Friday, May 30, 2008

Taking care

OK, so life grabbed me by the hair again and dragged me around for a few days. I have a child with seasonal allergies and what may be swimmer's ear. Then this child refuses to take the pain medicine I have because it tastes bad. Well it's either take the medicine that tastes bad or writhe in agony. She chose to keep the house awake through the night with her writhing. After a couple hours listening to it I began to lack sympathy for her. Then just after the youngest one finally starts sleeping uninterrupted by agonizing screeches of pain, the older one gets up at FIVE A.M.!!! and turns on the television! This is the other child who is sneezing from allergies every few minutes. Like his sister, he refuses to take the medication I provided him. Yet the child thinks it humorous to sneeze ON me as if I had some stench needing a shower to remove it. Even if I did, I prefer water thank you.

I chaperoned the youngest one's class trip to a ranch. The husband chaperoned as well. The teacher is rather pregnant and overdid the whole "hero teacher thing". One of the other chaperones was also pregnant. I am not drinking the water at that school. So dh helped chaperone the kids, I chaperoned the pregnant ones. I packed a bag with things most moms would drag on a trip to a ranch with horses and dirt....except I didn't have wipes or anything else antibacterial. Someone else thought of that. I had produced a few items the teacher needed over the course of a few minutes from the bag. She said "You're awesome Mrs. Wench". I just smiled knowingly (mentally patting her on the head) and said "And one day you too will be awesome as well". I suspected she would need she asked me no less than FIVE times over the course of a week and a half if I was going on the trip with them. She obviously didn't notice my signature on the "chaperone" side of the permission slip. She quite obviously had PreggoBrain more than once because I told her yes each time she asked me, followed by teasing her about the preggo brain. As I understand it, she is the oldest of five girls and their mother recently died. She seems to have that oldest daughter thing lots of us have....gotta take care of everyone, even at our own expense. Well now she's useless for a few days because she's relatively out of commission.
Taking care of myself has been something I learned to keep as a priority the hard way. I ended up worn out and utterly useless. Last weekend was a bit of a mental health weekend for me. This week was busy and some fairly important things didn't get taken care of. Ultimately I must not belong in that spot otherwise I wouldn't have been spending so much time playing with my crafts while avoiding that important stuff.
I have developed a liking for crafting. I have a yarn stash that needs to be used up. I have scrapbook supplies needing to become books. I also now have beads that are waiting to become rosaries. In any case, I actually have too many crafting projects in the works and need to finish the one I started with that Baby Clouds yarn that defies me so much. Size 50 knitting needles should do the trick. If they don't get the yarn into something crafty-like, they certainly make nice vampire stakes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

just do it

I went to the police sub-station to get a copy of the police report for the bank, so they don't have to yank that $575 back out of our account. Thank you Jack Schmuckatelli for stealing money from us....I hope they catch who it is. Although I may have a better shot at winning the lottery, than the thief being actually apprehended in this case. While I was there, the person behind the nice plexiglass partition was listening to the dispatcher. She turned to her cohorts and asked if they heard it. She said "That crazy lady on the bridge! She's got the DP Bridge shut down now in both directions" She went on to say available help was requested to help divert traffic on both sides of the bridge. OK, first of all this is just rude crude and socially unacceptable.

If you wish to off yourself, that is entirely your call. I mean, some people just need to run away from life so badly this seems like their only option. I get that. I've known a few people in my life that in fact took themselves out because the context of their lives were so out of whack they couldn't stand living anymore. If you want to kill yourself, I only ask that you're considerate of those you leave behind. That means the entire rest of the human population. YES, I said be considerate of us, even in your damaged mental state.

WHY? Well let me help the clueless ones to understand.

