Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hiding tuition information

We're in the market for a new preschool for our younger son, and daycare for our daughter.  We like the current place, but it isn't an option for our older son next year as they do not do pick ups from his new elementary school.  Our recent house buying adventure moved us to the other side of the town where we live, so we're checking out the centers closer to our home.

Not a single one lists tuition information on their websites.  It drives me crazy.  I know the rough amount it should be from our search for daycare and preschool last year, but I'd really like to be able to narrow down our search a little bit.  It frustrates me to have to go on a tour of the place to find out how much it will cost.  I know they're hoping I'll fall in love with them, and then decide that even if the tuition is a bit higher than expected, I'll stretch my budget.  This seems like a potential huge waste of time though.  Last year we inquired at 4 places, and went on tours at 3.  One of the places we toured was just not going to work for us, even though it had the lowest tuition.  We just didn't like the feel of the place, and no amount of cost reduction was going to make us comfortable.  The other two places we toured were around the same price, and we liked them about the same.  In that case, the decision did come down to cost, but only because cost was a tie breaker.  The place we didn't tour at all did provide tuition information upon request.  It was a good $100 more a week between all three kids, and as we were very comfortable with the less expensive options, we weren't going to stretch our budget to afford this place.  If we'd had to wait to find out the tuition until after a staff member took an hour out of their time and ours to show us around, we'd have made the same decision, and we'd all have wasted an hour.  Hardly seems worth it.  I'd prefer to know the tuition amount ahead of time, so that if it was in the budget, and I fell in love on the tour, I'd be able to make a decision right away.

I can't think of many other goods or services that are not custom priced, but also difficult to discover.  I totally understand why a house painter or roofer can't say how much a job will cost until they see the house.  But daycare charges everyone the same amount per week or month, depending on the age of the child.  Why hide the information?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shut-up, Runkeeper!

So I actually like the Runkeeper app very much.  It gives me the freedom to sort of make up my routes as I go along, and I like the periodic updates on pace and distance.  Last night when I went for my run, it would not shut-up though!  The first 40 seconds or so of my run were constant updates from the app voice.  I couldn't figure out how to adjust the settings while running and trying to avoid others on the sidewalk at the same time, so I stopped to reset it.  Highly annoying.  The second time, it didn't do it constantly, but did pipe up with some extraneous reports on my distance and pace.

I had it set up last night to give updates on both time and distance.   I set the updates to tell me every 5 minutes, as well as every half of a mile.  I actually didn't mean to do this, I meant to just change the pace from average to current.  It worked out well for me though.  My next running goal is a speed goal, rather than distance.  I want to do a 5k in under 30 minutes.  Having the updates at every 5 minutes, as well as every half mile amused me, because my current pace at the every half mile was around a minute faster than the pace reported at the 5 minute mark just a few minutes earlier.  I guess I needed the reminder to pick it up some.

2012 Book Challenge #8

Book #8 was The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, by Gil McNeil.  I don't have much to say about it, because it was boring and had no plot.  According to some of the reviews on Amazon, some people apparently like books to not have a plot, so if you are one of those people, this is the book for you.  I like plot.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon

So the half marathon was a week ago, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.  We started the weekend of with the kids' fun run.  My older son was really excited to run, even more so when he learned that his dad could run with him.  We left pretty early, because traffic near fair park can be atrocious.  No worries on Saturday though, and we made it with plenty of time to spare.  The kindergarten runners went last, so my son was able to see the other groups start and end.  There was a teenage band providing entertainment, and both boys liked dancing.  I will say that nothing makes you feel old like listening to 14 year-olds sing songs that were popular when you were in high school.  It was a bit disconcerting hearing some of the lyrics come out of such young mouths though!

We had gone back and forth about whether to drive to fair park Sunday morning or take the DART train.  Finally decided on the train.  Reading other blogs after the race, I'm glad we took the train, as traffic near fair park was apparently horrible.  We made it to the start area with plenty of time to spare, and took the opportunity to use the porta potties.

We dropped off our bag, found our corral, and then were off!  I actually managed to keep up with my husband for a mile or so, but then he decided that his knee and quad were behaving, and he took off.  My plan had been to walk through all the aid stations, but I was feeling really good at the first one (less than 2 miles into the race), so just grabbed some water and kept running.  I walked through every other one though! I was happy the first 4 miles or so of the race, but after mile 6, I was walking much more than I wanted to.  I started making deals with myself - I'd walk through the end of the song that was playing, but then I had to run to the next mile marker.  When I got to mile 12, I told myself I had to run the last 1.1 miles.  I almost did it too!  But the route through fair park just seemed to go on forever, and before I knew it, my legs were walking.  About 10 steps later, I saw the mile 13 marker, and was pissed at myself.  I made myself start running again, and crossed the finish line just under 2 hours 44 minutes.  A good 10+ minutes slower than my first half marathon.  I was not happy.

I also felt like crap.  I grabbed a bottle of luke warm water, and drank it way too fast.  I was still thirsty, but didn't see any more water - just lemonlime gatorade.  Ick.  I grabbed one anyway, and slowly sipped it.  Finally located my husband (he finished in 1 hour 47 minutes), and we headed for the train station.  I felt sick all the way back, and lost it in the parking lot.  Felt much better after that!

There were some awesome posters along the race route.  "Run, total stranger, run!" "Worst Parade Ever"  "Don't Worry, You Are Way Ahead of the Zombies" were my favorites.

So, on to the next one.  I need to be much better about running during the week, not just doing long runs on the weekends.  I'm off to a terrible start though - no long run this weekend, but I did do the elliptical a few nights this week.