27 February 2012

Kudos to Netflix

Back in the middle of January I mentioned that The Help had been in our Netflix queue for some time, but that we still hadn't received it. I also said that we'd maybe have to go get it from Redbox because I was sick of waiting for it. Well, by the time I looked for it in the Redbox machine at my local grocery store, and they no longer had it, which was sad. This meant if I wanted to watch it I'd just have to wait until Netflix sent it to me. It couldn't be too much longer right?

Six weeks later, still no The Help. I looked online to see if I could submit a complaint or something, but all I found was a toll-free number. I hatehatehatehatehate being on hold, so I was hesitant to call, but there didn't seem to be an alternative way to find out when the heck they'd send me the movie that's been at the top of my queue for like three months. (And which I had added to the queue while the film was still in theaters. If I hear a movie is good, I add it to my queue. Otherwise, by the time it has come to DVD I will have forgotten about it.) Anyway, I reluctantly dialed the number and the recording told me the wait would be less than a minute. On the website where it listed the toll-free number, it also provided a code, which I guess is similar to an account number so the support person would be able to review my queue and such things. The automated system asked me to put in the code, and immediately after that I was directed to a real, live person who sounded like a native-English speaker. (I'm not actually that opposed to support folks who are not Native-English speakers. Many times I find their English to be very good and their help to also be very good. But I have had a few times where I just could not for the life of me make out what those folks were saying, and that is irritating.)

Anyway, I told the guy that I was frustrated that this movie had been at the top of my queue for a long time, and that I had put it there ages ago. He reviewed my queue, apologized and said that I had added it back in early December. Then he said that the Salt Lake Netflix shipping center didn't have any copies available, so he'd have it shipped from another nearby state. Not only that, but he said he'd ship it right away as a bonus DVD to make up for the very long wait.

So it should arrive tomorrow. And that was some good customer service, so I thought I'd share and give a virtual high-five to Netflix.

22 February 2012

Just a little whinging

I never saw the movie Church Ball, and I imagine it was pretty lousy. I checked its IMDB page and did not see a role for the stake building scheduler. (Hi non-Mormons. I don't mean to isolate you, but I'm about to get very full of Mormon lingo, and I'm too lazy (and perhaps impolite) to explain all the details for something that ultimately doesn't matter a whole lot. Feel free to skim if the jargon is overwhelming. Or if you just don't want to listen to me whine. Mormons, however, are required to continue reading.) The lack of a stake building scheduler role was an oversight on the part of the scriptwriters.

March is just an insane month for using our local building. I mean, basketball season is kind of busy in general. In addition to there being mutual both on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there are also usually three ward Relief Society non-Enrichment meetings during the month, and three pack meetings for the Cub Scouts over the course of the month. The Young Men and Young Women seem to play some sports, but not a lot. The men have basketball every Wednesday night, and the women have it every Thursday night. (Plus there are various wards having practices during the month.) Ours is the only full-sized gym, and the sports people are pretty insistent that it is the only gym that can be used for games. (When I have suggested using one of the other gyms when weeks have gotten kind of hectic, I have been immediately shot down.) But March also brings the basketball tournaments. Apparently the regular season is not enough to determine the champions, but we also must play a round robin tournament at the end, so in addition to the regular Wednesdays and Thursdays, there are tournament games being played on Tuesdays, Fridays and sometimes Saturdays. (Sundays and Mondays are obviously off the table.) AND THEN we are also hosting the regional tournaments at the end of the month, for basically two weeks straight.

In short the "cultural hall" (WHY OF WHY do we call it that? I just call it the gym, and I label it as such when I add entries to the calendar), is booked for nearly every night in the month of March. And if it's not being used for basketball, it's being used for a wedding reception, a blood drive or some other random event.

