Friday, June 29, 2012

My First Moving Rant

Well, maybe this isn't my first moving rant.  Ben says my first moving rant was along the lines of, "What the %#$*& do you mean our orders have been changed to Illinois?!?!?"

But this is a bigger rant against a big company and I usually don't do this, but darn it, it has to be said.

When we moved to Hawaii, getting the dogs here was our biggest stress.  Dogs can not be flown when the temperature is too high or too low because they are shipped as cargo in the hold where the pressure and the temperature are not regulated the way they are in the passenger cabin.  I was paranoid that we would get to the airport and they would tell us that it was too cold to board the dogs.  As it was, we were only a few degrees away from being told no.  There was still snow on the ground when we left Kansas although the temperature in Hawaii was fabulous.

So in moving from Hawaii, we knew we might have to ship the dogs in April or May in order to get them off the island while the temperature was good.  While it normally doesn't get hot here, you also have to take your destination into consideration and Georgia in July is well above the temperature limit of 85 degrees.

Imagine my delight then to discover that Delta now has temperature controlled, pressure controlled compartments for pet travel in the summer.  I was thrilled, but I knew that Rigger's size could still be an issue.  Not everyone can handle a 160 pound dog.  So I called on March 15th to inquire about the specifics.  I talked to a lovely woman who assured me that yes, they would fly an English Mastiff, even if he was 160 pounds.  She advised me that we would need to get a health certificate from the vet within 10 days of flying, asked me for the dimensions of both kennels, and covered all the basics with me.  I remember telling Kerry, "That is such a load off my mind!  Transporting the dogs was my biggest stress with this move!"

Now, I am also not an idiot.  I've dealt with customer service enough times (and worked in CS enough times) to know that you might be speaking with someone who really has no idea what they are talking about.  So I called again on April 16th and was advised again that there would be no problem shipping a 160 pound English Mastiff in July.  I was informed on this occasion that there actually is not a weight restriction.  Yay!

Then I called again on April 23rd to triple check.  I spoke with Jo, a lovely woman who was very friendly and helpful who took all the info on both dogs - English Mastiff, 160 pounds, no problem.  Yay, again!

I called again in early May.  May 15th is the last day to ship them before the summer temperature rules go into effect and it would be our last chance to send the dogs early.  I neglected to note what day I called or who I spoke with because I was fairly confident at this point that I had the correct info.  Again, all systems were go.

When we got our first set of orders, we were scheduled to fly out in early July.  Kerry called this time to make the reservations for the dogs.  They checked the date we were scheduled to fly, assured us that there was still room on the flight for the dogs, got the measurements of both kennels, and laughingly told Kerry that Rigger's kennel just barely made the cut.  Three inches larger, and he couldn't have gone.  The gentleman was very friendly and helpful.  He told us it would be around $200 per dog.  That's less than what we paid to get them here, so we were happy.

Then our orders got changed.  And we had to cancel our plane tickets and the dogs plane tickets.  When we finally got our tickets a few days ago, we were scheduled to fly in late July.  We specifically requested that we fly with Delta so that we would be on the same flight as the dogs.  Yesterday, Kerry called to make the reservations for the dogs.  Again, no problem for an English Mastiff or a smaller mix breed dog, the kennel dimensions were fine, but Kerry was given a price of $2,109.70.  WHAT?!?!?!?  He told the customer service rep that he would have to think about that and would call back.

I was livid.  "If we had known that the price was going to increase that much, we could have shipped them back in May!  In the five freakin' phone calls we've made to them, not one person could mention that the price would be significantly higher?!?!  What are they doing, waiting until you have no other option but to cough up the money or abandon your pets?"  I said a lot of things along those lines, including the fact that just three weeks earlier the quoted price had been much lower.

I decided to call again and see if I could find out what was going on.  Maybe we could get a military rate, maybe the representative Kerry had spoken with was off her meds, who knows what could have happened.  So I called and spoke with Alex who as soon as I spoke the words "English Mastiff" promptly informed me that they can't fly an English Mastiff anyway if the temperature is over 75 degrees at either the origination or departure points.  Again, WHAT?!?!?!?  I informed him that this was my sixth phone call and not one person had said that there was an issue with his breed.  Alex told me it's listed on their web site that snub-nosed breeds can not fly if the temperature is over 75 degrees.  Really?  So I could have sent my dogs in April or May but since I was assured repeatedly that there was no issue with an English Mastiff flying in the summer I was now between a rock and a hard place as far as getting them off the island.  It's not like we can just decide to not move until fall.  I can see us telling the Army that we need to back up Kerry's report date because of our dogs.

