Monday, August 29, 2005

So, apparently my "irrational fears" are contagious...

Over the course of the past five days or so, I have discovered that my dog (yes, little Gypsy Kitty) is, strike that...TERRIFIED of dust bunnies lurking in dark corners, colanders and (my personal favorite) pimento-cheese sandwiches. No joke. She is runaway-and-hide-with-her-tail-tucked-between-her-legs kind of scared.


Yeah, not a clue.

Whatever happened to that pet psychic on Animal Planet, because I'm starting to think that I could utilize her "abilities" right about now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why I (apparently) do not have good grasp of the English language...

So, in case anyone was wondering (or even noticed) I've been a little less than prolific on my BLOG as of late.

This is for (mainly) three reasons:

1. I mentioned that we had a "flood" of sorts in the building where I work. Besides trying to aid in the clean-up, I also had to cancel any and all educational activities in the museum for the immediate future (this was surprisingly time-consuming, in case you were wondering).

2. My grandmother was in and out of the hospital ER (don't worry, she is fine now).

3. I'm moving.

I actually have a lot to say about all of the above-mentioned events, but for the sake of this post I would like to focus solely on #3.

I'm moving.

Moving sucks. I hate moving. It is stressful, time-consuming and - quite frankly - irritating. Nothing about moving is easy. Nothing.

Take the whole process of switching the utilities into your name, for example. This is something that should be easy. After all, you WANT to have a service provided for you, and you are willing to PAY good money for it. So, you'd think that the "service provider" would work with you so they could TAKE your money by providing their service.

...But maybe that is bringing too much "logic" into it.

Anyway, I - like most people now-a-days - wanted power. So, I called electric company "A" to start the whole initiation-of-service-process about two weeks before my lease was to begin. Pretty typical, right?

Well, company "A" said that there would have to be a mandatory 3 to 7 day "black out period" in order for the electricity to be turned on in my name. Therefore, if I wanted the electricity put into my name on the 17th of August (for example), it might not ACTUALLY come on until the 24th.

This seemed a little ridiculous, so I inquired, "Why is that..."?

According to company "A", unless I transferred electrical service from the name of the "(then) current resident" into my name a "black out period "was a must.

I was like, "Fine, transfer the current account into my name then".

However, it wasn't quite that simple (nothing ever is, it seems). First, I had to have the "(then) current resident" of my soon-to-be-home call company "A" and give them permission to transfer the account into my name.

So, I called "Heather" (the "(then) current resident") and asked her if she would mind calling company "A" and giving them my name (and her permission, of course) so that I could avoid the mandatory "black out period" (as well as a hefty "service initiation fee" that, I assume, would be tacked on to my first bill).

Well, Heather (bless her heart) spent 2 hours on the phone with company "A" and they told her that no such "black out period" existed and that they didn't need her permission to transfer service into my name.

Interesting change of story...

Thus, I called company "A" back and tried AGAIN to transfer service into my name. However, attempt #2 was also unsuccessful because company "A" now claimed that they never had Heather has a client - past or present. Furthermore, they did not show the residence in question (i.e. my future home) as having any electrical service at all.

I thought that was a little weird. So, after calling Heather back (and verifying that she did indeed have electricity) I decided to call another electrical company altogether (we will call them company "B"), in order to open an account.

Well, company "B" put me on hold and disconnected me three times. When I finally did get a representative on the phone, they informed me that my future address currently had service with company "A", and that (since the account with company "A" was not in MY name) I could not initiate service with company "B".

I tried to explain that I was moving into the residence in question in the very near future (didn't seem to make a difference), and that I was a potential costumer very much interested in having electricity provided to me by company "B".

At this point, the representative from company "B" told me that a single residence cannot have multiple accounts with different electrical providers. Apparently, until I cancelled the current account at my future residence or transferred the account into my name, I would be unable to have electricity supplied by company "B".

This seemed a little ridiculous, so I tried reasoning with the representative from company "B"...

I tried again to explain to the representative from company "B" that the "(then) current residents" were moving out in the very near future, and that they had made arrangements to have their electrical service discontinued on the 16th. Thus, there never would be multiple accounts. Only ONE (seeing as though I wanted my service to begin on the 17th and the "(then) current residents" would have theirs discontinued the day before).

This all seemed to be perfectly rational to me.

However, the representative (who obviously did not rationalize much, if ever) told me to call company "B" back once the account with company "A" had been discontinued, cancelled or transferred. Once that had happened, company "B" would be (at that time) more than happy to initiate service with me.

