why U-haul sucks.

Oh U-haul.  You have gone and done it. 

In general, the theme of my blog and "product" placement is to share with you things that I think are awesome, worth the money or time spent and will in general help you out a little in life.  I choose my giveaways and product reviews based on whether you, my reader, would like them or not.  I pass on a lot of things... orthopedic shoes, books that I wouldn't read, random weird "other" things...that I don't think fit here. 

If I have a bad product or company experience, I generally don't mention it...or I do in passing.  Not saying you shouldn't...I just don't in general.  Usually, because I realize it could be a fluke or my fault.  I do my best to be gracious with companies, etsy sellers and waitresses.  More than once I have told sellers, just choose a color/style/etc, I am sure I will like it.  Doug and I LOVE to over tip a good waiter or waitress.  One of our favorite vacation stories is about a waiter having a terrible day and us leaving him a 100% tip just because we recognized that his day was pretty sucky but he was still trying.  All that to say, I don't turn on a company or service person easily.

What WILL get to me is patterns of behavior and lack of compassion on a comany's part to do the right thing.

Take our U-haul issue.

A week before our move I went to U-haul's website to reserve a truck.  In particular I knew we would need a 26ft truck.  Being unable to secure one at other truck rental locations, I was delighted to find and "reserve" one through U-haul.  I made the reservation and did not give it a second thought. 

Here is the definition of reservation:


  1. The action of reserving something.
  2. An arrangement whereby something, esp. a seat or room, is booked or reserved for a particular person.
That is NOT U-haul's definition.

At 6:59pm the evening BEFORE we moved and exactly ONE minute before they closed for the day, U-haul leaves a message saying that our 26ft truck is not available.  Lucky for us they could offer a 14ft truck and a small trailer that we could drive over an HOUR up and down a mountain to get (annoying for many reasons but mostly because there are SEVERAL pick-up stations within a couple of miles of our house).  We also needed to call them back to reserve it.  That LITTLE feat made impossible by the fact that they waited to call us until ONE MINUTE before they closed for the day.  The place we could pick up this fancy 14 footer didn't open until the next morning.  We had people coming to help us move.  We had, you know, based our entire move on this "reservation".  Our stuff would not fit in a 14ft truck!!

Somehow they thought that a 14ft truck would be just as good to us as a 26ft truck.  Above is a screenshot of U-Hauls front page...that states a "Reservation is guaranteed for location and equipment".  That apparently means absolutely nothing to U-Haul.  They have shown zero compassion or concern for the frantic pace they set to our move because we could do nothing about the truck situation until the next morning.

They say that moving is one of the most stressful events in your life.  It was not stressful on us until U-Haul went back on their word and left us with nothing to move our belongings to another city.  They did offer to "reserve" a 26ft truck for us the following week if we would like to reschedule.  Because that is normal for people to do.

Doug and I were without words, frustrated and a little panicked.  We had been living apart for over a month at this point and here we were possibly facing more time apart.

That night I went on U-Haul's facebook page and posted on their wall our situation and frustrations.

I got back a COLD email stating that "U-Haul reserves the right to change equipment and location pick-up".  I just did a dry run through the "reservation" process and NOWHERE do I see anything remotely like that.  Basically, they told us "Too bad".   What I did see was the screenshot above.

I called around in a panic the next morning.  Thankfully, Penske had a 26ft truck we could rent and reserve using the traditional meaning of the word.  The only catch is that it was going to cost us $677 MORE than the truck we had reserved with U-Haul.  

I moved on temporarily so that we could focus on moving knowing I would call U-Haul at a later point. 

Fast forward to today.  I have gone back and forth with them so many times I can't even count.  They have offered me a $50 credit which I kindly declined, reminding them how much more I had to spend because of their careless behavior.  They have been snarky behind closed doors while being all nice and mushy faced on their FB page.

Now like I said...I may not be so furious with this situation if you couldn't go onto their Facebook page and read story after story after story just like mine.  U-Haul seems to take a non-chalant attitude with customer service that no one seems to want to stand up to.  I, however, have nothing better to do with my time, being a stay at home mom and all.  :) I have kindly told them that I am not going away until they choose to make it right.  My next stop is the Better Business Bureau...right after I share this post with U-haul and my nearly half-million visitors a month. :)

If you have a similar story feel free to leave a comment AND be sure to go post it on their Facebook page. 

