Annoyances

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99 Problems, A Solution Ain’t One

By M Davies   /     Feb 12, 2013  /     Annoyances  /     0 Comment

A wise VP that I used to work with at the Big Red telephone company had a motto: “There are no problems, only solutions.”  If you went to a meeting and brought up a problem, you were expected to think ahead to introduce some solutions to said problem.

 

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I have 99 problems, and can’t think of one damned solution.  If my personal life was my career at Big Red, I would have been fired long ago.  Oh wait…

 

Anyway, I’ve been complainy and whiny lately and I think I know why.  Winter.  It’s crushing my soul this year.  It seems like every time that the snow from the previous storm finally melts, another batch is on its way right behind it.  It just snowed last Tuesday.  Then again on Friday.  Then it iced on Monday.  It’s supposed to snow on Wednesday night and possibly again this weekend.  The vicious cycle never ends.  It doesn’t help that the roads are not maintained well where I live either.  I haven’t driven my car to work in at least a week.  Maybe more.

 

Of course, that’s also because I was sick for a good 5 days.  I started feeling sick Saturday evening.  I felt it a little more on Sunday, and by Monday, I lost my voice and my throat was raw and on fire.  Tuesday, I had a fever of 104.5 and my body ached so badly that I felt like I was beaten with a tire iron.  I braved the nuisance snowfall mentioned above, and headed out to the after-hours clinic where I was diagnosed with the flu and potentially a UTI to boot.  Sorry, TMI.

 

I feel like I got the sickness from the previous Saturday’s mis-adventures.  A few weeks ago, I seen a commercial for a concert the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg was hosting — the Gin Blossoms.  I have always liked their music, but never enough to go out and buy CDs, posters t-shirts, or concert tickets.  In passing, I mentioned to my husband something like “I bet that would be a good concert to see.”  He took this as “I MUST BUY TICKETS TODAY.”  I wasn’t expecting this reaction, however, I was glad to finally be able to see a concert again.

 

The concert was 2 Saturdays ago.  I normally work early Saturday and Sunday mornings, so I had planned to work on Saturday morning, then go to home to take a nap.  After the nap, we’d drop off my kids at my mother-in-law’s house and head to Stroudsburg.  I took off on Sunday, so catching up on sleep wouldn’t be an issue if the concert let out late.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature (the evil bitch), had other plans in mind.  She decided to dump 1-3 inches of snow on NEPA.  The snow didn’t start until after we left Sweet Valley at 4-5pm.  Of course, by the time we got to the Turnpike the snow was coming down at a good clip and sticking to the roads.  By the time we got off of the Turnpike and got on I-80 East, there was at least an inch of slushy snow on the road and cars and tractor trailers alike were slowing down to a crawl.  We decided to get a hotel room in S-burg and stay the night since I had a vacation day the next morning at work.

 

The no-tell Motel – the Econo Lodge – was a dump heap.  It was run down, it looked like it hadn’t been renovated since the 1980s.  Of course, my husband never bothered to read the reviews.  He just looked for hotels that were close to the venue and picked one.  The concert and venue were nice and I had a good time, however toward the end of the evening I was getting cranky as I hadn’t slept since that morning at 2:30 – hey, I’d been up close to 24 hours.  I also didn’t have dinner.  We left the concert before the encore to find food.  There weren’t many options available at 11:30.  We decided to get hoagies and chips from the local Wawa and take them back to the hotel room to eat.  I scarfed my food down which was mediocre at best and started to drift off to sleep.  Rich soon fell asleep as well.  Around 2:30am (when I’d normally be getting up and ready for work) I thought I had heard a bag rustling.  I opened my eyes and looked around and didn’t see anything so I figured that I was just dreaming and drifted back off.

 

A few minutes later, I heard the sound of a bag rustling again.  I slowly sat up and bed and grabbed my phone.  I put on the flash light app on my phone and pointed it toward where I was hearing the noise.

 

And there it was.  A mouse.

 

Rich had a half eaten bag of chips and left it near the TV on the bureau and the mouse was trying to get in the bag.  I woke up Rich and before I knew we were on the road again back on I-80 driving back to Sweet Valley in the awful road conditions.  90 minutes later we were home.  I was not a happy camper.  You can read the full review of my experience here.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I picked up some kind of bug in that room from breathing in mouse fecal matter.

