Friday, February 29, 2008

I Don't Think So

My hubby and I don’t often fight. There has always been 1 exception to this.....being in the car together. Oh he can make me so mad when he is driving.
He tells me to be his co-pilot and he hands me the map and then will say, “you’ve got to tell me where to go okay?” I tell him to turn right. He says, “I don’t think so” and continues on his merry way.

I am holding the map and I have the address who do you think is correct? Then after driving aimlessly in circles for 25 minutes he turns around and goes back to where we should have turned right and says, “we should have turned here” as though I never mentioned it.
Oh God how he frustrates me in a car!

Now having told you this you should also know that he is hopelessly directionally impaired. Oh that is so not an exaggeration. When he used to travel for work I always wondered how the hell he got off a plane in a strange city and ended up where he needed to be on time knowing that he is so bad at directions.  He is a freak about being prompt so I know he was on time but how the hell he got there is anyones guess including his. I now believe when he did arrive at his destination at all it should be considered another wonder of the world.

Now hubby is delusional about a lot of things. (for instance he thinks I’m cute and he thinks he has way more hair than he actually does) But it’s important to note that he isn’t delusional about the fact that he is so directionally impaired. When I suggested he get a GPS he too thought that was a great idea.

Imagine my surprise when one day I get into the car and the woman's voice on the GPS tells him to turn left and he says to her, “I don’t think so”  He is talking back to this automated woman for heaven's sake!  For most of that trip all I keep hearing is the GPS woman say, “recalculating” because he won’t listen to her either. Imagine that!

Then a couple of weeks later I get in his car and the GPS woman is now speaking with an Australian accent. I asked him why.
He answers me with a laugh, "because the other bitch was pissing me off".
I ask him if her lovely accent helps him to listen to her directions he responded with, “You’d think so wouldn’t you?” Meaning – NO.  Now that made me laugh out loud.

So now it’s a little less stressful for me when driving with him with much less arguing.
I always know that we will get wherever we are going in a very unusual way and I no longer take his not listening to my directions so personal. I mean if he talks back to an inanimate object and argues with her......

Monday, February 25, 2008

In Treatment

I am mezmerized by the HBO drama In Treatment.

I tivo it and sometimes want to watch the same episode immediately again after it just finished. I had a mini-marathon this weekend.

I think Gabriel Brynes is so riveting. His face can say so much in this 25-30 minute show that I can't take my eyes off him. I don't believe I have ever witnessed such a range of emotions from an actors face with so little words being used. I can't say enough about this show and all the actors. I like them all but Alex, played by Blair Underwood, has really grown on me. Something is boiling under that military controled surface that I think when it blows it will be ugly or wonderful. No gray area there - ya just know it will be BIG when he stops holding back.

If you haven't watched this show I really hope you can watch it On Demand or in repeats. But watch from the beginning to really get the full grip of the show.

It's shows a therapist who we watch having sessions with 5 patients. Each patient is a different day of course at 9:30pm. Every Monday Gabriel sees Laura, Tuesday his patient is get the idea. Same patient same day....just like in real life.

I think I know where it's going with Laura, this Angelina Jolie look alike with the same smoldering sexuality, but it will be interesting to see how this is tied up for the season. I think Gabriels character is going to cross the line with this chick!

If you enjoy action movies vs. dialogue then this isn't for you. If you enjoy the movie more than the book then this isn't for you. If you hate chick flicks because there is "too much talking" and not enough car chases then this isn't for you.
This programming is smart, dynamic, emotional, raw, adult, and riveting television.
(now that isn't a phrase you hear every day)

But if you think that a really good movie is American Pie or Charlie's Angels then this isn't for you! But if you want to give it a shot it's on HBO every night at 9:30pm EST.

Now if I could only get HBO to pay me for this advertising I would REALLY LOVE THE SHOW!

Friday, February 22, 2008

As the Cable Company turns......

