Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Cannot Be Trusted With Electronic Devices.

It's been a rough week for me on the phone/camera/anything else I can break front.  I will start from the beginning.  I have an Iphone 5, my husband got it for me and I don't really understand it, as I've always been a Blackberry kind of gal.  Nevertheless, I use it for what I need - which is really just phone calls, texts, and pictures.  I don't have much use for all of the crazy apps and stuff.  When my dear husband bought it, he was also smart enough to get me a lifeproof case, since I have a tendency to
(A) Dunk my phones in coffee as if they were donuts
(B) Hurl my phones into walls during fights (the wall got a hole, the phone was fine)
(C) Drop my phone at least 3 times a day.

Let me tell you, those lifeproof cases are amazing.  They are waterproof, idiot proof, Meredith proof.  This is, until you remove the phone from said case to plug it into a speaker so that you can dance while you do the dishes and promptly drop it, shattering the screen into a million little pieces.  At least, that is what I did.

$180.00 later, I had a shiny new screen and I vowed that never again would I remove my phone from it's case.  All was right in the world!!  That is until Apple, in its infinite bid to improve things, came out with a new operating system.  My husband immediately updated his, but I didn't really see the point in updating mine since I didn't even understand the old one - why confuse myself further?  Nevertheless, that little red "update" thingy was on my phone so I pressed it. I forgot about it, and after a while came back to my phone and asked my husband why there was a weird USB pointing to Itunes on my screen. "Did your phone do that?"  I asked.  "no, but I'm sure it just needs to be restarted" he replied.  Oh, if only it were that simple.  The update killed my phone.  Killed it, I say!

I spent an entire day (ok not an entire day but about 5 hours) on the phone with various Apple employees who were befuddled as well.  Let me say this - I have always been a "PC" person, not and Apple person. "I am a PC" -get it? Like the commercials?  But I must say that the helpful people at Apple are changing my mind.  Not only are they located in the US but they are nice and you never have to spend hours on hold.

So, after realizing there was no hope for my phone, I got the good news that it is under warranty so they will just send me a new one for free.  After about an hour on the phone with the tech support man who I now considered a friend, it occurred to me that I should mention the screen replacement in case it was an issue regarding the warranty.  BOOM! no free phone.  I voided the warranty 2 days before my phone fried through no fault of my own.  How's that for luck?

The point of this story is that I had high hopes for showing you pictures of my office today, but I can't.  The backup Iphone I am using doesn't take the best pictures, which normally wouldn't be a problem because I usually use my camera.  The camera I just dropped that no longer works.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The End.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Drowning in school paperwork

Our new house doesn't have a good spot for a landing/launch pad that can handle the hoards of paperwork that get sent home everyday from school.  Every morning when I send the little one off to school, I get that sickening feeling that I forgot to sign something, send in something, write a check for something, etc.
In our old house I converted a cabinet into a work station, but I do not have the space to do that here.  The paperwork and homework were just getting tossed onto any available open space, so I needed to fix it.  This is what I came up with and I am quite pleased with it. 
I started looking for vertical poly files, and since they are usually in bright colors, I hung it in the pantry so it is out of sight since it doesn't exactly match my kitchen.  My son's homework is usually sent home on Monday but is not due until Friday, so I have a pocket for uncompleted assignments and completed.  The pocket for sign/return is great for picture orders and other things that need attention but do not need to be sent in the next day.  When such items are ready, I put them in the "send in" file so that in the morning I can put them all in his folder.  The other folders are pretty self explanatory - his cub scout memos and my room mom memos.  Gone are the days of piles of paperwork and anxiety sitting on my counter!

Here is the best part, and I have to brag about Staples for a minute.  Note: Staples has no idea who I am and this is not a sponsored post.
I couldn't find a vertical file I liked at Office Depot/Max, which are the two office supply stores here in town. I am an office supply hoarder, always have been, and I am very particular.  I love Staples, even though I don't think I have ever set foot in one of their brick and mortar stores.  This is surprising, due to my hoarding of Martha Stewart office supplies.  I found this vertical file at Staples for $5.90!  I also needed a couple more of these beautiful Martha Stewart binders, and that qualified me for free shipping.  I love these binders, and my entire office is pretty much made up of the Martha line from staples.  Since we don't have a Staples here, I had to order online but this is the crazy part:  The closest Staples is (I think) in Houston - roughly 3 hours away.  They sent my files by courier to my house yesterday, for free, less than 24 hours after I ordered.  CRAZY.  They sent the binders via UPS and they should be here today - less than 48 hours after ordering.  That is service.  Why would I go to the office supply store when I can just sit at my computer, tap in an order, and have it delivered by an actual person the next day? I guarantee they lost money on the deal, after all, it was a $6.00 item that probably cost more in fuel than the item's worth.  But they gained a huge fan, and that is a good business model.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Monday Rant: NASCAR

