Fancy Hotels

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to stay in some “fancy” hotels like the Four Seasons and the Ritz.  I want to say that they are entirely overrated and over priced.  I think people pay lots of money to stay at these hotels to separate themselves from people who can only afford less expensive hotels.  I’m really not sure what the extra money gets you otherwise. 

One weird coincidence about these “fancy” hotels is that they have a TV channel called “AMOS”.  It is a crazy channel that only plays insane techno music to bizarre video clips. 

On another note, I just love saying, “Starbucks” in a pirate voice…STAARRRGGBUCKS!  You can also say any word that ends in a vowel with a pirate accent, like booty (even though it is a y, it acts like a vowel).  Try saying coffee, latte, venti, grande, etc.  Starbucks is a great place to go if you want to polish up your pirate accent.

Musings

Attended a wedding in Bayonne, NJ a couple weekends ago.  Here’s a snippet of conversation:

RKDeem: Who are those poor kids stuck up on the stage behind the minister?
Wife:  Those are alter boys.
RKDeem:  How come they have to be here on a Saturday afternoon for a wedding for people they don’t even know?
Wife:  That’s all part of being an alter boy.
RKDeem:  Holy cow, that stinks for them, do they get paid?
Wife:  THEY GET TO GO TO HEAVEN!
RKDeem:  I still think they should get paid.

Attended Shad Fest with the kids this weekend.  We were watching a row boat row across the river that was dragging a big net in an attempt to net shad that were migrating upstream.  We are on an island on the Delaware River.  Winston declares that he needs to the bathroom.  We are nowhere near a bathroom and he is indicating the situation is urgent.  I ask my sister to watch Dalia and I take Winston deep into the woods to hopefully introduce him to the art of public urination.  We walk about a mile down a trail trying to find a spot that is totally secluded where Winston can relieve himself.  I first encouraged him to go in his diaper, but that is beneath him now that he is potty trained.  We find a spot that has a semblance of privacy and I encourage him to pee.  He can’t pull his pants down.  My plan has totally backfired now, Winston is requiring assistance, and there would be nothing worse than some hiker seeing an older man disrobing a 3 year old in the woods.  Winston is flipping out, he really needs to pee.  I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.  What do I do?  I quickly yank his pants down and tell him to go, pronto!  He immediately starts to pee and gets it all over my feet.  These types of scenarios are exactly why my wife is reluctant to leave the kids with her husband.  I return to Dalia and my sister, dip my feet in the freezing waters of the Delaware River.  

Blue Cross Blue Shield just sent me a check for the $15 for the wire transfer fee.  I am hoping that is the final interaction I have to have with them.  

I don’t want you all to think I am a curmudgeon, so I wanted to pass along that I recently had an incredible customer service experience with T-Mobile.  They were very proactive and took excellent care of me, they have earned my  cell phone business for another 2 years. 

When The Cats Away, The Mice Will Play

Jaclyn is having an all girls getaway this weekend and I’ll be handling the parenting duties!  Can you imagine if I was your Dad and we had to spend a whole weekend together….I know what you’re thinking, greatest time ever!  You’re not too far off my friends, Winston, Dalia, and I have a full agenda this weekend and it all starts off on Saturday morning as we head to the Shad Festival in Lambertville.  I think this will be my 4th consecutive year attending and I can’t wait for the kids to take in all the sites and sounds.  The kids are tired of the stroller and Winston’s getting too big for it, so I made an investment to help one father manage two children, a big Radio Flyer wagon with seats, cup holders, and seat belts.  I assembled the wagon last night around 9PM (the kids insisted on sitting inside it while I put it together, which made installing the wheels much more challenging than it should have been) and I took Winston on a test ride through the crisp Warrington night with nothing but the moon and stars to light our way.  Test ride was a success, the wagon handled cracks in the sidewalk with ease and I was impressed with the turning radius, I love my new wagon.

The weather predictions all week indicated that Sunday was supposed to be a complete rainout.  I wasn’t too disappointed because I sprained my knee and was hoping softball would be canceled so I could recuperate.  Today’s weather report predicted a sunny Sunday, so I’m going to find out a way to play softball and then take the kids and our new wagon to A-Day at Del Val.  

A weekend with Dad.  Which will include, but not be limited to, pizza, forgetting to pack a change of clothes and maybe diapers, sunscreen, dead fish, barnyard animals, live music, staying up late watching movies, and funnel cake.  I really love hanging out with Winston and Dalia, they are so adventurous, curious, boundless, and tireless, perfect partners for adventure. 

BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD – Worst Company Ever/Never Use


Hello Blue Cross,

Thank you for sending the refund, I have received and deposited. Unfortunately, I have now been charged an additional $768 as of today! I am really upset at this point, please call me on my cell phone ASAP notifying me that my money is being deposited back into my account immediately. In addition, when you call me, please confirm that you have removed my credit card information from your system.

This is the saddest display of incompetence that I’ve ever encountered. Pat yourselves on the back, really freaking phenomenal, you have mastered the art of customer service.

Timeline of BlueCross Incompetence:

Apply for insurance in January to receive coverage in February, but receive approval for insurance in March = FAIL
Upon receipt of approval, I immediately contact customer service to decline coverage and provide requested documentation to Blue Cross. Despite proof of receipt by BlueCross, I am still charged for a policy I do not want on March 24th = FAIL
I contact customer service to cancel policy and get refund, I am told my policy will be canceled and I will receive a refund in a week. Week goes by without refund. I call again and customer service explains they only canceled the policy and the person I spoke with didn’t have the authority to issue a refund = FAIL
New customer service person explains that my refund will arrive in 25 days = FAIL
I blog about my supreme displeasure and get a response from Blue Cross Social Media Monitor, they work magic and get me my refund quickly. Blogging helps more than several phone calls.
I check my bank balance and today, a whopping $768 is removed from my account. Seriously, nearly $1000 removed from my bank account!!! For what?! I don’t want your coverage, I’ve done everything in my power to work with you, I feel like the only thing that will get through you thick, incompetent skulls is police action. BIG FAIL!
If I do not get my refund by this weekend, I am contacting the police, government, and every media source that accepts tips on unscrupulous business behavior.


My cell number is 267.317.6382

Regards,
Rob


—–Original Message—–
From: Social Media
To: rkdeem@aol.com
Sent: Fri, Apr 9, 2010 3:54 pm
Subject: Your Refund


Robert,
We regularly monitor social media and blogging sites and found your detailed
log about your recent experience with Independence Blue Cross, dated April 5,
010. We processed your refund check and sent it via Federal Express Mail. You
an expect to receive it today, April 9.
We are very concerned about your experience with us and sincerely apologize for
he challenges you dealt with related to your application and enrollment. We
nderstand both your frustration and your unease about the issues in our
rocess- which allowed this confusion to occur and, second, allowed it to go
nremedied for too long.
Just as you stated, a series of mishaps occurred:
There was a delay in the processing of your application.
There was a delay in your refund processed after you took the necessary
teps we asked you to about cancelling your enrollment.
You made several calls to our office to get this straightened out, which
e know consumed valuable time on your end.
You should know, Robert, we realize that our customers need to rely on
ndependence Blue Cross-especially when they need to receive medical coverage.
hen we fall short in this regard as in your case, it is very upsetting to us.
or this reason, we thank you for bringing this to our attention as you did.. We
ave shared the details of your experience with our leadership team, and are
orking to determine the steps needed to prevent this from occurring again.
We would appreciate it if you would email us to confirm that you received the
heck or if you wish to speak with someone directly.
Sincerely,
xecutive Inquiries
ndependence Blue Cross



ONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This E-Mail is intended only for the use of the
ndividual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that
s privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law.. If
ou have received this communication in error, please do not distribute and
elete the original message. Please notify the sender by E-Mail at the address
hown. Thank you for your compliance.

Recent Pictures

Easter Morning

Winston and Dalia

Winston and Dalia v2

He does have underwear on under the book

Dalia and the dog – this was not setup, after 30 seconds of silence, Jac ran out of the house to find her daughter and this is what she found

Me at Petridis’ in Bayonne, NJ – they’ve been selling hotdogs for almost 100 years

Odds & Ends

First of all, please take a look at my sister’s blog to see some funny pics of Winston, Dalia, and their cousin Madisyn. 
http://www.beandnotseem.blogspot.com/

Finally caught up on Lost.  Still sticking by my theory, all the characters are pawns in a game, but have control over their destinies.  The final season has been a bit of a disappointment for me, focusing too much on the drama and love stories, not very much on the anthropology, science, math, time space continuum stuff.  Overall though, the show does drama well and I’m always excited to see a new episode.  I used to think that I’d someday go back and watch all the shows again and see how all the pieces were building to the ultimate conclusion, I’m now realizing a lot of it was just filler and not as important as I thought it was.

