Monday, October 26, 2009

Sears "Master Protection Agreement" and Home Repair Service Problems

Thursday, October 26th, 2009

Sears Holding
Attn: Appliance Complaint Center
3333 Beverly Rd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179

I am writing regarding our Kenmore UltraWash Dishwasher, model # 665-13889

It was purchased for $637.49 on August 3rd, 2008 and we also purchased an extended service agreement for $129.99 that expires on August 7th, 2011. This came to a grand total of $812.10

We had problems with this dishwasher from the day it was received. The dishwasher never seemed to get dishes “clean” and we had lots of issues with cycles not completing. This is designed as a high efficiency dishwasher with many different cycles, but we were unable to get dishes clean unless we used the pots and pans cycle at all times. This was frustrating, but I thought perhaps with all these new features and the sensor technology it was a learning curve that we needed to get past. My husband and I jokingly referred to it as a “lemon” from the start. Eventually the dishwasher started performing only intermittently, and some pots and pans cycles would take HOURS with clean dishes as a result, and times the same cycle would last only 20 minutes and then the dishwasher would say the dishes were clean, but of course they were not. The sanitize and heat dry functions stopped working also. It was then that I called sears and spoke to a troubleshooting technician who agreed there was something really wrong. A technician was scheduled to be sent to my house.

The technician arrived on October 5th, 2009. He agreed that the dishwasher was not functioning properly and noted that the water was not moving through the dishwasher as it should, if at all. He ordered several parts for replacement, and scheduled a return visit for one week, on October 12th, 2009. There were 5 parts ordered to be replaced on this second visit, including the spray arm, the pump, the heater, and the filter. The technician had some issues with the installation, and stated that he had recently had the same issue with another identical part. The new spray arm was broken in the process of installation and the dishwasher was left completely non-functional. The water was turned off by the technician as a precaution to it being accidentally turned on. The technician was personable and thorough, and told me that two new parts would be arriving, and to call and schedule the repair appointment when they arrived, and then he would bring a second technician out with him because it would take TWO technicians to repair the dishwasher and install that part. So, before the repair appointment, the dishwasher was limping along, not working reliably, but working occasionally. After the appointment, the dishwasher was left completely non-functional.

Right before the parts arrived, I called to check on the expected arrival of the parts and also to make the repair appointment. I was told that because the repair required two technicians, AND because my area is only serviced on Mondays and Wednesdays, it would be almost two full weeks before there could be another appointment made (October 26th, 2009). At this time I was very upset, and asked for alternatives. My call was escalated at my insistence and I was told there were simply no sooner service dates available to me. My husband agreed that this was an unacceptable amount of time to wait. He called Sears and spent FIVE HOURS on the phone with various departments. He was repeatedly transferred and told there was nothing that could be done. He was told by TWO people that we would be called back, the latter person told him that they would find us a sooner appointment and call us with the date and time. This did not happen. Our parts arrived on October 15th, 2009 but we still had to wait for eleven more days for a service technician to replace them.

Today, October 26, 2009, was the scheduled date for the two remaining parts to be installed by the TWO technicians. They arrived and began the installation. They discovered when opening the replacement spray arm that although the CORRECT Spray arm had been ordered, an incorrect spray arm had been shipped. They were unable to replace the spray arm. They put the broken spray arm on the dishwasher, and told me that it would likely be partially functional, although not repaired. I was told and shown that the spray arm we had was missing two of the four plastic tabs that hold it to the dishwasher floor. They stated that the spray arm may come off because there are only two tabs, and that if the spray arm came off, I would be able to reattach it myself and then use it until it came off again, at which time it would need to be reattached. A new spray arm was being ordered, but it was not clear when it would arrive, because of the issue with the incorrect part. They told me that the part had to be checked into manually because the part they sent does not match the part information for the part that was ordered. And then of course there have to be two technicians. I asked if we could schedule my next repair appointment NOW, in order to stop us from having to wait for another two weeks. They told me that the earliest they can come back is NOVEMBER 30th. Today is October 26th. That is more than ONE MONTH without a dishwasher. They did tell me that if the part came, and if it was the correct one, I could install it myself and then cancel the repair appointment. And while I appreciate that tip, we did NOT purchase a warranty and repair service agreement so that I could determine if the part was correct and install it myself.

After the technicians left this afternoon, I ran one cycle in the dishwasher (I chose the 1-hour wash), and before the cycle was complete, the spray arm had already dislodged itself. When trying to reattach it, I saw that there is now only one plastic tab out of four still attached... and the lower spin arm will not stay attached or function at all. Replacing the spray arm after each cycle (assuming that it even lasts the cycle) is not an appropriate “solution” for our issue. At this point the spray arm cannot even be replaced anymore as it is permanently damaged.

While the technicians have been personable, polite, and I believe knowledgeable, the phone service that we have been offered has been less than acceptable. Very rarely were we given any information and VERY rarely did someone at Sears take it on as their own issue and attempt to resolve or improve our issue, even with our insistence that we were being treated unfairly.

At this point, I would like to mention that we almost entirely Kenmore appliances, including a Refrigerator, Microwave, Dishwasher, High Efficiency Front-loading clothes dryer, High capacity Washing machine, Upright Deep Freezer, Water Softener, and Sewing Machine. We also purchased a $500+ Nikon DSLR camera at Sears, and purchase many of our electronics, clothing for ourselves and our 2 children, and many houseware items at Sears. We own Craftsman hand and power tools and a Craftsman Riding lawn mower. We also have purchased prescription eyeglasses and more than $400 in portraits from your Sears Portrait Studios. My husband was a Sears employee and salesman at our local Sears store until it closed several years ago. When we call Sears, we are greeted and thanked for being premiere customers. But at this point we would be better treated at a small town appliance store, and that is where we are planning on taking our business if this problem is not resolved in a prompt and agreeable manner.

