Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not my typical post ...

I was reading an entry at Mental_Floss. Then I headed to Wikipedia to read more about radiation poisoning.

Because (1) I'm a geek and (2) I'm rather a morbid gal. I don't know why I tend to be ... but plagues, biology, stuff like that? I find it fascinating. I'm not good at dissection, though.

And, from radiation poisoning I find myself headed to reading about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

...

I don't have words for, nor can I even imagine, what happened. How it must have been to walk/crawl/be dragged or carried down those streets full of dying. Trying to quench your thirst with the black rain that couldn't put out the fires raging all around.

Sometimes ... sometimes I just don't *get* how we can do things like this to each other.

If you want to read more about the dropping of the atom bomb, mostly accounts given by the Hibakusha (those who were there at the bombings, mostly civilians ... working in office buildings or going to school that morning), here:

Hibakusha Video Interviews

Voice of Hibakusha

I once went to a remarkable website (and I can't find it right now) where you could do a virtual tour of the Genbaku dome (The Hiroshima Dome. They never repaired the damage it received from the bombing). It was really amazing.
Well, this site will have to do.

Still ... I like to think that we live in a wonderful world.
But then I'm so sobered by the actuality that things like this happen.
And it's not just this. There's the Holocaust. Genocides happening in more than one country. And then there's the crimes that happen so close to home. Child abuse. Rapes. Murders.

It's just not cool.
Or happy.
Or fun.

And I want the world to BE a happy, fun, wonderful place.
And dammit, it had BETTER be one for my children. And for all the children out there. And for all the people that ever were, at some point in their lives, children.

Yes, if I were to run as leader of the whole world, all crime would be illegal (and skateboarding? Not a crime. I'd do it ... if I weren't (1) OLD and (2) less-than-graceful). If you weren't nice, you'd get put in time out. Prisons would be the only place where fun wasn't allowed (well, except on Sundays. It's exhausting to not have any fun). Books would be another form of collateral and storytime would be required.

Naptime preceded by graham crackers and juice or milk would be a requirement of all workplaces. Capital punishment would consist of launching people into orbit via a giant cannon. Or something odd like that. And treating someone with less respect just because they're different than you (race/gender/nationality/age/whatever petty, shallow thing you can come up with)? That earns you a jaunt into the "Mocking Room," where a jury of your peers will taunt you within an inch of your sanity for the next Fifty years. Or ten minutes. Whichever comes first. Or until they get tired and start a round of "spastic Uno."

I just wish that people wouldn't be such punks to each other.
Then the world might just be that happy, happy, fun, fun, silly-willy place full of sunshine and rainbows where you don't have to worry about walking alone and being mugged or worse.
The kind of place that I'd really like it to be.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cute things my kiddos do

Bucket ran past me the other day, growling (like REALLY growling) "Goodbye."
She's started counting to twelve (Thank you Jim Henson and the characters on Sesame Street.)
She still kisses my knee when I'm on the computer.

Bruise, when wearing a long-sleeved shirt, likes to pull one hand in and (since he's not all that verbal yet) pantomime a magician -- "Tah-daaaah!! Here's mah hand!! It had disappeared, but it is now back!"
He also likes to share snacks with his sister. If I give him some pretzels or something, he'll hold up his other hand, outstretched, and squeak his nickname for her. So I ask, "Do you want to give some to Bucket?" And he'll nod. So I'll give him some for her and he'll RACE OFF squeaking her name to deliver the goods.
(As opposed to one time when Bucket wanted some string cheese. Michael gave her half a stick and the other half to deliver to Bruise. She chomped a bite of one, then looked at both the sticks, held up the now-shorter one and ran for her brother pealing "BRUUUUUISE!" and promptly gave him that one. Heh. He seems to be a little more considerate. :P)

They've started waking up REALLY early. Like before Michael's left for work. So if I appear a little more haggard than usual, you know why. Especially since they screech and talk in their pealing little voices ... and I can't fall back asleep. Their voices are on such a frequency that my brain is SO attuned to ... So I have to leave my dream of picking up and moving half a state away while Michael hasn't found a job there and may be driving half the state away for work ... Well, with a dream like that ... It's probably good I woke up. Since in it, I had library books to be returned and they were already packed away and maybe at the new house ...

Really, in real life, we're staying put. It's cool.

And my kids do cute things. Like how Bruise, upon being brought to me for a diaper change from Nursery, will say "Hi, Mom," as soon as I come out the door.

Or how Bucket will declare how she has "jrumped." She's a good "jrumper."

Or how Bruise likes to call cars and trucks (both words he can say) "Vrooms." And how trains are usually referred to as "Choo-choos."

And Bucket decrees that we watch "street show." "Street!!!!!" appears to be her battle cry of choice. As long as it ends with watching some "ErnieBert" or "Elmo," she's a happy girl.

Funny kiddos.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Enjoy the geekery

I love Neatorama.com

Seriously. Like pink, puffy heart it.

It has THIS:


And THIS (which made me laugh out SO loud):


It's things like this that make me SO thankful for the internet.
Yes, I am just this pitiful. ^_^

Monday, January 28, 2008

Still bummed ...

But here are a couple more links to read about one of my heroes.

ByCommonConsent

TimesandSeasons

Spiritually speaking, President Hinckley is a rock star. Totally.

I'm going to miss him and his witty little remarks.

I still giggle about how at the dedication for the Winter Quarters temple dedication, as President Hinckley and Sister Hinckley were putting mortar in around the dedication stone ... President Hinckley turns to his wife and said, "Come on, Mother. Put some mud in the hole."

He's such a down-to-earth guy. He's amazing.

I'm still bummed that we don't have him here anymore.
But I'm glad that he and Marjorie Pay are back together. Because he really missed her. You could tell.

More stories:

Salt Lake Tribune

Obituary from the New York Times


Deseret Morning News

Sunday, January 27, 2008

He's gone ...

President Hinckley is no longer our living prophet.

He passed away this evening.

He's been our prophet so long that it's hard to remember a time when he wasn't our prophet. I vaguely remember Howard W. Hunter and (VERY) vaguely remember Spencer W. Kimball ... mostly I remember singing "Latter-Day Prophets" and ending with his name, but that's really about it.

Gordon B. Hinckley is reunited with his dear Marjorie. Which is a good thing. A really good thing.

But I'm going to miss him. Lots.

If you need more information (like you're shocked and need to make sure that I'm not jerking you around ... OR you want to see all that he has accomplished in his 97 years), here are your links: the official church website and the Deseret News website.

I'm really bummed. First Maxwell, then Haight, and Faust ... Well, Henry B. Eyring had BETTER stick around for a while. Because I really heart him. And Holland and Monson, too.

