In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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You’ve Got To Be Kidding

Christmas Eve morning, I returned from the grocery store to see an AT & T phone truck parked down on the corner near our house.  We switched our phone service back to AT & T from Mediacom two months ago because their phone service was terrible.  I hadn’t called for any service.  I went ahead and picked up our receiver anyways.  It was working fine.  There are three phone boxes out front spanning from our house down to the corner. 

I retrieved the mail and noticed this phone guy had all three boxes open, in the pouring rain mind you, doing whatever phone guys do on Christmas Eve day.  I thought about asking him what was going on but I didn’t.  That was mistake number one.  Then he pulled a bunch of wires out of our phone box, cut them off, slammed the box shut and jumped in his truck and drove away.  I didn’t chase him down.  That was mistake number two.

I picked up our receiver only to hear the loudest static I’ve ever heard.  I was totally thinking, no way.  I don’t know about you guys, but we tend to use the phone a little more over the holidays, especially since my family is all out of state.  In the meantime, our phone was ringing off the wall.  The phone would ring but if you answered it you got static.  The static was so loud that we couldn’t even record a voice  message to let people know our phone was out.  All the people calling left messages and assumed we weren’t home.  We quit answering it.  There was nothing we could do. 

I called At & T only to be on my cell for who knows how long, punching one for this and two for that.  The only thing I could do was order service that would happen on Wednesday, December 30th.  Because when they called and did a phone test, heck it was ringing, so the recording basically assumed we weren’t an emergency situation.  We can’t wait to receive our massive cell phone bill for the holiday overload.  Looking forward to January 15th already.

Let’s jump to Christmas Day shall we?  People are e-mailing us holiday photos and what nots wishing us well.  At 11:30 a.m. our internet decides to bite it as well.  I know you’re thinking I’m making up one hell of a story now don’t you?  I’m not.  It was true.  No land line, no internet.  And what, we got a dusting of snow?  Sheesh.  We called Mediacom since we’ve got that direct life line to their retention center now you know.  The word was 500 people are out in your area, we’re working on it.  Kewl.  We kicked back and enjoyed the quiet, minus the phone ringing and ring it did.  All night long.  It started to get really possessed and ring half a ring or just one ring at like two in the morning.  Crazy, I know.

Finally on Saturday, December 26th, I called AT & T again.  This time I just started punching buttons and got to talk to a real live person.  He was extremely nice.  And just for a heads up, it’s not the zero that gets you through to a heartbeat, it’s the POUND sign.  In case you’re ever in need.  He told me so, hit it once, twice or even three times (a lady) if you will.  Someone from AT & T will be here tomorrow, December 28th, a Monday, to repair our box. 

Around seven that same Saturday evening, our internet came back up and we got to have some sort of communication.  Does anyone have any luck with tin cans and wire?  How about a crank box?  I’m thinking with all this positive yoga energy I should be more than able to power something up for awhile.  Our holiday wasn’t all bad.  We actually had a very nice one and I’ll bring some of that in tomorrow now that we’re back online.  Stay warm.

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Mediacom Update

The other day we were experiencing internet drama and I blogged about it.  Turns out, some key words will stimulate google alerts, kind of like the crime alerts my husband receives.  I actually received a response with a  direct phone number to Mediacom posted on my blog comments.  I in turn gave that number to my husband because frankly, I was done trying to call them.

He got through immediately at work.  Wow.  And then he called me.  We were all three on the phone at the same time.  Our internet came back up on its own last Thursday in the middle of the night while I was on puke duty.  But our e-mail was all jacked up.  So for days I could receive, but not send.  That’s a pretty serious problem when you need to send out the Yoga Community E-Newsletter to about 650 people.  The girl we spoke with was very nice, but really didn’t do anything but set up a day for them to come out and check everything.

A few days later we were receiving and sending e-mail but it took like 4 or 5 hours to get where it was going.  Still not safe enough to try to do a newsletter, so I blew it off.  I cleaned my house, I Christmas shopped, I got stuff done.  Tired of not being able to send, we made a call using our direct life line.  They had us change some server stuff from mail.mchsi.com to mail.mediacombb.net which helped.  But then it quit helping. 

Totally. 

