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Monday, October 29, 2012

Spotty Random Bits

The latest from HP is that they finally got my purchase receipt uploaded correctly, so they are able to verify that the PC is still under warranty.  The reps who are working on it do not know what's wrong with it but they narrowed it down to either the mother board or the hard drive.  They were supposed to send a tech to my home this week to fix it, but they claim they can only give the tech one part or the other.  If they guess wrong, and the PC is still dead, I have to mail it in for more repairs.  So they're having me mail it in right off the bat, which takes longer than having someone come to my home.  Not to mention the hassle of having to haul it to the post office.  It's been dead for about a week and right now, I'm waiting for the special mailing box to be sent to me.  Then it will be four to six days before they fix it and mail it back.  I'm not pleased, that's for sure.

I'm still sick with the bronchitis or whatever it is.  I also have a lovely collection of hives all over my skin.  Not sure that brought that on, but it's not comforable.  So far, the only places I don't have them are my hands and my face, so at least I'm not going to scare all the kids who (hopefully) trick or treat at my house on Wednesday.  I have to work Halloween night but I always pass out candy before I leave for the office.  I love to see the little ones all dressed in their costumes.  Diva is planning an 80's outfit, which seems weird to me as that was my high school era.  Has it really been so long ago as to make a good Halloween costume?  I suppose so.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Way to Go, Walmart! HP? Not So Much.....

So the fine folks at HP have been busy, busy, busy emailing me.  They want the serial number of my laptop.  I told them I have a desktop.  They tell me they can't fix my laptop without the serial number.  I tell them again, I don't have a laptop, I have a desktop, and I already provided the serial number.  It is on file.  They tell me, "Desktops are a different department.  We can help with your laptop - just as soon as you send us the serial number."   Oh. My. God.  I am tearing my hair out, here.  I have had seven emails from different people, all in the laptop department, all asking for the serial number, all with in the last 24 hours.  No wonder they charge so much for a  new PC.  They are paying a whole herd of people to do, essentially, nothing useful.

On the phone, I get a desktop support guy, but the call is dropped.  I don't think it was deliberate, as we were having a nice conversation, but they did not call me back.  So I called again, got someone else, had to go through the whole story again.  The call center for HP is in India, and the reps I talked to had heavy accents, so maybe I didn't understand exactly, but I know for sure they told me my PC was purchased last August, which I know for certain is not right.  Bro did not spend a dime on anything except food and fuel until his divorce was final in September.  I KNOW he bought this PC for me right before he moved out in December.  I even wrote a post about it.   So I KNOW it was purchased in November.  Why does it matter?   There's a one-year warranty. If I'm right, the service to fix it is paid for by HP.

So we went back and forth a bit, and the rep said if I didn't have a receipt to prove my claim I would have to pony up $60 for the priviledge of speaking to him, once, while he tries to help me troubleshoot my PC.  Keep in mind that I had a difficult time understanding a lot of what he said.  To me, if you want me to pay sixty bucks for a phone call, you better have someone without a heavy accent on the other end of the line.  I told him, no, thank you.  I also told him that I am disappointed that an expensive PC did not even last a year, and that my old Dell is over ten years old and has never needed service.  He thanked me for choosing HP, and I told him, "Let me be clear:  I did not choose HP.  And based on this experience, I would not choose HP in the future."

By this time, I was pretty frustrated, and my cold medicine was wearing off so I was coughing up a storm.  I decided to go to bed and deal with it all in the morning.  When Walker got home, he called Walmart for me.  He gave them the serial number from the PC and they called him back a short time later to let him know they had a copy of the receipt and he could pick it up any time.  He drove over and got it, then faxed it to HP.  HP responded that they need 48 hours to update my records with the purchase date.  Two days???  To add a date to a case log????  Yep, they said they need two days.  So we're in limbo. 

In the mean time, I dusted off the Dell which was packed away in my basement.  Sure, it's a little slow....but it works.  Unlike the HP.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Know I Said Kick Me but I Was KIDDING!!!

In the "October is not my month" category, I bring you the sad news that my PC, which is less than a year old, has bitten the dust.  I can turn it on, boot it up, and run it for 30 or 40 minutes before it shuts itself down. I contacted HP to see if it would be covered under a warranty, but so far they have not bothered to respond to my query. I do have a slower-than-molasses notebook that I use to check email, but it's sooooo sloooooow I can turn it on, make a snack, and change my clothes before it finishes booting up.  Not good for much, that's for sure.  Loading blogs with photos?  Um, no.  Not unless I have an hour to kill.

Plan A is to find out about the warranty, then have the thing repaired.  Plan B is to shop for a new one, which isn't in the budget, but I have this pesky work-from-home job that requires me to have a computer.  I'm going to dust off my mom's old Dell, which we stored in our basement when Bro lived with us, and see if I can at least get that thing running.  I'm pretty sure it moves about as fast as my notebook but we'll see.  Our budget will take a double hit if I can't do the second job while my computer is being repaired.  Too bad I can't rent one.......

