Two weeks in review

Forgive me for not posting a lot of substance lately … The roller coaster ride hasn’t stopped since “the announcement” a couple weeks ago. Although, this stretch has been much more enjoyable than it was in the weeks leading up to our big decision.

Suffice to say, I've got a lot on my plate right now --- it seems I can barely think straight ...

For one, we forgot our niece's second birthday. We bought her gift weeks ahead of time, and then forgot to mail it. I realized our mistake at about 4 o'clock on the afternoon of her birthday.

Last night, I took a Christmas card to our neighbor’s house and it donned on me when I got back to our house that I never signed the card. Left it completely blank and sealed it in the envelope.

* * *

I got my car repaired

The bumper was replaced, and the repairmen even took out a small dent on my driver’s side door that bugged me every time I stepped to my car. It appeared there within weeks of me getting the car brand new; some careless passenger swung his car door into the side of my car door and -- ding -- that dent appeared. For seven years, it’s pained me … Now, it’s gone.

The body shop did a fabulous job with the repairs. With the new paint job and the wash and cleaning they gave it afterward, it was like picking it up brand new all over again.

I wasn’t so happy about the time it took for the repairs. … I took the car in last Tuesday and someone from the shop was calling me at least once a day to give me updates on the repairs. On Thursday morning, the caller told me the new bumper had been ordered, and they expected to have it put on, painted and ready for me to pick up that afternoon …

But in the afternoon, I got another call informing me the wrong part had been shipped and the shop was waiting to replace the wrong part. A couple hours later I got another call that the replacement part hadn’t arrived, and the repairs wouldn’t be complete for another day … Which, in turn, meant I had to pay for another day on my rental car, which, by the way, was a smooth-riding Mitsubishi Galant.

When I finally did get to pick up my car, the guy who presented me with all the paperwork -- let’s call him the cleanup guy -- gave me this schpeal about how I would be receiving a customer satisfaction survey for the repairs and it was important that I give them “10” ratings on every question. “We want to see 10s all the way across the board,” the cleanup guy told me.

“Well, I would give you 10s all the way across the board, except for the timeliness factor,” I told him, and I went on to explain my frustration about the car not being repaired in the timeframe they told me.

The cleanup guy tried to reason that it wasn’t their fault and blamed it on the company responsible for shipping the parts. He suggested that if I didn’t give them a 10, then the repair shop was going to have to show that to the parts company and explain that their business is being hurt because the wrong part was delivered.

Um, ya think!? Isn’t that the point of your fancy customer satisfaction survey!? So I can voice my thoughts on the service!? … If you’re having problems with your parts vendor, then you better get them fixed.

All told, the whole ordeal set me back $722.01.

I so can’t wait to get that survey.

* * *

Earlier this week I had an assignment at one of the local high schools to interview five students who were participating in a finance exercise …

They were five great kids -- three girls and three boys -- who were easy-going and engaging to talk to. The chances I get to interview and interact with young people is one of my favorite parts of my work …

At the end of the interview, I asked the routine question, “Do you guys have anything else you’d like to add?”

“You have really pretty blue eyes!” blurted one of the girls, who had shown throughout the interview that she was a free-spirit, unafraid to say what she was thinking.

“Oooh-k, thanks,” I said and tried to brush it off while the others giggled.

Awkard? A little … But it came in a totally open setting, in front of a group of people, from an innocent high school girl, who clearly meant for it to be nothing more than an innocent compliment.

In a strange way, it sort of made my day.

* * *

I’ve been on a big Paul Simon / Art Garfunkel kick lately …

There have been so many nights lately on which I’ve come home and, in my search for some tunes, yearned for something that wasn’t too upbeat, and yet so mellow it made me want to sleep … Simon & Garfunkel fit the bill -- a perfect blend of rock-solid guitar and soft melodies that is easy on the ears.

Mrs. Robinson” is a great, great song. “Graceland” and “Sounds of Silence” are two great, great albums.

* * *

How sweet has “Glee” been the last couple weeks …

I think I speak for a whole lot of people when I say thank god Will finally figured out Terri’s fake pregnancy … Although, I never saw the intensity of their kitchen confrontation coming. Kudos to the “Glee” writers for going dramatic and not schmaltzing it up with an angsty pop-rock song.

Thanks to that “Mattress” episode, I haven't been able to get "Jump" out of my head … The “Glee” kids’ version of the song just might be better than the original, and filming that mattress video looked like it was loads of fun to do. It was easily my favorite musical number of the season …

Along with “Somebody to Love” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from last week’s “Sectionals” finale.

And how could you not get giddy over seeing Will and Emma finally share a kiss to the build-up of “My Life Would Suck Without You” !?

Great TV.

* * *

My beloved Bearcats won another championship last weekend.


I was sooooo tired of hearing sports commentators call them the Buffalo Bills of Division II football …

Sheesh. How many teams GET to four straight national championship games. And the one they won last weekend was their FIFTH consecutive appearance in the championship game -- the only team to do so.

AND they won back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999.

Commend the program already for its stronghold at the top of Division II football!

Last weekend’s comentators seemed to care more that Notre Dame’s new hire coached at Grand Valley -- Northwest’s opponent in the game -- five years ago than they cared to discuss Northwest’s storied history in the championship game.

About that game. It wouldn’t have been half as fun if it wasn’t another heart-pounder -- which seems to be the way the Bearcats prefer to play their championship games.

I caught most of the first quarter at home and my behind never saw the couch.

Northwest was steamrolling Grand Valley in that first half. Their first drive, for instance -- six plays, two minutes and, bam, they were in the end zone. Then, all of a sudden, it was 21-0.

That’s the way we left it as we loaded the car and drove across the state line to spend the afternoon with Ray and Leah and meet Baby Audrey. Thank gooodness for DVR; all I had to do was pray that we didn’t have a power outtage.

Fast forward to the third quarter and, bam, all of a sudden it was 23-20. There were penalties and dropped passes, and suddenly it seemed everything was going wrong. The nightmares of the past championship games were rearing their ugly heads.

Then, in miraculous fashion, Northwest turned a 4th-and-four pass play into a 26-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Bearcats held on for the title.

When it was over, I breathed a sigh of reliefe and erupted in giddy laughter. Kates and I looked at each other and grasped hands in pride.

Now we could say we were moving to Titletown.

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