The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-09-20

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time for a new cell phone company? But who?

blue copy

I've had AT&T cell phone service for years, since before it was AT&T... Since it was Cingular y'all, I mean long time, right? The whole roll-over thing suited us. Don't let my verbosity with a keyboard fool ya, I don't talk that much. And apparently neither does anyone else around here. Our plan's only 450 shared minutes yet every month minutes got dumped into roll-over.

We had thousands. I can't pinpoint when the roll-over dumping started reversing direction but I think it had something to do with my son's ever increasing adorablatude over the years...


But anyway....

This month's bill comes and its double. I call AT&T and not only are we out of roll-overs but we are over our 450 minutes by about 40 minutes; at the very reasonable price (I mean Guh-Ag me, just gag me right now) of 45¢ per excess minute.

In the past AT&T was customer friendly. And being that we have a family plan with three separate (one expired and two expiring in November) contracts I thought they might take off the charges since in the - Oh, gee maybe 10 years I've had the plan this has never happened. A gesture of good will as it were. If they had I would have gone on my merry way and renewed all the contracts in November despite having some other ongoing issues. And I get that they don't have to and I get that the 45 ¢ a minute is standard, too. I'm just talking good will here. For a customer that has been around for a very long time.


But nope, what they said to me was they would wash the bill if I would renew the contract. They are holding me hostage kinda? Are they really? Is that really what they are doing? And can they call me Friday morning for my answer?

Yeah, uh-huh sure, call me.

I had some time to think waiting for the call and since didn't call me Friday morning I had even more time to think. Although at 10:13 last night I got a text message saying: We are working to resolve your issue. We will follow up in 24-72 business hours.

Which puts it at what? The end of September?

Guess what? I'm actively not happy with them anymore. And not just because I'm miffed about the whole feeling like a hostage thing. And I'm so going to pay that overage fee even though I will Gah-agg on it, so I don't have to renew the contract with them, Oh wait. Make that contracts. Pleural. So I don't have to renew any of my three, count 'em THREE contracts with them.

What I want to know is there a better cell phone company out there?

Who do you use?

And are the prices reasonable for what you get?

And especially have you been happy with them over time?

Not just when you get your brand spanking new phone.

In my area the probable options are Verizon Sprint and T-Mobile (although I'm not sure about T-mobiles coverage in this area) but I'm open....

These are the issues I don't want to deal with ever, ever again:

* Obviously, I'm not happy with customer service so I want a company with good customer service.

* While AT&T has a large selection of free or low cost phones, when I did choose a free phone, I wasn't happy with it. It was a poorly designed, cheesy phone with lousy reception. I called to try to get a different phone (immediately) and was told, Sure. Hell yeah, you can get another phone.... But there are fees (contemptible) associated with the exchange because the phone isn't broken and see, You're exchanging you're new shiny piece of crap phone because of buyer's remorse. And no matter how I tried to tell them buyer's remorse is when you get the orange phone with glitter and moonbeams and wished you had gotten the pink one with fuzzy bunnies not when you got the hideous piece of cellular twaddle and wished you had gotten a functional well designed phone, they wouldn't budge. I talked and talked and they just said - In a nutshell - Talk all you want 'cause we have our fingers in our ears and we're singing La! La! La! So we can't hear you.

* The reception in my home area has always been...Eh, just fair. In my town it's generally okay but in the surrounding towns it's not nearly as fair as okay. Now, the reception in South Jersey is really not fair, in fact it's terrible. In so many words, well, I don't get so many words. I get about every third. Word. I need really good reception in all of the state I live in for Pete's sake is that too much to ask? I mean I don't think so since you are selling phones to me, here. Billing me there, and know exactly where I live. Here. And call me here. Or at least you're supposed to. At 10 yesterday morning.

* I would like to deal seamlessly with the phone stores, online, and telephone support. AT&T phone stores act like the telephone support people are a different company and visa versa. I bought a phone for my son at store and had to return it there, not having the box it was a cataclysmic issue and I had to go back multiple times to remedy the situation. Can I tell you how special I felt being greeted by the sales girl, whispering into her cell phone, Ugh, she's back. Charming, right?

* Some of those 40 or so minutes we were over? Were us calling our own cell phones for voice mail even though voice mail is part of our plan. Weird, huh? See for some odd reason our unlimited mobile to mobile within the family doesn't includes calling our own cell phones to retrieve voice mail messages - And that's even if the initial call was generated by a mobile to mobile not chargeable family member. I don't even get the logistics of how calling my own phone can possibly generate a billable charge and it's hurting my head to think about.

