Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vermont Day One

I finally was able to get the pictures on my computer just to find that the site (blogger) was having problems for a while, so it took even longer to upload them here. We left for Vermont on Friday night, September 29th, at 11PM. The kids were all sleeping in the back and Mom tried to sleep back there too, although I don't think she slept very well. I dozed off a little in the passenger seat. We switched to my driving at about 3:30 AM and Jeff got in the back to sleep. Mom came up front and kept me company. We stopped for breakfast at about 9ish, then I was able to go to the back to sleep a little more. It was a very long drive to Vermont and we wanted the kids to sleep through most of it. We got to where we were going (Weston, VT) around 5PM. There were no Holiday Inns, Marriotts, or any other type of chain hotels in the area, they were all Bed and Breakfasts. The scenery was beautiful, but it did rain the majority of the time we were there.
Here is the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at on our first night in Vermont. We did not have any reservations anywhere and were lucky to find this place had room for all 6 of us. We stopped at another place originally and they were full but were nice enough to call around to the other places to find us 2 rooms. The Swiss Inn is owned by a husband and wife team and the husband was a huge Eagles fan. I was wearing my Packers shirt and of course the Eagles and Packers were playing against each other the following Monday night. He gave me some good-natured ribbing about my shirt, something about charging us double had he been the one to check us in. I didn't see the game, but I believe the Eagles won.
The rooms were not next to each other, Mom and the girls stayed in the 1st room on the left. Jeff, Conor and I stayed in one of the last rooms to the right - I don't think our room is visible in this picture.
The kids all wanted their picture taken with the big stuffed moose in one of the stores we went to. Above is Allie, below is Ceara, and then Conor.

This is Conor sitting on a rock ledge at the Bed and Breakfast.
Here is my Mom, posing in front of one of her favorite stores - The Vermont Country Store. She orders from their catalogue all the time. She was very excited to get to visit in person. The store is huge - 3 buildings all together. We did not get to shop on the first day that we arrived as the store closed at 5Pm, so we checked into our rooms and freshened up, then headed out for dinner. After dinner we were all tired and we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep for the next day's plans.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Daylight Savings Time

Yay! An extra hour this past weekend! Cool, huh? I actually almost forgot about this event, I was kindly reminded on a friends blog (Ellsworth Link - one of my links on the side) that it was coming up. The October event is the good one because that is when we gain an hour. :) So, I was further reminded to set my clocks back when my dad came over Sunday morning to bring us some donuts for breakfast.

I was still in my PJ's when the doorbell rang and Conor ran to the door yelling "I'll get it!" (He loves to answer the door now that he knows how to unlock and open it, which is not good for me!)

So, I'm yelling from my room - "Don't open that door! Wait a minute, don't open the door! Conor.. do you hear me??" As I am rushing to put some clothes on. Two reasons I do not want him to open the door - 1. I have no clue who would be coming over this early on a Sunday and I don't want to be in my PJs for some stranger; and 2. The dogs always rush to the door, too, and I do not want to have to chase either of them around the neighborhood all day if they get out.

I put on a T-shirt and grab my jeans, pulling them on as I am walking to the door. I get there and Conor had patiently waited for me before opening the door. I was holding the dogs, and there stood my dad with a box of donuts. :)

He came in an stayed for a short while, reminding me while he was there that I needed to set my clocks back an hour. So, after he left, I changed the microwave and stove clocks. Then I set my watch correctly. The day went on and I didn't ever change any of the other clocks.

So, last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed my alarm clock was still on the old time. Thinking to myself that I would just leave it be and change the "wake up" time to adjust for it, so that when I was waking up in the morning I might just be too asleep to remember that it was not the right time and I would get up a little earlier. Yeah, I actually thought I could fool myself. :)

I will now back up a bit to say that when Jeff got his new truck, we got 2 sets of keys. Since we are driving it for everything now to keep the miles on my car down (it's a lease and I only get so many miles) I kept a set of truck keys and gave him my spare keys to my car. This was because I am the one who mostly goes places on the weekends and since I would have the truck, if he needed to go somewhere he would have to take my car. When I was driving the truck one day, I noticed that the spare set of keys to my car that I had given him were in the middle console. I remember thinking that it would do him a whole lot of good for them to be there when I had the truck and he needed to go somewhere. But, the thought left my mind and I didn't say anything to him.

Last night, as he was getting his things ready for his overnight run, he wanted to go rent some movies. One of the movies he had rented previously that needed returning was in my car. So, he used my keys and got the movie out, returned them and came back home. He leaves at about 1am, so I was asleep when he left.

When my alarm went off this morning, I did not look at the clock and think, "Oh my gosh, I need to get up!" like I had thought I would. I looked at it, thought to myself "that's not the right time, I can hit snooze a couple of times and still make it on time" and I hit snooze. I did still get up a little earlier than I normally would. I got ready, woke Conor up and got him ready, then started getting everything together to walk out the door. I couldn't find my keys. Not in my purse, not on the counter in the kitchen, not in any place I would normally put them. So I thought about where they could be. I hadn't driven my car all weekend, I had only driven the truck. Then I remembered Jeff used them to unlock my car and get the movie. I thought, "Surely he didn't take them with him?" I started looking around where he would have put them. On his computer desk, in his place on the entertainment center, everywhere. I finally called his cell phone. No answer, but I left a message. I continued to look for them in any odd place I could think of. I checked his pockets from the pants he had worn last night, coat pockets, under things... everywhere. They were not there.

