Monday, April 25, 2011

A Riddle Easter

Our good friends Mara and Aron Riddle came to see us for the weekend. (Thursday evening until this morning.) We met them in Utah a couple years ago and have become closer and closer. They got married in January of this year. Theirs was the wedding I stayed in Utah an extra couple of weeks for during our move to CA. And they moved to Reno a couple days after their honeymoon, so the 4 of us relate well when it comes to change and things happening (too) quickly.

It was a fantastic trip from the minute we saw them. I haven't had this much fun in months. Last night as Paul and I were going to bed, (at 2:30AM after we all played games and laughed until it hurt,) I was about to say to Paul, "I've laughed more this weekend than I have the whole time we've lived here." but he beat me to it and said, "I don't think I've laughed this much in my whole life."

It's always interesting to spend several days with friends who, in the past, has mostly been meeting for lunch, going out to dinner, or spending an evening with them and a group of other friends, etc. Needless to say, the Riddles and the Whites can have a great time for 3 and a half days straight! And we probably could have gone on for a few more. It was sad to say good-bye. And we are so looking forward to seeing them in Reno for 5 days in July.

We made breakfasts, ate out, went to an antique street fair, watched a vintage dog costume contest, the guys went golfing and the girls ate lunch on the golf course patio, went to church, had Easter lunch at my in-laws house, went to the beach, had dinner overlooking the ocean, ate the best mexican food in LA. Although its the best, you don't need to make reservations. ;) Made Easter cupcakes and bird nests, and played cards for hours and hours and hours. I don't think any of us made it to bed before 2AM all weekend. (Except Garrett, he beat us to bed every night by about 4 or 5 hours.)

Lunch at the golf course.Waiting to eat some carnitas. I wish I could explain how amazingly funny this night was, but I just cant.Antique street fair and dog show.A beautiful afternoon at the beach.Some Easter treats that Mara and I made.My charming little man being a good sport for some pictures of him all decked out.Bunny faces.'Mister Charming' in his new onesie and fedora from Aunt Mara and Uncle Aron.Such happy memories we'll have of this time together and we look forward to many more visits back and forth, and vacations together.

I hope you all had a wonderful and happy Easter as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home Depot VS Lowe's (a long read, but a good read)

Whenever I think home improvement, I think home depot. Nuts, bolts, screws, appliances, paint, plants, tools, dirt, lumber, Home Depot is the one stop shop, right?

Not so much anymore for us Whites.

We bought a Maytag washer from Home Depot in January. It broke on load #3 for no apparent reason. We called them. They sent a repairman, (about a week later). He said he needed to order a part. He ordered the part and it was sent to us and then it was our job to call the repairman and tell him it had arrived, and then schedule for him to come out again to fix it. The part took a week or so, the repairman took a week or so after that. Wrong part, he orders a new part. New part is on back order for 3 weeks. He encourages us to try and get Home Depot to replace it. Home Depot says no, they have to give maytag 3 tries. We get mad. They don't care. We get madder. They find some local distributor that can have the part to us in a week. 2 weeks pass. Part doesn't come. We call HD. They say they have confirmation it was delivered. We go back and forth calling vendors, them talking to co-workers, never calling us back. Finally we talk to someone who says yes it was delivered 6 days ago to 183..........Salt Lake City, UT..... Huh? They NEVER had that address. Our phone numbers have NEVER been linked to that address. The card we bought it with has NEVER had the bill sent to that address. The washing machine, the first repairman, and the first part, ALL came to our California address. The Utah delivery is still a mystery to us.

We get mad again. They try and order the part again. Days pass..... I get really mad. Paul decides to go to Home Depot. He wouldn't let me go with him, so I told him to act like me when he's there. He did a really good job. Told the manager that we'd dealt with the most that he felt insulted as a customer and that this needed to be resolved right now. He said some other things. The manager told us he would get us a new unit.

It was on back order. Days pass. He calls to tell us he found one. It was to be delivered on a saturday between 11 and 1. We told them, "WE NEED YOU HERE BEFORE 1 BECAUSE WE HAVE TO LEAVE FOR AN APPOINTMENT RIGHT AT 1." They assured us they'd be there at 12:30. We got a couple calls between 11:30 and 12:00 saying they were about 20 minutes away. Great. They showed up at 3:00. We weren't home. So they came back 3 days later. Its in and it works and it took 8 weeks to get to that point.

Next story. We needed a fridge. We went to Lowe's. We found one we wanted a little over our price range. Paul wheels and deals and we get it for right near the price we want AND a free ice maker. They come to deliver RIGHT when they said they would. They forgot the ice maker. Paul calls that night and tells the manager he was promised a free ice maker and it didn't come with the fridge. They apologise and send someone FIRST THING the next morning to install it. Everything is great. The manager calls us to make sure everything is ok, and then asks for the card number we used to purchase it with so she can credit us an ADDITIONAL 10% OFF!!! Thank you Lowe's.

We made the mistake yesterday of going back to Home Depot for an AC unit. The man tells us to be VERY CAREFUL not to ever tip the unit upside down. We get it home. Kept it standing up right the whole time. Open the top of the box and the unit is in the box UPSIDE DOWN. It's clear its been opened before. Nothing wrapped around the pieces. No instruction manual. Paul carefully sets it up, hoping for the best because we REALLY don't want to go back to HD. It runs for a couple of hours, shuts off, never to run again. We looked up everything and anything we could online and we think we must have got the old floor model from last year or something. You know, the one they run for a million hours and thousands of people mess with it and it eventually stops working so HD puts it in a box, doesn't discount it, and then sells it? Yeah, that one.

