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The ATT rip off

iphone7-front-matblkIn the grand scheme of things I am a small consumer that cannot make a difference.

Most of us are.

I simply pay my monthly bills, accept the service no matter how crappy and move on. Not today though. Not with AT@T. I don’t feel like the company took advantage of me as much as it violated me.

I will have a family meeting with the plan of dropping AT@T as our cell phone service provider.

Here is my story.

On June 26 I went into my normally friendly and helpful AT@T dealer to upgrade my son’s Apple phone. The company was running a buy one, get one free sale.

I know that nothing is free in this world, but I bit any way so I can face time my daughter Celine who is attending school in California and is working this summer in Texas. In order to do that I had to purchase another line, which added $20 a month to our bill.

That’s not free.

I’ve told my wife Abs several times that many pro athletes carry two cell phones. The first is for family and friends to call. The second is the ho line that only their side piece knows about.

Abs did not want me having a ho line and demanded I get rid of it.

I realized within hours that this cell phone was not free and I wanted out of our deal.  The new phone also did not charge and by the time I marched in the next day to make the exchange, the phone was completely dead.

I was told by my normally helpful and friendly dealer that I could not exchange the dead phone and get rid of the ho line without a working phone. The dealer sent me to the Apple store.

I was told I had 14 days to make the switch.

Life lesson.

You cannot just walk off the streets and make a simple exchange at an Apple store. You need an appointment. Apple sent me back to my ATT@T dealer and said to exchange the phone there.

I tried and was told they could not take the phone back, go back to Apple.

I went to Apple three times and could not exchange the phone. Then I was about to play the “don’t you know who the bleep I am card” when somebody at Apple knew who the bleep I was and made the exchange.

That was on Day 14 of my journey. So I thought I was safe and made deadline.

Wrong again.

I got a new working phone from Apple and went to get out of my contract with my normally helpful and friendly AT@T dealer. The user names and pass codes we set up two weeks ago did not work of course.

Finally, we got through all the red tape and I was told to call 611 to finally drop my $20 a month line charge for the ho line. But I was told to wait until the next day until all the paper work went through until making the call.

I called 611 the next morning only to be told by AT@T that I missed deadline by one day and that my normally helpful and friendly AT@T dealer should have made the exchange  the minute I tried to return the phone.

Now I had to pay full price for my free phone to get out of the contract or pay nearly a year of line charges I have no intention of using.

I felt like the company stuck a knife in my stomach and twisted it. I wanted out completely and said I wanted to cancel all of our five lines, in addition to the ho line, and switch carriers.

A part of me asks what good will it do? AT@T will not miss my $200 a month bill and will probably charge me $1.5 million to get out of my contract. I am making the switch out of principle.

This old man does not need a ho line.

 

 

 

 

 

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PAL students want kid friendly downtown Detroit

downtown DetroitTwice a month I take my 17 year old son Brandon to downtown Detroit for male bonding and fun.

We enjoy treats from Avalon Bakery in midtown, T-shirt shopping at Detroit vs. Everybody and Detroit Hustles Harder in Eastern Market along with strolls down Woodward and some of  the side streets in mid town.

Shake Shack and any of the restaurants in Mexican Town are among his favorite places to eat.

The other day some of the kids I mentor at the Detroit Athletic League media class at the former Tiger Stadium site said they rarely go downtown because it is not kid friendly. For all the wonderful projects that Dan  Gilbert and company have brought downtown, they ask that adults share in the fun with teenagers and young adults too young to drink at The Skip, Harrys Detroit and Founders Brewery which are some of my favorite spots.

They propose three new venue to make downtown better for them — an expansive video arcade, a small amusement park similar to Edgewater Park that closed in 1981 on Detroit’s west side.

Oh and there is one more thing Detroit needs, they said. A gaming arena.

Gaming arenas are becoming popular around the country. It is where people gather to compete in video game competitions in front of screaming fans that are sometimes televised nationally.

The only drawback is that you can play your pals online now. But they said a gaming arena would appeal to people that want to compete for money and other prizes before a live audience.

They all sound like good ideas, but do adults want to share in their downtown play ground?

 

 

 

 

Smile. My insides are on candid camera

cropped-terry-beach1.jpgDoctors did not find the source of my internal bleeding during testing at Beaumont Hospital.

Now I must swallow a camera with flash drive. I am not making that up.

The good news is I am cancer free and do not have an ulcer. Doctors did say I have a minor sinus condition, which I can live with. However, after probing my body they could not find the source of why my blood levels are low.

Ideally, you want your hemoglobin at a 13.0. Mine is at 10.2. So what’s going on? That has not been determined yet, but whatever is wrong is at an early stage. So there is no reason to be concerned yet.

Now all I have to do is swallow a camera.