Okay you may have seen the comment from Comcast regarding my post from yesterday.
If you have not they are basically saying to me that they are sorry for my experience but if I would like to email him and contact him he will discuss with me.

Mmmm.....let me see if I understand. I was inconvenienced. I called customer service looking for service and got none. Now you are asking me to stop what I am doing to contact you so you can understand the issue better? How much more do you need to know than what is written?

I always thought since I was inconvenienced and lost many hours of work over many weeks they may want to reach out to me to show that they really are concerned about losing a customer. Obviously not.

Just another window into what Comcast calls service.


Once again the level of customer service I receive is staggering.

Every week I have to call my ISP provider, Comcast, to tell them that I do not have service. Each week they apologize like that is going to make me feel better. They do not listen to the issue they assume they know the issue, which is never the real issue. Aaargh.
For the past 4 weeks I have had to make a call to them at the very least 1 time per week.
The outages vary from week to week. Sometimes only an hour, many more times for several hours like Thursday (5.25 hours today)

Yesterday when I called they told me that they don’t show that I have ever called or had a service technician out to my home since 1999. I never had Comcast until 2000. I got a lecture on how I must call each and every time there is a problem.
Oh my God was all I could think of at that moment because I was so livid.
I asked the person on the phone to please hold as I went to my file cabinet and pulled out the technician work order that I had to sign on January 29th.

I took a deep breath so I could be a bit calmer and then picked up the phone and told the person from Comcast that I was holding the work order from the last week of January. It not only involved a phone call but a visit from a tech from said phone call.
Can you even imagine her response to me? She said, “Oh” Let me repeat that.
She said, “Oh.” She said it like she knew this all along and that she assumed that I wasn’t going to be smart enough to know when they were here last or when my last call was. (btw the last call was on February 11th)

Still biting down hard enough on my tongue so I do not say something I will regret yet just so I do not produce blood, I asked for some financial reimbursement on my bill since I have had so many outages of late. She stated that “we don’t like to do that.” Once again I am completely and utterly shocked at these words. As I type this I am laughing at her balls to even say that to a customer. Have to give her credit for the balls I must admit.
Honestly looking back on this I don’t know why I was shocked there is no longer service anywhere so why does this continue to surprise me? I am hopelessly delusional in my belief that someday I will actually receive any service when I call customer service.

I told this Nitwit that I don’t like to have to ask for reimbursement either and I would much prefer to have service than to have to make this request. (Actually I would rather have a sharp stick in the eye than to have to deal with her but I did not share that lovely sentiment)
I then asked if I could please speak to a supervisor when suddenly she turned into an angel and could find it in her cold heart to give me $20.00 off my bill.

Nitwit continues to say things that about made my head explode. She said to me that since it was early morning (8:45am) maybe I could do something else than PLAY in email or online and when I get back to the computer it may be up and running by then.
At this point my tongue was bleeding. I took a deep breath and with literally everything I could muster to be professional I told this nitwit that I work from home so I am neither playing in email or online. My customers come to me via email and I must respond quickly. I can not retrieve our website and I am working with the designer of said site at 11:00am. This is costing me money. She then had the balls to tell me to upgrade my service to the professional service if this was used for business purposes. I asked what that would do for me and she said she was not sure but she would transfer me.

I personally think that Nitwit just couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough.
So she passed me over to Numb Nuts.

Numb Nuts tells me that the only difference between the service that I have now and what a professional package could give me is that the technicians COULD come out faster to service me if I have an outage.
I asked what the difference in price would be and he tells me that it goes from $46/month to $95/month. I ask if this gives me new cables, new equipment or anything that I don’t currently have in place that would increase reliability and speed and he said, “ No, just that a tech will – and here is the clincher – PROBABLY come out there sooner.” PROBABLY I asked? If they are in your area they will PROBABLY come the same day. He kept saying PROBABLY. So, basically as I see it I have to PAY $50 more a month in hopes that he PROBABLY will show up and PROBABLY be in my area and PROBABLY know what the problem is. It is all a big gamble and I am not a gambler.
I told Numb Nuts that this just doesn’t sound like a value to me so I would have to pass. And then Numb Nuts says something astounding, “yea you might as well stay where you are....sorry”
Great sales pitch Numb Nuts. I bet you are swimming in commissions.

