Moving

I hate moving.

I hate everything about it.  I hate having to put the house up for sale and all that entails.  I hate having all my stuff in boxes.  I hate unpacking in the new house and trying to find a place to put everything.  I hate realizing that I have a ton of stuff and that some of it is going to stay in boxes for the time being.  I hate feeling like my life is “on hold”.  I hate having to find a new hair stylist, a new dentist, a new doctor.

But the thing I’m hating most right now?  Trying to get freaking renters insurance.

I’ve been trying for weeks to get renters insurance, to no avail.  Farm Bureau South Carolina doesn’t write renters, just homeowners.  So it has to go through an affiliate company.  The only problem with that is because of the incident in April 2012, no one wants to insure us.  They say we’re too much of a risk.  We don’t even have a dog anymore!  So why are we such a risk?  That makes absolutely no sense to me.

I’ve been waiting on our agent to get back to me for a week now regarding a company that might write the policy.  I called him yesterday and told him I needed to know something by the end of business, because this has gone on long enough.  Our house is under contract, which means our homeowners policy will be cancelled soon, leaving us with no coverage of our belongings.  I have got to get this settled.

As I expected, I didn’t hear anything from him before the end of business yesterday.  So today I got on Progressive and bought a renters insurance policy.  It’s costing me a grand total of $30 a month to insure our personal property.  You snooze, you lose, Farm Bureau.  Now I’m going to see how long it takes our agent to get back to me without me nagging him every other day.  And when he does finally call?  I’m going to tell him, too bad, I gave up waiting around on you ages ago and found insurance elsewhere.

I shouldn’t have to nag a grown man about doing his damn job.  But at least now I have renters insurance.

I just can’t with the lack of logic.

Pet Peeve #6: People who ask you to participate in something, then don’t supply you with the information you need in a timely fashion (or at all, for that matter).

The husband got asked by someone at his workplace to participate in a local community program wherein people in the community volunteer to buy school supplies for needy kids in the area.  They give you the child’s name, what grade they’re going to be in, and where they will be attending school.  Then the volunteers go buy the supplies their assigned child requires and turn them in to the coordinator to be distributed to the kids.

Sounds great in theory, right?  Too bad it’s not working out that way.

So the coordinator at hubby’s workplace finally tells him who the kid we’ve been assigned is and where he goes to school.  She also says that Walmart has the list of required supplies.  So I go to Walmart.  The only lists I can find are for the elementary and junior high schools (and there are a lot of them).  I went through all the lists – nothing.  I asked an employee who was putting out more copies of lists and was told that they don’t have lists for the high schools.

Well, that’s just ducky.  How am I supposed to do this if I don’t know what to freaking buy?  I don’t have kids.  I’ve been out of high school since 1992.  I have no earthly idea what kids are supposed to have by way of school supplies these days.

Needless to say, I’m not real impressed with the people running this program.  You want people to participate?  Then make it easy for them.  Give them a list of things to buy.  Don’t assume they know what to get or that Walmart has the damn list.  Our assigned kid will be lucky if he gets anything at all because of how half-assed this program is being run.

 

You’ve got mail.

Today I got a parcel in the mail from my friend Sarah who lives in Australia.

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With great anticipation, I opened the box to find a cornucopia of goodies.

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Inside I found some mini packs of Tim Tams in limited edition flavors.  I love these things.  They’re like crack, you can’t eat just one!

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I also got a bunch of cute notepads.

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The cover of this journal made me laugh out loud.

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I also got a cute bookmark, a humorous eraser, and some other interesting stuff.

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I’m dying to open these pencils so I can read all the hilarious saying on them.

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Where have these stamps been all my life?!

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Sarah also burned me copies of several New Kids dvds.  I’m looking forward to watching the Fenway dvd.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for my box of goodies, Sarah!

 

 

 

The diet that isn’t.

Disclaimer: Please note that I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, so I can’t tell you what to do to lose weight.  You should consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting any diet plan.   

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Back in November, I had to go to the doctor because I was suffering from episodes of vertigo. Turns out, it wasn’t anything to be worried about, but I got the shock of my life when I got on the scale at the doctor’s office.