Last night stunk.  Both kids ended up in our bed in the middle of the night, Winston started coughing a lot, so Jac gave him a cough drop.  Cough drop made him throw up.  Dalia wakes up and starts screaming.  Puke on floor, screaming baby, disgruntled husband who was up late working and watching Lost, and poor Jac was at the center of it, like the eye of a hurricane, calm with chaos all around. 

This morning we were all scattered, I ended up in Dalia’s room, asleep on a twin bed in there, she was snuggled up next to me.  Winston was sprawled out on Jac and my bed, and Jaclyn was on Winston’s bed in his room.  It is like musical beds.  This will pass and hopefully it is out of their system before they stay at my parent’s house on Saturday.

My blog used to be at blog.rkdeemreport.com and it got close to 500 hits a week, when I changed it over to rkdeemreport.com it went way down to about 30 hits a week because it changed how Google cataloged all my previous entries.  As my entries on this new site pile up, I’m back to over 300 hits a week.  Thanks again to everyone who reads.

Made An Offer That They Could Refuse

Last night Jac and I went to the Weichert office in Doylestown with a $1,000 check in our hands.  You need a check when you’re making an offer to show them you’re serious.  I have been a little apprehensive about the whole idea of home ownership because prices are dropping precipitously and there’s a bunch of stuff on the market.  After doing some research, we’ve concluded that the house in Doylestown that we’re looking at is a wonderful place, but they’re asking too much (in our unprofessional, but research supported opinion). 

So we made an offer that we felt was appropriate and we don’t intend on budging if they counter offer, so we’ll see how the whole thing works out.  The process of making an offer is rather time consuming and the experience just skeeves me out, I’ve come to conclude that I do not like realtors, here’s a list of my least trusted professions:

1.  Mattress Salesman or Saleswomen
2.  Realtors
3.  Car Salesman (I actually trust car saleswomen, but that is based on a small sample size)
4.  Jewelry salesman or saleswomen
5.  Mechanics at chain operations like Midas or Jiffy Lube

Don’t worry too much about the offer being accepted or declined, either way we’re heading towards home ownership in the near future, but we’ll do it in a way where we feel like we are getting excellent value. 

I will provide my Lost conclusions and observations, but apparently I made a DVR mistake and failed to watch the last episode of Lost in its entirety.  I saw the beginning of the episode and the end of the episode, but apparently, I missed a big section with Charlie.  I should get caught up in the next day or two and will report.  I’m still sticking by my conclusion that the final episode will reveal that all the people were just pawns in a giant game of backgammon, the only twist will be that the pieces had a little control over their destiny. 

Off to a wedding this weekend in Bayonne, NJ.  Have to head to Kansas City in early May for a couple of days, I believe my next bar-b-que joint to hit there is Gates.  Thanks again to everyone who reads, love you all!

Independence Blue Cross Review – Horrible


Timeline of events:

Early January 2010 – Since I was let go from Scout Marketing in April 2009, my COBRA was due to run out at the end of January 2010. In early January, I contacted Independence Blue Cross to inquire about getting covered by February 1st so I wouldn’t enter a period of time where my family would not have health insurance.

Febrauary 1 – Health insurance runs out, no longer eligible for expensive COBRA insurance. Blue Cross hasn’t processed my application yet. Family without health insurance.

Mid February – Hired by Teva, receive health insurance immediately though Teva.

March 6 – Receive an email from Blue Cross, my application has been reviewed and approved. As a courtesy, I call them up and explain that I do not need health insurance through them and already have it through my work. They say that I need to fax a signed and dated note stating that I want to decline my coverage or else I will automatically be enrolled and charged. I implore them to cancel my policy over the phone. They insist on a handwritten fax that is signed and dated. I get them to agree to a scanned document emailed to them that is signed and dated and explains that I do not want coverage. The assure me that a signed and dated scanned document emailed to them will shut the policy down and I will not be charged $400. I am pissed off, but happy it is resolved.

Late March – I check my bank balance, $400 is charged against my account from Indepence Blue Cross. I am now pissed off. I call them and demand the money refunded. They explain that they have my conversation documented, but they weren’t really allowed to accept an emailed scanned document so it never got canceled. Since my policy is now activated, I must fax a signed and dated document to the enrollment department and to a woman named Rachel who can retroactively cancel the policy. They will process this request with an expedited status so I can get my $400 back in less than one week. I want to have these people arrested for incompetence and for stealing my money.

Early April – Money is still not deposited into my account. My thoughts are turning violent, it is hard to pinpoint hatred when working with a beaurocracy, but someone needs to pay…pay me preferable! I called them again. They explain that the person I spoke with was only capable of canceling the account, not issuing a refund. A refund check must be issued by a different department and a whole separate request must be filed. They explain that the request will be filed and processed within the next 7-10 days and that I should receive payment within the next 25 days.

