Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The GAME

I was tempted to post this during the holidays, but didn't since I wanted to keep this game a surprise for the family. I came across this on some blog last year--have no idea where.  I just filed the idea away.

It's really easy and a great way to use up some little things you might have lying around. Otherwise, it could cost you a fortune---as one friend attested to. She had nearly $100 in her "ball."

 It's a saran wrap ball (although mine looked more like a cube) full of goodies.

You can see the candies, but there were post-it notes, bandaids, purse size kleenex and hand sanitizer, gift card, money, lottery tickets, raisins, key chains, gloves, earrings, necklaces, pencils, erasers, etc. You can put anything in it. Mine was the size of a volleyball.

To play, the youngest goes first and starts unwrapping while the person to their left rolls two dice to get doubles. When that person gets doubles, the ball passes to them and they get to unwrap until the next person gets doubles. It's exciting because you can see what's coming up long before you can actually get to it.

For very little people, I had them roll a six to get the ball since I thought doubles would be a harder concept for them.

I had to set one important rule---you cannot just stand up and let the ball unroll itself---you have to physically unwrap it.

I made three balls this season--but you can do it at any time of year. Actually, I made the one for Sandy and family and then took it apart. I got to thinking that even if I packed it in my suitcase, it might be confiscated. I used one roll of saran wrap. You can wrap and wrap, but tear it off sometimes and start again. That will slow things down some as each person tries to find an "end."

Have fun with it. I can see doing a theme would be fun too!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Birthday Party

Don't you just love it when your birthday lasts a week? I do. The fun just keeps on going.

Stephanie, Nicky and Mindy came over at 4:30 yesterday to play my new game before going to Sperry's for dinner. Justin had to work--not complaining---his schedule is way better now than what it used to be. But we did miss him.
Mindy gave me these miniature daffodils. They are darling! I hope they hold up in the house for awhile at least!
She also brought me these crumpets. Earlier in the week, she asked me if I'd ever had crumpets. Yes, I did, about 25 years ago. I'm excited to try them with my Earl Grey tea. What's more British than that? Oh, well, if I have them with the tea while reading a Jeffrey Archer book! Yeah, that's what I'll do!
Stephanie gave me bath "stuff." I'm so excited to be able to take baths again---when the work is done. I'll be using that comfort pillow for sure!
Part of the bath gift are these Ahava bubble baths. Ahava products are from the dead sea. My friend, Linda introduced me to these products when we were at the Dead Sea together about 4 years ago. My whole family loves the lotion---the only thing I've bought. I'm excited to try the bubbles. The cute things in front that look like candies are actually bath "bombs." They smell divine. I'm thinking of putting them on a crystal plate on the edge of the tub for a decoration.

Everyone loved the new game. I won $4.75---quite a nice change from the $45.00 I lost playing poker in St. Louis. I know that sounds like a lot, but it was over three games. Where can you go for an evening of fun for $15.00? At least that's how I look at it.

I also got two lottery tickets from my brother, Matt. Unfortunately, they were not winners. That's okay, because my whole birthday week was a winner! I am truly blessed! I remind myself of that everyday. I really do!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up!

I got home yesterday and Butch said, "well, it's a good thing I don't have a gun!" I thought maybe he was upset about the mess around here with the renovation. I asked him why. He said that if he'd had a gun, he'd probably have shot himself! Sprint has cut his phone off---AGAIN!

You've already heard about our frustration with Sprint. If not, you can go here to find out when it all began.

I cannot tell you how many countless hours we have spent on the phone trying to get this straightened out. I've tried twice, Mindy---once, Stephanie--once (when we finally thought it might be straightened out---and Butch---5 times now!!! They have cut off his service twice. Yesterday was the latest.

When he called to talk to someone he kept getting a recording saying something like, "we see you have called several times. Be assured that the person you talk to is qualified to handle your call." Well, no, they aren't. He kept asking for a supervisor. After finally getting a supervisor, that guy said that all he could do was turn his phone back on. (Side note, isn't it interesting that when your phone is turned off, you can still talk to Sprint?) That guy said that he could not remove the charge in question---and this was a supervisor.