So I orders FIOS and since I get a 30 day free trial I might as well give it a go and keep the Comcast until my 30 days are up to see if it is worth it. How can it be worse? I am meeting a friend tonight for drinks and I think she mentioned awhile back that she was frustrated with Comcast so she was going to FIOS. I may have to pick her brain to see if it is good, bad or just plain indifferent like Comcast.
Right now carrier pigeon would be better than Comcast!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Random Thoughts

*I watched American Idol last night and the only thing that kept standing out to me was how androgynous the American Male has become. I think we have just gone over the line of metrosexual here. Not a lot of testoterone in the bunch.

*Obama won Wisconsin and Hawaii. 'Nuff said.

*Is there anything more disturbing than the Iraqi Vet who is charged with raping a 3 month old baby? The baby sustained brain damage, 17 broken bones and is undergoing therapy. Which I assume means physical therapy since the baby is so young. Jeez. There are no words for this. He says he was drunk and was taking pain killers. C'mon. (insert my mantra here!)

*We are still doing our taxes....thank God there is a deadline because it's beginning to feel as though we may NEVER get done.

*Why do people ask me when they call the business if we are any good? And will the final product look nice? Would you ask the chef at a resturant if he was any good? Would you ask a school teacher if she was any good? Would you ask your plumber if he was any good? And if you did would you expect any of them to say, "hell no we suck but we'll take your money if you're foolish enough to hand it over!" (insert my mantra here!)

*Have you noticed how much weight Oprah has gained since the break down of her thyroid? I feel badly for her. The only good thing about that is that she puts a face to this constant struggle that everyone thinks once you get medication for you'll just drop pounds. If only it were that easy. Wish she would do a show on the topic and not tell her audience that if you hold in your voice you'll get hypothryoidism or hyperthryoidism. That show was harmful to everyone and ridiculous at best.

*The people who live across the street from me are a Jerry Springer show each and every day for me out my office window. A woman lives there with her husband AND her boyfriend. Her kids from both live there as well. (her mom lives there too w/her boyfriend.) There a couple of families who live there and it's like a car wreck outside my office window. I know I shouldn't stare but I can't help it.

*I called a travel agent for some rates or packages to Las Vegas. I told the agent which hotels I would prefer to stay at. She never asked me if I had a budget or an amount I didn't wish to go over. She just started off telling me that the hotels I had choosen were too expensive and kept telling me about packages and rates at cheap hotels that I wouldn't even want to stay in. When I said no I want rates for XYZ she told me again that they were really expensive. I told her that I still wanted to know and that if that is what I want I should make the decision if they are too much money for me. She told me a few rates and then said that she wouldn't recommend them because there really are cheaper ones not much further away. They make a commission so why would she do this? I had a burning desire to ask to speak to the owner but I did not. I said okay and hung up. I'll do the research myself. Aren't they suppose to SELL travel? And isn't the majority of selling listening to what your client really wants and giving him that and perhaps more?
(insert my mantra here!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Spring Training and My List

Okay the ole arm is able to really move of late. I guess my physical therapist isn't just torturing me. I can now get my right arm ALMOST parallel to my ear.
Now if only my legs could do that. (sick, sick, sick but who you kidding you thought that too)

I am so excited. It's warm out today, my allergies are in full bloom, my tulips are showing their lovely leaves and that means only 1 thing. Spring Training Baby.
God how I love this time of year. I can't wait until the super bowl is over and then I know it's almost here. I am so excited about this new year, new manager, new players. Oh how I love my boys of summer! I bleed pinstripes baby!!

