Scorpion Control Update

If you read my post on FEAR, you know I recently found out we have scorpions in our beautiful new home, and I am TERRIFIED of them! Now, keep in mind, I have lived in Arizona all my life and never, ever, saw one in our around any of the homes I lived in. So what am I to do? I can’t move, so I had to learn how to deal with this horrific problem. And, thanks to my really smart cousin, Deb, and a few other smart friends, I learned about a whole lot of things we could do to control the scorpions. Also, my cousin, Deb’s, mother, sent me an email reminding me I have lived in Arizona for many, many years and the scorpions have always been here. She increased my confidence even further by telling me I am human and a lot smarter than a scorpion…I wonder if she will still feel that way about me when she reads this post…

So, first, of course, Bill and I had our pest control experts out to heavily spray our house and yard. They also put some kind of crystals out in the yard. Bill also went to Home Depot and bought some white powder that is supposed to create a barrier they won’t cross. Our pest control guy told him that stuff is really good. We bought the black lights, Terro instant scorpion killer spray, and Real Kill glue boards that I have placed in every room. We are also looking into having someone come to seal any cracks in our home, and Bill and I have gone out at night and “hunted” for scorpions with our black lights but we haven’t found any. So far, as this writing, we have still only seen the one scorpion outside and the one in our bedroom on April 28th. But, I am not convinced that is the end of them by any means. No, I asked my neighbor lady next door to my house if she has scorpions, thinking and praying she was going to say she had one or two here and there…but, NO, she told me she’s had so many she quit counting how many she has killed after the number reached 100!!! Are you kidding me? Not the answer I wanted to hear at all people, not at all!

So, what more can we do to try to keep the scorpions that I know are out there from getting in our beautiful new home? Well, I called my girlfriend, Holly, and told her about my problem and my fear… she told me she and her husband have some scorpions in the garage of one of their houses up in New River. She said her husband laid down some two-sided sticky tape across the garage doorway…she said that way if anything was going to come in the garage, they would get stuck on the tape and die.. Perfect! That sounded like the PERFECT plan for us. So, I tell Bill we need to go get some of this two-sided sticky tape and do our doorway(s)…, keep in mind my friend didn’t tell me to do the doorways, she said the garage…I came up with the doorway plan all on my own. And so off we go back to Home Depot…

We looked at many, many kinds of two-sided sticky tape and we came across a box that said “Heavy Duty Rhino Grip, double-sided Acrylic Adhesive Strip. I never heard of it before and neither had Bill. But, hay, it says this stuff will hold down anything even carpet! So we bought the widest roll they had, which is about 2 or 3 inches wide.

We get home and are now sure we have what we need to seal up our house good and tight…We have three doors we decided needed to have this tape under them. The front door, back patio door and the door leading into the garage..we clean the thresholds of each door and begin laying the Rhino Grip tape down. Man, this stuff is really sticky… as we finished laying the last strip under the last door, I was thinking this is going to be just perfect, and it was… until, yep, you guessed it…we couldn’t open any of the doors! I mean I had my foot on the wall and was pulling with all my might and that door wouldn’t budge. I quick called Bill, and he couldn’t believe it either, we had sealed ourselves into our own home and if Bill wasn’t as strong as he is in his upper body…we may have had to call 911 and had the fire department come with the jaws of life to break us out of our home! Bill braced himself and pulled with all his might. The door was coming away from the frame at the top, but the bottom, where we put the Rhino Grip tape all across the door threshold was not giving one inch! I mean that stuff really, really sticks…

Finally, after several attempts, and me thinking Bill was going to pull the door knobs right off the doors, the door did come open. One open, two to go. When Bill finally got all the doors open, we had to go back to Home Depot to buy something called “Goof Off”. We had never heard of that stuff before either, but we decided they had to make something for when people like us goof up and seal their doors shut with Rhino Grip!

Well, I am happy to say we got all the Rhino Grip tape off after many hours of work, and if nothing else, I bet we could be the spokes people for marketing Rhino Grip! What do you think?