There's not really a whole lot that I can add to that.

He was an adorable little old man. He was always chipper and cheerful and kind. He once quoted Dumbledore in a CES fireside. He loved the church, his family, and all humankind. He was an excellent example. And, dang ... he was remarkably spry for his age.



I'm really, really going to miss him.

How NOT to do your Visiting Teaching

Okay, for you friends of other faiths, you're probably all, "Visiting Teaching?? What the chicken?!?"

Visiting Teaching is one thing we do in our church. The Relief Society president (the gal called to be over all the women in our ward/congregation) assigns some sisters (women in the ward) to a partnership of two sisters. These two sisters should visit, call or write a letter/email -- in other words, get into contact and check up on -- the sisters that they've been assigned.

Usually it's just a visit and a spiritual message is shared (often from our church publication, The Ensign [ehn-SIhgn ... not ehn-sehn. That'd be some Naval publication. :P]).

The main thing is to check in with the sisters that you've been assigned. See if there are any needs that might not be met -- do they need help? Can you or the Relief Society (the women in the church) help them? Do they feel welcome/included in the church?

If you see any needs that might not be met, do what you can. Feel more than free to let your RS (Relief Society) president know. This responsibility is to help her to meet the needs of all the sisters in the ward (all the sisters who are now in her stewardship). It's actually a pretty big responsibility. And I feel bad when I don't visit all the sisters on my list.

Probably because I've been on both ends of the situation: The sister who hasn't been visited and the sister who didn't quite get all the visiting done.

STILL, it can be really fun. Especially when you (if you're like me) don't tend to get a whole ton of adult interaction. I mean, I talk to my mom just about daily. We're pretty tight. I read blogs and blog myself. I chat with friends online and with Terra on the phone. But it's really nice to be able to get to know the gals in the ward. From my visiting teaching, I know my visiting teachers (both are GREAT. SO fun.) and I have some great gals on my visiting teaching route (that's what we refer to our assignments as).

My friend Brian (one of my blogless friends. I know! But he and his wife are still pretty awesome ANYWAY) sent this out.

How NOT to do your Visiting Teaching:



Yeah, it's a little cheeseball at the end. But you know what? I rather LIKE cheese.
But really ... we're all here to help each other out.

In one of the hymns, it states that "the errand of angels is given to women." ("As Sisters in Zion, Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Hymn 309)
And, there is that saying ... I can't remember it word-for-word right now.... The gist is that sometimes WE are how Heavenly Father answers other people's prayers.

Well, I'm going to close up since I would like to get the kidlets ready for church (and maybe that could involve them taking a nap? Hope, hope!) AND my house is really looking rather like that last one in the video.

I think I'll tackle laundry, pick up toys, THEN the dishes ... while wrangling the munchkins.

Oh ... and it's snowing outside! And sticking! It's really pretty.
Even if it's frakkin' COLD and I'm freaking out about our electrical bill (like twice what it used to be. *sigh*)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How did I NOT hear about this?

Seriously, I must be living under a rock.

Or it could have to do with the fact that I just don't pay a lot of attention to the news ... or watch that much TV (who watches shows when you could BLOG?!? Or watch DVDs of Firefly? -- You laugh at that. Besides Jeopardy and the Jane Austen shows on PBS, and the BBC comedies on PBS ... Well, My Family and My Hero, anyways ... I don't watch all that much. My kiddos watch PBS shows, with an ESPECIAL love of "Streeeeet!!!!" [Sesame Street] ... yeah, I must live under a rock. A rock with internet access ...).

SO, my main point is that I have found the most HILARIOUS campaign ad EVAR!!!!!

What makes this even sweeter is that this is my second choice ... as in my issues and his? Pretty dang close. So I can enjoy this even more. (Although I don't want the IRS out of business ... I know some people who work for them.)

But STILL ... just watch.



Heh. There are no extinct animals ... Just animals that Chuck Norris has allowed to live. Heh heh.

TANGENT ALERT!!
If you know someone who (like my munchkins) NEEDS an instantaneous Sesame Street fix, go to SesameStreet.org. "This player is in Beta, whatever that means ..."
AND you can do SEARCHES by character or skit or whatever. (Cookie Monster's Letter of the Day is always a good one. Especially "R" is for "rap.")

Okay. I think that's it for now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today ....

1) You should be glad that I'm your friend.

Especially if we ended up crashed in the boonies or something.

24%


You should be VERY glad. Like 76% glad. (And 24% VERY worried.)

2) Today I took the kiddos to their doctor appointment.

They've got the clean bills of health. Got all their shots (That makes it sound like I took them to the vet's office, huh ... I suppose I should say that they're now complete for the next few years with their immunizations.)

Bruise is JUST taller than his sister. Just heavier than her, too.
They're lean little things. You wouldn't think that when you compare them to their two cousins (who, as T1 puts it, "are made of styrofoam!"), but they are. Maybe I should feed them more.

Before the doctor's office, we went grocery shopping. It went pretty well. Bucket demanded that she walk and hold my hand for the first half. Then she wanted "up."
So I put her up.
Up ... in the cart with Bruise.

She didn't really like that. But she did a good job.

After the doctor's, we went to the library to turn in and check out some books.
I must say that I'm very impressed with my children. They were pretty much angel children the whole time we were in the library (there was a small fit before we got in ... but that's because Bucket was getting tired. --- Which half explains the SCREAMING and TEARS at the doctor's office).
They both REALLY enjoyed putting books into the little chutes that put them into the bins for the circulation people (BIG bins. On wheels. Good stuff). And they colored for a few minutes and then announced that they were done. So we went. They were pretty thrilled.

And Bucket REALLY likes stickers. She was offered one sticker or a small sheet of stickers at the doctor's. She got one sticker and TWO sheets of stickers AND a little temporary tattoo. (Bruce got one sticker and one sheet of stickers and a tattoo. And he was a bit less ... melodramatic. ... But he also has been at the doctor's less. He's not the one who dislocated his elbow three times in one year. He's not the reason that I now KNOW how to reset a nusemaid's elbow. ... But I do love my little girl. Even with her stranger-anxiety. ... She's getting better. T1 and T2 came by -- at different times-- yesterday. And Bucket was very nice. Instead of running and hiding behind my legs. She even gave some hugs and kisses. I was impressed.)

I've put the kids down for "quiet time." They don't HAVE to take a nap.
It's strongly encouraged, though.

I have a little cyst on a tendon in my left ring finger. I actually remembered to ask the doctor about it. I was wondering if it was a bone spur and if I'd have to have my hand filleted. Nah. It should go away on its own. I just have to be nicer to my hand so it can heal. ^_^ "It's not cancer," he said at one point.

