Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our new friend Truman

My good friend Chelsey had her baby boy last week, so Ja and I went to visit them in the hospital. Truman was so adorable! I instantly fell in love with the little guy. I haven't seen a two day old baby in a long time so I've forgotten how small they are. He has a perfect face and lots of dark hair. So, interestingly enough, I had a dream last thursday night that Chelsey had her baby and that he had dark hair. I woke up and thought, "That's weird, neither Chelsey or Andrew have dark hair." Not only did she give birth Friday morning, but he had dark hair.

Chelsey had a pretty hard labor; there were two unexpected twists, but she survived and she's still happy. I'm pretty much terrified of giving birth (I haven't figured out if it's from the pain or being in a hospital), so if Chelsey can have such a rough time and make it through, I think I can. Thanks for the encouragement Chelsey!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My trip to California

Somehow I had acquired enough Southwest points to earn a free flight, so I decided to take a little vacation and visit my family. Ja went to Virginia for a job interview the same day so we were able to go to the airport together.

The first night at home we had dinner with both sets of grandparents.

Grandma & Grandpa Francis
Grandma & Grandpa Seymour
The next day we went to the Long Beach Aquarium. That place is awesome! It's a well stocked aquarium and very well maintained. There is so much to do and look at. 

In the middle of the day we took a 2 1/2 hour trip on the open ocean. We saw the Queen Mary, the Long Beach port, seals, sea lions, and two whales! None of us had seen whales before so that was pretty cool to see. We followed them around for about a 1/2 hour. I didn't take pictures of them, but they were very large and gray. The captain said they were fin whales.

Wednesday I went shopping and got a few things like new makeup and a couple shirts. At night I went to the musical Happy Days with Grandma and Grandma Seymour. I've only seen a couple episodes of the show so I didn't always get the jokes. Sometimes everyone else in the theater would laugh at a line so I figured it was a joke from the show. I had a good time though.

Thursday my mom and I went to breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa Francis. Then it was more shopping. At night I went to "Spa night" at Enrichment. It was fun to see old friends and leaders there. I'm glad I was sort of a good teenager so people are still excited to see me come back home and visit with me.

Friday my dad took me to get new running shoes. It's so great to have new running shoes. You don't notice that your old ones are old until you try new shoes on. Later that night, Jill, Kenny and his girlfriend Lisa, and I went to In-N-out for dinner then saw Madagascar 2. The movie had some good parts and funny lines, but I think seeing it once was good enough.

Then it was time to go home Saturday. I forgot my jacket in the trunk, luckily my mom wasn't too far away so she could bring it back to me. It was 85 degrees so I didn't even think about having a jacket! I also left two shirts hanging in the garage, luckily we'll be back in a week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My 23rd Birthday

My birthday is usually around election day, and this year it happened to be on election day. Because of this we decided to have people come over and watch the election results on TV. Ja made up some brithday/political games for us to play. We had pin the tail on the donkey or elephant, guess who's going to be the next president, and guess if prop 8 will pass or not. I picked a name from the jar from the people who guessed Obama would win to win some cookies. Mike West was the winner, the only non-US citizen there. He felt bad for winning because he wrote his name 3 times, once for his wife, and another for his baby son. He let us keep the cookies to enjoy. 

My friend Becca made a wonderful lemon cinnamon cake for me. It was very delicious. And to top everything off, we continued the DeVore tradition of singing around the birthday person at the table. 

Ja surprised me when I came home from work with all the birthday decorations.

Of course I was bound to get at least one political birthday card. This was from Ja, I thought it was pretty funny.
Thanks for all of you who came! I had a great time and it's so nice knowing I have so many great friends.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Costume Craze

I started working at Costume Craze on September 11. A day that doesn't settle well with many Americans. Little did I know it would be a day I will always remember for different reasons. The first few days of work weren't bad; I talked to normal people, took orders for people and made some friends at work. Then as October started things started to get progressively worse. I had to answer more phone calls, reply to more emails, and inspect more returned costumes. Then all hell broke loose. 

People are "absolutely ridiculous" (a favorite saying from irate customers) about their costumes. I'v never had so many swear words directed at me before. When people would start yelling and swearing at me I wanted to tell ask them, "You know that getting this costume isn't a life or death situation right?" They would then reply saying how horrible the customer service is and go on and on about how I have ruined their sons Halloween, and I would say, "Then why are you acting like this!!" I personally ruined so many children's Halloweens. I know, I'm a horrible person. Of course it's not their parents fault who order the day before Halloween and their daughter doesn't have a costume because it didn't fit right. And of course it's not the dad's fault for entering the wrong billing address so his credit card was declined so the costumes never shipped out and he's just checking up on things the day before Halloween. Of course he "didn't" get the email we sent him two weeks ago to let him know the credit card was declined. Oh, my own kids have been wished a horrible Halloween by a swearing maniac because I ruined her Halloween.

There were problems that were caused by Costume Craze. For some reason 100's of orders never shipped out and the customer's weren't notified. (For the record the warehouse didn't tell Customer Service either.) Or the computer accidently intercepted a few packages for no reason. The packages got sent back to us making some people miss their parties. I would be a very upset customer if that happened to me. Even if things like this happen there's no reason to swear and use the dirtiest language you can muster. 