Feel free to flip to a different post now.  I don't know if any of my readers are NASCAR fans, and I briefly considered starting a new blog for my rants because they are usually way off topic from housewife things, but this is my blog and I don't really care if it is scattered in every direction.  That being said, I don't mind if you don't want to read about NASCAR.  It won't hurt my feelings, we all have different interests and that's just fine.

That being said, for those of you who do follow NASCAR, I am sure you are all too aware of the controversy surrounding the Saturday night race at Richmond and Clint Bowyer's  untimely (or timely for those who are Truex Jr. or Logano fans) spin.  The fans have spoken and the reaction is not good.  There is outrage and disappointment,  with some threatening to never watch again if Bowyer is not punished by anything less than having his head on a stick paraded through the infield during driver introductions. 
Had this been one of the ubiquitous Busch brothers or, for that matter Tony Stewart back in his evil driver hey day, there probably would not be as much as a backlash.  After all, you expect that kind of behavior from them.  But this was Clint Bowyer, the "Aw, Shucks", beer drinking everyman of the sport.  The kind of driver who always seemed to be exactly what he appeared to be: no pretense, not fake, just an honest, take it or leave it personality.  The same goes for  Michael Waltrip - the goofy idiot savant who owns the team that includes Bowyer, Truex Jr, and Vickers. 

We all know by now that the spin was most likely intentional, and that Vickers was told to pit under green, thus altering the outcome of the race to allow Truex Jr to make the chase.  NASCAR fans are fiercely loyal, and we spend a lot of money following the sport, so we are, understandably, less than pleased when we feel as if we have been duped.  Clint Bowyer duped us. He made us believe that he was the "everyman" driver, when in reality he is just a pawn for the big machine that racing has become.  Last year at a hospitality breakfast in Kansas, Bowyer was the driver who made an appearance and I remember thinking how refreshingly simple he was - he seemed like a guy you would want to be friends with, made my son laugh, and just seemed like a good person.  Unfortunately, when the time came for him to be honest and let things play out as they should, or take the cheap shot, he took the cheap shot.  He let us down.

The race evolved, not into an actual chase for the cup, but into a veritable racing version of helicopter parenting by the Michael Waltrip team:  Truex can't race in on his own?  We will make it happen by cheating so that he can get in.  After all, every kid needs a trophy, right?  Even if they didn't earn it?  Newman was winning, and that's not fair (or in the words of Bowyer, "that sucks").  We will fix it so that he doesn't win because our little kids need to be there, even if they didn't earn it.  Now Martin Truex is in the chase, not because he raced his way in, but because his team owner decided to play helicopter parent. 

So, NASCAR is "reviewing things".  Short of docking points, it really doesn't seem like there is much that they can do, since the race is over and they cannot go back and run those last 9 laps.  Bowyer will run with a target on his back, and rightfully so.  Truex, even if he wins the championship, will have to live with the fact that he did not earn the right to be there in the first place.  At the end of the day, I think Martin Truex is the loser, because he seems to be the only innocent party in any of this, yet criticism will fall his way due to the actions of the team.  As for Logano, who shouldn't be there either, well nobody cares because he has always presented himself as a snippy little idiot, so nobody is surprised when he acts like one.  But Bowyer?  You let us down.  We thought you were better than that, taking a cheap shot for the big machine.
That's why we are angry and disappointed.  Although, to those threatening to never watch a race again, I think we can all agree that we will be watching next week, if for nothing else than to see what happens when Ryan Newman gets any where near Bowyer.  And that, my friends, will be worth watching.  Let's let it play out on the track, since I think we can all agree that NASCAR has no way of actually making the situation right.