Sunday, March 29, 2009
Sara's friend had a birthday party with an Emo/Gothic theme. The girl wanted Stephen to come over and take some photos at her party. Stephen couldn't go because he had work for the magazine and then a concert to photograph after. I couldn't go to where the party was because Katie has been so ill and is just now getting better. The weather had turned cold out so I didn't want to take a chance on her getting sick again. So I text Sara and said that if they came here I would take a few photos for them.
With Stephen out taking photos all day he of course had his gear with him. I only had one lens here. Every time I use this lens I complain about the results. Stephen broke the lens into two pieces a couple of years ago and we mailed it off to the manufacture (Sigma) to be repaired. When I first met Stephen this was the lens he used most, or at least the one I saw him use the most. Now every time I use this lens every thing turns out so very soft. I officially don't like this lens. Stephen says that if we change some settings it may work better, we will see.
Above is a few of the photos that I took yesterday. The photos and the lens where not that screwed up. I used Lightroom to make them odd colors because the girls wanted odd and different photos, I have a few that have not had the colors changed and I will post more later.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday my daughter-n-law called and wanted to have some photos of my granddaughter (Cloey) in her Easter dress. Stephen's day was full and mine was suppose to be cleaning house so I opted to do the photos instead. Easy choice who wants to clean house!
I wasn't exactly happy with the first set of photos, there simply wasn't enough light and even though the pics printed ok on the screen when I zoomed in it all seemed very soft to me.
We have these lights in the closet that are not for photography and Stephen wont use them because he insist that the lights are not clear white light. But I used one of them on the second set of photos with my son and his wife. I was much happier, the photos seemed much sharper. The light isn't perfect but for me it will work until Stephen gets some studio lights. Now the next step is on me to work on framing up the photos.
Was a good day, we took Cloey out and let her help plant about 60 plants. She loved getting dirty.
Katie was having a great time just being outside, until she suddenly got sick. Turns out she has thrush mouth. Its nasty stuff and made her really ill. Lucky for us my daughter's friend had gone through it and discovered that the best treatment going is Gentian Violet. Stained her mouth and bottom with this stuff and almost instantly she was feeling better. So off to daycare with her tomorrow with her purple lips and bottom.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Stephen had a wedding to photograph this week end. I always tag along if I can when ever he does any photos. The last wedding he did was of a very funny couple. I think their wedding will always be my favorite ever.
This one was a little less comical, a church setting and a I don't know just different. Not in a bad way, each couple should have the wedding that they want. The wedding should suit the couple and in both case I feel like this was the case.
The above photo is the only one I took at the wedding, I think I like the black and white version best. Then again I always love black and white photos the best. Mostly I stood around holding the flash in various places. Stephen happened to hand me the camera while he was sorting out some candles and the little girl kissed the bride. I had to take the shot because the entire morning the little girl had refused to get close to the bride. She didn't like her poofy dress and didnt want to get close enough to touch it. lol Kids!!
The whole day was a bit trying because we still have not gotten Stephen's camera back. Apparently Nikon is waiting on a part or something. This meant Stephen took the photos with my camera. We haven't had my camera for long so of course Stephen isn't as comfortable as he is with his own. Plus his camera take larger photos than mine does. Now I would go into details but I dont understand the technical part of it I just know that when I was looking at developing the photos these seem smaller and different. I guess I need to get used to both cameras so this is just training for me.
The other thing that is driving Stephen a little nuts is that when he came here he had to leave a lot of stuff behind. Partly because the power cords are different. Partly because by the time we pay for transer boxes for every thing so that the cords would work and pay the cost to ship it all here, we could just go out and buy US products and save a lot of hassle. Because Stephen wasn't able to bring all of his stuff we do not have studio lights.
The church was dark making it hard to take the photos with no lights. Now we got a lot of good shots but not the exact shots Stephen wanted. A LOT of this is that Stephen is his own worst critic and I am not sure that he will ever look at any photo he takes and say " thats the best shot ever" Some of it he has a real point and we need the lights. So Stephen is in a wirl wind trying to find the ones he wants at a price we can manage.
I was exhausted after the wedding and really ready to call it a day. Unfortunately it wasn't that simple. We came home to find that Sara had let Katie pretty much wreck the living room and my son and daughter-n-law where here to do a not so fun task.
A few years ago my x made a really dumb choice to finance an Mustang for our 16 year old son who didn't have the best record of making payments on his pick up (which wasn't paid off when he got he Mustang). Because a 16 year old should never have 2 car payments while working part time and going to high and trying to have a girlfriend that he wanted to spoil rotten (as all boys should) and school things just didn't work out.
