Type-A Parent Conference 2013 Ticket Giveaway

type-a parent conferenceIn the past few years, there has been a proliferation of new blogging, social media, and digital marketing conferences. Some have a focus on people who work in agencies, some are for bloggers starting out, and others are for coding and analytics geeks. Although I’ve found value in all of the conferences I’ve attended, I’ve found my home with Type-A Parent Conference. I recently wrote about Why I Love Type-A Parent Conference, and I just returned from Type-A Advanced in Philadelphia with a lot of love in my heart (other than the jerk I sat by on the plane).

Those who have attended  Type-A events love them. And I love my readers. And this week, I’m giving away a free ticket to a conference I love.

Did you catch that? I’m giving away a FREE ticket to TYPE-A PARENT CONFERENCE in Atlanta.

 #typeaphilly closing partyType-A Parent Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at Westin Buckhead. The conference dates are Friday, September 27, 2013 to Sunday, September 29, 2013. For more information about the conference, visit the event page. The full-price ticket goes for $297, and does not include transportation, food, spending money, or lodging. But! If you win, I’ll take you out to dinner one of the nights of the conference (Atlanta is a foodie’s paradise, btw).

To enter, complete the entry options on the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Please only enter if you are personally able to attend the conference – the ticket is not for resale. If you are selected and unable to attend, I will choose another entrant. Giveaway ends April 28, 2013 at midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I personally purchased this ticket at an earlybird price for the purpose of a giveaway. I am not an employee of Type-A Parent, just a huge fan. No compensation was given to me for hosting this giveaway.

Another Moving Fiasco: Part 4

Today is moving delivery day. Or it was supposed to be.

Earlier this month, we decided to have the movers bring our stuff, despite the contract issues and having no idea how we’d pay the balance. I asked how quickly it could get there…Rob said cross-country transit usually takes 3-5 days (which to me is reasonable.) I told him we’d have the money on payday (Jan 16th), and he said they’d plan on delivering it the week of the 18th.
I talked to Rob last Monday, the 18th. He said our stuff would be there by Thursday, Friday at the latest. He promised to call by Thursday to give our firm delivery time. I called back and talked to a receptionist about acceptable forms of payment. She said certified bank check was fine, but they took credit cards and money orders as well. My dad agreed to lend us the money, found a bank branch open on the MLK holiday, and got the certified check ready for us.
Thursday came and went. Delivery didn’t happen. No call from Rob.
I called Friday morning. Rob said he’d get in touch with the dispatcher and call me back within 30 minutes. He didn’t call me back. After a few more calls near closing time, the receptionist finally let me talk to him. Rob called the truck driver. The truck was in Texas, would be dropping a shipment in Colorado on Sunday, and would deliver our stuff in Utah “first thing Monday morning.”
Sunday night around 9:00 PM, the driver Alex called us. He said that he would be delivering between 11 am and 2 pm, and to have payment in postal money order ready. (HUH?) I told him that the moving company advised us that certified check was acceptable…he said that I’d have to take it up with the moving company.
I called Moving 1 right when they opened this morning. Rob discussed methods of payment, and he said that Moving 1 has NEVER accepted a certified bank check for delivery. I advised that I called last week to verify, and was given incorrect information. Rob said, “If the driver gets to your house, and you try to pay in certified check, he’ll just turn around and drive away.” I looked at our contract, and sure enough…only acceptable payment on delivery was postal money order.
At that point it was 7 am, and we had about 4 hours to figure out payment before the delivery window. My dad (who is wheelchair-bound, btw) was preparing to leave on a business trip. We explained the situation, and we knew the only way we could fix the payment was to have him physically come to the bank to cash the check. Taylor drove up from Spanish Fork, and my dad drove down from Lehi, and they met at a Provo branch to cash the check. Taylor took the cash to the post office, got the money orders, and hurried back home to be there for the movers at 11.
Our 11 am to 2 pm window passed. No movers. We called the Moving company – they had no clue. We called the truck driver – no answer. As we were stewing over what to do next, the truck driver called. He said that his truck broke down “een esalta laka seety.” (in Salt Lake City) If he could get the truck fixed, he’d be there by 6 pm. If not, he’d come “first thing in the morning Tuesday.”
At 6:15, the driver called. He can’t come to “The Espanish Fork” tonight. He will come at 8 am tomorrow. We shall see.
At this point…I’m at a loss for words.
As for the dispute with the BBB, the moving company representative did respond to my complaint. It was written by Donna, the claims adjuster, poor grammar and all:
“First we would like to apologize for the inconvenience the customer may have sufferred during her move. However, we do not increase any shipment size or cost unless the customer has more items. Which means that even if we were mistaking in the estimation of shipment size, but the items list were the same, we would not have charged her more. We find it a little rude that the customer is only listing the increase in charges but not listing any of the adjustments that Rob the “rude” manager has authorized.

