Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oh no, you DI'INT

Now that the kids are all in public school, I've been interviewing for Chemical Engineering positions.
So as part of my effort to prepare for an upcoming interview I went with a friend to Kohls to get some new clothes that both look professional and POP with some fun color.  She picked out two shirtsthat were the same design in different colors.  Plus we pulled a jacket off to see how it would look, so she recommended I get the jacket too even though I had one at home.  My friend also helped me pick out some new bras, cause you know, mine were all two sizes too big and meant for nursing.  So that really wasn't working.  Turns out the bras were buy one get one half off, so I got two that fit really nicely.  WIN!

Husband got home and took me to the outlets to find some clothes.  Ann Taylor had a great suit and blouse that was the same color that my friend picked out but I liked the cut a lot better. 

SOOO....the day after my interview I went back to Kohls to return the Jacket and the two blouses that I didn't use.  I expected to get back $120 plus tax because the jacket was $60 and each shirt was $30. 
Turns out the person who checked me out didn't ring me up correctly.  Rather than scan both shirts she scanned one shirt twice.  Same difference.  HOWEVER, the girl (Ashley) who was handling the return scanned my receipt and then scanned both shirts and announced to me that the pink shirt was not on the receipt and that I would not be able to return it. 

Excuse me?  Yes you will take it back.  I bought these two days ago, the tags are still on.  The cashier screwed up, not me. 

OK Ma'am.  Calm down.  It's not my job to make sure the cashiers do theirs. 

She probably scanned one shirt twice since they're the same.  [Look at receipt and see two of the same UPC numbers]

So THAT got worked out, but when she went to return the jacket I was only going to get back $47.  Ok, no.  I paid $60.  I'm going to get $60 back. 

She told me that it was part of a buy one get one 50% off.  The store automatically paired the jacket with one of the bras and there was NO way to give me $60 back. 

There is absolutely a way to get all the money back and if I have to return the bras I will.  But I will be getting $60 back for the jacket

I can't help you.

I'd like to talk to your manager.

[Roll eyes] You're going to have to stand over there and wait.

Brad shows up and I explain that the bras were buy-one-get-one-half-off.  I bought two bras.  I bought ONE jacket that had the same deal.  But I didn't want two jackets.  HE gets what I was saying and agrees that it should have been paired with like items. 

Then another manager shows up.  Ashley jumps in and explains what's going on in the worst possible light being completely unhelpful.  Thinking to myself, "And THIS Ashley is why Brad is a manager and YOU are not."

The two managers are working very calmly and most helpfully trying to work out a solution.

Their first solution was to give me $60 store return.  I initially agreed thinking they would give me the money back in cash, but then they started to put it on a Kohls gift card I stopped them and said, "Based on how this has all gone down so far, I'm not real anxious to come back here and shop.  So that's really not going to work for me."

They empathized completely but said that their hands were tied.  So the ONLY way to get the full value of the jacket was to return the bra that it was paired with.  So I stepped around the corner into the bathroom and took my bra off hoping it was the right one.  Even without the sales tag they were able to look it up. 

ASHLEY said that the one on the receipt was nude.  (GAH!!! ASHLEY!!!)  I corrected her, "Actually they were both white."  The manager confirmed it was the correct bra and returned it with the jacket and I got my full refund.  AND they lost out on the profit from the second bra that I wanted to keep. 

Don't tell me that I'm not going to get a full refund for this jacket, Ashley.  I will totally take my bra off if I have to.  Right here.  Right now. 

After it was all settled I thanked Brad by name for understanding and helping me.  He looked confused and asked, "How did you know my name?"  I smiled and said, "Because I listen."

And then I walked triumphantly out of the store BRA-LESS feeling like a warrior.  Hear me roar, Ashley.  Hear me roar.

In retrospect they should have rung up the two bras in a new transaction to pair them together with the deal and then return everything from the first receipt.  But hindsight is 20-20.  And this makes for a far better story.  Win.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baldness. The Embarassing Truth Before Regrowth.