1. I understand the desire to do the job right. Good work ethic is hard to find, and it's a shame that you want to remove your good work ethic from the workforce. I know a few managers that would love to have you on their staff. So when you choose to jump from the tallest bridge in the city, I understand. It's because you want to make sure you do the job well. You paid attention in physics class and you understand a taller origin for your jump means gravity, speed and landing spot are all going to get a good dose of testing from you. In short, big bridge equals big splat. See, all this good stuff makes me sad that you don't think you're worth saving. I don't think you realize how many people just don't get the idea of big bridge equals big splat. I've talked to a few of them...if you rattle their heads, you won't even hear marbles. You might hear sand shifting. But not you, ya smarty pants, you have grey matter that functions!

2. Here's the "BUT" part of this one.... If you hadn't already noticed while you're standing on the big bridge you want to bungee from sans the safety equipment....there are construction crews on one side of the bridge. They're semi-permanent considering the additional temporary concrete barrier walls erected so the moronic drivers in this city don't try to drive in the closed lane. Their presence is a mere TAD difficult to miss. MERE TAD. So when you decide on your jumping spot, these people hired to work on the bridge project, WILL NOTICE YOU. They will call authorities to get you off their job site at the very least. The foreman does not want to deal with OSHA and workman's comp because you endangered the crew for which the foreman is responsible. Oh yea, in your distraught state, you lost all sense of logic. Sorry.

3. Here's the BIG "but" part. Why are you still standing there hemming and hawing about "to jump or not. that is the question" If you remotely considered jumping and took the time and effort to make your way to the top of the bridge, why the heck are you still there? You could've had this entire side show done and over with before it even started. All you had to do was just JUMP already when you first thought about it. NO. You waited around for the cops to show up and they have to close the bridge in both directions to accommodate one person.

That problem you have in your life, has now caused THOUSANDS of people problems. How many people lost money because they were late to work (or even lost their jobs?), or had to pay late pickup fees at the daycare because of the traffic being stopped in both directions on the bridge? Or had to drive the other way back through town to get home, which used up more gas in the middle of a pay period...which will cause a problem for them later as well? Not to mention the other legitimate 911 calls that were delayed responses because there were emergency service personnel directing traffic that normally directs itself sufficiently enough each and every day. In addition, the traffic snarls cause already impatient, rude and aggressive drivers to become even more so. How many more accidents were caused by this?

If you want attention, ask for it. If you want to jump off a bridge, at least wait till after rush hour traffic clears. Having the cops retrieve you from a bridge or river will cause lots of paperwork and a hassle whether you survive the trip or not. Am I being callous? Some would say yes. They are entitled to that opinion, like I'm entitled to mine. I'm not discounting the distress some people have that would prompt them to want to die. I just think that if you decide to go jump off a bridge, when you get there you should just do it and get it over with already.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Toilet paper drivel

This post was inspired by a conversation with my almost 15 year old son. Yes, I realize what you're thinking, but I indeed DO have not one but TWO teenagers, followed by my clone of miniature status. I'll end the post with the funny thing involving toilet paper. For the moment, let me be serious and appreciative. After what is approaching 16 years of knowing each other and being together, my husband....has been putting a spare roll of paper in the bathroom. We have no storage in this house, so the TP must go in the hall closet or risk moisture damage in our water closet. Literally, it's a space that resembles a small walk in closet, and there is plumbing in it. The realization that he's been doing this came to me recently, and it was met with instant appreciation. Why? Well, because he uses most of the toilet paper...ok, so if it's not him then it's the spawn too. In any case, I do use my own share of it, but I have witnessed the shrinking of a roll in a single day's time. I used the loo often enough, but being a girl at birth, I have to use the TP each visit. I don't have time for the drip dry process here and shaking is just unsafe for a clutz like myself, regardless of the spatial dimensions. Likewise, I don't wrap my hand with the paper to create a glove either. I get *enough* to do the task. I know for a fact that my husband will use enough paper to guard his hand from ANY potential contact with even the airspace of his posterior. I've been the one to be met with the after effects of it more than once in my life with him. A few moons ago was one such instance out of many. I do not know what prompted the frequent installation of a spare roll, nor am I going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm just glad that it has taken place. And since I am notorious for getting snarky about my husband...I wanted to just once say something good about him. Of course this is outside the fact that he works hard and loves me to pieces. I know he loves me, few others, if any would put up with me.

