Found a Little Note Today

January 5, 2016

We know, as experienced and outstanding and humble parents, that we aren’t really expecting to hear “Thank you,” nor “You’re the best parents ever,” nor “You were right!” until we’re 85 and 86 years old.

But I must admit, this little note I found today (inside a cookbook???) made my eyes get moist just a wee bit. This card is probably three years old. Our little Colombian princess is such a sweet girl, everything we hoped for with dimples thrown in to make her daddy swoon.

Nora's note 001.JPG

That’s me in the red shirt, obviously, because I don’t have a pointy left ear. Not sure why the sides of my mouth go down at the end of the smile because I’m happy. Real happy.

Grab the tissue for the inside message. Gets me every time. The last sentence about a home is the one that wrenches my heart. She didn’t have a home… until God tugged at our hearts and we listened. Adoption rocks, people.

Nora's note 002

Feeling blessed…. times 27,000.

That is all.

The Rest of the Story

December 26, 2015

Being a mom is SO FUN! I love it!  Every day!  Every hour! Every eye roll! Every ear-phoned teen that can’t hear me call his name! Every time I get in the van that is on E! I love love love it!

However, despite my joy of parenting (and tongue-in-cheek commentary) I have come to realize that it is my fault that tasks are not being completed to my level of satisfaction due to my negligence in explaining the job. Let me graciously share some personal examples that will be crystal clear to you… and anyone with a thawed out brain.

  1. When I ask a child of mine, whom I have reared with love and diligence, to “shake the bathroom rug outside,” what I REALLY mean is “fold the bathroom rug carefully so as not to spill any dirt or debris on the bathroom floor, then carry it gingerly in a direct route to the back door, move away from the back door and the patio table to vigorously shake the rug multiple times from different sides, and then return the rug to the center of the bathroom floor with the basket of magazines back on top of it, where you found it.” See how it could be misinterpreted? Seriously.shake the rug
  2. When I ask a child of mine, whom I love with my whole heart, to “get T.P. from the garage,” what I REALLY mean is “go to the garage and get as many rolls of toilet paper as you can carry and visit all three bathrooms in the house to stock the empty shelves and T.P. holders, even if this requires multiple trips to the garage, and refill any empty T.P. holders next to the toilets, and throw the empty cardboard tubes in the garbage.” See the multiple steps on this one that could be confusing? So many steps! I know!tp roll change
  3. When I ask a child of mine, whom I have home educated at my slippered feet, to “take out the trash,” what I REALLY mean is “RIGHT NOW, take this trash can to the garage and empty it into the big trash can, and remove any sticky things in the bottom of the littler garbage can and then return the garbage can to its original place and replace the plastic liner bag, if there was one.” See, that liner deal gets tricky. Obviously.taking out the trash
  4. When I ask a child of mine, whom I have fed and clothed for at least total of 61, 205, 231 or 266 months to “make your bed,” what I REALLY mean is “take off the pillow, wad of blankets and any foreign objects from your bed, secure the fitted sheet, find the top sheet and put it on the bed straight with right sides together and tuck in the bottom edge and corners, find your blanket and/or bedspread and put it on the bed right side up and tuck in if necessary, place your pillows with pillow cases intact at the head of the bed, double check if the bedspread is covering the sides of the mattress.” See, it really is a time consuming task that requires mental motion early in the day that could be quite difficult. to make a bed

See? It is my fault for not being more thorough in my instructions. I really need to work on this mom thing a little harder, maybe with more intensity, drive and compassion. Tomorrow morning I will turn over a new leaf and begin instructions with full and complete sentences.

I’ll keep you posted.

Address, please? (Vol. 3)

December 18, 2015

Today I called our bank to report a $12 service fee that should not be charged to our account. Seems there was a slight change to the checking account requirement for free banking… and I slipped outside those newly established parameters. Great. Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Bank Employee.

However, before I learned all the newfangled rules, I had to verify my account. Please see THIS BLOG to reminisce with me how well I do at verifying my bank accounts. I’m a rock star with security questions!

