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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Timeshare Pitch--OY!


So last weekend I was at the chocolate show in Salt Lake. So was a timeshare company. I avoid these people like I avoid annoying relatives and each time I passed their booth I became fascinated by something on the ceiling. I am not one to be fooled . . . again. See, my husband and I have been to pitches before--you know, they give you a free dinner, or overnight stay in order to duct tape you to a chair and convince you that you're only chance at happiness is timeshare ownership.

We've done these before and when we said no, I felt like absolute garbage. I swear the guy had tears in his eyes. I felt horrible while eating my dinner, sure that I was responsible for this man's family having to eat from garbage cans behind the hotel (I was 22 and not nearly as cynical as I am now). Another time we said yes, and you'd think we cured cancer for the joy the whole office experienced. We were excited, until we tried to use our first bonus week. It was a nightmare, as was the next attempt, and the next, and the next. After a year I wrote a four page letter to the company demanding a refund for their having misrepresented the product. They responded with a form "sorry, but it's not our problem." I do not get ripped off quite so easily and so I wrote another letter, not only to the guy that responded, but to their main offices as well. I included the addresses for my local chapter of the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection so they would know I was serious. I got a full refund within two weeks and within the year helped my sister and my cousin with their own letters since it was a nightmare for them too.

Thus, based on my past experience--you can imagine my surprise when I found my husband in the grips of this timeshare saleswoman.

"We can get a two night stay and dinner just for listening to the presentation," he said as if he hadn't been sitting next to me through our other pitch experiences.

I wanted to say "You've got to be kidding me!" instead I said, "Are you sure?"

"We can go for my birthday next week.

Well, how do I argue with that?

So last night we checked into our hotel in Park City. It's very nice here. After we checked in and peeked in on the football game in triple overtime, we went to our presentation. It was supposed to last 90 minutes. I was hoping for one of the skanky girl salespeople, or one of the gangster looking male salespeople. I can say no to people like that. I got the fresh faced nice guy. I knew right then we were in trouble. However, the following things kept me secure in our practices answer of NO:

We have no money.
We already own a timeshare at Snowbird that we love.
We hate complicated reward programs.
We don't want to be tied into one type of vacation.
It was very very expensive.
We are not spontaneous decision makers (unless my husband is looking for a get away for his birthday)
We know sales, we know all the tricks.
We are educated, smart people
We'd already decided to say no.
We had no reason to say yes.

We beleived all these things. We said all these things. We said no several times, but that only got us a sweeter deal. We were there for almost 4 hours. Mr. Nice Guy was very very nice.

So, did we buy? Of course we did--but at least I can say it was my husband's fault. There is security in that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

That KISS!!


This isn't a tag or a meme or anything like that, but I just finished watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (again) and read Julie Wright's blog (which if you haven't read, you really really should) and I was thus inspired on a blog topic--kissing, or more specifically, kisses. Those great movie kisses that make your toes curl. I've thought of four that are my absolute favorites, and would love to hear from the rest of you which ones I missed.

4) Beauty and the Beast--Disney Cartoon. This is probably my favorite Disney cartoon, and a big reason for that is because of that ending kiss. You can picture the scene, right? The beast has just been levitated and rays of light has shot out of his fingers and toes (which I thought was a little odd looking) and he twists and the cape wraps him up in a cocoon and then he holds out his hands and realizes he human again. The first thing he does is turn to Belle, and she narrows her eyes suspiciously, then reaches toward him and says "It is you" and then they share a fabulous (even in cartoon) kiss. Breathtaking.

3) Princess Bride--The narrator even preps us by telling us there have been five kisses in the history of the world (or something like that) to outdo all kisses and this one tops them all. Buttercup and Wesley are on horseback after just having escaped Humperdinks castle and they move in slow as the sun comes up behind them, sealing the love they have both suffered without for so long. Very well done.

2) Spiderman 1--yep, it's the one where he's hanging upside down and MJ peels back his mask and they have a big ol sloppy passionate kiss in the rain. I saw Toby on a talk show and he said that was the most uncomfortable scene because he couldn't breathe with the mask pulled up and nearly choked on the water. But, hey, it looked AWESOME. I tried really hard to talk my husband into recreating it for me--no dice. Good thing I own the DVD.

