Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DirectTV & Pasta Amatriciana

Ok.... I choose to rant.  Our satellite contract has been up with Dish Network since February, but you know how it goes, and we JUST decided to work on it.  With dad moving in and the fact that we still do not have the TV's hooked up in the basement yet, it was time.  Hubby called Dish at the end of last year to hook up the basement but they wanted a new 2 year contract and that wasn't happening.  So we have the playstation down there and are only able to do movies.  I did give Dish the benefit of the doubt and called them 1st to see what they could offer us.  They have this 'hopper' system that allows up to 4 TV's to 'talk' to each other and see DVR'd programs on all of the TV's.... but we have 6 TV's and want a whole house system. Not available yet.  BOO.  We had ATT U-verse at our old house and were VERY spoiled.  Alas, no U-verse availability where we live.  ALSO... we initially tied to get cable 3 years ago when we built our home but Time Warner quoted us $3000 to put a line back to our house.  Needless to say, I told them to shove it!

Then I called DirectTV and spoke with Brooke.  She promised me everything I wanted.  A whole house system that was capable of handling up to 8 TV's.  They system would allow me to record in ANY room and go to another room and watch it.  It also allows 500 hours of record time.  I never make a decision on the 1st call but the woman talked me into a 'no obligation order' which was basically an account setup and credit check for qualification and you could cancel at any time.  Against my better judgement I did it.  I must have asked 500 questions during that call.  I clarified 5 times that we had 6 TV's and that our dish was a tad over 100 feet from our home and that is where we would like the new one to be placed.  We kept asking about channels (ones that we frequent) and all was 'in there'.  We were elated.  We only had to pay $99 out of pocket and they tried setting up the install for 3 days from then.  I pushed it back a week just to be able to continue my research.  I asked the lady if the monthly price quoted would be for the entire 24 month contract and she confirmed that if there were no changes that the price would stay the same.  I hung up happy and that night I watched DirectTV's videos on this whole house system.  I was excited.... it was basically Uverse.

So the next morning I received the confirmation email that stated that I had the whole house system, DVR and 4 receivers, that there was one monthly price for months 1-12 but a $19 higher price for 3-24.... it also spelled my hubby's name wrong.  I called.  I had an irritating feeling in my stomach which should have told me something.  I got his name changed and clarified that we had 6 TV's.  They confirmed and stated that the whole house system counts as 1, the DVR as another plus 4 additional which would equal 6.  I asked about the price increase after the 1st year and he explained that I was getting some sort of rebate for the 1st year.  Not sure why but I went with it.  He seemed like a nice guy that was 'fixing' my account.  On hold I heard that they bundled with Windstream, our telephone company so I asked for more information.  They said that they did and that I would get a $15 credit/month and this made the deal even sweeter.  When Frank returned to my call he said that I would have to call and cancel Windstream and re-sign up via them.  This made no sense but after I hung up I called Windstream.  They said that they do not bundle with DirectTV but that DirectTV gives a credit to Windstream customers.  GggggggRRRRrrrrr.  You know that feeling that you get when you are getting a run around????  I had it.

I called DirectTV back AGAIN.  Spoke with a Christina who said that I didn't need to cancel and that they could just 'put it on my bill'.  She applied the credit after I gave her our Windstream account number.  I was happy once again but RECONFIRMED the 6 TV whole house deal and she verified it again.  Now all we had to do is wait for Tuesday 12-4pm.

This morning hubby and I got into a tiff about TV.  He CONSTANTLY has one (or more) on.  Every room if he had his way.  I don't watch TV.  I DVR one show and most of the time I watch it on my iPad. He, is ADDICTED... and I feel like the girls are getting that way.  If the TV is on D1 doesn't hear a word you say.  I NEVER turn it in before breakfast as she will not eat.  Today Hubby did just that.... turned it on and then expected D1 to listen.  Total joke.  So I went silent & got snippy.  I think he started to understand after asking D1 what she wanted for breakfast for the 5th time.  He then asked if we could head out for a hike at the lake.  I happily complied.  We went on a small hike and the took a dip in the lake.  I had planned to get up ready to go by 11:30 so we would be home well in time for our noon appointment.

My phone rang at 11:40.  It was the installer.  In his broken English he said that he was at my house.  I explained that the appointment was 12-4 and that we were 5 minutes away. He said that he would go and get gas and head back.  We live 3 minutes from the lake and headed right there.  He was in front of us in the driveway.  Stupid dude even called when he got to our house as we sat there behind him unable to get into the garage because he was parked in front of it.  Remember that feeling in my stomach???  It was back. Hubby got out and asked him to move the truck.

