Running with the BOB

I love my BOB jogging stroller.  It really helps me stay on track with my running on those days when I have no one to watch Eva or if Kyle has something he needs to work on while I am out.   


Eva is making sure that my water bottle is full and ready to go.

Taking a break to get a drink and see how Eva is enjoying the ride.  Looks like things are good!

Reason #842 why I love the BOB.
I love that I can pretty much count on Eva falling asleep in the stroller, so I sometimes time my run to be when she needs a nap. 

It also helps keep me from feeling guilty for being out on a run instead of spending precious time with her.  Since I work, I can't help feeling like I am missing out when I choose to go out on a run, even if its only for 30 minutes.  Having the stroller lets me spend that time with her while doing something I love.  So, even though it was quite an expense, I feel like I am getting every penny out of my BOB. 

AT&T is the Worst

I have been dealing with AT&T for various billing problems on our home phone, Internet, and now cell phone since February of this year.  I don't know if you've heard, but they have terrible customer service.  It seems like no one there knows their head from their butt.  And their web site is useless.  You pretty much have to have a different login for every account you have with them.  I thought I would treat you to my most recent email exchange with them. 

Here is my first message to them after failing at accessing our most recent bill for home phone/cell phone online.  I am enrolled in paperless billing which was obviously a mistake in hindsight.

I am commenting on your company's poor customer service.  I made the mistake of switching our home phone and Internet to AT&T in February of this year and I have had nothing but problems ever since.  Either me or my husband have to call just about every month due to billing errors and general disorganization on your part.  I can never get the assistance I need online, and every phone call requires AT LEAST 20 minutes of waiting on hold before getting to speak to anyone.  If you want to actually do a better job of serving your customers, you need to rethink how you handle incoming calls and online account access.  There is no reason I should have to have 15 log in names and passwords to access all of my AT&T accounts.  I should not have to ask to speak with a manager every time I call.  If I can't remember one of the many log ins I need to check my bill online, then I should not have to call you and wait on hold just to get it resolved.  I am close to cancelling all of my AT&T accounts.

I sent that through their online message system because AT&T really doesn't want to talk to you or get emails from you, so they make it a test of strength and wills to get ahold of an actual person on the phone and they only give you 4"x6" text box to tell them about whatever issue you may be having online.  I pretty much just sent that as a virtual middle finger after dealing with their usual nonsense 3 days ago.

Then today (after being promised via email that someone would follow up with me in 24-48 hours mind you) I get an email from David.  I am sure David is a nice fellow and it is unfortunate that he works for such a crappy organization.  In fact, I will say this--everyone I have spoken with up there has been nice and polite.  They have been inept and useless, but at least they weren't rude while accomplishing nothing.  Here is what David has to say:

Thank you for your email regarding Account Manager.  I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.  I will be happy to assist you with your inquiry.

I reached your answering machine at XXXXXX and voicemail at XXXXXXX.  Please reply to this email and describe the problem that you are currently having with the online account for XXXXXXX.  We can investigate and troubleshoot.

We do not see a passcode on the account in our billing system.  For security purposes and protection of your private information, I need you to reply back with one of the following items before I can help:
- Customer Code (three-digit number that follows your area code and telephone number at the top of your phone bill)
- Amount of your last bill
- Amount of your last payment


Thank you for using AT&T.  We appreciate your business and continued loyalty.

Regards,

David
Your AT&T Customer Service Representative

Get even more help online.
Find troubleshooting tips, tutorials, product updates and more — visit our online support site, our online forums or find us on Facebook.

That's right folks.  In order to help me see my bill, David needs me to give him information FROM MY BILL! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! (That is maniacal laughter, FYI). 

Well, luckily, I know how much the bill was for because of the email notification I got 3 days ago, which prompted this whole thing, so I guess I do have that.  So here is my response:

David,

Based on the billing notification email I received a couple of days ago, the amount of my most recent bill is $304.31.  I wanted to actually see the details of this bill, which is what prompted me to attempt to login to my account. 

I am able to log in to my cell phone account, but of course, since it is now linked up with my home phone account, I can get no information there.  I do not know what the login is for my home phone account, although your online account access system indicates that I have created a login and password for it.  However, when I try to use the online tools provided to retrieve my login information, I am advised that my issue cannot be resolved online and am then directed to a sort of Q & A type troubleshooting page which does nothing at all to help me other than to eventually reroute me back to the page designed to assist those who do not know what their login information is.  Since I started there in the first place, I see that I am not going to be able to accomplish anything on your web site.

