Friday, December 30, 2011

Keurig Customer Service

I am going to be totally honest here...  I don't normally hand out compliments for customer service because I feel that is the person's job - to provide customer service.  However, sometimes a company goes above and beyond to get a problem resolved for their customer and this was my experience on Wednesday with Keurig.

Here's the back story.  In late 2009, I purchased a Keurig OfficePro B145 brewer from Capital Coffee Systems.  I had been looking at brewers for a while, but was always left with the question of whether or not the water would brew the coffee hot enough (I like my coffee hot!).  I mentioned this to our work coffee salesperson and he recommended the OfficePro.  It is a commercial brewer, would brewer hotter and faster than a home brewer, etc.  At that point, I became the proud owner of my Keurig machine!  

The brewer has been an important member of our family for two years.  The hubs knows that I have difficulty functioning without my morning cup (or three) of coffee.  So, imagine my surprise when the brewer started "short cupping" me occasionally last week.  This has happened in the past, but was easily solved by cleaning out the little "exit needle".  Unfortunately, this wasn't the case this week.  I think I wasted five or six K-cups trying to figure out what was going on, etc.  On Wednesday morning, it finally went kaput and would not brew at all!  This girl immediately called customer service (after going through all the troubleshooting) at 7 a.m., as soon as they opened.  I nicely warned the customer service person that I was barely functioning without my coffee and she assured me that I wasn't the only person that has issued a similar warning.  I talked to a very nice representative that morning and the department that I needed wasn't available for several more hours.  She arranged for a call back later that day.

Fast forward to later in the afternoon...  I decided to call Keurig back.  I talked to the first representative and she did all she could to help me.  Unfortunately, since I have a commercial brewer, she wasn't able to help much.  She ended up transferring me to her supervisor to see if she could help me.  The supervisor was in the same predicament.  However, she offered to keep me on hold until she was able to reach the corporate technical care area.  

After holding for about 30 minutes, I was finally connected with someone in technical care.  (I know that most folks wouldn't remain on hold that long, but I was willing to hold to get my brewer working.  Like I said, I need my coffee!).  When my call was answered, I explained the issues I had been having off and on for several weeks.  I reviewed my cleaning/descaling procedure, etc.  In the end, she walked me through a very simple reset process.  She also recommended that I descale the brewer more often (I had been doing it once a quarter/four times a year).  

I don't know if there are proper words to describe how excited I was to see my brewer make the first cup of coffee!  I was so happy that despite being on hold a while, Keurig was able to resolve my issues and make me a smiling gal again!  The technical care representative even gave me an e-coupon for a free box of K-cups from their website.  

So, long story short - Keurig customer service is awesome!!!  They were very helpful and patient with me.  I generally do not like to call customer service because I want to be able to fix things myself - without help.  However, their attentiveness made the call pleasant.

Thank you Keurig!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review of 2011 goals

As I said in January, I am not big on resolutions.  I think that resolutions are played up and then they deflate by the end of the first month.  Instead, I prefer to make goals for myself.  Here's a review of my 2011 goals:

  • Move with pace, purpose, and intention every single day.  I did ok with this goal.  I know that I have missed many days of the year, but I did workout more than 4 days a week most weeks.  This was an accomplishment for me for sure!
  • Run at least one race per month.  I completed 11 races this year, including 2 half marathons!  I would like to continue to set a goal to run at least 12 races per year.
  • Run a half marathon.  I did TWO half marathons this year!!!  I completed my very first half marathon on May 14 with Sarah, Alisha and Shruthi.  The second was the OBX Half Marathon with Debbie on November 13.  I am beyond proud of myself and can't wait to do another!
  • Continue to do well on Weight Watchers.  I have done well with tracking my food via an online tool all year.  Unfortunately, the weight loss hasn't come that easy.  I feel good in my clothes and can wear things I couldn't wear before, but the pounds don't seem to be coming off.  I will continue working hard on this goal in 2012.
  • Run at least 700 miles in 2011.  As of Christmas Eve, I have run 712 miles this year!  To be honest, I was shocked by actually accomplishing this goal.  Must set a new mileage goal for 2012!
  • Volunteer with the NCRC Women's Beginner Running Program.  Accomplished!  The program started in late July and ran through late September.  I had a great time and got to know some more great women.  AWESOME!
  • Continue to work on my overall transformation.  I feel like I continue to make progress, but there is always work to be done.  I will continue to keep this as a goal.  

