Note to Readers

My resolve to keep my blog up to date is having varied results.

Until I get my act together, I'll continue to post mundane details of my life (and Doctor Who retweets) on twitter at @cozmicrain, and quick snippets of thought (and reblogs of cats in tights) on tumblr at Casual Bubbles.

Please come visit!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I need to get out more

I've been sick but I thought I should post something since it's been like a month. So I scanned through my drafts to see if there was anything that didn't still need a bunch of editing.  I found this really old, no longer relevant draft and decided to post it because, well, not much has changed. I still need to get out more and I still have super duper decision making anxiety.

A Gmail chat conversation*:

Me: I'm sure I've asked this before but how many gigs is your iPhone? I still have some time to decide if I'm going with the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy III but you know me, obsess like a mofo until I decide!**

Denise: (no reply)

Me: Also, I'm super jealous you are going to ComicCon again because this year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who so I'm sure there is going to be a big presence there. If I find out David Tennant is going to be there, I will have to kidnap you and take your place.

Denise: (no reply)

Me: I have learned from General Hospital that is is possible to impersonate someone with a good latex mask and fake fingerprints. I just have to make sure no one throws any hot fondue on my face and melts my mask.

This is what happens when I spend too much time with my boys and the TV and too little time talking to other adults, except when I bug them on Gmail chat when they're trying to work.

*No names have been changed because it's not like I'm giving any identities away or anything. Also, in the original chat, I may have used less punctuation and capitalization.

**I would like to try to blame being a stay at home mom and not having much outside of the house to think about for my utter obsessions when it comes to big purchases. I spend way too much time and energy weighing my options. Also, I'm really bad at making decisions in the first place.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Me!

I just wrote a ridiculously long post about Doctor Who: how I started watching, sucking my husband in, reactions to the new Doctor, the 50th anniversary special, etc. Close to the end I realized no one would want to read a post that long but I made myself finish it just in case I feel like trying to prune it down later.

I came here determined to post something instead of just adding to my drafts folder, though, so I'll leave you with the awesomeness that is the birthday present I got from my husband today.

The man made me a TARDIS jewelry armoire. He's still working on the finishing touches...but I totally have a TARDIS! Just for today, I win at life.

It's 40" tall, minus the light. And it does actually light up. There are lights behind the Police Public Call Box panels but the wiring is giving him some trouble so he's still tweaking that. 

The top opens to reveal a mirror. He's toying with the idea of adding sound when the it's opened. There are necklace hooks inside the doors and there will be 9 drawers. They're still being sanded, finished, and lined with felt. He also plans to put some legs on it once I decide how tall I want it. 

Best. Present. Ever.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Confessions of a pack rat

I generally don't get many comments on my blog, but if I did, I bet half of them would be some version of "tl;dr".

A friend recently wrote a post about running out of room in his house after having kids.  I can relate. I didn't need to have kids to run out of room.  I'm not a hoarder but I've known for a long time that I have hoarding tendencies and it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge. Actually, I think having kids saved me. They have so much of their own crap there's not as much room for mine.

I pretend part of the reason I am a pack rat is because my mom is the exact opposite. All the things she keeps for sentimental purposes (my biggest hang up) can probably fit in one or two bins in her basement. I once caught her donating some of my unused toys to the Salvation Army. She told me to pick one to keep (this seems a lot less mean now that I have a preschooler with a fleeting attention span and more toys than he knows what to do with). It was agony choosing between two. Totally traumatized me. If I'd spoken up, I'd have gotten both and probably wouldn't even remember it all these years later. Ah, how we create our own misery.

In reality, I was probably just born with the pack rat gene and my self psychoanalysis is nothing more than shit my brain came up with so I didn't have to take the blame for being able to fill an entire house with papers, toys, clothes, old broken costume jewelry, pens that no longer write, rocks, dried flowers...I think you get the point.

I have a tendency (maybe some would find it endearing? someone? anyone?) to develop a sentimental attachment to just about anything that comes through my line of vision. Everything jogs memories. It could be a picture, a scrap of paper with a note jotted on it, a ticket stub, an old key...and yes, clothes. My clothing bins are combination of favorite things I hope to fit into after I lose the rest of the baby weight/post wedding weight/senior 15 and some I just loved that much even knowing I would never wear them again. Did anyone catch what I said there? Yes, I have clothes from college (and maybe one or two things still from high school -- sick, isn't it?).

In the last couple years, I've started to understand my mom's hatred of clutter and I've donated so much to Goodwill that it was worth deducting on our taxes. Last summer we had a garage sale with a modest profit. And for those items that serve no other function than jogging memories, I've started taking pictures of them before parting with them.