"Oh, I wasn't worried about that. I was pretty sure it wasn't that. I also was pretty sure that it wasn't the bubonic plague or the avian bird flu."

... I don't think he was quite expecting those maladies to cross my mind. But he's got a sense of humor. ^_^

I also -- briefly -- saw the doctor who's treated Bucket's elbow twice (that third time? I was the one who treated it. Yup, Doctor Llanna, reporting for duty. Just please, no zombie skin ... I'll explain it later). He asked how we were doing. Over Bucket's crying, I said something like, "Pretty good, I think," as we ducked into the exam room.

OKAY, you want the zombie-skin story?? Here! Here ya go!

SO, I've mentioned that Bruise has a scrape-thing from the treadmill (Side note: Might leave a little scar. Shouldn't be noticeable in five years. That's what the doctor told me).
SO, a couple days after the wound was inflicted, the kiddos were having a bath. The scab got all wet and started to peel off ...
*starting to gag just THINKING about it. Yech!*
And, as I'm trying to dry off his arm, the scab start to ...
*convulsive swallow. Fans face*
rub off. And did I mention that the watter-logged (Ew.) scab is kinda green ...

IT'S DEAD SKIN, I KNOW! But it's gross and nasty.
It's ZOMBIE SKIN, OKAY??

LIKE UNDEAD AND GONNA-TRACK-ME-DOWN-AND-EAT-MY-BRAINS (or what's left of them. Hey, I'm just keepin' it real, dawgs.) -IN-THE-DARK-OF-THE-UNHOLIEST-OF-NIGHTS ZOMBIE SKIN.

Suffice it to say, it was really, really gross.
And did I mention that some was UNDER MY FINGERNAILS?!?!?!?!!!?

*Dry heaving*

But, yes, yes it was. And it was really, really gross.
NO, grosser than whatever it is that you're thinking.

(Kinda like the joke: What's grosser than a barrel full of dead monkeys? ...
ANSWER: One live monkey at the very bottom eating his way to the top.
*rinshot* Thanks, I'm here all week. Try the cannoli!)

Well, enough of that.

I'll leave you with THIS to ponder on.

17



I think it's a good idea to have less than 17 five-year-olds at one time. Just maybe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm not the only one

1) ... who has issues with certain customer service people.

Check out Matthew (of Childsplayx2 ... one of the most fun daddybloggers out there. I started reading his blog when I was still gestating my kidlets. It's nice to see what's in store for us as a family. ^_^ But really, read him. Adore him. He's supernice.) and his woeful tale of dealing with customer service in trying to fix up a room in their house.
(Also, The Monk? ONE strong toddler.)

2) ... who's taken aback by Heath Ledger's untimely death.

Read Kerflop and Mo Mommy.

Yeah. At least I know that I'm not alone.
And that may be one of the best things about blogging.

But, really, if you don't mind helping Matthew in his crusade to spread the word-of-mouth (or -of-blog) about the ... well, LACK of service from Home Decorators, I'd consider it a personal favor. Dude, he's waaay too nice to have to put up with crap like that.

The least they could have done would have been to refer him to a company that could have helped replace the hinge.

And, you know, actually HAVE CRAP IN STOCK.
But that might just be asking too much. *shakes head*

I hope that you all are doing better, though. I wish everyone excellent customer service.

Like what I get from Regence BlueCross/BlueShield of Oregon, JiffyLube, Honda Dealerships (especially, ESPECIALLY the service techs), and Little Tikes.

And, from what I read on Consumerist.com,
if businesses retain 5% of their customers ... customer loyalty totally pays off.
As in profit. 35-95% PROFIT.

So, really. If you have a business, make sure to treat your customers right. They have the power to spread word-of-mouth. Which equals MORE business. Which equals MORE MONEY. And we likes money, doesn't we, my preciousssssssssssss???
(Sorry. Got carried away there. Don't mind me.)

But, seriously. Customer loyalty does pay off. So don't alienate your customers with crap service, okay? Kthxbai.

...

I was online yesterday (like when am I NOT online ... but still ...)

Heath Ledger's dead.

I'm sad.

I remember the first time I saw him, when Terra and I went to see "10 Things I Hate About You." ... And we agreed that he was an excellent character and excellent eye-candy. And that accent? Yeah ...

And now he's dead. It's so weird.
("Mal. Guy killed me, Mal. He killed me with a sword. How weird is THAT?")

I just feel like I'm 17 again ... I need to call Terra. Once I'm sure that she's awake.

But, still. Heath Ledger shouldn't be dead. He's not that much older than I am. He has a daughter.

They say (you know, "they" ... the media and all) that it was either suicide or an accidental overdose.

If it was a suicide (albeit successful), that's sad.
If it was an accident ... it's just a senseless tragedy.

...

Is it bad that I'm glad that "The Dark Knight" is in post production? That it will come out so I can watch Heath Ledger?

I'm still so bummed that he won't be there to hear people talk about how genius he was as the Joker (since that's what everyone's been saying just about the previews).

*sigh*

Forgive my absence

Since I KNOW you were all on the EDGE of your SEATS wondering what the bedevilment I've been up to.

Well, I'm going to keep TELLING myself that's what's going on. :P

So, Bruise's arm (the scrape from the treadmill) is healing well. The kidlets are enjoying their new toothbrushes from their dentist trip. (Seriously, they got some serious swag at the dentist -- a new toothbrush, a small sheet of Winnie-the-Pooh stickers, AND a bath toy [Bruise got a black and white porpoise. Bucket has a goldfish]. I'm a little jealous. I got a toothbrush, floss, and an appointment for an hour of dental procedures in two months. I think I got the short end of the stick. Especially because I stayed in MY chair and didn't cry. *pouts*)

My Dad and L (you know, I'm ready to call her my stepmom. If our state had that whole common-law marriage-thing, they WOULD have qualified for that about a year and a half ago. SO, if I make any reference to "my dad and stepmom," you'll know what I'm talking about. Even though, TECHNICALLY, she's not LEGALLY my stepmom ... but she and Dad are good together. And she and I get along very well.) came for a visit and to bring Bruise and Bucket their Christmas/birthday presents from Nana.

Yesterday, Bruise and Bucket were sitting next to each other, each talking on a little play phone (one is Michael's old cell). I thought, "Aw, how cute." And then I started actually listening to them and I about melted into a little pool of goo.

Bruise: *into cell* Hi, Gammpa!
Bucket: *into play phone* Hi Mutti!! Hi Tracey!!