Now for that other thing that inspired the son was bored and called me. I'm good for something- money, entertainment, and torture among other skills. Once again, I demonstrate the purpose for which God placed me on this Earth to do...entertain the masses, usually at my expense. My mother in law got a text message and my son told me about it.

Celebrities walk on the red carpet because they're famous. But you and I walk on toilet paper because we're the sh*t.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

PMS euphoria

Yes, that would be an oxymoron there, but let me explain.....I generally crave baked goods and sweets at any given time. It gets especially loud at that very key point in the month my husband calls "hell". You have me, the Feisty Irish Wench and my clone, the Feisty Irish/Cherokee/Apache Wench-ette and a nice roiling pot of PMS. Yes, she's soon to be six and she indeed gets PMS-y. We eat a lot of the same things and cravings are similar between us. I have been good about not getting to indulgent with the sweets, almost have my sugar addiction handled. Except when I get PMS, I try to fight off the urge to make up for lost time in terms of baked goods. I stockpile cake and brownie mixes. It's not good for my husband and son who are built like "strappin' country boys". My husband, I swear to you was anorexic looking when I met him. I have NOT fed the man *that* well. In any case, I'm rambling again. I got a new-to-me toaster oven at the church garage sale today, along w/ a couple other small finds that I've had on my list of wanna-get-it items. This one is built to cook a small freezer pizza *cough* (like Totino's) *cough* rather than heat up the entire house using the big oven on the stove. Imagine my joy at finding this treasure that has been on my list. I almost got the smaller one, then thought again that my teenage sons can fend for themselves and save me money on electricity. The youngest one might even be able to figure this out being near-genius and all. Sadly I didn't get any freezer pizzas on my way home today. I did however break out one of the brownie mixes and make some PMS food. The oven heats hotter than the dial indicates, so it requires tweaking of time and temperature. It made for some slightly messy but tasty brownies.

Funny side story: While I was mixing the batter, my daughter appears wanting to assist. Her brothers trained me well to expect alterior motives. I see the gleam in her eyes...mmmmm lick the bowl/spoon/spatula.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm making PMS food."
"I get PMSing"
"Yes I know you do, as evidenced by that whole cranky display earlier about getting in the tub"
::innocent nervous laughter::

I am in pure PMS craving heaven. Baked goods, chocolatey baked goods.....yummmmmm. ....crumbly, gooey, cakey...CHOCOLATEY.....
This? This is PMS Euphoria

Saturday, May 17, 2008

speaking of fraud......

I am writing to you in a very frazzled state right now. Once AGAIN my husband's debit card has been spoofed somewhere along the way. This happened to us a couple years ago the same way, spoofed card, used on a weekend to delay the bank's reaction. So now at this point I am on the phone with the various people needing to be called when this kind of thing happens. There are some other issues I personally carry with this (resentment being one) and I know I need some prayers for my temper to remain guarded. This will no doubt take some time to sort out and rectify.

In the meantime this has taken a large chunk of money out of the account. I am very glad that I have not merged my account with my husband's, so we avoided a complete depletion of funds. Last time this happened the bank refunded the money and we're hoping they do so again. However, this time there are now NSF charges associated with these fraudulent debits as well as the ones we did initiate. In addition, we're now potentially going to see additonal fees for refused payments. There's no guarantee that the other companies are going to remove those charges from our accounts, even if we have documentation like a police report or bank affidavit. It's all just very frustrating and draining. I am trying to keep in mind that somewhere there is something to be learned. Of course it's unclear what is to be learned, who is supposed to learn it, and what is to come of all this. If nothing else, maybe I can convey to you the message of keeping tabs on your accounts frequently. I check the accounts at least every couple days if not more often. If I hadn't looked today, there possibly could have been hundreds of dollars more taken. It has been shown that those who check their accounts online do so more frequently than those that do not. In checking online frequently, those individuals catch fraudulent charges/debits sooner than those that wait for a paper statement. Like last time, I logged on to check the balances and activity and I found these problems. My husband would have called the phone teller after his card was declined to check his balance and then called me asking what I did with the money. So please be careful with your cards. It's very easy for people with a few gift cards or expired cards and the information from your card and some computer skills to spoof the card and steal from you, the bank and the businesses.

