What is Loyalty?

Thursday and Friday were that first child’s first college scholarship interview and audition. While she spent the night on campus, my husband and I found a hotel in Fargo through Expedia.com.

Our main criteria was a good price and a real breakfast included. We were happy with our choice. The room was comfortable and seemingly clean, breakfast was good and plentiful, and staff were friendly.

There were just two small things that would have made the breakfast more enjoyable.

  1. We had made our selections from the main area of the breakfast buffet before we realized there were hot eggs, sausage, and waffles on the other side of the breakfast area (I would have much preferred the hot eggs, but had already selected cold hard-boiled eggs).
  2. The plastic on the fruit cup was almost impossible to open (with a little luck on my side I spilled it only on the table rather than myself)

Anyway, we were happy.

At the checkout desk there was a sign promoting the chain’s rewards program. Our daughter had enjoyed the first day of the program she was attending; it was looking likely that we’d be back in the area on a regular basis over the next few years. I told the employee staffing the desk that we were interested in the rewards program.

The response was that since we had booked through expedia.com, we were not eligible. Not that this night’s stay couldn’t be credited, but that we couldn’t sign up for the program. We would have to have booked through AmericInn.com or the chain’s 800 number.

We could have left that hotel lobby totally happy with our stay and loyal to the chain. The next time we visited the college (or had any other cause to spend a night away from home) we would first look into AmericInn options.

Instead we left a little miffed, I guess somewhat soured by the last minute or two of our otherwise wonderful stay. We felt we were being penalized for using Expedia.com, even though we would not have been there at all had we not found the hotel through that site. The next time we are in need of a hotel we would probably again use expedia.com which may or may not lead us to AmericInn.

A bad ending can tarnish an otherwise positive experience, and loyalty, it seemed, does not so much start when “points” are accrued, but perhaps when you have that card in your wallet?

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College Decisions

Last night on the ABC drama Parenthood, Haddie got accepted to a prestigious college, and her parents were concerned at the cost.

It’s a dilemmas that feels familiar right now. Child #1 has been accepted into a couple of private liberal arts colleges and we are starting the financial aid routine for the first time.

About a year ago my sister-in-law gave us a book titled Debt Free U. it made a lot of sense. There are ways to get a good college education and not be left crushed with debt.

My husband and I don’t have college debt (we went technical school, we were married and independent and he was in the National Guard); that’s maybe part of the reason we’ve avoided financial emergencies for 20 years. Its one of the factors that will hopefully help us avoid tuition loans when our own kids go to college.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when Haddie’s parents gave in so easily.

Meanwhile, we have a visit to one of those private liberal arts colleges next week, including an audition for a music scholarship and an interview for an academic scholarship. Plus I have the FAFSA on my to-do list. The following week we visit a public liberal arts college for another academic scholarship interview.

We strongly suggested applying to a traditional 4-year state school, which was met with much resistance. I can see where a small school, and particularly a church school would be a good fit for this particular child.

I hope we haven’t given in too easily.

Hope

Now I remember one of the reasons I quit blogging … I just don’t get around to it.

Tonight we spent the evening learning more about the AKCLI Villages of Hope in Zambia. Our church partners with this program, and tonight we had the opportunity to hear from one of the founders more about this ministry.This is a program that provides homes and education for orphans, and is working on ways to keep making their village more self-sufficient.  Our youngest has a special interest, as she is part of a pen pal program and writes to Selita, one of the girls about her age. My husband was also interested to learn there is some thought of putting together an agriculturally focused team to visit within the next few years.

That, and now that we are home there’s a re-run of The Big Bang Theory on that I’ve never seen before 🙂

So, although I had great thoughts of sharing the first round of my Christmas candy making … not today …

A New Theme

Fjords04 Theme

Before ...

Today’s project is not so much a post as a new look. I’d been using Fjords04 … I liked the split header and the 4 columns. I had my Twitter feed in the 2nd column, delicious feed in the 3rd column, and the usual blog stuff in the 4th column.

Well I don’t use delicious any more (have switched to Diigo, but that’s a different story), and I think I want a wider content column. I’m contemplating things like recipes and crafts, and although I’m mostly taking low quality iPod photos, I aspire to do better someday.

In the time that has passed I have managed to customize a theme for work, so I’m sure finding a theme I’m happy with as-is in the ‘free’ category will be somewhat of a struggle.

So if I loose the delicious column, but maybe want to keep the twitter column … that’s 3 columns … plus keep the photo header … only 24 choices, and maybe only half of them free … yikes!

I’m finding myself rejecting a lot of potential themes based on font, or more specifically font spacing.

For now I’ve settled on trying out Vigilance by The Theme Foundry. After I picked it I realized that sounded familiar for some reason … The Theme Foundry … sure enough, turns out I’ve built the church site on another Theme Foundry theme (Titan).

Well, tweaking the details will have to wait until another time … this is apparently NOT one of those days I’ll be getting to work early!

My First Cell Phone

So I’ve finally gone and done it, I’ve bought my first cell phone. I guess, technically, it’s more “our” cell phone than “my” cell phone, as it will be shared with my husband and kids… but let’s be real, I’ll probably have it most of the time.

There are two things that have been holding me back from getting one sooner. One is the potential cost… I am, shall we say, frugal, and we probably will end up with 3 cell phones in the near future. The other is my existing PDA, nothing fancy (Palm Zire 21), but it works for me and I wanted to be able to replace it instead of add another gadget.

I’d been looking around at prepaid options for a while, and settled on Continue reading

Rollerskating? What Was I Thinking?

Our church group for 4th & 5th graders went rollerskating yesterday.  Since I have both a 4th grader and a 5th grader, I thought I’d better help out.  Some of the chaperons wisely chose not to skate.  I was not one of the wise ones.

I used to love to skate, but it had been a while.  Probably six years since I had last skated and many years since I really could skate – you know what I mean. Before I made a whole lap around the rink I was waving my arms around like crazy trying to keep my balance and second-guessing my choice and feeling all those muscles I forgot I had. It was quite a sight.

Continue reading