Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The big wait for the Sprint bill is over....

After all my fussing and fuming, worry and even more gray hair than I already had, the dreaded Sprint bill appeared online this morning. From the look of the minutes used and the fact that they never charged any to PCS to PCS, I was certain that this bill would bankrupt me for sure and then how on earth would I be able to buy more yarn. God Forbid!! I was shocked - to say the least! The bill was $167.94 = even less than the previous month. Hooray!! Now I can buy more yarn!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Great Evening at Angel Hair Yarns

Tonight was simply wonderful!!! Thanks so much to Andrea and Pam who hosted a fabulous evening with Cheryl Schaefer of the famous Schaefer Yarn Company. Cheryl is a delight - her stories are so interesting and very amusing. I laughed so much I finally had to go pee or there would have been a puddle on the floor. Cheryl arrived in Nashville not feeling too well, but thanks to Tina Meares (hope I spelled your name correctly) and her husband who is a doctor, Cheryl was feeling much better and her voice was pretty strong.
Despite the heavy rains, Angel Hair was pretty crowded and I think we all enjoyed ourselves - especially being able to stay and shop afterward. That is always a joy!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Maybe I need to talk about my knitting projects...

I haven't talked about my knitting projects in a long time. Let's see....can I remember all of them? I've been knitting a cute little black and pink Minnow Knits sweater for my granddaughter, Ruthie. I ran into a snag - ran out of yarn that I purchased in Rhode Island. Lucky for me, they had the dye lots and sent me some more. I got the yarn several weeks ago, but it's still in the bag. I have a couple of scarves going. One is a Brioche Rib with Schaefer Esperanza - color way is Kermie. It's beautiful. I made another one just like it in Edith Piaf. At The Knaughty Knitter, we are doing a "hat along"- it's the King Harald Street Hat from The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. We are using Jamieson Shetland Wool. This is a fun project and very addicting. I've started a Wallaby Sweater for my grandson, Jake. And then there is the cardigan from Sirdar. It's intarsia - which I am making for my granddaughter, Alyssa. And the several pair of socks that are started. Oh dear. Where will I find time??

The week from hell!!

This really has been a more than bizarre week. The Sprint saga goes on. I've given up trying to find out any more. When the bill comes out next week, we'll just have to work it out. They are in the wrong, that's for certain. On top of the billing issue, a couple of weeks ago, I broke my "bluetooth." Not thinking clearly about it, I went to the Sprint store on Franklin Rd. in that little shopping center where Threaded Bliss is. I thought maybe I could just get the part for the ear that broke, but no, I ended up getting a brand new one. It wasn't the same kind, but I was assured that this one was one of the best. Within a few days, the silly thing kept falling off my ear. I was really afraid of losing it. Also, I had a very difficult time pairing it with my phone, but thanks to my friend, Catherine, it finally did happen. Aggravated with the headset, I went back to the store on Tuesday and explained the problem. Because I didn't have the box - yes! I was dumb and somehow it ended up in the trash last Friday - they refused to take it back. He did agree to let me have another one just like it. So, I took it and off I went. Don't you know - the same thing happened - it wouldn't stay tight to my head. Meanwhile, I still had the broken original headset, so I took it yesterday to Sprint store in Cool Springs where I thought I had bought it. Turns out, it was still under warranty and they gave me a new one. I went back to the other store and asked for a refund, but was refused. Talk about MAD!!! It wasn't pretty and now I think I should contact the BBB and report the him. Fair warning - there are only two corporate Sprint stores in the area - Cool Springs and Green Hills. All the others are just "fun phone stores."

To add fuel to the fire, last Friday, Quicken locked me out of my Wachovia bank account. Couldn't download or pay bills. I called the 24 hour bank help number and was told there was nothing I could do until Tuesday after 2 pm. The horrors of it all. Most of yesterday I was out, so I called last night and got a gal that tried to help me. After about 45 minutes, we did manage to get a download which showed I had a balance of negative 46 thousand dollars. (I don't think so - especially since it couldn't even be that to the positive) She told me that I would have to call Quicken today at 8 am EST. Why did I know that this would be a futile effort? First call - Indian guy who's English was very hard to understand. He helped for a bit - then the call suddenly disconnected. Call number two - different Indian guy - I asked for someone who spoke English - he said he did speak English -yeah right. He was better, helped me, put me on hold, and again the call disconnects. Call number 3 - oh yes, again an Indian - must be they outsource to India - sure enough - after a bit - call disconnects. By then I was close to being a raving maniac. I called Wachovia again. New gal this time - so nice and patient with me. We got the problem solved. Not a negative balance - everything was there and normal. A bit later, I tried the download again - and was locked out again. I thought about calling again, but then thought - why not wait until after 2 pm and see if that makes a difference. Yes it did - and that's a story that ended well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cell Phones

