Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Something Good about Growing Old

I have a lot of close friends and family who are having milestone birthdays.

All are dealing differently. It is so interesting to observe.

Perhaps it depends on the actual milestone.
Some of these milestone have had me partying and some have had me a bit depressed.....but always partying.
This past few months I have had friends and family turning 30, 40 and 50.
The 30 year old made me chuckle at her depression over being 30. I thought back to my 30th and I don't recall being upset at all. In fact I loved it. I felt very grown up. I was no longer in my 20's and I really thought people would see that as an adult and what I said held more weight. What I do remember was the trauma of turning 31. 31 to me was well.....OVER 30. I thought that sounded horrible. 31 to me was that next box up on a survey asking your age range. For some reason 31 was a kick in the ass more for me than 30 ever was.

My last milestone birthday made me reevaluate what I wanted to do for the last half of my life.
What I had been doing for the last 20 something years was no longer gratifying.
I admit I stayed longer than I wanted because the money was intoxicating.
So I am much poorer, but oh so much happier. (albeit my grumpy blogs) :-)

I have a young friend who is in another country right now for work. She has been there for months and she is so homesick and so missing her husband. Even in her IM's to me I hear her pain. But that is the price one pays for climbing the corporate ladder. She's at the beginning of her career and this is what one must do to achieve what she is hoping to achieve. It has now begun to make her physically ill. She gets knots in her stomach and stomach pains, headaches and stress in her shoulders. She told me via email today that she can't imagine having to do this for the next 20 yrs like I did. I had those symptoms and more but it took me until the end of my career - she's already there.

I could so relate but I wasn't sure what the hell to tell her so I just listened until she asked again.
I could only tell her my experience. If you are that miserable then look for work elsewhere. But if you like the job but not the climbing of the ladder then by all means talk to your supervisor. Maybe she can move to a different department but sometimes once you tell them you don't want to do what it takes to climb they find a way to fire you. They think you aren't a team player and all the other corporate bullshit. Because of that I think looking for work else where may be the ticket for her. But I told her to not make any desicisions while she is homesick. She'll remember how this all feels when she gets home and then reevaluate what you want your career to look like. Who knows it could be all the gross food, the 12 hour time difference from her family and friends and missing her spouse. Once she's home it could all be better.

When my husband and I were in the middle of our careers we both traveled a great deal. We both worked from home offices when not on the road. Sadly we weren't in our home offices at the same time very often. But we loved our careers.

I remember a time after a month of constant traveling when I called my husband's cell and asked him what city he was in because I couldn't remember anymore. He told me the city and then he admitted he couldn't remember where I was either and asked, "hey when will you be home again?". We commiserated that evening while eating our room service dinner together on the phone....but then back to our laptops and working all night and the reality of it all. It sucked.
It was the beginning of the end so to speak. The shine was beginning to wear off at this point in my career. But I pushed it aside and plowed ahead.....for another year or two anyway.

One trip I was on I woke up in the wee hours of the morning because I had to go to the bathroom. In a groggy stae of mind as I'm pee'ing I am trying to remember where I am. Manhattan? Minnepolis? Nebraska? I left the bathroom and proceeded to look at the placard on the back of my hotel room door looking for the city name posted. It wasn't there. It only told me I was in a Marriott and how to get out of the room in case of fire. For some reason I began to panic. I looked out the window to see pitch black and realized I wasn't in Manhattan but where the hell was I? I clearly remember going through my trip in my head and the city remained blank to me and I was so scared. What the hell was going on with me? I mean to tell you I was in full blown panic mode now. I put on the TV hoping to see news of some sort naming the city I was in. While the TV was on I went into my briefcase looking for my itinerary. I was fumbling around through papers with my heart pounding and then I found it....I was in Albany, NY. Aaah, I felt so much better. I could go back to sleep now. I turned off the TV and fell back to sleep immediately. What a weird feeling that was and one I will never forget. That was sort of the beginning of the end for me. It was time to make some changes. Sometimes I think that was a nudge from above to put the wheels in motion.

