Thursday, July 24, 2008

Technology....Gotta Love It?

I do like technology for the most part...I can't imagine life without a computer or cell phone today. Some think it makes life more complicated, I think it makes life easier...just another form of communicating and who doesn't love another way to "yak it up".

But....(you saw the "but" coming, didn't ya)....TV technology has me pulling my hair out! Thanks to the government's stimulus check, we HAD to quickly spend $1200 (we would have been locked up for years if we had just put it in savings, right?). I would have spent it on shoes and bags, but Max won this argument and we bought a high-definition TV. Please don't ask me anything else about the TV because all I know is it is HD and more rectangular than square.

Once we got the TV hooked up I was extremely disappointed in the picture quality! My little TV with "bunny ears" had a better quality picture than this new one! How could that be?
I put in a call to Shane....our electronic guru...he explained it best he could and said we HAD to get digital cable. To make a long story a little shorter, last time Shane was home he set up an appointment with Mediacom to come out and get us into the Digital/HD world with the DVR bonus!
Yesterday was the turning point....and it had my head turning! Learning a new technology includes a new remote control (those things are scary!) The workers were not the least bit helpful, they basically threw the control and a magazine (not even a channel lineup list) at me and said there ya go! Whoa, I said, can you help me out here a bit, maybe show me how to turn the thing on and a little about the DVR? Guess I was asking too much....he rambled on something about this button, this menu, blah blah blah...too hard to understand him because he had so much "stuff or snuff" in his mouth that it was oozing out! GROSS!! I showed them the door as quickly as possible!
I played around with the control for about 2 minutes and was ready to throw it out the window but instead I took a deep breath and called "tech support". Fortunately I talked with a very nice lady in Missouri, she patiently walked me through some basics and gave me a list of HD channels for a start. I gave her a rundown of the service I received and she was appalled! She said she was sending me the start up pack along with extra coupons and compensation for poor service!
Feeling better about the whole thing I sat down and thought, "ok this is my chance to learn how to use the DVR while no one else is around to complicate matters, (no offense Shane and Max.) I figure Shannon and Mike use their DVR on a daily basis so it has to be user friendly. Voila...I set up Big Brother for the entire season and was able to record a couple of movies too! Proud of me Shannon?
By the end of the evening I had the remote control mastered, the DVR mastered, and even gave Max a "how to" lesson when he got home! I am sure there is a lot more to learn....I will sign up for a lesson with Shane on his next visit. (Hope I didn't just scare him off!)
Shane, I think we are also in need of those little speakers like you got Shannon and Mike. I love the 45 Digital Music Channels we have now so we might as well go all out and get some good sound!

Technology....Gotta Love It!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Mom had her surgery on Monday and the surgeon's first word to us was "Spectacular!"

About six weeks ago they found a tumor on her kidney. This finally explained why she was feeling so run down, no appetite, in a way it was a relief to finally know what was wrong and that something could be done to fix it!
They surgery to remove the tumor and the right kidney went very well. The doctor did not see any other spots, but they did remove some lymph nodes to examine for anything microscopic. He has no reason to believe this has spread anywhere else. Prior to surgery he did a bone scan, "I don't want any surprises when I get in there," he explained. That came back good! Her liver looked good, little "beat up" but nothing of concern, just the liver of a 70 year old.
So basically the procedure was uneventful! YEAH!
There is no follow up radiation, no chemo. From here on it just looks like recovery.
And recovery is coming along fantastically....her one kidney is doing it's think very well YEAH!!
This is how things have progressed so far:
Surgery was Monday
Tuesday - clear liquid diet and they got her up walking with assistance
Today, Wednesday, day 3, she gets FOOD! REAL FOOD!
I talked to her this morning and she said wear your walking shoes, we are gonna walk the halls all day! And then while I was talking to her (9 a.m.) the nurse came in and said you can have food today at lunch time. Mom says to her, "I eat lunch at 9:15!"
Now all she has to do is get that last "bodily function" in and she can go home!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grrrrrr....bound to happen!

I had a new experience I could have done without. I went downtown to the Court House and filed a suit in Small Claims Court!
I have been in business for 3 1/2 years and this is just the second time I have gotten a bad check from a customer. Good track record, says something about my clientele, don't ya think?
The first bounced check was about a year ago, and the girl that wrote it called and informed me before I even got notice from my bank! She came in, made it right, and all is good with that customer. In fact she has been back since painting.

