Thursday, February 17, 2011

Second Honeymoon!

When the basement flooded we had it cleaned, sprayed with anti-microbial stuff, carpet and padding ripped up, dehumidified and fitted with nicer rubber padding and soft, delightful carpet. We HAD to do this because I have a severe allergies to mold, and we just couldn't take the chance. EVERY time we went down there to watch a movie, I would end up sucking down half a bottle of benadryl. I convinced myself it was all in my head.

Move on over to the new house and Hubs is going through basement boxes and organizing his office. He gets to a giant blue tub and opens it up.

Mold, mildew and memories.

It seemed there was a crack in the bottom of the rubbermaid tub, so while we thought it was fine from the flood, water had leaked in and ruined everything in the tub. Yearbooks from college, a scrapbook I'd started my freshman year, pictures, and our honeymoon pictures. Granted, Hubs spent more time puking in the toilet than hanging out with me, but about 3 hours before the Mexican sushi hit him, we were snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and paying way too much money for 8x10's of us posing with parrots. They were now ripply and covered with mildew/mold.

That settled it! A second honeymoon we needed. And just in time, we were headed out to Colorado for a ski trip! Woo hoo!

We drove up a night early so we wouldn't be rushed to get to the airport, and the Holiday Inn Express gave us a lovely room...with 2 double beds. Hubs called down to see if we could get a room where we wouldn't have to I Love Lucy it, and not only did they move us to a room with a king bed, we got this:


Yup that's a heart-shaped jacuzzi tub in the room with a stability bar. Not enough bleach in the world.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so Hubs got a shoe shine and I ran, well rode, to concourse E just to get a Caribou Coffee. Yumm. We met up with the other 2 couples at our gate and were ready to board. That's when we all pulled out our tickets to compare loading zones. Hubs got to go on first. Normally he would have just stayed behind to load with us, but with all of the charging for bags and more carry ons, he loaded first and took two of the group's carry on bags to get a good spot.

And boy did they.

I some how end up loading in the last group and look up from my ticket to see my sweet husband sitting in first class.

"I'm so sorry, I tried to get them to switch me and you, but the flight is super booked and they wouldn't let me..."


I reported to the emergency exit row to find someone sitting in my seat. REALLY?!

"Oh! Do you mind? I was going to sit in the middle so we could sit together, but if you don't want the aisle, we can move."

"No, that's ok, my husband just upgraded himself to first class. Apparently I'll sit anywhere."

I settle in with my new friends, Chris and Christie, who prove that you may not be able to upgrade your ticket to first class, but you can upgrade your carryon to a mini bar. As soon as the drink cart came by, they requested oj and cranberry, then whipped out the mini-bottles. They kindly offered to spike my drink, but I figured someone on the exit row needed to be sober enough to pull the handle and push out the slide, so I stuck to my diet coke.

One thing I noticed on this flight? NO one is cranky on a flight to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. No one. Which makes sense. Everyone there was either heading back to a home they loved or heading out for an awesome vacation. And apparently, no one was more excited to get to CO than the guy sitting across from me. And boy was he popular. Every 2 minutes, some new booty was coming over to chat, and in an effort not to yell, every person would LEAN OVER providing me with a great view of their back pockets. Yay.

We land, grab our bags, hop on our shuttle and are off to the lodge. And it was amazing. So great! Fantastic view of the gondola, ski in, walking distance to the market, fire place, just wonderful. I wanted to write Florida a letter and ask it to send the kids and dog on over because I wasn't leaving. But the real test was skiing. I use to be pretty good, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had nothing to lose. Get hurt? Sit out a couple of weeks of high school! Now? Kids, life, dog, cooking, cleaning, life. Too much in the way to risk falling and breaking something. So we took it slow. Like riding a bike! I have to thank p90x, because after a full day on skis, the only part of me that was sore was my ankles from where my under armour was cutting off my circulation.

We spent three fantastic days skiing and I think we need to do that at least twice a year. It was so much fun and Steamboat was just beautiful. It was like Disney covered with snow. Actually better! Wait, did I just say that?! My reason is, in Disney, you have all of these parents stressed about making this the once-in-a-lifetime-fantastic vacation and end up giving you a fantastic place to kick back and take in some light verbal abuse (You WILL ride the tea cups and you WILL like it! I don't care if you're tired, we're walking over to do Splash Mountain NOW because our fast passes are about to be up. You can almost hear the implied, "damn it!"). But a skiing vacation? "Great job!" "You're doing awesome!" "Way to keep those skis together!" "Go for that jump!" And adorable? Little kids in ski clothes. My only problem was the fact that mid-mountain greens included very narrow paths with very steep drop-offs. As in, off the side of a mountain. I found Hubs and I skiing WITH the 3 year-olds, trying to act like their safety net (but in reality, they were better skiers than we were. Got to love the low center of gravity and no fear!).

Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect accommodations, perfect company and it was time to go back home. At the airport, Hubs was upgraded to first class, and he kindly tried to get me moved to the window seat. In the exit row. But in the process of doing this, the gate attendant somehow deleted the entire reservation. Except me. So I'm in the exit row, window, Hubs gets moved up to first class, and as an apology, they move the other two couples to bulkhead. AND, somehow, I get to board AFTER the stand-by people. I shuffle to my seat to find that I am sitting next to the tallest man alive who is taking up all of my arm rest, and because I'm on the exit row, I don't have an arm rest on the left, just a lump of padding on the door that leads to the wing. I'd lean on it, but the door has a giant crack in it that looks to be held together with clear nail polish.

There was free in-flight tv which seemed to work on every head rest except for mine. So I pulled out the nook, but the battery was dead. Thank goodness Aunt Becky sent me a real book, so I had something to do on the way home.