My hubby and I had some friends over for drinks. 3 couples. Somehow we got to talking about his "list". Remember that episode of Friends when Ross had his list laminated? Like he was ever going to meet Isabella Rossellini.
My husband's is lamininated too... in his mind.....he cracks me up.
The normal couple played along with all of this and we all were laughing a good deal. But one of the females thought it was awful that her spouse would even think about having a list let alone have one. When we pointed out that he really doesn't have an actual list written down or laminated it didn't stop her. She actually got mad. She wanted the topic changed because it was pissing her off so much that her face was turning red. Oh please, grow up is what I wanted to shout AND we're all just joking around. Apparently this idea was not funny or worthy of a joke to her.
It's not like we run in the same circles and my hubby will run into Selma at the Piggly Wiggly. Yep when I am moping the floor there is such a good chance thatGeorge Clooney may just be outside my front door with limo to take me away from this drudgery...I hear he likes the smell of lemon pledge.

I made the mistake of saying (before her face turned red) that if Selma Hayek were to bump into him and she just had to have my little pot bellied stallion I would have to say to him, "honey go for it and enjoy"
After I stated that I would "let him go for it" this young blonde thing next to me about died. She shrieked, "how could you? She went literally ape shit at this point. She said she wouldn't even speak to her husband if he even told her he looked at other women let alone had a list."

Okay that's a bit much to me but I didn't share that thought with her. I instead said that while we and Selma and for that matter George don't hang out in the same circles the chances are slim to none that it would happen. This isn't real, this will never happen and we are all just having a good laugh and are joking around. The other couple sat there with their mouths open like they too couldn't believe this was happening. Wow this young thing needs a lesson in reality.....or at the very least get a sense of humor. I mean really Selma would never meet hubby unless she likes to go fishing and George probably won't get the chance to meet me unless he stops by Lowe's or the growcery store....but hey it's just fun to play....just like dreaming of winning the lottery. People need to lighten up. Get a sense of humor and for God's sake if you honestly think your husband will never notice another woman ever again then you need to get your head out of your ass. that too harsh?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Remember when VD was so much fun? I couldn't wait to read all my Valentines. I remember the night before writing them all out. I so hoped that cute boy would send me a special Valentine. I loved all the ones with glitter. Oh yes, I was a glitter foo-foo girly girl back then. Hmm....what the hell happened to that girl?

I had a cookie company 13 years ago or more. Valentines Day meant 24 hours of work. Literally. I am not exaggerating. We would start work on the 13th of February at 4:30a.m. and work until 6p.m. on the 14th. It was grueling. We used to call it by the company name(which will remain nameless) "Cookie XYZ tired" That meant dog ass tired, loopy tired, delirious tired. All of the above.

To this day my husband and I will refer to being tired and ask, "but are you Cookie XYZ tired?" Hell you can go on.

Because of all that work and all that craziness to give people's loved one cookie bouquets or baskets or mugs we no longer really like this holiday. Even out of the buisness for 13 + years we still feel this is not a holiday for us.

Last month I made him promise not to get me anything for this holiday. I told him this- "besides honey it's so close to my birthday and that is my favorite holiday so save it all for then."

Now before I hear all the sigh's and aww's like we are pathetic for not celebrating this hallmark holiday we are going out to dinner tonight. But to be honest it's more about the convenience of neither of us cooking than it is Valentine's day.

Besides in 3 weeks I expect big beautiful shiney and sparkly things!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Okay I made it home last night from the frigid north and Dad’s 80th celebration.

The Good:
It was sunny and 4 degrees yesterday when we left! Woo –hoo!!!
Satellite radio in the rent a car so one could listen to comics and laugh on the dreadful drive.
My Dad was sincerely gleeful and thankful for the party and had a helluva good time.
(hangover to prove it)
Hubby and I saw some friends and family that were fun to see and party with.
The food at the party was superb!

