Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm not that hard to find...

Shortly after I moved into my home, I had a man who would drive his black BMW down my street and park in front of my house.  He would stay there for 15-30 minutes and then leave.  He would come at different times of the day on different days of the week.  I didn't think a man in a BMW would be all about robbing a poor first-time home buyer so although I found it curious, I didn't worry.  Plus, I let Bailey bark all ferociously at him so I assumed I was safe.  Bailey can be 60lbs of menacing spaniel.

Remember when I was afraid that I owed the US Department of Education a truck load of money?  If not, read about it in this post.  Turns out it was due to a clerical error (which has been corrected) and the small fact that the DOE lost my address.

When I called the DOE (repeatedly) and finally got to talk to someone who didn't hang up on me they told me that they had used "skip tracing" to find me.  I didn't think much of it and assumed that "skip tracing" was just fancy term for "overpaid federal government temp who knows how to use google".  I haven't tried to hide.  A quick internet search and someone can find my home phone number, my address, how much I paid for my house (courtesy of local GIS websites), where I work, my blog, my nonexistent tweets, my Pinterest pins, and my LinkedIn profile.  In addition, I figured someone who had access to my Social Security Number (such as the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) could find something called a credit report which lists all of my addresses.   

After the small clerical error was cleared up and it was discovered that I did not owe the money, I forgot about the entire ordeal.

And then I started reading Janet Evanovich's mystery novels about a bounty hunter.  If you haven't read them, a movie is coming out this weekend (with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum.  It has "Academy Award" written all over it.  I'll go see it anyway).  Stephanie becomes a bounty hunter and refers to herself as a skip tracer.  And her mentor, Ranger, drives a black BMW.  My few misfiring neurons started to make some connections....these characters were skip tracers.  The government had hired a skip tracer for me.  I had been staked out by a man in a black BMW.  Ranger drove a black BMW. 


Great use of your federal tax money.  Much easier than Google....right?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Copious Notes

I love Sears, I really do.  Not necessarily for clothes, but I love tires, tools, appliances and electronics.  I am even the proud owner of a Sears Platinum MasterCard.  Ooooooo....jealous?

Because my brain is akin to scrambled eggs (I joke that if I ever get dementia no one will be able to tell the difference) I screwed up my payment to Sears this month.  I underpaid by $28.  My fault. 

Their first phone call alerted me to the mistake and I went online to correct it.  I was going to pay my $28 and lose my current "deadbeat" status.  Only their site was being upgraded and I couldn't pay.  Why is it that whenever I owe someone money immediately they decide to revamp their website?  I'm talking to you Department of Education, Verizon, and Sears.

So I called the next morning to pay over the phone.  Only their phone system couldn't take payments at that time.  I asked the nice lady in India to stop with the automated "you're a loser" calls because I would pay up at the store.  Which I did; I hauled my butt out to Sears and paid the $28 plus late fees.  I then called India back and my account was current.  Whew!

Except their automated phone system could not be turned off.  I received 4 calls from Sears yesterday asking for their money.  I began to call Sears back after every call.  I figured that if they were going to harrass me over my now current account, I would harrass them right back. 

India:  "I'm sorry for the inconvenience.  I'll make a note to stop calling."

Me:  "Notes don't work.  I'm still getting calls.  The last guy said he left a note."

India:  "Uh, yes.  I see you have already called today....three times?  I'll make a note for the calls to stop."

Me:  "Thank you.  And I will call you after every phone call I receive.  Hopefully I'll get you every time.  Let's see how many calls it takes until it gets old."

India:  "I'm sorry for the inconvenience.  I'll make a note to stop calling."

Me:  "You do a great job of reading a script."

India:  "Thank you.  Can we please get your cell phone number so we can reach you there as well?"

Me:  "Are you insane?"

I recieved another call this morning.  So of course I called Sears back.  This time I got a guy in Idaho who did not have a set of postcards with scripted responses. 

Idaho:  "Um, I see where you called yesterday.  Multiple times.  There are copious notes here." 

I was just impressed that he used the word "copious" in a sentence.  He promised me the calls would stop and apologized for ruining my beautiful Sunday.  He also asked me to stop calling because it took their automated system about 24 hours to stop.  He said I should not receive any more calls after noon today. 

I guess this is yet another company where my file says "CRAZY!!!"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Almost domestic diva

I recently became part of the black hole community known as Pinterest.  I call it a black hole because it just sucks you right in and you can't get out.  On the bright side, my creative juices have really been flowing since joining and here is my first creation inspired by pins.

I first saw this scarf...
I read through the tutorial found here and decided that I could do that.  I was drawn to this scarf because of the flowers and it looks all frilly and girly.
Then I started looking at other scarves and found this one which I liked even better. 

This one seemed even easier!  If you like this one, read through the steps here.  Both scarves are based off of one found in Anthropologie, and you just can't go wrong with Anthropologie!

I decided to make a hybrid of the two, I took the second scarf's design and added rosettes to it like the first scarf.  According to the directions for scarf two, you used elastic thread to gather it.  I read through the comments and everyone just loved working with elastic thread and just gushed about how easy it was. 

