Thursday, August 9, 2012

Transplant Games continued.

Next up was the road race. It was my first road race outside of two time trials. It was the first time rubbing elbows with the rest of the racers. I was somewhat concerned what the pace would be like, but I had a strategy in mind that eventually played out to be pretty successful.

I had raced mountain bikes before, but was never all that fast. I would go on group rides when I worked at the corporate office only to get dropped. I had been so much slower than my peers, I just started riding by myself so I didn't dampen the workout for more serious riders. I am still built like a linebacker, but back before my illness took hold, I would hover in the 240 to 250 lbs range. No matter how my diet, how much riding, working out, etc, the weight stayed the same.

It wasn't until 2006 when I committed to racing in my first triathlon that I really understood how large my kidneys were getting. I had installed clip-on aero bars on my handlebars to try to get in a better position, but found that each pedal stroke was kicking my enlarged kidneys, so I eventually removed them from my bike.

The goal then was to not finish dead last. My first triathlon had a few positives, I completed my swim in a solid time. It was humorous to me to see so many fit athletes pulling themselves down the lane lines because of not even being able to doggy paddle. I am not expecting them to be Michael Phelps or even Ned Overend, but at the least, be able to muddle through a 300 yard swim, kind of like my 10+ minute 500y Free at the Transplant Games. My adrenaline spiked as I came out of the pool and I popped in the stairwell. I was able to calm down and get over to the transition, muddle through the bike, then remember how much my legs did not want to work during the run until I could hear the crowd and announcer at the finish line.

As I approached, the pain and stiffness faded away, my stride started to lengthen as if I had trained well for the event, and I sped up toward the finish. I just remember completing this and being being psyched and looking to do another one.

At the Azalea  Festival Tri and the Xterra in Richmond, VA, I did what I set out to do. I didn't finish last...just next to last.

Back to the starting line, the Road Race started everyone at once which I felt was a little sketchy. I put myself in the second row on the outside. My goal for the first lap was to keep the leaders in my sights as I put myself into 10th or so in line. The first few corners were a bit dicey, but once we headed away from campus, I was able to move a little closer to the front. We were primarily being led out by Ian Vande Veld, who comes from a strong cycling family and transplant or not, Ian holds that tradition too. My new friend Zach, was rotating pulls and helped keep the pace up.

As we headed back out in the country on the second lap, I moved in front for my turn in the wind. I worked hard to keep the pace moving along, but still trying not to go too anaerobic. As we crossed the finish line going into the third lap, I kicked up the pace to 28 MPH to spread out the field a little and give me precious seconds of recovery as I slowed my pace to fall back in line with the rest of the group.

The next lap and a half, I stayed near the front, taking shorter pulls, but still working on recovery so I would have fresh legs for the final climb (a whopping 20 feet or so.) and the sprint to the finish. The race had 3 corners left in roughly a KM and a half and my strategy was to attack right after we rounded the first of 3 corners. Then a large group came from the back, attacking the front of the group. They came around 1/2 a KM before my attack was going to happen. I had to jump to catch back on to them and was able to reel in the group. Austin MacGruder (sp?) and Ian Vande Veld took off ahead of the group. I wasn't concerned about them because they weren't in my Age Group. I did see Scott Floyd and Zach Brooks ahead of me still, so I was really pushing at the finish. I took the inside line on the 2nd corner because it was much more gradual. I was somewhat surprised that the group had been taking it so far outside. I really allowed me to make up ground on the pack. We hit the final turn, a hard 90 and it was a sprint for the finish. There were 5 or 6 of us and I was somewhere in the middle. I had lost track of Zach, but I saw Scott in front where I drove my pedals as hard as I could turn them. Terry Box, a 60 year old recipient from Team Utah/Idaho pulled ahead of Scott for third, I had almost caught Scott when we crossed the finish line to finish fourth and fifth.  Zach finished 8th overall, but was within one second of Scott and I.

Scott Floyd, the Bronze medalist in the Time Trial won Gold in the road race with a time of 34 minutes, I finished second and won Silver with a time of 34 minutes, and Zach Brooks finished third with a time of 34 minutes, 1 second.

My cousin Bob was there at the finish line and remarked to me how exciting the race was and how awesome it was to see so many recipients and families cheering everyone on. Also, how friendly the competitors are, at higher levels, people seem to be so jaded against their rivals. The riders had all talked about it too, that you can turn it on for the race if you are disciplined. Unless someone is dirty, they were the better racer on that day.