Next: I’m leaving Saturday for New York City to visit my frissy for a week because I love her and I really need a break… Stay tuned. When I return after next week, I will post about the fabulous time I know we will have together!

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Customer Service

I was at the grocery store the other day and I stopped by the deli counter to get some lunch meat. I noticed a bell on the counter with a sign saying ring if you think you received good customer service. I had never seen that before. Then, when I went to the checkout counter at the front of the store, there was another bell  and sign asking customers to ring the bell if they received good customer service. Later in the week, I went to a department store and when I paid for my merchandise, I was  told if I go on-line and complete a survey letting the store know I received great customer service, I would receive a $10.00 coupon towards my next purchase in their store. I find it really odd that stores who are there to provide service to their customers have to ask customers to ring bells, or bribe customers with coupons to say they are providing good service. It makes me think they shouldn’t be in the customer service business if they have to be informed when they are providing good customer service.

When I receive bad customer service, I let the manager of the establishment know first, then I tell everyone I know. I do the same thing when I receive good customer service. For example:

I went to the grocery store between seven and eight in the morning after I dropped Shantel off at school. I had been shopping at that same store for over twenty years. When I was ready to check out  I was told I would need to go through self check-out, because the cashiers don’t start until eight thirty in the morning. I went to the manager and said I’ve been a long time customer of your store and I don’t like self check-outs, I want a cashier to check-out my order. The manager went over to two cashiers who were standing near the “customer service” desk talking and laughing…the manager asked one of the cashier’s if they would come check-out my order. The cashier told the manager, right in front of me, that she was not on duty yet, and told the manager to check-out my order if I couldn’t do it myself. The manager proceeds to argue with the cashier who argued back with him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I told them both that I was there to give them my money but since they are apparently not in the business of servicing customers, I would take my business elsewhere. I have never gone back to that store again. That was very poor customer service.

Another time Shantel made a ceramic money bank for my frissy who lives in New York City. The bank was for her birthday which is in early November. Shantel asked me to mail the bank to our friend so she would receive it in time for her birthday. I took the bank to Mail and More and mailed it in mid October. I didn’t ask for FedEx, but the clerk made the assumption that was how it needed to ship. Problem being my frissy would have to be home to receive it from FedEx and she isn’t just sitting around waiting for someone to send her a package. So when FedEx couldn’t deliver the package to her they left her a notice that she would have to call to find out how to get her package. When she called they told her they sent it on to Brooklyn! Frissy lives in Upper West Side Manhattan!!! LONG, LONG way from Brooklyn. When I found out what happened to the package, I called my Mail and More guy who said he would have the package sent back to Ahwatukee if I wanted. Since my frissy was coming back to her home in Scottsdale for the month of December, I agreed and we gave the bank to her when she came. Then, she had to pack it back to New York with her in her suit case…Very poor customer service, and I will never use FedEx because of that experience.

When I worked in Corporate America, I was the manager of three large departments that provided various services to our clients. I reported into my frissy, who wasn’t my frissy at the time (that came later when we both left Corporate), but she was the AVP of Internal Operations for our company. Let me tell you, when one of our clients, or internal partners, called me with a problem, it became my immediate priority to find a solution. Even if I didn’t know the answer, you better believe I would find someone who did know and get back to the client or internal partner within the hour to provide them with the resolution or status of how it is being handled. I would never think to argue with one of our clients or internal partners or ever say I wasn’t on duty etc. And I would never, EVER, tell my boss I wasn’t going to do something she asked me to do even if it wasn’t my job. If my boss asked me to do something that really wasn’t my job, I would automatically make whatever it was I was being asked to do part of my job! That in my mind is how you provide great customer service to your boss, internal partners, and ultimately your customer/clients.

I always felt I got satisfaction from a job well done, knowing I went above and beyond to get “the” job done if necessary. I never felt the need to have someone ring bells or complete survey’s to let me know I did a great job. I always felt if you are doing a great job, you won’t have to ask. That’s Great Customer Service, but apparently, in many cases, it’s becoming a thing of the past, which is sad, very sad… What do you think?

Next: Scorpion Control Update!