I'd hate to think what Sprint would have done with my information yesterday if I'd given it to them.........

Friday, May 16, 2008

Why I think Verizon is the shizit

It's a long consumer rant here. Get a drink and put up your feet. If you don't have time, save the page to your favorites and come back. This one got really long. REALLY. LONG.

I have had cellular service for the larger part of 10 years or so. There was a period of time that budget prevented me from having a wireless phone, then I was on Bellsouth's old prepaid plan. As my phone aged, the service sucked and the sales people kept pushing me to upgrade my plan that was "antiquated" despite the fact that it suited me and my measly paycheck budget just fine. Companies merged and Bellsouth became Cingular (now it's AT&T). Then when I could no longer make use of half the network because my cellphone was stone aged (4 or 5 years old at the time), I started looking around for a new service. I didn't want the service that Cingular had and their customer service was sucking worse and worse every time I called. My husband had Sprint PCS a few years prior to that, and I knew I did not want that company either. His friends dumped Cingular and went to Verizon when their contract was up. One went to work for a Verizon. Meanwhile my husband was in the military, working as an MP on a remote training base an hour and a half from here. The only service they could get was Nextel. So, he got that since he knew so many people from the military and previous construction work who had Nextel. Direct Connect was nice to have. The bill never has been. Doing some very simple math, I deduced that since HIS friends were all moving to Verizon, and several of my friends had Verizon, that it would make absolute sense to cash in on the mobile-to-mobile and go with Verizon as well. Let's add that a couple of relatives on my hushband's side of the fence have Verizon too. It's nice to talk to his Grandparents and not worry about the minutes or cost. My friend C has had Verizon since it was Qualcomm(?) with the little pink guy. I could probably count on ONE hand the number of dropped calls I've had in the 2 years I've had Verizon. This means network lost connection, not my battery died, or any other factor. My husband and his overpriced Nextel plan lose signal right here in the city in a number of places. There are giant holes in their network, despite that whole Sprint/Nextel merge a while back. I have been telling him we can save money by getting a family plan, to the sum of that savings actually covering our cable bill (we won't even talk about that one today). But he was not willing.

Can you imagine my recent near fainting experience when I heard my husband actually utter the words that equated to "I want to dump Nextel". Apparently about a handful of his contacts actually still have Nextel anymore. Thanks honey, you could have spared us several hundred dollars and NOT got a new phone and plan last fall, and joined my Verizon plan. But he's the kind of guy that it has to be his idea or he won't do it. Someone went swimming in the ornery end of the gene pool there. Soo....we started looking at phones and plans etc. He can move his number over to Verizon, but it's going to cost a lovely early termination fee of approximately $200 at Schmucktel. Plus the cost of equipment etc on the new plan. How's THAT for stimulating the economy? So I decided I'd do some homework on the matter and called Sprint posing as a new customer. What an experience. I tell ya, it can only be described as "a piece of something". If this is how they treat people that don't YET have their service, good grief, why the heck hasn't my husband dumped them as soon as he could get out of the first contract???

First, you encounter the usual automated answering thing. Please press this or that to get here or there. This is where it gets *entertaining*. The phone is answered by someone who is OBVIOUSLY NOT A NATIVE to the United States of America by any means. Dare I say, this call was received by an outsourced overseas call center. I've been known to be wrong and I'm willing to admit as much but trust me on this and you'll see why in a minute. This individual gave me the name that was so overtly untrue I could have gagged. I was greeted with that cheezy slogan answer line "....this is George Aliza" asking how he could help. Uh...yea, his name was probably Amudesh or something but we self absorbed gringos can't grasp those Mediterranean pronunciations apparently. I explained I was searching for a new provider and wanted to do my homework and get information about the plans they offered, he asked who my current provider was. I told him that I didn't have a plan at the moment. I had to discontinue my cellular service a couple years ago and was finally able to get one again, and so I was starting fresh. He was dumbfounded by this. Oops, sorry "George". You can't use those scripts on me now. Darn. So he did his best to recover from an obvious jarring to his flowchart. I asked a few questions and somewhere in there, about 2 times, he asked about running a credit check to see if I would need a deposit. I told him I didn't want to do that yet. Then in the middle of my asking a question the butt-tard hung up on me. Pissed? somewhat. I called back. I got the automated answer, pushed the cursory buttons to get back to the sales people in Bangledesh or some other sand-laden locale on another continent.