Happier things coming soon!


Make an ordinary day fun with Breyers {and a chance to win $100}!

We are ice cream people. Like, year-round, all-the-time, ice-cream-in-every-way-we-can-get-it people. We have tried every brand and in many countries. So when BlogHer and Breyers asked us to try out their new flavors--Breyers Blasts!® Chocolate REESE’S® and Breyers Blasts!® OREO® Birthday Blast! frozen dairy desserts -- we JUMPED at the chance. In fact, one of our favorite family stories revolves around Breyers.

True story. Want to hear it?

So, Doug and I are at the grocery store, pre-kids, and Breyers is on sale super-cheap, like 2 for $5 or something like that. He and I are both standing at the freezer doors, not agreeing on which two flavors to get. So, as good adults should, we agreed to both get two. Two each for our OWN consumption. I grab my two and Doug, apparently riddled with guilt, says loudly as he is grabbing his two, "This should be enough for the party!" That was years ago, and to this day we still use that phrase to excuse our large purchases. :) We're good at having fun wherever we go.
As it turned out, we were in NJ with family when we tried out the new flavors. No better time to kick off the summer and have a little fun! The day was hot and perfect for some frozen treats!
Here's how Breyers describes the new flavors:
  • Breyers Blasts! Chocolate REESE’S: Chunks of REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup pieces and REESE’S Peanut Butter swirled in chocolate frozen dairy dessert.
  • Breyers Blasts! OREO Birthday Blast!: OREO cookie pieces and rainbow sprinkles in artificially flavored cake-flavored frozen dairy dessert.
To give the new flavors the best fighting chance, we told the boys we could make sundaes with whatever toppings they wanted. We had sprinkles, hot fudge, waffle bowls, whipped cream and more. Then we let the boys dictate the building of their sundaes.
Everyone had a great time building their sundaes and enjoying the new flavors. Moses was especially ecstatic. This just goes to show that it doesn't take much to make an ordinary day into a FUN one!
My nephew Blake decided that he likes to party without a spoon. It's cool...whatever gives you the best time, Blake! We all had a great time, the new flavors were awesome, and Moses is still talking about how fun it was to make his own sundae creation! It's the little things, friends! :)
It was all fun and games until I declared it bath and bed time.

How would you and your family enjoy Breyers Blasts!? Leave a comment on this post and you could win a $100 Visa gift card for your answer! :) You can also check out their new flavors HERE.

Here are the deets:
Rules: No purchase necessary. No duplicate comments.You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion using hashtag #sweeps and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate free form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 6/28 to 7/26.
Be sure to visit the Breyers Blasts! brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

new home tour - downstairs edition

Believe it or not...we're nearly all settled in here.  Have been for a couple of days.  During this whole process, I've heard from many that it's common practice to live out of boxes and with bare walls for weeks or months after a move.  I just can't live like that...I wanted to "make home" and get on with life...so to speak.

Our new house is amazing...nearly twice the square footage of our house in Charlottesville.  There is a great story behind it but I will tell you that part during the next Ebeneezer segment.  It's pretty good. My favorite part of this house is the light!! So much natural light that we hardly turn on a lamp during the day.  It's lovely.  I just can't get enough of it.  Our neighborhood is pretty quiet too...with a nice loop that the boys can ride their bikes all the way around, something we have done every day since we moved in.    

Let's start the tour...above is our living room...with our awesome new couch.  Once it was in place we decided that we needed another armless piece to lengthen that part under the photo wall.  It should be here in 14-21 days. :)
This is what you see when you walk in the front door...
The view from the couch...
View from the couch again...all the way to the right.  That's my studio there!
Next to the living room is what we are using as a dining room.  I have no idea what kind of a room this is supposed to be but it works perfectly as a living room for us.  Table will soon have a aqua and white chevron rug under it.  
This is my inspiration corner.  Sad?  Stand here and read until it passes.  All prints are from Etsy.
Random hodgepodge of happy things.
From the dining room you can see the kitchen. 
More kitchen...
...our heritage wall...a little Norway, Dutch and Swedish in here...
And the light!!! I mean the kitchen.  Rug is from Urban Outfitters.
Kitchen leads to studio...
And the happiest place on Earth.  At least to me. Rug is from Ikea. 