We all rely on our cell phones. I am furious with Sprint. Every week or so, I check on my minutes usage. On Friday, to my shock and surprise, it showed that I've used almost 3000 minutes since September 23. OMG!! No way!! The thought of the bill about sent me into apoplexy. According to Sprint, Barry had used 1150 minutes himself. Yikes! Who the hell was he talking to???? After a couple of phone calls and getting nowhere fast, I spent the rest of the evening being furious. I decided to call again yesterday morning. The first person I spoke to was no help. He transferred me to another person. I kept asking for a printout of the minutes used so far. They refused, saying it was not available. I don't think so. This time, after 10 minutes of arguing, I was transferred to the finance department. Whoever answered spoke in Spanish. I kept telling him I don't speak Spanish. Finally got a woman, Sunny C., who spoke English - sort of. We kept up the argument and finally, she put me on hold for what seemed like an eternity with horrible music. Apparently, the code for Sprint to Sprint phones had disappeared from my plan. In the end, they sent me 10 pages of calls that were made - only because I am "such a good customer." I saved the list to a word document, highlighted all the calls that I was charged for and shouldn't have been and sent them back to Sprint. Here is the email reply that I received after sending this email:

Dear Sunny C,

Thank you so much for all you've done. However, having scanned over the
list that you sent me, the majority of those calls are PCS to PCS. I hope
those calls will be "billed" as such. There is no way that I will pay for
free calls ever. Please advise if the calls will be adjusted.

Dear Barbara Bandel,

Thank you for writing back.

I apologize for any inconvenience that has been caused due to the PCS to PCS minutes. I noticed that the account is showing about the usage of the PCS to PCS minutes. Be assured that it has not been deducted from the actual anytime minutes and also it will not be not be deducted from the anytime minutes. You can keep this e-mail as confirmation.

Thank you again for emailing us, it was a pleasure serving you. Please feel free to write back if you have any further questions. I will be more than happy to assist you.

Diana D
"Where our customers come first!"

This just blows my mind. I did write them back, but haven't had a reply yet. Tomorrow is another day.....

Computer woes!

This has been the week of computer problems. No sooner did I get my new laptop, Barry's computer went down. It has happened before, but somehow, he was able to recover. He brought out his laptop and that died too. Not too thrilled about what was happening, he went down the basement and brought up my old computer. And that crashed also. He wasn't a happy bunny, he had photos to upload to his website (, so I let him install stuff on my computer. So far so good. Mine is fine. He has tried a few things with his computer, but as of this morning, nothing had happened. Tonight - all of a sudden - his computer came back to life and he is now re-installing XP and hopefully this will cure the problems.

Meanwhile, I wanted to install something on my laptop yesterday that I had trouble with, so I spent three hours Best Buy with the Geek Squad. It was a long time to be standing, but I got things taken care of.

After all that, I rewarded myself with some delicious king crab legs from Costco. Yummy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've got a new toy!!

YES!!! I finally have my own laptop! It's small and new and I can take it everywhere. No more slow hotel computers for me. It's a Toshiba with Windows Vista. Guess I need to get my PC upgraded or just call Dell and get a new one. Barry helped me get my files shared and this new one on our network. But I'm so proud of myself! I managed to import my contacts from Incredimail which are csv files and convert them to Windows Mail. That saved me many hours of having to retype them all over again. Now I'll attempt to get all my Real Arcade games reloaded and I'll be a happy camper!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My manic roller coaster day

I'm calling this day my "manic roller coaster day." It was a bit crazy. I had a 10 am nail appointment in Bellvue. Okay - that's about 25 miles from my house. Shouldn't of done this, but I so wanted a bagel, which made me stop at Bruegger's on Harding Road. That wonderful bacon and egg on a pumpernickel bagel about did my stomach in. I wasn't sure I would make it down the road - my belly hurt that bad. Oh well - that, too, did pass! Had my nails done and my eyebrows and decided to go to Best Buy. I've really been wanting a laptop. The closest store was at the new Charlotte West Shopping Center - not really on my beaten path, since I was eventually heading to Brentwood. I bought my computer - it's a Toshiba - very nice - web cam and all. I was very excited. Then I broke my blue tooth for my cell phone, so off to Sprint. I actually bought it way back in Cool Springs, but took it last week to Green Hills to be fixed. Again, not on my way, so I went to the new office in Brentwood. Oh well, what's another $59? Had to get a new one. It was already almost 1 and was supposed to be at our Tuesday knitting group at Brentwood United Methodist Church. Time out for a light lunch - drive-thru at Chick Fil-A for a salad, fruit cup and diet coke. When I got to the church I was already on "overdrive" and plugged in the new headset to charge it for an hour, after which I could pair it with the phone. Naturally, I couldn't do it. Lucky for me, my friend, Catherine, came to my rescue and we got it going. I couldn't concentrate on my knitting at all - so just as I was leaving, the people from Best Buy called that I could pick up my computer ( I had extra RAM put in). It was about 3 and I was going to our Meet Up knitting group later on, so I went home first. Talk about opposite directions. And the traffic was not good either. I checked email, turned on the lights, at grilled cheese and honeydew for dinner and took off for Charlotte Pike. I was chicken about going the fastest way on I40 - so I drove through Nashville. Bad idea - I shouldn't be so chicken. It took me forever to get there. Then off I went again to Sweetwater's Cafe. At least I took a couple of different scarves to knit on - I couldn't make mistakes that way.

