As I sit and watch the tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma unfold on the news, I truly wish I had an explanation for why bad things happen in this world. I don’t. This one hits particularly close to home for me.
But for the grace of God, there go I.
Last March 2 (2012), my senior daughter’s principal chose to release them from school about 15 minutes earlier than usual. She made it home as the EF4 tornado swept behind our neighborhood, barreled through the countryside and cut a path straight for the school
Had the principal made a different decision (and who could have faulted him if he had because school is safe, right?), my daughter would have been severely wounded or killed. The hallway that was her “safe” place during a tornado was later shown in pictures and video to be severely damaged with the twisted metal of lockers torn from the walls and slung around.
I think God often for a principal who listened to his gut and send them home that day.
Why the Children?
I see this question all over Facebook when tragedy happens. I’ve even had people angrily say things to me like “Where was your God when that happened?”
My answer is that He was there. He was comforting the children, easing their fear and He will walk alongside their parents through this.
There are stories of a man all in white who helped people during the Henryville tornado. When the storm had passed, he was nowhere to be found, no one knew him (and in Henryville, everyone knows everyone) and there was no car to show he’d been there. His car WOULD have been destroyed because all the other cars in the parking lot were. It is a story that sends chills up my arms every time I hear it. You decide if he was a messenger from God (an angel) or not. Personally, I choose to believe that he was.
I myself don’t understand why God doesn’t step in and save innocents all the time. I don’t understand why He guides one principal to send the children home and another doesn’t seem to take that direction or take it quickly enough.
I don’t understand why the children have to die. It is very unfair, isn’t it? I believe in the fundamental truth that God is good and just, but I also have to accept that sometimes I may question that and have to work hard to believe I will understand one day even if I don’t right now. Having faith doesn’t mean you just accept things, it simply means that you still believe what you know to be truth even when you don’t understand and maybe you are even a bit angry over it.
Tonight, my heart breaks for the town of Moore, Oklahoma. I can’t begin to imagine their anguish. I want to rush there and help, but I also know that it is best for people to stay out so the rescue and recovery teams can do the work they need to do. Later, there will be opportunity to go there and work and clean up and help. They don’t need that from the lay person right now.
Leaning Not on Our Own Understanding
It says in the Bible that right now, on this earth, we see through a glass darkly. However, when we get to heaven, we will understand clearly. During dark days like 9/11, the Boston Marathon or tornadoes ripping a town to shreds, I can’t even pretend to understand.
Instead, I pray and I plead with God. If ONE child can still be saved, please save him or her. I pray that He sends comfort to the parents who’ve lost children. Sometimes, I don’t even have words. I just cry out and I know He does understand what my heart is trying to say but my mouth and mind are too sorrowful to express.
Tomorrow, as we move forward and go about our normal days, remember that there are people in the Midwest who will never have normal again. If you’re a believer, take a minute to say a prayer for them. Do that all day long. A prayer doesn’t have to be long-winded. I could write hundreds of articles about how I’ve witnessed the miracles that come from sincere prayer and if anyone needs a miracle right now it is the people of Moore.
Hug your children tight and tell them how much you love them.
Stay safe. These storms aren’t over yet.
I love to find a bargain, but finding deals on our go-to laundry detergent, Tide, has gotten harder and harder over the last few years. A local drug store manager told me that Tide is the thing that gets stolen the most out of his store.
“Our Tide inventory just disappears. It’s like gold to some people,” he said.
When the small size jumped up to $7.99 a bottle at my favorite store (for around 34 loads if you are very frugal with it), I knew I had to find another detergent that didn’t break out my husband’s sensitive skin and that worked.
Trying Different Laundry Soap Recipes
I started by trying some of the recipes readily available on the Internet. Each required similar ingredients:
- Some type of bar soap
- Washing powder
- Boosting Agent
Experiment # 1: Fels-Naptha
The first recipe I tried required grating soap. Fels-Naptha was suggested for those with allergic reactions to some soaps (everyone in my family but me). Other sites said you could use Ivory or any type of bar soap. I chose Fels-Naptha because it was cheap and would hopefully work for my husband and daughters’ sensitive skin.