At this time, I am being told (by a Sears employee named “Mack”, extension 15640, telephone 800-927-7836) that because the parts to repair this dishwasher are still “available”, we do not qualify for your “no lemon” guarantee under our protection agreement. Mack told me that the technicians have escalated the situation and a decision will be made by this Friday (October 30th, 4 days from today) whether or not the parts will be available in a week, or if they may perhaps pursue a replacement dishwasher.

My argument at this time is that Sears has spent HUNDREDS of dollars in parts alone, in order to “repair” this dishwasher. There have been three service calls (labor and mileage expenses) and one of those service calls included two technicians, arriving in TWO Separate vans. There is still more parts to be ordered and at least one more service call, involving two technicians, that will need to happen to repair this dishwasher. The receipt I am holding in my hand, for TODAY’s visit, states that parts came to a total of $506.93 (heater, sensor, diverter, filter, spray arm, pump and motor), and labor for today’s visit totaled $135. This leads me to believe that Sears has spent more than $640 of their money, and more than THREE WEEKS of my time, to give me a dishwasher that is still not functioning although it is still covered by a repair agreement that we PURCHASED with the understanding that our appliance would be functioning. This is MORE than the initial cost of the dishwasher itself. How does this not warrant replacing the dishwasher? And why do we have to wait ANOTHER 4 days before the decision can be made?

We have two small children, 25 months and 6 months old, and we rely heavily on this dishwasher for both DAILY wash cycles and sanitizing breast pump parts, bottles, pacifiers, and teethers. We spent extra money to have a sanitizing dishwasher for these reasons. Being without a dishwasher for the past 3 weeks has been unacceptable. Being without a functioning dishwasher until November 30th is ABSOLUTELY not acceptable. We are frustrated and disappointed that Sears is making this OUR problem, instead of theirs.

PLEASE have someone who can make a decision, contact us via telephone immediately. We would love to have more information on what decision is being made about our appliance, and why.

Thank you for your time.

Evan and Meagan Johnson
“Sears Premiere Customers” of 12 years

Sears Home Services
Western Great Lakes
4260M S. 76th Street

Greenfield, WI

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is Sears Screwing us Over again? And other things...

What a nice week this is! We have so much going on, it's exciting! This past weekend was really nice, we had my mom and sister over on Saturday for what is my family's pumpking carving tradition. The girls get together and carve pumpkins, and now we have added Ardyn and Marek into the mix. It was lots of fun. Ardyn had spent the night at Grandma's, so when Grandma and Aunt Liz came over, it was great because they just brought Ardyn right along with them. I had made Crock Pot Lasagna and we all ate a late lunch and sat at the big dining room table together. Then We got started on carving. I cut open both of the big pumpkins and let Ardyn scoop each of them out. She needed NO direction, I just sat it in front of her and told her to scoop the guts out and she started digging right in! It was awesome to watch! Then when she had finished both pumpkins, her attention started to wane a bit, which was perfect. She started playing and running around while Liz and I transferred out patterns and carved the pumpkins. Knives really aren't the best for 2 year olds anyway, so it worked out perfectly.

Then my dad stopped over, and he sat and held Marek for a bit. Before long the kids were ready for naps. Mom and Dad went home, and Liz took a snooze on the couch while I uploaded photos to Facebook. I also did some research to figure out WHY Facebook uploader is not working, discovered that MANY other people have this same repeated issue, and also decided that I could download Picasa for free and use the Facebook plugin to seamlessly and easily upload pics from Picasa to Facebook. It also has a Flickr Uploader built in, but I am having issues with that. I think that the Flickr Uploader on this PC needs reinstalled, because it doesn't always initiate if you have a large batch of photos that you are sending to it.

So while everyone else (even the dog) slept, I got sidetracked with Picasa, and face recognition (happiness and joy) and then I cropped and prepped all the pics from pumpkin carving, and uploaded them all.

When Liz and the kids woke up, we started making Rolled Out Sugar cookies. We mixed and rolled and baked. Actually.... I mixed and rolled and baked. I got all but two batches made. I found a recipe online that was for "No Fail Sugar cookies" that was supposed to be good for using intricate cookie cutters because the cookies don't swell as much when baking and they retain the true shape of the cookie. I wanted to try it. It called for 6 cups of flour, and I only got 4 cups in before the mixer (A Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer!) started grinding and by 5 cups it was smelling hot and wouldn't stir anymore, so I gave up and decided that was enough flour. And they still turned out well. Although, I should mention that I **Sometimes** have issues (since having children) with remembering what my count of cups was as I am measuring and pouring. Someone ALWAYS Distracts me and I am like "wait, was that 4 or 5? Shit." Happens all the time. I hate it. I used to be so much better at things like that. But now I just go with it and if it looks like it needs more, I add more. LOL. I am horrible with actually measuring things when I cook. I like to estimate.

So I had all but two batches measured, kids were in bed, Liz and I were watching TV, and I was crocheting a poncho that I am working on for myself. Then I started to feel tired (it was about 1am) So I started to get ready for bed and Evan came home and said "Do you want me to finish these for you?" and I was like YES! And so he cut out the last couple of batches himself and did a FAB job, didn't burn a single cookie. In fact, his crescent moon's were better than mine!