1) Having just finished Return of the King, there is simply no better kiss than the one between elf-girl (Aerowen--can't say it or spell it but you know who I mean) and new king-man (Arogan or Strider or somthing like that. I'm really horrible with the names in that movie) and he's just been crowned and she emerges from behind a banner. he takes a step toward her, incredulous that after all that's happened, she's here. And just as you think they are going to draw it out and end in a sweet kiss of tenderness, he dives in and captures her mouth in a passionate, all-telling reminder of just how strong their love for one another is. Wow--it just doesn't get better than that.

Don't ya think? So which kisses am I missing?

***disclaimer: I may have gotten scene details wrong, but this is how I remember it. If I'm wrong then it only means this is how they SHOULD have been :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Won!


A few weeks back, my new friend Daizie at Looking Beyond A Cracked Window mentioned a contest her friend runs each month for different writing exercises. I surfed on over to read about it and the topic was My Ideal Day. I have to admit I'd been in a bit of a funk. Fall is my favorite time of year, but it's so incredibly busy. I had just finished a book that had stressed me out, Halloween was coming (and I hate Halloween) and I was just in one of those places where the joy is hard to find amid the tasks at hand. It was therefore intriguing and refreshing to consider what my ideal day would be. I can't remember the last time I just wrote for creativity sake. It was wonderful and freeing and it was nice to feel successful at something when I actually finished the project and linked back to the contest page. I read some of the other entries as well and they were very good. I was intrigued with how different each ideal day could be for different people. I didn't hear anything on the results and kept telling myself to go check in--and then on Friday I got a flurry of congrats and e-mails from friends and fellow participants congratulating me on having won! Not only did I win, but the judges gave excellent feedback and I am definitely a feedback hound. It's priceless to know what works for other people.

Anyway, I'm flattered and humbled and very grateful. Hop on over to Judith~Heartsong and you can read about the contest and the essays that were entered. Also, stay tuned for the November contest.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

108 Things About Me~kidding!

So I mentioned pizza in my last blog and would like to reiterate that I'm nothing if not obsessive. Being obsessive can be good thing when it comes to cleaning bathrooms (I don't have that symptom of the disease, however) or being on time (I try to do this one but I'm not great at it), but it can get out of hand.

Since last Friday I have made ten homemade pizzas. We've had one or two pizzas every day. I've tweaked several recipes for sauce and dough, and I'm not done yet, but I'm taking a break. I called my husband this afternoon and begged him to get a Cafe Rio salad for me on his way home. I realized that other than a Winger's salad on Saturday and some broccoli I had with my pizza-for-lunch on Tuesday, I haven't had any green vegetables for a week. And yes, that means my kids haven't either. I'd feel worse about that if they actually ATE green vegetables when I served them. I'm a really crappy mother sometimes and I know it's not healthy to have such a monochromatic diet. In addition to the pizza I perfected garlic bread sticks and sticky buns using the same dough recipe. Yes, I'm drowning in gluten. And actually I'm feeling so tired and almost sick. Whether that's due to all the white flour I've ingested or it's just a fall time cold and the fact that I'm waking up at 5:00 in the morning and am so busy with my dough recipes being just right that I'm not exercising, I can't be sure, but I'm not ruling it out.

I'm also not writing. I've worked on a few things and tried to catch up some digital scrapbooking that I really suck at, but this whole pizza thing might be my way of avoiding cutting some scenes I really really like. So sad.

I will share my recipes when they are perfect, and thank you A. Riley for your recipe, I changed the sugar to honey in the recipe I was working on and it's MUCH better for it. Honey always tastes better than white sugar in breads but I needed to be reminded of that. And Ronda, I'd love your recipe too.

Anyway, I think maybe next week I'll obsess on the perfect steamed veggie concoction--wish me luck!