And there's the living room again.
And a tiny cute bathroom off of the kitchen. 

We love everything about this house.  Did you know that I didn't even see it until the day we moved in? 

Talk about trust in a marriage! :) Doug did a great job. 


Don't forget...

it's not too late to enter to win...

a $500 SpaFinder gift card  On growing old{er}.

a $150 Target gift card on 3M projector fun AND a chance to win $150 Target gift card!!

And for good reading...be sure to check out my Huggies posts all about babies and life with them! :)

Have a super day!  Come back tomorrow for a tour of my new house!!

40 Ideas - Number 8 - Fabric Scrap Monograms!

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!  
Today's activity comes from Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy!

i'm pretty sure i've confessed it before, but i don't really love crafting with the kids (*GASP*). i think it may be partially because of my youngest's age (and general nuttiness), but it tends to be more chaotic than fun. and i think crafting should be fun!
but awhile back i decided to get off my tail and come up with a fun monogram craft. my kids love their initials and have since they were first able to recognize "their letter".
i found a bold font and printed just the outline of it on some white cardstock (i get mine from walmart).
i use every last scrap of fabric, so this pleased me so much to put to use the itty bittiest of pieces!
i helped guide silas in his color selections, but let the girls have free reign.
we glued inside the lines and i cut all the pieces small enough to fit inside, then let him place each piece wherever he wanted.
this was such an easy, quick craft that there wasn't even any time for crying or complaining!
gracie wanted all of her pieces to fit exactly within the lines.
i love how different they all are, especially lily's 2 random pieces!
you can frame them for each kid, or even make it a bigger project and print out a whole word, like S-U-M-M-E-R, and string them together for a super cute banner!

So very fun!  Thank you Lindsey!  Be sure to check her lovely self and blog at The Pleated Poppy!

t-ball 2012

Moses did t-ball for the first time this year.  It's our first leap into organized sports.  As I signed him up, I thought, here goes the next 18 years or so.  Once you start sports, there's no going back.  When we took him to his first practice, he cried almost the whole time.  He doesn't do "new" too well but in the end we told him he wasn't allowed to quit, that he had made a choice to play and that he would see it through to the end.  And he did great.  I'm actually surprised with how much he learned and changed in such a short amount of time.

He had fun.  Learned about baseball and how to be on a team.  It was a good experience for him and I'm glad we refused his request to quit. 

This pretty much sums up t-ball. 

Too bad all sports games aren't limited to 45 minute games and practices once a week!

40 Ideas - Number 7 - Water Balloon Pinata!

Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com! 

This is not only a how to but also a how NOT to. :) We made a spectacle of this activity but together with the boys I worked it out.  We had fun and we worked on problem solving. :) 
I saw a passing photo of this activity and knew that my boys would love it.  I did not look up a tutorial but I thought "It's water balloons tied on a string...how hard can this be?".   
The boys were excited.  I bought the bigger normal party balloons because I though they would be better (and prettier).  
I tied up a clothes line between two sturdy fence posts.  You could use tree branches.  Just make sure whatever you tie it to is strong because a lot of water balloons can get heavy.  
And I turned them loose.  They beat them with everything they could find.  NOTHING.  Water noodles, bats, hitting, etc.  Nothing doing.  
I let them poke at them with forks.  They thought it was funny.  I don't advise this method.  
Even if they did like it a lot.  
As you can tell from this face, it took a lot of work.  
So I started over.  I got out my cheap water balloons from the dollar store.  Filled them up and strung them back up there.  FYI: I filled up the balloons, tied them off like normal and then tied them up to the string.  You may be able to attach them with clothespins.  Mine were packed.   As you can tell, Aaron was over it at this point. 
Then I gave him a stick.   
Success!! The boys really did love it.  Despite our road to getting there.

So my tips...buy cheap balloons and give them a stick.  :)
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