Sunday, March 29, 2009

Corporate America, or Is Anyone Telling the Truth

We've had several experiences with negative corporate practices recently that have left us feeling disapointed in the ethics of our corporations. (I know, but I still wanted to believe in spite of Wall Street and the car companies.)

Anyway, my husband turned 65 this year, so he has spent quite a bit of time researching the various supplemental medical insurance plans. He had a list of his medications and a list of questions he asked each company. Finally, he signed on with True Blue. Well, the first time he went to fill his prespriptions at the Wallgreen's on line site, they didn't send him his Actose (a pretty important medication for a diabetic) because the cost had gone up so much and they wanted to check with him. Under the True Blue plan, it was going to cost $200 a month. The company had told him that the costs would be very close to what he had been paying. It's taken several weeks to get in touch with them, convert to something similar, but generic, and through it all, he's missed a few weeks of medication. He's still trying to get straight answers. He also can't get them to provide any authorization for anything in a timely manner.

Our second experience was with Equitrust. We had decided to convert the money we had in those funds to another fund with another financial company. Our advisor had us fill out all of the proper forms, sat with us while we contacted the company by phone and then we waited for the money to convert. NOT. First, we got at least 3 different forms weeks apart, which HAD to be signed and returned. Then, we were told that some of the forms never got to them, when we called to see what was the problem. We still are waiting for the money from one account, and meanwhile, we lost several thousand dollars we could have made if we'd been able to convert while the market was lower. Technically, we made that money with Equitrust too, but they don't have a very good rate of return and will just charge a larger surrender fee if there is any profit. It all seems designed to let them keep the money to use for their own good.

Our third experience has been with Direct TV. We decided to switch because Dish Network hasn't been able to resolve their dispute with one of the local channels we like to watch. We researched costs and services carefully and asked lots and lots of specific questions on the phone. The date for conversion was set. The young men who came out to install the system were very professional and did a fine job, but we've had lots of problems since. First, we can't get many of the channels we were told would be available, some of the remotes don't work and then we discovered that they bill for everything at a very high rate, unlike the promotion rate. The customer has to call, get a special code and then get the bill reduced. We are still waiting to see if our friend will get his rebate check for recommending us.

Fortunately, we try to deal most often with local businesspeople, who are ethical, hard working and provide excellent service. Too bad so many big companies lost their way.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Well, I'll try to write something again now. I "lost" my password, and eventually figured out how to reset it. I hope I wrote everything down correctly now. Since I've last written something, I've purchased around 200 yards of fabric! Most of it came from a lady on e-bay who bought it at an auction of a mill going out of business. I now can most certainly make a glittery tu tu or pettislip for anyone who asks. Now, I just have to get them to ask.

My latest sewing project was to work with recycling some jeans given to me by the neighbors. I made the biker chick tu tu that I saw in Las Vegas first. Then I made a gored skirt in a woman's size with lace godets. The third thing was to use the seams from the jeans to weave panels for a tote bag. That was an interesting experience since I had to hand crank the machine fly wheel to get the needle through that much bulk. I almost fired up the old treadle machine to see if it would do the job better. I've still got fabric left, but I'm "jeaned" out for a while.

Another challenge was to finish a bag started by a friend years ago. I wanted to try it because it had a center section with a zipper pocket. There were instructions, kind of. It took hours, and I'm not really proud of the product, but I do now know how to make the center pocket.

I squeezed in 3 pair of PJs for one grandson, a T-shirt and now I'm on to a patchwork black and white bag I've been wanting to do for a while. It probably would be a good idea to vacuum or something, but that can wait I'm sure! Anyone want a tu tu or a fairy outfit?

Saturday, March 7, 2009


One of the reasons we had to sandwich in two trips to help our daughter is because we live in Weiser. Years ago when we first moved here, we thought we might stay two years before we moved on to some place bigger and better. Well, we quickly learned that there are bigger places, but there couldn't possibly be any place better. For a town of a little over 5000, we put on the National Old Time Fiddle Contest every year, have 4 theater type stages in town, with two of them home to professional quality theater groups, have an event center that is new, super well equiped and wonderful, feature one of the most active Chambers in the region, have many still active service groups, and the best fly fishing club in the area (according to the fly shop owners) They are fund raising to build a community pond on the old sale lot grounds. Our hospital is in good economic shape and provides awesome service. Our library is wonderful, we have an active recreation department, many churches who work together to provide for the community and we hosted the Japanese delegation during the recent Special Olympics. ANYWAY, we've found that to continue to have such a wonderful place to live, we need to be involved in keeping it vital. Therefore, we first were working on the recent little theater production--me as a board member and my husband as one of the fly fishing club members who built the set and hosted dessert night(see picture)--then we "had" to be here for several other meetings and the annual chamber crab feed. We also had a committment to attend one of the fund raisers for the local domestic violene shelter. We visit often with several couples who have moved here fairly recently and one of the aspects of Weiser they like is that they are accepted quickly. If they want to be involved in the community, they are welcomed with open arms. Weiser is also a pretty diverse community. When we first moved here, I was interested in learning about other cultures. I got to know Jewish, Greek, Russian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Basque heritage families. Our local high school has had student body presidents who were Japanese-American, African-American, Gay, Mexican-American and Native-American. Thogh there are some who are intolerant, we've shown ourselves to do pretty well as a group. Not every small town is like that. It's fun for us to live "where everyone knows your name". (although it does take quite a while to get through the grocery store)

Our Big Adventure

We've just returned from round one of helping our daughter and family get their house ready to sell. It's a big job for two old folks, but we really didn't do too badiy. The boys were a little disapointed that Grandma and Grandpa didn't come just to play with them, but they adjusted and we got to work. We thought we would go a little faster than we did, but we did manage to pretty much get the upstairs done and some work done downstairs in 4 1/2 days. We're going back week after next to finish. We did punch a hole in the master bath shower when the ladder slipped when my husband was painting the ceiling. Fortunately, we found a reasonable price for the repair. We also found a great plumbing company to fix the shower head which had been broken for quite some time. We "camped" out at the house using the cots we found at Sierra Trading Post. They are rated for us larger types and are much more comfortable than any sleeper sofa I'm sure.

On the way back home, we had to stay overnight in LaGrande because the freeway was closed. We might have made it through if we hadn't stopped to eat dinner at Hamley's in Pendleton. It was worth it though. If you ever get a chance to go to Pendleton, DO NOT MISS HAMLEYS. It is an old building that two cowboys from southern Idaho remodeled into a steak house of the old western type. There is enough oak, leather and western memorabilia to satisfy anyone. The food is wonderful, although if you are on a budget, go for lunch. There is an art gallery/western store and a coffee shop attached. We picked the first motel we came to to check for rooms because there were a ton of cars behind us. It looked like one of the old ones from the 50's, but turned out to be super clean and pretty nice. The beds were a little hard, but it was lots better than sleeping in the car.

This week, I have 7 special orders to get out. I, of course, had to go to JoAnns to get some more tulle. Not matter how much I have on hand, I always need OneMoreThing! I also need to get camouflage fabric for the oldest grandson. He knows that if he wears camouflage, that no one will be able to see him. The middle grandson also "knows" that the pants I get him with stripes on the sides make him run faster. See, clothes do make the man! Anyway, I've stalled enough--back to the sewing machine(s).