We hadn’t had a scale in the house in over a year, after our last one got broken. So I hadn’t been keeping track of my weight. I knew I needed to lose weight because my clothes (especially my pants) were too tight. Plus, I wasn’t exercising at all, whereas before Chaos died, I was walking with him 4-5 times a day.

But I still wasn’t prepared to see the number on the scale: 192 pounds. I was shocked, and also horrified that I’d let things get that bad.

So the next day, I bought a fancy Weight Watchers scale that not only tells you how much you weigh, but also tells you your BMI (Body Mass Index), percentage of body fat, percentage of body water, and percentage of bone mass.  I did my baseline weight the next morning, which was 190.1 pounds with a body fat percentage of 36.6 (my target range is 24.1 – 29), and a BMI of 30.5 (my target range is 20 – 25).

I wasn’t actively tracking my caloric intake at that point, but I was trying to eat smaller portions.  A little over two weeks later, I was seeing some progress, but I wanted an easier way to track what I was eating.  I discovered the myfitnesspal app after reading about it in Cosmopolitan, so I decided to give it a try since it was free.  At the time I started using the app, I weighed 186 pounds, with body fat of 35.4% and a BMI of 29.7.  I also purchased a digital food scale in order to weigh things like meat, since many times a chicken breast or steak weighs more than the standard serving size (which is 4 ounces).

The app works for me because you put in your height, current weight, age, and activity level and it calculates how many calories you can consume each day.  Exercise ups your caloric intake, so I exercise five days a week for at least 25 minutes a day.  Based on my activity level (sedentary), it calculated that my max was 1420 calories per day, with a minimum of 1200.  (Any less than 1200 and my body could go into “starvation” mode and stop losing weight.)  I’ll be honest, at first I was hungry all the time.  So I started drinking more water, and in doing so, realized that what I took for hunger was actually my body telling me to drink more.  Another good thing about tracking everything that goes in your mouth is that you become aware of what amounts to empty calories.  I love chocolate, but I had to pretty much stop eating it, at least at first.

But as I adjusted to my new eating pattern, I noticed that I didn’t have cravings like I used to.  I also didn’t experience the after lunch “crash” either.  Because I was eating smaller meals, and eating more often, my blood sugar was stable.

Eating out requires a bit of research first, but it is doable.  I usually Google the nutritional info for wherever we’re planning to go and narrow my choices down that way.  Then I can’t get sidetracked by something that looks good but is too high in calories.  For the record, we eat steak maybe once a week.  Pork is another that we eat maybe once a week.  If we’re eating pork in a given week, we won’t have a steak later in that same week.  We stick mainly to chicken and fish, since both are both fairly low in calories.

As of this writing, I weigh 158.2 pounds.  My BMI is 25.4, and my percentage of body fat is 28.9.  For those of you keeping count, that’s 31.9 pounds lost, 4.3 points lost on BMI, and a 6.5% drop in body fat.  I’m just outside the upper range of my target number for BMI, and my body fat is actually in the upper range of acceptable.  Counting calories is working for me and part of that is being aware of portion/serving sizes.  Plus, if I have an event or special occasion and exceed my daily intake, it’s no biggie.  Unlike fad diets, I won’t completely wreck my weight loss plan if I go off the rails once in awhile.  The biggest reason diets fail is because they make you change what you eat in addition to how much.  By tracking calories instead, I can eat the foods I love, just in smaller amounts.

My current goal is to get down to 145 pounds.  Once I’ve reached that goal, I’m going to decide whether to keep losing or to start maintaining.  Considering how much I’ve already lost, another 13 pounds is a cakewalk.  I don’t even consider what I’m doing a diet.  I even got my husband to use the app and he’s lost over 50 pounds!  I’m proud of both of us for sticking with it over the last six months.

 

Bad Service

I got the idea for this post from reading entries on the Livejournal community bad_service.  I thought I’d share my experience with the exercise bike we purchased from Sears.

On February 22nd, we purchased a new exercise bike because our old one was giving us problems (the pedal arm kept falling off) and we were tired of fighting with it every time we used it.  So we took a drive south to a larger town where there was an Academy Sports, in addition to a Sears.  Academy didn’t really have much selection in store, so we went over to Sears to have a look.