Then a miracle happened. Halloween was over! I didn't think I would live to see the day! Along with Halloween went all the crazy people. Well, I shouldn't say all, most of the crazy people. We still get a few nuts calling in. Today I answered the phone, "Hi this is Laura. How can I help you?" And the man answered, "I don't think there's a damn thing you can do to help me." I knew right off the bat it wasn't going to be a good phone call. 

However, after all this craziness, I came to enjoy the job. I was very ready to quit on Halloween. I was absolutely sick of hearing irresponsible people call in and try to blame everything on us. (My favorite line: "Oh so it's my fault I didn't read the terms and conditions?!" She wanted to return a wig, which we don't allow, and each customer has to comply with the term and conditions when placing an order. So of course it's our fault she didn't read them.) Halloween day was I started to enjoy the job again. And now it's really fun because, instead of getting 2000+ phone calls a day, we are down to 100. Now I can actually talk to my coworkers and have a break now and then. 

We had a Customer Service party last night were we got together for dinner and told funny stories about customers. I found out that one lady called back after talking to me and demanded she talk to a supervisor. She insisted that I laughed in her face and humiliated her daughter. Genevieve looked at the notes and noticed that I was the last one to talk to her and knew I wouldn't do something like that. The nerve of some people. (For the record I did have to hold in laughter from this lady because she said her daughter couldn't get the costume over her head and it left a funny picture in my mind. But I would never laugh out loud at a customer.) I was crying from laughing so hard at funny customer stories. We had a really good time being outside of Costume Craze.

After all of that, I've decided to continue working there until we move in December. My Manager asked if I wanted to stay on and I obliged. Now that the job is fun I want to stay so I don't have to search for another job. During the Halloween season we lost so many Customer Service employees. They were dropping like flies. Most of them left because they couldn't handle being yelled at and sworn at all day. I don't blame them. I don't know how I survived alive. There were 6 employees that were starting the day I started working. I was the only one that made it to Halloween. We had customers waiting on hold for 7 or 8 minutes because there were so many calls and so little employees. 
I'm actually proud of myself for sticking through it. There were many days I wanted to quit because I couldn't handle crazy people anymore. But I stayed. I sat through phone call after phone call of annoyed people asking me questions I couldn't answer. I took care of angry customers and talked them through situations. As Ja said, now I'll know how to tell people no, and how to reason with crazies, and to stand up for myself.  If anything this job has taught me a few things, how being a nice and understanding customer is so important, how unimportant things like costumes are to me but they are very important to other people, and that I never want to work customer service again. Sadly this job was probably one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Festivities

We had two rounds of pumpkin carving this year. We carved pumpkins for our date friday night. We drove over to the wonderful Days Market and picked out our pumpkins for 12 cents a pound. Grandma didn't want to carve one herself so I carved one for her. She choose the monkey face pattern, Ja choose the haunted house and I choose the ghost. I was pretty impressed with the Ja's haunted house because it was really detailed. 

After we placed the pumpkins outside and lit them, Ja noticed the empty flower bed next to the door. His imagination got a hold of him because he then wanted to make a whole Halloween scene in the dirt. The next day we made our stuffed man and found him a seat so he could watch all the trick-or-treaters. We then made tombstones out of cardboard and foil. Thanks to the Haunted Mansion we wrote some funny sayings on them. 
"Here lies Fred, a big ol' rock fell on his head." "Here lies headless, footless Joe. How he died we do not know." "Here rests Wathel R. Bender, he rode to glory on a fender." "In memoriam Uncle Myall, here you'll lie for quite a while." 

Then for family home evening we carved three more pumpkins. Ja cleaned them out and I carved them. It was pretty quick process. We bought a pumpkin carving kit that has glue to put on the pumpkin so you can glue the pattern, carve it, then peel it off. It was much nicer than poking holes then carving the pumpkin. We got a kick out of our little scene. On Halloween we downloaded a scary Halloween song and played it from our ipod out the window to scare people. 

We had great fun on Halloween night thanks to James. We had some friends come over to watch a scary movie. Our friend James came as a vampire and his costume was so good we couldn't let him go to waste. While we waited for another couple to come, we had James sit outside and hold a bowl of candy. We patiently waited for unassuming trick-or-treaters to come and think James was a dummy. One group stopped and discussed him being real or not. One girl was a little skeptical so she slowly reached her hand into the bowl. As soon as she grabbed the candy James yelled "Boo!" She screamed and jumped back. Ja, Amy (James' wife), and I watched from across the street. When our friends Joe and Rozaura arrived we had them walk to the front door so they could get some candy. Rozaura thought it was a great dummy and looked really close at James. Right then he yelled "boo" and she screamed for about 10 seconds all the while stomping her feet on the ground. It was so funny and made Halloween worth it. We didn't have too many trick-or-treaters come by, but we had fun with the ones who did.

The Vampire, the girl he bit, Ali G, a flower, and the bee who pollenated the flower.

Ali G and the vampire/zombie.