And they babbled excitedly into those phones until they got bored of talking to family ... rather close-mouthed family (but not in real life. Usually, if I give the kids the phones, they sit there and listen AGOG-ed ... as I TRY and TRY(!!!) to get them to say "hi" or ANYTHING to the other end of the call. And, as soon as I take the phone back, they start screeching "Hi, *insert caller's name*!!!!!! HI!!!!!!!" and then they run around the house like little cheetahs or something (probably the something, seeing as how they don't quite have the natural grace of the cheetah. I say this being full of love for my dear children .... So you can only IMAGINE how they REALLY look as they skitter through the house).

In other news, I'm nearly caught up with dishes and laundry (I need to fold just a little more ... and put away the kids' clothes ... and go through the kids' dresser and closet to find what's too small for them now. Then I need to bag that up and toss it in the storage shed. *sigh*).

Today, we may go to storytime here at the local library. Tomorrow is the kids' doctor appointment. Our bathroom carpet smells --- I really, REALLY want to rip it up and have a NON-CARPETED bathroom. Seriously, who NEEDS a carpeted bathroom? Unless you have serious, serious back problems. And a built in dehumidifier. Gah.

WELL, I have to close up, since Bucket NEEEEEEEDS me to read her a story.

Anything I've left out? Let me know and I'll try to blog it soon.

Also, it is FRAKKIN' COLD here. Hello heating bill increase. Grrrr.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things to share ...

So, if you read mentalfloss and neatorama, you've probably already seen these.
But I'll share anyways. Because most of them are amazing, funny, or darling.

A quiz to help you select your candidate for the 2008 elections
Hey, I'm just trying to be socially responsible.

So I can bring you THIS.
Click it, you know you want to.
Michael and I had a good five minutes of snickering out of this.
And, really, parts of it are only funny because they're so true!

This makes me snicker like a snickering snickerer:
Mommy, Why Is There a Server in the House?

A cool video (why are the European commericals seeming SO much cooler than ours?):



HP Office Orchestra - video powered by Metacafe


I only recently stumbled across the new Powerpuff Girls makerover (from Japan, of course!) on JapanProbe. And, thanks to the wonder and magic that is YouTube, here's my favorite PPG song mashed up with the new PowerGirff Girls Z footage:



And to fully round out the selection, here's something that makes me go "Awwww!!" (you know, with the voice totally rising nearly an octave at the end? Because it's SO sweet, right?):
Check it out, via Neatorama


Oh, and since this IS me, I'll add a tangent: I'm totally stoked that PBS's Masterpiece is doing the Complete Jane Austen. Totally stoked.

Sunday night, when I was watching the version of Persuasion that was on (with GILES -- okay, Anthony Head -- from Buffy in it!! Squee!! ... Yes, I am JUST that strange. But you kinda knew that already, no?), I kept getting awfully distracted.

I adore the character of Captain Wentworth ... but the actor playing him? Has a more than passing resemblance to one of my dear friends. So I keep thinking, "Jensen! What's Jensen doing in Regency England?? ... Oh wait, never mind. That's not him. Okay my sensibilities, at ease."

Catching up

... pardon me! Sorry for not blogging more regularly. It's been a little bit of crazy over here.

Michael's coaching the Young Women's basketball team. First practice (they practice once a week) was yesterday. First game? Saturday. These are all good girls. But a good deal are just learning bball skills. Hey, I'm thrilled that they're brave enough to try something new (I'm not always that brave).

The kiddos and I went to toddler storytime yesterday. I think it went pretty okay. We left during the last song, since the kidlets were tired and starting to meltdown ... and I still had to get to the store to get bandages (Story to come, stay tuned.).

Today, I get a call as we return from Visiting Teaching that the dentist's office will be closed the day our three appointments are. So we have to reschedule. The kids' appointments can be moved to tomorrow ... mine? It could be March, April, or TODAY. In about two hours.

Thankfully my sister-in-law was able to bring her two girls over to play (Bruise and Bucket love to play with their cousins), so I could make it.
I have one "vintage" filling that needs to be replaced. And another molar has a cavity and a CRACK in it. But my gums look good (Thanks Sonicare!).

Then Friday is Lock-In, Michael has exchanges with the missionaries, my dad and Nana and L might be coming up for the morning... It's a little busy.

And I've been trying to get caught up on housework, little by little. I'm almost caught up on dishes. Still need to reload one load in the dishwasher and wash a few things by hand. Need to fold and put away some laundry. Finally washed the sheets (AND the pillows! Let's not dwell on how many colonies upon colonies of dust mites were in there. No. Stop. RIGHT NOW. I'm going to have nightmares, okay??), so our bed smells lovely.

I brushed my teeth today. AND I got them cleaned at the dentist's office (btw, I had a LOVELY dental assistant. I like her immensely), but have I gotten a shower?

Um ... LOOK! Over there! Something shiny!

SO, the story I promised: As I was finishing up dinner after making sure that I got the new van insured (and we have gap coverage! Yay!!), C calls to ask if our nieces can come over to play with Bruise and Bucket. And, sure, why not?

So I ask him not to look at my house, seeing as how I'm in denial about my housekeeping skills -- and he says that he is, too. So I tell my brother-in-law that we can just be in denial together. (Even though, as he, his wife, and the girls are over, I'm doing the dishes and trying to get my piles o' crap a little more organized.)

The kids ask for the treadmill to be turned on so they can walk on it. I'm such a Stingy McStingersons that I say "no" because I don't want to waste electricity or have to keep an eye on things. So they ask other people. And it gets turned on. And Bruise starts to cry after a while. (Hate to sound heartless here, but he's a ... sensitive soul. So I pay it no mind at first.) And then their younger (but still older than them) starts screaming. We all drop everything to race over ... It appears that Bruise was trying to get a large ball out of the treadmill's grip. And scraped up his arm a bit.

At first we couldn't tell if it were a scrape or a friction burn, so we're on as full-alert as we get around here. Michael swoops Bruise to the bathroom where we put a cool, wet rag on his battle scars. I check before adding ointment (so I don't trap in heat). We locate the pads and bandages. We are a machine of (if you're optimistic) effectiveness. I give Bruise some children's ibuprofen ... he doesn't even seem to notice it ... except for the bandage (which I keep out-of-mind-out-of-sight from him by keeping him in long-sleeved shirts.

Bucket? She was most upset by the fact that Bruise got medicine and SHE didn't.

Hey, did I mention that I no longer have all that smutz on my bottom teeth? And how smooth they feel?

(And STOP thinking about how dirty our bed's pillows were. Stop it RIGHT NOW.

kthxbai.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The conclusion of the "Ultimate" Warranty Ultimare.

And thank goodness for that. I think that if it continued anymore, I'd start to be like I was that last term of student-teaching: not able to hold down food, constantly crying ... It wasn't good.

