Monday, March 24, 2008

a week in review

What a busy week! The fun and excitement started on Wednesday when we had Luke, Emily, and Zoe Bump over for dinner to celebrate Em's birthday. The girls had a great time, as always, playing together, and they even decorated some Easter eggs.

On Thursday afternoon, Brooklyn had her Easter party and egg hunt at school. She was a bit nervous at first when the kids were all let loose on the playground, but she quickly got the hang of it. :-)
Since the egg hunt lasted oh, about 3.5 minutes, we left early and I took Brooklyn for her first "real" haircut at Great Clips. Gone are the days when Mommy and Gramma could just "tame the mullet" as Brooklyn watched Dora on TV, but Marianne at Great Clips was great with her, and Brooklyn was awesome.
We had a great day on Saturday and were fortunate to spend a few hours with the McIntyre family ( Maddox was adorable, and such a sweet baby! I hate that I forgot to take out my camera and snap a picture of the girls.
Easter Sunday was hectic as it normally is- church, eat, nap, egg hunt, eat, church- but we had a great time at Nanny and Grandpa's house with our family. Here is Brooklyn Sunday morning before church with her newest baby.

And outside at the family egg hunt...

We are very fortunate to have such great family and friends!! So many memories, so little time!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

deep thoughts

I got this email today, and it made me laugh outloud, so I thought I would share.

1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last thinks the slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates; it's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your rear end tomorrow.

birthday party take 2

So, this weekend was Brooklyn's "friend party" at the Greensboro Children's Museum. Everyone had a blast despite no singing "Happy Birthday" (Brooklyn's new fear), no present opening (I am convinced it would be complete chaos for 2 and 3 year olds), and a monsoon of a rain storm when everyone was trying to leave. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with Brooklyn (and to Nanny and Gramma for their EXTRA help!). Brooklyn said when we were leaving, "That was SO much fun." And that makes it SO worth it for me!

The excited birthday girl...
Having cake and snacks in the party room...

Playing with the balls in the museum...

The Dora Cake (#2)...

Friday, March 14, 2008

say "ahhhh"

Brooklyn went to see Dr. Davis (aka Doogie) yesterday afternoon for her three year old check up. Here's what went down:

1. She weighs 32.5 pounds (75%).

2. She is 37.5 inches tall (60%).

3. She refused to do the vision test with the nurse, saying her infamous safe word "mommy" over and over again instead of answering the questions.

4. She wondered why mommy had her hand in the potty with a cup and then refused to pee in it.

5. She did awesome on her social skills test, physical skills test, and cognitive/problem solving skills test. When Dr. Davis came in the room, she decided to test ME, and made me show Dr. Davis how I could draw a circle and repeat numbers in a certain order. (I passed!)

6. She let Dr. Davis check out her tummy, opened her mouth, and showed him her "hurt" foot.

7. She was rewarded with a cherry lollipop and a sticker and left feeling very proud of herself for being such a big girl. :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

catching up


1. The house has been on the market for exactly one month today! We are doing great keeping it clean and have had a steady stream of "shoppers." I have mixed feelings- some days I want to sell right away, and some days, I want to live there forever- just the three of us! I think once the weather warms up for good, things will start moving quickly, so I better prepare myself now. :-)

2. Brooklyn has her first "friends" birthday party on Saturday at the Children Museum. She is very excited about having all her friends come to her party and eat her "Dora and Boots" cake. I'm excited for her, too!

3. Our next GRD gig is on Saturday, March 29th at the Crosswalk Cafe in Eden. I know Eden isn't really "on the way" to anywhere, but we would love to have everyone come out and hear us! If you want more info, you can check out our website,

4. I am working with a bunch of friends to get together our 10 year high school reunion. This is frustrating. On many levels.

5. Chad started coaching golf last week for Greensboro Academy. Between that, grading papers, and teaching guitar lessons, his work is keeping him pretty busy.

6. Brooklyn informed me this week that her bed was not "comfortable like mommy's." Chad and I may be out shopping for a twin bed this weekend, so if any of you have any suggestions on where to go, let me know!