The kind man asked for my address including zip code. I rattled off the address where we have lived for the past 10 1/2 years with the speed of a live steer auctioneer. (Not a dead steer auctioneer.)

“Mrs. Crosby, that is not the address we have on file for your accounts.” Of course it’s not. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Say it isn’t so. Remember, I called the bank in September to fix the address so my son could purchase airline tickets……. and he bought the tickets, has made the trip to Canada and was back home safely months ago.

Once again, I explained the inadvertent address change. He was happy to assist me with correcting the address on my accounts I just had to … (wait for it)….  answer some security questions. Of course I did. The new twist was that it was electronic and all the answers were numbers that I could enter on my phone. How hard could that be?

Really hard if you are still in debit card purgatory and now also address change hell. Let me tell you. I got the very first, initial, introductory, inaugural, primary and opening answer wrong. Do you know the last four digits of your spouse’s social security number? Me neither! There was no “best-out-of-five” this time. Why didn’t they ask for MY last four digits???

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Crosby, but the system did not register a correct answer. You are now locked out of the system for 24 hours before you can try again to verify the account so we can correct the address.” You know, after five months, what’s another 24 hours? That’s assuming I will be granted immunity tomorrow.

Thank you, Mr. Bank Employee. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Cheers! Happy New Year and the Year of the Monkey! Happy Hanukkah too! Ciao!

Address, please? (Vol. 2)

December 17, 2015

December, five months after the initial address change snafu … I received an email from AFHE. The next issue of the magazine was returned too. (I looked up snafu for you to let you know exactly how appropriate it is for this time: a badly confused or ridiculously muddled situation. See?)

This time I dialed the USPS number and waited on hold for 27 minutes. (No lie! There’s a reason that is my favorite number!) I filed a complaint: although we are now receiving our letters and bills, we are not receiving magazine subscriptions. I was informed that someone would contact me within 24-72 hours.

It was actually 75 hours before I was contacted, but I’ll cut them some slack at Christmas time because I’m nice like that. However, the 75 hours landed exactly when I was the first person in the very long line of impatiently waiting customers at the ROSS check out line. Of course it did.

People who talk on the phone in public places irk me. And now I am one. How could I not answer? “Hello?” (No eye contact was made with other Christmas shoppers. At all.)

“Next, please!” I pushed my bulging cart to the teller’s counter, emptied the contents in front of the register and proceeded to ignore her until she handed me a receipt. People who do that irk me too. I apologize, nice ROSS checker girl. If only you understood debit card purgatory mixed with address change hell.

On another note, my old debit card that the bank says is discontinued is still working and the new debit card with the chip still doesn’t work. At least I have that snafu outsmarted …. for the moment.

The phone conversation in short: a kind government employee from USPS in Oklahoma informed me that there is no trace of any Rick, Linda, Austin, Keeve or Nora Crosby associated with any address in the Oklahoma system. SURE! Then where are my HGTV magazines going???

Please stay tuned for what I pray is the last installment in this saga of address change hell.


Address, please? (Vol. 1)

December 16, 2015

Along with debit card purgatory, to add to my daily blood pressure levels, I am simultaneously stuck in Address Change Hell. We are now entering our fifth month in ACH, with no end in sight without a postal psychic to determine where the disturbance is in the force. I would be going postal if I didn’t have a sense of humor. I laugh in the ear of government employees regularly.

Our lovely daughter married in June, moved to Oklahoma and unbeknownst to any of us inadvertently submitted an address change for our whole family in August. I noticed our mail in the box was slim, but that happens sometimes, like not at election time.

My husband, Mr. Wallet, was awaiting several checks to arrive… which were not arriving. He called his clients and indeed checks HAD been mailed to us, not with tongue-in-cheek “check is in the mail” status. Real checks. Real stamps. Real mail. MIA.

