Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today

There wasn't nearly enough this:


And there was way too much this:


(Why are they happiest right after they barf ALL over you?)

There's always tomorrow, right?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Anniversary SURPRISE!


Harley and I have been married five, count those fingers FIVE, years! Lately I've been selling him down the river on this blog (it's all in good fun), but tonight I have nothing but praises for his name. Last week he told me he wants to be in charge of ALL our wedding anniversaries. Okay! Then he told me to have my bags packed and ready by 2:00 PM Friday. Done.

The big surprise: A WEEKEND GETAWAY TO OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND!

Here are FIVE highlights from the anniversary celebration:

#1. The BEAUTIFUL Beach.



#2. FANTASTIC Outlet Mall Shopping.



#3. Best Chocolate-Dipped Carmel Apple EVER!




#4. Finally finding and buying the PERFECT pair of sunglasses.

#5. Spending a no interruptions, no responsibilities, no agenda weekend with my two FAVORITE people in the entire world.



Happy Anniversary Harley! I love you longer than always.


Oh, and you can keep your flag shirt. I guess I have more male readers than I thought. Or fewer Divas who have my back. The fact that you have my entire family wrapped around your finger doesn't help my cause either. (Cheryl, at least you were undecided. Thank you.) Bottom line, the readers have voted. I lose. You win. Wave on, flag shirt, wave on. But only at Lake Powell, okay?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Your Vote has Never Been So Important

Harley King has undergone a transformation over the past five years. It happens to married men all the time. They go from GEEK to CHIC. Many people credit me with this metamorphosis. To the fashion industry, Harley and the people who have to look at him I say, "My pleasure."

I'm sorry... you never knew Harley in his fashionably challenged years? You want pictures showing his change in style?

Okay.

THEN



NOW



I'm pleased to say I've "helped" Harley part with MOST of his pre-marital wardrobe. He's been very grateful and is now the one to pull ME into Banana Republic. However, there is one item I just can't seem to sneak from his collection. Behold, THE FLAG SHIRT.



Maybe you need a closer look at this too wide, too short, tacky, UGLY piece of work.



You may be thinking, "Why don't you just steal it in the middle of the night and throw it away? Or conveniently "lose" it in the wash? He'll never notice." I've tried. Oh, how I've tried. Somehow no matter how many times that thing gets hidden, lost, trashed or even thrown overboard at Lake Powell (true story), it magically resurfaces. Harley says he likes this shirt because:

A) It makes him look good. (Please. Stand by for evidence to the contrary.)

B) It boasts the Hungarian flag. (It doesn't. I've checked. Armenia, yes. Shout out to his mission land, no.)

Finally, my favorite reason...

C) It matches all his swimsuits.

I guess I should be grateful with that last one. He doesn't wear it "out." Only swimming. Always for a week straight at Lake Powell.


I know. He looks happy. Dorky, but happy. The black eye I gave him when I found out he packed the flag shirt doesn't shake his grin. My readers, it has come to this. A blog vote. Harley and I cannot agree on whether the shirt should wave or die. It's up to you. You choose to keep it, we fly high and proud at Lake Powell. You give it the axe, it goes in the trash Monday morning. (Right, Harley?) You have all weekend to vote. Vote with a comment or in the poll at the top left of the blog. My fellow Americans, consider all the issues. Exercise your right. Rock the vote. (And keep this shirt out of closet!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five Generations

Harley King, Great Grandma Jan Hellewell, Anderson King, Great-Great Grandma Faye Sutherland, Grandma Debby King

Harley's great grandmother died today. Faye Sutherland was a special lady. She was a great hostess with a beautiful garden. She was a dedicated temple worker who sometimes completed two sessions a day. Grandma Sutherland was 92 years old. Her funeral is Saturday. Unfortunately, we will not be there.

During my summer trip to Utah I felt strongly Harley and I should visit Grandma Sutherland. That visit never happened, but we were fortunate to have her attend Anderson's blessing. She was Anderson's great-great grandmother. As someone who is just beginning to create a posterity, I cannot fathom being around when Anderson has great grandchildren! I'm happy she and Anderson were able to meet. I'm happy I took these pictures to show him someday.



Here are some older pictures. The first is from Katie's endowment session in August 2007. The last two are Thanksgiving 2005. These Thanksgiving shots are some of my favorite King family pictures. I especially love the look on (Great Aunt) Bonnie Kay's face as she cracks everyone up.

