Sunday, February 28, 2010

Damn Dealerships

My car got a recall notice. I have a Hyundai (not a Toyota!). The recall was for "lower control arms". They tend to rot out quickly and can break and cause you to lose control of your car. We knew about the control arms. Two years ago. That's when ours broke and caused Hubby to lose control of the car. Thankfully he was right near our garage and was able to wrestle the car into the garage parking lot. We had both lower control arms replaced. Now.....two years later.....we get the recall notice. Thanks,'re so efficient. Anyway, if I wanted to get reimbursed for the $700 we spent replacing those control arms, I had to jump through hoops, including taking my car to a "certified Hyundai dealership" to have them inspect the work that was done. I hate the dealership. They are overpriced, snooty, and I always feel like they're screwing me......and not in a nice way! But I had no choice. I had to bring it in. Lucky for me, the dealership is right across the street from where I work. So I brought the car there Wednesday and picked it up Thursday night after work. And it sounds terrible. It's wheezing and whining. It's just not a happy car. I don't know what they did to it. So I drove it back to the dealership on Saturday. Of course, they were too busy to take a look at it. So now I have an appointment to drop it off on Tuesday morning. I'm going to use my psychic powers and predict that they're going to say one of two things: 1) I don't know what you're talking about.....I don't hear any noise. 2) Sounds like a big expensive problem. But it has nothing to do with the work we did. It's just a coincidence that it happened at exactly the same time. It'll cost you eleventy-thousand dollars to fix. To which my responses will be: 1) Fix it at no cost to me, you dumb-asses, because you did something to break it. 2) Give it back to me and I'll take it to a real garage where they can fix it and then I'll send you guys the bill.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Here we go again.......

Once again New England has been hit by a massive storm. This time it wasn't ice, thank God. It was only high winds. Hurricane force winds. In my area, that means tons of tree limbs down and power outages. 300,000 people in New Hampshire without power. My brother will be working round the clock. He's a lineman for the electric company. It also means much destruction. My co-worker described a huge tree coming down directly at her house as she watched through the window in stunned silence. The tree missed her house by inches and instead hit the garage hard enough to slice it in half. Her car was in it. Which means my other brother will be working hard the next few weeks. He's an insurance adjuster. I'm hoping, as I'm sure everyone is, that this storm isn't as bad as the one in December 2008. That one kept the power out for some people as long as two weeks. My parents and sister were two of those who went 9 days without power. Please God, don't let that be the case here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stuff and Such

The wind is blowing like a hurricane outside and it's been pouring.....not just raining......outside for the past two days. Time to build an ark! Finally got my car in to get my recall done. Now I can send in my receipts and the 47 other pieces of info that Hyundai wanted and get my $700 reimbursement for the work we had done 2 years ago. I totally forgot about getting my car into the garage yesterday. My co-worker was kind enough to say she'd give me a ride from the garage to work (which is literally across the street but note the aforementioned monsoon). She came in to work ten minutes before opening...screaming like a banshee......"What are you doing here???? What about your car????" She literaly dragged me out of the office and we got my car over to the garage and got back to work in time to punch in on time. Speaking of work......still having the same problems with the previously described PITA in our office. Everyone there has great, big tire marks down their backs from her throwing us under the bus. The good news.....I've overheard several of her multitude of personal calls and I believe she may be going to interview for a different job. I'm praying for it! Survivor update - what the hell??? How could they vote out Randy and keep Parvati? Those Villains aren't quite as smart as they like to think they are.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My head is going to explode

There should be a law against too much training or too many meetings in one day. I started the morning by going to a different district office......a 1/2 hour do a training on how to make phone calls. Yes....we are going to reach out and "touch our members". Hmmm....that didn't sound right, did it? The idea is that in this age of technology, we should try to continue the personal touch with our customers to keep up our retention rate of 92%. Which means that each Member Services Counselor will get a list of new members, and we have to call them (5-10 each PER DAY) and ask how our service has been so far. We are supposed to do this in our free time. uh-huh. I got to work about 9:30 and found out our "trainer" was coming in to do training on privacy. They are pushing a huge new privacy policy, so she gave us each a one-hour training on that. Then she went over credit card applications with us....another half hour. And tonight was our annual meeting. After a meal of dried chicken, all the "mucky-mucks" got up to give us their state-of-the-company address. The aforementioned "reach out and touch a member" policy was explained. And they gave out the award for the office of the year. We came in second. We did not get a silver medal. I have too much information in my head and its going to just start leaking out of my ears.

