Why I Am a Mac Snob and Proud of It

MacBook apple logo

Last week as I was working on my MacBook, it froze. When I tried to reboot, the computer offered me a white screen. I couldn’t get it up past the white screen.

I didn’t panic because I knew the guys at the Genius Bar at the Apple store could help me.

And this is the primary reason that I psychotically love Mac products: those Geniuses at the Genius Bar.

Oh sure, I could tell you that I love the sleek, clean, and streamlined look and feel of my MacBook and my iPod Touch. And I do. Oh, I do. I could also tell you about my love for the intuitive navigation around Mac OS. I may also bring up the fact that I don’t worry about viruses. And, it’s true. All of these things endear me to the Mac camp.

But it’s access to unparalleled customer service that makes me so satisfied.

The Genius at the Bar last week helped me with my MacBook and its white screen. A few checks and he pronounced: “a failed hard drive.”* The computer was out of warranty, so  replacing the hard drive and restoring it to factory settings (now almost 4 years old), would cost about $230.

“But,” he said, “you could change out the hard drive yourself, and I’ll show you how.”

Would you believe, he totally walked me through everything I needed to do to order the hardware, install it, and order, upgrade, and install memory? All of that for $100! He said that once I had all of the new upgrades in place, I’d have the equivalent of the latest and greatest machine.

I was blown away at his forthright and candid help, his patient instruction, and his keeping my best interests at heart.

As I thanked him profusely, I declared loudly, “This is why I’m a Mac customer. And this is why I’ll always be a Mac customer.”

And you know what? I did it. I replaced (and upgraded) my MacBook’s hardware and memory—and saved $100-something doing it myself!

Thanks, Genius Bar.

*Post forthcoming on the importance of backing up data on a regular basis because hard drives will fail. Thankfully, we do back up on a regular basis.
I was not compensated by Apple in any manner for writing this post (I wish!). I simply adore this company and these products and think everyone should convert to Mac. And when I experience good customer service, I like to tell others about it.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Just a Little Caffeine and Aspartame

I try super-hard to feed my family healthy food the majority of the time. Despite my best efforts, we occasionally slide off the wagon and wallow in the chicken nuggets and french fry soup a little longer than I’d like.

But I do know the problems. And I am trying to address them.

I just don’t have the time—nor the affinity—to make homemade yogurt, churn my own butter, or grind my own wheat. I applaud the women who do. And at one point in my life, I measured my own worth as a mother and homemaker by those women.

But I have been released from those chains of comparison because God had a little talk with me and told me that that’s not me. At least not now. Not here.

And I’m OK with that.

I think. 

Anyway.

There’s another thing standing in my way of total embrace of the natural and healthy lifestyle.

That would be my little addiction to Diet Mt. Dew.

I love the stuff. And I know it’s bad for me. And I won’t touch aspartame in any other food product because yes, I really do believe it’s a scary chemical.

But I’m still struggling with my Diet Mt. Dew.

So, Saturday, I had my cold Diet Mt. Dew in the car. Susanna and I were running errands in Green Hills. We were in Macy’s—almost to the door—when she said she was thirsty. We went back through the mobs of shoppers to the nearest restroom sign, but there was no water fountain there. I didn’t feel like going all the way back to the 3rd floor, so I told her she could finish off the Diet Mt. Dew in the car.

I felt guilty for a smidge of a second but concluded it was only a small amount. We got to the car and she started sipping.

Now, because I am the trying-to-be-healthier mom that I am, I decided we would also stop at Trader Joe’s for a few of my favorites from there. We hopped out of the car. Susanna had the Diet Mt. Dew in hand. We were headed in when I stopped.

“Susanna. Why don’t you finish that drink before we go in?”

I couldn’t let all those yogurt-making, mill-grinding, butter-churning, Trader Joe’s-shopping moms know that I had—on occasion—allowed my daughter to consume both caffeine and aspartame, now could I?

They just wouldn’t understand; I don’t care how far away that municipally contaminated water fountain was from the door.

Future Hoarder Here???? Aaack!!!!!!

I’m addicted to the two shows now featuring the hoarding disorder: Hoarders on A&E and Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC.

I grew up with two parents who are borderline hoarders rather extreme pack rats, and so, I’ve been battling this “demon” for most of my adult life. My parents—to this day—have magazines from the 80s on their shelves, canceled checks from my deceased uncle’s account (he died in 2002) in the desk, and random keys, screws, and thing-a-ma-jigs scattered about the kitchen counter.