I've also discovered the app Artkive. I haven't tried it yet but I'm intrigued. It saves images of all your kids' art so you can not have 65 bins of watercolors and collages in your basement. You can then get books, prints, etc. of the artwork later and the images are saved in the app to browse through.

It's a step in the right direction. I'm especially proud of the picture idea. When these kids actually let me get through everything, I can't imagine how much space I'll  be able to reclaim. I'm also thinking of investing in a document scanner to get rid of all the paper taking up space in the house. Anyone have any experience with those?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Diaper Bag Resolution

So...ahem...if I had any readers, they would have been left hanging for a long time after my last post. And I'm sure if I had any readers, they would have been on the edge of their seats, dying to know what happened with my diaper bag. Because in my head, my readers are like that.

My experience was mostly good. I initially emailed the J.J. Cole customer service on August 17 (a Friday):


I purchased a Stone Arbor Satchel Bag on 5/26/2012. I didn't start using it until after my baby was born on June 7. I also don't use it on a daily basis. I have two young boys and it's not easy to leave the house. I absolutely love this diaper bag, but after only 2.5 months of fairly light use, the loops where the metal rings connect to the straps and the bag are starting to crack/break. I can't afford to replace my diaper bag every 2 months, especially one this pricey. Is this a common complaint or is it possible I received a bad bag? I'm really disappointed about this since I had really looked forward to purchasing this bag and really have loved it until this happened.


 I received a response on August 21 (a Tuesday):

Hi Melany,

Thank you for contacting JJ Cole. JJ Cole Collections guarantees its products against manufacture defects. I would be happy to file a warranty claim for you. In order to better assist you, can you please provide me with the following information:

-      When did you purchase the product?
-      Where was the product purchased?

-      What product did you purchase? (System Bag, System180 Bag, Theory Bag, Mode Bag, Bundleme (Infant or Toddler), etc.)

-      What is the color of your product?

-      Please describe the problem with the product.

-      Please provide the 4-digit PO# located on a group of white tags on the product. This may also be 4 numbers followed by the letters YUN

-      Can you email a photo of the problem? Please attach.

-      Have you taken it back to the store where it was purchased from? What was the response?

Please provide your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you to provide a return authorization number and/or further information about the warranty process.

JJ Cole Product Warranty
JJ Cole Collections guarantees its entire product line for 2 years from the manufacture date. This warranty covers the product for the original owner against defects in workmanship only. If the product ever fails to a manufacturing defect, then JJ Cole will replace with like product at our discretion. The warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, improper use, negligence, normal wear and tear, or the natural break down of colors and materials over time.

Thank you,
Consumer Service

I supplied the requested information and pictures the same day and received this email the following day:

Thank you for sending the bags information and photo to me—I’m so sorry to see the handle material is not holding up well.  An exchange has been authorized and we have two different options regarding the return/disposal of your current bag:
1.  You may mail the bag to us at the following address, and upon receipt your replacement will be sent to you:

JJ Cole Collections
Attn : Returns 911217
2021 9th Street SE
Dyersville, IA 52040987-6828

2. You may make a cut through the opening of the main compartment down into the front of the bag 6” and send us an image with your Reference number 911217 written visible in it.  We will use this as a record you have disposed of the item, and then send your replacement.

Let me know which return option you prefer and I’ll have it shipped as soon as possible. 

Best regards
Consumer Service

I was very pleased with the fast responses and I was happy they were willing to resolve my problem so easily. Unfortunately, as can be seen by my lack of blog posts, life got in the way. Between people in the house getting sick and a bunch of family functions popping up where I needed to actually leave the house and use my diaper bag, I didn't get back to them in anything even remotely resembling a timely manner. I realize they needed to have the bag or see it destroyed to ensure I wasn't going to keep using both bags or sell one on Ebay but it was really inconvenient not to have a diaper bag to use.

Fast Forward to October 15. I responded and asked if the exchange was still possible and I got a response the next day that the number I was given would be held open for 30 more days. Then came another gap on my part as I needed the bag again. I chose to send a picture of the bag destroyed because I wouldn't have to pay for return shipping and it would save some time. I sent the pictures on November 9, and received this email on the 12:

Hi Melany;

Thank you for the image of the cut diaper bag. We have the new one on order and you should receive this within the next 5-10 business days. Please contact us and refer to reference number 911217 if you have any questions on this shipment.