The problem is that Sprint says we owe $134.01---yet no one can say where this charge came from or why we haven't seen it on our bill or any bill for that matter. It makes no sense that it wouldn't be on our bill. Our bill isn't even due until the end of the month, yet this fictitious charge is past due and causing all the trouble. Butch was finally told by that "supervisor" that he needed to talk to someone in "Customer Care." This is something new that none of us had heard before. Finally, now maybe we're getting somewhere. After waiting on hold for another hour, someone came on the line. After explaining the situation again for at least the fiftieth time over the course of all this, the woman told Butch she would check with her supervisor. She came back on the line and said that she could take the charge off. Finally---a resolution---or so we thought!

This morning, Butch got a call from Sprint's "finance department" to figure out how he was going to pay his past due account of $134.01! OMGosh! I could hear the yelling all the way upstairs. He explained that he had spoken to someone in Customer Care and that the charge was supposed to be removed. The "guy" said, "well, sir, this is the finance department. I can't help you. You need to speak to someone in accounts!" What"??? Let me repeat that a little more emphatically: "What the F***!" This is the department we've been trying to reach for a month now!! Accounts!

After nearly another hour wait, Butch gets another guy and goes through the whole story again. When he tells the guy about the Customer Care department and their promise to remove the charge, the guy says that they will have to go back and listen to the recorded call from yesterday to find out exactly what he was told.

Okay, I'm making this way too long. Basically, Butch was on the line for another 2 1/2 hours total today. That guy came back and said that the Customer Care department does not have the authority to remove the charge. So Butch said, "you're telling me that those people lied to me?" The guy said yes!! OMGosh! He said that he finally determined that it was an error on Sprint's part and we do not owe $134.01 (duh!! that's what we've been saying) and the charge would be removed immediately.

Yeah, that's exactly what Butch was told yesterday. We'll see.

I'm telling you, we have had Sprint for 22 years now and have never had a problem. We have a sweet plan---cheap (okay, not cheap, but cheaper!)---and convinced Stephanie to move 3 phones to ours for only $30.00 each. But when our contract is up, we very well may leave. Well, actually, probably not. Our plan is grandfathered in and is such a good deal we probably won't want to leave. But if we were just starting out, we would NEVER go with Sprint!

Be warned!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Another Birthday

Nancy invited all of our friends to a birthday party for me---well over a month ago. Of course, my other friends said they were going to do it, but Nancy got the jump on them. I love it when they fight over me!! They were kidding around. It's easy to say you were going to do something when someone else already stepped up!

We met at "the church"---where we always meet when we're going out to Nancy's in Leiper's Fork. It's a half hour away. We piled in Karolyn's new car---where she didn't know how to work anything. Pam and Linda were in the "way" back but couldn't get their seat adjusted. There was no leg room at all--plus the back was straight up and slightly forward. Nancy A. and I were in the middle, so we moved our seats all the way up, but they would not lock. I ended up holding myself forward by latching on to the back of the driver seat the whole trip. When Karolyn said she could feel my knees in her back, I "spread-eagled" the driver's seat. Not very comfortable. Connie got the driver's manual out so Linda figured out their seats. Nancy figured ours out, but not until the way home. Turns out that you lift to move the seat, but then have to push down to lock it. New cars---sheesh! My car's not exactly new and I still don't know how to operate all the seats. I usually drive because I have the biggest car. There is more leg room. Still, it was nice to not have to drive.

We got to Nancy's and had lunch---chicken and rice soup with corn light bread and strawberry pretzel salad. Everything was delicious. My friends waited on me and said I didn't have to help clean up since it was my birthday. I found myself alone in the dining room. I called out, "hey, I'm alone in here!"