I was like, "Great. Now what...?"

I was starting to get a little desperate at this point. So, I decided to called company "A" back the next day (against my better judgment).

This time, however, I was able to open an account (much to my relief) and the female representative told me that she'd be able to have the electricity turned on at my new home starting August 17th (with NO mandatory "black out period").

I was ecstatic and - consequently - found no need to question company "A's" abrupt change in policy (I was afraid they would change their mind if I did)!

I explained to the representative that I needed to do some work on the place before I moved in, and that I had scheduled the electrician for the morning of the 18th. I asked her if she thought I should cancel the electrical just in case the electricity wasn't on yet. She told me that I didn't need to worry. The power would be on by the 18th (her exact words were that the power would be on "sometime between 8 AM and 5 PM on the 17th of August").

That was good enough for me, so the process continued.

Today, when you open an account over the phone, you must have your voice recorded while agreeing to the "terms of service". We had to do this twice because - during the part where she asked me if I understood that my service would be on "BY the 18th" - I asked again if that meant that the power would be on BY the morning of the 18th (because I had workers scheduled to arrive at 8:30 AM). She said "yes" and informed me that she'd have to start the recording process over (because I'd messed it up by asking a question).

After we finished up with the second recording, the representative from company "A" repeated everything back to me (my account number, service initiation date, etc.). Everything seemed to be in order, but just to make sure I asked one more time about the workers coming on the morning of the 18th. The representative assured me - once again - that the power would be on sometime between 8 AM and 5 PM the day before.

"Are you sure," I ask one last time?

"Yes, ma'am. Your electricity will be on BY the morning of the 18th unless, of course, it rains."

"What do you mean by 'rain,'" I inquired (this was the first time I'd heard a reason why the power might not be on by the morning of the 18th)?

"Water falling from the sky, ma'am."

"Yes. I know what 'rain' means, thank you. So, I won't have power between 8 AM and 5 PM on the 17th if...what? If it is thunder-storming? If we are under a tornado warning? If it is just really, really humid outside?! What degree of 'rain' are we talking about here?"

"Ma'am, don't worry. We are only supposed to say that in case there is some kind of natural disaster where we are trying to repair large-scale power outages."

"Right. That makes since. So, the power should - most likely - be on by 8:30 on the morning of the 18th...?"

"Yes, ma'am."

So, we wrapped up our conversation and I hung up satisfied that - barring some kind of freak August storm-of-the-century kind of thing - I'd have power by 8:30 AM on August 18th. Thus, I went on with my business for the next couple of weeks and didn't think very much about the electricity issue (it was supposedly taken care of, after all).

That is until I discovered that the power wasn't on at my new place by 2 PM on August 17th. I remembered that it was supposed to be on somewhere between 8 AM and 5 PM, so I didn't panic. But - just to be safe - I decided to call company "A" and verify that the power would be on by 5 PM that afternoon. After all, I had workers coming the next morning and still had time to cancel before 5 PM if there had been a mix-up.

This was, apparently, my first BIG mistake.

The first time I called, company "A" claimed that they did not have me as a client AT ALL. This was alarming (to say the least), so I asked to speak to a supervisor. After waiting on hold for half an hour, I finally got one. He was able to verify that I was indeed a client, but did not have me scheduled to have my electricity turned on until August 22nd!


I told him that it was supposed to be on TODAY, and he told me that "was impossible". So, I asked to speak to his supervisor. After being on hold for another 15 minutes, I was mysteriously disconnected.

So, I called back and was disconnected again.

The third time, I was put on hold for twenty-five minutes before a lady came back on the line and told me that there was a possibility that they could get my power turned on if she sent an order down to the service department immediately. I told her that I'd like for her to do this (like NOW). She asked if I could hold while she called the service department. I said "Yes". I was on hold for 10 minutes before being disconnected yet again.

By the fourth call I was losing my patience. When the representative came on the line (I was - admittedly - a little short with her), I only briefly summarized my problem before asking to speak to her supervisor. She put me on hold. And (surprise, surprise) I was disconnected.

Call number five did not start out much better. I didn't even bother telling the representative why I was calling this time, though. I just immediately asked to speak to her supervisor. I was put on hold again, but - amazingly enough - this time I actually got a supervisor without being disconnected. I explained my problem to her, and she told me that she didn't think that there was anything that she could do. So, I asked to speak to her supervisor (and was put on hold again).

