Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update on the Furniture Debacle

Well, I can't give you a resolution, but I can let you know where we're at for now. I'd refer you to the BBB website, but my report has still not been published there. I would still encourage you to check out the site though...the sheer number of complaints, let alone the magnitude of each, is absolutely appalling.

Briefly, the recap of that complaint is this...

I submitted an abbreviated version of the complaint that I sent to the Attorney General's office. Only abbreviated because of the character limit in the online form! The first response I got back was only regarding the fact that I had quoted the owner as saying,"You pissed of Mr. nice guy." Her response was that she's 62 and that she doesn't use that kind of language. She then proceeded to say that her exact words were "No more Mrs. nice gal." OK...first of all, talk about seriously avoiding the actual issue! Secondly, I felt like she had argued my case for me...regardless of the semantics of the issue, the customer was treated in an unacceptable manner. Lastly, can I tell you today that I remember what she initial However, I CAN say that Elizabeth and I both sat down within 30 minutes of the instance and wrote down our accounts separately. We proceeded to record the exact same do the math, I think we know what she said (again...SO not the issue). The remainder of their initial response was that they had been "more than nice," and that I had insisted on harassing their warehouse manager. Aye aye aye.

So I responded stating that the actual issue had been completely avoided in their response and that I had not harassed their manager. I did say that I would not argue the fact that I had become defensive in my interactions with them, but only as a direct response to their attitudes toward me. I wrote that it would be clear to the Attorney General's office that the problem originated with their inability to file and maintain their paperwork.

Their final response skirted the issue AGAIN, stating simply that they had gone out of their way to accommodate me and that I would not receive a refund because I was not legally due one. They also claimed that my order had been placed as soon as I called to check on my order status, that it had been done so with a rush attached, and that I was aware of this. Two questions..1) if they had placed the order right then and told me about it, why would i have continued to call them all week to find out what the status of my order was? and 2) if they had placed the order earlier that week...why would the manager then have offered me a refund 3 days later? Seriously??? Bull shooey, I say.

Quick side bar...even if I weren't legally due a refund, which I definitely believe that I am, what kind of a business goes this far out of their way to throw their customers under the bus??? When this whole issue began, I was one complaint out of 38 in the past 36 months. Currently, there are 41 complaints posted on the BBB website within the past 36 months, and mine isn't even there yet. SERIOUSLY??? That's 3 more published complaints in a month's time.

So, the BBB wasn't able to reach a resolution, but that's not their job. At least I have added yet another nail to their coffin in cyber world. PLEASE...encourage your friends to check out the BBB website before shopping ANYWHERE.

Let's get to the Attorney General's office. I am not gonna lie...I don't feel incredibly confident in the level of support that I'm receiving here. However, I think that my case agent is just doing her job and being very careful to remain a neutral mediator between the company and the consumer. When she first called, she said that she was confident that I would receive a refund, but that it may be only 80% due to a restocking fee. I wasn't happy to hear that, and we had a pretty lengthy conversation regarding my expectations of her office and what I feel is their job as far as getting the facts and resolving the issue. That's when she explained to me that she is not there to represent me, but rather to represent the good of the state. And for that reason, she has to approach the situation as an unbiased investigator. She then proceeded to tell me that if I wasn't happy with whatever outcome we reach, I could pursue the issue further in court. Not wanting to burn my bridges at the AG's office I retracted and thanked her for her due diligence, and said that we would take each step in the process as it came.

So, she called again today and had some questions for me. Turns out, the company is now claiming that the order was a custom order, and according to the contract a custom order cannot be cancelled regardless of the circumstances. They should really be keeping track of these lies, because in my opinion, they've already dug themselves a hole.

So that's where we're at with the resolution. In regards to the legal possibility of pursuing this further, obviously for $150, that's not going to happen. I did, however, speak to a friend of mine who is a the record. First of all, before I even asked my question, he had some knowing statements to make about the company. Did I mention that he is a lawyer in family court??? Why would a lawyer in family court have knowledge of a company's legal woes. No reason unless they are so infamous that they are discussed in legal circles. Anyway, the reason I wanted to talk to him was to find out how far I could legally go in regards to telling people to stay away from the company. The last thing I need is for them to have grounds to charge me with defamation of character! He basically said that I could say whatever I wanted and print anything based on truth and I would be fine. He then proceeded to say that if anyone came after me, he'd defend me! Ha!

Well...stay tuned...I'll continue to post updates. Due to the holidays and the red tape of such a process, it could be a while before a resolution is reached. I feel fairly confident that I will receive the refund that I deserve though. And if I don't, I still get the's not like I'm losing either way. I have made it pretty clear to people that I will not be the one picking up the chairs if it comes to that, so if it does, my hardest decision will be choosing who to send to pick them up. I've had a lot of volunteers, but none of them are very happy with the situation, and I don't think I'd like to see any of them spend time in jail because of a confrontation during the pick up. So we'll just have to see...

Hopefully, it won't come down to that and I'll have my money back sooner than later!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shut 'em Down

OK...we've all had bad experiences with retailers, but this one has taken "bad experience" to a whole new level for me. I have just copied and pasted the report that I sent to the Attorney General's office in regards to this situation since I already did the work. So here you go...pass the word.