On the 15th we were completely locked out of our e-mail not only through our outlook express but through the Mediacom webmail as well.  It didn’t recognize our usernames or passwords.  Crazy, totally crazy.  Frank called again and they said they were working on it.  In the meantime a technician came to the house on Tuesday (a day earlier than promised) and found two splits.  We had been receiving a weak signal which had been part of our problem.  The tech also set us up with a different modem and left.  Everything was working fine except the e-mail. That same Tuesday night, we decided to call again about the e-mail.  They asked us to change some server info. 

Hello.  We’ve already done that.   They assured us the problem would resolve itself.  I’m Ok with that but can ya tell me when?  Frank called again yesterday, which was Wednesday and got the same stuff.  So today, Thursday at 4:30 I called.  The guy on the other end says, “Oh some people with certain e-mail programs are locked out as spam, hang on a minute and I’ll fix it.”  Just like that.  Just like that and I had 137 incoming e-mails no password or username needed.  What the heck. 

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday I get a phone call from Frank telling me the e-mail works.  I said I know, “I called them and they fixed it over the phone.”  He was like no way, “I called them today too and they told me the techs were locked out of the e-mail as well.”   I guess they’ve done some serious upgrades that didn’t go as planned. 

I was ready to switch to DSL but we won’t be doing that.  Frank doesn’t want to share bandwidth, he knows how fast I like this to be when I do my auctions, etc. so I guess we’ll be staying with Mediacom…..until this happens again.

So far, so good!!


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Seven Little Lights

We’ve had high speed internet cable service through Mediacom for years.  And we’ve never had much, if any problem with it.  Last year we decided to jump on the band wagon and sign up for their phone service as well.  That’s when we started having problems.  We would be on the telephone and the call would just drop.  Sometimes the phone service would go out for days.  But in this day of massive technology with four other phones (my husband carries tw0, I have one and our son has one) we kept this terrible land line.  Until we realized we were paying for something that we could never use.  Welcome back AT & T.

Our internet service on the other hand is going crazy.  Especially lately.  Our modem is supposed to have seven lights lit, two that blink.  For days we’ve had two or three lit and they blink and that’s it.  Say the wind blows, it rains or it gets bitterly cold outside, it goes down.  The internet will be working fine when you go to sleep at night, but in the morning it won’t work.  That’s because little gnomes start their massive destruction that no one can seem to find.  My husband is smart with fixing stuff, but he can’t grab a Mediacom signal from thin air.  One time he even went out to the pole and did something so we could have service.  Because you know if you’ve ever called them, they’ll be out sometime between Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. and Friday.

This past week he couldn’t fix it.  We’ve been on and offline for the last week.  And this time it was off for two days in a row.  That’s like a month without food or water around here.  And you couldn’t talk to anyone on the phone about it because of a severe winter storm in Iowa that had knocked out a call center.  Ok.  How about talking to someone locally?  We just got a recording that we had a service interruption in our area and they were working diligently to correct it.  Riiiiiight.  I want see a massive pack of Mediacom vans swarming the area when they play that recording.  And guess what?  I never do.

Where am I going with this you say?  To my own procrastination that’s where.  I’ve decided to go paperless on everything we pay.  Our cell phones and our home phone as well as our Discover and  Target cards.  We do all of our banking online and have for a long time.  So.  I waited until the last minute to pay the Discover and Target bills, the only two credit cards we own.  I like Discover, they pay me to use their card and I pay it off every month so I give them no interest.  It’s like free money.  I like Target, no need to explain there.  Both of these bills are due today and I pay them both online.   I found my Discover card and called the number on it.  I got that sucker paid off and it didn’t take that much time.  Target on the other hand was another story.   We went through the whole bank account information and then she says, “Did you know there will be a $15 charge to pay this by phone?”  Whaaat?  I drove out to Target.  I paid my bill, for free, sort of.  It costs me $27.99 in a pair of Levi’s for our son for Christmas plus the gas out there.  But hey, if I was going to give them $15 extra over the phone, I wanted some merchandise.

Fast forward to the afternoon.  The kids are home from school.  When they realized our internet was non-existent they were totally and completely lost.  Kind of like I was in the morning when I was wringing my hands wanting to pay my bills and read my newspaper for gods sake.  Instead of Youtube or Hulu the kids settled for offline stuff.  Lauren painted on the computer and Jordan played puzzle games.  Lauren puked in her bed last night at 2:37 a.m.  As I walked by the office doing the clean up, I saw seven lights all lit, two blinking.  You’ve got to be kidding.  Frank was on the phone all night last night with Mediacom and you know what?  They’re coming out on Wednesday to check it out.  That’s seven days people, wish us luck.