It was now going on 4:30 (4:22 PM to be exact).

At 4:45 PM, the lady who put me on hold came back on the line to ask if I was still there. I replied, "Yes". She thanked me for my patience and told me that I was "in queue" to speak to her supervisor. She assured me that it would only be a few more minutes.

At 4:55 PM, she came back on the line to tell me that her supervisor was still on the phone with another customer, but that I was next in line to speak with him.

At 5:04 PM, the supervisor's supervisor finally came on the line. I was furious, but tried to be polite (or, at least, civil). I explained to him my problem - starting with the electricity not being on yet (which was the initial reason for my phone call) and concluding with my experiences with his company over the course of the afternoon (I detailed to him all the people I had spoken to, how long I had been on hold, how many times I had been disconnected, etc.).

After I finished, he then - in an exasperated kind of way - asked me what I wanted him to do about it.

"Are you kidding me," I asked?

"No. Really, ma'am...what do you expect me to do about it?"

"Well, for starters I want you to turn on my power."

"Sorry. No-can-do."

"Uh, really...why not?!"

"Ma'am, it is after 5 PM. All of our service people have gone home already."

"How convenient for you," I snapped back (keep in mind, I was relatively pissed by now).

"Ma'am, I really don't know what you want me to do...?"

"[Interrupting]...I WANT you to get my power ON! Get it on by noon tomorrow, if you cannot uphold your end of the agreement by getting it on TODAY!"

"Ma'am, we never promised that we'd get your service on today."

"Yes, you did. I made sure of it. I have the electrician coming tomorrow morning at 8:30. Do you think that I would schedule an electrician to come to the house if I wasn't sure that the power would be on by then?"

"Ma'am, I don't know why you scheduled the electrician for tomorrow."

"I scheduled the electrician for tomorrow because your company's representative told me two weeks ago that - unless it rained - my power would be on BY the 18th. I even asked if I should reschedule the electrician and your company's representative said "no" because my power would be on long before he got to the house that morning."

"Ma'am, you agreed to have the power on by the 18th, is that correct?"


"Well, then we are not in violation of anything by not having it on today. This is your misunderstanding. Not ours."

"What are you talking about?!"

"We agreed to have your power on BY the 18th, which means that you should have power tomorrow sometime between 8 AM and 5 PM."

"No. I didn't want the power switched-on ON the 18th. I wanted the power turned on BY the 18th. There is a difference."

"No, ma'am. There is not a difference. 'ON' and 'BY' mean the same thing."

"No! No, they don't! 'ON' means 'ON the 18th' and 'BY' means 'BEFORE the 18th'!"

"Well, you obviously do not have a good grasp of the English language, then."

"Excuse me?! Are YOU really going to sit there and tell me that the words 'ON' and 'BY' mean the SAME thing? Are you KIDDING me?!"

"Well, ma'am I'm fluent in English and I don't understand the difference between the two words. They essentially mean the same thing. The way I see it, you're really at fault here for not being clearer with us about when you wanted your lights to come on. Plus, nothing you say at this point is going to change anything. Your power is going to come on tomorrow. To-morrow. What is the problem with waiting just one more day?"

"I'll tell you what the problem is. I scheduled workers for tomorrow morning. The workers need electricity, because they are ELECTRICIANS. Now, thanks to YOUR company, there won't be any. I've been on hold with you people for going on four hours now. One lady even told me that she could get it on TODAY before we got disconnected! And now it is after five, which you so brilliantly pointed out to me. It is too late to call the electrician and cancel him, so I'm going to have to pay him to do nothing when he shows up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. I'm going to be out of money for NOTHING all because your company cannot turn on the electricity when you said you would!"

"Ma'am, again - what do you want me to do about it? Do you want me to call down to the service department and get them to put a special order in to get your electricity turned on first thing tomorrow? Would that make you happy?"

"YES!!! At least then the electrician would be DOING something tomorrow while I'm paying him!"

"Fine. However, I'm not promising anything. I'm just saying that I'll put IN a request."

[Long pause. I could hear him typing.]


"Yes. I'm still here."

"Okay. That'll be $89.99."

"W H A T ??!!"

"Well, that is what it costs when you make LAST minute service changes like this."

"Are you KIDDING? You want ME to pay YOU $90 to type an email to the service department and strongly recommend that they turn on my power first thing tomorrow morning?!"