Okay, I'm done unless I think of something else that's annoys me and if so I'll add it on at the end.

Oh yeah, and Day 7, no car... Sheesh.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 6, No Car

No car
Day 6

painting 2 work in progress

Although I admit...

painting work in progress

It does allow me to focus on other things...

I haven't done artwork in a long time and I've started to paint again. I understand abstract art doesn't float everyone's boat but when I couldn't see well enough to paint realistically, painting like this saved my life.

And I've gotten to love them beyond my appreciation for said sanity.

These paintings are large. I haven't measured but one is four or five feet across... And the other one's even bigger. They are latex house paint and acrylic artist's paint on raw canvas in mostly neutral colors.

I'm including these paintings in The inspired Room's Beautiful Friday Post even though I know to everyone these paintings will not ring, beautiful. To me, they will always be so. For anyone who doesn't see abstract art as beautiful I hope you can look beyond that and see what just being able to paint when I couldn't see meant to me. And that was beautiful.

*They aren't framed, I added virtual frames for the aesthetics of it all.*


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Retro Tuesday on Vintage Thursday!

Also posted today: My weight watcher post is HERE click to see this weeks progress!

retrotuesay stamp

I missed Retro Tuesday so I'm doing Retro Thursday and combining it with Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingies Thursday. I've been participating for a few weeks and I've loved the things I've visited along the way. I'm clearly not the only one with a love of things old by a long shot!

I've decided to concentrate on vintage magazines as a whole today because they encompass so many things that tweak our fascination. One magazine can provide something for everyone.

I've started leaving these old magazines around for guests to flip through (those that aren't moldy; as many tend to be) and people pick them up a quite lot. They aren't hard to find; they are all over eBay although they sell at premium prices online. If you find any at sales or shops they make a fun addition to a coffee table or a guest bedroom. Most people have never seen a vintage magazine and I recommend magazines from the 1950's through the very early 1970's as an addition to a guest room night table. I promise they will be more fun and much more memorable than anything new. And chances are you're the only one doing it!

In this Woman's Day from April, 1952


Here's something for those of us that love kitchenalia


Vintage fashion float your boat?


Looking for clues on what makes a color scheme authentic.


Which seem to fall in to one of two categories: Very, very good
and very, very my, oh my...


I started buying vintage magazines for the kooky ads. The crazy products, the insane promises. I don't know. I couldn't get enough of them.


The Ohh! La! La! Bra with the $10 Million Lining that guards your health?

Vintage magazines are really lots of fun!

I've missed lots of categories here because it's magazine dependant: Home decorating ideas, crafts, money saving, sewing, fiction - and the topics change with the subject of the magazines.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weekly weight watcher update with way less snoring...

I'm days behind on posting so here I go...

There are a lot of ways to measure success and I haven't posted my weekly weights for that exact reason. I'm trying hard to undo all the wrong ways I've lost weight in the past.

Although I admit even saying that means I've come a long way - There are wrong ways to lose weight. There I've said it again. In the past any loss was fine with me no matter how it came to be and I've joyfully rationalized the positive after food poisoning more than I care to admit

So today's visual is more a sum-total.


Weight Watchers gives you a key chain when you've lost 10%
of the weight you were when you walked in the door.

I've been doing some googling on the whole 10% thing and it seems that losing just that amount is associated with multiple health benefits.

Everything from:
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • And diabetes rates
  • Lowered rates of heart disease
  • Lower health care costs per age group.
  • Being less achy because there is not so much,ya know tonnage on your joints
  • And snoring less. And I'm all for snoring less. I mean, C'mon...It's hard to feel like a delicate flower of a woman when you sound like a 747 coming in for a landing when you sleep....Even if you're wearing a sheer pink nightie with a feathery hem and some bling around the boobage. Right, girls?

There's more but you can search, too. And oh! Since internet searches are not a precise thing the same benefits can be had for losing small amounts (5 - 10 pounds) of weight so if 10 % of your body weight is a daunting prospect for you, go smaller, there will still be benefits.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad mom

Know what happens when your kid is sick away from home?

You tell your sick child to get in his car and drive home because home is where
the closest provider is and the out-of-network deductible is one thousand dollars.

I wish I could have told him, Find the nearest doctor, Sweetheart and stay in bed until you feel well. I wish I could have said, Money is no problem, don't worry about it. Just ask someone at school who's good. Find a nice, kindly doctor who can see you today and a pharmacy that delivers any medicine you need and while your at it have them add some puzzle books to the order since they are delivering anyway.

And oh! Baby, find a deli to deliver you chicken soup, too.