After lunch, we started playing a new game. Nancy had told everyone to bring a roll of quarters. I was excited because we were going to play games and also because I would learn something new. When we do play games---which isn't often---I usually come up with them. I think we're going to try to get together just for games. I'm not exactly sure where we'll add that to our already busy schedule, but it's a good idea!

 Nancy E., Pam, Linda, Karolyn
 Karolyn, Nancy A. and Connie.
 Me---and Nancy E.
 Nancy, Connie and me.

It was a horse racing type game that Nancy calls "horsey." She doesn't know what the real name is. We played for quite awhile when I said, "hey, when do I get to open my presents?" I noticed that during the excitement of the game, they had forgotten that it was MY birthday! Nancy said we'd finish the round and then have cake and open presents. We were about half way through eating the cake---Boston Cream Pie---when I realized that they hadn't sung to me. I called it to their attention, so they all sang. I told them it was too late--they ruined my birthday!

Only kidding--it was the best birthday ever! What more could you ask for? Having fun with your friends is the only way to go. Oh wait, that IS my life!

I made a haul! My friends know me pretty well!
I was excited to receive the game from Nancy. The bag contains all of the pieces and decks of cards. Connie gave me a new needlepoint stitch book. I was contemplating buying it at Nashville Needleworks when Connie said "Don't! Someone might be getting it for her birthday." Luckily, that was awhile ago. It wasn't until I opened it that I remembered! Karolyn gave me the battery operated candle in the mercury glass holder, Linda gave me the Downton Abbey glass ornament and best smelling candle, Nancy A. gave me the movie gift card for our Movie Mondays, and Pam gave mew the lime green pashmina. She knows I love my pashminas---you can never have too many! Plus, I got 8 cards including the ones in the mail.

This was a BIG birthday---in more ways than one! And it's not over yet. We're doing the family thing on Saturday with dinner at Sperry's. I might have them come early to play my new game.

Did I ever mention that I like presents? I am truly blessed with some great friends. I don't know what I'd do without them. I NEED my friends!




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Another Life Hack

So, I have another life hack to share. A few people have mentioned that they like my little photographic "step by steps." Since I don't know how to film a video by myself, I have to use still photos. This one is for Janet who said this didn't work for her. It works for me every time!

Heres the situation. You need to cut a bunch of grape or cherry tomatoes.
 Place washed tomatoes on a plate. This is a little dessert plate.
 Invert another plate on top.
 Use a large serrated knife. Slice between the two plates.
Remove top plate to find perfectly sliced tomatoes. This is a HUGE time saver.
Give it a try!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Still Beautiful

I certainly got my money's worth out of my flowers this holiday season.
 The amaryllis bloomed right in time for Christmas and lasted about another week after.
I love mums at Christmas. These are now 3 weeks old and still going strong. The little poinsettias look fabulous and we got them on November 10! I'll definitely buy them again next year.
And of course, my beautiful poinsettia from Nicky still looks great!

And then there's this---not exactly flowers but sort of looks like flowers:
I came home from St. Louis to this on the front porch. No one claimed responsibility. Then, on Tuesday, when I was stitching, Linda Confessed! She said she bought the brussel sprouts for me since I had never seen them sold this way. They were delicious!

Do you buy yourself flowers for the holidays?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 5th...

...was an aggravating day! Well, it actually started on January 4th. Here's the story.

As of January 1st, I'm officially on Medicare---or so I thought. I have never received my card or any information. I'm going to be starting a new treatment for my hives that is very expensive ($5,000 a month!). I've been told that this is a Medicare covered expense, but I want to make sure before I begin. Since I never received any information, I decided to call. 

I called Medicare and was on hold for 23 minutes before I even talked to someone. She couldn't find me anywhere in the system and said I didn't fill out an application. YES I did! We even went to the Social Security office at the end of November---after making that appointment 2 months in advance. Turns out, when we were there, I got a call and discovered I was at the wrong office. Apparently, when you call Social Security, you may not be talking to the office you think you are. So when I made that appointment, I thought I was talking to one office when actually it was another. Anyway, we waited and went through everything with that "guy" and thought we were all set. 

