Roads are for Sissies

As I was waiting to pull into the school parking lot today, a man in his driveway started to back into me. He didn't want to wait for anyone. But I couldn't pull any farther forward, so he had to wait.

Oh, just kidding.

He put his car in drive and drove through his driveway, his lawn, and HIS NEIGHBOR'S LAWN to get to the road where it was less congested.


Update: I just spoke with someone else at the school that witnessed the same man driving his SUV with a TRAILER ATTACHED the same way - through other people's lawns. And then, because the road becomes sort of one way, he ran through the cone barricade set up by the school so he could go the way he wanted to go.


MIMs the Word

While Jeremiah's parents were here, we were trying to think of things to do. Boyfriend eagerly suggested the MIM, the Musical Instrument Museum. It was a no go with his folks, but I told him that I would go with him at a later date. The next day at work, I was sent an email that for the entire month of March, teachers and a guest could see the MIM for FREE. F-R-E-E-E (name that show). I forwarded it to Jeremiah, who sent back a slightly explicit email detailing how happy he was. And then we waited for our ailments to pass us by and during my spring break we went. Here:
And I'm not sure if that is stone or marble or what, but I love it. The building is beautiful. The museum opened last year and is incredible. You get a headset that automatically tunes in to whatever exhibit you are at and you hear the instruments/music from around the world. Very cool.
I took literally hundreds of pictures. Here are just a sampling. I'm saving my best for Shuttercal. I'll be posting a MIM picture daily next month. My calendar (for those interested) is the letter e and my last name. It can be found under user list.
Room of guitars. Plus Air Guitar, which was posted next to an empty guitar case. Jer and I thought that was pretty funny.
I'm a fan of DIY & Repurposing, so you know I loved this hat with beads and bottle caps.
And this hat? I'd wear it. Totally.
The sign that showed how many languages are used in Africa just amazed me. Holy Wordsies, Batman.
The instrument below Jeremiah dragged me over to because he wanted to prove that it was made out of a bull's scrotum. Nice. Not so much for the bull...
I loved the display in the Mexico area. HUGE. Day of the Dead stuff. And I giggled as I listened to two little old ladies discussing how inappropriate the display was. And I wondered if they ever decorated their children/grandchildren for Halloween, which has zero spiritual significance, while Day of the Dead does. Just sayin'
I really got into all the detail in these pictures.
There might have been some welling of tears in the eyes when we got to the part of the museum where they displayed different memorabilia from different artists and we came across the piano that John Lennon used while writing Imagine.
The last part of the museum that we visited was a hands-on room where everyone could try out some of the instruments that were seen throughout the museum, including these drums, a gong, and a variety of others.
And on the way out I saw a map of the world done in stone. Yes, Michigan.

That was our FREE field trip. Boyfriend and I had a great time. Anyone else have a fun excursion recently?


Why I Got Kicked Out of Best Buy, Why I Hate Best Buy, or Why Best Buy is Corrupt


Got kicked out of Best Buy today. Jeremiah says we weren't, but I say that anytime security comes and tells you it is time to leave and walks you out, that's getting kicked out. He's so much more innocent than I am. One of us has to be the nice one.

Let's back up, shall we?

Last weekend I broke out a giftcard that someone in my family had given me. It was for Itunes. After typing in the code (which I had to scratch off the back to find), I was informed that this gift card had been canceled and refunded.

Interesting. Because I had the card and there is no way a store would take a refund on just a receipt. So, no one had used the card. No one had returned the card. But someone got fifteen dollars off my non-expiring gift card.

Contacted Itunes via email and they sent me a response that Best Buy had a problem with these particular cards, that they were aware of the problem, and that I needed to take the card to them to resolve the problem. They would reissue me a card.


Into the store we go. Told the story to the customer service girl. No help. Speak to twitchy-McManager. No help. No receipt, no refund. Plus I had scratched it off plus they said that it needed to be a receipt within the last thirty days. On a non-expiring gift card. Interesting. Plus, I don't typically receive receipts with my gifts. So no deal. So then Jeremiah was ticked and asked to speak to the higher manager (I didn't even know this existed.) This woman came out and you could actually SEE the word BITCH on her forehead. She didn't listen to anything we said, she wouldn't look into it at all, nothing. Would not work with us at all.

She was basically all, "No receipt, no help" and she got in my face. Like, right there. Jeremiah told her she needed to back up and she told him no. So she was intimidating me IN HER PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT. At one point an older teenager came up and tried to give me fifteen dollars. He was visibly upset. I told him I had fifteen dollars and this was about principle. And I thanked him for the offer, of course.

