Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hello there.

We'll skip through the typical slog that everyone has experienced and say . . .


That is right!  K (who was 4 when this blog started) finished her high school requirements this summer.  

Why is she still there?!  

Baby kid is continuing with her culinary studies and is squeezing every last morsel out of any culinary related experience she can get at the high school.  

She volunteered for a brief stint this summer at a senior living facility that was closing and needed some spot help after their staff left.  That was right before school started back up and knowing K, she would still be there.  Doesn't every 17 year old drive 25 minutes away to show up at 6 AM to cook breakfast and lunch for 55 seniors?  

She is running the coffee bar at school starting tomorrow.  She and her friend baked some lovely things to accompany the coffee.  She needs to be there at 6:45 AM.  She also stops to pick up a friend on the way.  Hello responsibility and being on time.  It's a grand thing! 

During the heaping helping of study halls she has (more on that in a second) she has been helping in the school cafeteria with packaging meal portions.  Since she is certified by the state in food management, she can legally do this.  (The very reason she was recruited for the senior living facility.)  

She is studying for her Food Handler's certification.  The school will shoulder the cost of the test.  Her previous boss, Chef J, said to get as many certifications as the school will allow her.  Take it in and do it all as much as you can.  You know what?  She is.  

She is networking with some different chefs.  

Oh my heavens, we have college applications to do.  I say we, but it is really her with a mama to proofread.  She has her eye on a few culinary programs and a friend who is looking to attend one along with her.  The ladies have plans and I think that is a fabulous thing. 

Just the other day, K was texting back and forth about the potential of an internship the summer after graduation.  She is looking to see what she can get and opportunities she can have.  

Last year K had no study halls.  The year prior she did have 1, but then COVID ate that last week of grading period 3 and of course the entire 4th quarter.  She took all of the classes she needed then, 2 the summer of 2020 and 2 this past summer.  It left her with nothing else required.  Instead of padding her schedule with a bunch of useless classes that honestly could trash her GPA, we decided to go the easier schedule route which would allow her to explore her culinary studies a bit more. She has a capstone project to handle in culinary and we wanted to allow her as much time as she needed to devote to that end study.  

Y'all, her stress is down to a much, much more manageable level and for the very first time in high school, she is sleeping at night.  The light is actually off when I pop up in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit.  She sits and can actually breathe.  She has time to talk to us.  She has time to hang out with some friends.  Kiddo needed a break.  I'm glad we could encourage her to take one before college and internships kick in.  

Hoping the world finds you well.  We're just two parents, watching this amazing girl reach out and progress to things of knowledge and life.  The work in progress is moving forward more and more toward her goals.  Such a delight to watch.  

Thursday, January 9, 2020

So she's now driving . . .

That's right.  That girl o' mine has . . . a driver's license.  It's real!  It didn't come out of a bubble gum machine or anything.  Since she is now a newly licensed driver of just one week, when people find out, they ask her about driving all over and her car and . . .

She does not have her own car.  You see even prior to the replacement of both adult vehicles in the house in all of 8 months, we discussed having her drive with us for a year before helping her to get her own car.  She understood and agreed.  We told her that we wanted to have her experience all of the seasons prior to setting her off all on her own in her own car.

It's not to say that she hasn't taken trips in my vehicle.  It's not to say that the reality and gravity of the responsibility freaked her out so badly that she decided that she did not like driving by herself.  Period.

The local library saw her three days in a row last week.  It was important to set her off on her own and not to let her continue to hang out and be stressed out.  I sent her a few miles away with Life360 powered up to monitor, she still checked in, took care of business and came back.  Our agreement (at her suggestion which seems completely reasonable) is to have Life360 running on trips out on her own, but to shut it down when she gets home because we know where she is and when she is at school, she is at school.  It's a freaky thing to run with a GPS continually monitoring your moves, so I get completely where she is at.

I phoned our lovely local insurance agency.  Goodbye good insurance rates.  Oh yes, they went up $1000 per year because my sweets is driving our fully insured vehicles rather than a mobile heap with liability only.  :insert stressed out mama face and budget crunching calculator:  As a good consumer (who hates to do it after how well they handled this past year) we will be just shopping around for some new insurance rates.