All-in-all, it looks like the 2011 goals were a success!  There's always going to be room for improvement, but I feel great about what I accomplished in 2011.  Now it is time to start thinking of new goals for 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday - 2011 Holiday Experience

FMM: Do you celebrate Christmas and/or Hanukkah? If so, tell us about your Holidays 2011 experience…Did you enjoy it?  Do you wish it had been different? 

The hubs and I celebrate our Christmas in Raleigh.  We live in Raleigh, my in-laws live in Raleigh, and I don't really care to drive on Christmas.  This is the one thing I would change about Christmas... My parents live at the beach - about 3 hours from Raleigh.  While I would love to spend Christmas with them, the thought of spending 3 hours in the car on Christmas day is torturous.  So, we go visit them for Christmas #2 the weekend of New Years.  It allows us to spend several days with them, have a family gathering, and relax.  

To recap our Christmas:

"Eve of Christmas Eve":
  • The hubs and I went to the Angus Barn for dinner.  The first Christmas we were married, we decided that was going to be our little tradition.  We get to the Angus Barn early and enjoy drinks in the Wild Turkey Lounge.  Then we enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner of steak, baked potato/baked sweet potato, roasted tomatoes, and yummy bread.
Christmas Eve:

  • Debbie and I planned to run 8 or 9 miles on the Neuse River Trail.  We met at 8 a.m. and were on our way.  Unfortunately, we were only able to run about 3 1/2 miles before we had to turn around and walk back.  This was a little bit of a downer, but we both realized the holiday eating and lack of drinking water were the cause of the issues.
  • The hubs and I dawdled around the house for a while and got ready to head to the in-laws.
  • The afternoon was spent with the boys watching football and Emily and I trying to act interested :-)
  • That evening we went to NeoAsia for dinner.  This was a bit of a shift from our normal Christmas Eve dinner, but a wonderful change.  My mother-in-law tends to spend an un-Godly amount of time planning delicious, beautiful meals and going out to eat allowed her to actually enjoy the evening!
Christmas Day:
  • The hubs and I tend to wake up pretty early to start the day.  Yesterday was no different - 6:30 for me, 7 for the hubs.  We get ready and begin the celebrations with the in-laws.
  • We open enjoy a few Bloody Marys (or Cranberry and Vodka in my case), coffee, and open a few packages.
  • Then it is time to fix brunch!  Yesterday was spinach and artichoke quiche, Applegate Inn muffins, fruit, and mimosas.
  • After brunch, it is time for more packages!  We spend a lot of time opening packages.  We open gifts one at a time and savor each gift, no matter how small.  
  • The late afternoon was spent watching basketball, enjoying a few drinks and preparing dinner.
  • Around 7:30 or so, the preparations for dinner were complete.  We enjoyed ham, wild rice pilaf, spinach crepes, and corn pudding.  Of course, no dinner would be complete without wine!
It was an absolutely marvelous Christmas!  I received a lot of wonderful gifts and cannot wait to use them all.  I hope that you all had a blessed Christmas!!

A few pictures...
Tuscan Martini - my drink of choice
The hubs got a personalized beer stein from his mom.
He was happy as a clam!
Delicious Christmas dinner!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from our home to yours...

Jason and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!  Now, I'll leave you with the lyrics of my very favorite Christmas carol.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star
upon the highest bough.
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tour of our Home

I have been slack about posting the Christmas decor pictures.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law helped the hubs and I with Christmas decorations the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  This has been our little tradition since 2005 and it works well for us.  My father-in-law brings the tree up from the storage room, my mother-in-law and hubs decorate.  You may ask what I do while they decorate...  I am usually being the "bartender" and fixing a yummy dinner.  It works perfectly.  My mother-in-law has an awesome knack for decorating, but most especially at decorating for Christmas.  

So, without further ado...

Welcome to our home!

My mother-in-law made this awesome wreath for us.  Isn't it pretty!?!

Details on each side of the front door...

Santa and reindeer on the foyer table.

The "sports"/UNC tree in our office 

Our main tree with lots of pretty packages

I love this Santa!  He is the perfect addition to our hutch.  Even Santa loves a good martini!

Our dining table setting.

My other favorite Santa... He keeps me company while I am baking.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday - Have you ever?

FMM: Have You Ever?

1. …traveled outside of your home country?  Nope...  We were going to get off the cruise ship in May in the Bahamas, but the hubs' wheelchair wasn't cooperating.

2. …performed on stage in front of at least 1,000 people? Not on a stage, but I would count the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  During my sophomore year in high school, our band traveled to Macy's.  You perform a very short 3-minute show right in front of the store.  So cool!