We had to tow the van to UHonda. Thank goodness for American Family Insurance. Seriously. We've got GOOD people. They've already sent off our reimbursement check for the tow (since we have Emergency Roadside Assistance).

WE were able to get a slightly older Odyssey, but with less mileage, AND a guarantee that if the transmission goes out in the next couple years or before 114,000 miles, it will be replaced by Honda. With a brand-new one, even.

They gave us an excellent trade-in value on the clunker. And we got quite a few apologies regarding the Ultimare ... apologies that, truly, the people at UHonda don't have to give. It wasn't their error ... Ultimate lied to people. They didn't keep the reserve they were required to ... And, well, yeah. the less said about them, the better. Unless it's YOU telling all your friends, family, associates, and enemies to avoid any warranties from Ultimate. Especially since they've been forbidden to sell any new policies.

I mean, really, the more I learn about it, it's like Enron ... but with the customers' money instead of the employees' retirement funds.

But, really, if you looked at our new van, you wouldn't guess that it's a different one. Same color, same everything, really. (Well, except year and there's no CD player. But I can still run my iPod through the cassette, so it's all cool.)

Thanks everyone for all your prayers and well-wishes. They've helped quite a bit.

Now I'm closing up. With this odd feeling (what is it? Relief, I think.), I'm exhausted. I'm going to take a bath.

Oh, and kudos to my kidlets ... for being at a car dealership for over four hours. They were really pretty good. They got bored, and a little loud, but I'm still really impressed. ^_^ And, being there so long, I totally NIPed. They needed food and comfort. And, rock on UHonda, no one said a thing. ^_^ Good for them!

And, funny thing to close with, before I forget to mention it: Bruise likes to hum as he nurses. It's recognizable as the ABC song or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He makes me laugh.

Meme meme meme (Yeah, all operatic-like and stuff)

SO, to take a break from the Ultimare and the fact that I. am. the. MOTHER. to TODDLERS. ("This is all so ... sudden."), Melissa at Fold My Laundry Please has tagged me for this meme.

Who do I tag? Um ... Bri, Jenny, and Dianne. That is, IF you want to do it. No pressure. And if I didn't tag you and you DO want to do it, what's stopping you? Just let me know that you're doing it and I'll read it!!

Hold on to your seats, boys and girls, because here we go!!

1. What is your occupation? I am a domestic goddess (with the French stresses on that, s'il vous plais) in training, wife, unpaid book critic and aspiring editor, also known as the meanest mom in sixteen counties.

2. What color are your socks right now? I have those little white sporty Adidas under-the-ankle socks from two Christmases ago.

3. What are you listening to right now? The kiddos and Michael chatting as they watch Clifford. I was about to have Michael listen to Landon Pigg's "Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop." Very nice.

4. What was the last thing you ate? We had ice cream before we went to bed. I took some vitamins this morning with some water. Make of that what you will.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Not well and not with ANY confidence. I've driven one with my Ty-bro on the back roads in my hometown. And once I drove between towns up here with Michael. I'm too uptight, I think.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Opalescent. And Bri tells me that, yes, indeed, that IS a color. Barring that ... I think I'd be a pastel teal. Or maybe a light rose.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? The voice mail of a car dealer. Last REAL, actual person? My mommy.

8. How old are you today? I'm ... *thinks. Runs some numbers in head* 26. I'll be 27 in April. Yes.

9. Favorite drink? Water. Root beer. Apple cider. Smoothies.

10. What is your favorite sport to watch? Competitive ballroom or Latin dancing, ice skating, gymnastics ... Yeah, I like the Olympics when I watch them.

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? The fact that for a few years that I didn't really KNOW my natural hair color should clue you off. I was usually light, golden blonde. However, I did have a short stint with black hair (that was fun), one day with fire-engine red hair, a bit with strawberry-blonde, once it was Leeloo Dallas orange (supposed to be auburn), ash blonde ... I never really got the nerve to do anything really cool. Michael keeps urging me to go pink. Like Utena-pink.

12. Favorite reality TV show? "So You Think You Can Dance." I was rooting for Hok. The season before that, Benji. You gotta love those crazy Mormon boys. :P

13. What was the last movie you watched? My in-laws rented "Stardust" on Christmas Eve. I liked it immensely. The book's still better (even if it's lacking Rupert Everett.)

14. Favorite day of the year? Thanksgiving or Christmas, really. I love the food and family. Good stuff. And I love the baby Jesus, too.

15. What do you do to vent anger? Cry. Fume. Blog. Or I ignore it. I've been told on multiple occasions that I've an ulcer in the making.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child? I played with Barbies and My Little Ponies a lot. I think I read even more, though. That explains a lot, huh?

17. What is your favorite, fall or spring? Both. I get to wear sweaters. Spring has the bonus of my birthday ... but you buy school supplies in the fall. BUT Spring has baby animals ... SO. TOUGH. TO. CHOOSE.

18. Hugs or kisses? Depends on who I'm receiving them from. I prefer hugs from my friends, kisses and hugs from family.

19. Cherries or blueberries? I really like cherries.

20. Do you want your friends to email you back? If they want to, I'd love to hear from them. I try to stay in touch with people.

21. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake. Any kind, really. Or a good cobbler. Or ice cream. Or anything chocolate. (As you can tell, I'm not all that picky. ^_^)

22. Who is least likely to respond? That's classified information. I'd hate to kill you.

23. Living arrangement? We live in a double-wide manufactured home. It's nice. It'd be cool if we had at least one more bedroom. And a bigger, fenced-in yard ... but it's good.

24. When was the last time you cried? Today. I got freaked out while replacing the van.

25. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes, more shoes, a box of the comics that Michael's collected, our luggage, and Michael's shoes.

26. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Jenny. We met my freshman year of college.

27. What did you do last night? Took the munchkins out for ice cream, watched them blow out candles over said ice cream, put them to bath and bed, checked blogs, read a bit, fell asleep after praying SO DANG HARD that this Ultimare fiasco would be over for once and for all.

28. Favorite smells? Vanilla, nutmeg, Michael's deodorant (what?! It smells GOOD!), My kiddos' heads, B&BW Rice Flower and Shea, Tangerine-mango, violets, cedar, pine, fir, wood smoke, freshly-cut grass, the ocean, ...

29. What inspires you? What doesn't is more the question you should ask. But ... um ... Beauty (as in nature), empathy/selflessness/proactivity ...

30. What are you afraid of? Michael dying, money troubles, spiders, scorpions, most arachnids, corned beef hash, dying in a meteor accident, car accidents ...