I now like being home, at one with my stuff.
I like seeing my husband every day.
I like not having to sit in airports or train stations. (or I should say being delayed all the time)
I like sleeping in my own bed with my favorite pillow.
I like not having to wear heels all the time.
I like not having to eat out all the time.
I like not having to be dressed up all the time.
I like not having to play corporate bullshit games.

I will admit I do sorely miss Manhattan. (my main territory)
I do miss the money.
I do miss the camaraderie of my work friends.
But would that be enough to go back? No, I'll be just fine working from home, seeing the old man every day and not wearing shoes very often.

Hey, don't tell Oprah but I think I found something good about being in my 50's!! :-)

This is truly a part of old age that is fitting me very well.

Weekly Random Thoughts

Olympics. Olympics. Olympics.
There are 100 channels of Olympic games on with various sports on all of the different channels. And honestly not a lot of games I care about. Beach volleyball is not an Olympic-caliber sport. Hot tanned chicks in bikinis leaping around while music is playing is a Cinemax movie at 3 a.m., not a sport. (hubby even agrees)
Did you all see the guy who ran up the bleachers after he and his team mate won in beach volley ball? He got to the top and stood under his flag of Georgia and honestly it looked like he had a boner. I guess he was very excited about this win! My husband and I couldn't stop laughing....we even rewound to see if what we saw was for real. God, we really are bored and immature aren't we? God help us until fall televison programming is on.

My Yankees are R.I.P. for the rest of the season. Sigh.

I am in vacation count down mode...4 more days.

I bought an in home bikini wax kit. I think this may be a huge mistake but I'm going to give it a try because I would much prefer the privacy of my own home than some Vietnamese woman in my private areas. My husband was looking at directions last night. He found the diagrams of your "bikini" area a hoot. They have pictures of what you might want your "area" to look like. They have a picture of an upside down triangle and they call it " The Traditional." The 2nd picture is of a thin landing strip, referred to as the European. I want to know how they know what the European's vajay jay's look like. Have they done a survey? And can you picture how that survey was done? "ma'am we're taking a survey to see what European women shape their pubic hair to look like or if they take it all off ....could you lift your skirt right here on the street please...it's in the interest of science and polling purposes?"

UPS is now refusing to refund my money for the overnight package that didn't get there overnight. How do we all tolerate such horrific service and keep these companies in business?

Are the elections over yet? Please. I can't take any more McCain and Obama commercials. Sadly the best commercial was Paris Hilton's rebuttal to John McCain. As I said before in this blog it's a sad state of affairs when her energy plan is the best one out there.

Have I mentioned that I can't wait for vacation?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic OD'ing

I have been watching the Olympics like most of America. Truth be told I am sick of them now. Sure I enjoyed watching Michael Phelps kick ass and Daria do her thing. I enjoy gymnastics too but overall I'm bored to tears now. Equestrian...really?

But there is nothing else on TV. Although I have to admit I found a delightful 30th anniversary show on the movie Animal House. It was a hoot and a great diversion from the Olympics.
Actually I think it could be touted as the complete 180 of the Olympics. No discipline, no rules, no structure and lots of excess! I loved that movie and I quote to this day one of my favorite lines from there all the time. "7 years of college down the drain"
The anniversary show had a lot of behind the scene information and film and it had me laughing out loud. (which made my husband downstairs jealous because the olympics were not fun or funny)

I got a call Saturday night that my package was delivered that late afternoon. The box had a big orange sticker on it that said SATURDAY. However my mom told me the next day air sticker was on there too which read - Friday, August 15th by 10:30a.m. Needless to say my niece did not receive her package. Enough said.

We leave for a week's vacation this Saturday morning and I can't wait.
So pictures will follow I am sure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Guaranteed Delivery My Ass!

Where oh where has the service gone I ask yet again.

I went to UPS yesterday morning to have a package sent to my neice prior to her leaving for her first year of college on Saturday morning. I thought she was leaving the following week and when I found out she was leaving this Saturday I headed off to the UPS counter. Not a UPS store, the actual UPS shipping site and went into their counter.

I sent this package yesterday to Erie Pennsylvania from here in the DC metro area.
I paid $46.48 to have it be delivered by 10:30a.m. August 15th - today!