Modern medicine has taken great strides. The camera and flash drive are loaded in a capsule about the size of a large pill. The problem is not in my stomach or colon. Doctor suspect there is a tear in my intestines.

Once the camera reaches that area it will take a photo every 30 seconds until the problem is found. In the mean time I am taking iron pills and eating more spinach, beans and red meat.

The lesson here is to keep checking in with your doctor. Know your numbers. If I didn’t know what was going on I’d live a pain free life until this condition grew serious. Then I would suffer horrific stomach cramps, begin bleeding externally and then require a trip to the hospital perhaps for surgery.

Now I must swallow a camera, get the results, and begin painless treatments.

I like this way better.

** Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert must undergo physical therapy after suffering a stroke. Some speculated that the therapy means the stroke was so severe he cannot walk.

That is not necessarily true. I could walk after my stroke but still went through two months of physical therapy so that I could walk better and with more confidence. My issue was that I did not have confidence in my balance and thought I was going to fall during walks.

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital said my mind was playing tricks with my body and we needed to get the two in sync. We finally did although I did fall down the steps about a week ago. I guess I am still not perfect. I may never be.

 

 

 

My failures as a father

It is a few days after Father’s Day.

Today I have failed my son Brandon as a dad and I feel bad about it.

I took my son to the barber, because he wanted a different hair style. Yet, he stepped from the barbers chair with the same style he walked in with although it was a little neater. I should have been more assertive and told the barber what the boy wanted.

But I want the boy to fend for himself, to communicate what he wants in life on his own. That did not happen today and I stood by and watched it happen. The burden is on me. A dad needs to take charge.

The boy is 6-foot-3 and is 17 years old. He cannot play basketball or baseball. That’s on me also. I worked two jobs for most of my life and was never home for the prime time sports time between a son and his dad to learn how to hit through a baseball and not pop it up, how to do a drop step in basketball and how to block out.

I wasn’t even there many weekends. I was often out of town and sometimes exhausted on a Saturday morning or afternoon when I was in town. He instead played soccer, a sport that I never believed suited him well.

I always felt like I needed to chase the next big story or radio show. I put job ahead of family.

He should have been honing his skills in basketball or baseball.

I have not ignored the boy for 17 years. I am his writing coach and sometimes life coach. He has a big heart and treats people with respect. Brandon loves to work with those less fortunate and even coached developmentally challenged kids in soccer. He works hard in school and his goal is to attend Michigan State University. I wanted both of my children to have a better chance at making it in life than I did.

That part has been a success. He lives in a neighborhood where he is not chased by thugs trying to steal his money as I was. He does not have to mingle with drug dealers, numbers runners and just bad ass duded as I did.

He’s thought about college way before I did. Nobody went to college in my family when I was younger and I just thought that was the way life was for inner city kids. But good friends began to show me a path toward higher education and I graduated from Central Michigan University after four years.

My best gifts on Father’s Day were not the cards or lunch. It was the notes I received from my children Celine and Brandon.  Celine said she learned work ethic and how to write because of me.

Brandon said I have taught him a lot about how life works and he appreciates the time we spend together.

The words meant a lot. They were appreciated by the old man.

I just feel like I must do more.

 

 

 

 

 

A better plan for good health

surgery.jpgThe old me did not want to know what was going on inside my body.  I figured that if I were not feeling pain or discomfort that if something bad was brewing that it would eventually go away.

The new me wants to know everything that is going on in my body. If I am not feeling pain or discomfort today that it could eventually hit me.

Which is the smarter strategy for good long term health?

You guess it. Option two.

On Thursday I will be under the gas at Beaumont Hospital while doctors figure out why my stomach started leaking blood. I look forward to the procedure because obviously I want to know what the hell is wrong also.

My doctor said to pray that it is an early stage ulcer. I feel no pain. There is no blood in bowel movements. It’s as if everything is normal. If we decided to ignore it and let nature take care if things I would be doubled over in pain eventually and would face serious health risks.

Doc said we caught it “very, very early” which means it should be treated and I will be bugging you guys for a long time on twitter and which ever platform awaits in the future.

The procedure is called an Esophago Gastro Duodenosopy. In plain English it means they drop a camera with a flash light into my stomach and look for the tear..  Doctors will either fix the problem or prescribe medication to mend it.

That’s if it is an ulcer. If it is something else surgery down the road is possible. But I’m told that we caught the problem so early that surgery is not likely. I will be fine.

I will carry your thoughts and well wishes into the hospital. Thank you.

I write this blog for the many men and women who believe that if they are feeling fine then everything must be good inside. I felt really good the day my doctor said my blood work came back with a problem.

My numbers were really good, except my blood levels were lower than they should be. It was not a problem in December. It was a problem in May.

I had sprung a leak some where.

Now it is time to fix it and move on.

Now we patch it up and we move on.

Dan Gilbert illness hits close to home

gilbertWhen business man Dan Gilbert experienced stroke like symptoms it hit close to home.