(And to be fair, yes their web site does list Mastiffs as being a snub nosed breed, but when you look at the list to find English Mastiff, you see only "English Bulldog" and "English Toy Spaniel" which immediately makes you think "Oh, good.  English Mastiff is not on the list."  But when you look under "M" you see "Mastiff (all breeds)".  I can only assume their employees made the same mistake I did and looked under "E".   But if their own trained employees don't know the rules, they certainly can't expect me to know it. Plus, their website doesn't even have the current info about summer flights and temperature controlled compartments and bizarrely it says they don't accept snub nosed breeds at all as of December 2011 although Alex said the current rule is temperature based, so how do I know what to believe anyway?  Are your employees right, is the web site right, am I right?  I am right.  I know I am.)

Anyway, after this frustrating experience, we had the transportation office switch us to a different airline which was far more helpful and made reservations for our dogs and charged us less than half what Delta wanted.

Do you hear that, Delta?  You lost our business.  We have a choice about which airline to use and we will not use you again.  And we will tell everyone we can about this experience.  And by the way Delta, I still haven't forgotten the time you lost my suitcase when we moved to Alaska.  It never turned up.  We wore the same clothes for three days waiting for it and ended up buying all new clothes and you didn't reimburse me nearly enough to replace everything I lost in that suitcase.  I was finally willing to give you a second chance and you blew it.

As we say in Hawaii, "PAU!"






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aquacycle!

While Ben and Emily were at camp, Kerry and I took Katie to Waikiki and rented an aqua-cycle.  

That is Diamond Head in the background.  We hope to hike it soon.

We are pairing down our list of things we want to do before we move.

Aqua-cycle.  CHECK.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Old Timer

We ate at a new restaurant in Wahiawa this week.  Once you place your order the servers hand you a square box that lights up when your order is ready so you know to head back up to the counter and get your food.

As we sat at the table, Katie placed the indicator on the table and stared at it as though mentally willing it to light up.

"That won't help," I told her.  "Don't you know a watched pot never boils?"

"No, Mama.  It's 'a watched page never loads'," Emily informed me.

Ben chimed in, "And who would want to boil something in a pot when you've got a microwave??"

Father's Day Song



My girls rock!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hearing Issues

I had to go to the ENT this week.  My hearing hasn't been great since I was a young'un and it has gotten to the point where everyone has to repeat what they are saying to me a couple of times before I actually get it.  Or, I just smile and nod when everyone else is smiling and nodding.

I had a hearing test done at the military clinic near me.  They confirmed that I have a hearing loss and that it's worse in my left ear than in my right ear (all of which I informed them when I arrived, and they re-informed me after the test).

Then I was referred to Tripler to the ENT department which sometimes takes over an hour to get to becaue of traffic.  It took a month to get this appointment and I went early, because parking is a booger at Tripler.  Amazingly, I got a parking spot really quickly and wound up being thirty minutes early for my appointment.

I went ahead and checked in, then happily settled down in the waiting room.  I had a book with me and because I was so early, I knew I'd be there for a while. 

An hour later, I was less happy.  I went to the receptionist and informed her that it was thirty minutes past my appointment time and I was feeling hungry and mean.  She told me she would check on it.  She came back a few minutes later and apologetically told me, "Ma'am they said they called you and you didn't answer."

I looked at her incredulously.  "You mean at the appointment where I'm being evaluated for hearing loss, they didn't think to call me loud enough for me to hear them??"

I found that highly irritating.  Surely at the EAR, Nose and Throat clinic, they often see people who have hearing issues.  I can't possibly be the first. They pulled my file and shortly a young gal with a very soft voice came out and called me. 

"I called you before," she softly told me.  "Did you maybe go to the bathroom?"

"No, I've been in that same chair for an hour.  I did not go to the bathroom." 

Then I saw the doctor who was so young he must have graduated medical school the day before and he very happily informed me that I have a hearing loss in both ears but more so in the left ear.

"Really?  How surprising.  I just can't believe it!"

Then he told me to make an appointment with the clinic near me again because they will need to see me about something next.  I'm sure whatever he said was important, but I couldn't really hear him.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I was in the restroom of the Old Spaghetti Factory tonight and although I never saw them, I could hear a young mother earnestly urging her little daughter to go potty in the toilet.

"No, I don't need to!" the little girl whined.

"You should at least try."

"Don't want to!"

"Why won't you try?"

"NOooooooo!"

"Well, I'm going in the potty because that's what princesses do."

The youngster was still not swayed to give it a go.

Finally, in exasperation the mother declared, "Do you think Snow White goes pee-pee in her pull-ups!!??"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HIgh And Low

We were supposed to get Kerry's orders on Monday.  Without orders, we can not make arrangements with transportation to send packers and movers to our home.  Without orders, we can not make reservations to fly off this island.

"But wait", you say.  "Don't you have orders?  You know you're moving to Illinois, right?  You've been told the date that you have to report for duty, right?  You've been ordered to go, therefore you have orders."

Yes, dear duckies, but let me explain.  Being given your marching orders is not the same as actually having your ORDERS.  Your ORDERS are on paper and they are officially signed and notarized under the full moon and mailed with a stamp that has been licked twice and stuck on the envelope upside down.  All t's must be crossed and i's must be dotted and you must hold them in your hands for you to really have ORDERS.  No one will see you, or help you, or make one reservation for you without them.