My x's fix was to park the car and put a for sale sign on it. His hope was that either the boy would realize that he had to make the payments or some one would buy it and get it out of our name. My thining was that if I was making the payments I would just drive it. And I parked my van and drove the Mustang for a couple of weeks. However I guess once a mommy van driver always a mommy van driver. I just didn't like the Mustang. I made a VERY VERY VERY bad decision. A close friend came by the house and the Mustang came into the conversation. She wanted it and wanted it bad. The problem was that she was newly married and her and her husband where young. No one would finance them at a decent rate. I made the choice to let them take over the payments on the Mustang. Every thing was fine until a year and a half into it they changed insurance companies. The old insurance company reported that the insurance was cancled and we got a letter in the mail that we needed to prove insurance on the Mustang. The girl did mail in her insurance proof with her payment. Some how from that point on it was the biggest battle ever. The finance company did not assoicate the money orders with the account for the Mustang because the money orders had the girls name on them and not mine or my x's. Then I had her start putting our name and the account number on the money order. Still several payments where in what they call "unidentifyable funds" eventually that got sorted out but what never did get sorted out was that the insurance was in this girl's name and not the name on the account. The finance company added forced insurance to the payment and the girl just kept paying the amount that she had always paid. I spent hours and hours on the phone with my x, his mother and the finance company trying to sort it all out.
Finally the girl tells me she has it all sorted and not to worry she has a name and number of some one at the finance company if anything else goes wrong. However it must not have been as sorted as she indicated because a repo man turned up at her parent's house to repo the car. This girl's father threatened the repo guy and I hear he actually put his hands on the repo guy.
The next thing I know is the girl's husband is saying he bought his wife a new car and his plan is to park the Mustang and let the repo guy come for it.
Well hell if they do that then the car gets sold at an auction, what ever it brings goes toward the balance of the loan and me and my x are stuck paying off the rest for a car that we dont have. What really made me mad about it was they never came to me and said that they simply couldn't deal with the issue any longer and wanted out. They where just going to throw my credit down the drain and never say a word. From strangers I expect this from the parents of my god daughter NEVER did I exspect it end like this.
My x had said a while back that if it gets to the repo point he would pay off the past balance and let our son take over the payments again. So my son and his wife came over and we went to get the car.
These people who ruined my credit and was about to really throw me under the bus threw a real fit when they found out that I was taking the car back. By the time we went for the car it wouldn't start (even though she was driving it a week ago), two of the factory rims where gone and donut tires where in their place, a very exspensive stereo system had been ripped out, the driver's window had been left down for a week in the rain, the door panel had been not just removed but torn and the entire inside of the car was trashed beyond reason. All of this in a week! When we tried to call and ask where the rims and stereo was the girl's father cussed out Stephen and tried to say that his daughter bought them. No way did she drive that car out of my drive way with out 4 factory rims and the stereo!
It was a hard task to deal with and I learned my lesson.I will never trust any one with my credit again! EVER
Turns out that my x don't want our son to take over the payments, the way he sees it he is looking at over $2000.oo to get he car paid up to date and back into a decent running condition. I am thinking more like $3000.oo. He figures if he is going to pay that much he may as well drive it. As long as he is paying for it good for him. Of course our son and daughter-n-law are not happy but I understand where his dad is coming from and what his concerns are so I wont argue the point I am just glad its all sorted.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Saturday, March 07, 2009
I was running late, because I had no idea that the road I take once a month to get to drills is under construction. I had to take a long crappy detour. So any way today was the first drill where every one who had been deployed had to turn up for drill. I was shocked when I pulled in to see a darn formation! I guess I got used to lazy gaggles.
When a guard unit is deployed and there are people who can not go and job positions that have no one in them, the state pulls random soldiers to fill those spots. This deployment was even odder, the state took several units and put them together to form a full battalion of soldiers with a diverse range of jobs. Then the battalion was trained to work as Military Police for the duration of the deployment.
Now this deployment was hard for me in a lot of ways. I didn't want to stay behind. There is this thing with most soldiers, your unit or platoon (depending on the size of the unit your in) is like a family. For me it was like watching my second family go off to war and me staying behind. Along with that feeling of abandoning your family there is the fact that even though deployment is hard work, dangerous and scary and all that bit. There is also a since of excitement and adventure in being deployed. Knowing that something can and will happen but not having a clue what.