Sunday we didn't do a whole lot. I have been doing MAD dishes around here, because Sears is in the process of screwing me over again.... as we have a dishwasher with a full master protection agreement.... that had some issues, pretty much since we bought it. but finally I could prove and pinpoint what was happening so we called them out four weeks ago and they came for a service call. The Tech told me that the machine definately was not moving water around properly, if at all. He wanted to replace the Pump, the Heater, the Spin Arm, the Filter, and one other part. So he had to order the parts and would be back in 1 week to install them. The dishwasher was sporadically working, and in 1 week he came back and spent LOTS of time trying to get the thing working right. There was an issue with the parts, he needed a few more, and he left the dishwasher completely non-functional, with the water turned off to it so that no one would accidentally try to use it. He said he ordered more parts and that I was to call when they arrived and make my appointment for service again, because it was going to take TWO Service Tech's to repair it (at the same time.) So the parts arrived and I called Sears to schedule my repair appointment, and low and behold, TWO WEEKS until they could service it. No matter who I talked to, and how I phrased it, and how polite and begging I was.... two weeks. So then Evan called and spent FOUR HOURS being transferred and hung up on and then finally told that someone would call us back (he was told that twice) and sure enough, no one ever did call us back... and here we sit with a non-working dishwasher, under full master protection agreement, waiting for repair service and accumulating dirty dishes that are multiplying like rabbits. It's insanity. We have a Kenmore Washer, Dryer, Upright Freezer, Fridge, Dishwasher, Microwave, Water Heater, AND Water Softener.... and there it sits.... broken. Just writing this makes me irate and sick. And if I walk into the kitchen and see the dishes that I don't have time to keep up with, it's even worse. That's what I am SUPPOSED to be doing tonight, but I wanted to do this first. Really. I will do them. I think.

So, on Monday Marek had his 6 month appointment at the Ped. He is actually just shy of 7 months, but whatever. We were scheduled for right after lunch, and I had a thought that I should call the health department to check on their supply of flu shots, as we had been planning on going to our local clinic on thursday and all get the shots. Even getting them from the health department, Flu Shots were going to cost us $80 for our family.... and if we wanted H1N1 that was another $80. $160 is alot to come up with on a budget. So when I called, sure enough, they are running severely low, and don't think there will be enough to last till Thursday, let alone enough to give our kids the booster that they need in 1 month after they get their first dose. So I call the Ped and luckily they had one for each kid.... which was awesome because I had been trying to get shots from them for over a month and they were constantly out of them. So instead of leaving Ardyn with Daddy, I decided to drag two perfectly healthy kids to a doctor's office to sit and then get flu shots.

I was whole-ly undecided about the H1N1 vax, and the last time I had been at the ped, he had said that he was not recommending it at this time because there hadn't been enough vax's done already to judge reactions, and because he hadn't had enough research presented for him to make a decision yet. Well, this time I was prepared to ask more questions, and he told me right away that the shot was something we should be getting, and that they had received their first batch in their office just ONE HOUR before we met with him, and that if we wanted, he could give it to the kids today. Wow. I knew that because everyone was running out of regular flu shots, and this H1N1 was going to be no exception, that if I wanted them, it was then and there, now or never. We had some discussion and he told me that the pandemic is REAL and that he is seeing a pandemic situation in his office right now. We decided to give Marek all 3 of his 6 month shots, and each child got a seasonal flu shot in addition to the H1N1 vax. I couldn't get either because of the shortage, and because I am not in the top or first tier of those needing to be vaxed, since Marek is over 6 months old and can be vax'd himself. So, it was an exciting ped appointment, with 7 shots and regular weigh ins and discussions. Marek was 18lbs 5oz and had gained over 2lbs since his last appt just two months ago. Go baby Go!

When we got done there, we went to Dairy Queen and had Hot Fudge Sundaes for getting done with our shots and being brave. Then we went home and lounged a bit before I had to leave to go to Mom's night out with my MOPS friends. Now THAT was fun! Except for the part when My dear husband called me frantically searching for "Wendy"- who is Ardyn's current stuffed animal obsession and who she had left IN the van. Oh well. What's a girl to do?!

We ran through hobby lobby and Target afterwards and I got some adhesive (40% off thanks to Chanda's coupons!) for the scrapbook night I have upcoming this weekend.... and also a couple of skeins of yarn on sale to make some crochet dishcloths. I also got salt and pepper shakers for us, because Ours have been broked for a few weeks now, and not having them is driving me nuts. I don't mind the salt so much because I don't use it much, but the pepper, drives me bonkers!

Today I didn't do much. I did accomplish a few things (which I can't talk about here just yet) and then got us through naptime and took a bath because I had some shaving to do.... tonight was our first swimming lesson of the season! We have both kids in one class, so it takes both Evan and I in the pool with them. I can say that I am LOVING this year, because the baby is BOY so he gets to go into the guy's locker room with daddy, while Mommy gets to take Ardyn into the ladie's, and I love it. So much easier to get myself ready with her in the room than with a baby. And that also means that we can split the load of things to carry and it's just fabulous. More than I could have ever hoped for :)

Lessons went well. I believe that the class Ardyn is in is actually below what she needs. It isn't exciting enough for her and she is bored in about 15 minutes and therefore she is ornery as all hell and starts throwing tantrums and screaming that she wants to go swim with the big kids. but I believe you have to be 3 to move up to that class? I don't know, but another girl from Ardyn's preschool class got out of the pool in the infant/toddler class and moved up to the next level during the lesson. I don't know what's up with that. Barb, are you reading this? What's a mamma to do? I don't know if Ardyn is well behaved enough to stand on the platform with the next age group? I am a little worried that she will not wait her turn (Who am I kidding. She won't wait her turn) and then she will end up half drowning and making the lifeguards feel bad. I dunno. I told her teacher tonight that she needs to talk to Ardyn and tell her what to do, because Ardyn will more likely do something that the teacher tells her to do than something that mom tells her to do. She did well, as long as I constantly kept her moving and kept distracting her. I also let her jump off the side of the pool into my arms alot, which I don't know if it's a no-no or not, but she was SO bored and that's what SHE wanted to do... and I know that she is learning and enjoying herself... so I thought we'd just do it and see if anyone said no to us. Afterwards we went and grabbed McDonald's and ate in the dark at the park, because it was so nice outside. Then we took a nice long drive home in the country, where I saw a deer pooping along the road. i had never seen a deer pooping in my whole life, and I have seen LOTS of deer.