Monday, February 22, 2010

If I were a Rich Man

I'm neither Rich nor a Man. But we did go see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday. Our local community theater was putting on the production. The place is called Amesbury Playhouse. You can go there for dinner and a show. But since my Dad was coming and he offered to have us back to his place after the show, we chose to do just the show. It was awesome. It's one of my favorite musicals to begin with. In addition, the guy that plays Tevye is not only phenomenol, he's a friend of the family. Hubby and I and Dad invited Aunt Izzy as well. She seemed to love it too. After the show, we went to Dad's, where he'd made a pot roast in his crock pot. MMMMM.......

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My cell phone is dying to get lost!

Scenario #1 Yesterday as I was leaving work, before I exited the building, I turned my cell phone on and put it back in my pocketbook. As we walked out the door, I heard the signal indicating I had a voice message. So I got into my car, put my purse and bag on the passenger seat, started up the car, and went into my purse to get my phone so I could check the message. The phone was gone. I looked everywhere. In all the pockets of my purse (even the zipped ones), on the seat, under the seat. I opened the car door and checked the ground. I went around the car and opened the passenger door and checked over, under and around the passenger seat. No phone. I walked back to the door of the building and checked the ground. No phone. I can't go back into the building after I've left it without calling the alarm company and letting them know an authorized person is re-entering the building. And since I had no know. So I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to be without my phone for the night. As I was leaving the parking lot, my co-worker was standing beside her car and stopped me to ask what was wrong. I told her, and she got the bright idea to call my phone from her phone to see if we could hear it ringing. Sure 'nuff, we could hear it ringing. After searching around we discovered it in the pocket of the door of the passenger side of the car. Go figure. Scenario #2 Today Hubby and I went to the beach. The weather was just too springlike not to. I tucked my phone into the little mini-pocket in the front of my jeans. You know the little pocket kind of.... but not really inside........ the big pocket? Halfway down the beach I decided I'd like to feel the sand in my toes, so I took my shoes and socks off. Two minutes later, when I could no longer feel my legs from the knees down, I sat on the ground and put my shoes and socks back on. We walked further down the beach. On the way back Hubby suddenly says, "Hey, that looks like your phone." Sure 'nuff, there was my phone sitting pretty as you please on the sand.....thankfully beyond the reach of the waves. Go figure.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pictures from the Boulder

Ricky's wife Laurie got some shots of us singing at our gig at the Boulder coffee house. On the left, Tag's cousin Scot playing bass singing and Tag singing and playing guitar. Tag and I belting it out.
Tag's cousin Ricky on the bongos.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Proud to be an American

Is there anything more exciting than Shaun White?
How about Lyndsey Vonn?
And Shani Davis? Unbelieavable!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What the Bagboy is really thinking........

Oh God, here comes that lady with those STUPID cloth bags. What does she think, they're all like, ecologically good or something? I hate those damn things. No one ever taught me how to bag with them, and they fall over when I try to use them cause there's no nifty stand like they have for the plastic bags. Well, maybe I can really piss this lady off by asking the same question ten times. "So you want everything in the bags? "Yes, please." "You want the jug of vegetable oil in a bag?" "Yes, I do." "You want the cat food in a bag?" "I want everything in a bag." "How about the toilet paper? You want that in a bag?" "Yes!!!" "The giant box of trash bags?" "I WANT EVERY SINGLE THING PUT IN A BAG!!!" There.....I think I got her sufficiently pissed off for the time being. Now....let's see. Oh look, she's got everything so nicely organized on the counter.....all the produce together, all the freezer stuff together. You gotta be kidding. I think I'll put this mouthwash in with the steak. Maybe one carton of ice cream should go with the canned goods and the other can go in with the cans of vegetables. Oh and this should be good. Since this bag has short little handles, I'll stuff it with all the very heavy stuff ....that way her hand will cramp while she tries to carry it to the car. And since this bag has long handles so she could put the bag over her shoulder, I"ll just put two bags of chips in that one. That way she can bang the bag against the doorjamb as she tries to get it into the house and crush all her chips. And for my grand finale, I'll take the heaviest bag and put it in the front seat of the cart. That way, if she has some greeting cards in that bag she brought over from Walgreen's they'll be all crushed and crinkled when she gets them home. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Penguins and Baseball