For those soldiers that are telling their families that they are 100% against deployment and they would do anything to get out of it. Either they don't like the military and really would be better off out of it or they are telling their families what they think they want to hear. Don't take that the wrong way, its heart breaking to leave your loved ones behind for a year or more and you miss them and think of them daily and wish you where home with them but there is an undeniable excitement to it as well.
So needless to say it was hard on me to not go with my unit this time around. I had just gotten married and almost instantly became pregnant. There where a lot of changes going on in my life that where a struggle. (the struggles of new marriages and mixed families is another blog for another day). At the end of the day I believe for me and my family and the place we where in at the moment, it was best that I couldn't go.
Any way back to drills. There where a lot of people there that I have never met before. Some will choose to transfer into the unit and stay with us, some will return to the unit they where in before deployment and some will be finishing up their enlistments and leaving the guard all together. The whole thing felt so strange to me. Here where all these people who had deployed with my unit and I don't know any of them.
One of the guys recently became a US citizen and I think he was the one who got me all ruffled up on the real topic of today's blog. This new citizen wanted to talk politics. Now I know that in order to become a citizen the guy had to take a really hard exam and he of course had to know a lot of information about our government and all that. However the conversation eventually got to Welfare. This issue is one that makes my blood boil!
This guy believes that because the intent of the system is to support the very old and children then there is no putting down the system. Maybe that is true, however that is not how it really works. During our discussion my friend Misty ask him if he personally knows one person on Welfare. Of course he don't so he has no first hand knowledge of how things really happen.
I know people that do not work, have never worked and have no intention of working that live off the system. I also know some people who work their asses off and when they hit a bump in the road of life they can't get any help at all.
As I am extremely tired from a long day and a week from hell I think I will have to rant later.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Stephen took this picture of my son Steven and his wife Carissa last summer.
This has been the craziest week ever! It started on Monday when Katie had to be picked up early from daycare because she was very sick. 103 fever, and fluids flowing from all directions, I picked her up along with 2 shopping bags of clothes that she had dirtied up in a couple hours. I ended up being off work all this week. I really don't have the vacation time so I am having to apply for FMLA....aaarrrggg I hate FMLA its complicated and a real pain.
I have spent he whole week trying to comfort a baby who's primary reaction was to throw up on me or worse! When I wasn't walking the floor with her, I was washing and re-washing the blankets from her bed and the covers on her walker and swing. I kept thinking that if I cleaned every thing it would help kill all the germs and maybe stop the spread of the virus that Katie had. I guess it helped some because I didn't get sick.
Katie is not a cuddlier, she always sleeps alone and really cant fall asleep if there is any one near her. This whole week she has slept in our bed for most of the night and cuddled. There have been times that I watch her sleeping and wish she would cuddle with me, I never meant for it to be wet stinky cuddles lol.
Stephen mailed off his camera last week to Nikon to have a minor repair done. It is always hard to part with his camera, there is always this fear that the camera will get lost or damaged. Well Stephen's worst fears happened. The post office in California has said that they did receive the package, they did attempt to deliver it (at 4:59 AM!!) and the package was brought back to the post office and locked in a cage. From that point on its a huge mystery as to what happened. The post office manager is in a panic, they have lost a package that is insured for over $4000.oo. No manager wants to have to deal with costing the company that amount of money.
The customer service department has been terrible. We have had to demand managers in order to even get them to try and find the package. To make matters worse we are required to wait 21 days before filing a claim. Stephen has a wedding to photograph in one week! So at this point he is trying his lenses on my camera and hoping that he can take wedding worthy photos with it. Once your used to a piece of equipment its uncomfortable to change to new one, especially when you have little time to check it out and see what all it can do.
Yesterday I was on the phone with the post office when I got several text from Carissa. I was thinking geeeshhhh I am on the phone I will read them and text back when I am done! Then I felt bad for thinking it. Steven was at the emergency room! Carrissa took him in at about 11:30 am. He had woken up about 2am with terrible stomach pains. He thought food poisoning or the virus that is going around. But by 11 am he realized he better go to the doctor because he couldn't handle the pain. Apparently one of the nurses said it was a pulled muscle. Lucky for Steven his wife insisted that they do test. She kept telling them that he had not lifted anything and she didn't believe he had a pulled muscle. Turned out his appendix was severely enlarged.
