Back to School Can Be Expensive

Every year, through work, I put together two backpacks of school supplies for kids in need. I always pick one boy and one girl, grade varies.

This year, I went with lower grades, which made things a little less expensive, but still… School can be expensive. I ranted to my husband for close to 10 minutes about the prices of the backpacks. The cheapest ones were $35. I’m not complaining about spending the money – please understand that. But, I can definitely see how these costs can add up and if you are struggling to make ends meet, $35 for a backpack is ridiculous. Because you still have all the other things to buy.

My total cost was about $127 – not too bad. When I pick high schoolers, it’s more because you need calculators and compasses and all that stuff. Out of $127, $70 went toward the backpacks – that’s over 50%. Luckily, kids can use backpacks for more than one year… Yeesh. My son will start Kindergarten in 2018, so I guess I should get myself prepared. 🙂

Here are my 2 finished backpacks:

Woohoo!

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FedEx Hates Lululemon… Or Me.

Let’s start at the beginning. In June, I ordered a pair of “dance studio” pants online from Lululemon. I have 3 pairs of these capris and wanted a pair of long pants because they fit well and look nice… They also come in 36″ inseam, which is great for me. I’m 6′ tall.

On June 13, the pants shipped from Tacoma, Washington, and arrived at the South San Francisco FedEx facility on June 14. No scans or tracking after that. Just vanished. I was not able to go directly to FedEx to file an exception report. I had to go through Lululemon because of their contract with FedEx. Nothing came out of that, so about one month later, Lululemon refunded my money. For the record — still no pants from that order.

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That was June. July is a brand new month and a brand new opportunity – right? Sort of. I saw a couple of other items I was interested in, so decided to order those, plus re-order that pair of the pants that never arrived. That was on July 15. The twists and turns on this order are far more interesting (and aggravating) than the previous one.

Here’s how it went down:

  1. FedEx tracking showed that my shipment was scheduled to be delivered on July 19. Great! And, wrong!
  2. On July 19, at 11:50am, I received notification that my shipment was now scheduled for July 20. No biggie.
  3. On July 20, at 7:36am, I received a notification that my shipment had been delivered. I was home. Went outside.

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  1. Checked the online status. Delivered? Yesterday (aka, July 19)? At 3:33pm? I don’t think so.
  2. Same day (20th), I called FedEx and had them file a delivery dispute on my behalf. Investigation to commence.
  3. On the 21st, FedEx called to say that the package was still sitting at the local facility. That’s a bummer, but at least they have it.
  4. Checked online status. It shows out for delivery. Woohoo. I’ll get to try out  my new gear this weekend… Hold on, Christina. Don’t get cocky.
  5. Later on the 21st, I got a notification that they tried to deliver, but couldn’t because business was closed or customer not available. Huh? Delivery address is my home and there is no signature required.

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  1. Late Friday night, I filed 2 complaints with FedEx. Why 2? Because I filed the first one before seeing the updated “we couldn’t deliver” status, which made me super annoyed.
  2. Monday (July 24) rolls around and I call FedEx again. Oh, it will be delivered today.

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I decided to call Lululemon to see if they could get any information. They definitely got further than me – and the customer service rep was great! They had FedEx call the local facility directly… Supposedly, due to an “investigation” that I was unaware of (you know, because it had already been investigated), FedEx is supposed to call me the next day.

I also checked their Facebook page and saw lots of complaints. Responded to one person’s post with a brief description of what happened to me. FedEx responded and I had them also investigate this mess. I was quite surprised to get a response from them via Facebook, but surely it helped put pressure on to get this resolved.

  1. July 25 (aka, the next day) – no one called. Online status shows pending and at the local facility. Nothing came.
  2. July 26! I called FedEx again because the online status has nothing but “pending” and no one has called me. Customer service rep says it is on a truck for delivery. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s aunt. It finally arrived. I got an email confirming delivery – been there. So, I asked my dad to go by my house to see if there was a package. Indeed, there was…

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Congratulations FedEx. You actually delivered a package that you said you delivered a week ago!