Swimming and Track and Field to come.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Musings - Transplant Games and more

So, the Transplant Games of America have come and gone. It was such an amazing event, meeting great people, great competitors, great town. Listening to others stories were really inspirational and watching everyone, who without the life saving gift of organ donation, would have passed or be on their way to the great beyond.

I had known about my need for a transplant from a very young age (20 y.o.), but seeing and hearing about some of the younger athletes who had already had transplants younger than 10 just broke my heart. Watching them compete was inspirational though. One boy, Kroupa I think was his last name, was amazing in the pool. He was so much faster than anyone else there, it was just amazing to watch. At just 14, he was turning in times that would humble the adults. My friend and teammate from Team Carolinas, Brian Barndt, went over to talk to him as he sat alone on the far side of the pool and tell him what he is accomplishing in the pool is nothing short of remarkable and let him know that he is the Michael Phelps or Ryan Locte of the games. That brought a smile from the somewhat quiet boy from Team Utah/Idaho.

Over on the track, during the 100m dash, a boy stopped before the finish line to wait for another boy in a walker, who was struggling to make it down the track. When the boy in the walker came even, they crossed the finish line together, holding hands.

My games were a mix of success and failure. My successes came in the fact that am alive and in any type of shape remotely resembling an athlete. I also was happy to make a new acquaintance in a fellow competitor, Zach Brooks from Team SoCal. He and I are in the same age group and raced against each other in the cycling events and track events, but joined forces in the 4x50 (200 yards) relay in the pool.

Zach is a kidney recipient as well, he has actually had to have two transplants, both from his parents. His father donated his first kidney and after it failed after a few years, his mother was a match as well and donated one of her kidneys. He was a great person to meet, I only wish we lived a little closer as we hit it off pretty well and I need more friends like him, a kidney recipient/cyclist/swimmer/runner who is one of the friendliest people you will meet.

My cousin Bob came over from the Detroit area and we met up after the Opening Ceremony. He is in need of a kidney and has been on dialysis for 6+ years now. He has a great outlook considering his situation (long term hemo diaylsis and enlarging PKD kidneys). I was not on dialysis near as long as Bob and I felt like my end was coming if I didn't get my transplant when I did. I can only imagine what it is like for him having to wait almost twice as long as I had to wait.

My first event was the Time Trial and I pre-rode the course the day before. After talking to some of the guys during the 5k who were also racing bikes, they were estimating average speeds of 21-22 MPH and times in the 8 minute range. After my pre-ride, it had taken me a little over 10 minutes and needless to say, I was a little disappointed in my time, granted it wasn't at race pace, but it was close.

The morning came and Danielle, Eliza, and I headed over to the cycling venue. After a pretty solid warm up, I went over to the starting line and prepped for my start. As the timer counted down, I tensed my legs and core, steadied my gaze down the road, exhaled...GO!

I was off, I was feeling strong, shifting to taller gears, increasing my speed, but trying not to go to zone 5 right off the bat. I was feeling a good flow, pedaling, breathing, the volume of the wind through my aero helmet increasing. After the first few turns, the course headed away from the GVSU campus into the countryside. I got into my tuck and kept my speed going, but trying to reduce my heart rate a bit. At the 90 degree corner, there was a little traffic that had either ignored the police directing traffic or was confused on what was being asked of them. I came around without losing much speed. As I was coming up to pass the 3rd rider ahead of me, I made the next corner and saw the 4th rider. I kept the hammer down, but was starting to feel a burn in my legs from lactic acid making its way in to my quads.

At that moment, I broke into prayer for my cousin that a transplant would come soon, then my thoughts fell on my anonymous donor and the loss their family experienced and the pain that must have been felt during their last moments of consciousness. Then I started talking to my Dad who passed away in 2004 from complications from a nephrectomy. I just told him that his strength during his adversity and his toughness during his weakness inspired me to continue to push forward in life and have a positive outlook. I am not saying what happened next was a result of what I had been praying, but I felt a sudden surge in my legs, almost like the burn, but more intense, then the burning went away.

As I went up the slight grade toward the finish line, my speed was increasing, I then hit the last two turns and sprinted toward the finish. As I hit 30.2 mph, I crossed the finish line in what turned out to be the 2nd fastest time and the fastest in my age group to win a Gold Medal, the first bike race I have ever won or even placed. Zach Brooks was second for silver (4 seconds back) and Scott Floyd from Team Georgia was third, winning the Bronze Medal (26 seconds back).