The Bad:
It was sunny and 4 degrees yesterday when we left
It was snowing and blowing and frigid all weekend.
It was 50-60 mile an hour winds and that made it -12 to -15 degrees outside on the day of the party.
The snow was blowing so hard you couldn’t see and the wind made it difficult to walk.
The hole in my tongue is from biting it so much around family and other assorted numb nuts.
The hotel bed.
'nuff said.

The Ugly:
It was sunny and 4 degrees yesterday when we left and that was the high the whole time we were there!!!!!
There was a foot of snow that fell and another 6-12 on it’s way when we left.
One sister did not show up for her father’s 80th birthday. There are no excuses for that.
The smell of the car with 50 garlic and butter chicken wings that my husband insist he had to buy from this local bar to bring back home. Oh it was bad. The poor folks who rent that car next.

Overall not too bad of a trip...getting started was a hoot.
My husband was making all kinds of goofy mistakes when we were trying to leave our home. We drove around our development for 45 minutes before we could truly leave. The first time we got to the traffic light to turn on to the highway he says he left his wallet on the back we go. Then we get to the last intersection before we leave the development and I ask, did you remember to get the E-Z pass out of the car? He answers so proudly, “I sure did and he removes it out of his sweatshirt pocket as he does a “ta-da”. I look at what he is holding and laugh and say, “honey that is the garage door opener.” Back we go.....again.
I am laughing hysterically at this point because he was so damn proud that he remembered without me having to tell him. C’mon now you all know that’s funny. So as we pull away from our house I say, “Are we really ready this time?” He says we sure are and we try this again. Now leaving our development we should turn left....he turns right. I say while laughing my ass off, “Where are we going?” He says angrily, “Margaret where the hell you think we’re going?” I am laughing so hard because to me this is funny but I am also just a bit scared like my stud muffin is perhaps getting Alzheimer’s? I say, "Hon, we are headed toward DC and we are going the wrong way." To which he responds with a few obscenities and does yet another u-turn and he says to me, “My God my head is up my ass today....and you don’t need to comment any further on that.” I just laughed. No need to abuse the old coot.

Seeing my father have so much fun and be so damn happy was worth all the bullshit and the family crap. I mean really, he’s 80, how many more times will I see him that happy? How many more times will I even get to spend that much time with him? He can truly be a pain in the arse but he means well most of the time. I have to try and remember that.
A few others there....not so much.

I’m home now at one with my stuff and my great bed and where the cold is relative. Today it is 28 degrees....that would have been a heat wave where I was so I am doubly glad to be home. It’s true, there is no place like home.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Trip Home

I am going to my hometown this weekend. I am dreading it. Most of my friends say they are excited to go home to visit family. Me, I get nauseous just thinking about the dreaded trip. 7 hour drive in what is normally 4 seasons while driving. (no airline flies directly there so it’s quicker to drive) It will be cold, it will be snowing and it will be miserable. And not because of the weather.

When I was 7 or 8 I remember so clearly (I don't remember much clearly these days so that always surprises me) knowing that I would move and get out of this city.
I was laying on the grass with my younger sister looking at the clouds. I distinctly remember saying to her that I was going to live somewhere else. I remember her asking me where and I told her I didn't know but I was not going to be a grown up and live there. I didn't even know why I didn't want to live there exactly but yet I knew I wouldn't be here and that I didn’t “fit in” here.

It's hard to explain that feeling I had that day. I remember it so vividly yet I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. I always wanted "more". I wanted travel in my life and to experience all kinds of people and books and ideas. I didn’t know where I would get them but I knew it wasn’t there even at 7....which still surprises the hell out of me.