I told Paul I was gonna handle this one. He told me I wasn't. I told him I was. He had the thing loaded up and was on his way before I even made it to the shower. An hour later he came home with a "new" one. As he carried it up the stairs, I noticed duct tape on the bottom of the box. He said they opened the top of it there and it looked new. The manager assured him it was new. He asked if there was anything they could do as compensation for the inconvenience. She hummed and hawed back and forth with another manager and reluctantly gave us 10% back. Nice. It had plastic around it and an owners manual, so I was hopeful. Paul pulled it out. He took the filter off the back and lightly tapped it. Black dust came out. What the? The little bag of hardware had been opened and duct taped shut. The two pieces that fit into the window were different colors. And one of them had tape on it. I told him to call HD so they knew we were coming. He did. And he told them on the phone we'd be there shortly for a full refund. He didn't let me go this time either. I took Garrett to my in-laws and about an hour later Paul got there. The first thing I said was,"New unit, or refund, or both?" I kinda had a feeling that us calling before hand would give home depot a change to come up with a solution and I wasn't feeling very confident about the refund and my plan to head to Lowe's. Paul's response, "Well, kind of both."

The shift manager was there waiting for him and he'd already spoken with the store manager about our situation. He looked at the 2nd unit we were returning and confirmed that it was in fact used. He went over to the remaining boxes to find us a non-used one and they had all been used. (This is the part that I'm still dissatisfied with.) We were told by more than one employee that they were all brand new units in perfect condition and that they were just trying to clear them out. There was no big sale sign on them or anything indicating "used" or "as-is" etc. They were about $50.00 cheaper than this years model, but we were assured that it was because they wanted to clear them out. I still feel mislead. Paul told him the ball was in his court because he was ready for a refund and he'd go give Lowe's our business. Shift manager called store manager and asked for permission to take care of this problem. Store manager said yes. They gave us this years model, and a unit with more power for the cost of the extra tax. When it was all said and done, we got our AC unit for 40% off. It looked (and I finally believe it is) totally brand knew, wrapped in plastic, that scratch prevention tape on the screen, no duct tape, and I'm sitting right by it and it feels great. Paul shared our frustration with this manager and told him about our washer, and about how impressed we were with our fridge from Lowe's and the way they handled their mistake.

I'm not saying you can't make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Lowe's made a mistake. It's about how you FIX the mistake.

Note: The Washing machine experience and the AC unit experience were at 2 different Home Depots. At first I decided not to go to "that one home depot" ever again. But now I'm done with all HD's.

Second note: I've actually been writing this post throughout the day as all the AC drama has been happening. Now that I'm cool and we saved a couple hundred bucks I'm not so "heated". I wont make Paul sleep on the couch if he ever decided to go to HD again. But as for me, Lowe's has earned my business. (Paul's too I think, I'm just more passionate about it.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

tired, wonderful moments.

Garrett took a late nap yesterday which made bedtime a bit of a struggle. For the first time ever he screamed every time I left his room. I went in 3 or 4 times because it made me so sad to hear him. He'd calm right down as soon as I walked in, and every time I turned to walk out he started screaming again.

Finally I went into his room and sat on the floor facing his crib. Paul and I both felt sick, but I felt less sick, so I was nominated to get him to fall asleep. I was so tired that I just sat there and leaned my forehead against one of the crib slats where he was laying crying. As soon as I did that he looked over at me, stopped crying, and reached out between 2 of the slats and put his tiny little hand on my cheek. He was so calm and he stayed like that for about a minute, just touching my face and looking at me. When he finally began to lower his hand I took it in mine and kissed his fingers.

It was wonderful.

I had an overwhelming thought that the time will probably come way too soon that he'll be a big boy who won't so easily reach out to his mom to be comforted.

I love him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

less TV

I've decided that, although its easy to pass time with TV, its not good for me. I feel so much better on days when I don't turn on the TV. Instead I cook, go on walks, play with Garrett, go to the park, read, etc. The time goes just as fast, I feel less sluggish, and I feel like get more productive.

Some days its really hard not to sit down in front of the TV, but I'm making myself more aware of it, and its going well. Paul and I have got into a bad habit of watching TV at night, even eating dinner at the coffee table in front of the TV. I don't like it. So we're trying to get out more. Not EAT out more, just GET out more.

We're going to try and go to Disneyland every couple weeks. We have a cute park a couple blocks away that we're going to start having picnics at once a week or so. We're going to explore other parks. Go on walks. Just try and find more fun, free things to do at night. We've even started doing puzzles together. We sound old and single, right?? It's actually really enjoyable for us.

Here's a recent trip to Disneyland.Oops...oh well, close enough. I realized it on the train at Disneyland.After a fun morning walk to our local farmers market. It's really small, (maybe 15 or 20 vendors) but really nice people with fresh, yummy, local stuff.Bad lettuce NOT from the farmer's market. Those are bugs. I'm going to write a letter to Earthbound Farms Organic. Every leaf was COVERED in bugs, alive bugs. And they were hiding in all the little crevices. This was an evening where I was excited to make a picnic and head to the park. When I saw this lettuce, I lost my motivation. We still went to the park for a picnic but we walked to 7-11 first. This was going to be a "fun, free" evening out, but instead we spent $18.00 at 7-11 and threw 3 bunches of lettuce away. Oh well, its a story.Garrett loves grabbing the strings that hang down from hoodies. He was in heaven laying between us because we both had them!Warm, breezy evenings are therapeutic. So glad Spring is here and Summer is around the corner. I know Utah, I know. But it's still been pretty cold here!