Saturday, June 28, 2008


Yesterday I had my yoga mats out, and the kids decided they needed to exercise.
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The kids like to hang over the banister to have conversations or just to look over. Awyn is demonstrating here. She's also the one most prone to attempting to slide down it. I thought I had more interior shots than I do. Maybe I only took them with my mental camera. hmmmm. The kids' rooms are extra tricky, especially Sam's because they're not very big.
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Let Sleeping Sams Lie

Sam really loves his new bunk bed. It will be finished once we get that last part from IKEA. Speaking of IKEA, the saga continues. Yesterday I received a strange phone call from a lady in the greater Dallas area. She told me that she'd been shopping at the Frisco IKEA with her daughter, and they found a padded yellow envelope in the parking lot with my name on it. She wanted to know what I wanted done with it. She offered to put postage on it and mail it to me. I suggested she take it back to the store and have them pay the postage, but the gas for going to IKEA would cost more than a few stamps, so we'll see what she does. I don't think I could make up a story this wild. The nice lady and her daughter had a bet between them as to how Wynnewood is pronounced. I assured her that she was correct, and her daughter was not. This woman had lived in Oklahoma before having kids, so it seems she's familiar with the pronounciation excentricities. For those of you living in the Pacific Northwest, it doesn't rhyme with Lynnewood.
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Sleeping Beauty

Awyn loves her purple butterfly room. I seem to have a large number of pictures of my kids sleeping. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's easiest to snap shots of them when they're holding still, and that's really only when they've totally crashed.

Sleepy babies

Here they are, crashed out on the couch for a rare simultaneous nap.
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Awyn loved jumping off the travertine falls - she was fearless. I think we're going to buy the kids pfd's for future swim trips. I think we've found the best way to spend the summer, that's for sure! This is definitely different than Big Bend. Free swimming, good shady spots...
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Guess what? I canibalized the printer dock for parts, and the usb cable connecting it to the computer also fits the camera. It's slower than the dock, waaaaay slower, but hey, given how slow my dial-up is, does it matter how fast my camera downloads?

At anyrate, Sam and Awyn are splashing in a creek in the park. I think they're rather upstream from Little Niagara. I'd have to ask Eric. They had so much fun swimming that we pulled a shivering Awyn out of the water under extreme protest. The protesting stopped when I mentioned ice cream.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

March 1998

An oldie but a goody. This was taken at the Garden of Eden in Kansas. It was a semi-spontaneous road trip with friends. As I haven't asked the friends for permission, I'll not name them. If you recognize yourself, please feel free to identify yourself. Anyway, I'm the only girl, and Eric is standing right next to me.

The Garden of Eden is a cement work of art, including a 'log' cabin, made of cement, and you can still the remains of the artist in a glass coffin. Seriously.
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Camera dock is on the blink

So that means no new photos for a while. We have long since lost the cable to connect the camera straight to the computer, and our kodak printer dock is on the fritz. It's been having issues for a while now, and started refusing to recognize the camera before we moved. It's on an all out strike now, although I haven't tried to print a photo from the computer. It has issues doing that too, but that's because it doesn't feed the photo paper until you really get it started by pushing it in.

What this means: we need a new cord to connect camera to computer or a new dock. Cable is probably cheaper, and we think we can still print photos. Naturally, I bought a huge stock of photo paper not too long ago, so I would imagine we'll lose the dock altogether soon.

I will be posting retro photos from time to time, just for funsies. We've had a digital camera for I think at least the last 10 years. I know not all of the digital pictures have survived, and the older ones are incredibly low resolution, but should still be much fun. Any requests? We have the works - living history, Sam as a baby, various domesciles/national parks... Yourself? Do you wonder if I have an older picture of you? Perhaps I do... Challenge me. In the meantime, I'll pick a few I find interesting or hilarious.

Well, they're trying.

