Sunday, August 28, 2011

I CAN Be Happy...If I Want To


So now that I have introduced us all, I should probably give a little something that resembles a talk.

It has been a difficult week, for many reasons.  Felix still has to travel and there were some hiccups related to school, and we are still trying to unpack.  It was one of those weeks where everything was against me.

As I ventured through all of the crazy this week, my mind kept focusing on happiness.  My happiness.  My kids happiness.  My family’s happiness.  And for whatever reason, I kept thinking about President Monson.

So I turned went to lds.org and searched for happiness and President Monson.  I found an article written by President Monson called Happiness-the Universal Quest.  It summed up perfectly all of the things going through my mind.

Our family has been given some unique challenges.  But everyone has challenges.  Each challenge is as unique as each individual. 

Challenges were not sent to us as curses from a cruel and unfeeling God.  Quite the opposite…challenges were given to us as opportunities.  While our challenges are different, our goal is the same.

Joseph Smith once said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keep all of the commandments of God.”

Being LDS is a verb.  It requires action.  So are faith, testimony and happiness.  I love that we are not a passive people.  I also love agency, and the opportunity agency gives us to choose.  We can choose to be happy, in spite of our challenges and the difficulties we face in life.

We can’t hide from trials.  They are a part of life.  We can’t hide from temptation or things that are not virtuous, not lovely or not of good report.

What we can do is choose right from wrong.  We can choose good over evil.  Famed philosopher, Socrates, asked, “How is it that men know what is good, but do what is bad?”  It’s a great question.  But by choosing right over wrong, we become spiritually strengthened and are able to overcome anything that is placed in our path.

As President Monson said, “It must not be expected that the road of life spreads itself in an unobstructed view before the person….he must anticipate coming upon forks and turnings in the road…he cannot hope to reach his desired journey’s end if he thinks aimlessly about whether to go east or west.” 

The path will have twists and turns, but focusing on the end goal, will help us make it through the dark and difficult times.  Even Apostle Paul counseled in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “So run, that ye may obtain.”


A perfect is example is a story about Joe.   
Joe had been asked to get up at 6:00 in the morning and drive a crippled child 50 miles to the hospital. He didn’t want to do it, but he didn’t know how to say no.

A woman carried the child out to the car and set him next to the driver’s seat, mumbling thanks through her tears. Joe said everything would be all right and drove off quickly.

After a mile or so, the child inquired shyly, “You’re God, aren’t you?”

“I’m afraid not, little fellow,” replied Joe.

“I thought you must be God,” said the child. “I heard Mother praying next to my bed and asking God to help me get to the hospital so I could get well and play with the other boys. Do you work for God?”

“Sometimes, I guess,” said Joe, “but not regularly. I think I’m going to work for him a lot more from now on.”

We each have the ability and opportunity to work.  While the trials of this life are great, the blessings are greater.  2 Nephi 2:3 says, 

“Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed…thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer…”

I have a saying up where I can see it every day, it reads,

Life is an opportunity…benefit from it.
Life is a game…play it.
Life is a dream…realize it.
Life is a challenge…meet it.
Life is a duty…complete it.
Life is beauty…admire it.
Life is a promise…fulfill it.
Life is sorrow…overcome it.
Life is a song…sing it.
Life is a struggle…accept it.
Life is a tragedy…confront it. 
Life is luck…wish it.
Life is an adventure…dare it.
Life is life…live it.

Again from 2 Nephi 2 “…men are that they might have joy.”

I challenge you each.  Be active.  Choose happiness.  Have joy.  


Lessons Learned
1. Sometimes the prophets really are speaking directly to you.
2. Heavenly Father REALLY does me better than I do.
3. I'm my own worst enemy (I learn this one A LOT!)
4. My trials are light if I let Heavenly Father share the burden.
5. I don't have to MAKE myself miserable.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BEATDOWN BUS

Wednesday.  It really just kind of sucked all the way around.  I can't even be nice about it yet, and it has been days.

Wednesday started out kind of rough.  I had to hurry and get kids out of the door because Baylee had her first appointment with her new rheumatologist at the childrens hospital in Saint Louis. And since it is about an hour and a half away, and we had to find the office...we had to leave kind of early.

So we went, we got there...still had to drive through some scary parts of town, but this trip I realized we get to drive past Anheuser Busch's beer college.  Yes, boys and girls, the beer college.  Don't be jealous.

We found it and to keep this much shorter than it otherwise would be....here is the summary.

