Friday, September 30, 2011

Bank of America is bad, mmmkay?

I heard on the radio today that BofA is going to start charging their account holders $5 a month for the privilege of using their debit card. Whether you use it daily, or once a month, you'll see a $5 fee on your monthly bank statement for the pleasure of accessing your own money.

Fortunately, we do not bank with BofA. There are many reasons, not the least of which came from a co-worker of mine shortly after we had moved to Albuquerque. She had gone over the easy mountains, and her debit card hadn't worked. It was a weekend, so Monday morning she called BofA to find out why. They told her they would research it and let her know. A week or so later, she received a letter telling her that since she was attempting to use her card in MEXICO all weekend, without informing them, they declined the charges. She was solidly still in NEW Mexico, not even close to the border. When she called them on the phone and told them the name of the town in NM, they started to stick to the reasons in the letter. Eventually she got it through to them that New Mexico is in the USA and they offered a weak apology. I won't bank with a company who doesn't know the names of all fifty states. I have other reasons too, but don't feel like sharing 25 paragraphs.

But shortly after purchasing our house in NM, our mortgage got sold. This happens a lot, and you have no say in where the mortgage goes. Unfortunately, ours went to BofA. We were disappointed, but there was no recourse short of re-fi, and obviously that wasn't an option on a brand new loan. It didn't really bother us too much until we were working through the short sale process. I couldn't count how many rude people I talked to there, how many threatening letters we received (despite their knowledge and approval of our short sale,) and how many times they made me feel like a low-life criminal because we were upside down on our house. They even made harassing collections calls to my parents, while we were fully entrenched in the short sale process WITH them!

When the house closed in late March, we were thrilled to be done with Bank of America. Interesting enough, they actually send you a little check when you close; it's to thank you for doing short sale instead of sticking them for a foreclosure. We knew (thought) our closing was 100% complete when we got the check from them.
But we were wrong. A couple weeks ago, I pulled my credit. The first, most prominent record on there was our OPEN mortgage, showing that we hadn't made a mortgage payment for over a year. No wonder my credit score was hurting. At first I thought I would fight through the credit bureaus to have it fixed. But then I thought of BofA and their shady business practices, and realized that maybe they still thought we owed them money or something. I called them up, and not surpringly, was connected to their collections department as soon as I entered my social.

I informed the representative of the situation; we closed in March, it was still on our credit, etc. She snippily informed me that they were still awaiting paperwork from us before they could close our file. I tried to stay calm. "How can that be? The house closed in MARCH. Someone else LIVES in it. We couldn't go back to that house if we wanted to! Someone else has a mortgage on it. Someone else OWNS it!" She backtracked after my quiet outburst. "Well, you'll need to be patient. It can take 90 days to close out the file." I was incredulous at this point. I exclaimed, "We closed in March. It's been more than 90 days!" She placed me on hold. After a long wait, she got back on the phone. Her demeanor had totally changed. She would have to send it to the higher ups, she explained, and have them close it out. It would take 15 days or so, and then we would get a letter stating that we were resolved of the house debt. I asked her if she showed we still owed anything, and she said no, principle and interest both showed zero owed. She stopped short of apologizing, but with a gentler tone explained that somehow it just got overlooked when it came to closing the file. I asked if it would report to the credit bureaus that the house closed in March, and she haltingly said it would. I don't believe that, and I think I'll still end up fighting the credit bureaus. But hopefully at least now, six months after the house closed, we can finally move on. I thought we already had.

I guess they were too busy trying to figure out ways to rook their customers out of more money by imposing ridiculous new fees to be concerned with wrapping up what was a miserable experience for all of us.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It was not such a good day... until it was

Actually, I'm not too sure I ever hit the "good day" part, but I did manage to have a decent day. It was one of those days that just seemed like nothing could go right, and I wished I could have stayed in bed. Would it have been as crummy if I wasn't pregnant and hormonal? Maybe. But the fact is, between the events of the day and the hormones, I cried more times today than I usually do in a month.