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Crash

This past Friday night, around 9:00 p.m. we heard it again.  The awful thud that we’d hoped was a transformer blowing.  But nope.  It was yet another accident.  Exactly one week and one day ago, our son bit the curb out there.  This time it was more than that and this time it wasn’t our son. 

We heard no screeching of brakes, just a very large boom.  Someone blew through the stop sign at Jefferson and Bennett.  Actually, blew is an understatement.  I think flew is a better description.  My husband was first on the scene.  I’ve never seen him move so fast.  He parked his truck behind the vehicle that had the right of way and turned on his flashers.  I’m amazed at how many people tried to go through the intersection none the less.  Fire trucks arrived, two to be exact, the police were next and then the ambulance.  I didn’t get any closer than my house to the accident.  Some people have no problem with just cruising right on up there.  I’d thought about grabbing my new camera.  But I immediately scratched that thought.  Tragedies are not the kinds of things I want to photograph.  I’m not much of a gawker.  Even if I’m driving down the road and see some misfortune,  I don’t crain my neck further than it’s supposed to actually go to see what’s going on.  But my husband was down there and it was right by my house.  I met many new college kids in our area that night.

The car or truck I should say that ran the stop sign was totally destroyed.  I couldn’t tell what kind of vehicle it was until Frank told me.  I did get close after every one had been hauled away and the trauma part was over.  The bed of this pick up was completely wrapped around a very large utility pole that’s probably at least ten feet in diameter.   The cab of the truck had dismantled from the bed and traveled either 153 feet or 135 feet (I have a backwards memory at times) and ended up behind this great garden on Bennett.  There used to be a house there, what a disaster that would’ve been.  The people were still intact inside the cab.  They apparently were airborne as the pine trees had limbs clipped off rather high.  Can you imagine what kind of ride that must have been?   All the street lights were out and Frank had a big police flash light but still had a hard time locating the cab.  The driver of the truck had actually gotten up and out and pulled his passenger out when Frank found them.  It’s amazing they were all alive.  Even the guy who hit them (it wasn’t his fault) was OK and his car was pretty trashed.  The passenger recognized Frank from the Mall, so that was good to know she was that coherent.  She called him the next day to let him know she was treated and released with 14 staples in her leg.  These people should be spokespeople for Toyota.  Their truck was a Toyota Tundra, loaded with airbags.  That cab looked like it was covered with curtains when they hauled it off.

Look both ways, don’t speed and use your seatbelt.  Chill on the alcohol and driving as well, Frank said the smell was in the air.


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This And That

*Updated the appearance of this blog, used my own garden photo.  Perhaps I’ll start up a website with header photos that I’ve taken.  Do I need another business?

*Sister update.  The job offer never happened.  Just from that lack of communication, I told her that she most likely does not want to work there anyways.  Easy for me to say as I’m not the one without a job.  Her mortgage modification has not gone through yet, so this is looking bleak.  I hate it.

*Getting ready to break from MSU yoga!  Nice to have a bit more free time.  To do what?  Clean my house.

*Our son will turn 16 on March 8.  He purchased his first vehicle, a 1987 Dodge Dakota.  It’s a real lemon.  My husband can rebuild and loves any small engine repair.  He’s never overhauled a vehicle before.  But guess what?  He has now!  In our backyard he self taught himself how to change bearings and an oil pump in a vehicle engine.  In the cold weather at that. 

*I wish my kitchen was a small engine.

*When you own a truck, everyone wants your help.  When you can fix stuff, everyone wants your help.

*It’s sunny today and I am really glad.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 70’s.

*I have an infection of some sort on my eyelids.  Make-up, bacteria, viral or an allergy?  I don’t know.  It’s been a week and it’s not all the way gone.  I’m thinking about checking out the new walk-in clinic at Wal-Mart.  They take our insurance.  Now if they just had a post office!

*We sold our ugly loveseat on Craig’s List for $30 in less than 24 hours.

*We also got rid of our ginormous blue, velour sectional. 