Three years ago I took a family picture.  My hair was starting to thin, but I managed to hide a lot of the loss with the volume that was otherwise made up by my naturally curly hair.  I got away with it for some time.
However, due to stress (another post entirely) and post baby hormones, my hair started falling out to the point that I was looking like a drown rat.  The length was still there, but I was looking like a homeless, scraggly mess.  I first realized this when one of my children took a picture of me from behind and I saw the gaping holes in my hair.  I lost my patience with myself and took a pair of scissors and chopped off the length of skinny pony tail I had left.  The next day I went to my friend and professional hairdresser who had to try to fix my compulsive moment of frustration.

I was hoping with short hair that perhaps I could get some of the volume back.  I tried taking high doses of biotin and rubbed jojoba oil into my hair to clean out the follicles.  My hair continued to fall out and now my shorter cut was no longer able to mask my onward march toward baldness. 

I'm not normally a very vain or high maintenance person, but female baldness is beyond even my threshold for feeling good about myself.  Summer of 2014 rolled around and I had precious little hair left. 

I started researching hair loss causes, solutions and had to wade through a lot of commercialized hype.  Anything that sounded fantastic would be revealed as a complete fraud on an independent review outside of the promotional website. 

Let me cut to the chase.  There is a hormone called DHT that is primarily responsible for hair loss.  Dihydrotestosterone (commonly abbreviated to DHT), or 5α-dihydrotestosterone.  Do you see the testosterone that is involved in that name?  I'll let your imaginations go wild and place the blame  as you will.  (As a side note: this was AFTER my stress was managed through homeopathic, natural means because stress, when unchecked, can lead to autoimmune disorders where hair loss is one of the side effects).

I found two products that were highly rated on Amazon from people who had actually used them.  One was a caffeine shampoo made by Ultrax.  Another was a generic herbal supplement (Saw Palmetto) that, based on my research, was an effective and natural DHT blocker.  I did try some of the specific DHT blocker mixes (Ultrax Hair Maxx) but I ran out quickly and for the price, it didn't seem worthwhile if my much cheaper Saw Palmetto accomplished the same thing.

I took some before pictures on August 30, 2014 with some confidence that I would have some results to compare within a few weeks.  A little more than a week later (Sept 8, 2014) I saw some of the immediate growth that had been reported by other users. 

WoW!  It was like I had a whole new crop of bangs coming in!  I knew that it was working!

One note about the Ultrax shampoo:  As a shampoo, it really stinks.  It doesn't foam up and clean unless you use a LOT.  With the price of it being nearly $50 for a puny little bottle, it's not something that I want to have to use a lot of each time.  So I would wash my hair with my normal shampoo to get it clean and then use a single pump of the expensive Ultrax shampoo and it would foam up and get distributed throughout my hair much better.  I'd let it sit for as long as possible to make sure that I was getting the most benefit. 

I kept taking the Saw Palmetto both morning and night and using the caffeine shampoo.  The more expensive Ultrax DHT-blocker mixed vitamin ran out within a month, but I didn't get any more due to the price.  I figured if I saw any negative effects or hair loss I could always get more.  But things kept chugging right along just using the Saw Palmetto as my DHT blocker.

I took the kids to the Exploritorium for a fun Science field trip in January.  While there I climbed into their triangular mirror exhibit.  I saw the back of my head for the first time in months.  I was AMAZED!  I didn't see my scalp, but my hair had actually filled in and looked full.  Hallelujah!  So four and a half months after I had begun the regimen, on January 11, 2015, I took a second set of pictures. 

If you notice, my hairline regrew, whereas before it was VERY receded.  The hair looks thicker and my scalp was not showing through.  I took both set of pictures with wet hair right combed back so that my curls wouldn't mask what was going on. 

I've kept up the process with Saw Palmetto and the caffeine shampoo and at this point I'm just working on getting my length back.  When I comb my hair now the pick drags quite a bit more through the new thickness. 

There is a prophecy from Isaiah about the daughters of Zion having baldness instead of well set hair.  Before I found a solution to my hair loss I felt rather like I was personally fulfilling the prophecy.  But I know I'm not the only one who may have this problem.  So as embarrassing as it is to post this for the whole world to see, I feel obligated to share this with my sisters who may also be experiencing this very embarrassing affliction.  I have gained so much from all that you share.  This is me paying it back. 

