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Year in Review: Devil Dealmakers

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in Review: Faustian Deals

Since I mentioned the phone call that made me so angry I should mention that this has been a year of aggravating situations.

Need I mention the irresponsible shell of a loser man that was and still is the Roommate for the Loserville asylum? One day he will find his match, a young person who will not judge him for being deathly afraid of the dark, to drive a car or emitting an odor and preferring relationships with adolescents and young adults even though he was 36 years old.

Ha, had to get one last entry on him before I lost the moment forever.

I hate it when something does not work the way that I expected. I hate contacting the call center. Seriously, I hate it. I hate it so much that I have to psych myself up to do it. I have to call the number when I am in a good mood and there is a cup of tea in front of me. I must have a pencil near me and a pad a paper. “Why” you ask? Because sometime I cannot believe the dumb stuff that people say to me.

I signed up for auto bill pay for one of my utilities. When I received the notice, I decided that I did not want so much money coming out of my account at one time. So I paid some of it before the draw date. A few days later, I found that my DSL service had been shut off. Why do they have to hit you where it hurt? Why not the satellite dish? I can’t stand that service any way.

I am counting down the days for when I can cancel the satellite dish. I even called a competitor. So funny. When I called the competitor I made it clear that I currently had as my service their major area competitor. I wanted to know what would they offer me to cancel my service and pay the cancellation fee. I didn’t like their first offer but I keep getting phone calls and letters in the mail with better offers. One day I might just take it.

I should mention that when my original contract had expired I called Dish and told them I was canceling. I was transferred to their “Faustian Customer Service” department. Yes, I meant to write that. They offer to you Faustian deals in order to prevent you from canceling the service. Yes, sadly I fell for the devil representatives offer and signed up for another 16 months. When I called a few months later to complain about the poor service on the new receiver, the Faustian representative asked me “well, if you had so much trouble with your previous receiver why did you sign up for a new contract.” The devil is SBC and SBC makes devilish deals.

When I called SBC the silly man on the phone told me that when I paid a portion of my bill the computer expected the entire bill to be paid in full (even though the due date had not passed) because I had 10 remaining from the previous months bill. I suggested that they needed to get a smarter computer because the same computer was removing the entire amount from my checking account in a weeks time. The representative in the most pleasant attitude and supportive tone repeated the ENTIRE EXPLANATION TO ME as if I was not listening the first time. I said, “Yes, I understood you perfectly well when you explained it to me, what I want you to understand is that I think your computer is not very smart and you should send a note to whatever department handles such notes and tell them so on my behalf.” He apologized for my inconvenience and tried to explain it a third time. I interrupted the Faust and thanked him for his being patient with me in explaining in such detail the program in which I had been enrolled and I promised that everything he said made perfect sense to me I just didn’t accept that the computer could not be made to be smarter and adjust for individual payments. Sometimes I think that I am channeling Douglas Adams.

Do you remember the 90s when everyone had a job? Seriously, when unemployment was really low and everyone had a job and you wished that you could talk to, be served by or meet with someone else more competent? I stopped eating fast food in the 90s. I just couldn’t trust what was going on behind the service counter. People didn’t get fired back then they were simply reassigned. It was dark times for customer service and it seemed that for the last few years the industry has been apologizing for it. I mean, really apologizing for it. You can’t take to anyone via phone without hearing some scripted apology and you immediately put into a mode where now you feel bad because some dumb guy making 7 an hour feels sorry for your inconvenience. Really they should be apologizing, these contracts that we are required to sign in order to maintain our existence in the cyber, cellular and digital world are making sign away our choices. Argh. I can’t stand it but I am evolving. I don’t care anymore for apologies, I just want the Faustian deals to stop.

Well, i have run out of 2006 to make more of my Year in Review so look for my Year in Reflections entries next week.

Year in Review: Minors

I have written quite a bit this year about some of my younger relatives. I love being around other people’s children except when damage occurs.

I know that God has a sense of humor. I know each time I meet a child.


Babysitting toddlers/preschoolers is a challenge as I am sure you are aware. Toddlers want to explore everything. Usually with their mouths but by themselves. You don’t have to play with a toddler but you must watch the toddler play.