*We inherited a sofa (below) that my sister purchased from Burdine’s. It will be slipcovered soon as we cannot have anything that light of a color in our house!  We also inherited a barrel chair from the house I grew up in, a cool white end table from Pottery Barn and a leather ottoman/coffee table.

*On the way to Pier 1 to check out a  $375 chair, I stopped at a flea market and found two chairs for $129.  Totally awesome.  I’m not into antiques, but I think they’re from the 30’s or 40’s and man, are they comfortable!  They do look cool and they’re in great condition.

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*The round glass coffee table is a split tree trunk and my sister made it.  I’m keeping it, but taking it apart and using the trunks for extra seating or something.  We’ve had it a long time and it went great with our sectional.

*Anyone need a huge piece of super heavy, circular glass? 

*Ignore the floor as it will be refinished and of course, doesn’t everyone keep sheet rock in their hallway!  We’ve been consumed by a 1987 Dodge Dakota!

 *I’m painting the frontroom and hallway blue. 

*You can park for 30 minutes at MSU for a quarter!  Perfect for dropping off paper work.  Beats an $18 ticket!

*Things that are marked “Dresden” and “Nippon” are great items to put on e-bay!

*I am so ready for the grass to turn green!


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Octup-What?

I don’t watch Oprah very often, but today I did.

The show today was all about Nadya Suleman and her slew of children.  This bothers me.  I do not understand why anyone would want to have so many children, especially on their own, without a job.  It appears this whole multiple birth stuff is big business.  My daughter’s favorite show is Jon and Kate Plus EightI personally cannot stand that show.  If I wanted to listen to a bunch of kids screaming, playing and whatnot, I would’ve had more kids or chose to have a daycare here in my home.  I chose neither.  Another show my daughter likes to watch on occasion is 18 Kids and CountingI have one biological daughter, who was basically an only child until I married Frank and with that union came a stepbrother five years her senior. 

So what’s the fascination with these shows and these multiple birth situations?

I think medical technology is truly amazing, I really do.  Someone Nadya’s age should’ve been implanted with 2 eggs, not 6.  They flashed the egg implant rule on the screen.  I feel in Nadya’s case, her doctor was way out of line and so was she.  Why?  Because she already has 6 kids!  I read someplace that she receives $600 per month, per child.  Whoa.  Take that times 14 and that’s $8,400 a month.  I realize that might not go far in some areas, but here where I live that’s a pretty decent income.  I know, I know.  She has to buy all those diapers, all that formula and all that botox for her upper lip.  Her father said today on Oprah, she was an only child and perhaps is trying to fill a void.  I guess some people fill the gap with food, some fill it with alcohol, some fill it with heroin and others with kids.  Such a scary thought.   On Oprah, there was a mention that her house payment had not been made since May.  Really?  Where will she go?  Can a mortgage company foreclose a home on such a situation?  Should she be exempt?  All I know is this.  We will be the ones paying for this, all of it.  She  even has a personal web site where you can offer donations.  I’m not even putting the link up here.

The Duggar’s are another story.  Those people used no medical technology, they just keep breeding on their own.  The Duggar mom is still alive (I’d be dead) and just gave birth to their 18th child in December.  I cannot get into the whole religion and birth control thing they have going on.  There’s just not enough room on this blog.  These people do not watch TV, but they have a television show, a DVD and a website.  WTF?

Jon and Kate are a two parent family, that happen to have two sets of multiples.  Yes, they had help.  They do not seem crazy by my standards in any way, shape or form.  And I’m guessing living their life out on a day to day basis on TLC is paying their bills quite nicely.  It makes me wonder.  How many shows like this can we have?  How many people will go to this extreme to get free stuff, TV shows and publicity? 

I think back to when I had my video store.  It was located in the “lower income” side of town.  In our strip center was my video store, a smoke shop, a liquor store and an auto parts store.  All in that order.  People came in carrying their dirty kids clad in diapers only, grabbed their videos, hit next door for that carton of cigarettes, then on to the liquor store for that 6-pack o’beer.  It’s a free country and I am glad.  But there are times I feel that some people should be sterile at birth and have to obtain some sort of permit before they’re allowed to reproduce.

I’m hoping with the blended sibling here in our home, my daughter will not need to fill a “void” by having 27 kids.