I wasn't so lucky the second time. Jennifer Butler bounced a $102. 39 check on June 1st. (It was almost 3 weeks before I was notified that the check didn't clear) Of course I contacted her, and she put on the whole "what??? that can't happen!!! I will be contacting my bank, I have over $1000.00 in that account!" and she promises to stop in and pay me. I don't hold my breath, but am hopeful.
Couple days go by, I don't hear from her so I go to her bank.
"Can you run this through again?"
They check, "sorry, still won't clear," the teller tells me.
So I go back to the bank the next two days. I said to same teller, "I was hoping maybe there was a payroll check deposited and this check will clear now."
Again she brings up the account. "No, and I don't think that is going to happen!" she tells me.
"Oh? no activity on that account?" I asked.
"Oh there is activity!" Then she says to another teller (loud enough so I can hear) "This is not the only bad check written, more than likely this account will be closed soon, won't it?"

So I gave up on the idea of collecting the money this way. I called her again, of course she is avoiding my calls. So I try her a couple of times from my cell phone (not leaving a message in hopes she would answer an unknown number). I guess curiosity got the best of her because she called me back. She was shocked when I told her who I was.

I asked her again, "When can I expect you to come in make this right?" She gives me some song and dance, says she will be in in the next couple of days. I told her at that time that if I didn't get it by end of week I would be forced to take it to small claims court.
And of course, I don't see her that week. She doesn't answer my calls from my cell phone now. I take one last ditch effort using Shannon's cell phone. BINGO! she answers!
Again, she is shocked, and this time has a terrific story to tell me: "I am in the hospital with my daughter, she just had surgery! We will be home tomorrow, but I won't be able to leave. I will have to send you the money."
"That's fine, I'll hold off one week." I am only prolonging the inevitable, I know, but I just don't want the hassle and cost of filing in small claims court.

Funniest thing she says to me (with an attitude), "I am not that kind of person!"
I said, "I don't know what kind of person you are, all I know is you owe me money!" That is the last time I talked to her.

Which brings us to yesterday...Max went with me since this was new territory to both of us and not to mention I don't like driving in downtown Fort Wayne. The one way streets get me every time! (But that's another story)
I was surprised to find they have moved small claims from the court house to an annex building. Sad to think that a separate building with a separate court room is needed just for small claims!
I knew there was a fee to file, but had no idea it was $76!!! This made me think twice about guarantee I am gonna collect even if I win the suit. There is another fee of $13 if you want sheriff to deliver the notice of suit. So we decide lets go all the way with it so we pay the $89 and file the suit. Of course we are suing for court cost and an additional $25 service fee that I charge for returned checks.

Bottom line, Jennifer Butler now owes me $216.39!

And now I wait until August 25 for my court date. (Amazing they are booked this far back!)

Now that I have been burned twice I am thinking about getting the machine that clears a personal check know like running a credit card. Guess I will look into the cost versus what I have right now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My NEW favorites!

We all have our favorites: foods, colors, cars, vacations, books, tv shows, movies, seasons, the list can go on and on.
But favorites can you hold on to your old favorites, change your favorites, or just add to it and end up with a favorites list?
Lately it seems I have been experiencing a lot of NEW favorites. So I now have a "used to be my favorites" list and then my "NEW favorite" list.

Chinese Food: Strawberry & Pineapple Chicken used to be my favorite. My new favorite is Sesame Chicken.

Salad at Casa's: The house salad, Casaburo Insalata, used to be my favorite. My new favorite is Raspberry Pollo Insalata.

Season: Summer used to be my favorite (its a given for any teacher). My new favorite is Fall.

Author: Janet Evanovich used to be my favorite (Stephanie Plum series). My new favorite is Jodi Picoult.

Reality TV: Survivor used to be my favorite. My new favorite is Big Brother (starts July 13!).

Hospital TV: ER used to be my favorite. My new favorite is Grey's Anatomy.

If you haven't tried any of my new favorites, or old favorites for that matter, give them a try and let me know what you think!
What are your new favorites? Leave a comment and let me know so that I can try something new too.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Christmas in July!

One of the Christmas presents I got for Shannon and Mom and Dad was tickets to a play at the Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw. This was a little extra something for all the help they give me at the studio. Max and Mike were invited, but they passed....they don't know what they are missing!