Preschoolers want you to play with them using their rules. The game could be anything. Perhaps the game is “let’s see what the kitty is doing?” or “Smash the Play-doh into the rug.” My favorite preschooler Lil T has very little patience for her toddler brother Trey. She bullies him and he torments her. Trey just wants to put things in his mouth, pull on hanging table cloths or follow his sister around. Lil T wants to pull out all of her toys and present “show and Tell.” Silly girl. Her game of Show and Tell is an open invitation to her brother to turn into Descructo- the Avenging Toddler. Descructo sees a perfectly good toy; probably one of his sisters, one that he must know is not his and will tear it apart.

You should have seen him disassemble the plastic microphone stand for Lil T’s guitar/microphone set. When he was done it resembled the thunder sticks that fans have at the UT Rocket games. You know – hollow tubes that you bang together to make noise, which is what he was doing when Lil T started screaming at him. No worries, while her attention was directed at putting together the microphone stand, Destructo had found the microphone. Wanting to be helpful, I plugged it in for him so that he could use the amplifier and express himself as Destructo. Of course, he tried to swallow the microphone while making the most interesting sounds and dancing. By now, Lil T is in a tizzy; she has reassembled the mic stand and is trying to retrieve the microphone from Desctructo. Silly girl, at that point Destructo had moved onto the guitar. Running his knuckles hands across the strings while Lil T is trying to figure out why the amplifier is no longer working. She didn’t know that I had turned it off when she wasn’t looking. By now the completely irritated Lil T has noticed Destructo is trying to pull out the guitar strings on her guitar. She quickly leaves to find his toddler appropriate guitar. At this point I am laughing my ass off. She returned 10 seconds later to find that Trey has moved onto her Dora the Explorer books. I guess she values her future as a singer with a guitar more than reading because she finally ignores him- just as he had been ignoring her for the last 30 minutes.

I thought that this picture was really funny. Trey is his size.

Teenagers that have only recently left their Tween years are very funny

One does not babysit a Teenageror a Tween. Tweens are merely observed from afar. Unfortunately, this hands-off approach always leads to property damage.

Girls leaving their Tween years and approaching adolescence have their own lives that are filled with Brats dolls, Hello Kitty and a love hate relationship with the color pink.

She wonders – shall I continue to embrace the Pink or do I move on without Pink.

She laments - Oh, how Pink comforted me in my youth but now I am a Tween. I must ready myself for adolescence

She ponders – Can I be me without being Pink?

She considers – I am Tween and Tween is Pink but teenagers are not pink

She reconciles – The inner me will always be Pink.

She declares – My new favorite color is (random color – not pink)

Then the little Princes asks her mother for a pink Hello Kitty cell phone.

Tween boys stop talking in order to avoid ridicule from their changing voices.

Younger kids want you to be involved in every sound, game or chore when you are watching them and they will tell on you or tell everything you did or said to their parents. Tweens want you to buy them things when you are babysitting and will report on you to their parents. New teenagers tell just look at you, download crap onto your computer and roll their eyes at you when you ask “whatcha playing?” You never really know what they are saying to their parents and you don’t really care. You just want to know how to remove the damn spyware that is now cemented into your harddrive.

I adore older teens they are easy. They will not destroy your home by playing with power tools left on the table. They will not explore goofy websites that install pervasive cookies on your computer. Teens are motivated by coolness and money. Juicy lip gloss and video games. Name belts and designer caps. They don’t want to be embarrassed when they are hanging out with you unless you are paying well. They gather gossip and tell funny stories about you to their parents. They might let you meet their friends.

Unfortunately, they listen to you when you are on the phone with the customer service agents while you are slowly losing your cool moving into Black Woman Vexed mode. The silly agent tried to defend the quality of the satellite dish receiver by informing me that the dish works perfectly at her house. LIKE I FREAKING CARE THAT THE SATELLITE DISH WORKS AT HER HOUSE WHEN IT DOESN’T WORK AT MINE. As if it would break the company to place a phone order for the pay-per-view movies that the Teens want to watch and waive the absolutely stupid fee for not doing it through the satellite receiver box. THE BOX THAT DOESN’T WORK CORRECTLY AT MY HOUSE BUT APPARENTLY WORKS JUST FINE AT HERS. Then the wench tells me that the reason is doesn’t work at my house is because my lines are faulty. I told her that keep her crazy ideas to herself and transfer me to the technical support so that I can have the Singapore made receiver box replaced for a Japanese model.