And, oh yeah...

7. We are going to VEGAS! We are headed to Sin City with my parents, Eric (brother), and Caroline (E's girlfriend) after Christmas for a short vacation! It will be the farthest west I have ever traveled, and we are all very excited. Chad, for obvious reasons, and me, for all the shopping, sightseeing, and cool little places to visit with Brooklyn. I doubt I will even see Chad for the three days we are there- but I am sure my dad will prop him up at the poker table when he gets sleepy. :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

congrats to brendan on a pretty big week!

Some big things are happening to a friend of ours, Brendan James. Brendan is a friend of mine from UNC (Go Heels!), and he sang in our wedding in 2002. Last week, Brendan's EP was selected as a featured album this week by the iTunes Editorial Staff. (See his email below)

Soooo my EP - The Ballroom Break-In was selected by the iTunes Editorial Staff as a featured album this week! If you go to the folk section of iTunes you'll see my mug under 'staff picks.' If you haven't bought my EP yet, check it out for only $3.96 on iTunes...That's about as salesy as I can get...hopefully music works out b/c i don't see a career in sales ;-) iTunes Link: http://phobos. apple. com/WebObjects/MZStore. woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=259242210&s=143441- b

Then....he sent word that his original song, Hero's Song, will be part of a double album hitting stores March 18th. He's surrounded by some pretty impressive company:

Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bright Eyes are among the artists contributing songs to a forthcoming double album benefiting Iraq Veterans Against The War.'Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran', was compiled by was by Iraq war veteran Tomas Young, who was paralysed in the war after only one week of service.The collection, due out in the US on March 18, includes a previously unreleased version of Vedder's 'No More', which he wrote specifically for the 'Body of War' documentary about Young's life. Vedder performed the song with Ben Harper at Lollapalooza in 2007."Tomas has taught me a great deal, and our friendship has become one of depth and sincerity," Vedder said in a statement. "It has been a mind-expanding experience. I see how he relies on the strength of the songs to help him through each day. It is a true living example of the power of music."The double-CD set also features songs by Rage Against The Machine, Roger Waters, Tom Waits and Tori Amos, among others. Sales proceeds will go toward Iraq Veterans Against The War, a non-profit organisation that gives voice to active-duty service people and veterans who areagainst the war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.The album tracklisting is:Disc 1'Hero's Song' - Brendan James' American Terrorist' - Lupe Fiasco'Light Up Ya Lighter' - Michael Franti & Spearhead 'Guerilla Radio' - Rage Against The Machine 'Son Of A Bush' - Public Enemy 'Empty Walls' -Serj Tankian 'Let Them Eat War' - Bad Religion 'White People For Peace' - Against Me!'Letter From Iraq' - Bouncing Souls'War' - Dilated Peoples'Overcome (The Recapitulation)' - RX Bandits 'Fields Of Agony' - No Use For A Name 'Bushonomics' - Talib Kweli & Cornel West 'The 4th Branch - Immortal Technique 'B.Y.O.B.' - System Of A Down 'No More' (Live) - Eddie Vedder & Ben HarperDisc 2'Devils & Dust' - Bruce Springsteen'Masters Of War' (Live) - Pearl Jam'When The President Talks To God' - Bright Eyes 'Gimme Some Truth' - John Lennon 'The Restless Consumer' - Neil Young 'Battle Hymns' - The Nightwatchman 'Anthrax' - Kimya Dawson 'WMD' - Blow Up Hollywood 'State Of The Union' - David Ford 'Yo George' - Tori Amos 'Love Vigilantes' - Laura Cantrell 'Black Rain' - Ben Harper 'To Kill The Child' - Roger Waters 'Day After Tomorrow' - Tom Waits--

Thursday, March 6, 2008

call your moms

So, after yesterday's ranting, I thought today's post would be more positive and uplifting. :-)

Unfortunately, it starts with some sadness....