Monday, November 05, 2007

107 things about me

Okay, so I've seen the "100 things about me" all over the place and thought it was a meme no one wanted to tag me for. Then Annette Lyon did her 100 things and I realized that it was something you did to memorialize your 100th blog. Unfortunately, I learned this as I was posting my 105th, and so here I am, 107 posts into my blogging career and, as is much of life, I'm trying to catch up. After writing this I was amazed it was possible to write 107 things about, basically, nothing at all. Go figure. And I'm probably doing this all wrong, but that's just like me as well. So, here goes:

1) I wear a size 7 ½ shoe
2) My arches are falling
3) Some shoes make my toes go numb
4) Especially cheap shoes
5) There are some really really really expensive shoes out there
6) And I own a few pair
7) And they do make a difference
8) I prefer Dansko clogs to about anything else
9) Even though they look funny with my skinny ankles
10) Other than my Danskos, I can’t wear most shoes for more than a couple hours
11) Ironically, one of my favorite shoes is a pair of “hooker” boots I got for $5 at Kmart 7 years ago--they are stretchy black heeled boots.
12) They’re even better than my Danskos and fit my feet perfectly
13) But the fake leather is starting to flake
14) So I color it with magic marker
15) Yep, just Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”
16) I’m not really a hooker
17) Although sometimes my husband will leave his tithing (church donation) on the bed so I’ll remember to pay it for him
18) And then it kind of seems like I’m getting paid
19) But I’m not
20) Otherwise I’d be a freaking MILLIONAIRE
21) It’s a good thing he’s not reading this or he’d fall out of his chair laughing
22) He loves to laugh at me
23) And I indulge him by giving him ample opportunity to do so
24) And if I don’t give him a reason, he laughs at something I once did
25) And they say women have great memories
26) I don’t have such a great memory
27) But I’m pretty good with names, unless I learn the wrong one, I can't seem to change my mind and reconnect a face with a new name
28) My husband is great with phone numbers
29) He’ll sometimes remember someone's phone number and not have a clue who they are
30) It’s really weird
31) He’s a math-wiz.
32) I’m a cheese-wiz
33) I love cheese
34) And beans
35) But I don’t like chili
36) I think it’s the actual chili powder I don’t like
37) I make a kickin' white chili though
38) It doesn’t have chili powder, just cumin
39) I like cumin
40) It’s a far more versatile spice than most people realize
41) I’m 33 years old
42) My birthday lands on memorial day sometimes
43) I don’t like having a birthday on a holiday
44) Everyone already has plans
45) My sister, however, really got reamed
46) Her birthday is on Christmas
47) If you HAVE to share your birthday with someone, He’s the not the guy to share with
48) More than once my family forgot all about her birthday
49) Then my other sister had a baby on Christmas a few years ago
50) And my cousin had a baby the Christmas after that
51) It’s a curse
52) I’d choose memorial day over Christmas
53) My sister that has a birthday on Christmas, her name, because of the holiday and all, is Crystal
54) Her middle name is, like mine, Snow
55) And she married a man with the last name White
56) Crystal Snow White
57) I tease her about it all the time
58) She’s my younger sister so I can get away with that
59) But at least she didn’t marry that guy she dated with the last name Ball
60) Then her name would be Crystal Snow Ball
61) I have 4 sisters
62) Two older and two younger
63) Then I have four brothers
64) One died
65) The other three didn’t
66) I like them a lot better now than I did when they were stealing my candy when I was younger
67) However, I became a pro at hiding it
68) Wanna know the best way to hid candy from anyone?
69) Hang a grocery sack on a hanger, then cover with a shirt, or better yet a jacket
70) The ugliest one you have will often work the best
71) Who thinks to look on a coat hanger for your stash of halloween candy?
72) Actually, little brother’s can
73) So I started hiding it in my dad’s brown and orange coat in the upstairs closet
74) Supreme irony that to truly hide my candy from the little monsters I’d put it outside of my room, in a common closet
75) After I moved out my mom found a stash
76) I was so ticked I hadn’t remembered to take it with me
77) I was a candy FREAK growing up
78) Which is why I’ve had at least 30 cavities and why I have 4 crowns and will likely have two more by the end of 2008.
79) I hate the dentist
80) But he loves me
81) As he should since I finance many a vacation
82) We just lost our dental insurance
83) Right before we went in for our cleanings and x-rays
84) We didn’t find out we didn’t have insurance until the insurance company denied the $800 of charges
85) This after paying $120 a month for 6 years.
86) Being self-employed sucks when it comes to insurance
87) And when it comes to getting a mortgage
88) And filing taxes
89) And paying bills
90) Other than that, it’s great
91) I’m on a pizza obsession right now
92) I’ve made 6 different homemade pizzas in the last 4 days
93) My kids are in heaven
94) And I’m eating too much
95) I’m on the quest for the best crust and pizza sauce
96) I’ve never made homemade pizza before
97) I’m a quick study in the kitchen however
98) I like to cook
99) But I only like to cook things that I like to eat
100) Drives my poor family crazy
101) So I tell them to do the cooking
102) And we eat hot dogs
103) They’re enjoying the pizza fetish though
104) I like pizza better than hot dogs
105) I like hot dogs better than chicken
106) I like fine chocolate better than just about anything
107) It’s time to go make a pizza for dinner

