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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Has anyone ever noticed this or am I the only one?

I will try anything to get my kids to eat vegetables.

“Here honey. These little green trees are sooooo tasty and you can dip them in ranch to make them even more delicious. Now don’t just suck the ranch off the little trees. Eat the little trees too!”

“Yum! Lima beans! You know who looooooves lima beans don’t you? That’s right. Cheyanne loves lima beans so eat em up and be just like her!”

“Here’s some cheese sauce for your little white bushes. Yum! These little white bushes are delicious with cheese sauce? Aren’t they Daddy? Yum!”

My kids have never been fooled by my little tricks. They know broccoli when they see it and are very skilled at licking ranch dressing off of it without actually getting any broccoli in their mouths.

Sarah will spend an entire dinner saying, “Cheyanne likes lima beans!” quickly followed by, “But I don’t!” And she says it with such pride. She will spend hours following Cheyanne around like a love sick puppy dog, wants to wear her hair just like Cheyanne’s and wants to play with whatever toy Cheyanne is playing with but when it comes to lima beans she decides it’s time to show some independence.

And cheese sauce? Forget it! They know that if something is covered with cheese sauce it must be a vegetable and they don’t want any part of it!

Tonight I decided to serve asparagus for dinner. I thought perhaps they might like it since it was oddly shaped as compared to the peas or carrots they are usually served.

As I was dishing it out on their plates I got a brilliant idea and just knew I could get them to try the asparagus.

“Hey kids! Look! This is asparagus! Do you know what happens if you eat a lot of it?”

“What, Mommy? What?” asked Sarah very intent on learning something about the odd green vegetable on her plate.

“If you eat a lot of this the next time you pee it will smell just like the asparagus!” I was so proud that I had remembered this little factoid in time for dinner. They might actually be so intrigued that they may eat some.

Not a chance. They took one whiff of it and deemed it inedible. I hope their preschool teachers never ask them what they had for dinner the night before. They may be shocked by the answer.

A vitamin and a red Popsicle.

Hey, don’t judge me! At least they are getting a vitamin!

Every evening after dinner we go to my parent’s house and sit on their front porch. Dan swings in the swing and Mom, Dad and I rock in the rocking chairs. The kids are usually running around eating Popsicles, kicking kick balls and telling my parents about their day.

Tonight Sarah ran over to my mom and exclaimed, “We ate green beans and Mommy said if you eat enough of them your poop will smell just like beans!”

My mom laughed and gave me a very confused look and said, “What is she talking about?”

I have no idea.

I told mom it was really asparagus not green beans and she still looked at me quizzically.

Am I the only person who has noticed that if you eat a lot of asparagus your pee will smell just like it? Come on, people! Help me out here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It was a good choice after all!

I belong to a book club. It’s pretty cool because I get to say things like, “Oh, we read that book last month in my book club.” Or “Maybe we can get together next week because I’ve got book club tonight.” I like to say these things really loudly when I’m out in public so people I don’t know will overhear me and think I’m sophisticated and urbane.

One of the great things about being in a book club is that you have to read a book. Duh. That’s the reason I joined. Otherwise, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed are the only books I would complete every month. Another great thing about being in a book club is that someone else picks the book every month so you get exposed to books you wouldn’t necessarily choose for yourself. So far, I have really liked some of the books and really disliked some of the others. And unfortunately, being the person that I am, I have voiced my dislike of some of the books (or some of the characters in the books) pretty loudly. I guess I could be a little more polite in my reviews of the books but heck, if I’m going to go to the trouble of reading it; I’m going to be honest about it.

Last week I hosted book club at my house. As hostess I got to choose the book of the month. Oh, the pressure! After being so vocal on some of the other books, I wanted to pick a book that would knock everyone’s socks off, that represented how savvy a book reader I was and that expressed my total coolness in general. That’s a lot to ask of one book…especially since I’m not really that cool anyway.

There are no rules when it comes to choosing the book. It could be an old favorite of yours, a current bestseller, something you’ve always wanted to read but never got around to reading, anything. Not sure why, but I wanted the book I chose to be one I had already read. Unfortunately, it had been YEARS since I’ve read anything other than the book club selections. I was an avid reader before I had kids and before the invention of reality TV. (I love me some reality TV!)

