Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Hybrid Experience

During our recent vacation, we rented a car for two days and because the compact car that I had reserved, a Ford Focus, reeked of cigarette smoke, the lady was kind enough to let me have the Toyota Prius- a Hybrid vehicle. When she asked me if I had ever driven one before, I looked at her funny. I said, “how different can it be?” She just grinned. I could not even turn it on when I got in. She came and showed me what to do and then, how to run it. It was interesting. All the controls were through some panel screen (like a GPS screen), and it was very complicated until you got used to it – took me just enough time to get it before I had to return it.

The ride was smooth, and the car was slightly larger than your usual compact. We could fit all our stuff in it, both car seats, and still had room for one person to squeeze rather tightly between the car seats. All in all, I really enjoyed the hybrid experience. I enjoyed it even more on our trip to the airport to return it. I had to fuel it back to FULL. I was expecting to pay over $10 for the 120+ miles we had put on it but I was very pleased when it stopped pumping at 2.4 gallons. I spent a grand total of $5.70 to fill it up after 48 hours of driving it. We drove it for well over 70 miles on day 1, and an additional 70 on day 2. It was terribly hot and we were running the A/C constantly too. We had to- I was nursing the baby in the car, we would wait in the car while one of us ran into the store, and so on. So, I was excited to see that I only had to spend a little change on the gas.

After driving it and the small bill for gas, I am SOLD on it- I wish more dealerships and auto manufacturers would make hybrids- for vans, for cars, etc. I know we need the space to have a wagon or SUV, but I would gladly pay a little extra if they made them hybrids. It would reduce our dependence on oil while still permitting a great ride. Leave it to Toyota to have a good one at the same price sticker as a Subaru Outback. We had a great hybrid experience and hope that they continue to make cars and trucks more affordable and more fuel efficient. I am honestly considering one for my next vehicle.


Do you take “cream” with your tea or coffee?

However delayed this blog is, I had to write about the tea incident that occurred while I was visiting my folks in Virginia. My mom is a conservator by nature. For example, when I give my toddler-daughter Vitamin D milk in a bottle or cup, any left overs are used by mom to make her tea. Even though my daughter has back wash, etc., my mom feels compelled to not waste anything – down to meals. She will eat what my daughter does not and so on. I think you get the picture. Well, lesson learned I think is when it comes to some things, ‘tis better to just let it go.

Case in point – when I was visiting Virginia, I had bottles for both my infant daughter (2 bottles) and my toddler too because she cannot seem to drink milk out of anything other than a bottle. We are not too hard on her and still indulge her so she drinks her milk out of a bottle. Anyway, while we were in Virginia, I had to thaw out frozen breast milk one day for my infant so my mom could feed her while I was taking a nap with my daughter. My mom did so and it was approximately 3 ounces of breast milk. The bottles are marked with my infant’s name but it is not readily available or apparent- you have to actually lift the bottle and read below. My mom did not know this because rarely is my infant bottle fed. She is exclusively breast fed. So, needless to say… I think you know where this is going … My infant did not drink the bottle and my mom put it back in the fridge. Later that same, she made tea and waste not, want not, she thought she was using Vitamin D leftovers, combined with some other milk for prayers, combined with Actual Vitamin D leftovers. Little did she know at that time, that she had 3 ounces of breastmilk, an ounce of milk used for prayers, and 3 ounces of Vitamin D leftovers all in one pot. If you know hot to make Indian masala chai, it is all combined with water in a pot, spices and tea added with sugar, and then boiled. Boiling it releases the caffeine from the tea and makes the milk and water and sugar come to life. Ha! Needless to say, it smelled funny because breast milk, when boiled, does not separate, but just smells odd. As soon as I put my lips to the cup, I could smell something. It reminded me of how my infant smells after she spits up. Ironically, my infant was reaching for the cup as if it smelled to her of momma. In any case, after 2 sips, I said… This is spoiled and then did not drink it. My mom, on the other hand, kept drinking it and saying it tasted horrible but could not stop drinking it. My dad was saved because before he could get a cup, mom my decided it was spoiled milk and tossed all the tea. It was not until morning that she realized what she had done.

That night, I kept searching for Nisha’s bottle of milk and just decided to talk with my mom in the morning – of course, before I could do so, she admitted to me what happened and was quite embarrassed about it. I wonder if she views “waste not want not” differently now. Oh –no she doesn’t, she merely blamed the entire saga on me because of my lack of labeling and moved on. So, next time someone talks about mistakenly drinking breast milk, I do not laugh – I have been there, done that. Thank god it was my milk 🙂

On a side note, when I googled, “frozen breast milk” I got this article and I had to share (OH BOY!) Breast Milk Off the Menu!