The mystery was solved in September when AFHE (Arizona Families for Home Education, where Rick and I serve on the board) called to say that our quarterly magazine had been returned to them with an Oklahoma forwarding address. Ironically, it was the issue where our darling Colombia Princess was smiling on the cover. Of course it was.

nora AFHE cover

I called USPS and discovered that corrections like this can only be made in a brick and mortar Post Office. Field trip! At the government establishment, I filled out the correct slips and thought that I had outsmarted the system. Au contraire, as I am still realizing… five months later.

Everybody and their mother and second cousin whom you have ever done business with somehow has access to the change of address data base and the domino effect began… In October we started receiving notices that our payments were late on several mailed bills… that we never received.

About that time our son was booking airline tickets and the system wouldn’t let him because his address on his debit card was incorrect…. which means the bank changed our address too. A quick call to the bank got the address changed back to Phoenix. Whew.

The hospital even called to verify our address. Think we visit there to regularly???

My sister called to inquire of my enjoyment level from the HGTV magazine subscription she sent me…. uh…. what subscription? She called the magazine and finagled another free six months for me… but I have yet to see the magazine. Thanks for trying, Christy. I can stand in Walmart and read it until mine actually comes.

Stay tuned… there’s more to this story… of course there is.

Home Alone… but not.

December 10, 2015

nora luke xmas tree

Knowing that adopted children often have abandonment issues, we have been keenly aware of not leaving Nora anywhere alone. Yes, she’s 12 now, and we have left her for 10-15 minutes home alone a few times. But it’s not something I am comfortable with because she’s not comfortable yet.

The first time Nora stayed by herself in our house was for eight minutes while I delivered her brothers and a few friends up to Grandma’s swimming pool. Our tiny car didn’t have room for her too. My parent’s live 1.9 miles away. I even might have sped a little as my insides were queasy for her in sympathy. Upon my return I asked her what she did while alone. Her reply didn’t surprise me. “I stared out the window the whole time because I couldn’t believe you actually left me.”

Okay, maybe we’ve been a tad overprotective.

Today was a gross oversight by many relatives, as Nora and her cousin Luke, age 11, both got dropped off at Grandma’s house to help decorate the Christmas tree. It’s a tradition those two have held strongly for four years. So cute. The only glitch was both cars drove away…. and Grandma and Grandpa weren’t at home…. for 45 minutes. Horror of horrors. Neither kid has a cell phone. They are ALWAYS with someone else. Why would they need a cell phone?

I’m so glad they were together. Their report of their 45 minute escapade made me chuckle. They looked through all the windows of the whole house. All the lights were off. They went into the backyard and tried the side and back doors. All locked. They decided to stay in the front yard to wait for a rescue vehicle as they realized they were truly abandoned. Left for dead on the sidewalk in front of their grandparent’s home.

When cars would drive by they “acted” like they were playing so they didn’t look like children waiting to be abducted… just normal neighborhood children hanging out in the front yard … with no toys… just rocks and cactus. And Nora is SOOOO good act looking casual in times of distress!

The deserted children thought of walking to our house, as they just had done on Thanksgiving night with Nora’s dad two weeks ago.  But Nora remembered her legs hurt for three whole days last time because they ran a lot of the way down the hill. That was out.

Then the police helicopter started circling the house and Nora secretly hoped it was going to land and save them. No such luck. They devised a plan to knock on a neighbor’s door, ask to use their phone, and took their time analyzing all the houses. They finally decided on the house next door but were working up their courage when Grandpa and Grandma pulled up and saved the day! Whew!

So we had a talk about which neighbors are the safe ones to go to, but this will NEVER happen again, I can guarantee it. At least until she’s 16…. or has a cell phone.


Debit Card Conundrum, Part IV

November 29, 2015

I honestly thought Part III was the last installment in this saga. Not so, as was made apparent yesterday and today.


I finally received a new debit card in the mail for our joint account. I called the number on the little red sticker to validate the card yesterday morning. After typing in all the blinkin’ numbers twice, I was informed that this card was already activated. WHAT? Twenty-seven seconds ago I opened the envelope fresh out of the mailbox! Say it isn’t so! (Debit card purgatory is REAL, people!)

