Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm Definitely a Crier Now

In the last several weeks, I have found myself either tearing up or just flat out bawling an inordinate number of times. I think it started with the impending close of Jimmy's kindergarten year. First there was the kindergarten celebration wherein each kindergarten class sang a couple of songs (I didn't stand a chance), followed by their little diplomas being handed out (more waterworks from little Jimmy's crazy mom in the back); then there was the awards ceremony (full on tear-age happening there); next was the last day of kindergarten and the handwritten note from Jimmy's teacher to him: "James, Reach for the stars. Do your best. You can be whatever you want to be. Mrs. Thompson. June 2009." (OK - I'm actually tearing up just rereading this. . .). And then the beginning of summer and swimming lessons, etc. etc. . You get the picture.

Finding myself so completely undone on so many fully public occasions left me wondering what in the world had become of me - the girl who very seldom cried at movies or other life altering events a scant half decade or so ago. I decided to try to trace things back to when all this teariness started. I went back nearly a decade to my wedding in search of tears. Nope, no tears there (I think even my husband was a little astonished by my stonewalled but blissful facade). Fast forward a few years to the birth of our son: no tears upon being admitted 9 weeks too early for a severe maternal/fetal illness. . . but the tears were not far off at that point.

It was when the doctors and my parents collectively decided the baby had to be delivered immediately, and I stubbornly conceded in utter disbelief and horror - it was then, as I was being wheeled back for a surgery to deliver my baby that was too early, that the onslaught of tears began. Because little Jimmy was stable when he was born, I was allowed a few seconds to see him before he was whisked back to the NICU. . . I remember studying his face and strangely not knowing what to feel. There were no tears then. I couldn't even grasp this whole crazy event that I had not planned for which was happening before my very eyes. How do you emotionally cope with such a tiny though seemingly perfect precious little being that is yours, when you really don't know if they'll survive and what the future will hold for them? It's almost like your subconscious tries to keep this new little being at bay (for fear of the worst) so you won't begin falling desperately in love. . . so you won't be hurt in an irreparable way.

Despite my shock, the waterworks soon resumed with a vengeance. The next time I saw him, they had wheeled my whole bed into the NICU to see him (the nurses and doctors obviously thought I was more capable than I felt I was at the time). I remember looking around at all these tiny babies and praying mine wasn't one of them - praying my baby was a big fat little guy. When they pointed him out to me I stared out him and studied him for a moment - crying, and then having to turn away - unable to understand and maybe even accept that this teeny little creature was mine to care for. Of course he was not mine to care for immediately, he had 39 days in the NICU where the staff there cared for him and taught me how to do the same as we both recovered. From that first visit to see him, to walking back and forth between the Ronald McDonald House and the hospital to see him several times a day, to the day he was finally discharged - there were moist eyes and at times, full on crocodile tears.

When we arrived safely home, the crying resumed with unprecedented regularity. I cried because Little Jimmy had made it this far and had overcome some crazy stuff. I cried because I felt inept at caring for him. I cried because he cried. I cried because he suffered different ailments that were the result of his prematurity. I cried because I felt more exhausted than I knew a human being could ever live with. I cried in frustration, and in worry, and in relief.

. . . And the crying continued. I cried at every milestone, and every setback. I cried when his apnea monitor (a machine that makes sure the baby is breathing) went off different times even months after bringing him home from the hospital. I cried when he smiled, and when he laughed. I cried when he sat up, crawled, and walked. I cried when he began sleeping in a crib and when he was moved to his own room. I cried when he turned one, two, three, four, five, and six. I cried when he went to storytime for the first time. . . and preschool. . . and kindergarten. I cried when he succeeded at school, and I cried when he struggled. I've laughed so many times at things he's said that I've cried even then too.

I'm finally noting the trend. Kids = Mommy's Tears. I've heard it said before that when you have a child, it's like walking around and living your day to day life but with your heart outside of your body. . . and it's so true. When I was little, I remember watching different shows with my Mom (per say, Little House on the Prairie) and her crying anytime children were involved in any sort of conflict or struggle; I remember her saying, 'You just wait until you have children; your whole world will change." While I certainly don't consider myself to be the most intrinsically maternal person, I can still say she was right - my whole world has changed. . . and for the better.