In frustration which is all too common when I deal with any aspect of my accounts and billing through AT&T, I call the customer service line.  The automated message indicates that I can request my most recent 3 bills on this account, so I go through the steps to receive the most recent bill only to be told that due to technical difficulties or system error or some other nonsense, my request could not be processed at this time.  Holding to speak to an actual person, the recording tells me, will take at least 10 minutes due to unusually high call volume (I might suggest you remove the word "unusually" from that outgoing message as it is an outright lie.  Waiting on hold when calling AT&T customer service ALWAYS entails a wait of at least 20 minutes.  Either no one is answering the phone or I am one of many customers having problems with your company.  I am inclined to believe the latter.)

Like most people, I have a job.  I have a family.  I do not have to time to spend dealing with the same problems from the same company every single month.  I don't have the time to deal with new problems either and frankly, even if I did have the time, why would I want to?

Let me tell you what I consider good service and perhaps you can pass this on to your management.  If I pay for a service, I expect my billing to be correct, every month.  I expect to receive my product as agreed upon, when agreed upon, and I expect, if there ever is an issue, I can actually talk to someone in a timely fashion to get it resolved.     

To be quite honest, the only reason AT&T still has my business is because it is difficult, if not impossible to find other companies that service my geographic area for high speed Internet and home phone.  I have had my cell phone with you for years, with few problems until recently but am researching my options for a new provider for that service as well. 

So, David, if you could be so kind as to send me a detailed copy of my most recent bill for $304.31 and take me off of paperless billing so that I do not have to deal with this problem again, I would appreciate it. 

Thank you in advance for your prompt and courteous attention to this matter.


I used to work in customer service for an insurance company, guys.  I know it's a hard job so I really do feel for these people who have to help me.  I try very hard to be nice to them---you know, the old flies, honey, vinegar thing.  But jeez.  I don't tolerate ridiculousness very well. 

 

The Importance of Hydration

We all know that water is a necessity to survive.  I believe I have heard that our bodies are made up of 75% water.  Not getting enough water can cause dehydration, which can be dangerous, especially if you are losing a lot of fluids through illness or sweat.  For a while, there was a recommendation to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day but recently I believe that it has been determined that there is no prescribed amount of water you should drink, as you do get hydration from food and drink that contains water.  The most important thing is to keep yourself hydrated enough to prevent thirst and to drink more water in situations where you are losing fluids. 

That said, I have never really been a big water drinker.  Growing up, the drink of choice in our household was iced tea.  You only drank water if you were hot and sweaty and super thirsty.  On special occasions, like holidays or birthdays, Mom might bring home some soda and that was a treat!  As a teenager, I drank more soft drinks because, well frankly because I could.  I had a job and could buy my own soda when at school or out to eat with friends.  I still only drank water when I was really thirsty after a workout.  As an adult, I began to phase out much of my soda drinking, and did replace it with water during meal times, but you know, I like to drink stuff that has flavor and well, water just doesn't have any!

It wasn't until I was pregnant that I realized the value of drinking a lot of water throughout the day.  My pregnancy spanned the summer months and I had been warned by my doctor and in pregnancy books that dehydration can cause early labor/premature birth.  So I dutifully drank glass after glass of water.  I brought a water bottle to work and filled it up repeatedly with water from a Brita pitcher in our break room fridge.  After Eva was born and I began breastfeeding, I was told to continue drinking large amounts of water because hydration was key to producing the right amount of milk.  The hospital gave me a handy water jug with a big plastic bendy straw, so I constantly kept it full of ice water and drank from it all day while on maternity leave. 

Now that I am back out there running on a regular basis, and have gotten into a really good habit of keeping myself well hydrated throughout the day, I must say I can tell a real difference in my running performance when I have had plenty of water versus when I haven't.  Some afternoons, when I am dragging just a bit after lunch, I may have a diet soda.  Drinking this cuts into my water drinking for the afternoon, so I may not get as much water that day.  Boy can I usually tell when I go out for my run in the evening.  It seems like I am more prone to side cramps, my legs feel heavier, and my whole body just feels sluggish. 

Now I know that part of this may have to do with the fact that some days are just better running days than others.  Not every run can be a good one.  But I am convinced that being properly hydrated really does play a big role in the quality of my running.  So even though I am not pregnant and I am barely nursing anymore, I am still making sure to keep up my water intake.  Certainly can't hurt!

Swimming!

With Eva taking swim lessons on Saturday mornings the past few weeks, we have been doing a lot of swimming on the weekends as time allows.  We usually get up and get her to swim lessons at 10:30 and then head to lunch afterwards. 
Eva and Dad at swim lessons

 Then we head to the local pool for a few hours.

Eva playing in the kiddie pool at the local city pool complex.
 This past weekend, we went down to the Lake of the Ozarks with some good friends and Eva got to try out her new float on which she promptly fell asleep.

Sleepy baby.
On Sunday we let Eva get into the lake for the first time. I think she enjoyed it.



Of course, that wore her (and her Dad) out also.

Shhhh. They are sleeping!
Eva really seems to enjoy the water and I am glad that we have her in swim classes because I think it makes her more comfortable when we go swimming.