Grandchildren

We all have choices to make about some of the paths we will take in our lives. Some people choose to live a single life and never marry, some marry and decide not to have children, some have children and never marry, while others can’t wait to get married and have children. Most people realize having children is a huge responsibility. It can sometimes be a thankless job that takes time, money, energy, patience, love and it really helps if you have a good sense of humor.

At some point, as your children grow, you may be blessed with grandchildren. It doesn’t matter how that grandchild gets into your life, all that matters is how that precious grandchild will change your life. Now, you have a precious child you can love and hold, play with and spoil then send them home to their parent(s). If everything goes as planned, you will not be the one with the total responsibility for raising this precious child. No, you just have to be grandma or grandpa. The one your little grandchild comes to when mom and/or dad need a break, a date night, or when they come to visit on vacation. How ever you get to spend time with your precious grandchildren is always special.

You suddenly don’t feel the need to correct these precious little angels like you did your own children. No, grandchildren are somehow different from your own children. They don’t have to eat their veggies if they don’t want to. They can choose to eat candy and ice cream instead when they are with you. You find yourself more tolerant of these little angels because you just know they can do no wrong. There is no need for time-out at grandma and grandpa’s house. No, they don’t need time out, they just need to be redirected to a new toy, game or taken to the park…There is no need for nap time at grandma and grandpa’s house because these little angles are going home with mom and/or dad and so you don’t worry if they get overly tired, they can just sleep in later tomorrow. You also become more tolerant of noisy toys, games and musical instruments and you will buy them for your precious grandchildren to keep at their house so mom and/or dad can have fun listening to them play with their new noisy things. Why you are even more than happy to let your grandchildren play with finger paints, nail polish, lipstick, and play dough. And, you will buy them all of these messy things to keep in their very own room at home. Your grandchildren are so cute, precious, and funny, they just melt your heart, take over your good common sense, and have you completely wrapped around their sweet little fingers… and, more importantly, they know it.

Bill and I have six grandchildren. All but one live in Colorado now so we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. However, when Bill’s daughter, Katie, lived here in Arizona, and her daughter Alex was little, I took care of her while Katie worked. Alex had a great sense of humor at a very young age. She could melt my heart with some of the things she would say. Here are a couple of examples:

One day while I was taking care of Alex, she and Shantel were playing with a large tub of very small legos in Shantel’s room. I told them both they could play with the legos but they were going to have to pick them all up before lunch. Alex was about seven and Shantel was about ten. They had the legos all over Shantel’s room. I walked in and told them I was going to start fixing lunch for them and they needed to get every one of the legos picked up and put back into the tub before they could come out and eat. I asked Alex to help Shantel pick up her part and when all the legos were picked up and put away I was going to check the room. Alex scanned the room and had a look of shock on her face as she realized what a mess they made and that Shantel was going to need help finding the legos. As I was walking back down the hall, I heard Alex say in a sad little voice “I hope I’m still young when we get these all picked up”. I laughed about that all day.

Another time, when Alex was at our house for Christmas eve, my mother bought both Shantel and Alex a new toy out at the time that was a baby robot. The baby robots were preprogrammed to cry constantly at various time throughout the day and night until their needs were met. The baby robot would start crying and the child was supposed to give it a bottle, change it, rock it etc. until they figured out what would make the baby robot stop crying. I happened to walk by Alex, sitting on the floor with the most serious, concerned look on her face as she was holding her baby robot. She looked like she was absolutely at the end of her rope, and the baby robot was screaming louder and louder. I asked Alex what was wrong? Alex looked up at me and said “grandma, if this kid doesn’t shut up, I’m going to have to hurt her”. Out of the mouths of babies…

Grandchildren…don’t you just love them?

Next: Customer Service!