Debby King, Bonnie Kay Oglesby, Jan Hellewell, Katie King
Nancy Hellewell, Wendy King, Faye Sutherland



Janna King, Katie King, Jan Hellewell, Faye Sutherland,
Debby King, Bonnie Kay Oglesby

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now THAT'S what I call customer service

After two (and counting) terrible days of being on hold, dealing with incompetent people, paying through the nose for things you hate to buy in the first place, and schlepping with babe in arms to brick and mortar offices to fight battles in person only to be told I have to FILE FOR AN INVESTIGATION over a $414.64 electric bill (which, by the way, Pepco admits is due to employee error!!!!!), my faith in customer service has been restored (for the moment) by these guys:


I know most of us already know of the greatness that is Netflix. (Those of you still frequenting the neighborhood Blockbuster -- you know who you are -- you're SERIOUSLY missing out.) But have you ever CALLED this blessed company? I did tonight. And my experience blew me away.

Problem: Last week SOMEONE (for the sake of the story we'll call that someone, HARLEY) mistakenly put a personal DVD (Baby Einstein: Baby Monet - Discovering the Seasons) into the Netflix slip and mailed it off to Netflix land. We were left with Netflix's DVD Planet Earth Disc 3 (HIGHLY recommend). I hopped online and easily found the solution for "You Returned a Personal DVD." We're supposed to wait it out, hope the hub recognizes a foreign DVD and it will be returned.

We waited.

Today my mailbox presented me with a new Netflix envelope. But inside wasn't Baby Monet. Instead, Planet Earth Disc 4 (the next DVD in our queue). Elch. Add this to my list of "things to deal with." But no dealing necessary. Just the following FABULOUSNESS:

*Customer service lines are open AFTER 9pm. (I have no day-time minutes to spare this month.)
*The Netflix website gives you an approximate on hold wait time. (Genius!)
*My real wait time was a pleasant HALF what the website estimated. A whopping 30 seconds. TOTAL.
*I went straight to a human who spoke clearly with no accent OR attitude.

I explained my problem. The guy was great about it. He said unfortunately since they carry the Baby Monet DVD it is impossible to retrieve ours and return it to us. (Notice we're not getting our DVD back, and I'm still a VERY satisfied customer.) I was bummed but knew it was OUR mistake. I started to say thanks and goodbye when he stopped me with this:

"I'll tell you what I can do for you." (Whaaaat? I hadn't even asked the magic "Is that the best you can do?" and he's about to offer his best? Amazing!) "I will credit your account for the cost of the DVD. You won't be charged from us until November."

This was my face:


Okay, not my face but definitely my reaction! Two whole months of service for FREE! Disclaimer: I think we're on the lowest Netflix plan possible. We only get 2 DVDs a month, 1 at a time. (And we're barely able to keep up.) So it's not that much money, but again, this was OUR (read HARLEY'S) mistake. Netflix owes us nothing. Yet they delivered above and beyond.

There's another great part. At the end, the guy didn't try to hit me up for more coverage, extra channels, renters insurance, spare dollars to save the whales, or "payment protection for as little as $19.99 a month"..... er, I mean, he didn't try to talk me into upgrading our plan. He just said "bye." It was like talking to a friend. A good friend. One I will keep.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Laundry, Light and that Stupid Lizard

I don't want to be that girl who blogs about money troubles. We all have them. They're personal and taboo. However, today the financial world opened its big, strong magnet and sucked at our dollars faster than we'd budgeted. And I need to vent about it.

The day started out rough. It's laundry day, which is NOT a picnic in our new place. Maybe I'll blog about it some day. For now, know this: 3 flights, baby, ghetto machines.

Between loads and during naptime I sat down to pay some bills. This is something I actually LOVE to do. I get this from my dad. I pour over the statements, make sure everything is correct, then get great satisfaction out of paying them, balancing the checkbook and filing everything away. Today there was no satisfaction. Just two serious, hard kicks where in hurts most. The wallet.

I open our car insurance bill from Geico. I noticed it was $21.20 higher than our last bill with absolutely no explanation why. That bugs. Of course I called. Ironically, instead of getting it back to the original price, we're now paying $127.40 MORE. Why? In the course of our conversation it came out that we've moved. (Note: When you move you have to change your address with a million peeps, right? I had my list. Harley had his. Geico was on his list. Apparently, Harley has not yet completed his list.) The lady on the phone blamed the initial $21.20 increase on "the economy hit by hard times." I know we've seen better days but seriously? That much in six months? Of course she had no way to break down this reasoning with solid numbers, so I'm left with no choice but to accept it. The NEW $106.20 is thanks to our new home. She informed me Bladensburg sees more traffic accidents than Gaithersburg. (There's a shocker.) Can't really fight that one either. I went with the ammo that's worked in the past. I pointed out our miles have dropped significantly. We went from two people commuting 20+ miles every day to well, nada. I told her we'd put only 1500 miles on the car over the next year. Harley bikes to school. I... go to the grocery store. That's about it. Didn't seem to help. She pointed out in one year my car accident will be three years behind us and that will help. Thanks for bringing up that painful memory. I told her to apply every science, geek, nerd, teacher, student discount she had. (Did you know scientists are proven to be safer drivers?) She said those discounts were already factored in. I asked if that was the best she could do. (This statement is magical by the way. I will blog about its power some day.) She paused and said, "Are you willing to have a $1000 deductible instead of $500?" Absolutely. (Take the risk. Learned that from my dad too.) She knocked off $80. Bottom line we're paying nearly $1300/year in car insurance. Does that seem way high to anyone else? I told her to send me a new bill, but threatened I'd be shopping around in the meantime. She got nervous and gave me a big speech about how much Geico cares about us and doesn't want to lose valued customers. She doesn't want to lose us, but she can't go any lower. Guess she doesn't care that much.