But . . . kiddo is driving.  She won't be driving friends around.  Before reality hit, she wanted to make a solo drive to Cleveland.  She's got it in her.  She could do it easily.  We did it with her several times.  Still . . . K needs to still hang a bit more local.  She's got it, but mama ain't good with letting go all the way just yet.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Hooray!  She's home!  We've put stickers on her.  We have claimed her as our own.

Let the healing begin!

Friday, November 22, 2019

State Farm: After 3 1/2 weeks and waiting for factory parts, F2 is coming home!

Thus far, our red girl has been housed at the repair shop for longer than we actually had her here.  Her first payment was made without her sitting in the drive.  However, I phoned shop B today to find out an update and SHE'S COMING HOME TOMORROW!

Y'all, somehow State Farm approved FACTORY replacement parts and what ended up being the replacement of the ENTIRE exhaust system, meaning the pipe from all the way up under the motor there somewhere to the back along with the two mufflers.  The body work has been handled.  The final work was being completed today and tomorrow late afternoon, F2 is coming home to stay.

We have missed her so.

Somehow all the stress, all the yelling, the hanging up, the sleepless nights and all has amounted to everything finally being handled in the way it needed done.  I can give Hertz their Nissan Sentra back, and I can go from being a Minnesota adoptee for a bit to back to an Ohioan.

Am I proud of the way that I/we have handled the situation?  Nope.  Unfortunately we did crack under the pressure and we did not ooze God's love, grace and forgiveness as we should have.  We have asked for forgiveness.  We have re-tuned.  The dust has settled.  :deep breath:

She's coming home.  May the healing continue and the drivers behind us stop before they reach us.

Friday, November 1, 2019

State Farm: Light estimates and low quality replacement parts. Gee, thanks.

My love texts me that State Farm has sent him the estimate for F2, but he can't open it.  I can't either, but I call shop B to make certain that they had the estimate before I went on to call State Farm.  They do, if they find that they need more done, they will phone the estimator.

I phone State Farm.  I was able to speak with a lovely woman from Georgia.  She was able to resend the estimate and  . . . it is $1000 less than the first one which was already a bit light.  They want my market muffler replaced with the cheapest possible muffler around-- one from O'Reilly's Auto Parts, which is basically the equivalent to buying fine china at Big Lots.

I hate State Farm.

So now I have a call back.  We want the parts on the car we just purchased to be the parts that are supposed to be on there, not just whatever cheap crap they decide that they will pay for.  Will I get my way?  Probably not.

It was not our fault, yet we are the ones to suffer for people who don't freaking know how to yield.  UGH.
- - - - - - - - - -
Now that I have received my call back, pressing on with the saga that is State Farm  . . .

They finally passed me on to our "claim team."  The woman told me that she realizes that I haven't even made my first payment yet and that their insured hit me before we even owned the car for a week, but that State Farm was not going to approve use of parts any better than those that are presently on our vehicle. 

I asked for a manager. 

"He's busy.  He won't approve anything better anyhow." 

"What is his name?"

"I can't give you that."

"May I have his phone number or email?"

"I can't give you that."

"What is your name?"


"And what state are you in?"

"I'm not authorized to release that."

"Interesting because I spoke to two lovely ladies today.  The first woman was in Georgia and the second woman I just spoke to was in Arizona.  Why could they tell me where they were and you can't?"

"I can't release that information.  I can have him phone you back."  

I yelled at her and hung up.  I'm not expecting a return call from her manager.  

I phoned the shop where the Forester is being repaired.  Keith's lovely wife (I really need to find out her name) went over the estimate with me, explained the muffler part choice and the fact that they are both being replaced so that the back of the car looks right.  (State Farm initially only approved one.)  Keith gets dealer parts at auto parts store prices, so the car will be fixed right, will be in the shop for 2 weeks and all will be well.  

Keith and his wife will be getting a lovely box of homemade cookies.  

Thank you for allowing me to vent.  

Thursday, October 31, 2019

State Farm: The continuation of twisting the knife slowly.

Today was the day that I drop F2 off for her $5000 beauty treatment.  Now, we knew that the estimate that M received from the State Farm authorized estimate shop was a lil light on comprehensiveness.  I take her this morning and the shop owner (we took her to a different shop than where the estimate was generated) asked which estimate we were using.