Last night after the Tempe Christmas Light Parade, we strolled into Starbucks to sip some expensive warm beverages. My husband has a challenge with Starbuck’s policy on moral issues that we don’t agree with… and the fact that they don’t support the military… so he went next door to Arby’s to get a milkshake. (Arby’s was out of milkshakes, which made me giggle.)

All that to say, I was the one pulling out my wallet for a kid’s cocoa and two grande plain red cups. (Red for the blood of Jesus!) I swiped my newly-received-already-validated debit card. It wasn’t approved. Feeling justified with my frustration, I explained to the cashier that it was a brand new card… just activated… like that changed the fact, in her mind, that there were insufficient funds in my account! I inquired if I should swipe it a second time. She replied, “No, I hit an override button to get it approved. So you have a 50/50 chance of paying for it or not.” Wow.

Checking our bank account this morning, we were indeed treated to free fraps and cocoa last night. If only Rick would have ordered one!  hahahahaha. Thank you, Starbucks!

Not knowing if the card really was not working, I swiped it again today at Petco, because bunnies poop… it’s a fact of life. The card processing machine is an example of customer conditioning which I fell prey to.




(See the pattern here….)

IS THIS AMOUNT CORRECT: $27.32?    I hit NO.… and had to start all over.

After the second time through all the questions, in addition to my pin  number my newly-received-already-activated debit card was denied.

I went through the whole process AGAIN with the old debit card that was supposed to be inactive now. It worked. Sheesh. If this keeps up I’ll have a wallet stuffed with debit cards that may or may not work on random days and I’ll have to swipe and pray for the rest of my ever-loving life.

Debit Card Conundrum, Part III

November 25, 2015

Please read the two previous blogs for backstory.

As Nora and I neared the location of our son’s band competition, I remembered that at competitions hot dogs were $8 and drinks were $4 and chips were $3 and candy bars were $2. Buying overpriced concessions is a pet peeve of mine. So I pulled into Sonic and bought my darling a kid’s meal and paid with a credit card. GAH! I hate that! But the whole meal plus the toy was cheaper than half a hot dog!

My husband was about ten minutes behind our ETA and the plan was to meet him at the gate. Little did I know at that time how much “at the gate” we would be.

After waiting in line to buy our $10 each tickets to listen to our son blow on his trombone for exactly 12 minutes, I discovered to my horror that they only accepted cash. What type of sketchy band competition only takes cash? I was still in debit card purgatory, so I planned on paying with the credit card, my newly useful tool.

Digging through my purse only produced $3 cash, counting coinage. Rick walked up at that point and I asked him how much cash he was carrying…. $12. Great. So one of us could go in for the 12 minute performance… or we could all stand in a unified line of solidarity at the chain link fence, after driving for an hour and eating cheap junk food, and watch the band from the end zone.

As we stood there with our fingers clinging to the fence looking like prisoners who want out (or in!), Nora suggested, “Well, since we saved $30 right now, can we go to the movies?” Always the opportunist!

The Peanuts movie was quite good, btw.


Debit Card Conundrum, Part II

November 24, 2015

The day after I ordered my replacement debit card (see previous blog), my handsome husband, Rickey, informed me that his debit card was no longer working and that my card for our joint account wouldn’t be working either. This did not make me have visions of grandeur, as I only have two debit cards. After I relayed my tall tale of missing the security questions on the phone, Rick went straight into the bank, avoiding all that nonsense.

The next day, at Albertson’s I attempted to pay for my $70 of groceries with the card from our joint account. As suspected, it was denied. I had to use the emergency credit card. We do not use credit except for renting hotel rooms, or buying plane tickets….. groceries were a no no. But what was I to do?

Later that day our son Keeve had a state band competition on the far side of town more than an hour away. Rick was going to meet us part way and we would drive together. However, my van’s orange gas tank light was glaring brightly at me as I pulled out of the driveway. I decided to stop at Costco on the way to fill ‘er up. At Costco, I slid my credit card into the slot and the machine asked for my pin number. WHAT? I don’t have a pin number for my credit card! (My husband later informed me that Costco doesn’t take credit cards. How’s a girl to know?)