 

Between yesterday and today the following has happened:  My dog cut his claw on the door and bled all over the floor in the kitchen and living room (Read:  WHITE CARPETING), there was another 2 hour delay at school causing me to get to work late, some random guy tried to flag me down to help him with a flat tire on an icy road and I couldn’t stop, I nearly got in a head on collision because some asshole tried to pass another car on 118 in a no passing zone, I found out that my car potentially has some kind of tire issue, Leslie left NEPA BlogCon, the NEPA BlogCon site was hacked, I spent most of the day trying to screw with restoring the hack, and now there’s a pile of broken laptops sitting in my lap from work.

 

Uncle, already.

UNCLE!

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From the Mailbag: Miffed Mom Mouths off about Membership Dues

By M Davies   /     Nov 14, 2012  /     Annoyances, Mommyhood  /     4 Comments

It’s that time of year again.  PTO Membership Drive time!  I’m all about giving my children every benefit that I can to succeed, and if my membership dues allow them to have a book fair, go on a field trip or have an otherwise good time at school, you can count me in.  However, I noticed something this year that perturbed me.

 

My kids go to two different elementary schools within the same school district and I noticed that the PTO dues for one school were more expensive than the other school.  At Ross, I was able to join the PTO for a family for $5.  At Lehman-Jackson, they wanted $5 for a single person membership.  If you wanted a family membership it was 3 dollars extra.  Since my husband does not participate in PTO events, I decided not to make the splurge.  The membership is cheap in comparison to some other things I could buy that my children would get enjoyment out of….candy for example…

 

I decided to send a nasty gram to the offending school where the dues were more expensive:

 

 

A few weeks ago, I received the following email in my inbox:

Good Morning Michelle-

 

I was just finishing up the L-J PTA membership drive for the year and wanted to respond to your note that was on your membership form.  In reference to the cost in dues in comparison to Ross Elementary, L-J is a PTA that was established in 1976.  Ross Elementary is actually a PTO. (And I am no familiar with when they were started)  As per guidelines set forth by the National PTA, our dues are $5.00 per member. (That is actually their cost, and we are told we could ask for even more to make a profit in which we do not.)  You can visit the PTA website online to see where the dues are applied.  As a PTA, we have discussed over the last few years converting over to a PTO.  There is a process involved in order to do so in which we are currently looking into, but it isn’t as easy as just changing to a PTO without losing all of our organizations funds that were collected while being a PTA.  I hope I have been able to answer your statement about why the difference in cost and if you have any further questions about it, please feel free to contact me either by email or you can call me at XXX-XXXX. Thank you for joining the L-J PTA, and we look forward to your help during the school year.

 

Sincerely,

Name Withheld

Membership Chairperson”

 

Ok, so I didn’t realize there was a difference between a PTA and a PTO.  I just don’t understand why there cannot just be one type of an organization throughout all of the elementary schools to make life easier on everyone.  Does it really make a difference?  Just another thing to make my already complicated life yet more complicated.

 

Anyyyyyyywayyyyy…. I volunteered to be the website coordinator for the Ross PTO.  I’ve been working feverishly on that with my spare time (…what spare time…?)  The website is hosted though this company called “Digital PTO“.  You can register your PTO’s website for free using it.  It is a WordPress platform based system.  I guess if you are completely clueless about websites and blogging, it does the job….I just find the platform to be extremely frustrating and a rip off.  It is a hugely stripped down version of WordPress.  The free WordPress blogs have more customization than Digital PTO’s format.

 

What’s that?  You want to embed a Youtube video?  HAHAHAHAHAHA, what are you thinking?  That will cost extra.  You have a Google Calendar with important upcoming events that you want to display?  Yep.  That will be extra.  You’d like to create a custom header image with your logo on your page?  You guessed it, extra.  What a rip off!  Thankfully, the Ross PTO did not pay for any of the “extras” and I have been able to find HTML ways around the embedding in most instances.  I don’t think I’d feel comfortable knowing my membership dollars were going to that con-artist company.

