Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Closet Cleaning

Dear Readers,

I remembered a couple more things hanging in my closet that I should get rid of:

  1. Oprah.  Is the show over?  I think it's over--to you, perhaps.  Not to me.  I decided to DVR the last batch of new episodes, and boy, am I behind!  Oprah's going to live on in my book for a good 20+ epidsodes.  Then we can discuss.  Perhaps I'll get that done in June.
  2. The newspaper delivery.  Believe it or not, I did not get my Sunday paper this week (I've put it on hold for 2 weeks), and nothing's shown up this week either.  Somebody finally got the message!  Have I talked to the local delivery manager?  Um, no--never heard from this person.  Apparently they've fixed the glitch though.  I am going through a little newspaper withdrawal, though I still have a Sunday magazine or two to flip through.  
Closet's definitely looking a little cleaner now.....

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Actually Online

Dear Readers,

In the unknown amount of time I have on my home internet connection today, I'd like to, in the words of the great Jen "Flash" Andrews, "clean out my closet" a little bit.

  1. My lousy internet connection.  I never got a chance to send my choice words to Verizon because my connection went out again.  We got our new set of filters late Monday, and everything was going swimmingly....until Tuesday morning, when our connection was down again.  I spent a nice chunk of time on the phone with Verizon, and we couldn't get it to work, even if just the modem cable was plugged directly into the phone jack.  Something is obviously really wrong, so a technician needs to come out--but no one's available until tomorrow morning (and Thursday is really not a good day for me to have a repairman at my house, since I'll be heading to Las Vegas for the WFTDA Conference).  After I hung up with Verizon, I tried the connection one more time, and it worked (of course)---for all of 3 hours, and then I was kicked off without warning.  No more internet for us...until this morning.  When I went to check on our connection, it was back.  I assume it will go away again at some point in the near future.  
  2. What I can't do online is download podcasts AND surf the web at the same time.  Downloads really suck all the bandwidth.  Forget trying to watch a video.  And a typical 1 hour podcast takes a long time to load--probably a good 15 minutes.  I mean, I'm trying to download a podcast now, and it's saying about 40 minutes.  That's not quite accurate, but you get the picture.  If I'm trying to download more than one, watch out!  There's nothing quite as scary as seeing "8 hours" when you're trying to download a 55 MB file.  It's as if I'm on a dial-up 28.8 modem.  Anyway, I'm running low on my podcasts and I need to stock up.  It'd be nice to do that before I leave.
  3. Cleaning house.  Since I have the Verizon guy coming over tomorrow, I have to clean up my office, which frankly, hasn't seen a duster or a broom in months.  This will not be pleasant.  I also have stacks of books all over the place, since one of my bookshelves is starting to pull out of a wall.  Magazines have also apparently come here to die, though I like to call them my "sample issue collection." So what if they're in piles, right?  They're research!
  4. Vegas!  Yep, I'm heading to Las Vegas for my first WFTDA Conference.  I'm excited to see old friends, make new ones, and talk roller derby for a weekend.  I haven't been to Vegas since 1993, and I've heard it's changed a little bit.  I don't know what I'm in for, but I hope it'll be a good time.
That's about it from's been quite the week in terms of not being able to work, and I'm getting tired of that frustration.  Hopefully next week will be a bit easier.

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Customer Care" of a Certain Kind

Dear Readers,

I don't mean to get all, "I'm irritated by customer service representatives" on you.....oh, wait.  I guess I do.

Today, for some strange reason, my wireless connection stopped working.  I reset the modem, I restarted my computer....nothing helped.  Sigh.  Time to call Verizon customer service.

Now mind you, I've been in a decent mood lately, especially when dealing with customer service reps, retail clerks, etc. When I talked to the Boston Globe today about my delivery problems (which, to me are really dumb.  You generally complain because you don't get your paper.  I've got to complain because I am), I was nice and peppy, asking to give my delivery person a little "come to Jesus" moment but trying to be really nice about it.  The local delivery manager is supposed to call me within the next couple of days to discuss my situation.  I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, back to Verizon.  Once my problem was solved, I received a little popup survey asking for feedback on my experience....except I didn't complete the survey within their 20 minute window, so I haven't sent it to them.  Yet.  Much more fun to tell you first.  So, for your enjoyment, here's my additional feedback on today's Verizon experience:

The customer support person did solve my problems as quickly as possible, but boy, was he a bit snippy with me.  I'm sorry that I don't know what a filter looks like or get confused because my phone line has two splitters and one filter.  I'm sorry that I didn't have my modem password at the ready or can remember how my modem was initially set up 13 months ago.  Don't sound irritated because I have to open up my bill file to try to locate my modem password.  Don't sound irritated because I'm describing something as "the long rectangle."  If I'm describing the filter (I think) as that, it also means that I'm not going to automatically know that "plugging the modem directly to my computer" means "use the 'PC/ethernet' plug" because I'm using a Mac, and Microsoft's responsible for me thinking that "PC" = "Windows," not "personal computer."  
I don't know whether to continue to apologize or relish in the fact that I was probably "moron of the day" for this tech support person.  If it's the latter, please tell him that I look forward to receiving my certificate of achievement.
And that's how I feel about this experience. 
Don't worry--I'll send this to Verizon too. If there's a certificate to be had out of this deal, I want to get my paws on it!  Seriously -- an official "Moron of the Day" certificate would come in so handy!  Whenever the Boy feels I'm doing something dumb, I can just whip it out--and instant excuse!