My shining moment was pulling up the email (using my phone) from Itunes which stated, "Emily, certain gift cards sold at Best Buy in USA and Canada were canceled. Best Buy/Future Shop is aware of the issue and will be replacing these cards for the customers.I recommend you contact Best Buy to obtain a refund or have the card activated."

I read it nice and loud, and afterwards said, "So you are telling me that you WON'T refund my card that your company has canceled and that you are keeping the money on a non-expiring giftcard that has been unused?"

At which point Jeremiah and I were walked out by security.

That was my Norma Rae moment, people.

Think of all the money Best Buy gets. Jeremiah and I went online and this is happening to LOTS of people. Fifteen dollars here, fifteen dollars there, they keep the money.

Check this out, direct from Best Buys website:
  • I have the exact same problem. My daughter sent my son an Itunes gift card for Christmas. After typing in the card number multiple times and it would not redeem, I sent Itunes and email to their support (codes and cards redemption). We received an email back saying that Best Buy had cancelled the card.
  • open Complaint to Best Buy and Apple i Tunes: Best Buy cancelled a valid and actviated iTunes gift card with out the sellers knowledge. It was a a Xmas present. iTunes stated the money was returned by Best Buy and BB had cancelled the card. No record of that refund can be found. On the internet many people that used their iTunes cards bought at BB at a later date found when going to the iTunes sight that Best Buy cancelled their gift cards (which have no expiration dates.) WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? Is this a SCAM????? Is Best Buy keeping the money? Does Apple iTunes know of this policy? Best Buy had no right to cancel a gift card just because it was going to be used later. l want people to know of this problem. This all sounds fishy to me and I don't like it.I could not post this concern on the Best Buy facebook sight 
  • I just tried to use a $25 iTunes card that my wife gave me for Xmas a few years ago, but the code wasn't working, so I contacted Apple, who indicated that the card was canceled by Best Buy on the same day that the card was purchased!  (No indication of any refund to my wife's credit card either).
  • Okay, so I contacted Apple again and they were able to tell me when I bought the card and I found the receipt.  I went back to Best Buy today with the receipt and the email from iTunes.  I knew they were just trying to get rid of me the first time.  This time they said I had to call the Corporate number 1-888-237-8289.  Couldn't they have told that to me on the first attempt?So I called, dialed 1 for English, 4 for the operator and got transferred to Nikki in Consumer Relations.  She hmmm'ed for a while and then transferred me to the Gift Card Department, #1 for English, 2 attempts to enter a gift card number and finally it automatically tried to transfer to a person.  After several minutes of waiting, "I'm sorry, we can't process your call at this time.  Try again later."
  • My daughter purchased a Itunes gift card for me awhile ago and I want to use it; however, it states on the Itunes web site that the card has been cancelled! I have never used it.
  • I received a $25 iTunes gift card a year or two ago, and when I went to redeem it today, iTunes indicated that it had been canceled.  When I wrote to iTunes customer support they indicated that Best Buy had canceled my giftcard.  This is apparently a frequent occurrence with iTunes gift cards purchased at Best Buy, and can occur as early as the day of purchase.  There is no expiration date on the card, so I don't see how this could possibly be legal. 
  • "The Gift Certificate or Prepaid Card code you entered has been cancelled."
    This happened on both cards. The cards were gifts to my son for birthdays and christmas.

    There are many more complaints like these.

    And yet no one in the store was willing to look into it. No one in the store was willing to help me.

    Something is wrong here.

    p.s. I heard Jeremiah say swears in public!


So, Yeah.

I have a car covered with sawdust to vouch for the fact that STUFF has been happening here. Jeremiah said he figured it would just blow off once I started going fast enough. Sadly, I did zero highway driving last week so I ended up driving around in a sawdust-y car.

Anyway, Jeremiah has sanded a bunch of solid wood furniture and I am actually looking forward to restaining and refinishing them.

Plus, we took a field trip on Saturday so pictures to follow.

Mel is proving to be quite the oddball. On Saturday morning she fell when the pigeon that she was watching frightened her. She knocked stuff over and that scared her more and then she ran and hid in the bathtub. And fell in.

That evening she was chasing me (chasing is her great love) and went too fast around the corner. She fell down some stairs.

This morning as she gingerly stepped towards me in the bed she fell off the side. Sat on the floor purring for awhile.

Seriously, zero grace.