When Chris and I first married, we battled this tendency of mine frequently. I remember getting behind on my newspaper reading, allowing past issues to pile in the corner. I had every intention of going through all 20 or so papers, page by page. But, it didn’t happen. Chris was ready to recycle them; I protested. We finally decided that to avoid these arguments, the best thing to do was cancel the newspaper subscription.

See, I firmly believed that those papers contained valuable information that I was missing. Books, papers, and magazines have always represented knowledge to me. And knowledge is one of my greatest pursuits. I really have to “limit” myself to certain amounts of paper or it will overtake me.

The other night, the woman on the show walked into a scrapbook store and bought a few items for her scrapbooks: stickers, papers, and so on. She mentioned that she had been “scrapbooking” for about eight years and had only done one page—BUT she had mountains and mountains of supplies. She said that she enjoyed the acquisition of the items and the possibilities that they represent.

Her words smacked me in the forehead: the acquired items represent possibilities. Most often for me the possibilities are much more exciting than the reality.

Anyway—it scared me to identify so closely with her sentiment, especially given my background, and because I have no idea how to get around the way I look at the world and things.

The only thing I do know is that I don’t want to be featured on Hoarders in a few years.

Ideas, anyone? 

photo: Morgue File

My Love/Hate Relationship With Kroger

I have written before about the incompetent bagging abilities of the Kroger baggers. I still battle weekly with multiple gallons of milk in one bag, while chips and salad land in another. I’ve tried talking to the baggers. That usually results in two cans and a bag of chips in one bag. I give up.

My Kroger experience last week, however, was rather unbelievable.

I stopped at the other Kroger a few miles from the one where I regularly shop. I wanted to grab a salad from their salad bar. I made my salad and packaged the dressing in a separate container (small Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid). I grabbed a handful of napkins, plastic fork, plastic knife, and two small packages of crackers.

I had to grab a couple of other items from the store. I then proceeded to the U-scan checkout lane.

I noticed the Dwight Shrute of Kroger watching the U-Scan aisles like a hawk. I zapped all my items except for the small tub of salad dressing, cutlery, napkins, and crackers. For a moment, I thought, Am I supposed to ring up the dressing? Nah, I decided.

My order came to around $10. I paid and picked up all my bags. I looped them on my arm and stuck my check card back in my purse. I turned to pick all the “extras” out of the arm basket sitting beside the scanner, when Dwight walked over.

Before I could pick up my items and stick them in the bag, he began to interrogate me about my attempt at theft.

“Ma’am? What’s this?” He picks up the small container of salad dressing.

“Salad dressing.”

“Well, you need to pay for that. That is considered a salad bar item.”

“Oh, really?! I had no idea.” I answered, kind of incredulously. “What about the crackers?”

And then, as if to throw me a bone, “No. The crackers and forks and napkins come with it.” (Oh, gee, glad you can part with the napkins, there, Kroger.)

“OK.”

I then re-shuffled heavy bags and my purse and dug back out my Kroger card.

Remember. I’ve already spent $10.00.

(Salad bar items are priced per pound. So the scanner weighs your item and charges accordingly.)

I picked up the container (so very light that it was), and Dwight said, “I don’t know. It may not even register.”

Well, genius, if it won’t register, then why even bother, I said thought.

I plopped it up there and punched in the buttons.

Thirty-two cents.

I was about to rob Kroger of thirty-two freaking cents.

And he stood there while I dug out a quarter, nickel, and two pennies from the annals of the abyss that is my purse. And I enjoyed every minute of my digging and searching and sighing as I scavenged for each coin while hanging onto three bags of groceries and a 12-pack of Diet Mountain Dew.

Because—God forbid—I get away with $.32 salad dressing.

Kroger: In my lifetime, I’m sure I have spent more in your store than I will ever see in my savings account. Could you not just let thirty-two cents go?

Image: morguefile

Glad That Christmas Is Over

Christmas is over, and I’m glad.

I hate being that way, but it’s how I feel. Just being honest.

I said this to Chris when we collapsed into bed on Christmas Eve. He got really upset with my comment, saying I needed to try to enjoy it, savor it, and celebrate it.

I was (and am still) just so, so tired.

(If you’ll indulge my whining for a moment, please read on. If you don’t wish to, skip the following paragraph. And, yes, I know some people have far busier lives than I. But for me and my geriatric metabolism, my infantile sleep needs, and my underactive thyroid, stick a fork in me; I am done.)