Somehow though, I don't think that awesomeness is coming my way.  I'll manage somehow.

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No Means No

Dear Newspaper Carrier,

I believe we need to have a "come to Jesus" moment.  Look, I appreciate the job you do--all winter long, no matter how much snow we got, I received a newspaper everyday.  That was amazing.

Problem is, I'm still getting a paper everyday.  Even though I switched to Sundays only a few weeks ago.  I  did that for a couple of reasons:

  1. I need to save some money.
  2. I haven't been able to keep up with my newspaper reading.  
Reason number 2 is actually a little more troublesome.  I like reading the paper, and when I can't get through them, they start stacking up.  I mean, Bin Laden just got killed, according to the stack on my dining table.

Sure, I understand that when the pile gets too big, I can just dump it into the recycling bin.  When I get to a breaking point, that's what I do.  However, a part of my brain feels that when I do dump a stack a week's worth of paper without looking at any of it, I'm wasting money.  I don't like wasting money.

This past week I knew I wasn't going to have time to read the paper, so I called circulation to put a hold on it.  The man who helped me asked "how many Sundays" did I want to stop getting the paper.


Oh, yeah.  I stopped getting the daily paper.  Except that it keeps coming.

I told the circulation person that I was still getting the daily paper and to ask my carrier to stop delivering it.  I don't know if you didn't get the message to switch my subscription, or you think you're doing me a favor by giving me the paper everyday.  It's got to stop.  At this point I'm cheating the Globe by not paying for my paper.  Newspapers are still having a hard go of it, so I really don't want to cheat the Globe.  Please don't add a new layer of guilt onto my conscience.

I'm getting to the point where I want to fully cancel my subscription.  I can't deal with the paper showing up on a daily basis--at least for a few weeks, until my schedule clears up again and I have a little more time to read it.

You'll get one more chance though--I'm going to put one more vacation hold on.  If I keep getting the paper, then I'm going to have to cut you loose.

Thanks for your understanding.

Your pal,

p.s.--I still got my Sunday paper, the one I put on vacation.  What's up with that?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Karmic Merry-Go-Round

Dear Readers,

Call it karma, call it the Golden Rule--no matter how you slice it, what goes around comes around.  Seems like I've been on a karmic merry-go-round the last few days.

After my little post mocking the Boy and his low glycemic lunch, I got my own come-uppance that night.  The Boy and I have different pillows--mine is soft and squishy (and super comfortable), and the Boy's is thinner and not so comfortable--in my mind, and perhaps the Boy's, because he likes to swap pillows every once in a while and stick me with the lousy one.

That evening, I was trying to fall asleep, and my pillow just didn't feel right.  I tried to sneakily determine whether or not it was mine--I ran my hand between the pillow and pillowcase to feel the stitching, and I was just about to spring an A-HA on the Boy when he asked what the heck I was doing.  I admitted I thought he stole my pillow, and to show me, he quickly swapped them out.  I was wrong---and was stuck with a crappy pillow and a case of mocking.

Great.  Serves me right.

But then I was absolved!  The next morning, the Boy missed the commuter train, so I had to drive him 40 minutes to work.  It was a lovely day, so on the way home I stopped for a walk in the woods, and I stopped at a nursery to get some herb plants.

As I was paying for my plants, my phone rang.  It was the Boy, saying he'd forgotten his work laptop at home.  Oops.  I dashed home, grabbed the laptop, and headed back out to his office.  And I didn't even say anything--I mean, what am I going to say that's going to make him feel worse than he already did?  It was a nice day for driving, and I got to catch up on my podcasts.  No big deal.

I think that makes us even now.  At least I hope so!

Your pal,

Friday, May 6, 2011

What I'm Not Allowed to Share on Facebook

Dear Readers,

This week the Boy said something that sounded so bizarre coming out of his mouth, I couldn't help but laugh at him.

He wasn't pleased.  "You'd better not put this on Facebook!" he warned.

"No, I won't put it on Facebook.  I'll just blog about it," I replied.  To be quite honest, this is actually a safer bet.  I have considerably more Facebook friends (who may or may not read my feed) than I do blog readers, so it's highly likely that no one will see this and call him out on it.