Some of the pre-child books I read, I really, really enjoyed…Memoirs of a Geisha, She’s Come Undone and A Prayer for Owen Meany just to name a few. I thought all of these would make good book club choices but they all seemed so long. So in the quest to find the perfect book, I perused the latest best sellers list, Oprah’s book club list, and other online lists. I asked my friends for suggestions but for some reason I kept coming back to A Prayer for Owen Meany.

It had been about seven years since I read this book and I had been wanting to reread it for some time now. My husband had read this book and he liked it. He kept suggesting I chose it. He kept saying things like, “There’s so much to discuss in this book.” “It’s such a great book.” “Shouldn’t you be reading more classic books and not books like Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons?" (Which was a very good book, by the way!)

I kept debating Owen Meany with my husband and I kept falling back on the same excuse…”It’s so loooonnnnnnggggggg. No one is going to be able to finish it,” I would whine

And he kept arguing back, “It’s a book club. You shouldn’t just be choosing short books. You should be choosing classics.” If it were up to my husband we would be reading Treasure Island, The Odyssey and Lord of the Flies and we would be submitting term papers (5 pages, typed, single-spaced) at the beginning of every meeting.

In the end, I chose A Prayer for Owen Meany…in part because of my husband’s urging but also because there was an annoying little voice in the back of my head that was agreeing with my husband. (I hate it when that happens!) So at the August meeting, I announced my selection for September, told everyone it was long and they better get started and immediately had a sinking feeling that no one would finish it. Worse yet, I thought, what if they finish it and HATE IT! Oh well, everyone’s tastes are different and I can’t be worried about that but I did want everyone at least to be able to finish it.

I started having second thoughts on the ride home. Why did I let my husband force me into selecting this book? Why didn’t I go with something from Oprah’s list? At least that way we could bad-mouth Oprah if we didn’t like it!

So for the next 4 weeks we all struggled with Owen Meany. It is a good book but it takes a while to really get into it and it’s not the kind of book you can lightly skim through or read with The Magic School Bus blaring in the back ground. I knew that my selection was probably the topic of a lot of “discussion” even before the meeting. I was kicking myself all month long for selecting it and found myself apologizing for it every time I saw one of the moms from the book club.

I had lots of food during the meeting to make up for the book and even though only 3 of the 9 ladies at the meeting managed to finish it, I felt like we had a nice discussion about it anyway. And since our book club is technically 20% book club and 80% social club we still had a good time. After they left though, I still felt like I let everyone down by choosing A Prayer for Owen Meany.

But then, a couple of days after it was over and we had all moved on to October’s selection, I got an email from one of the girls in the club. She said that even though she didn’t finish the book she felt like God had a hand in choosing this book. She had been going through a rough few weeks due to certain circumstances beyond her control and she said that the very first sentence of the book really touched her:

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

Wow! After I read her email I got goose bumps! In the book, Owen Meany believes that he is 'an instrument of God". What a hoot! Is there a chance that maybe, I was an instrument too? I love it when I get to be a part of God’s plan, even it if is something as minor as selecting a book for book club. After all, who's to say how minor anything is when God is involved?

And I feel such relief now! I’m off the hook! Because if anyone has an issue with my selection, I guess they can take it up with the Big Guy!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I always thought I was rockin' but now I know for sure!

I was recently awarded the Rockin' Girl Blogger award by my MOPS buddy and favorite baker, Pam. For those of you that aren’t aware, this award was created this summer by Roberta at Blogging Made Devilishly Simple. She awarded it to five women whose blogs she enjoys reading and asked that they in turn award it to other women bloggers and so on and so on. Check out the award on my sidebar...looks nice doesn't it?

There are lots of blog awards out there but I was very excited to receive this one! And I’m happy to pass it along. I am awarding the Rockin' Girl Blogger award to….

Kim at ChefMessy.

Over a year ago I was Googling “chocolate” and something else…I wish I could remember now but one of the results led me to a post at Kim’s blog. I started reading her post and was thinking to myself, “What is this???” And then it hit me…Duh, I’ve stumbled onto someone’s blog.