Social Security vrs Voc Rehab

My mother was thrown off a horse years ago and broke her back in three places. She continued to work as an RN for a full year in a back brace that ran from the top of her hips all the way up to her neck. She also had to wear elastic panty hose to support her legs and keep her from getting blood clots. After she worked like that for a year, her doctor told her to set a date, quit working, and apply for Social Security Disability. It took a long time for her to be approved for Social Security benefits, but she eventually did start receiving a check. However, every few months, she would receive a letter telling her she needed to be seen by the Social Security doctors to determine if she was still disabled or if her condition had improved enough to return to the work force. Time after time she would go in to be evaluated and each time she was classified as disabled. Now, that mom is almost 86 years old, and living in a nursing home, she still receives letters asking if she is able to return to work. I must have the doctor at the nursing home complete the form every few months to say her condition has not changed…Am I missing something here or are they?

When Shantel turned eighteen, she applied for Social Security Disability to help supplement her  living expenses including some of her college needs.  Again, it took a while for her case to be decided, but she finally was approved after several months, and receives a small monthly check. She was told if she didn’t live at home, she would receive more money, but if she didn’t live at home right now, she wouldn’t be able to attend college at all since no one is willing to hire her. It amazed me how long her approval took since all her supporting documentation from her doctors clearly state she had both eyes removed when she was two. Social Security Disability benefits clearly state it covers blindness. I don’t know how much more blind you can get than to have your eyes removed. However, she is now receiving letters letting her know she needs to set up an appointment with her Social Security Case Manager so they can evaluate if she is still eligible for her disability benefits.

Other than the issues of having to go in at all to show them her eyes didn’t grow back, she has not been able to reach the Case Manager at all. She was told she had to have an appointment set up with the Case Manager by May 2nd or her benefits could be canceled. Shantel tries to call her Case Manager everyday. She was able to leave a message once letting her know she is trying to reach her to schedule the appointment, but her call was never returned. Shantel even called the main Social Security number to see if anyone else could help her but was told she had to work with her own Case Manager…What a circus and waste of time and money this has been.

Now I understand that there are many, many people who scam the government. But, why not go after them, and leave the people who clearly are qualified, and need the benefits, and whose conditions are never going to change alone? I wonder how much money that would save the government every year?

Shantel also receives benefits from Voc Rehab which pays for her college tuition. The agreement is they help her get her higher education, which in turn will help her get a higher paying job and allow her to not need Social Security Benefits. Then, once Shantel has her education and degrees to support her career, she agrees to give back by doing work for Voc Rehab…all sounds perfect right? Wrong…Shantel is required to meet with her Voc Rehab Case Manager anytime they ask her to come in. She also has to maintain a certain grade point average, and report any and all changes in her school, living arrangement etc. to her Case Manager.

Shantel had many problems with her Voc Rehab Case Manager who would threaten to pull her funding for any reason at all including because she didn’t think Shantel should use the college tutoring program to help her with her math. It got to the point that Shantel had to request a new Case Manager which has been done. Now, Shantel needs to set up an appointment to meet face-to-face with her new Case Manager in order for them to continue to pay her tuition. Shantel has been calling the new Case Manager to schedule the appointment for the past three weeks. No response to any of her calls. What is wrong with our government agencies? They make rules they insist you follow or they will “cut off you payments” but they are never available when you call and never return your calls. It’s like they set you up for failure from the beginning, but I am proud of the way Shantel has handled all the follow-ups she has had to do even though she is more than frustrated with all the run-a-rounds…

I’m all for these government agencies as I know they help many, many people. But, when I hear stories about how some people abuse their government benefits and/or try to run scams with their government benefit money, I wonder how they can get away with all that without being caught right away since I know my family members are hounded almost constantly to prove they are really eligible? What’s up with that?

Next: Grandchildren

Fear

What strikes fear in you?

I’m afraid, or have been afraid of several things. Here are a few examples:

When we found out Shantel had cancer, that was not only  real, but also a life threatening danger.  We weren’t sure if she would live or not, and of course, I was afraid of the unknown at the time.

When Shantel was younger, before she developed into the beautiful, independent, young woman she is today, I was afraid of what would become of her if something would happen to Bill and I.

I’m afraid of flying, but I don’t let my fear stop me from flying.

But, I’m not talking about that level of fear. I talking about the little things that may not be life threatening, but still strikes fear in you.