Well, duty calls, I will add more later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Visiting National Parks

How many National Parks have I been to? Which one is my favorite? These questions were posed today in the question-of-the-day on my local Mommy forum. Normally these questions are the easy to answer kind, but every once in a while, along comes a question that really makes you stop and think. Like today's question.

I've been to lots of National Parks all over the country, and I wouldn't have a clue as to how to answer which one was my favorite. So I figure I'll write a blog about the ones I've visited and maybe through writing about them, I'll discover which one was truly my favorite.

I went to the National Park Service's website and found their Park Locator tool:

I clicked on every state I've ever visited and searched the map for all National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, National Historic Trails and National Seashores. Here's my list and general summary of each one. I'm starting with "official" National Parks. There are 58 total, and I've been to 5 of them. So I've visited 8.6% of all the national parks in the US. Neato.

1.) Crater Lake National Park - this is my most recent park visit. I went with my Mom, Dad, brother and his girlfriend in September 2011. The lake and surrounding mountains reminded me of a giant cereal bowl filled halfway with crystal clear blue milk and a floating clump of marshmallows in the middle of it(really, it was just an island, but hey, I'm trying to be a little creative with my writing, can't you tell?) There were lots of people cycling around the lake and I talked to 2 women in the gift shop who had just finished the ride and they said it was great. It's a 30 mile loop. I'm putting that on my Bucket List!

2.) Lassen Volcanic National Park - I went here one time in the fall of 1996 when I was a freshman at Chico State. Lassen was only 70 miles away from campus. I went there with a boy I'd met from my floor, which was a special floor called the Health and Wellness dorm. I don't even remember his name, but he suggested we go for a hike one Saturday, and since we were the only 2 kids in the entire dorm who weren't hungover at 8am, I decided to go along. I remember having a lot of fun. We hiked on some trail that wasn't really well marked, and soon, there was no trail at all. And we were lost. But I do remember that this guy grew up in a very remote area(Covelo, CA) and he said he hiked all the time in the Mendocino National Forest on trails that weren't really trails, and he was fine. So I went along with his backcountry skills and followed him like the lost puppy I was. We wandered around for what felt like half a day. Finally we found his car and boy, was I happy! But I wasn't letting him know that! I pretended to be "totally cool" with being lost in the middle of nowhere.

3.) Shenandoah National Park - Rob and I camped here for a week in August 2008. Well, to be honest, we didn't camp *in* the national park. We stayed in a nearby private campground that was just 5 minutes away from the northern entrance to the park, in Front Royal, Virginia. We brought our dogs, our bikes and Rob's dialysis machine and all the supplies needed for that. We had a wonderful time here and went for 2 long'ish hikes, went fishing/kayaking, and mountain biking despite Rob being weak and tired from being on dialysis.

On one of the hikes, we found a great swimming hole to jump into. It was really hot that day, so the ice cold water felt really good. Shockingly good.

4.) Theodore Roosevelt National Park - I stayed here one night in July 2002 while I was finishing up a big, almost-across-the-country solo road trip. North Dakota is a pretty boring state to drive through. After eating lunch in Bismarck and sight-seeing at the ugliest state capitol ever, I hopped back in the car to see if I could reach Montana by the end of day. I would've made it, except I decided to stop in a small town called Dickinson and adopt a dog. My first dog ever. My first real pet ever. I fell in love. We drove away from the city animal shelter and it was hot, and I didn't want her to be uncomfortable in the backseat, so I decided to stop in a town near the Montana/North Dakota border called Medora. Very cool little tourist trap and hey, I actually got 3 lines of signal strength on my cell phone. Enough to call my husband (boyfriend at the time) and tell him how crazy I was to adopt a dog on my road trip. Anyway, this tourist trap was a mile away from the entrance to Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park, and it was around dinnertime, so I got a campsite for the night. I didn't see much of the park. Just the campground and bathhouse, really. I tried going for a bike ride after dinner, but my new dog just didn't want to cooperate with staying tied to the picnic table! I know, I know, I was a bad pet owner tying my dog up to a 5 foot lead. But seriously, I didn't know any better. Remember, this was my 1st pet! Anyway, while going to bed that night in the tent, a HUGE storm came over us. I grabbed my dog and ran to the bathhouse to take shelter while it passed. Once it was over, I went back to my tent and fell asleep with my new dog so cuddled up around my head, I didn't even need my pillow. A couple hours later, , another HUGE storm! This thunderstorm was so bad I expected to see Count von Count counting lightning strikes when I unzipped my tent's rain fly. I was attempting to get somewhere safer than a dome of nylon. A dome next to a big tree. The bathhouse seemed too far away. So I ran (with my dog) to my car, parked a few feet away. As soon as I slammed the door shut, I saw a big strike of lightning land what seriously felt like 10 feet away from me. I started the car and drove like a madwoman out of the campground and to the safest place I could think of - the I-94 overpass. I stayed there until the storm passed, scared for the first time of being alone on my solo road trip. My new dog didn't bat an eye at the thunderstorm. Proof that she was a great dog. Man I still miss that dog!