"Um, we only had one estimate."

In pure State Farm fashion, the left hand, right hand and the whole system of talking hands once again DIDN'T WRITE A FREAKING THING DOWN and somehow, they didn't realize that there was already an estimate done.  Yup.  You read that right.  The estimate was submitted by shop A, State Farm called us and said that shop A sent them confirmation that we had an appointment with them to drop F2 off and they were getting some more details.  We never made an appointment with shop A because, well, they sucked.  We told them that we were going with shop B because we had previous work done there and they are the shop of our choosing.  It took M quite some time to get the customer service agent to understand that we would not be going to shop A.  So, did she just delete the estimate?

Another estimate is being done-- I think.  I told Keith and his wife (the lovely shop B people) to do whatever they needed to do.  We appreciated their shop, their willingness to take State Farm (apparently many shops will not deal with them because of continued problems just like this) and for their kindness.

State Farm, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE A CONTINUAL PAIN IN MY - - - ?  The only thing you have been consistent on is your incredibly BAD service!  Neither my husband or I have ever seen such incredible incompetence in all our lives.

The rental car was fun.  It was scheduled.  Hertz was given the claim and they scheduled me to have a  full sized SUV.  I am 5' tall.  I told them children would go missing in the neighborhood.  They ordered up what they referred to as a "mid-sized" SUV.  It was a very large Ford Escape.  The guy, seeing the notation, decided to skip the SUV specification and put me in a Nissan Sentra instead.  The good thing is that it is smaller so I can see.  The pain with that is apparently State Farm automatically charges $30 gas responsibility off the top, so the very nice Hertz guy informed me to run it down to the very last drop because I already paid for the gas.  Will I use $30 in gas?  I have no idea.  However, if I only needed the car for 2 days, I can tell you that I wouldn't need that much and would be right irritated at the $30 charge State Farm applies without saying anything to you about it.  But, why would they?  Maybe the State Farm customer service reps aren't knowledgeable about that charge since THEY DON'T SEEM TO KNOW ANYTHING ANYWAY!

Rental car.  Check.
Flakes in the forecast for the first time this coming winter season?  Check.
Not an SUV.  Check.

So, we are hoping that State Farm pulls through and really does pay for the F2 repairs as they need to.   The back door WAS damaged and the muffler WAS damaged.  It's not light surface damage.  Since State Farm was nearly $600.00 light on the total loss amount, we decided to go through our insurance company and allow them to go back on State Farm for payment.

Gigantic. Pain. In. The. Behind.

Monday, October 21, 2019

State Farm: You suck and your claims process is wearing at the core of our souls.

This might be a long one.  No tl;dr.  Details are important, y'all.

Saturday, 10/12/19- K and I are two minutes from walking out the door for the funeral of a dear wonderful woman from our church.  Poised to put my eyeliner on, my cellphone rings.  It doesn't ring that often, so I look and notice it is my love.  I answer.

"I am okay.  I was just in an accident.  The car is totaled."

I found out where M was, took 3 seconds, threw the eyeliner on, threw out a few texts to the parishioners who were expecting us and off and away we went.

Sweet love, the drive to California would have been shorter.  I reach the hill where my love says he was hit and I don't see him.  K spotted the Yaris first.  She gasped.  He neglected to tell me that it was off the road and had gone into the woods.

I parked in a woman's front yard, threatened K not to get out because I didn't need her all up in whatever was going on and I didn't want her hit by a car.  I crossed the road, inspected my sweets for breakage and leakage.  Both were negative.  Once I found out I wouldn't injure him with a hug, I squeezed him tight for a long time.  Then he dropped the bomb-- the guy who hit him was on his phone.

There were no skid marks.  That is why initially I couldn't find the car.

It is now I will admit that I am not proud of the fact that indeed there were some hefty words that fell from my lips.  Not at the guy.  Not at Mark.  At the situation.  I was peeved.  Dude seriously had total disregard for my husband by cresting a hill and probably driving the equivalent of a football field down a hill and only knew my husband was there when he struck his car with his vehicle.  What was he doing?  He was changing a podcast.  He told M that as well as the troopers.