At Sears, we found the Schwinn 270/Journey 2.5 recumbent bike.  It looks like this:

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The bike that has given me nothing but problems since we bought it.

Looks like a nice bike, doesn’t it?  We thought so too, and decided to give it a try, since in the past we’ve purchased Pro Form/Nordic Track bikes and they just don’t hold up to regular use.  (Our previous bike, a Nordic Track, had a pedal arm that wouldn’t stay on.  We’d been using the bike less than a year.  Doesn’t say much about the quality, does it?)  So we decided to give a different company a chance.

If only we’d known what we were getting ourselves into.

After two weeks of use, we noticed that buttons on the control console would randomly stop working.  The Programs button seemed to be the main one affected, although the fan button was also not responding.  So on March 10th, I called up Sears and spoke to one of their Warranty Service people who declared that the power cord that came with the bike was the problem.  The included power cord apparently didn’t supply enough power to consistently run the control console.  Great!  Problem solved.  Send me a new power cord.

I was told that I would get an email confirmation of the part being ordered, and another with tracking info when it shipped.  After a few days, I called back and learned that the cord had shipped on March 11th.  Since I was aware that it would take 5-7 days for the part to arrive, I wasn’t too concerned.  I did reach out via Twitter to find out why I never got the promised emails.  Someone was supposed to look into it and call me, but no one ever did.

After a week of using the bike with the new, improved power cord, it was obvious that there was something wrong with the console.  It was still acting as goofy as it had previously, with added quirks like the fan not wanting to shut off and not letting us switch between profiles.

So I called again on March 24th and all the customer service rep wanted to do was send a technician out – in three weeks!  I told him I didn’t need a service technician to tell me that the console was the problem.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, claimed he couldn’t locate the part (the console) in the computer, so he couldn’t say whether or not it was possible to order me a replacement.  He also said that since I was past the thirty day return policy, if I wanted to return the bike, I’d have to clear it with the store manager first.  Are you kidding me?!  The goddamn bike is under warranty – electronic parts for one year, mechanical parts for two years, the frame for ten years.  I’d say this qualifies as an electrical problem, wouldn’t you?  Needless to say, I was pissed off.  I let him make the service appointment for today, April 17th.

I stewed on his incompetence for a little while.  Since part of the problem was that he couldn’t locate the part in the system (and I couldn’t give him the model number of the bike, just the name), I got on Schwinn’s website, located the bike and got the model number.  Armed with this information, I called back and got a much more helpful CSR this time around.  I explained the situation, gave him the model number, and he found the part I needed.  Only it was on back order.  With no anticipated availability date.  Of course.  Nothing about this was going to be easy.

At any rate, the helpful CSR ordered a console, tied it to my service appointment and told me that as soon as one was available, it would ship directly to me.

Two weeks passed with no word from Sears about the console.  So I called again on April 1st to find out what the status of the part was.  Still on back order.  The customer service rep did send a message to the Parts Department requesting them to contact me with a time frame for the part.  A few days later, I got an email from Sears saying they’ve opened a case on my order.  I called to find out what the hell that meant.  According to the girl I talked to, since the part is on back order, they are tracking the situation in order make sure that this is resolved to my satisfaction.  At this point, I think I had called and complained via Twitter an equal number of times.

Then yesterday, I get a phone call from Sears asking if I’ve received my part as they’re showing it was delivered.  I checked my front porch and finally!  The console had come in.  The fact that it showed up when it did was a total fluke though, because the Parts Department was showing it wouldn’t be available until mid-May at the earliest.  I think if we’d had to wait another month, the bike would have been returned and we’d have bought something else, somewhere else.

The service technician came today and put the new console on.  He agreed with my assessment that the console was buggy from the get-go and that not having the proper power supply just made the problem worse, to the point that it fried the console.  He checked the new one out and it’s working the way it should, so maybe this is finally over.

At this point, I’m less than impressed with both Schwinn (because of their product) and Sears (because of their ineffective methods of dealing with the problem).  But at least my bike is fixed.