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mississippi Valley Color

We weren't expecting frost this morning, so I left my patio plants outside.  That includes my little grove of miniature citrus trees.  So of course, we got frost.  I have my fingers crossed that the plants were close enough to the house to not be damaged.  Time will tell.

 It seems the drought has had a polarizing effect on the trees.  Some of them dropped leaves that never changed to fall color, but the trees that did change....WOW.  I have never seen color as vibrant as we have had this year. 

From my front step ~

My birch saplings ~

My mom's tree ~

My neighbor's tree ~

Neighborhood park ~

So quiet ~

Mississippi River Valley ~

I love my commute ~
Still blooming ~

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go Ahead, Kick Me When I'm Down

Remember back in June and July when I had six dental appointments?  The dentist told me that two of the cavities he filled were deep, so he advised me to wait until my next six month checkup to do anything more with them.  He said one or both of them could need a root canal down the line, and both would need crowns at some point.

I'm pretty sure one of those teeth needs a root canal now. 

It didn't start hurting until I got sick, and I'm hoping that the sinus pressure is irritating it, and maybe I don't really need the root canal.  Hey, denial is not always a bad thing.  The antibiotics I'm taking for the bronchitis are making my stomach do flips, and the idea of anyone working on my teeth right now just completely repulses me.  I'm hoping it doesn't get worse until I kick this respiratory thing.  I have eight more days on the meds. I'm just glad that only one of the teeth is hurting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's All About Love ~

Last weekend Walker and I had the pleasure to witness the power of love from both ends of the spectrum. On Saturday, we joined Walker's family in celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary of his Aunt Diane and Uncle Wayne. They are two of the nicest people you would ever want to know, and they've stood together through some trying times. Diane has been battling breast cancer for four years now. She was my inspiration during my fight, and she is a hero in my eyes. Wayne is also fighting cancer. He never complains, never says, "Why us?" He's a truly kind person, one of Walker's favorite golf partners. We love them both very much.

The venue for this shindig has several party spaces. While we were celebrating in our area, some sort of polka fest was going on across the hall. The polka people caught wind of our party and stopped by offer congratulations. There were a lot of them, all dressed in their lederhosen, and the toast they offered up was punctuated with lots of singing and cheering. It was fabulous. and very fitting.

Celebrating forty five years ~

The polka master

After the toast, they all lined up to clink glasses ~
After the party, I dragged Walker to Kmart for party supplies, then off to the grocery store.  When we got home I finished the evening by dipping five dozen strawberries in three kinds of chocolate, whipping up a batch of nut goodie bars, and putting together margarita bars for those goofy folks who don't care for chocolate.  The sun was coming up when I finally went to bed. 

That afternoon, Walker and I gathered with my family to celebrate the marriage of my big brother Jeff and his bride, Stacey.  Unfortunately, the weather threw them a curve with wind, fog, and rain shrouding their outdoor ceremony.   No one got upset, though, they just said their vows a little faster and popped off to the luncheon a little early.   Stacey is a breath of fresh air for our family, especially my little Diva, who welcomed her new step mother with open arms.

The happy couple ~

We gave the kids some auto chalk and let them decorate the get away car ~
My momma offers a toast ~
The kids thoroughly enjoyed the festivities, as long as the quarters held out ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


After a weekend of family and celebrations of love, I have contracted bronchitis.  The dang meds have me all wonked up.  I can't sleep and I can't stop coughing.  I don't get sick very often, and believe me, I'm not good at it.  I don't like taking pills and I don't like laying around.  I have my fingers crossed that I get better before I drive my sweetie nuts.  Stay tuned for a recap of our fabulous weekend ~

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fingers Crossed ~

This morning I will have my two-year mammogram.  If When it comes back clear, I will have crossed the magic line and will no longer need to have multiple mammograms every year.  I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself but I am hoping, hoping, hoping that this part of the journey is over.  Now, where did I put that horse shoe......

Updated:  Guess who crossed the magic line??  Can you hear me cheering?  Time for the happy dance! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Free Cycling

A couple weeks ago, my mom thinned some perennials from her flowerbed.  That late in the season, she figured she'd have to toss them in the compost bucket, and she was pretty unhappy about that.  Then my sister in law told us about Free Cycle, and we decided to give it a shot.

Free Cycle is a website designed to help people find new homes for things they can no longer use.  You can list an item for give away, or you can post a request for something you need.  No money changes hands, but sometimes people offer to swap.  Some of the people who accepted my mom's perennials asked if we wanted anything from their gardens, but my mom is happy with her current flowerbeds so she declined. 

I was pretty happy with how easy the process was, and how nice everyone was.  It seemed like a fabulous way to distribute items that otherwise would go to waste.  So we listed a few more things for give away.  And that's when we got bit in the rear.