He launched M over the roadway.  The Yaris touched down on the passenger side (turfed the lawn) went through a split rail fence, through the woods, over some saplings and one of the larger ones stopped his continuation forward.

The man hit him so hard that his glasses flew off his face.

Insurance information is passed on.  Since his car is was an obvious total that had to be flat bedded out of the woods, I phoned our insurance -- Allstate -- to let them know of the situation.  They were all over it.  Phoning us daily to see if he was okay.  Do they need to handle the claim?  . . . Very attentive.

It gets to Tuesday, 10/15/19 and we have yet to hear from State Farm.  Again, we have heard from our insurance several times.  Since we purchased a new-to-him 2013 Subaru Forester (later referred to as F2 since I have one we purchased in February) I needed to formalize insurance for our new buy. I explained to our agent office that we have not heard from State Farm and the accident was several days prior.

"I don't think he phoned the claim in.  Certainly they would have called at this point."  She looked the claim phone number up for me, I passed it on to M so that he could phone.  I thanked her profusely.  We seriously love Allstate and our Allstate agency.

M phoned and they said they hadn't phoned us because they didn't have our contact information.  We had the information from the guy who hit my husband.  We had his name, insurance and policy number.  We could have very easily done an internet search and picked it up.  M ended up talking to 5 different people that day who all asked the VERY SAME QUESTIONS.  My husband's stock question to State Farm has become, "DO YOU PEOPLE EVEN WRITE ANYTHING DOWN?"  I ended up being involved in the last call.  When I noticed M's head starting to smoke and he was looking like he was about to have a Sheldon Cooper lunch table explosion, I stepped in.

"How is it that you didn't have his contact information?  Don't you have a crash report?"

The guy said no, but different people say something different every time we phone.

I explained that no one phoned to check to see how he was.  I explained that no one offered a rental.  I explained that there was no attempt to advance the claim on.  He kept insisting that the car be brought closer.  (It was 45 minutes away and in a tow yard.)  After the third time with M telling him he gave the tow yard permission for it to be released to State Farm and that he got all belongings out of it, the guy wanted it closer so that it could be fixed.  M blew a gasket.  "IT CAN'T BE FIXED!  IT IS TOTALED!  DO YOU PEOPLE NOT WRITE ANYTHING DOWN?!"

I continued,  "It was your guy who was on the phone, hit my husband probably driving 60 MPH, launched him over a roadway, through a fence, into the woods where he finally was stopped by some small trees.  It's not okay.  The car is totaled.  It can't be fixed.  We need to get this claim handled."

He told us and I quote, "You guys need to calm down."

Oh. no. he. didn't.

He told us that they needed to get the car moved because they were having to pay storage on it.  Kind of not our fault because they never contacted us.  So glad he was more concerned about storage fees than my husband's welfare.  I believe that I told him that.

I told him that I was so very glad that I didn't have State Farm because the way this claim has been handled has been appalling.  If he needed the title, let us know, we will get everything signed and dropped off or mailed.

The personal injury guy has not contacted M back.  M's initial call was on 10/15.  He has another appointment for adjustment this week.  He has suffered from whiplash and it sure would be great to get payment to Cleveland Clinic rolling along.

We finally got a total loss amount back.  M was so mad that he told the guy we were going through our insurance and hung up on them.  Then I asked my sweets what Allstate said because they could offer us $2000 and not the $4400 State Farm did and then we would be royally screwed.


He phoned back, apologized profusely and they are keeping the claim open.  We are now waiting to speak to the Allstate rep so that we can have them review it for a total loss claim amount.

We received a copy of the crash report.  The distraction coding seems to have been changed to "distraction outside of the vehicle" rather than the admitted "phone use."  Yes, well, either he paid the OSHPatrol off or they ended up giving him a break for insurance purposes.  We have phoned them to have that amended and, as with everything else, we have heard nothing.

Sunday, 10/20/19- After an enjoyable day to Cleveland where K drove up and around, she handed driving back over to her dad.  I had forgotten my purse at home, didn't have either my license or my Epi Pen (yellow jacket allergy and they have been bad) so M drove.  We got off the expressway and were waiting to yield just like the two giant yield signs asked us to and WHAM!  Oh yes, F2 got rear ended.  No, I am not kidding.  The replacement car we just financed less than a week before was now damaged.