3. …watched an episode of Jersey Shore?  Never

4. …baked a cake from scratch?  If so, what’s your specialty? Yep.  I have tried to recreate my Granny Brown's chocolate cake and Jason's Mimi's Chocolate Pound Cake.  Unfortunately, both tasted ok but just weren't the real thing.  I have decided to stick with cookies.

5. …worked in a grocery store?  Nope

6. …dated someone who was your best friend first?  No.  

7. …made a difference in someone’s life during Christmas?  The hubs and I feel like we are doing something special each year when we adopt angels from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  We usually adopt a brother and sister.  We have the most fun picking out clothing and toys for them.  The only thing that would make it better would be to be able to keep in touch with the family all year and buy throughout the year.

8. …been on TV?  Not sure, I don't think so.

9. …had cosmetic surgery? Not yet.  I would love to have some surgery to "put things back where they go" after I lose some more weight.  I am just a big ole chicken though.

10. …learned a second language?  If so, what else do you speak?  I took French in high school and Spanish in college.  Needless to say, I know just enough of both languages to get me in trouble.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I read lots of blogs...  Some are healthy living blogs, some are mostly recipes, and others I read just because.  Anyway, there's an awesome little Christmas questionnaire going around and I thought I would join in on the fun!

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?  Hot chocolate.  I have only had eggnog once and it just wasn't my kinda thing.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or leave them under the tree?  When I was young, I remember that Santa always left my presents unwrapped under the tree and/or on the couch.  Santa wraps gifts now :-)
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  The hubs and I have white and colored lights on our tree.  The tree is pre-lit with white lights and we added a couple strands of "old fashioned" colored lights for some "spunk".
4. Do you hang mistletoe?  We have a "kissing ball" (mistletoe) between our entrance area and great room.
5. When do you hang your decorations up?  We decorate the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving.  Since the hubs uses a wheelchair and I am not Super Woman, we invite the in-laws over and make an evening of it.  My father-in-law gets the tree from our storage room and puts it up, my mother-in-law and hubs do most of the decorating, and I provide the alcohol and a yummy dinner.  It is perfect :-)
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (besides dessert)?  Hmmm...  I would have to say ham.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?  I have so many great Christmas memories, but one general one is about all the visits.  Most of my family lives in one county and the Christmas holidays involved visiting everyone.  Yes, we did a lot of riding in the car from one end of the county to the other, but I loved it!  If I had to name a specific memory, it would have to be the year I got a new bicycle. I had been given a hand-me-down bike and I just "couldn't" ride it.  I tried and tried, and just could not do it.  On Christmas day it snowed, and Santa happened to bring me a new bike.  Needless to say, the incentive of a new bike (versus a hand-me-down) had me out in the snow pedaling away.
8. What is on your Christmas wish list?  Nothing terribly exciting - lounging clothes, gift cards, LL Bean duffle bag, new earbuds, etc.
9. Do you open any gifts on Christmas Eve?   When I was in high school, my parents and I started opening our gifts on Christmas Eve.  I am not sure how we started that, but I always appreciated the little bit of extra sleep on Christmas morning.  Now, the hubs and I do not open gifts on Christmas Eve.  Everything waits until the next day.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  I don't know how to describe our tree.  It is colorful - think bright pinks, reds, greens, blues, etc.  There are also lots of ornaments from various trips.  It may be a little of a "mish mash" but I love it!
11. Snow.  Love it or dread it?   HATE, hate, hate it!  It is pretty for about 15 minutes and then I am done!  I do not like driving in it.  I don't like being trapped in the house because of it, etc.  
12. Real tree of fake tree?   Fake!  It is a lot easier to decorate and ends up being a lot prettier than a real tree.  
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  I have no clue...  I do have one gift that I will never ever forget.  I was about 5 years old and inch worms were all the rage.  I guess I had begged and begged for one.  I remember opening my inch worm that my PawPaw Brown gave me.  Oh, memories...
14.  What is the most important thing about Christmas for you?  The opportunity to spend time with family, relive memories, etc.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?  It isn't really a holiday dessert, but it will always be my favorite - Granny Brown's chocolate cake!!
16. What is your favorite tradition?  I wouldn't call this a tradition, but I do love going to look at Christmas lights.  I remember riding around and looking at lights with my parents as a child.  I am hoping that the hubs and I will go to see the "Meadow Lights" this year or at least out to Lake Myra.
17. What tops your tree?  I don't know what they are called...  There are sticks with balls, and glitter, etc. sticking out of the top.  It is really classy and whimsical at the same time.
18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?  I love to give gifts!  My favorite part is to watch someone open something that I picked out for them and see their look when they open it (and hopefully love it!)
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
20. Candy Canes, yuck or yum?  I might eat one or two each holiday season, but they aren't my fav.
21. Favorite Christmas Movie?  Oh geez....  It is a tie between A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. 
22. What do you leave for Santa?  Nada... Isn't he supposed to leave presents for me? 
23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?  The hubs and I are over at my in-laws for Christmas morning.  We start the morning with Bloody Mary's and a late breakfast. After breakfast, we start opening packages and keep enjoying Bloody Mary's.  It usually takes until early afternoon because we just take our time and enjoy it.
24. Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?  It really depends on what I am looking for.  I do not mind shopping at the mall, but if I know I can get it a lot cheaper and/or without a ton of hassle online I am not opposed to ordering it.
25. Christmas letter, or Christmas card?  Unfortunately, neither.  The hubs and I do not have kids and we aren't terribly interesting... So, no cards or letters from us.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gettin' back in the saddle (err...running shoes)