You would think that someone who responds to a give away would have the courtesy to show up at the agreed upon time to collect their item.  Of the four items we listed, only two people showed up on time.  The other two didn't show up at all.  When I emailed them, they both gave lame excuses and rescheduled, only to skip the appointments again.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting over at my mom's waiting for these people, because I don't like the idea of her inviting strangers into her home when she is alone.  The whole thing was a huge waste of time and I doubt I'll do it again, unless she has more perennials next year.  Those can be left outside and it's no big whoop if nobody shows up to collect them.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Goings On

I don't know where to begin.  I feel like I've been "gone" for weeks.  I don't want to bore y'all with a laundry list of "we did this, then we did that".  Basically, what happened was, a couple weeks ago one of my coworkers decided to stop coming to work. There were only eight of us, and we have staff onsite 24 hours a day in two offices, so you can imagine what happens when we are a person short.  Then some sort of bug went around the other office, so we had sick calls for several days in a row.  Then a couple people had vacation days scheduled.  You get the idea.  I worked a lot of overtime, which I don't mind, in theory, and I can't say no to, cause we went over budget a bit on the remodel.  But things started to pile up at home, which drives me nuts.  I spent last weekend trying to get caught up.  I was only moderately successful.

I don't know if y'all saw the news about the 92 dogs abandoned in Texas, but I have to warn you, it's heartbreaking. Of course the minute I saw this I decided we needed to contact the shelter that has the Cavalier King Charles spaniels and apply for one.  Or two.  Cause, you know, they need a mommy.  Walker did not embrace my plan, but I filled out the application anyway.  Then I started figuring out which part of the yard would need to be fenced and how we could best get these dogs home from Texas.  Which led to the discussion of how Walker does not want any more pets, and my response that I never agreed to a pet-free life. Then the news people did a follow up that the shelter in Texas has had thousands of applications for these dogs, so I'm pretty certain that they won't be calling me.  But the seed has been planted. I want to adopt another fur kid.  We'll have to see if a compromise can be reached on the home front.

Somewhere along the line my mom decided to have one last rummage sale, so we hauled boxes, tables, and small appliances up to Bro's house, as he has the largest garage.  We got lucky with picture perfect weather, and the sale went really well.  So well, in fact, that my mom decided to do it again the following weekend at her own house. This time, the weather did not cooperate.  We went from sunny and upper 70's to cloudy, windy, and somewhere in the 40's.  Not the kind of weather we like to be sitting around outside in, that's for sure.  The rummage salers felt that way, too, and traffic was much slower the second weekend.  So my mom decided, since everything was set up, maybe we should leave it for a week and see if the weather improved.  Yeah, um, no.  I told her we need to wrap this thing up for the year.  Not sure if she'll listen to me or not.  The tables are still in her garage, all set up with treasures for sale.  Hopefully she'll let us take them down today.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just a Teaser

I'm hopelessly behind on, well, pretty much everything.  Another long week at work.  I'm hoping to visit y'all this weekend.  Until then, here's a preview of an outing we took this week ~

This is called a "monster pork chop on a stick".  Why does everything taste better when you stab it with a stick, LOL?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October, Peeps!

I love fall.  I love the changing leaves, the cool night air, Halloween.  Not as crazy about what comes after fall, but for now, I can handle a few more Midwest winters.  Someday I hope to follow in my in-laws' footsteps and winter in a warmer climate, but that remains to be seen.  Retirement is a ways off yet.  Sometimes, it seems too far.

I worked overtime every day last week.  Not only that, but my boss, whom I had never met, came for a visit.  He's been my boss for about a year now, so it was nice to finally meet him.  It's amazing to me how fast things at home fall apart when I'm occupied elsewhere.  I spent the weekend doing laundry, cleaning up, and getting ready for this week.  Walker enlisted Diva to help me, but early Sunday afternoon she found out one of her kitties had been hit by a car.  The tears were immediate, but that poor kid is used to losing pets, so she didn't hold on to her sadness.  I breaks my heart to see a little kid struggle to act grown.  I told her, cry as much as you want, it's okay.  Of course, watching her cry made me cry, too.  Sigh.

One of our errands was a trip to Walmart, where we discovered a clearance sale on men's polo shirts.  Three bucks each, and they had a whole pile of pink ones.  We bought them all, and now, since October is breast cancer awareness month, we're offering a pink shirt to everyone who visits us.  We have already found homes for five shirts.  Diva made it her job to lead our visitors to the coat closet and offer them a shirt.  She took it pretty seriously, too.

After that we began baking some of our fabulous treats for Diva's daddy's upcoming wedding.  We made five pans of individual cheesecakes.  We also made Diva's favorite lemon bars.  Our freezer is full of deliciousness.  The day before the wedding, we'll make 100 peanut butter balls and three pans of triple chocolate brownies.  Hard to believe there's a wedding in less than two weeks.