31. Plain, cheese, or spicy burgers? A bacon double cheeseburger. With tomatoes and pickles. Good stuff, that.

32. Favorite breed of dog? I'm not so picky. If I get a dog, it's going to be based on personality. And, truly, mutts are more my price range. ^_^

33. How many years at your current job? Um ... About four (as a housewife) with a big promotion (to SAHM) two years ago.

34. Favorite day of the week? Any day when I get to spend time with Michael.

35. How many states have you lived in? Two: Oregon and Washington.

36. Celebrity crush? Oh, really ... If you've followed my blog, I've named quite a few. (And my celeb crushes are really who I'd give my eyeteeth to hang with) Rupert Everett, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, that Michel dude that I mentioned earlier this week, that other French guy -- I think he's also a Michel -- who directed The Science of Sleep, Eric D. Snider (who's actually mentioned me IN. HIS. BLOG. *squeee!!!!1!*) ... Yes, I am just that weird.

37. Ever driven a motorcycle or heavy machinery? No. I've been on a motorcycle before ... but I was, like, seven.

38. Who’s your favorite NFL team? Um ... the one with the prettiest colors?

39. Do you have a house phone that is not cordless? Yes. It's not plugged in. But we have it in case of a power outage. This way I can call the power company even if my cell isn't charged. And yes, I AM that much of a freak that I have gone over JUST THAT scenario in my head on multiple occasions.

40. 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather? 10 inches of snow. Then we can pretend that we're in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. And make some snowmen. And make that pour-molasses-in-the-snow candy. And ice cream. And all those things that we don't get to do here in Oregon.
And 100-degree weather? Just makes me crazy with all the sweating. Gross.

There you go! Have at it!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My babies! (and some crap about the Ultimare)

... Are no longer such babies.

I am now, officially, the mother to toddlers.

Overall, it's been a good birthday. Even though I didn't make a cake or anything really cool. In fact, we didn't even give them their present yet.

We did:
*wake up at 5-flippin'-thirty in the morning because Bruise was SCREAMING and would. not. stop. (Good point: He had not pulled his, um, man parts out of the diaper. He was soaking the diaper. But not his clothes for once. Phew!)
*put the kiddos back to bed after nursing them AND letting them get into the big bed with us ... where they decided that they wanted to play, not sleep.
*get everybody ready and drive for a little over an hour to play in the SNOW!!!
*Played in the SNOW!!!
*Got lunch at A&W ... the kids had corn dogs for the first time. Bucket? Didn't even try it. Bruise? SUCKED on it, SAVORED it! (Usually he inhales food. He didn't even want to give up the stick!! How cute is THAT??)
*Came home and I tried to get some more resolution on the whole Ultimate Warranty thing. (More below)
*Had dinner
*Went to Coldstone and got the kidlets their free ice cream (Seriously, if you've got one near you, sign up for the birthday club. Michael and I shared an ice cream, too, that we got with a $1-off coupon. So, in all, we got THREE Love It-sized ice creams for just under $5 (Usually it'd be around $15). Nice, huh??
And I got the chance to pay it forward, since I had an extra $1-off coupon that I gave to a lady waiting in line. I mean, Confucius had it right: Treat others as you would have them treat you. I know that I'd totally want a coupon from a stranger.
(And since I can't give you all coupons ... I'll just let you know that Coldstone does offer online coupons that you can print out.)

The kids ate their ice cream (NO, not the whole dish. Like half of it. Which I might raid for later. For ... um ... quality testing purposes *shifty eyes*), had a bath, nursed, and are in bed. Michael will be home tomorrow, which makes me happy.

SO, if you want what else is going on with "Ultimate" Warranty, here it is:
-Not only do they owe that one company who procured our current transmission hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they're supposed to have $44 million in reserve for the $48 million of potential claims ... they have $15 million.
-They've pretty much gone belly up in this whole thing.

We have very few options as we've been screwed over in this whole extended warranty soap opera.

-We can fork over the cost for towing to Portland and another $200 to perhaps get rolled over into another warranty offered by a larger dealership.

-We can trade in our (at present) giant wanna-be paperweight and get something without these problems.

Our main problem in this is money. Because there's no way to break even by getting rid of the van (as usual, we owe more on it than what it's worth. And that's not helped by the fact -- like I've mentioned -- that the stinkin' warranty is rolled into our car loan. ... Too bad we can't do a chargeback on that. Wish I could).
BUT there is one vehicle at UHonda that we could get that would allow us to keep our car payment about the same per month.

So, keep us and this whole fiasco in your prayers for me, 'kay?

I'm just so tired of this situation. I just want a car that works and will work well until LONG after we've finished paying for it. I want to have my own vehicle so I can take the kidlets to storytime and do my visiting teaching and so we can (comfortably) VISIT MY FAMILY, dammit. (Yes, I am frustrated.)

Sorry for my whining right now. Especially since it's been a pretty good day. Hopefully tomorrow will go something like this:

Wake up, get kids ready, go to BRHonda, fill out credit application, follow Michael as he drives van to UHonda, drop it off, go to storytime (the last time that the kidlets will go to "Wobbler" storytime ... did I mention that I'm the mom to TODDLERS now?!?), go back to UHonda, get a great deal, get approved by the credit union, drive to credit union in new (to us, but older than the "old") van to put Bruise and Bucket's Christmas and birthday money in a savings account, go grocery shopping, come home and put the kids to sleep and have some adult time (which will probably consist of falling upon the bed and watching an episode of Firefly), do dishes, fold a crapload of laundry and start making cupcakes for the might-happen-might-not-happen party for Bruise and Bucket (since T1 is going down to visit Mom and Dad C -- Mom can't travel right now :( --, T2 is busy, busy, busy. I don't know what J's plans are. I don't know if C&A and their girls are going to make it. My mom and stepdad are busy -- Mom came up last week, though --. Dad has bronchitis ... This will be interesting. It makes me a little more resolved to have an "unbirthday" party for them ... maybe in July. On their half-birthday. ... But that puts it really close to one of their cousins ... *shrugs*).

Well, I'm tired enough that my eyes feel like they might start bleeding soon. ^_^ I'm going to close up.

Thanks for putting up with me.
Remember, it only goes downhill from here. :P

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And now for something completely unusual ...

As in Michel Lauziere, Master of the Unusual



And this, which I am SO very impressed with:



Yes, there is a new contender for the title of Allanna's French-Guy-Crush (If you go back a ways here in my blog, you'll see the other one.

Aside: Gosh, I have the strangest taste in men, don't I?
But seriously, these French dudes are so interesting!
I'm not panting or anything ... but I am doing that worship from afar bit. ^_^

And, after all this, my husband STILL loves me.
And wisely refrains from commenting on the state (or lack thereof) of my sanity. ^_^

No title, really. Just watch.