 

Here are the fruits of my labor, if you care to look.  Just don’t mind my afterbirth:  http://rosspto.digitalpto.com/

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Teachers are sadists

By M Davies   /     Sep 30, 2012  /     Annoyances, Mommyhood  /     0 Comment

Gabby’s art teacher sent home a project about a month ago for a pumpkin decorating contest.  Of course, there is a twist on the decorating theme.  It’s too cumbersome to decorate an actual pumpkin and bring it into school, apparently.  So….the pumpkins in this contest are actually “rocks”.  And if you were wondering…this is a mandatory contest that counts toward a grade.  If you ask me, the paper should have been titled “Pumpkin Stone Mandatory Project for Grade” and not contest.

 

From the paper:  “Instead of pumpkins, students will find, paint, and decorate rocks to look like Jack-O-lanters.  The rocks should not be larger than a softball because they will be displayed in the showcases for the month of October.”  The school will vote on the categories:  Scariest, Funniest, Most Creative, Prettiest and Best dressed.”

 

You’ve got to be kidding me.  Not only have I been assigned a “mandatory” art project….ahem….contest, but now I have to find a smaller than softball sized rock and decorate it.  Aaaaand I have the comfort of knowing that my work will be judged by the rest of the elementary school.  Fantastic, because I have so much time on my hands these days.  After talking with Gabby, she told me she wanted her pumpkin rock to be dressed in a peacock halloween costume.  Easy enough right?  Wrong.

 

First of all, I had to find the rock.  We have no rocks in our yard that fit the criteria of the pumpkin rock paper.  I actually had to take a rock from my brother & sister in-law’s yard.  Then I had to get online and research what a peacock looked like.  I had a general idea, but I wanted to make sure I bought the right kind of craft supplies.  Oh and by the way, crafty I am not.  This thing is sure to come out looking like a 2 year old made it.  After a trip to Michael’s I had all the supplies I needed to get started.

 

The supplies sat around for weeks, because I have been busy with BlogCon, Blog Fest, School and Work.  I haven’t had a minute to myself in about 30 days.  I fantasize about beds.  I salivate over sleep.  The last thing I want to do when I get a few minutes to myself is to paint a rock.  Anyway, I decided to take the rock to work with me on a Sunday morning and painted it there.  It took 3 coats of acrylic blue paint to get it all covered over.

 

      

 

Now for the hard part (a.k.a. the part I waited until this evening to do), attaching the “accessories”.  Obviously the stupid thing had to have eyes, feathers and a beak.  Just go ahead try and imagine how much fun it is trying to get elmers glue to adhere to a rock.  Right now I have the glue drying, it takes about 35 minutes until it bonds well.  I hope that it holds at least until she brings it to school.  I have my doubts.  Does it look like a peacock at this point?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I’m too tired.

 

     

 

My daughter didn’t help me with much of this project.  How many of these take home projects do teachers expect the kids to actually do 100% themselves?  My daughter has the attention span of a fly and is not capable of glueing arts and crafts supplies to a rock.  I’m lucky if I’ll even be able to pull it off.  I mean really, lets face it.  These projects are more of homework for the parents than for the kids…which is what makes them sadists.  I’m tired, annoyed and have about 6 pounds of glitter under my finger nails.  She better get an A on this damn thing.

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My new luxury golf cart

By M Davies   /     Aug 06, 2012  /     Annoyances, The WTF File  /     0 Comment

Welp.  My suspicions were correct.  Something was majorly fucked up with my Versa.  A day or two after this post, a co-worker and my husband both noticed that my car was leaking oil in a major way.  Fan-fuckin-tastic.  I had even less time to work with trading my car in than I had initially thought.

 

As you know, I put down a deposit on a car at Wyoming Valley Motors.  In the meantime, I decided to shop around.  I stopped at a Fiat dealer after work on that Wednesday.  Car shopping all day Tuesday left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I had a slight attiude when I walked into the car dealership.  The sales person seemed uninterested in my business.  I responded by threatening to walk out of the damn place.  After the pissing match between the two of us was over, I decided to test drive a Fiat 500 through Archbald.  I ended up really really liking the car.

 

Since it was getting late, the dealership decided to work up some numbers and check my credit and call me back the next morning.  The next morning, I received a call to let me know that my crappy-ass credit qualified me for 0% financing at 60 months or 1.9% financing at 72 months.  Honestly, I think I was paying about 8% financing on the Versa.  It was already a win in my book.

 

Now it was just a matter of finding the model and color I wanted.  Easy enough right?  Wrong.  There are seriously about 8 million different colors (interior and exterior) and models to pick from.  I finally found a gray model with dark leather, a sunroof, rims, and a back-up cam.  It soooooo reminds me of my old VW Bug.