I had heard about blogs and knew what they were but I had honestly never read one. (I am always so behind the times! I don’t even have an iPod, people!) I started reading hers and was so intrigued. Not only was her writing very good but her life was so interesting. I kept reading her blog even though I felt a little funny about it since I didn’t actually know her. That’s the nosy in me coming out! But I figured if she’s putting it out there she won’t mind.

After reading her blog for a while I decided that I wanted to start my own blog. I wondered how I would find the time to do it but Kim knits, sews, crafts, cooks, is an avid reader, has started her own photography business AND still finds time to blog. I’m not sure how she does it all but I consider her my blogging inspiration and am happy to bestow this award upon her!

Check out her blog to see all of the wonderful things she has going on. Her sidebar will make you feel completely inadequate!

As for me, I’m going to keep on rockin'!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The best laid plans....

Yesterday was my birthday. In honor of this, I had decided to forgo errands and chores to treat myself. After dropping the kids off at preschool I was going to have a pedicure/manicure. If you know me well, then you know that if I was wealthy and had lots of money to toss around there are two things I would do (after helping the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the sick, of course.). Number one is that I would have a professional clean my house every week and number two is that I would have a pedi/mani while she was doing it. How thrilling it would be to have beautiful nails and a clean house all at the same time!

I was pretty excited because I haven’t had a pedicure or a manicure since LAST summer. Back before kids, when I had extra time and extra money, I would get a pedicure and a manicure usually once a week in the summer. I have been doing my nails myself since then but it is a poor substitute to the massaging, trimming, filing, clipping and painting that they do at the nail salon.

Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as I had planned yesterday morning. Sarah, who normally skips into school without even looking back to wave goodbye, refused to go. I had to drag her into the car. Now I know what they mean by “kicking and screaming” because she was doing a lot of both. And she was doing that annoying limp body thing that kids do that meant my 35-pounder felt more like 135 pounds.

She cried and whined all the way to school. So much so that Peter was yelling, “Stop it! Be quiet! Shut up!” My head started to throb a little. This isn’t going to go well, I thought and began to panic a little, sensing that my pedi/mani might be at risk. When it was our turn at drop-off, Peter jumped out of the car, excited to be away from the whining rumbling noise that was coming out of his sister. When the preschool director unbuckled Sarah and tried to take her from her car seat, Sarah let out a howl. The preschool director had a shocked and puzzled look on her face. Sarah then proceeded to climb from the backseat over the console and into my LAP. I calmly smiled and told the preschool director that I would just park and bring her in myself. She had a relieved look on her face since the other cars in the drop-off line were beginning to back up.

I dragged her all the way to her classroom. I was getting lots of pitying looks from parents who had successfully dropped their kids off. I wanted to shout at them, “She’s not normally like this! She likes school! Don’t look at me like that!” But I just calmly smiled at them and marched into the 3-year-old classroom.

When I got to her classroom I talked to her teacher who informed me that there had been an “incident” on Tuesday that she had learned about on Wednesday. Apparently on Wednesday (since she didn’t witness the “incident” herself) she gave the whole class a lecture about how we don’t spit on our friends. We think that since Sarah was the "spitter" and not the "spittee" she knew that the lecture was being directed at her. We decided that she was worried that she was going to get in trouble at school again the next day so she was putting up a fight.

After learning about all this and sitting through circle time with a clingy, whining girl attached to my lap, I told Sarah we were going home. I gave Sarah my own long lecture about spitting when we got outside. She tried to defend herself by saying that the other girl was taking her toys. I told her that we still don’t spit and oh, by the way….you are going to school on Tuesday no matter how hard you scream or cry! She agreed and trotted happily to the car.

My pedi/mani didn’t happen yesterday morning. Instead Sarah and I did the dishes, folded laundry and made pudding. Not exactly the plans I had for the morning of the 38th birthday but that’s what we did. Later that afternoon my friend Jennifer (jennwa to those that know her well!) surprised me with a gift certificate to a local spa for…a manicure! I was very excited and very caught off guard! So I’m getting my manicure after all! I just wonder if Jennifer would mind cleaning my house while I’m getting it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Coffee is good!