This Christmas season, I worked about 10-15 hours either away from home or on projects at home every week. I shopped for and wrapped gifts and stocking stuffers for 4 family members, 2 sets of grandparents, 3 nephews, school and Sunday school teachers, the mail carrier and trash men, and a few friends. I designed and ordered Christmas cards (still haven’t addressed and mailed them). I designed and ordered Christmas cards for my mother. I planned, shopped for, and cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas lunches (with help from others). I led two one-hour cheerleading practices and communicated with 9 sets of parents about said practices. I baked frozen taquitos and pizza rolls for our Christmas concert at church and attended said concert. I glued tinsel around 12 little pine cone Christmas trees and took the trees and my little Daisy Scout to the nursing home to sing Christmas carols. I assisted at a first grade Christmas party.  I attended a preschool Christmas program.

And, oh, I managed to (sort of) run my home by cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, helping with homework, and driving people here and there.

(Whining over. You can begin reading again.)

This year, more than those in recent memories, I’ve felt just overwhelmed, overstimulated, and overfed. Because of a really busy work schedule this year in addition to school, church, Girl Scouts, and cheerleading, I’ve not had a lot of extra time to pay attention to what we were eating or getting the best price on gifts or planning ahead or going to bed on time.

I hate the hectic nature of the holidays. Hate. It. To me, it seems to be the antithesis of the true meaning of Christmas. When the things I usually enjoy become more of a chore, I know something is out of whack.

I regret our not having had more of an emphasis on Christ this season. Yes, we had our Advent wreath and readings and our church events, but somehow, it seems that I wanted more.

On Christmas night, I insisted we not forget to light our Advent wreath for a final reading. Our kids had been inundated (and I do mean inundated) by attention and presents all day long. I told Chris, “We are ending this day with Jesus!”

And so we did.

Can we make Christmas 2010 more relaxed and more focused on the things that truly matter? We shall see.

Mavis and Daryl at Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve

What’s more insane than Target on the Saturday before Christmas?

How about Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve?

Oh yea, baby.

You ask, And what’s wrong with you this year?

Yea, I don’t know.

Anywho, I had to go to Wal-Mart today to pick up some Wal-Mart gift cards for my nephews. They live in my small hometown that doesn’t have any place to shop (or socialize, for that matter) except Wal-Mart. And I usually buy my gift cards at Kroger except that Kroger doesn’t carry Wal-Mart cards.

Thus, the trip to Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve.

I knew I was in trouble when I got behind Mavis and Daryl in the 20 items or less line. I’m sure they had at least 21 items and Checker Girl took forever to ring their order.

So then, Mavis pulls out a 24-pack of Milwaukee’s Best canned beer. Checker Girl zaps the beer.

Mavis turns to Daryl. “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

“That was $12-something.”

“Twelve? It was supposed to be $6-something.”

“Do you want me to get it? If I get it, I ain’t getting any gas.”

“No. Put it back.”

“Do you want it? ‘Cause I ain’t getting any gas.”

“Naw.”

This back-and-forth continues with Daryl saying it’s fine to put the beer back, while Mavis is pledging to forgo essential fuel for this horrible swill.

I wanted to pipe up and say that if you are going to sacrifice essentials, it should at least be for some high quality beer. I mean, I’d rather “splurge” on some Diet Moutain Dew than Milwaukee’s Best, and really, Diet Moutain Dew is far better.

So, I’m kind of thinking Daryl has won this little argument and the family will, after all, get gas for the car when Mavis puts the 24-pack back in the cart.

“You decided to get it?” I asked her.

“Yea. That’s his Christmas present. He better not ask me for nothing else.”

Merry Christmas, Mavis and Daryl. I hope that Milwaukee’s Best was good while you were walking home from Wal-Mart.

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is now just days away. I must reflect a bit on this busy season.

Yesterday, I did a few final errands and picked up the last of my gifts. I braved Target on the Saturday before
Christmas. It was so crowded that all the shopping carts were taken when I got there. I decided that I wouldn’t allow anyone or anything get me angry. I was just going to go with the flow. I did pretty well.

This year, I wasn’t knocked over by suffocating perfume, but I did have to navigate around large groups of shoppers. I think it’s hilarious that Bubba and Betty Lou decide to bring the whole family–Grandma, Bubba Jr. and little Brittany–out to Target for shopping. Then they like to stand in the middle of the aisle and discuss LOUDLY what ideas they have for gifts.

People. It’s the Saturday before Christmas and you are in Target. You should at least know what you’re getting Uncle Ricky.

