Monday, January 20, 2014

customer service and other first world problems: a story in GIF format

Lumberjack is an I-can-do-anything sort of guy by day, and an RN by night. (Shh. We try not to talk about it too much.) But as it happens, he has to wear scrubs, and somehow he believes that scrubs - like socks and underwear - should be worn until they are disintegrating or threadbare, whichever comes first, and replacement is not an option because maybe I should be darning them or something.

And I'm like,

So when the scrubs finally give out, and he realizes I'm not darning them, and he has to order new ones, that whole decision making process takes about a month and a half all in one sitting, because it's not every day you get to buy new scrubs and decision-making is not his favorite thing in the world.

So he's like,

and I'm like,

and he finally decides and I finally order. Click. Yay. And I'm like,

AND THEN, almost beating the Order Confirmation email to my inbox is an Order Cancellation announcement because somehow we ordered an Out of Stock item. And I'm like,

I finally track down the scrub top elsewhere, which proves to be a little trickier than necessary because CarharttSizeLargeinPewterBrushedMicro seems to be an extremely rare combination or something. But the important thing is that it gets ordered. Finally. And I'm like,

Scrubs arrive, they fit, they look dashing, hurray. But why end this story there?

The following week, I notice in our online banking that a certain retail giant whose name I shall not give away but it rhymes with Spamazon CHARGED US ANYWAY five days later for the cancelled order. And I'm like,

So I log onto their Chat with Customer Service option and explain the problem. I get a nice CS rep whose name is full of consonants and hardly any vowels. I explain my problem and get a bunch of canned one-liners back which do nothing to address the problem. And I'm like,

And when the CS rep says, "I looked up your order. It appears it was canceled on 1/15/14 after you ordered it," I'm definitely like,

But when I'm actually told that no, their company didn't actually charge me for the item, I'm really like,

And then I get patched through to a CS rep on the phone.

 Now here's a big ol' message I want to send to any company in the known universe who employs a customer service team. Get people whose first language is the language of the angry customer calling in. And as long as I'm putting in that request, I think I'd like to go so far as to be dialect-specific.

This seems obvious. A customer service squad is going to be dealing with calls and complaints from people who are frustrated. People who are irate. People who just got charged for an order that was cancelled immediately. People who desire effective, courteous, clear communication. And when the CS rep has extreme language barriers, it only makes the problem worse. And when I say I want dialect-specific, I mean that if I'm a frustrated customer calling in, I don't want someone from eastern Kentucky and I don't want someone from New Jersey. Heck, there are people from my own hometown I can't even understand. I want someone from the Midwest, speaking plain-as-water-soup.

And that goes for any language, by the way. I fully intend on never pursuing a career in foreign customer service affairs. It wouldn't be fair to the people calling in.

I'll be done with that soapbox for now. The CS rep on the phone also tried to insist that my own eyes were deceiving me and that although my bank statement showed $23 deducted that I actually somehow wasn't really charged. And I'm like,

We played a game called Who Can Irritate The Other Person Fastest and I'm not sure who won. At the end of the day, a refund hit our bank account for something that supposedly wasn't charged in the first place, my name has an equal number of consonants and vowels, and Lumberjack's scrubs fit. Because if they didn't, and we had to return and re-order, I'd be like,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

drip. drip. drip.

Last week it was cold here, and let's talk about that for a minute.

The best part of living in the South is BASICALLY EVERYTHING, except for the worst part, which is the weather. And given how the weather is so extremely oppressive, you just have to take my word for it that everything that falls under the BASICALLY EVERYTHING umbrella is just darn terrific.

So really, you just have no idea how very thrilled I get when the weather gets frightfully cold. That being said, we took "frightfully cold" to an all-new extreme last week, when the high for Tuesday was seven. Seven. Not seventeen. Not twenty-seven.

Seven very tiny, very small things that are all cold. I just need to warn you that the next sentence won't really make sense. But I tried typing it out about forty times and couldn't get it to work, so just run with it. If you can get past the part in italics, you're out of the woods: When the high for the day is as low as an overnight low would be to make you do extreme things like, oh, you know, leave a drip running from your faucets, that's very exciting stuff. Running water from my faucets all day long! I mean, wow! This is a full-on arctic experience!

Besides the fun of leaving faucets dripping all day, I've compiled a list of other things to do when it's this cold outside:

1) Put on warm socks.