The day started out ok, Gage slept until 7:00 AM which was awesome because he'd gone to bed at 7:00 PM the night before. So he got a solid twelve hours of sleep, and that makes me happy. Unfortunately for me, I had gotten a not-so-solid... um, maybe six hours. I was pretty tired. We walked Brian down to his car, and Gage fought me and cried all the way back upstairs because he wanted to go with Daddy. After playing for a bit, he climbed up into his highchair, so I fed him some breakfast. He can now get the tray off of his highchair himself, which is a bummer because he basically kicks it onto the floor. That can be with or without food. This morning, he did eat all of his breakfast before kicking off his tray, so that was something. He then proceeded to throw a huge fit when I tried to get him down. Guess he really wanted to stay in his chair and color, so I set him up with that for a bit, and all was peaceful.

The morning went ok from there, until I tried to get him to nap at 10:00 AM. At that point, it all went downhill. Gage was clearly tired, but he refused to nap. He screamed and fussed like the world was ending. So I went and got him after 10 minutes, figuring maybe I could settle him back down. It didn't work. We were due at my folks' house between 12 and 1, so I figured we could try again a little later. It never happened. He was wide awake, and wouldn't give any consideration to napping. About 12, I figured I better get ready with a quickness. That didn't go as planned. Gage felt the need to try to clear off my dresser, clear off the bathroom counter, open every drawer in the bedroom and try to pull stuff out, shut me in the bathroom, shut me in the bedroom, dump the water out of the humidifier, turn the lamp on/off/on/off, and generally reek havoc in our bedroom... all while giggling his ornery giggle and grinning big at me EVERY time I stopped him from doing something. It got a little frustrating. The third or fourth time I kicked him out of the bedroom, I was pleased by a few minutes of peace. He stayed in the family room for a bit, and I got my hair done. I came out of the bedroom to get him ready, and saw my previously full water bottle laying empty on the ottoman. I looked at the floor under the ottoman; it was bone dry. So I turn around to look at the couch, next to which is the end table that the bottle had sat on. Bingo. The couch was SOAKING wet.

I'm not proud to say that I sank to my knees in the middle of the room and bawled like a baby. Hormones and frustration. Heavy on the hormones. THEN I felt like a giant jerk, because (soaking wet) Gage came over, threw his arms around me, and cuddled up into my lap. He cuddles me if I cry; I am telling you he is the single sweetest kid I have ever met. So I held him, cuddled him, got myself together, and got him ready to go. We got out the door, and got to my folks' house. Because we were running late, they had eaten lunch without us, so it made me depressed to think that we would be at their house and eating by ourselves, even though that's dumb because they would sit with us while we ate, anyway. Hormones? Yes.

So we got there, and my dad told me they had some good turkey (lunch meat) for sandwiches. I'm a little nervous about lunch meat and listeria, so I didn't want to eat the turkey, even though it sounded good. My dad said they didn't have much else for me to eat... and that triggered a whole NEW crying jag. With me standing in their refrigerator crying over lunch. Again, ridiculous, because their house is loaded with food, and it isn't like I would starve, I would just have to look a little harder. My mom heard me, and gave me a hug, and we talked about it. Between eating lunch (my dad grilled me a hamburger) and watching Gage's happy delight in playing at his grandparent's house, I felt much better. It also helped to have someone sharing the Gage-chasing for a bit, as I was a little frazzled and frustrated. By the time I got home, my mood was much better.

When Gage and I got home, Brian and I split the dishes. Then we had a tasty dinner of leftover baked ziti and put Gage to bed. After the Biggest Loser, we're just kind of hanging out. I love this time of the evening. I really enjoy my days with Gage, don't get me wrong. He is the light of my life and I treasure every moment of being home with him. It is nice to have a couple hours of the evening just Brian and I, though.