--We were there for two hours, meeting with various people in the office.
--They did an amazing history and workup.
--Her left ankle is 'thickening', which means the muscles are starting to, well, thicken.  And more or less stop acting like muscles...which means her ankle has not so much time left.  She is losing flexibility, which will eventually cost her mobility.
--She gets her first treatment on September 1st.  But here it is in the oncology clinic.  So we get to hang out with all of the sweet babies getting actual chemo.  We are both nervous about it, but are looking forward to making the best of a difficult situation.
--The new doctor says that many of Baylee's issues don't add up and that he plans on spending time on her file to see if we can't get to the bottom of things!  YAY!

So we made the drive home.  Ate in the car...yuck, I hate eating while driving.  And I got Baylee to school before lunch was over and she at least got part of the day in.

I got home, got work done, cleaned the house and got ready for them to come home.  But no amount of preparing would have been enough.

The kids came in screaming...and crying...and Caleb wasn't talking.  So like the previous section--here is the summary.

--Caleb and his seatmate on the bus, starting playing "Scrub Nubs"...think "Noogies".
--Out of the blue, his seatmate said, "Secret attack!."  Put him in a head lock and started hitting his head against the bus window.  The bus was in motion, so the driver couldn't do anything.
--Sixth graders moved over and started encouraging the fight.
--Caleb got a few good face hits in.
--Savannah got out of her seat and broke up the fight.  She got in trouble for getting out of her seat.
--Shortly after that they were home.

So....they were all upset and didn't want to ride the bus anymore.  Yeah?  Me too!!!

I called the district transportation director, who had already heard about it and she was awesome...but I pulled the kids off of the bus anyway.

I managed to not cry until I went to bed that night.  The kids were already upset enough as it was.

Lessons Learned
1.  Like any mother, I can't be every where, every moment.  It still doesn't take the hurt of not being able to protect my babies away.
2.  Grateful my kids stood up for each other.
3.  That I am hoping more than I thought I was that the reason I am here will be made clear.
4.  As much as I am against my kids hitting....so grateful Caleb did.
5.  Finding Bully Beatdown on MTV is not helping my anger issues right now.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Take My Money....PLEASE?????

So we've been here for three weeks, I figured I could try and get the cars registered and get my license.  I kind of have to get the Durango registered because the tags expire this month.

I had called a friend from the ward to find out where....thank goodness it was in town so I didn't have to drive FOREVER to get there.

I grabbed all of our car stuff and headed down to the office.  I am such a newbie in town, I have to use the GPS to even get to the other side of town.  But it is a big stretch from one side to the other, I'm just sayin'.

I got to the office, pulled out all of original loan documents, several years of registration and found out none of it mattered.

I had to get loan information, past and present (because we refinanced), special tax waivers, blah, blah, blah.  I also have to have an I.D.O.D.  What's that?  VIN check and Odometer reading.  Seriously?

So I start running around town, getting everything I needed (including an hour at the state inspection station) and head home for the other paperwork.  I also have to call our previous lienholder.

For whatever reason, even though I had all of the information, I wasn't in the system.  I finally get through to a real person, tell them what I need just to have them tell me they can't give it to me.

So I have to call the bank back and they have to call and get the information.  It will be here in 48-72 hours.  Phew...I have a new best friend at the bank.

Then I find out I need to have a birth certificate to get my drivers license.  Since when?  Do you have any idea how long it has been since I've had to even get a new license?  And back when I moved to Utah from California, they didn't require birth certificates.

So I download the paperwork for San Bernardino (after finding out my mom never had my birth certificate because I'm so old, it was never required FOR ANYTHING), fill it all out and bother my best friend at the bank AGAIN!

She notarizes my paperwork, and off to the post office I go.  Not very encouraging to see all of the mail bins in the back of the building....I hope my papers make it.

So then I remember I have to fill prescriptions because we finally got our new insurance cards!  YAY.

Until I went to transfer all of our prescriptions (and yes, there are a ton) and of everything I had to get...guess what wasn't covered....my Ambien.

That will just be bad for everyone.  I'm just sayin'.

Lessons Learned
1. I am an even bigger fan of Not Moving after today.
2. I don't want to play anymore.
3. Paperwork sucks.
4. Have you met me on no sleep....it's not pretty....and the events of the day, plus no Ambien is just an accident waiting to happen.
5. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I WON!!! I WON!!!

Ahhhhh......victory is SUH-WEET!

So the Operations Manager for T-Mobile called me....although it wasn't in the promised 24 hour time period.  They called back in 27 hours.