The woman behind the counter was a sight to behold with a quick attitude. Flaming sparkly deep pink nails...some of which were grossly long and some of which were gnawed to the quick. She had fried yellow orange hair with black roots and she looked as my husband likes to say, "ridden hard and put away wet" When I got to her counter I asked about all the choices that were listed behind her on the wall that I could choose for overnight service. She was a woman in her 50's and not as helpful as I would have liked and a bit surprised that she had such a slacker attitude but she did answer all my questions, even if she was snippy. When I asked her the 2nd time, "Are you sure this will be there by 10:30am tomorrow?" she responded with, "Honey, that's what guaranteed by 10:30am means." (said like I was a dumb ass & truth be told I understood her sarcasm, but I was a bit nervous) I laughed and said, "duh! I'm sorry I just really want it to be there by 10:30a.m." and she promised it would be.
She stated that the "saver" could be there anytime during the 15th but that me choosing "guaranteed" meant it was going to be there by 10:30a.m. and it was indeed guaranteed.

I told her that was my choice and I coughed up the money. I received a shipment receipt and she pointed out on the receipt my tracking number and information. I looked it over and all information was correct. I thanked her and was on my way. That was 10am. yesterday morning.

As I write this it is 5:30p.m. on August 15th and my niece has not received it. Surprise!
I went online to the UPS website to track my package this morning at 9:30a.m. I figured I might be able to see it's route and how far away it was from my nieces's little hands. The website said that it could not be found? HUH? The following occured in this order.

1. I called the 800# and told them the problem and she told me there was nothing she could do about it because it looked like it never got sent from here. She hung up. No, "I'm sorry Ms. Customer." Nothing but hung up on me.
2. I called back and got a nice young man and repeated my story. To which he calmly told me there really wasn't anything he could do until it was missing for 24 hrs. Sort of like a missing person. No one will help you unless their body is cold. I asked him if there was a phone number to my local UPS office from where I dropped it off and he said NO. (yeah right) I asked if he could contact them. (Once again why the hell am I making suggestions why isn't he suggesting some form of assistance to me the put upon customer?) He said he could send the shipping office an email and have them call me. I thanked him and respeated the phone number to call me at work.
3. UPS calls me and unfortunately I was on the phone with a customer so it went into voicemail. The UPS representative said the package left their office last night and it's not their problem. (see steam coming out of my ears at this point!) NOT HER PROBLEM? SHE IS UPS THIS.IS.HER.PROBLEM! She told me to call the 800# and tell them to contact the hub in Erie PA.
4. I called the 800# yet again and the snippy little twerp that answered told me she had no way of contacting Erie. I was so angry at this point I could have exploded but I know that I'll get further with honey than piss and vinegar so I calmly ask her why she can't when they did this for me earlier? She laughs and then all I hear is click along with my head exploding of course.
5. I walk away from the phone to cool down.
6. I am calmer within 30 minutes so I again call the 800# and get a nice young man who I have to tell the whole fucking story to yet again from the beginning. He says he will contact Erie by sending them a message to see what he can find out but it's highly unlikely that they will respond. (Oh lovely.) He then tells me that you know just because it's says guaranteed doesn't mean it's really guaranteed. I suggested he not tell his customers this because it will make them angry since they have to pay almost $50.00 for pretend guaranteed delivery. And he tells me and I quote, "it is what it is" unquote. I suggest they may want to put that on their signs.
7. At 3pm I call the 800# again. I tell a the young girl the situation and if she could give me an update. Her response was there is nothing we can do so just sit tight it will show up eventually and if I want I can call back on Monday and see if they found it. I said that I would like to suggest that instead of being so cavaliar about her customers concern for not only the loss of a $500 package & the fact the the promise was not kept, she could at least try to fein concern and empathy for the customers situation. Her response to that you ask? "huh?" Yes that is correct that was the only thing this dim wit said to me. I guess that was more than here little brain could digest. I was so exhausted at this point I just said good bye.
8. I called at 5:00p.m. I started by saying that I was not angry at him but if I sounded a bit angry it was because of this situation. (remember I am trying to be kind because it is not his fault but every bone in my body wants to hurt someone) I then went through this yet again from the beginning with a very nice young man who explained to me that he could not put in a tracer until the package was missing for 1 day. At 12:01a.m. on August 16th I could call the 800# and put in a tracer and at that point I could also ask for a refund for my overnight shipping. Now mind you this is the first time I have been told any of this shit. I was about to kiss the guy. I am so happy for this nipple of information and his "service" that I am thrilled that he is giving me information and pretending that he gives a shit that I am not even thinking about the actual loss of it all. He also told me that the loss of the package and it's contents were a whole other matter which I would have to take up with the agent at that time I call in for the tracer. He was so nice he talked me off the ledge. Now that is what I wanted all along, pretending you give a shit, give me facts and a plan. God Damn it how hard is that? Apparently for UPS employee's this is difficult.