So there you have it, in a nutshell. I am sure there is much more that I could be saying, but you know I am dying to get to those dishes, right? Ugh.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I just saw Ardyn put her stuffed dog in time out (on her stepstool) and she said "I'm gonna PUT you in time-out!" and then I asked her why and she said "He knocked my stuff all over!" and then she went back two minutes later and said "I'm sorry. I'm so proud of you!"

Friday, October 09, 2009

So much to say!

Retail Therapy? Check. Kids to Bed? Check Check. Laundry Started? Check. Chocolate and Caffeine? Check. I am SO ready to blog.

Sometimes, my mind is just overflowing with words. I am pretty sure I have always been that way, hence the people who always said I never shut up, and the people who said I talked too much (same thing, whatever) and that stupid bitch in high school who willed me a muzzle in her senior "last will and testament" that was printed in our yearbook. Yep. I talk too much. Don't care. Because I also read too much. And I learn too much. And I love my kids too much. And I shop too much. And I eat too much. AND I craft too much. And according to most people I probably give out too much information on the internet. I guess I am just all out there, all excessive and shit.

Well, my words just overflow. My mind doesn't stop. It's who I am. And people always ask me what I do to make Ardyn so outspoken and well versed, and I have no other answer except that I talk to her. All the time. I discuss things with her. I explain things to her. I ask her opinion. I give her options and choices. I tell her how I feel and I expect nothing less than that back from her. It's not really some magical thing, It's just that I talk too much, and now she talks too much, and now we spend our days talking too much to each other.

Today was one of those days where we clashed a lot. And I tried to be patient... a LOT. After she got in a nap, it got much better. We are really in the terrible two's now. She spends lots of time telling me what she is going to do. Sometimes it's things like "I PUSH you mom!" or "You Behave Yourself Mom!" or "I Hit Marek Mom" (not afterwards, she is just announcing that she wants to or is intending to hit him.)

The hardest part of today was knowing that it was SUPPOSED to be my alone day. Well, she had ran the fever for about 24 hours Tuesday night till Wednesday night. Then on Thursday she had lots of loose stools and accidents, that were WAY beyond her control and led to us just having pull-ups all day as a precaution (that I am glad we took) and when she went to bed, I wasn't sure if she should be going to school today, because of the diarrhea. I was fairly confident that she was going to be okay, and even mostly sure that the problems she had been having were a result of all the juice she had drank on top of all the grapes she ate. She wasn't eating or drinking much, so I pretty much let her eat and drink whatever I could get into her, and it mostly amounted to juice and grapes. LOL. She was herself, fever free for over 24 hours, but at the same time she hadn't been eating much, if at all, and she didn't have BM control at all. I wanted to wait until she had woke up and had her first BM of the day so I could determine if she was going to be okay to go. And of course I stayed up till 3:15am like a jackass, so When she woke up at about 8:45 and said she was poopy, I checked and it wasn't quite completely normal, but mostly formed and doing better and I thought it would probably be okay to send her to school. I got her in the bathtub and got Marek up and fed, and then I called school to let them know that she had been under the weather but that I thought she was now okay, and that she would be coming in, just about an hour late. That's when I discovered that they had Hand, Foot, and Mouth going around, as well as Chicken Pox, in addition to the lice that they had last week. Ugh. So I decided to keep her home. Seriously, I do not need a toddler getting any of the above, not to mention bringing those home to us, especially a teething 6 month old. Ardyn has been vax'd for chicken pox, but of course Marek hasn't yet, so it's just asking for trouble. And if I have to take Ardyn to school, then I either have to take marek in with me TWICE and I have to put him SOMEWHERE while I put her things away, wash her hands with her, and sign her in.... and a chicken pox, lice, and HFM-laden environment isn't my first choice to drag two healthy kids. Not to mention the regular flu/cold season crap.

So. Ardyn at home. With me. Marek is used to having at least ONE day a week where it's quiet and he tends to be snuggly and nurse and sleep a lot on Fridays as a result. Today was no exception, except of course that it was like a bazillion decibels louder here. He was down for a nap by 11am. He slept for more than two hours, which is not his usual morning nap length (45 minutes maybe) and Ardyn was cuddled with daddy and watching TV in our room. I was going to be productive, but I was feeling sleepy (can't imagine why) and so I ended up falling asleep on the couch! I was trying to flip through a cookbook and then I was falling asleep! When I got up, Ardyn was at the point of NEEDING a nap, so I put her down and then Marek woke up and he and I cuddled and nursed and watched some TV while Evan showered.

This evening I took Ardyn and Marek to the mall. My intention was to get to Sears and get new shoes for myself. I have not bought a SINGLE pair of shoes for myself (new or used) since late 2007. My tennis shoes were badly needing replaced. My feet have been killing me ever since I had to start putting shoes on, because it seems that since having both kids (especially after Marek) they may have either grown half a size or something. I really need more toe room, ,and I think some of it is width. I don't completely understand, except that I know I have foot issues that are hereditary and the podiatrist has suggested surgery, which is not cool and not affordable. Basically I have work flip flops pretty constantly since Marek was born (ahhhh summer) or been barefoot at home. And felt great. until I had to put shoes on. Tennis shoes were killing me, and so Evan had given me some money that was intended for new ones. I don't spend more than $40-60 generally, and I do love New Balance or Adidas... and some sketchers although the padding in them isn't ideal for me anymore. I wanted to get to Sears because they have a good selection of NB and good prices, and they were having a shoe sale for Columbus weekend. After trying on a bunch while Ardyn prattled on about wanting out of the stroller and Marek cried and squealed alternately, I could NOT decide. I had two pair that I had narrowed it down to. I ended up getting the same size, but getting wides, because the issues were in the width of the balls of my feet, which is RIGHT where my mom has issues. I actually have fairly narrow feet, but the balls of my feet are wide now. I have always worn normal width shoes, but MAN did those wide widths feel fantastic. Without having to break them in. One pair I liked the color and look of better, but I felt like they had lots of padding, perhaps almost TOO much, especially around the ankle areas, and they kinda bugged me compared to the lightweight pair that I was comparing them to. So I ended up getting a pair that weren't my favorite LOOKING but were okay. Now I hope that the color doesn't drive me nuts, because I am fairly OCD about my shoes matching my outift (okay, completely OCD. Who am I kidding.) and there is a good chance I could be wearing these shoes well into my 80's or 90's (ha!) so they had better be comfy! I got the WR441, which are great, but mine are colored like this pair. I may not be a runner, but I have found that I prefer running shoes because they are so much more lightweight than walking shoes. I do have a pair of NB Race for the Cure Shoes that I liked, but they are so heavy and heavily padded that they ended up driving me nuts in the end. I had such a hard time deciding that I wanted to buy BOTH pair, and then just wear them inside at home and see what I thought of each one. If I had been smart, I would have written down the model of the ones I didn't buy and then checked online for cheaper prices. Just from looking online a bit, I think they might have been 411, which strikes me as the ones that I already have that were overly padded, like I said above.