I stole this photo from Pudgy Penguin Perusal's blog. Isn't this how all little girls dream of dressing up their pet penguins? It's actually how they celebrate Lunar New Year in South Korea. AND....It may be snowing in New England right now but the first sign of spring is here:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Valentine Memories

A couple years ago, Hubby surprised me with the best Valentine's gift I ever got. He took me to the Aquarium in Boston to see the penguins. I've always loved penguins. Even before they were popular. I have a beanie baby penguin that someone gave me before Beanie Babies were popular. And of course, Hubby knows of my love for penguins. This year, we decided to recreate our trip. Hubby likes taking the train, so we took the train from Haverhill into Boston....about an hour's ride. Taking the train is very serene. No worrying about traffic, no worrying about parking. We got off at North Station and walked to the Aquarium from there. I was stunned when we got there to see a line from inside a giant tent that was placed in front of the aquarium snaking all the way down the block! We approached an Aquarium worker who was patrolling the line and asked her if something special was going on. She said, "It's the beginning of school vacation week." I knew school vacation was starting in Massachusetts, but I never dreamed every single person in Massachusetts would choose this day to go to the Aquarium. For some reason, I asked if we could go directly inside if we had library passes. Thank God I did.....she said, "Yes, just go in the tent and to the left." If we'd had to stand in that line our visit would have been all shot to hell. Because I wouldn't have been able to do it. I would have freaked out. Literally. Ask Hubby. We followed her instructions....past the people standing outside and past the long back-and-forth line inside the tent. (It looked like the lines at Disney World). We got inside the museum in about ten minutes.....and there they were. My penguins.
The nice thing about going to the Aquarium without children is that you can stand in one spot forever and watch the penguins without a little person tugging on your coat saying, "Can we go see something else?" We watched the penguins for a long time.
The Aquarium in Boston is renowned for its giant seawater tank rising up from the middle of the floor. We went all the way up to look over the top. A giant sea turtle came up to greet us.
All around the edges of the giant tank are displays of every kind of fish and sea creature you can imagine. I thought these jelly fish were unbelievably beautiful. Hubby likened them to watching a lava lamp as they pulsed and floated around in the tank. I caught the reflection of a little girl mesmerized by the action of the jelly fish.
Hubby's favorite fish is the sea dragons. The one below is hard to's right above the red things and looks like part of the foliage. He looks like a swimming plant.
The other sea dragon is right in the middle of the picture....he has tiny cilia on his back that look like a tiny propeller spinning around.
You can go outside the aquarium to see the otters. They put up a new sculpture of a sea otter. Hubby and I were brave enough to stand outside without coats to pose for this picture.
Back inside.....See if you can see Hubby on the right side of the picture puckering up for a kiss from the lion fish.
We were just about ready to head out when we noticed the penguins were being fed. Always a treat to watch. This group was so enthusiastic they kept leaning too close and falling in the water!
We topped off our day by walking over to Quincy Marketplace for some dinner. Someone had put a huge ice sculpture of a heart in the middle of the Market and was taking pictures for a price. We stood on the backside of the sculpture and asked someone to take our picture for free.
We had some dinner at Durgin Park in Quincy Market. The seafood in Boston is unbelievable. We headed back on the train......tired but so satisfied with our special Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What A Gig!