Storm of the Century

So, last night in Colorado, I would say we had the storm of the century. Sure, compared to what others may get, it was nothing but our neighborhood got hit hard. Leaves were everywhere, hail was so loud, I could not think, our roof leaked, our basement got flooded (mainly because they left the window wells open), and the power was out for at least 2 hours. Thank God the food did not go bad or I would have been pissed. Some people in other parts of town did not get their power back until three in the morning! That would have been too close for comfort for me – I have frozen breast milk and if that would have gone bad, I would have been really upset.

In any case, we are having our basement finished and so water got into the basement- due to a combination of factors but mainly cause the window wells are exposed and open and the windows were also left open. If the windows were closed, we may have gotten some water but not alot. We will need to figure out the window well situation before completing the basement and this certainly made us rethink some things. It turns out our area and two other cities along the same main street in Colorado were hit hard with our city and another the hardest. It was a scary storm and I am just glad that more damage was not done. I feel blessed we have a roof over our head and the children are safe. I am not sure how people cope with losing everything – their home, their property, etc. I guess as long as those we love are safe and healthy, everything else is secondary.


Cricket Broadband Connection Update

I decided to call tech support again today – Monday, a working day. I figured maybe the losers were working the call centers abroad on the weekend. I was right. Today, I got someone who actually helped me change some settings on my Windows Vista. They were security settings. I had to uncheck one box under user accounts (the introductory screen) and boom! It worked. Another thing that you need to do if you are running Vista or XP with security is this: Make sure you download the software FIRST onto your desktop (The zipped version), then after you plug the card in, unzip and install the software. This will prevent your system from crashing and will recognize the device. Soon, the device driver will install and then you are all set to use your A600 Broadband card.

I am an IT person at heart. I kept googling solutions this weekend. The best one told me to download the software from the cricket website instead of relying on the broadband USB Modem to install it for me on my computer. Next, I decided to take a chance and ask for tech support on a normal working day and lied to the technician. Instead of telling her I got the blue screen of death, I told her the modem was not being recognized. She took me through the right steps to install the card, and voila, it worked. Do not let them tell you that you need to contact Windows. That is a load of crap. It is their hardware, not the software. They need to help you change the security settings not Windows. In any case, good luck. For now, I am going to see how it works since I have 30 days and then we will see. Good luck!


Buyer Beware: Cricket Broadband sucks!

I had the unfortunate experience of ordering an A600 modem from Cricket Broadband. What attracted me to this? I wanted no contracts and at $40, I could log on from anywhere, so I thought. I received the A600 Broadband modem. I paid a butt-load of money for it. The over-excited sales rep guy misrepresented to me that if it did not work with my computer, I would get all my money back. He lied. Worse yet, the customer service reps (based out of China is my guess) were horrible to deal with when I needed help. The tech support guy and gal were even worse. So, to make a long story short in this first introductory paragraph – DO NOT GIVE YOUR BUSINESS TO CRICKET. I have already filed a better business complaint against them over this incident and plan on fighting with my credit card company to get my activation fee because in sum, I ACTIVATED NOTHING!

So, here is what happened. I enthusiastically picked up my package at Fed Ex- signature required or you cannot get your card. Then, I plugged into my laptop. It should automatically install. It did not. Instead I got the blue screen of death- better known as a system crash. This happened all 7 times. I meet all the requirements. I tried in two other laptops with different systems (all meet the requirements). Same blue screen of death. I call Cricket for tech support. They suck and told me it was a windows error. It is not of course because two other computers with different OS all had the same problem. So I call tech support again hoping to get someone smarter. Wrong again! So I call customer service to ask for a refund. Mind you, I just got it yesterday and have not even activate it yet because I cannot even use it. I got the supervisor who was reading from a card provided to him in some outsourced factory in China who told me my activation fee could not be reimbursed because (and I quote), “the modem works fine – it is my equipment error.” I lost my mind and just hung up because there was no point arguing with a drone in another country. So, there goes my hard-earned American cash. I will NEVER recommend Cricket to anyone as a result and if I can even help one person to NOT get their service, I have done my job. The customer service after you order something from them is horrible. There is no contract, sure, but you definitely get what you pay for and when it comes to CRICKET, this cannot be more true. I will be taking my business elsewhere because I never want to deal with this company again. Oh wait, I need to get my money back first. Damn it! When it comes to Cricket Broadband or Wireless, Caveat Emptor.