I was totally trashed when I got home, but the new computer is so cool that it kept me going for awhile. But, tomorrow is another day. I'm like a little kid with a new toy!

Now I can't keep my head up - so goodnight!!!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Folks!

I thought today I would blog a bit about my parents. They live in a retirement community in Elmhurst, IL - just west of Chicago. For most of their lives, until their mid-60's, the lived in the Buffalo, NY area. They spent many winters in FL to escape the bitter cold, but one day decided that the best thing to do was move their permanently. It was great for awhile, living in a beautiful condo in Lauderhill, but then, the inevitable started happening. The friends began to pass away and living there was depressing. By then, my brother had married again and a year later, a new baby came on the scene. Since Mom and Dad spent most of time in FL while Rick's kids and mine were growing up, they only saw their six grandchildren at most twice a year. For a few years, it was too much for them to be down in FL in the summer, so they were spending summers in Oak Park, IL right near to where my brother lived in River Forest. Jori, the seventh grandchild was born in 1997 and my folks have been really close with her.

My parents have always been pretty active. They are avid bridge players and my dad loves his sports. The Bears and the Cubbies, especially.

In the past few years, Mom and Dad are no longer able to travel. Mom's eyesight is poor and Dad has Parkinson's. Although he isn't shaky, it still slows him down. He's had some heart problems and internal bleeding from an ulcer, but on the whole for two elderly people who are 86 and almost 87, they are doing fantastically well.

This past Saturday night, my brother had four tickets to the Cubs game. It's hard for the folks to go - all those steps - but Rick and my nephew, Aaron, took them. About five minutes into the game, a woman seated behind Mom, got up with her big cup of beer in her hand to take a picture with the camera she was trying to use in her other hand, and spilled the entire $6.00 worth of beer down the side of Mom's head, in her hair, and just soaked her blouse. It scared Mom - but felt good, since it was about 90 degrees at Wrigley Field that night. According to my brother, Mom went a bit ballistic at first, but she calmed down and the lady and her friend went and got wads of paper towels from the bathroom to try to soak up the mess. My dad got some of it too - but not nearly as bad. My brother had called me last night to tell me about the incident and it sort of struck both of funny. It brought back a memory of another Cubs game - maybe 15 years ago. We stopped at a place called Jake's to get milkshakes and food for the game. Rick bought each of us a bag of peanuts - my daughter's were there with us - and my brother told the kids it was all right to eat the peanuts with the shells too. I told my two, "NO"! A little while later, Aaron barfed up his chocolate milkshake and all the peanuts on the woman in front of him. Luckily it hit her leather jacket. Could have been her hair. She didn't even realize what had happened until we tapped her on the head. How embarrassing and we had a heck of a mess.

Here is a photo of my parents that I took last month at Mom's birthday celebration:
That's my daughter, Jen, who will be giving Mom and Dad their 4th great grandchild next Spring. I just hope I look and great as my parents do in 26 years when I'm their age!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A "don't miss chic-flick

I don't go to the movies often, but my friend, Sally, emailed me last night to see I wanted to go and see "The Jane Austen Book Club." We both enjoyed it immensely. It's playing at One Hundred Oaks - a definite movie to keep in mind.

As I write, Barry is putting together another bookcase for me. Can you guess what kind of books are going to find a home there? Knitting ones of course. I ran out of room in my other bookcase. These books have a habit of multiplying - kind of like yarn. But, we won't talk about my stash.... but then last week, I had to go and buy three big plastic tubs that I could pack towels in - ones we don't use. I have three linen closets in my house. One that I emptied now holds yarn. Does that count the 16 cubicles with color boxes that hold yarn? Or the three trunks? Or the three extra cubicle boxes? Or the ??? bags of yarn??? I think I'd better stay around for a long time. Sometimes I scare myself! Ah-h-h - the joys of retirement!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's been way too long....

I can't believe I haven't posted in such a long time - seems like there are never enough hours in the day to do everything. While I was in a Providence I had lots of spare minutes.

Knitting is my favorite activity. I belong to many different groups and love each of them and the friends that I've made. I wish, though, that I could get myself to finish each project that I start. There is some sort of "high" derived from starting something new. I learned that in the 26 years I spent doing counted cross stitch.

I have made progress - I finished a Wallaby Sweater for my granddaughter, Ruthie.

My daughter, Jen and I met in Chicago on September 15 for my mom's 86th birthday. Great weekend - Ruthie was the star for sure. And Jen is expecting again. Hooray!! My family is growing.

Last weekend, I was in NC visiting my grandchildren, Alyssa and Jake. They grow way too fast. I made Alyssa a brown and pink striped sweater and vest for Jake. Unfortunately, I never did get to take any photos of them wearing their new duds.

This is Alyssa - age 4-1/2

And Jake - age 13 months

We took the children to a wonderful animal park in Maiden, NC called Buffalo Beal's. Here a few of my favorite photos that I took there.

And one more - this is Oliver, the kitty, who lives next door to my children. He was so interesting and friendly.