So, here it is. Oh...and for more shock and appalling incidents, check out the Better Business Bureau's website. After this experience, I've learned to check that site before shopping at ANY new store. I am currently one complaint out of 36 months. And those are only the people who thought to post on the website. Aye aye aye...

Monday, November 30, 2009

The following is a synopsis of my (Kristin Derr) dealings with Valley Furniture Warehouse.

Please contact me with any questions and with a resolution to this issue.

On October 26th, 2009, I walked into Valley Furniture Warehouse (VFW) and placed an order for two chairs from the Ashley Antigo collection. The chairs were $69 a piece. I explained that I was ordering the chairs to assist with Thanksgiving seating and the salesman, Richard, said that the chairs would definitely arrive in time for Thanksgiving. I paid for the chairs with check #128 in the amount of $147.48 (attached). This check was processed through my bank on October 29th.

Monday, November 23rd

Having not heard anything from VFW, I called them to inquire about my order. Since purchasing the chairs, I had read the paperwork which stated that it may take up to 14 weeks for orders to arrive. Although I was disappointed to read this, as I was verbally told differently, I was prepared to hear that my order had not yet arrived. When I first called, I was told that without the invoice number on my paperwork, there was no way to locate my order information. I found this odd, but stated that I would get them that information. Later that evening, I called back with the requested number. I spoke with Mike, the General Manger of the store. After giving him the number and remaining on hold while he researched the matter, he came back on the line and said that he found my personal information, but could find no information regarding whether my order had been placed. He stated that paperwork was unorganized due to an employee leaving. At this time, I asked Mike to do some further research and to call me first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, November 24th

As of 4pm, I had still not heard from Mike at VFW. I called him and he told me that “someone must have moved my paperwork,” because he could not locate it from the night before. He said that he had been unable to find any more information regarding my order. At this time, I began to inquire about my options in regards to obtaining some chairs. I asked if he could sell me the chairs from the floor, and what discount would be applied for purchasing the used display chairs. He said he would have to check. Not satisfied with the transaction to this point, and feeling as though no resolution was in sight, I asked to speak with one of his supervisors. He stated that, “We are very busy,” and I sympathized with that. However, I explained that I am a customer too and that I needed to speak with someone. I asked for one of them to call me within the hour.

At 6pm, still having heard nothing, I called VFW again. I asked Mike if I could speak with his supervisors and was told “they do not want to speak with you.” Mike said that they would sell me the display chairs but that they “looked brand new” and that there would be no discount. I explained that it is customary to issue a discount when selling display items and that there was no way to determine how much use they had gotten while sitting on the floor. Again, feeling as though I was backed into a corner, I asked if they would consider allowing me to use the display chairs and, assuming they were returned in the same shape in which they were now, allow me to exchange them with the new chairs when they arrived. He said he would have to ask.

At some point during this conversation I stated that I found it unbelievable that VFW would not admit to having made any mistake. Mike’s answer was that they had made no mistakes. I explained that either the order had not been placed or the paperwork was not filed correctly, and that either of these options would constitute a mistake. He then proceeded to blame his employees and their disorganization for these facts, but still refused to admit that VFW was at fault in anyway. He then told me that my 3 options were to 1) wait until the chairs arrived, 2) request a refund, or 3) take the display chairs at full price. He also told me that if I were to come into the store “with the attitude that you have now,” I would be escorted out of the store.

I told him that I would check with Ashley furniture and see if they would match the price that VFW had offered and if so, I would purchase the chairs from them and request a refund. Mike’s response was that Ashley would sell the chairs at a much higher cost, and that he knew the manager there (stated that he used to be the manager at VFW) and that he would not work with me at all. I stated that I would still check and asked if he would check regarding the display chairs. He said he would get back to me first thing in the morning.

Later that evening, I contacted Ashley furniture and found out that they sell the chairs for $64 a piece ($5 less than VFW). They did not have any in the warehouse, so I would have to order them. They also informed me that if I wanted to wait until Black Friday (11/27/2009) to purchase the chairs, I would receive a 20% discount.

Wednesday, November 25th

At 11:30 AM I had still not heard from Mike at VFW, so I called him. His statement to me was, “I’ve been waiting to see you in here this morning.” I reminded him that he had promised to call me first thing and he had no response to this. I explained to him that I had spoken with Ashley Furniture and that they were offering the chairs at a lower price. I then stated that I would proceed with the option of a refund that he had offered to me. At this time he stated that the Attorney General (AG) mandates that refunds cannot be issued until 14 weeks after the date of purchase. Appalled, I told him that I would call the Attorney General’s office myself.

I contacted the AG’s office immediately and was told that the 14 week statute was not a memorable aspect of VFW’s case, but that I would receive a call back to confirm this. (Aside: I never received a call back from the gentleman I spoke with at the AG’s office, but when I thought the situation was resolved, I felt it was not necessary to pursue the issue any further). I then called the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to inquire about filing a complaint. They told me the process and then told me that they do not normally care whether situations are reported to the AG’s office, but that in this case, I should ensure that it was. The fact that both organizations (AG and BBB) immediately referred to an existing VFW case was unnerving.