Now I am going to eat a fabulous meal prepared by Boyfriend. I am tired as we both were up at 3:45 this morning. Jeremiah to get to work early. Me to register for my last few classes at GVSU. That's its own story. Grr. Then it rained at worked and I lost most of my lunch break (because we watch the kids when they don't get recess) and didn't receive any planning today. Twenty minute break in a full work day. That was my lunch break. That's it.

So I am going to eat and watch tv and sleep. Lots of sleep.


If I Could Turn Back Time or Why I Am Not a Good Alarm Clock.

I'm prefacing this story with the fact that NONE of this would have happened if Jeremiah hadn't left his phone charger at work. But he did. The following events are actual. Names have not been changed.

Yesterday evening Jeremiah searched like a crazy man looking for his charger. He even got mad at ME (insert shocked face, big innocent blinky eyes HERE) for having so many chargers for my phone (What can I say? My brother takes care of me.). To solve the problem (as his phone beep beep beep died), I told him that I would sacrifice my sleep and set the phone for him. 4:20. In the morning. Aren't I a good girlfriend? I'm thinking this will earn me the girlfriend of the week award...maybe even girlfriend of the month.

You need to understand that it has been hot here lately. In fact, Jeremiah has been in the pool twice. We had a competition to see who could go without AC the longest. I caved this afternoon. But last night, we went to bed and it was almost 80. I had the sweats. Miserable. I was so hot I couldn't sleep.

But eventually I did sleep. And at 4:20 the alarm went off and Jeremiah got up and left for work (He normally doesn't go in that early, but he needed to leave early so up he gets). At this point I realized that I: 1 - had to pee and 2 - couldn't find Mel. So I used my phone as a flashlight and went searching for the cat. Found the cat. Also found that my phone said 7:20 AM. Hmmmm... Interesting, because it was completely dark.

So I turned the screen off. Then on. 7:21 AM. No shit. So I hit airplane mode to get rid of the satellite service. Turned airplane mode off. Sure enough, it wasn't 7:20 AM. It was 3:20. In the morning. I had sent Boyfriend off to work at 2:55. In the morning. I lost my girlfriend of the week award. And girlfriend of the month? Forget about it.

It took me a few hours to fall asleep after that. Guilt found me and wouldn't leave, and neither would the dogs (who get in bed whenever Jer isn't there) and Mel. I was surrounded by furry reminders of sending my boyfriend to work in the middle of the night (thank goodness he works in a building that is open twenty-four hours a day and he was able to do his work).

Fast forward to seven and Jeremiah calls to get me up for a morning appointment. First thing he says? "Hey, so guess what time I got to work this morning?" and I start laughing and apologizing and he keeps saying, "I kept looking for Michelle (he only works with two other people) and wondering where she was..."

So all that to say that I don't know what happened to my phone. It went floopy. And let this be a reminder to all of you - keep extra chargers. You never know when or where you might need one. And never let me serve as your alarm clock.


11 in '11

To start the year off, I began with:
  1. Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat  - This younger teen chapter book is a snoooooze for about the first fourth of the book. If you can get past those first fifty or so pages, you're golden. I liked the characters and the mystery.
  2. The Devil Wears Prada - Sigh. I also had trouble with this one near the beginning. First of all, I saw the movie first, which bothers me because then I picture the cast in my head while reading the book. Secondly, I loved the movie. I hated that the main character in the book was a hard-core chain smoker. And I felt smoking was slightly glamorized. And the bestie in the book? A raging alcoholic. So I found the book to be much darker than the movie. After I finished it (which has a completely different ending than the movie, by the way), I watched the movie. Again. Love me some Stanley Tucci.
So what is next? I'm not sure. I've got a bunch on hand, including one from Lisa Scottoline - and I LOVE a good mystery.

As always, I love suggestions. If not for my friend Diana's suggestion, I never would have even heard of Jen Lancaster (oh, the horror).


Litter Boxes on the Hillside...

You may have figured out that I named kitty Mel (or Mal). It's short for Malvina Reynolds, who was a folk-singer. Anyway, Mel is quite the character. She is intimidated by NOTHING. She and Atticus have quite the game of tag going on. I hope it's tag and not attacks. I don't see puffy cat tail but instead some waggy dog tail, so I think I'm okay.