5.) Yosemite National Park - I went here with Rob while he was my new boyfriend in October 2001. We'd only been officially dating for about 2 weeks. He wanted to take me somewhere really cool for my birthday and he let me choose from a couple options. I chose Yosemite because I'd never been there before, which is shocking coming from an outdoorsy NorCal girl who camped many summers as a kid with her family just a stones throw from Yosemite. Rob said he wanted to hike Half Dome and I'd heard people talking about it before and it sounded like fun. It was a 17 miles round trip hike that can be done in a day, but most people break it up into 2 days. We decided to do it in a day. It was a beautiful hike. And the climb up the ropes at the very top was really scary! We stayed too long up at the top looking at the amazing views, so we had to do the last half of the hike in the dark. We helped a bunch of people down off the trail that night. People who were not well equipped for the hike. People like these guys who only had a keychain mini mag lite to guide them down the mountain:

Well that's it for National Parks. My next post will be about the other National Park Service areas I've been to, which will include National Monuments, National Recreation Areas and National Seashores. Once I'm all done writing about my park visits, I'll choose my favorite.

445 days since transplant - update

It's been 445 days since Rob's kidney transplant and all is well with his health lately. The BK is still gone, and his creatinine is holding steady at 1.5, sometimes dropping to 1.4! Rob's been working out at the gym a couple times a week and he says he feels really good. I thank God every day for all that He has done in Rob over the past few years. He is supremely good and I cannot even begin to imagine what else He has in store for us in the future. So for now, we live in the here and now, content with all that we have. New kidney, new life, new baby (who is starting to be not so "new" anymore!)

Eliza is growing so big and doing so many awesome things like clapping, crawling, babbling (and sometimes I can tell what she's saying - things like "yummy" and "love you"), walking with help, etc. Just today she was standing and holding on to the couch playing with a toy. The toy fell on the ground and she squatted down, picked it up and then stood back up. She had a giant smile on her face afterward!

Well, that's all for now. Will post again when there's more to update about Rob's health.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brownie Delight...13 months post-transplant

Tomorrow will be Rob's 13 month mark since his kidney transplant! The BK is gone and the kidney is doing very well. I think his creatinine is still at a steady level of 1.5, which of course isn't awesome, but it's near awesome, and that's good enough and we are content with everything health wise right now.

Tomorrow is also Thanksgiving. The day that most people make a point to stop and think about what they're thankful for. Food, shelter, job, clothing, etc. While the other 364 days of the year, we're thinking, "I want...I must have...I don't have "x" but I do have "y" but "y" is not cool anymore and "x" is so totally rad..." I think you know what I mean. We all struggle with this sin of feeling like we never have enough and we want more and bigger and better and fancier stuff. But I do try to repent of this in my life. Oh boy, do I struggle! I'm so thankful, everyday, for what God has blessed us with. And one of those things I'm thankful for is Rob's new kidney! What are you thankful for? Leave me a comment here on the blog if you want.

Okay, I have to share this dessert with you! It's called Brownie Delight and I got the recipe from my Mom who found the recipe online.

Gather the few simple ingredients:

Make brownies according to box directions. Let cool. Spread a whole jar of marshmallow fluff on top:

In medium sized separate bowl, add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup butterscotch morsels, 1 cup of peanut butter, and stir. In bigger bowl, add 3 cups of Rice Krispies. Set aside. Put the medium bowl in the microwave for 35 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 30 more seconds until gooey. Pour gooey stuff into the rice krispies and stir up real good:

Finally, spread this yummy goop on top of the brownie-fluff. Then sprinkle a few semi-sweet chocolate chips and some mini marshmallows on top to make it look good. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before you gobble it up, chow down, devour, feast on, pig out, wolf down, inhale... (choose your favorite way to describe how you will eat it!)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving week and enjoying time with family and friends.