Have you ever met someone who doesn't even exercise who talks so much about athletic shoes. Jeez. Shut it already, huh?

So after getting shoes, I had promised Ardyn that she could ride one of those things in the mall that you put the quarters into. Well, when I was a kid, they were A QUARTER. I had figured that with inflation, they were probably 50 cents. Um. No. try 75 cents! WTF!!!! Seriously? It's not like they use GAS! Jeez. So basically I thought I was all prepared and a good mommy and had 50 cents in my pocket. Nope. So they had a change machine, which would NOT take the ONE dollar bill that I had on me. Well, lucky enough for me, I just discovered that she doesn't even know the damn thing is supposed to MOVE! Duh! Why didn't I think of that?! She sat in and on every single one for FREE and didn't know any different! Thank god I DIDN'T put any money in. Of course, for kids who might be innocent like Ardyn, they have the damn things programmed to yell out "PUT COINS IN ME" every 2 minutes, so they they know they are supposed to be putting coins in. Whatever. So I had also promised Ice Cream (which she hasn't had since being "over" her dairy allergy, so we had a chocolate dipped, double scoop, waffle cone that we shared. About that time Marek started to get fussy, and I assumed it was hunger, and so we went to the play area in the mall and Ardyn played while I fed Marek. Except Marek just got more and more cranky, and eventually waas in full-on meltdown mode. I thought he might need a diaper change, so I high-tailed it (with Ardyn babbling and Marek screaming hysterically) to the JCPenney restroom to change his diaper. Well, of course, there are like 543 doors to the bathroom, none of which can be easily opened when pushing a stroller as long as an 18-wheeler, but we finally got in there and Marek just would NOT stop. I mean hysterical, my mother is beating me, please call DCFS type of screaming. The looks I was getting! Not sympathetic. The poor kid. He was getting worse and worse and was starting to feel hotter and hotter and i started to think... fever? Ugh. 45 minutes from home, and our tylenol, and our thermometer. So by this time he is beyond hysterical. Absolutely purple. This was like "Lady, take your kid to the ER" screaming that he was emitting. SO then we had to walk back through JC PENNEY and through the ENTIRE MALL while he screamed like that. And STUPID STUPID Teenagers were standing all over and do you THINK they would get the FUCK out of my way? Grrrr. I was so angry I wanted to just drive over them. And the worst ones were the 10-12 year old boys. Completely oblivious to manners and would just walk right at the stroller. I was so upset. I was trying to remain calm and smile, but I was pushing the stroller 1 handed and holding Marek screaming in the other arm, and it was just INSANE. Finally when we got to the exit, there were again 543 doors that we had to get through. I saw two men who were talking (well, communicating) in sign language and one of them rushed right over to open the doors for me. I wanted to tell him how much I appreciated it, but between Marek screaming and the good possibility that he was deaf (seriously, not because of Marek) I got out of the building and said "thank you" to him and then remembered, like an IDIOT, that I know a decent amount of sign language and spanish these days, so I signed "Thank You" to him, and I could see his eyes light up and he was SO happy that he started signing back to me and I must have looked puzzled because then he mouthed and signed "you're welcome" simultaneously to me. I smiled. He was nice. FINALLY someone in that place that was NICE to me. ugh. (besides Cari, but she doesn't count because she HAS to be nice to me.)

So I get the kids in, stuff loaded up, stroller in the back, and Marek is still hysterical. So we skipped all three of our other stops and I started to head for home, and called Evan- but we could barely HEAR each other over Marek's "enclosed in the van, backseat meltdown" and so he agreed to meet me about halfway home with the thermometer and the tylenol. Marek ended up falling asleep literally ONE BLOCK from our destination and so I figure it was about 45 minutes of hysteria on his part. And his temperature? 99.9. My children. Do NOT. Do well with fevers. Of any kind. These moms who have kids with 104 fevers, I don't know how they do it. BOTH of my kids act like their arms are being sawed-off when they hit 101.3 degrees. Seriously. I do not know why. They are not graceful with fevers. Anyone else's children like this? Lucky for me they also have yet to run high fevers, but jeez, you would still think the world is ending.

So we gave Marek some Tylenol and some hylands tablets since he has that one bottom tooth just poking through STILL, and he was fine. And then Ardyn and I took Marek to Wal-Mart where he was pretty much happy-go-lucky for like TWO HOURS while we wandered around in there. I have been trying for a few days to convince Ardyn that it would be very grand of her to give Marek her "Stewart the Seahorse" (the turquoise Fisher Price one that lights up and sings like a glo-worm) and she has been alternately agreeing and having a hysterical panic attack about it. She says "yeah mommy!" and then if my hand gets within .2 inches of the thing, she starts to be hysterical and clings to him for dear life and says dramatic things like "Mommy, don't TAKE it!" and cries and brings out the big fat alligator tears.