I haven't had a really good run since the Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving.  Looking back at my calendar, I think I may have run maybe once since that day.  Like I said in a previous post, I have been working out but not running.  It isn't for lack of trying though!

The Disney Princess Half Marathon is on Sunday, February 26 - 72 days away.  Needless to say, I need to get back into running and my butt in gear for serious training mode.  I am so excited about running this race that I can hardly contain myself.  1) The hubs and I love going to Disney World.  It is the perfect vacation spot for us.  We get to the airport and from that point on, everything is taken care of.  2) This was the race that started the whole running thing.  This was the race that was my #1 to accomplish in the very near future.  Now it is becoming a reality.  Seriously, look at the course!  How could you not be excited about running from Epcot, around one side of the Seven Seas Lagoon, through the Magic Kingdom, around the other side of the Lagoon, and back through Epcot to the World Showcase??!!??!!  The only reservation I have about the race is running it by myself.  There is a group on the DisBoards/W.I.S.H that meets up and forms pace groups, etc.  I heard about the group through a person I volunteered with at a race.  Since I am normally one to "stalk" message boards as opposed to participating, I am not sure if I will meet up with the group or not.  Also, since it appears the iPhones/music are not forbidden on the course, I may just get the hubs to load me up with lots of good tunes!  Who knows...

So, I have been working on my training calendars for the Princess Half and through several spring races.  Since December is almost over, I am not going to insert my calendar.  The plan for the rest of December is to run 3 to 5 miles at least two times a week, then a long run each weekend.  I am hoping to do 8 miles this weekend and get up to 9 or 10 in the next two weeks. What do y'all think about my training?  Tweaks, changes?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Busy, busy, busy - and a new car!

Yes, I am still here...  The past week has been extremely busy!  On one hand, life just gets busy at this time of year.  Then I have been dealing with my car stuff at the same time.  

There are so many great things going on though!  Christmas is in the air...  You can see it in the lights on the tree, in the decor on people's homes, in the yummy Christmas scented candle, etc.  How can one not be happy at this time of the year?  I am looking forward to finishing our Christmas shopping and celebrating with family.  

As far as an update goes...  I have only run once since Thanksgiving.  Last year, Sarah and I were so consistent with our running schedule on Monday and Thursday afternoons.  Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case this year.  I am planning to run somewhere between 6 and 8 miles with Debbie on Saturday - we'll see how that goes.  I have at least been going to the gym consistently.  I normally do 25 to 30 minutes on the elliptical, ARC, or stairmill followed by the express circuit/weight workout.  I can feel myself getting stronger from lifting on a consistent schedule.  Feels so good!

I have been thinking about getting a new car for a while, but I wasn't quite ready to deal with the hassle.  My little Nissan was approaching 10 years old.  It didn't have anything wrong with it, but I just wanted something a tiny bit bigger and newer.  Well, my wreck last week made that decision for me.  After the adjuster came out to look at the car, he suggested that I take it to a collision center for a more thorough inspection.  The collision center found a total of $3200 worth of damage and the car was only valued at $3500.  So, needless to say - it was totalled.  My little Nissan and I parted ways on Tuesday afternoon.  I think it is a little silly, but I kinda got teary-eyed when I left the poor car at the collision center.  That car was my first "big girl" purchase after graduation.  I did all the research and negotiation with the dealership on my own - with a lot of phone consultation with my Daddy.  