I tried to call him again. No answer. I called my work and told them what was going on, and that I would figure something out when Jeff called back - that maybe he put them somewhere where I'm not looking. In the mean time, I would just log into our work system from home and do what I could from there.

I spent over an hour looking for the keys. I finally gave up and called Jim - Jeff's dad. I woke him up. I explained the situation and since I could not be without a vehicle until Jeff returned Tuesday night, I needed a ride to Jeff's work so that I could either get my keys from his truck, or if they were not there, I would take the truck and just pick him up when he returned home Tuesday night.

Since he had just woken up, he needed a little time to get ready and come over. In the mean time, Jeff called. He said that he used his set to open my car - or so he thought. He was looking through his bags while talking to me. He kept saying, "They have to be there. Did you look ...." and suggested different places he thought they might be. Then, "Oh, no. Here they are. I have them. I am so sorry. I can't believe I did that."

"Oh, well, nothing you can do about it now. Your dad is going to take me to get your truck."

"How will I get home then?"

"I will come and pick you up - if you get back before I get off, you will have to wait for me."

"The other set is in the console in my truck. I have yours, but the spare set is in my truck. Could you just get the keys and have my dad take you back home to get your car."

"Yeah, I can do that."

So, Jim came and picked Conor and me up, we drove to his work and found his truck. My keys were in the console, so I got them and we returned to the house to get my car. We had to go inside to get Conor's things for the sitter's house. Upon entering the house, I smelled something... I looked around, and yep, there it was near the girl's rooms. Teddy had apparently had to go to the bathroom really bad (he had just been out right before we left! Why didn't he go then??) so he choose to go in the hallway between their rooms. Eeewwww! Perfect. Now I had to clean that up before I could leave to go to work. I put the dogs outside and I cleaned it up. Conor said, "My nose can still smell it."

"Yeah, it might take a while for the smell to be gone." I got the carpet cleaner from under the sink and a towel to clean the spot. After I sprayed the cleaner on the carpet, the smell of the cleaner over took the "other" smell.

"Now my nose smells that it's clean!" lol :)

Anyway, I finally got to work around 11am. So much for the time change giving me plenty of time in the mornings! It's a good thing I have an understanding boss.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Credit Reports

OK, so, as you might be aware, some new law was passed at some point saying that the 3 credit agencies are now required to give you a free report once a year. I began getting mine last year so that I can make sure that everything on them is correct. There are 3 different companies keeping track of all this, and you have to request each one individually.

Now, first off - why are there 3? There is no reason that I can think of that there be three. And you never know which one is going to be used for any particular inquiry, and they are never the same, so what is the purpose? Then you have to file disputes with three different companies, and follow up with all of them, too.

So, anyway, I go to the site online to request my free credit reports. Experian, no problems - I answer all of their questions and I get the report. Equifax, same thing. Then I get to TransUnion. They ask the same questions - who is my current mortgage with, what is the monthly payment, what bank financed my car loan, how much is that payment, and so on. I answer all of the questions - correctly I might add - and it says, "Sorry, you have entered incorrect information, we are unable to process your report." So, this makes me think that they have invalid information about me, since I do know that information pretty well.

I look over the other two credit reports and find nothing wrong with them. They are both accurate, both updated in 10/06. Neither of them have anything bad on there, no negative accounts, nothing.

I find the phone number for TransUnion after searching their site for a little while. Automated, of course - "If you would like to request a copy of your credit report, please press 1; If you already have a copy of your credit report, press 2."

So I press 1. "If you have been denied credit and would like your free copy, please press 1. If you would like to purchase your credit report with a major credit card, please press 2. If you live in a state where you get a free copy, you must go to the online site blahblah.com to request your copy." No other options. I press 0 - sometimes I have gotten lucky when I get automated recordings and they do not give you a "speak to a real person" option and the 0 works. Not this time. Then I get, "You have not entered a valid option, if you would like... " and I get the whole thing over again.

I hang up. Call back and select option 2. I finally get to a real person, albeit someone in India or some such place, and he speaks passable English. I explain to him the situation I am having and he says he will mail me a copy of my credit report. Nothing else. No explanation for the problems or anything.

So, I received my credit report in the mail today. I opened it and it is pretty thick - about 20 pages or so. I look at the top of the report and it says page 1 of 6. Strange. If it is only 6 pages, then what are all the other ones? I leaf through them to find a second credit report with my name on it and this one says it is page 1 of 9. What the heck? Why are there 2 different reports and why is one longer than the other??