Shortly after I made these calls, I received a voicemail from Mike at VFW stating that he had spoken with the owners and that they had decided to issue me a refund before the 14 week time period had elapsed. (To me, the fact that this decision could be made meant that the statement regarding the mandate from the AG’s office was not accurate.) He stated that in order to issue the refund, he would need my paperwork. He also stated that he would understand if I did not want to come into the store and that I could mail the paperwork if I wanted to.

Thursday, November 26th

Thanksgiving; no further steps were made.

Friday, November 27th

Being that it was Black Friday, I felt that the store would be very busy and that my coming in would only add to their work load. I decided to wait until Saturday to submit the paperwork.

Saturday, November 28th

I made copies of the original paperwork and wrote a signature statement confirming that the refund would be processed on the original. I felt very strongly that the original paperwork was my only connection to the transaction and that for my protection it needed to remain in my possession. I asked a friend (Elizabeth Peters – EP) to deliver the paperwork as I felt that it was unnecessary for me to deliver it in person and I wanted to avoid any further confrontation. Soon after she entered the store, she called me and told me that they were refusing to take the copy of the paperwork or sign the statement and that they needed the original in order to process a refund. I stated that I would come into the store.

When I entered the store I was confronted by Mike, the GM. I explained to them that I felt that the original paperwork was my only proof that this transaction had taken place and that I would be happy to turn it over once the refund had been processed. Mike then stated that “there hasn’t been any transaction.” Obviously a falsehood as VFW has had my money in their possession since October 29th. At this point, a gentleman at a computer (bald with bold, silver glasses), the owner (an older petite woman), and another gentleman (maroon shirt with no tie) all began to talk to me at the same time regarding the situation. Once these individuals joined in, all statements made by them were in a confrontational manner and in raised voices.

The gentleman at the computer stated, “I am the one who processes the refunds, and in order to do so I need the original paperwork. No paperwork, no refund, your choice.”

When I asked what kind of protection I would have if I turned over the original paperwork, Mike stated, “we’ve never stolen money from anyone.”

I explained that my confidence in the company had been damaged and that I had spoken with both the AG’s office and the BBB and that I simply wanted out of this transaction.

At this time, the owner stated, “We were trying to be nice, but you pissed off Mr. nice guy.” She stated that they had offered to allow me to use the chairs for Thanksgiving and then exchange them with the new ones when they arrived. I tried to explain to her that that option was one I had asked about, but I had never been told that it was a viable one. Rather, I was led to believe that this would not be an option.

She interrupted me and said, “You will now wait until the chairs come in and then you will come pick them up. That’s your only choice. Goodbye.”

Mike attempted to continue to speak with me, at which point the owner stated, “Mike, we’re done with her and she’s leaving now.”

I too tried to continue the conversation and the owner continued to repeat, “We’re done. You’re done. Goodbye.”

I left the store and attempted to call the AG’s office again. The office was closed and I was unable to leave a message on the machine.

Note: Although I did not leave the original paperwork, the copies that I had made were taken by VFW and left at the store. If an attempt to locate the store’s paperwork is made, I would ask that it be confirmed that they are working off of their original paperwork and not the copies that I left. They do not have the originals that I was given, but they should have the original that they kept for themselves when the sale was made. My paperwork is 2 pages of a form printed in triplicate.

The following is a verbatim account of the situation that took place in the VFW store on November 28th. This is the account of Elizabeth Peters, the individual who accompanied me to the store this morning.

“I walked into the VFW and asked for Mike, the manager. I was directed to him. I let him know that I was in the store to assist my friend about a refund. I gave him her name and he became very rude. I explained that I was the messenger and he continued to be rude. He told me to come to the back. I went to the counter and asked him for a signature for Kristin (KD). He said no. I called KD and she came into the store. Upon her arrival the staff was VERY rude to her. Mike said they have never stolen money when KD simply asked for a refund of her goods. He wanted the original. A bald man said he could void out the transaction but the refund would have to wait. At that point a woman and two other employees came out and started to shout at KD. There were a total of four individuals involved. KD just wanted a refund that they said they would give her but they wanted the original paperwork because they did not have their paperwork. The “owner” yelled at KD and said she was trying to be nice but she pissed off Mr. nice guy and proceeded to say that she would have to eat the cost of the chairs. The bald guy jumped out of his chair saying, “That’s what you get, in your face,” and disappeared. We left the store before KD could be verbally attacked again.”

Personal statement:

I am requesting that VFW be mandated to issue me a refund of my full purchase amount. Please understand that my request is not based on the fact that the chairs did not arrive in the time that I expected, but that VFW cannot prove to me that the chairs were ever ordered. After finding this out I attempted to reach a resolution with them and felt that I finally had. I then attempted to deliver the requested paperwork in a manner which would protect me as the consumer and was spoken to in a way that still makes me cringe when I think about it. In my opinion, the fact that VFW was unable to show me proof or record of the chairs being ordered, is a breach of their contract.

I have been in the customer service industry for many years, and I am appalled at how I have been dealt with. The last interaction that I had with the employees of VFW was enough on its own to cause this complaint. The fact that there were days of interaction leading up to this is shocking. Many of the exchanges that took place were in a hostile manner, but it is difficult to portray that in writing. Also, I tried to keep the account above as emotionless as possible to offer the most accurate report.