What made the whole thing even worse was that they arrived at the ER at 11:30 am and the doctor didn't do a cat scan until 4pm! They had given him something for pain shortly after he arrived there, but the medication was not touching his pain. Finally they moved him to a room to wait for surgery and promised he could have more pain medication. I arrived at the hospital at almost 5pm and he still had not received any more pain medication. He was starting to get a fever and he looked like he was hurting. The nurse kept saying that she had to speak to the Dr to get him to order more medication. Carissa kept saying that the doctor ordered it before moving him from the ER. Turns out the Dr had ordered morphine but the nurse didn't check to see if he had. The nurse finally came in and said she would give him morphine and then he would need to change out of his clothes into a hospital gown. All I could think was that Steven is a big boy if they give him morphine there is no way his pregnant wife is gonna be able to lift him to change his clothes and I know I can't lift him. So I pointed this out to the nurse and suggested that he change first. The nurse looked at him and I guess she didn't want to have to lift a drugged up big boy and gave him his gown before he got the morphine.
Stephen (my husband not my son) was near the hospital when I found out so he met us there. He was so tired from Katie keeping us up all night that he opted to take Katie home and get to bed early. He wasn't home half an hour before he was texting me saying that he was throwing up just like Katie. I came home later that night to find him sick and exhausted.
At 9:30 pm they finally prepped him for surgery and took him back. The doctor said that he would be in recovery in about 30 minutes. Well over an hour later we where all getting worried when the doctor came in the waiting room. Apparently because Steven is bigger, and the fact that his appendix was quite enlarged, and something about his intestines being in the way the surgery took longer. Thankfully he was fine and recovering.
It was in some ways funny to see him getting prepped for surgery. Stephen has never had surgery before and was a bit nervous. He was making jokes and had the staff laughing before they started all the prepping. Then his eyes almost popped out of his head when they told him that the anesthesia would make him sleep so deeply that he would stop breathing so they would be putting a breathing tube down his throat. He actually tried to talk them into doing the surgery with out the tube, the idea of a tube down his throat was not settling with him.
Thankfully Katie is better, Steven is already home from the hospital and I am heading back to work tomorrow. I hope next week is a bit less dramatic and maybe Stephen and I can get some sleep at night with out Katie rolling around in our bed!
Monday, March 02, 2009
Stephen has an amazing camera, he has had it for a while and never had any problems with it. Its a Nikon D2X. We have been very lucky to be able to have such a nice camera and no problems. Once before Stephen was cleaning the inside of the camera and broke part of it, that was really his fault. He mailed it off to Nikon and they fixed on the warranty, simple, easy and no hassle.
All of the sudden, the very day that we brought home my camera, Stephen's camera started having a problem. Every time he put the flash on top the camera cuts out or says that the battery is dead. Stephen did some research and found that there is an issue with the boot that holds the flash. So we called up Nikon and mailed the camera back to them for repair.
We realized that the warrenty may be out but we need the camera! So we filled out a form, went to the post office and paid extra for insurance and a delivery confermation.
We recieved the attempted delivery confermation however USPS tried to deliver the camera at 4:59 AM and of course no one was there to accept the delivery. A notice was left with a lable number. We contacted USPS and was informed that the package would not be automaticly redelivered. Nikon needs to contact USPS and schedule a redelivery time. We can not schedule the delivery because the package is not being sent to us. The reciever has to schedule the delivery.
So Friday we called Nikon and explained the situation. The rep tried to tell Stephen several times that if they did not accept reciept of the package then we must have mailed it COD where they had to pay for the delivery cost. It took Stephen 5 tries to explain to the woman that he had a reciept where he paid for it. The rep assured us that first thing Monday some one would go to the post and pick up the camera. As well once the camera is picked up and brouht back to the repair center some one would call us verify that the camera was safely delivered.
I called Nikon today to say that I had not recieved notification as promised. The man put me on hold, then came back and said he was still trying to find out something and put me back on hold. After 5 more minutes of hold he disconnected me. I spent the next 30 min trying to re-call the service center. The problem was that they automated system suddenly wouldn't let me use the option to speak to a rep.
Once Stephen arrived home he started trying again to reach some one. Finally he got a rep on the phone who told him that basically they couldn't pick up the phone, call a toll free number and schedule the delivery. The woman went around and around the whole issue and kept saying that they simply could not sort it out for two days. Stephen is saying to them repeatedly that if some one does not call to reschedule the delivery TODAY, then tommorow the camera will be returned to us. Stephen called 5 times, I called 2 times and every time we ask to speak to a supervisor the standard answer was "we don't have a supervisor" . However after insisting to speak to a supervisor we where placed on hold again, the told that they where transfering us. Every time they would hang up instead of transfering us.
Finally on call number 7 or 8 Stephen spoke to a supervisor who said he will call USPS right now. The supervisor (Domingo) called USPS and scheduled the delivery, called Stephen back with a Nikon reference number and a USPS reference number. Now why did that take what 8 phone calles and 7 rude customer service reps!