I like to think of myself as a strong, independent, woman. I have faced my own demons, and the demons of others in my life. I have never been the type of woman who felt the need to have someone around to protect me, but just lately, I’m not so sure.

I’ve lived in Arizona for all my sixty years on this earth, and I have never even seen a scorpion around my home let alone in my home, until now! Yes, my beautiful, new dream home has scorpions, and I am terrified of them. I’m not talking about just a little bit afraid, I mean I am all out TERRIFIED! They have to be the scariest creatures on earth. Looking at them is looking at pure evil as far as I am concerned.

Saturday was my birthday. I’m dashing around the house getting ready to go out to lunch with Bill and Shantel, when I happen to look out our French door leading to our beautiful patio, and what do I see but a huge scorpion walking along the back of my house. I quick called Bill out, and in a panic, I all but demanded he kill it. He got a shoe and hit it and it dropped on the patio but he couldn’t find it. Now, I’m even more TERRIFIED, because if he killed it why isn’t the body there? No, now, I’m convinced he only stunned it and now it is really pissed off and coming after me. I told Bill I had never seen a scorpion in or around any of my homes. He said, “well you still haven’t seen one in your home”.

Now, I’m thinking OK, perhaps this was just one ,lone ranger, scorpion, and is the only one I’ll ever see. But, NO! I go in the house, and just as I’m walking into our master bedroom, I see another huge scorpion on the window shade right by our headboard. OMG! I screamed like a little school girl, and Bill came running in. I showed him the scorpion and he said “If it were on a hard wall, I would kill it, but if I try to hit it on the shade, it will just knock it on the floor”. I don’t know how I even found my voice, because I was so scared, but I did, and said “Bill, I am going to stand in the doorway of our room and watch this thing so if it moves, I know where it goes, and you need to go buy some kind of spray that will kill it right now”. I know for sure Bill has never seen me so scared, and he left immediately.

Now, Shantel was home with me and trying to talk to me about something and I am trying to keep my cool because the last thing I want her to know about our beautiful, new home that she didn’t want to move to in the first place…is that now, we have scorpions to contend with. Now, I’m to the point of hyperventilating just thinking about what would happen if one of these evil things ever got on her, and I’m praying for Bill to please hurry.

Bill gets back with a scorpion instant killer spray, and sure enough, it kills the evil monster dead on the spot! Now, I tell Bill to pick it up and take it outside and smash it. He says “it’s dead”. I say in a panicked, very high-pitched voice, “I don’t care…smash it”! Then I said, honey I’m going to have to apologize to you later, when I’m in my right mind, because right now, I’m scared out of my right mind !!! He takes it out and smashes it, as I wait in the house about to throw up from fear!

Then, I remember my cousin, Deb, posting on Facebook that she had scorpions. So, I send her an email asking her what she does to get rid of them? She responds with a wealth of information, one thing being get a black light and hunt them down at night, capture them in a cup (with a lid) and kill them with the spray. HUNT THEM DOWN…!!! Why would I want to HUNT them down??? I’m scared to death of them and I don’t ever want to see them again and I for sure don’t want them to see me…but my cousin is really, really smart, she knows things…so, off we go to get a black light. Now, picture me sitting in bed with a black light all night, afraid to close my eyes because I also read they can crawl up the walls and walk across the ceiling! OMG shoot me now!!..And, to make matters worse, I find out they like dark, damp places…Shantel has a bad habit of leaving her towel on the floor in her room after her shower.  OMG, OMG, now I have to tell Shantel about this so she will understand I’m not just trying to get her to clean up her room, I’m trying to help save her life! These things get bigger and bigger as you go longer and longer without sleep!!!

I tell Shantel all about the scorpions, and to my surprise, she took it much better than I am. She wanted to know how many we saw and I am happy to say we only saw the one outside and the one in our bedroom…so far! Bill bought some powder stuff he sprinkled all around the outside of the house that is supposed to kill them or at least create a barrier they won’t cross. We have always used  a pest control service once a month and they are scheduled to come back on Friday. I am also looking into having our house sealed, both inside, and out, so there are no cracks for them to get in or out of as I now know they will make a home within your walls!!!.. this really does just keep getting bigger and bigger, and seems to be taking on a life of it’s own, at least in my mind, or what is left of my mind.