Eliza really enjoys craft time (and yes, I'm planning to do this every year!)

And finally, Eliza is obviously hungry for some turkey:

Enjoy your turkey, ham, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Virginia Transplant Games recap

About 4 weeks ago Rob participated in the first ever Virginia Transplant Games. It was a really fun event and I think it did a great job promoting organ donation and transplantation.

We made a fun weekend out of the event, which was held in and around Richmond, Virginia, which is only 150 miles away from where live. I found us a great hotel through Priceline for pretty cheap, and we checked in on Friday evening. Traveling with an infant gets easier each time, and we're almost pros at it now! This is Eliza's 6th major trip since birth to somewhere far enough away that a hotel is required (Roanoke, Asheboro, West Jefferson, California, Oregon, and now Richmond). Once we were settled in, had dinner, and put Eliza to bed, Rob picked up his Mom from the airport. Rob's Mom flew in from San Diego for the Transplant Games and to visit us for the week after the Games. We had a lot of fun celebrating Rob's new kidney and renewed life, in addition to meeting other transplant recipients and donor families from around the country.

The Games began at 8am with a 5K cross country run/walk event that was open to the public. All other events were only open to those who had received transplants or were living donors themselves. Rob and I did the 5K walk with Eliza in the B.O.B. stroller. There were maybe 2 or 3 other people with kids in jogging strollers. It sure was a tough course for a stroller! The first loop (the first mile) went around the athletic fields at a new high school, and you know what "new" means for trails - bumpy! In addition to the bumpiness, most of this mile was off-camber, anywhere from 30 to 45 degrees on some parts! At one point, it got so tough that Rob and I just picked up the B.O.B. and carried it over the trail. We ended up losing our Cateye Mity cycle computer face somewhere along this loop. Grrr. I like my computer on the stroller because of the statistics it keeps for me as I walk with Eliza.

Here's a slideshow of pictures from the day:

Wow, I wish there was a way to slow down the speed of the slideshow. That first picture's title is so long that it doesn't even spell it all out before it switches to the next pic in the slideshow! Oh well, I guess that's what I get for free on Photobucket. That first picture shows an 8 year old girl releasing one of the doves. After she released that one, 12 more followed from the cage. I was curious about the history of dove release, but didn't find out anything about until just now as I'm writing this. Thanks Wikipedia, you're the greatest thing on the internet. Wow, dove releases actually kind of stink, now that I've read that entry on Wikipedia. Poor doves...they are bred in captivity and then when they're set free, they just become dinner for some hungry owl or a hawk. I'm so not craving eating a slab of steak right now. Maybe some celery and peanut butter...

Anyway, after the opening ceremonies, we did the 5K walk. I think it took us about 1 hour and 8 minutes to finish. It was fun, that is, after that first mile loop that was crazy hard with a stroller. Rob and I just talked about anything and everything, and Eliza concentrated on her eyelids the whole time.

After the 5K, Rob ran 2 track events. The 200 meter dash and the 50 meter dash. Here is the video of Rob running the 200:

And the 50:

That fast guy who came in first in the 200 race? He was a liver transplant recipient. And he was obviously a very good runner before the transplant. He even brought his running spikes and his own starting block.

And in the 50 race, Rob was pretty bummed that he got beat by a blue jean wearing Paul Giamatti. Seriously, I was gonna tell him I loved him in Sideways and ask for his autograph!

After Rob's running events finished, we all grabbed lunch at the event. There was delicious food there for all the athletes and donor families. Then we went to the Midlothian Family YMCA nearby for the swimming events. Rob swam in the 100 meter Free and the 100 meter Free Relay. Here are those videos:

Little did we know that the tall guy swimming next to Rob in the 100 Free lives in Durham! Rob started a conversation with him between the 2 events. His name is Brian and he's one of the pastors at Grey Stone Baptist near downtown. How cool is that? He is a heart transplant recipient and he's been to the US Transplant Games many times and also has gone to the World Transplant Games, too. His main sport of choice is swimming (as you can see in the video, he's pretty good), so of course I had to ask him what Masters swim team he practices with. He obviously didn't swim with the team that I coach, but hopefully I can reel him in to join us!

Here's the 100 Free relay, which Rob was the lead off swimmer.