Teens think that stuff is incredibly funny and they seem to appreciate you better after watching you in Black Woman Vexed Mode. Hmm, i wonder if she was taking notes or was she frightened?

Year in Review: Paperboy

Hello everyone

You may have been wondering where my blogs have been. Some of you have been very disappointed lately. Well you weren’t the only one

Let’s see. Holiday sales were modest. I guess people remembered that December heating bills will arrive in the mail around the same time that credit card bills are due. Then again I am sure some people realized that the gas company will not really shut off your gas during the winter and went on spending. I would expect to hear about it

I tire of the shopping season. I started using Yahoo! Shopping as soon as I found it on the Net years ago. Later, I switched to and and now I use Ebay more than any other site.

I have been noticing a lot of Year in Reviews. I thought that I would offer my own. I don’t know how long my list will be but here it goes.

1. The Paperboy

Last September I wrote about my annoying paperboy that kept throwing my papers into the lawn. Well what a difference a year makes. I no longer have to put on my garden shoes in order to retrieve my paper. Why garden shoes you ask? Well, we had a flea infestation this year because of the weather and I didn’t bother to buy any chemicals for the yard this year which is why my lawn is patchy now.

The lawn maintenance program in which I enrolled was a really good idea. I just signed up for the basic plan. I didn’t buy the extras that killed the grub worms, slugs or the voracious insects all of which ate my flowers and my lawn. I just can’t win. I was not meant to have a lawn.

Oh. So - back to my story. I wear garden shoes because I have a definite fear of tracking fleas into the house from my houseshoes. I adore my houseshoes. Wait. Some of you people refer to houseshoes as slippers. Well I think that is just silly. They are shoes for the house. Just like the housecoat that I wear when I rise from having lain in the bed all night.

That was tricky. I didn’t think “lying” was the right word and didn’t think “laying” was something that humans did in their beds. Finally I consulted and found this ….

Lie and its principal parts (lay, lain, lying) are correctly used in the following examples: She often lies (not lays) down after lunch. When I lay (not laid) down, I fell asleep. The rubbish had lain (not laid) there a week. I was lying (not laying) in bed when he called. •

So the correct answer is actually quite confusing but the general rule is that one lays an object. But what the heck is rubbish? Therefore if I had written “I rise from having laid in my bed” one might wonder what was under my covers. Oh dear, I did it again. I became sidetracked.

I can’t stand the idea of some bug hitching a ride on my houseshoes. Now, I do not have to worry. Ever since the Teamsters strike, the paperboy walks his chubby self and lays my paper (see an object) on my stoop. At first, I was really surprised to see it lying there. I had assumed that I had a new paperboy that didn’t know the nature of my relationship with the previous paperboy. I had assumed the original Paperboy must have hated me or enjoyed the thought of me in my purple housecoat and Winnie the Pooh garden shoes looking for my newspaper with my hair all-a-mess. I don’t care on the weekends.

On the other hand, the strike has created quite a bit of anxiety of another kind. I no longer worry about wet or muddy papers in my lawn or possibly hidden lying under the snow. Instead, I worry about people thinking that I am not at home. The local newspaper is trying to break the strike with these “Customer Appreciation Days.” On these random days weekend subscribers receive the paper for free. I guess it would be okay to receive free papers as long as the Company does not raise my rates.

“What is the harm in that?” you are thinking - let me tell you. When I leave for work at 8:00 I am pulling out of my driveway quickly (that is, since I have stopped hitting the house) and I do not stop to pick up papers to take to work. When I arrive home at dusk or more recently at dark I don’t know that I have a pile up of free newspapers because the Company decided to appreciate me all week. At first, I just let them lie there thinking the paperboy would realize I don’t pick them up and stop laying them on my stoop.

I really have to stop assuming that the Company permits its employees to think for themselves. Perhaps, that is the basis of the strike. Rather than receive less “appreciative” papers, I get pile ups on my stoops. Yes, I called and complained and the pleasant customer service lady apologized and explained the great appreciation program that they have started for customers like me who only receive the paper on the weekend. It sounded like she was reading from the script. The next day about 8 pm the Paperboy rang my doorbell and asked me if I wanted a paper. NO... just lay it on the stoop and stop ringing my doorbell.