So while skiing was FANTASTIC, as far as honeymoons go, I'm hoping third time's a charm!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Credit Cards roasting on an open fire...

Let me preface this by saying I HATE credit cards. Hate 'em.

Hubs and I have been working through Financial Peace for about three years now, becoming credit card and medical debt free last April. Last year, I found the perfect father's day gift for Hubs, but since he would be looking at the bank account to pay bills, he would totally catch me. I had the cash in my automatic deposit account, but since I do everything online, I had no debit card or checks tied to it. So I did what every Dave Ramsey graduate should never do; I opened a credit card at my favorite warehouse store.

Now before you go throwing rocks at me, as soon as I got home, I set up the account online and tried to pay it, but you have to wait until the statement closes before you can (oh yes, now I remember why I hate this credit card company!). Not a problem! I set an alarm to remind me to pay it the hour I could, and that was that.

But I didn't close the account and carried the card in my wallet because I lost my warehouse card and you can use the credit card without actually having to charge your purchases.

Excuses, excuses.

So we move down here and we head to the warehouse store because we need a few things for the house. Those few things turn into an entertainment center, king mattress, cleaning products for the house. A tiny bit of money is in our old state bank account (that has no branches down here) and the other account where paychecks have been deposited, we have no debit card/checks yet. No problem! I say. We'll just put it on my card and I'll pay it off next week when we get all of our account stuff settled. We have the cash and then some, we just don't have access to it.

After Christmas, I go to get food to re-stock our bare pantry, freezer and fridge, and because I didn't check with Hubs about where all of our money was, I just put those purchases on the card as well.

A couple of weeks later, I go to pay off the card. It shows my 2 purchase dates, and a minimum payment of $19. I go to the "Pay Bill" section, and it is only letting me pay the first charge, not the additional groceries. I try to type in the full amount and it won't let me. I go back and look again and realize that the "statement closed" the day after charge 1, and charge 2 is on a separate statement. I call the company and they tell me that I can only pay off the first charge, and I can pay off the second charge Thursday. Grrrrr.

Thursday, we left to go skiing (more on that later), so I didn't get on and pay it. Tuesday, I get online to pay it, and I have a $25 late fee, and $26 in interest and fees.

I am not happy.

So I call. And here's the conversation. My favorite part is bolded.

Barry: Thank you for calling CC company, what can I do for you?
Me: I'd like to cancel my card.
Barry: And may I ask why?
Me: Yes, I remembered this month that I HATE your company and was reminded why I cancelled my card many years ago.
Barry: Ummm ok....can you be more... specific?
Me: Sure! (explain what happened with the charges/payments).
Barry: Let me see what I can do!
Me: Great!
*****hold music******
Barry:Ok! I will be more than happy to wave the $25 late fee.
Me: Ok. What about the interest on charges I tried to pay off, but couldn't.
Barry: I can't do anything about that, but I STRONGLY encourage you to keep your account open.
Me: Humor me.
Barry: Well, I'm looking at your account, and you're loyalty points are up at the end of this month, and CC company is going to send you a check for a percentage of your purchases!
Me: No, I get my percentage check from the warehouse in March.
Barry: Yeah, but WE send you one, too! If you keep your account open, you'll get $22 at the end of this month!
Me: REALLY BARRY?! If I let you charge me interest on purchases I tried to pay off immediately, you'll pay me back the cash back I earned making said purchases which will be less than the interest charges? So I get to pay you $4 for rewarding me?
Barry: Ummm...
Me: This is my problem, Barry. If I charge the account, I want to be able to pay it off immediately. Instead, your company doesn't let me do that and there for screws me with interest charges, is that correct?
Barry:Yeah, that's pretty much how our Credit Card company works.....
Me: Yeah, so I'm just going to cut my losses and be done with it.
Barry: hang on one more minute...
*****hold music*****
Barry: Ok. Here's the deal. I can't credit you the interest charges, BUT if you agree to keep your card open, we'll give you a $30 thank you credit.
Me: Fine.
Barry: I just have to get you on tape saying that you agree to the terms.
Me: Let's do it.
Barry: Credit Card company will credit MommyChick $30 as a thank you for your loyalty, if you agree, please say, "yes."
Me: Yes.
Barry: Great! Now, we'll credit your account the $30 if you are in good standing with your account at the time of crediting which will be in the next 8-12 weeks.
Me: Ha! Sure. I will pay it off right now and either set fire to the card or put it in my freezer until I get my $30 credit.
Barry: Ummm.. anything else I can do for you?
Me: Nope, I'm good. Thanks Barry!
Barry: Have a nice day...

I couldn't believe that the CC dude actually admitted, on tape, yup, we specifically designed this card to screw you over. At least Barry was honest. And as soon as my $30 credit posts, we'll be having ourselves a little bbq. No paper, just plastic.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Need for speed

The other day, I was taking Strip to school. I was cruising down the road, approaching the school zone. When I looked down to check my speed, I noticed I was doing zero. Hmmmm.

So today, on the way home from her doctor's appointment, I felt like I was going a little slow, glanced down and it said I was going 65.

Something's not right.

The following conversation took place:

Me: Remind me when we get home that I need to tell Daddy I HAVE to take my car to the shop.
Strip: Shop? What shop?
Me: The car shop where they fix cars.
Strip: Why? What's wrong with your car?
Me: Something's up with the speedometer.
Strip: Really?
Me: Yeah, the other day when I took you to school, I was probably doing about 35 and it said I was doing zero.
Strip: What?!
Me: I know! And now we are barely moving and it says I'm pushing 70!
Strip: Oh my word!
Me: I know!
Strip: I have no idea what any of those words mean, but it sounds crazy!

Ha! On top of not knowing how fast I was actually going, I almost ran off the road laughing! She goes above and beyond the nod and smile!