My friend, Caroline's, grandmother passed away on Saturday, and I attended the memorial service yesterday afternoon. Her grandmother, Ellenor, had been a member of my church my whole life, she attended Sunday School with my mom and Grandma, and I grew up with all of her grandchildren- Caroline, in particular. She was always a very sweet woman, but learning more about her yesterday allowed me to have some "personal reflection time."

1. Ellenor was married to her husband, George, for 65 years. Wow. Chad and I have shared so many memories in the past 10 years....its amazing to think about what is yet to come. I admire their devotion, strength, and unfailing love, and I hope that one day, I will look at 80 year old Chad and think "Wow. Where has the time gone?....and where has your hair gone?"
2. Ellenor stayed in touch with about 8 women whom she had been friends with since her childhood. Ellenor was 86 years old when she passed so we are looking at about 70+ years of friendships with the SAME WOMEN. My friends and I pride ourselves on our upcoming "10 year friend-a-versary" but this just pales in comparison. 10 years has brought us multiple marriages, a baby, many moves in and out of the state, and just the regular hustle and bustle of life. But we have email, texting, MySpace, etc....and all that, though makes it easier to stay in touch, still needs the perserverance from us as people to make it work. Our weekly girls' nights, our annual Christmas party- all these things become priority for us, because, yes, we want to be those 80 year old women one day looking back at pictures of ourselves and know that through it all, these friendships remained constant. And I think we can do it. I KNOW we can do it.
3. Life is too short. Ellenor lived 86 years, yet I bet if you would have asked her, she would have lived another 86 more. We need to value one another, appreciate the time we have, hug our kids, call our moms (and grandmas), and just live life to its fullest every single day.

And maybe, just maybe, I won't rant anymore about my living room furniture. Then again, maybe not. I think it keeps me young. :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

rooms to go? A big fat no!

Many of you have heard about my plan to bring down Rooms To Go, one customer at a time. Just yesterday someone mentioned my extreme dislike of this company at a staff meeting, and that reminded me "I have yet to post anything about RTG on my blog." I am now choosing this post as a wonderful opportunity to share some information with you all in hopes that NOT ONE OF YOU ever buy anything from this horrible, horrible company ever again.

To help me tell my story, I will share with you a letter I wrote RTG in 2006:

September 21, 2006

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter to inform you of how extremely dissatisfied I have been with my Rooms To Go experience.

In April of 2003 my husband and I bought a blue leather living room set from your store on Wendover Avenue in Greensboro, NC. By the end of that year, the threading in the sofa had begun to unravel and the cushions had begun to detach from the sofa. Because this line of furniture had since been discontinued, my husband and I had to go in the store and “re-select” a new living room set, one of “equal or greater value.” We chose a brown leather set, one that was several hundred dollars more. This extra money was then added to our remaining balance.

On March 16, 2006, we had to call in the service technician again out to our house. The frames in both the loveseat and the sofa had snapped in half, posing a safety risk to my family. We were told that the loveseat had a faulty piece of wood and the sofa frame had broken due to the fact that no one had installed a center leg upon delivery. The technician, Bob W., wrote up the report and on March 29, 13 days later, the furniture was picked up from my house. Having two broken pieces of furniture in my living room for two weeks with a small child made me extremely nervous, especially after being told by the technician that a large splinter could come up from the loveseat at any given moment. Once the furniture was picked up, we were without a sofa or loveseat until it was returned on April 8, 2006.

On September 1, 2006, only five months later, the sofa frame broke once again. When one sits on the middle cushion, the frame is resting on the floor. We proceeded to visit the Rooms to Go on Wendover Avenue. The manager on duty, Ken Canovali, came out to speak with us. Ken was extremely rude to my husband and very impatient with our problem, explaining that there was nothing he could do for us at this time. We would have to email (not call) a woman named Bonnie, the Regional Customer Service Manager. He explained that he would have to email Bonnie and explain our situation and have her call us. When we explained our frustration with the furniture, he offered no help, just continually said that Bonnie would call us. Ken later apologized for loosing his temper with and yelling at my husband, explaining he was under the weather that day. However, I found his behavior extremely unprofessional in all respects. Ken told us that he would speak with his supervisor after we had requested certain paperwork from him. We would like to have a copy of our phone records. Ken said that he would mail these papers to us after the Labor Day weekend. We still have not received this paperwork nor heard a word from Ken 20 days later.