On November 30, I still had not received the bag so I sent this email:

Hi Karen, 

I was wondering if there was any sort of tracking information for the order of my replacement diaper bag (reference number 911217) as I have not yet received the bag and it's now been longer than the 5-10 business days (closer to 14 by my count) and when you throw in weekends and holidays, I've been without a diaper bag for almost three weeks now and carrying all the baby stuff in shopping bags is getting frustrating. 

Thanks for any information you can give me,

And yes, I realize I was slow to respond at one point myself but a lot of that was because I didn't want to have to carry baby stuff around in reusable shopping bags.

On December 3, I received this repsonse:

Hi Melany;

We apologize for the delay. The item was temporarily out of stock. We show this shipped November 30th through UPS. Please log onto and enter tracking number ########### to follow the progress of your shipment to your home.

Coincidentally, the bag showed up that very day. All in all, I'm very pleased that J. J. Cole worked with me and fixed the problem I was having. The only complaint I have is that the new bag took so long to get to me. I wish they would have sent a message my way to let me know the bag was out of stock.

So there it is, my long-overdue update.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

JJ Cole Satchel Bag: Bad Construction or Did I Get a Lemon?

Let me say this up front. I am absolutely terrible at making decisions. I spent months agonizing over the diaper bags (yes, I realize I have problems). With Jake I just used a giant corduroy messenger bag with no real pockets and I always had to dig to find things.

This time I wanted something with more organization and I'll admit I was looking for a certain cuteness factor. I finally narrowed it down to the Skip Hop Studio in Plum Burst and the JJ Cole Satchel in Stone Arbor.

Part of the difficulty was not being able to see the patterns in person. Finally I saw the Skip Hop at Buy  Buy Baby and the JJ Cole Satchel eventually came to Babies R Us in the right pattern. I ended up going with the Satchel because it seemed slightly larger and with two kids, I thought I might need the extra room.

I purchased the bag about 3 months ago and have been using it for about 2.5 months. I love the bag. There is plenty of room inside, lots of pockets, and it's very cute. Some people on Amazon complained that the interior was pink (sort of a soft mauve color) and they were returning it since they had boys. I have two boys and I don't care that it's pink inside. It's my bag, not theirs. It's like not choosing a purse because the inside is pink and your kid is a boy. Even though it's full of their stuff, I'm still the one carrying it.

Unfortunately, I noticed some of the loops connecting the metal rings are starting to crack/break and one place where the loop connects to the bag is starting to separate at the stitching. I'm super disappointed because I love the bag and have only been using it for 2.5 months. And it's not like I leave the house every day and drag it around for hours at a time. I've used it to go to the doctor, the grandparents' houses, and to the store a handful of times. With two kids (especially a preschooler and one who is under 3 months old) I don't get out a ton.

I've contacted JJ Cole's customer service by email. They tell me there is a 2 year warranty on manufacturer defects. I've sent them the requested information and several pictures of the problem and am waiting to hear back from them. I'll post the results of this test of JJ Cole's customer service here when I know more. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

A snapshot of motherhood

It's late afternoon and I'm sitting on the couch, unable to move. In my left arm I'm holding a very peacefully sleeping 3 week old. My right arm is pinned down by my 3 year old, who first passed out on the couch and then woke up and decided to relocate and fall asleep again while snuggling with Mommy. My right arm is also falling asleep because the 3 year old is much heavier than the 3 week old and is cutting off all blood flow.

I'm thirsty but can't reach the drink that sits inches from my left hand. My nose itches but I can't reach it with either hand. My husband has left some boring sportball game on the television and I can't reach the remote to change it. My phone, with which I could amuse myself, sits next to my drink, also out of reach by mere inches.

I think about falling asleep too but know the instant I do, one or both of my sons will wake up and insist I wake up too.

While this is going on, my husband is in the other room digging through an ocean of Legos trying to find the right parts so he can finish building the 3 year old a Lego fire station.

Oh and did I mention, my right leg and hip area is wet and cold because 3 minutes ago the 3 year old peed all over himself and me and I'm debating whether to deal with it for another half hour because he's kinda cranky today and needs the nap.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I wonder if being extra super tired is a sign of impending labor. I know some people get bursts of nesting energy before labor but I slept in this morning (thank goodness Bryan is done with school for the summer so he can hang out with Jake while I sleep) and took two frickin' naps today. Also, I've been doing the same thing I did when I was pregnant with Jake. I can't get to sleep early so I stay up until midnight or later (one night I was up past 2am). Yet, the only reason I'm still awake now is because I needed a snack before bed. So yeah, tired. Snooze. Yawn. Blah.