“Rob has authorized a charge for 750 at the same rate initially quoted to the customer which resulted in a discount of $378.00 discount. The customer shipment size was estimated by other companies the same 560 cu.ft. just like we have because of the list of items the customer provided. She also sent us copies of estimates she received which were for more than 500 cubic feet only. so to say we were the only ones is just wrong.

Furthermore, if the customer wasn’t just looking for bottom line price when comparing quotes she would have been able to pay more attention to details. We are very sorry the customer is not completely happy but trust our above explanation sheds some light over the REAL move details.”

I am composing my rebuttal as we speak…

It is true that when I sent my complaint to the BBB, Moving 1 had made no price concessions other than giving us “free” storage (while we came up with the the extra $$$ they overcharged us). After the complaint was submitted, I finally made some headway with Rob (see THIS post). I’m not sure what Donna was talking about when she mentioned the other estimates I submitted for comparison. (the ones submitted were for a 2 bedroom apartment, and for 760 cubic feet…nothing lower than the 560 CF we got from Moving 1.) The quote I am primarily concerned about is the one they “matched” from Bravo Movers…the 760 CF quote for $1820. The quote that would have saved us much of this hassle, had we dropped Moving 1 when we had the chance.

I am now working with a company called www.moverescue.com. Not sure if anything can be done at this point, but I’m not giving up yet.

Another Moving Fiasco : Part 2

Ah, the continuing moving saga of the Bullock family. Part one of the Atlanta moving fiasco is here.

I was hoping that after two weeks I’d have more good news to report on the move, but we’re still in a stalemate. We’d hoped to have the issue resolved quickly, and to have our belongings delivered by Christmas or New Years’. I’ve talked to several receptionists, two reservation specialists and two managers, and have gotten the most information out of the manager Rob (but on only one occasion). When I call to ask for Rob, I am typically put on hold for 10-25 minutes before I’m told “He’s already left for the day,” or “He has taken the day off,” or “He’s meeting with a vendor in the warehouse and can’t talk for at least an hour.” All excuses are given with a promise to have him call me back immediately, but as of today, I have not had ONE email or phone call returned. I have messaged Erica the reservation specialist a few times, and she is no longer returning my emails or voice mails.

Currently, our items are sitting in their regional warehouse in Arkansas. We have gotten the moving company to agree to not charge us storage fees until we are able to pay enough to start transit (which we will do as soon as they give us an agreeable total price). But at the rate Moving 1 has been going, who knows if it will happen anytime soon?!?

I don’t know what else I can do. I just emailed Get Gephardt for help.

Yet Another Moving Fiasco

Moving 1 steals your belongingsThe storage unit in Decatur, GA that has held our earthly possessions since June

When Rosie and I headed out to Utah in June, all we brought with us was what fit into my Camry. We packed pretty creatively, so we haven’t been totally barren. Unfortunately, most of the clothes we brought with us were capris, tees, sandals, and light jackets. Now that it’s Winter, fleece jackets just don’t cut it! We’ve found some amazing finds online and at thrift stores. We’ve received calls from neighbors and family members when they were getting rid of something we might be able to use. But after 6 months of shelling out $100 bucks per month to Public Storage, we knew we had to get our stuff out to Utah sooner rather than later.