Since this has happened, I have spoken to many friends and advised them against entering into transactions with VFW. Not surprisingly, more than a few of them have stated that they had or have heard of other unsatisfactory experiences with the company.

At many times I felt as though I was being backed into a corner because the company is privately owned. There is no one to speak to above the owner and they knew that and used it to their advantage. In addition, the owner refused to speak with me until she had an opportunity to accost me in the middle of her store. I was shocked at the manner in which I was spoken to and that the owner did not handle the situation better. In any other case, I would have expected the owner to pull me aside separately and attempt to resolve the situation civilly. Instead, she joined her employees in publicly and loudly berating me.

I have many personal opinions about this situation, but have attempted to keep this report as straight forward as possible. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the situation any further, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Addendum to initial report made on Monday, November 30th regarding my dealings with Valley Furniture Warehouse.

December 10, 2009

Since I submitted my original complaint, I have had a lot of time to think about the interactions that occurred. I wanted to make two additional points that I feel follow the legal tone that VFW has chosen to depend on.

1. According to the contract/order paperwork, a customer may cancel an order if the product has not been ordered at the time of cancellation.

a. At least 3 times that I can remember (now2 weeks after the incident(s)) I asked if the chairs had been ordered. Each time the answer I received was either, “I can’t tell you that,” or “I can’t locate that paperwork.” This led me to assume that the order had not been placed which, according to the contract, would put me within my rights to cancel the order.

2. The last incident in the report, and the one that caused me to finally file a complaint against the store, was when I was refused a refund because I would not leave the original paperwork with the store.

a. Throughout this process, it has become very clear to me that the contract, as written, is a result of previous litigation and is a complete and legal document developed by VFH and the Attorney General. It is for this reason that I feel the insistent request for the original paperwork was completely unfounded and inappropriate, and that their resulting refusal to process a refund is outside of their legal rights. Every other possible aspect of any transaction done with Valley Furniture Warehouse is spelled out very clearly in the contract. Nowhere in the contract does it mention that original paperwork must be surrendered in order to process a refund.

b. I strongly believe that VFW had lost all record of my order and needed my paperwork simply because they were lacking theirs. Unfortunately, in my haste to leave the situation that day, I left them with the copies I had made which I had intended to leave with them in order to process the refund. Had I been thinking more clearly at the time, I would have taken those as well so that they could not be used to replace paperwork that may have been missing.

c. I will ask again, if at any time during your investigation you ask for the paperwork as proof of any aspect of this transaction, please ensure that they are working off of original paperwork and NOT the copies that I foolishly left in their possession.

So...hopefully you will help me spread the word. My transaction is only $150, so I am definitely pursuing this for the principle of the matter. However, there are transactions for as much as $8,000 or more posted on the BBB website. These people are crooks and they need to be shut down. They should know better than to give me such a goal...I don't generally rest until I accomplish my goals. Mwah ha ha...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another House Update

I got chastised, lovingly, today for my absence (thanks for keeping me on my toes Robin :) ) so here's an update for everyone!

I am working my way through the process of purchasing my first house. My tendency to be painfully detail oriented has really been a blessing throughout this venture. Here's a quick breakdown of the timeline thus far, and in the near future...

August 9th: Saw the house, despite my stomach bug that nearly kept me home for the day. SO glad that I decided I needed to try to get out to see some houses!

August 10th: Made the offer at about 9:00 AM. The house had only been on the market for a day when I saw it. I knew that I was the first offer, but didn't want to risk anything by playing the low ball game. Instead, I offered asking price, and asked for a few unconventional items to convey. The offer was accepted as presented, which means that I will also be the proud new owner of the W&D, all curtain rods, a bathroom cabinet and surround sound speakers.

August 12th: I'm called the "posterchild" of homebuyers. My realtor and mortgage broker both inform me that I am ahead on all my paperwork and that this is abnormal. I still have a hard time understanding how people can sit on their haunches while trying to buy a house...I KNOW I'm not the only one giddy with excitement about this!

August 13-20: I continue to stay on top of things, receive all the necessary documents from the seller, and everything looks great! I also manage to sell and replace all my living room furniture. New dining room table, coffee table, entertainment center and couches.

Quick side story...I did all of this on craigslist. I wasn't planning on replacing my couches. I was browsing through craigslist one night and found a beautiful chaise lounge. I've ALWAYS wanted a chaise lounge and my new bedroom is big enough to accomodate one. So I got it...later that night I was doing some more browsing and found the matching couch and loveseat to the chaise lounge that I had just purchased. How could I not see that as serendipity?! (he he he) They are all in perfect shape, match my personality perfectly, are microsuede (which apparently cats don't like to sink their claws into), and they're beautiful. So, I got a whole new set of couches...retailing at about $1800...for $550! SCORE!

Great thing is, I've been able to purchase the new stuff almost entirely with the money that I made from selling the old stuff. Upgrading for no more money...amazing! Of course, I am selling items that I'm not replacing, but I am really excited to get rid of some of the clutter. Currently I am VERY tidy, but still have a lot of stuff. Trying to get rid of some of the unecessary stuff to achieve the clean, modern, minimalistic look. We'll see how successful I can be...I'm certainly not getting rid of everything!

