May 23, 2012

Get off my arm! I can't breathe!

When my brother and I were kids, we fought all the time.  We had many big, nasty fights involving various weapons.  Once, we used aluminum bats.  The thing is, though, we would quit fighting as soon as something broke.  We broke a vase while chasing each other through the house once.  Immediately, we sopped, picked up the pieces and hunted down some glue.  Beating the crap out of each other was one thing; having the crap beat out of us by a parent was another.  Or more to the point, the THOUGHT of getting beaten.  We rarely actually got hit as kids.  But, we were afraid of getting hit, and that was usually enough to keep us (mostly) in line.

One time, Brian (my brother) and I were fighting in the living room.  We were all over the place.  Somehow, we managed to get tangled up and were wrestling on the floor.  Invariably, our fights happened in front of an audience of friends.  On this occasion, we had a couple friends standing by as we rolled around, trying to beat the tar out of each other without breaking anything else in the process.

As we fought, I happened to break free of his grasp and tried to roll out of the way.  As I did, I rolled on my brother's arm.  He started flipping out!  He was thrashing around, yelling and screaming.  I asked him what was wrong.  He could only yell out, "Get off my arm! I can't breathe!  Get off my arm!"

It was the funniest thing my friends had ever heard.  They started laughing. Then, my brother and I laughed about it.

That was thing about our fights: In the end, we laughed about the fight more than we were angry about whatever started the fight.  In fact, we usually couldn't even remember why we were fighting in the first place.

May 22, 2012

Life's Amazing Journey - Good Luck Smith Family!

It's amazing how life takes little turns here and there.  We often make connections with people that we don't think much about at the time we make them, only to discover those connections come around later in life.  This is the story of such a connection.

The photo in this blog post was taken on Prom Night 2012.  My son is the 1st boy on the left.  His date, Bailey, is the first girl on the left.  Let's get back to them in a minute.

The man in the back on the left is Greg Smith and I am standing next to him (in case you weren't sure).  I don't know what path life took in order for Greg to end up at Henderson State University back in 1990-1991, but I know the path my life took.

I graduated in 1987 from Rangeview HS in Aurora, CO.  From there, I attended (what was then) Loretto Heights College in Denver.  It closed that same academic year.  I went to the University of Colorado at Denver and Boulder and then was encouraged to take some time off, "to reconsider my collegiate career."  During my "re-evaluation phase," my brother picked Henderson State University out of a book of colleges based on the girl-to-boy ratio. No kidding.  So, he was in college while I worked at a computer company in Alexandria, VA.

I thought I would get back into the "college mode" of life by going to HSU with my brother.  Greg Smith was the Residence Assistant for the dorm (and floor) in which I stayed.  Imet Shan at HSU. I convinced her to go out with me, and we started our life together. (Haha, there was much more to it than that, but that is a story for another time)

Fast forward a bunch of years.

Greg Smith and his family moved to Prescott to take over the football program, ultimately leading him to take over all Athletic Director duties as well as head up other sports programs.  He and I ended up at the same church as well.  Over the past ten years, we have watched our families grow.

This year, Tyler decided to play baseball on the high school team after taking a couple years off from playing ball.  Greg was the coach.  As friends, Tyler and Greg's daughter, Bailey (above, left) went to prom together.  Tyler had also decided that he would play football for Coach Smith - something Tyler swore he would never play.  Tyler's class schedule for next year prevents him from playing football. 

As it turns out, Greg and his family are leaving our town, as he accepted a position in another part of the state.  They are going to be missed greatly.  I hope we all stay in touch through Facebook, as we have been.

And so it is, the guy who was the RA for the dorm I stayed in ultimately ends up in Prescott where my family lives.  My son ends up on his baseball team.  His daughter and my son go to prom together.  And, through a mutual respect of each other, Greg convinces my son to play football.

The football thing didn't work out, but that doesn't matter.  Because in the scheme of things, it was never meant to work out.  The criss-cross paths of life brought our two families together before there were "families" and then through some pretty cool experiences that I don't think any of us will forget.

I wish Greg and the rest of the Smith clan the very best in the next phase of their lives.  It has been an honor knowing them at the different stages of life in which our paths have crossed.