I got out of the car and introduced myself.  He did the same stating again that he had been here before.  DUH!  EARLY!  So we walked to the back of the house and I showed him where the dish currently is.  He said that it was 'far'.  I explained that when we made the order I had specifically told them how far it was.  He said that he had to call his supervisor.  He then made a call and came back to me saying that this was now a 'custom install' and there would be a $50-70 charge.  I said that I would cancel if this were the case as I specifically explained this in my order.  He said again that he would have to 'call his supervisor'.   I walked into the house and he followed me.  Hubby was in the kitchen feeding D1 & D2 and he proceeded to make the call from my kitchen.  REALLY?!?!???!  Hubby kept giving me the 'WTF' look.  I was NOT going to pay this charge.  He then ended the call and said that he didn't like doing it but that his supervisor approved it.

The installer then asked what equipment we were expecting.  I went on to tell him that I had 6 TV's and that I ordered a whole house system.  He said that was not what was on the order.  HOLD IT.  Now I was getting upset.   He said only 5 TV's were on the order and it was a whole house system but the additional 4 receivers would not work as I described.  I would only be able to record off the whole house DVR box.... not the additionals.  Now I was getting hot.  He explained that he knew there would be problems with our order based on the equipment.  Apparently we got a whole house receiver which is their best piece and the receivers didn't 'match' it.  They weren't even high def.  He again called 'his supervisor' from my kitchen.  I told him that I wanted the order cancelled.  He called customer service and put me on his phone.  The service rep explained that I did not order what I think I had BUT I could pay an additional $200 to get what I want. BULLSHIT.  I hung up on her.

I went into Hubby's office, grabbed my notes from all the phone calls I had made, and called customer service.  I spoke with a Venus who apparently discussed the issues with her supervisor.  They were 'nice' enough to offer putting the $200 on my 1st bill instead of me paying it today.  NO WAY.  She wanted me to make the decision right then.  She said that my case would be reviewed and that she 'escalated' it but what she could do is give me what I want for $200.  Needless to say, I didn't do anything and hung up.

I then wrote a letter to DirectTV, posted on my status about this on Facebook and then also posted on DirectTV's Facebook page.  I started a small riot on FB.  Many comments about people cutting the cord and just going with a service like ROKU and a HD antenna on their house.  I'm all for it.  I called Dish and cancelled my cancellation of now until we decide what we are doing (they gave me a $10 credit/month for staying).  After about 2 hours someone from DirectTV responded to my FB complaint and asked me to message my account number.  I did so and have yet to hear back.  I also received a generic letter from customer service apologizing for my inconvenience and asking me to call in to speak with an account specialist.  I replied stating that someone needs to review the phone calls and they can call ME!  GGGGRRrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

I spent the next hour looking up ROKU and Apple TV as well as HD antennas.  I called a friend that 'cut the cord' and she couldn't be happier.  I AM REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT.  I just do not understand how companies can get away with this bait-and-switch stuff.  It's INSANE.  I'm still irritated about it!  To be continued!

Ok, on a lighter note.. a fellow foodie friend sent me a new recipe I had to try!  I will tell you it was fabulous.  Very easy and DELISH.  Thank you Noelle!!

Spaghetti Amatriciana 
Serves 4
olive oil, for brushing
generous 1/2 cup pancetta, diced (I used 4-5 slices EXTRA EXTRA this cut bacon)
1 onion, thinly sliced
28 oz can of Cento SAN MARZANO tomatoes diced & keep juice
1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped (I just added a tad bit of crushed red pepper as I do not like things spicy)
16 ounces dried spaghetti (if you can get bucatini-use it)
salt and pepper
Brush a flameproof casserole with oil, add the pancetta/bacon and cook over low heat until the fat runs. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and chile, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, adding a little warm water if necessary. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente, then drain and toss with the sauce in a warm serving dish.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Been over a week & Fever

Its been over a week since my last blog.  I have been on overtime here getting the outside the way I want it to look.  I have been watering those darn grass seeds every day and Im barely seeing anything.  Hoping in the next wee things will take off.  Fingers are crossed.  I pretty much weed on a daily basis around the house (takes 5 mins) but today I tackled the hill and it is starting to get to where I want it.  I planted a lot of shady plants there and it seems like they are getting to much sun so I am going to hit the nursery this week and get some sun plants to get it up to par.  I am in LOVE with color this year.  I will post some photos.