Speaking of "caring," what's with them acting so interested in your personal life when you KNOW they couldn't give a rat's you-know-what? Perfect example: in an effort to prove our yearly mileage would be really low I told her we just had our first baby and don't travel as much. She gushed, she ooowed, asked for his name, then wished me congratulations. Not 15 seconds later she was asking me if we have any teenage children on the policy. Two minutes later she asked if we had any "new 16 year olds" on the policy. I'm not kidding. Why are you wasting my time pretending to care about my family? I know you really don't and you're not paying attention so save my time and yours and cut the small talk! On the plus side, at least she spoke fluent English with no accent, which is way more than I can say for most people you get on the phone these days.

My "15 minutes" was really 28 PRECIOUS, day-time, cell minutes. It didn't save me "15% or more." It actually COST ME 40% more. Thanks a lot gecko.


Then there is the bill from Pepco (electric company) for $414.64. That one sent my jaw crashing to the floor. I'm trying to not freak out TOO much because SURELY there is a mistake. NO WAY did we use that much electricity (on what? Air conditioning? Not when you live with Harley) in the 13 days we've been here. I see the bill says from March 29-September 12. Okay, so maybe the previous tenant (our landlord) owes some of this. It's hard to tell from the bill. It's going to take another phone call. Gearing up now for that one.

To top this all off, I'm waiting for the maintenance man. The brand new garbage disposal is broken and the dining room light (our main source of light in a no-ceiling-lights-must-bring-your-own-lamp east coast apartment) keeps flickering and sounds like it's making popcorn. Thank goodness we rent, otherwise we'd have those bills to foot too!

Thanks for listening. I'm so glad blogging is free.

P.S. Of course we're having major Comcast issues that I will not go into on this post. No surprise there. Comcast bills don't even phase me anymore because they're ALWAYS wrong. We end up paying the correct amount every month it just takes a phone call, a lot of patience, my time and more precious, ever-precious day-time minutes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Moving Musings

Don't bother getting a manicure two weeks before you move.


Ask for help. Ask early. Ask many people. Don't and you end up looking like this guy.


Never underestimate the amount of ish you really have. Especially after you have a baby.




Never ever EVER buy any of the following ever again: (If anyone needs any of these items see me, I have PLENTY.)
*toothpicks
*saran wrap (No joke, we have FOUR rolls. Three opened. How does that happen when you pride yourself on being organized?)
*clothes pins (Why would you ever need ONE of these in today's dryer days? Don't know. But I have nearly 100 just in case.)
*Shout stain remover
*pancake mix
*soap (Who have we become? The Linds?)
*Tealight candles (I associate this lifetime supply with the Linds as well. That trip to the San Diego's Ikea turned our "good enough" supply into a "WHAT WAS I THINKING! WHEN WILL I EVER USE THIS MANY?" stash.)
*birthday candles (Anybody turning 107? We've got your wish power covered. As for lighting them? We have a plethora of matches too.)
*black cardigans (Many of these bad boys have gone the way of the Dodo bird... and the baggy, midriff-bearing red sweater.)


We survived the move. We unfortunately spent twice as much as we should have, but we fortunately avoided paying an extra $50/HOUR by having our truck back two hours earlier than planned. (Who does U-Haul think they are anyway?) We have more bruises than we care to count, but what hurt more was going without internet for 12 days. Not to mention TV. Who is Sarah Palin? Completely missed the RNC. Our apartment is nice. Our neighborhood is sketchy. The kitchen is the only room 100% organized right now. I miss my closet.

A shout out to the following people who came to our need in more ways than one.

PHYSICALLY
Eric & Krysta Crane were totally there for us with both muscles and a much needed meal... Cafe Rio no less!


(This is an old picture. It was taken at our last move.
They showed up to help with that one too!)

EMOTIONALLY
My favorite friends in the entire world are those with whom I can sit in one spot for two days straight and just talk and talk and talk. Add pizza, popcorn and nail polish and you have my BFF Sara. Thank goodness she came to visit during that first week when we were buried in stress and boxes!

(Also an old picture. We didn't snap any photos while Sara was here.
All we did was talk. Seriously.)

WELCOMED DISTRACTION
An honorable mention goes to this guy. He kept us smiling. He doesn't care where he lives as long as there is an exersaucer.