Stay tuned. Next post will be about my new gear! Woohoo!

Packed Weekend

While I’m trying to get back into the blog groove, I thought I would share some pictures from my weekend until my next “long” post.

On Saturday, I did my regular weight class at the gym then we took off for a fun day on the bikes. My husband, 4-year-old, and I biked to Coyote Point in San Mateo, CA. Our plan was to go to CuriOdyssey, which is a science and wildlife center aimed at children’s learning, have lunch, and then go hit a playground before biking back.

Turns out that CuriOdyssey was having a “rescue animal” day where they had an organization showing off some of their rescued animals. That was cool. I got super excited about the snakes.

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Rescue Snakes!

We then had lunch at the Poplar Creek Golf Course restaurant… Honestly, I didn’t even know it was there until this past weekend. Great view. And, so far, we were on track.

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Poplar Creek Golf Course View

After lunch, we headed out toward the playground and saw some HUGE kites. Well, it was just our luck that there was a kite festival going on. We got to check out all things kite related in addition to playing at the playground. That was fun.

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Giant Kites at the Coyote Point Kite Festival

On Sunday, we got to explore the beach not too far from our house. It was a really nice walk. Lovely view!

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A view even a toddler can appreciate

Until next time. Stay healthy!

My Invisalign Hell is Coming to a Close

Last year at this time:

I’m a little bothered. My teeth have shifted over the last several years and it’s really bothering me. My lower front teeth are a bit crooked and my 2 upper front teeth have started to dent in slightly. I want this to stop before it starts to look bad. My dentist convinced me to do a treatment of Invisalign.

This year:

Hey dentist! Get these nubs off my teeth. I am done. D-O-N-E. And, I am done with you. I hate everything about this… This has been incredibly challenging and I am over it. Regular braces would have been less annoying… I’ll explain why shortly. But, note this! This Friday, 3 short days away, the torture ends… Woohoo! And, even though my dentist is out of sorts with me, the issues I was worried about have been fixed. I’m happy with where things are. My teeth aren’t perfect, but that’s because I can’t follow the rules well…

Background:

If you are not familiar with Invisalign, you get plastic trays that move your teeth. You wear 1 tray for 2 weeks, then move to the next tray, etc. You also get these lovely (that was sarcastic) little attachments put on your teeth to help the trays push the teeth around. These attachments are nubs of varying shape.

A Set of Invisalign Trays


While it doesn’t sound so bad “on paper,” I found Invisalign challenging for several reasons:

  1. These trays fill up with saliva and it’s gross
  2. I find myself constantly trying to suck the saliva out so it feels better and doesn’t look as gross
  3. I can’t wear chap stick or lip gloss of any kind because it gets on the trays
  4. I meet with customers every week and don’t feel professional with an upper tray full of saliva
  5. Due to this perpetual cup of saliva in my mouth, I drink water all the time. Yeah, I know it’s healthy, but I am really tired of having to go to the bathroom *all* the time
  6. I have a lot of sinus issues so when I exercise, I am usually breathing through my mouth from the beginning. When you breath through your mouth, your saliva thickens. That’s already problematic, now add thickened saliva to an Invisalign tray and it’s extra gross
  7. I can’t enjoy coffee or tea with the trays in because hot beverages can damage the trays – well, that sucks on a royal level. I still enjoy my coffee, even though I’m not being a good patient because I’m taking my trays out more than they would like. I would rather deal with taking these torture devices out for a bit to enjoy a cuppa than totally depriving myself – that is probably the main reason I think regular braces would have been easier

Other things I’ve found challenging:

  • Lack of explanations from my dentist… Things like, “I’m going to saw on your teeth to make room for the other teeth to move.” He just did it and I was like what the hell are you doing? Ugh
  • About half way through my 18 trays, I noticed that my trays weren’t fitting properly. We had to do what they called an adjustment, which means more molds, etc, to readjust the trays… I thought it would extend my treatment by a little, but the new plan came back at 19 trays! That’s more than the original plan. That added too much time than my mental health could handle

So, earlier this month, I actually called my dentist and told them I was ready to stop the treatment early. They talked me into continuing at an accelerated pace with my trays through the end of the month. I guess technically through early June, but you feel me, right? They were making my last appointment and it fell on a week they will be closed… The poor woman trying to schedule asked if we could push it to the week after and I was like, HELL NO. So, this Friday is my release date. I am very much looking forward to no more nubs. I’ll get to go on vacation next month in peace. Woohoo! Yippee!