Hope you enjoyed a good day. Or at least, a decent day, because a decent day is much better than a terrible day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y, NIGHT, hey!

That song always makes me think of partying, getting all fired up to go out and do fun stuff until all hours of the night. 'Course I don't do that anymore. We do fun stuff at home 'til the early hours of the night, ha. And I am SO ok with that. We are enjoying a quiet evening with college football on TV, a sleeping son, me blogging, and Brian trying his dangdest to fix his friend/co-worker Tony's phone. It's an HTC MyTouch 4G, and it's stuck in an endless bootloop. Maybe it's ROM related, maybe battery related. We don't have a battery that fits it, so it's hard to test. I appreciate that Brian wants to fix this phone so badly he's been working on it all day. I would tell you how he's a nice guy. But that would ruin his street cred.

Oh, I kid. Nothing could ruin his street cred.

Speaking of street cred, I have to tell you I'm a failure as a volunteer. I know you remember the project for Sox Place that I told you about a while back? Yeah... I've totally dropped the ball. I would say it's because this pregnancy has knocked my socks off, (it has) but a few years back I decided to give up excuses. So I'll just say I want to try harder on it. Hopefully tomorrow I can get going again. Maybe I'll even start tonight.
We've been pretty much around the house this week. A couple trips to Target were about as crazy as we got. It's been a fun week though, and the weather has been beautiful. I need to get walking as the weather cools but isn't yet cold. I love walking in the fall, and I know Gage just loves walking. I'm also going to work harder to be vigilant about my weight gain and food intake in this pregnancy. I'm looking to only gain about 20 lbs (that's what the doc recommended because I'm a little heavy already) and so I need to be making up my extra calories with fruits and veggies. The difficult thing about this pregnancy and food is that I will be nauseous for hours, and not hungry, then suddenly the nausea subsides and I'm so ravenous I'm light-headed, then I'm ready to eat everything in sight. It's very weird. With Gage, I was just always hungry.
Everyone wonders if we want a girl. Scratch that. Everyone ASSUMES we want a girl. I don't care either way. I'll love either just the same. And I really wouldn't mind another little guy. The one I have is WAY awesome.

My parents took a Colorado vacation week. They drove around to places like the sand dunes, Snowmass, Creede, and rode the Cumbre and Toltec scenic railway. They came back Thursday in time to watch Gage for us while we visited the baby doc (we were very grateful). I guess they had a wonderful time, did some beautiful hikes, and didn't want to come home. I'm only a little jealous. Not really though, they deserve it. I missed Gage and my weekly visit with them though, so it was nice when they came home. My folks are transplants to Colorado, but they're native at heart.

I hope Gage can feel like a native here. He has lived here longer than he did in NM. This state has so much to offer. When we moved to NM, I didn't think I would ever want to come back to Colorado. But my feelings changed when Gage came, and Brian's did too. I hope that we can make the sort of memories with Gage that my folks did with me and my brother; we were always hiking or camping or skiing or going to Estes to listen to elk bugle. My parents took great advantage of this state we lived in. I hope we can too.

Man, this has gotten long and rambling. This entry is a miscellaneous mismatch of stuff that hopefully was an enjoyable read. You know, like when you throw together Corona, lime juice, tequila, and Sprite to make beer-itas for Saturday night parties. Doesn't seem like it would work, but somehow it does. 'Course, it's been at least three years since I have made any cocktail, let alone bulk cocktails. And that's no complaint.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cry-it-out page added to the page bar under header

A lot of traffic hits this blog from searches relating to cry-it-out, so if you're one of those folks, welcome! I added a new page right underneath the header up top that gives an overview of our experiences with CIO for those folks who hit this page because they're searching for information relating to CIO. I know from experience how muddy the sleep training waters are - so I tried to put together all of our info and experiences in one convenient place.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years.