He was reasonable.  Who knew T-Mobile had reasonable people that worked for them?

So he started on the usual...
...when did you have trouble?
...what about a tower in your home?
...what about an engineering request.

I had already done all of that.  I explained that to him.  I told him I would split the cost 50/50.  I said I just wanted to be done, but it was a  matter of principle at this point.

He said hang on until I can look at the report from June.  When he came back he said he had to clarify what the report said.

Here's the summary:

We checked things out.  We know there is a problem.  We already spent our budget and can't fix the problem.  So we are letting you out of your contract at no cost to you.

Oh.

WOWEEEE!!!!

I actually did it.

Lessons Learned
1. I can do some things.
2. I do have a brain...and I didn't even have to see the wizard.
3. I wonder if my children will be able to admit I was right.
4. YAY!
5. SUPER YAY!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ummmmm.....T-Mobile says WHAT?


So, even though I have tons of funny stories to tell...they are just going to have to wait.  I have a much more pressing issue.  Anyone familiar with my Sears saga, you know what's coming.  Anyone who missed that part of fun in my life...please go HERE for details.


So, ever since I found out we were moving, I have kind of been freaking out about cell phone coverage.  I know how bad Felix's reception was, and he was with Verizon.


So I checked out T-Mobiles website....now this was before we were moving and we were trying to decide what city to live in....and Piedmont (where Felix is working) has NO coverage by anyone but AT&T.  Okay, we weren't living there.  We had narrowed down our search to the Farmington area....T-Mobile had coverage. And it looked like it was in the GOOD range.  Awesome.  We were going to be okay.


But I called T-Mobile anyway.  I talked to a Customer Service Representative who confirmed that I would have GOOD coverage within the city limits and MODERATE on the highways.  Which meant that I could get sometimes spotty coverage "here and there".


I didn't give it another thought....until I took my first trip out in June.  I lost signal outside of St. Louis and didn't have it for at least half of the ride to Farmington (which is a full hour and a half).  Inside the city I got coverage....If I stayed in our hotel room and didn't go anywhere.  Just driving through the city limits I would lose signal and who knows when I would get it back.


So I called T-Mobile.  We put in a service order, so that T-Mobile could decide whether or not things were going to improve for me.


I didn't call back for the 'results'...you had to wait 72 hours until much later in the week.  And when I finally did, they had no plans to improve things in the area...but that I would be fine.  I talked to them then about cancelling...but funny me, I wouldn't pay $800 to cancel our 4 lines.  However, Grandma's was only supposed to be $100 (another long story), and when I mentioned she had passed away, they waived it.  But I kept the phone for a while (a playtoy for Baylee).  We ended up cancelling it in July.  I still had another $600 to worry about.  Well, I think that is going to have to wait until after the move.


I believe I started calling T-Mobile within a couple of days of getting here.  We were sitting in our empty house waiting for servicemen (who couldn't do their jobs) and our stuff.  I would literally be sitting still, holding my phone or looking at it as it sat on the floor and I would lose signal...HOW DOES THAT WORK?


So I called, and I complained and they said there was nothing they could do.  I said okay and decided to call another day.  And I did.  And I complained, and I explained that I had 2 children with chronic health issues and how dangerous it was for me to be without cell phone coverage.  The solution (WAIT FOR IT): how about we put a free booster in your home and we can guarantee coverage inside of your home.  My response:  I'm kinda funny, but I have a MOBILE phone in order to be MOBILE.  How exactly will that help me when I'm MOBILE?


Let's just say that conversation ended with not a lot getting done.  And I believe I called 2 more times without anything getting accomplished.


I think it was Tuesday of the following week, and I still did not have anywhere NEAR reliable coverage when I walked into the AT&T store (one of many here in town) and got new phones for all of us.  I'm sorry, I'm not risking my babies.  Our sales person said that she used to work for T-Mobile, gave me a few key phrases and told me I could get out of our contract easy peasy.  Awesome.


So that Saturday, Felix and I decided to use the magic words and get out of the T-Mobile contract.  Sadly, the magic words didn't work.  Our call ended up getting escalated, we got told we had to pay up if we cancelled and an address for the customer service department that might decide to do something.  We even offered to pay half.


It is now the Friday after that.  I haven't written the letter or called T-Mobile because I was so mad from our last phone call that I needed a whole week to calm down.  But this morning, I decided TODAY WAS THE DAY!  And I had to go to WalMart and I knew I got pretty good reception there.