August 21st: I find out that an earlier closing date is a good possibility. Background...before I made the offer, my realtor spoke with the seller's realtor and found that the family had just outgrown the house and wanted to stay in the neighborhood. For that reason, their ideal situation was to get under contract to sell, and THEN begin searching for a the same neighborhood. I took this as a great testament to the neighborhood by the way! So, as a good faith gesture I made the offer with a six week closing period. The understanding was that if they found a place earlier, we could probably close earlier. Never really expected that to happen though. SO...looks like it may! I'll let you know (I promise!).

August 25th: Home inspection

September 25th: Original closing date (hopefully changing)

September 28th: Original possession day (hopefully changing). Painters, DirectTV, Qwest...already scheduled to be there...gotta remember to change that too...

September 29-October 1: Moving mayhem (hopefully changing)

October 1st-4th: Mini VayK to Denver (NOT changing, but great motivation for hoping the others change)

October 9th: Tentative house warming party (not solidifying this date until after inspection...and I guess it won't even be definite at that point if closing is moved up)

October 31st: Open for trick-or-treating at my new house!!!

So there you have it...a completely ridiculous update with no solid information at all! :)

Thank you all for caring enough to read! Have a great day and I'll come back soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kristin...all growed up! :-)

Well ladies and gentlemen...I am under contract to purchase my first house. I am up late because I found out late, so I won't write much now. But you can see pictures here, and I will write more as the process continues. Closing is September 25!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

and last but certainly not least...three of three


I have officially begun the serious processes of purchasing a house. I've actually made an offer on a place, but it's a short sale.

Briefly, a short sale is the step before foreclosure. During a short sale, the seller has negotiating rights which they use to try to make a profit over what the bank is demanding. The process can be long and drawn out, not to mention the bank can pull any deal up to the very end.

Right now I'm a "back up" offer. Normally I would think that my chances were gone, but because of the short sale that may not be the case. I'm not used to hoping for others to not get what they want so that I can get what I want...but I have to admit that I really hope it doesn't work out for the first offer!

Of course, there are many more houses out there. In fact, there are currently over 6,500 houses for sale in the Albuquerque area. I'm sure that this is NOT the only one that I would be in love with. But I'm really in love with it! If you want to see it, click here (HOUSE) and it's under the "saved" tab. The address is 7515 Vancouver. Once you find it, click on "view details" and that's the best way to see all the info and pictures.

I continue to pray that God's will prevails, as I know it will. I'm also praying that I allow God's will to be my desire, and that's probably what I will struggle with the most. We shall see!!!

I know that I haven't been great at updating, but I can promise you that I will keep you all posted on the house situation!

two of three

ARGHHHH...I am so furious at my body's inability to step off of things. As you may or may not know, I have always struggled with ankle issues, and about 3 years ago I had reconstructive surgery to address that. Every time that I had ever hurt my ankle(s), it had been a result of being on my toes. Stepping off of a curb, stepping down a stair, back marching in marching band. Well, it happened again on Friday.

I was simply walking out of my home to go to brunch with a friend. I was fine, my foot made it's way out the door, ball of the foot on the ground, and next thing I know, all support was gone. I've turned my ankle on occasion since the surgery and it's been a matter of walking it off. NOT this time. I have now spent 3 days on crutches, taking advantage of my incredible friends, and planted on my couch with my foot alternating between an ice bath and a prop above my heart.

I did manage to get my hair done (it wasn't until after that that I realized how bad it really was), go to brunch, and get pushed around Kohl's in a wheel chair!

I am sure that it's just a sprain and everything will be fine, but I'm trying really hard to baby it. I really want to make sure that I do no damage to the work that the doctor did!

The REALLY frustrating part...for the last 6 weeks or so, I have finally gotten into a regular exercise routine. I've been running, walking, biking, dancing, wii fit(ting!)...all things I can't do with a bum ankle.

So...hopefully the future holds some brief recuperation followed by a quick jump back into the daily routine...including the exercise.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

one of three...

I haven't written in a while. I'll try to do better, but for now, here'a bit of Kristin's life...

My grandfather passed away on May 20th. He held on for a while, and we really thought he was going to go many times before he did, but it was definitely time for him to meet Jesus. It was really nice to be there to say goodbye and I was able to help with his care (he was in house hospice) for the last week and a half of his life. He was funny up to the mom (Tina) has a new nickname...Tuna. I have a new nickname...Chicken. Apparently he had food on the mind! At one point, after he hadn't had anything to eat or drink aside from sucking water off a sponge for days, I stopped to check his pain level and chat with him a bit. He looked up at me and said "OVER TWO HOURS AGO I ASKED FOR A GLASS OF MILK...WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" If you didn't know my grandfather you may think that he was just going senile in his last days, but it was completely his sense of humor.

Even his passing was a bit humorous as far as timing goes. He had been holding on for all this time, and managed to make a statement by dying at a specific time. He HATED American when did he pass...not 15 minutes into the finale! We had all been sitting in the living room, his bed about 5 feet away from us, watching the finale. Needless to say, we turned off the TV, said final goodbyes, and started making the necessary arrangments...his mission accomplished I am sure! I'll miss you Pop Pop, but see you soon enough!!