I won't post much today because I'm in the mood for more of a thoughtful day than a blog posting can really get across. I want to treasure my family and be thankful for the many blessings I have been given, like freedom, life, and liberty. There are many people who serve our country and make those rights possible, who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I want to pray more for our troops, our first responders, and their families. I want to remember in my prayers to thank God for giving some folks the bravery and strength of character to defend our country against all threats.

Today, on the tenth anniversary of the worst attack on American soil, take a moment to remember. Remember that day, what you were doing, how you felt when you saw or heard about those planes hitting. I will never forget what I saw that day and how I felt. Remember how you felt after. Were you a little kinder to those around you? Did you reconsider before complaining about something that really wasn't worth a complaint? Bring back that aspect of the aftermath. Let our kindness to our fellow man be the legacy of those who lost their lives. Whether you are a Christian or not, you can live Jesus' greatest teaching: love one another. If you have the opportunity, do something for someone that will unexpectedly brighten their day. Not just today, but any day.

We will never forget, and we shouldn't. There was terror that day, yes. Unspeakable, unimaginable terror, death, suffering, hate, and pain. But there was also strength, bravery, life, recovery, love, and healing, that day and going forward. It is the latter that means that all those who died did not die in vain. Remember the first responders who rushed in, again and again, saving lives while knowing full well that they'd be giving theirs.
We will not forget. Not in ten years, not in fifty, and not in one hundred. What rose from those ashes of death on September 11, 2001 was life.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Time to play the lottery, perhaps...

So, I never really win anything. Usually I don't even participate in raffles/contests/etc because I typically don't win and then I get sad. Yep, I'm kind of a sore loser, especially when the prizes are awesome stuff. A couple years back, though, I won a digital camera in a work raffle, which would have been terrific, if Brian and I didn't already have one. I was still pretty stoked though, given my lack of ever winning. But then my co-worker, who'd won an iPod Nano, lamented that they wished they had won the camera instead because they didn't have a digital camera. I didn't have a working iPod at the time (other than a Shuffle) and I would've loved to have won an iPod. We traded, and both of us were thrilled. Anyway, I went back to my non-winning spree for a few years, until I started throwing my name into the hat when people would have bloggy raffles on blogs that I enjoy. Now, I by no mean enter every bloggy contest that I see on a blog I love, because let's face it, I'm not putting my name in the digital hat if I am not even interested in the prize. That's just mean to those folks who would LOVE the prize.

Last month (I think August, but maybe July), a blog I enjoy the heck out of, Christian Mama's guide, had a raffle with a company they were working with, the Little Card Company. I went to their website, checked out their stuff, and loved the company and the product. Christian Mama's raffle was for a little gift pack with a small tote, free thank yous, and a $15 gift card for the Little Card Company. I entered, and WOW! I ended up winning. The gift pack was so super cute, they shipped it fast, and I was so excited to have won. I still haven't used my $15 because they have so much neat stuff I can't decide, but rest assured I will!  I need to pick up Christian Mama's book too - if you're pregnant, look for "The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby." Even though I've done this pregnancy thing once before, I'd still love to read her book. Just need to order it, and stop being lazy. HA!

Anyway, so mid-August I was browsing blogs on my Google Reader, and another of my favorite blogs, Secrets of a Running Mom, was having a giveaway for a Road ID wrist band identification. As a sometimes runner and frequent walker, especially someone who walks with a child, I was pretty excited to enter that drawing. I figured I wouldn't win, but I put in multiple entries, as outlined by the raffle. Lo and behold, I found out today (I was drawn yesterday, but didn't read any blogs as we were busy) that I actually WON the Road ID wrist band ID! I am over the moon, seriously. I know this seems like a silly thing to be super excited about, but really, how cool. If you're active and frequently run/walk/bike/etc on your own, you really should check out Road ID. It could make all the difference in the world if you needed to be ID'd out in the world without your purse/wallet. Oh, and thanks to RunMom for pointing out that I don't have a clear "Contact Me" button in my blog... so I've added one up there at the top under my banner.