So tonight when at the Mart, she ran across the new Dora doll that is soft and has real hair and is in her pajamas and fuzzy slippers. I showed her how the doll was ready to sleep, and how her eyes shut when she would lay down. She sings songs and says phrases, and Ardyn was ENTRANCED. She was so attached to it that she would not let it out of her site, which is very unlike her as she is usually VERY easily distracted by toys, and will switch fairly easily when presented with something else. She kept saying "Mommy, we take Dora home maybe?" and I called Evan for approval because this doll was $22.97 (and I thought he would be the calm cool collected and detached parent and convince me that it wasn't necessary and I could just put it back and be the adult) and he said GET IT so when we got to the checkout, she had to know exactly where Dora was in the cart, on the conveyor, in the bag, and in the van. She was so worried that Dora wouldn't make it home. When we got home she was excited and as soon as Dora got out of the box, she grabbed her and took her right TO BED with her. I mean, she walked into her room, climbed INTO bed on her own accord, and lay Dora down next to her. AND there was not one single whine or cry the whole time, through medicine, vitamins, bedtime story, kisses, and me putting Marek to sleep, turning out lights, and shutting doors. Not a peep.

She said to me "Mom, Dora is my DAUGHTER. She is a little girl!" and three times before I left the room she said "Dora is my Daughter!" OMG how cute is that?! Kinda like while in Wal-mart she saw the wall of lunchmeat and squealed "Oh my GOODNESS Mommy LOOK at all the HOTDOGS!!!!" LOL. Kids crack me up.

So we got our two pumpkins for next weekend's carving. And I panicked because I realized that I haven't even STARTED on Ardyn's costume yet. Ugh.

Well, I should get to sleep so that I can function tomorrow. Kids went to bed after 11pm, so hopefully they will sleep in some, but I am not counting on it!!! Goodnight!

Monday, October 05, 2009


The clock is ticking. Marek is asleep, lunch (late lunch) is in the oven, and chicken sausage Gumbo is in the crock pot for supper. The house is picked up. The Dishwasher repairman has been here and told me that he needs to order 5 parts and will be back next Monday. I have just sat down with a hot cup of tea and a slice of banana bread to write a post. I don't like the pressure that I feel to rush into blogging or else be interrupted.

Ardyn cracks me up because she just tasted my (pink lemonade green) tea. Then she started pacing around the room saying "I tried mommy's tea, it was HOT! Tasty. Tasty. Tasty. Tasty Tea." LOL. The things that come out of her mouth are hilarious. Just a bit ago she saw a sign I have (halloween decorations) That has a witch hat and shoes and says "I have flying monkeys, don't make me use them" and she said "A Witch Hat, and Witch Shoes. Mommy, where's the witch go?" And I said "I'm the witch Ardyn!" and she looked at me very seriously and her eyes got all wide. Then I gave her a wicked witch laugh and she laughed back, and then ran into her room and found the lifesize witch that we put on her wall for Halloween (she is not afraid of anything like that, amazingly) and said "Mommy! I found her! I found the witch! She has witch shoes for walking in the rainforest!" (Diego.)

In the past week she has stopped calling me Mommy so much, and officially refers to me as "Mamma." This cracks me up and I find it very fitting. Especially since in the green/cloth diapering community, we mom's call each other "Mamma" all the time.

Earlier today she gave me my first very official heart attack. She was playing in her room and I was about 20 feet from her, just around the corner, printing out a postage label for a package that needed to get in today's mail. I heard her start crying and looked around the corner to find her STANDING on the window ledge, with her hands clinging to the open window (above) and leaning into the screen. Oh. God. I didn't know if I should kill her or hug her. Thankfully she was safe, and she was scared shitless, because she was so hysterical she had snot pouring out of her nose. I put her right in time out and sat in front of her and VERY Sternly and seriously told her that was very DANGEROUS and that she could have been badly hurt. I made her tell me that she was sorry and promise that she would NEVER do that again. We discussed that if she wanted something up high she needed to ASK MOM FOR HELP and then I took the offending bat window clings from MIL off the windows, and allowed her to stick them on her TV Screen and remove them and move them around at will. Once I asked her why she was climbing, she told me that she wanted to get the bats down, and then I said "Will you ever do that again?" and she told me no, that it was scary! LOL. Kids. Now I want to buy screen guards to put on all the windows. It's not second story, but we have a higher foundation so the windows are about chin height from the ground. (our chin, not hers!) Jeez.

In other news, yesterday was a productive day. We made popcorn balls (well, I did, Ardyn watched and commented, and helped pop the popcorn) and then we did a bit of a "trick or treat" in which we left the treat for some friends. We had been tricked and treated on Saturday while I was at the Spoon River Scenic Drive with my mom, and so we had to spread the fun. Here is a pic of the treats:

I am thinking that I would like to make banana bread and also make some cookies today, but seriously, I think that whie it would be fun, I know that afterwards I won't have the energy to clean up the mess that baking will make, when I already made breakfast, lunch, and supper dishes that I had to clean up.... so I think that won't really happen today.

Tomorrow is story hour at the library and I am not sure if we will be going. I am feeling that being home is nice, after running all weekend. Marek and I even spent most of last Friday home cleaning and organizing while Ardyn was at school.

I just fed Ardyn lunch and put her down for a nap. Now the clock is REALLY ticking because when Marek wakes up there is a good chance it could wake her up early when I have to walk through her room to get him! Darn.

It is a beautiful fall day, a bit cool, but very sunny and clear skies. I thought we would play outside, but both kids are tired and fighting "sort-of" colds (stuffiness, sleepy, etc.) and so I think that letting them sleep is an okay thing. We did open windows today (hence Ardyn's escapade) but their hands and feet get cold, so I have shut a few and closed them to just let some fresh air in and not as much of a breeze.