Now here I sit at 5:50p.m. and my niece tells me there is no package. She will be leaving in the morning and her gifts will not have arrived. My husband and I put a lot of thought into this gift. My husband wrote her a poem that was heartfelt and so lovely it made me cry. He has always done these silly poems for her since she was a kid and it always made her giggle. When she got old enough to read he would write them to her. We did not make copies of the two of them. We were stupid. Each poem was attached to each gift he sent her - they were a matched set so to speak. My gift was gift cards and a check along with a book. She said she really needed money and I got that. So the gift cards can get some fun things while away and the money can be for books etc. I know an 18 yr old off to school is always in need of money! So now she will have none of this.

Is there a sign over my head that says, "give me poor customer service"? Am I so jaded to think that there is no damn such thing as service anymore?
My husband called into the office and asked how my day was going and when Itold him his only response was, " Margaret I love that you are so surprised that this happened and maybe try Fed Ex next time" Like that is going to help. I am sure they are no different than the boys in Brown.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ben & Jerry .....I LOVE THESE GUYS!

First, you need to know that Ben and Jerry are the only two men I would ever leave my husband for!

And these boys did it to me again. Damn them....I can not resist them.
They just came out with a 3.6 oz Ben & Jerry container of ice cream. OMG is this a winner. Which one of you guys came up with this? I want to marry you!!

This mini tub of the best ice cream ever even comes with a little spoon under the lid too. They had them on sale for like 10 for $10 at my grocery store. I saw them for the first time this weekend and went into a frenzy of ice cream excitment! C'mon ice cream headache!
How could we pass this up. It's still the great creamy rich flavor only in a mini size so you aren't tempted to eat a whole pint!!

As for that "whole" pint. We went to Ben & Jerry's in Vermont several years ago. Truly the happiest place on earth! Disney has nothin' on this place.

It was in the fall and it was a rainy day so we decided to head up to Montepelier to tour the Ben & Jerry's and stop at this place we had read about in the Washington Post for dinner.
So we started with dessert....

When we got there we found the ages ranged from the late 20's to the 80's. It was all adults but then again it was a weekday and in the fall so the kids were probably in school. Everyone was talking and laughing and there was no one without a smile on their face the whole time we were there.....including yours truly.

We got in line for our tour and 1/2 way through the tour a machine broke down so they told us they had to stop the tour but they herded us to another Ben & Jerry room. In this room they continued to serve up all the familiar flavors and new flavors that they were working on. Needless to say no one there was too upset about the loss of the remaining tour.
Everyone was making friends and moaning over new and old flavors and talking ice cream. Honestly it was a hoot. At one point I said to my hubby that he needed to look around and see how happy every one was. He looked at me and said, "what is there to not be happy about?" Good point!

Now I have always complained that the information on the side of a pint of Ben & Jerry's says it serves 4. C'mon really? They are just trying to make us feel badly - those damn food police.
Well I will boldly admit that I can watch an hour long episode of many of my favorite shows and down a pint all alone. Yea, that's right - not four - just ME and MY PINT.
I always ask what 4 people can all eat just one pint? 4 small children perhaps. But I say it's 1 serving and 2 at best. (okay you can see my issues on ice cream now)

But while in the B & J's gift shop they had koozies for the pints! Now c'mon, right there it shows you that this is for 1. You don't have a koozie for your beer and have it say serves 4 and you share it. They don't make coozies for more than 1 so there is my point and for some reason that made me feel a whole lot better.....just not thinner.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Where the Hell Ya'll Been?