Ahhhhh....That's better! I'm sitting here with my morning coffee and the twitching in my right eye has finally stopped. Coffee is good!

Yesterday morning I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone after I dropped the kids off at preschool. I got a cup of coffee at McDonald's which just so happened to be located in Wal-Mart. I figured the sooner I got a cup of coffee the better and since I had to get a new coffee pot I figured what better place to do it than Wal-Mart. I knew it would be cheaper than anywhere else. I was enjoying my cup of coffee and checking out the coffee pots and was elated to discover that I could purchase just the pot and that they had the coffee pot I needed for my coffee maker but then crushed to realize it was in white. My coffee maker was black.

I searched the shelves for a black Mr. Coffee pot but there were none. There wasn't even a space for one. Good ole' Wal-Mart! So I stood there trying to figure out how goofy a white handled coffee pot would look sitting on a black coffee maker when I noticed the price...$9.86!? What? $9.86! You've got to be kidding me! The whole coffee maker only cost me $24.99 which admittedly was on sale from $29.99, but still!! A replacement pot is going to cost me $9.86? That made my decision about the color much easier. I'm not spending $9.86 for a WHITE handled pot if my maker is BLACK. So I hoped in the car and headed to Target.

I immediately headed to the coffee pot section because I had other errands to run and didn't want to get trapped browsing through the $1.00 bins. A girl could get lost for hours in those things! They had the coffee pot and yes! They had it in black. Excellent! I grabbed one and glanced at the price sticker on the shelf...$14.99. $14.99! What? The pot at Wal-Mart was $5.00 cheaper! I was hot! I knew Target was more expensive than Wal-mart. I knew that going in...but $5.00!! It was like a slap in the face. But I had to do it. I had to have the pot and I had to have it match the coffee maker.

If I was a different sort of person (cheap, like my husband) I would have driven back to Wal-mart and gotten the cheaper pot but that's not the kind of person I am. Things have to match and sometimes you have to pay a price to have things look good. I'm not that kind of person who's tastes are a little eclectic, a little kooky and a little cool and could handle a mismatched coffee pot. I am more straight-laced and nerdy. I play by the rules. Things have to match or I can't concentrate. I just couldn't look at a mismatched coffee maker for the next couple of years just to save $5.00.

So, while I'm enjoying my coffee this morning it's leaving a slightly bitter taste in my mouth as I realize that the cost of my new pot is more than half of what I actually paid for the whole thing new. Oh, sure does look pretty on my counter top!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My kingdom for a cup of coffee!

It's 6:30 am and I'm jonesing. Bad. I did the unthinkable last night. I...I...I...

I broke my coffee pot.

Every night before I go to bed I fill up my coffee pot with water and grinds and turn it to auto brew. I have it timed so that as soon as I am finishing making lunches for my husband and the kids my coffee will be ready and waiting for me. Last night as I was filling the pot with water I accidentally knocked the pot against the side of the cabinet. I must have hit it at just the perfect angle because I heard a pop and looked down to see a piece of glass the size of my pinky finger missing from the bottom of the pot. (Had it been missing from the top of the pot I probably would have used it. Just this once.)

So this morning I sit in front of my computer all bleary-eyed and hazy. I am drinking a glass of sweet tea with a shot of lemon juice. I'm a Southern girl and I love me some sweet tea but at this time of day a cup of coffee is what really hits the spot for me.

Caffeine is a powerful thing. I have been drinking coffee for less than a year now and if I don't get my coffee first thing in the morning a dull thumping starts in my temples and it will only be quieted by coffee or two Advils.

I used to drink Chai Tea. I love Chai Tea but I could never make it at home. Before we moved here I used to be able to walk to a coffee shop that had really good Chai Tea. It was a pretty good hike from my house so I would strap the kids in the double stroller and go for a nice long walk through the neighborhood. My reward at the end of pushing a double stroller up hill was the Chai Tea. The kids were always excited to go to the coffee house because they could look at the rack of goofy greeting cards that were stationed by the door while I as getting my tea. I know, I know...the kids must have been so understimulated if they enjoyed the greeting cards. No wonder they like preschool so much!

