Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quick update

It's 12:05am according to my computer time and I am wide awake in a house of very wide awake youth as well. Today was not what I had expected but was good! Due to circumstances that are what they are, I'm staying at the guy's house this weekend. Brings me full circle to 10 years ago and the first snow trip that I led when Yo Momma and I were the ones staying at the boy's house cuz we had a lot of female chaperone's and one lone male chaperone for a lot of boys. Memories...

Anyway, the snow isn't fabulous but it has been snowing on the mountain all day. It's snowing here the basin tonight so it may be a fun morning!

One small injury so far and a few breakthroughs are beginning, so please continue to pray! The blessing is that Opinionated Friend and I are great co-leaders and we have some awesome cohorts in ministry that are taking a lot of the responsibilities off our shoulders. It's lovely!

Thanks for praying. 2 days to go!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Snow Trip

17 youth
5 leaders
4 cars
5+hour car ride (one way)
3 days in the snow
no chain control right now but that could change by the time we get there

prayer? thx!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slow slide...

I was sitting in my favorite chair this past weekend, laptop revved up, watching an NCIS rerun or something equally satisfying and browsing my favorite blogs. It was good. I wasn't completely satisfied though so I decided to get up another glass of water. At which point I went to put the laptop on the fabulous footstool to my favorite chair. Bad move, glass in hand, rising out of the chair I watched said laptop do a slooooowwww sliiiiiiddddeee off the footstool and onto (wait for it) the floor. Ouch. Laptop landed on carpet, good, but on the AC adapter cord, bad.

I don't have a great history with AC adapter and this laptop. Oh no. First adapter died on a trip to Massachusetts where I was to show a PowerPoint of a friend and his fiancee to family and friends the night before their wedding. Luckily Papa Bear was there and we transferred the file to his laptop and the day was saved. I contacted computer company and got a new adapter and went on my merry way...until the December 07 Mississippi trip.

Yes, on the December 07 Mississippi the new AC adapter decided it had worked hard enough and gave up it's life....after 6 months! ARGH!!! I was regulated to borrowing computers from others during that trip to update family and friends about our trip. So. not. cool. Returning home I gave up on the computer company AC adapter and went with the generic brand. AC adapter #3 and I have been working quite well together for a year. All has been harmonious...until the slooooowwww sliiiiiiddddeee.

See the generic brand AC adapter has a little thing they call a "smart tip". There are several smart tips that come in the generic brand box because not all AC adapters inputs are the same. To get the power from the AC adapter into my computer I need the right smart tip to plug into the computer. On the slow slide the smart tip broke apart. All the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put it back together again. Big sigh.

I quickly did an internet search of the generic brand AC adapter company and could not find replacement smart tips. Sadly, I resigned myself to purchasing a new AC adapter. Big, big, sigh. Tuesday I went and bought the adapter. I held off on using it though 'cuz I needed to look up some numbers and make sure all was compatible. Today, as I was looking up the numbers I decided to do one last search and see if by any chance I could find a replacement smart tip. This, my dear followers, is where I come to the glorious ending of my story.

There are, in fact, smart tips available for a much, much better price than a whole new AC adapter. I quickly ordered two (history says that the 2nd one may come in handy) and will be taking the much more expensive replacement adapter back tomorrow. So, may you learn from me and not be hasty in your search but look high and low and you just may find what you need.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday's ramblings

It's too warm outside. I walked out of the garage toward the front of the house and this warm gust of wind made me think that it's summer time. Seriously. Which bums me out 'cuz I just got one of my Christmas presents in the mail, fabulous sweatshirt that says "Washington D.C." on it and I really want to wear it but it's too stinkin' warm.

I wore it tonight anyway but sweat my way through R.A.W. I haven't really worn a pullover hooded sweatshirt in a few years...switched to zip ups and all my other sweatshirts don't have hoods. But putting this one on with jeans and tennis shoes reminds me of my college days and makes me feel good. It's strange how something as silly as a sweatshirt can take me back a couple of years...or a decade. Geesh.