I finished the pond today as well.  Got all the leaks taken care of by moving some of the rocks around and all seems good.  I buttoned up the last of it today and reassembled the pump housing and rocks.  I will take a few photos tomorrow.  I got rid of all the 1/2 full bags of peat moss & potting soil and got the yard completely cleaned (except for the kiddos' toys). I an trying to get the bulk of the dirty work done before the party so all I will have to do is mow and weed whack.

D1 has had a mysterious fever the last 2 days.  She woke up the other night on fire.  We started the Tylenol/Motrin regimen and the fever breaks but returns when she wakes up (from bed or nap).  She doesn't complain of anything and when she is without fever she is a rock star.  She wants to go shopping, play outside, etc.  Not sure what is up.  If it last another day I am gonna bite the bullet and give her pediatrician a call.

We got a sneak peek of our family photos and they are AMAZING.  I will post a few here once we get the 'rights' to them.

Also..... if you have an Intex pool I CAN NOT tell you how much I am loving the saltwater system that they offer.  We got it on sale at Walmart (online) at the end of last year for just over $100 with a $50 gift card.  Basically you dump in salt and since it does not evaporate you never add again (online chlorine).  You just run this copper iode salt system that converts the salt to chorine.  I was so completely against it when Hubby brought it up because I HATE salt water.  But even if you get a mouthful it does NOT taste like salt. The concentration is less than that of a teardrop.  Its AWESOME.  I do not remember the water ever being this clear and sparkly.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!!

We cooked on the grill the last few days and I had to post a few pics of the awesome zucchini and Bourbon salmon kebabs!  YUM!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


We had our family photos done today.  In the last 3 years it has become "our thing" t get our photos done in June/July.  First was the birth pics of D1 in 2009 then the 1 year pics then D2 arrived in 2011 and this year is now D2's 1st birthday.  With the girls' birthdays being so close it just makes sense.  Get their photos done and get a few with mom & dad looking pretty/handsome.  We have died a few things throughout the year but my all time favorite is outdoor photos.  A friend that I worked with in Columbus did both kids birth pics but she is 2 hours away with a busy schedule.  A local friend posted her family photo shoot a few weeks ago and I LOVED them!  I got a referral and set today up.  We met at 11 at a barn/park.  I had been stressing the last 2 weeks about what we would wear and I got everything sorted out about 3 days ago.  OF COURSE I had planned to have everyone in shorts and today was 60 degrees. I rummaged through TONS of clothing at 8 am.  I finally got everyone fed and clothed and was even able to do my own hair.  WHEW.  Hoping that there were some good ones!!!

We visited Grammie and my BIL at the market thereafter and kiddos were getting hungry so we finally after 2 failed attempts (first the two places we went to were CLOSED for lunch!??!?!?) had a nice lunch and got home.  Hubby and I were EXHAUSTED so we ALL had nap time today.  I then headed out to get some of my "to do's" off the list.

I FINALLY finished staining the swing set. 8-10 hours and a cell phone later... it is done!  ITS BEAUTIFUL.  I was a bit premature and  though I was done at one point until I looked up.  I had forgotten about the ceiling in the sand area.  I then finished 45 mins later.  We LOVE this thing and as far as I see it.... it will be here for a LONG time and if this stain survives the next 3 years I will be a happy camper!
Done + a rainbow!

D1 then helped me set up our vegetable garden.  I picked up plants from my BIL and we get everything in the ground.  We planted 6 tomato plants (various types),  2 basil, a Hungarian pepper, a bell pepper, an eggplant, 2 swiss chard and 2 kale.  I saved some room for flying saucer squash, cucumbers and rosemary.  While taking photos today we were in an herb garden and I am REALLY thinking about doing something like that too next year.  It was adorable... a little fenced area with a bench and every herb you could think of.  We use TONS of cilantro and basil so I think it would be awesome to try... NEXT YEAR.
Our raised beds
Topsoil and more seed!