When our orders to Virginia got cancelled, so did all of our reservations to move and fly.  We need new orders to get everything re-reserved.  We are already pushing the envelope of how much time we have to get packed and out of here.  Kerry's report date has already been pushed back once in order to give us enough time to accomplish everything.

We were supposed to get our request for orders (which is another piece of paper you need in order to get your ORDERS) on Monday which would allow us to have our orders before the end of the week.  But instead, we woke up to an email telling us that we can not get any paper of any kind for another two weeks.

Kerry called the guy in charge of these papers to find out what was the hold up.  The guy told us that he just couldn't get them to us.  Kerry reminded him that there is a sixty day back log on getting a moving company to pack us out.  Living on an island with limited space and limited resources can be a problem when it's moving season.  We can't just call someone to drive over from another state with a big truck and pick up the slack.  They are all booked all the time.

Then the guy dropped a bomb on us.  "Well, there is a job in Hawaii, would you be interested in staying there?"

Kerry started making frantic hand gestures at me as I was passing through the room.  I stopped and read his lips, "We could stay here....." I froze as every molecule in my body tried to carbonate.  He got the info on the job and told the guy that we would let him know by the next day.

He got off the phone, told me the details, and then said, "What do you think?"

"Well, my gut reaction is to stay here."

"That's mine too.  What would the kids say?"

"They'd be happy for sure, but let's ask them and take a vote."

My heart was leaping for joy and Kerry and I were both grinning from ear to ear.  It's not a hard decision when someone asks you if you want to live in Hawaii or Illinois.

Kerry called Katie into the room, while I dialed Ben and Emily to take a vote.  Before Kerry could ask Katie and before I finished dialing, Kerry's phone rang..........(cue evil music)


The guy called back to say, "Never mind.  You're definitely going to Illinois."

I felt like someone had burst my balloon.  And not just a little balloon.  A giant, rainbow colored, hot-hair balloon with a basket under it that could hold ten people.  Only five minutes of thinking we might stay, but having it snatched away was enough to make me grumpy for a few hours.

So, the bottom line is that we are still moving to Illinois.  Our date has been pushed back again.  And we still do not have ORDERS.

And I don't have a hot air balloon full of happy.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stairway To Heaven Timelapse


Ben went on the Stairway to Heaven Hike (again!) and one of his friends made a timelapse of their hike.  The scenery is gorgeous!  Ben is in the gray tank top.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Pics From The Play

Mostly of my kids..........

 Peter Piper, Jill, Pig, Village Girl, Humpty Dumpty

Jill, Miss Muffett, Pig, Village Girl 

Rapunzel with the giggles

Cast photo

Goldilocks Boogie

Solid vs. Roll On

Check out that fountain in the background!

E.V.I.L.

Ben upsets Goldilocks

Picketing Princesses

Sunburned Snow White and her disillusioned prince

Rapunzel

The wolf is at the door!

Town Meeting

The three little pigs

Last Ditch Effort

Working things out!

Happily Singing

Happily Dancing

Epic Final Dance Number

Sharing A Laugh

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Play

The students in our homeschool co-op have written a play each year for the past four years.
This year's play was a lot of fun!

Ben was the Big Bad Wolf. 

 Katie was the little pig who built a house out of straw.

And Emily was Rapunzel. 

 In the play, the evil queen and the two wicked stepsisters teamed up with the big, bad wolf to try to convince everyone in Story Land to change their stories.

 The wolf talked to Goldilocks.....

....and the queen talked to Little Red Riding Hood.

 Goldilocks went Goth and became "Gothilocks" 
and Little Red became a rap singer known as "Little Red from the Hood".

The wolf tried to eat the little pig in the house of straw but she escaped to the house of sticks.

The cow wouldn't jump over the moon and the dish and spoon didn't want to run away together.

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty picketed the Prince's ball.

The wolf tried to get to the two pigs in the house of sticks......

by pretending to be a girl scout selling cookies, a UPS delivery man, and a singing telegram deliverer.

Snow White got a sunburn and her prince wasn't happy.

 The queen tried to convince the Little Old Lady In The Shoe to change her story but LOL decided to stick to her story and follow the Storybook Author.

Humpty Dumpty wouldn't sit on his wall and the wall fell on him. 

Miss Muffett became a biker chick.

Sleeping Beauty (who had become a career activist) and Cinderella (who had become a runner and a painter) tried to convince Rapunzel to join them, but she just wanted to wait for her prince.

The wolf used TNT to blow up the three little pigs house 
(they escaped safely) - 
no bacon was harmed in the production of this play!

Hansel, Gretel, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, and Jack (of Beanstalk fame) decided to straighten everything out.


 
They called a town meeting, got everyone to fix their stories.........

.....and danced into Happily Ever After!

THE END

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And Now He's 18


 1st Birthday


18th Birthday


Bacon wrapping paper made the day better.