Anyway, we moved here and the nearest coffee shop is several miles from my house so I just started making my own coffee. My husband thinks my coffee is too weak. I'm sure it is for most folks but I am fairly new at this coffee drinking gig. In addition to liking my coffee weak, I like it with a lot of cream and LOTS of Splenda. And when I say LOTS, I mean LOTS. I can go through a bag of Splenda, ya'll!

So now I am just watching the clock and waiting for time for preschool. As soon as the kids are out of the car I am on my way to Wal-Mart to buy a new pot (can I buy just the pot?) and then to get a cup of coffee. I've just got to figure out where to get my coffee. The local coffee shop, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, StarBucks? Hmmmmm, it's good to have options but all this thinking without my coffee is giving me a headache. Where's my Advil? Maybe I better get the coffee first and then the pot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's the little things...

Sunday was Grandparent’s Day. I am quite certain this day was created by greeting card executives and as such went largely uncelebrated by our family. However, while doing my weekly grocery shopping at Wal-Mart on Saturday I noticed they had bouquets of pink and purple daisies. Surprisingly, I have found that Wal-Mart’s fresh flowers are not only beautiful and inexpensive but they are also long-lasting. I grabbed a bright pink bunch that only cost $4.00. The “sale by” date was 9/18. Based on this I knew they would look great for well over a week (probably close to two weeks!) and decided to get them for my parents.

I am always looking for little ways to tell them thanks for being such a big help to us and this seemed like the perfect thing. I made them a card with Peter and Sarah’s picture on it at and put the flowers in an unused utensil canister…you know one of those things that sits by your stove holding whisks, spatulas and wooden spoons. I have so many of these nifty little items that I graduated to a larger utensil holder last year. The old one was sitting unused in the basement and was the perfect "vase" for the pink daisies. The kids took great pleasure in presenting my parents with the card and flowers and wishing them a happy Grandparent’s Day. Although Sarah seemed a little disappointed when she learned there wouldn’t be any birthday cake!

As I was arranging the flowers, there were a couple of daisies that were too short for the vase. I put those in a tiny juice glass and placed it on my kitchen table. I’m not sure why I did this. I guess I didn’t want to waste two perfectly good daisies because they were too short for the vase. Or maybe it was because I thought Sarah would be excited to find two PINK daisies in front of her place at the table or maybe it was because I thought the table could use a little color. Whatever the reason, I am so glad I did. I have gotten so much pleasure from those two little pink daisies.

I have enjoyed them as I have wiped the table clean after meals. I have enjoyed them while getting crayons and paper for my kids who decided they just had to draw a picture right before time to leave for preschool. I have enjoyed glancing at them while sitting at the table reading the longest book ever for my book club.

As a stay-at-home mom I am often too tired or too busy to enjoy the small pleasures in life. The hugs from my daughter, my son’s hard to follow knock-knock jokes, laughing with my husband while watching “The Soup” are all simple things which I am trying so hard not to take for granted. I guess I just needed two pink daisies from Wal-mart to remind me of the sweet, simple goodness God has given me.

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."-- Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957, Author of "Little House on the Prairie")

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grow Old Along With Me, The Best is Yet To Be

Today is my SEVENTH anniversary but I feel like Dan and I have been married forever. But I mean that in a good way.

We met on June 5th, 1995 at a Jimmy Buffett concert. We actually worked at the same company (but had never met before) and a bunch of us (probably 20 people or so) were going to the concert together. We were all going to meet at Harris Teeter and head to the concert together. One group went to the Harris Teeter near work and the other group went to the Harris Teeter near Blockbuster Pavilion, the show venue.

You will have to remember that this was 1995, back before every 10 year old and their grandmother had a cell phone so we weren’t able to communicate with one another. The group I was with got tired of waiting for the group he was with so we decided to just go and hope we would eventually find them. We weren’t actually expecting to find them this since there would be thousands of people there.

It must have been fate because we actually found his group. He and I were introduced and little cupids and red hearts started circling around our heads and we could hear harp music playing in the background and… O.k. that’s not exactly how it happened…there were no harps and no cupids but I don’t think it took me long to know that he was the one. He made me laugh and he was smart…much smarter than me... and I found that very attractive. Speaking of attractive, I thought he was very handsome. Still do, actually.