As a recap, here is a progression of regrowth side by side:


Saturday, September 29, 2012

A surprising reaction

I read a book a few months ago titled, Heaven is for Real.  It's about  four year old Colton Burpo's experience visiting heaven after a ruptured appendix.  He claims to have met his baby sister, his grandfather and most incredibly, Jesus.  The story is really quite remarkable.  For some time afterward Colton and his father played a game where they would go through all the available pictures of Christ to see which one was the most accurate.  This went on for some time and none of the pictures were ever quite right.  His father heard of another little girl, Akiane, who also claims to have visited heaven but is also a child prodigy and creates amazing artwork.  She did this portrait of Christ at eight years old. 

Colton's father pulled up the image on his computer and called him in to look at it.  He did not give any introduction or explanation.  According to the book Colton froze and said, "That's Him." 

I found the whole thing fascinating.  After reading that part in the book I got up holding Aaron, who was 14 months old at the time, and I went to look up Akiane's portrait of Christ.

Aaron literally jumped off my lap toward the computer screen.  Just for the record, I had NEVER sat with him looking at pictures of Jesus or repeating His name.  Aaron said, "Jesus".  Now understand that this kid says, "Momma" and "Na-Na" for nursing.  That's pretty much the extent of his coherent words.  I was completely blown away and I quickly grabbed a phone to hoping to capture it. He did say Jesus again but it was almost a whisper, so I cut the video down to the part where he said it again.  It's at the very beginning.  I know this may be a very controversial claim but I make no apologies or excuses.  That's what happened. 

So why should Aaron get so excited and know the name Jesus?  Aaron has never had a near death experience.  
We believe in a premortal existence and that babies come from the presence of God.  I believe babies come still able to remember.  Gradually that memory is veiled with forgetfulness.  This life is a test for our faith and obedience, so if we continued to remember being with our Heavenly Father past babyhood it wouldn't be much of a test.

I have occasionally pulled up the picture of Akiane's Jesus, and while Aaron's reaction is not nearly so surprising he does still love to look at it.  He will climb up onto the desk to sit close to the computer screen and touch the portrait's eyes and mouth and even lean over to kiss His face.  It's very endearing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Playing with Grandma

After bowling we went grocery shopping to WinCo (BEST store EVER!) and stopped by to visit Grandma Diane. She and Elle sat at the piano together. Grandma played and Elle sang. Grandma complimented Elle on her good singing and Elle said, "I know." Well, at least she doesn't have self esteem issues. LOL!


Daddy wanted to get out of the house and do something to make some memories. I have to agree that it is time and money well spent. Hunter got a coupon for free bowling at a place in Fairfield. We didn't go to that one, but the idea and Hunter's excitement was enough to get us out and into some other stinky rented shoes.

Garrett is absolutely BALL CRAZY!!! I think he was a little frustrated that he couldn't pick any of them up. Poor baby!

Times have gotten so technologically advanced! We were able to make the bumpers pop up when it was the kids turn to bowl. So who won? Elle, of course. Followed by Hunter, then Ethan then Momma and dead last was Daddy. He came off with a few strikes at the end, so I think he was holding back just to make sure one of the kids would win. And I'm sure bowling with Garrett didn't help his score any. What a good Daddy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Favorite Aunt & Uncle!

Rosie and Jerry were out for Rosie's High School Reunion. I'm not sure which one, probably 25th? ;-)

It was SO nice having family around. The kids especially loved having a grandpa-type person that they could climb on and give kisses.

Elle has never known either one of her Grandpas. She was only 4 months old my my dad died. We went to watch the boys at pre-baseball training camp a while back and there was another family along the fence watching their players. Elle was fascinated with the little girl and her grandpa. She kept looking at him and finally asked me, "What is one of those?" pointing to the grandpa. I told her he was the little girl's grandpa. She looked down and tried to think of something and then said, "Can I have one?" Heartbreaking.

We have two aunts on my Dad's side and two uncles on my Mom's side. Out of everybody these guys are my FAVORITES! It's moments like these that I'm super grateful that Families are Forever!