Yesterday, the Medicare person I was talking to said that I needed to call Social Security. I did. The woman there told me that I didn't qualify for Medicare since I only had 21 points or credits and needed 40. I would have to apply under my husband's account. What??? Honestly, I feel like I'm being punished for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. Anyway, no one bothered to tell us that. I asked what I needed to do. She said that I needed to make an appointment because I couldn't apply online. I have to bring my marriage license and Butch along with me. 

I called the local Social Security office to make an appointment. They don't have anything available until March 4th. My only alternative was to just walk in the office and wait in line. That's what we decided to do since my first treatment is scheduled for January 18th. 

We left the house at 8:15 (the place opens at 9:00). I had to take the marriage license off the wall---it's framed. I decided I wasn't going to take it out of the frame unless they insisted. We arrived at 8:45 to a long line out the door. Once they started letting people go through the metal detector, it went pretty fast. I registered and got a number. 

We only waited about 15 minutes when they called my number. We went to the window where the lady was having problems with her computer. She kept messing with it, got up and walked away, came back and tried a few things to no avail.  Finally, she snagged a man who was walking around and he managed  to get her computer going---15 minutes. That's when she asked me what I needed. We told her the whole story only to have her say that she couldn't help us. We had two choices---either make an appointment (which would be March) or wait for 2 or 3 hours today for someone "in the back" to get to me. She said that they were short handed because a lot of people had called in sick! I don't care! I looked at Butch. He wasn't happy, but neither was I. We decided to just wait and get it taken care of.  

Turns out, we were in luck. I'd say we only waited about 20 minutes before we were called to the back. The lady there couldn't have been nicer. She helped us fill out the papers---so many different things. Butch had some papers to sign too. That lady told us that the person that helped us the first time was too lazy to do all the necessary paperwork. She not only did it all on the spot, she sent it on to the next department rather than let it sit for later. We're trusting that she's told us the truth. We should get everything within 30 days. I may have to postpone my treatment. 

Oh and another thing, this nice lady asked if we were receiving benefits. I asked if I could. She said no, since Butch wasn't drawing his---not unless we were divorced! Butch quipped that maybe it would be worth it. I asked why--as that didn't seem fair. She said it was to protect a woman from a vindictive spouse who would refuse to draw so she couldn't get any. Oh well, we knew that ship had sailed last spring when Obama took away the early benefits you can get when you are 65. So we'll have to wait.

Anyway we got back home around 11--not all that bad. And if this social security fiasco wasn't enough---we're still fighting with Sprint! Butch got a text that they were shutting off our phone service. He got the notification yesterday and today they actually did it! Only his phone, but still..

You know the problems we've been having. Well, since I reported my 3 hour and 11 minute phone marathon with them the week before Christmas, Sprint has threatened to turn off our phones EVERY week since! Butch and Mindy dealt with them the Friday before Christmas. Stephanie actually went in to the Sprint store to talk to someone to get this resolved. They keep saying we owe something we don't! It's impossible to get it straightened out. This is what Stephanie reported after her "try" at it:

I got a partial resolution. No action needs to be taken on our part (except paying the January bill) unless they contact us. Our service is not in jeopardy of disconnection.

So today, when Butch's phone was turned off, he called Sprint and started the whole process again. They turned his phone back on, but the problem is not resolved. Basically, they've extended our bill to January 12th.

It's been every week for 4 weeks now that we've had to deal with this. Here's the thing. The amount---$130 something---is NOT on our bill. It's some random amount out there on some bill that we don't even get. We just get a notice that our phones are going to be turned off for lack of payment. It doesn't make sense to me. Why doesn't it show up on our regular bill?

Butch is going to try, yet again, next week to get it straightened out. The biggest problem is that you cannot get to someone that can actually make a decision or help you! What a mess.

Not a great way to start the new year.