Hubby and I do the "open-mic" circuit. He's a musician....I'm a wanna be musician, and at open mics you get to get up and sing a couple of songs. A lot of people sing their own original stuff. Last night, we were the "feature" at the Boulder Coffeehouse Open Mic. The feature is the main attraction and you get to play a much longer time - in this case we had an hour. Hubby and I have been practicing for a month or so now. He wrote 9 or 10 original songs. He invited his cousin, Ricky and his almost-cousin Scot to help us out. Scot plays bass guitar and Ricky plays drums. In this case, Ricky got new bongos for Christmas so he chose to play those. We had a lot of fun practicing with them. We went to Scot's house one night to practice and his lovely wife Laurie made us a delicious meatloaf dinner. Then we went to Ricky's house another night and his lovely wife Laurie (yes, same name) made us lasagna. Oh...and by the way......we also practiced. Last night was the big night. Since we hadn't been able to have the two couples to our house for dinner, we met early and treated them to Boston Market, which is in the same town as the open mic. The Boston Market was Hubby's idea...and I thought it would be lame (not exactly a classy restaurant) but it was fun and everyone loved it. We got to the venue about 6:30 for a "sound check". It was nerve-wracking to sit through the other open mic-ers, and then the special guest. She got a half-hour as the special guest and was funny and witty.......a tough act for us to follow. We had some friendly and smiling faces in the audience. Both Scot and Ricky brought along some friends. But even more exciting was a group of other open mic-ers who had come to see us! And we rocked it. We had a blast....the audience seemed to love it.......and so much fun was had by all. We got all kinds of accolades from everyone in the audience, and it was gratifying to hear that sweet sound of cheering and applause at the end of each song. We even got a "standing O". Many thanks to Ricky and Laurie and Scot and well as to everyone else that came out to hear us play. I hope you had as much fun as we did.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Olympics are Here!

I'm very excited about the Olympics. I just love them. I don't watch the X-treme sports at other times of the year. I'm not fascinated with the World Games or whatever. There's something so special about the Olympics. It brings out the patriotism in everyone. Last night was the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver. The beautiful shots they showed of Vancouver and the area around it makes me want to go visit there. It looks amazing. And the Opening Ceremonies were great. Totally different from Bejing's Opening Ceremonies, which I think they did on purpose. Vancouver is not the techno-town that Bejing is. They did a good job of showing their national heritage. It was no surprise to me that Wayne Gretzky was lighting the cauldron. He's the greatest athlete Canada has ever produced and he deserved the honor. I think it proved what I said about Vancouver not being a techno-town when the lighting of the cauldron went awry. I think the participants did a good job of trying to hide the fact that something was wrong, and they managed to salvage the moment and make it beautiful. When I was younger it was all about the figure skating. I knew all the skaters and followed it avidly. Now, I have to admit that the snow-boarding half-pipe really is my favorite. It's so exciting and so scary. I hope USA kicks ass in medals. I'm looking forward to the next two weeks of competition. It's fun and exciting and something you don't get to see often enough. I'm glad I get to watch it from the comfort of my living room.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How Come Things Are Never Easy?

Story #1 - My vehicle Recall No, I do not have a Toyota. My Hyundai got a recall notice about lower control arms that rot out and break. Luckily, (or so I thought) when my husband read it he realized we'd already had the control arms replaced two years ago when he almost ran the car off the road when one of them broke while he was driving. So I called the number on the letter where it said we could get reimbursed for work already done. Beautiful, right? She gave me the list of things we'd need to do to get our money (700 freakin dollars) back. We'd need the original work orders........check; a copy of our registration.......check; a copy of our method of payment.....check (after a quick trip to the bank); oh......and we'd have to bring it to a certified Hyundai dealer to have the work inspected since we'd had the work done at an independent garage. Damn. So I make the appointment and bring it to the garage. I figure I can drop it off before work and pick it up after. When I walk in, the guy says it'll take three days. Three days???? Yea, as it turns out, this recall involved not just the control arms but some other part as well. We never got the other part (whatever the hell it was) replaced. They can't OK the recall for the control arms without doing the other work. They won't send a letter to Hyundai saying the conrol arms were fixed, so that Hyundai in turn can send me my 700 freakin' dollars. Nooooo.....ALL the work has to be done before they can OK the recall. Which means I now have to make arrangements to leave my car for three days, and Hyundai -those bastards - will not pay for a rental. Story #2 We got a letter last fall from Comcast saying they are switching to digital and we have to order these new boxes, which Comcast will give us free, so our Comcast will work when they do the switch-over in April. I got online and ordered my box, only to discover they delivered it UPS and we can't get packages here from UPS. I should have had them deliver to my work address. The package went back to Comcast. I promptly forgot about it and received another letter this week about the stupid box. I went online again, but it wouldn't let me order another box cause I'd already ordered one. Stupid computers. So at lunchtime at work yesterday I tried to call. First off, I got a very perky Southern gal (the accent grates on my nerves like chalk on a blackboard) who was obviously reading from a script and wasn't listening to a word I was saying. After she finally stopped and listened, she was dumbfounded to learn that I couldn't have UPS delivered to my house. And because I couldn't give her my account number, seeings as how I was at work, I had to wait and call back today. I call back today and get the same perky Southern gal who read the exact same script as yesterday. She was equally dumbfounded today that I couldn't have UPS deliver to my house. After many long minutes (hours, days, months) of her trying to figure out how to put a different address into the computer so I could have the box delivered to my work, she pawned me off on another dept. After a very long wait, I got another person who took all the same info as Miss Southern Belle - although without the accent, thank-the-lord, and finally said I'd be sent my stupid digital box. I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Is it seriously okay for a customer to come in, sit down at my co-workers desk to do her business, and eat her lunch on my co-workers desk? It wasn't even just a sandwich. It was soup and crackers! And she left crumbs all over the desk. However, she did offer my co-worker one of her crackers.