She's super curious and this picture was taken while she was watching fingers. She loves to chase fingers. And this is her favorite spot in the house. The landing on the stairs.
Her idea of a good time is playing constantly. And eating. And making a mess of her litterbox. I honestly have never seen a messier cat and I've lived with cats my entire life.  I've tried three boxes and she still flings litter out like it's going out of style. It doesn't help that she plays in it when it's clean.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Mel spends most of her time upstairs but will occasionally grace us with her presence downstairs.
She is the first cat that I've ever had that sleeps at night and is up during the day. The second that Jer and I are both in bed (she follows me around until I get in bed), she hops up. And she doesn't move all night, even if she accidentally gets kicked by a foot or stepped on by a dog. She stays. When we get up, she gets up. So weird. I've read that it might be because of her eyes. Apparently the blue eyes lack the necessary whatever that helps cats see at night. Who knew?
And you might be wondering where she got her name. Or maybe not, but I'm going to share anyway. The theme song to Weeds is by Malvina Reynolds. Here are the lyrics:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
Theres a pink one & a green one
And a blue one & a yellow one
And they are all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same
And theres doctors & lawyers
And business executives
And they are all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university
Where they´re put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry & raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same,
Theres a pink one & a green one
And a blue one & a yellow one
And they are all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And then, if you are into it, check out the intro with Death Cab for Cutie singing it. That's my neighborhood. Just not nearly as fancy pants.
Death Cab for Cutie intro on Weeds

I love the song and critical view of the middle/upper class desire to have the same things as everyone else. Because seriously, in our neighborhood (in this city, really), it is about keeping up with the Jones'. I don't even know the Jones'.  I don't care about them. But people buy houses, boats, and cars they can't afford. I know. Don't ask how I know, but I know.

I like my house, but I'm determined to make it different than every other house in our 'hood, even if on the outside they all look the same. Which is part of the reason I shop for one of a kinds at thrift shops. The other reason is because I don't have any money.  But seriously, the outside? Exactly the same. Take a look: Roofs? all the same. House color? All the same.

And that is how Mel got her name. It's my version of the fist pump, which I can't get behind. Because I don't want to.

p.s. I should add that Jeremiah thinks that she was either denied oxygen at some point or that she was dropped on her head. She doesn't have a lot of grace. Or smarts. I think he is just unfairly comparing her to Scout, who had brains, grace, and beauty. Full package. Mel was first in line for looks but I think a bunch of other kitties shortcut her when brains and equilibriums were being passed out. She's not dumb, but...she's not smart, either.


Three Less Cheap Venetian Blinds in Our House

Yesterday while on yet another trip to Lowe's, we found more blinds on sale. Bamboo. Roman. Not just a lame sale, but a CLEARANCE sale.  We had been hoping to replace the venetian blinds (those cheap bendy plastic ones) and were simply waiting for a sale.

So we picked up three, one for each window. Here's Jeremiah measuring something. He was NOT super happy about me taking this picture. He may or may not have given me a dirty look and we may or may not have exchanged words.You can also see in this picture that we ran out of ceiling paint and need to do some touching up - all in good time.
So after he removed the second set of curtain rods (we had originally planned on sheers with heavier curtains, not blinds) and moved the rods lower; I entered the picture with some hemming and ironing of more sheers. And then we hung everything. Here's a picture with the flash:
And here is how it really looks. We are super happy with it. I plan on attaching a heavier fabric behind the roman blinds so they aren't semi-private when down during the day. They'll be completely blocking out the light.
We really like the look. What do you think?


Ah, Crap. Part 2.

I am still sick. Whatever I had must have been brewing for awhile. The pain near my ear (that I've had since January) morphed into a very serious and painful ear infection that rivals one I had as a kid (I had/still have lots, but one in particular was a doozy). I remember staying at my grandma's and using my Pound Puppy to hold against my ear.

Stabbing, throbbing pains. I'm miserable. And working. Because I'm too dumb to take two days off, which is what they recommended.

And I'm quite angry because I knew this was coming and neither my specialist OR doctor listened. They told me in January that I was fine. Idiots.

And Jeremiah is sick. He got it from me and it is a beast of a sickness. I have a theory about the sicknesses that I catch at school but I have to keep that to myself.

I'm now on the most powerful and disgusting antibiotics ever. And last night I woke up and I was standing next to the bed asking Jeremiah to turn on the light because I saw spiders all over the headboard. We don't have a headboard (yet). So add some sleep-standing/hallucinating to the mix. And Jeremiah doesn't even remember, because I'm sure he's feverish and exhausted.

That is an update on what's going on with us...how's everyone else?

p.s. I got some very cool chairs at Goodwill this weekend when I briefly went out of the house. And I'd still like to share a video of the house. I just need to get better. Fingers crossed.