They lied.

I bought my fabric.  I wish I could tell you what I bought, but I just bought some gauzy white fabric.  Unfortunately I bought all that JoAnn's had, so I couldn't find it again if I wanted to.  I wanted to dye it purple, but once I got into the rainbow of RIT dyes, I went with aqua.  I went a little out of order and dyed my fabric before sewing the scarf in order to make sure my rosettes would be the same color. 

I wound my bobbin with the elastic thread and did a few test runs on scraps.  It worked ok so I started on my scarf.  My first row had the elastic so tight my 3 yard long scarf was shortened to about 12 inches.  Not quite long enough to around my neck.

I tore all of that out and tried again.  And again.  And again.

Finally, when I was about to give up I got all of my sewing machine settings right and made one row with elastic thread.  I went to sew row two and made it about 1/3 of the way down and my bobbin ran out.  There was no way to finish it off and start where it ended so I tore that out too.

I went through this two more times. 

This little scarf took an entire spool of elastic thread.

I then searched for ideas for my flowers and ended up on this website
I made three flowers which I attached on one side of the scarf.  I think it turned out fairly well. 

Yes, that is hanging on my front door.  I couldn't find anywhere to hang it...and it is a well known fact that I can't do self portraits.  I am not a very good photographer and I don't have a pretty dress form to hang it on, so you get a nice shot of my yellow front door. 

I may add more flowers.  I may not.  All I know is that I love my new scarf!  I can't wait to get into my next project...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My New Year’s Give-Ups (January's Bella article)

This is similar to previous blog posts...you can always tell when I am low on material!

Ahhh, January.  The beginning of a new year.   And what also comes with the beginning of a new year?  Resolutions!  I guess I need to steer clear of the gym until about mid-February…
How many of us make resolutions?  Most of us, I’m sure.  But how many of us actually keep those resolutions?  I’m guessing a much smaller percentage.  I for one just gave up on resolutions.  I never kept them.  In fact, my resolutions barely made it past January.  So now I make my New Year’s “Give-Ups”.  These are the things that I know I can’t master so I am simply giving up on them. 
The first “give-up” is losing weight.  It’s not gonna happen.  I go to the gym so that I can continue to eat what I want without gaining weight.  This summer my doctor listened to everything that I ate, how much time I spent at the gym, and he did some tests.  His diagnosis?  I am a healthy fat.  In other words, although I am overweight, I am perfectly healthy.  He went on to tell me that I would survive well in a famine-stricken country.  Thanks doc!  Therefore, since my doctor has told me that there is nothing wrong with me, I have stopped worrying about losing weight.  I used to think that losing weight would make me healthier….not so…I’m already there!  As a result I am telling the scale to stuff it.  As long as the numbers don’t rise, I’m a happy camper.
My second “give-up” is my house.  With teaching, tutoring after school, and working out in order to keep this rotund shape, I barely have time to feed myself, much less clean.  Instead of stressing about the rodent sized fur balls on the floor, I need to let it go.  It’ll get clean at some point.  The world will not stop spinning if I leave some dishes in the sink overnight.  Dexter covers his ‘work space’ in plastic wrap before slicing and dicing.  I just need to Dexter-ize my house.  That way I can cover the entire house in plastic covers and tear them off when the dirt reaches condemned house levels.  But until I find clear wall, furniture, and floor slipcovers, I’ll try to relax about the stuffed toy that the dog tore the innards out of (and that the cat spread all over the house). 
So what are you giving up for the new year?  We try our hardest to be everything to everyone; at some point you have to decide to let some things go.  And once you do, you might find some time to relax or do something enjoyable.  I know I will be sleeping in a few extra minutes and not making my bed the next day….it will still be there when I get home.    

Monday, January 2, 2012


I don't make resolutions.  I know that I never finish what I start so making resolutions for the New Year is a pointless endeavor. 

Instead I took on a much larger task...I bought a book.  This book gives me a new healthy habit to try each week for a year.  Supposedly, I will become a magical and wonderful human being by following each of these habits.  I figured I could concentrate on one at a time and hopefully one or two would stick out of 52.

Week one's change was to drink more water.  I barely drink water at all.  I'll drink it while at the gym...but most of the time I count coffee and sweet iced tea as my liquid intakes.  I am the equivalent of a sweet ice tea vampire, I need it to live and am willing to kill to have it.  (Ok, not really kill.  At least I don't think so.  Ask me again at the end of this week after I have replaced all of my sweet tea with water.)

I have carried my little water bottle around with me all day.  I have constantly sucked down ounce after ounce of water.  I am now a human water balloon.  My cells are bursting from the overflow of water.  Also?  I have to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes.  I have already decided that sleep is not on the agenda tonight since I will be in the bathroom all night.  I just quit drinking my water for the day.  I'll let this leak out over the next 12 hours before I start the whole routine tomorrow. 

I wonder which week is sponge eating?  (You know, to soak up all the water...)

Anyone taking bets yet to see how long I follow this book?