I wondered what those symptoms were and how he felt at the time. I experienced similar symptoms nearly three years ago when my blood pressure hit the ceiling and I suffered what was considered a mild stroke. Although I lost my voice for a while and could not step or type I feel close to normal now.

I don’t feel like the old guy that used to dance around and act a fool. That guy died and was replaced by a calmer, less aggressive and not quite as sharp version of the old guy.

I am still Terry Foster. But perhaps it would be more accurate to call me Terry Foster lite.

I am not the same old guy, but at least my family can still hug and love a version of me. I can still love and feel love. And that’s not all bad.

Every time somebody I know of gets a stroke I relive the anguish of my two strokes.  It troubled me to learn of the death of film maker John Sngleton who died in April at age 51 of a stroke. I cried when my childhood friend Lamont died of a stroke about four months after mine.

I feel fortunate that I am still here to kick it with friends, watch my children grow and to bug and hug my wife. I can still do a lot of things, but at a slower pace and in more moderation.

One of my doctors said that I have done a wonderful job in eating correctly and working the body. But he said I needed to exercise the brain more. He recommended that I do similar things that I loved prior to the stroke. So I blogged more and did podcasts and posted videos on face book and twitter.

I did too much. My blood pressure shot up again and I began feeling sluggish and feeble. I had plans to go out with friends for the holidays. But I called everybody up to post pone our dates and hoped they understood.

I must do something to keep the brain sharp or doctors feel that depression could set in. I must still live my life, but not at break neck speed.

When I go out with my pals Melissa,  Trevor, Wojo and my new pals at the gym I do it for more than having a good time. It is part of my new therapy to engage and keep sharp. My first inclination most days is to stay to myself and not interact with society.

That is not good for me.

Dan Gilbert is a very important man with a plate full of projects and ideas. Here is my advice to him. Do not do too much, but you still must remain active and keep moving Detroit forward at a pace you feel comfortable with.

Take your blood pressure daily and monitor your numbers like never before.

A stroke is a deadly disease, but there is life after stroke for some of us. There is a second chance and a second life for some of us.

Let’s take advantage of it.

 

 

Trying to sound right, not white

fresh nation3My Saturday mornings are spent at the old Tiger Stadium site where the Detroit Police Athletic League holds shop.

PAL hosts baseball, soccer and football games which provides entertainment outside the windows during our morning sessions. I am not there for the games. Rather I help out with PAL’s Fresh Nation project designed to expose  middle school and high school kids to broadcasting and journalism.

I am a mentor along with Stephanie Davis of WWJ 950 AM. The two hours there are easily the highlight of my week. Some of the students are so good that we nicknamed them “The Dream Team” and I am hoping some of them break into the mass media in Detroit or nationwide.

One boy said he has switched his career goals from being a scientist to a sports journalist.

I have a disturbing story however. We asked students to record a news cast and all went well until we got to one of the eighth graders. She covered her ears when we played her tape back.

I was taken back because I thought her opening was pretty solid. I asked why she didn’t want to hear the recording.

“Kids make fun of me because they say I talk proper,” she said. “They say that I am trying to sound white.”

I identified with the girl. It was the same crap I heard as a child growing up on Detroit’s west side. Has nothing changed in the last 50 years?

This girl was not trying to sound white. She wanted to sound right. She has potential and she is not going to get a broadcast job splitting her verbs or trying to be street.

As Don King would say. Only in America.

Black kids. We must do better. Those who try to better themselves are not trying to be white. They are trying to make it in the world and you do a disservice by making fun of them and trying to discourage them from greatness.

I used to catch all kinds of crap for reading books on the front porch in the summer. Books were my escape from my neighborhood and the noise that filled it. I read because I wanted to know what was outside my tiny world on Vancouver street.

Even some adults teased me and accused me of wanting to be a white boy.

So are you telling me that being black in the hood means being stupid and less than? I don’t buy that.

When I was a kid I did not want a job. I wanted a career. That is what I fought for in the class room and by reading books. I talked the way I did because the old women that raised me demanded that I not butcher the English language.

They made demands of me and I tried to meet them. There are so many ridiculous demands that some black people put on blacks who are trying to escape poverty and the hood.

A few years ago I wrote a story on black boys that loved to play baseball on Detroit’s east ide. But they kept their passion on the down low from friends, who made fun of them for liking baseball.

And do you know what they were accused of? You guessed it.

Trying to be white.

Terry Foster Podcast 36

Welcome back!

Terry is joined by JD “The Smak” and E.Lund

Who is the Detroit athlete of the year for 2018? It’s not a name you’d think of. E.Lund gives some cooking tips that are now legal. What are you drinking on NYE? And what’s a good word to describe the Michigan football season? Plus lots more in this newest Terry Foster Podcast.

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