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten about 20 different price quotes from traditional moving companies, freight companies, cube storage/shipping, U-Pack, U-Haul, etc. We had chosen a broker called Moving 1 (who we did ultimately use this week) and we told them we weren’t sure when it would happen because we didn’t have the funds to pay yet. Once we got a quote lower than Moving 1’s quote, we asked them to match it. They DID match the total, but not the rate per cubic foot. We had reserved 800 cu ft (10x10x8 storage unit) but they way they scammed us was to only give us 560 cu ft for the $1820. When we used 720 cu ft, we got slammed with a higher price for that “extra” 190 cu ft.

In all, they charged us $3.75 per CF, and $5.75 for the extra CF (when all other CF quotes were between $2.15-$3.00 per CF.) Also, they charged us $530 for packing materials which consisted of 12 boxes and packaging tape, and a “dish packing fee” to put our bagged pots and pans into a box. When the truck was all packed, they movers said that the price was now $3200, not the “binding estimate” of $1800. We then found out was binding for weight…no matter how much it weighed, it would cost the same…but we’d have to pay extra for added volume. While at the storage unit as the movers packed, we tossed out dressers, mattresses, garbage bags full of linens and clothes, etc to make take down the amount of space used. We were supposed to pay half in cash at pick up, and half on delivery. We only had $1100 available to pay, so we have to wire them another $700 before they will ship it out to Utah. Our treasures will sit in a warehouse in Arkansas until we have paid half of the balance. Then we have to figure out the other half upon delivery. Hopefully we’ll get some cash for Christmas.

I have already submitted several comparable quotes I had obtained from various other companies to the manager at Moving 1 (and the “going rate” per CF obviously is nowhere near as expensive as Moving 1). I’ve also spoken with the manager of the dispatching trucking company to request an itemized bill for packaging materials, and will get rates from other movers to see how much our crew overcharged us. If the trucking company doesn’t help resolve this fiasco, we can go to small claims court over it. If we win, we’ll only have to pay about $200 out of what we recover. I am willing to fight, because I have no other choice.

With all of our interstate moves over the last 5 years, we’ve had varying luck with companies. We had something similar happen to us when we moved from California to Michigan, and luckily my in-laws bailed us out. Our Utah to California move was spot on with ABF U-Pack, and I wish we’d gone with them again. Our Michigan to Georgia move was fairly close to the estimate, but the movers took so long to move it out that we talked them into hiring a crew to unpack the truck for us for free. I’ll post an update on what happens with the GA to UT move as soon as we have any answers.

Merry Christmas, right?

London: Coming Home

We packed up our suitcases and checked out of our hotel around 10 am. We spent a little time in the Business Centre checking flight loads again, and coming up with more contingencies. We got a breakfast croissant at the kiosk in the Tube station, made with delicious ham and emmental cheese. We scrounged together the rest of our change to pay for our tube ride to Heathrow. It took about 30 minutes to get to LHR terminal 4. We checked in at the kiosk, went through security, and walked around the airport to pass the time until our flight boarded. We got a few snacks and drinks, and crossed our fingers for seat assignments. We missed out on business class by two passengers, and got seat assignments one row apart. A nice passenger offered to let us sit together (giving up an aisle seat for a middle…talk about a good samaritan!)

We napped, snacked, read, and watched movies. I watched “Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging,” “The Hangover,” and “My Life in Ruins.” The flight was slightly longer back to the US, approximately 10 hours. We came back through customs, grabbed some dinner, and checked out the flight boards. We were hoping to catch a 9 pm flight to SLC, but we still had about 3 hours till boarding. Taylor went down to Ops to check Deltanet, and it was pretty evident we wouldn’t make it on that flight. We looked at alternate flights through DEN, HOU, ABQ, PHX, MEM, OMA, DFW, DTW, CVG and TUS, but all of those cities would require an overnight stay before the connecting flight to SLC. We were exhausted from the day of traveling, and decided to call it a night. Taylor got a $36 crew-rate hotel (with free wifi…hallelujah!)

