Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Butterfly Fields Pumpkin Patch

I've been wanting to take Cora to visit the Butterfly Fields Pumpkin Patch, south of Odessa, for some time.  Cliff wasn't enthusiastic about it, especially since the three-year-old wasn't really in an agreeable mood today.  

"Shall we go to the pumpkin patch?" I asked her.

"No, I don't want to," answered "the baby" (as Cliff still calls her).  "I want to stay here and play with my kitties."

I showed her pictures of the place on Facebook; she enjoyed looking at them, but still was not convinced she wanted to go there.  Part of the problem, of course, is her age:  Three-year-olds are notoriously stubborn.  Added to that was the fact that her mom had to be at work extra-early this morning, so she didn't get as much sleep as she's used to.  

I wish I could tell you how I finally got her in the car, but I don't recall which tactic of the several I tried actually worked.  Cliff was fairly certain the trip was a mistake, what with the kid's negative attitude.  I assured him it would be fine.  I knew that on a weekday morning when kids are in school, we'd likely be the only customers there.  That may have been for the best, because I doubt the kid was in the mood for sharing.  

We got out of the car, met the couple who own the place, and paid them ($5 for kids, $2 for adults).  Cora seemed to especially like Terrie:  During our visit she kept slipping away to talk to her. 

What kid wouldn't love to play in a big ole bin full of corn?  I got in with her and we buried our feet, as well as most of the toys in sight.

Right after I joined her, the neighbor's dog decided it looked like fun and hopped right in.

Later on, Terrie, Cora's new best friend, joined her in the corn.

Cora enjoyed climbing up on this huge stack of straw to slide down the tunnel.

My knees didn't much like the climb, but I managed.

Even before we started, our stubborn little girl insisted she did NOT want to go on a hay ride.  After enjoying all the other stuff, she still had no use for a hay ride.  So I told her that in that case, we'd go home.

"I want to go on the hay ride," she said.  (I know a little child psychology.  Ha!)

Of course, she rides on tractors and four-wheelers all the time, so this isn't as much a novelty as it would be to city kids.  She did, however, enjoy this adventure in spite of her original refusal.  Jeff, our driver, told stories of dragons and fairies and dwarfs and queens as he drove.  It was all a little over Cora's head, but she was content, and Cliff and I enjoyed it.  

She especially enjoyed choosing just the right pumpkin!  She would pick one up, change her mind, get another.  Finally she found the perfect one... good times!

After our ride, she and I went through the hay maze.  There was a lot more to it that you'd think, just looking from the outside.  

Cliff and Jeff spent some time talking.  Cora checked in on them.

She sat on the cornstalk horse.

Window shopping in Terrie's little shop

We went home, had some lunch, and then...

This bunch wears out fast.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changed cellular providers. Again.

Our first ever cell phone experience was with T-mobile.  Cliff got a phone, but I didn't... because if anybody really needs me for something, they can call Cliff and he will relay the message, and if they have Facebook, they can message me there.  I do not enjoy talking on the phone.  

Eventually I decided it would be nice to have a cell phone, if for no other reason than to find Cliff when we are separated inside a huge Walmart store.  So we added a phone to our T-mobile plan.  I don't recall how much it cost.  I was working at the time and we could afford it, so who was counting?

For some reason we became dissatisfied with T-mobile and switched to ATT.  I would check the minutes we used and see that I hardly used my phone at all.  I studied up on some pay-as-you-go cellular companies and decided to use Tracfone.  It seemed perfect for me, and we'd leave Cliff with ATT.

Don't ever use Tracfone.  When I signed up the deal was "however many minutes you buy, we double them".  I should have known it wasn't going to be as great as it sounded.  After all, fireworks are the same way:  Buy one, get five free.  Right.  Sounds better than simply pricing each item separately.  More than once I had to call and tell them my minutes did not get doubled.  They would fix it after I sat on hold for thirty minutes, but what a hassle.  I had to watch them all the time to make sure they got it right.  

By this time Cliff's ATT bill was over $50 for him alone.  All we need to do with our phones is talk and retrieve voice mail.  We don't use them for Internet, we don't text.  I was hating Tracfone more and more, so don't ask me why I got the brilliant idea of getting my husband to use Tracfone too,   which meant he had to pay attention to his usage constantly, lest he run out of minutes.  

I searched the Internet for alternatives and recently discovered Consumer Cellular, which allows 1,000 minutes monthly for $20.  Add another person, it's another $10.  We will NEVER go over 1,000 minutes, but if we happened to get close to that point, they will alert me.  

I love our new phones.  They're flip-phones, simple to use and cheap to buy.  So far I like the customer service they've given.  There's usually a wait time, but I was given the option of hanging up and letting them call me back when my turn came.  

I could clearly understand each of the people I spoke with.

There were a couple of bumps in the road getting switched over, all due to the fact that I had given them one digit wrong in my husband's phone serial number.  It took a lot of effort on the part of Consumer Cellular customer service folks to get everything fixed, but they did it, and they were polite and friendly; I suppose if I had it to do again, I'd have simply gone to a Target or Sears store and bought my phone in person, but it's so difficult to get Cliff to do any shopping.  We still haven't gone looking for a proper rocking chair for his back, even though the one he brought in from the back porch isn't going to last much longer.      

I certainly hope I never feel the need to switch cell phone providers again.