I recently got a Gaiam Yoga for Kids DVD that I am hoping that Ardyn can do everyday together this winter. Actually I got the boxed set of two DVD's, because it was highly rated at amazon and because it was amazingly priced... .and then I happened to run into it at Target and knew it was meant to be (I had already had it in my amazon cart and ho-hummed and not ordered it yet.) Before the kids I used to LOVE to do Yoga. I have a huge selection of DVD's and did lots of yoga when dealing with the stress of infertility, and even some while pregnant with Ardyn. I have a card deck of yoga poses that I used to keep in my office at work and whenever I would be stressed or need a break I would close my door and do a few. It's something that I hope will be fun, entertaining, and burn some stored up energy off for us both. I would LOVE to get her a kids indoor trampoline too. They make them for toddlers that have a handle to hold onto and they fold flat for storage. I can see it being fun and also burning off energy, and although I know there *is* always that possibility that she could get hurt, I think that it is just the same possibility that she could get hurt on a little trampoline as it is on the slide or a big piece of play equipment at the park. I really like the Jumpolenes that are for two kids, and have walls on the sides, and double as a ball pit. They inflate, the price isn't terrible (Under $100) and the only downside is that they are just BIGGER than any open space we have... even if I emptied the front porch it would take up about half of it, which isn't really cool for mom. AND I don't think she could get in or out by herself because of the walls....

The trampoline is nice, but I do foresee issues when Marek is old enough and they can't use it together, so I am unsure. I have found them online for $59 with free shipping, and have debated. I think it will be something that I will want before winter is over, and I have been tempted to call it a Christmas present. Because the jumpolene doubles as a ball pit and more than one child can play at once, and it has the sides, it's a bonus.... But then I found a toddler jumpolene with see through sides, a crawl through door, and it's smaller at 72" in diameter. And I am seriously tempted.

Well, naptime is over, and Ardyn woke up whiny and has a 101.2 fever that I wasn't expecting. Off to be nurse mommy! Wish me luck that it goes down and stays down!

Friday, October 02, 2009

This Flu Season Has me TERRIFIED!

I am once again going to try to get a blog post in here tonight. I have been wanting to write for about a week now, and just as I suspected, by the time that I can get to it, I just feel like I have forgotten everything I wanted to say.

Heavy on my mind right now? Sickness. We aren't sick (knock knock knock on wood) yet. So why do I care? Well, some of you may (or may not) know that I have issues with Anxiety, that really unleashed themselves after I had Ardyn. I was an anxious person to begin with, and add motherhood and the fact that the most important person in my world was outside of my body and couldn't be kept completely safe and under my control 24/7, and you have the very stressful postpartum anxiety. My biggest trigger for anxiety? Sickness. Something beyond my control and absolutely bound to happen. The anxiety over illness really hit me when Ardyn was little and I was so so so so sick with the stomach flu. Now most of you may or may not know that I am SERIOUSLY afraid of vomit. Like, probably more than anything except, perhaps, deep water. I DO NOT vomit. Ever. I haven't thrown up since I was in 6th grade, at which time I was about 10 or 11 years old.... never. not once. Not even a little. Not even from drinking (this is probably the number one reason that I have never drank.)

Now, a child vomiting (a young, helpless one) is not my favorite thing, but I feel such agony over it, for their poor little bodies, that I can handle it without an issue. Now, an adult vomiting. No way. When Evan and I moved in together, if he was sick, I literally EXITED the house. I can't tell you how many times I would be positively shaking with anxiety outside on the steps, in the middle of winter (yes, SNOW people! Snow!) in my ROBE (yep, just my robe) in order to get away from the sound of him throwing up. I hate it. I despise it. In fact it took me nearly 8 years to be able to not leave the house. It was all about baby steps. First I would just go on the back porch and plug my ears, and breathe deeeeep meditative breaths. I don't know why or how I became this way. All I know is that my mom is also a hater of vomit, and doesn't EVER throw up, and I believe that she somehow unknowingly passed that on to me. I become seriously anxious whenever around someone who has vomited, whether I saw it or not. Just KNOWING that you are going to or have thrown up is enough to make me want to exit the premises immediately. So, with that background, Illness. Anxiety. Hand in hand.

When I had the stomach flu and Ardyn was small, I was very very nauseous, and when I get nauseous, I can either make it worse, or make it better, depending on whether or not my head has a handle on it. My brain, is all powerful. And I am not kidding. I don't "not" vomit because my body never wants to. I can literally control my body with the power of my mind. Now, I am not claiming to be a sort of superhero. All I know is that there is a lot to be said for your mind and it's contribution towards the reactions your body has. I have learned over time that I can completely control my body and prevent many things from happening. By controlling my stomach and refusing to let myself throw up, I indeed ride out the storm until it comes out the other end (*sorry. not wanting to be all graphic.*) and therefore am much happier (eventually) when it "passes" so to speak. Now when I was sick and Ardyn was very little, I was SOOOO sick. I was on the verge of having a breakdown because I was having a very hard time controlling my nausea and I was literally going to the bathroom every 6 minutes and the between time was spent in bed, with a cold washcloth on my head, and hypnosis sessions playing on my iPod. (they work. They are my rock.)

Ardyn was apparently only interested in being attached to my BOOB. and I have to say, if you have not experienced it, breastfeeding a child is not a great place to be when you think you might throw up or shit at any minute. Seriously. It's just a cold hard fact. But being a man, my husband has no idea how incredibly terrible I am feeling, and believes that he too, is a bit nauseous. So while I am BEGGING for him to take the baby, he is parked on the couch telling me he doesn't feel good. IT WAS TERRIBLE. I was overwhelmed and I was scared and I was so sick. I just wanted to DIE. And I had no one. No One to take care of me and no one to take Ardyn so that I could just be sick and lay low and get over it. Of course, I lived. And then two days later, when Evan truly DID have what I had, and was writhing and moaning in bed, I said "Now, this is what I felt like when you refused to take care of Ardyn. Would you like to take care of Ardyn now?" and of course the answer was no, and I'm sorry, and all that "too little too late" crap.

