Friday bullets, Feb. 9, 2018

Today was a much better day, and I got a good night's sleep. This always helps.

  • R. did get up once, at 4:45 am, and my fantastic and wonderful husband got up with her and took her on a long walk. By the time they got back, she was ready to go back to bed, and J. tried, but was not terribly successful. He was pretty tired today. But when she got up for real this morning, I could tell she was significantly less anxious and much more communicative. I'm glad she doesn't do that very often...
  • We've had some snow. J. even had the day off because his school closed along with nearly everything else in Chicagoland. Well, except the restaurants. A. still had to go to work today.
  • Here are some pictures J. took while people were playing outside and he was snow blowing the drive.




  • Before A. went to work, she was the fun big sister and helped people make snow ice cream.
  • And remember how I mentioned how much light this house gets, and how much I was enjoying it? Here is an example. It is completely overcast outside because it has been snowing pretty steadily, but look at how bright it is inside. 
  • It wasn't all fun and games, though. I had bills to pay, and I had let the checkbook get to a shocking state of neglect, which meant I had to sort it out first. This is not fun. It was also the part of the bill paying cycle where I had to reconcile all the credit card statements. Also not fun, especially when you discover that Amazon had charged you silly little amounts, like 15 cents here, and 30 cents there, various times. What the heck? So I also got to spend a lot of time with customer service sorting it out. Or not. Here is what I wrote on the customer service satisfaction survey I received via email later in the day.
"There seem to be systemic Amazon billing issues, but I'm not sure it is the customer service reps' (yes, plural, I talked to three of them) fault. So here’s the story: I bought something with points three different times. Three times, I was charged a minuscule amount, like the silly 13 cents I was refunded. (The other silly little charges were not refunded because the rep and I just couldn't communicate sufficiently.) I was told it was because I didn't have enough points to cover my purchase. Yet, points are only added once a month, and two days later I had enough points to order something else. How on earth could I have been 13 cents short? No one seems to be able to tell me, and instead imply I have no idea what I'm talking about. So instead of actually fixing the problem... and yes, it is a problem on your end... I am left with the impression that Amazon is phishing its own customers to see if we notice little charges, so you can tack on bigger ones without notice. Frankly, the customer service rep with Chase, whom I got shunted to by the first Amazon rep, even though neither of us knew why, agreed with me. I am not enjoying my little monthly phone fest with Amazon because either you have made an error or your billing is so confused that I need clarification as to what you did. (And once again, it's not me. The customer service reps those times, took quite a while to figure out an answer to my question and have agreed that it was complicated and not obvious.) So, my patience with Amazon is wearing thin. There are so many other internet shopping outlets these days, that I am actually quite sure that if I were to get rid of my Prime membership, I wouldn't even notice. Well, except for the time I gained by not having to sit on the phone once a month while the customer service reps leave me on hold while they take up to a half an hour to answer my question. I'd like that a lot. Am I a satisfied customer? No, not really."
  • Rest assured that D. is keeping me abreast of all the breaking chess news these days. I would hate for anyone to worry that I was missing out.
  • We discovered that Q. loves millet seeds. On a whim I bought a small spray at the pet store when I was picking up cat food. She adored them. However, I seem to have bought the wrong flavor of cat food, and the cats are non too pleased. Who would have thought chicken and turkey would taste so different?
  • Y. got her new night time AFO's, and is grudgingly wearing them. She got to pick the pattern this time, and she chose a very bright comic book style pattern. She does love that.
  • Our next stop on our round-the-world trip is Japan. We'll arrive on Monday, and I'm already being asked when the dinner for that country will be.
  • H. has started to try to work ahead in her piano books. We'll have lessons tomorrow, but yesterday I heard her trying to figure out one of the pages that introduces lines and spaces, and she was getting it. I am amazed. When we started in the fall, she could manage one small piece which focused on one white key at a time, and now I think she will be reading music by the end of the school year. Can I say again how amazed I am?
  • D. is really enjoying his cello lessons, and he's sounding pretty good. 
  • To continue with music news, TM now has J.'s old banjo and has decided to teach it to himself, as well as violin. It's very musical around here these days.
  • I'm really missing working on my language studies, but can't quite figure out how to fit them in my day. As much as I would love to give up something like the laundry and replace it with practice French, I think there would be some problems with that eventually. 
And with that, I must finish up, since I have an article due tonight as well. TTFN

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