Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Netflix, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

I think Netflix has it out for me.
Actually, I feel like they want to see how far they can push their customer base repeatedly until they no longer have one.  They seem to love pissing off the masses.
Today, they succeeded with me.
A while back, when they switched all heir pricing plans, and lost tons of customers, people were pissed.  They decided that streaming and DVDs would be separate services, and cost much more individually than they had together.  OK.  Fine.  We didn't stream.  It totally sucked to lose that value, though.
THen, a few months ago, we were actually able to get a free trial of the streaming, and come to find out, we loved it.  They had all kinds of things my kids both would watch, and were actually allowed to.  In addition, they had Dora the Explorer on tap, and let me assure you, if you have ever parented a young toddler, Dora and Diego can be your best friends when you are at your wits end.  So, needless to day, we stuck with it.
I don't even bother turning on the Cable box about half the time anymore.  We just pull up Netflix, and turn it on Dora int he morning while I fix breakfast so that The Littlest One can get her fix, and I can actually get breakfast fixed.
We have loved it.  I have felt the service was well worth the extra money for streaming.
We did consider the new RedBox streaming service that is currently in Beta.  It is cheaper than Netflix.  You also get Redbox rentals which means current movies.  That meant there was way more value there since we pay separately for actual DVDs from Netflix.  However, RedBox doesn't have the Nickelodeon shows we love.  So, we stuck to Netflix even though there was a cost difference.
Then, today, they lay the whammy down.  No more Nick tunes.
Netflix decided not to renew a TON of stuff for their streaming.
All gone.
My baby is devastated.
I am devastated.
No more Dora while I fix dinner.
No more Dora when I am about ot pull out my hair.
Now, I have to get out the DVDs, turn on the DVD player..etc, etc, etc.  HASSLE.
I feel like they took back that little piece of sanity I had been paying them for.
So, I think I'm done.
With the whole thing.
They are now only slightly better than RedBox streaming, and only because of the ease of the devices.  Redbox is still in it's infancy, and hasn't caught up to all the things Netflix can use.  That's ok.  I will make it work while they keep adding devices.
Now, I will get to choose Redbox movies a couple of times a month, instead of constantly missing the mail lady and never returning my Netflix movies when I want to.
Yes, I see a major switch happening, and I hope lots of people follow.
Netflix has consistently shown that they don't care about their customers, because they were the only real game in town.
No more.
Red Box, get ready for some new subscriptions. I'm starting my free trial ASAP.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When Thank You Isn't Enough

I already got a little teary eyed this morning.  On top of that, I completely made a teacher cry.
You see, there are people in life who, whether you realize in the moment or not, will leave a lasting and far reaching impact on your life.
Teacher can be those people.
Not always, but sometimes.

Sometimes, you happen to be lucky enough to be blessed with a teacher that isn't just good, or even great, but is the kind of person who truly makes changes.
This year, we were so lucky to have gotten Middie's teacher.  It was kind of luck, too.
She wasn't the original teach for the year.  We were supposed to have someone totally different, who ended up being moved to forth grade due to enrollment numbers.  This meant that two weeks into the school year, our teacher was moved suddenly form First grade, where she had been told she was going to get to stay, to Kinder.

Not only was she moved, but she was given the most difficult class I have ever seen.  I don't say that lightly.  The class mix was absolutely not a balanced one, and even I could see it.  Additionally, from being the "home room parent" I can tell you that the parents are mostly not active participants with the school.  I couldn't get anyone to come in and help with just about anything, not even for parties.  I mean, we are in the south, and people wouldn't donate food.  That has to tell you how bad it was.  We love party food here.  It's sort of a religion in itself, and yet, I had to beg and over compensate.  It is that bad.  So, she had little to no help all year long.

Yet, through it only, she didn't just choose to persevere, she chose to blaze.
This teacher came in and saw a flawed system.  She wanted better, not just for her class, but for every child there.  She knows that Kindergarten is truly the foundation of the rest of their educational careers, and she was determined to give every child at this school the strongest foundation that they could possibly get.
She advocated for change.  She fought for the kids.  I can not imagine what all she has put into that school this year, but I do know that every child in Kindergarten this year, and every year to follow, is better for it.
So, you see, I don't think there will ever be adequate thanks for all of that.  I would give her a medal if I could.  I should have nominated her for every single teaching award I could find.  Even though no one else may proclaim it, and all of those children who's future's have been changed may never even realize it, I know that she is truly the Teacher of the Year.

When it came time for teacher appreciation week, there was no way I couldn't give back.
I sent out a note asking all the parents to donate to a class gift, and letting them know it was teacher appreciation week.  Of course, if they won't donate food, I didn't expect much.  I did get a couple of donations.  That was great.  Regardless, as to who did or didn't help, though,she was getting a good thank you.
On Monday, when I covered the class for her during new Kinder registration, I took a blank white card and had all the kids in the room sign it.  I took it home to scrap it.  On Tuesday, she got a big, gorgeous, potted flower from us.  I took the donations we got, I ask for a Starbucks coffee theme since she has a coffee pot in the class, and put it in a cute container she can use in class.  In addition to the coffee and mug we had, I put a few other things in, along with the card from the class.  We also left her a little gift certificate in the book fair going on in the library for her to buy a book or two for the class.

This morning  I took everything into class.  I stood at the door and ask for two of the kids.  I had them give it to her, and tell her it was from the whole class.  She read what was written for her, and started to tear up.  She came over to give me a hug, and I started to cry.  I told her from the bottom of my heart that there would never be enough thanks for everything she has done, and said some of the things that I said here.  She is truly inspirational.
She is the kind of teacher that we all wish for when we send out kids to school, and we were lucky enough to get her.
I am thankful.  Now, and always.  Thank you for helping my child love school.  Thank you for giving her the best education you could.  Thank you for being kind.  Thank you for being generous.  Thank you for really making a difference that will be felt forever more.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.