May 18, 2012

We're Legal!! Twenty-One Years!! Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my lovely wife!  Today, we are LEGAL! Wahoo!  Today, we mark the 21st year of our marriage.  Oh, I know, the 25th and the 50th are "the big ones" but since life in general hits a milestone at 21 years, I figured the same should be true for marriage.

I've said this a billion times, and I will say it a billion more: I love my wife more than ever.  Through all the soaring highs we've experienced and the rock-bottom lows we've struggled through together, she has been a solid rock.  That's not to say there haven't been tears (both of pain and of joy), because there have been plenty.  But, she stands on her faith which makes her stronger.  And that makes me stronger.

Over the course of twenty one years, we've been raising a family with our two beautiful children.  We've seen the passing of too many loved ones.  We've seen the births of loved ones we could never imagine being without.  Well, we didn't actually see the births! That would have been weird.  Anyway, people have gone out of our lives and come into our lives, and through it all, we have been very blessed to have experienced those together.

I pray that we have many, many more years ahead of us together!

I love you, Shan, with all that I have and all that I am!  You are my everything!

May 16, 2012

Sprint Sucks...mostly

I hate dealing with #Sprint. Did you know the Sprint store employees are not allowed to speak directly to Sprint corporate? Instead, they make the customer act as go-between. Here's a thought: Don't use Sprint. I don't. I was taking care of an issue with Tyler's phone. Worst waste of 3+ hours of "customer service" ever. I'm spreading the word...

Tyler has, er had, an HTC Evo Shift 4G.  It started acting up.  When it finally wouldn't even let you use the touchscreen, I jumped online to Sprint to see if it was under warranty and what could be done about it.  Before I go any further, let me say this: Get the insurance. It's worth it. Period. I don't care what it costs, it will save you and/or your spouse HOURS of running in circles. (Note: After talking to Shan, I remembered the fiasco that was Sprint insurance with her Dad's phone. So, never mind. Forget insurance.) Now, on with the show...

I ended up in chat with Sprint online.  Told them the problem.  Was told the phone was under warranty. Just take it to the Sprint store and they'll fix me up. BBZZTTT, wrong answer. Thank you for playing.  The chat took almost an hour, all tolled (or if you prefer: all told. I do not, as I may have mentioned.  I believe it should be "tolled" as in "added up," but I digress. Often.).

After work, I drove 35 miles to the Sprint Store to exchange my son's phone.  Or so I thought.  I showed the phone to the girl (yes, she was a girl - not a woman, not  lady, but a young girl) and she said, "Well, it will cost you $35 for us to look at it since there is no insurance."  I said, "That's fine. No problem."  That was met with: "Well, actually, they don't make these anymore, so really, there's nothing my tech could do anyway." I don't care. Check it out anyway. What ever happened to "The Customer is always right?"  Oh yeah, this is Sprint.

I explained that I had chatted with Sprint online, and yes, in fact, they could give me a phone of equal value since it was under warranty.  She took the phone back to the tech (no charge).  A moment later, she returned. "Tech says we don't have parts and there's nothing we can do. You could take it to the repair shop down the street." I left, not happy but semi-understanding.  That lasted until I was driving down the road. I called Sprint corporate.

The phone call I am about to describe in this paragraph lasted about 30-45 minutes. I am shortening it for your reading pleasure.  Tech support gets online. I explain the situation. Oh yeah, after giving my mobile number and passkey for the 3rd or 4th time during the call.  He says the store should have given me a new phone because it is under warranty.  I agreed, and explained what the store said.  He created an eTicket for my case and asked me to return to the store. He said to call him back if they don't give me a phone. I did.  To no avail.

A new person came to help me. I explained everything to him AGAIN. Gave him my ticket number.  He said, "Well, there's a $35 charge for us to look at it."  I assured him I was aware of it, and WILLING to pay the fee.  The girl from before came out and they discussed the phone, the fact they don't make the phone, blah blah. I called Sprint corporate.  Another 30-45 minutes later, I was told that I should have gone through the corporate number and not the store. I explained that I had been told to go to the store.  Didn't matter.