Wanna know what I got? "There are no agents available. Please call back."


The robot hung up on me too! Now if I was truly shopping for a new phone, I wouldn't have called back. They don't want to talk to me, well I don't want to give them my money either. (Felt this way for a while but ornery genetics over there....)
So I called back. AGAIN. Phone robot, push buttons, get a human. Ah, and this guy sounded just like the previous one, except he gave the name "John Michael"....hmmmm....I am thinking that Amudesh was either enjoying his phone sex operator name changes, or this guy's name was probably Jimadelah (let me help you here: Ja-mah-deh-leh). In any case this one took his job a tad more seriously than the first one. He asked a bunch of qualifying questions so he could match my needs to the company's benefits available. He misunderstood me when I told him I didn't need a thousand minutes (hinting at T-mobile's plans), and assumed I needed that many minutes. He offered me a 900 minute plan. I corrected him and told him I didn't need that many minutes, that I'd barely use those 900 at all ever. He seemed suprised, and took him a second to register this thought (translating is not easy when you think in one language and speak in another). Then he offered me the smallest plan they have. Then this one also asked me about doing a credit check to get my account started. At least he was a *ahem* hair more professional than the first one. I declined his offer, thanking him for his time and explained that I was not ready to make a decision yet. He also didn't hang up on me, and I thanked him for at least keeping me on the line to answer my questions. I guess in their native land, women do what men ask, demand, expect of them. While this may be an offense of Bibilical proportions to them and some holy-roller types here even...I am the one charged with tending the financial fires in our household.

So why am I posting this LONNNNNNNNG-A rant? Because once again the customer service of a company deserves it. If this was the company's sales department, charged with wooing customers and appealing to their sensabilities for a service that is ultimately an optional expense, I don't want to even venture into the other aspects of their customer service arenas. Let me lay out the biggest faults of this company's *SALES* department that I experienced.....this is outside the fact that their call center is blatantly outsourced overseas.

1.) PUSHY sales agents who do not give full disclosure. Half the information over the phone is not good service. Customers want to know everything they're getting into up front. Suprises on the back end leave a bad taste worse than that diet-soda-saccharin-aftertaste. We'd rather lick our own feet than be screwed over due to non-disclosure. Plus "George" kept breathing in my ear, and I was not getting aroused by it one single bit. I'm just glad I was unable to smell his lunch. Someone tell that guy to move the microphone up just half an inch to get out of his breath's expulsion path.
2.) NOT LISTENING TO ME!!! You want my money, but you don't listen to me. I have a need for services, you have a benefit that will fulfill that need. But I only need certain things from you, and simply won't use everything available. If you won't listen to me at the outset on a sales call, why would I think that I will be heard or even acknowledged once I've signed a contract?
3.)Putting across the inuendo that I have to have a credit check just to get information from them. This ploy works on unsuspecting customers who have not been taught better. It's bad character for a company to do this. What goes around comes around. Thank you, but I've had enough of my share of credit problems due to fraud and other reporting agency errors in my lifetime. Still having them.
4.) Hanging up on me. TWICE. Yea, I understand that "George" may have actually had a technical problem. I sensed he and his cohorts get a commission for every account they initiate or every credit check they run. He sensed he wasn't going to get a Lira out of me and decided I was no longer worthy of his time since he wasn't getting paid to talk to me. I guess it sucks to be whored out to an American company who allows women that do things their women would never ever even have the inclination to think about saying or doing, much less actually DO them. Like tell a man "no". Second half of this offense is that an automated robot answering system hung up on me. AUTOMATED hang up. I wasn't even given the option to hold on the line for the next available agent at Schmucktel, moving at the speed of Shint.