And finally, here's the awards ceremony for the 100 Free Relay:

That's all the photos and videos I took of the event. It was a great event and Rob says he wants to participate in it again, in October 2013, when they will hold it again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Babies R Us rant.

Oh retail shopping world, why do you annoy me so? Next time I'll just buy the item I want on At least I get free 2-day shipping on there, since I'm one of those Amazon Prime members now. Free shipping means I don't have to burn gas to drive down to the Southpoint area (12 miles one way) to buy the item, drive back home, open up the item and be disappointed by the fact that it was not a new item. I bought it full price, expecting it to be in brand new condition. I did notice that the tape on the box was obviously put on there by Babies R Us employees, and not factory sealed like most other boxes of items like it. But I figured that it was just opened up and then returned by someone who bought it or received it as a gift. I was wrong in my assumption.

I opened up the item this morning with Eliza sitting on the floor next to me, both of us excited for the new toy.

I pull out the first piece, which is one of the legs of the shopping cart. It took me 0.03 seconds to see that this toy was not brand new. I pulled out the other 3 legs of the cart and they look all the same. This toy was used more than once. Probably used even on concrete. Then probably their baby outgrew the toy and they figured, let's return it and get our money back because Babies R Us has a 90-day return policy. So Babies R Us accepts this product back onto their shelves, and gives the previous owner their money back. Which shouldn't have happened.

From the Babies R Us website:

We will gladly accept returns made within 90 days of the purchase date for most items when accompanied by your in-store receipt. Items must be returned, in new, or like-new condition, and in its original packaging, and with all paperwork including manuals, assembly instructions and your in-store receipt, as well as all accessories to ensure full credit. Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us reserve the right to refuse any returns if they do not meet our return requirements.

Babies R Us should've refused this return on the basis that the walker was not in "new" or "like new" condition. Here's an up close picture of one of the wheels:

Um yeah, not new. Not worth $44.95. I might pay $25 or $30 for this at a baby consignment shop.

So I call Babies R Us and speak to an associate about the product's condition. She tells me the return policy and she says that BRU employees are supposed to look inside the box at the condition of the toy before giving any money back. I told her that obviously that didn't happen, and it ended up back on the shelves for an unassuming purchaser to purchase it for the 2nd time. I told her that I wanted to return it for a brand new Shop and Learn Walker, and she said okay, "as long as you have the receipt you can do that." To which I asked her if I would be compensated for the trouble of driving 25 miles round trip to do so. She said she'd get a manager to talk to me. Okay. No problem. I understand how this all works because Rob works in retail in a management position, and he tells me all the time about stories where his store "drops the ball" in some way or fashion, and when the customer demands some kind of discount because of it, they always give them a discount. Because they want to keep that customer. They don't want to make that customer mad because a mad customer spreads the word about that retail store.

So a manager comes to the line and I tell her about the condition of the walker we purchased. She tells me pretty much everything that the previous associate told me. Then I asked if she would give me a discount on the walker when I came back in to return it and get a new one. She said no, we don't do that. We can't compensate for an item you bought that you were unsatisfied with because it's "just a toy". Yes, she said those 3 words. Just a toy. Then she went on to say that if the item I bought was a "necessary item, like a car seat or a breast pump and you opened the item and found that it had been in used condition, then yes, we'd give you a discount on the return-exchange because it's something that you need to be in new, never-used condition."

I paused for a moment after she said that. Quiet, dumbfounded by what she just told me. Then I told her about how my husband works in retail management and how I know what companies usually do when a customer is dissatisfied by the product quality. To which she said, "well, I can give you a discount on the item you currently have, but I can't let you return it and get a new one for a discounted price." Okay, but I'd have to drive 25 miles round trip to get that discount, and I'll still have a used item. I asked her how much of a discount she'd give me. She said she'd have to look at the item's condition to assess the discount. "10% probably, maybe 20% at most, but I can't say for sure until I see it."

I am not happy with Babies R Us right now. I will return it later today. Yes, the cost of gas is very annoying. But I do have 1 errand I can run, 2 doors down from Babies R Us, so I guess it'll all work out. But I am left feeling like Babies R Us really doesn't care about their customer's satisfaction.

Sorry Babies R Us of Durham, North Carolina for calling you out on this blog post. But you dropped the ball and didn't make it right with the customer, so now you don't get any of my money. I'm going to return it and get my $44.95 back and I'll spend it with another company who does care about their customer satisfaction.