But that incident SERIOUSLY messed me up. SERIOUSLY. I also believe that the vomit fear surrounds my childhood memories of vomiting, which usually involved me up pacing alone in the middle of the night, shaking and ALONE and waiting for it all to be over. And also the fact that I never felt BETTER after throwing up. You know those people who say "I'll feel so much better after I get sick?" bastards. that is SOOOO not me. I willb e sick for like two more DAYS. That's just the way it is for me.

So anyway. The anxiety peaked at that time. So bad that I actually started to have terrible panic attacks whenever I thought someone was sick. If I sensed that I wasn't feeling well, or that Ardyn wasn't feeling well, or that Evan might be bringing something home to us, I would have a full fledged panic attack. If you have never truly had one, a Panic Attack is a horrible, terrible, emotional, gastro-intestinal, cardiac incident that will blow your mind. And it's not uncommon for them to come in waves. Luckily, I 'mostly' have that under control now. But I still have a panic attack whenever I think one of us is sick. As soon as my stomach starts to hurt, a panic attack is on it's way. But now I have learned hypnosis techniques for getting through them, and minimizing them so that no one besides me would have an inkling of what is going on. The key is not to resist a panic attack, which indeed feeds it and makes it stronger. Go with the flow. it takes practice. I am not saying it feels good, but just saying "I am having a panic attack" to yourself, will do wonders. Practice practice Practice.

So then when I was very very very pregnant with Marek, and Ardyn was just about 16 months old, we caught the VERY bad stomach flu that was going around. VERY Bad. I have never ever ever been that sick ever in my 30 years, and that includes when I worked at the hospital for 6 years, and when I worked as a pre-K aide. I had recently had conversations with my mom about how I was so incredibly set off by illness and she assured me that I was NOT Alone, and that if I really was sick, I could call her and she could take Ardyn. I didn't want her to get this. I mean it was BAD. But at the same time, Ardyn had already had the flu, and she was feeling just enough better to be TOO well to be around us. She was still needing to be fed. And changed, and cared for, and supervised. Evan was sick too. He was throwing up. I was desperately trying not to throw up. It just kept getting worse and worse and diarrhea and vomiting and I was so so nauseous that I couldn't even watch CARTOONS with Ardyn because they might have "cartoon food" on TV. And when I would be laying there on my deathbed Ardyn (bless her freaking heart!) would come to the couch wearing little potholders from her kitchen and say "Look mommy, I baked you muffins so you feel much better!" and I thought I would throw up just hearing the word MUFFINS. It was terrible. Then it took a turn towards frightening. I couldn't eat anything because I just KNEW that I would throw it up. I was taking teeny tiny sips of water so that I hopefully wouldn't get dehydrated, but water was giving me heaves because I wanted to throw up so bad but I was terrified to throw up so I resisted until I was shaking. I ended up being completely afraid, and calling my midwife, and saying "I am so scared. I am so pregnant. I am soooooo Sick" and she assured me that coming to the hospital was okay and that I could get IV fluids and would feel much better, and that I could have anti-nausea meds too. I was so relieved. I had already called my mom for help, but she said that she had to work the next day and couldn't take Ardyn. I was so so scared. I couldn't take care of Ardyn! I couldn't take care of myself! And Evan was sick too and everyone knows how worthless a sick man is! Oy.

So finally I just said to Evan "I am going to the hospital" and we called my mom and told her that she needed to get Ardyn and i was going to the hospital. I spent hours as an outpatient getting pumped with IV fluids and the anti-nausea meds helped within an hour. they did wear off and I ended up pacing the halls with my IV pump, but I made it through with sips of ice water and practically a whole bottle of tums. my lips were chalk white because of all the tums I ate. It freaked out the nurses.

A week later, my mom got it. She was so sick that she passed out and Dad had to try to get her to bed. She said to me "I have never been so sick, and I can not BELIEVE that you were this sick and 8 months pregnant, and taking care of a 16 month old!" I think now she knows that when I say I need help, I really really mean it and I really really need it.

But, you take these two traumatizing incidents, and add in the upcoming flu season with all the talk of how BAD it's going to be, and all the H1N1 scares.... and I am absolutely petrified. Every single day I analyze every sniffle, every cough, every warm forehead, and panic that there might be sickness on the horizon. I know that we are going to get something. I just know it, it's inevitable. We have decided that we will be pulling Ardyn from daycare before the end of October. Just because it seems silly to put ourselves at that risk of bringing home all these illnesses when we don't NEED the daycare, and it's just once a week, and it's more like a "perk." I am being very vigilant about the kids and myself taking our vitamins (I can't control Evan, although I wouldn't mind getting one of those cattle pill pushers and shoving some vitamins into him too) and we ALL will be getting flu shots this year. I don't think the H1N1 vax is in our future at all.... but the flu shot I feel we should have. And I have bought some Emergen-C Supplement that I intended on drinking, and some Emergen-C kids that I wanted to give to Ardyn if she started showing signs of an illness.... but I tell you, the crap tastes like.... well..... crap, and i haven't been able to drink it myself yet. I am going to try to put it into another drink and see if I can hide the taste and make it possible.

So, Ardyn has had the snotty nose for about 3 weeks now. I chalk hers up to the sinus crap that comes with her seasonal allergies. Recently she has been restless and coughing at night, which is just like last fall, and leads me to what will probably be a nighttime cough suppressant before much longer. Now this morning Marek woke up with a snotty nose and I had to sucker him out. Poor litttle guy. And my throat was a little sore at 3am so I spent the rest of my sleep sucking on a vitamin C drop just in case. Oy. I wish I wasn't so afraid of being sick. More than anything, it terrifies me of how things will go crazy when I can't keep up, and how will I give the kids proper care when I feel like crap? And WHY oh WHY can't a man take care of someone when they are sick? What is UP with that?! I don't get it.

Oh well. Enough about sickness. I have laundry to fold and Grey's Anatomy on TIVO. Now you know all my strange anxiety triggers. LOL.
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