Speaking of college, if Fuller accepts my late registration, I am back to being a grad student again. I've been trying to work my way through their Certificate of Youth Ministry. It's been slow going but there are only two courses I need to take, so I signed up for a Distance Learning Course. Which means I'm going to need to study again, take tests and listen to lectures. Can you feel the excitement rolling off of me? No? Neither can I. I like learning, I don't like tests and studying stresses me out. But I'm determined to get this Certificate done! The chunk that it's taking out of my savings account is hefty but that's what I get for attempting to feel qualified for the position I'm in.

The weekend has been pretty non-eventful. I've done a lot of laundry, shredded a bunch of mail (so many American Express applications I can't believe it!), thrown stuff away, cleaned off some spaces, put other stuff in spaces and spent a lot of time pondering the lack of entertainment on television. After pretty much going non-stop since Thanksgiving, it has been nice to have a down weekend...though I'm going to pay for it tomorrow 'cuz I told my housemate that I would make sure the ornaments were off the Christmas tree and I didn't do that. She comes home tomorrow...that's the first thing on my list for the morning!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rental Car Saga

I love driving rental cars. I like testing out new vehicles, finding ones that are fun to drive, ones that I would love to own and then the ones that I have no desire to drive at all. I was convinced to buy my current car because I rented one almost exactly like it first and took it on a road trip. Fun, fun, fun.

Rental cars in Louisiana, though, have given me nothing but headaches. Seriously. Our first trip I reserved cars through one agency that had the best price. My aunt who was getting there earlier rented from a different company, which turned out to be a good thing. We arrived late in the night and went out to the rental companies shuttle location and waited and waited and waited. No shuttle. Aunt C came and picked us up and shuttled us a very closed rental company. Seriously closed, closed, closed. So we wound up at the one that Aunt C had rented from and they were friendly, kind and considerate and open.

Trip number two came and we went with the friendly, kind and considerate company. This time they had 2 of the 5 vehicles we needed ready. Great. An hour and a half later we left with all 5 vehicles to pick up the 20 other people waiting at the airport baggage for us. I was not a happy camper but I dealt with it.

Trip number three came. We decided to rent the vehicles at the airport counter in the baggage claim area. All was successful until we went to pick up the 4 vehicles...there weren't any there. We had rented vehicles that weren't there. We finally wound up with all 4 vehicles but not without a little headache.

Trip number 4 we tried same rental agency again. This time we had 5 vehicles again. Shuttle bus picked us up and we rode happily to the rental agency. Again, no cars. I was really not a happy camper and stood my ground very firmly. 5 mini-vans, no 15 passenger vans. It took a while and some convincing of those who were going to be drivers but I stood my ground and we wound up with 5 mini-vans, a couple of which had 3 miles on them. Frustrated, we arrived at our motel, unloaded and then loaded up to head to dinner. At which point the mini-van that I was driving and that had a total of 49 miles on it decided it wasn't going to start. 45 minutes later, after many frustrating phone calls with the company they were sending someone out (with the intention of charging me for the service call if the battery was truly, no!). I must have needed the 45 minute challenge because for some reason the car started just fine when I tried it one last time. But the nail had been put in the coffin...the company was going to hear from me.

Returning home from trip number 4 I wrote an email to the company complaining about the service, the lack of vehicles, the frustration with the reservation system and wound up with a nominal credit back on my card. Enough to give me a reason to try them again.

Trip number 5 we were a little stuck when it came to car companies because we were getting in so late and many closed. So we went with same rental car agency again. This time there were multiple cars to choose from and we picked out the one we liked the best.