Are You Listening?

Do people even listen to the mundane chatter anymore? How many times a day do you say, "Hi, how are you?" But you never listen for the answer. You just assume people are going to respond "Fine, how are you?" At work, I greet each customer with, "HOW can I help you today?" and at least half of them answer, "Sure you can". ????? Today at the market, a young worker in the aisle says to me, "How ya doing?" and I said fine. That's it....just "fine". But then he responded, "Fine thanks". ?????? How about we do away with all the How are you's. No one really wants to know. And while we're at it, we can get rid of the "Have a nice Day's." too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Girl's Got Rhythm!

Our Emily came over last night. She loves coming and playing with all Pepere's musical instruments. Last time she was over, she couldn't quite get the hang of the slide whistle. This time she did it right off the bat. She loved it! She thought Pepere's new Tabla drums were great.
And she and Pepere even jammed together on his "big guitar and little guitar". AKA - his ukulele.
I also gave Emily her Valentine's Day present a little early. I made her a Valentine's bunny. This bunny took about 10 hours to make and cost about $35! I didn't care though.....I had so much fun making it. I don't do much sewing anymore.
Emily also enjoyed playing with Pepere's rocks, playing with Memere's penguins and generally laughing herself silly all night.
My favorite comment from her: When I asked her if she liked pizza, her head popped up, she looked around and said, "Papa Gino's?"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Take THAT you Damn Taxes!!

This is going to be a very long story. Last February I noticed that my Federal Tax Withholding on my check each week had gone down from about $25-$30 (I don't make very much money) to only $1-$2. I called my HR person and she explained that the tax withholdings had changed due to Obama's stimulus package. I would be getting more money to spend in my check each month so I could go stimulate the economy. (Which of course, I gladly did.) Hubby's withholding amount also went down. In July, I happened to read something online somewhere - then went and checked it out on - saying that even though they were withholding less money each week, you would still pay the same percentage when you did your taxes. There was a tax calculator which, when I punched in all the numbers, told me I'd better start having more taxes taken out or I'd be screwed come April 15. I filled out a new W4 for Hubby asking for an additional $120 a month be taken for taxes from his paycheck. Last night, I did our taxes like I usually do and was stunned and dismayed to find that we OWED $700!! Even with the additional taxes being taken out. Usually we get a refund between $500-$1000. In desperation this morning, I looked up Turbo Tax. You can use on online version that is free for your Federal Taxes. I punched in all the number and 'lo and behold....I am getting a $350 refund!! I don'tknow if it was me doing something wrong or if I missed some new tax credit or what.....and I don't care. Receiving $350 back instead of paying $700 is fine by me. You have to pay $14.95 to be able to use the Turbo Tax for your state taxes. Even though I figured them out myself and determined I'd be getting at $300 refund.....I think it's worth the $14.95 to see if I'm right!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Days of the Week.

Here's how I assess the Days of the Week: Monday's okay - First day back at work and feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. Tuesday - Useless. What the heck do we need Tuesday for? Wednesday - HUMP day! 'nuff said. Thursday - Almost Friday! Friday - It's the weekend!