There are still loads of bare spots in the yard from when the patio was installed.  Today I laid some leftover topsoil in the majority of the areas and threw down some new seed.  Hoping it will start filling in in time for the party.  D2 is SO excited.  Last night I went through EACH of the princess and was trying to decide on a food.  This is stressful.  I have the cake and cake-truffle pops ordered.  This is gonna be quite a shindig.  We are having Gridirne Cookery roast a pig half for us and I will be preparing sides.  We'll have the bounce houses and a princess theme so D1 is ECSTATIC!  She asks pretty much daily when 'her party' is.  I have a feeling this is JUST the beginning!

Friday, June 1, 2012

STAIN & a LONG day

Where to start.  Today I had an electrician coming over at 1030 to do some minor stuff around here.  D1 has been asking to go to Grammie's house lately so I offered to take her over there this morning.  Everyone was excited.  D1 was happy to visit, Grammie was happy to see her, I was happy to be with only 1 child, and its nice to have some 1:1 time with D2.  I feel like I never have just the little one and she will be a year old in 2 weeks!!

I rushed back to be here when the electrician got here.  I can't say how much I was happy with the service.  Apparently everything with this company is a flat fee so I gave him the walkthrough & list, he offered his suggestions and gave me a price which I was very happy with.  He finished in a few hours.  Only problem was that it was approaching 2pm and D2 was getting tired FAST.  If she falls asleep in the car I usually get burnt getting her to nap.  So I called Grammie and she offered to keep D1 longer and to have her nap there.  Score.

I got D2 down to nap VERY easily.  No fuss whatsoever.  I then mowed the yard by the street that is pretty much all weeds at this point.  I called a lawn care company today because I am QUITE frustrated with it.  I've done what everyone has suggested and still CRAP.  UUGGHH.  I then went onto tackle the rest of the swing set. It was about 80% done but today was to be all ladder work.  I needed to get the top beam and I was set.  I was in a major groove and was flying right along.  Hubby called from work and I climbed down the ladder and was too slow to catch the call in time.  So I tried back and it disconnected.  Calls usually drop when he is in the elevator on his exit out of the building so I figured that I would put the phone close so that I could get it when he called.  I put it on the very top of the ladder and the next thing I know I heard a "plunk" into the stain.  It really took me a second to process what just had happened.  I quickly submerged my hand in to de a search and rescue.  It was COVERED.  WTH.  Only me.  There was no amount of rice that was fixing this.  I wiped and shook and wiped some more.  Surprisingly it still worked... I could get online and text.  Then I noticed that the volume of was severely muffled.  Then I made a phone call and couldn't hear a thing and nor could the other person.  UUGGHH.

I texted Hubby and explained what happened.  This is my 2nd iPhone this year.  I dropped the 1st one while running a 5 k and it shattered into a million pieces.  At that time I purchased Applecare +.  Thank goodness.  I ran inside and made my Genius appointment.  Damn.  Earliest was 630pm.  I had the neighbor kid coming to babysit D2 shortly and  the plan was to go and pick up D1 from Grammies.  Change of plans.  Now I was going to pick up D2 and head to the Apple store.

I got on the road (the swing set it now 95% done) and got D1 and was on our way.  Appointment was at 630pm and we were just on time.  The Apple dude laughed at me as I naturally expected.  They quickly did a last minute backup and I had a new phone in hand in about 15 mins and $49 later.  The problem was the restore.  It took FOREVER.  It was now approaching 715pm and we had not eaten.... D1 was getting a bit crazy so I left Apple as I couldn't stand there waiting any longer.  We did some quick shopping because I am STRESSED about what we are all going to wear for our family photos on Saturday.  I had gotten outfits 2 days ago from Old Navy but just was not happy with the selection but ran out of time.  Today I checked out Banana Republic, Gymboree, Crazy 8, and Gap.  Found EXACTLY what I was looking for in Gap.  Got D2 the PERFECT shirt at Crazy 8 and we were SET.  I now have a ton of returns but I don't care.... we have our outfits!

We stopped at Applebee's for a quick dinner and by this time D1 was punch drunk and hungry.  I was at least 20 mins from home so I figured a quick meal would help.  She was a NUT.  be bopping all over, singing and professing her love to me.  Cute but I had a headache.  I still had to do 1 last errand and I was willing to forego it but she asked me if we could go to "one more store".  Thats my girl!  So we ran into Best Buy and I got a LIFEPROOF case.  It's waterproof, dust proof, impact proof, snow proof and STAIN PROOF!!  LOL.  The phone is STILL restoring but as soon as it is done I am installing this case and I will hopefully be set!  FINGERS CROSSED.

At least the swing set looks amazing, right???????