We dated four years before Dan finally proposed to me in September of 1999 and we were finally married one year later. People always talk about marrying their soul mates. Whenever I hear that I gag a little. I prefer to say that I’ve married my best friend. That might make someone else gag but it’s true. Who else other than my best friend would put up with my ever changing moods, my MS, my love of reality TV and all the other stuff that makes me “me”?

I thank God every day for sending Dan to me. I can’t imagine my life without him. I don’t want to. I want to grow old, really old with him. At our wedding, we danced our first dance to “Grow Old Along With Me” by Mary Chapin Carpenter. It’s a beautiful song and it sums up my feelings perfectly.

Happy Anniversary, Dan. I love you.

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love
God bless our love

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Don't Even Get Me Started

Wednesday, August 22nd started as any normal weekday would. I got up, showered, made lunch for my husband and settled in front of the computer to check email and to post an entry to this blog. I was very excited because I was going to join the “Works For Me Wednesday” blog carnival and post an entry on my idea for cheap and reusable popsicle drip catchers.

It took me a while to make sure I had everything linked properly but I did it! I was so excited and proud of myself. I was babbling to my husband before he left for work about my post and the carnival and how I just knew I was going to gain lots of new readers from this post so I should probably start thinking about my next blog entry so any new readers wouldn’t be disappointed if they happen to stop by to visit my blog again...

Fast forward to one hour later:

I popped back into the office to check my Stat Counter to see how many people had read my blog and what was I greeted with?

None other than the horrible and dreaded BLUE SCREEN.

It was a big, blank, blue screen. Oh, no! What’s going on here? I quickly tried to reboot. Sweat started popping out on my brow as I rebooted two more times with the same result. I almost started to cry but decided to call Dell Technical Support before I resorted to such childish antics.

Fast forward to Thursday, August 23rd:

After two separate conversations of at least 1 hour each, it was determined that we needed a new hard drive. I ordered one from Dell at a cost of $95…that includes shipping and handling and tax of course. Quite the bargain don’t you think?

Fast forward to Monday, August 27th:

My new hard drive arrived! I just knew I would be up and running in no time!

Immediately upon arriving home from work, my sweet husband Dan removed the old hard drive and installed the new one and we got other error messages. We called the lovely Dell Tech Support team (which based on the accents of each member we spoke to, is located somewhere in the heart of India) and were informed that the hard drive they sent us was blank and we would need our diskettes to load the operating system onto the hard drive.

Uh? Diskettes? Uh…we don’t have any diskettes.

We actually had one diskette but it wasn’t the operating system diskette it was the Microsoft Office diskette which was useless to us if we didn't have the operating system diskettes. So we spent another hour on the phone with Dell until we convinced someone to send us the diskettes…for free. What a joke. The computer we had before was loaded with everything we needed on it when they shipped it to us so if they send us a new hard drive (which we paid $95 for) then it should be sent to us preloaded with everything we need…right?...right?...WRONG! It was sent blank and we were expected to load the operating system on it.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening, August 29th:

We received the diskettes and made another phone call. We now were getting different error messages:

Floppy Diskette Seek Failure
Hard Drive Not Found
Press F1 to Reboot, Press F2 to Curl Up in Fetal Position and Cry Like Big Baby

We called the lovely folks at Dell Tech Support again and kept getting told that our warranty had expired and that we needed to pay $49 to get Expired Warranty Support. My husband, being the cheap Yankee that he is, did not want to pay this. He felt that we just purchased a blank hard drive from Dell with a limited 90 day warranty so why should we pay $49 for Expired Warranty Support when technically we had a new waranty. At this point I didn't care about the $49 I just wanted my computer to work!

So we began engaging in a game of good cop, bad cop with our friends at Dell Technical Support. This is how we played the game...

Dan used our home phone to call Dell Tech Support and would get into an argument with the technical support person and would ask to speak to their manager. He would inevitably be put on perma-hold. When this would occur I would call the same number from our cell phone and would go through the long and boring spiel of the hard drive crash, the new blank hard drive, the diskettes, the error messages and then the person I was speaking to would say, “Oh yes, I see in the records here that your husband has just called and has been transferred to a manager.” So I would whisper conspiratorially, “Yes, he’s upset but maybe you can help me without getting any managers involved?” We played several rounds of this fun game but the techs were never able to get the computer to work.