I’m zipping. Needing to zip. In and out.

Zip. Zip.

Get out of my way.

~~~

I gave myself permission this year to stop believing that:
a. I enjoy baking.
b. I can bake “gifts” for people.

And so, I was relieved of my baking burden and didn’t make anything for anyone. I don’t like baking anyway, but I like the idea of baking (that whole “I want to be that girl who bakes” issue that I have). But this year, I didn’t bake.

~~~

I’ve been working A LOT more this year than in previous years, which has taken quite a toll on my Christmas organization. Much to my disappointment, I’ve had to cancel plans to attend some social gatherings. Thankfully, I’ve not gotten sick-sick (knock on wood), but I have been sleep-deprived and headachey and kind of yuck. I’ve also simply run out of time. I had a bit of a crisis of schedule on Friday night. After a few hours of literally mapping out what needed to be done when, I felt a little better about managing my time. But I have to stick to my schedule in order to get it all done on time.

I really regret that this Christmas season has kind of evaporated. We’ve not been as consistent with Advent family worship as I would have liked. And I hate the moaning and groaning that I’ve done when an invitation has been extended to us: “Another party/event/program? One more place to be!”

~~~

Our garage door opener is stuck. And I just have to say that I love my garage and my automatic garage door opener almost as much as I love my husband and kids. And so, on the coldest/rainiest weekend of our fall/winter season thus far, our garage door decides to stop working. And so, hooray! Who knows how much that will cost?

And, also? The toilet in the guest bath has been having some flushing issues. I think it’s flushing at the moment, but the line may be partially clogged or something. OK. So my mother-in-law is coming tomorrow. I knew she’d need to use the bathroom. Not trusting the reliability of the guest bath, I decided I’d need to prepare the master bath for her use.

So I devoted about two hours a little while to cleaning my bathroom. It had been way too long  a little while since I had mopped my bathroom floor, but I was able to get it freshened up and passable for use. And that was just a fun way to spend my Sunday evening.

~~~

The Girl Scout troop went Christmas caroling tonight at the local nursing home. It was sweet and they seemed to enjoy having us. I am confronted by the effects of the Fall when I see these long-past vibrant folks being spoon-fed and wearing bibs. I was struck tonight by the extreme regression. How interesting is it that in one’s final days he or she must revert to children’s activities (making Christmas crafts)? They had a life-size Santa in the dining room and school-room-like bulletin boards. I don’t know. The juxtaposition of the vibrant children with life ahead against the backdrop of the men and women bound to their chairs, having the best of their days far in the past, was just unsettling. And sad. And it made me long for Heaven.

News Round-up for Week Ending November 27

Despite it being a holiday week, I’ve found a few stories in the news worthy of mention. I’m not sure that I have any real insightful commentary, but they are all interesting.

Ever since the popularity of the Nun Bun, I’ve been examining my food for resemblances to Jesus. If I could just find that one peanut butter sandwich with an image of a long-haired, bearded man, then I could sell it on eBay and make thousands of dollars.

photo: Grant Morris, staff photographer, Eagle Tribune

Hasn’t happened yet. But I read this week about a woman who found a picture of Jesus on the bottom of her iron. She feels blessed by this image on her appliance. She claims she will keep the iron in a safe spot and get a new iron. Mark my words: that iron will appear on eBay in the not-so-distant future.

I’m always intrigued by people who:

  1. “find” pictures of Jesus in their food or on the walls AND
  2. actually ascribe legitimate elements of faith to these so-called images.

——-

The party crashing couple at the White House state dinner this week just amazes me. First, the level of incompetency by the Secret Service is astounding, as well as terrifying. But the party crashers? On the one hand, I must applaud their creativity and cunning.

The couple not only got past the Secret Service (when they were not on the guest list), but they also managed to greet the President in the receiving line and be photographed with the Vice-President.

——–

Tonight on 20/20 real-life “vampires” were featured. I place real-life “vampires” in the same category as real-life “unicorns” or real-life “leprechauns.” These people are really weird, claiming they must “feed” in order to feel alive. Some “feed” on others’ creativity or energy, while some “feed” on human blood. That’s right. They drink the blood of other humans. And they showed it on 20/20. And it was gross and fascinating at the same time.

Begging for Accurate Communication!

Last year, I stumbled through kindergarten with partial information most of the time. I missed a few things, never got on the automated call list, and was cursed for car-line infractions due to my ignorance.