Now I currently work for an insurance company under a Medicare contract. My current job is working appeals, so I deal with written correspondance. However I have not been in that position for every. I spent 3 years at Cigna where I took customer service calls all day, then I went to my current job where the first few years I was again taking customer service calls all day. I will never believe that a customer service center does not have a manager/supervisor available. Yes they may be on a call and I may need to be on hold but to say that they dont have a supervisor is well BS!
Not to mention that Stephen owns thousands of dollars worth of Nikon products. Any time that you spent 2 thousand dollars in 15 minutes on Nikon products to exspand your current inventory I feel like you deserve good customer service! Now the 2 thousand was just recently, Stephen had to make 2 trips from the UK to the US to bring all his camera gear over, and he still has stuff that he hasn't brought over yet. Not to mention all the stuff he sold off before coming here. And add to the fact that when people we know ask him for a recomendation he always recomens Nikon products.
Customer Service is the #1 most important part of any company. I don't care if the customer only spends a dollar or if they spend millions, customer service is key to the success of any buisness. If you are selling a reliable, usable, indemand product but you have crap customer service I wont use your products. I have no idea how any company survives with poor customer service!
Now on to another subject. The last two days I took lots of photos of the girls. Mostly Shelby because she is so willing to pose for me. But I also took some of Sara and Katie. Katie was happy and playful and kept running off. This morning Katie got up happy and had her morning bath. She plaid, giggled and carried on like every thing was fine.
Stephen dropped her off at 7 AM and she was fine. The daycare fed her breakfast. Apparently she ate a really good breakfast and left nothing to be wasted. Then a few minutes later she was throwing up every where. By 11 AM I was clocking out and heading to daycare to get her. She had 103 fever and was really out of it. By the time I got there she had been changed 3 times because she either threw up or pooped all over her self. They had gotten permision from Stephen to give her something for her fever but she still had 101 temp.
I gave her some red gatoraide when we left the daycare. By the time I got to the doctor's office she had thrown up on her clothes. I wiped her off with a baby wipe, and as I am taking her out of the van she threw up again.
I changed her diaper and her bottom was fine. I checked her in the waiting area at the doctor's office. She was fine. I noticed when I sat her on the doctor's scales she had another dirty diaper, and dang it I left the bag in the car. By the time that the intern checked her, went and got the doctor and they checked her (really it was only a few minutes) The doctor decieded that she wanted Katie's dirty diaper so they could do test on it..eeeeewwww. She gave me a diaper and when I went to clean Katie up omg her bottem was almost bleeding!
Now picture this I went from work to daycare to the doctor's office. All I had with me was the emergency diapers and a baby blanket that we keep in the van. No clean clothes for her or anything. So I walk in with a baby wrapped up in her blanket, she has no shoes or jacket on because she had thrown up on them at the day care. She had red, wet stuff all down her. Embarassing enough to have your baby looking like she dont get clean clothes. I mean every time I tried to clean the red yuck off her it just smeared all over her more. Then I get back there and realize that because she was throwing up as I took her out of the car I didn't think to grab an extra diaper! geeeessshhh now I really look like I dont take care of her. So lets make it even worse when I went to change her to give them the dirty diaper, there was poop all over the inside of her already dirty clothes. So when I leave the room I have katie in a diaper and socks. I get to the desk to pay and had to set her down. Katie is 10 months old and has been walking for a month now. When I sat her down in her blanket to write the check she gets up and walks off into the waiting area in just her diaper. Now mind you its cold outside. I bet people thought omg this poor baby! Katie with her raw bottom, cramping tummy, aches and fever is looking at every one laughing, smiling and giggling. She wasn't acting sick so most people would think she is there for a check up. I didn't know what to say so I grabbed her up with her blanket and rushed her out the door and into the van where she was asleep before I ever got out of the parking lot.
what a day! Katie is sleeping and Stephen's camera will be delivered at 7 am so I guess all in all I can go have a nap now!
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Took a few more picst today, we left the photo stuff set up in the living room tonight because tommorow is Stephen's turn to be on the other side of the camera! He tends to stay on the back side where he never gets his photo taken. Yesterday when I took a couple just to see where everything was I had to say Boobies just to get him to smile, tommorow he gets to see what I have been putting poor Shelby through.
Shelby (age 10) made me laugh today when I took a few pictures of Sara (age 15). Shelby was up by the camera telling Sara how off her modeling was and this is how you should be doing it. We both just looked at her like I have been making her be my muse way to much.