The first step was to grate the soap. I bought a cheap grater and went to work. And worked, and worked and worked and worked. Let me just say that after grating the soap once, I knew I would never do it again, even if I had to pay $7.99 a bottle for detergent.
The detergent wasn’t that great. The recipe said it would gel up, but it didn’t. I’m sure it was partly me and there may be a better way to grate soap, but I’m over it.
Experiment # 2: No-Grate Recipe with Dawn
Next, I stumbled upon a site called One Good Thing by Jillee. She has a recipe on her site for no-grate laundry soap made with some of the same ingredients, but using Dawn dish washing liquid instead of bar soap (no grating) and no cooking.
This recipe was much easier to put together, but we didn’t feel it cleaned as well as our Tide. It was “okay”, but not great. It didn’t have much of a scent, which some people might appreciate, but I didn’t like. I love the mountain spring scent and have used it for about 23 years now.
Experiment # 3: My Own Recipe
Since the other recipes weren’t working, I decided to experiment on my own. The result is a recipe that smells great, works great, is easy to put together and costs me about .60 per gallon to make (I get about 20 loads out of that). This is a HUGE savings for us as we were going through about that much per week or more, so we are saving $7.00 or so a week, 52 weeks a year, which equals $364 a year. I can use that to buy fabric softener now. Except that I just saw a recipe for homemade fabric softener, but that’s an experiment for another day.
Lori’s Spring Fresh Scent, No-Grate, Do It Yourself Laundry Soap
You will need:
- 1-gallon container (I used an empty vinegar jug, but you could also use a milk jug, etc.)
- Dawn dishwashing liquid in a scent you like. I chose one called “mountain spring”
- Downy in-wash scent booster beads. Again, I chose “Fresh”, which has a similar smell to mountain spring, but there were two others. Choose the one you like.
- Oxygen booster (I get mine at the dollar store and it works great)
- Borax (I buy the brand called 20 Mule Team)
- Washing Soda (I buy Arm & Hammer brand)
- Measuring spoon in Tablespoon size
- Small funnel
- Hot Water
Mix it Up!
Place the funnel into the top of the gallon jug and measure the following amounts/ingredients into the jug:
- 4 Tablespoons Borax
- 4 Tablespoons Washing Soda
- 2 Tablespoons Oxygen booster
- 4 Tablespoons scent beads
- 3 Tablespoons Dawn dishwashing soap
- 1/2 Gallon hot water (no need to measure, just fill the container about half way)
Put the lid on and give it a good shake. Let it settle down and then fill to the top with water. It doesn’t matter if this water is hot or cold as the ingredients should already be dissolved. Don’t worry when the suds bubble over. Keep filling until you see the liquid reach the top. Tighten the lid, give the jug a rinse to get the suds off and this is ready to use.
How to Use It
Whether you have an HE or regular washer, this stuff works. Mine is HE. You will need to use more of it than normal. I have an old Tide jug that I fill with the solution. I use the lid of that, fill it twice, throw the mixture inside the drum (not the dispenser) and wash as normal. You could also use a measuring cup and pour right out of your gallon jug. Just do a full cup or maybe even two. Don’t worry about using more. You’re still going to save a ton of money.
If your clothes are particularly dirty, add a couple scoops of the oxygen booster and/or scent beads to the wash cycle to give it more of a boost.
If you don’t like scent, use unscented Dawn and leave out the scent beads. The detergent will have barely any scent.
The mixture will be runny, almost like water. This is fine and it will still work. You’re just used to gloppy gels. Trust me they don’t necessarily clean any better.
Even though the mixture uses Dawn, it will not get overly sudsy even in your HE washer.