I don't remember all the details, but at one point, I was on the phone with Sprint and I was in the store.  Sprint on the phone said I needed the store to run the diagnostics in order to update the ticket, thus facilitating a warranty exchange.  Then, things went south.

The rep on the phone was telling me to tell the store rep stuff, and the store rep was telling me stuff to tell corporate.  I got ticked off. I thrust the phone at the store rep and said, "This is stupid. I am not acting as the middleman here. You two work it out."  The girl's face turned to one of shock and horror as the other store rep took the phone.  "You can't. We're not allowed."


She shook her head, "We-we're not supposed to," she stuttered.  The guy took the phone and explained things from his end.

Seems that the "warranty" is through HTC and not Sprint.  I needed to call HTC.  In the meantime, he hands me the phone and I am put on hold... for an HOUR.  Yes, I am an idiot and waited an HOUR on hold at the store because I was told the rep on the phone was getting her supervisor.

I hung up, apologized to the reps for my outburst, though my frustration level was through the roof, and left.  As I drove, I called HTC and explained the situation - AGAIN.  The woman on the other end was nice enough, but said I needed an original purchase receipt with the serial number in order to determine whether or not they would work on the phone because they showed the phone to be out of warranty.

Stupidly, I called Sprint back as I headed home.  The woman that answered tried to help (after I had to give all the required info, of course - AGAIN), but she got frustrated  because she couldn't locate any purchase info and transferred me to another man, James.

James came on, and after getting all the info YET AGAIN, he tried to help. I explained the situation AGAIN.  After several turns on hold, he was able to finally ascertain that we had most likely bought the phone form Wal-Mart.  Well, as soon as he said that, I did remember going to Wal-Mart and getting the phone for Tyler's birthday present or he bought it around his birthday or something.  James could not get an original receipt from Wal-Mart, but we probably could.

He then said, "I have been advised to let you know that you could buy a pre-owned phone since you do not have insurance on that phone." So far, that was the best thing I'd heard. At least, it was a solution.  And, it was viable.  Now, you have to remember, by this time, I had been dealing with reps for nearly 3 solid hours. I was tired and probably not thinking as clearly as I should have been.  We talked for most of the 50 miles back to my house.

In any case, I bought Tyler a used phone (HTC Echo).  I got a decent deal on it.  And, I don't have to deal with any freaking customer service reps.  What about the phone under warranty?  If we decide to hunt down/get receipts, we may mail it off and see what HTC says.  If we don't, I'm not out much more than I would have been with the diagnostic fee.

James is the only thing that saved this stupid, sorry mess.  I don't own a Sprint phone and am not on a Sprint plan.  After this little escapade (and others, referenced at the bottom of this post), I can PROMISE that I will never, EVER have a Sprint account/phone.  If they end up the last provider on Earth, I will go without. Period. Sprint Sucks...mostly.

Previous posts about stupid Sprint service (er, lack thereof) - especially the Sprint Store:

May 12, 2012

Happy Limerick Day

There once was a day, so silly
Where everyone went willy nilly
With a little five-line poem
Making folks laugh who know 'em
It's May 12th, you hill-billy.

May 11, 2012

Popped onto Facebook

I dunno. Twitterfeed will feed to Twitter but not to Facebook.  Maybe they need a Facefeeder...

Pop Goes the Weasel

TwitterFeed had to make some changes, which affected my feeds from the old blogerooni to Facebook and Twitter.  Let's see if I set this up correctly.  Enjoy the show.

May 7, 2012

Shan's Famous Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Many have asked, and so I am posting Shan's Chicken Pot Pie recipe!

As quoted by Shan:

Chicken pot pie

½ lb. Chicken (I use tenderloins or breast...but use whatever you like)
1 can of veg-all (drain)
1 can of cream of chicken
1 can of cream of mushroom
2 piecrust (bake empty shells for 10-12 min. in oven)
Salt, cumin, minced onions, and garlic powder to taste

Bake or broil your chicken until done.  Then mix all the ingredients together.  I put mine in the slow cooker and then store it in the fridge overnight.  

When you're ready, let it cook on high for 1-2 hours or low 3-4 hours.  Then put in pie shell and crumble top crust over it.

To make two chicken pot pies I double everything except the chicken.

Thanks to Shan for sharing her recipe! :-)