"Ma'am, it is ALL that I can do. Take it or leave it."

"$90! $90! For NO guarantees?! Really?! You must be kidding me! Does it go right into your personal checking account or something?"

"Ma'am, you can take it or leave it."

"No, thank you!"

"Fine. Then it is settled. Your power will be on tomorrow between 8 AM and 5 PM."


"Unless, of course, it rains and then it will be on sometime between the 18th and the 24th..."

That was the point where I hung up. There was just no point in continuing the conversation.

So, yeah...that WAS fun. A regular barrel of freakin' monkeys, if you ask me.

Just in case you were wondering, my power did come on the next day...It didn't come on until after 4 PM, but it did come on.

I half expected that tool-of-a-supervisor to cancel my order or something juvenile like that. What a jerk! I wonder if anyone has ever been stupid enough to pay the $90 to have him email someone in the service department - with no guarantees!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Something worth mentioning...

So, about two weeks ago a coworker of mine (we will call her "Aggie") came into my office carrying a small, green tape-measure. She had a unusually large smile on her face.

AGGIE: "Hi!"

ME: "What's up with the tape-measure?"

AGGIE: "Oh, nothing. I just need to measure something."

ME: "Really? What?"

AGGIE: "The circumference of your neck."


ME: "Uhmmm...okay. Why do you need to measure my neck?"

AGGIE: "Oh, I cannot tell you. It is a surprise."

ME: "A surprise, huh?!"

AGGIE: "Yeah. A surprise!"

ME: "Okay then...Measure away."


AGGIE: "Okay. All done."

ME: "Okay...?"

AGGIE: "See ya'!"


So, has this EVER happened to anyone else? Or, more importantly, should I be worried?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ode to my grandmother (just shy of her 95th birthday)...

My grandma, "Moo".
How cute are you?!

Thank you for letting me do your hair,
And for pinching me -- you did not dare!

You look like a "Who-ville Who"
With that funny, pixie-like hairdo.

My grandma, "Moo", is such a good sport,
Especially when dealing with "The Worry Wart"!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Commentary on a crisis...

Is there any reason why they don't make THIS for buildings? Because it would have been useful this past weekend...

RR (a.k.a. NDT) and I work together and are both experiencing the same work-related crisis. Her department (not to mention her computer) was much more adversely affected than mine, so everyone be extra-special-nice to her. I'm sure that she'd appreciate some virtual Valium and/or Mylanta right about now. Poor thing...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Revisiting THE TURD...

This is a comment sent to me via email. It is from my mother (who we will all call "GRAMMY PAMMY" from here on out):

"OK--I understand that this is for fun, but does that mean that all truth is suspended as well??

The box turtle DID NOT DIE and I DID NOT KILL IT; it really ran (crawled) away, and despite serious searches was never seen again by me. I DID NOT THROW IT INTO TURTLE CREEK as legend has it. IT JUST ESCAPED, PERIOD, PARAGRAPH!!

Love, Mom"

Apparently, the whole disappearance of TURD-THE-TURTLE still weighs heavily on my mother's conscience…

My brother (a.k.a. THE TURD) is still - to this day - bothered by the circumstances surrounding his turtle's supposed jaunt to Turtle Creek. According to THE RUNT, it suddenly occurred to my brother that TURD-THE-TURTLE was a “BOX” turtle (and, therefore, cannot swim). Thus, about a year ago (unbeknownst to me), my brother accused my mother of drowning his turtle in Turtle Creek (hence the reference made by GRAMMY PAMMY about throwing the turtle into Turtle Creek).

My favorite part about all this is that:

1) My brother still thinks that the turtle ENDED UP in Turtle Creek (I’ve always thought that it just died and my mother was sparing us that grave/mortal reality).
2) My mother is now insisting that TURD-THE-TURTLE never died, which means that the reptile did…what? Vanish? Become invisible? Actually RUN(crawl)AWAY?

All this has left me rather confused about what actually happened to TURD-THE-TURTLE. It is now a bonafide (if not completely nonsensical) mystery.

Too bad THE X-FILES series ended or they’d have a new story line. I’m sure the CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN was (somehow) in on TURD-THE-TURTLE’s disappearance.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Coca-Cola, Christmas and "The Turd"...

I have a little brother (and by "little" I only mean "years spent on planet". Much to my dismay, my "little" brother is actually taller than I am. Therefore, in a physical sense, I am now his older "little" sister. Alas).