Instead I had to tell him, Sweetheart I don't even have a car to come get you because it died on Springfield Avenue in New Providence the other day and I can't even come get you so get in your car and drive all the way home to see your doctor here. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. And I'll try and scrounge up the co-pay before you arrive.

And bring your laundry. At least I can do that for you.

Somehow it's just not enough.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Holds memories like tea...

This is my 2nd post today Go here for my Decluttering post

This teacup and tablecloth were found
in a corner on the last day of an estate sale.


Many lovely things are disregarded
as garbage at these sales.

I find that sad.


Things that for years held meaning
and were well-cared for.


Looked after and cherished
like friends.


They shared space with the family,
And had a place at holiday tables.

And hold the family's memories.
As they would tea.


I like to honor the things I get.


To thank those who kept them
lovingly all those years.

if you're looking for the perfect tea to drink in a lovely estate tea cup, I just found it: Naivetea's Rose Violet Calendula Oolong You can see the color is lovely but it's really about about the heavenly smell and taste. I don't know if you've ever had violet candy? It's not easily found anymore being sweetly old fashioned. This tea reminded me of that mixed with roses and jasmine. It's lovely hot or iced and perfect served in a vintage cup.

According the the company:
High altitude oolong infused with rose, violet, and calendula with a sprinkle of jasmine green. Intense floral aroma with hints of rose, violet, and calendula. Light and smooth body with strong bouquet flavor and jasmine green undertone. Fragrant finish and long sweet after taste.

PS - This isn't a tea review mom blog thing - this is just a tea I love and drink.

Southern Hospitality Thrifty Treasures Link

Between Naps on the porch - Met Monday

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Can Stephen Hawken please explain my attic? Please?

As my current declutter tear continues I'm struck by something; the more I get rid of, the more I seem to have and I don't quite get the mathematics that makes that possible. Is there some theory of quantum physics that explains clutter or something? Is this one of the great mysteries of the universe as yet unexplained? Stephen Hawking has worked to explain black holes perhaps he can explain my attic. I removed and removed (and removed) from it, and my living room is full - yet so remains my attic. To the rafters.

How can that be, Dr. Hawking?

And as aside, how is it possible that I've brought three van loads - Van. Loads. - of donations to the VNA drop off and still have an apparent house full of stuff? And being that my van died on Springfield Avenue in New Providence, NJ last night I have no prospects of even being able to drop anything off in the near future, looks like my house will be driving me crazy for quite some time.

But my lack of transportation is neither here nor there, and apparently I am neither here nor there or over there or in the next town or anywhere for who knows how long because the $220 I paid to tow it? The last $220 I plan on putting into that van. Ever.


Look at this. It's a living room in an ad from 1953.


Want to know what I see?

First, I love that lamp in the middle and that red chair. Oh, how I would love that chair. The next thing I notice is all those funky wall colors. I am not crazy about any of them - granted it's an ad for paint but I wouldn't really want any of them in my living room let alone all of them but I guess they were hot-stuff in 1953.

But what I really notice is how empty that room looks to me. Besides the books and magazines there are exactly five knickknacks. I didn't count the plants and honestly I shouldn't have counted two of the knickknacks because they look like book ends, therefore not technically purposeless and not really a knickknack which according to Merriam- Webster Dictionary is a small trivial article usually meant for ornament.

How did we get from a living room with three knickknacks to ...well, I'm not including a picture of my living room, but look around your own living room. It's a good bet you have more than three extraneous things.

Since I have no vehicle I'm going to have to concentrate more on garbage than donatables for the foreseeable future. Today I plan on walking around holding a trash bag and being cut-throat in my pursuit of clutter.

And since I'm in a atrocious mood over the whole car dying thing anyway I'm totally ready to be merciless. Garbage, look out.

This is later in the day and I just realized something. I buy an inordinate amount of crap and complain that I have no money when in fact the problem is I buy an inordinate amount of crap that I don't really need, don't really want and will not last me past the point I can even remember why I bought whatever it was I bought in the first place. I seriously need to think on this because if I didn't buy all this stupid stuff? I could have bought a few really nice things that I did need, that I would still want, and would still be useful to me.

* A-ha yet again*

So. Another update - Normally I just repost but whatever. I'm sitting here and don't know what to do about the purse thing. I have huge clutter issues in my purse too and I need a smaller one but I don't really have a smaller one that will work for me so while I spent the day bitching about how much I have I'm sitting here thinking I may actually have to buy yet something else. And that's after spending the day lamenting about the amount of crap I own. Already.


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