Okay, I really feel sorry for the Paperboy. So sorry for him I am considering giving to him a big tip this year. I stopped tipping the Paperboy last year. This year, that poor kid not only must rise early to deliver unnecessary papers –for free- but he must work at night as well.

Now you are thinking, “Geez girl, just read the papers or pitch them.” You don’t understand ----things have started to occur. For example, the neighborhood entrepreneur AKA the Lawnmower Kid never came by my house this summer. I had thought we had an agreement. He would see the lawn was high and come over to mow it. I would pay him later. I was williing to raise the amount that I paid him if he only came to my house. I was crushed when he disappeared. Reluctantly, I finally hired a man with a truck and a lawnmower (at 3X the cost) to do the work. I ran into the Lawnmower Kid late in the summer and asked “What Happened to you?” He told me that there were so many newspapers on my stoop and my grass was so long that he thought I had moved.

This month both of my adjacent neighbors had thought I was out of town at conferences because of the newspaper pile up. And I really hate it when people stop by my house and move the newspapers from the front door stoop to the side door stoop. Really, cut that out – I don’t know who you are but cut that out.

Hmm, I guess it could be the Paperboy doing it.

Holiday Seasons

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Questions

That time of year, that I sometimes dread approaches. You call it the Holiday Season. I call it the season of inane and meddlesome questions. I wonder if I should consider spending the holidays drinking myself into oblivion, gorging on Christmas cookies, and having long, meaningful conversations with my cat? I should mention that I get lots of invitations. I love it. Family and friends always reach out to their single friend or cousin. Good Times......

The first question. “Where are you spending Thanksgiving this year?” This is to remind me that I do not have a family of my own. Not even a family of a significant other. It is just me. I am the single cousin or friend that doesn’t belong anywhere.

I arrive at the event and more questions ensue. There are the inevitable questions about my weight. As if I am not aware when I have either gained or lost weight since last year. Very irritating. Or that I forgot my days in college when I was a picky eater and dropped down to 115 lbs.

I don’t get the hair questions as much as often anymore. My relatives have finally adopted the belief that my hair will not see a perm again or a weave. Yet, some guest will mention that she tried the go natural but when she could not pull a comb through her hair she had to get it fixed. Or that the itching, the dryness or the naps were too much to take. These statements in effect announce to the group that I must not be able to get a comb through my itchy, dry, nappy hair. Thanks.

The dating questions are still a hot topic. “Who am I dating… Why not that one guy anymore?… Well what is up with him?” I can’t read men’s minds. My favorite question is “Well why aren’t you married, yet?” I haven’t found the perfect reply. I usually just respond as if the question was so utterly stupid that I forgot to answer it. Perhaps, I should say that I am married to Jesus.

Seriously, I could fabricate a man with a year’s worth of history and tell our story for the next two months. No, it would be easier to say that I vowed celibacy in 2002. I am well aware that wife and mother are among the traditional stages of life for a woman. I am sorry to disappoint. If this were truly a concern of my family members and friends someone would find out what I was looking for in a man and find that man for me. In other words be my matchmaker and stop talking to me like I am on my way to Spinsterhood.

The procreation questions….. As we watch someone’s child run into the arms of his/her mother and cries because Lil Bibi hit him/her. Someone will look at me and ask, “Don’t you want kids? Just like these? You know if you wait too long you will not be able to have kids?” As another child runs through the kitchen and destroys an antique dish someone else will ask, “Don’t you want to take one home with you?” Not really. I do want people who are not fertility experts, adoption agency employees, and midwives to stop giving me their backwards advice.

Of course someone’s uncle always flirts with me. It never fails. He is usually a handsome older man that may or may not be married or he is the uncle that still wears a jherri curl. It’s not that I don’t mind the attention, it is just creepy. I think I will use the imaginary boyfriend story for him this year.

Then there is that attitude of "she is so educated she will never marry and have kids." I am not a misfit or unpopular. Yes, I might be lazy but I am not helpless. Stopping sighing and talk to me about my life - and not at me, about your life. Next year, I am going on a cruise.

Oh, Yeah Happy Thanksgiving.

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