So yes, Little Jimmy, I'm afraid your stuck with your crying mother at every school event and personal milestone in your life; it's just that I'm so proud of you I can't seem to contain myself- and obviously I don't!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why I'll NEVER, EVER Buy Another Dell Again

Dear Mr. Dell:
I am writing you because your customer service in India has been utterly useless to me over the last year and a half in attempting to resolve the problem with the the faulty laptop I received at that time. The problem with the laptop was a simple one: it randomly shut off during usage. There was never any apparent rhyme or reason to it other than that I'd been sent a lemon. I never downloaded or uploaded any material aside from the programs accompanying the computer when I received it from your company. So, for EIGHTEEN months, I have been on the phone with Dell attempting to resolve this problem. I think I could say on average I spend around 3 hours a week on the phone with you people - though I'm sure you'd know better if you just checked the notes under my name (another perplexing and annoying fact, why is it that every time I call up I have to explain my situation several times to several confused people before ever being ultimately transferred to someone who will have to sign off anyway when his shift ends before fixing the problem or who will offer scads of useless advice. . why can't you people just read my record. . it's the same problem. . . the same one, folks. . ). My time is valuable, I'm a busy person and I have a family and responsibilities to attend to during my non-workday hours, and yet your company has sucked up so much of my time, and offered nothing in return for it. . no fixed computer. . no resolution. . . nothing. (Oh, and I should mention we bought the extended warranty and Norton protection from you - thanks a lot - it's ALSO proved worthless).
After much banter and being put on hold, and wasted time in general, Dell finally told me I could return the computer where they'd likely replace the motherboard (as they deemed that was the only place where there could be a problem). They stated they would send me a box to use in the return of my laptop, and I should then be sure to request FedEx Air. I followed your instructions precisely, only to be greeted by the FedEx man at the door telling me the label you had sent me was for FedEx ground. I know that's really nothing at this point, but I should've taken that as a sign of what was about to transpire in this seemingly simple procedure. Later FedEx Ground came to pick up the box with my laptop in it. I waited, and waited. And then I got a strange call from the people who bought our previous home telling me they had received a package for me from Dell along with a FedEx receipt on their door stating they had a package to drop off which needed to be signed for -and it was all in my name. Thank goodness the people who bought our previous home are honest individuals, because that would have been the perfect opportunity for someone else to inherit our laptop.
I later met up with these people to acquire the materials they'd received from Dell. The box contained a hard drive (which it shouldn't have - as the Dell representatives I spoke with assured me they would handle the repair of the computer including any necessary installations at their business before returning my laptop to me). The FedEx note was for the drop off of our laptop. I then called Dell, and after explaining my story again at least three times, was connected with someone who was able to redirect the mis-shipped package to our correct new address (which, should you be wondering, they did have. . remember, they sent the original box to return the laptop to the correct address we currently reside at).
I naievely signed for the package from FedEx with the Dell return label posted on it, strangely expecting that Dell might have done what they said they would in fixing our computer, but boy was I foolish to think that. Upon opening the box, I found my laptop with the old hard drive sitting on top of it. I called Dell again to inquire on the assembly of the computer at this stage, only to find out they'd forgotten to send the screws.
And now, I just want you to know that I will NEVER, EVER buy another Dell again. I will be happy to return your lemon laptop if you will kindly reimburse my money and wasted time. Your products are shoddy, and your customer service is even shoddier.
Should you desire to actually check up on the facts of my story, I'll give you my information, and I'll give it to you very simply, much like how I've been requested to speak to all of Dell's customer service reps. Hopefully you'll understand what I'm trying to say to you.
Phone Number:
System Type: Inspiron 1720, Intel Pentium Dual Core T2330(1.6G
Service Tag: ******
Express Service Code:******

Thanks for a lot of nothing.
PS - I fully plan on sharing my experience with Dell with all my friends and casual acquaintances.

I emailed my letter to every address I could find for Mr. Michael Dell and his upper associates. I'll let you know if I should hear ANYthing, but as it stands, I've learned to expect NOthing from this company.

Also, for the rest of the world out there searching for ways to contact someone at Dell who stands of chance of understanding them, here are all the emails/contact info I've found:

Michael Dell
Dell Computer Inc.
One Dell Way
Round Rock TX 78682

Direct Access to Dell Escalation
; ;