Anytime I call Verizon, I get a polite and articulate individual who has my interests in mind. Their training obviously includes "take care of the customer". Anytime I call them, I don't get disconnected by their agent or their computer. Anytime I call Verizon, I am told something along the lines of "if we can be of further assistance, please let us know". The people I encounter do something important, THEY LISTEN TO ME. I don't feel like I'm getting my wallet ripped out of my backside sans the joy or damage control. So somewhere along there, Verizon is doing plenty of things right. If someone feels otherwise, they may consider re-reading their contracts before they scream about it. I'd venture that customer didn't pay attention and ultimately had buyer's remorse. THAT is not Verizon's responsibility, that rests with the consumer. This consumer thinks that Verizon rocks.

So if anyone specifically at Sprint, Nextel, Verizon, or any other wireless provider for that matter is reading this blog, TAKE NOTE. It's a well known fact that dissatisfied customers do lots of damage by word of mouth. In my case, by word of key. I reach WAY more people this way. Granted, satisfied customers don't always sing praises either, so it's not always known. However, the silently dissatisfied ones are the ones that will make or break a lot of deals. Having worked in industries where those customers can make a bad day for people, and having been one of those customers that made bad days for other people, I understand how this blog will impact things. That was my precise point. My blog is full of rants about companies and services that merit space here to tell people what I think. As the daughter of a Depression era parent, I don't part with my money easily. I have always felt the larger part of the American population was too willing to part with their money without so much as a grease job or reach-around in the process. If I'm getting screwed, I at least want something to minimize damage or I better well be enjoying it. I guess my husband finally realized the lube was no longer there and came to his senses. It will be my pleasure to pay for this divorce. It is worth every single overpriced penny charged by Schmucktel. So Sprint/Nextel, I DIVORCE YOU! I DIVORCE YOU! I DIVORCE YOU! Are you dizzy yet from my circling you three times as I said that? Good, now go pay attention to what "George" and "John" are doing. I bet if I call back I'll get "Paul" or "Ringo". Any takers on that bet?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To all my blog readers with Maternal Status: HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

I got flowers from my kiddlebums....and I took pictures. The story behind these flowers carries a moral too. First the pictures:

The red rose came from my youngest, who cutefaced her way into getting a rose that one of the ministries was selling after Mass for Mother's Day. Very pretty. The bigger daughter got up this morning and bounded to the bathroom while a parent was in there, with the excited "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!" greeting....only to be flattened by the sound of the daddy's voice saying "It's me." She then reminded Daddy that he didn't take her to get a present for Mommy yesterday when he got home from work. This was at 11pm even mind you, but she was still up waiting on him to take her after he got home. Well Daddy being a retail guy closing the store was exhausted. So he told her he'd get something when he went to get a paper. She told him "you gotta get her flowers." So he store bouqet wrapped in plastic. Being last minute though, I'm sure there were few choices available. There were NUMEROUS rotting leaves from being bound up in the plastic so many days. Let's just say that *I* wouldn't have brought that to my mother without cleaning it up first. But that's just me, having worked in a flower shop a couple times for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, and seeing what a florist expects in terms of quality. My husband just didn't want me to go without those flowers our daughter wanted me to have. Let me tell you it took more than a couple minutes to get the arrangement together. And slimy leaves are gross and leave a green slime on your hands.
The moral of the story: If you're going to buy gas station/grocery store bouquets, at least clean them up before you give them to the recipient. Better yet, buy the floral gifts a few days in advance so there is better selection and quality available to purchase. I'm interested to see if the sunflower opens in the next couple days, and to see what those other mysterious white buds are as well....I want to say they're going to be daisies, but I'm no horticulturist by any means.