If I had a nickel for each time I heard from someone about my lack of posting on the blog site I would never have to work again! Damn!

My PC crashed and boy has it has been ugly.
My whole life was in that computer. My address book alone was a wealth of info. Not only email addresses but the home address, all the phone numbers and birthdays associated with that person. I am so lost without it. So with no email I had no personal folders which hold, all passcodes to get into all things I use, no saved data and links that I use all the time, etc. Then you add my work life which is ALL in the computer from the most minor things like invoice and fax forms to all business data that is necessary to run our daily life. And biggest of all, work email which is different from personal email in that it is web based.
Then just because that isn't enough there are 5 yrs of photo's that I no longer have.
Not a good few weeks.

It happened on what started out as a good Monday morning. I was bouncing between excel, work email and the internet. All of a sudden when I was on the net (to read the Washington Post) it started acting weird. Then I got a pop up that said that I may have a virus and to clean it hit OK. Well I was at least smart enough to know that hitting OK was the WRONG thing to do and that in itself was the virus. You can try to close it by hitting the X but it won't go away. I can not get to any program now because it keeps popping it's ugly head onto my screen. My virus ware runs a scan every morning and it did that day too so I was confused. I run anti-spy ware, virus software, and ad adware (4 programs to be exact) every week so why the hell did all this fail me? So after I calmed down I decided it was way too early to start drinking no matter how badly I wanted to. So I called Geeks on Call instead.

For those of you who have never used Geeks on Call they can be helpful but weird. I am not a geek by any means. Surprise I am not a technical person. While people bug the shit out of me and I say I am misanthropic I still am more of a people person with social skills vs. a geek with no social skills but in possession of a technological mind. Or at least I like to think so.

They arrived that afternoon and the Geek spent 5 1/2 hours running programs in safe mode to try to clean this sucker. It was painful to watch but more painful to make conversation and ask questions. I am a control freak. I want to know what the hell is going on. I understood everything he was doing for the most part but when I didn't I would ask. He would answer in something that sounded like jibberish. I finally asked him to dumb it down for me, the simple non technicial woman. He tilt his head like the RCA dog and stared at me for a moment as though he didn't understand my request but was trying to compute it in his mind. He blinked a few times and then with his brows furrowed he tried to explain it to me without jargon. I thought the poor geek's head would explode. He was so obviously uncomfortable with using words that we mere mortals can understand.....it was painful to watch. I almost laughed but I didn't want to make him feel badly, I mean I am the idiot. But sometimes people with all these "smarts" crack me up because the simpliest of things prove so difficult for them. But hey at least he was nice and polite and didn't give me poor service or attitude. I appreciated that!

At 8:30p.m. he finally said he had to take my processor. I about cried. So fast forward a few weeks later and he still has it. We are now getting a new hard drive. (insert heavy sigh here) I don't even know how to begin starting over again. And to answer all the questions I hear you all asking me is ..... NO I don't often back up. In fact the last time was in late 2005 or early 2006...I know, I know. My own fault.....like I haven't said that myself.

So here I sit on a laptop that is giving me grief. It's very very old. It doesn't have anything I need on it but I am now able to get to the internet and bitch and moan on my blog and send emails from an outdated version of outlook. YIPEE. I have run all the scans necessary but who the hell knows I mean I did that before and the virus got me anyway.

The geek called to tell me that if indeed misery loves company then I would be happy to know that I am not the only one with these 2 virus's found on my computer. No, that didn't make me feel better. I want to know if I got it from a site I might have been on or where I got it. But no one seems to know. Lovely huh?

So I am back to work per se, back to bitchin' on my blog and back to reading the paper via internet and surfing shallow sites like Perezhilton.com and hoping they don't give me anything more than tracking cookes which I can easily delete.

So I will end with this humorous video. It appears to be real. A friend sent it to me. The sad thing is there are a million dumb ole redneck goobers like this and sadly they breed. (and vote)
Here's to a good Friday giggle ladies.....I know you all wish you could date him!!!!