I am so thankful that I have a job, and more importantly an employer, who allowed me the opportunity to spend this time with him.

Since I've been home I've been to the FFA state championship and got to serve as a judge for the 2nd year. I judged extemporaneous speaking both years. This year, I also got to be a judge for the micro-organisms and ecology displays of the Agricultural Science Fair. The next weekend I was in Clovis for State Rodeo.

Now, I'm home for the rest of the month (I started writing this post when there was actually a good portion of the month left!) and getting ready for July...another month of travel.

If all goes as planned, I will be driving to Denver for the 4th of July. Carrissa, Chris and I will drive up in my car and hang out with Rissa's dad and step mom, as well as hook up with Leanne while we're up there. Should be a blast!

On the 10th, I'm taking a group of kids to Cliff's...kind of a summer tradition for the kids of my co-workers. This year Dana's going to join me, so I'll have some adult interaction too!

The following weekend I'm taking a group of 9 students to Indianapolis for the National Student Leadership Conference. I was able to put together a great cross section of kids from around the state, and they'll learn some incredible stuff while having a great time. Should be a blast for all of us!

The following week begins the summer mayhem at the office. We'll have two state conferences that week and I'll be working quite a bit. Somewhere in there, I'll squeeze in a birthday celebration (probably 3 actually!) and get ready to start what should be my last year of school...finally!

On that note, I just registered for 2 of the 3 classes I will take this fall (I'm trying to squeeze my way into the 3rd class which is currently full). When I'm done with that, the Spring semester will consist of nothing other than my Thesis/Examination work. Keep your fingers crossed that there will be no other speed bumps to finishing this degree as there have been in the past!

Since I started this post, there have been some developments that call for their own posts. So, see two and three of three!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An interesting time for some updates...

Well the madness of Spring events is over! Now we're in the middle of some madness of our own. First for some updates...

After basketball we had a "break" from work. However, this break was just before the Spirit Competition which is my biggest event. I spent a lot of that time in the office getting ready for the Competition. It was worth very first Spirit Competition (under my direction), at a new venue, with a new category, and many other changes that caused some anxiety, went off without a hitch. The kudos I've received from coaches all over the state have been so encouraging, and I'm ready for the next one!

A couple weeks later, the State Band Contest came rolling around, and was another great event. We had a little bit of a schedule change which I got some heat for, but I really didn't see any other option. A quick run down...the father of two band students (one HS, and one MS) and the husband of the band booster president, died while the band was on their spring trip. It was completely unexpected. Obviously, he had been a large part of both bands seasons, and the majority of both bands wanted to attend the funeral. The funeral just so happened to be during the High School's performance time. So I bumped them to the end of the day and bumped the schedule back about 30 minutes. Well, some directors weren't so happy with my executive decision, but I really don't think that another decision could have been made. I think eventually the directors got over it and realized that it was the right decision. I'll tell you one thing, I will never ask a kid to choose between supporting his classmate and a band contest. I know what decision I would expect my own kid to make.

So at the beginning of May, Band Contest is over and the office is working together to get ready for Spring sports. Enter the Swine Flu...let's just say that due to decisions made by national, state and local associations, all 7 Spring state championships were pushed into the same week. WOW! That's a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of stress. Our office started handling it like champs.

In the middle of all of this, my dad calls and tells me that my grandfather is going downhill fast. My boss, incredible as always, says that family comes first and that there's no option but for me to go to PA with my family. As I write the office is closing up the crazy week of championships while I am sitting vigil at my grandfather's house.

So my family and I were planning on driving to PA, but "Pop Pop" was fading fast. So we hopped on a flight on Monday and have been in Frackville ever since. It looks like we are coming back next weekend, but we're kind of at his mercy as far as timing goes.

Now that I'm getting some sleep, I'm enjoying my time out here. The first two nights, I was close to smothering my dad and brother because of their nighttime noises...ok, snoring. At one point, I had my iPod on, a pillow over my head, and a hand over the pillow and they were still cutting through. I cried myself to sleep out of frustration at about 4:30 that morning. Now I'm staying at my grandparent's with my mom and sleeping like a baby.

We're in a holding pattern right now, and don't really know what the next step is. I'll try to keep everyone updated, but my last blog was 2 months ago, so no promises!!! Love you all, and I miss talking to you too!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One liners...

Whew it's been a while! So here are some one-line updates...

Basketball's over!
Spirit's next weekend
Band is in a month
GRE is tomorrow
Date this weekend
Engagement is off
Allergies suck!!!!
Everyone is healthy (despite the allergies)
Social live is booming
Addicted to Ratched and Clank...still...
Move day this weekend
Living situation has landed me in therapy
Currently enjoying Spring Break
Bod Squad dissolved
Weight loss is still a goal, but not being accomplished as quickly as I would like
Working about 60 hours a week
School about 20 hours a week
Just did a sleep study
American Idol has a pretty impressive top 10
Running out of one liners that you'd care about
Got my hair cut yesterday
Almost aquired another dog
Found dog's owner
Dog's owner is incredibly thankful
I'm thankful that the vet did the "look-over" for free (4 hours before the reunion)
A bit worried about how much I CAN'T remember
Won't be travelling as much as usual this summer (something about the economy...)
I'm sick of the economy being everyone's scapegoat
I still believe that if it hadn't been an election year, our economy wouldn't be as "bad" as it is (or has been made out to be)
Still...I'm considering buying stock
I miss friends
Mine...not the show...
OK, the show too, but not as much as mine
Buying the house this summer (keep your fingers crossed...)
Yep, that's about it...
I think that really IS about it. I know it's not the usual way of updating everyone, but for those of you who follow this blog to follow should be sufficient!!! Love you all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

OK...Cat's out of the bag.