Thankfully, most of the people who call me and have to deal with me telling them all the times they can't have activities in the gym are usually very nice and don't want to kill the messenger. But sometimes I screw up and tell people they can hold events when the calendar clearly says they cannot (Yes, I am so dumb I cannot read a calendar, apparently.) (Like a few weeks ago when I told the stake basketball lady they could move their games from Thursday to Tuesday since that Thursday there was a stake youth event going on in the gym, even though I had already added a kid's Eagle Scout project activity to the calendar for Tuesday night. I do not know how I didn't see that event on the calendar when I somehow managed to have it on there TWICE.) Even then, people are usually nice and flexible. Sometimes people are rude to me, but so far those times have been infrequent, and generally I can just say, "Yeah, sorry about that. Let me give you SoAndSo's number, and you can see if they can make some kind of arrangement for you." (Like the ward mission leader who called to schedule a baptism three days before the event and had a very tiny window of time available. And there was already a day-long big, important stake event going on that day. Or the time somebody tried to schedule the field and pavilion (because our stake is fancy like that) for their wedding like ten days in advance.)

With all that said, I'm sure I can come up with at least half a dozen callings I'd put lower on my list than stake building scheduler.

18 February 2012

The Weekend So Far

There is a large furniture store going out of business in the Sale Lake area, so Eric and I decided to make a date of last night and go there. I picked him up from work, and then we went to Cafe Rio for dinner. Our kid was so enthralled with all the people in the restaurant he hardly ate anything, but it sure was cute to watch him stare at all the employees and other customers. We went to the furniture store, and there certainly are a lot of great deals going on, but we didn't love anything enough to blow our budget. One of these days I'll have matching bedroom set. (Currently we have two end tables we got at a thrift store. Our bed is on a metal frame, but no headboard or footboard. And we have no dresser.) Ike acted like a crazy person in the store and ran all around while Eric chased him. He spent some time in a stroller as well, but that was not nearly as entertaining. We headed home, and on our way bought a 40-pound box of skinless, boneless chicken breasts for $60.00. It wasn't as awesome as when we bought a box for $40 two years ago, but it was a much better deal than I've seen in a long while. We came home, fed our starving kid and put him to bed about two hours later than usual. The chicken breasts were supposed to be frozen, but they actually weren't, so we went ahead and put them in freezer bags and crammed them into the freezer. We spent a while watching some television shows on the interwebs, and then we crashed.

Despite going to bed at an absurdly late hour, Ike woke up at 6:30, which wasn't that bad since I'm not the one who gets up with him these days. Eric got him up and took him to pick up our produce from Bountiful Baskets. While he was downstairs feeding Ike and planning how we will use our produce, I pulled myself out of bed and joined them in the kitchen. We munched on goodies, and I finally started making baba ghanoush with the eggplant we got from the co-op last week. Meanwhile, Eric busied himself making horse muffins (a muffin whose primary ingredients are carrots, apples and oats, which is why we call them horse muffins, even though that is not what they were originally titled.) I finished up the horse muffins while Eric gave Ike a bath. He's about to go down for a nap, and then the rest of our day will continue. We'll probably make some banana bread, thereby freeing up the space in our freezer that is currently occupied by a bunch of frozen bananas. Plus I'll finish making the baba ghanoush.

Tonight we're going to dinner and to see the Utah Symphony play Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, courtesy of Eric's parents. Eric got the tickets for his birthday in September, making this probably the longest planned date we've ever had.

I got up so much earlier than I usually do on a Saturday (before 8!). I feel like the day has just started, but there is still so much time left. I should do this more often. (Not actually going to happen.)

11 February 2012


Ike doesn't really like the vacuum. He's okay with it until I turn it on, and then he turns around and hightails it out of the area I'm vacuuming. But then he always gets curious and comes back around to observe from a safe distance. Yesterday I was vacuuming the stairs, and he was standing at the top of the stairs looking very concerned. I told him the scary thing was not the vacuum but the fact that our carpets need vacuuming so often, and we only have one kid in the house. Also, I told him no cats or dogs. Ever.

09 February 2012


I frequently daydream about what I would do if I won or was given certain sums of money. (Anyone who wishes to make any of my dreams a reality is welcome to do so.) Plus it's one of those questions that people get asked in a sort of getting-to-know-you kind of way. Here's how I would put various amounts of money to use. (If anybody had any doubts about how boring I am, those will shortly be put to rest.)

I'd just put it in the bank. I'm sure it would eventually get used for something.