Thanks so much to both of these awesome bloggers who've thrown these cool giveaways. It's so fun to win something here and there, just for reading someone's words who you enjoy.

Bloggy disclaimers: I am affiliated with none of the blogs or companies. I simply wanted to give a little shout out to those who've done some cool raffles (that, ya know, I won) and to the companies who provided great products for the giveaways. I was not compensated in any way for writing these things about these blogs or these companies, except for being the randomly chosen winner of these two raffles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let us never speak of it again

I'm going to stop saying I'm sorry for my sad lack of posts. Because it's just the current normal. I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting a few times a week though, so hopefully I can do that.

Being pregnant is a funny thing. You suddenly have to second guess every decision you make involving your diet, skin, etc. Will this hurt the baby? If the baby comes out with a second head, will I know it was because I used X product before I even knew I was pregnant? OK, so that may be an exaggeration. But seriously though.

I'm having a terrible bout of pregnancy induced acne. I am not kidding, I look like a nightmare. Or maybe a Biblical leper. Brian says I look fine, because he is nice like that. But it's bad. I have a facial cleanser that contains triclosan, and maybe it's working just a little. It's an antibiotic. Supposedly it helps kill the bacteria that causes the acne while being a gentle cleanser that doesn't bleach clothes, like benzoyl peroxide, (goodbye, green tank top), or make me break out worse due to allergy like salicylic acid. It also dissolves oil so that's nice. Out of curiosity, I looked up triclosan to see if it was dangerous in pregnancy... I found one obscure website that said it can form a chloroform gas when mixed with chlorine... You know, like tap water has. THEN I read that it it found in a lot of household cleaners and increases headache and some other fun stuff. That info was on a mainstream site. Great. Guess it's time to find another cleanser... Cause I sure can't use the benzoyl peroxide outside of the shower, I don't have that many shirts. Oh, and just an aside, salicylic acid isn't safe during pregnancy either, even if you aren't allergic to it. Benzoyl peroxide is safe for pregnancy, just not your shirt. Update: I've been reading more about triclosan after posting this. It seems that it actually isn't too safe for ANYONE... The chloroform gas produced with tap water is a widely known effect, and triclosan is also a possible carcinogen. It can be found in acne products, antibacterial soap, and many toothpastes, deodorants, and mouthwash. It's worth a check to see if products you're using has this chemical. I didn't find it in anything other than my face wash; we don't buy antibacterial soaps. Scary stuff. The FDA is even looking into banning it, Canada already has.

This pregnancy is way bizarro for me. I'm having symptoms like crazy that I never had with Gage. I'm craving salty foods like I never did with him, either. When pregnant with Gage I wanted non-stop ice cream. This time I want chips and salsa, chips and queso, nachos, beef jerky, etc. Salt cravings are uncharacteristic of non-pregnant me, as well. I also frequently crave fruits and veggies. And let me tell you, when those cravings pop up I fully indulge them. Because I can tell you non-pregnant me rarely thinks about how badly I wish I had a carrot/zucchini/garbanzo bean mix spread on a pita. It was seriously good though. I've also been craving hummus on pita chips. Go figure.

So what do all of the differences in this pregnancy from the last mean? It doesn't mean I'm pregnant with a girl, although that's Brian's gut feeling. It doesn't mean anything except that I'm pregnant for the second time... And pregnancies can be drastically different, I guess. I'm living proof. My pregnancy with Gage was such smooth sailing, when we watched a show on BBC America about women addicted to pregnancy, Brian expressed his fear of the possibility that I could get addicted to pregnancy because it was so good for me. I've got news, I'm definitely not gonna be addicted to pregnancy. So no worries there.

I'll try to be back in a few days, maybe a day. I have some other pregnancy related things I would like to talk about so hopefully I can in the next few days. But if I forget or feel too cruddy to post in the next few days, you won't see more apologies, I promise.