Definitely think Invisalign over before jumping in… You, too, may find that a different kind of treatment may be better for you and your lifestyle. And, certainly, there are less expensive treatments. I know a lot of people have done just fine with Invisalign – I’m just not one of them. 🙂

Just in case you were thinking about eating a tray:

Swallowing a Tray May be Harmful – Duh!

In case you can’t see it, it says accidental swallowing may be harmful. Did you see the first picture with the trays?? Yeah, no kidding… 😉

Stay healthy!

Random Wednesday Musings

On Sunday, I went running. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But, I encountered two women running with an off-leash dog. I’m going to pause there because a) it’s not legal and b) dogs can be unpredictable and c) good thing I’m not afraid of dogs… The dog was well-behaved and kept pace with them several feet ahead. The first time I saw them we were going in opposite directions. Second time, they were coming up behind me. The second time is the reason I decided to include this in my musings.

Blurry dog running off-leash

I was running along minding my own business, lost in my own thoughts, when suddenly I felt something bump into my right leg. I kind of jumped to the left a little, looked down and saw the dog. Then I could hear one of the women calling the dog and it slowed down, but then kept encroaching on my space time after time, until they passed me. Again, glad I’m not afraid of dogs. So, appropriate or inappropriate? Not much of a bother to me, per se, but I am pretty sure that would have been a bother to someone afraid of or not fond of dogs.


I went running on Tuesday. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. But, then I saw this on the trail!

A message on the trail

A friend of mine moved to Arizona last year, but comes back now and then to run half marathons in the old neighborhood. She was in town this weekend to run the San Francisco Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon… And, she left a note. I didn’t get to see her on this trip, so I thought it was extra cool that I found this.


This bird.

What are you trying to tell me little bird?

Yesterday, this bird drove me crazy for the better part of 30 minutes. She was at my kitchen window pecking away. It sounded a little like morse code. Whatever she was trying to tell me, it was urgent. But, sadly, I wasn’t getting it. I even went outside to see if something, like a cat, was after her. Nope. Just really, really wanted to be inside. After about 30 minutes, she moved to a nearby tree. Hopefully, she was feeling better… or something.

Speaking of birds… About a month ago, I was working at my desk and heard some kind of noise. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was so I opened the blinds. From my desk, which is on the second floor of my two-story house, I can see the roof over the garage. There was a crow shoving something under one of the shingles. Seriously. So, I can only assume that my roof has become some kind of storage unit for this bird. One of these days, maybe I’ll go out there to see what I can find. I’m guessing multiple hiding spots. Crows are crafty.

Stay healthy!

A Bittersweet Moment on the Trail

Last week, I went for a long training run (11 miles). My preferred trail is along a beautiful reservoir – a little bit of peacefulness in a hustle-bustle kind of place. I noticed an older man standing in front of a bench. He was standing. Maybe that’s why I took notice. He was looking out at the water lost in his thoughts. As I got closer, we made eye contact. I said good morning as I passed by. He seemed noticeably sad. I’m sometimes lost in my own space when I’m running, but it wasn’t hard to pick up on the vibe. On my way back, I noticed that he had left a bouquet of yellow daisies. I wasn’t having the best run, so I noticed but didn’t look too closely.

Yesterday, I went to the same trail – another long training run (12 miles). I came to the bench. He wasn’t there… But, a fresh bouquet of flowers was. I stopped to look. That’s when I realized there was a plaque on the bench. A dedication.

I took a picture because it was truly sweet. I imagine that the daisies will be new next Sunday as well. I looked out from the bench – it’s a serene, peaceful view and I hope it brings him some comfort.

The View from the Bench