I look further into the information on the front page, comparing the two. One has my first and last name, the other one has my first name, middle initial, and last name. The 6 page one says that I have been in their records since 02/06. Oh, only this year, huh? But yet they have records that are older than that, AND some of the information was "last updated" in 2005. They actually give this out to my creditors?? Looking at the first one on both reports, it is the same. A Kohl's account. Opened in 03/1997; Paid off 05/1997; Closed 07/1997 (OK, so I got a discount for opening an account, paid it off then cancelled. If I remember correctly, it was a pretty good discount!). Then it has a bunch of little boxes with months and years in them with the information of "OK" or "30" in them. And apparently I was 30 days late with my payment in two different months in 2005. Wait... 2005?? I do not have a Kohl's account currently, it states on the report that it was closed in July of 1997, so how in the heck could I have been late 2 times in 2005?

Incredible. Now I have to take the time to write them a letter and dispute all of these things (there are more issues than what I put here, but I don't want to list them all). If I could have accessed it online, I could have disputed it online. Sheesh. Just irritating and I thought I would vent about it on here. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Well, it has been a while since I have actually written anything here, so I thought I would give it a shot. I still need to post pictures of our Vermont trip, but I never seem to remember to transfer them to my computer! :) I'd do it now, but, uh, I'm at work.

Ceara had a birthday this month, she is now 12 years old. I also have some pictures of that, but again, I need to transfer them to my computer. Maybe I will get to that tonight.

Conor is on the count-down to Halloween, his birthday, and Christmas. When he asks me how long it is until Christmas, I say about 2 months. He doesn't know what months are, so he thinks I mean 2 days. On the day after he asks me, he will say to me "Tomorrow's Christmas!" And when I say, no, not for a couple of months, he says, "But last day (yesterday to him) you said 2 days!" So now I have to say "about 60 days."

We went out to eat last night at a new Max and Erma's that opened near-by for my nephew Austin's Birthday. There were 8 of us - Mom, Molly, Austin, Gage, Allie, Ceara, Conor, and me. It was packed and we had to wait for almost an hour for a table. On a Tuesday! Wow. Anyway, Austin broke his collar bone over the weekend while playing football with some of his friends. Poor kid, this is his 4th broken collar bone. And they happen around his birthday quite a lot. Oh, and he is now 11 years old. :)

As you might know, Max and Erma's has a Sundae Bar for kids to make their own Sundaes. They bring out a scoop of ice cream and you go up to the old-fashion type bath tub that has goodies for the top. A few of the things they had I just thought, ewwwww! They had Nerds and Sweet Tarts to put on top of the ice cream. I can't even imagine that would taste good! They also have hot fudge, caramel, strawberries, M&Ms, crushed Oreo cookies, crushed Andes mints, chocolate sprinkles, multi-colored sprinkles, whipped cream, blue whipped cream (raspberry flavored), and last but not least, cherries for the top. But no nuts. So, when the kids go up, your server goes up with them to help them. I don't know if that is a new thing or not, but since we had 4 sundaes to make, my sister and I helped the little ones and the server helped Austin because of his broken collar bone, and Allie got her own. Ceara didn't want one because she was full and didn't feel well.

The blue whipped cream? Gross. Good concept, I guess. But it was gross. :)

After the dinner, the kids went to my sister's house to have some of the cookie I had made for his birthday - I couldn't go because the wait at Max and Erma's was so long and I had to still make cookies for Conor's Halloween party that he is having today at his baby sitter's. They have been celebrating all week, and will continue into next week! It's that time of year, I guess. Parties, parties, parties. :)

Jeff did not get to partake in last nights events because he had a back-haul he had to do and he did not get home until around 8PM. I arrived home around 8:20ish and began making the cookies and icing. Molly dropped the kids off around 9ish and Conor wanted all of the decorations for the cookies. He helped me do the decorations on the tops of the cookies, then it was bed time. Long day, and I was very tired.

It is hard to believe that it is almost November! I need to do some Thanksgiving day planning! I will, of course, be having a dinner at my house. The time is up in the air - it depends on what time Jeff will have to go to work. It might actually be a big crowd this year, I would never turn anyone away and I give open invites to everyone who doesn't have anywhere to go, or even if they do, they can still come to my house, too!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Charlie, up on one, as always"

Don't Stop Dancing

At times life is wicked and I just can’t see the light
A silver lining sometimes isn’t enough
To make some wrongs seem right
Whatever life bringsI’ve been through everything
And now I’m on my knees again
But I know I must go on
Although I hurt I must be strong
Because inside I know that many feel this way
Children don’t stop dancing
Believe you can fly
At times life’s unfair and you know it’s plain to see
Hey God I know I’m just a dot in this world
Have you forgot about me?
Whatever life bringsI’ve been through everything
And now I’m on my knees again
But I know I must go on
Although I hurt I must be strong
Because inside I know that many feel this way
Am I hiding in the shadows?
Forget the pain and forget the sorrows
Children don’t stop dancing
Believe you can fly
Am I hiding in the shadows?
Are we hiding in the shadows?
Song by Creed

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

OK ... so, ummm, yeah...

As you may have noticed, I'm not much into writing here lately. I have too much going on and I just don't feel like it. I do have tons of pictures from our road trip to Vermont, but I have not put them on my computer yet. I will do that at some point...