Now, I am experimenting with carpet cleaner solution ($19.99 a bottle is way too pricey for me) and fabric softener, so stay tuned. You can sign up for our newsletter and get updates regularly.
I would say that 9 times out of 10 people truly want to help you. Even if they are unable to give me what I desire or meet my needs completely, if they have a friendly attitude, I try to get along with them and be understanding. After all, I worked in retail for many years in my parents’ stores, so I know how aggravating an irate customer can be.
Where I Draw the Line
That said, I also know what good customer service is, because my father insisted on it and trained his employees (me included) to treat the customer with respect and care.
However, when I am treated in a rude, condescending manner, it does bother me because I have been trained that customers shouldn’t be treated that way.
Always First and Where They’ve Gotten It Wrong
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the attitude of the receptionist or whoever answers the phones for them. You see, there is already one complaint on the BBC about how rudely this woman treated someone else that aligns with the same issues I’ve had with them on getting the service I already paid for.
In our area in Indiana, if you want to get your license early, you must have driver’s education. You can then get your license when you are 16 and 6 months. There is only one place to take it at this time and that is Always First Driving Academy.
We signed up for their online course and combination driving lessons (in person) on March 30, 2012 (or pretty close to that date). At that time there was no mention of a waiting list for the driving lessons.
Shortly after March 30, 2012, I phoned to inquire about the timing she needed to complete things in. How long to finish the course?
In the very early fall of 2012, one of their instructors phoned to set up driving lessons. It was a male and I inquired about whether there were any female instructors or if there would be other students in the car. I was told I would get a call back, but I never heard anything.
In early December, I phoned again to try to find out what the delay was and was told that my daughter would now have to complete all of her online lessons before they would schedule her driving time due to a change in the laws. Not at that time or any other time did they ever indicate there would be a wait for her to schedule the lessons. In fact, the woman kept reiterating that she had the whole year to take the lessons if she wanted and they would get her right in for her driving.
When my daughter finished her online lessons in January, I phoned to find out when she could take her driving portion and was then informed we would have to send in the completion certificate. I printed it out that day and mailed it.
I never heard from Always First. I had to phone again in February. I asked about the lessons and was now informed there would be a three month wait. I explained that we’d not been informed of this and we could be flexible with times if they had an opening. They said the new laws had them backlogged, etc., but acted like they were going to bump her up on the list and that she could do the lessons over her spring break, etc. However, no one ever phoned yet again.
Today, I phoned them again and the woman said it would be three months, period. So, I asked if she understood why I was dissatisfied with their services. She told me that maybe my daughter should have finished the course sooner. Her tone and attitude was unhelpful and sarcastic. I reminded her that multiple times she’d told me that my daughter had a full year and there was no hurry. She said, “She does have a year.” I had to laugh at that point, wondering if she even heard herself.
She also insisted we would have been told this, but that is blatantly untrue. In fact, her words previously about being backlogged now and the laws changing on them prove that they would not have told us this in March of 2012 as the laws were different then. However, we should have been informed the moment they realized the laws had changed and they were getting backlogged. My daughter would have finished the course sooner.
From my point of view:
- We were offered false and misleading information throughout the process
- The receptionist needs customer service training in how to speak to the public
- They need to hire more driving instructors to meet the needs of their students or stop taking on new students
What Recourse Do You Have?
In a complaint against this company on the Better Business Bureau website (BBB), the complainant stated that the receptionist told her she had “no other recourse”. This was essentially what we were told that the only person we could speak with was the one answering the phones or at the reception desk.
However, you do have some recourse if you’ve had problems with this company or another.
- Contact the owner of the business. You can find this information in public records, online or with some detective work.
- Write a blog post about how dissatisfied you are and let others know so they don’t get sucked into the same situation.
- File a complaint with:
- State Attorney General
- Ripoff Complaint
- Hire an attorney
If you have other ideas of how to handle a difficult situation, feel free to share in the comments area.