So here's a story of unconventionalism to beat the band.

A couple of weeks ago I received a friend request on Facebook from someone who I had never met. I ignored the request for a couple of days, and then thought I would do a bit a digging before denying the request. I saw that she was from Las Cruces and attended NMSU, and that she was friends with my brother. So, I figured that I would check with him. If you're familiar with Facebook, you can picture what I'm about to describe. When I went to my brother's page and clicked on "Send Michael a Message" the message box popped up as normal. I started typing...

"Do I know..."

then my eyes drifted over to his profile and saw something that knocked my on my back

"who apparently you are engaged to??? She requested me as a friend and I'd like to know my future sister in law???..."

At this time, I sent the message thinking that this was just a couple of "kids" having fun with the publicness of Facebook and looking for I just had. So I awaited his response, not worried, but definitely curious to hear his response. What I got back was not what I expected. Below you will find the transcript of Mike and my messages. I have cut out things that I felt should be kept in confidence...
From Michael:
Uh no, you don't know Monika, but yes we are engaged. I wasn't planning on telling the family yet because I haven't talked to her dad at all so please refrain from telling mom and dad until I have done so at which point I will tell them. (edited) Sorry that you had to find out this way but, as I said, I wanted to do things right and have just not had the opportunity as she lives in Cruces and I am, well, not. So yes, your gonna have a sister and you also get a new 4 1/2 year old nephew named Josh. Please dont tell mom and dad, I need to do that on my own when the time is right.

From Me:
My lips are sealed, but you probably want to take it off facebook then. There are quite a few people, for example (edited), who are also on Facebook who would not think of asking you before talking to them.Congratulations...this is more than unexpected. I guess you'll tell me more when you want to.

From Michael:
There is not much more to tell at the moment. We are not planning to get married until May 2010 so there is a bit of time before it all comes together. Thank you though Kris! It has all been pretty unexpected for me too. Go check out her pictures though you'll get to see her and Joshua, they're amazing!

From Me:
So do you want me to accept her as a friend yet, or would you rather me wait? I wil be honest with you, I won't be able to avoid being nosy. I hope you can understand my hesitation to except that you are engaged to a girl I have never even heard will take a while for anyone who knows you and not her to get used to the idea. But if you're happy and you're sure, congrats...I'll get behind you

From Michael:
For sure, Im not afraid of you being nosy and neither is she. We've discussed all the interesting situations that we have established through this unconventional engagement. But please, get to know your sister-in-law!
So after this went down I freaked out a other way to say it. This will explain the status update claiming I was abnormally case you noticed that one! At some point I decided that my brother's going to make his own decisions, there's nothing I can do about it, and I have my own issues to deal with (also part of a status update).

Around the time that I made this decision, I received a message from Monika, "the girl."

Here's more messages!
From Monika:
Heylo! I'm so excited that I'm getting to "meet" you! Lol!

Thought I would introduce myself. My name is Monika, I'm 23, soon 24. I have a beautiful bouncing toddler, 4 years old, named Joshua. He's the light of my life! I'm so blessed! I'm a senior English major, and I want to become a professor some day! God help me huh? I have a twin, other than that just a bunch of half and step siblings, some of whom I'm close to, some of whom I'm not. My twin's name is Shawn, we're night and day fraternal twins!

My father is a minister at a local church here in Cruces. My parents are pretty laid back people and they are extremely passionate about Christ and bringing people to Christ. Which is an AWESOME calling!

I am head over heels in love with your brother. And I'm beside myself with excitement to get to spend the rest of my life with him, taking care of him and raising a family together. Michael is a very special man and I'm grateful for God bringing him into my life. Anyway, I wanted you to know a little about me. Cause we're gunna be family! :-) Tell me about you! I'm so eager to know more! Your future sister-in-law! Monika

From Me:
Sorry that I haven't replied sooner. I so hope that you can realize what a shock this sudden engagement has been to me. It's not that I am not in support of it, but I'm not at the point where I can get 100% behind it either. I just have to process it. I am a protective older sister after all! From what you have written, you sound like a great girl. And I trust Mike's judge of character I'm not worried there!

Now here comes the obligatory "if you hurt him..." part of my message. This is the not so fun paragraph...but I think once we get past this, I will understand some things better and we can just enjoy eachother! I know that you must know how incredibly emotional Michael is. That's awesome and generally a true gift. It also means that he loves more and deeper than most people you will ever meet. And his loyalties are concrete.