Any recommendations on how to make these bastards pay? This is strictly on principle, I am fine, I have plenty of money, but they have been awful, unhelpful, and have put me in a position that is not justified. Let me know how to take it to these guys.


McNabb

Awhile back, I declared on my blog that I would stop actively being a fan for the Eagles until the McNabb era was over, its at the bottom of this blog posting:
https://rkdeemreport.com/2010/01/11/doubletree-in-philadelphia.aspx

By the way, the posting above also talks about the famous elevator room at the Doubletree in Philly.  I showed Mr. Edman, Rose, and Jaclyn the elevator room and they all agreed that it should be converted to a storage closet, not suitable for habitation.

So, I know you’re all wondering, what’s RKDeem’s take on McNabb getting shipped off the Washington Redskins last night? 

I am a very happy man today, I feel that the Eagles franchise may get better or it may get worse, but it will no longer be in the hands of a player who’s come up short time and time again.  Yes, he was an above average quarterback.  Yes, he was a nice guy.  Yes, he got us to a Super Bowl.   BUT, he often choked in clutch moments, had problems with accuracy, always had an excuse, and worst of all, I never ever saw him play with any sense of urgency (evidenced by the complete failure to run a two minute offense and the jubilent smile he’d display after throwing an interception or when the Eagles were losing).  He was our quarterback, our leader, the team was in his hands, and he just never seemed to care that much one way or another. 

So the big question is, do we boo him or give him a polite round of aplause when we face him next season?  RKDeem says we boo the heck out of him.  The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the most intense fan bases of any professional sport, we bleed green, we are depressed on Mondays after a loss, and McNabb was always relaxed and calm, possibly happy, he did his job and checked out.  Good for him, now he’s out, and he’s smiled long enough.  He knows the Eagles fans are going to be rabid when he comes back to Lincoln Financial Field, he’s going to do his normal goofy antics of playing air guitar and moonwalk onto the field, he’ll be smiling too.  I hope the Eagles attack him from every angle, blitz him on every down, make his life miserable on every single play, because this town cannot bear that grin any longer. 

I’m not saying Kolb is going to light the world on fire, but I just want to see a little intensity, someone who’s upset after a loss, someone who will take accountability, someone who will insist the best from his teammates.  I am a happy man today, I look forward to this new era for the Eagles. 

The Game

As usual, I woke up Thursday morning at the first hint of sunlight.  My roommate and travel partner, Mr. Edman was sound asleep, so I ventured out and walked along the boardwalk where I discovered a Dunkin Donuts.  I had a large iced coffee and some donut holes and continued walking along the boardwalk peering into the water in hopes of seeing fish.  No fish could be seen, very disappointing.  In the Florida Keys, you’ll always see fish in the water.  I parked myself on a little bench, warmed myself to life like a reptile, and poked around in the shops that opened early. 

We arrived at the ballpark around 11:30AM and it was already packed.  Watching baseball in the middle of the day makes you feel like you’re Ferris Bueller, living a perfect day, while everyone else is stuck in the grind.  The ballpark in Clearwater is about a fourth of the size of Citizens Bank Park in  Philly.  It’s not small, but you’re certainly closer to the action.  We watched half of the game from a suite and the other half was sitting in the grass in the outfield or walking around and taking in all the sights. 

The game was tied 7-7 in the bottom of the ninth and Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit with two outs.  He drove a walkoff single into the outfield and the Phillies won the game in dramatic fashion.  We grabbed a couple beers for the road, hopped on the bus, and hung out at the hotel pool for the balance of the afternoon. 

Thursday night was our last night in Clearwater and we found a bar that offered a $15 all you can drink special.  It was one heck of a deal and we maximized the offer. 

Our plane left on Friday afternoon, we walked out on a giant pier into the Gulf and watched pelicans try to steal the bait from fisherman.  No one was catching anything, I was tempted to rent a rod and buy some bait, but lunch was a priority, so we headed to Crabby Bills for one last Floridian feast.  We ate a pile of stone crab claws, gator bites, grouper, and topped it off with key lime pie. 

Here’s where I’d rank this on my trips with the Edman:
1.  London
2.  Jersey Shore trip with my parents
3.  Clearwater, FL
4.  Vermont with his parents
5.  Crazy road trip with stops in Atlanta and Orlando (some very high highs, but some very low lows, eg timeshare presentations!)