No resolution as of yet ... But it's still early ...

And, well, I found something that makes my life just a little better. ^_^

The LOLinator.
Turn every website into a LOLcat.

Sometimes it's the small things that help.
That and some sympathy and a LOT of prayers. ^_^

Also, it's mere HOURS until Bruise and Bucket turn two.
SCARY!!!!!!!1!!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The milk of human kindness ...

Or, in short, How certain companies endear themselves while another tries to further alienate itself ... or, at least, shoot itself in the foot:

SO, my dears, I'm SURE that you are CURIOUS and ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS in ANTICIPATION to know HOW (oh, how!) the whole Ballad of Insanity that is "Ultimate" Warranty plays out.

Tough. It still has yet to come to its conclusion.

BUT!! I do have some FURTHER ADVENTURES in INSANITY in regards to this case.

We've covered how our van's been sitting at a dealership for nearly three weeks ... because the dealership cannot start working on said van until a certain warranty company tells them that "Yes! Go to work! We will pay you! As long as you make sure -- beyond a shadow or ANY doubt -- that we will pay you BEFORE you even BREATHE on the van!"
(Slight exaggeration. The tech there was allowed to diagnose the problem. The problem being that the transmission that was replaced not three months prior was, in his words, "toast.")

And SO, my dears, my darlings, my loyal friends, they've had to sit on their hands -- and I've been stuck without transportation while my husband's at work -- as "Ultimate" (YES, I AM doing the air quotes as I say this) Warranty has come up with more and more hoops to make us jump through:

1- Wait a week and a half ... and THEN deem it NECESSARY and IMPERATIVE to have it towed (out of our pocket) to the next town's dealership. (Hello!! It's a HONDA dealership. Honda guarantees it's labor WORLD-frickin'-WIDE. Therefore, this is NOT necessary nor imperative.)

2- Try and shove the responsibility onto the company that shipped/procured the (now defunct) transmission.
-- Okay, okay. Technically, it's the logical next step. ...

NEW DEVELOPMENT: This company? Not going to cover it because (wait for it ...
wait for it ...)
They are owed money, lots of money (try six figures of money -- like, more than we owe on our house-kinda figures) by none other than (everybody, join in!) "Ultimate" Warranty!!

So, as of around 1 P.M. this afternoon, we were stymied. UW's not going to cover it ... this other company's not going to cover it since it's owed so much by UW ... it's not the dealerships' place to cover this ...

The tech at the local dealership (if you're wanting good techs ... seriously, go to the Honda dealerships here in the Willamette Valley. Links below -- And they are GREAT!) suggested that my next move is to call the finance manager at the next town's dealership (the dealership where we bought the van).

As I'm leaving a businesslike and composed message on his voice mail ... well, you understand, I'm frustrated. ... I break down into just-shy-of-sobbing tears.

Less than ten minutes later, I receive a phone call from L ... I had chatted with her the last time we took the van into that dealership. She's lovely. ... And she tells me, "You are GONNA be TAKEN CARE OF." She assures me that this is not acceptable treatment. "Ultimate," yes, is going through a bit of an upheaval ... BUT we are going to get this covered.
She tells me that I near broke her heart, crying like that (When she and I met ... and the other time I've talked to her on the phone ... when this transmission started to go out ... I've always been my (more normal) happy-go-lucky self).

So, in short, "Ultimate Warranty? Still not so "ultimate" as "ultra-nightmare" ... or as I accidentally mistyped, but it's SO fitting(!), "Ultimare."
At least in my not-so-limited (but I sure wish it WERE) experience.

HOWEVER, The local Honda dealerships? Jiffy Lube??
At least for me, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their customer service. They have sent faxes (in Jiffy Lube's case), made numerous phone calls (UHonda and BRHonda), and gave lots of moral support while treating me like a very valued and appreciated customer (all of the above).

(And really, BRHonda has no real REASON to be so darn nice. We haven't paid them thousands of dollars. We haven't even paid them a dime! -- We've done business with the others. -- AND REGARDLESS, they still treat us with respect.

This touches me. They are kind and respectful because that is how a business should be. **You hear that "Ultimate" Warranty?? You who have received a good chunk of money ... And you still treat us like ... Well, let's just say that whenever Michael and I call, we don't come away from the phone conversation thinking about what good customer service we've received. In fact, we come away thinking exactly the opposite. **

Does this mean that the list of things that money can't buy has gotten longer?
- love
- class
- compassion
- kindness


STILL, at the moment when I'm starting to question Heavenly Father ... I know that He hears my prayers ... but right at my breaking point, when I'm SO CLOSE to losing my faith in regards to this situation ... He sends me some realy wonderful people: The techs at BRHonda, L and K at UHonda ...

This is good.

L, if you ever read this, you are truly the answer to a prayer. Especially when your first words after making sure that it was me on the line were "You are going to be taken care of." I'm so grateful for you.

See, this is the way to win customer loyalty. Treat your customers well. If I had lots of money (or just enough that it wouldn't stretch us too tight), I'd be buying cars RIGHT THIS SECOND from these dealerships.

As it is, while you're telling your friends and family how they should never even consider a warranty from "Ultimate" Warranty, you should totally tell them that Jiffy Lube's and Honda's service (and Honda's technicians) are AMAZING. If you have a problem, they will listen. And they will go to bat for you. REPEATEDLY.

Which, at this day and age, seems to be such an anomaly. Most businesses, it seems, are just out to worship the almighty dollar (or Euro or whatever), the customer be damned.

Honda, Jiffy Lube?
Thanks for restoring my faith in corporations.
You guys rock.

Ultimate?
I can't say the same about you.
What are you going to do to change this?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It's SNOWING!!

Yes, a high point to any Oregon winter is the fact (when it occurs, which isn't all that often) when it snows.

I can't remember the last time we had a white Christmas ... I do, however remember White Easters and even snow on my birthday (which, for the record, is in APRIL.) (Yes, SNOW. In APRIL. It happened).






Yeah, my kids are cute.

I can't believe in less than a week, they'll be turning two. It doesn't seem possible (Then again, with some of the tantrums bring thrown ... maybe it IS possible.)

The snow's not sticking. It's too wet outside. But it's frakkin' COLD out there. There are a few little patches where the snow is clustered enough to show up on the ground. I wonder if it'll be too icy for Michael to drive into work tomorrow. (Is it bad that I kinda hope that it is?)

Confession: If I ever want to watch something and I don't know what I want to watch, I can always watch episodes of Firefly. And then I can start to quote it incessantly. Really, the writers? Genius. I liked the witty banter in Gilmore Girls ... this surpasses that. ^_^ Mostly because each character has at least ten quotable lines in that one season and in Serenity.