(She hit us at probably 10 MPH, so it is here that I tell you that we are all okay.)

Once again, I was not at the height of humor or love for humanity.  I jumped out of the car and started knocking on the woman's window with my pointer finger screaming at her about now this is twice in one week, a car we haven't owned for a week and what does she say?  "You weren't supposed to stop. I looked back, you stopped and you shouldn't have stopped."  At this point, my love was at my side.  "There was traffic coming.  I had to stop."  She went on, "This is your fault."

Step back for two seconds.  She rear ended us on an exit ramp as we were yielding to oncoming traffic at a yield.  It was not continuous turn with caution.  It said yield!

I phoned the police.  They were all concerned about which direction I was pointed.  Y'all, I don't know what direction I am pointed on any given day much less a day where my husband has encountered being hit twice in 8 days.  After asking me for the 4th time, I believe she gave up.  The police came.  We were on a ramp.  That was highway patrol territory.  Highway Patrol came out.  We explained to the trooper what went on.  We explained that the woman insisted we were at fault.

He laughed.

He spoke with her.  She insisted it was our fault.  He explained that we could stop anywhere we wanted on the roadway and it didn't give her the right to hit us.  He confirmed his decision by giving her a ticket.  He gave us her insurance information.  Who is it?  You guessed it!  State FREAKING Farm.

I tell my love that I can phone this one in since I was in the car with him.  I do, I get Kevin from Washington State (he is an ex-cop, super guy and you need to give him a serious raise) who I explain the situation of now a second claim.  He finds that the State Farm driver hadn't called the claim in yet, so he processes it with me as far as he can.  He will phone her and if successful, they will back to me in about a half hour or so.  In 45 minutes, Pam from Dallas TX (who is delightful and also deserves a big fat raise) gave me the claim number, rental car information and was a delight to speak with.

The State Farm delightfulness stopped there.

F2 went to the State Farm approved estimate shop that appears to be run by some nasticious troll who has an attitude worse than anything my husband has seen.  (It is here that I remind the gentle readers that my husband is a very kind soul.)  He phoned me during the estimate.  "I don't feel good about this shop.  I don't get a good feeling.  This guy isn't nice.  This is a production shop.  He has no attention to detail and this is terrible."

"You don't have to go there.  They told us that we can go to the shop of our choice.  The shop that repaired for us before is wonderful and you spoke of going there."

M talked with the awful shop guy who was trying to hard sell to him and in the end, contacted State Farm with an appointment to get the car repaired that M never scheduled.  Can I tell you how much fun that has been because State Farm was so insistent that we were going to Backyard Bully Bob's Collision Center that my husband just started chanting on repeat the name and address of the shop we will be having repair F2.  He said that the woman lost her patience with him.

Oh, and fun to add that this State Farm representative is confusing the two claims and thinks she is fixing the Yaris.  "IT IS TOTALED.  DO YOU PEOPLE NOT WRITE ANYTHING DOWN?" was M's response.

BBBCCenter guy never sent the estimate as he said he would.  M said he phoned the shop to tell him had never scheduled an appointment and has chosen to go to a different place.  We believe the guy is withholding the estimate out of spite because, well, that is how this fine trip with State Farm has been.

So, State Farm-- you are the worst insurance company we have ever encountered.  Never have we ever had to phone any insurance company to give our contact information.  Just February, my vehicle was totaled at the shop by our mechanic and their insurance was on with me within hours.  Everything was sorted within a week.  Hooray for Erie Insurance!

Ohio State Waterproofing hit me and K, spun us through an intersection and totaled our vehicle about 12 years ago.  Their insurance was all over it.  Thank you, Cincinnati Insurance!  

My vehicle was damaged at a friend's house by a husband, a strong weed eater and over zealous trimming before a party.  Hooray for Westfield Insurance as they had it handled and easily taken care of!

We have already said, but just to confirm, thank you Allstate for your kindness and caring in regard to questions we have had and advice you have been able to give.

State Farm, Step up and redeem yourself!  Get these two unfortunate claims sorted in a swift manner, please!  You have been absolutely terrible to deal with!