 

(side by side)

 

      

 

I signed the papers on Thursday night, I ended up sticking around at the dealership until well after they closed (9pm).  They were very accommodating and helped me move the contents of my car over to the new one.  I forgot that I left the sledgehammer in the trunk.  That was interesting to explain, believe you me.  The guys invited me to have a beer with them in the parking lot in celebration and soon after I pulled away in my new “luxury golf cart” (my friends words, not mine).

 

Friday was the day I was scheduled to pick up the VW Jetta I had picked out at Wyoming Valley Motors.  I called to let them know I purchased a vehicle elsewhere.  I had no remorse as I got a better deal (1100 more dollars for the trade-in) and better financing.  However, WVM was very upset.  All that I really cared about was getting my deposit on the Jetta back.  They were more than happy to take to take the deposit over the phone, but were making a huge issue out of refunding the money back to me over the phone.  “You have to come in to get it back on your card.”   Working an odd shift and living 30 miles away from the dealership does not allow me that luxury, sorry.  After playing phone tag for 4 days, I finally had enough and put in a dispute with my bank.  I received the money back.  Jerks.  Avoid Wyoming Valley Motors like the plague, if you can.

 

I still enjoy the car.  The only thing I’m (slightly) upset about is the fact that I was not told that the sunroof in the Fiat was not “a power sunroof”.  Basically, I have a large window in my roof that doesn’t move.  The gas MPG on it is exactly the same as the Versa, thankfully.

 

Also, another update.  Remember that big accident that happened right near my house?  They cut down the large pine tree that the car crashed into.  The unfortunate thing is now I have a direct view into the trailer park.

 

 

The word on the street in Sweet Valley is that the kid that crashed into the tree has life altering injuries.  My husband said that he noticed a change collection container in a local business that made mention of injuries to his brain stem.  A quick search of Google makes me sad to think that this could have all been avoided if he wasn’t speeding.

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She’s dead, Jim

By M Davies   /     Jul 11, 2012  /     Annoyances, The WTF File  /     3 Comments

And thus begins the great car hunt of 2012…..

 

The Versa was dead to begin with.  There was no doubt about that.  The old Versa was deader than a door nail. — From the novel “A Versa Carol” by Charles Dickens

 

I purchased my Nissan Versa used in 2010 from Gray Chevrolet in Stroudburg.  It’s a 2009 model.  It was working beautifully up until my accident last year.  The day before my birthday…I swerved to avoid a deer on Old Route 115 in Lehman.  I hit a patch of ice and my car went off road.  I was able to re-correct it and avoid slamming into a telephone pole, but it was already too late.  All of the rock and underbrush from the shoulder damaged the right front passenger-side tire and other crap underneath my engine.  I was barely able to get my car home that evening and it was towed to Quality Collision in Dallas the day after my birthday (New Years Day).  What a way to start a new year.  By the way, this area of Old Route 115 is notorious for water run off.  A person was killed in an accident in the same area I ran off the road back in March.  You can read that story online at wnep.com right here.

 

I’m not convinced that incident didn’t have something to do with why my car is dead.

 

I started to notice my car had an issue right after the Fourth of July.  Before work on Saturday morning, I started up my car ahead of loading up all of my crap needed for my shift (purse, water, laptop bag, charging cables, etc) and as I was doing that I noticed it was “puttering”.  Like it was shaking slightly and making this “put put put put put” noise.  That was abnormal, but it seemed fine otherwise.  I drove it in with no issues, except for the moth that I let in when loading my car.  Saturday was hot and so was Sunday.  I had the AC on a lot both days, so I figured the puttering may have had something to do with overtaxing the engine.  Sunday I noticed the same thing, except worse.  Something did not seem right.  It started bucking and shaking violently whenever I was stopped.  I can’t say that I’ve ever ridden a bucking bronco or have suffered from shaken baby syndrome, but if I had, I would imagine it would feel like how my car drove on Sunday morning on my way home from work.  Monday was more of the same, with one exception….when I took my car out to grab lunch, I noticed that the “Service Engine Soon” light on my car’s dashboard appeared.  WTF?