Later that day, we received a phone call from a Customer Service Representative. It was not Bonnie and there was no Manager on duty that day with whom to speak. The Representative explained that she would need to schedule a technician to visit the home. We scheduled the visit for the following Saturday.

Saturday morning, September 9th, we received a phone call at 8:00am explaining that the technician was not going to be able to come due to a “family emergency.” We rescheduled a technician to visit the following Friday, September 15th.

At this point, I have now had a broken sofa (again!) for two weeks. I have tried to contact Ken three times, and have yet been able to reach him at the Wendover store. Neither he nor “Bonnie” has called to follow up with us at any time over the past three weeks.

I have been extremely dissatisfied with not only the quality of your furniture, but also the quality of customer service this Greensboro store has offered us.

Bob W. returned to our home on Friday, September 15. He has been the ONLY Rooms to Go employee with whom I can say has been extremely kind, compassionate, understanding, and apologetic to our situation. Bob explained that he will write up the report once again (yes, he was the same Bob W. who visited our home in April.).

My husband and I both work full time, and I have had to take a total of four days off work to wait the “4 hour time slot” for the technicians to arrive for all of our furniture troubles. This does not include the Saturday last week we freed our calendar for the Service Technician and any more days that may come with this new problem.

We have yet to receive a call 6 days later about the status of our furniture.

I am extremely upset with your company’s customer service as well as the quality of this furniture. We hope to resolve this issue with our current furniture as quickly as possible, and I can assure you that neither I, nor my family or friends, will be visiting a Rooms to Go for any of our future home furnishing needs.

I thank you for reading this letter, and I would appreciate correspondence back at your earliest convenience.

Jaclyn Johnson

Well, after that letter was written, we had to "re-select" another set of furniture- this time a microfiber set that was less expensive than the previous 2 sets. Because they do not give refunds, we had to find something else to use the rest of our "store credit," so we chose an entertainment center.

To make a long story somewhat shorter (longer?), since that re-select, we had the couch break (and then replaced), the entertainment center delivered with two different pieces (a different base and top), the correct base to come later, but the top to crack and have to be replaced, and a crazy delivery man who stalked us for weeks saying that he lost his sunglasses in our front yard.

If you are keeping count, and made it to the end of this post, our living room furniture count is (5) couches, (2) loveseats, (1) chair and ottoman, (2) coffee tables, (6) end tables, (6) lamps, (2) entertainment bases, and (2) entertainment tops. This all stemmed from one purchase in early 2003....just so we could save a few bucks. Trust me, the time and energy spent fighting this company, taking off work, calling customer service, and dealing with broken furniture was NOT worth "no financing until 2006."

Monday, March 3, 2008

who doesn't like free money?

So, I haven't really delved into the whole "coupon obsession" part of me just yet. This is where the nerd comes out. I LOVE saving money- I find it a challenge at the grocery store every week to see how much money I can save (without buying unnecessary things), and I have known to refer to "triple coupon weekends" at Harris Teeter as my personal Christmas. Just this weekend alone, I saved quite a bit of money. Friday: Went grocery shopping at Harris Teeter. Total bill = $132.88. But wait! Harris Teeter had some great VIC specials and BOGO offers, so that brought my bill down to $81.78. Most people would say "Wow, that's great," and stop right there. Not me! That's where the coupons come in (and Harris Teeters ALWAYS offers double coupons). I had some coupons valued at $14.80, which brought my total bill down to $66.98. That's a total savings of $65.90! FREE MONEY PEOPLE! Sunday, I got to use a BOGO free coupon at Tex and Shirley's for breakfast, but that's old news to some people. Those entertainment books are great, but there's no challenge. :-)


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