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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scrapbook-worthy memories

I began writing this post the day after Christmas. It’s always a reflective day for me because the stress of the holiday is finally over, and I’m no longer worried if my children will be pleased with their gifts and the holiday in general. There are two things that come to mind in the first couple of hours of December 26th:

  1. I’m exhausted
  2. Spending time with my offspring is awesome

christmas tree 2012On Christmas Eve – or, technically, early Christmas morning – I didn’t fall asleep until about 3 a.m. The day had been eventful and unpredictable, but I really wanted to go to sleep earlier. That didn’t happen, but I figured I could get a little extra sleep the next morning – Christmas day.

I thought it was a realistic expectation because almost every year my three young children sleep late on Christmas morning. They may rise around 8 or 9 a.m., which is absolutely fine by me and much preferred. This year they were up and chattering in the living room around 6:30 a.m. I could hear the excitement in their voices and was hoping they would decide to get some cereal or do something else so I could sneak in a few more minutes of sleep.

Of course, that was wishful thinking. Finally I called out, “What are you guys doing?”

“Sitting on the couch waiting for you to come out,” my trio said in unison.

“Are you coming out?”

“Come out!”

“Are you getting up?”

trio fall 2012I could hear them approaching my bedroom door as they tried to coax me out of bed. My door opens slowly and after watching what looked like blurry shadows dance in my doorway, I sleepily said, “Merry Christmas.”

My children said Merry Christmas in return and sang the words as if they were harmonizing. They were each hopping up and down.

Again, “You getting up….?”

“Ooookkaaaay, I’m getting uuuupppp…”

I’m not sure if I said something about laying back down or why do I have to get up, but whatever occurred they started to sing, hop higher and dance all the while moving closer to the tree as I approached.

“It’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time.” On beat, harmonizing and bringing a sleepy smile to my lips.

It was like they planned a little holiday production to celebrate my rise from the depths of my bed. Their enthusiasm kept my shuffling feet in motion, and it took quite a few minutes for the sleep fog to clear as I passed out their gifts and tried to keep up with everything they were saying.

amber november 2012Sometime during the day I thought I would be able to sneak in a nap, but between the children and their gifts, my best friend arriving for dinner and my oldest daughter needing more of my assistance with Christmas dinner (regardless of how much I tried to get out of helping), I didn’t get a chance to sit down much.

Autumn 3 months dec 2012Although I am exhausted, I do not regret one moment of this day. I spent time with my children (ages 21, 9, 7 and 5), my 3-month-old granddaughter, her daddy/my daughter’s boyfriend and my best friend. It was the baby’s first Christmas and the simple joy of being in her presence is magical. Those are definitely scrapbook-worthy memories.

I wouldn’t change anything about this holiday season except for the amount of sleep I’ve had. And, now, I look forward to 2013 with a positive outlook, a renewed sense of purpose and the chance to make more memories for my scrapbooks.

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Does Comcast care?

I’ve been planning to write a post about Comcast with the words “rip off” in the title, but I changed my mind when a customer service rep successfully helped me with a problem. Last week I DSCF5854 contacted @comcastcares via Tweetdeck. The first rep who responded offered a remedy that didn’t work. Later I tweeted again and @comcastwill provided the correct solution in one try. Go, Will!

Other than that one day, I stay miffed about Comcast mainly because of the cost. My issue with the amount of money I spend for Internet and cable services began to boil again when I discovered a new customer I know pays less than I do, but has more channels. (More about that in a minute.) It’s particularly maddening because they don’t offer any options to help me cut costs and save money.

In 2003, when I first signed on with Comcast, I had  phone, Internet and cable services. About a year later I no longer used the home phone regularly and turned off that service   As things worsened for me financially – I was pregnant with my fourth child, separated from my then husband and the economy had taken a turn for the worse – I called to cancel my cable to further reduce expenses. I needed the Internet to make money, but cable seemed like a luxury. I was surprised to discover an Internet-only package costs more than having both.

Recently I found out my daughter, the new customer, pays about $45 a month for cable plus two premium channels  and Internet. I pay about triple that without premium channels so I called again to see if  there are deals or plan changes for current customers that would  reduce my bill. Still nothing.

On top of fees, surcharges, taxes, etc., the luxury of Internet access and cable television is costing more than necessities. Since that’s the case I should really take advantage of the services, right? So I checked their website about adding HBO. If you want that service they’ll happily add it for $10 per month plus a connection fee. If you decide you don’t want it any longer they’ll kindly charge you a disconnect fee. Didn’t someone just enter information into a computer and the computer sent a message that activated the service? Seems like I’d be paying for someone to push a button. Isn’t that what they pay their hourly employees for? That person must get the 10 bucks in their pocket. (You do know I’m being sarcastic, right?)

From where I’m standing, Comcast doesn’t care about their customers. I have yet to see a change made that doesn’t involve increased rates or expenses. For instance, the digital television switch supposedly prevented me from using my DVR as my cable receiver and continue to have the ability to record shows, which I had been doing for some time. In order to do that I would have to purchase their DVR and pay for the service.

This company is an adequate representation of the direction this nation is going in. It’s all about the bottom line… of the accounting ledger, not appreciation for the loyalty of longtime customers.

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