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Economy Seems Alive & Well

I did a little shopping (for others) with my mom while she was here, which meant I had to make a return.  I hate to shop on Saturdays, or any day, this time of year.  I have stock piled toilet paper and toothpaste, I do not want to get in a cash register line unless I have to.  So after work yesterday I headed out.  At approximately 12:30 p.m. the lot in Target was packed.  Inside was worse.  Pure craziness.  Was there some secret sale I was missing out on?  I thought the economy sucks and no one has any money.  I traded out, bought some Ibuprofen, downed 3 in the car and headed to Petsmart.  That place wasn’t so bad, but busier than normal.   From there I had to go to the post office, eeeek.  Long lines, xmas packages and e-bay sales.  I’ve stood there with 25 e-bay boxes myself and now, I print out the postage sticker online, call the post office and they pull up to my house and haul it off, for FREE!  So by the way things were looking yesterday, I can’t tell our city is suffering much.  People seem to be dropping $$ in full force, in our town anyways. 

Talking with my sister yesterday, was an entirely different story.  She lives in Florida, enough said, if you follow any news.  That state was top in home foreclosures, until recently, they were just passed by Nevada.  I do feel bad for those that have lost their jobs.  What I don’t understand, is a bank, that says “you qualify for a $200,00 loan on a $50,000 a year income” and the buyers go “OK.”  I remember the first house we bought.  The bank said we qualified for a $92,000 loan.  Our jaws dropped, we were making about $32,000 a year between the two of us at the time.  Did we take that loan?  No way.  We went for the $54,000 home, it was brand new, and it was affordable.  We still had money left for one car payment, gas, food and insurance.  I don’t get it.

My sister is one of those “lost job” individuals.  She worked for a huge building company, HUGE.  Everything has come to a screeching halt, offices shut down, model neighborhoods are empty, lawns are tall.  She said it’s odd, like driving through a ghost town in many places.  Lots of people have just packed up and left the area.  People that have lived there for 25+ years.  She can now drive to work in half the time she could this time last year, not too many snowbirds.  Her husband is also in building and construction, on the water feature end.  He works very little, but will be doing 11 pools in Palm Springs, CA in January.  For now, she’s back to working retail at a ritzy kitchen store.  Four years ago she worked there at Christmas, it was packed, registers were cracking.  This year, it’s way different.  I suppose because not everyone can afford to pay $800 for a coffee pot this year. 

I love this kitchen store, it has lots of cool stuff, and some of it will last a lifetime.  But they are also very wasteful.  If they get something in, and it has a scratch on it or a chip for instance, they take it outside (another person goes with you, to be sure you do the deed) and compact it.  She’s had to compact Emile Henry platters and All-Clad cookware.  Not kidding.  Stuff like that makes me sick.  Everything they sell, must be perfect, no scratch and dent here!  Ridiculous.  The store is located in a high-end, beautiful, outdoor Mall.  A few nights ago, the fancy jewelry store was robbed at closing, at 9:00 p.m.  She’d left her Gucci watch there to get a new battery, no word on that yet.

I don’t get the people that “camp out” in parking lots on Black Friday either.  The only time I shopped on Black Friday, was once, when I was pregnant.  And apparently, delirious.  What can you possibly need or want, that possesses you do to that in order to save like $15?  And what could you possibly need or want so bad, that you must be the first person to grace the store at 5:00 a.m. and trample a person to death?  A person that got up in the middle of the night, to simply unlock the door, for $8 an hour? 

I’m not anti-holiday, I’m not.  I just feel like there’s so much more to it than all “that” and I think lots of people have lost it.  Credit card spending is out of control.  For instance, my parents recently closed their video store.  The credit card company was holding their money for 45-days before depositing it into their account.  Whoa.  Kind of crazy.  Especially when you rely on cash flow to pay business bills.  People were dropping $200-$300 on movies, per transaction, on plastic.  They finally had to put up a sign.  No credit cards over a certain $$ amount, cash only. 

I did read somewhere the other day, that Missouri is running low on their “unemployment funds.”  What happens then?

I borrowed this from Post Secret.  Not because I want everybody to “go under” not at all.  It’s just exciting to know perhaps, some may be forced to change their ways, be more simple and get back to basics and shop responsibly!

george