Mazda5 in "metropolitan gray" that I test drove
When I realized that I was going to be forced to get a new car sooner than I thought, I started thinking about my requirements - small but bigger than my Nissan, a little higher off the ground, a decent amount of room for others, hatchback, and big hopes that Jason's wheelchair would fit.  We initially thought about a Honda Element.  After we found out that Honda was no longer producing the Element, my research honed in on the Mazda5.    I cannot come up with the proper words to describe it.  It kinda looks like a hatchback-wagon style car and a mini-van had a baby - it is hatchback, but has sliding rear doors.  I have a running buddy that has one.  When saw hers this summer, I was quite curious.  I did a lot of research on Monday and Tuesday.  Tuesday afternoon, I went to Capital of Cary for a test drive.  That evening, Jason and I went back to the dealership to see if he would be able to get into it, etc.  Yes, we have the Dodge Entervan, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to go somewhere in something different!  Jason didn't love the color of the one that I test drove (above), so the dealership checked on different colors.  We were lucky that they had a black one in stock.  So, yesterday afternoon, I signed on the dotted line and purchased it.    

Terrible picture of me after signing on the
dotted line :-)
Again, the best part?  Jason can ride in it easily.  He can transfer to the front seat from his wheelchair and I can use ramps to roll his wheelchair right into the back seat.  Even with his wheelchair in the car, there's still room for people and stuff!  We are talking about taking a road trip to Florida toward the end of the summer.  We have always been very conservative with trips in the van because we didn't want to put a ton of miles on it, especially since it doesn't get great gas mileage.  Well, it looks like a trip to the "Trop" (Tropicana Field), where the Tampa Bay Rays play is in order!  While we are there, we can take a trip to see Margaret in St. Cloud, visit Disney World, and do lots of other fun things!  YAY!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This week

Well, in good news...  The recommitment to tracking in WW and MyFitnessPal is going well.  I have noticed some interesting differences in the amount of WW points versus calories and vice versa.  I think this will prove to be beneficial in meal planning.  Not only have I been tracking well, I have been more committed to actually getting up and moving.  I have gotten up every morning and done a 30-minute Walk Away The Pounds video.  In the afternoon, I also have gone to the gym to do more cardio and/or the 30-minute weight-lifting circuit.  

Until yesterday...

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., I was on the way to my gym.  I was driving on a very familiar road, minding my own business.  The traffic had been stopped for a light at an upcoming intersection.  The traffic started moving slowly and I started moving forward too.  The person in two cars ahead of me slammed on their brakes, then the person in front of me did the same - I obviously missed the memo and didn't slam on mine fast enough.  Then the person behind me bumped me and had the nerve to leave.  Needless to say, after that little fiasco, I didn't make it to the gym.    

Anyway, I am good.  I am a little sore, but not really any more than a really good workout.  If anything "hurts" it is my ego - I am so annoyed that I "messed up".  I have had a few scares in the past from using my phone in the car, and the last month or so, I have made a concerted effort to not use my phone in the car.  Yesterday, my phone was in my purse, the radio was barely on - virtually no distractions - and I get in a wreck.  Oh well, I can't do anything about it now...  The adjuster for my insurance company is coming tomorrow to look at the car and give me an estimate.  The plan after that is to forward the estimate to a coworker of my husband to see if her husband's body shop can do something for me soon.  Once I hear from him, I will work with the adjuster to get payment and get my car fixed very soon because it isn't terribly pretty right now.  

Either way, I might be in the market for a new car soon.  My car was my first post-college purchase.  I remember the entire negotiating process like it was yesterday.  I remember that I did it all on my own and I was able to actually talk the salesperson down on the price.  It is a 2002 Nissan Sentra XE, nothing fancy but it was the perfect car for me right out of college.  My little car and I have been through a lot in the 11.5 years we have been together.  However, it just might be time to let my car have adventures with someone else.  

I am interested in looking for cars in the coming month or so.  I need to really figure out what I really want/need.  I like the little small cars, but I kinda want to be higher off the ground.  I don't want to spend a lot of money, but I want something nice.  I don't want new, but I don't really want the issue of possibly inheriting someone else's problems from buying a used car.  I also need to keep in mind that I only drive the car back and forth to work.  If there is a possibility of transporting the hubs wheelchair easier in my new vehicle, we may use it more often, but that's kinda up in the air right now.  We'll see...

Pictures of my poor little car...  Things could have been a lot worse, but the pictures are hard to see...