The call started before I got into the store and it was the usual...First:  It's your fault for moving.  Second: Well if you cancelled when you found out the coverage wasn't the same, it would have been $600, so what is the big deal now.  Third: We can give you guaranteed coverage inside of your home....yada, yada, yada....


After I explained I wasn't an attorney, but I understood the basics of contract law...i.e. Each party in the contract received consideration for their participation....T-Mobile was getting my money, I was supposed to be getting service.  When one party did not receive their consideration, it could be considered breach of contract.  So instead of this getting ugly, let's do something amicable and split the cancellation fees 50/50.


Then there was the whole conversation about Terms and Conditions....blah, blah, blah.  I understand Terms and Conditions, I know what I signed up for, I also know that it was not divulged that my coverage would be LESS THAN GOOD, LESS THAN MODERATE, and practically NON-EXISTENT.  Which is about when I started losing my connection...in the middle of WAL-MART.  At this point, I asked for the next rung in the ladder....meaning, please send me to the escalation team.


And then T-Mobile was gone.  A supervisor called me back in about 5 minutes.  I still think it's funny that I lost T-Mobile in the middle of complaining about their service and coverage.  Am I the only one that sees the irony in that?


Anyways....I went through the ENTIRE same conversation with the supervisor.  I finally told her that I am not stupid and I understood how this worked, it was just a matter of me calling back, T-Mobile getting sick of me or by luck of the draw, getting someone who was flexible.


THEN THE BOMBSHELL-----DUM, DUM, DUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.....


She told me that if it were earlier in the year, she would totally work with me.  HOWEVER---around the first of the year, all of the cellular carriers made an agreement that NONE OF THEM would discount or offer flexibility or waive any cancellation fees.  WHAT THE?????????


Quick...let's get to the end.  Blah, blah, blah....why don't you get a PAY AS YOU go cell phone on another carrier so you can have a phone for emergencies when your T-MOBILE doesn't work.  Yes, they really said that too.  I finally told her to please move me up to the next rung on the ladder (which she told me it didn't matter how high up the ladder I went, because of the aforementioned agreement), no one was going to waive or discount the cancellation fees.


So I am supposed to have a call back in the next 24 hours from the next rung up on the ladder.


In the meantime, I have time on my hands while I am waiting for the call.  And what do I do when I have free time (that I don't really have) and I'm really, really mad?  Well, I research of course.  Somewhere in that not completely stupid part of my brain, I was having stirrings of recollection from my business law and advanced accounting classes.


Now....I shall share what I have found.


FIRST: please refer to http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/search/display.html?terms=contract&url=/ucc/2/article2.htm#s2-106  This would be Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which discusses Contracts, contract definitions, breach and obligations of contract parties.


SECOND:  please refer to TITLE 7 > CHAPTER 9 > SUBCHAPTER II > Part A > § 192
(§ 192. Unlawful practices enumerated) of the UCC.  Pay close attention to superscript (F) about the manipulation of the market to control prices....SUMMARY: It's a NO-NO!!!!

THIRD:  please refer to TITLE 12 > CHAPTER 6 > SUBCHAPTER II > § 617

§ 617. Engaging in commerce or trade in commodities; price fixing; forfeiture of charter; acts forbidden to directors, officers, agents, or employees


This would be the part of the UCC that talks about Price fixing (or collusion...for all of you smart people).  Guess what...it's a NO-NO too!

Sooooo, when 'Next ladder on the rung guy' call me....I think I may have to discuss these very fascinating parts of the Uniform Commercial Code with him or her.  Then I think I should mention, that a certain merger between AT&T and T-Mobile is currently under review with the Securities and Exchange Commission because they are concerned about the effect the merger will have on the market...Specifically-a monopoly.  I think the SEC might wanna hear about current business practices, among ALL cellular carriers, but mostly between AT&T and T-Mobile, that may already be trying to manipulate the market in their favor, therefore setting up a monopoly, or at the very least an ogliopoly (do you have any idea how long I have wanted to use that word in a sentence?).


BUT, before I forget...one of the most important things I discovered.  And that would be: 
FOURTH:  US (202) 942-8088...the number for the SEC.  Cuz guess what?  Dex knows DC too!

So.......I'll keep ya posted.  And if you know anyone who hates these guys as much as I do right now....let me know.

Lessons Learned
1.  I might be a little wordy....but not stupid.
2.  Do you think I have a case for getting the rate at a minimum REDUCED....?
3.  Who thinks that AT&T and T-Mobile should be stopped...ME, ME, ME!
4.  I don't think I'm being unfair....but if I am...tell me, I can take it.

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