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And the truth will set you free! (answers to the Liar meme)


I'm glad so many of you think so well of me, however it puts me in an awkward position as I hate dashing peoples good impressions. Unfortunately I do it quite often and today is no exception. Anyway, here it goes.

#4--The Mikes--Only one person guessed this one and Newnorth only guessed it because no one else had (she's such a rebel :-). I really thought this story was rather unbelievable, but maybe it's one of those truth is stranger than fiction--that many Mike's would never work in a book. And yes, the husband was kind of jerk to insist on the name thing. Anyway--it's true.

#3--Gambling--I'm sorry (kinda) to say that my husband and I really did win $800 playing blackjack in Costa Rica. Yes, I know gambling is bad and against my religion, and I know several people that will lose thousands and go right back to it, my hubby and I don't gamble this way. Fact is, my husband is a professional gambler--not in casino's but in profession. He's a real estate investor and is constantly hedging his bets in one business or another. He loves the rush and is very good at what he does. He was a quick study in blackjack and thank goodness for our religious beliefs that keep us cautious. The trick is that he knows when to hold em and knows when to fold em and he taught me how to do it as well. I'm a baby and I only play with nice dealers though, and the other people at the table hate me because I constantly split tens--it's my favorite trick. Really we do it once a year, if that, and won't lose more than $40. But we were on fire that night! 12 people thought this one was a lie. (this is not an endorsement for gambling in anyway and the writer of this blog is not responsible for anything you may lose at the tables)

#2--Free trip to Mexico--I had no idea this 'payback' program existed and went back and forth about even calling them when I got the bill because I thought it was a mistake and didn't want to fess up and have them remove the credit. But I did call and it was awesome--the only thing we paid for was souvenirs and a couple meals, oh and braids that made me look like an 11 year old girl--doubly discomfiting since I was 5 months pregnant. Six days in Mexico for $200, not bad. The fact that the other five transactions I'd made that month weren't the winners was awesome since they were all under $30. 9 of you thought this was a lie.

#1--Hans Solo in my car--Yep, this was the lie. I've never met Harrison Ford. However, the trick to telling a good lie, make it as true as possible. The situation happened just like I said, only it wasn't me, it was my sister-in-law and she wasn't sure it was him until the town was wild with the news. I would NEVER have mistaken Harrison Ford for someone else, are you kidding? Also, did you know people are less likely to guess A in multiple choice? They have a hard time believing the right answer is the first one they read and by the time they read through all the answers, they've nearly forgotten what A was. B is actually the most common answer, mostly because people THINK C is the right answer most of the time, but it actually comes in second. Just some tips for all y'all in case you want to hone up on your dishonesty.

The three that picked it off were Holly, Jen & Tegdir92. My 5 year old is in bed already so my 13 year old drew after rolling her eyes and saying "fiiiine." The winner is . . . Jen!! Yeah Jen.

Please follow this link to my website, click on books and read up on which of the two you would like, Earning Eternity or Tempest Tossed. Then send your address to kilpack@gmail.com and I'll get the book in the mail.

Thanks for playing everyone, that was fun, and I hope no one's testimony was bruised in the process.