Getting back in the van, I clicked the little overhead button that tells exactly how many miles until we are out of gas…. 15. Good. After a brief calculation, I assumed our rendezvous was planned less than 15 miles away.

Poor 12-year-old Nora in the back seat was on the verge of a nervous breakdown watching the miles count down. She was imagining us living under an overpass in cardboard boxes, I’m sure. Every time it changed, she would read it aloud, but only in a whisper… ten…. eight…. six… two. And then she read no more after zero showed up and stayed. Holy mother of sweet baby Jesus, homelessness was immanent!

The next exit was only one shy of our meeting place, AND promised a gas station… luring me in like a fly to fly paper. After dialing Rick’s cell number, I explained that we were out of gas and he would need to ride one mile north on his white steed and save the fair maiden and the Colombian princess.

Unfortunately, he lamented that he was delayed and was more than 45 minutes away on the far side of town. Not quite crying, I whimpered about both debit cards not working and I didn’t know my pin number to my credit card. “Go inside the gas station and pay with your credit card!” he spat out. Never in my life have I gone inside a gas station to pay for gas. But now I have and we were happily on our much relieved way. Nora was breathing again and elated that we could drive for 356 miles before heart palpitations returned. She did ask how many miles away the band competition was!

I dialed up the bank again, thinking that I could now answer the stupid security questions, and get my new card ordered for the joint account. The kind lady informed me that my card was indeed open. I clarified through gritted teeth that I was forced to put $70 worth of groceries on a credit card because my debit card was indeed declined. Her response was to blame Albertson’s. I laughed in her ear, hung up and assumed I needed to go into the bank once more. Am I in debit card purgatory????

Please stay tuned for the Debit Card Conundrum, Part III.

Debit Card Conundrum, Part I

November 23, 2015

At the Dollar Store I ran my debit card through the little machine and it was declined. There were sufficient funds in my account… by ten times at least, so I assumed it was the Dollar Store processing machine. They probably bought the machine at the 99 Cent Store.

Later that day I tried my debit card in a REAL store, Michael’s Craft Store, a legitimate establishment, and it was again denied. Something was up.

I called my bank and was told that my debit card had been closed. Not the account, just the card I use to access the account. My replacement debit card with the newfangled chip had been mailed to me in early September. The same time period when our mail was temporarily detouring to Oklahoma for three weeks… thanks to our married daughter changing her mailing address. I explained that I did not receive my new card. Fix it, please.

The kind man had to make sure that my new missing card had not been activated…. it had not. Thank goodness. So he closed that card and proceeded to open a third card that I could actually use. However, I had to answer some security questions. No prob, slob. I know my mother’s maiden name and the street I grew up on and my first pet’s name and my high school mascot. Easy peasey.

The first question was “When did you open this account?”

I replied, “I don’t know.”

“Ma’am, you have to answer the question or I can’t open a new card for you. Here are your multiple choice answers…. 2011, 2008, 2009, 2006.”

I let him know that multiple choice wouldn’t help me. I thought hard and counted back…. and guessed. Wrong.

Next question, “Were you ever employed at one of these businesses?” He named three businesses that I had never heard of, and then one where my husband used to work over 15 years ago.

“Sir, this is my personal account, in my name only. My husband used to work at choice D, but I have never worked at any of those places. So I choose E, none of the above.” Wrong.

“Sir, how many questions can I get wrong and still get a card?” He wasn’t sure, but kept going.

“What was the name of the high school you attended?” BAM! I got one right without hesitation!

“Sorry, ma’am, you have missed too many and you need to go into a bank and prove your identity.” But I got that one right. Why weren’t the questions stopped at two wrong???

I assumed security questions were to keep strangers out of my account. Apparently, they are to keep everyone out, including me.

So my busy day ended with me screeching my tires into the bank parking lot four minutes before it closed so I could prove who I am and get a card to use… although it had to be mailed to me in five business days.

Please stay tuned for parts II and III and the Debit Card Conundrum.


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