Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bless His Heart

I just did what I never do, and that is answer the phone when it shows a tollfree number. Because I am about to start a minor kitchen renovation, I though it might have something to do with that. Could be Sears, Lowe's or Schuler. But it wasn't; it was COMCAST. This poor guy had no idea what he was getting in to. I tried to warn him, but he didn't think I was serious.

When he identified himself, I told him that he really didn't need to try to offer phone service because I already had my internet and cable with Comcast, and I didn't like the service. He was very polite, said a lot of "yes ma'ams." He asked me why I didn't like their service, and I explained to him that my internet goes down several times a week, and we have already disconnected the box from the television in the kitchen. Wierd things used to happen to the kitchen television. For example, when Tom tried to reason with the Comcast crew on the phone, they convinced him to keep at least one box in our house so we could have access to On Demand. We kept the box in the livingroom, but we've never used it.

As the conversation continued, this poor guy tried to show some compassion and really wanted to correct the problems. I BEGGED him not to send any more repair men because it just complicates the situation. I can deal with the internet going down for a few minutes. Sure it's frustrating, but life goes on. When he attempted to go there, I mentioned that millions of repair men have been on my property. Rarely are they the same person. That's one of the problems. In the past when these men have attempted to fix the problem, we've gone through the same steps. I pull out reams of paperwork, explain the problem, they shake their heads, and hours later at least two miles of cable cord is draped across my backyard. Before they leave, they tell me someone would be coming soon (two or three months) to bury the new cable. Then they come and tear up the lawn leaving mud clumps and tracks all over the yard, sidewalk and driveway. It never changes. I bet we have a ton of cord buried in our yard. I explained to the man on the phone that they always discuss cables, including the pros and cons of split cables. I don't give a rat's ass about split cables. I just want the internet and the cable t.v. to work when I turn it on.

By this time the man on the phone couldn't get in a word. I kept apologizing to him and told him that he probably needed to report our conversation (maybe it was taped). If he smokes, I'm sure he's standing outside some building in some city with at least two cigarettes in his mouth, mumbling to himself. I was really kinda easy on him; he got me early in the day. I started to go into my monopoly rant, but I kept it to a minimum. It's just not right. My AT@T friends seem to have the same problems, so there is no reason to change service. Absolutely every day I get requests to change services, but until EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM can promise that I would be speaking only to those who live in the United States and speak English, then I ain't budging. This experience is bringing back memories of my conversations with our brothers and sisters who work for Dell computers. I almost had to go into therapy after dealing with them. I've got to go and get a coke. The caffeine does me good.

Final thought. Why in the world would anyone want to bundle services? If you are on Comcast, when the cable goes down, so does the phone and internet. If you are on AT@T, when the phone goes down, so does the cable and internet. All it takes is for someone to run into a telephone pole or a construction crew to cut the cable. Remember this: Don't put all of your eggs into one basket.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

RATS 101

When I say rats, I don't mean rats, as in rats, or darn, or heck. I mean rats as in RODENTS.

I know when it gets cooler outside, rodents begin looking for a nice warm place to make their nests and settle in for a spell. From the clues I have gathered IN MY GARAGE it seems that an eighty pound rat has decided to call the Welcome Wagon and join the neighborhood book club.

Many of my friends have been so willing to share their experiences with me and being a novice I have listened intently and followed their directions on how to eradicate them. Here's what I know: don't use poison because they'll die in between the walls and the smell will be so bad that you'll have to move out of the house, use steel wool to stuff where you think they might be coming in, use peanut butter, creamy, not chunky, and place the traps close to the wall because they run next to the wall.
To begin, I thought the neatest option would be to go with the glue traps. EVERYONE says to use peanut butter. We bought two glue traps and I put a dollop of peanut butter on each one. Here is the first one. As you can clearly see, it hadn't been touched.

This was placed in the garage on the same day. Looked to me like I had been outsmarted by a rat. I think those are his little footprints under and to the right of the where the peanut butter was.

It soon became obvious to me that the glue traps weren't getting the job done so I decided to get the real traps, the wooden ones that will break their necks. I'm getting angry. So last week I went to Lowe's and bought two large traps. The woman in line behind me seemed concerned. When you buy these things, people look at you in horror. Some just shake their heads and tell you their stories. That is where I get lots of my information like, about whether to use smooth or chunky peanut butter, among other things. My salesman at Lowe's told me that he used Slimjims. I don't know where to buy Slimjims.

I thought this was going to be a simple project, setting the traps. HA! My husband and I tried everyway possible to set them and we couldn't figure it out. I even went on the website and watched a video. Still didn't get it. We blamed it on the traps. Obviously they were defective. I wasn't going to let this little bump in the road stop me. The next day I went to The Home Depot to check out their traps. I found them and even went to a sales associate and asked her to show me how to set the trap. She very calmly showed me and I was convinced that I got it. As soon as I got home, Tom and I started to fiddle with them and again no luck. After working with them for at least thirty minutes, Tom mentioned to me with clinched teeth that between us we had four degrees and we were pathetic. I agreed. Stupid was more like it. At last he got it. The secret is tension. We put the peanut butter on them and off we marched to the garage to catch this varmit.

Every day I ask Tom to check the garage to see if we had success. I just can't look. It absolutely grosses me out. A couple of days passed and this is what he found.