Fast forward to Thursday morning, August 30th:

I finally thought I had a break through. I spent a good hour on the phone Thursday morning with Ramir. He seemed very knowledgeable. He ran through the same steps with me that all the other techs before him had and as usual, with no luck. The only difference being that Ramir seemed genuinely concerned about my case and wanted to fix the computer without me having to pay $49.

After one hour on the phone with Ramir he finally said that my husband should check the hard drive. Maybe he hadn't installed it properly. I told him I doubted this was the case since Dan, being a smart engineer, had taken pictures of the old hard drive prior to removing it so he could get all the connections reconnected the exact same way and that he had most likely installed it properly. Honestly though I was tired of talking on the phone with Ramir and was just ready to get on with my day.

Ramir promised me, PROMISED ME, that he would call me on Friday morning at 8:30 am to run more tests with me after Dan had a chance to reinstall the hard drive on Thursday night. He wanted to talk to Dan but Ramir left work before Dan got home and Dan would be gone Friday morning before Ramir got back to work. So Ramir was going to call me Friday morning to check to see how things were. In fact, his exact words were, “I am going to make it my personal mission to see that we get your computer fixed without you having to pay $49.” For a few minutes, I thought I was in love.

Fast forward to Friday morning, August 31st at 8:40am:

I started trying to call Ramir at 8:40 when it was clear he was not going to call me. I called and called but basically was told that the number I had called was a generic Tech Support number and there were too many people working there to know if there was a Ramir there or not. Why did I suddenly feel like the naive 20 year old who was promised by the cute guy she met at the party that he would call her and then never did? Um, not that I have any experience with that or anything.

So I was left venting to some other poor tech. He tried to help me but could only say that perhaps the hard drive was bad…the NEW hard drive mind you.

This was all I could take! I called the number that I had ordered the hard drive from to give them a piece of my mind…although at this point there really wasn’t much left of it to give. This nice guy promised me that if I just paid $49 for the Expired Warranty Tech support those people would be able to make it work. "Guaranteed". His words, not mine.

So, I did what I knew I shouldn’t do and gave him my credit card number. He then forwarded me to a nice girl who told me that it wasn’t the hard drive but probably just bad cables and if it wasn’t bad cables probably a bad motherboard. Oh, and by the way, if it was a bad motherboard well, it would probably cost as much to replace the motherboard as to just go ahead and buy a new computer.

Buy a new computer?

I picked myself up off the floor, took a deep breath to calm myself and said, “I just paid you $49 to tell me that I probably just need to buy a new computer?”

“Well, uh, you should check the cables first.”

“How do I get my $49 back?”

“Well, I really don’t think you can since you have already received our advice.”

I’ll give all of you some advice…for free…

DON’T BUY A DELL COMPUTER!!!! And you don’t even need to check the cables first!

Fast forward to Saturday morning, September 1st:

Dan and I took the kids and our computer to Best Buy. I don’t normally like Best Buy but that’s where the nerds from the Geek Squad live. A friendly agent (yes, they call themselves agents and they even wear badges…no, I’m not joking) checked out the computer, bad mouthed Dell Computers, informed me that the NEW hard drive was bad but my old hard drive was still ok, and told me they could fix it. I paid him $158 and was out of there with the promise that it would probably be ready by Monday.

Fast forward to Sunday, September 2nd:

We got home from church and there was a sweet, sweet message on the answering machine:

“This message is for Beth. This is Agent Rob (yes, he called himself Agent Rob…no, I’m not joking) from the Geek Squad. We fixed your computer and it’s ready for pick up."

My computer works again, Mommy is happy again and things are back to normal in our household for now.

Next thing on my to do list: Call Dell to get my $95 back for the bad hard drive they sent me and my $49 back for the bad advice they gave me.

Should be fun!

Edited to add: I did call Dell and after talking to multiple reps and being transferred multiple times I did get my money back!