Seriously, "Shiny. Let's be bad guys." Who wouldn't want to use that quote? And some of them would only work in the right context ... but I try and throw them in real-life situations ... just to spice up my life. ^_^

What's excellent is when Michael totally opens up opportunities for me.
The other day we were sitting across the living room from each other while I was showing my mom something on the internet. "And we shall call it 'This Land.'" I had quipped.

Michael: I say we call it YOUR GRAVE!

Me: *dryly* Curse you and your sudden but inevitable betrayal.

And then we snickered like snickering snickerers.

The snow's let up again.
Did I mention it's frakkin' COLD?

Friday, January 04, 2008

My Adventures with "Ultimate"

Yes, boys and girls, I will again be ranting and (decidedly NOT) raving about that entity known as Ultimate Warranty.

If Ultimate Warranty were a child, it would have been conceived by a harpy and Baal in the deepest caverns of Hell.

I'm just sayin'.

I took it upon myself to call them this morning ... at 6:30 in the flippin' morning (our time). I will say that I spent less than five minutes on hold.
Only to be told that no, they want to stick to their guns about making us tow the van from one Honda dealership to another (which will cost us around $150 out of our pocket). They refused to cover it since we don't have their roadside assistance and "We can't make an exception for you because then we'd have to make an exception for EVERYONE."

(I understand their point BUT has everyone else been totally screwed by them in the first place? No, I'd hope not. But for a company that's going out of business for being complete punks ... Let's just say that their customer service isn't so much of a surprise.)

The big clincher was after I finally got permission to PERHAPS keep the van at the one Honda dealership IF I jump through the hoop of getting both dealerships to agree that if there was (by some radically, infinitely small chance) an error done by the other (first) dealership that caused the (fished out of a wrecking yard) second transmission to fail, that they will cover the cost instead of "Ultimate" (You see that I can't even say that company's name with a straight face) Warranty.

And ... well, think about it. You deal with the service tech who's a wonderful guy. He really goes to bat for you. Tried to get us a new transmission (which "Ultimate" refused to get UNLESS we paid the difference ... a difference of over $1000) and was really opposed to putting a used transmission in the car. He made SURE that we'd be covered with a guarantee on this second transmission -- it's from a junkyard, after all. He had to be on hold and jump through hoops.

In short, I really feel that he went to bat for us. Multiple times. AND that he really has our best interests at heart. He's on our side.

So I tried to mildly ask if I was supposed to tell him that Ultimate Warranty was accusing that shop of faulty labor.

AND THEN the CSR totally FREAKS OUT. "No one said ANYTHING about ACCUSING ANYONE or anything. We are NOT ACCUSING anyone." Blah, blah, blah. So I try and get HER calmed down so I can finish getting some answers out of her as to what exactly they WILL cover and IF we have any chance in Hell of getting this fixed without having to fork out money that we really can't afford to get it towed when everyone that I've talked to (including that first tech) says that this is a ludicrous demand.

Especially since "Ultimate" Warranty didn't make this a requirement for A WEEK AND A HALF.

Repeat with me:
1- Wither the fries?!?
2- Well, that's just ANOTHER example of why Ultimate Warranty sucks.

And, I get one more question answered and thank her for that answer ... and I'm not done asking yet and she's all: "Thankyouhaveaniceday." CLICK.

She flippin' HUNG UP on me!!

And then I said a very unkind term ... which rather did describe her character. It's not like she was there to be insulted. And I know that I shouldn't lose my temper. Even though she kept trying to tell me that my phone was cutting out. Three times.
One of those times was when I was trying to take some deep breaths so that I wouldn't give into that urge I have to REACH. THROUGH. THE. PHONE. AND. SLAP. THE. CRAP. OUT. OF. UNHELPFUL, SNIPPY, SELF-RIGHTEOUS CSRs who don't even try to sympathize with their customers.

Really, they could just TRY to make us think that they give a flip.

But OBVIOUSLY that takes too much time to teach in Customer Service Rep college.

*headdesk*

SO, after all that ... and some more deep breathing, I leave voicemail at each of the service techs' offices at their respective Honda dealerships. I get a call back from the dealership where "Ultimate" Warranty has had our van sitting for nearly two weeks before saying that oh, wait! We don't want it fixed THERE. Wah wah wah. --- Well, I get a call back. And the tech there (the assistant, since the other one's sick. Poor guy. They're both great ... and here's why:) tells me how sorry he is that we've been without our van for this long and he's shocked that we're being treated like this by Ultimate warranty (though he's not surprised -- but he was surprised that someone at Ultimate tried to tell Michael that they WOULD NOT use used parts. Because they DO. ALL THE TIME.). And he's going to be calling them and getting an agreement with the other tech at the other dealership so that we can get our van worked on and back.

Seriously ... he made me feel really respected and cared about. How hard was that?
Not very hard.

But Ultimate can't bear to actually try to treat paying customers like that.
Because Ultimate Warranty sucks.

They cut off roadside assistance after a year on a $3000 policy.
They use wrecking yard/junkyard/"refurbished"/used parts ... and try to deny that.
They won't pay for all things necessary when fixing your car (In our case, the diagnostic [approx. $75] and the transmission flush [$80 ... and we had to do that twice. -- But Jiffy Lube is another company that we like. They did the second one for free. And they treat us really well, too. They've definitely won our loyalty.])
Both these things are totally necessary ....

Oh, did I mention that the first week that the van was in the shop, I had to jump through the hoops of having Jiffy Lube fax over proof that we had flushed the transmission? Because I SO did.

Therefore, this begs the question: If the transmission flush is SO DANG IMPORTANT in fixing the transmission, why didn't "Ultimate" cover it?

Everybody now! -- Because "Ultimate" Warranty sucks.

At this point, I'm seriously thinking, "What if I get an acquaintance of ours, the local District Attorney, aware of this? He probably knows a guy who'd be aware of the laws regarding this ... Or I could post it on Consumerist. Or I could call up some news people."

But, this company is going out of business. They don't care. Before they were going out of business, they showed that their only concern is the bottom line ... not their customers nor their safety.

However, on the bright side, I did make the missionaries laugh last night when I described (regarding the fact that the transmission's from a wrecking yard) the rest of the car that it came from likely being fashioned into "pennies ... from the portals of Hell."

But just keep your prayers coming. We've been blessed with some GREAT technicians who have proved that they are on our side, sympathize with us, and are willing to work to protect our family and to get us reunited with our van.

and I'm very grateful for that.

And also, spread the word: Ultimate Warranty sucks.

I couldn't say it better myself



Rock on.

Counting ...

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