Outsmarted again. This is not over.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Going to Art in the Park

Just wanted to let y'all that I'll be at Art in the Park until Monday. I'm sure I'll have lots to write about when I get back home.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dear Martha,

Help me out. I'm getting a little concerned about your stock. In October, 2005 a month or two after you were released from the pokey, I bought several of your shares at $20.95. I just checked with my guru and YOUR STOCK IS DOWN to $1.01. You do the math. This has got to stop. You have got to do something to turn this corportation around. Hire new people. Let's get some people with some real brains. Look into the retired teacher's associations and interview the newly retired. Those people have to be smart to get out of the rat races that they have been in for 30 plus years. Specifically, elementary teachers. They are creative, smart and IN CONTROL. Middle and high school teachers tend to look at the bottom line. They could work on motivational techniques and work flow. Look into it. But in the meantime, read on.

Work with me here. You can't do it alone. You need to start with a Martha Stewart Academy where you could teach your sophisticated skills to others. Those lucky participants would be trained in every aspect of your organization. The goal would be to send them out into the general public to peddle your wares. In a minute you will see the connection.

I know you have already offered to the public items, such as: books, tapes, houses, paint, dinnerware, cookware, craft items, scrapbook items, flowers, bridal items, furniture, etc. And you have exposure on your television shows, radio shows, your website, and your magazine, but that's just not enough. GET BUSY, you have got to start thinking BIG. How about a mall?

You could start with mini (strip) malls. I know you would rather start Mall Of America size, but let's be realistic. These could be all over the world. These malls could have stores dedicated to specific Martha Stewart items. They would be staffed by those lucky people who have attended your academy. A cookware store kinda like Williams Sonoma only it will be just your stuff. I'm thinking cooking classes and canned food. The food could come from your farms and manufactured in your factories. That'll be in a later letter. A scrapbook store where you and your people could conduct classes. A paint store. Again, offer classes on Martha techniques. Of course a bookstore, where you could have book studies on various genres of books. Here's a tip: you could recommend different authors for a price... and it wouldn't be cheap. It could be themed. The summer months you could recommend beach trash. Since you are probably unaware of this genre, you could employ any number of teachers who are off for the summer. They need the extra money. Come on Martha, get down with us. Join the general population. Another store could sell large machinery...kinda like John Deere, but pretty. Paint them in those pretty blues or greens. I saw a lot of bobcats down at the beach, but they were bright yellow. (See blog dated 9/19/08.) That just doesn't blend with the beach. Think BIG, Martha. Of course there would be restaurants at the mall. Lot's of them. Also included would be furniture stores for different types of houses. Since you have several, you know what I mean. From formal to casual you could please everyone's tastes. Speaking of furniture you could also build your own manufacturing company, located, of course, in North Carolina. I hear there are several companies closing down, so you could just move in those vacated building.

I could go on and on. There are so many areas that could be explored. Photography in which I would be in charge. Leave THAT to me. And clothing... for everyone. Move over Calvin. Summer camps for children and music, that could be big. Computers and technology still have to be developed. Again, think about using those pretty colors. I'm getting sick of black, gray and white. But that's just me.

I'm trying to help you, Martha. I'll continue to develop and refine my proposals. Keep a stiff upper lip. You can do it. This week's goal has got to be to get that stock up to at least ten bucks by Friday. Go Martha!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

If It's October 2nd, It's Barbara's Birthday

Birthdays have always been a pretty big deal in my group of friends, and this one is no exception. Barbara and I have been really, really good friends for a hundred years, okay more like forty-five. But that's a long time. We met in junior high, continued our friendship through high school, then college, working at the beach in the summers, and, finally, moving to Atlanta. Of course, we weren't alone in this journey. Penny and Mary were also along for the ride. I'm not going to get into the details, and there are many. Just suffice it to say that our friendships have continued to grow and strengthen through the years.

This is a picture of Barbara that we had to submit in order to be extras in the movie, We Are Marshall. As usual, we were in a rush, so there wasn't much time for touch-ups. I took this shot of her in my closet with my small camera. As you can tell, she needed no touch-ups. Her blue eyes are lookin' pretty good. Pretty good lighting, don't you think?
Each spring the four of us go to Mary's condo at Hilton Head. We look so forward to it because we just go on the beach and relax. Not that our lives are as hectic as they used to be, but it's great to just sit and talk. Here's a shot of Barbara at a Hilton Head restaurant. I cropped everyone else because...well, because it's Barbara's birthday and this is all about her!

Last May instead of going to Hilton Head, we went to New York City. Here is a shot of the four of us in our hotel room after spending the afternoon walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and shopping at a mecca called Canal Street. Wonder where Barbara bought those shirts. Barbara is pictured on the far left.
I took this shot of Barbara on the subway going to Brooklyn. She was such a good sport to pose after such a long day.
So, here's what I know about Barbara (in no special order):
  • she's a great listener
  • she's always supports her friends

  • she can never sit still

  • she's a wonderful mother of two boys

  • she likes to make dinner for people, really, she likes to do it

  • she loves to take long walks (last year she did the 3-Day Walk)

  • she's a loving wife

  • she loves to entertain, especially around the holidays

  • she is an eternal optimist

  • she's a Christian

  • she likes to decorate and does a great job

  • she thinks before she speaks...always

  • she's very, very, patient

  • and finally, she's a great friend

Happy Birthday, my friend.

O.K., I just had to include this photo of us on the set of We Are Marshall, taken in downtown Atlanta. Now that's funny.