So, now that I haven’t seen any more scorpions since Saturday, I am at least able to get a few hours sleep, but only with a night-light on. Picture this…my cat, Carmen, sleeps at the foot of our bed… usually. But lately she has taken to roaming the house at night. I just know she is hunting scorpions…so I finally fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, when all the sudden Carmen jumps up on our bed and gets right in my face. I swear I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I get her settled down, and myself..start falling off to sleep again…when all the sudden Carmen jumps off the bed, runs over to the wall and starts batting at something…I jump up, creep over to see what it was, and THANK YOU JESUS…it was only her little feather toy…heart be still, and everything else in this house!

I’m going to NYC next Saturday to see my frissy for a much-needed break. I hope this nightmare will be over back here at the ranch by the time I get home, because I don’t like spiders and snakes…and I HATE SCORPIONS!!!

Stay tuned!

Next: Social Security vrs Voc Rehab!

Friends

What does friendship mean to you? Do you have lots of friends? Think about the people you consider your friends. How does an acquaintance different from a friend?

When I was younger, I never thought that much about friendships. As a child, I had neighborhood kids that I liked and played with, but it wasn’t the one-on-one type of friendships I developed later in my life. I had so many trust issues when I was young, it made it difficult for me to make friends, because I always had a wall up around my feelings. That, and I was never interested in the superficial so-called friendships I saw throughout high school. Then, when I married at such a  young age, I really didn’t have time for friends. I was busy with school, work, and trying to run a home. Friends just weren’t a priority to me.

When I met Bill, I found my real best friend. We were friends before we were lovers, and I truly believe that makes a huge difference in our marriage. I knew I could trust Bill with my heart and my feelings and he knew he could trust me with his. Bill and I are absolutely each other’s  best friend, as well as husband and wife. But, I still wanted  to have girlfriends. I wanted to know what it’s like to bond in friendship with other woman. I wanted have other woman I could trust, talk with, take trips with, and love. But I didn’t know how.

When I went to work in Corporate America, I witnessed for the first time, that many people do form bonded friendships that last over time. I saw woman, and men, who seemed to really care about each other both at work and in their outside lives. Not in a romantic way, although I suppose that could have been going on too, but what I was seeing was just bonding in a true sense of friendship.  It appeared to me that these friendships were genuine, and for the most part I never saw the back stabbing, gossiping type of things happening like I saw in school. Of course, there would be the occasional big mouth, or the green-eyed jealous monster, but overall, I think most of the friendships I saw were real.  This started me thinking perhaps it is worth trying to form bonds of friendship. But how does one go about that, especially if you are shy (as I was back then), have trust issues, and never had a role model to teach you the skills necessary to develop real, lasting, friendships? Well, you watch and learn…

I started really paying attention to the people I thought had mastered the art of real friendships and noticed a common theme. They made time for each other. They supported and cheered for the things that are important to their friend. They weren’t afraid to be completely open and honest with each other, knowing that their bond of friendship depended upon it And, they accepted their friend warts and all.  Imagine that! I also noticed there is a huge difference between acquaintances and real, bonded friendships. Some people call everyone they know their friend. I don’t. I think if you have even just one real friend in your life you can consider yourself fortunate and should count your blessings.

Today, I am so very proud to be able to say, other than Bill, who is my best friend, I have been blessed three times over in real friendships. I can say with all confidence, I have bonded in true friendship, with three of the most amazing woman I have ever met. They know who they are. I do also have other acquaintances, but these three woman are my real friends.

These three friendships didn’t happen overnight, in fact, each of them developed slowly over the years. That’s why I love them so dearly. They took the time to really get to know me, allowing me the time I needed to build trust and fall in love with each of them. I love these woman, my girlfriends, my sisters, my FRISTERS, and I rest in the peace of knowing they love me!

Next: Fear!

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