I called IKEA today, this time with a receipt. After we took care of ordering the parts I needed, this young lady asked if there was anything else she could help me with. Did I ever have a response! I explained what had happened the last time I called, and how disappointed I was, especially after how enthusiastic we were immediately following our visit. (This is unusual for us after spending quite so much money in one place - we're usually a little bummed, no matter how happy the shopping experience). So she talked to me. She listened to my complaint, and actually had some decent responses. First, I was mishandled. Even without a receipt, they could have sent me the parts, provided I used a debit or credit card. The only way they couldn't have helped me over the phone was if I'd paid cash. If cash had been the case, I would have had to go to the store. Given what part I needed, they would have let me help myself to a pile of the little bolts. Apparently IKEA used to be a little more generous and easy-going, not require receipts for anything. The receipt policy was blamed on Ebay, according to my new friend. She told me there's an entire IKEA section on Ebay, as well as a good market for IKEA products at garage sales and second-hand stores. What they were having problems with is people purchasing defective/broken/used items, and returning them to a store for either replacement or parts. She said it wasn't uncommon for them to tear open a box for a large item, pull out whatever part the customer needed, and then dispose of the remains. (I take this to mean they put it in their discounted as-is section)

So, the parts should arrive in 7-14 days. I am still going to send a letter to the Customer Relations department at their headquarters, but I will be fair and tell them how the situation was resolved. IKEA has apologized for the previous person's mistake, and will be talking to others to ensure proper training on returns and parts. They apparently have recently hired a large number of new employees, and I just happened to get one who hadn't been entirely or properly trained. The first person wasn't exactly rude, simply inexperienced, and didn't know how to handle a customer who started out as nice, but then turned into angry-woman-wanting-immediate-gratification. Sigh. I've been that first person before, so it's easy to put myself in her shoes and forgive it.

I'm glad they worked with me and also explained/apologized. Now I can shop there again. I think that's what was more upsetting once I knew I had a receipt - I didn't want to have to give up the chain entirely over $.10.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why I hate IKEA

Well, maybe hate is a little strong. I'm just really frustrated, and have nobody to take it out on. We drove all the way to the Dallas/Frisco IKEA on Tuesday, spent a LOT of money there on a lot of stuff for Sam's room, including his new bunk bed. Have you any idea how hard it is to tell your child he can't sleep or play on his new bed because there were two little tiny metal pieces that were defective? Did you know that IKEA won't help you if you've misplaced your receipt? Nope, won't even talk to me without it, won't listen to my problem or find any way to help me. So either I burn the thing in the front yard, or saw the top bunk off and just have him use the bottom. All because IKEA can't send me the parts I need. I know the part numbers, 100514, 2 of them, there were 48 in the package, plus a huge number of other parts, and only two little defective nuts. I'm so angry that I feel like posting publicly and telling people NOT to shop at IKEA. And I was so impressed with the store when we went that I had been plotting ways to go spend a lot more money there. Now I want to boycott the store and tell everyone I know to not shop there and to tell the WHY. Of course, since they are probably a decent company otherwise, I won't really do that. I don't believe in hundreds of irate emails to a company from people who weren't in any way affected by my little problem

I don't like that I spent $450 on something nobody can use. Well, I think it was $150 for the bed, $200 for the mattresses, plus I bought sheets and pillows and two dragons. We bought a table, and chairs, an art easel and a spinning chair that Sam has dubbed his space shuttle. We bought two planters, a couple of kitchen gadgets, and a little halogen light for the space over the kitchen sink. We ate lunch there, the kids played in the playland and had so much fun we had to drag them away against their will. We contemplated all the other things we would love to buy. We're in the midst of remodeling a bathroom, and IKEA had some really neat things for bathrooms. Argh, it all makes me want to scream! And to think my sister was headed to IKEA today. I should have told her the part number to see if she could have picked them up. She said her IKEA kept little parts outside the customer service department that you could help yourself to. Sigh. It's never simple. I do find it ironic that I refuse to drive 2 hours to IKEA to get these little parts, when I used to drive 2 hours just for groceries.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