 And warm everything. Slippers. Sweaters. Mittens. Scarves. Get some tips here:

2) Keep the woodstove stocked. No picture of a stocked wood stove. Instead, here's a picture of ice frozen in Lumberjack's beard, which is a really good reason to keep your wood stove stocked:

3) Eat warm bowls of soup like this:

4) Try that frozen bubble experiment which went all over facebook. Fail epically. If seven degrees is not cold enough to make bubbles freeze, there are only a couple of possible explanations. Conclude that either that woman lives in Barrow, Alaska or that it's just a fake internet thing. Stupid experiment.

5) Check the mailbox which is all the way across the street. Also, on your way inside, find out by accident that the door locked behind you. Bang on the door instead of running around the other side of the house. Because gosh, you might freeze on the way or develop frostbite in the next 8 seconds.

6) Let the cat inside.

Soooo. Grassy came inside, and he is lazy as crap. We already knew this. We set up a little crate right nearby the wood stove and to me, that just really seems like nothing a cat ought to complain about, but in the 48 hours he was inside he developed just the most horrid of self-entitled attitudes. Partly that came, I'm sure, from Freckles leaving thoughtful little notes taped to his crate -

and finding out that pillows are good for sleeping on.

This is worth giving some thought to: how in the world does a crated cat find his way outside the crate and onto a couch cushion? I may have a heart of stone, but it's only to balance out all the lunatics around here who have hearts of golden baby angel wings. Those kinds of people are easily manipulated by cats. Even Half-Pint, I am sad to report. She doesn't even like cats, yet found herself reaching inside his crate repeatedly whispering "Biff.....bifff....biff." Which is her word for kiss,  and frankly, I'm filing a lawsuit against my 11-month-old for treason. Her loyalty took all of 30 seconds to switch. She only has three words anyway, and I'm a little miffed she used such an affectionate one for the cat.

7) Watch in dismay as your kitchen pipes freeze. Yes, we left a drip on. Yes, they froze anyway. Because a hundred years ago, people had more interesting things to do than insulate the houses they built.

BUT! When your husband's work schedule has you wondering if you'll ever see him again, you don't just wait around for him to fix frozen pipes. So here's what you do, in a few easy steps:
-park a space heater under the kitchen sink
-slide a cookie sheet to the side of it so it radiates the heat toward the pipes (exhibit A)

Exhibit A

-stay up until 1:44 AM babysitting the space heater
-once you go to bed, set your alarm to go off every 45 minutes so you can get up to check on the space heater, because you've left it running and it seems likely that if your house starts to burn down, at least being up every 45 minutes should alert you to the emergency pretty quickly
-the next morning, when all of your efforts have failed anyway, go buy some bales of straw and stack them against the outside of your house (exhibit B) as makeshift insulation.

Exhibit B

-rejoice in 24 hours or so when the kitchen pipes are thawed out and you have full water pressure again.

On that note, I really felt like I'd rescued a sick, dying animal and nursed it back to health. Particularly an animal I knew nothing about.

Also, because this blog post has gone on entirely too long, other fun things to do when it's this cold outside are, in no particular order: drink lots of hot tea/coffee/chocolate, memorize the French Polynesia Islands, and familiarize yourself with at least one new word on every single page of the dictionary. If all of those things seem a little too boring, I recommend something highly exciting. Like, say, leaving a drip on.

fun stuff.

Monday, January 6, 2014

dusting. blogging. frozen pipes.

So, I used to clean house for one of my friends and I did everything except dust, which is kind of strange if you're getting paid to clean. Dust and I, we don't get along. Something about asthma or whatever. Also, it's seriously almost impossible to keep up with dusting. I finally just decided I was OVER it and instead of feeling like I am a terrible housekeeper in my own home because the one chore I don't complete with fierce regularity is dusting, I simply decided I just choose not to dust unless I feel like it. Which is never. I'm not falling down on a job I'm supposed to be doing because I've decided against the job in the first place.

This blog will not go in the direction of dusting. I will still maintain it. EXCEPT FOR when my life has been completely taken over by a number of things, such as:

1. the holidays, especially Kwanzaa
2. OUR CAT MOVED INSIDE YESTERDAY and I can barely even speak about it without breathing words no one should ever, ever say
3. our pipes are presently in the middle of freezing

Yesterday it was so warm it got all the way up to 7 whole degrees, which is why Grassy came in, but also the reason that our pipes are in the middle of freezing. Sometimes you're up all night because your kid is puking everywhere and sometimes you're up all night babysitting the thawing-out process of frozen pipes. I will just be really, really sad if they burst. Especially if I don't get any sleep out of the deal.

Please don't tell me to leave a drip on to avoid pipes freezing. Every person in the world knows that. When you live in a hundred-year-old farmhouse, things sorta work against you more often than not.