So for these reasons, I have to ask you a question. I've read your profile and see that you have been married and divorced two times. What do you feel for my brother that you didn't feel for these other men? I can tell you that for Michael...marriage is forever. And I don't doubt that that is your goal as well, but I wonder why you feel that this is the relationship that will work. I would imagine that you felt that when you began the two marriages as well. I don't want any of this to be uncomfortable for you. I truly am happy for you two, and I look forward to meeting you and your beautiful son. I just hope you can understand why it is a bit disconcerting to find out that my brother is engaged to a woman I have never met...and to find out on Facebook...

OK...I'll let you respond to that as you see fit, but here's the more pleasant stuff to read.
I am 28 and finishing my masters in Ed. Psych.
I have worked for the NMAA for over 5 years and I oversee all of the "non-athletic" high school activities in the state.
I have incredible friends and I am truly blessed with my life in Alb.
I have no family at this time, but my animals are keeping me company in the interim.
I have 2 dogs, Sprite and Caspian, and a cat, Lucy. (If you're familiar with the Narnia series, some of these names may sound familiar!)
I love movies, games, shoes, and a whole bunch of other random things.
I can be found enjoying my shows, golfing, cross-stitching, enjoying a glass of wine and a good meal...pretty much anything. I really feel that the activity is not what makes something's the company.
Multi-tasking is probably my most prominent strength.
I don't have much free time, but feel that maintaining a social life is necessary to maintaining sanity.
I am more than slightly anal-retentive, and drive people crazy with my OCD tendencies. I believe everything has a place...and everything should be in it's place. My biggest pet peeves are 1) people who do not pay attention to their surroundings, and 2)people who don't leave things and places the way (or better than) they found them.
I drive a Jetta and love it
I am mindful of fashion and like staying abreast of the "fads"
I have expensive taste...not always a good thing! :-(

I think I have sufficiently filled your inbox with completely random facts about myself. Please consider what I have asked and feel free to respond as well. I hope you are doing well, and I look forward to learning more about you and seeing you and Michael in a relationship.

From Monika:
I am so glad that you wrote me back! And I DO UNDERSTAND, totally and completely your shock and your amazement that we would break this news to you on facebook! I'm a little shocked by the whole experience myself. Lol! I guess, as you obviously would agree, the nasty stuff is better out of the way right up front. (edited)

Now, to the part that matters. I KNOW that Michael is an extremly emotional person, and that he loves with all of his heart and it's not something he gives away too easily but once he's given it, he never takes it back. Our relationship is DIRECT proof of that quality in him. It's one of the things I DEARLY love about him.

That being said. Know this: I have no desire to, nor will I EVER hurt your brother. I love him dearly and I want only his happiness. He is an extension of my heart. Michael is different because I am actually in love with Michael. For all the things he is, and all the things he isn't. I can't wait to marry him. If only it were today! :-)

Anyway.... now you know, and now if other ppl have questions then you can answer some of them. I hope that now, you can understand a little about what I have been through and how truly grateful I am for the goodness in Michael. My mom always told me that she married my Dad cause he was the first nice guy she fell in love with. I knew I'd always be the same. My only regret is that I didn't marry him FIRST! I can't wait to meet you either, and we should get together, have lunch. I want to come to ALB soon, cause Michael and I are thinking of doing the wedding in Santa Fe, and I need to research wedding planners. He says you can help with that??? I'd love that! I'll keep you updated on when I'm coming. And you could always come here too, it's not that far!?!?

From Me:
Your response is well stated and makes a lot clear. I am so sorry that you have had to experience in your 23 years what many don't have to in a life time. Still, this isn't going to be an overnight transformation as far as getting used to the idea of this, but know that I am getting there!

Yes, I have more than a little bit of experience planning weddings. and I would be happy to help with this one. I will ask that we slow down a bit until my brother has made the engagement official with your parents and mine. I have shared with Mike that I feel pretty uncomfortable having to keep this from my parents until he decides to tell them. That's another aspect that is making this process...different...Once he tells them and I don't have to feel like I am hiding something from them, I am ready to jump in!

Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to learning more about you!

From Monika:
I totally understand that. And to put you at ease Michael will be talking to my parents within the week and so he will be telling your parents immediately after. So hopefully that will be cleared up very very soon. And I won't be heading to alb until at the earlies Spring Break week, which is the last week in March. I too am looking forward to getting to know you. I hope that we will continue to chat.
So. True to his word, via Monika, my brother talked to her parents last night. They were incredibly supportive and encouraing. He then talked to my parents, and to both of our surprise, they too were supportive of the decision that they had made together. I didn't quite understand that, but after talking to them I see where they are coming from. Basically, they realize that Mike's going to make whatever decision he is going to make. Also, after speaking with him, they found that he and Monika are planning to begin pre-marital counceling, and the 15 month engagement allows a lot of time for learning.

After my messages with both of them, I am actually to the point where I can see myself completely in support of this marriage. I can't make any guarantees until I meet her of course, but I am ready to do that and I look forward extending our family.

So, if you are interested in "meeting" my brother's fiance Monika, you can find her on my Facebook page. She really does seem like a great girl, with a great background, who has had some tough breaks. Please pray that Mike and Monika are able to build this relationship with a foundation in Christ.

I will certainly keep you updated and let you know when the wedding is going to happen.