This was taken on our drive into Big Bend for the very first time. Sam was 10 months old, in January 2004.
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And Now

Here we are, leaving Big Bend, a little more than 4 years later. Sam's not quite that babe-in-arms anymore.
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Going on a Bear hunt

Can you tell it was about bed time for the kids? This is the picture I promised from my previous post.
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Connection issues

I'm having trouble with posting pictures, but I'll try. This one is supposed to be back in Big Bend, in the Basin. I think it was two days before we left, maybe the day before, and I finally saw a bear. The first and only bear I saw in the park. No, the picture wasn't of the bear; we don't have a digital camera that could have taken that picture; it's me and the kids walking back up the hill towards the campground from the sewage plant in the Basin. Bear central, at that point in time.

The answer is nope, even my sneaky version isn't going to work. Sorry. I promise, I'll keep going. We want to get satellite internet, but that's a tad outside our income potential. Give us some time, or some money, and in a few months we might be able to do something about the connection speed.

Instead, I'll try for humor about our new location, and maybe a funny about the old place too.

Not long after you take the exit towards our new house, you will see a large sign, Shebester Ranch. A few miles out of town towards our house, you pass another large sign in a field, proudly proclaiming the ranch to be Hiscox. If by some chance you should accidentally pass the turn to our house, you will then be left with the Dilday ranch.

Well, on a less guttural note, we have learned that shortly after we departed Big Bend, Nevada Barr arrived to do research on a forthcoming novel. For those of you who aren't familiar with this author, she writes fiction about being an LE ranger in National Parks. She has many novels, and she does tend to use real people as templates for her characters. Eric thinks he already knows the plot, and would like to get an outline out there before her book comes out, just to scoop her on what would be a logical and great story for her to tell. Truthfully, I'm rather sorry to have missed out on her visit. While I do tend to mock her novels, we still buy them, fresh off the press in hardcover. I've heard that she doesn't think much of interp rangers, and that would jive with just how incredibly batty she tends to make them in her novels. Methinks she suffers from 'badgitis' - a case of inflated badge. (several years ago the Resource Protection/Law Enforcement rangers were issued larger badges instead of the small gold plated badges more traditional to park rangers, presumably to distinguish them, as if the sidearm and extra large belt-o-tools wasn't a dead giveaway. The general public doesn't seem to notice - most assumed that I was similarily armed in the entrance station, despite my badge size and lack of fancy belt - a ranger is a ranger to most of them.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Laying on the grass

Awyn loves the acres of grass to roll around on. She prefers to be barefoot. We do have rather a lot of grass, that's for sure. The kids are enjoying the new house. They ask for their friends from Big Bend, though, and have been telling me that we need to get a new dog. That's pretty far down on the to do list. First I have to finish fixing the bathroom. That's a longer story than I care to share at the moment. The short short version: House wasn't inspected, my bad. Septic tank full. Moving semi ran over septic tank & lines. Tank OK, lines got bowed, plugged. Bathrooms carpeted, toilet unsealed by pressure from sewage that can't drain into septic tank... Tank has now been pumped, plumber has snaked lines, fixed problems, and we are using the upstairs bathroom while I remodel downstairs.
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On Awyn's Birthday

We went to the Sam Noble Natural History Museum (if I got that name right). Sam refers to it as 'his' museum. It has dinosaurs and the kids adore it. We got a family membership. So far we've been there three times. It's part of the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Eric took me back when he was in grad school. This made for a fun birthday outing.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

After (lr)

It looks a bit different now that our stuff is in it, but it's too much of a mess for me to go take a final picture. This is facing East, from the dining room. Yes, that's the front door in front of the stairway.
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Before (living room)

Here's a glimpse of the living room before I painted.
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Hammock Time

This hammock has been a welcome resting place from all the work of moving and repairing our house. I'm also testing to see how pictures post. It's not too promising.
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