I have to say that I thought last year’s communication process was just short of terrible. I don’t blame our teacher; I think she did a good job communicating with parents. I think it was probably a top-down problem.

And, I know. I know the elementary school isn’t a well-oiled PR firm. But, really, people. I don’t expect much. Just laid-out guidelines for things that involve safety (like the car-rider line), an updated school lunch menu (how many times did I download the same menu from the week of April 4 until I just finally gave up?), and accurate dates.

I mean—this is part of your job. Communicating to students and parents. I really had high hopes that a new year would bring communication reform.

Silly me!

On the first day of school, the kids bring home folders with the entire school year dates listed on the back. Prior to that, I had downloaded the Metro district-wide school calendar. Yes, I am that geeky goober mom who sits down with five calendars and highlighter pens and marks every holiday, day off, and parent-teacher day.

And so, I marked Thanksgiving Break for Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, on our calendars. First: from the Metro print-out and then I double-checked the dates against the first-day folder list.

Imagine my surprise when I discover TODAY that school is OUT on Wednesday.

Hmmmpft.

Not sure when the change was made or who made it. But I would have liked to have known about it.

Really glad I found out today, rather than Wednesday morning.

My Christmas Shopping Complaint Against Toys ‘R Us


Dear Toys ‘R Us,

Do you KNOW how much money I have spent in your store and your sister store, Babies ‘R Us, since early 2003? Thousands and thousands of dollars, I tell you.

Do you KNOW how much money I would have spent in your store during the next–oh, say, six or eight years or so?

I’m not sure, but you’ll never know, either. Because of ten lousy dollars. Ten dollars, Toys ‘R Us. Because ten dollars is NOTHING to you, but it’s important to me.

I dutifully took the marketing bait this week, as I held onto the TRU flyer that came in my mailbox a few days ago:

This weekend ONLY! Friday night and Saturday morning ONLY! A sale. A sale that featured a $19.98 digital camera for only $9.99.

I thought that would be a perfect gift for our six year old daughter, who is obsessed with taking pictures but is not allowed to use my digital camera after she dropped and broke a camera of mine.

At $10, she can give it a try. If she is careful and enjoys photography, we may upgrade next year for a nicer camera. Heck, we may have even purchased it at TRU.

Today, the sale ran from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. It was 10:30 a.m. and I made a special trip to TRU for this camera.

OK–never mind that I didn’t have time really for this today because I’m still up against my writing deadline. Never mind that I had to wander the store trying to figure out where the camera may be. Never mind that I really lost a good half hour of my life that I’ll never get back.

(All of those particulars have nothing to do with TRU, but I throw them in here to show just how annoying this whole scenario was. I didn’t have time for this nonsense today.)

I finally landed in the electronics department. Armed with the flyer, I approached the sales clerk.

“Excuse me? Can you tell me where I can find this camera?”

She looked at it. “Let me look in the back and check the computer.”

She was gone a long time. A very long time.

“Ma’am? We are sold out.”

“Oh.” I waited for a consolation offer. None.

So I piped up, “May I get a raincheck?”

“We don’t do rainchecks.” Um, OK.

“Well, may I have a comparable product for the sale price then?” I thought that was a reasonable request. Most stores (home goods, big box, electronics) will price-match and honor competitors’ ads. I was in their store. I would buy from them. In. Their. Store. Hey, even Kroger substitutes brands to honor a coupon!

“Hmmm. I’m not sure. I think you’d have to do it with a product that is that same original price.”

“Oh, sure. That’s fine. I’d just like a comparable product.”

“Well, let me check with my manager and make sure.”

“OK.” I was confident the manager would agree. Heck, maybe they’d even throw in some Spongebob stickers or a Dora lollipop for my inconvenience.

The clerk returns.

“She said, ‘no’.”

Stunned, I said, “OK.”

And I marched right out of Toys ‘R Us, determined to never return.

Uh, you know, we are only a few weeks into the Christmas shopping season. You know that I have options, TRU. So many options. And I’m confident I’ll be able to get a great deal on a digital camera on Black Friday or Cyber Monday or later.

And I have a blog. I am a mom. With lots of friends who have kids who play with toys and wear clothes and watch videos.

See, TRU, here’s the thing. Your keeping $10 just cost you thousands. Because had you honored my request, I would have bought a carrying case to go with the camera. And a huge chunk of my kids’ Christmas presents this year and next and the next. And birthday gifts and swimming pool toys.

And I would have blogged about how awesome you were to all my mom friends.

But now?

Not so much, Toys ‘R Us. Not so much.