In the morning, flight loads didn’t look any better, and we wanted a to find the most certain option for getting back to SLC…which ended up being San Antonio. Once in SAT, we ate lunch at Las Palapas Mexican Grill in Terminal 1. I’ve got to put in a plug for this place…very delicious food and insanely inexpensive for airport food. Two full meals with drinks, tax and tip came to $16. We were happy when our names were called for a seat assignment, and even more happy that we had seats in first class. First class in a short flight on a CRJ isn’t too swanky, just more opportunities for free drinks and more legroom.

We arrived in SLC in the late afternoon, picked up our car, and headed down to Lehi to pick up Rosie from my parents’ house. We shared our trip pictures with them, and got back to SF around 8:00. It was an exhausting 2 days of travel home….but it was totally worth it.

Spring Walk

Taylor and Rosie left today for California for spring break. We had lunch together today, then they headed off for the airport. They’ll be returning Friday night for Taylor’s reserve shift on Saturday (yet another quick trip) As I drove home, I opened up the window to let the warm breeze in. It was sunny and 65…funny since yesterday was snow flurries! I decided to get myself outside to exercise, but wasn’t quite sure where to go. I went onto Decatur’s parks and rec website, and tried to remember the directions to a selected park…but got lost as usual in downtown Decatur. I remembered my boss telling me that Lullwater at Emory was one of the most beautiful walking trails in Atlanta, so I cut my losses and headed for campus.

If I haven’t said it before, Emory’s campus is one of the most beautiful I’ve been on. Since I’ve been on staff there, I have been working off campus. I wasn’t quite sure where to park, so I circled around and stopped at Candler Park. I walked up Peavine Creek, past fraternity and sorority houses, past The Depot and Wishcab (the nickname for the building I’m moving into on campus in two weeks) Lullwater was beautifully manicured with wide walking trails. The rhododendrons, dogwoods and cherry trees were in blossom. I walked all the way to the lake, and partially around before I turned back. I walked for a total of 70 minutes, and felt like my feet were going to fall off. I could only find my walking shoes that are a size too small, and only are comfortable on stationary gym equipment. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful evening in Atlanta, and I was happy I decided to get outside instead of home on the elliptical.

Snow in the South

On Sunday, Georgia was slammed with a crazy winter storm. The weekend had been particularly rainy, converting around noon into a wintry mix, into a snow flurry. The snow was at its worst just as we ran out the door to church. Church was canceled after Sacrament Meeting, as well as all meetings for the rest of the day. Rosie and I changed into our pajamas, and Taylor relaxed with us for a few hours. He was called out to the airport for a trip to CLE…but the whole airport was a wreck with delays. His flight was canceled, and he returned home. School was canceled on Monday, and a layer of snow and ice remain in some shady corners today on Tuesday.

After living through TRUE storms in Utah and Idaho, it was a bit humorous watching southerners squirm with the wintry conditions.

Bad Taste in my Mouth

We have been having a persistent ANT problem since we moved to Atlanta. Ants on the walls, ants in the toilet bowl, ants in our beds, ants on the windows. Our landlord has been working with the condo association to schedule a pest control company to come in, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve been using our aerosol cans of ant killer on a daily basis.

Their favorite spot (other than obvious food sources) is my bathroom counter. Especially my toothpaste and Waterpik machine. Last night when Taylor was spraying, I think he forgot to move my toothbrush. When I went to brush this morning, I tasted this VILE chemical taste. I immediately swished my mouth with mouthwash and threw out my toothbrush.

I bought a new toothbrush on my lunch break.