They chose to see "Footloose" the musical. It was excellent!!! We had front row seats! I have always wanted to give the Wagon Wheel a try....just couldn't imagine how they put a play on in "the round". Always wondered, "where is backstage? actors backs to some people? what about props and scenery?" It's a pretty neat concept...and up close! Minimal scenery, but it works! And as they advertise, there is not a bad seat in the house and you are never more than 10 rows from center stage! I highly recommend the Wagon's not Broadway at the Embassy, but its half the price, so makes for a fun family night!
We are already talking about going fact before it even started Shannon said, "I want to come to another one already!" Maybe this can be an annual gift from Bisque It? Maybe this is the perfect bribe for the extra help they give me!!!
If you haven't seen the movie Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, it is definitely a "classic" worth renting. I didn't realize how old the movie was until Shannon said she had never seen it and it isn't in their DVD collection! (I am shocked, Mike!)
You will have to read Shannon's blog to hear the rest of the story about the evening! I think it may be written into the next "Jason movie"!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ice Cream Party & Jaden Weekend Fun...Fun...Fun!!!

It's been a busy weekend, but oh so fun!!!

We kicked off the fun time with a special Birthday Celebration for Baby Kate. (Since weekends are all about fun, sometimes we start our weekends early!)
The Layman family declared June 26 as "Go Eat Ice Cream Day" to commemorate their daughter's second birthday! People all across the country joined in the celebration!

We were honored to be a part of this rememberance. Grab a tissue and check out Krista's blog to see a slide show of the ice cream celebration. You can also meet Kate at a special family vacation.....what an adorable little girl!!!

As you can see Jaden enjoyed the ice cream will be an annual celebration for us!

You can read Shannon's blog to get the complete story of our Ice Cream Celebration! And, no, she is not getting the other pictures!

Thanks, Krista, Kate's memories will live forever in everything you do!

Weekend at Gramma & Grampa's
Shannon and Mike were in a wedding this past weekend, so we had the pleasure of keeping Jaden. (Sorry we couldn't make the wedding, Dannielle.)
I picked Miss J up at 4:00 on Friday......and made the return drop on Sunday at 10 am.
Friday night was just fun time with Gramma J, gramps was working. And Jaden was having so much fun, bedtime wasn't a priority for her! She finally gave in about 10:30, but wanted to make the most of the weekend so she was up at 6:30 Saturday morning! My eyes do not open that early.....the coffee doesnt start perking until 7:30. So I had a little talk with Miss J, we compromised with cartoons in gramma's bed!

Saturday I had to work at the studio for a little bit so Jaden spent a little time with Aunt Cindy and Gramma Pat! I think she had her first lesson in scrapbooking....and from the looks of the scrapbook room it looked like flowers were her favorite thing. She had Cindy's jars of flowers lined up across the room.
After a nice nap Saturday afternoon, we went to a graduation party for Kaleb. Jaden absolutely loved being outside. They had a tent set up in the front of their house and then another behind the house. Miss J made laps from one tent to another.... tugging on anyone's hand that was willing to walk with her. She found two little girls that were willing to go wherever she wanted.
I visited with friends I hadn't seen in years....was a nie afternoon.
After all that fresh air, Jaden crashed early Saturday night and slept 12 hours!!!
You know Jaden is sleeping soundly when you see her like this!!
Sidenote: Notice she is in a big bed!! She has outgrown the Pack'n'Play and figured it wouldnt be worth buying a baby bed or toddler bed, so we made our own transition bed. We have just the mattress on the floor, no boxsprings, and using a regular bed rail. Cutest thing is, when she wakes up she stands at the bed rail like she does her crib. How long will it be before she figures out she can crawl around that bedrail and onto the floor? We are prepared for that though, we have a gate at her doorway so that she cant tumble down the stairs!

I get a text message at 7:30 Sunday morning...."you up" Shannon texts. I give her a call, shocked that she is up so early after big wedding celebration saturday night.
Shannon says, "I miss my baby!"
"Hmmmm....I thought you and Mike had ran away," I hadn't heard from either one all weekend. Of course I had to give them a hard time!
It was a fun long weekend.....and can't wait to do it again. Your room will be ready for July 12, Miss J!!

Big Sister

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Little Sister

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