In my family, everyone has a nickname. Even the dog. It is just a thing we all do. I am "Deals" (or "Deal"), my sister is "The Runt" (or "Pee-Wee") and my brother is...well...

..."THE TURD".

Calling my brother THE TURD is not an insult, by the way. It is actually a term of endearment.

Let me explain:

A long time ago, my brother adopted a box turtle. He was a Boy Scout and had to take care of an animal for an extended amount of time in order to earn whatever-badge.

Now, my brother has never been very good at naming things. He adopted a turtle. The word, "Turd" was sort of short for "turtle". Plus, my brother liked to say "Turd" a lot, and this gave him a reason to do so.

So, much to my mother's dismay, the turtle was permanently dubbed "Turd-the-Turtle".

One of my brother's favorite activities with Turd-the-Turtle was watching cartoons on TV (no, I am not kidding). My brother would hold the turtle - with both hands - slightly above his lap (so the turtle could see better, apparently). Both the turtle and my brother wore identical glazed-over expressions on their faces - their eyes were fixated on the television set with their mouths slightly ajar. My brother would hold the turtle like that for hours, never budging an inch until their "favorite shows" were over.

This happened daily for the greater part of a decade (long past the acquisition of the Boy Scout Badge, mind you), until one fateful morning when my mother announced that, "Turd-the-Turtle had runaway to Turtle Creek during the night". This was, of course, her motherly way of saying that Turd-the-Turtle had finally kicked-the-bucket. My brother, however, has always been a little...uh... slower (more gullible?) than most when it comes to picking up subtle hints and/or sarcasm (keep this fact in mind - it is important to the rest of the story). Therefore, for years we would all pile in the car and drive to Turtle Creek to "visit" my brother's "runaway" turtle, Turd. Every time he would see a turtle poke its head out of the water, my brother would announce that, "Oh, look! Turd is saying, 'Hi'".

Kind of makes you sad, doesn't it?

Anyway, moving was my father (not me) who started calling my brother "The Turd". This was obviously in honor of my brother's long-lost turtle friend (but I'd be lying if said that we all didn't get bizarre pleasure in calling him "Turd" and getting away with it).

My brother (a.k.a. THE TURD) has never lost his oh-so gullible nature. Thus, when a buddy of his told him that they (and I quote), "Only make Coca-Cola Classic during the Christmas Holiday once a year", my brother accepted the statement as absolute truth.

Now, for those of you old enough to remember, you might recall that Coca-Cola - in an effort to make a soft drink that could better rival Pepsi - introduced "NEW COKE" in late April of 1985. The Coca-Cola company really thought that the new beverage would take off, so imagine their surprise when the public at large rejected it.

To keep from going under, Coca-Cola reintroduced "old coke" - now more commonly known as Coca-Cola Classic - on July 11th, less than three months after they introduced "new coke" (gee, I guess they got that memo, huh?).

But don't take my word for it (my brother doesn't). Instead, check it out for yourselves on Coca-Cola's website.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, THE TURD still believes that Coca-Cola Classic is only made (and bottled) around Christmas time. Thus, every Christmas, I have to listen to him talk about, "How good it is to have a REAL Coke", and, "How he wishes that they made Classic Coke all year-round".

He has even gone so far as to tell me the differences in taste between (what he calls) "regular Coke" and "Classic Coke" (the latter is obviously the one that he thinks is only made at Christmas).

Now, it IS true that Coka-Cola (thanks to their marketing campaigns of the past) essentially created the modern image of Santa Claus. But this has absolutely nothing to do with the taste of Coca-Cola (seeing as though we are only talking about a picture of a jolly, old, fat man on an aluminum can).

Anyway, if I didn't know that he was serious than I would probably think that he was only doing it to irritate me (which it does).

So, now you have some background on my little brother, THE TURD. He'll pop up randomly on my BLOG for sure (seeing as though he is my little brother, and little brothers are notorious for irritating their older - and wiser - siblings).

Therefore, consider yourselves introduced...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Honoring a request made by the NDT...

Here is a picture of Gypsy sporting her lampshade.

I think she looks like a (cute) satellite...

Just in case you were wondering...

Yes. I admit it. I am the kind of person that throws birthday parties for my dog.

And, YES. For your information, there was a cake
(you cannot have a birthday party without cake...)!

Stop judging me...

(isn't Gypsy Kitty the cutest?!)