Why I Love Chick-fil-A

One of the unimportant, but beneficial nonetheless, deciding factors of me moving to Atlanta was access to the foods, restaurants and stores I love. Trader Joes…check! El Pollo Loco…check! IKEA…check! Ulta…check! Torrid…check! I was happy to discover that there are 76 locations of Chick-fil-A in the Atlanta Metro area. I’ve mentioned it here in there in the past, but CFA is my favorite fast food chain (followed up by Burgerville USA in WA and OR…best sweet potato fries EVER) My friend Emily even gave me a CFA gift card for Christmas.

Why I love Chick-fil-A:

All of their menu items are under 500 calories (with the exception of the hand-spun shakes, which are phenomenally delicious at 700ish calories)

They have a good breakfast menu – Offerings of sausage or chicken biscuits, bagels and burritos, and the best fresh fruit cup in the fast food industry

Their menu is fairly simple, but you can get BBQ, Polynesian, and several other sauces to dress your sandwiches

Waffle-cut fries. ‘Nuff said!

Their ads are clever, and they have a funny calendar each year chock full of coupons

They offer more diet drinks than just Diet Coke. Particularly Diet Dr. Pepper. And although I don’t drink it, I love seeing people’s reactions when they talk about the CFA sweet tea (*cough* Erin!)

They’ve stuck with their commitment to stay closed on Sundays

When I lived in Michigan, our closest location was 55 miles away in a mall in Toledo, OH. The times we went, we loved the food…but it wasn’t the same as going to a freestanding location. Now we live just around the corner from a triple-drive-thru location of CFA. It’s been invaluable these past two weeks while we’ve been living in our new home with no dishes. Let me hear you…who loves CFA?

It’s Been 10 Days

After my somewhat negative RANT post from yesterday, I thought I’d post an update on how life has been in our new home. We’re living as a family in our condo in Decatur. We had been staying at Clint’s house in Stone Mountain for about a week and felt like a grand imposition. We braved it on air mattresses for a few nights, and our new bed was delivered yesterday. It’s a fake Tempurpedic, but it’s lovely. We also had our new TV delivered. We’ve been using a 15 year old heavy beast that was not functioning well in Detroit, and decided it was not worth shipping. We spent the day mounting it on the wall above the fireplace. Unfortunately, the way that the mounting kit and studs were in the wall, it couldn’t be centered….it’s right-of-center, but I plan to put in a cool photo collage next to it. Taylor went back to Detroit this week to finish packing and fill up the truck. The rest of our belongings will arrive at the end of next week.

As for work, I have nothing but great things to say. I’ve never been so embraced in a new workplace. The staff is wonderful and enthusiastic, the location is pretty good, and I know my work will be interesting. Since some of my coworkers have already stalked my blog, and I’ve decided to leave work details out of my blog…I don’t want to ruin a good thing.

As for Georgia in general, I’m more comfortable here than Detroit. It’s a bit funny because a lot of the things that I expected in Detroit have been apparent here, which I didn’t expect. The roads are a crazy mishmash of streets that change names and twist together. I’ve put a lot of miles on my car trying to find my way around. And because I don’t know the neighborhoods to avoid, I’ve had to keep my eyes on the road and not focus on how scary an area is. We’ve got good freeway access here, and can get to just about anywhere in the area – Midtown, airport, etc – in less than 20 minutes (if traffic is light).

I’ve usually been greeted with Southern hospitality, but I’ve also been surprised at the blatant prejudice and lack of manners. When I attempted to get my driver’s license, I was the only white girl in the whole building. I listened to the way the receptionist talked to everyone else, and pulled strings to help them..but when it was my turn, it was like I was a contagious alien that would somehow infect her. She refused to allow me to get my drivers license because I didn’t have a copy of my marriage license (which was NOT required on the list posted on the website.) Another man acted like he didn’t speak English when I asked to borrow his pen. The most common phrase I hear, other than “Y’all”) is “There ain’t nothin’ I can do ’bout it.” It’s frustrating to hear, especially time and time again by customer service reps. It’ll take some getting used to.

Our ward is also great. I’m excited to attend church again tomorrow. Rosie is happy with her new classes both for primary and school.

And that’s the report from ATL.