Which brings us to trip number 6. I was fooled into thinking that possibly the rental car agency had changed it's ways, gone down a new path and was actually going to have cars for us when we arrived. I reserved 4 cars (3 in October, 1 December 1st) and was optimistic. HA! All 4 drivers piled into the shuttle bus and made our way over to the rental car agency. As we turned the corner into the lot I looked out over the parking lot and said "Oh, this isn't good". There was nary a car in the parking lot. Nothing being returned and cleaned, nothing in line to be put back in it's proper home. Only a lonely 15 passenger van and a couple of teeny tiny cars. The shuttle bus driver said "I know this looks bad." You think???? The lobby had people spilling out of it waiting in vain for a vehicle. The lady behind the desk said "I can put you on a waiting list. It could be 20 minutes but..." Um-hum. Reservations mean nothing to this company is what I found out. Nothing. "You can try other car rental agencies, but if you leave here you lose your place on the waiting list." We left.

We got back on the shuttle bus and the bus driver let us have an earful of his opinion. He wasn't happy with the company either. Not good when an employee isn't happy folks. We returned to shuttle bus central and immediately split up, chatting up all the drivers and trying to find vans for our group of 20. In the meantime three lovely ladies in our group were inside the airport calling all the rental car agencies looking for help. Finally one driver let out the yell "There's one 12 passenger van at A---." A couple of minutes of deliberation, a check to see if there were two (they said no, just one) and we had a plan. C got on the A--- shuttle bus and headed over to get the van. I sent 2 drivers back to the original rental car agency to stage a sit in. I called the group in baggage claim and had 6 people come out to meet me with all their luggage so that we could join them in the sit in. The rest of the group was to wait at baggage claim until C came back with the 12 passenger van and then they would all come join us. 20 people and their luggage was sure to make an impression on that rental car agency. Especially some of the hot-under-the-collar momma's I had with me. Whew.

Just as the shuttle bus pulled up to the curb my phone rang. It was C, A--- had two 12 passenger vans, did we want both. YES! We jumped shuttle bus lines and raced to retrieve our two white 12 passenger vans. Mine had 3.5 miles on it when I jumped in. I put over 600 miles on that van by the time we were done...and had another adventure as well, but that's for another post. "Vanna White" pictured below
So, the moral of the story is, when reserving cars at the New Orleans International Airport, steer clear of the rental car agency that sounds like a place in Texas...they may be open late but that doesn't mean they have the car you reserved...or any cars for that matter.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not a morning person

I am not a morning person...never have been and don't have any desire to be one either. It's a standing joke in my family that I wake up at 10am. I like the afternoons and the evenings, which is why my job is the perfect one for me...lots of night activities. Sunday morning is literally the only day in which I have to be at work by 8am.

But then there are weeks like last week, where my ability to be flexible and perky before 10am is seriously tested. Sometimes I fail miserably and snap people's heads off. Other times I can pull it together with the help of Diet Pepsi and White Chocolate Mochas. For our week in Pearlington we had to be out the door every morning by 7:30am for our 20 minute drive into Pearlington to be at work by 8am. I know, there's a 10 minute lee-way in there. I have learned with this group that we need that 10 minute cushion. I wake up best by taking showers in the morning, so I was the first one up most mornings usually between 6 and 6:15am. Yuck. I was surprisingly perky. Not kidding. Yo Momma can even tell you, I was a pretty happy morning person. What made this even more spectacular was the late nights. I think the earliest I went to bed all week was 10:30 and I think that happened once. Sleep deprivation, early mornings and still I was happy most mornings.

The last morning though, oh that was a tough one. We didn't work on Friday and could sleep in until 8am. I was wide awake at 7am and decided to just enjoy the quiet house and read my book (Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne, I'm really enjoying it so far). Wouldn't you know it, the young adults that had been complaining about having to get up so early in the morning and who rejoiced the night before at time to sleep in, those same young adults were up and stinkin' perky at 7:30am. I could literally feel the black cloud gather over my head and it all just went down hill from there. I tried really hard not to snap any one's heads off and kept my mouth shut but I had to wonder, why, on the last morning of the trip, did my "not a morning persona" have to rear it's ugly head? Mystifying.