 

 

Oh that other light?  The exclamation point?  Yeah, that’s also always on.  Normally, when it is on, it means that the tire pressure is low, but I recently purchased 4 new tires, and the Nissan OEM valve stems were replaced with generic ones.  When that happens, the stupid sensor freaks out because it cannot get a reading on the tire pressure.  I’m sorry, but I’m not paying 90 dollars a tire to have it replaced x4 tires.

 

When I was ready to leave work finally around 6pm, there was a major traffic back-up on 81 South, some accident happened near the Dupont exit and Lifeflight was called in.  I decided to wait a bit until the traffic cleared up before attempting to leave.  My car was bucking and shaking when sitting idle and I was afraid that I would have stalled out or broken down right on the Interstate.  Around 6:30, things seemed clear, so I left.  Everything was peachy keen until I got to the road that my house is on.  I was preparing to make a left turn onto my road from Route 29, but there were 6 or so cars coming up the hill from the opposite direction.  I had to wait until they passed before I could turn….and wouldn’t you know it, that was just enough time for my car to stall out.  Luckily, I was able to negotiate the turn onto the road, but all of my steering, breaks and other controls were dead and there were a million alarm lights lit up.  I pulled the car off onto a side dirt road and shut off the engine.  I waited about 2-3 minutes and attempted to turn it back over.  IT STARTED.  Thank god.  I was about a mile from my house, I could have walked home, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving my car unattended.  I drove it home safely and then my husband took it for a ride to my brother in laws.

 

The two of them looked at the car and engine and determined that there was 0 quarts of oil in my car.  They immediately went and got oil and dumped it in the engine.  It seemed to be behaving slightly better.  They took it for a ride again and noticed the bucking, shaking and lack of power.  They determined that a rod in my engine, or multiple rods are damaged due to the lack of oil.  Here’s the ass kicker though, my “check oil” light never came on.  It only lit up after my car had stalled out.  Don’t you think it should have warned me before there was…oh I don’t know….say NO OIL inside of the engine?!  Nah.  Why should things make sense?  We thought that perhaps when my car was in the accident earlier this year, that something got messed up with the oil pan or oil sensors, but who knows.

 

After doing a KBB on my car, we determined it’s only worth 5k.  A new engine would be 3k.  It does not make sense to put a new engine in it.  Time to start car shopping.  Yippee fucking skippee.

 

I went to Wyoming Valley Motors, Ertley Motor World and then back to Wyoming Valley Motors today.  I was on my way to a Fiat dealer when I hit construction traffic on 81.  Afraid I’d get stuck, I got off on the first exit and went back home.  I did put down a deposit on an absolutely gorgeous VW Jetta this afternoon, and got a fairly decent deal on it, but the hubs is not convinced about making this commitment.  I don’t really know what other options I have.  My credit is kind of terrible right now because of these assholes and the situation they put me in.  That 1500 dollars could sure come in handy now.

 

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.  I may try to stop at the stupid Fiat dealer tomorrow to see if  I can get a better deal.  I’m pretty much screwed anyway I look at it right now, and hopefully my car won’t blow up before I can trade it in.  However, once it’s in the dealer’s hands….good luck chuck.  That thing could burst into flames for all I care.

 

As bad as this whole ordeal has been, I guess I am lucky to be alive.  Around 10:30 I’d say, I heard a bunch of sirens and my head did a 360 assuming the noise was coming from the TV.  It wasn’t the TV, it was coming from outside.  For a minute, I had a flashback to living in Hanover Township…I headed outside to see what the commotion was about.  I couldn’t really see too well, but there were a bunch of fire, police and ambulances lining my road.  I, of course, assumed that one of the trailers across the street was busted for a meth lab (several very shady people over there), but it wasn’t.  I walked to the end of my dirt road and it turns out someone crashed head on into a tree narrowly missing a trailer across the street.  People have been known to fly up and down the road that I live off of, and right before that it had rained.  Combined with the poor lighting, I’m sure this person was driving fast, on perhaps bald tires and drove right off the road.  I wish people would realize THIS IS NOT THE INTERSTATE AND CHILDREN LIVE ON THIS ROAD.  As you can see below, if this happened during the day, there may have been kids on the swingset.

 

 

The Lifeflight helicopter landed soon after and took 1, perhaps 2 people to a nearby hospital.

 

No matter how bad my car situation is….at least I’m not that guy.

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