if memory serves.  At least that's what Hubs called it.


Old Man's Cave. 


Drat it all.  Humans.  I was selfish and didn't want to share the view.  I wanted the joint to myself.  Is that too much to ask?  


The cable and post system that they have in some places is new.  It is because of the spring deaths.  



Watch your head, Hubs!









At Conkle's Hollow Nature Preserve, they had a field full of native wildflowers. K got the butterfly net out. 

'

She caught herself a monarch.





A trail that those with disabilities can enjoy.












The American Ninja Warrior challenge.  :)  She did end up with a wet foot after one of the passes. 



The ferns growing on the rock I thought was very interesting.



Rock House.  This is where we took our Christmas picture. 









A summer azure.


Hubs was on the hunt.


Got an azure. 


The sunset.


I swear that they hose the wood down before they sell it to us.  Hubs was struggling to get the fire going.  He was using a tote lid as billows. 


Dinner to the left, bathing water to the right.  I ended up throwing the corn on the cob into the fire.  It was wonderful!  We also had green beans in there and potatoes.  I picked them up from a farm market stand at a gas station.  


A young bull frog.


My birthday prize. It's a little guy that holds about 1000 songs and PJ took up 624 of those.  (Hubs preloaded it for me.)  I've since taken all of the 2000 PJ bootlegs out but one (Las Vegas), took the singles out and added Jack White, The Dead Weather, Raconteurs, The Afghan Whigs, The Misfits, CAKE, Fugazi, Talking Heads, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Temple of the Dog and The Pixies.  :)  I needed me some more music than just PJ.  Love PJ, but needed variety.  


Playing cards after dark.  


I won!


The net that held my many phone parts.  Phone parts you ask?  Why yes, Hubs ended up gutting my phone down as far as he could because my phone dropped out and into the bathing kettle of hot water.  He stripped it down (thank you Leatherman!) and left it to dry overnight.  It did work after the dunk.  We had dried it out the best we could.  About an hour later, the keyboard locked up.  The next morning, Hubs put it back together and it now works as good as ever.  Hooray!  :)  Hubs is my hero.


The morning view out of the foot window.  That would be our tent light hanging there. 


The blind photo camera picture out of the window above my head. 


My friend, Aimee, teases me about all of the bug spray and sunscreen in the back door.  Okay, we have four mostly used sunscreen containers, but we have 5 different versions of mosquito spray.  Different deet.  No deet. Outside, deep woods, sportsman.  We have it all.  After all of the teasing, Aimee admitted a need while attending a picnic.  I reminded her of all of the teasing.  


 Breaking down camp.  It's a lot of work.


Yes.  Yes, we are.  My lil iPod came to me loaded with all of my PJ CDs.  We even listened to the Mansfield, MA 2003 boot all the way home. 


We had a great time.  We even stopped by Sonic for the first time.  Never mind that I shut three of my child's ten digits in the door.  (She's okay.)  We all got slushies and got on our way.  Yumola!  :)