Or they might.  But that's the chance I'm willing to take.

Anyway, the Boy's been on a big health kick lately.  Now, the Boy is of the very tall and naturally thin body type.  He's the kind of guy who can eat pretty much anything and not get fat.  Lately, he's been worried about getting older and putting on that middle-aged paunch, and he really doesn't want to be that guy.

To fight the middle-aged spread, he's been really diligent in keeping a food diary, going so far as to figure out how many calories are in one of my homemade empanadas.  He's been good about eating lots of fruit and veg, and he's cut back on the snacks.  It's starting to show--weight's down a little, and he's losing a little bit in terms of inches.

This week, he was proudly cutting up some broccoli and salad to make a "low glycemic lunch."

Low glycemic lunch?  Did that phrase just come out of his mouth?  Out of the mouth of a guy who probably never has to worry about getting Type 2 diabetes because he could never possibly put on enough weight or stop exercising enough to trigger it?

Of course, I started laughing at him.  My husband, the dietician.  Finding his way around the refrigerator.  Making his low glycemic lunch to enjoy at work.

Which I think he did--until he came home and needed a snack.

I can't remember if I was this much fun when I was trying to lose weight.  You know, you're really focused on forming new, better habits, some of which may involve lingo that the average human wouldn't say.  Or maybe I'm just trying to get back at him for picking a fight with me in the grocery store a few years ago because apparently not everybody calls it "shelf-stable juice."  Either way, it was nice to be on the giving side of the mock.  I know the pendulum will swing the other way at any moment, so I'd better enjoy it while I can--perhaps with a side of glucose.

Have a good weekend, everyone!
Your pal,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We Auto Stop This!

Dear Women of America,

Today while I was driving around town, deciding if the closest gas station to where I was actually had cheap gas (it did!  $3.89/gallon!), I saw something that made my jaw drop:  A powder blue Mercedes Benz SUV with eyelashes on the headlights.

Say what???  Eyelashes?!

Oh, yes.  Well, they weren't really eyelashes, they were "Carlashes" (TM) (Patent pending).  But they were car decorations all the same--car decorations that made me weep for this country.  Why does anyone want or need fake eyelashes (or crystal eyeliner) on their car?  Just to make it cute?  For reelz?  You've got nothing else to spend your money on?  Is the recession over?

I mean, like, I really, really don't get why you'd want this on your car, so if someone could explain it to me, I'd appreciate it.  Then I would appreciate you sitting through my lecture on why this product should not exist--especially on your vehicle.  I'll even give you a preview of said lecture:

  1. I can't imagine that many guys would want to be seen in or near your car.  This product cannot possibly help you in the dating world or improve your marriage (though I can't really answer to the lesbian or gay reaction).
  2. If you already have a bra on your car (and I won't even tell you what I think of the car bra either), you absolutely cannot add the lashes.  Boobs don't have eyes in real life, and if you're outfitting your car in such a style, your car boobs shouldn't have eyes either.
I know--this is a free country, so if you want to doll up your car with crystal gimmickry, you should be allowed to.  But should you do it?  Should you really give the terrorists new reasons to hate our country? I realize we've dealt them a pretty big blow recently, but I bet they're trying to regroup and are looking for targets to hate.  My guess--and I say this as the best counter-terrorism expert that's currently sitting in my home office--is that Carlashes will send them over the edge.

Unless, of course, the terrorists have car burqas, and don't really mind the extra adornments. 

Still, I'm just sayin'.  Do what's right, ladies.

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Alarm

Dear Readers,

Yesterday I was on deadline, so I didn't get a chance to blog.  Big news day though, huh?  I mean, Osama Bin Laden finally tracked down -- what a surprise!

Sunday night we actually went to bed early.  We're perpetually going to bed at midnight, and we're zonked all week long (there's no real good reason for our late bedtime -- probably just a little too much time on the computer).  On Sunday I shut it down in the 10:00 hour, and we had lights out around 11:00.  Boy, did we sleep well!

This means I missed the initial "big news conference on late" Facebook posts -- the ones that evolved into something like "We got him!" No, I woke up to the top-of-the-hour announcement on NPR to have my mind properly blown [surprisingly, I didn't even have any NPR dreams about it either].

Sometimes it's like that -- you go to bed one night, and when you wake up in the morning, the entire world has changed.  That happened for a lot of people on 9/11/01, when Bin Laden's minions launched their largest attack on the US at the start of the day in the East, but much earlier for most of the country.  It kind of seems only fitting that this chapter of the story should end in a similar manner.

Bin Laden's capture and demise doesn't necessarily solve anything, but I hope it makes the future better.  Hopefully this will deal a big enough blow to terrorist factions so that we, nor any country who's been struck by a terrorist attack, will never have to deal with such atrocities again.

Your pal,