We are doing a quasi-Dave Ramsey financial plan. We've saved up our six-month emergency fund, but with both cars soon to take their last spins, we are pretty certain we'll have to buy at least one car this year, and when we do that the emergency fund will be at least in part depleted. We're hoping to have saved up enough for a car that when one of them goes we don't have to drain the emergency fund at all, but right now the prospects of that are grim. With that said, we'd put almost the entirety of an extra $1000 into the car fund. I might spend under $50 for some kind of treat like new clothes or a dinner out or something.

This answer is pretty much the same as the first. With the money we'd have left over (because we plan on buying a newish used car instead of a brand new car), we'd probably contribute to paying down the mortgage. Again, maybe a little splurging, this time on a small vacation or something a little nicer than dinner out.

This is quite a bit of money. And I'd chuck it at the house. And it would cut years and years and years and years and years off my mortgage. And it would be amazing. If I didn't have a mortgage (because the house was paid off or something) I'd probably put it toward retirement and also go on a trip to Europe.

I would definitely pay off the house. And I'd go on a trip to Europe. And I'd buy some new clothes. And I wouldn't wait for the cars to die before upgrading them. (I'd still probably buy used, though.) I would also buy some properties to rent out so that I could have continual money coming in.

And that is what I would do with extra money.

03 February 2012

Fashion Challenge - Days 4-10

Kayla's winter fashion challenge is now over. As you will recall, I posted pictures of my outfits for the first three prompts last week. My fashion ensembles for the rest of the prompts are below.

Day 4's assignment was to "channel someone." I didn't do it that very day, but I did on the following Sunday. I channeled my inner Ensign model. Gray skirt from Banana Republic. Pink cardigan given to me by my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas many moons ago (2004). Gray button-up shirt purchased from Liz Claiborne when I was a junior in high school. Pink headband from Ross.
Day 5 was pattern mixing. I did not do it because I do not have many patterned items and because there are no viable pattern combos among the clothes I do have. I have several striped shirts and sweaters, a couple of argyle sweaters, one polka-dotted top that I never wear because it is kind of wonky and weird, and a couple of paisley-floral-ish tops, one of which is a little big and works best as a maternity shirt. I have no patterned pants. I have three non-solid skirts, and as you can see the patterns are just not mixable with my tops. And yes, I did go to the trouble of pulling out all my patterned clothes and photographing them just so I could have an excuse for not participating in Day 5.

The assignment for Day 6 was "Decade or Region." Bam. I found this shirt in my mom's closet when I was like 16. It was one of my favorite tops in high school, and I really needed to pull it out and wear it. I happened to not leave the house at all that day, besides to go to the mailbox, and that is a crying shame. But for the sake of being positive at least this one time, let's give a big huzzah to the fashion challenge for getting me to find something I really super duper liked.

Day 7 was Bright Colors. Easy Peasy. I wear a lot of bright colors, so it was hard to decide which clothes to wear. I went with the yellow shirt I wore last week for the layering day. The orange sweater I got from somewhere in 2004. And I have a green one just like it that I am currently wearing. I love these sweaters. Only 3 days left to go. Everyone stay with me.

Actually, there's not much left to stay with. I really fizzled here at the end. Day 8's assignment was to dress up a coat. I thought I'd put a really cool pin on my brown coat that I wear pretty much every day, but then I realized I do not have a pin. Not a one. Too bad. But there was a very lovely sunrise that morning.

Day 9 was an OTI, "Open To Interpretation." The idea is that you look at the photo on Kayla's post and wear an outfit somewhat loosely based on that one. I just didn't have anything that I felt remotely went along the lines of the photo, and I had a really early meeting for work (8 a.m.! What is wrong with those corporate people?) Plus I had to look moderately nice at said meeting, so I really couldn't risk wearing something that was ultimately kind of goofy because I had to make an impression on people who do not really know me.

Day 10's assignment was to do something that scares us. I don't have any fashion things that scare me. I just have a million fashion things I don't like. So I didn't do today's assignment either.

So that's a 60% completion rate. Good thing I'm not getting graded. Also good thing this challenge is over and I can go back to looking like a bum most days. (Also Eric is glad because maybe now I will quite whining about my lack of clothing when in fact I have more clothes than the majority of people in the world.) (But with that said, do you realize how many things I own that were given to me or purchased in 2004? Yikes.)