Now it was an okay place to grow up I guess. There wasn't really any culture per se. There was no diversity, which I think is horrible for children to not be exposed to others who are unlike them. But my parents were good enough to realize that moving us to the 'burbs for better schools would be good for their girls. That saved me. Had I not gone to a school with such an open minded curriculum with such a forward thinking school district at that time, I not only would have been bored out of my mind but I would have gotten into trouble I am sure out of pure boredom. This school opened my mind, encouraged my love of books and showed me new worlds which are so important when your world is so small. The school at the time had the highest test scores in the state and had the highest majority who went on to college. I am blessed and thankful that we moved those 15 miles away from the city core.

My hometown city is the same today as it was when I was a kid. To some that is nice, to me it is sad. Doesn't everyone need to grow in some form or another? I am not saying it needs to be NYC, San Francisco or even Chicago I am just saying that perhaps doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is rather pathetic.

The city is 1/2 the size it was when I was growing up. It is a blue collar town. It was an industrial city where you worked at GE or Hammermill paper and got a gold watch when you retired. Factories galore. To get a job that was not in a factory you got an education and then you left to secure work. Or you were in the "trades" and in a union.(like my dad) and you stayed.

As the factories closed nothing came to replace them except minimum wage service jobs. So many people have lost jobs but without a college education what could they do? The factories were closing and the jobs remaining were low paying and without insurance etc. Some moved, most stayed out of fear of the unknown. Usually those with some type of training or education moved to put food on the table.

The close proximity to Canada and other large cities brought in the shoppers to save on there being no sales tax so that was a boom to the chain restaurants and malls off the interstate. The beaches on the great lake where the city lay provided for tourism dollars in the summer to spend at the malls and the chain restaurants. Slowly the only people there were the tourists and the old people left behind or those that didn't go to college who are working at one of the remaining factories or service industry jobs. Those that stayed after college generally stayed for family reasons.

The downtown is boarded up. People don't make much money so anything new is generally seen as being too expensive and goes out of business quickly. (Starbucks, fine dining restaurants) They complain constantly. They complain about the lack of jobs, the deteriorating buildings and city but do nothing different. Their motto, "it's worked for us for the last 50 yrs doing it this way, why change?"
The same people are on the city council with the same ideas and archaic thinking. Anyone with a new idea is ridiculed until they leave office. The average income is what the rest of America would consider poverty. The general population is neither well traveled or well read. They think going to the other side of the city in 15 minutes is a big deal and another world and they just don’t ever do it.

Their world has become very small and they fear anything or anyone who is different or new. I believe that fear breeds ignorance and I see it every time I go home.
Races are separated to different parts of town like the 1950's. There is high crime, low test scores, high teen pregnancy and low paying jobs. Yet housing has kept up with the national average which I find remarkable.

So having just stated only a couple of the issues of my hometown you can probably see why every one there is negative. I wonder if I had stayed would I have become that negative too? Anyone who makes something of themselves is "high falutin'"
They wait for those who attain any measure, no matter how small, of success to fail and insist it will happen instead of being happy for them. Everything, everyone and every day is a negative experience that you will see from a family member, a store clerk, a waitress, or even a friend who stayed behind. It's snowing but there is a rainbow - they don't see the rainbow and the sun shine, they only bitch about the snow.
Instead they say, “What rainbow...haven’t you ever seen a rainbow before?:
(That is a true story that happened last year when I was home)
The negativity feels heavy and depressing and I can't wait to leave to shake it off.

Those who live there think this town is a "good place to raise your kids" You'll hear that all the time and see it in the newspaper and on their local news.
When I heard that at a family picnic I about died. Hello? The worst school test scores in the country, no culture, no diversity, a large drug culture. Gangs, and no hope for the younger generation. How the hell can that be a good place to raise your children?

But I am going back to my hometown because my father will be 80 this weekend and he deserves a party. We will all be home to celebrate. I will try desperately to ignore the negative comments and there will be many.....from my father as well. I hope that after 2 1/2 days there I can come home and be thankful for my life, my hubby and the fact that I got to pay my way through college and listened to that inner voice when I was 7 and got the hell out of dodge!